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Archive for the ‘October 2009’ Category

The holiday season is a great time for writers, for all of us really, to look back over the past year and decide if they’re happy with that they’ve produced. Be it an essay, a short story, or a novel, it’s good to figure out if the work we’ve done had meaning or a point, were we proud of what we accomplished, or did it simply make us smile.

Well, the last year has definitely left me proud and smiling. I left me crying to, because I lost something very important in my life. I lost my Rudy, a dog I’d raised from a pup until he passed away 13 years later. Rudy was my inspiration and my joy, and I miss him each and every day. And that makes things difficult, because he’s one of the lead characters, the star actually, of a new series I started. The books are my first step into mystery and Rudy is the star.

I transitioned from straight romance, all right, paranormal romance, to mystery with a pause. I don’t like killing or gore. I don’t like guns or violence of any kind. But I was a bit bored by straight, all right, paranormal, romance, and wanted to do something different. It was then I remembered an old idea I’d had and brought it out. I ran the thought of compiling a mystery by my agent before I wrote a word. Helen said yes, and when I talked it over with Rudy, he said yes, too.

Once I decided that Ellie, my New York City dog walker, would never have to see any of the gory details, the rest was easy. Ellie and Rudy would stumble across the bodies or be drawn in some way, and their hunt would begin. Book one, Hounding the Pavement, was easy to write once I decided how to kill the victim. Rudy was with me through the entire writing phase, so I knew what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it.

Book two, Heir of the Dog, started out easy, but when fate stepped in and took my darling boy away, my career stopped cold. Could I finish this book without him? Did I even want to? I worried over it for weeks, cried every day, prayed to God Rudy was in heaven, because if I got there and he wasn’t, well, it just wouldn’t be heaven for me. And as each day passed, I came to my senses a little more. Of course I was going to finish this book, and the next. Rudy was the star. How better could I honor him, than keep him shining in the eyes of my readers?

Book three, Death in Show, started out slow, because I had to write the entire book with my boy looking down from above. But once I began, I knew he was there pushing me to do my best. So the murder was committed in front of a thousand fans. That story will be out in June, and for those of you who, like me, don’t approve of blood and gore, don’t worry. When the victim drops you don’t see a thing.

When my agent received a call from my editor, informing her that they wanted to give me a second three book contract, the plot thickened. If I committed to THREE more books, I’d be fixed, entrenched firmly in the mystery genre. And firmly committed to writing about my boy. For me, it was a huge decision to make. But Rudy stepped in and convinced me I had to continue. If I didn’t he’d be lost and his star would stop shining for the world, even though it would still shine for me.

And so I’ve continued to write, but I’ve coined my own genre. It’s Romantic Mystery With a Dog and No Blood or Gore. And maybe, someday, if Rudy has his way, that title will sit atop a set of shelves in one of the ‘big’ bookstores. And Rudy’s picture will be next to the sign.

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Thank you for visiting Novel Thoughts, Ms McCoy!

Leave a comment to enter the drawing for one of Ms McCoy’s novels–visit her website to learn more about her work!

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The war between good and evil has raged for millennia, but now evil is
winning, and The Marked Souls are caught in the middle…

After an accident left her near death, Sera Littlejohn is struggling to
piece her life together again.  But when a violet-eyed stranger reveals a supernatural battle veiled in the shadows, Sera is tempted to the edge of madness by a dangerous desire.

Ferris Archer takes Sera under his wing now that she is talyan, possessed by a repentant demon with hellish powers.  Archer and his league of warriors have long risked their demon-shattered souls to stop darker spirits from wreaking havoc.  But they’ve never fought beside a female talya before, and never in all his centuries has Archer found a woman who captivates him like Sera.

With the balance shifting between good and evil, passion and possession, Sera and Archer must defy the darkness‹and dare to embrace a love that will mark them forever…

 

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Dreams, destiny and self-delusion

 

I had originally written a post for my appearance here at Novel Thoughts about my never-ending adoration of dark heroes, but after my experiences last week, I’ve been musing on the fine line between dreams and madness.

 

See, I just returned home from a week-long stock book signing tour in Chicago for my debut urban fantasy romance, SEDUCED BY SHADOWS.  (If you live within 25 miles of Chicago, every copy of the book I could find contains a bookmark and a custom temporary tattoo based on an inside joke in the story.)  I had the chance to meet a bunch of booksellers, the members of a book club, and random readers too, which was fabulous fun.  I talked to some of them about how long I’d been writing, how I’ve always known I wanted to be an author, and how getting to sign my book—finally!—must be a dream come true.

