Interviews scheduled for February include:
Tuesday, February 3, Jenna Petersen -- Yay!
Tuesday, February 10, Kayla Perrin -- Oh my goodness!
Tuesday, February 17, Linnea Sinclair -- Can you believe it?
Can you say name dropping? Try prize winning authors. We got 'em!
April's line up is just as impressive.
Interviews scheduled for February include:
From Joanne Barnada
AcademicEarth.org offers free lectures and transcripts from the top universities and professors in the country.
As a writer, I'm particularly enjoying the Psychology courses.
Hope you enjoy!
Absolutely fascinating website. I will be bookmarking and visiting every day.
Today, I am thrilled to welcome two wonderful authors to our blog, Myla Jackson and Shayla Kersten. Their new anthology, Masters of Desire was released January 20 by Kensington Aphrodisia. Romantic Times Book Reviews give Masters of Desire 4 1/2 stars.
Myla and Shayla will try to drop by today and answer questions, but be aware that both are located in areas currently hard hit by the weather (ice storm).
CYNDI: Welcome! So glad to have you here. You three ladies are long-time friends. How did you get lucky enough to work together on this book?
SHAYLA: Myla pretty much covered the how but I want to add a little note about being in the right place, at the right time, with the right people! This was the 2006 DARA conference. I was a total newbie stumbling around the conference in awe and confusion. I had written and submitted exactly one story. Before that all I’d written was fanfiction. We’re sitting around the table in the bar. The four published writers start brainstorming about a multi-author paranormal anthology. I’m just sitting there absorbing information. Then Delilah Devlin asks me what kind of creature would be in my story. Ack! I tossed out a succubus. Next thing I know, we’ve sold the anthology to Kensington and now I have to write a story about a succubus! I was shocked and amazed that my first sale was to a NY publisher. Right place, right time, right friends.
CYNDI: Wow. How fun to work with friends on a project. Are your novellas linked, like sharing characters or situations?
SHAYLA – No. Each of out stories are stand alone.
MYLA – All the stories are paranormals and have strong heroes and heroines, so they share those traits.
CYNDI: When you were working on the novellas, did you brainstorm together or critique for each other?
MYLA: Yes, we did do some brainstorming on the plots.
SHAYLA: We also set up a Yahoo loop for the group to make communication easier. And yes, we did critique each other.
CYNDI: Tell us a little about your novella.
MYLA: Pirate of
When Lord Rafe Herrington, governor of
Born of a human father and a mermaid mother, Melody is spellbound by birth to be half human and half mermaid. Her greatest wish is to return to the sea as a mermaid forever. The
SHAYLA: Keket’s Curse
Given as a handmaiden to the ancient
CYNDI: Many of our regular readers are usually interested in how individual authors approach writing. Do you plot or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
MYLA: In the past I’ve been one to make a very detailed spreadsheet I call plotlines that lists by chapter and subplot, what will happen throughout the story. I did it for this book as well. Lately, I write a detailed synopsis and pants it. When I get in trouble, I go back to my plotlines and fill it in.
SHAYLA: I’m a pantser. Actually I really shouldn’t say that. I tend to write a synopsis with the high points of the plot then I pants the in between.
CYNDI: Do either of you have any writing quirks? Certain food? Clothes? Rituals?
MYLA: No major quirks. I do like uninterrupted quiet, no music and my family out of my office! I have to have a Diet Dr. Pepper close at hand for my caffeine fix.
SHAYLA: I have to have tons of coffee available. Since I work from home, I’m beginning to be superstitious about my bathrobe. Seems I think better in it! J
CYNDI: Yeah, I like the bathrobe look myself! A couple of more questions and then I’ll open the floor to questions and comments. Both of you are published with Kensington and Ellora’s Cave. If you could no longer publish with eiter of them, who would your dream publisher be? Why?
MYLA: I’d like to publish with a publisher who takes a real interest in my writing and wants me to be successful beyond the first book of mine that they publish, whoever that publisher is.
SHAYLA: Well, I’ve started tossing about ideas for a mainstream scifi series—of course there’ll be romance—so I’d have to say Tor or Del Rey since they are big in scifi.
CYNDI: What are your next projects?
MYLA: My next Kensington Aphrodisia project is for the Men in Blue Anthology and my novella is titled: Saturday Night Special. It’s about a
CYNDI: That sounds wonderful. A research trip to
SHAYLA: I have a couple of gay romances at coming out with Ellora’s Cave. Positive Possibilities, releases on February 4th and Hidden Hands releases on April 3. On April 14, the the Black Lace anthology, Seduction, is released in the
You ladies have really been busy! Thanks for your time.
