Monday, December 30, 2013

Book Feature: Always by Celia Juliano

The last place Vincente DeGrazia wants to be on Valentine’s Day is at a charity bachelor auction. But he participates to honor the memory of his mother, who died of heart disease when he was a teen. His grandpop, who took Vincente in after his parents’ deaths, pushes him onto the stage with the assurance that Vincente’s dream woman is out there. And when Vincente spots a woman in white—who wins the bid for him—he wonders if Grandpop is right.

Gina D’Angelo comes home to San Francisco with one plan—to save her family’s ailing business by uncovering the truth about the DeGrazias. But her plan goes up in flames when her attraction to Vincente burns out of control. After a night together, Gina and Vincente struggle to discover the truth about each other, and to solve the decades-long conflict between their families. As Vincente realizes he needs Gina in his life, Gina sees that Vincente isn’t the man she thought he was—and they’re ready to fight for their always, together.

Heat level: sensual, some graphic language and scenes

Vincente cringed at the sounds of whistling and screeching women. Tugging at his tux coat, he shrugged, trying to feel comfortable in this damn suit. He hadn’t even worn one at his own wedding.
“Your grandpop’s getting some reaction,” Joey D’Angelo said. He held the curtain to the stage open slightly to see out.
Vincente looked over Joey’s shoulder at Grandpop striding across the stage. The old man worked the room like a pro—which he was, a legend at charming women. It was a rippling bay of waving hands and red dresses out there. Even younger women were bidding on Grandpop. Vincente’d probably be greeted with silence. Just as well—then he could leave. Vincente tilted his head to the ceiling, praying for patience. Better yet, a way to get the hell out of this.
Joey let the curtain fall and turned to Vincente. “Hey,” Joey continued, a wide grin on his face. Women found Joey’s smile disarming but to Vincente it said: Better luck next time, buddy. “You’re up next.”
Vincente shook his head and stepped toward the exit. He shouldn’t have agreed to do this—he should’ve just donated a few hundred to the women’s heart health group instead of getting roped into doing a bachelor auction. But Grandpop and Uncle Enzo were right—his parents would want him to do it—to honor his mom’s memory and raise money so someday no one would go through what his parents had.
But for it to be on Valentine’s Day, his anniversary, no less. Throw the widower out there as a cheery Valentine’s date? Not that he was still grieving after five years. He rubbed his palms on his slacks.
“If I’m doing this, so are you,” Joey said, shoving him toward the backstage curtain. Joey’s mom, Sophia, was notorious for trying to set him—and Vincente—up on dates. She’d convinced Joey to participate tonight.
Vincente’s grandpop appeared from behind the curtain, his silver hair gleaming in the bright backlight, a broad smile on his face, his “I’m the most interesting man in the world” subtle swagger completing the picture. That guy in the beer commercial had nothing on Grandpop.
“I got them all warmed up for you,” Grandpop said. He patted Vincente’s shoulder with a vigorous smack.
“Isn’t one DeGrazia enough out there?” Vincente slid his hands over the sides of his short hair.
“There can never be enough DeGrazia. Can there be enough grace, eh? Besides, your dream woman is out there. Andiamo!” Grandpop waved his hands.
“Yeah, go!” Joey said with a shove on Vincente’s back.
“And here, ladies, we have Vincente DeGrazia,” the announcer, an old family friend, Paolo Francis, said as Vincente stepped out from behind the heavy gold and cream curtain onto the stage. “He’s the grandson of the fabulous gentleman we just met. Vincente, come on, don’t be shy,” he goaded and motioned for Vincente to walk forward.
Vincente should be bold and work the room, like Grandpop had, but that just wasn’t him. The gold and blue Venetian Room at the Fairmont was flamboyant enough. And Paolo, an old family friend, knew Vincente wasn’t flashy. Vincente could prank him later, but Paolo was already giving up his Valentine’s Day to do this, so he’d let it go.
“Vincente is, as you see, the strong, silent type. He’s thirty, works as foreman at DeGrazia Construction, and enjoys quiet nights by a fire…I bet he could start some fires, huh, ladies?”
Vincente shot Paolo a grimace. The dance floor in front of the stage was filled with women. Some sat at the cloth-covered tables dotting the room. A bar stood in a corner. He couldn’t wait to get another drink. He wasn’t usually a drinker, but tonight…
Hoots and catcalls rang out as Paolo waved his hands up and down. No luck on the silence. Vincente moved to the front of the stage. He stopped. In the mass of red gowns and raucous women, one caught his attention. He couldn’t tell if she was relaxed, bored, or what, but the way she leaned against a far wall in her low-cut white gown, a white feathered half-mask covering most of her face, intrigued him. 
Damn, she had a body on her—smooth olive skin, curves like the actresses of classic Hollywood, or some hot combination of Selma Hayek and Jennifer Lopez. He tugged at his collar and focused on the gold-damask-papered far wall, hoping to stop the blood coursing down to his lower half. Maybe Grandpop wasn’t just being a smart ass when he’d said Vincente’s dream woman was out there.

