Monday, April 27, 2009

Guest - Kendra Leigh Castle

Good morning everyone! One of our favorites is back with us again -- author Kendra Leigh Castle. You can see my review for this newest book of hers - Wild Highland Magic in the Lynda Again section. Actually since Kendra has done such a superb job of describing the book, all I'll add is my impression and thoughts.

Also, please read all the way to my Lynda Again section to see how you can become eligible for my birthday gift to my readers.

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Thanks so much to Lynda and everyone here for having me back! It’s always fun to come by and talk about my books, and since I have a new one coming out, Wild Highland Magic, I thought I’d spend a few minutes telling you all about my latest couple of star-crossed, er, couples. Yes, “couples,” because Wild Highland Magic has not one, but two pairs of supernaturally gifted people who fall in love (and have, of course, quite a time making it work).

First, there’s Bastian an Morgaine and Catriona MacInnes. Those of you who’ve read the second book in the trilogy, Dark Highland Fire, will recognize Bastian as the quiet, enigmatic, but powerful big brother of that book’s heroine, Rowan. He is the only male ever born into the otherworld Drakkyn tribe of the Dyadd Morgaine, a nomadic clan of blood-drinking sorceresses who were the traditional mates of werewolves before the pack left that world and came to ours. He’s a solitary soul, and in Wild Highland Magic, we discover why: a generational curse visited on his father’s people by the worst of the worst as far as magical races go, the daemon. Bastian is condemned to live with a soul-sucking shadow always stalking him, feeding off of his emotions and isolating him until he gives in, and gives his soul, to the shadow. The only way to defeat it is for him to drink the blood and gain the power of a willing dragon.

Problem? Dragons kind of hate everyone. But there’s one, Lucien Andrakkar, who needs rescuing and has a roundabout tie to Bastian. In desperation, Bastian springs Lucien from the daemon dungeons and takes him to the home of his new allies, the MacInnes werewolves, to recuperate. Except Lucien doesn’t seem to want to recuperate, and the entire pack is about to descend on this little corner of the Scottish Highlands to celebrate their annual gathering.

Enter Catriona MacInnes, a half-witch, half-werewolf whose father is the long-estranged brother of the Pack Alpha. Her father’s been acting oddly, and this is the first she’s ever heard of the furrier branch of her family. She and her two sisters are thrilled to discover an entire branch of their family tree, and hope that a reunion with his brother will help their ailing father. But Cat soon finds herself distracted by the presence of a stranger who looks like an icy god, and who seems determined to keep her at arm’s length. Cat, in the tradition of her cousins Gideon and Gabriel, doesn’t really know how to take “no” for an answer, and luckily, Bastian doesn’t seem to know quite how to say it to her anyway. But as you might expect, life gets complicated for both Cat and Bastian very quickly. His time is running out. And her father’s secrets are about to come back and haunt her in ways she can’t possibly imagine.

That brings me to my second couple, a pair I thoroughly enjoyed bringing together because one of them was well overdue for a woman to whip him into shape. I’ll let you read to discover who that woman is, but the man...well, sort-of man...in question is none other than the ill-behaved dragon prince, Lucien Andrakkar.

After a year in the daemon dungeons, he’s at death’s door, and willingly: with his father dead, he’s the last of his line, and as the dragons had little use for the late Mordred by the time he was killed, Lucien has no illusions that his people are waiting for his return. No prisoner has ever emerged from the Blighted Kingdom alive anyway. So Bastian’s rescue of him is an unwelcome surprise, and as you might expect if you’ve met Lucien in Dark Highland Fire, the dragon has no intention of helping our hero. What he doesn’t count on is a beautiful little half-witch healer who agrees to take on his care, and whose tongue is as sharp as his own. Lucien has decided he’s incapable of real love, and unworthy of it besides...but he’s about to find out differently. And that changes everything.

Both couples have the cards stacked against them from the beginning, so the task of giving them their happy endings was both tough and really, really rewarding. But that was just how I wanted it for the final book in the MacInnes Werewolves trilogy! I hope everyone who picks up a copy enjoys the twists and turns, and the two romances in one.

Thanks again for letting me stop by! I’ll be in all day to chat, so tell me: who is your favorite star-crossed couple who actually made it? Sorry, Romeo and Juliet fans.

