Monday, January 31, 2011

Meet Author Maureen O. Betita today at the Book Boost.

Here's what she had to say...


I’m a Product of the Genre Laboratories


I’ve worked a lot as a bookseller, in bookstores. I began at Little Professor Books, a franchise that has long been gone. Then I worked at Tower Books, followed by Scribners Bookseller. I spent a few years at a metaphysical bookstore and my last stint was at a small independent store that is presently on its last legs.


I always enjoyed the job. The perks were great, generally involving ‘take a book home and read it, bring it back and help sell it’ and a deep discount for books I chose to make mine. Plus those ARCs. (I still have some very nice ARCs, btw. First three Kim Harrisons, for example. Any bids?)


Customers weren’t always the favorite part of the job, but as the technology grew easier to help even the most difficult customer. (I can remember trying to find books with little more than the book cover color to go by. And the word love in the title.) Researching titles with little more than tiny plot elements became easier and easier as the technology improved.


What became more and more difficult through the years was stocking every title correctly. Honestly, where does Kim Harrison go? I remember shelving her in mystery, but I argued with a store manager that the books could be in romance, fantasy, science fiction… (we had no separate paranormal section.) I remember the same struggle with Laurell K. Hamilton.


As the lines between genres grew more and more blurry, it got harder. It is true that a great many books come with the genre provided on the cover. One the publisher provides. Or it’s on the inventory list. But they don’t always get it right. And depending on what the bookstore specializes in, or where it has room…especially the independents, things get blurry.


And where do new genres go? In a standard bookstore, where would you stock steampunk? Is it fantasy? Science Fiction? Or when dealing with something like Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate, romance?


Take my word for it, it isn’t always easy!


I was put in charge of romance in one of the stores I worked at. And I fought to include titles that danced in the shadows between genres. I was trying desperately to fill the romance shelves with something other than the obvious and stereotypical titles.


One of the large independents in the county I live in now stocks virtually no romance. At least not if you go by what they shelf in their romance sections. But I can wander through the mystery sections, the fantasy sections, the science fiction, horror, suspense, general fiction sections and find many authors I would call romance.


Which leads me to the genre I write. As I began to consider writing a professional calling, I matter-of-factly told my first writing teacher, at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, that I wrote adventure.


Oops. There really is no genre called adventure. There is male adventure. Or there was at several of the stores I called home at one time or another. Or military fiction they sometimes called it.


But I considered what I wrote more along the lines of Robin Hood, or Tarzan of the Apes. I mentioned to the teacher that the heroine was a witch when she asked for more detail.


“Oh, you write paranormal!” she said.


I frowned. “Not exactly. I mean, she’s a witch but it’s not like it defines the whole book.”


(I never really won this argument, one way or the other. I considered it this way. If your lead plays basketball, then it isn’t necessarily a sports story, so why would her being a witch see the story called a paranormal?)


“She falls in love with a pirate.” I added.


“Then it’s a paranormal romance. Or a historical.”


Again, I frowned. “No, not historical. I mean she travels through time, but…”


“Then it’s a time travel romance.”


Sigh.


“No, the only bit of time travel is her arrival. And it isn’t the historical pirate era, magic is real in this world…but it’s not our world. It’s an alternate world.”


“Fantasy!”


“And her magic comes from sexual energy.”


“Oh, it’s an erotic romance…”


Argh!


Hi, I’m Maureen O. Betita, and after crawling out of the experimental laboratories of the genre research centers, I decided to start my own genre. I write piratepunk. I also believe strongly in older romantic couples. I write Silverton books. (Silverton = those who come by silver in their hair through age and experience.)


Why can’t I invent my own genre? That’s how I look at it. Agents will call it one thing, publishers another, distributors another, readers (hopefully) another. I call it piratepunk with Silverton leads. When I’m not writing straight science fiction romance or erotica…or fantasy…


My head hurts.


A Note from the Book Boost: As a writer of just about every genre under the sun (but no pirate punk as of yet), I can totally relate to your story. Thanks for sharing your experience through the years and the way genres continue to grow and meld together. Please tell us more about your story.


Blurb:

Treated by our youth oriented society as invisible and sexless Emily Pawes attends a pirate festival to recapture the make believe magic she knew as a younger woman. She wins an interesting bit of booty at an old woman's bric-a-brac stand. The Kraken's mirror is a magical portal and transports her to a land of Hollywood piratitude, where swashbuckling heroes own iPods. With little choice, she embraces the madness, deciding she’ll play pirate until she figures out how to get home. Or wakes up in a padded cell.


Instead of men in little white coats, she encounters the handsome Captain Alan Silvestri. He is a man haunted by a strange curse. Good luck is his to command, but it comes at the cost of any place to call home or people to call family. Resigned to die shunned by all, forced to sail every three days, he begins to dream of a special woman.


When they meet, sparks fly, passion flares. He needs her to be free, but more than that, he needs her to be whole. They set sail, uncertain of who has control of the wheel, seeking to defeat his curse of good luck and discover all the Kraken’s mirror plans for them.


Excerpt:

The enigmatic woman turned away from him, chuckling.


“Oh, relishing the clich├ęs. I’m…Pawes. Call me Pawes.” She held out a hand, moving it side to side as if searching for him.


“Ah, women do like to take their time.” He pressed a quick kiss on her knuckles and slowly released her.


He detected a slight hesitation before she nodded. “Yes. While men generally are in a hurry.”

She turned her face toward him. “And you?”


“Call me Alan, Miss Pawes.”


“No, Pawes or Mrs. Pawes if you like, please.” Drawing a deep breath, she tried to focus on him, then winced, closing her eyes tightly. “You were behind me. Why didn’t it hit you?”


“Because I was behind you, but I turned my face away in time. Let me escort you somewhere quiet and buy you a drink.”


“Are your intentions honorable?” Her head tilted.


“Of course not, but not actually dishonorable. I promise to warn you if driven to some despicable bit of deviltry.” He must have impressed her, because a smile danced across her face, that upward turn of her lips to the left exactly as he remembered from his dreams. He wondered if the rest of the details were the same.




Want More Maureen?

Visit her website here: www.maureenobetita.com

Pick up your copy of her book today. Click here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Finding the Write Time with Guest Blogger Tracy Ranson

Meet historical romance author Tracy Ranson today at the Book Boost!

Here's what she had to say...

All of us in our own ways have hindrances to our writing. Some may be the DREADED DAY JOB while others it could be family, children, issues… etc. Ever wonder how Lori Foster, Nora Roberts and Angela Knight manage to turn out so many great books in a year? I know I did until some gracious authors clued me into their secrets. It’s all about time management and having a game plan. Even if you only have an hour a day to write, you can still use your time effectively and wisely! Here are some tips:


1.) Keep a small notepad handy wherever you are to jot down ideas. This is great and I keep mine with me at all times (and I do mean ALL times) so I can do my own version of shorthand to get the ideas down.

2.) Work up a small outline on this pad to get general ideas of your characters and plot outline and such. It will help during the writing process.

3.) Get to know your characters and give them quirks to add more dimension. Such as this character snaps their fingers when they’re nervous or angry or maybe the heroine bats her eyes when she sees a man, etc.

4.) This is my secret: I write between 7-9 each night and everyone in the house knows not to bother me unless anything is bleeding or hanging at a funny angle. I know I don’t have children and that isn’t always possible but if you have an understanding spouse/partner, they should understand and help you out.

5.) Write, write, write!!!


