Wednesday, December 31, 2008


(By parapente 1 (Flickr.) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

What are your plans for 2009? I've said before that I'm hoping to find a bit more balance this year. Balance between my work, my writing and my family, is going to be the key to my continued sanity.

My brother (hard-hitting gamer and all-around loveable computer geek that he is) thinks I should get into WOW this year. That's World of Warcraft, folks. Anyone heard of it? Played it? What do you think?

Now, of course, I spend enough time on the computer as it is, but a video game that has such proponents as these deserves consideration, don't you think?

Oh, and I've lost my mind and signed up for Twitter, so click here to start "following" me. I need to be followed!!! LOL

Monday, December 29, 2008



Go to the shelves of your local library and you will find books clearly separated into two main categories—Fiction and Non-Fiction. Biography? Non-Fiction. Romance novel? Fiction. Easy, right? The delineation is clear, like black and white… Or is it? I would argue that the clear line gets a little fuzzy in many cases, making what should be black and white more like shades of gray.

Do we all remember when Oprah whole-heartedly endorsed the ‘factual” memoir by James Frey, A Million Little Pieces, which embarrassingly for both the talk show maven and the book’s publisher Random House turned out to be as much fiction as fact? Shades of gray.

My point is this…fiction can contain fact, just as fact can contain fiction, and that is exactly what I try to do in my own romance novels. Of course there is research and accuracy in the facts, which is a part of every writer’s life to a certain extent, no matter what the genre. But I am also talking about the human element. It is this realism, the shades of gray, that I strive for in my fiction, whether it be the reality of war through a soldier’s eyes which I infuse into my military romances, or the adrenaline rush a cowboy gets each time he puts his life on the line to make a living in the rodeo, like in my new ménage release Rough Stock. So yes, my romance novels are fiction, but in A Prince Among Men when Sgt Ryan Pettit is pondering a field of poppies in Afghanistan, knowing the Taleban will harvest all that beauty and turn it into heroin to sell to buy arms with which to kill American soldiers, that is the gray reality in a world that will never be simply black and white. (Note to Random House—I am available. Call me!)

Cat Johnson

Author Site:

Rough Stock Blurb

Bronc riders Mason and Clay have shared both good times and bad, but they never expected to share their boss’ daughter, April. Can two friends love one woman, body and soul, without it destroying them?

The heart wants what it wants. For April that means not choosing between the two cowboys she loves, no matter how wrong it may seem inviting them both into her bed. But can the relationship survive when life sends the three lovers in opposite directions?

Filled with hot sex, passion, and realistic characters, and set amid the world of rodeo where life is lived eight seconds at a time, Rough Stock sends author Cat Johnson galloping full speed into the tantalizing realm of ménage romance

Book Link


Hey everyone! Please leave a comment for Cat, she's going to be stopping by here and there throughout the day. And you're going to want to hear more about her sexy military boys, let me tell you!

Also, I'm being featured today at so come visit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It’s Christmas! Everyone get off the computer and go hug someone!

I have one more guest before the end of the year...I've saved the best for last!
Join me on December 29 for military romance author CAT JOHNSON!

Thanks so much for a wonderful year, and Happy Holidays.
Before you go, an excerpt from Dark Immortal:

Coming in February, 2009

Dark Immortal (Book 3, Immortal Series)

Evil lurks in the darkest of shadows, but a band of warriors stands ready to defend humanity against hell’s own monsters—Immortal men hand-picked by destiny and taken out of time hold the fate of the world in their hands.

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How do you know the woman of your dreams would still love you if all the circumstances which brought you together no longer existed? How do you know she would still want you if the memory of your love was wiped away and the only thing left was fear and pain? How could you ask her to stay if all she could see was the monster inside of you, the monster that gets harder and harder to contain?

After one hundred years of torture, trapped underground in darkness and isolation, Alric was visited by an angel. Diana. Beautiful. Strong. Brave. She released him from his prison and saved him from the insanity of his own mind, offering him the kind of love only a fool would ever deny.

When a vampire’s attack leaves Diana broken and comatose, locked deep inside of herself where Alric can’t reach her, he blames himself for failing to protect her. He can only hope that giving her time to heal will eventually bring her back to him...but it seems that time is not on their side.

Excerpt: © Dark Immortal, J.K. Coi

From here, by the light of her dying flashlight, she could see more than had been possible from the entrance to the cavern. More than she wanted to. Ever. She could see the chain links made of heavy black metal, tunneling out from the rock, the thick steel manacles wrapped around bony wrists attached to gnarled, claw-like hands. She could see through the veil of grimy hair to the protruding cheekbones of the face beneath, a face that was not a lifeless skeleton...yet.

He opened his eyes.

Diana shrieked, but she couldn’t move. She was caught by his eyes. Caught by those deep pockets of crystallized pain. Pain that she felt all the way to her soul.

Release me.

Had he spoken out loud? She shivered and tried to tear herself away from that stare, focusing instead on the chains that bound him to the wall.

Oh, lord. Who would do such a thing? How long had he been trapped here?

Long enough that he probably should be dead.

Most of his face was covered in a scraggly beard, and his matted, dirty hair fell well past his shoulders, though it couldn’t disguise the harsh angles of his face or the thin, white skin that stretched taut across his cheekbones. The sight reminded her of a statue she had seen once of the Emaciated Buddha during her one and only real vacation—a trip to Japan when her sister had been there teaching English. Looking on that Buddha, Diana had understood the significance of the image and tried to feel the kind of awe and reverence that she was sure it deserved, but she hadn’t been able to. She kept thinking Buddha must be insane. Such acute starvation, combined with the isolation of extreme meditation—or in this case, imprisonment—could very easily cause a person to go mad.

Mad. It was there in the eyes that were focused with such intensity on her. Eyes that shone with more than madness. They pleaded with her for help—no they demanded it of her. 

Diana knew such sorrow at the signs of his suffering—she understood now that the pain in her head was his, that she was somehow sharing it with him or he was projecting it onto her. Increasing, it acted on her with swift efficiency, causing her heart to pound and instilling a sense of desperate urgency. But even without the added impetus of his mental influence, Diana would have been just as anxious to find a way to free him. She couldn’t stand to see him like this. Had to get him out of here. Now.

He flinched and hissed at her when she reached to examine the cuffs around his wrist. She forced herself to go slow. No sudden movements. No loud noises.

“Shh,” she whispered, keeping her voice as even as she could manage. She reluctantly met his eyes once more. They tracked her relentlessly, fathomless pits that sent ice cold daggers shooting through her body. His growl was a constant rumble of mistrust.

“I won’t hurt you, I promise.” She tried to look on him like she would a wild animal in pain—a wolf with its foot caught in a trap—knowing that he was dangerous, that he could turn on her in an instant. Take it easy, take it slow.

Almost instinctively, she used her mind to send soothing reassurance, forced herself to pretend to be calm, to transmit thoughts of patience. She needed him to know that she only wanted to help him. Maybe then he wouldn’t try to take her arm off.

They faced off for long moments until he blinked. He didn’t lower his gaze, but he stopped growling at her, and Diana was relieved to find that his psychic barrage against her wasn’t so insistent. She could actually breathe again.

When she brought her hand to his wrist once more, he didn’t move, but he watched her with a guarded wariness. She got the distinct impression that even though he was the one confined, one false move and it would be her life at his mercy.

She kept up her mental mantra of reassurance as she tested the chains that bound him. They were secure. Tight on his wrists and wedged firmly into the rock.