Thanks for stopping by!
Kendra

Kendra Leigh Castle is the author of the MacInnes Werewolves trilogy, as well as the upcoming series The Fallen, coming from Harlequin Nocturne. She lives in Maryland with her husband, three kids, and menagerie of pets, and loves to be visited online at www.kendraleighcastle.com

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-- Lynda Again. Oh man, I really hate to hear that this is the last book in this series. I've looked forward to each one as they became 'Must Buy' books right from the start. I was so looking forward to Bastien's story and so hoping that Kendra would do a story for Lucien. But I have to admit, while this was a great book, it fell short of my expectations (which might have been just a teensy bit high, lol). I loved the plot conflict Kendra came up with for Bastien - that was just pure genius. However, combining his story with Lucien's story...I felt it shortchanged both of these remarkable heroes. Since Kendra is moving on, I can understand and appreciate the fact that she did include Lucien in this book otherwise we might not have ever seen what happened to him. For that, I say thank you to Kendra and her editor.


BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE :-D

I wanted to remind everyone to join my newsletter group if you're interested. I have a birthday coming up (I'll be, let's see, how about, 29, yes, 29 years old...again :-D) and I'm offering a special prize to members of my group.



If you're a member of my newsletter group by midnight of April 30, I'll put your name in a box and let Wookie, my big old fluffy kitten, select the winner. I'll email you on or after May 1 to let you know you've won. All you'll need do at that time is email me back. That's it :-D

Hope to see you there!
My Website: http://www.lyndakscott.com
My Blog: http://www.lyndakscott.blogspot.com
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Star Light, Star Bright Interstellar Interview with Samantha Kane



Samantha Kane lives in North Carolina with her Prince Charming husband of ten years and three children. She parlayed her Master's Degree in American history from the University of Knsas into a seven year career before she became a full time writer and mom.

For fun Samantha loves to read, knit, chase her children, head to teh beach as ofter as possible and shop in antique stores and via catalogs (although she insists she is only a recreational shopper).

In the writing world she has snagged her share of awards in contests including The Passionate Plume by Passionate Ink, where this year she is a double finalist with RETREAT FROM LOVE and A LADY IN WAITING.

When I met Samantha at an impromptu meeting of writers over coffee, I pictured her penning inspirational romances. My face said it all when I found out she actually wrote erotica for Ellora's Cave. Back then she'd just sold her first book after submitting like crazy and had wiggled her way into a new niche in the market. At subsequent meetings she reported fans loved her books and EC wanted more. We were ecstatic!! Samantha is a wonderful woman who looks like an angel, she always seems to have a mischevious gleam in her eye. Which I believe helps her write books that make everyones tongue wag.

At a booksigning a few years ago (blushing from being told she may not be able to read an excerpt because kids were in the store) Samantha mentioned she'd been contracted to try her hand at a sci-fi novella for EC. I was so happy for her because it meant a change from her normal historical genre and she could spread her wings. Since then, she's had a little trouble with release dates and the like, but now she can finally show off her first sci-fis! TOMORROW hit the web on the 22nd and ESPIRIT DE CORPS will soon follow from another publisher. All I can say, is "Hip hip hooray!"





When did your urge to write materialize and how did you make your dream a reality?

I've been writing since grade school, when they wisely put me in my first creative writing class. I won a citywide writing contest in 4th or 5th grade with a poem about a man that kills his wife. Seriously. I've since purged the dark side. I spent the next twenty years writing for various newspapers, and pursuing a graduate degree in history, which required a LOT of writing, lol. But not enough, apparently, because the day I started grad school I started my first novel. It took about five years to finish (I finished grad school first). It wasn't until I had my first baby, and finally finished that book, that I decided I wanted to write fiction for a living. I joined RWA, learned about the romance publishing industry, and targeted a genre and publisher. Then I sat down and wrote THE COURAGE TO LOVE. So from decision to pursue a writing career to actually selling? About three years.




As a prolific author, how do you balance your work load with your everyday commitments as a wife and mother?


I'm prolific?! It sure doesn't feel like it, lol. Honestly, I don't know how I do it. I have to write every opportunity I get, but I cheat all the time. Sometimes I just need to kick back and relax after a hectic day with the kids. I usually sit there silently berating myself, "I should be writing," but I have to keep my sanity, too. And the characters don't have much to say to me when I'm tapped out after a long day, anyway.

The only way I can finish a book these days is to give myself a daily word count and make sure I hit it. It's usually around 1,000 words, which I can do easily. Most days I'll surpass that goal, which makes up for the days I don't do anything. And I set personal deadlines. One of the reasons I love working with Ellora's Cave is that I set my own deadlines, I don't have any written in stone, which would just freak me out. But I do set my own, and generally meet them. I'm very realistic when I set my writing goals for the year. I don't want to set myself up for failure or disappointment. So overall I'm a pretty easy-going, prolific author.



Would you care to share with us the top 3 highlights of your career to date?

