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Archive for June, 2009

Red Kiss

Immortal warrior and Spartan slave River Kassandros has a special gift—the ability to transform into any weapon. But in a recent battle, he was trapped as a dagger, unable to become human again. His one hope of salvation is a mere mortal…

When Emma Lowery beaches her kayak on an uninhabited island off the coast of Savannah, an ancient dagger seems to call out to her. Compelled by dark forces, Emma draws blood with his blade, freeing River. Now he’s stronger, angrier—and exudes more sensuality than Emma can resist.

But a sinister power wants to claim River’s destiny, and his precarious freedom. The pair must join the Spartan warriors to fight Ares himself. But can they face sacrificing their love to protect humankind from the war god’s demonic plan?

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There are so many phases to any author’s life, at least in terms of creating a new novel, short story or other project.  Right now, I’m so fortunate to be in a kind of perfect storm where several phases are hitting all at once! My latest Gods of Midnight book, RED KISS, is out on the shelves, so I’m hearing from readers (always a coveted thrill), and after months of writing and creating a world (also known as a book!) in solitude, that interaction with my fans is solid gold.  It’s the anticipated moment, the one every author battles toward during the good—and frustrating—times of actually writing that book.

I’m also in a diametrically opposite season, which is that I’m writing RED ANGEL, the next book in the series, and am in that stage when the world of this book is starting to gel.  But there are also still lots of bits and pieces, scenes I’ve written that might not even happen to the end—or until the next book—but I’m hearing them, so I have to put them on paper.

To me, there’s such a wonderful balance to these two ends of the spectrum.  On one hand, the joy of sharing my finished creation of RED KISS, and on the other, delving into a whole new story at the same moment.  For those of you who are familiar with the Gods of Midnight, I’m writing Ari’s story right now. He was quite the character in RED KISS, especially, since he is best friend to River Kassandros, the shapeshifting hero of the book.  But there was also a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of RED KISS (no spoilers, don’t worry!) about ole Ari, and I’m having fun picking up that thread.

There’s another interesting “phase” to my writing life right now, which is that as I map out this new book, the rest of the series is starting to really shout at me much more loudly.  I always know where I’m going with a series, even far, far down the line, but I don’t necessarily start hearing those scenes, or interact with the characters at that later stage of the story arc.  I know I felt this way about the same point in writing the PARALLEL series, like the world’s foundation was laid out and the characters well-established, and it was then—as now—that the whole world of the series exploded in my mind.

I’m at that place at the moment.  The only frustration? It’s summer, my kids are out of school, there’s RWA to attend, clients to care for, RED ANGEL to write.  Which makes the burn to write ahead on next books a bit of a frustration, but a nice one, too.

If you haven’t checked out RED FIRE or RED KISS, I hope you will and I’d love to hear from you! There are excerpts of both books available on my website, www.DeidreKnight.com. Meanwhile, I’m giving away a copy of RED FIRE or RED KISS – winner’s choice – to a randomly selected winner. Simply leave your name in the comments.

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Red Fire

Eternity has become a prison for Ajax Petrakos. Centuries after he and his Spartan brothers made their bargain for immortality, Ajax struggles to maintain his warrior’s discipline. His only source of strength is his hope that he will soon meet the woman once foretold to him—the other half of his soul, Shay Angel.

Ajax searches for his destined mate on the haunted streets of modern-day Savannah, but he isn’t the first to find her. Shay, the youngest of a powerful demon-hunting clan, can see the monsters that stalk the steamy Southern night—an ability that draws the deadly attention of Ajax’s worst enemy.

As she and Ajax race to solve a chilling prophecy—one that could spell Ajax’s death if they don’t succeed—a fated passion arises, threatening to sweep away everything in its path.

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Leave a comment to enter the drawing, and read an excerpt of Red Fire here and an excerpt from Red Kiss here.