The excerpt got my attention.  How about yours?

Meet The Author

Celia Juliano learned to read at the age of two, beginning her lifetime love of books, especially those with a happily ever after. She grew up believing in fairies, angels, Santa Claus, and the true love of an Italian prince. Now she writes about everyday angels and Italian American well as other stories of relationships, minor miracles, and happy endings. A native Californian, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Celia loves to hear from readers--you can reach her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or her website,

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Writing Journey and Giveaway with Michele Drier

When I began writing The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles three years ago, I thought I had a good idea of who they were and where they were going.
Boy, have I been surprised!
The basic family and their main business—SNAP, a multimedia, international celebrity gossip conglomerate that has made them among the richest in the world—is still the backbone of the story. And Maxie Gwenoch, the regular hired to take over the magazine editions of SNAP, is in love with Jean-Louis, the dishy, metrosexual art director of SNAP and second-in-command of the Kandesky vampire family.
But in the six books—about to be seven—things have changed and the characters have led me down detours I never saw coming.
Maxie’s been threatened, kidnapped, beaten up. She’s been forced to leave L.A. and now leads a life of luxury in Europe. She’s picked up some of the vampire ways and has learned to read people. She’s an occasional donor to Jean-Louis. Still a regular, though, she cannot let Jean-Louis turn her.
Jean-Louis was married, once. His wife was killed because she was a vampire. In the last hundred years or so, he’s only casually dated, not willing to have his heart exposed and broken again. Until he net Maxie.
It’s been interesting to watch where these characters lead me. In the new book I’m writing, SNAP: White Nights, two more minor characters will take center stage, fall in love and go—I’m not sure where, I’ll just have to let them tell me.
I recently saw Janet Evanovich speak and she said she lives in the world of Stephanie Plum. She can’t wait to get back to that world every morning. I understand that. I hate to have the realies (dishes, laundry, bills) interfere with my time in the world of the Kandeskys. I mean, really, Maxie doesn’t do dishes or pick up after herself—she has staff...and, oh, the demons
Apparently, wherever the characters are taking me, readers are following. One fan, who reviewed SNAP: Happily Ever After? said, “Can't say this is her best, only because they are ALL wonderful. Her characters get under your skin and become family.”
Would you like to be part of a vampire family? One lucky commenter will receive an ebook copy of SNAP: Happily Ever After?


My satisfaction stayed until we were in front of Nik’s house. Jean-Louis was waiting outside. The joy of seeing him went out like a snuffed candle when I saw his expression. He was royally pissed and didn’t mind showing it in front of the demons.
He tilted his head at me, put his hand at the small of my back and steered me into the house. This wasn’t a gentle guide, he practically pushed me, hard enough that I bounced off the doorframe into the library.
“What are you doing...?” My voice raised an octave as I gathered steam for a snide comment.
“What in hell do you think you’re doing? I specifically told Taras to bring you directly to the house.” His voice was cold and his beautiful eyes were black with anger. His skin had paled so much I could see a vein throbbing above his left eyebrow and there was no hint of a glimmer. He was truly angry, which fed my own irritation.
“You told! Why do you do that to me? I’m trying to gain gravitas as the Vice President for International Planning and supervisor of these bureaus! How do you think it makes me look when you give these orders to my staff?”
Oops. Jean-Louis’ lips thinned and I could almost take his pulse from the throbbing vein. “Do you forget who you are, who I am? Your staff? I think not.” 
“All right. Yes, you’re my boss. You’re second in command of the Kandeskys. But you and the Baron put me in charge of this expansion and I have to have the supervision as well as the responsibility. If I give someone a task or an order, I need to know they’ll carry it out, not go running to you for permission!” My anger burned through any expectation of a happy homecoming, let alone hours of glorious sex.
“My permission? I’ve never stopped you from doing your job! I only step in when your hardheaded and reckless behavior threatens you or the family!”
Ok, the gloves were off. “The family...” I began, then something, a premonition, a memory, slowed my words so that my brain could catch up.
Jean-Louis looked at my mouth, opening and closing like a landed trout at the Baron’s river. “Yes? What about the family? I always put them first?”
He did. He did because if the family didn’t survive, we didn’t either. The family was the most important entity we all had. I couldn’t continue this.
“Please ask the house demon to bring my bags up. I’m going to bed. That is if I have a bedroom?”
He glared. “You do, for now.”


