Monday, June 29, 2009
In the Beginning…
What do a seedy pick-up joint, a Welsh pub, and a Houston nightclub have in common?
The answer: Three intriguing first chapters in which an alpha hero meets his match in a spunky heroine.
Read on to learn why authors Vivi Andrews, Robie Madison, and Kinsey Holley were inspired to set the opening scenes of their Shifting Dreams novellas in a bar.
When my shape-shifting heroine Ava Minor walks into the Bar Nothing in the opening of Serengeti Heat, she sets off a chain reaction that burns through the entire story. For months, she’s lived in the same pride of lion-shifters with (and harbored a secret lust for) Alpha Landon King, but he couldn’t even remember her name. Something had to happen to shake them out of the status quo and set them on a collision course.
A pick-up bar seemed the perfect place for Ava to finally get her hero’s attention. Ava doesn’t show up looking for Landon – any man will satisfy her need for rebellion – but when Landon sees her there, he sees her in a way he never has before. She isn’t the small, shy, invisible little sister of his best lieutenants. She’s a force to be reckoned with, intoxicating and sensuous.
A seedy honky-tonk meat-market was just what this couple needed—for Landon to realize Ava exists and for Ava to realize she doesn’t have to always play by the rules to get what she wants.
Buy Serengeti Heat
The Sheep’s Tail
“You can get a decently priced dinner at the pub in town when you’re ready to venture out.”
I was faced with an intriguing challenge when I went to write the first chapter of The Man of Her Dreams. The heroine and hero already knew each other—but only in Megan’s dreams.
How, then, to bring them together in real life after Megan discovers Owain’s portrait in a Victorian heirloom locket?
Since the story is set in Wales—Megan’s destination in search of answers about her dream lover—I, fortunately, had a ready made answer—a pub. It’s the traditional place for people to congregate in the evening for a pint and perhaps a game of darts. Pub meals are also famous, so I simply had the landlady of the B&B where Megan stays make the suggestion and let the inevitable happen.
But I added an element of fun while plotting Megan’s surprise. Trefriw, the village where the story is set, is very real and quite famous for its woolen mill and an old Roman spa. I’m certain there’s a pub or two in the vicinity, but I invented one for the purposes of putting Owain in Megan’s path and gave it a cute name. Hey, there are A LOT of sheep in Wales!
Although Owain and Megan don’t spend very long in the pub, there was another good reason for choosing it as a place for them to meet. Within walking distance from the B&B, The Sheep’s Tail is set back from the road and is surrounded by a forest, which proves very convenient and, ah, quite private for a dalliance. Enough said.
Buy The Man of Her Dreams
I wrote Kiss and Kin on purpose, for the Samhain anthology. I’d gotten stalled in my full-length WIP, set in the same world, and when I saw the submission call for the shifter anthology, I decided to try something new and short to loosen me up.
I kept thinking of a girl, a bar, and a bunch of bad wolves. In my world, shifters and fae have been out for sixty years, and they’re pretty well assimilated into American society. And some human women have a thing for werewolves or other shifters—fur chasers, shifter humpers, etc. And I thought—a girl, with her ditzy friend, goes into this werewolf biker bar, and she knows it’s dangerous, and the girlfriend gets kidnapped or something, and one of Nick Wargman’s wolves is there keeping an eye on the bad wolves, and he jumps in and saves the girl and they roar off on his motorcycle, and they have to hide out, and….I got stuck. Wasn’t working.
And the more I thought about it, the more I thought—ok, it’s not a biker bar, it’s a club. And Nick’s wolf is a cop, and he already knows the girl, and he doesn’t want her there, and then…Lark and Taran just started forming in my head.
So the second scene is in the bar. Lark doesn’t really want to be there, she just went because her selfish, ditzy friend begged her to go out. She’s just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and if Taran hadn’t been there, she’d have disappeared just like the other women. It’s her being in that bar—and Taran realizing that he nearly lost her, she nearly got snatched from just a few feet away from him—that starts bringing them together. If she hadn’t come so close to getting snatched from Le Monde, she and Taran might never have found a reason, or an excuse, to get close.
I’m still gonna write a scene in werewolf bar. It’s not a biker bar, it’s a pool bar —Cowgirls and Werewolves. It’s mentioned briefly in Kiss and Kin. I think TJ and Nick are gonna have a big old fight in Cowgirls, and Nick’s going to act like a jerk, and TJ’s gonna tell the bouncer to kick him out, and the bouncer’s gonna say… “um, Teej, he’s the Alpha, and besides, he owns a stake in the place…” That’s about all I’ve got on Nick and TJ yet. If anyone has ideas for a plot, email me.