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Anya Bast’s January 2010 release. Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

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When you’re a half incubus, your reputation precedes you…

All eyes are on Gabriel Mac Braire the day he makes his first appearance in the Seelie Court, including those of Aislinn Finvarra. Despite deep bitterness over her last failed relationship, Aislinn cannot help but be curious about the half incubus who is known to possess dark magick, both lethal and sexual in nature. Rumors abound of the women who have become enslaved to his irresistible charms.

So when the Summer Queen of the fae orders Aislinn herself to act as his guide in the court, she is understandably on guard. She’s fallen under the spell of far less persuasive men before. In addition, Gabriel might be more than he seems and his true mission is far from innocent.

This time, Aislinn must protect not only her heart, but her very life…

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Midnight's Master

In a world of shadows, desire conquers all…

In this sexy, gripping novel, Cynthia Eden draws readers deeper into the realm of the Others—vampires, shifters, and sinfully attractive demons whose powers are matched only by their dark hungers…

Tall, dark, and formidable, Niol Lapen is the last demon on earth most people would ask for a favor, yet the sexy little reporter who wanders into his club dares to do exactly that. Holly Storm already knows too much about his kind, and Niol has no wish to help her get in deeper over her head. But working alongside her may be the only way to stop a killer, even as it ignites a primal desire unlike anything he’s known.

Holly has seen firsthand what Niol is capable of, but that doesn’t frighten her nearly as much as her body’s instinctive reaction to him, or the wild, fierce passion that would tempt her to follow him through hell itself. Something evil and relentless is prowling the streets of Atlanta. And as Holly’s search leads her into danger that even Niol could never have predicted, she’ll uncover a secret that could rip her world apart….

Midnight’s Master is available from Kensington Brava on June 30th, 2009

A Character’s Evolution

It’s great to be here at Novel Thoughts today. (Azteclady, thank you for the invite!)

Generally, when we read books, we get to watch the characters grow and change over the course of the story. After all, isn’t the point of the story—that the characters learn and evolve over those 300+ pages?

Well, the hero in my upcoming release, Midnight’s Master, didn’t just get the chance to develop over the course of one book. No, my demon Niol had the opportunity to change through three books.Hotter After Midnight

When I wrote Hotter After Mignight (the first book in my Midnight trilogy for Kensington Brava), Niol Lapen was introduced as an important secondary character.  An extremely powerful demon, Niol wasn’t one of the “nice” guys.

The reader learned early on that Niol had a very dark side. (I actually almost made him the villain of the book.)

Then, when the second book in my trilogy, Midnight Sins, was released (and if you haven’t read this book yet—

SPOILERS ahead!)

Midnight SinsNiol’s character took another turn. He killed, without hesitation.  He used the dangerous powers that are such a part of his nature, and he proved that he wasn’t afraid to cross the line between good and evil.

And then it was time for Niol to have his own story. My problem?  I now had to make a killer into a hero.  Three books. Three different takes on Niol.  But, with Midnight’s Master, it was finally time to see things from Niol’s point of view. And finally time to learn why he made some of the choices that he did. Understanding a character’s motivation is so important—I often only really connect with the characters I read when I learn why they make certain choices.

So, in Midnight’s Master, it’s time to learn why Niol lives the way he does. He has evolved since the first book. He isn’t just looking after himself; now, there are others he’s taken under his protection. He’s still dark, he still skirts the line between right and wrong, but he’s more than just the monster people fear in the dark.  He has evolved.

What do you think about the evolution of characters in books?  When a character starts off “bad” (or maybe ambiguously written), do you enjoy reading about the transition from villain to (semi) hero?  Are there any particular character evolutions that you’ve read and enjoyed? Leave me a comment and you could win an autographed copy of Midnight’s Master.  One commenter will be randomly selected for the prize.

Thanks for checking out my post!

Best wishes,

Cynthia Eden

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Thank you, Ms Eden!

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win–and visit Ms Eden’s website for excerpts, covers, and more!