“Damn,” she muttered. She would have to go up top to find some help. Diana tried to keep the fear and fatigue out of her voice. He wasn’t going to like this.

“I have to go for help—”

The pain in her brain ratcheted up again, igniting an inferno that was even worse than before. She was on her knees again, retching up foul green bile, and still the agony intensified. “Stop,” she whispered. Her nose was bleeding. She could feel the thick blood trickling down her face.

“Stop. STOP!” She raised her head and glared up at him, though the pain had rendered her vision to a filmy red haze. “If, then I really won’t be able you.”

He seemed not to hear, or not to care, because the horrible assault continued.

I’m going to die.

Suddenly, she felt the pressure ease up slightly. Not much. Just enough for her to take in a deep breath. She was shaking all over, chills shuddering through her body as she knelt on the ground at his feet.

Release me.

“I will get you out of here.” She swiped at her mouth and nose with her sleeve, and groaned when it came away stained with her blood. “You have to trust me.”

It wasn’t going to work. He was too far gone to understand. But if he didn’t let her go, then he would kill her here in this dark place that already stank of death, and then surely die soon after as well. There had to be another way to do this. Diana tried to think what tools were in her box out in the tunnel. What she really wanted was a heavy-duty set of bolt cutters, but knew she didn’t have anything like that with her. “We need help,” she said again.

His eyes pierced her with their intensity, silver shards of glass glittering in the darkness.

“What if I promise to get what I need from my truck and come right back.” She hesitated. “Alone. I’ll come alone. I swear it.”


Utter silence. No demands, no more pressure inside her poor hemorrhaging brain. He was going to let her go.

Diana let out a sigh of relief and carefully pushed herself to her feet.

“I’ll come back. I promise.”

J.K. Coi
Immortals to Die For
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Monday, December 22, 2008


I’m absolutely thrilled to be here today, thanks for having me. I thought I would share a bit about my recent Ellora’s Cave release RAIN GOD which is a Turquoise Jewel of the Nile.

Some interesting facts about Turquoise is that Turquoise attracts money, success and love. Its powers include protection, healing, courage, friendship and luck. Relaxes the mind, and eases mental tension.

Turquoise is sacred to many Native American's and was carved in the shape of animals and birds. These carvings were placed in the Indians tombs to attract beneficial spirits and to guard the dead. Turquoise was also used by medicine men for healing and by warriors who fixed turquoise to the end of their bows to insure accurate shots.

It represents Aquarius, Taurus and Sagittarius. Aquarius as we all know is the Water Bearer of Astrological signs which means that this symbol represents the Gods nourishing the earth with life giving energies. Now if only if the water bearer looked like T’koh … oh yeah bring on the rain.


A thousand years in the future there is no water on Earth and the Interstellar Space Organization is finding a way to bring it back, but the Hazoor faction is intent on stopping them.

On a mission to the dead planet, sexy Commander Shana Kelley discovers a mysterious cavern and a turquoise stone. Not what it seems, the stone contains an ancient rain god who claims he can make the water come, but on one condition, she must come first, mating with him deep inside the cavern.

Shana gives in to all her erotic desires, letting T’koh, the sensual rain god, show her the power of water over life.


Warm rain washed over her body, making her hair wet. Something she could only imagine. It pattered over her like silk, soft, wet. Her body was slick as she ran her hands over her skin.

The sensation caused her pussy to become wet. It turned her on letting something so natural and pure run over her.

Opening her eyes, she saw that the rain was purple and blue as it washed over the scarred landscape of the Earth. It caused the cracks to seam together, like a needle to a thread.

Then she sensed him, a dream lover, turning she saw him standing through the downpour. His eyes were dark and glowing as he stared at her. She wanted him. She wanted him in the rain.

The man stepped forward. His eyes were pitch black as he approached her. The water was running in rivulets over his body. There was a crack of thunder and a bolt of lightning that seemed to cause his eyes to glow like a dark fire.

Moving like quicksilver, he pressed his body against hers. He ran his fingers over her cheeks before his hard strong hands ran through her silken hair, pulling her forward so that he could capture her lips with his mouth. His hot, wet tongue invaded her mouth, entwining with hers as he kissed her deeply.

Moaning, she pressed her body tighter against his, the water making their skin slick. She could feel his cock hard against her belly and she could feel her cream between her thighs. His body was hard, hot and taut, she wanted him so badly. She wanted to fuck him.

Amy Ruttan

Saturday, December 20, 2008


J.K.: Hello there Emma, before we start, let me tell my five readers how fabulous you are. *Aside: Emma is fabulous, trust me.* Ok, so now I need to tell you how much I loved your website. All dark and sexy, the perfect backdrop for your books. And I especially love the guy there—I’m a sucker for a big guy with a wicked tat. Oh, and let's not forget the gorgeous cover of your new release, Seducing St. Nic.

EMMA: Hey J.K. And thanks for having me. I heart my cover too. When I saw it I squeed like a little girl. And thanks for the website complement. I love my website. Wolfgirl (that’s her name) is a favorite of mine.

Five readers?!? I am so jealous. Your five totally trumps my two.

J.K.: Seducing St. Nic is the first book in a new series. Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?

EMMA: Actually St. Nic is a rebirth. It’s new to Ellora’s Cave but it was previously published at another small press originally. The series is about kick ass women who fall in love with vampires of questionable natures. When I say questionable I mean it’s not clear from first glance whether our heroes are good or bad.

The first book, Seducing St. Nic, is about Barbara Jean Ruiz. She’s every woman. Has a job she hates. A boss she has the hots for and a cat she buys presents for.

Don’t give me that look. I am sure BJ and me aren’t the only ones who buy our cats presents.

J.K.: What inspired you to pick the pen up one day and create the characters of Cypriano San Nicolo and Barbara Jean? And let’s leave Frank out of this one, okay?—I’m thinking he gets entirely too much credit.

EMMA: See, I personally don’t think Frank gets enough credit. The majority of my ideas come from Frank. Frank and Toussaint. (Who is actually Duchess.) Like a good part of the things I get myself into, Seducing St. Nic was a dare. Someone was like, “You can’t write a vampire Christmas story.” And being the contrary chick I am, I took it as you must write a vamp Christmas story. I don’t know how it became a smutty vamp Christmas story. *shrugs* Almost all of my books end up smutty. That’s why I no longer write YA or Inspirationals.

J.K.: How many books are planned for this new series? What will we be seeing in the second book?

EMMA: At this time they are five and the next installment will be coming sometime in 2009. I know, I know, very vague but I’m almost done with the second book but not quite. The second book is about Barbara Jean’s naughty cousin, Nina.

J.K.: With approximately ten books under your belt, what do you feel is the most important thing that a first-time author should know?

EMMA: Oh jeeze. LOL. I’m like totally the wrong person to ask. I’m still learning myself. What’s worked for me is surrounding myself with super supportive friends with similar goals. It’s always important to have people around you who will understand what you’re going through and will kick your ass when you need it.

J.K.: What do you hope for your writing career in the next few years? Any goals that you have yet to obtain that you have set for yourself?

EMMA: I want to always make sure I get better with each book. I never want to become complacent and produce just to produce. I want to make sure my readers get that same feeling I get when I read my favorite authors. That is my ultimate goal.

J.K.: Sometimes people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. I like to set them straight, so tell us what’s the most unglamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?

EMMA: Hehe. Yes, my life is super glamorous. Hmm…and the most unglamorous thing I did this last week…Go pick up a Christmas tree? Le sigh. I am so not in the Christmas mood but I went and picked one up anyway. And now I must keep it safe from the Black Menace and his Nemesis.

