Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Got Books? With Guest Blogger: Mona Karel

Welcome author Mona Karel to the Book Boost today!

Here's what she had to say...

A Book is a Book, is a Book

How many have said they only want to read “real” books, that they need the feeling of paper between their hands to feel as though they are reading? How many of you have heard scorn heaped on the concept of electronic book publishing?

I ran across this on You Tube a while back, and find it a gentle poke at those resistant to change: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Cd7Bsp3dDo

In this instance the subject is introducing bound books to a monk accustomed to scrolls, and his resistance to learning how to access the printed page. Funny, but I’m thinking maybe not so far off the mark. It wasn’t all that long ago paperback books were held in contempt, and the goal for many was to become popular enough to be published in hard cover. Writers strove to break into series romance with the ultimate goal of mainstream publishing. They wanted to write a “real” book.

Along comes the e-pub world, tossing goals and preconceptions right out the window. Without the need to underwrite an inventory, publishers are willing to take more of a chance on new authors, and on books that don’t fit a specific niche. What used to be seen as “fringe” books are now available side by side with more traditional stories. With one click, or a few easy steps you can download and start reading. Is this a good thing, or are books being published that aren’t up to the quality of “real” books. Let’s take a step back and give that statement some historical perspective.

What is a “real” book? Is it paper and ink, or is it a manifestation of the writer’s imagination, words linked together to present a story for the reader’s pleasure? Do we really need to see those words on paper, or does the e-book screen serve as an acceptable vehicle to bring the words from writer to reader? Could we possibly be developing into book snobs?

Of course some books just can’t translate onto that smaller screen. But in the same vein as made for TV movies, written for e-book stories are as good (or bad) as the underlying words and scenes. Being able to carry twenty books on the plane and still have room for an extra pair of shoes has to be seen as a positive, and allows us to experiment with authors or story lines we would not have considered when weight and space were a critical issue.

If you are at all like me and my husband, you have books piled on every surface of your home. Books perch precariously on your clothes hamper and have been taken along for the ride on most trips. Once these books are read, a few might take up residence on your ever changing keeper shelf. Some might be shared with friends, and some will end up supporting your local library at the semi-annual sale. A high percentage of your ink and paper book purchases won’t be taking up permanent residence in your house, though they might help contribute to our ever increasing landfills. And here we come to what I believe is the greatest argument in favor of electronic books.

Do I think e-books are superior to more traditional forms of reading matter? Absolutely not. A good book is a good book, in any format. It’s all about the story, and finding a writer whose words resonate in your own imagination.

A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for joining us today, Mona. Please tell us more about your book.


The Atrahasis, immortal overlords of the sacred places in the universe, have given Mykhael Alastor one last chance to redeem himself by punishing the person they think desecrated an ancient forest in Northern California. When he meets Kendra, he realizes he’s doomed to disappoint them yet again. Kendra is the missing part of the soul he didn’t know he still possessed.

Kendra Weiss spent much of her childhood with her grandmother since she didn’t fit in with her parent’s high powered corporate lifestyle. Upon her grandmother’s death she inherits the cottage and the powers of certain women in her family. She must learn to use and trust her powers, and Mykhael, to help protect the ancient forest.


"You did well, learning from your grandmother, and it seemed the area would remain secure. Then the watchers sensed a disturbance in the area, a violation of the space. I was called to take care of the situation."

"Why you?"

"A heritage. Some are watchers, some are guardians, some are...enforcers. Alastor, my clan name, was misinterpreted with all the different translations throughout history."

"Alastor..." she mused, searching for an elusive nugget of information. Then the book opened in her mind's eye, and the answer appeared. "It was the duty of Alastor to ensure that the sins of the father were visited upon the son."

"Not precisely. It is the duty of the clan of Alastor to ensure that the sanctity of the places and balance of power is maintained at all times. When violations occur, a member of my clan is called, and we are given an image of the person responsible for the violation."

His eyes were even more remote, with that far away, almost sad, look she'd seen so many times before. A chilling premonition came to her and she lifted her chin, seeking the strength to ask the next question.

"Quit the games, Michael. Why exactly are you here now, in this place, at this time?"

He looked at her directly, and she saw the agony he had to be feeling.

"Darling, I've been sent here to kill you."

Want More Mona?

Visit her blog here: http://mona-karel.com
Pick up a copy of her book today! Click here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Money, Marketing & Making It Work with Guest Blogger: Gabriella Hewitt

Welcome author Gabriella Hewitt to the Book Boost today!

She's here to discuss success and failure in marketing. Here's what she had to say...

About three years ago, I sold my first book to Samhain Publishing. It was the most exciting time of my life. I was finally a published author. Once the glee and giddiness finally left my system, I realized that the book was coming out and I needed to get down to the business of doing business, pretty much the marketing of my own book.

Needless to say, I knew absolutely nothing about how to buzz up my book. Samhain was wonderful in sending a list of ideas on how to promote. The list was huge! It was overwhelming. I had no idea where to begin. So I tried to do them all.

* Built a website
* Sent out advanced copies to every reviewer I could think of
* Put up ads on different websites
* Mailed out brochures to bookstores small and big
* Blog Tour
* Printed cards, bookmarks, brochures, booklets, & flyers
* Called radio stations
* Sent out copies to newspaper & magazine editors & radio stations
* Interviews
* Contest giveaways, Prizes, etc.
* Joined chat groups
* Entered writing and cover contests

You name it. I’ve tried it.

A year later when the royalty checks started to come I realized -- I was in the red! I had spent more on advertising the book than I had made on the sales of the book. I was crushed.

I wondered what went wrong. I followed the advice. Did what other writers were doing. Did I forget anything? How could this be?

Well, life got in the way and the marketing of my book and writing sort of fell to the wayside.
I continued to write and decided I needed a crash course in beefing up my skills and learning more about this industry that I so desperately wanted to be a part of.

Well, in those three years I went to conferences, RWA meetings, met with other authors, talked with friends who were writers, scanned blogs about writing, took workshops and read so many books that I had to clean my bookshelves and invest in an e-reader because I had no more room in my house.

I picked up nuggets and gems and began to see the error of my ways. One book does not a fortune make. I plunged headlong into writing and focused on an idea for a series that I loved. Within six months I had banged out 3 books. Before I even sold one I took to buzzing up the books.

Now I have a new series coming out with Samhain Publishing and I realized that you can’t wait for a book to hit the shelves to get the word out on the street. You have to build up excitement even before the book comes out just like they do for the movies. Start the twittering even before pre-production.

From my failures and successes of my first book I was able to see where I made good choices and where I hadn’t.

This time around I will focus on my strengths and not spread myself thin. I will not spend a ridiculous amount of money on things that have no return. Now what works for me and what doesn’t may not be true for everyone, but for me I know I will focus on:

* Maintaining my blog/website (It is my image and I need to keep it up)
* Advertise only on book websites (Why? Because that is their specialty and they do it well)
* Glog (group blogging gets more eyes and traffic)
* Blog tour/ Guest blogging (Hopping from one place to another is exhausting, but well worth the new audience you garner)
* Bookmarks & business cards (amazing how easy it is to put these in someone’s hand and they make a great impression –make sure they have your website and book info)
* Stick to a few chat groups that focus on readers/books (I love to talking about my characters and I am always humbled that another person takes the time to discuss them with me.)

So, that is my strategy. But most importantly I understand now that I need to keep typing away and putting out stories for readers to read. In the end, my biggest success will be knowing that somewhere out there is someone else falling in love with my heroes and smiling.