 

And when I put all those answers together, I realized how FREAKIN’ PSYCHOTIC I must sound!

 

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the expectation of different results.  Well, sadly, that is also the definition of achieving your dreams.

 

Many people—dare we say most?—won’t achieve their dreams on the first attempt.  I’ve been writing since I was a wee young thing and seriously pursuing publication for more than a decade.  I racked up almost a hundred “no”s before I finally got to a “yes.”  But my dream still isn’t over.

 

Because my dream isn’t just to write, but to be read.  Last week, I drove around to all the Chicago bookstores, tucking that dream in between the pages of my books and abandoning them on the shelves in the hopes that some unknown reader will stumble upon one, take it home, and love the story as much as I did.

 

Sometimes I think I’m as crazy as my characters.

 

SEDUCED BY SHADOWS is the first book of The Marked Souls.  In the series, the heroes are possessed by repentant demons, seeking their redemption by fighting against the forces of darkness.  I imagined that the talyan—the alpha males warriors—were fated to be possessed because of their “penance trigger.”  The penance trigger was a moment in their past that echoed through the years, a psychic wound from which they never quite recovered, that made them vulnerable to the demons.

 

The newly possessed heroine of SEDUCED BY SHADOWS, Sera, gets the explanation from the hero, Ferris Archer:
______________________________

“When I had the vision of the demon, it said I’d called it.” She fixed her gaze on her hands wrapped around the coffee cup. “It said I was lonely. It said it loved me. How desperate is that?”

Love. The word exploded in an empty place in him, as if that powder had burned to the end of the line. He clamped down until the echo died. “Desperate on the demon’s part? Or yours?” When she glared at him, he shrugged. “It makes a bargain to fill what’s missing in us and then takes what it needs.”

“But why me?” She wilted a bit. “Seems a little conceited to think I’ve had any more tribulations than the next guy.”

“Haven’t you?” He waited while she considered. “But it’s not about the quantity of your suffering. It’s the quality. Demons are quite the connoisseurs of pain.”

She grimaced. “Me too lately, I guess.”

“Exactly. When the demon crosses over, it seeks a matching target, a soul that resonates with its energy. Somewhere in your past is a penance trigger. It defines the headwaters of an invisible fault line in your soul, cutting a path right to the moment when the demon breaks your life in two.”

“A penance trigger?” Some memory brought a hazy glitter to the corner of her eye. “So it was because of me.”

The tear never fell, but his muscles tightened as if reacting to a mortal threat. He held himself still with effort. He wouldn’t reach for her again. “Whatever it was doesn’t necessarily make you guilty, Sera. It just made you vulnerable.”

Despite his soft tone, her instant focus pinned him. Her narrowed eyes left no room for tears. “I still can’t believe any of this. I should have my head examined.”

“You mean your soul.”

______________________________

 

After last week, I’ve come to think maybe all of us have some version of a penance trigger, a moment—often insignificant at the time—that puts a hairline crack in the rest of our days until it finally blows wide open.

 

For me, it was the PTA Reflections grade school writing contest.  I won the contest and got a gift certificate for a free book.  Well, obviously, there was no going back, not after getting a free book.  I was forever more doomed to be a writer. 

 

Like my heroes, destined to fight evil for eternity, I was destined  to put words on paper.  So calling my book on the shelf (and that sure seemed to take an eternity) a dream come true isn’t quite right.  Because the dream continues.  And as mad as it sounds, I hope I won’t ever wake up.

 

Jessa Slade’s first book, SEDUCED BY SHADOWS, is available now at most bookstores and online.  Chapter 1 is available at her website http://jessaslade.com. Book 2 of The Marked Souls, FORGED OF SHADOWS, will be out June 2010.  Read a free short story introducing the world of The Marked Souls at http://www.tinyurl.com/MarkedSoulsPrequel.

 

Do you have a penance trigger in your life, a moment—good or bad—that threads through your days?  How has that influenced your waking dreams?

 

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of SEDUCED BY SHADOWS along with the temporary tattoo and a pair of Possession In Pearl earrings, freshwater pearl sticks that look like they might have something dreaming inside them.