In order to make your dreams come true, you must be persistent!! That’s the key. Success is 1% talent and 99% perseverance. You can only improve yourself if you keep writing and learning!


To quote a very successful business man who happens to be working with my husband, I’ll just say: “If the dream is big enough, the facts don’t matter”—Dexter Yager.


A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for sharing your writing tips and routines with us, Tracy. Please tell us more about your book.


Blurb:

After being kidnapped, shrewd business woman Tess McLeod awakens in a brothel room ready to be sold at a "virgin auction." She refuses to comply with the brothel, especially when that leaves her inheritance, McLeod Shipping, in the hands of her abductor and late father’s business partner, "Mad" Jack Anderson.

To avoid a scandal, Duke William Knightly of Devenleigh, the head of Riverlark Shipping, follows his frivolous, carefree brothers to the brothel auction to take them home. He doesn’t plan to make a purchase, but when Tess is brought to the dais, his conscience tells him to save her. But it's only after he pays for her that he discovers the mysterious woman is a threat to everything he knows, including his heart.





Want More Tracy?


Visit her website here: http://www.tracylranson.com/
Or her blog here: http://tracylranson.com/blog/

Pick up your copy of her book today. Click here!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Get the Write Motivation with Guest Blogger Lynn Crain















Chat with Extasy Books author Lynn Crain today at the Book Boost and get motivated!


Here's what she had to say...


Some days it is hard to motivate the writer in me. There are days when I just don’t want to do anything for a variety of reasons. Some are allergy days which can occur almost any time for me but mainly during the spring and fall. On those days, I have absolutely zero motivatation and no desire to get any.


But for any writer to make money, one has to stay motivated and at the top of their game. So, I decided to look at some of the other things which fill this void when I need a good kick in the pants. I’ll be honest, there are lots of them but for today, I’ll only look at two of the things which motivate me to be a better writer as well as to just write every day.


The first I want to touch on is TV. Now this one can be a blessing or a curse and every writer knows this. But those also in the curse column would be email, blogs and the internet as they can pull you off task very easy. For me, I decided to start recording all my shows to watch during some down time. And I have a long list of shows. Right now the ones I watch regularly are Sanctuary, Stargate Universe, House, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Fringe. These are all my very, very favorites and if just one of them doesn’t happen during a week I feel deprived.


From each I get something. From Sanctuary, I get my oddity fix as it is about a group who offers a haven for those who are different. From Stargate Universe, I get my space fix as I really have a thing for roaming the universe as well as all things Stargate. From House, I get my irreverence fix. From Private Practice, I get my doctor/patient fix. From Grey’s Anatomy, I get my adrenaline rush. And from Fringe, well, let’s just say that Fringe is one of those series which get under your skin almost immediately because it is so off, it’s fantastic. And now with it’s alternate universe thing...OMG! Sigh.


Yeah…I love my TV…I know you’re wondering just how does that help me as a writer? Well, every time I watch one of those different shows, I get something for a book I’m writing. Stargate, Sanctuary and Fringe constantly give me ideas and various different things for the sci-fi books I so love to do. In the others, I find something for the contemporary works I do.


Another one of my motivators is music. Believe me, I listen to a gamut of different sounds. One on my favorite is movie themes. Many times a specific scene is brought to mind by the music and many times that scene is exactly what I need to spur the creative juices to flow. I also like soft jazz and Celtic music. My iTunes has so many songs on it that I can listen for at least 5 full days before I would need to buy something new. And everyone of the songs there gives me something new every time I listen to it.


All these things can move me to write more and better stories. What motivates you to become the best you can be?


A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for joining us today, Lynn. Good to have you back at the Boost! I enjoy most of the same shows that you like but my favorite of all the ones you mentioned would have to be Fringe. How amazing is the writing in that show? Sigh. Now, back to your book. Please share more with us on your writing.


Blurb:

Maggie Grey had wanted to be a doctor all her life. She achieved her dream along with her husband, Justin. Together they planned to build a clinic on his ancestral home on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. But women doctors in the year 1882 didn't have many options and even fewer if they were widowed like she had been recently. Arriving in England to visit Elizabeth Blackwell, founder of the London Medical School for Woman, she is discouraged to find that the only real health care on the remote Isle of Skye will be herself, a few aging doctors as well as veterinary doctors.


But she must build a clinic there to escape her memories and fulfill her late husband's dream. Maggie goes by train and boat to the rather bleak Isle of Skye. The island is almost as barren as she feels and she isn't sure if she can even fit in. Add the fact that her dead husband is haunting her with the request for her to fall in love again and she knows she's losing her mind.



But the people of Skye need her…and she is determined not to let them down...but they are slow to accept a widowed woman doctor. Now if she were married again…that would be a different matter…and her dead husband, Justin, knows just the right man for the job, Conall MacGryman, his childhood friend and cousin, a veterinary for the island. Now all Justin has to do is to convince Maggie to give the man a chance so she can fall in love again…for both their sakes.




Want More Lynn?

Visit her website here: http://www.lynncrain.com/

Or her blog here: http://www.lynncrain.blogspot.com/

Pick up a copy of her book today. Click here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Book Boost Blogger of the Year Nominee: Lynda K. Scott


Enter to win the 2010 Book Boost Prize Bundle & meet our next Blogger of the Year Award Nominee!


We are back with the last of our carefully selected FIVE guest bloggers from 2010 nominated for the First Annual Book Boost Blogger of the Year Award!


The final nominee is fantasy & futuristic fiction author Lynda K. Scott who joins us today to discuss her nominated book Heartstone.


Recently, I had the honor of reading this book from Lynda and here's my take on it...

Lynda Scott is the master of creating a world that will simultaneously thrill you and captivate your heart. This epic science fiction, fantasy is full of action and adventure with a healthy dose of passion and romance thrown in...making it sure to please all audiences.

The story is written like a legend of ancient times yet will catapult you into a fantasy fiction realm that hurls the reader through space and time page after page.

Both hero and heroine are searching for the Heartstone but they find so much more than that. Over-all, I highly enjoyed this book and I enthusiastically recommend it to you. **Please note: This review was not written under the mischievous mind control of the evil Gawan.**


---------------


Here’s more about Heartstone:


Eric d'Ebrur is out of time. He must find the legendary Heartstone and fulfill the ancient Gar'Ja bond he shares with the Stonebearer.


But when he finds her, he discovers that love can be more dangerous than the Gawan threat. Eric can defeat the mind-controlling Gawan but will it cost him the woman he loves?


After terrifying episodes of hypersensitivity, Keriam Norton thinks she's losing her mind. When handsome shapeshifter Eric d'Ebrur saves her from the monstrous Gawan, she's sure of it. But insane or not, she'll find the Heartstone and, if she's lucky, a love to last a lifetime.





Recently, I chatted with Lynda and here's what she had to say...


TBB: What was the most difficult aspect of this book (the creation, writing, achieving publication, sales/promotion, etc…)?


LS: The most difficult aspect was achieving publication. The market is so tight and the economy so poor that publishers are often reluctant to spend any time on a project they aren’t sure will make a profit for them. I’m delighted that they thought highly enough of Heartstone that they offered me a contract for it.


TBB: Is there a message in your book that you hope readers will hear?


LS: Love is the source of strength.


TBB: How long did it take you to write this book?


LS: It took nearly two years to finish Heartstone.


TBB: Give me one quote (from yourself) about being a writer.


LS: "Writing is done little by little…as the cat eats the fish."


TBB: Who, in your life, is your biggest source of inspiration and why?