I didn’t pay much attention, just stomped up the stairs after the house demon, so when I finally closed the door and looked around, I saw I was stuck in a seldom-used guest room.
Was there some mistake? Or had I pissed Jean-Louis off so much that I was a step above a visiting know-nothing? I wasn’t tired, the plane trip from Budapest to Kiev was a short ride and I’d slept until three that afternoon. I was getting acclimated to the Kandesky timetable. It wasn’t enough that they owned the global empire of SNAP, were richer that most of the celebrities they covered and were doing business somewhere in the world twenty-four hours a day.
They were also vampires. Most of the upper echelons of the family, headed by Baron Kandesky, were some five-hundred-year-old Hungarian vampires, including Jean-Louis, the man I (usually) adored and Nik, the man whose house I was staying in.
Something was wrong. I hadn’t been assigned a maid, so had to unpack for myself. This never happened. First the glacial reception from Jean-Louis and the fight. Then assignment to a crummy room, topped off with no help. I’d left Budapest a few hours ago feeling on top of my world. A job I thrived on, a man I loved, living in splendor I’d not thought possible.
It was like diving off the 15 meter board into icy water...took my breath away and addled my consciousness. True, I’d pulled rank on Taras, pushed him to take me by the offices of SNAP first, caused a stir with the Huszar interns that had to be calmed down. But the demons didn’t have to shoot anyone, nobody was hurt and the Huszars were so clueless about civilized behavior that they weren’t even upset at Taras’ scolding.
No harm, no foul as far as I could see.

Meet The Author

Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home. During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series.
Her mystery series with newspaper editor Amy Hobbes, includes Edited for Death, called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review and Labeled for Death. Both are available in paperback and ebook format from on-line book sellers.
Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, is available in ebook, paperback and audible at ebook retailers. All have received “must read” reviews from the Paranormal Romance Guild. SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story and Danube: A Tale of Murder are available singly and in a boxed set at Amazon, B&N and Kobo. The fifth book, SNAP: Love for Blood, rated 5 stars, and SNAP: Happily Ever After? are available. She’s writing the seventh book in the series, SNAP: White Nights.

Where to Find Michele

Before you go make sure you leave Michele a comment with your email address and be entered to win a copy of SNAP: Happily Ever After.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Do You Believe In Santa? Krista Ames Shares Her Thoughts, Her Newest Book & A Giveaway

Do you believe in Santa?
Does your local post office have a Santa mailbox?  
If you have kids, do they write letters to Santa? 
Have you ever written your own letter to Santa?

As we grow into adults, we tend to change our view on Santa from believing in him to taking over the roll of playing Santa.  I can’t speak for my husband, but I look forward to shopping as ‘Santa’.  I usually only pick a couple gifts for each of my children and I even go as far as buying and hiding a special roll of wrapping paper and using it for the ‘Santa’ gifts only.  
Every year I encourage my kids to write their letter to Santa.  Of course, there is always a slight worry about what they will put in the letter because kids these days are getting smarter and the gifts are getting more expensive.  For that reason, I encourage them to write down several different ideas in hopes that I can hit at least one when I shop. If I could take it shopping with me that would be great and I try to peek while I’m encouraging the writing but our post office has a Santa mailbox so the letter gets sealed and they put them in the box themselves.  
I have to admit I’ve not written a letter myself as an adult but if my kids ever asked me to, I totally would.  
I can only hope that I can keep the dream alive as long as my kids believe.  I can’t remember much about getting excited about Santa as a kid but I can only imagine it’s as excited as I get keeping that dream alive for my kids.

Merry Christmas everyone !

Now About Krista's Newest Release 

Christmas is supposed to be a joyous time of year, but for Harper Donaldson it’s just another day. Orphaned at an early age, she doesn’t have a single good memory of Christmas.

But, when a Santa’s Mailbox mysteriously appears in the lobby of the post office where she works as postmistress, Harper wonders what it could hurt to send her own letter to Santa.

Could he bring her the family she’d always wanted?

Amazon (UK)
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All Romance eBooks

Link for Harper’s Wish on Goodreads:

Meet The Author

Born and raised in Northern Indiana, Krista now resides in Northern Lower Michigan.  She is married to a very supportive man who allows her to follow her true passion of writing and never complains when she is pirated away on her computer for hours.  He is excellent at bouncing ideas around with and even helps the occasional writers block.  He’s also a terrific “in house” editor.  Krista is also a mother of 4 ornery children who keep her plenty busy.  With an addition of 2 beautiful chocolate lab sisters and a playful kitty, there is never a dull or spare moment in her household.