A Note from the Book Boost: This is a great story and so often the case with many authors. It is difficult to know where to spend your time and money when it comes to promotion efforts. Thanks for joining us today and sharing your invaluable tips. Please tell us more about your latest book.


A predator stalks paradise and she’s next.

On a tropical isle, Frankie Montalvo discovers roots to a past she never knew. Tales of witchcraft, missing girls and el chupacabra surround her, but it will take more than superstitions to scare her away. Determined to create her own home, she enlists the help of an enigmatic beach bum.

She doesn’t want to fall for a drifter who will probably break her heart and move on, but when both she and her home are attacked, it’s in Rico’s arms that she finds safety and protection. All she’s ever wanted was to settle down and live life on her own terms, but someone has other plans and Frankie must decide—is Rico her lover or her enemy?

Special Agent Rico Lopez has been to the depths of hell and back. He returns to his native island of Vieques to forget an ICE mission gone wrong only to find himself caught up in the search for a neighbor’s daughter—a victim of the legendary el chupacabra. Paradise has a predator and all leads point to a dilapidated old plantation and its sexy as sin owner. Lying to Frankie is the only way to do his job, but is he protecting her or himself?

As the net around them tightens and their lives are put on the line, he’ll learn the greatest danger he’s ever faced is the risk of losing his heart.


Frankie studied him over the rim of her cup. He sat kicked back in the kitchen chair, one hand wrapped around the chipped mug she’d scrounged up. His eyes moved constantly, the mirth evident, though something deeper lay under his gaze.

“A job this big is too much for you to do on your own. What about your family? They must be worried about you, down here, all alone.” He spoke casually, but she sensed he was probing.

Similar to tactics her social worker had used whenever she got kicked out of another home.

“My problem. Not yours,” she retorted evasively. With both forearms on the scratched kitchen table, Frankie leaned forward. “Look, I don’t know what you want. If it’s cash, I told you, I’m low. Maybe tomorrow I can get some from the bank to repay you for fixing the truck and the supplies.” She pushed away from the table. “Want some more coffee?”

“No. I’m good.” Rico stretched his arms, sinewy roped muscle rippling beneath the thin, sweaty T-shirt fabric. She turned to pour herself another cup before she got caught gawking.

“So, when are you returning to New York?”

Frankie stopped mid-pour. Other than her name, she hadn’t told him about herself. “What makes you think I’m from New York?”

He shrugged. “I must’ve heard it in town.”

Frankie chewed her lip. She supposed he could have. She did recall mentioning it to one or two townspeople she’d met.

“What part?” he asked.


“What about your parents?” He watched her carefully even as he rubbed at a scar on the table. Her eyes fixed on his hand. Long, strong, calloused hands, good for construction work or strangling women.

Frankie blinked and tried to remember what he’d asked.

God, she must be more tired than she’d thought. She shoved the vision away.

“What is this? Twenty questions?”

He laughed, a deep rumbling sound, and he relaxed more into the chair. How anyone could look that stress-free, she had no idea. Must be Caribbean life. Frankie hoped in a year from now, when the renovations were over—if they ever would be—she could kick back and relax as easily as Rico.

“Just some friendly talk to pass the time.”

Frankie took her mug back to the table. “Time is something I don’t have much of.” She looked at the sunshine-yellow clock on the whitewashed plaster wall of the kitchen. “It’s late. You should be going.”

“Wish I could, but the roads up here are treacherous. Besides, I need a lift back into town and I don’t think Old Yeller out there can make anymore trips.”

“Guess you’ll have to walk.”

“Aw, you’d kick me out after all the nice things I did for you?” His hand over his heart, he gave her a fake pained look.

Frankie didn’t want to smile but she couldn’t help it. “Anyone ever tell you that you’re charming?”

“Mi mami.” He flashed her a smile.

Frankie rolled her eyes. “Fine. You can stay the night in one of the guest rooms. Might as well get used to strangers sleeping under the roof if I ever want to make Casa Verde a successful bed-and-breakfast.”

Rico gave a low whistle. “Ambitious.”

“You’re not kidding.” She held the warm mug between her hands and looked down into the dark swirling water, hoping to see a vision of her future, but it remained black. “When I inherited this place, I had no idea what I was in for, but it’s all I have.” She swallowed the uncertainty that lodged in her throat. “I’m determined to make something good here.” Her voice came out hard, even to her ears.

When she looked up from her beverage, she saw Rico studying her. “What?”

“Nothing.” He grinned. “Just thinking what a gutsy girl you are.”

“Gutsy. Never been called that before,” she mumbled under her breath before taking a sip of her coffee.

“What are your dreams for this place?” he asked.

A simple enough question, no harm in telling him. Yeah, right. People had a way of tearing your dreams down before you even had a chance to build them. Was Rico the type? He observed her with friendly interest. But so had a number of do-gooders who always wanted what they thought was in her best interest. All her years riding the system, based on feigned concern for her future, ultimately to be spit out on the street. Dreams? She had no dreams.

Frankie Montalvo was a hard-core realist. Working her way from a simple cleaning maid to the front desk manager at one of New York City’s premier boutique hotels. She may not have the fancy degrees or the wads of cash to make Casa Verde a smashing success, but she did have determination.

And the reality was that if she couldn’t make Casa Verde work for her, she’d be out on the street again, or worse, crawling back on hands and knees to her old boss to beg for her desk manager job back. If there was one thing Frankie Montalvo did not do, it was beg. But she also knew the deep chill of being broke, homeless and desperate.

Not this time. Never again.

Want More Gabriella?

Gabriella Hewitt is the pen name of creative writing talents Sasha Tomaszycki and Patrizia M.J. Hayashi. Together they weave tales of romantic suspense and dangerously sensual paranormals.

Visit the website here: www.GabriellaHewitt.com

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Join the Fight Club with Guest Blogger: Rayne Hall

Meet author, fight scene and ultimate weapons expert Rayne Hall at the Book Boost today!

Here's what she had to say about the art of war...

Raise the Stakes
Twelve Tricks to Make a Fight Scene Exciting

Creating a good fight scene is one of the most challenging aspects of the writer's craft. Here are techniques on how to give your readers the thrill they expect from a fight:

1. Give each fighter a compelling purpose and raise the stakes as high as possible. A heroine fighting for her life is more exciting than a heroine fighting for her purse, and a heroine fighting for her children's lives is more exciting still.

If she fights for her purse, raise the stakes by making that purse important: it contains not only money, but the jackpot-winning lottery ticket, only photo of her abducted baby daughter, or evidence that her husband is innocent of the murder of which he stands accused.

For her opponent, a street urchin, the stakes are also high: the money in the purse will buy food for his starving baby sister, or gang members are assessing his performance to decide whether to accept him.

2. Stack the odds against your protagonist: the more difficult the fight is for him, the more exciting it is for the reader. Give the opponent better weapons, greater strength, and other advantages.

3. Use a location which is either unusual (a wine cellar, a cow shed, an artist's studio) or dangerous (a rope bridge across a ravine, a sinking ship)..

4. Use deep point of view: let the reader experience the fight the way the POV character experiences it. Keep to the POV's vision (only what's immediately before him) and convey his emotions (fury, fear, hope, triumph).

5. Hearing, more than the other senses, creates excitement, so describe noises, especially the sounds of weapons (pinging bullets, hissing arrows, clanking swords).

6. Create fast pace by using short paragraphs, short sentences and short words.

7. Verbs, more than other words, convey excitement: hack, slash, pierce, stab, race, jump, leap, drive, spin, punch, kick. Choose vivid verbs, and build your sentences around them.