Contracting my first book, THE COURAGE TO LOVE, with Ellora's Cave. Getting my first royalty check. ("Honey, I'm a working writer! People actually paid money for my book!") My first fan letter (yep, I still have the email) ties with the first time a reader screamed and nearly cried she was so happy to meet me.



How did you make the leap from Erotic Historicals to Sci-fi with Ellora’s Cave?

I've always loved science fiction, but my favorites were generally t.v. and movies, not books. So I never really thought about writing it until Ellora's Cave sent out the call for submissions for a new continuity series they were working on, Hunters For Hire. I like to try new things as a writer, so I contacted Heather Holland, the coordinating author and creator of the series. Heather is amazing! I can't believe the world she created. But she needed some help with the bible for the series. So I thought, if I'm going to write a book for it I should get in on that. I'm really glad I did. It gave me the chance to learn about the world from the ground up, and even create part of it. Author TJ Michaels and I created the Super Soldiers (genetically enhanced, laboratory-bred soldiers), and I created several star systems. The bible for the series is going to be released soon as a FREE READ (yep, you read that right) from Ellora's Cave, called HUNTERS FOR HIRE: THE UNIVERSE. Each book contains a glossary, but if you really want the big picture I highly recommend the bible. Several authors including Heather Holland, myself, TJ Michaels, LA Day, and Vicky Burkholder worked very hard on that puppy. And the publisher at EC, Raelene Gorlinsky, has been very supportive of the whole project.

Well, that's a really long answer, isn't it? lol Ask a simple question....I guess the short answer is that the idea of a continuity series intrigued me and I wanted to see what it was all about. Then the world just grabbed hold of my imagination, and the rest is soon to be a new book release. ;-)



What has the switch in sub-genre meant to your process as well as the way you conceptualize your novels?

I found for TOMORROW that I needed a much more involved plot than I generally create for my historicals. My historical series, BROTHERS IN ARMS, is very character driven, each book written around one or two characters loosely connected to characters in previous books. But I wanted the science fiction to be a trilogy (so look for the next two books next year), and I needed a plot that could carry over into two more books. I think TOMORROW is more of a plot driven book with very strong characters. At least that was the way I wrote it. The characters for the next two books have already been introduced, and while the romance in TOMORROW ends with a HEA, the main plot is not resolved. In many ways writing TOMORROW and the series bible helped me to tighten my plotting in my historicals, as well.





If you could go back in time and change something in your career, what would it be?

Whew. I have no idea. Nothing, I guess. No, one thing. I think I'd learn more about the business side of writing before I jumped in feet first. I've been very lucky so far, and I know it. I was naive and ignorant of publishing contracts, promotion, marketing strategies, the printing process, agents, publishers, really everything. I joined RWA and local chapter HCRW as soon as I knew I wanted to write to sell, and I learned quite a bit, but I sold my second book, the first having been written years before simply because I wanted to write it and never tried to sell it. (One of these days I'll dust it off.) So I wasn't a member long enough to learn all I should have before contracting my first book. Thank God the contract I signed with EC was very fair and equitable or I could have been in real trouble. Truthfully, I've learned almost as much about the business from my editor at EC as I have from RWA. Like I said, I was very lucky.



And of course, since you write award winning hot men, which would you say is your favorite hero?


Oh, no! THE QUESTION lol I have a hard time choosing! The hero I had the most fun writing would have to be Derek Knightly from AT LOVE'S COMMAND. He's sarcastic, witty, a bully, brilliant, and guards his heart ruthlessly. But I also loved Rene Dubois, the Frenchman in my WWII m/m romance, ISLANDS. He was so straightforward and loyal. And so French. He lays his cards on the table, and you know he's going to do whatever it takes, including lying, cheating, and manipulating you, to get what he wants. But he does it for the right reasons. I wish that book had been longer, lol. I was constrained to keep it a novella for an anthology, but Rene's character was so intriguing. When I have the time I plan on writing some more WWII Navy Seabee books, and you can be sure that Rene will make an appearance in them. And I love, love, love both Tie, the bounty hunter, and Regan, the space pirate, in TOMORROW. I wasn't bound by rules of historical accuracy in TOMORROW. So those characters speak and act outside of the box. And they really balance one another. Tie is emotional, loyal, persistent, and philosophical, while Regan is taciturn (with an explosive temper), pessimistic, possessive, impatient, and insecure. And Regan is bald. That gives him the edge on my scoresheet. ;-)

If you'd like to learn more about Samantha, check her out at http://www.samanthakane.us/!