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Temptation. Sin. Seduction. He’s taking her all the way.…

HE’S THE SEXY DEMON HUNTER WHO JUST SAVED HER LIFE. NOW SHE’S ABOUT TO SHOW HIM WHAT SALVATION’S REALLY ABOUT.

It’s a mission that could cost him his career and his life. But the woman he just rescued—his lover for one unforgettable night—has something Dalton desperately needs. That’s why the fearless demon hunter is risking everything to spirit Isabelle to a secret hideaway in the Louisiana bayou. Saving her is one thing. Banishing the demon inside her is another. Especially when this gorgeous seductress brings out the devil in him.

Isabelle can see the passion roaring inside Dalton—and it both frightens and arouses her. Is Dalton her enemy or her savior? All she knows is he’s beyond seductive and igniting all sorts of conflicting feelings. All Dalton knows is that they’re both in big trouble—hunted by demons and demon hunters alike in an all-out war for survival. As their pursuers close in and passion overtakes them both, Dalton must make a stunning choice…. Caught between sin and salvation, between darkness and light, will he make the ultimate sacrifice to save the woman he loves?

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Research is such a fun part of a writer’s job. Whether going somewhere in person, or doing research via the internet, I can lose myself for hours imagining a place for my characters or a destination for my next book.

Probably the most fun I’ve ever had researching has been for my Demon Hunter series. The first book of the series, Surviving Demon Island, was set on a tropical island—didn’t have to do a lot of research there, because I’ve been lucky enough to vacation on a few tropical islands in my lifetime. Though I did have a specific geographical location in mind for my island, so it did require me to drag out the maps via the internet and create my island’s whereabouts. And then I had to stare endlessly at gorgeous tropical backdrops with dense jungle and swaying palm trees and miles of turquoise blue ocean. Yeah, that was a real hardship. Heh.

The second book, Hunting The Demon, was set in Australia. Again, I’d been to Australia before, but only the eastern coast and more than ten years ago. And I set the majority of the book in the northwest section of the continent, so it required a lot of research. Fortunately, a wonderful woman who lives in Australia sent me books and maps and travel guides, which were so incredibly helpful. And again, I watched a lot of video and spent hours losing myself in the lay of the land. The book was set in rugged terrain, with caves and high temperatures, so I really had to “feel” where my characters were located.

The Darkest Touch’s setting was in Italy, and oh did I ever have fun researching that location. We (the figurative, research me, not we actually went to Italy… sadly) went to Sicily and Malta and I spent time with the history of the islands because my heroine was an archaeologist. Fun stuff!

Taken By Sin, my book releasing this week, is set in the bayou of New Orleans. I love New Orleans like nobody’s business, have been there several times. It has a mysterious, mystical quality to it, along with a inherent sensuality that I wanted to portray in this book. The setting was perfect for the plotline I wanted to accomplish, and I did take another trip to New Orleans to do some additional background research on Voodoo, which plays a prominent role in this book.

Setting research really can be a lot of fun, especially if you’re able to do it in person, which isn’t always possible (dammit). But even doing it via the internet can immerse you in the geography and culture of the area, and help to enrich a story and its characters.

What are some of your favorite settings? Or your dream places to visit? I’ve always wanted to go to Italy, since it’s part of my ancestry, and I will someday. The Azores is another place I’m dying to go to. And I freely admit anyplace that’s warm, has an ocean and a beach? I’m so there.

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Ms Burton has graciously offered a signed copy of any of her Demon Hunter books to one lucky commenter. You can read more about them by visiting her website. Remember to leave a comment to enter the drawing.

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This comes out July 28th through Samhain Publishing. For more info, you can visit Dana’s website.

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I love this cover! SONGBIRD by Maya comes out in September through Samhain Publishing.

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They called her their Songbird, but she was never theirs. Not in the way she wanted.

The Donovan brothers meant everything to Emily, but rejected by Greer and Taggert, she turned to Sean the youngest. He married her for love, and she loved him, but she also loved his older brothers.