8. Avoid blow-by-blow accounts: these soon get boring. Instead, show only the first few moves, as well as the decisive final ones, and for everything in between, focus on the direction of the fight ('Fired with new courage, she kicked and punched.' 'He drove her closer and closer to the cliff').

9. In a long fight scene, let something unexpected happen (the hero loses his weapon and is forced to fight on with his bare hands, the hero's girlfriend comes to his aid, the villain's henchmen join the fight, the bridge collapses, building bursts into flames). This event should change the fight, but it should not decide it.

10. If your protagonist has a special skill - e.g. she's good at acrobatics, at oil painting or at basketball - let her use this skill in a surprising way in the fight.

11. Create a 'black moment' when all seems lost. Then the protagonist recalls his purpose, rallies his courage, and fights on to win.

12. If the protagonist wins the fight, it must be from his own efforts, not because of a stroke of luck, divine intervention or outside interference. Other people may help, but they must not decide the outcome.

If you have questions or further tips, or if you want advice for a fight scene, leave a comment. I'll be around for a week and will respond.

A Note from the Book Boost: These are fantastic tips, Rayne. I recommend that everyone take her class--I've seen her in action and she's a wonderful (highly interactive) instructor! Thanks for joining us today.

Want More Rayne?

Rayne Hall writes dark fantasy and horror. She has published more than twenty books under different pen names in different genres, and her stories have earned Honorable Mentions in 'The Years' Best Fantasy and Horror'. She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing, and teaches online classes.

Even if you've never wielded a weapon, you can write an exciting fight scene and create believable magic. Rayne will show you how in her workshop on 'Writing Fight Scenes' which starts 1 June 2011.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Getting Better with Age with Guest Blogger: Lisa Beth Darling

Welcome author Lisa Beth Darling to the Book Boost today!

Here's what she had to say...

"Older" Heroines in Novels

I picked this topic because I had to deal with it in my latest novel, The Heart of War.

When I first sat down to write this book, the lead female character 'Alena' was going to be your average sexy young thing; after all, that's what hot romance is all about, right?

That idea worked for about two minutes when I realized that my lead male, Ares God of War, had absolutely nothing in common with a 23 year-old woman. I found myself stuck in the song Hey Nineteen (Steely Dan). In order to give them a real relationship, something based on more than just sex, Alena had to be older, she couldn't be a woman/child she had to be a full-fledge woman. Since I wasn't writing this story for publication—who was going to buy Ares as the Hero anyway?—I started to go with it.

Ares is a God 5000+ years old and Alena MacLeod is half-human and half-fey, coming in at 245 years old. I wanted her to look the part to some degree so that the Reader would have a constantly visual reference to her age. I gave her silver/gray hair and matching eyes. I also gave her a personality that reflected her years and the wisdom she gained just being alive on Planet Earth so long. However, because she is a magickal being, I kept her face and body youthful.

I wrote my story. I put it up, free of charge in rough draft format, on the Internet. To my surprise, people loved it. They totally bought Ares as the reluctant Hero and fell in love with Alena. With such encouragement, I gave it a good edit and sent it around to publishers. I knew Ares was going to be a hard sell but I never expected responses such as;
1-This isn't for us, Alena just isn't sexy because she's old, why would you write that?
2-This isn't for us, no one wants to read about an old woman having sex
3-This isn't for us, the heroine needs to be young and vibrant to even be interesting
4-This isn't for us, Alena has gray hair for heaven's sake! There's nothing sexy or hot about gray hair


I wondered a lot of things, first and foremost was; how old are these "publishers"?

I turned 40 (4 years ago) and while I'm not exactly hot and gorgeous anymore, I still feel quite youthful, vibrant, alive and above all, sexy. In fact, now that my children are grown, my husband and I are having the best sex of our lives! And we're having it more often. How many 20-30somethings can say they have great sex (or any sex) 5-7 times per week? This is mostly because we now have the time and energy for it. The 2am feedings, 3am drives around the block to get the baby to sleep, diapers, art projects, science projects, mandatory school functions, field trips, sleepovers, and all of the other stuff that went with having young children are over with. Now we focus on each other instead of the kids.

Sex is spiritual now and, let me tell you, it is utterly fantastic. It's only now, at this stage of my life, I can look back and say that we had little to no idea of what we were doing before. Those of you under 40 are chuckling, those of you over 40 are nodding in agreement and pitying the naysayers. Yeah, sex in your 20s is great, it's hot ,it's heavy, you think it's all that. But it's not.

After 25 years together, my husband and I have it down to an art form. You know what they say; Practice Makes Perfect.

Still, I had my doubts and I wondered if all of these "publishers" were right and my readers were wrong. Perhaps just because I felt sexy and was still a sexual sensual being—with no thoughts of stopping!—didn't mean other women my age felt the same way about themselves. That would be sad. I went over to Google, hit 'images' and typed in 'beautiful older woman'. I suggest you try it right after you finish this. I saw the most amazing pictures of the most stunning women in different stages of their lives that I could have ever asked for. No, they're not Claudia Schiffer, their beauty is deeper than that, it's more vibrant, wiser, and more alive.

I determined that those "publishers" were wrong in their assessment and they were too quick too judge and didn't have the life experience required to understand that life beyond 30 is mighty fine. In the end, what's 'sexy' isn't what someone looks like but how they perceive themselves at any age. Personally, I can't wait until they turn 40 and get their first gray hair. I think their tune will change drastically. At least, I hope it will.

A Note from the Book Boost: I absolutely love this post, Lisa. Thank you for joining us today at the Boost. I'm not far behind you in age and I can already agree that so many things get better with age. Kudos for your bravery in trying something new with your heroine. Good stuff! Please tell us more about your book.


Inside the Heart of every Warrior breathes the Soul of a Hero--even within The Heart of War.

Meet Ares God of War, the greatest Warrior the world has ever known. He's moody, grumpy, dominant, ravenously sexual, and above all, built like a Greek God.

Suspected of killing his Daughter in-Law, Psyche, and long in exile from Olympus, the solitude of Ares' secluded Greek Isle is interrupted when Magdalena MacLeod a plucky little Fey washes up on his shore after believing she's been shipwrecked. It's not mere fate that has brought the unlikely couple together yet it may be what tears them apart.

Branded with a golden chastity belt bearing the mark of Cernunnos, Celtic God of the Forest and Death, Alena has been on the run from her husband the Great Horned God for 200 years.

When the Olympians discover her presence on Ares' island, they send Apollo to the island while Ares is away with orders to bring her to Olympus. With nowhere to run and strikes a bargain with the God of War--her virginity for his protection.

Ares sees a sweeter deal; her in his bed and himself back in his rightful place on Olympus among the Gods. If it means turning Alena over to Zeus afterward, well that's of no consequence to him...is it?

After Alena proves herself to the God of War in battle and in his bed, the Ares must choose between his Divinely Dysfunctional Family, his pride, and Alena.

Get lost in this sweeping dark saga of lust, rage, revenge, and redemption. Battle Ancient Gods while falling in love with Ares God of War and Alena MacLeod. They share a love that will rock the world from the heights of Olympus to the Celtic moors, but will it be enough? Will love triumph, or will revenge and rage win the battle for the Heart of War?


Between his fingers appeared two tickets with a very familiar symbol on them. “Bought and paid for.” Ares assured as he held them in front of her watching her eyes go up and down with the logo of two crossed red socks. “Something called box seats.”

“Box…” Alena plucked them out of his hand and looked at the seating. Right in front of the first base line. They looked authentic to her. “How did you get these? Where did you get these?” According to the tickets the game, against the New York Yankees no less, was scheduled to begin at noon. “What time is it?”