Monday, April 20, 2009

Guest - Laurie Brown

Good morning, everyone! Today we have Laurie Brown, author of What Would Jane Austin Do? visiting us. I haven't had the opportunity to read either of Laurie's books yet but they sound really good. Here's her bio.

Laurie Brown writes because she loves to, because she needs to in order to stay sane, and because it gets her out of housework. By day a mild mannered accountant, she spends her writing evenings and weekends following her alpha heroes and spunky heroines on their madcap adventures to a happy ending. Her May 2009 release What Would Jane Austen Do? is her second time travel romance for Sourcebooks. (Previous: Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake.) She loves to hear from readers that they laughed out loud while reading her books.

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The question I’m asked most often is Where do you get your ideas? (Usually with a note of incredulousness in the speaker’s voice.) And the answer is different for every book. For What Would Jane Austen Do? the plot came out of discussion on time travel with several author friends. The question to the table was If time travel were possible, would you go and whom would you want to meet? My response was in a heartbeat and Jane Austen. I love her books and reread them regularly.

I started thinking about it. Would I actually go? I’ve always enjoyed reading time travel, historical, and Regency romances. To go to a real Regency ball or country house party would be fascinating, a dream come true. Then I started thinking about what I would miss. In addition to my husband, family, and friends, there are so many modern things that I consider absolute necessities. Like plumbing. And electricity. And chocolate. The mental list of stuff I would miss got longer and longer. Maybe I wouldn’t go after all.

But I could send the heroine of a book back. The plot of What Would Jane Austen Do? was born. Eleanor Pottinger, a costume designer is in England for the Jane Austen Festival. A mix-up in reservations at the castle-turned-into-an-inn puts her in the haunted suite where she meets two ghostly sisters. The ghosts claim they can take Eleanor back in time if she promises to prevent the deadly duel that killed their beloved brother. In return, they will introduce her to her favorite author. Despite her disbelief, she agrees so that the ghosts will leave her alone. When the bed begins to spin inside a vortex of colored lights, Eleanor blames her lack of sleep and jet-lagged imagination and ducks under the covers. She wakes in 1814. When everyone assumes she is the long expected American cousin who finally arrived in time for the house party, she has no choice but to play along. She meets and is immediately attracted to the wicked Lord Shermont, duelist, rake, and as she later learns, agent for the crown trying to ferret out a ring of Napoleon’s spies. He finds her intriguing, but is suspicious of her uncharacteristic behavior. They dance around each other. He wants information, she can’t tell him the truth. She needs to prevent the duel, which hasn’t happened yet and which he denies is even a possibility. Everything comes to crescendo the night of the ball.

Eleanor misses many of the things I would miss. How about you? If offered a chance, would you go back in time? Who would you want to meet? What would you miss most besides family and friends?




For more information on all of the Sourcebooks Casablanca Authors, join their Yahoo! Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Discovering_Romance_with_Sourcebooks/ If you would like to contact Laurie directly, please email her publicist, Danielle Jackson (danielle.jackson@sourcebooks.com).

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-- Lynda Again
There isn't anything better than a good TT unless it's a good TT with humor added to the mix :-D

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE :-D

I wanted to remind everyone to join my newsletter group if you're interested. I have a birthday coming up (I'll be, let's see, how about, 29, yes, 29 years old...again :-D) and I'm offering a special prize to members of my group.



If you're a member of my newsletter group by midnight of April 30, I'll put your name in a box and let Wookie, my big old fluffy kitten, select the winner. I'll email you on or after May 1 to let you know you've won. All you'll need do at that time is email me back. That's it :-D



Hope to see you there!
My Website: http://www.lyndakscott.com
My Blog: http://www.lyndakscott.blogspot.com
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Have No Fear!

Have no fear, the Star Light, Star Bright...Interstellar Interview will be here next Friday, March 24th due to scheduling issues!

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I think it's also important for me to follow my own advice--have no fear--when going through the mounds (not mole hills) of books in my house. I've been saying I need to straighten up for a while now, but with everything going on more important duties jumped to the head of the line. Are you like me? You just hate to give up your books?

I have books I've bought, books given to me by friends, books I purchased from library sales, and some even go back to when I was a teenager! Some I love, some I've flipped through to read a couple novellas, and others are yet TBR. Yet, I find myself unable to part with the majority. Those I disliked or wanted to pitch across the room will not be spared from my cleaning ;0) I will happily donate those to my local library sale. Whoever buys them will hopefully not want to slap their wall with a book.

At one time, I'd actually thought about selling my books, but with the rise in Ebay's cut and the time it takes to do listings, etc. for each one I figured another method of disposal might work better. In fact I've been toying with the idea of having a massive Help Us Get Hitched Yard Sale. What do you think? Is it catchy?