You can visit Myla at her website: www.maylajackson.com
Or Shayla at her website: http://www.shaylakersten.com
We’re giving away a signed copy of MASTERS OF DESIRE to one lucky commenter. Good luck.
MASTERS of DESIRE is now available at all the usual outlets, or CLICK HERE to go to the Kensington website.
Until Next Time
Marius Andresciu is a vampire, born in 1752. Jaded and ancient, he's seen it all, done it all. In 1968, he wanders the streets of Paris...bored...hungry... He meets a young girl--Caity--a 22-year-old art student from New Orleans...and falls in love, something that isn't supposed to happen to his kind. He poses for her. She creates a masterpiece which will bring her fame and fortune. He leaves her because he cares too much. Her image is carved into his heart. He'll never forget her.
In 2009, Marius is living in New Orleans. He owns La Galerie, a studio known for its exhibitions of artwork by famous and soon-to-be famous artisans. He discovers Caity's masterpiece in a New York shop, buys it, plans to display it in La Galerie. Cousin Timon and brother Val argue--the statue looks just like him; people will ask the wrong questions. He shows the statue anyway, tells them the model was his father who supposedly had an affair with Caity when she studied in France.
The next day, an invitation comes in the mail...a letter from Caity inviting the son of the man she loved to her home. He thought her dead--humans are so frail--
Should he go? Can he bear to see what the years have done to the woman he knew forty years ago while he has remained as youthful as he appeared on the day he met--and loved--her? A better question would be: Can Caity accept the love of a man who seems half her age?
"Sometimes Love Returns" will appear in the February, 2009 (#4), issue of Sounds of the Night magazine. Another story of the Clan Andriescu--"Love, Vampire Style"--is available as a Black Rosette from The Wild Rose Press.
Quick post with NEWS.
To celebrate 60 years, Harlequin is giving away 16 FREE digital books. I've been there. Got mine. They download very quickly. Go HERE and get yours today!
(in case there is a problem with the link... http://www.eharlequin.com/store.html?cid=1317)
Until Next Time.
Before I recommended blindly voting for a certain website for an award JUST because it belongs to a fellow romance author, I wanted to be sure I really liked it. So I've spent a few days checking out this site... Chickens in the Road. It belongs to Suzanne McMinn, author of Silhouette Romantic Suspense.
Now that I've been there, checked it out, I'm SO ADDICTED. It's warm, funny and totally country. I love it.
So, here's the deal...Chickens in the Road is up against some tough competition. It is finalist in the Best-Kept Secret Weblog in the 2009 .
We have only until Feb. 2 to vote.
Go HERE (http://2009.bloggies.com/)
Slide down the list (feel free to vote as you go) until the fourth from the last category.
Vote for Chickens in the Road.
You won't be sorry!
I'll be back on Friday with author interview(s) and a give-away.
Until Next Time
Have you ever been fascinated by an historical figure? I have. Since grade school I have held an obsessive interest in Napoleon Bonaparte. I read every book in the school library that even remotely related to Napoleon. I found romance novels set in his time period thrilling. When I started college and decided to become a history major, my fascination with Napoleon was never far from mind. I lapped up all the historical details relating to Napoleon like a cat with a saucer of sweet cream. It wasn't until I had the opportunity to visit Vienna in the early nineties that my obsession took a turn toward the really strange. We flew out in the late afternoon, leaving Atlanta just before a winter storm closed the airport. Our crossing was uneventful, we flew east and into the sunrise. It was a fascinating experience. I remember looking down as dawn was breaking and seeing the white cliffs of Dover and then the English Channel. Somewhere at the back of my mind a tiny voice whispered. "I'm going home at last." I found the thought beyond weird, but pushed it aside as the fanciful imagination of a romance writer. I am an American, born and breed Southern. Until that flight, I had never been out of the States. While in Vienna my two friends and I visited lots of museums, palaces and the various historical sites. It was a thrilling experience. But the event that made the greatest impression on me was my first sight of the portrait of Napoleon that hangs in the Armory. I stood there before the painting and wept! I knew that portrait, remembered it. Somewhere in the hidden, buried depths of my memory, I remembered when it was painted, remembered watching as Napoleon posed for it. Crazy, I told myself, and it probably is, but for a moment, for that instant, I remembered, and the love I felt for the man was very real. In those silent moments, as I stood before his portrait, a little piece of the puzzle clicked into place. Who knows, perhaps in a past life I was struck with an extreme case of hero worship!