Happy that he could make her face light up so brightly, Ares chuckled all the way to Fenway Park, where he enjoyed several beers and hot dogs. Popcorn was tasty but it got stuck between his teeth and he did not like that. The crowd was exhilarating, their exuberance was highly infectious, and even though he didn’t have much of an idea as to what was actually going on in the beginning, he was quickly swept up by the game. So did Alena.

“YOU SUCK!” She yelled to team currently in front of them wearing jerseys that read ‘Yankees’. “GO HOME!”

“That was a little rude, don’t you think?” Ares asked as he finished off the last of his second dog. Hardly had he ever heard say a bad word about anyone let alone unprovoked.

“You’re supposed to do that, it’s a psych-out. You should understand that concept.” The batter hit the ball…crack! Alena stood up in mid-sentence. “BUTTERFINGERS!” She yelled as she cupped her hands to her mouth, “YOU CAN’T CATCH! MISS IT! MISS IT! YOU STINK!” The ball slipped right over the top of the fielder’s glove and he went chasing after it while the batter made it to second base. With the rest of the crowd, Alena held up her fist and gave a great cheer as she protruded her index finger in the universal We’re-Number-One gesture.

“Besides, it feels good. You try.” Touching his arm just before Ares opened his mouth she added, “Don’t be too mean.”

“I’ll just keep watching you.” And he did for the whole game. Alena loved what she called ‘the crack of the bat’ and each time one of the Red Sox players got up and hit the ball, she jumped to her feet and cheered…along with the few thousand other people in the park. When the ball went over the wall, something Alena called The Green Monster though it didn’t seem very threatening to Ares, the crowd broke out in a strange chant; Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey, hey, hey…good bye. It wasn’t like any chant he had ever heard before. During something called the Seventh Inning Stretch, someone started playing an organ and the whole crowd stood up, linked arms, and sang a tune Alena sang along and said it was “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.”

Mortal Gatherings and Rituals were so strange.

Alena and Ares waited around in Fenway Park for a while after the game; Red Sox- 9 Yankees-1 and watched the crowd thin out. “You don’t want to battle them,” she advised, “and just zapping out of here would be bad.” She sat next to him and rested her head on his brawny shoulder. “Thank you for a lovely day. I had fun.”

Ares kissed the top of her head as he watched the crowd. Other than to make brief eye contact and give a nod—which was infrequent, no one paid much attention to them. Some of those who walked by did have a quizzical look in their eye. Alena’s face was snuggled in the nape of Ares’ neck; all they could see was her beautiful silver hair. It was clear that some of the mortals did not approve of what they saw as a great age gap. They probably wondered if he was after her money or something similarly trite. Unfortunately, those were the observant ones. As they passed by the God of War and his new Bride didn’t see them at all. They were just two more blank faces in this crowd.

Here he sat, in one of the most well known cities in the most powerful country on planet Earth surrounded by sheep and knowing that in a few short weeks, Cernunnos would have obliterated them, he would have subjugated them, and then enslaved them. They were so naïve and complacent. Right now, they were off to their shiny cars, their lives, and their dinners, oblivious to the fact that the man sitting near them could turn them to ash without ever getting up. From the way most of them were smiling and chattering away, Ares thought ignorance must truly be bliss.

On their way out of the park, they passed a vendor. Alena turned to Ares and held out her hand. “What do you want?”

“Money, you said you have some.”

He should have known that, Ares often saw women hold their hands out to their men this way before legal tender was handed over to them. “After my wallet already are you, woman? That didn’t take long.” He joked and took a black leather wallet from the back pocket of his blue jeans. Alena didn’t take count; she just plucked a fat wad of bills out of it before skittering off to the vendor leaving Ares standing behind her looking at his lightened wallet. He stood there watching her make her purchase, he watched the vendor look past her and stare at him only to turn back to her and then dig something out of the case.

“Look, change.” Alena said brightly when she came back to where Ares stood looking absolutely adorable with a brand new Red Sox cap on her head and pennant in her hand. She handed back the money that was left over. “I got you this.” With a sly grin, she held up a jersey that looked just like those worn by the men on the Red Sox team. Ares snatched it out of her hand and tossed it over his shoulder.

“I’ll try it on for you later.”

“Oh, I was hoping you’d say that.” Alena sighed and wrapped an arm around his waist as they made their way out of the gates.

Want More Lisa?

Visit her here: http://lbdarling.wordpress.com

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

Friday, May 20, 2011

Writing a Fine Line with Guest Blogger: Rebecca Forster

Win 1 of 5 free book downloads and meet bestselling author Rebecca Forster today at the Book Boost!

She's here to give us the bottom line about working with freelance editors and here's what she had to say...


Spring. We begin anew. We slough off our baggage and leave the dreary months behind. Except when we don’t. Which brings us to the topic of freelance editors.

I have dragged mine into every spring, every new project, every new puddle of angst where I wallow secure in the knowledge that I will never write a decent book again. I have done this for 26 years. I have faced each spring insecure and uncertain though I have published 23 novels, 2 indie published novels and one script in development. My freelance editor’s name is Jenny Jensen*.

To her credit, she does not roll her eyes as she takes me by the scruff of the neck, shakes off the muck and and points me back to the computer. I work with her because she is in my corner and that is important in publishing – to have someone in your corner. I work with her because I sell more often when I do.

That fact alone should be enough for me to never question my association with Jenny, yet I do. I want to know why, after all these years, can’t I edit myself? Haven’t I learned anything from her? I had to know. Am I an author idiot?

Thankfully, the answer is no and Jenny had a couple of good reasons why I isn’t:

  • Writing is a fast and furious process when it is going well. Grammar and spelling are not top of mind when an author is ‘in the zone’; words and ideas must flow freely.
  • Self-editing is prone to ‘blindness’. The author often sees no difference between her intent and the typed words. A good editor understands and respects the author’s words and voice while cleaning up the grammatical flaws that set the signals – signals that allow the reader to effortlessly navigate the story.
  • Some writers see punctuation as a bother. A well-punctuated manuscript will catch the eye of a publisher and so will one that is not punctuated well. Only one will sell.
  • Finally, some people are writers and others are editors. Like a writer with an instinct for story, an editor has an instinct for a pause, a rolling stop and when to quit. She knows when creativity and inspiration becomes awkward and interferes with story.

Knowing why I use a freelance editor usually leads to the question…

Can Only Rich Writers Afford a Freelance Editor?

Anyone who has been writing as long as I have can tell you that writing is not the road to riches. Most of us write while holding down other jobs and dealing with families. Some write for the pure love of it; most write in the hopes of making it their profession. So, how can the expense of a freelance editor be justified?

First an author must understand that books are business. New York publishers have bottom lines to meet, independently published authors want to sell their books, online retailers want to turn a profit. The way to determine if it is worth spending money on a freelance editor is to first define your writing objective.

If you want to attract an agent, a New York publisher or stand out in the indie market then, in my opinion, an editorial eye is a necessity. Prices range from the ridiculously cheap to the astronomically expensive. Some projects only need grammatical assistance and others continuity or story editing. Story editing is more expensive but, in my case, is critical. I write thrillers that rely on a trail of clues and red herrings and I cannot assess the effectiveness the webs I weave on my own.

In this roiling market, those who offer the cleanest, most professional product will be noticed. In the e-book market, those who present a flawed product will be called on the carpet instantly and very publicly. That is the worst kind of publicity and hard to recover from.

How Do I Work with a Freelance Editor?

The same way you work with a New York editor attached to a publisher. You respect one another’s expertise and perspective. You have discussions, not confrontations. You understand that while this is your book, her work is also held out to public scrutiny.