LS: My alien kitten, Wookie, says she is and I choose not to argue with her.


TBB: What is your favorite breakfast food?


LS: Sausage gravy with biscuits (yes, I’m a country girl).


TBB: Name of the first boy you ever kissed.


LS: Johnny.


TBB: If someone wrote a biography about you, what should the title be?


LS: Tales from Out There


TBB: Thanks for joining us at the Book Boost, Lynda and best of luck with this nomination and your future writing!


My best,
Kerri Nelson
Owner, The Book Boost


Want More?

Be sure to visit Lynda at her website here:
http://www.lyndakscott.com/

And pick up your own copy of Heartstone.
Click here.



Contest Time:


DON'T Forget to come back on February 4th when VOTING will commence for your choice of Book Boost Blogger of the Year!


AND everyone who comments on any of the 5 nominee blog posts will be entered to win the HUGE 2010 Book Boost Prize Bundle! Every comment counts as 1 entry! So, visit and comment often for more chances to win.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Meet a Werewolf Hunter with Guest Blogger: Sandra Cox



Win a Starbucks gift card, a protective cross necklace and a print copy of Moon Watchers! Find out how today at the Book Boost!


Author Sandra Cox is here to interview her character Jolene Sayer from her new book Moon Watchers!


Here's what they had to say...


Interviewer: “With us today is Jolene Sayer. Welcome Jolene.”


Jolene: “Thanks for having me.”


Interviewer: “Jolene, is it true you’re a Werewolf Hunter?”


Jolene: “Yes.”


Interviewer: “Why ever did you pick such an unusual occupation?”


Jolene: “You might say it’s the family business. My dad has been hunting for over thirty years. Besides, someone has to do it.”


Interviewer: “How do you kill a Werewolf?”


Jolene: “We call them Weres. As far as how to kill them: behead them or destroy the heart, preferably with silver.”


Interviewer: “You seem young to be a hunter.”


Jolene: “I’m eighteen.”


Interviewer: “Are you afraid of being bitten?”


Jolene: “Of course.”


Interviewer: “What would happen if you were?”


Jolene: “I’d expect my father or someone near and dear to put a silver bullet through my heart before I turned.”


Interviewer: “That seems rather extreme.”


Jolene: “Better than howling at the moon and drooling.”


Interviewer: “Speaking of howling at the moon, is it true there’s an unprecedented three full moons this month?”


Jolene sighs heavily. “Yes, unfortunately. The third moon is the crimson moon. If a Were can remove the beating heart of a hunter on that night, he’ll be invincible.”


Interviewer shivers. “Doesn’t that put you in danger?”


Jolene replies dryly: “You could say that.”


Interviewer clears her throat: “Well. I hear you’ve been spending a lot of time with Braden Knight. He’s quite a hottie.”


Jolene blushes: “Yes, I guess I have…and yes, he is.”


Interviewer: “I’ve heard rumors that he’s a vampire. Surely, that’s not true.”


Jolene coughs then gives an artificial laugh: “How absurd a vampire and a werewolf hunter.”


Interviewer: “Yes, I guess you’re right. Well thanks for joining us today.”

She turns to her audience. “Folks, that was werewolf hunter Jolene Sayer. Keep an eye out for her. I’ve got a feeling you’ll be seeing a whole lot more of her.”


A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for joining us today, Sandra and Jolene. The new book sounds like a howling good time! Can't wait to hear more about it.


Blurb:

Being a Werewolf hunter leaves little time for estrogen or emotion.

Why do I say this? Because I’m currently in a very odd situation, odder than normal.

My name is Jolene Sayer. I’ve hunted Were’s with my father since I was thirteen. He’s a good dad, just a bit distracted. His first and foremost responsibility, as he see’s it, is hunting Were’s. Same goes for me.

Some people think being a Were hunter is weird. For me it’s perfectly normal. What I see as odd is my attraction to the hunkalicious Braden Knight. Why? I think he’s a vampire.


Excerpt:

As the full moon rose above the leafless black trees, an eerie howl shattered the night. I rubbed the goose bumps on my arms and felt the hair on my neck rise. Moonlight fell in shadowy patches across the living room floor of the cottage I’d inherited on my eighteenth birthday, last week to be exact.


Dad’s in Europe, tracking down a tip he got on a Weres pack. That’s how I’ve come to be alone deep in the forests of Minnesota where there is considerable werewolf activity.


I’ve hunted Weres since I was thirteen, but this is the first time I’ve been completely on my own.


A branched tapped against the window. I jumped then shook my head at my nerves.

“Geez.” When my heart settled down, I leaned forward and peered out the window. My hand tightened on the long silver knife at my waist. Nothing moved outside. “Get a grip, Jo.”


I took a deep breath and started toward the kitchen. The tapping came again, this time louder. I whirled. It wasn’t the window, it was the door. Someone or something was on the other side.


My legs stiff, my knees locked, I took one slow step after another. My hand wrapped around the knife and tightened till my knuckles turned white. Who could be out at--I glanced at my watch-- ten at night in an isolated corner of the north. I crept through the living room into the tiny foyer.


I took a deep breath and cleared my mind, the way dad taught me. Nerves left me. The cold logic of the warrior set in. Making sure the chain was in place, I cracked the door, ready to slice anything too close to the opening.


“Hello, Jolene.”



Want More Sandra?

Visit her website here: http://sandracox1.com/

And her blog here: http://sandracox.blogspot.com/

Pick up your copy of Moon Watchers today! Click here.


Contest time:

For the opportunity to win a print copy of Moon Watchers, a Starbucks gift certificate and a necklace with protective cross, blood drop stone and a star just leave a comment at: www.downtownya.blogspot.com and mention Moon Watchers.

The drawing runs from Jan 15 – Feb 2. The drawing will be held Feb 5.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Book Boost Blogger of the Year Nominee: Kate Richards














Enter to win the 2010 Book Boost Prize Bundle & meet our next Blogger of the Year Award Nominee!


We are back with the next of our carefully selected FIVE guest bloggers from 2010 nominated for the First Annual Book Boost Blogger of the Year Award!


The next nominee is erotic romance author Kate Richards who joins us today to discuss her nominated book Finally, My Love.


Recently, I had the honor of reading this novella from Kate and here's my take on it...


THE BOOK:


This is the debut erotic short story from author Kate Richards. I felt immediately interested in the outcome of this passionate duo and only wanted to find out more about their past and their plans for the future. I hope to meet them again soon in another adventure.

This book is a fast paced, passionate book about finding true love on the Internet and what happens with a cyber couple finally come face to face.

In this day and age of cyber romance and online dating, it is nice to see a story which depicts a happy outcome.


THE AUTHOR:

Kate Richards has a talent for making you laugh even in the most sensual of scenes. I appreciate her attention to detail and her kissing scene descriptions were well done. I’d love to request the story of this couple leading up to the big meeting (hint, hint).


---------------


Here’s more about Finally, My Love:




Amelia Staker meets her Internet lover, John Quincy, for the first time in the flesh. After a year of seeing John only through webcam, she's ready to show him a good time.

Without a moment to waste, Amelia is prepared for two weeks with John—alone, with no computer screens between them—until the elevator puts a hold on those plans.

Stuck in a darkened cab, their imaginations run hotter than their online trysts.
Can this romance translate into a permanent future? Or will she send him packing?



Recently, I chatted with Kate and here's what she had to say...



TBB: How did you come up with the idea for this book?

KR: Oh this is an easy one. The airport scene is pretty darn close to the day I picked up my then online sweetie now husband nearly ten years ago.