I have just returned from a three-day cruise on the Navigator of the Seas, a luxury floating hotel that offers super accommodation, great food and entertainment. I bet you are thinking, “she’s so engrossed in cruises, she mixed up her posts.” Nope. I didn’t lose my mind on the dream ship. Imagine that our FRW 2009 conference bore another name: Cruise with your Muse. Thanks to our conference organizer, Aleka Nakis, we held our 2009 cruise on a ship, sailed to Coco Cay and had a fantastic time.
It all started the night before with a pre-sail party at the Ale House where we met our guests: editors, agents, writers and a few smart husbands determined to share their wives’ fun. I had the pleasure to greet my editors, Raelene Gorlinsky from Cerridwen Press/ Ellora’s Cave and Rhonda Penders from The Wild Rose Press. Of course Raelene wore her charming little hat and Rhonda donned a t-shirt printed with a large THE WILD ROSE PRESS on the front.
As the editors/ agents appointment coordinator I had to report to the second floor. While the attendees lined up for their ten-minute meeting with the editor or agent of their choice, I led the VIPs to their tables: Adam Wilson editor at MIRA Books, Kerry Donovan from NAL, Rose Hilliard from St. Martin’s Press, Jessica Berry from Resplendence Publishing, and my two editors, as well as agents Holly Root from Waxman Agency and Miriam Kriss from Irene Goodman Literary Agency, who all gave so generously of their time to the attendees they interviewed. So many writers ended up pitching to four or five editors/agents and received multiple requests for full or partial manuscripts. Pitching time extended for two hours on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.
We patiently waited for the ship to weigh anchor while sipping drinks with FRW members, Traci Hall, Patrice Wilton, Jianne Carlo, Kimberly Burke, and chatting with Cindy Thomason, Zelda Benjamin and Allison Chase. By six-thirty the book signing started on the Promenade deck with over thirty authors selling and signing their books. We met many writers and readers before rushing to our cabin to change for dinner. Words fail to describe the elegance of the three-story dining room. I was sitting at the same table as Rhonda Penders and fellow author at TWRP, Maggie Toussaint, and later met Liana Laverentz, Loretta Rogers, J.L. Wilson and many others.
During the Floridian Idol, some brave writers anonymously submitted the first two pages of their works in progress, read by bestseller author Heather Graham and Michael Meeske. They received oral critique by editors and agents while we sipped delicious drinks offered by FRW.
In addition to workshops, we enjoyed Christina Dodd sharing her journey to publication. Joan and I posed for a lovely picture with her. Aleka distributed gorgeous thank you gifts to the volunteers who helped her organize the conference. With hardly any time left to spare, we gathered for happy hour in the Dungeon lounge and mingled with our guests before dinner. While some of FRW tested their singing talents in a karaoke session, Joan and I shared a drink with Nancy Cohen and exchanged impressions about our fabulous conference.
The cruise ended too soon on Saturday morning as we exchanged last minute business cards. What a fun and productive conference!
Mona Risk, www.monarisk.com
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891
This is a great way to win some free books from Elle James. Elle will be visiting PFSW on Friday in her other persona - Myla Jackson. AND we'll be giving away a book that day too.
So, here's two chances to win some free books!
Breathtaking Romantic Suspense: Spring Cleaning Prizes for you!
Until Next Time
We never know what life holds! I taught school for fifteen years. When I lost my job I just couldn't go back into teaching. I had lost my belief in myself and my ability to do what was needed. Schools had changed and I hadn't.
Writing called to me, so I took time to write for pleasure. I loved writing romantic stories and family stories. When I decided to try to sell my stories, I joined Georgia Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America. I was in heaven. We all spoke the same language. I found critique partners and things began to change. There were rules. I knew grammar rules and I had taught great literature, but the great writers and the great writings I taught were all wrong. (slight exaggeration here)
Learning the "rules" of writing romance and allowing others to read my work didn't have the desired effect. I entered contests and learned some folks just didn't like my my writing, my characters, or my favorite color. I questioned my ability to write books that would sell. I still write what I love, but I have more people to please. Now I've almost regained my joy in the process and the stories. If I don't sell to the New York Publishers or get an agent, I'll live.
Recently I decided to try tutoring. The idea of tutoring high school and college students online appealed to me. That didn't happen. But I don't mind. I have two students.
Are you ready for this? One is a graduate student. He's working on his doctorate. A graduate of West point, he recently retired from the Army. He wants to learn and I love watching his mind work. Imagine a student who wants to learn grammar! God is good! For a person who always loved teaching and grammar, this is heaven.