The Author:

Do not forward your first draft. Make it the best it can be before offering it for critique.
When the editor returns her comments/changes read them, set them aside and come back to them in 24 hours.

Look at your edited work with an objective eye. The editor is the first reader. If she questions something so will the person who buys your book.

Pay your bills, say your thank yous. Even if you don’t like editorial suggestions, the work has been done. This is a small community- and getting smaller all the time considering the internet - and an author’s reputation is easily damaged.

Ask questions. If something doesn’t make sense, talk it out. Most freelance editors offer a certain number of follow-ups. Be succinct. Be focused.

Do not expect continuity editing if you have paid strictly for grammar/spelling edits.

The Editor:

Should be respectful of your work and have no genre preferences.

Should exhibit that she understands your ‘voice’.

Should clearly state their fees up front and be specific about what the service entails.

Should have an acceptable turn around time.

Bottom line, if you can afford it, freelance editing makes all the difference in your final product. If you can’t spend the money find the next best thing: a middle school English teacher to help out, a wonderful book on grammar or a friend who will be read your manuscript and be honest.

Rest assured, you are not an author idiot if you can’t self-edit. You are a writer. Other (wonderful) people are (thankfully) editors. Together, we make books that people want to read.

*Jenny resides at http://www.e-bookeditor.com.
Note the wonderful example on her home page of what a difference punctuation can make.

A Note from the Book Boost: Rebecca, thank you so much for joining us today. Your blog post was great and something that a lot of writers probably haven't considered trying. I'm definitely going to check out your fabulous Jenny. Please tell us more about your book.


In a remote mountain community, the execution of a grocer and the abduction of a world-renowned model leave the local sheriff searching for a connection, two killers and a woman who is running for her life. In the next 48 hours, Sheriff Dove Connelly will learn that nothing in his mountain enclave is what it seems and what he can’t acknowledge will be the death of him and the woman he is desperate to save.

Excerpt (edited for length):

Dove Connelly’s Bedroom
2:17 a.m.

Dove Connelly caught up the phone on the first ring even though it was set so low as to make the sound virtually mute. Any other human being in a deep sleep wouldn’t have heard it, but Dove wasn’t any one else.

First, he didn’t sleep all that deep anymore. Then there was the thing he had in him. It was his sixth sense that let him hear and see what others didn’t, anticipate what others couldn’t.

Most people respected his talent, some thanked God for it and others who weren’t so law abiding steered clear of it. His wife, Cherie, used to tease him, swearing that she would be forever faithful because he would know her intentions even before she strayed. But that was before the unthinkable happened. Now, if Cherie spoke of that sixth sense at all, she did so with regret, sad that the gift had forsaken Dove when they needed it most.

Tonight Dove’s wife didn’t move when he pushed aside the covers and got out of bed. He put the phone to his ear, padding along to the kitchen in bare feet, wearing only old sweat pants, having no inkling that he’d be putting on his uniform any time soon.

“What is it, Jessica? Hogan boys tear up the tavern again?” He kept his voice low. The house wasn’t big.

Jessica Taylor started to speak but all Dove heard was the news catching in her throat. In all the years he had known her, Jessica reported to him using a scale of verbal sorrow, outrage or downright disbelief that gave him a clue as to enormity of the crime that was waiting on him. This night, for a layer of a second, she was speechless. Dove’s blood ran cold; as cold as it had run all those months ago when another crime was over and done before he knew it had even begun.

“Talk to me, Jessica.”

“Oh God, Dove, we got a bad ‘un. Bad as anything.”The woman pulled in a breath and it went no further than the middle of her chest.

“What and where?”

“One of ours, Dove. Paddy Johnson was drivin’ home, saw the lights at the Mountain Store and figured Fritz was hostin’ one of his poker parties like he used to.” Jessica breathed deep again and this time it went all the way in to her gut.“Paddy stopped into the store thinking to pick up a hand, Dove. He went into the store and found Fritz dead. Head splattered all over the back room. I’m so sorry.”

“Ah, Jesus.”

Dove put a hand to his face. There were no words to express Dove’s shock and sorrow. Bowing his head, covering his eyes did not make this news easier to take. They were talking about Fritz, a jack-o-lantern of a man: solid, round, possessed of a smile that cracked his face in two and lit up even the darkest times.

Dove remembered Fritz passing hot coffee to him on a bitter morning. Dove could still hear Fritz’s good words even when there was nothing good in his own life to speak of. Fritz was Dove’s best friend and confessor, the only one who knew what had really gone on in the sheriff’s home. Fritz was fond of reminding the sheriff that he carried the spirit of the bird his mother had named him for. Dove. Peace. Fritz had tried so hard to help Dove make peace with his demons.

Now Fritz was gone and Dove was shamed he slept through the man’s dying. That he didn’t feel his friend’s need was as close to a sin as anything he could imagine. There would come a time for personal reckoning. The time wasn’t now. Now was the time for Dove to do his job.

“Where’s Paddy?” Dove asked flatly.

“Says he’s sittin’ in his truck waitin’ on you. He called from the store but didn’t want to stay inside.”There was a beat before Jessica asked: “Want me to let the state boys know?”

“Give them a call but I’m not waiting on them, Jessie.”

“Alright, Dove.”

“Ring up Tim and get him out there. Call Nathan, too.”

“You going to trust Nathan with this?” Jessica asked tentatively.

“I trust him, Jessica. You make the call,” Dove directed. Then he thought again. “And Bernadette. We’ve got to let Bernadette know.”

“I’ll see to it, Dove,” Jessica offered but he had already changed his mind.

“Never mind. Not yet. I’ll go out to the store first. There’s always a chance Paddy is wrong.”Dove clutched for something that would make this better. The straw he came up with was speculation. It was a short one, a ridiculous dodge, but it was what he had. “Besides, if Bernadette’s awake she’ll know something’s gone down. Can’t be as close as those two have been all these years and not know.”

Jessica murmured something Dove couldn’t quite catch. It sounded like ‘hallelujah’. He was about to ring off when she stopped him.

“Dove, you think he could have done it himself? I mean, it’s been hard on him with Bernadette and all.”

“No,” he snapped. “Fritz wouldn’t have left us with that on our mind.”

“You’re right,” Jessica agreed. “You just do what you’ve got to do, Dove. I’ll be by the phone ready to help with whatever you need.”



“Lock your doors. Keep your eyes open. Is your gun loaded?”

“Dove, whoever did this is probably gone. Besides, I can take ca. . .”

“You do it, Jessica,” Dove snapped. “One friend gone is enough. I won’t have another.”

Dove rang off. He kept his thoughts so close there wasn’t room for his huge sorrow. He dressed in the near dark, the small light in the bathroom casting only the faintest glow. Cherie saw that his uniform was laundered good as any city cop. She reasoned that if Dove’s size didn’t make people think twice before coming down on him, his starched and pressed uniform would. Even in these big mountains where so much law was made just by two people meeting up together, a fine uniform made a difference.

Want More Rebecca?

Visit her website here:

Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Rebecca and be entered to win 1 of 5 free book downloads from Rebecca's collection.

**Winners for Book Boost prizes are drawn the first week of the following month and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**

Thursday, May 19, 2011

You Say You Wanna Revolution with Guest Blogger: Frances Pauli

Welcome author Frances Pauli to the Book Boost today!

She's here to talk about the e-book revolution and here's what she had to say...

A Reading Revolution?

I like to talk about e-books a great deal. I’m a big believer in them, and I always have been—even before I had a few out of my own. I’m not so keen on the print OR electronic debate, however, for several reasons. For one, people feel very strongly about the topic, and most debates about the two formats get heated rather quickly. Secondly, I don’t see it as an “either or” situation.