TBB: Is there a message in your book that you hope readers will really get?

KR: Yes, it’s the first of my internet romance series, and I believe you can meet your true love anywhere.


TBB: What is your top writing career goal?

KR: I would love to make a living from my books. But I’ll settle for a full novel in print.


TBB: Give me one quote (from yourself/by yourself) about being a writer.

KR: "Cupcakes and champagne are mandatory on release days!"


TBB: Who, in your life, is your biggest source of inspiration and why?

KR: I’m very lucky to have to pause on this. There are so many. If I had to pick one today, it would have to be My friends Olga and Andre, an older couple who no matter what are always kind and cheerful…and who raise guide dogs for the blind. I wish I could be half as good as they are.


TBB: What song lyrics get stuck in your head most often?

KR: Moonshadows (and other moon songs for some reason).


TBB: Name of the first boy you ever kissed.

KR: Anthony


TBB: If someone wrote a biography about you, what should the title be?

KR: This one is incredibly hard! Waves and Sage: The beachy high deserty life of an author.



TBB: Thanks for joining us at the Book Boost, Kate and best of luck with this nomination and your future writing!


My best,
Kerri Nelson
Owner, The Book Boost



Want More?

Be sure to visit Kate at her blog here:
http://katerichardsshortstories.blogspot.com/?zx=38fe3cff887e4038

And pick up your own copy of Finally, My Love.
Click here.



Contest Time
:


DON'T Forget to come back on February 4th when VOTING will commence for your choice of Book Boost Blogger of the Year!


AND everyone who comments on any of the 5 nominee blog posts will be entered to win the HUGE 2010 Book Boost Prize Bundle! Every comment counts as 1 entry! So, visit and comment often for more chances to win.


See you again on January 26th (next Wednesday) for our final nominee, Lynda K. Scott!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ask and Editor Day with Guest Blogger Kathy Cottrell


Meet Wild Rose Press editor Kathy Cottrell and read what qualities are on her Editor's Wish List.


Here's what she had to say...


The High Concept

I spent a very long time trying to figure this one out, attending every editor/agent roundtable available, asking for examples. Nada. Until I heard agent Jessica Faust speak at the New England Romance Writers conference and a light bulb went off inside my brain: The high concept, in a very few sentences, sums up the crux of the story. Here are some 'ah ha' examples I have found at www.RTBookreviews.com:

Julia Knight's fantasy romance, Ilfayne's Bane, [Samhain Publishing, Ltd.]: “He destroyed a continent. Dethroned a god. Now she will destroy him.”

Monica Burns' historical erotic romance, Mirage, [also Samhain].: “An ancient prophecy. A sheikh's passion. One woman ignites the flame that fulfills them both.”

Irene Hannon's contemporary romantic suspense, Fatal Judgment, [Revell Books]: “Jake Taylor's assignment is straightforward. His relationship with Judge Liz Michaels isn't. They have a past. But if he fails, they may not have a future.”

As you can see; it doesn't give me any plot details, however it does tell me what I'll be getting myself into.


The Hook

I am not only an editor, I am first a reader. If the first few lines don't grab me; or the last line of a scene or chapter fails to capture my interest and imagination, the story probably won't work for me. For some authors 'hooking' is as natural as breathing; others struggle, however, that's where a good editor comes into the picture. Here are some hooks which made me sit up and take notice:

Nora Roberts' beginning hook for Montana Sky: “Being dead didn't make Jack Mercy less of a son of a bitch.”

Kat Henry Doran's beginning hook for Try Just Once More: “Maggie McGuire didn't have time to die.”

Margo Hoornstra's end of scene hook for Glad Tidings: “What kind of woman buries her husband in the afternoon then sleeps with his best friend that night?”

Debra Webb's ending scene hook for Traceless: (Note: hero Clint Austin has just been released from prison after serving time for murder.) “There wouldn't be much in the way of financial assets waiting for him back home. But he would have full access to the one thing that he wanted nearly more than his next breath . . . .The people who had stolen his life.”


Memorable Characters

I read Leon Uris' Mila 18 when I was fourteen years old. Every couple years I go back to visit the entire cast of characters. The same goes for Kathleen Woodiweiss' Shanna and A Rose in Winter. These are the keeper books on my night stand. The secret to creating great characters is to give them a few warts. Then throw them into the deep end of the pool but make sure you put a few hidden traps beneath the surface of the water.


Examples:

Brenda Leigh Johnson, a Georgia peach transplanted to LAPD in TNT's The Closer. She may be beautiful and built, but her subordinates choke on her thick southern drawl; she dresses out of Volunteers of America; and she's tenacious as Hong Kong flu.

Harry Potter, the wizard raised as a muggle with a weird looking scar on his forehead. JK Rowlings tossed him into the deep end of the pool known as Diagon Alley, later Hogwarts and the fun began.

Eve Dallas, [JD Robb's futuristic In Death series], the street smart homicide detective with the social skills of a rattlesnake confronts the prime murder suspect, a man with a one word name, more money than God, better looking than some lapsed Irish angel. Eventually he woos her with a rare steak and a sack of coffee beans.

It takes Parker Evans, [Sandra Brown's Envy], a wheelchair-bound hero twenty years to exact revenge on his college room-mate by deliberately seducing the roomie's unwitting wife. “Did I stutter?” still makes me laugh out loud. This story keeps the reader on the edge from start to finish.

Cash Boudreaux, [Sandra Brown's Slow Heat in Heaven] revels in the image of local bad boy, occasionally inciting violence, has good reason to want revenge against the richest family in town.

Just a smidge about secondary characters: they support the hero and heroine, often provide comic relief, occasionally serve as a red herring. Make each one different from each other as well as the hero or heroine. If they all sound the same why should I bother to read the book?


The Setting

Must be as vivid as any of the main characters and, in my opinion, becomes a character of its own.

Examples: Innocence, Mississippi [Nora Roberts' Carnal Innocence] if chock full of murder, depravity and humor; Nohmensville aka No Man's Land [Captain Marvelous] actually should have been named no woman's land due to it's apathy, bigotry and ignorance; Lunacy, Alaska [Nora Roberts' Northern Lights] features its own set of 'lunatics'. And let's not forget Hogwarts. Do you see how the names, while unique, describe the flavor and aura of the settings?


Goals, Motivation & Conflict

Every thing I know about GMC was learned at the knee of one of my heroes Debra Dixon who wrote the book [literally] on this topic. In short, the hero and heroine must have a goal [ie what do they want/need to accomplish?]. It needs to be logical and realistic. Likewise, their motivation for accomplishing these goals must be logical, realistic, and understandable to the reader—as in 'yeah, if that happened to me as a kid, I'd shoot for that goal, too.

The really good stories put the hero's goals in direct opposition to what the heroine wants and that's called CONFLICT.

Now . . . conflict comes in two forms, internal and external. External is usually pretty easy: it's an external force [such as the approaching hurricane in Eileen Dreyer's Sinners and Saints which hampers the heroine's search for her missing sister. In Captain Marvelous the hero is trying to identify the killers of immigrant women and bring them to justice. He is thwarted at every step by complacency, bigotry and apathy from the towns people and a less than sterling police department. External conflict is supposed to be a bitch for the hero and heroine. Thwarting bad guys, disease, pestilence, and the apocalypse is no easy feat. But . . . as Sister John Thomas used to say, 'adversity builds character'.