Buy Kiss and Kin
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Jamieson Wolf, author of Hope Falls, Electric Pink,Electric Blue, and Garden City said, "Choices Meant for Gods is without a doubt the freshest most engaging high fantasy novel to come out in years and breathes new life into a tired genre. The characters leap off the page and the plot is lightning quick and deftly written with many layers that tease the mind and imagination. Choices Meant for Gods is not a mere novel; it is a gorgeous piece of written art. I can hardly wait for the second book!”
This book sounds fantastic!
Not even the gods noticed when Chariss was born with the mark of The Protector. Now she and her wizard guardian seek shelter from a mad sorcerer in a household not just full of secrets and false hope, but watched by the god who will unwittingly reveal her role in an impending war.
When an orphan sets aside a lifetime of running and fear to accept the responsibilities of guarding an arrogant deity, can she face the trials in the prophecies she uncovers? Will Nigel Taiman of her latest refuge dare to use his dragon heritage to bind her to his estate or to help her in her duty?
And as an added bonus for this wonderful Saturday afternoon, Sandy will be putting the names of all the commenters from each blog she's visited this week into a draw for an autographed, hard cover, first edition of Choices Meant for Gods. Good luck!
Inspiration’s Not So Easy to Pinpoint
Many interviewers have asked me what inspires me. My answers always feel inadequate because just about everything inspires me. But I can’t give a glib answer like that. It would be rude when someone has taken the time to single me out and ask about my writing.
I at least list a few of the things that inspire me—Duran Duran, baby sea turtles, my parrots, sci fi shows/movies, thunderclouds over the Gulf at dawn, short elderly drivers in huge Lincoln town cars, bizarre chicks in L.A. bars, snow in the mountains, etc. At my fancy new Web site, my letter to visitors tells of a funky incident from my early teens that inspired a short story in the recent chapbook WHAT CHOICES WE MADE.
Something I find that fires the flames of inspiration for me is setting up my writing space. I’m a romantic at heart, so I like the old-world sconces and wax-caked candle holders around my writing desk. I set up an old-fashioned, curved metal book stand with my Klaeber edition of BEOWULF on the corner of the desk (because you just never know when you’ll need to reference something in there) and place various dragon pictures around the room. Oh, I should have listed dragons above…
You get the picture here, right?
That’s my inspirational mayhem! There’s probably more. Writers checking in today can most likely empathize. Readers are welcome (and encouraged) to ask questions! Thank you for diving in. “Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”
Short Excerpt from CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS
There are a few at my fancy new Web site at http://www.authorsandylender.com under the “Books” navigation button.
Short Blurb About CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS
CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS is a Girl Power fantasy adventure where prophecy twists out of control. Captivating humans, wizards, Ungol, and dragons populate the realm of Onweald where even the gods must turn to an unlikely fugitive for help.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
WOO HOO WHOO HOO!!!!
Come on and visit the Vauxhall Vixens today to see why we're having such a good time!
Oh! Don't forget to come visit me at Fangtastic Books today! And come on over here tomorrow to chat with my special guest Sandy Lender, author of Choices Meant for Gods.
Love and marriage are two very different things, but they both need to be cultivated, and as a romance writer I actually get asked quite a lot about my own love life. Come visit me at the Vauxhall Vixens today for my tips on keeping your relationship fresh and energized!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Whew. I'm beat. That's about all the pirate-speak I've got in me. But I figured I should practice since I'm sailing away on the Revenge today with Edward Cullen from Twilight! There'll be lots of rum and tons of fun!
But the week's just beginning because on Thursday I'm blogging at Yankee Romance Reviewers and on Friday I'm going to be at Fangtastic Books as well as chatting with Ashlyn Chase on her Yahoo Group.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
I still get nervous when I have a new book coming out. I start biting my nails and I don't get any sleep. I can't think and I can't write. That first letter from a reader is crucial to my mental wellbeing--and my manicure.
So now I'm very relieved and super excited! Thank you again to all of you for such amazing support for this series!
I hope you'll all join me over at Emily Bryan's blog today, author of the wonderful book Vexing the Viscount!
Oh, and because it's Friday, I'm going to share...I've found a new tv show--Patrick Swayze is great in it, and Travis Fimmel is such a cutie! (I like him much better without the girly long hair)
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Also, the party is still going strong over at Bitten By Books, and you have until June 23 to get your entry in for the contest!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Join me at Bitten By Books June 17, 2009 for an awesome New Release Party, Chat and Contest!