 

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Many thanks to Jessa for being our guest today. For more info on what she has coming up, visit her website here.

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NOTHING IS MORE INTOXICATING—

Reynaud St. Aubyn has spent the last seven years in hellish captivity. Now half mad with fever he bursts into his ancestral home and demands his due. Can this wild-looking man truly be the last earl’s heir, thought murdered by Indians years ago?

OR DANGEROUS—

Beatrice Corning, the niece of the present earl, is a proper English miss. But she has a secret: No real man has ever excited her more than the handsome youth in the portrait in her uncle’s home. Suddenly, that very man is here, in the flesh—and luring her into his bed.

THAN SURRENDERING TO A DEVIL.

Only Beatrice can see past Reynaud’s savagery to the noble man inside. For his part, Reynaud is drawn to this lovely lady, even as he is suspicious of her loyalty to her uncle. But can Beatrice’s love tame a man who will stop at nothing to regain his title—even if it means sacrificing her innocence?

 

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PORTRAIT OF A LAUGHING YOUTH

Years ago I was staying the night in a motel in strange city and as I lay in bed, flipping channels on the TV, I caught an old black and white movie. It was called Laura and it was about a police detective investigating the murder of a young woman. In one of the early scenes, he walks into her library and there’s a huge portrait of her over the fireplace. The detective stares at the portrait, and as he does, the camera lingers too. She’s beautiful—wide eyes, pale, creamy skin, and long dark hair. As the detective talks to her family and friends about her we realize that he’s beginning to fall in love with her, this woman he never met while she was alive.

And then an interesting thing happens: the woman walks in her apartment, alive and well.

In my most recent book, To Desire a Devil, there’s a portrait, too. Except in my book, the portrait is of a laughing young man and in place of the detective I have an inquisitive young woman. Beatrice Corning lives with her Uncle Reggie and ever since Reggie became the Earl of Blanchard, they’ve made their home in the luxurious Blanchard townhouse. In one of the sitting rooms of the townhouse is a portrait of the laughing young man. He’s Viscount Hope, the eldest son and heir of the last earl. Viscount Hope was killed seven years before in the French and Indian War, but Beatrice likes to sit and gaze at his portrait even though she never met the man when he was alive.

And then an interesting thing happens: one day in the midst of a formal tea party a bearded madman stumbles in, raving in French. Even though he now looks nothing like his portrait, Beatrice knows he is Viscount Hope.

Which raises an interesting question: what happens when the image you’re infatuated with comes alive? Viscount Hope isn’t like the portrait anymore. For one thing, the picture was painted when he was a youth—now he’s a man. Furthermore, he’s spent the last seven years as a captive of war. He’s grimly determined to win back his title and lands, and relentless in that pursuit. Perhaps most distressing for Beatrice, he never smiles anymore. Is there anything left of the smiling youth in the portrait? And if there isn’t, can she still love Viscount Hope?

I hope you enjoy To Desire a Devil.

For an excerpt of TO DESIRE A DEVIL, click below —  (more…)

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Blank white book w/path

Once burned is all it takes…

For the last twelve years, Raul Montenga has sizzled with erotic dreams of the girl he left behind. When he finally comes back home, determined to find her, it’s not to Penelope’s warm welcome but to a cold shoulder and her icy rejection. So he’s more than a little surprised to answer his door one day to find her tomboy daughter standing nervously on his porch…claiming to be his child.

Dr. Penelope Gibson’s worst nightmare isn’t that her daughter might want to know who her father was. It’s facing the man she’d foolishly spent her youth loving and keeping him at arm’s length. Now he’s back and the feelings she’d thought frozen solid are melting in his wake. Along with her inhibitions, her clothes and her better judgment.

But when he’s determined to win back her love—body and soul—can she trust him enough to try? Or will everything she’s built without him go up in smoke?

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I know you won’t believe me, but I was a child bride. No really. I look at my seventeen year old niece and I understand why some people freaked out when they heard I wanted to get married at eighteen. But I did, I really did. Because I’d loved my man for so many years already. We met when I was ten and I was gangly and awkward and he was the best friend I didn’t know I had.

But I’m a smart girl, I figured it out. And though he may have squirmed a few times, I’ve never let him go.
(Just kidding, honey, I know you love me.)