Krista has always loved to read and would often sit up for hours into the night not able to put down a book until she was finished.  She still reads when she can but her main focus is creating her own stories to share with the world.

She loves to communicate with her readers so please feel free to drop her a line anytime.

Before you go make sure to leave Krista a comment and enter her giveaway.  Don't forget to visit the other stops on Krista's blog tour.

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Interview With Erotic Romance Author Berengaria Brown

Joining me today is erotic romance author Berengaria Brown, so sit back and enjoy the interview.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?  
My father taught me to read when I was very young, and I have always loved reading. One day I had no new books to read. None of my favorite authors had recently released a book and I didn’t feel like re-reading an old favorite. So I sat down and began to write a book. When it was finished, and sent to a publisher, I still didn’t have any new books to read, so I wrote another one, and another one, and another one. The rest, as they say, is history.

How long does it take you to write a book?  
I tend to write novellas, around 20-25,000 words, so about two weeks. But I don’t start writing until I have a clear idea of the characters and what will happen. The thinking process may be lightning quick, or it may take quite a while.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 
I travel a lot for the day job so I don’t have a writing space as such. My laptop goes everywhere I go and it’s all I need.

What do you think is the best way of publishing a book these days?  
The awesome news is that finally authors are free to choose. For many years an author sent a book to New York and waited up to two years to find out it had been rejected. And almost 99% were rejected. Then came digital books and epublishers. At that stage it only took a few months for acceptance or rejection and royalties were paid monthly or quarterly instead of annually. Now an author can indi publish her book and each author can choose what is best for her and that particular book. I have print, digital, and audio books, both with epublishers and indi published.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? 
Anywhere, everywhere. TV, newspapers, conversations, dreams, wild thoughts….

When did you write your first book?  
I think it was in the fifth grade. It was about best friends called Jenny and Geneveve. Fortunately it’s long ago been put in the trash. My first published book was April 2010, but because I sold books to three different publishers, which were accepted, I had three books release very close together.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?  
I have 115 published books but some of them are the same book in different formats: digital, print and audio. 
My favorite book is always the one I’m currently writing, because those characters are in my head, demanding I finish their story.

Can you tell me and your readers something about your main characters? 
Andorra, Kingston, and Raleigh were very demanding characters to write. Kingston is incredibly Dominant and powerful. He’s the Alpha of a werewolf pack and the CEO of a flourishing transportation company. Raleigh is his second in command and the one who keeps him grounded and brings him back to reality. But Raleigh is also a Dom.
Andorra is penniless and helpless in their hands, but her spirit is very strong and tough. No matter what happens, she remains undaunted and positive. She sees right through Kingston to the pain and hurt beneath his fa├žade, and she’s the perfect match for these two werewolves.

What do you think makes a good story? What are your favorite book genres in writing and reading? Why?
A good story has compelling characters and a fast-moving plot that drags me along so I can’t wait to find out what happens next. I was a reader for a long time before I became a writer. I read all genres and all heat levels but I like a smooth plot without a TSTL heroine and without weird unbelievable plot twists.

Now check out Berengaria's latest release from Siren Publishing

Andorra Yasbit’s father took off with a blonde bimbo and her stepmother closed their apartment. So Andorra hikes up a mountain and discovers a wonderful hot spring. The only problem is the werewolf who owns it is Master Kingston, who’s used to being pursued by gold digging women. And he has an equally Dominant best friend, Master Raleigh. They don’t believe she’s arrived by accident. 
The two men take Andorra to the dungeon, but instead of being scared Andorra revels in the punishment and orgasms. The men can’t find any evidence Andorra has been lying to them, but Master Kingston can’t bring himself to trust her either. And the more time they spend together, the stronger the attraction between the three of them grows. Kingston is determined to break her and prove she’s deceitful. Raleigh wants to believe her but owes his allegiance to his Alpha. What can Andorra do to demonstrate she’s telling the truth?
You can purchase Naked for Her Two Masters

You can find Berengaria at the following:

Friday, December 20, 2013

Balancing Life and Writing by Guest Author C.M. Michaels

Balancing life and writing 

Deciding to write a novel you intend to get published is on the same level as far as a time commitment as going back to school, working a second job, learning a foreign language or going to the gym seven days a week. And like those activities, in order to see it through to completion you need to make sacrifices and have tons of support. Some of the cuts are easy… scaling back on the TV viewing, doing a little less recreational reading. Others are far more impactful, like leaning on family members to pick up the slack on household chores and ensure no one starves to death. If you are not on a first name basis with your pizza delivery guy, you will be.   