Prize 1: A Sony Cyber-shot 10.1 megapixel digital camera (valued at $249.00), a print copy of Immortal Kiss and a free download of Forever Immortal
Prize 2: A $25.00 gift certificate for Amazon.com, and a free download of Forever Immortal
Prize 3: A free download of Forever Immortal
Contest open to readers worldwide.
Forever becomes a lot more complicated when you’re immortal...
Gideon knew he would need a direct shot to the demon’s black heart to send the thing to the Abyss, but Lyssa lurched sluggishly between him and the monster, faltering as she tried to get to her feet. Dazed, her gaze was wide and unfocused. A dark line of blood ran down her face from a nasty gash in her temple. Gideon couldn’t do it. He wasn’t confident enough in his aim to point his gun right at her and hope he would be able to make a shot that would send a bullet whizzing barely an inch from her head.
“Lyssa, honey, come on. Look at me.” Gideon reached for her, urging her to take his hand as she lifted her head. At the same time, he raised his gun and took aim at the raging demon. “Hurry, baby, come to me.”
Lyssa’s bright eyes cleared a little as she finally focused on him. Steadying herself with brave determination but obvious difficulty, she took his outstretched hand.
As soon as Gideon had a grip on her, he jerked her to him and pulled the hair trigger of the gun. His barrel was targeted right at the demon’s heart, but at the last moment, everything went wrong. The world slowed. The Scelero reached out, digging its claws deep into Lyssa’s neck and shoulder, sinking into her and pulling her back.
Lyssa’s scream of agony resounded in the depths of his soul.
“Ah, God. Lyssa, don’t let go,” he begged, tightening his grip over her arm at the same time that his round tore its way into the demon’s chest.
Gideon couldn’t hold on. Her slim fingers were grimy with sweat and dirt. He looked deeply into her glistening green eyes, his grip slipping.
She didn’t beg him to save her, didn’t say a word. But he saw the frightened plea in her pain-filled eyes.
The demon tore her from him, its roar of triumph echoing into the night. Just before they both disappeared in a blinding flash of green light and a loud crack of thunder, it uttered, “Mine.”
Oh no. What have I done?
Get Forever Immortal now!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
This coming week marks the release of the fourth book in the Immortal series. Come join me in the fun!
On Tuesday, for release day, I'll be blogging and giving away a copy of the book at Hooked on Romance, fantastic blog of authors Jax Cassidy, Nikki Duncan and Abi McKenley.
On Wednesday, whatever else you do, you must stop by Bitten By Books and get your entry in. We're having a massive book release party and major contest! Grand prize is a Sony Cybershot Digital Camera!! But there'll also be Amazon gift certificates and book prizes up for grabs!
Then on Thursday, come and chat with me at Three Wicked Writers, the home of authors Kelley Nyrae, Regina Carlysle and Anne Rainey.
And on Friday, I'll be visiting with Emily Bryan, author of Vexing the Viscount.
When the death of an Immortal triggered Gideon Bennett’s life-changing physical transformation over five years ago, the easy-going research scientist was forced into a world of violence for which he was ill prepared. Now a seasoned warrior, the memory of his one massive failure and the face of the woman he couldn’t save haunts him still and has made him hard. If only he believed in second chances…
Lyssa James wasn’t looking for trouble when she set out to enjoy a night on the town. She just wanted to escape for a while, to leave behind her dead-end job and obnoxious ex-boyfriend. What she got instead was a first class ticket to a demon hell dimension where she’s been trapped for five long years, years spent remembering the face of the man that couldn’t save her. If only she could escape…
Then providence intervenes, giving Lyssa the opportunity she’d been waiting for, access to the very portal that had swallowed her whole and taken her life. Miraculously, when she comes out the other side, she finds herself facing the same Immortal that botched her rescue five years ago. If only she could turn back time. If only life wasn’t so complicated. If only she was still human instead of the very thing Gideon’s sworn to destroy. Demon. If only…
Preorder your copy now!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
But I'm also visiting with Cynthia Eden as part of her "30 Days of Demons" and I'll get to show off a few of my own demon characters.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
First, hop over to the Midnight Moon Cafe to read about Forever Immortal--Exciting!
Then click on by the Vauxhall Vixens for my post about the crappiness of writers block--Frustrating!