Internal conflict is what gets authors every time. This is the demon inside the hero and heroine which prevents them from accomplishing their goals AND should be directly tied to their motivation and goals. In My Name is Nell, the heroine is a woman working the program of Alcoholics Anonymous while managing a home and raising her children without much help from a toxic mother and sister. She meets, then falls in love with a widower. Neither was looking for romance; it just happened. Now take a guess as to the circumstances which caused the deaths of the hero's wife and child. Go on, take a guess. That's conflict with a capital C.


In Debra Webb's Traceless, Clint Austin served time in prison for a murder he didn't commit. Emily Wallace, the star witness against Clint has not been able to move past what happened to her best friend, and vows to make him pay for his crimes all over again.


Words to the wise: Conflict cannot be resolved with a five minute conversation between all interested parties. It is something so strong, so powerful, the reader must believe these two people will never ever stay together.


Common problems that come across my desk:

Failure to follow submission guidelines: after you pick the publishing house you want to submit to, commit their rules to memory AND FOLLOW THEM TO THE LETTER. This includes submitting a mystery to a publisher who only releases romance [or vice versa].


Errors in spelling, punctuation, formatting: Use spell check; take a basic technical English writing course and practice on your computer program to learn how to set margins, line spacing, and indents. Fancy fonts do not impress me, nor do quotations at the beginning of each chapter.


Point of View: some editors only accept two POVs. I personally don't mind more than the usual two, but I don't want to dislocate a cervical vertebrae while reading a manuscript.


Telling instead of showing: this takes some practice but it can be mastered. Don't tell me the hero's pissed at the heroine, show me.


Frothy, repetitious prose. As I have occasionally informed the authors involved with the Class of '85 series for TWRP, “Hauling out the hedge clippers makes me cranky.” Tell me what you want to say in simple declarative sentences. Learn the purpose, and proper use of, commas and semi-colons.


Too much sexual attraction too early: there is a reason why we call it sexual tension. Giving it all up by page 10 is not tension; it's risky and dangerous behavior, not to mention unhealthy. There is a reason why we keep our zippers in a locked, upright position. It makes readers keep turning pages. Unless it's hot fudge, less is always better. Always.


--Kathy Cottrell, Senior Editor
The Wild Rose Press


Editor Bio:

July 2004, in the middle of a bar at RWA Dallas, nurse/victim advocate/and insurance investigator Kathy Cottrell was handed her first published novel. The experience, similar to holding her first-born child in her arms, remains with her to this day. She uses the years spent maneuvering the twists and turns of Rejection Road, as well as her time as Senior Editor with The Wild Rose Press, to teach new, and not so new, authors as examples of what to do and not do, who to listen, and not listen to, in order to hold that new baby in their arms.


Kathy's current editor duties involve wrapping up the Class of '85, a reunion series for the Wild Rose Press. Ever wonder what happened to the prom queen? Or the guy voted most likely to spend time in a maximum security cage? Come to the twenty-fifth reunion of the Class of '85 and find out!



A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for joining us today, Kathy and giving us your take on the editing world. Authors: now's your chance to Ask an Editor your burning questions. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Reach Your Write Goals with Guest Blogger Rachel Brimble

Meet Lyrical Press author Rachel Brimble today at the Book Boost!


Here's what she has lined up for the New Year...


Hip, hip, hooray! A brand new year means brand new goals. I love this time of year and the chance it brings to start afresh. I am so pleased to have a new book coming out in the month of January because it makes me feel as though the year is starting how I mean for it to go on – with masses of writing!


I speak to a lot of writers every day, whether in person, through email or responding to blog posts and Time Management is a massive subject for discussion. I think after seriously writing and working at my craft for six years now, I have my daily writing goal sussed.


Five hundred words minimum – every day, seven days a week (okay, so I took Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off this year, naught girl!) because this is totally achievable. I used to have a goal of a thousand words per day but beat myself to a pulp of guilty mush every time I failed to achieve that. And with a husband, two young kids, a dog, two hamsters and a part time job, I failed A LOT.


Therefore, five hundred words works perfectly for me and I very often exceed that amount – and it also means a guaranteed one hundred and eighty two thousand words a year! Imagine, that’s two eighty five thousand novels done each and every year, and if I push myself I should be able to throw a couple of novellas in there too.


Which is exactly what I did last year and what I fully intend to do again in 2011. How about you? Do you want to join me in the five hundred words per day challenge? It makes you feel a whole lot better than the manic November challenge of NaNo (50,000 words in a month) which I’ve failed to do both times I tried, by the way.


So here’s my plan for 2011 – please share yours with me so I don’t feel quite so vulnerable putting it out there like this, LOL!


Two Novels – one contemporary, one historical (approximately 85,000 words each)


Contemporary has been vaguely outlined already and chapter one written, I’m off! This is a contemporary romance with a British hero and heroine who haven’t seen each other in eight years since a friend’s untimely death separated them.


Historical – No idea at all yet! But it will come to me and it will be written (she says).


Two Novellas – most likely both contemporary but that may change (approximately 30,000 words each).


And in between? Lots and lots of promo/blogging and everything else I can manage!


Hmmm…when it’s written out like that, it doesn’t seem quite so easily, does it? Hey, we can only do our best, people. LET’S GO!!!


A Note from the Book Boost: It is totally doable. Glad you've found a method that works well for you, Rachel. Thanks for sharing your goals with us today. Please tell us more about your latest release!

Blurb:


She’s back, but this time she’s a mother…intent on protecting her young.


Two years after her husband’s death, Kate Marshall returns home seeking security and stability for her three-year-old daughter. But when her path crosses with ‘the one who got away’…her husband’s best friend, she has to fight the desire to be with him for the sake of further heartbreak for her and her daughter.


A tough, straight talking theatrical agent, Mark Johnston is dangerously handsome, exceedingly rich, irresistibly charming – and branded by the tabloids as one of the UK’s most eligible bachelors. So even though Mark lost the girl of his dreams to his best friend, he finds no hardship in being single. Or so he thought.


Determined not to lose her a second time, Mark has to find a way to convince her they can work. But can Kate cope with the media interest and ruthless, money-hungry clients surrounding him, being anywhere near her daughter? Or accept that Mark Johnston is really the family man he claims to be?


Excerpt:


“You came.”

She lifted her eyes to his. “Didn’t you think I would?”


“No.”


“Oh.” His gaze lingered over every inch of her face, and Kate’s cheeks warmed under the soft study in his eyes. “Aren’t you going to sit down?”


He started as though remembering where he was. “You look beautiful.”


Her heart lurched in her chest as Kate forced herself to keep her eyes on the clear hazel of his.

“Thank you. You don’t look too bad yourself.”


He smiled and reached for the menu. Once he was sufficiently engrossed, Kate picked up her own menu and opened it like a shield. But she didn’t read the offerings, instead she used the advantage to surreptitiously check him out. Peering over the top of the leather-bound pages, her gaze wandered over the charcoal gray suit, the open neck collar of his snow-white shirt and the casual style of his newly washed hair. He looked up and she quickly looked at the menu.


“Do you know what you want?” she asked quickly.


“I knew exactly what I wanted years ago.”


She snapped her head up, the menu slipping from her hands. His unwavering gaze burned straight through her skin and flesh to her very center. An intense heat flared behind her breastbone and between her legs simultaneously. She opened her mouth but no words came, and the only sound stretching between them was her pathetically feminine struggling gasps of breath. She couldn’t take her eyes from his and knew he would recognize her shock, her confusion…and worst of all, her desire. His fingers lightly touched hers.


“Kate, I’ve wanted to see you for so long…”


“Yet you never contacted me for five years.”