Before I started writing Dangerous Waters I did all of the cooking, dishes, laundry and mowing for our family (along with regularly tackling items on the never ending “honey do” list, of course), while my wife handled the cleaning. Given my general adversity to cleaning, I thought I made out well in that deal. I also used to read / watch TV for 4-5 hours a night. What’s happened since launching my writing career? My better half has taken over doing all the dishes and cooks at least three times a week—pretty much any night we don’t order out. I watch 2-3 hours a week of TV at most, and have greatly curtailed my reading time as well, which I have to say has been the hardest part. The mowing has been hired out, and projects I started on the house years ago remain partly finished. Such is the life of a full-time employed writer.  

At the same time, it’s important to not let writing dominate your life completely. More than likely you still have a job to do that pays the bills, and spending quality time with your loved ones should always be top priority. I’m happy to say that, after seventeen years of marriage, my wife and I still go out on a date each week. Regardless of what writing deadlines I face that time is sacred. We also eat dinner together each night and look forward to cuddling up on the couch to watch our favorite shows. Your significant other will need to be your cheerleader, confidant, editor, test reader, voice of reason and drill sergeant during your writing journey. It’s easy to take them for granted if you aren’t careful. Force yourself to unplug regularly and show them how much their support means to you.

For Emily Waters, a nature-loving, small-town girl with an overprotective father, heading off to Boston University to study conservation biology is a dream come true—until a chance encounter catapults her into a mythical world she’d do anything to escape.

The latest victim in a rash of abductions near campus, Emily is brutally attacked before being rescued by a powerful new friend. She survives the ordeal, only to find herself held captive and presented with an impossible choice. While preparing for the unimaginable life she must now embrace clues soon emerge that Emily may not be entirely human, and her physical transformation awakens goddess-like powers that her new family cannot begin to explain. Dealing with her human first love, the not-so-platonic relationship with her coven “sister,” and her new vampire sort-of-boyfriend further complicates matters, not to mention being secretly hunted by the psychopaths who attacked her. And as the only known offspring of a once all-powerful race, the climactic battle is only the beginning of her journey.

Have Your Attention? Check Out This Excerpt

“Would you stop already?” Teresa grumbled, glaring at her ever-pacing brother. “No one’s following us. Relax.”

Travis finished scanning Beacon Street and ducked back into the alleyway. “God damn it! Do you ever listen? I told you we had to cool it for a while. What the hell were you thinking?”

“The bitch spilled her drink on me.”

He sighed and tiredly rubbed his eyes. Arguing with her was like trying to reason with a bratty three-year-old grabbing candy in a grocery checkout line. “So we’re homeless because someone accidentally got diet coke on your shirt?”

“Quit being such a queen,” Teresa said with a huff. “You know Stefan thinks of us as his kids, which is totally weird by the way. All he’ll do is make us listen to his rules again. If you wouldn’t have talked me into running, we’d probably be watching TV by now.”

“If Stefan and Alexander just wanted to talk, they would’ve waited until we got back, not raided our feeding room like a two-man S.W.A.T. team. This is serious, Terr. If they find us, they’re going to kill us.”

For the first time in as long as he could remember, his snarky, narcissistic sister looked vulnerable. She crossed her arms to conceal her jittery hands and looked into his eyes. “So what do we do? I’m not living on the street again, or in the skuzzy-ass hotels we used to stay in.”

Travis placed a comforting hand on his baby sister’s shoulder. “Things aren’t like they used to be, sis. Even you have to admit that Stefan taught us a hell of a lot. Once we get out of town, we can trance a bank manager and get all the money we need. I thought we’d head south—you always wanted to see Orlando.” 

Acting as if he hadn’t even spoken, Teresa shrugged off his hand and headed further down the dimly lit alley, veering around overflowing dumpsters and piles of loose garbage before slumping back against the brick wall behind her. “And what about the skank who started all this? We just leave her to her fairy-tale life, sipping wine in her mansion?”

Want to Read More?
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Meet The Author

C.M Michaels grew up in a small town in northern Michigan as the youngest child of a close-knit family of seven. He met his wife, Teresa, while attending Saginaw Valley State University. Together they’ve provided a loving home for several four-legged “kids”, including Sophie, their eternally young at heart, hopelessly spoiled Spaniel. 