Friday, June 05, 2009
JK Coi has done it again, Dark Immortal is a fantastic ride though the world of the Immortals. This is the third book in this series which is looking to be one well worth having in your library. I am a big fan of paranormal and this fills my need for the unusual just perfectly. I am willing to bet you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Second--and undoubtedly most important--I have to announce the winner of my When Worlds Collide contest. (I received a lot of email entries along with the comments on my blog, and even though most of you didn't actually answer the question, everyone was entered.) So...the winner of a copy of Kimber Chin's Invisible and Leah Braemel's Personal Protection is:
In further news...
Join me on Saturday, June 6 at the Love Romances Cafe Yahoo Group where I'll be chatting with the other paranormal/fantasy authors of Linden Bay from 7-9pm EST.
Then next week on Tuesday June 9, I'll be a guest over at the Midnight Moon Cafe, enjoying some of their to-die-for cocktails, talking with the fabulous ladies there about my upcoming release Forever Immortal, and offering a CONTEST!
On Thursday June 11, I'm blogging with Cynthia Eden as part of her "30 Days of Demons" and I'll get to show off a few of my own demon characters, but I'll also be at Love is an Exploding Cigar chatting about emotion (mainly humour) as the most important writing tool in my belt (that and coffee).
Want to see your name on the acknowledgment page of Emily Bryan's next book? Here's your chance! Emily is giving her readers an opportunity to name an important secondary character in her upcoming STROKE OF GENIUS. The winner will receive signed copies of Emily Bryan's entire backlist (including A CHRISTMAS BALL anthology, due out Sept 29th). PLUS you'll be mentioned on the acknowledgment page of STROKE OF GENIUS. The contest begins June 1st and entries close July 1st. For more information, visit www.emilybryan.com.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Morag: My name is Morag, and I am from the North. Far beyond the ancient wall of Hadrian, I believe you call it Scotland.
JK Coi: What’s the biggest problem in your life right now?
Morag: Dealing with demons, leaving my loved ones behind and having to deal with the most annoying, albeit charming and sexy man I have ever encountered. Alfwyn drives me around the bend. He’s frustrating, infuriating and I have no idea why the fates have paired me with the likes of him.
JK Coi: Alfwyn sounds like quite the challenge, but I’m sure you’re up to it. But demons, huh? I kind of have a thing for demons. What kind of demons are these and what do they want?
Morag: Alfwyn will most certainly be a challenge, but what man isn’t eh? *wink* As for the demons, well these demons are evil, controlled by blood. You would not want to trouble yourself with these creatures. As for what they want, they want to control the world and enslave mankind. For some reason unbeknownst to me, the McKellar, their controller, wants me for his own. From what I know of the McKellar I know when he wants something, nothing and no one can stop him.
JK Coi: So, I hear you got yourself stuck out on the edge of a cliff in the middle of nowhere. You want to tell us what that was all about and how you got out of it?
Morag: I faked my own death, and in my people’s custom I was sent on a funeral barge at sea. I must have taken too much of the sleeping draught and my barge crashed against a rock. I do not swim very well, so I hung on. Fortunately, Alfwyn was there to rescue me.
JK Coi: Why would you have to fake your own death?
Morag: To escape the McKellar. He cannot have me if I am dead, he cannot use my powers either. I was hoping that by faking my death it would thwart him. I was foolish in my assumption. I know better now that he will never give up.
JK Coi: I can imagine that marriage to a demonic warlord might be something you want to avoid, so kudos to you for taking steps to get out of it, but I have doubts that this dreaded McKellar will just let you go. Why does he want you so badly, anyway?
Morag: The McKellar never gives up. As to the reason he wants me so badly, it must have something to do with my powers, though I know there are more powerful sorceresses out there. I am sure I am not worth the effort, still he is not and never has been the most rational individual, but he’s a demon and how can a demon be rational?
JK Coi: So you’re a sorceress? Is there much of a market for sorcery work?
Morag: I try to keep that quiet. I help those who truly need it. All I want is a simple life.
JK Coi: Okay, last question. Give us five words that you’d use to describe yourself and five words to describe Alfwyn.
Morag: I think I shall start with Alfwyn, boorish, pigheaded, stubborn, charming, sexy and kind … in his own way. I think I am pigheaded, stubborn, quiet, private and fair. Although I am sure Alfwyn has his more colorful expletives for my personality. *smile*
JK Coi: Well Morag, thank you for being here today. It was nice to meet you and I’m looking forward to reading the book and meeting Alfwyn as well.