Want More Rachel?

Visit her website here: www.rachelbrimble.com

Or her blog here: www.rachelbrimble.blogspot.com

Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Write What You Know with Guest Blogger Veronica Lynch


















Meet author Veronica Lynch today at the Book Boost! She's here to discuss how to write what you know.


Here's what she had to say...



Over the years I've had the honor to work at a number of occupations: nurse, malpractice insurance investigator, forensic nurse examiner, victim advocate, and now the best job ever Nana to Meredith, Ashlin, Owen and Kieran.


Even though I sometimes wish they'd remain in the closet, the years I spent working in the Operating Room and ICU, later advocating for victims of sexual violence, have contributed significantly to the voice of my writing. You can't spend thirty years playing loyal serving maid to fast-handed surgeons, or haunting police stations, Emergency Rooms, and criminal courts without learning first hand about rampant misogyny, overwhelming apathy, or overt bigotry.


Under my primary author personality, Kat Henry Doran, I am privileged to to have Try Just Once More, a contemporary romantic suspense set in the Adirondack Mountains of Northern New York State. For that story, I brought in my years as a nursing supervisor to give the heroine something to do besides twiddle her thumbs while the hero stormed around trying to figure out why someone wants the heroine and her children dead.


Drawing the hero was easy; I just thought about a cop I once [in my younger, much thinner years] lusted after. Plus, he helped me with a crucial scene in the book unfortunately not the love scene [darn it]. To learn more about mounted patrol officers and their horses, this same officer connected me with an equine veterinarian who allowed me to accompany her on rounds. I spent a really fun afternoon with the mounted patrol unit of the Rochester Police Department.


For Raising Kane, one part of the “Out of the Dark” anthology from Wild Rose Press, due out later this month, I used my experience organizing marches protesting violence against women. My heroine, an award winning television journalist, is covering a protest march when it turns violent. The police, who arrived too late to stop the majority of the damage, arrest everyone still standing, figuring God will sort it all out in the end. Enter the hero, the Public Information Officer for the police department, whose job it is to put a spin on the event and make the cops look good. Fortunately, the heroine comes equipped with film at eleven.


As Veronica Lynch, my latest alternate writer personality, I used the same town where Raising Kane is set for Those Who Wait, a short romance scheduled to be released August 28, 2010 by the very kind folks at Decadent Publishing. Easton is a small city set on the shores of Lake Ontario, Queen of the Great Lakes. I again used my time as a victim advocate to show how a vocation, no matter how selfless and worthwhile it might be, can possess the power to wreak havoc on a personal relationship if both partners aren't careful. TWW is my first success with writing shorter length fiction and I'm very grateful to Decadent for taking a chance on me.


I was raised in a religion which employed men who dressed in black suits and wore their collars backward, and women who wore long black dresses with starched bibs, and large wing-like things on their heads. We called them penguins, or sailboat sisters if the hat was large enough and, of course, aerodynamic. I like to put the clergy in my stories. I'm warped that way. Of course it helped that I had two uncles who served more than fifty years in the priesthood and a penguin cousin who gave me tons of insider information, right down to how to get around the silence of the confessional booth in Try Just Once More.


For my last bit of brilliance, I'd like to talk about setting, which I believe should be treated like another character who deserves equal care in development. Currently, I am involved in a series with WRP titled the Class of 85, as in have you ever wondered what happened to the prom queen or the class nerd or . . . the boy most likely to spend time behind bars?


I was there at ground zero when the series was in its infancy and, with the help of two other writers, invented the town where the reunion will take place. We took a historic neighborhood in Rochester which features stone and brick mansions built around the turn of the century, picked it up and dropped it on the shores of Lake Ontario, and named it Summerville. It's been a real treat watching this series take shape out of what's available to anyone who just looks around and uses what they know.


Thanks for inviting me to your blog. I'm glad I came on board!


A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for sharing your experiences with us and how they've shaped you as a writer. Please tell us more about your upcoming book.



Blurb
:


Meghan Muldoon is at a cross-road. Recently married to a man who dotes on her, someone whom she thought existed only in fiction, she struggles to balance the demands of her vocation as an advocate for victims of violence versus those of a newlywed.


On Valentine's Day, a series of routine crises force her to reconsider staying with a profession that fulfills her both professionally and spiritually—or devoting the rest of her life to the one person who makes everything worthwhile.



Excerpt:

“Crime Victim Services,” she murmured into the receiver. “How may I help you?”


The caller's voice was low, husky, and exquisitely male. “Do you know the difference between a barracuda and a victim advocate?”


Her heart skipped a beat. Maybe two. “Lip gloss.”


“Well damn,” Investigator Keenan Rossi muttered. “You already heard it.”


“An oldie but a goodie, pal.”


“Aren't we all. How you doin' on this gorgeous February day, gorgeous?”


Bringing the face of the handsome sheriff's detective to mind took no great effort. After several moments of imagining twinkling eyes and a dimpled grin, she said, “Not too bad. How's by you?”


“Lemme tell you, cara. If I was any better, I'd scare myself.”



Want More Veronica?


Visit her website here: www.KatHenry.com
Or her blog here: www.Veronica-Lynch.blogspot.com

Book available soon from: www.DecadentPublishing.com

Monday, January 17, 2011

Book Boost Blogger of the Year Nominee: Maya Jax

Enter to win the 2010 Book Boost Prize Bundle & meet our next Blogger of the Year Award Nominee!


We are back with the next of our carefully selected FIVE guest bloggers from 2010 nominated for the First Annual Book Boost Blogger of the Year Award!


The third nominee is Romantic Comedy author Maya Jax who joins us today to discuss her nominated book Escapades of Romantically Challenged Me.


Recently, I had the honor of reading this premiere novel from Maya and here's my take on it...


THE BOOK:

The debut novel of witty chic lit author Maya Jax, she really knocks it out of the ball park with this one. I just finished reading this book and it was an absolute delight. I simply couldn’t put it down and was only sad that I could hang out with these characters a little longer.

This book is laugh out loud, stomach achingly funny with a cast of characters that I feel like I can call my friends.

And for any writer who has ever poured their heart into a manuscript only to receive rejection letter after rejection letter, this book will both touch your author’s soul and tickle your funny bone.

Lelaina Zane is my new hero and I’ll never be able to look at gummy bears the same way again.

THE AUTHOR:

Maya Jax is an amazingly fresh author with a vibrant voice for cleverly depicting humor, scene descriptions and emotional turmoil. This is an absolute must read and I cannot wait to see what else this author has in store for us in the near future!

---------------

Here’s more about Escapades of Romantically Challenged Me:



Lelaina is trying to make it in LA, but first she has to make it through her trip home... Aspiring screenwriter Lelaina
Zane finally lands a Hollywood break, but it's cut short when her dad has a heart attack and she has to return to her home
town.

Leaving LA for the first time in three years, she returns home to be with her family. And now that she's back, her parents want her to stay and join the family law firm. After three years of unsuccessfully trying to 'make it' in Hollywood, she thinks they might be right. But soon after settling into her new life, Hollywood calls with a potential offer.

Lelaina has to decide if she'll stay for her ailing father and the promise of a successful life, or return to LA to pursue what she's always wanted. Torn between her two choices, the decision becomes even harder when her cheating ex -- her first love, first kiss and first... you know -- reappears with apologies and a proposition.


Recently, I chatted with Maya and here's what she had to say...



TBB: Is there a message in your book that you hope readers will really get?