J.K.: In the life of your alter-ego—you know, that relatively normal person we writers can sometimes become when we aren’t hard-wired into the keyboard—what is your favorite thing to do?

EMMA: Shop. I love, love, love, love to shop. And read.

J.K.: What books are currently on your nightstand?

EMMA: Toni Morrison’s A Mercy. Molly Weatherfield’s Carrie’s Story. Nailed by Amie Stuart. Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris by Ian Kershaw.

J.K.: Do you have a pesky day job?

EMMA: Does shopping and cat wrangling count?

J.K.: Emma, thank you so much for being here, and before we go, please let my five readers know your pertinent info and what’s coming up next for you.

EMMA: More books. If I do nothing else in the new year there will be more books.

Author Bio:

Emma Petersen wrote her first romance in high school after falling in love with historical romance and has been writing ever since. She shares a tiny shack on the Southern California coast with her cats, Toussaint and Toussaint’s Nemesis and is currently recovering from an addiction to shoes and internet porn.

Seducing St. Nic:

Barbara Jean Ruiz’s life has never been what anyone would call glamorous. She lives in an okay apartment, in an okay neighborhood and has an okay job with less than okay wages. Her life is…okay.

Then her luck starts to change. She wins a gorgeous fur coat. She gets promoted and her new boss is none other than the super-sexy St. Nic. Cypriano San Nicolo is everything a woman could want. He’s tall, dark, handsome, rich, successful and, oh yeah, the evil undead.

After nearly a century of self-imposed sleep, St. Nic has only two uses for humans—blood and sex. Until he meets Barbara Jean, his irreverent, wisecracking assistant. If he shows up at her apartment just before dawn, she’ll have to take him in, right? Into her bed, if everything goes as planned.


Emma’s website -
Emma’s Blog -
Emma’s Design Site -
Emma’s Myspace -
The Triple D Authors Yahoo! Loop! -

Friday, December 19, 2008

This time of year I'm all about reflection, so because it's Friday and I don't really have a funny to share this week, I've decided to post one of my favourite interviews that I did this year. Why is it my favourite? Well, because it's not an interview with me, but with Baron from Immortal Kiss. And he brought along a few friends...

(originally posted at Jennifer's Random Musings, August 18, 2008)

JK Coi: Hi everyone! Jenn was nice enough to give me this opportunity to meet you all and introduce you to the hero of my latest book, Immortal Kiss, by asking him a series of “finish the sentence” questions. Um...unfortunately, in typical Immortal warrior style, these guys kind of tend to do what they want, and Baron really didn’t want to do this since he thinks he’s going to have to bare his soul to you all...oh wait, I think he’s here now. Thank goodness. And it looks like he’s brought friends—or maybe they’ve brought him!

Baron: Okay, I’m here. Let’s get this thing started. *looks behind him at the two warriors standing with their hands crossed over their chests, grinning like fools* I can’t believe I let you guys rope me into doing this.

Rhys: Better you than either of us. *shudders*

Alric: *laughter* Besides, kid. The rookie always gets the grunt jobs. You should know that by now.

Baron: Alric I swear, if you call me ‘kid’ one more time...

JK Coi: Um, guys? You want to cut it out? Geez, you’re worse than my five year old.

Baron: *glares over his shoulder before turning back to the audience* Fine. Get on with the interview.

JK Coi: Wow, don’t get too excited or anything there, Baron.

Baron: I won’t.

JK Coi: You have nothing to worry about, it’s not going to be an interview, per se. Even you can do’s fill in the blank.

Rhys and Alric: *choking back laughter*

My name is: Baron Silver—No, it’s not a joke. That’s my name. You think it’s weird, check out the Neanderthal behind me with the name ‘Alric’. Anyway, what kind of boring name did you get stuck with?

I am: An Immortal. I’m not supposed to tell anyone, but what the hell. Really who would believe it? Not to mention, I didn’t ask for this, but it just goes to show you how fickle fate can be. Then again, living forever, never getting sick. I’m getting used to that. It’s a pretty good deal most of the time.

I love: ...Beer.

JK Coi: Come on Baron, how am I going to sell this book if you don’t cooperate with me?

I love: *shaking head* Oh hell, no. I am not going down this road. *Rhys clears his throat in the background. Baron turns to look behind him* No way, Rhys. This was not part of the deal. Why don’t you come on over here and tell everyone about your sappy love story?

JK Coi: *under her breath* Baron, we’re guests here. Just finish the damn sentence. Nobody’s asking for all your naked, wet details.

Baron: Easy for you to say. What was the question again?

I love: Max. Maxine Deveraux. There, you happy? I said it out loud. *clapping from the peanut gallery*

I dream: Of a world without meddling friends.

JK Coi: *glaring*

Baron: Forget it writer chick, you’re not getting that one outta me.

I wish: *groan* These questions aren’t getting any better are they? Fine. I wish that I wasn’t such a stupid jerk.

Alric: I think we all wish that.

Baron: Yeah, well you’re not exactly my idea of a good time these days either, Alric. How’s your love life holding up? *turning to audience* When is it his turn to come up here?

JK Coi: Could you clarify your answer to the last question, Baron?

Baron: I just meant that I wish I hadn’t been such a selfish jerk to Maxine for so long. Maybe then we wouldn’t have lost the last few years, and maybe I would have been there to make sure that vampire never got a chance to hurt her.

I wonder: When this torture will be over.

I know: That I’m not going to make it out of here alive.

JK Coi: Cut it out Baron, or I swear I will write you into a losing battle with a nasty slime-ridden Vargas demon in the next book.

I fear: *closing eyes* That this happiness is fleeting.

JK Coi: *blinking* What do you mean?

Baron: Don’t play dumb writer chick, you created this world. You created the demons that inhabit it—the ones that prey on human fear, the vampires that prey on human blood. You know as well as I do how difficult it is for us Immortals to live any kind of normal life with the fate of the world constantly weighing on our shoulders.

Rhys: Hey, Baron. That’s pretty deep for a prankster-pulling wiseass like you. You feeling okay? Got a fever or something?

JK Coi: Whoa. Baron, I didn’t know you felt that way. It’s a pretty cynical attitude isn’t it? I mean, that kind of outlook is harsh from someone with so much to live for, don’t you think?

Baron: *shrug* I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate every moment of happiness that I do have, especially when I can spend it with Max and my brother Jackson. But it doesn’t change the fact that this war continues, and we continue to place our lives and the lives of our families right in the middle of it.

I worry: I just do. Worry. That’s all I’m saying. Even more so now that I know how much I have to lose.

JK Coi: But Baron, Maxine is a very strong woman who can totally take care of herself. I don’t think she would like to hear that you give her so little credit.

I appreciate: Her. I do, she’s amazing. Capable and strong. For sure. But she holds everything I am inside her. I almost lost her once already, and I have to admit that it’s something I can’t get used to...this fear. I don’t know how Alric does it, especially with Diana being human and all.

Alric: *growling* Don’t talk about me and Diana, kid. Not if you want to keep that pretty face of yours.

Baron: Sorry man, but it’s the truth that I envy you your strength. Although I wish that Maxine had never met that evil vampire, in a way it’s a blessing that he turned her because I can’t imagine having to watch her grow old and die.

JK Coi: Okaaaay. I think we need to step away from the emotionally charged questions and end this with something a little lighter. Please, what’s next?

I look: Pretty damn good. Better than those two thugs back there, that’s for sure.