You won't believe who the second student is. He's seven and a first grader. He isn't behind, his dad just wants him to excel. Now I'm making up stories for him as I did for my daughter many moons ago. He has to help me with details and writing them. He thrives on the attention and likes the creative things I bring for him to do.
When my daughter was young I made up stories and characters for her and we both enjoyed it. Now a little boy loves the stories I write for him. He must write what he wants in these stories with him as the main character. I'll be writing about magic and spaceships and space aliens. I might be yelling for Toni's help!
The mist rises:
It hangs like a tattered curtain over the meadow.
(Why must I lie here and wait for darkness...and for him?)
I view it from the grass.
The mist creeps:
It crawls over the flowers, curling and climbing above the trees.
It is cold; it is chilling; it has no feeling.
(Neither did he, my Night-Wing, who brought me to this place--with his sharp kisses and
promises of dark Eternity.)
I shiver in the grass.
The mist disappears:
It dances into nothingness under the warming fingers of the sun, dwindles into a wisp of gray
(A prisoner, I wait--for the moon and its coldness to free me so he and I may touch again.)
I lay cold in the grass.
(This poem was written during my angst-filled university days. Under the title "Epitaf," it was featured in the February (second) issue of Sounds of the Night Magazine, 2008.)
I don't know why I've bothered to take all those classes, why I've wasted blood sweat and tears over my book plots…when I could simply have used a Magic Eight Ball!
"Yes!" it agrees.
Consider this passage beginning from a potential novel. Esmeralda looked out her window and saw…" Now, I could spend hours debating what exactly she saw, if it made sense for her to see it just then in the novel, how the sentence structure contributed to the book's pacing at that juncture, and so forth. You know, the usual writer's angst. OR, I could simply use the Magic Eight Ball!
Liz Jasper (to the Magic Eight Ball): Should Esmeralda see her hero?
Magic Eight Ball: Signs point to yes.
LIZ JASPER: Hmmm. I guess that means she should see him, but indirectly. Maybe he's in costume?
Magic Eight Ball: Concentrate and ask again.
LIZ JASPER: Right, right. She sees him getting into his carriage on the way to a costume ball.
Magic Eight Ball: Reply hazy try again.
LIZ JASPER: in the carriage, on the way to a costume ball, he has on one of those mask thingies, AND, that when she realizes her guardian is the mystery man she kissed in the gardens at the last costume ball!
Magic Eight Ball: Cannot predict now.
LIZ JASPER: And she knows he's on his way to meet his fiancée, to whom he was promised at birth but has never seen, and Esmeralda knows she cannot let him marry someone else because she loves him! So she rings for her maid and dons the gown from that fateful night, the gown she swore never to wear again, and secretly follows him to the ball in the second best carriage!
Magic Eight Ball: My sources say no.
LIZ JASPER: Dammit! No, you're right. It's been done. Hmm. How about she goes with him to the ball and that's when she realizes he's the one? Maybe when they're dancing together?
Magic Eight Ball: Very doubtful.
LIZ JASPER: You know, this is very annoying! Why can't you like any of my ideas? I'm a published author, you know. An award-winning published author. Fine, that was mysteries and the Esmeralda book is a historical romance, but still. Authors need to stretch themselves. Who are you to say I can't write a big thick romance? Screw you. She's going to that darn dance, she's going to follow him out of the garden, and she's going to…to seduce that blind fool!
Magic Eight Ball: My sources say no.
LIZ JASPER: Fine. She'll stumble and he'll clutch her to him--just for the sake of keeping her from falling—and then they'll kiss. Ha HAH! Now that's good stuff.
Magic Eight Ball: Outlook not so good.
LIZ JASPER: You'd probably like it if they didn't even exchange a smoldering look!
Magic Eight Ball: Most likely.
LIZ JASPER: Maybe You think I should be working on the next Underdead book like I'm supposed to be!
Magic Eight Ball: "As I see it, yes."
As you can see, the Magic Eight Ball can save you hours of time wasting and even help you with time management! I'd let you borrow mine, but it's having some, ah, technical difficulties right now. Maybe when the glue dries…'
Liz Jasper is the award-winning author of Underdead and Underdead in Denial. To read excerpts and reviews please visit her website at www.lizjasper.com. Liz is hard at work on the next Underdead mystery.
I don’t remember much about my childhood, but as I was shopping for another toy box to contain all those cool playthings my two grandsons received from Santa, my mind went on a trip down memory lane—back to the time of my youth. I remembered the happy dance I’d done when I’d received what I call my first Barbie doll.