I've estimated I have about 1,000 books in various places all over my house. Even if they all departed for the bargain price of a quarter that would be $250! Or in wedding terms, the bargain cost of the wedding party flowers! And I can tell you my money jar that counts every coin deposit would be very busy after all those transactions. (Unfortunately the sale won't be taking place tomorrow since I'm doing a race for Arthritis with my sister and step-mom. If you want to learn more, go here: http://trianglearthritiswalk.kintera.org/cleaningcrew)

So I wonder...how do you part with your books? And how bad is your addiction?


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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Social Networking

Indulge me, Star-crossed fans, with a cross-post from my blog. It took me many many days to compose this (hell, it takes me many many days to compose every blog post--I'm that slow of a writer), and it might just be a topic worthy of discussion.

There's a very hot question making the rounds now, and not just in Romancelandia, or even Author Acres, that oddly-gated subdivision where no one's really sure if the gates are there to keep others out...or to keep the authors in (hey, why are the bars on the insides of the windows? And why are these walls so softly padded? And why are my closets full of sweaters with really really long sleeves? Anyone? Anyone?). But that hot question--besides the obvious ones about whether or not the inmates are running the asylum--is how best to use the Web 2.0 and Social Networking.

There are standing-room-only business seminars going on all over the country about the impact of social networking sites like Twitter, blogs, Facebook, et cetera. These social networking apps are all wildly popular, even crossing the boundaries into realtime discussions on places like NPR and Slate.com where Facebook is cited in the category of tools as ubiquitous as "email and antiperspirant." We all instinctively know that these places are important--important enough to think that surely everyone must be using them. And they are, from Manhattan to Mars. The Phoenix Mars lander (@MarsPhoenix in case you're wondering) live-twittered its landing and subsequent exploratory career, and is still Twittering away. It also follows others' tweets - keeping up with coworkers Spirit and Oppy (@MarsRovers) on March Madness (NASA-style), wondering what got stuck on their shoes, and how their colleague Cassini (@CassiniSaturn) is doing on the quest for a ring.

Friends and families use social networking sites to keep up with each other over long distances and tight schedules. For the regular Joe and Jane, there's little problem with using the sites as they were mainly meant to be used--as collections of daily life--snippets of thoughts, photos, little silly games that can be played in five-minute breaks, and small chats with each other. But how do you navigate something that's the internet-based equivalent of The Great Office Breakroom when you play a public figure?

The first important thing to remember is that the social networking sites on the internet are not the direct correlation to the Breakroom or the Water Cooler. The internet has a memory, and it can be a long one. Also, you are being watched on the internet. By Google and everybody. If you are in the hopefully-enviable position of having someone searching specifically for you, then they will find whatever can be traced to you...whether you want them to, or not. Social networking sites are all *public* spaces, even though they may feel private. There is--or will be--a strategy that needs to be considered when using them, since we are, to some extent, public figures.

I don't think that authors, agents, editors, etc. need to be restricted from Twittering or whatever. But be truly aware that your professional identity will garner you a following for professional reasons, so if you are twittering personal stuff, it's going to be shown in a professional capacity, too. It's fine to Twitter or blog about cats or personal party anecdotes, but be aware that if you're presenting an identity as a professional person (in any sort of capacity, not just publishing) then using your professional contacts or notoriety as a captive audience to your frustrations with the biz may have some unintended consequences.

Social networking also presents the larger body of public opinion with a direct and immediate megaphone. Recently, the Twitter hashtag #amazonfail documented in realtime not only the events surrounding Amazon's de-listing of content identified as "adult" (many times erroneously so, and apparently focused on GLBTQ-oriented publications), but the very real, visceral, and public reaction to the event and the company's subsequent explanations. And on a somewhat more positive note, the meteoric rise at light-speed of an unemployed charity worker auditioning for "Britain's Got Talent" courtesy YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites pushed her from "Local Girl Done Good" to "International Viral Media Hit."

Now on the other, more fun, hand, social networking sites provide an immediacy of contact and a level of suspense that we as authors should appreciate. Approach Twitter with the immediacy for which it was intended. The basic question is simply, "What are you doing now?" and that question can be streamlined into an approach to Twitter that will use that immediacy for unique ways to express yourself. If you have an author presence on Twitter, and have amassed some followers, ask yourself what you would do as an author if you had an immediately responsive audience present in front of you...because on Twitter, you actually do, to an extent.

One more thing to remember about social networking sites is that they have the tools to become interconnected--Twitter feeds can go to Facebook, and Facebook feeds can go to blogs and vice-versa. Linking your feeds can be a real time-saver on a species of internet sites designed to suck the time away.