He has always enjoyed writing, and still has fond memories of reading his first book, a children’s novella, to local grade schools when he was 14. Dangerous Waters, the first book in the Sisters in Blood series, is being published by Freya’s Bower on September 5th, 2013. C.M. is currently working on the second book in the Sisters in Blood series along with a Fantasy romance. 

When he’s not writing, C.M. can be found curled up with a good book, watching movies or hitting the hiking trails with his wife. An avid reader since discovering Jim Kjelgaard novels in early childhood, his favorite authors include Kelley Armstrong, Peter V. Brett, Richelle Mead, Rachel Caine, Cassandra Claire, J.R. Ward, Laini Taylor and Tessa Dawn. 

C.M. currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky.

Be sure you leave be sure to enter C.M. Michaels' contest. He will be awarding a $50 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. To increase your chances of winning be sure to visit the other stops on his tour. The other stops can be found here:

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Interview with Romance Author Beth Barany

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing romance author Beth Barany. So sit back, check out her interview and then learn more about her newest book.

Thanks Christina for having me on Happily Ever After to give a shout out about my new sweet paranormal romance novella, A Christmas Fling, and answer your fun questions.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
From at least age 7. I wrote stories with my younger siblings and even created an anthology my dad recently found in storage.

How long does it take you to write a book?
That depends on the length. My romance novellas take me about 6 months from start to finish, so far. I’d love to be faster! My YA fantasy takes me about 5-6 years! LOL I’ve accepted how slow each book takes me. I’m working on a 9 book series that may take me 2-3 years to plan. I hope I can write it quickly once I’ve done all the world building.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Gosh, I have no idea! Aren’t we all quirky? Maybe that I have so many interests. Not just romance, but fantasy too. Kick ass heroines on the one hand, and sweet romance on the other, could definitely be called a quirk!

What do you think is the best way of publishing a book these days?  
Self-pubbing, all the way! And, it’s whatever fits for you. Each way – self-publishing or traditional publishing or something in between – each have their pros and cons.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? 
Everywhere, and especially when I travel. 

When did you write your first book?
Does the one I wrote when I was 7 count? If not, I can say with certainty that I started my first book at age 30 and finished it at 35. Yeah, it took me a while.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love watching movies and TV shows, and reading or course, and traveling. And gardening, and doing the Brazilian martial art, capoeira, and hanging our with friends (not nearly often enough), and sleeping.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written 3 nonfiction books and 5 stories (3 novels and 2 novellas). Really, I can’t choose my favorite, because my favorite one if always the one I’m working on right now. And I’m working on a new sweet paranormal romance novella right now. So that’s my favorite! I also really love A Christmas Fling, and want to write my Christmas romances.

Can you tell me and your readers something about your main characters?
Dahlia is a vivacious happy elf who is also driven by ambition to succeed. She has a soft spot for children and pets, and men with dimples.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
As I’m just starting out in romance, I’ve heard the most from my early readers and they are saying so sweet things, like: (and giving me 5-star reviews!)

“A Christmas Fling is a fantastic tale of love coming at the most inopportune time...If you want a story filled with Christmas cheer and a warm, tender romance, this is the story for you.”  -- C.A. Malone

“I absolutely loved this book. It was a nice quick holiday read ... I have been reading some really crappy books lately and this one came right along and renewed my spirits.” -- Shawntay Fenyo

“I loved it, a sweet little Christmas story. A story to my taste and liking. Dahlia and Liam, at the end tears in my eyes, a happy ending.” -- Brigitte Stotzka

“Strong female lead, interesting love interest – fun characters throughout and a great setting make this a wonderful holiday read.” – Chelsey J Nichols

What do you think makes a good story? What are your favorite book genres in writing and reading? Why?
A good story is one that sucks you and makes you forget your life, for a while, and it also transforms you in the process. When you finish that book you’re no longer the same person you were when you started it. I’d love to be a writer like that, like Elizabeth Moon, Sharon Shinn, Richard Bach, Ellen Kushner, Madeleine L’Engle, Isaac Asimov, Nora Roberts, and Michael Connelly, to name a few. As you can see from this list, I favor fantasy, but also like romance and mystery. I like books that give me an escape and lead me to a happy ending.

Who are you favorite authors to read? 
Today? I like Elizabeth Moon, Sharon Shinn, and Dana Marton. I’m saving up for a few slow days so I can devour their books waiting for me in my Kindle and on my nightstand.

Where to find Beth

Now lets check out her new release.

She’s a Santa’s Elf. He’s a Human.
What if falling in love put the life you cherished in jeopardy?