Her singing launched her to stardom. She had it all. The voice of an angel, a husband who loved her, and the adoration of millions. Until a tragedy took it all away.

Taggert and Greer grieve for their younger brother, but they’re also grieving the loss of Emmy, their songbird. They take her back to Montana, determined to help her heal and show her once and for all they want her. They’re also on a mission to help her find her voice again. Under the protective shield of their love, she begins to blossom… until an old threat resurfaces.

Now the Donovans face a fight for what they once threw away. Only by winning it—and her love—will their songbird fly again.

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I read book one in this series, BLOOD MAGIC, a few months ago and am thrilled Jennifer has book 2, SOUL MAGIC, coming out November 24th!

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KISS OR KILL

When an ancient pact is broken, powerful witches who use their magic to help humanity become the twisted playthings of demons, and witch hunters—mortal men who once protected them—are cursed with longing to spill their blood: an irresistible craving that will cost witches their lives and witch hunters their souls.

The Wing Slayer Hunters fight this curse, guarding innocent witches until the urge to harm them grows too strong. Then the Wing Slayers must kill their own. Wing Slayer Sutton West has always honored that vow. His own father killed himself rather than go rogue. But now Sutton is tempted as never before by Carla Fisk, a brilliant psychologist and dynamic witch whose twin sister, Keri, was murdered by rogues.

Bound by blood and passion, Carla and Sutton dare not succumb to their deadly attraction. Yet when a mysterious rogue named Styx joins forces with the demon Asmodeus, witch and hunter have no choice but to work together. For Keri’s immortal soul is at stake—and with it, balanced on a knife-edge, is the fate of humanity itself.

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Run to Me

Driven by grief and fury, Shea Monroe, an operative for Last Chance Rescue, goes deep undercover, vowing vengeance against the man who killed her husband. Instead, she ends up a captive and the unwilling weapon of a vicious human trafficker. Then she is rescued from her den of terror and shame by her husband’s best friend, Ethan Bishop, a man Shea feels irrevocably drawn to, despite having lost all memory of her life before she was captured.

Ethan saved Shea from a madman and will do anything to keep her safe, but he can’t allow the feelings he once had for her to surface again. While recovering from her ordeal and regaining her lost memory, Shea begins to fall for Ethan. But the treachery and tragedies of the past won’t leave either of them alone. And from Mexico, a monster has sent his foot soldiers to seize Shea—using a weapon beyond anyone’s worst nightmare.

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It was a typical summer in Alabama. Scorching heat. Sweltering humidity. The sun so bright and hot I could almost hear my skin sizzle. Thick air coated my lungs with an extra layer of moisture with each breath I took. Everything moved in slow motion. Bees buzzed half-heartedly and even the birds seemed to be pacing themselves.

I lived in a tiny community in the north central part of the state. Doors were rarely locked, everyone knew everyone’s business and the one country store within walking distance held everything we needed.

This particular summer should have been no different than any others. I had nothing to do but laze in the sun, swat at mosquitoes, swim in the river and read.

I was fourteen years old. On the cusp of womanhood when all my emotions blended and merged, battling each other for supremacy. One moment I felt as though I was standing at the top of a cliff and the next as if I had fallen into a deep, dark pit. Yes, early teenage angst had me in its grip. But for one week that summer, my emotions soared toward the heavens and then plunged into the deepest pits over and over again. I cried almost every day that week. I laughed. I rejoiced. I got angry. I lay in the grass, looked up at the deep blue skies and dreamed. I danced with happiness. I had long talks inside my head. And I cried some more.

What could have happened to this young, innocent southern belle, you ask? Had she suffered a minor break down? Was she going through an extreme case of puberty? Did someone steal her bicycle? Did her first crush break her heart?