And finally...remember that in all the neat technology and new ways to reach out and touch someone else's pixels, that first, last, and always, the eternal truth out there is that CONTENT IS KING. Whatever you choose to say...make it matter, and others will listen.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Guest - Jina Bacarr

Good morning everyone! Today's guest is the award-winning Jina Bacarr. Jina loves adventure in exotic locales, which led her to write the RIO Award-Winning erotic novel, The Blonde Geisha (the only erotic novel to win the top spot in Mainstream Fiction), as well as the award-winning non-fiction book, The Japanese Art of Sex.

She worked as the Japanese consultant on KCBS-TV, MSNBC, TechTV's Wired for Sex, Canada's The Pleasure Zone, British Sky Broadcasting's Saucy TV, La Biennale Arts Festival in Venice, Italy, Men's Health Guide to the Best Sex in the World, Passport to Pleasure, The Vision Board and 69 Sexy Things 2 Do Before You Die for Playboy TV. She's the author of Naughty Paris, Tokyo Rendezvous (Naughty Bits anthology), Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs, Cleopatra's Perfume and coming in Feb. 2010, The Blonde Samurai.

Jina is offering an autographed copy of Cleopatra's Perfume, continue reading to find out how you could win it.

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When the scent of a woman belongs to Cleopatra…


by Jina Bacarr, author of "Cleopatra's Perfume"


One whiff and every man was her slave…


How would you like to spend your wedding night in an Egyptian pyramid with ghosts watching your every move?


It happened back in 1903 when British occultist Aleister Crowley and his bride spent their honeymoon night in the Great Pyramid. I knew there was a story there somewhere, but it wasn't until I decided to write a novel about a lonely woman in 1939 searching for love (and sex) in Egypt where she had spent her honeymoon with her late husband that the paranormal element in my story took shape.


It took the shape of an ancient perfume bottle that belonged to Cleopatra.

I've always been fascinated by the sense of smell and how odor molecules from perfume, body sweat or the smell of sex dash into the space in your brain occupied by emotions such as love and hate, and moods such as anxiety and pleasure. The stuff memories are made of.


Smell is also primal. Early man and animals developed a sense of smell so powerful it warned them of danger. Add this notion to the idea that the Egyptians associated perfume (from the Latin per fumun meaning through the smoke as in incense) with immortality and you have the premise for Cleopatra's Perfume.


I love paranormal stories that utilize magical objects that become the catalyst for the heroine/hero to begin a journey. We were all enchanted with Dorothy's search for the ruby slippers and cheered where she "clicked her heels" and returned home to Kansas. And who hasn't wished along with Aladdin and his magic lamp when the genie appears? In the 1945 film adaption of Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray," Dorian makes a wish in front of an Egyptian cat statue to remain as young and handsome as he appears in the portrait.


I am a student of Egyptology and have used elements from it in two of my novels. In my previous Spice release, Naughty Paris, a jilted bride finds a small Egyptian statue of the fertility god, Min, and travels back to the raucous, erotic world of 1889 Paris.


In Cleopatra's Perfume, Lady Eve Marlowe discovers the seductive even mystical scent belonging to Cleopatra, which not only makes her irresistible to men, but sweeps her up in a dangerous game of intrigue with sizzling stops in Cairo, London and Berlin.


What is your favorite paranormal story where the main character uses a magical charm to get what they want?


Jina Bacarr

www.JinaBacarr.com

Follow me on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/JinaBacarr

Friend me at Myspace: www.myspace.com/jinabacarr

And Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1106533771

Blog: www.spicycontessa.wordpress.com

New Blog: http://cleopatrasperfume.wordpress.com/ I'm writing a series which is a prequel to "Cleopatra's Perfume:" WEIMAR GIRLS GONE WILD: The Berlin Sex Diary of Lady Eve Marlowe

"Get caught in the act"


Cleopatra's Perfume


Europe 1939
The world may be teetering on the brink of war, but that's no reason for the privileged classes to deny themselves the satisfaction of their deepest lusts. In exotic and exclusive clubs, they pursue the delights of the flesh with little thought to the world crumbling around them.


Eve Marlowe has everything she needs to lead the most decadent of lives: money, nobility, nerve…and an insatiable appetite for sexual adventure. She also has a singular treasure: a fragrance of ancient origin said to have been prepared for the Queen of Kings herself. Seductive, irresistible, even mystical—it is the scent of pure sensuality.