When the hoopla first got rolling, I said something that I believe is just as valid now that roll has turned into a full-speed-ahead charge. It goes like this: we should be far more worried about whether or not future generations read at all than about how they choose to read. See where I’m going?

Today’s books, electronic or paper, have a lot of competition. Sure, maybe all of us die-hard readers and authors will always read, but what about everyone else? How many of us will there be in the next generation? The next after that? Our children already have video games that work almost like virtual reality. Some of them are practically holo-decks. They have 3-D movies and online, interactive web comics. And the list goes on.

That was a frightening picture, in my opinion. I worried about the book. Both kinds. I worried that story-telling would not exist in a non-interactive way, and I didn’t think it would take that long to get there either. I’m still not totally without fear.

But, I did hear some encouraging facts last weekend. I attended one of the local Science Fiction conventions where the E vs. Paper debate still burns brightly. In a panel on the topic, one of the panelists pointed out an interesting statistic. They claim more people are reading as a result of e-books. More people. Well, I’ll be danged.

That’s good news, isn’t it? At least for now, the ease and portability of the electronic book is helping. The numbers are up. I hope they stay that way—even though a holo-deck would be nice. I can’t imagine a world where no one read books. Paper, electronic, beamed telepathically into their craniums…just keep them reading. In my book, at least, that’s what matters.

And even though I love my e-reader…I can’t help but appreciate the heft and scent of a good print book as well. I can’t help but believe there’s room for both, for now. And those of us who can agree on that much, should focus on nurturing that love of story for the future. It seems like a much better use for our efforts than arguing over the physical structure of the stories we adore.

Keeping reading alive seems like the worthier cause, and in the end, the greater goal.

Here’s hoping we’ve got a leg up.

A Note from the Book Boost: What a great post, Frances! Thanks for joining us today. I agree with you totally. Why can't we have both? The more reading...the better...and my kids love books so I know they'll get that much from me for sure. Please tell us more about your book.


“Housekeeping takes on a whole new dimension.”

Chloe came to the Three Lakes area for the peace and quiet. She happily abandoned the world of retail management, suits and promotions to work as a hotel maid catering to the local tourists.

Until Andrew Paige showed up—a suit of the worst kind, the kind that makes her knees tremble.

When Andrew offers her a job at his hotel, Chloe is hell bent on resisting, but the Dimensional Shift is no ordinary hotel, and Chloe is immediately tossed into the world of inter-dimensional tourists, their odd accommodations, and a string of thefts that threaten to ruin her chances at romance.

While learning the ropes, dealing with the Shift’s unusual guests, and trying to determine if the boss’ interest in her is strictly professional, Chloe uncovers a plot to steal the hotel’s dimensional keys. With the help of the town gossip, her alien abductee neighbor, and her new invisible best friend, Chloe confronts an inter-dimensional crime ring and a host of complications that make romancing the boss look like the least of her troubles.


"No. Not a test." Drew reached out and cupped the stone gently, his
hand brushing softly against the skin at her neckline. "This was a gift. The pyramids have been known to produce things on occasion, return lost items to their owners, deposit clues to important tasks, or just join an item with its rightful owner."

"I've never seen this stone before."

"That doesn't mean it wasn't meant for you. The pyramid's gifts
always have meaning, always. Of course, we usually haven't a clue what that is at the time." He leaned in closer, his voice soft and casual once again. "I like what you've done with it," he said. "Definitely yours then."

Chloe swallowed hard. Standing this close sent her pulse racing
again. Her heart had seized slightly as he touched her to pick up the stone. Now he let it settle gently back against her shirt. His eyes met hers deliberately, holding her gaze for seconds that stretched outward with the ocean around them.

He turned away, staring over her shoulder. Chloe tucked the necklace
back under her blouse, noting that the stone was, once again, warm to the touch.

"Look there." Drew said, pointing in the direction behind her. She
turned, following his gaze across the heaving fluids. Far out, nearly half way to the horizon, a dark shape rose from the sea.

The black silhouette, framed by the glow of both sky and sea, loomed
impossibly large. Chloe was no genius at gauging distance, but from where they hovered, the fin that emerged from the red waters seemed mountainous. It arched slowly into view, pausing at the apex and then, just as slowly, descending back out of sight.

"How big is whatever is attached to that?" Chloe looked anxiously at
the dark red chaos below them. How deep was this, and how densely populated?

"No worries." Drew answered, then sighed heavily. It was, Chloe
imagined, quite unlike him to do so. "So," he said. "Have I convinced you to take the job yet?"

"Hmm." Chloe smiled wickedly and turned in a slow circle. She surveyed
the alien seascape, unable to suppress a slight shiver. "You mentioned something about generous compensation?" To her delight, his eyebrows raised in surprise. He laughed heartily.

"Yes, I believe I did at that. Did I say, 'generous'?"

"I seem to remember an implied ‘generous’." Chloe meant it to be
serious. Eaten by sea monsters was a job hazard she’d expect to be paid well for.

Want More Frances?

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

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Breaking Up is Hard to Do with Guest Blogger: Louisa Bacio

Win a $10 gift certificate to Ravenous Romance and welcome paranormal author Louisa Bacio to the Book Boost!

She's here to discuss breaking the boundaries of your writing and here's what she had to say...

5 Ways to Catapult Your Writing to a Different Level

Are you a rule breaker? In real life, do you do things the way you should? How about your characters? Do they live a little bit more on the edge than you ever would? Sometimes you need to mix things up a bit, and take on new experiences, in order to venture to a new place of writing.

So here are some tips on how to break those boundaries:

1) Listen to your characters. Say what? I know that there are a lot of plotters out there, and sometimes a wacky idea jumps up and you *squash* it because it doesn’t really fit into the original outline. Why? Is there potential for something else? (Said like the true panster that I am.) Why don’t you throw a few thousand words at the idea, watch it grow. Does your character want to do something naughty that maybe you wouldn’t approve of? Hmmm …

2) Read something new. Oh, perfect, right? A writer recommending readers purchase books? It doesn’t have to be my books. But if you find yourself stuck in a rut, then jar your senses. Go look at Amazon’s top 100 list: what’s selling? Read a classic, or if you usually read erotic romance, how about a sweet romance that focuses on a different aspect of the relationship? Or how about some male/male? Or watch a horror movie … the key is to step outside of that normal comfort zone that you’ve established.

3) Go toy shopping. Oh, yes, that’s exactly what I mean. Less than five minutes from my house is a shop called The Purple Onion (isn’t that a cool name?). Do I frequent it often? No … have I bought penis-shaped lollipops for special parties? Sure! Don’t feel comfortable shopping in-person, then check out sites such as AdamandEve.com. Never would have gone there if it wasn’t for all the advertising they do on my local radio station. (Hint: If you’re actually going to buy, make sure to check out coupon codes and specials. They always have something going.) Personally, I’ve never been to an adult toy party, but I’m starting to think it would be a kick.

4) Take a trip or mini excursion that you’d normally not do. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, or any. Recently, a local arboretum advertised an herb sale over a weekend. On a total spur-of-the-moment, I detoured on the way home and became swept away into another universe. The roar of the SoCal freeway faded away. Stress seeped from my body, and I began imagining my characters being here … alone … and the wondrous things they could do rolling around on a soft blanket surrounded by nature. Getting out of your normal routine offers other choices.

5) The list of 20 – At two local RWA meetings, I’ve heard speakers talk about the list of 20. Most recently, it was Leanne Banks at the OCC/RWA meeting in May. When you start plotting your book, list 20 things you know about it, or the characters. Stuck at a moment, how about 20 ways to get out of it? Don’t settle for any ol’ solution – push those boundaries. When you hit upon the right one, usually it resonates.