Dahlia, a Santa’s Elf, has 21 days left before Christmas to create the best toy in the world without using magic or revealing her true identity. Stuck on how to complete the prototype, and working as a temp in San Francisco’s financial district with no time for love, will her innocent Christmas fling get her unstuck, or will she turn her back on her beloved career for her heart?

Liam, an up-and-coming financial analyst, swore off women after getting dumped by the love of his life. He just found out his ex is going to the company Christmas party with his rival Michael Hendricks. Up for promotion against Hendricks, Liam has to win the favor of his boss. His best bet is to invite the vivacious secretary Dahlia to the party. Will Dahlia be a welcome distraction, or will she turn his life upside down?


chapter 1
december 1, oakland, ca

Dahlia strolled through the small neighborhood park. It was great fun to think about how the children would enjoy her toy once she was done with it, but she had to complete it first. She only had twenty-two days to fix whatever was wrong with it before returning home. She’d gone over her designs and schematics and taken it apart and put it back together a dozen times, but it still wouldn’t work.
Dahlia left the park and headed down the street toward the detached studio she rented on Miles Avenue.
A dog bark had her look up just in time to almost but not quite avoid getting tangled up in a long leash. A man with the warmest brown eyes she’d ever seen gazed down at her, a half smile on his face.
She smiled back startled out of her daydreaming, but not before she noticed his endearing dimple on one side of his mouth.
She said, “Sorry, I didn’t see you. Thank goodness for your dog. Oh, she looks like a Husky.”
Dahlia shifted her bag to one hip, so she could bend down and pet the dog.
The dog wagged her tail.
Dahlia said, “You must feed her really well. Her coat is so soft and luscious.”
“She’s a Bernese Mountain Dog. Sally. My roommate’s.”
His voice was deep. She had to look up to smile into his deep brown eyes. He was a whole head taller than she was. Almost two meters. She translated into American measurements. Six foot three or something.
“My uncle, well one of my uncles has one—that he uses for work. But I hardly see him because he lives—” She paused. “I’m prattling, aren’t I?”
“Yes, you are, but I like listening to your accent. Scottish?”
“Yes, wow, you guessed correctly. Most people here can’t do that. Yeah, we’re from Scotland, but it’s been a few generations.” She couldn’t very well tell him how Santa’s elves lived a very long time. It had only been her grandparents that had immigrated with Uncle, known as Santa to most, and some neighbors to set up the North Pole.
“So, you’re in school here?” He waved off toward what she knew was the art college a few blocks away.
“No. I’m here on an independent research project for a few more weeks.”
“So you’re from—”
“Alaska. Well, near Alaska, anyway. I—I best be going,” she interrupted and gestured to her bag of goodies. She shifted from foot to foot on the corner of Miles and Clifton Streets, still tangled up in the Bernese’s leash. “Gifts to wrap. For the kids. Big project.” She gulped and held out her hand. “I’m Dahlia, by the way. Dahlia MacMillian.”
With a half-smile, he shook her offered hand. His grip was firm and strong. “Liam. Nice to meet you, Dahlia MacMillian.” He led the dog around her, slowly untangling the leash.
How he moved with grace and power, even in his simple gestures. He was tall, lean and muscular, broad shoulders identifiable even in his sweatshirt with the UC Berkeley name and logo on it.
“There we go, Sally,” Liam said, his voice a rumbling, soothing cascade.
Sally licked Dahlia’s hand, bringing her out of her staring. She gulped and felt the heat of a blush creep up her neck and onto her cheeks. Dahlia stroked the soft fur to cover her embarrassment. It had been a long time since she’d felt attracted to anyone. Everyone she’d dated at the Pole was so familiar to her, and mostly related. She didn’t have time for a distraction.
She looked up when she heard Liam chuckling. He was shaking his head.
“What?” She couldn’t help but ask.
He shrugged. “I guess I should run into girls more often with my roommate’s dog. I didn’t realize it could be such a pleasant experience.”
“You must not walk her very often then.” Oh my, she was flirting. The Elf boys back home never brought that out of her. She felt her pale skin flush. Och, yes, this was a man, she thought. “Thank you, then. For the pleasant experience. And the untangling.”
“You’re welcome.” Liam said to her, smiling, that one dimple showing again. Then he spoke to the dog. “Come on Sally. Let’s finish your walk, so we can go watch the game.”
Dahlia waved good-bye and turned to go down the street and head for her apartment. But first she had to watch Liam walk away. He fit nicely into his jeans. For a moment, a pang of wistfulness washed through her. She shook her. She had other things to focus on, like completing her toy on time so she could get her Master Elf badge, and even win the Grand Prize.
She was sure she’d be able to make progress on her toy tonight. Maybe it was something about meeting a happy dog and tall brown-eyed man that made her feel hopeful. Yes, she would get her toy done in time.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Worlds Away: How do paranormals differ from traditional romances?