I read: Anything by Clancy or Coonts, Dale Brown. I like the military thrillers.

Rhys: *chuckling* You sure? I could have sworn that was your Nancy Drew book in the rec room.

Baron: Bite me.

I think it would be cool if: We did this interview with the girls. I want to know what Maxine would say about me.

Alric: No way, not me. Nothing good can come of that. Take it from someone who knows.

Baron: Considering your advanced age and all...*laughing*

I love to: bake cookies when no one is looking.

JK Coi: Um, really?

Rhys: *snort*

Baron: No. Not really.

JK Coi: So what do you love to do?

Alric: *laugh* Interview’s over people.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Have you ever found a place where you knew you belonged? Did you ever need to feel that kindred connection with a person or group, a place or a thing?

I moved around a lot as a kid. By the time I was sixteen, my family had moved, on average, every two years -- a total of eight times. (Wow, and she does math too!) That meant that by the time I'd settled into a new place and managed to get over the uncomfortable awkwardness of being the weird new kid, I was packing it all up again to go somewhere else. And we didn't move down the street. Among the many cities I have called home (a lot more than 8 if you count the moves after I left home and went out on my own), I've lived in five different Provinces, three Provincial capitals, three major metropolitan centres and a couple of smallish-sized towns.

That's why it has been so important to me that when I settled down and set out to brave the big wide world of writing, I was able to find a place for myself, not only with other writers here at home, but online as well.

The Quilt of Belonging is a collaborative work of art that recognizes Canada's diversity, celebrates our common humanity and promotes harmony and compassion among people. This quilt is considered to be Canada's most comprehensive textile art project. It is a collaboration of the work of volunteers from Victoria to Newfoundland to the Arctic Circle. All across the country, Canadians contributed their talents and ideas and each piece is a reflection of different cultural backgrounds. The range of materials, from things like sealskin and African mud-cloth, embroidered silk and gossamer wings of butterflies connects the threads of our past to the limitless possibilities of the future.

I visited the CNE a little while ago to see this quilt in Toronto and it struck me how important it is for everyone to feel as if they are a part of something. That's what I've found here in the various online communities, and also in my RWA Chapter group. A sense of belonging. The women (and a few men) in my Chapter have been supportive and crazy fun and I can't remember another time when I've been welcomed so honestly and so completely into a group.

So today, in the spirit of the holiday season, I'm saying thank you. To all of you who have befriended me, who have supported me and who continue to wander by every once in a while to make sure I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

Now, speaking of my awesome Chapter members, today I'm also visiting Leah Braemel's blog to chat with her, so come on by and meet one of the fabulous members of the Toronto Romance Writers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Holiday Scavenger Hunt!

The Infinite Worlds of Fantasy Authors are having a holiday contest and I'm happy to be contriibuting this year! Click here for more details! Contest starts December 15.

Monday, December 15, 2008


JK: I want to thank you so much for offering to be my special guest today. How have you been? How was your weekend? Are you ready for Christmas?

Lee: Thanks for inviting me. Life has been … interesting. We had a new window put into my office last week… then the electricity went out in three rooms, the dryer died, and we had an 'American Thanksgiving' dinner for friends that same week. I'm really glad there's still a little time before Christmas, because "ready" is not in my vocabulary this month. We're going to have a very quiet holiday this year… I hope!

JK: So, with the niceties out of the way, why don’t you give us the juicy deets about your new book Eye of the Storm?

Lee: Eye of the Storm is about Will Marshall and David Archer, the two young heroes from the Articles of War series. It's set in a short-lived peace treaty during the Napoleonic Wars—the calm in the middle of the storm—and the boys are doing clandestine reconnaissance and courier work for the British government. But Davy nearly died in Winds and Will is having a lot of trouble dealing with the risks he'll be running when war breaks out again. His fear has an effect on their relationship, and before they can get things worked out, their mission separates them—Will's stranded in France and Davy is in command of their ship, with orders to avoid capture at all costs, even if it means abandoning his lover.

JK: Now here’s a question I’ll bet you’ve never had before. What inspires you to write m/m romance?

Lee: Pretty sailors. No, seriously—I love romantic adventure stories where both parties are equally capable. The partnership of equals is what resonates for me, and I think that's less possible for m/f couples, especially in historicals, which are my favorite. Traditional roles are restrictive. To describe it in a nutshell—m/m is the unity of Butch and Sundance leaping off the cliff together. That scene would not have been the same way if it had been Sundance and Etta. I'm not saying m/f can't work; I've written a couple of conventional romance stories, and they're fun in a different way. But I think it's very rare, and very difficult, for a man and a woman to have the same kind of affinity that can happen for a same-sex couple. I've had relationships with men, and they were okay, but what I have with my wife is of a completely different magnitude. M/M romance is a way for me to express that personal truth and at the same time play with the sort of adventures that always sounds exciting but would be hell to actually live through.

JK: How long have you been writing professionally? Have you ever tried your hand at other genres?

Lee: Ransom was my first professional work, so … about three years now. But I've been writing for my own amusement since I was about 12. I've written sci-fi and other adventures in fanfiction, and the next book in the Articles of War series is something of a murder mystery.

JK: You’ve got a healthy number of publications under your belt now, so what advice would you give to first-time authors looking to get published?

Lee: The big one is is: Read. There's no how-to book in the world that will give you a better sense of the rhythm and music of words than well-written fiction. Reread the books you most enjoy; analyze what those writers do that makes the story come alive for you. Another idea: get a critical friend to read your work. It's lovely when someone tells you how wonderful your story is, but it's helpful if a friend tells you when something in a story doesn't work. Check your facts—if your hero has a revolver, he can't click off the safety because that weapon hasn't got one. Details may not matter to most readers, but the more details you get right, the more real your world is. And proofread your work—spellcheck, of course, but actually proofread it too. I'm on an editorial committee for a charity anthology, and it's amazing what a difference attention to detail makes. A poorly proofed manuscript says that the writer doesn't care, and other things being equal, a well-prepared manuscript will have an edge over one where the author doesn't know the difference between lose and loose.

JK: Sometimes people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. I like to set them straight, so tell us what’s the most unglamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?

Lee: Oh, it's just one glamorous moment after another. My dog's 16 and she's got arthritis and an infected foot besides. When she goes outside to do her duty, sometimes she can't stay on her feet. So… this means I spend a good bit of the day holding up a pooping pooch and cleaning up when the poor old girl can't quite make it out the door. And did I mention one of the cats had a bladder infection at the same time? If things get any more glamorous around here, I'll need hip boots.

JK: What’s your sign, and do you think the traditional traits of that sign fit you? If so, in what way?

Lee: I’m a Scorpio, and yes it fits, to a degree. I'm critical, very protective of those I love, I never forget a kindness or an injury (though I don't generally waste time carrying a grudge) and there are areas of my personal life that are strictly off-limits to everyone but my partner. The whole 'intense, passionate' Scorpio image… Sigh. It is fairly accurate, but life would be more restful with a little less intensity.

JK: Would you still be a writer if you won the lottery tonight and could do anything you wanted to do? Even if you still wanted to write, what other career do you think you might have been good at?

Lee: Oh, I'd write anyway, absolutely. That is the one thing I always wanted to do. But I was a massage therapist for 25 years—I'm still licensed in Ohio—and I've done publication production and I ran a mail-order department for a college organization for a couple of years. I think I'd have enjoyed journalism–back when news reporting was more about getting at the facts and not just spinning stories to favor one viewpoint or another. And I think it might be fun to run a bed-and-breakfast, but only for a few weeks in the summer, not full-time.