The power of this elixir is such that it sweeps Lady Marlowe into a game much more dangerous than those she played in the darkened rooms of kinky bars. As the Nazis devour Europe and North Africa, she embarks on a fevered journey, with sizzling stops in Cairo, London, Berlin—each city filled with new perils and pleasures for one anointed with pure lust.

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-- Lynda Again,

What a fascinating article. I've often heard that scents can be so evocative they'll bring back memories from years past. I know all we writers will have our heroes and heroines notice the special perfume/scent of their romantic partners but that's all present time. And, as unromantic as it may sound, I've heard that some men find vanilla or cinnamon based scents on their women attractive because it reminds them of...gasp...their moms and their childhood. What do you think?


Leave a comment for Jina by April 17. She'll select one person to win an autographed copy of Cleopatra's Perfume. Good luck!


BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE

I wanted to remind everyone to join my newsletter group if you're interested. I have a birthday coming up (I'll be, let's see, how about, 29, yes, 29 years old...again :-D) and I'm offering a special prize to members of my group.



If you're a member of my newsletter group by midnight of April 30, I'll put your name in a box and let Wookie, my big old fluffy kitten, select the winner. I'll email you on or after May 1 to let you know you've won. All you'll need do at that time is email me back. That's it :-D

Hope to see you there!

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Gotta Love It!

You know how we always say there aren't enough hours in the day? Well, I am feeling that pinch again! We try to be the perfect employee, the prolific writer, the understanding mom, the great wife, the dependable daughter and at times it just seems too much! Sometimes, I've decided we need to say when. You know, when you've reached your limit for a drink or flavoring you say you can't take anymore. That's the emotion behind my latest catchphrase, "Gotta Love It!" Like those moments when there's nothing you can do except scream or cry because you've just so frayed and you really can't make a scene...you just have to utter those 3 little words like a mantra to keep calm.

And you have to keep adding wood to the fire by taking on extra tasks. If there's anything I've learned it's to delegate. That doesn't mean that you wash your hands completely, but that you give someone else the tasks that aren't ranked highest on your to-do list. I've even heard that you should make lists for everything and rank them accordingly to how important they are, so if you don't cross all of them off in one day you feel less stressed. My only problem with that is it's way organized and I'm a perfectionist. As a Virgo, it's in my nature, plus I seem to be a natural overachiever. I always bite off more than I can chew, and it seems I'm meeting more and more women in life and online who are the same way.

But just like Easter, sometimes we have to take a step back to renew and give ourselves a rebirth. (Haven't you noticed this trend with characters?) In order to do our best, we must be our best. And that means taking the stress away, so that we can manage it better. Whether that means curling up with a good book (including the good book), taking a springtime walk through your neighborhood or local park, hanging out for a day in your pjs, or curling up on the sofa with the phones off and munching some much deserved junk food...do it!! Just as Nike's catchphrase suggests people should just do it and strive for you best, also take it to mean that you have to do what you need. And sometimes we all need a mental and physical break. So be a kid for the day, Easter egg hunt til your hearts content, color eggs, eat chocloate bunny ears, do whatever makes you happy, because in life and love that's what you really should be striving for. Remember you've gotta love it!!

Happy Easter everyone!


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Monday, April 06, 2009

Guest - Devon Ellington

Good morning everyone! Today we have a terrific author visiting us - Devon Ellington. Devon's subject is one we haven't had on Star-Crossed Romance before and it's one I find utterly fascinating. But first, here's a little about her.

Devon Ellington publishes under a half a dozen names in both fiction and non-fiction. She writes the paranormal Jain Lazarus Adventures, released by FireDrakes Weyr. HEX BREAKER is currently available; OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK is set to release soon.. She’s written for the Llewellyn calendars and almanacs for fourteen years as Cerridwen Iris Shea on a variety of metaphysical topics.

Visit the Jain Lazarus website:
http://hexbreaker.devonellingtonwork.com for excerpts, purchase details, and two free stories,

and visit Devon’s blog on the writing life

Ink in My Coffee: http://devonellington.wordpress.com. For more tarot information, visit http://www.cerridwenscottage.com/tarot.html.

Oh, make sure you read all the way to Lynda Again section to see how you can qualify to win a special giveaway from Devon.

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Create a Tarot Reading for Your Character


Perhaps you’ve got a character in your book who either gets or gives a tarot reading. Contrary to popular ignorance, a true tarot reading is not “fortune telling”. It’s a genuine psychological tool and can reveal a great deal about both plot and character in your work. But how do you create a credible reading in the book?