Amy Ruttan’s Enchantress: The Sorceress is available now from Linden Bay Romance!
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
If you've missed Part 1 of When Worlds Collide, click to Kimber Chin's blog and then come back to read Part 2 here, before you jump on over to Leah Braemel's blog today for our exciting finale! We've been giving prizes at each of our blogs with every installment and there's still lots of time to enter!
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
If somehow you missed Part 1 of When Worlds Collide, please drop on over to Kimber Chin's blog and then come back to read Part 2:
Gideon shook his head, his booted feet echoing in the cavern-like stairwell as he headed upward, following the stench of brimstone that filled the whole damn building. Part of him wondered what the hell a Hoth demon was doing in a place like this, but the why paled against the urgency of making sure it didn’t escape to wander into any other, more residential areas.
Pushing through the door to the second floor corridor, Gideon heard shuffling and grunting noises coming from somewhere down the hall and pulled his sword from the sheath at his back.
The demon hurtled from one of the offices, sliding to a halt at the other end of the corridor as it spotted Gideon. At the same time, the stairwell door creaked open behind him. The humans. From the way they’d been making a beeline for the back door earlier, he hadn’t pegged them as stupid. “Didn’t I tell you to get out of here?” Gideon spared a glance over his shoulder. Sure enough, one of the men was stepping forward, pulling a gun from a holster under his jacket. “Jesus, buddy. What the hell do you think you’re going to do with that?”
The guy came forward. “I can help,” he said, taking up a protective stance at Gideon’s elbow.
Gideon groaned and rolled his eyes. God save him from ex cops. “I appreciate the sentiment, but you have no idea what you’re dealing with. This is not your fight.”
“It is now.” Yep, must have been a cop. From the way he held himself, Gideon determined the man had been well trained, but it still wouldn’t even begin to prepare him for what was to come.
The Hoth demon growled, baring razor teeth. Beside him Gideon heard the man draw in a sharp breath. “Damn. What the hell is this guy on?”
“You really don’t want to know. Just turn around and—”
“Sam!” A woman’s voice, her soft accent giving a slight lilt to her alarmed tone.
Gideon shot another look over his shoulder. The woman was stepping forward, a Glock in her hand. The other guy stood at her side, but the two of them stopped in their tracks at his warning look.
The last woman came through the doorway then. “Ramos, get back here. You’re in those idiots’ way.
Expelling a long chain of curses, Gideon turned back to the demon. “Let’s get this over with.”
The creature surged forward with a roar.
“This is not going to end well.” A horrified whisper from behind.
Before Gideon could stop him, the trigger-happy hero at his side cracked off a shot, hitting the demon right between the eyes. Good aim, but useless.
The demon dropped its glamour completely, and without even the half-hearted effect of the mask, there was no longer any doubt what they were dealing with. Horns stretched higher, curling out from its temples. Sharp claws gleamed under the fluorescents. Shaking its head back and forth, the demon’s inhuman howl echoed in the hall. “Great work, buddy. That just made it angry.”
“How the hell was I supposed to know the thing isn’t even human?”
The other man piped up behind them. “The freakin’ six-inch claws and animal growl gave it away.”
Before the Hoth demon could fully regroup, Gideon rushed it. He ducked a wicked swipe, and evaded a nasty chomp of razor teeth, before finding an opening and slashing downward in a calculated swing of blade that severed the demon’s head from its body.
With the typical flash of sickly green light, the threat was suddenly gone.
Now to find out what had drawn it here in the first place. He walked into the office that the demon had emerged from. The large boardroom table was tipped over on its end, the corporate telephone had been smashed and papers were littered everywhere. Gideon leaned down and picked one off the floor.
Oh hell no.
Crumpling the sheet in his fist, he stalked back into the corridor where the foursome waited, eying him with confused caution. Heading straight for the would-be hero, he fisted a hand in the man’s shirt and threw him up against the wall.
“What do you think you’re doing with this?” he demanded in a harsh growl, shoving the hand-drawn sketch under the guy’s nose.
***To celebrate our collaboration together, today I'm holding a contest and I'll be giving away a free download of each of Kimber Chin's and Leah Braemel's books. To be entered, just answer this question:
What are the names of each of these authors most recent releases?
And don't miss the exciting finale of When Worlds Collide coming tomorrow, June 3 at Leah Braemel's blog!!
Monday, June 01, 2009
Don't miss Part 1 TODAY at Kimber Chin's blog! She's holding a contest to celebrate!