J.K.: Lee, thank you so much for being here, and before we go, please let my readers know your pertinent info and what’s coming up next for you.

Lee: My website's, and I need to update it yesterday. Sorry… I'm a storyteller, not a web-wizard.

Coming up next … I just signed a contract with Perseus Press, an imprint of Running Press, for a gay historical romance novel. It won't be out until Autumn of 2009, so that's a long way off. The next Articles of War story with Will and Davy will be written after that, but with Samhain acquiring Linden Bay, I have no idea what the publishing schedule will look like beyond Eye of the Storm. And I have a very short story coming up in I Do, a charity anthology in support of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. That's Alex Beecroft's brainchild; it's being published by ManLove Romance Press and is scheduled to be in print around Valentine's Day.

Short Author Bio:

Lee Rowan has moved from the American Midwest to the Great White North and is still sorting things out. She acts as chef, chauffeuse, gardener, masseuse, and pet-nanny to a geriatric dog and four assorted-needs cats. In between crises, she writes.

Short Blurb of Eye of the Storm:

Winter, 1802. The long war between England and France has entered a fragile and temporary truce, but the lives of Commander William Marshall and Lieutenant David Archer, have become more complicated than ever. Sailing in His Majesty's secret service, they must deal with the misunderstandings that nearly tore them apart when the truce was signed. Will almost lost his lover in battle, and though Davy has healed, the responsibility of command makes Will question whether he can give orders that will surely put his love in harm's way once more. And Davy is tormented by doubt. Will walked away once and never even read the letters Davy sent, trying to end their relationship for Davy's own safety. Can he trust Will again—not only to stay with him, but to believe that their love is worth the risks?

and I sometimes blog at The Macaronis:

Sunday, December 14, 2008


This Christmas season I'm joining fellow authors Dani Harper, Catherine Stang, Karen Wiesner, Sam Cheever, Diana Castilleja, Cheryl Dragon, Selena Illyria, Deborah Macgillivray and many more in an amazing giveaway. And it's so easy!

Go to for details on how you can enter our Romance Authors Web Hunt for three chances to win a terrific prize package of books, ebooks, coffee mugs, goodies, and more!

I'm chatting today at the Samhain Cafe as a welcome to all of the Linden Bay Authors into the Samhain fold:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Funny--Chuck Norris Style!!

I don't know how popular these Chuck Norris jokes are in the States, but there's a radio show here in Toronto that has a blast with them every once in a while, so I thought I'd share a few with you. Of course, you have to be at least as old as I am to recognize the basis for the humour...

When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.

If you have five dollars and Chuck Norris has five dollars, Chuck Norris has more money than you.

There is no 'ctrl' button on Chuck Norris's computer. Chuck Norris is always in control.

Chuck Norris destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise.

Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird.

Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.

Chuck Norris counted to infinity - twice.

There is no chin behind Chuck Norris’ beard. There is only another fist.

When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down.

Chuck Norris is so fast, he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head.

Chuck Norris’ hand is the only hand that can beat a Royal Flush.

Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink.

Chuck Norris doesn’t wear a watch, HE decides what time it is.

Courtesy of

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Thanks to everyone who voted for me on the weekend. My Immortal is Book of the Week over at LASR!

So, as you may already know, I've recently had occasion to be more than a little interested in Samhain Publishing's various lines. I've been checking out some of their recent releases, and I'm very impressed.

Today is all about my recommended Samhain reads. (Mostly paranormal because that's what I write) Check these out!

Blood Ties by Cathryn Fox

Her survival depends on the man—and the erotic sex—of her dreams.

A Claimed story.

Dari Blake has spent her life sheltered from the world, believing she has a rare, genetic blood disorder that prevents her from aging. Her overprotective guardians are her only company, except for the mysterious man who enters her nightmares, soothing them into erotic dreams. Only he seems to have the power to help her shut out the cacophony of voices in her head.

Alone in his English castle, Mikel Sare has one mission in life: to protect Dari, his soul mate. Unbeknownst to her, she isn’t suffering from a rare disorder, she is a rare creature herself. She, like Mikel, is a Nallie. Part human, part vampire, one of only two left in the world. Her womb, and her psychic ability, are more powerful—and more dangerous—than she could ever imagine.

Now the alien vampires who created their kind are back, killing everyone in their path as they seek to take control of her child-bearing body. To defeat them, Mikel and Dari must join together—mind, body, blood and soul—in a ritual that will exponentially increase their power.

The Fury by Sloan McBride

From the Heavens comes a hero who will take your breath away.

Reese Whittaker dreams of falling for a man who shares her love of archeology and ancient civilizations. But being attacked by a horde of demons and rescued by a Sumerian God—a well-armed, gorgeous Sumerian God—opens up a whole new world she never knew existed. And awakens a mysterious power within her that attracts all kinds of supernatural attention.

Dagan, son of the Air-God Enlil and a Time Walker, is sworn to protect the human race in general, and one young woman in particular—Reese. He’s not the only one mysteriously attracted to her powerful life force. Underworld leader Kur craves it for the untold power it will give him to strike a blow at the deities of Dilmun.

Dagan is forbidden by law from interacting with Reese, but from the moment he sees her, the fury—an intense sexual need for bonding—blinds him to all the rules. Should the pantheon discover he has fallen for a human, the punishment could mean suffering beyond imagining for him…and death for her.

Storm Warning by Sydney Somers

Desire can strike without warning.

Shadow Destroyers-Book 3

Journalist Blair Murphy is on the trail of a hot lead when she meets an even hotter stranger. Charmed by Drew Reid’s sexy smile and intrigued by his evasive answers, Blair puts aside her undercover investigation of a corrupt politician for an under-the-covers investigation of every inch of his incredible body. But even after Drew satisfies her in every possible way, he refuses to satisfy her curiosity. Especially about the mystery woman who keeps calling his cell phone.

As a burnt-out demon slayer, the last thing Drew needs is an inquisitive woman complicating his life, especially when she turns out to be the one woman who’s strictly off limits—his partner’s sister. He knows firsthand why it’s important to keep loved ones at a distance, yet the fierce desire Blair arouses makes it impossible to stay away.

Just as Drew prepares to hang up his sword for a normal life, a vicious attack on Blair awakens a storm of powers inside her that rage beyond her control. As her emerging abilities become increasingly unstable, their searing passion could be her salvation—or destroy them both.

Oh, and one that isn't out yet, but be sure to look for it from Samhain in the new year (I have it on good authority this is one you CANNOT miss!):

Private Property by Leah Braemel

There’s nothing casual about this caper…

Jodi Tyler has loved and lost too many times to believe in happily ever after. That’s what makes her no-strings affair with her boss so perfect—his power in bed matches his respect for her independence. Still, when he surprises her with a ménage for her birthday, her secret thrill wars with a nagging thought: Why would he so casually share her with another man?

Even though Mark Rodriguez holds Jodi at arm’s length from his heart, her self-confidence is a turn-on he can’t resist. Inviting old college buddy and future business partner Sam into their bed for one night was supposed to set free her wildest fantasy. Instead he finds the tables turned, forced to watch while Sam brings her to the height of ecstasy.

Now, Mark’s not so sure he wants to share his treasure…

Monday, December 08, 2008

Guest Author: Lisa Dunster Moeller

JK: Hi Lisa, I want to say thank you for visiting today, and bringing us some sweet inspiration this Christmas season. Everyone welcome author Lisa Dunster Moeller!