But it’s the strangest thing, for as early as we met, there was a chance we could have met even earlier.

You see, I moved up and down California as a kid, but he was a Navy brat. His youngest years were spent abroad, but then, oddly enough, he settled in my county in Central Cali. We have pictures of the same
fair and the same horses we saw there. Very “Sleepless in Seattle”, but not earth shattering, right?

What’s makes it odd? Well, I moved again… and he moved again, into the same tiny town in Sleepy Southern California that ain’t no one in the world had ever heard of. But he’s a trio of years older than me,
so if it hadn’t been for my sister roping him home for a visit, he might have slipped right past me, never to be seen from again.

So, it took us a while and a couple of strange near misses, but eventually, he found me and we’ve been together ever since.

Which is what brings me here today, because my newest release, “Burn For Me”, is out just in time for our anniversary, and that’s pretty fitting because the romance in this book means perhaps just that little bit more to me than most of my others. It’s about a pair of childhood sweethearts… who didn’t get together. Soul mates that went their different ways, lived completely separate lives and cross paths again as adults. Adults with old hurts and older secrets. Can they overcome broken hearts and lives that were never quite right without each other? Well, you’ll have to check it out to know for sure.

(Psst, odds are good. Plus, it’s a really steamy seduction back to her heart. Who wants to miss that?)

Some stories just come from a simple game of “What If?” and this one was slightly bittersweet. I occasionally wondered what would have happened if I had missed my hero. Would I have gotten a second chance?

Could we have made it this far in our lives without each other?

What about you? Have you found your hero? Tell us what makes him–or her!–such an important part of your life.

Comments are entered in a drawing for a free e-book from my backlist, so be sure to post before 8pm EST to qualify!

Dee

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Thank you, Ms Tenorio!

Ladies, visit Ms Tenorio’s website to check out her work, and don’t forget to leave a comment here to enter the drawing.

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AC_captiveofsin

He pledged his honor to keep her safe…

Returning home to Cornwall after unspeakable tragedy, Sir Gideon Trevithick comes upon a defiant beauty in danger, and vows to protect her whatever the cost. He’s dismayed to discover that she’s none other than Lady Charis Weston, England’s wealthiest heiress-and that the only way to save her from the violent stepbrothers determined to steal her fortune is to wed her himself! Now Gideon must hide the dark secrets of his life from the bride he desires more with every heartbeat.

She promised to show him how to love – and desire – again…

Charis has heard all about Gideon, the dangerously handsome hero with the mysterious past. She’s grateful for his help, but utterly unwilling to endure a marriage of convenience-especially to a man whose touch leaves her breathless. Desperate to drive him mad with passion, she would do anything to make Gideon lose control-and fall captive to irresistible, undeniable

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Hello, Romance Readers at Heart! Hello, Fatin! Thank you so much for inviting me to blog today. As a Romance Reader at Heart, this is just the place for me!

I’ve read romance all my life – definitely ALL my life if you count the wonderful fairytales I devoured as a child as romance and I think you should! My mother gave me my first ‘real’ romance to read when I was eight – she was desperate to shut me up and guess what, it worked! It was a Mills & Boon (Harlequin) called A TOUCH OF SILK by Joyce Dingwall, an Aussie author. And frankly, I’ve been reading romance like it’s going out of style ever since.

Luckily for me (and you, you dedicated romance readers at heart!), it’s not going out of style any time soon. (more…)

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KL_destinyscaptive

AN UNEXPECTED ANGEL
Angelina Sanchez didn’t hold much stock in men. The ones who weren’t slimy fortune hunters weren’t interested in a young lady who would rather spend time with her horses than flirt. But when she saw a handsome stranger in town, there was an instant connection, a spark of familiarity like nothing she’d ever felt. And no matter how fiercely her father warned her away from Jeremiah Baldwin, nothing could have kept her from his side.

A BROKEN WARRIOR
When her father had him beaten and left for dead, Angel’s soft hands and sweet voice coaxed Jeremiah to stay, to fight. In her arms, it seemed he’d finally found a place to belong. But how could he protect her when it was her father who’d led the raid that had slaughtered his family? His spirit guides had told him he would feel true joy only if he made peace with his greatest sorrow. But unless he could find a way to win Angelina’s heart without forsaking his family, he would remain…Destiny’s Captive.

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How did she come up with that?