Her name was Christie, and oh boy was she beautiful. With the touch of a mother’s loving hands, I spent hours combing and braiding the strands of her long black hair.
If I close my eyes I can almost feel the smoothness of her skin. It was the color of dark chocolate. Yes, she was totally awesome, especially with all those fashionable outfits. After a dip in her plastic pool, she would lounge around in the warm sun in her black-and-white bikini for a while until I dressed her in her nurse’s outfit or evening gown.
And those pretty pink shoes. They’re proof that stilettos will never go out of style.
Now I’m not sure why this memory stayed with me while others faded into oblivion. Maybe it’s because happy memories never really disappear but lie in wait for the right moment to resurface in your mind and make you live the experience again and again.
Unlike my two spoiled rotten grandsons (I confess, I contributed to the condition), I didn’t get many presents on Christmas morning, but I cherished every gift I received.
So take a moment and think of something joyful from your past and I guarantee you’ll smile.
...you lost your job tomorrow?
This is a frightening thought that a great many people are being hit with.
In light of the financial worries of our country, the horrific gas wars game going on, and the constantly rising food prices...no one has any guarantee of what tomorrow will bring.
Well, this is where I'm at...tomorrow our company will have a major lay-off. I have no cotton picking idea if I'm on the chopping block or safe. The unknown has been haunting me for a couple of weeks. Paralyzing me on several plains to the point that I don't know which end is up, what planet I'm on, or even what my name is.
Over the past weekend I pushed through it...and this is what I came up with. If I get laid off tomorrow, I'll cry, pack my possessions, head home...and pack my bags.
Come Monday I'll be on a week long trek to find a new home...someplace the whole family can go and start over.
California is getting to big and expensive for us, so we're shopping Wyoming and Montana.
I played on the internet, looking at property, houses, farms and an idea started to form. An idea I quickly took a great liking for and even started to get quite excited about.
I found a nice farm we could afford, with enough land to grow crops to support ourselves, raise veggies, fresh and for canning. Enough room to raise chickens, cows, pigs, and such...and believe it or not...just seeing that I do have an idea to fall back on, took a great deal of fear regarding tomorrow out of my head and heart.
This led me to see that even something as frightening as losing your job isn't always a negative.
Who knows maybe it will even inspire me to get back to writing without the regular stress of wondering WHEN I'll get laid off next.
So, come tomorrow, those of you that know me, may just get an email...saying I'm outta here...you'll know what I mean. I'm on the adventure of a lifetime and who knows when you'll see me next.
Thus begins the exquisite poem by John Keats, first published in 1820, about the meeting of two lovers, Madeline and Porphyro . The basis of this poem is the superstitious belief that a maiden would see her future husband if she performed a certain ritual on the Eve of Saint Agnes, the twentieth of January. The feast day of St. Agnes is the 21st. When I was in high school my English teacher read the whole of this poem to the class, clutching the volume of verse to her chest at once point and lifting her eyes heavenward in a rapturous sigh. "Just listen to the beauty of these words," she said. And I did, smitten by the sumptuous sensual imagery, and it has a happy ending which is always richly satisfying.
St. Agnes is a virgin martyr, her symbol a young woman holding a palm leaf or a sword and a lamb. The flower of St. Agnes is the white Christmas rose. Agnes died for her faith in the early fourth century during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian who ordered the last great persecution of Christians. Only 12 yrs old at the time, she was beheaded for her refusal to marry a Roman prefect, an unbeliever. She had already chosen not to marry and be a bride of Christ. Her death had a profound impact and she became one of the most honored of Roman martyrs and Christian saints, and is regarded as the patron saint of young women and bodily purity.
Many old customs prevalent on the Eve of St. Agnes involved rites in which young maidens would discover their future husbands. Dreams were also important. If a maid went to bed without supper or fasted all day and ate only a salt-filled egg at night, she would dream of her future husband. Another custom was to take a sprig of rosemary and thyme, sprinkle each three times with water, and put one in each shoe. Then a shoe with its sprig was put on either side of her bed, while she repeated:
"St. Agnes, that's to lovers kind,
Come, ease the trouble of my mind."
She then was certain to dream of her husband. There are other rites associated with the Eve of St. Agnes, one, if a maiden went to bed without looking behind her and lay on her back with her hands under her head, her future husband would appear in her dream, kiss her, and feast with her.
"The Eve of St. Agnes" is one of Keat's best-loved works. Another of my favorite passages:
"Her vespers done, Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees; Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one; Loosens her fragrant bodice; by degrees Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees: Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed, Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees, In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed, But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled..."
Contributed by Beth Trissel, a big Keat’s fan.