First off, I’d like to thank J.K. for the opportunity to guest here on “Immortals to Die For”. As a reader I am a huge fan of romance and the paranormal and I enjoy visiting this site to find information about the latest and greatest good read. I too am a writer, but my current project doesn’t fit with the existing theme of this blog; at least it doesn’t on the surface. I want to talk to today about the need in society for all of us to make deeper, more meaningful connections with the people around us. I believe there is some romance in that idea, and I was able to convince J.K. to let me find out if you, her readers, agree with me. So let’s find out together!

I reached a time in my life, not that long ago, when I felt like turbulence and tragedy were going to be the norm forever. I suffered through the pain of divorce (not very romantic, I know, but stay with me here) all the while watching my beloved grandmother be devoured by Alzheimer’s disease. I was struggling, and although there were people around me who loved me, I still felt surprisingly alone. I felt as though the people who had been through the same things I was going through were the only people who really understood me. It was the connections with those people that made the difference for me; they were the ones who helped pull me through.

Oftentimes I found more comfort from a near stranger who had been through what I was going through than I did from the people closest to me. (I don’t however want to discount the love and support I received from the people in my inner most circle; without them I don’t think I could have found the strength to breathe during those dark days.) But it was those connections that came when I least expected them, from the people from whom I had never expected to find comfort, that I was the most amazed by.

The more I pondered the idea, the more I realized just how many life experiences there are that literally require having lived through them to be able to understand what a person in the midst of them is going through. Then I wondered: how many people out there are missing the chance to connect with others who know what they’re feeling? Yes, there are support groups for almost everything, but they’re not for everybody. Without them, how are people connecting? I mean really, truly, deeply connecting with one another.

Then I got an idea. What if I tried taking the art of journal writing, something that has always brought me comfort during difficult times, and used it as a tool to encourage people to connect with one another? What if I asked people to look for the things they share in common with others and ignore the little voice that often pops up first and identifies our differences? Interesting questions don’t you think?

Those who know me won’t find this next part surprising at all; I plowed forward like a wildebeest, refusing to see anything but the possibilities in my idea. I couldn’t see how anything bad could come from asking people to share their own experiences in order to help others, to connect with one another on a level that goes beyond the surface. The world needs more connections. A great disconnect is slowly taking over our world, something we have created in order to protect ourselves from the overwhelming amount of bad news. Deeper, more meaningful connections could only help to bridge the gap of that disconnect.

So I became a wildebeest with an idea and a vision, a vision for trying to make the world a better place. What could possibly be more romantic than that? Yes, a little delusional maybe, but still romantic. I poured all my time, energy and money into seeing that vision through. The result: the Common Threads Journals series. I invite you to check them out and let me know what you think. With or without my books, my wish for you is the same…go forth and make meaningful connections.

Lisa Dunster Moeller, a Northwest native, was raised in a small town by loving parents who instilled in her the importance of service to others. Still a small town girl with a big sense of her responsibility to the greater good, Lisa works as an administrative specialist for a municipal police department in Washington State while managing the family pumpkin farm along with her husband. She also volunteers for various charities, including the American Cancer Society, and is active in her community.

Before you go...I'm being featured all week at Candy Ready's blog, so be sure to stop in

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Two of my books have been nominated for Best Book of the Week at The Long and Short: Whipped Cream reviews. Voting will be open Saturday and Sunday only. Click here

The reviews:

A 5 cherry review for My Immortal:
“While reading My Immortal, I became lost in the story and the world created by Ms. Coi and didn’t want it to end. I enjoyed each and every twist-and-turn and watching as the story and characters grew and changed. There is so much more that I could say about this great story as it was filled with many surprising developments and characters as well as a complex plot. I will say that My Immortal was a wonderful start to a series featuring the Immortals. Since I was definitely intrigued by many of the other characters in the story, I look forward to reading more in the series and finding out what happens next.” Lilac of Whipped Cream Reviews

A 4.5 cherry review for The Trouble With Destiny:
“...a lighthearted yet steamy urban fantasy packed full of action, fun and lots of laughs. Sarah is a great character, both resigned and ready to confront her destiny as a slayer of daemons. Dorian is a stodgy half-daemon with a heart of gold and a quick wit. His stoic demeanor pleasantly balances out Sarah’s hectic manner of thinking and acting, they make quite the exciting couple. And when they’re alone, the sparks sure fly! An all around engaging and enjoyable story.” Cholla of Whipped Cream Reviews

Thanks! Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Sex With Sue

Sue Johanson is Canada's foremost sexual educator and counsellor, and recipient of the distinguished Order of Canada. For the last 30 years, she has provided frank and honest sexual education to thousands of Canadians through her lectures, radio programs, and the Sunday Night Sex Show on television. Since 2002, Sue's wisdom and experience have been available to American viewers on Talk Sex with Sue Johanson, a live phone-in program airing on Oxygen TV. Talk Sex also airs in Brazil, Israel, and in 20 European countries in 5 languages on Club TV.

I remember seeing Sue's show on late-night television when I was younger and was amazed that there was actually someone out there right on public access television and radio, giving frank and valuable information to teens about sex without being prudish or condescending. She didn't preach, she didn't lecture. She understood that sex is a part of life, and that everyone is curious and is going to do it, and she just wanted them to know how to have fun with it and be safe.

Sue was recently on the Steven and Chris talk show, and here's a funny clip (It's a bit long, but try and watch to the end, it's really good):

When you were young, who was the person that you were best able to go to with questions about sex?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

How do you deal withFRUSTRATION?

We all feel it. It can sneak up on you slowly as a gathering storm on a humid summer’s day. It can come on loud and fast like a Harley thundering into town. FRUSTRATION gets us all at some time or another. Whether it’s a houseful of bickering children, the stress of a busy holiday season, difficulties at the office. How do you deal with it?

Do you yell and scream and throw things at the wall, or get real quiet and feel the need to hide away for a while in a dark room? Do you confront the issue at hand to get it out in the open and clear the air, or do you let it go, believing that it will look like less of a problem in the light of a new day?

I tend to do a bit of everything depending on the source of the FRUSTRATION, and the situation I find myself in. Usually, I’ll get really quiet as I try to calm down. Sometimes I will ignore it, knowing that despite the way I feel, it isn’t worth making an issue over. However sometimes I can’t hold it in any more and I start yelling.

Online, I am always very aware of the fact that everything I do is caught forever in a public forum, and I think twice about going with my gut reactions. Sure, I see things that frustrate me at times, but I always force myself to step back and take a deep breath, let the matter sit before posting. And usually, if I’ve written something in response to a FRUSTRATION, after giving myself some time, I end up going back and deleting it—or severely editing—before I post.

So tell me. What makes you frustrated? What do you do about it?

PS I'm a guest over at Simply Romance Reviews today, so stop by and say hello!

Monday, December 01, 2008


I love horror novels, I mean what's not to love? They're spooky and scary and spine tingling (I'm all about the 's' words today). So when Chris agreed to be on my blog I was ecstatic. I just finished reading his book, The Chosen and let me tell you that if you like devils and dark magic and the end of the world type stuff, this is your book. So, let's welcome C.A. Milson by getting right to the interview...

Tell us a little about C.A. Milson.

For most people C.A. Milson is just another "someone" who had a book published, yet there is more to this Horror Novelist than people know. I grew up in Brisbane Australia. At a young age I was fascinated with the world of writing, but never really did anything about it. Unfortunately reading was not one of my favorite subjects. For a time I attended Kedron State High School, and when I was in Grade 9, there was one time that the class had to do a book report. "DREAD"

Instead of reading a book and writing a report on what I thought about the topic, I decided to pen a short story. In about 2 hours I penned a short sci-fi story, which was my first attempt at the world of writing, and would no doubt, play an important part in my career later in life. The story received top marks from my English professor, who also encouraged me to continue writing.