Step One: Research. Tarot is a life-long journey; you’re probably on deadline. At least do a bit of genuine research and avoid the ignorant cliché of using the Death card for physical Death (unless your point is that the reader is a fraud or the murderer). You’ll lose readers. There are plenty of lousy tarot books out there, but the good ones include Gail Fairfield’s CHOICE-CENTERED TAROT and almost anything by Rachel Pollock. Metaphysical shops often have readers on staff – ask if you can talk to one of them, or, better yet, take a tarot workshop at the store. The same card can have a vastly different meaning depending upon where it appears in the spread and what cards are around it. Decide if you will use reversed cards in the reading or not, and which interpretation of reversals you want to use (opposite, block, delay, etc.)

Step Two: Decide the purpose of the reading. What do you want the reading to reveal? Does it foreshadow something that happens in the book? Or does it contradict something that happens? Is any misinterpretation involved in the reading, and how does that affect the next chapters in the book? Formulate a simple question that the querent (person getting the reading) asks in the book. As in a genuine reading, the question must be active, direct, and simple. No complex or compound sentences; no “and”, “but”, “however” or other such qualifiers.

Step Three: Decide which deck to use. There are hundreds of different decks. Meanings are not hard and fast (refer to Step One), and the artwork has a great deal to do with the meaning. Choose what you believe supports your book best. You don’t have to mention the deck by name in the book; if you do, check on the copyright and/or trademark rules relevant to the mention.

Step Four: Decide on the spread. Will you use a Celtic Cross spread, a Yes/No spread, a Body/Mind/Spirit spread, or one of the hundreds of others? Again, do the research and know the purpose of the reading.

Step Five: Normal readings start in the first position and work to the final position. For the purposes of your fictional reading, start in the final position – the “possible outcome” slot. Chose that card. And work your way backwards. Now, actually read the cards forward, look at the connective interpretations and placements, and adjust as necessary.

If you’re stuck in your actual writing, or you want to see what would come up if your character simply had a reading, of course you can focus on the character and the character’s question and just throw the cards or on a question you, as the writer, have in relation to the book. However, if you want it to fit the plot and drive the plot, it needs a more structure. Adding a legitimate reading to a book can add another level of depth and either shore up or contrast plot points in the book.

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Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington
A Jain Lazarus Adventure.

Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.

$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing:
http://www.firedrakesweyr.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_book_info&products_id=200&zenid=46346f40d59078889b7e04e5c3d40ea4

Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures: http://hexbreaker.devonellingtonwork.com




OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK
by Devon Ellington
A Jain Lazarus Adventure

Detective Wyatt East finds himself the primary suspect when hex breaker Jain Lazarus disappears after their romantic weekend in Vermont. In spite of the suspicions, Jain's boss, Maitland Stiles, hires Wyatt to track her down, forcing him to face aspects of his own painful past and revealing more about hers.

Saddled with two rebellious runaway paranormal teens, he's embroiled in a shapeshifter pack disagreement, and must learn to work with both a caustic dragon and a cantankerous mermaid to not only find Jain, but help her help an old friend who's in over his head. Wyatt learns he is not without psychic abilities of his own, although he prefers old-fashioned detective work.

Coming in late Spring of 2009 from FireDrakes Weyr Publishing (www.firedrakesweyr.com)

Visit the Jain Lazarus site: http://hexbreaker.devonellingtonwork.com

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- Lynda Again,

Devon has graciously offered a signed CD version of HEX BREAKER to one lucky reader who leaves a comment before Friday, April 10 so make sure you leave your name in your comment and check back to see if you've won. Good luck!

My Website: http://www.lyndakscott.com
My Blog: http://www.lyndakscott.blogspot.com
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Friday, April 03, 2009

Castle


I'm in serious like with a new TV show on ABC called CASTLE. When I first saw the promo short, I knew I'd have to give it a shot. Why? It stars Nathan Fillion from FIREFLY!
The show is only about 3 0r 4 episodes into it's season, but so far it's got me hooked.


So I decided to tell you the top 10 reasons I like (and you should watch) CASTLE:


1.Seeing sexy Nathan Fillion back on TV (without Firefly’s western wear).


2.Castle’s sarcastic wit and charm. (Gotta love that bait and hook!)


3.Castle and Det. Kate Beckett’s sexual tension (which likely wasn’t a happy accident).


4.Castle’s daughter is a fabulous secondary character (that taps into a younger generation of fans).


5.Castle’s mother (while a little overbearing) adds some comedic moments (as well as bringing in older viewers).


6.Who knew there were more crimes CSI and SVU hadn’t done?


7.Castle plots ahead to solve crimes just like us!


8.Castle is a single dad by choice, which is a fresh dynamic.


9.The endings have a huge BBM and a twisted cliffhanger!


10.Castle is a writer! (The genre doesn’t matter!) :0)


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