** Special Shout-out: Another fantastic way to break out of your comfort zone is to take an online class in a new subject. Starting on Monday, May 16, I’m teaching “Some Like it Hot: Writing the Erotic Romance” online for OCC/RWA. And, I know that there are many participants that will be traveling into the squirm zone with the material. Many kudos to you for being willing to smash those boundaries.**

This list is only the beginning in ways to explore the literary possibilities. I’m sure that there are many other ideas out there. So how do you break the boundaries?

A Note from the Book Boost: I love this post, Louisa! It is great advice for writer--particularly when we get stuck in that writing rut. I'm a big fan of thinking outside the box and taking classes on new subjects often inspire me. Thanks for joining us and please do come back soon!

Want More Louisa?

Bacio’s erotic paranormal “The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: A New Orleans Threesome” is currently available through Online retailers. If you’re interested in a set of Romance Trading Cards featuring the three characters Lawrence, Lily & Trevor, visit http://www.louisabacio.com.

Follow her on Twitter here:

Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Louisa and be entered to win a $10 gift certificate to Ravenous Romance.

**Winners for Book Boost prizes are drawn the first week of the following month and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Speak Easy with Guest Blogger: Jean Murray

Welcome author Jean Murray to the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about the Importance of Dialogue in your Writing and here's what she had to say...

The old adage: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” And I would add— “what you don’t say.”

As everyone knows dialogue is such an important part of the story. It conveys information to the reader, quickens the pacing of the story, and opens the character’s personality. I want to focus on how dialogue can expand the character and really get the reader into their head.

How many times have we had conversations when we think one thing but say something else?

This applies very well in our writing. Our characters are complex and flawed. We don’t like revealing our weaknesses nor should they, but they can think it. It is important to weave some of this into your dialogue writing. Too much will slow down the pace, but just the right amount will open a window to the character’s psyche and adds depth to the dialogue.

This will only make sense if I use examples. I pulled some dialogue from my novel, Soul Reborn, to show you how this works. It provides back story, advances the plot, and provides the emotional state of Lilly and what she is thinking but not speaking— the need to keep her secret & guilt of not telling him.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” When he didn’t answer, she continued. “My father use to take us on his digs. Even after a hard day at work, he would always make time for me and my sisters at night. He would teach us the constellations and then quiz us later.” The fresh pain silenced her for several moments. “I pray for the day that my sisters and I can lay and look up at the stars again.”

“Where is your father?”

Lilly bit the inside of her cheek. She needed to choose her words carefully. “He’s dead.” A minor truth. Her father died five years ago, kind of. “It’s just Kit, Kendra and I.”

Asar leaned back on his elbow and rolled onto his side next to her. Lilly couldn’t meet his gaze, afraid he’d see the truth. There were so many things she needed to tell him, but if she told him too much, he would know. That she was responsible for the goddess and the revens. For his suffering. Guilt twisted her gut. He would never forgive her—of that she was certain.

Prior to this scene the pacing was very active and fast. This scene dialog gives the reader a breather, and allows them to catch up and get to know the characters better before you spin them back up. In the end, it’s finding the right balance between dialogue and narrative that stays true to the characters and the scene. Don’t have your characters spill their guts, unless they are at the confessional. The story would be over if Lilly spoke everything that she was thinking. The conflict would be lost.

I’m sure folks have better examples “of what you don’t say” in their dialogue scenes. Or their own pearls of wisdom on dialogue use. Please share!

A Note from the Book Boost: Jean, this is a great example and I really like the excerpt from your book. Peaks my interest! I'm one of those writers who uses a lot of internal dialogue. I'm a huge fan of that. I tend to express my character's frustrations that way most often. Nice post. Please tell us more about your book.



Asar, the Egyptian God of the Underworld, has been tortured and left soulless by a malevolent goddess, relegating him to consume the very thing he was commissioned to protect. Human souls. Now an empty shell of hatred, Asar vows to kill the goddess and anyone involved in her release, but fate crosses his path with a beautiful blonde huntress who has a soul too sweet to ignore.


Lilly, fearless commander of the Nehebkau huntresses, is the only thing standing in the way of the goddess' undead army unleashing hell on earth. But Lilly has a secret—one she is willing to sell her soul to keep. If the Underworld god discovers her role in the dig that released the goddess, she will lose everything, including his heart.

Want More Jean?

Jean Murray was born and raised in a small town on the east coast. In her pursuit of a nursing degree, she aspired to see the world and joined the Navy. One of the benefits of her membership in the Armed Forces, she has had the opportunity to travel and live in different parts of the world and the United States. Her travels abroad have given her the opportunity to experience different cultures. It inspired her to delve into Ancient Egyptian myths and legends for her debut novel, Soul Reborn, book 1 in the Key to the Cursed series from Crescent Moon Press, now available.

Visit her website here: www.jean-murray.com

Visit her blog here:

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

Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Boost Wins Versatile Blogger Award!

Honestly, The Book Boost won this shiny green blog badge award back in January but it is better late than never accepting the award, eh?

Anyway, thanks to my friend and extremely talented author Bobbye Terry (http://bobbyeterry.blogspot.com/) for the award.

To accept the award, I must complete this list:

1) Share 7 things about myself (How bout 7 things about the Book Boost? See below.);
2) Pass this award on to 15 other bloggers recently discovered (I'll pick 15 of my fave guests. See below.);
3) Notify the recipients (Uh oh, I'll zing them a message momentarily and then hide under a rock!); and
4) Link the blogger who gave this award (Done, see above!).

Seven things about myself (The Book Boost Blog):

1) Originally founded on November 1, 2009 as a website versus a blog. Converted to a blog on February 21, 2010.
2) Our first guest was author Kaylin McFarren.
3) Our 1st Annual Book Boost Blogger of the Year Award went to Maya Jax.
4) This post will be our 249th blog post!
5) Entangled Publishing is our first official publisher account! Welcome to the Boost!
6) Our most recent guest was the lovely and talented Kris Kennedy.
7) One of the guests coming this summer that I'm most looking forward to is...Susan Mallery on July 27th!

Here are some of my fave bloggers from the Boost (of whom I've checked out and enjoyed their blogs) and whom I now nominate for the same illustrious Virtual Blogger Award. Should they choose to accept, they'll need to complete the same steps above. Either way, here are my 15 nominations along with the reason why I chose them:

1) Arianna @ http://ariannaskye.com/blog/
(Thank you for what you're doing for JDRF!)

2) Suzanne @ http://suzanne-johnson.blogspot.com/
(Happy belated Birthday!)

3) Heather @ http://www.heatherkuehl.blogspot.com/
(She's perfectly Paranormal!)

4) Cate @ http://catemasters.blogspot.com/
(Cause she's just cool Cate!)

5) Keena @ http://www.typosandall.com/
(I'm just keen on her!)

6) Natalie @ http://www.emmyellis.blogspot.com/
(Miss U my witty wanton woman!)

7) Dominique @ http://aspiringromancewriters.webs.com/
(Me likey your blog!)

8) Lisa @ http://lisakessler.wordpress.com/
(Just lovable Lisa!)

9) Dawn @ http://www.dawntheauthor.blogspot.com/
(My Bayou Babe!)

10) Kim @ http://kimbowmanauthor.blogspot.com/
(Huge talent--on her way up!)

11) Caroline @ http://www.carolineclemmons.com/
(Simply Inspires me!)