That was the first and seemingly last time I put pen to paper.. until the summer of 1989....

So Chris, when did you start writing seriously?

In 1989, I was living in Melbourne, and once again I found myself writing. My first short story was titled "Shack of Evil", a 9 page tale based on the character Jamiesonn. The story idea came from a Hobbytex picture my mother had on the wall of her apartment.

Who was your inspiration?

I was not automatically drawn into the world of horror, but after reading stories by H.P. Lovecraft and Misery by Stephen King, I knew that I wanted to write novels that would entertain and scare the audience.

What was the hardest part of learning the craf?

Like most beginning writers, I had no idea how to get the storyline past the seemingly impossible short-phase and also written in the third person context.

Where did you go from there?

After writing "Shack of Evil" I went on to write an additional 25 short stories, all of different genres, including a children's story. Shack of Evil would later become the base for what is now the trilogy of The Chosen, Bloodline of Darkness, and Prophecy's End.

After finishing an anthology of short stories, I put aside my writing, but came back to it in 1994, and re-wrote Shack of Evil under a new title--The Chosen.

From 1994 to 2006, I set aside my writing completely to pursuit prospects in Marketing. Then, in 1999 I moved to the US to pursue prospects there. For 14 years, I worked in marketing, working with SME to Fortune 50 companies. My career in marketing saw me become one of the most sought after freelance marketing agents in the US.

In 2007, I submitted my novel to Hazard Press in Chrischurch New Zealand. After reviewing it, the publisher said that the story needed tweaking and recommended that the novel be submitted to mainstream publishers in the US. With some reworking and editing, I submitted my story idea to several publishers in the US.

51 rejection slips later, I received a letter from Amira Press in July 2007, offering to publish my debut novel.

51 rejection letters is pretty good, Chris. And by that I mean it's a respectable degree of rejection to make your ultimate success that much sweeter :)

So what are you doing now?

Since early 2008, I have spent a majority of the year travelling to places such as China, Russia and Japan. In April, I set foot back in my home country, Australia, after almost a 10 year absence. I now live in Samara Russia with my wife, Anna, and spend my days writing and running the recruiting efforts for a global mystery shopping company.

Tell us a little bit about your next book.

My upcoming novel is titled Bloodline of Darkness, the second in the trilogy in the life of Alex Manning - A man who is put in the middle of a spiritual conflict he otherwise wants no part of. Bloodline of Darkness is set 7 years after The Chosen. Alex has forsaken his powers to live a "normal" life, and the forces of Tartarus have arisen to harvest the souls of humans and fling the world into damnation and darkness. Alex once again must stand and save humanity but can he overcome the ever present darkness that also reigns in his own heart?

You can get more details from my website at:

Thanks so much for joining me today, Chris!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


This Christmas season I'm joining fellow authors Dani Harper, Catherine Stang, Karen Wiesner, Sam Cheever, Diana Castilleja, Cheryl Dragon, Selena Illyria, Deborah Macgillivray and many more in an amazing giveaway. And it's so easy!

Go to for details on how you can enter our Romance Authors Web Hunt for three chances to win a terrific prize package of books, ebooks, coffee mugs, goodies, and more!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Today I'm being featured at the Raven Blog, home of the awesome authors Michelle Pillow and Mandy Roth! Make sure you leave me a comment to be entered into the contest for a free print copy of The Trouble With Destiny!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I'm off to the movies this weekend with my son. He LOVED Madagascar when he saw it in 2005 and now the sequel has been the only thing he can talk about since it came out. I'm looking forward to seeing it myself, although I do wonder when I'll actually get out to see an "adult" movie again. *sigh*

So what are your weekend plans?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Today is my first blog over at Happy Endings. I'll be a regular there every third Tuesday of the month.

This is a great community of writers, and it's going to be a lot of fun. Come on out and join us!!

Make sure to check out the Forum while you're there. It's still under development, but our authors have posted great excerpts from their books, as well as reviews of the books we've been reading and other fun stuff.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Hello! I'm so happy to be able to bring another guest to the blog today. Ashley is one of those authors that I come across in many of the groups I belong to and after seeing her name so often, I just had to get her over here so I could pick her brain. I hope she's ready for it. :)

Please welcome her to the blog!

Some days are easier than others to get into the zone to write romance. Some days the stars align and romance just flows from my fingertips. The characters behave, they do what they’re told without argument, and my emotions run rampant onto the pages. I love these days.

Unfortunately, I don’t wake up on the right side of the bed every morning. Or if I do, something happens to destroy my mood, much less the ability to feel so much romance as to make two other (sometimes three) fall in love. Today, for instance, I received a rejection – a big one. I thought this particular book was one of my best in a long time. I had big hopes for it. And then, my dreams are dashed.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), I have two edits on contracted stories I have to work on. I have other stories to work on I’ve promised to turn in. I obviously have to fix the rejected book.

So what do I do when this happens?

Okay, to be honest, sometimes my fingers get busy on my cell phone and I order expensive Chinese food or I join the daughter in a chocolate fest. Or I soak in the tub, scented with lilac, while I drown my sorrows.

Honestly, I can’t afford to wallow in self-pity long. Sometimes I can’t afford to give up any time for the pity-me bit.

Since this is my job as well as my passion, I have to hurry up and eat the Chinese, brush my teeth, and get back to work. Unfortunately, it’s not good enough to merely get back to work. I have to perform quality work and since I’m a romance writer, quality means being more than being technically good but I have to spin magic and weave emotions enough to snarl readers in my romantic web.

I think all writers have their own methods to get in the mood, and so do I.

My number one tool in my romance writing arsenal is music. I pop my headphones into my ears, turn on my favorite romantic music, and drown out the rest of the world. My favorite songs change with time and also with the type of story I’m writing. Presently, I’m on a David Cook and Chris Daughtry kick. But I also have a lot of eclectic songs I have programmed into my MP3 player.

Ashley Ladd

P.S. Ashhley also had an awesome excerpt that she asked me to post, but it was a little too good for this blog...if you know what I mean. But you're definitely going to want to read it, so click on over to her website.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I made art with my WIP (with the help of Wordle)!
Well, one paragraph of it anyway...but it's a really good paragraph.
Maybe the only one that I managed to get written this weekend with all the distractions I made for myself.

It's small here, but if you click the pretty picture, you'll magically be taken to a fascinating full page version. Oh, um...don't choke on the naughty words.
Wylie Kinson has so graciously awarded me this Great Attitude/Gratitude Award because of my support of other authors! Thank you, sweetie!!

So, these are the rules for passing it along:
*Put the logo on your blog or post
*Nominate at least 10 blogs which show Great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
*Be sure to link to your nominees within your post
*Let them know they have received this award by commenting on their blog
*Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award

And the award goes to (in no particular order):

1. Amy Ruttan, because she's always sharing little pieces of her life with us.
2. Maggie Robinson, because she always has some sage words of wisdom.
3. Maria Zannini, for her awesome market advice.
4. Melanie Anderson, for her fun and quirky interviews.
5. Shiela Stewart, for hosting her awesome monthly blog parties.
6. Three Wicked Writers, for their socially conscious discussions.
7. A Place for Originals, for the relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
8. Cathy Stang, for hosting fellow authors.
9. Love is an Exploding Cigar, for keeping things fun and fresh.
10. Bitten by Books, for always having awesome guests and cool contests for readers.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I first met Bobby while I was blog-jumping over at Melanie Anderson's little slice of internet and saw that she had another guest for one of her wacky interviews. Intrigued, I searched for his book, Proud Souls, and was even more intrigued by the blurb and the great reviews. So when Bobby contacted me and asked if I had some space on my blog for another guest, I jumped at the chance to have him visit so that I could hear more about his book -- and 'cause he's such a cutie!