No to all of the above. It started out so innocently but changed my life forever. It was Tuesday and the bookmobile made its weekly visit to my little corner of the world. As usual, I checked out the maximum amount of books allowed, never realizing how significant one of those transactions would be. That impressionable emotion-filled young girl found THAT BOOK. You know that one book that moves you in such a way that you are forever changed? You see things differently. Feel things you’ve never felt before. And for me, that book was The Rolling Years by Agnes Sligh Turnbull.

Sure I had read books I enjoyed before. Books that entertained, made me think, made me wish, made me dream. But never had I encountered a book that brought out the magnitude of gut wrenching emotions as this book. Never had a story so involved me with a character or a family. I felt everything the heroine Jeannie was feeling. When she fell in love, I did too. When she cried, so did I. How could I identify so strongly with a character that was written in 1930’s? On the surface, we had nothing in common. But deep down, underneath that facade the world sees, we were identical. We felt the same, hurt the same, wanted the same. Jeannie was me. I was Jeannie.

How did this happen? How could I get so caught up in a story that it affected me so strongly? One answer: The author put me into Jeannie’s world and made me feel. What Jeannie felt was communicated so eloquently and effectively, that during that brief time, we were one.

Since then, there have been many other wonderful books in my life, but none that impacted me as deeply as this one. For the first time, I realized how strong the written word could be. Until then, words were words. Entertaining and useful, but not life altering. Turnbull made me realize that when words are used in a certain way, they take on a life of their own. Words with depth, meaning and emotion become powerful tools. Tools that can change lives… as they did mine.

I haven’t read The Rolling Years in decades. I doubt the story would impact me today as it did then. I am no longer that young, innocent girl. My life experiences no longer mirror Jeannie’s. But I’ll never forget that story or those emotions. Though the author is long gone, I will be forever grateful to her for introducing me to the most wondrous adventure my mind has ever known. The power of words.

To this day, I am drawn to books that stir my emotions. If I can feel what the character is feeling, identify with their circumstance, then you have me hooked. Make me care. That’s all I ask, make me care.

My debut novel, Rescue Me, is the emotional story of a woman who goes through an incredible trauma and not only survives but triumphs. I wanted to write about a young girl who makes a severe error in judgment and pays a huge price for that mistake. As I wrote the story, I so identified with the young Devon and the love she had for Jordan. He was her first crush; her first love. And when he broke her heart, she was devastated. Few people go through life never getting their heart broken at least once. Most people can identify with the incredible pain of that experience. But to have your life torn apart so completely as Devon’s was could well destroy a person.

I intended only to write this one emotional story. I am most fortunate that the story developed into a six book series. Devon’s ability to reinvent herself with the help of the ultra secretive Last Chance Rescue and its mysterious founder Noah McCall became an avenue to tell more stories of triumph over tragedy. Though Last Chance Rescue is the back drop for each story, the characters and story lines are different. And they all share another quality: Deep emotion.

What about you? Do you remember your first ‘that book’? The one that made you feel as though you were living the story yourself? If so, what was it?

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Rescue MeReturn to MeLeave a comment to enter the drawing for three signed copies of Rescue Me, the one that started it all–and visit Ms Reece’s website for more information on Return to Me and Run to Me, the second and (upcoming) third books in the Last Chance Rescue novels.

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After running the names through random.org, the lucky winner of a signed copy of Visions of Heat is…

limecello

Huge congrats, limecello! Please contact me within 48hrs at azteclady1 at yahoo dot com with your physical address so we can get your book in the post for you.

Remember to comment in this thread if I don’t confirm having received your email.

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After wearing my poor fingers to the bone entering the ohmagod more than a hundred entries over at random.org, we have a winner!

Amy!

Congratulations, Amy, you’ve won a signed copy of one of Ms Cassidy’s back list titles. Please check her website and then contact me with the one you want and your physical address within 48 hrs at azteclady1 at yahoo dot com so we can get your book out to you soonest.

Remember to post a comment here if you don’t receive a confirmation email from me.

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