MJ: That it's very hard to balance life with what you want. No matter what your goal, there will always be obstacles and people that don't agree with what you can do. Don't listen!!


TBB: What has been your biggest reward as an author thus far in your career?



MJ: Knowing that it makes people laugh. At the end of the day, I think that's all you really need.


TBB: Give me one quote (from yourself/by yourself) about being a writer.



MJ: "Don't quit! Part of the process is being knocked down and getting back up."


TBB: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?



MJ: Batman.


TBB: What is your favorite breakfast food?



MJ: Cheerios. I would choose them as my last meal.


TBB: What is your worst habit?



MJ: Talking myself out of my initial gut reaction.


TBB: What song lyrics get stuck in your head most often?



MJ: Mamma Mia (ABBA)


TBB: If someone wrote a biography about you, what should the title be?



MJ: Diary of a Lipstick Ninja


TBB: Thanks for joining us at the Book Boost, Maya and best of luck with this nomination and your future writing!




My best,
Kerri Nelson
Owner, The Book Boost


Want More?

Be sure to visit Maya at her website here:

And pick up your own copy of Escapades.
Click here.


Contest Time:


DON'T Forget to come back on February 4th when VOTING will commence for your choice of Book Boost Blogger of the Year!


AND everyone who comments on any of the 5 nominee blog posts will be entered to win the HUGE 2010 Book Boost Prize Bundle! Every comment counts as 1 entry! So, visit and comment often for more chances to win.


See you again on January 21st (this Friday) for our next nominee, Kate Richards!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Around the Block with Guest Blogger Shana Mahaffey












Meet author Shana Mahaffey today at the Book Boost and read what she has to say about defeating writer's block, procrastination and your own personal demons.

Here's what she had to say...


Writer’s Block, procrastination, demons, we all have them—the crowd that tends to sail in and drop anchor at the mere glimpse of the thought of any creative endeavor, which for me, is writing. So lets talk about procrastination and the writer. Some writers never have to wade through a crowd of demons and distractions to get to their task of daily writing. And I say “good for them.” I suspect that the key word for their success is some kind of magic shield and focus vitamin that you only get if you know the five passwords and have connections. HA! Or maybe it is the practice of “daily writing.”


My grandfather, and writing inspiration, model, and mentor believed that anything worth achieving required discipline and daily practice. I listened intently and nodded my head every time he told me this. Yet, it took me many years to understand the difference between the words discipline and daily practice and the action associated with them. And then, misunderstanding the difference between action and acting, I talked a good game for a good decade or more the whole time wondering why nothing ever materialized. I still didn’t occur to me that I had to actually do something to see something.

When it did I set up one plan of action after the next, once more waiting and scratching my head over the lack of production (knowing the path versus walking the path). I did manage to eek out a bit more in this phase then in the talking phase, but still not much to show. Finally, I understood that words and action mean nothing if you don’t act, and a plan of action is meaningless without the actual act.


So I made a plan and began to act. Then I discovered that my ability to waver from the plan and impeded my acting was a easy as the distraction presenting itself at the moment—the dust behind the stove that had been there for who knows how many months, or years even, that had to be cleaned now now now or the world would end. The phone call I had to make, the wall I needed to stare at. The nails that needed to be filed. The guest blog that needs to be written…


Next I got a writing office—the Sanchez Grotto [http://sanchezannex.com/]a space shared with 10 or so other authors—a sacred space where only writing takes place. Or that was the plan. I did work hard to fill my tiny space with few distractions as possible. But who knew that there would be a rat the size of a slipper at the end of the alley that is my view and that rat would become truly mesmerizing. Trust me when I say I have spent long periods of time staring at him, wondering about his girth, does he floss, where are his friends, maybe he’s a loner….


What did I learn from all of this? Plan, act, and office still needed some critical guidelines if they are to be successful. Here are mine:

1. Have a daily schedule AND keep it—i.e., show up no matter what. It’s that last part that is critical. As Steven Pressfield says in the War of Art: “If you want the muse to show up on a regular basis you need to be available to receive him/her on a regular basis—same bat time, same bat channel. "

2. Invite all the demons and distractions to come along, take a seat, hang out, floss, chat, whatever they want. In other words, make them my friends because friends want what’s best for you and what’s best for me is to write. After befriending my demons and distractions, I found they were thrilled to let me write. And they don’t even mind when I am lucky enough to reach those rare moments of bliss when time and space cease letting me lose myself in writing Nirvana.

3. Get help when I need it—e.g., one of the best writing tools I have used are those outlined in BlockBuster Plots by Martha Alderson. I used her tools for my first novel, this included plotting the book, discovering all facets of my characters, and tracking the scene progressions. I am using the tools again for my second novel, which is in progress. I highly recommend her process. It not only helps you focus your plot, but it also helps for when you get stuck.

4. Have writing rituals, secrets or superstitions, mine go like this:

Inspired by my grandfather, Joseph McGrath, especially since on his deathbed I promised if he’d help me from the “other side,” I would dedicate everything I write to him (he was a writer and a coach), I start each day by touching his old IBM Selectric for good luck and good writing. Then before I begin writing, I close my eyes, imagine him sitting in my office “coaching” me.

5. Have backup for those emergencies like when that rat doesn’t want to be friends, he wants to be admired…. My backup is my grandfather’s old sweater, which I keep in my office. If I am truly struck and/or totally distracted—like those occasions where slogging through mud in cement shoes is easier than writing—I wrap the sweater I wrap it around my neck. It somehow works. In case I am writing at home and the same thing happens, I use his old wool hat.


I encourage everyone to do the same when approaching anything you’re passionate about. Trust me, it works. Thanks and now I will get back to writing.


A Note from the Book Boost: What a great story and I love how your grandfather was a writer and continues to be your inspiration from beyond. Thanks for joining us today and please tell us more about your book!

Blurb:

Sounds Like Crazy is as a darkly comic and ultimately healing story about Holly Miller, an Emmy Award winning cartoon voiceover performer who has actual voices in her head, multiple personalities who make her career a huge success, and shield her from a terrible secret in her past.




Want More Shana?


Shana Mahaffey lives in San Francisco in an Edwardian compound that she shares with an informal cooperative of family, friends and five cats. She’s a survivor of Catechism and cat scratch fever, and is a member of the Sanchez Grotto Annex, a writers’ community. Her work has been published in SoMa Literary Review and Sunset Magazine.


Visit her website here: www.shanamahaffey.com

Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book Boost Blogger of the Year Nominee: C.J. Ellisson

Enter to win the 2010 Book Boost Prize Bundle & meet our next Blogger of the Year Award Nominee!

We are back with the next of our carefully selected FIVE guest bloggers from 2010 nominated for the First Annual Book Boost Blogger of the Year Award!

The second nominee is Urban Fantasy author C.J. Ellisson who joins us today to discuss her nominated book Vampire Vacation.

I read this entire book in only two sittings. Why so quickly? Because (1) it leaves you breathless with anticipation of what will happen next and (2) it is a highly addictive dose of sex and drama.
Ms. Ellisson, with her debut novel, was not afraid to stretch the genre boundaries between romance, paranormal, mystery, and urban fantasy to create a delicious concoction of murder mayhem and dark desires.

One of the things I enjoyed most about the book is what makes it so uniquely different than the norm for romance. It features a happily married couple as the main love story. While some mystery books and general fiction books do this with much more frequency—you’ll be hard pressed to find this in genre romance. This is why her novel doesn’t fit tucked neatly into one genre and all the more reason why it will be enjoyed by a larger audience in the long run.