Please welcome Bobby Ozuna:

In the summer of 2003 I visited a small west Texas town called Seymour. And just north of the town whose population was just over 2,900 people, sat the beautiful still waters of Lake Kemp. I had my family with me-—my wife Michele, my daughter Elizabeth and my son Dominic who was just a baby at the time. And there to greet me was my special friend and his family, Ralph Ponce of Abernathy, TX. By 2003 I had seen my friend every year since we departed our lives as US Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. We would share a cabin between our two families and “rough it” for an extended weekend, without running water, cell phone usage and the plagues of city life, we spent a wonderful time together talking beneath the stars of the west Texas sky. At night I sat on their porch swing overlooking Lake Kemp and listened until the calmness of the night's sky was all I could hear. It was truly magical. It was a time with my friend and his family I will never forget. I came home that weekend and after my wife and children fell to sleep, I wrote fourteen pages of descriptive material for nothing more than fulfilling my necessity to write. Below is a sample from my journal, written in 2003.

Journal Entry, 2003:
“The sun was winding down behind him and shadows danced before him on the ground—shadows of the blackbirds that gathered on the roof of his cabin. They gathered every evening in small bands, feasting on left-over bread he tossed upon the roof. He sat still in that porch swing, as if he was nailed to the wood on his back and thighs. He watched the shadow of his porch extend further and further away until it finally reached the water's edge.”

Within a year of that moment I was divorced from my wife and acclimating to lonely nights in a bed without her or my children to kiss goodnight. The rage that comes natural with being Bobby Ozuna was amplified and the hate I tried to put to sleep every night since leaving the US Marines became personified in my attitude and my perception of life. In essence, a part of me had died and in exchange, I allowed a darker more vindictive side of my persona to take hold. In October 2003, I began adding more detail to my journal.

“There were only a handful of things left in the world that he cared for anymore, and none of which was himself. He just as soon let God strike him dead where he stood; but God doesn't work that way and that was something he had to learn...The only evidence to prove he was alive came from the steady breeze that slapped his face at intervals as the porch swing rocked back and forth. He sat in the same position overlooking the same settings as he had for the past six years.”

I put the journal away for two more years before attempting (or even considering) to write a novel. Before this time I only produced short-stories, completely fictional, with traces and hints of my own personal life. Like my hero Justin, my journal sat in a corner of my life like his Holy Bible sat in the corner of his cabin off Lake Kemp. It would stay dusty and untouched until May 16th of 2005 where I began extending the storyline and working on what would become my debut literary novel. The story of Justin Bower is not a story of my own life. It is the story of many lives. By October 29th of 2005 I would change the title from The Cabin to Proud Souls.

Those years of my life tested my faith in a higher power and my trust in relationships. No matter how much I smiled or who I was able to charm with my wit and romanticism, still inside I wrestled with the notion of a life full of hope. At the recommendation of a very good friend named Ladd Holder, I scrounged enough courage to start working on telling the story of Justin Olerude Bower. On May 16th, I wrote the following lines:

“Most people were obliged to stay away from the hobbling, broken-spirit who trotted through the bar like a pirate, slant-eyed and bitter, carrying not a parrot on his shoulder but the burdens of a past life and the hatred of those patrons who clung desperately to hope.”

This theme written in the late Spring of 2005 became the driving force behind my novel, Proud Souls. And as much as I would like to say I had a plan for how the story would turn out, I did not. Using mythological archetypes I created a supporting cast in the life of Justin Bower. To challenge his cause to die I created the character Tessa Jameson, who in her fear of being alone and unloved became the epitome of the lonely damsel in distress. With her sexual aggression she would help me find my place as an independent author and publisher by scaring away my first print press. In early 2007 the manger of the print shop clapped his hands to me and said, “We wash our hands of you and this book.” But in a relentless pursuit to see my book in print, Ozuna Publications was created and my book hit an online storefront and gained immediate recognition.

I took the feelings of being without my children and gave them to Justin. Instead of three children like myself he had only one. A son he lost along side his wife in an accident outside the town of Seymour, Texas. I allowed myself to trust a scattered few for advice and guidance and in the essence of their spirit, the Reverend Hillard Ray Polk was created. He would represent the spiritual guidance Justin would need to make his decision to end his life or move forward with what life he had yet to live. And like any chapter of our lives, there stood for Justin the living symbol of guilt and regret. It came in the form of a lonely grocery store manger named Ralph Winslow Parison. These characters and the stories of their lives within their metaphorical prisons would become the binding force in my novel Proud Souls.

I put a lot of myself into this story. For many who have read it, it seemed to “hit home” and it jostled the nerves of many past scars for many readers. I have been asked about the details within the pain of this story and whether I lost a family member or contemplated suicide or even dammed God Almighty for my adversities. All I can say today is this: All fiction stems from some form of truth within the author...and...with my characters I thereby confess my sins.

I have never read my own book, cover to cover. I lived many of the emotions in simply writing the tale of the broken soul within Justin Bower, the sexual prowess of Tessa Jameson, the spiritual confusion of Reverend Polk and the agonizing guilt of Ralph Parison. I know the story inside and out because each of them became real within my imagination and my daily routine of life. It has been two years since finishing the book and walking away from that chapter of my life. And although I know I have grown far from the man I was when I created this story, it's ironic how much has stayed the same. It took some time to find the perfect opening quote to establish the theme for this story but I found it. Below is a sample from the completed published version of Proud Souls, opening with a quote from W. Somerset Maugham.


“How the gods must have chuckled when they added Hope to the evil's with which they filled Pandora's box, for they knew very well that this was the cruelest evil of them all, since it is Hope that lures mankind to endure its misery to the end.”

Six years had passed since their accident and with each day spent without his wife and son Justin deteriorated, shrinking into a dismal world, a prison he created within his mind. And now there were only a handful of things left in the world that Justin Olerude Bower truly cared for anymore, and not one of those particulars included his own soul. He had become a bitter man who would just as soon let God strike him dead where he stood. The sun was setting behind him and he stared out towards the lake in front of him.

The only evidence to prove he was alive came from the steady squeaking of the rusted chain that held his porch swing firmly in place and the intermittent breeze that slapped his face as the weight of his body carried him back and forth in a slow and steady rocking motion. He sat in the same position overlooking the same settings as he had every evening for the past four years of his life. And like the June beetle that fluttered aimlessly, slamming itself carelessly from wood to concrete and then finally resting into the fowl remains of leftover food in the dirt, he too was lost in a drunken stupor somewhere between the memories of his past life and the realities of a certain death.


I cannot say anything more about the story without giving it away. I will say this much. In the story the reader will face many human emotions, some that will anger them and others that will arouse them. In a nutshell, Proud Souls is a roller-coaster of emotions and feelings, with insights into the human struggle to survive. I can't say it is dark and I wouldn't call it a story of light. I will say is merely a story common to all of us, the author and its audience. And looking back some five years after the opening lines were at home with my wife Michele and my children...well...there is always hope, isn't there?

~Bobby Ozuna