12) Sharon @ http://sharonhamiltonauthor.blogspot.com/
(Hard Working & a Dear!)

13) Therese @ http://theresegilardi.wordpress.com/
(I like her style!)

14) Rachel @ http://www.rachelfirasek.com/apps/blog/
(One smart & generous cookie!)

15) Christine @ http://christine-ashworth.com/
(Proud to call her a friend!)

That's all folks!

Versatiley Yours,
Kerri Nelson
Owner, The Book Boost

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Get Defiant with Blog Guest: Kris Kennedy

Win a copy of Defiant and welcome historical romance author Kris Kennedy to the Book Boost!

: Welcome, Kris! Thanks for joining us. Let's start out with your latest news. Please share.

KK: The latest happy news is that Defiant has released, and got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly.

TBB: How awesome! Congrats on that. For those who aren't familiar with your work can you tell us a little history? When did you first consider yourself a writer?

KK: I think, deep-down, I’ve always considered myself a writer, even if I was at a phase of my life where I wasn’t writing too much. Or at all. :) But I used to write as a kid, crazy stories about my friends and me, and I’d lose myself for hours doing that. And of course, I was a voracious reader. So I’ve always felt connected in some deep, abiding way to stories.

Then, the moment I started writing again, staying up until 3am, thinking of Story when I should have been thinking Work, then I knew I was back in the game. :)

TBB: Thinking back, can your recall your first reaction when you found out that you were going to be published?

KK: Hmmm….first reaction. Well, it was to continue applying the hot compress to my young son’s pink eye. I was sitting on the couch with him when my agent called with the news that Kensington had made a 2-book offer. I was excited, of course, but as I “oohh-ed” and “ahhh-ed” and discussed the particulars with my agent, the back of my mind was attending to thing like, “Careful, you might be spreading pink eye germs onto the phone.” (fwiw, I rely on the back of my mind to get my through a great many tight spots.)

TBB: LOL. Your germ spreading thought sounds exactly like something I'd be thinking! Great story, Kris. How did you come up with the title for this book?

: That was my editor! We went through several different title ideas. My swiftly developed, somewhat lame, title was The King’s Protector, but that was just a placeholder title to send it out to editors with. In my mind, it was always ‘The Jamie Story” (which drove one my critique partner’s nuts.

: Wow! I can never work on a book that doesn't have a set title. It is kind of like having a baby with no name to me. But I like what your editor came up with here. How did you come up with the idea for this book?

KK: The story-behind-the-story started as much more of a Robin Hood story, and morphed as it went. Radically.

The first hard kernel of an idea about the story was that of a woman being taken somewhere she did not want to go. It had a rather Robin Hood-esque feel, except for a few details: the hero was the one taking her where she didn’t want to go, and the heroine was the Robin Hood-esque character.

Defiant today bears very little resemblance to this, but I still see that story down there in the creative ‘well,’ so to speak. :-)

TBB: What is up next for Kris?

KK: I’m working on another medieval right now. I’m currently working on another hot medieval, about a con man and a bankrupt silk merchant (well, unless this story morphs throughout the writing like Defiant did).

TBB: I'm sure it will be great either way. Do you have any advice for other writers hoping to achieve your level of success?

KK: Of course I have advice! It’s two-fold, and they’re equally important.

1) Focus on being a great storyteller, not a great writer.
2) Treat it like a craft, not a career. You can make a career out of it, but at its heart, it’s a craft. Always remember you’re becoming a craftsman. That requires discipline, and persistence, and change.

TBB: Great advice, Kris. So true. Sometimes we let the business of being an author get in the way of the business of being a writer. What does your family think of your writing?

KK: My family is phenomenally supportive. They understand when I feel cramped and crazy with time and deadlines, and when the story isn’t cooperating, they accept how that can affect my mood. There’s no way I could have happily been successful at this if it weren’t for their support.

TBB: Awe. I love a supportive family. Thanks so much for joining us today and for the giveaway. Please come back again soon.

KK: Thank-you so much for having me by today, Kerri!! I hope anyone who picks up Defiant loves it. Here's a little taste for you.


A very questionable and reluctant hero has just lost track of the man he’s been sent to recover for King John. He’s also run into a mysterious and beautiful woman lurking in the shadows, and knows she’s up to no good. Our reluctant hero has just decided upon his plan of action—keep the enigmatic woman with him, track down his quarry, and dispatch the men who took him. Now all he had to do was figure out what to do with the woman.

It was a plan. That it was also improvised and risky mattered naught: he’d spent his entire life doing and being just that.

And, he decided, looking down, he would use his bided time to learn what he could from the dark-cloaked waif before he rendered her at best not a nuisance, at worst, bound and gagged.

He tugged her back into the shadows. “It means I want an answer. Why do you want the priest? Who sent you for him?”

“Me?” She turned, her pale face angry. “Why do those men want him, that is the question of better asking.”

“I do not care ‘of better asking.’ I want an answer.”

She ploughed forward, like he was dirt beneath her anger. “These squinty-eyes are carting him away right now. You ought to care. Why do you want him? Mayhap we can start there, on our want of answers. Indeed, this is the sort of question I like better.”

“He has something I want.”

His swift, honest reply brought her up short. She blinked, long lashes sweeping down over her eyes. He followed her glance down. The tips of battered shoes poked out from beneath the hem of her skirts. She looked up.

“Does he now?” Her pale cheeks were flushed. “That is no answer. Of course he has something you desire; why else seek him? It is why I am after him as well. He has many things I want. I am desperate for these things.”

“What sorts of things?”

“Baubles. A length of scarlet. Contracts he was witness to. Trunks of coin and relics from the Holy Land.”

She’d mentioned many things, none of which were the things Father Peter was being hunted for. Which was very interesting, seeing as she’d named just about everything else under the sun.

“Tell yourself whatever brings you comfort,” she finished, turning back to the High, “and let us be about it. Please. Or they shall escape.”

A rumble of thunder rolled through the sky. He folded his fingers around the underside of her arm, just above her elbow.

“Mistress, I do not tell myself things to bring comfort.” He pulled her so close she had to bend her neck back to peer into his eyes. “I care naught for comfort, or for you. You may not realize this, but I’ve shown great restraint thus far. You are lying to me, yet telling me nothing at all. That is difficult to do. I am impressed. And aggravated.” Her breath came out a little shorter and faster. “So try a good lie, and we can ‘be about it.’”

“He is my uncle,” she said swiftly.

“Father Peter of London is your uncle,” he echoed, realizing he sounded incredulous. Because he was incredulous.

“As much as.”

“Which means not at all. Do you know what your ‘uncle’ has done?”

“Angered your king.”


He saw her swallow. “Everyone angers your silly, stupid king. Silly, dangerous, killing king. Perhaps those men are from the king himself,” she added ominously.

“Perhaps,” he said, almost regretfully. “But ’ware, woman, for I am made of worse.”

Color receded from her face like a tide going out. She jerked on her arm and he opened his fingers. She stumbled backward, breathing hard. The thoughts tumbling through her mind might as well have been carved on the swinging tavern sign above her head: Danger. Run.

And yet, she’d known he was about danger when she enlisted his help. She might not realize he was from King John—‘silly, dangerous, killing king’ was a grave understatement—but she knew he wasn’t there to save her ‘uncle.’ She’d taken a chance and trusted him.

A regrettable error in judgment.

He placed a gloved hand on the door, just above her head, and pushed it open.

“Inside. Now.”

Want More Kris?

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Do you like the more quiet kind of stories, where the action and tension of the story is often found in the restraint of the world &/or inside the characters, or do you prefer the straight-up, fast-paced, adventure stories? Or both?!

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