Please welcome Erin Moore to the blog today!

Worlds Away: How do paranormals differ from traditional romances?
 (And why are they still so popular?)

Admittedly, when Christina asked me to write about world-building in my paranormal romance novellas, I really had to ponder what that meant. Was my world-building any different from say, a “normal” romance? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the rules for paranormal world-building really are not so very different from traditional romances. Despite the multitude of different types of paranormal creatures (shifters, witches, vamps, weres, demons, elves, name your favorite), the only hard and fast rule for paranormals is: consistency.  If your magician is only able to use magic in the daylight, then he/she can’t then suddenly use it at night when needed  (unless, of course, she suddenly finds a new element which allows her to…). 
Obviously, where paranormal romances differ from traditional is the addition of some sort of supernatural/otherworldly creatures, abilities, or powers. And here is also where being consistent in developing rules within a specific world is so important – if you are going to use a stereotype (say, vampires will perish in the daylight), then you have to very clear as to why your vampires are different or the reader will be disappointed (see Twilight). But this is also what makes your vampire so intriguing – we do want a different “take” on the same story. 
For me, I am a “bottom-up” writer, in that my characters and their flaws/powers/abilities developed first, and then I created the world around them. For instance, in Kissed by Moonlight, the story of Morgane and Aelric as star-crossed members of opposing and very different werewolf/shifter clans came to me before I envisioned them in contemporary Budapest. I then started to think about what it would mean for ancient clans of werewolves and shifters to have survived for so long in an urban setting – what that would mean for both my characters and the humans around them. But the story between the two lovers was still the main focus. In my second novella, The Shaman’s Temptation, the idea of a shamanic shape-shifter came to me before I found him in Arizona, fighting against his feelings for a beautiful bank analyst. 
The opposite of this type of world-building is a more macro level, i.e. “top-down”, where the created world is imagined first, including powers of all of its inhabitants, language, culture, etc., and then it is peopled with characters (think Lord of the Rings). I personally couldn’t work this way, but it is probably very helpful for urban fantasy and epic fantasy writers to detail more of these aspects first. And, admittedly, it is always helpful to have a complete grasp of who/what/where/when/why in the character’s world before imbuing them with language. 
Why does any of this matter for the reader? What do we care about a macro versus micro approach to writing? Or why would a reader even pick up a paranormal romance over a traditional? It must be more than mere escapism that brings us to these (usually) darker and edgier stories. What is it that we are seeking out with our werewolves and vampires?
The reader wants to be inescapably drawn into the world the author has created, sure. The worlds these characters inhabit resemble our own in many respects, but with changes, of course -- the creatures that inhabit them can do extraordinary things, including living forever, in some cases. Why does that appeal to us? Yes, we want to escape, to be a part of this world the author has created. But we also want to see that the characters can overcome their darkness in order to find love, that the boundaries set by their species can be surmounted (or not, in some cases) by the enduring power of another being’s love. It is the age-old story of transformation or rebirth that is so integral to all human cultures: we want to be given a second chance for our earlier actions. And this is what paranormals offer us, regardless of how that world is built: a chance to live in a different world, where our choices matter deeply and we can find redemption.  And no one asks us to cook dinner. 
Now, time to go fold that laundry…

Thanks for having me, Christina! Love to hear thoughts! 

Thank you so much Erin for you thoughts.  Now lets take a look at your newest release.

A Shaman’s temptation could be the undoing of his people…
Madeleine Greenway, perfectionist and analyst for Surety Bank, has no place in her rigidly organized life for something as unpredictable as a man, much less a Native American shaman. Sent to the White Mountain reservation to help the tribe finance its new casino, she meets Tak, a proud, beautiful Apache, and finds herself surrounded by something magical in the Arizona desert. His touch becomes a passport to otherworldly bliss, and the strange coyote she sees makes her question what’s real. But it’s the amazing sex with Tak that makes Madeleine lose sight of her goal—to guarantee that Surety Bank’s investment in the casino won’t fail.

Last in a long line of shaman shape-shifters, Tak Nah-Kah-Yen has sworn a vow of celibacy to his gods. But Madeleine’s lithe body and honeyed lips compel him to forswear his pledge, claiming her for his own. His passion for her overshadows his link to his gods at a time when he most needs their help. Desperate to find funding for the casino and lift his people out of poverty, he’d accepted start-up money from less than savory sources who are willing to kill to guarantee their profit—the profit Madeleine’s bank jeopardizes…