Romance has become all about finding that new love. That first kiss…first roll between the sheets and the sexual tension leading up to those encounters. But who says that a book about an already married couple (whether human or vampire) cannot be just as titillating to the reader?


This book gives you a glimpse inside the lives of vampire Vivian and her human husband. It is well crafted, totally unique, and a non-stop thrill ride from beginning to end.


If I were to visit Alaska would I want to take a tour of the VV Inn? Absolutely. If I were a vampire would I want to journey there for a sexcapade? No doubt.

Would I recommend this book to others? Enthusiastically.

Bottom line: This book will take you places that you’ve never been but hope to visit again very soon. Bring on the sequel!

Here’s more about Vampire Vacation:

Meet Vivian. She's a 580-year-old vampire who exudes sex, has a talent for drama, and is passionate about two things: her human husband, Rafe, and their resort for the undead. Her ability to project physical illusions has created the perfect vacation spot-a dark, isolated Alaskan hideaway where visitors can have their wildest fantasies come true.


Vivian knows the best performance requires perfect timing, but the powerful vamp is put to the test when she discovers a corpse in a locked guestroom minutes before the next arrivals. Always cool-headed, Rafe hides the body, convinced that he and Vivian can find the culprit without disturbing their guests.


Juggling the increasingly outrageous demands of their customers while tracking a killer isn't easy. Will their poking and prodding give them the answers they need, or will it uncover secrets that Vivian would kill to protect?



Recently, I chatted with CJ and here's what she had to say...


TBB: What was the most difficult aspect of this book?

CJ: Staying the course with my present tense writing. I was told by my peers to change it and I didn't know enough to decide whom to listen to.


TBB: Is there a message in your book that you hope readers will really get?

CJ: I wanted people to see true intimacy comes with time, not in a slapped-together quick I-met-you-this-month romance. Hot monogamy takes years to achieve. The good news is, it's fun years ;-)


TBB: What has been your favorite fan letter or fan comment ever?

CJ: From one of my oldest friends and staunchest supporters. She wrote this to me the morning after she completed my book: "Sometime last night you went from my friend who wrote a book, to an author I couldn't put down." Still gives me a shiver when I read it.


TBB: Give me one quote (from yourself/by yourself) about being a writer.

CJ: "You're not done until it's published."


TBB: Who, in your life, is your biggest source of inspiration and why?

CJ: My husband. Whether I steal funny one-liners we banter back and forth, imagine him as the suave and debonair hero I write, or need a calm force in my hectic life to rely on, it's him. He truly compliments the inner me and I go back and forth between thinking he's my savior or put on this earth to drive me slowly insane.


TBB: What is your favorite breakfast food?

CJ: Eggs, bacon and home-fried potatoes.


TBB: Name of the first boy you ever kissed.

CJ: Scottie Morgan in first grade (I think? Geez, I swear I'm not a ho).


TBB: If someone wrote a biography about you, what should the title be?

CJ: Crazy Bitch: Works Long Hours


TBB: Thanks for joining us at the Book Boost, CJ and best of luck with this nomination and your future writing!


My best,
Kerri Nelson
Owner, The Book Boost


Want More?

Be sure to visit CJ at her website here:
http://www.cjellisson.com/

And pick up your own copy of Vampire Vacation.
Click here.


Contest Time:


DON'T Forget to come back on February 4th when VOTING will commence for your choice of Book Boost Blogger of the Year!


AND everyone who comments on any of the 5 nominee blog posts will be entered to win the HUGE 2010 Book Boost Prize Bundle! Every comment counts as 1 entry! So, visit and comment often for more chances to win.


See you again on January 17th (next Monday) for our next nominee, Maya Jax!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Get in Shift Shape with Guest Blogger Laura Tolomei


Win a copy of VisionQuest and meet author Laura Tolomei today at the Book Boost.


Here's what she had to say about Shape Shifting...


It’s an experience to be lived for sure and not of your usual kind. Unlike many other shape shifting stories, mine focuses on the connection between the shifters and a special person without whom no shift can take place. And their connection must run as deep as it can get in order for it to work.


So the sex between Ilenio and Lord Brahany is intense because it touches their souls, not just their bodies, just like the head talking that allows them to communicate even when one is in its
eagle form.


But the story also has the traits of a horror-mystery because it’s set in medieval times approximately around the time of Dracula, which is also the source of my inspiration. In fact, I crafted it around the time I visited Dracula’s castle, or what’s believed to be it, in Romania, and the its dark allure got to me so fast I couldn’t wait to set it on paper. So here
it is!


Shapeshifting never sounded better!

A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for joining us today and sharing your story with us. That cover is beyond gorgeous. Hope you make many sales! Please give us a blurb and excerpt.

Blurb:

It wasn’t till he took me to his bed and made love to me, for the first time—no competition between us, no unspoken challenge, no master-slave, no blood, no death, nothing but intense emotions overwhelming me with the sheer power of his feelings, a sea so deep, a tide so strong I thought I’d drown as he took me face up, raising my legs above his shoulders and plunging deep before preying on my mouth, too, in a never-ending kiss that took my breath, not to mention my resolve, away—that in spite of everything, I gave him what he wanted most, my soul in its entirety, for I knew right there and then I was sealing my destiny forever.


Excerpt (edited for content):

“Sorry, Brahany, I came tonight hoping to forget about him for a while.”


“And have some fun in the process?” The gray eyes flashed in understanding.


“Exactly.” Alexiander grinned, immediately fixing his gaze on me.


“And I think I know who your choice is.”

Licking his lips, my master followed his direction.


They were talking about me like I wasn’t even there, standing so close they could’ve touched me had they wanted. Actually,
what I read in the metal-gray eyes when I glanced at him from under my lids, was something entirely different from plain sex, as if a thought had just struck him and he couldn’t wait to put it to the test.

“I must admit he’s tempting. And his ass—”


“Is yours if you wanted it.”


Half aroused, half surprised, Lord Bharton’s eyes blazed with unsuppressed lust. “So I can have him?”


“You can at one condition.”


Reluctantly, Alexiander turned to face my master. “What is it?”


“That we share him together.”


“Sure, why not?” And a slow, smug smile curved the young man’s lips probably at the possibilities the Seigneuros had just
opened up.

"But, Master, we should be leaving on patrol in just—
"

"I don’t recall asking your opinion. Now set down the tray and follow us.
"

And since he was the master, I obeyed.


In his private quarters, he made me stand with my back to Alexiander. “Perhaps you haven’t noticed his best feature…”

He
slapped both buttocks hard. “Besides the ass, I mean.” Freeing the tight bun of hair I usually kept tied, the long strands tumbled down in a mass. Like I said, they were a nobleman’s privilege, so even if Lord Brahany had not required me to cut them, I didn’t offend the public sense by parading them around.

“By the gods, he looks like one of us!” Alexiander’s shocked tone gave me the measure of how much I defied conventions and
the length to which my master had allowed me to go.




Want More Laura?

Visit her website here: www.lallagatta.com

Or check her out here: http://www.biblioscribe.com/profiles/LallaGatta/

Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LallaGatta


Be sure to pick up your copy today! Click here!



Contest Time:

To be eligible to win a copy of VisionQuest, you must answer these questions and leave your contact information in the comments section of this blog. Contest deadline 11:59 p.m. (CST) January 16, 2011.

Contest Questions from Laura:

What do you think of my books in general? If you read anyone of them, did it leave something behind, and if so, did it enhance their reading pleasure or reduced it?