I’ll bet you’ve asked yourself the same question after reading the latest dark paranormal or watching the latest vampire series on cable or in the movies.  With so many people enthralled with the paranormal, the person whose feet stay firmly on the ground has to feel LOST.

So where do authors come up with paranormal ideas, characters, plots and themes without delving into the occult and joining Wicans Local 101?  Where does it begin?  Does an author wake up one day and announce, “I think my next novel’s going to be about the Fey.”  Does she then research the Fey, like everything else she writes?  And once she opens her mind to that realm, is she inundated with evil? (more…)

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Just released by Samhain Publishing two days ago and available here:

Wolf Flight

An untriggered werewolf. A runaway Omega. It’s not easy fighting destiny.

Tad Maxwell’s workaholism serves to keep his bush pilot company in the air, and his inner werewolf in check. In the two years since he discovered his heritage, he’s resisted the longing to test the power of his wolf side. It would mean compromising his human principals.

Then Missy Leason re-enters his life. Ten years ago, their teenage attraction never went beyond hand-holding. Now their chemistry is off the charts, pushing him closer to the step he’s not sure it’s safe to take, especially with a human.

But Missy is more like Tad than he realizes. She’s wolf too, and a wolf pack is a dangerous place to have secrets. Missy’s alpha has sniffed out her carefully hidden Omega powers. Her first response: run from the corrupt alpha’s plan to make her his mate. Step two: get to Tad, and hope like hell his untapped powers are strong enough to negate her own.

Every touch with Missy is hot, hot, hot, but even finding out she’s pure wolf doesn’t solve Tad’s dilemma. Is she using him, or are they truly destined mates? Only one thing is certain. He will defend her to his last breath—on his terms. Even if it means losing his life.

Warning: Contains nasty Alphas, secret Omegas and werewolves acting raunchy on the dance floor. Sarcasm, wilderness cabins, and hot nookie back by popular demand.

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I love to know what happens next. That doesn’t always mean I want to be –told- what happens next, but I’m always curious as to the continuing story. When I was little I’d finish a book and then proceed to mentally put myself into the plot—not to mess with the actual tale, but so that when it was done I could continue on and have more adventures with my friends—since we already knew each other so well.

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CP_sinsoftheflesh

Caterina Shaw’s days are numbered. Her only chance for survival is a highly experimental gene treatment – a risk she willingly takes. But now Caterina barely recognizes herself. She has new, terrifying powers, an exotic, arresting body — and she’s been accused of a savage murder, sending her on the run.

Mick Carrera is a mercenary and an expert at capturing elusive, clever prey. Yet the woman he’s hunting down is far from the vicious killer he’s been told to expect: Caterina is wounded, vulnerable, and a startling mystery of medical science. Even more, she’s a beautiful woman whose innocent sensuality tempts Mick to show her exactly how thrilling pleasure can be. The heat that builds between them is irresistible, but surrendering to it could kill them both . . . for a dangerous group is plotting its next move using Caterina as its deadly pawn.

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Over the past decade of writing and over twenty books, I’ve discovered that I love the bad boys.  No not those kinds of bad boys.  You know the ones with the tight ripped jeans, leather jackets and motorcycles.

I’m talking about the really really bad boys as in the ones that don’t necessarily seem as if they could ever be good guys.  They might have had a brush with the law in the past (or at the current time).  They might seem selfish or even unheroic at times.

And despite all that, they are my favorite heroes to write about!

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On shelves in bookstores near you tomorrow:

Soul MagicKISS OR KILL

When an ancient pact is broken, powerful witches who once used their magic to help humanity become the twisted playthings of demons, and the mortal men who once protected the sorceresses become witch hunters, cursed with the longing to spill the witches’ 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 they 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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Thank you, Fatin, for inviting me to be here today!

I write about witches and the men who love them. In the second book in my series, SOUL MAGIC, I get to explore the theme—is love really enough?

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*sneaking in late to post winners*


Please join me in congratulating last week’s winners:

 

LisaN.

you win downloads of Lauren Dane’s Enforcer and Tri-Mates. Please email Ms Dane to claim your prizes!

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PamP.

 

you win a download of N.J.Walters’ Alexandra’s Legay. Please email Ms Walters (njwalters22 at yahoo dot ca) to claim your prize!

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Thank you to all who commented and apologies for the tardiness in announcing the winners.

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