November 17, 2011

Blame It on the Full Moon?

Author Shara Lanel offers her take on werewolves, lycanthropy, and the full moon...
Lycanthropy is "the change of man or woman into the form of a wolf, either through magical means…or through judgment of the gods in punishment for some great offence," according to Sabine Baring-Gould in The Book of Werewolves. In The Complete Book of Werewolves (yes, similar titles) by Leonard R. N. Ashley he states: "The werewolf is an outcast, shunned. Medieval laws stated that for certain crimes against society the offender must 'become a wolf.'" In other words, the law won't protect this man and he can be hunted and killed like a wolf. Ashley says the Catholic Church acknowledged the existence of werewolves, but considered them a form of possession or a glamour that makes the person believe he is a beast.
From True Werewolves of History by Donald F. Glut: "Generally…the term 'lycanthrope' refers to the unfortunates who believe themselves to be transformed into beasts without an actual physical metamorphosis. 'Werewolf' mostly pertains to those physically changed into animals or hybrids."
You can change into a werewolf by wearing a wolf's skin or by performing a ritual or using a magic ointment. Or you could just be insane or have a genetic anomaly. This forum thread discusses several more ideas on how to become one (
Or it could run in your family. Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf (1985) probably influenced my thoughts on werewolves the most. I'd never seen the black and white movies or read any books about werewolves. I might've seen one on Scooby Doo, but it was the image of Michael sprouting fur in front of the bathroom mirror that stuck with me. In fact, when I was creating the character of Haden Blackwood in Blame It on the Moon, I gave him a similar memory from his teenage years. But Haden was given to human parents for adoption, so he had no idea whether his case was a genetic anomaly or hereditary.
Did you know there's a Werewolves Anonymous? "'Werewolves Anonymous' by Kevin Creed, tells about the organization now with 257 members, that was started in early 1993 for victims of OCL (Organically Caused Lycanthropy) or testosterone poisoning, patients of Dr. Mason Grumler, Baton Rouge, LA." (Resource: Another interesting tidbit--there was a study saying that werewolves went extinct in the 1800s and one that recorded werewolves going at 60 mph.
Almost every werewolf site or book includes a list of classic movies like The Wolf Man, The Werewolf of London, or the She-Wolf of London. Ashley's book has awesome reviews or comments on even the most obscure film. This page ( offers a compendium of werewolf movie posters—now that's cool! Hmm, could Chewbacca be a descendent of a pack of werewolves?
Since there are entire books on historical references to the werewolf in different cultures through time, I won't try to cover those here. My question to you is, with all the pop culture about werewolves, do you prefer the beasts to retain a somewhat human form or to turn completely into a wolf? And do you like your weres scary or sexy? In Blame It on the Night, I went with the pack turning into actual wolves and staying sexy men (or women) the rest of the time. Do you think a werewolf has to change at the full moon, or do you like them to have the ability to shape-shift at will? I can't wait to hear what you have to say!
Shara's info:
Awards: VRW HOLT Medallion Winner for Blame It on the Moon

November 14, 2011

Interview with author Mya

Darkness Bound
Today, the Romance Lives Forever blog welcomes author Mya. Yes, that's correct -- simply Mya. You can learn more about her on her Facebook page, Mya's Den.

Mya, tell us about your books.
My latest book is paranormal romance called ‘DarknessBound.’ I wouldn’t really say that it crosses genres but it does travel between the realms of humans, sorcerers and demons. In a way this is more of a ‘message’ book than anything that I have ever written. The main character, Malice is half-sorcerer/ half-demon but being raised by the supposed side of good, she throws her lot in with sorcerers to defend the earth realm. With a superior talent for energy binding, Malice becomes a valuable warrior for the cause. When a mission to hunt and destroy demons goes too far, she draws the line at destroying an infant demon. Furious, she leaves the council of sorcerers that have been her family.

The book finds her several decades later catering to urges of paranormals by various means of bondage. Rather than hunt down demons and supernaturals after they commit a crime, Malice uses her powers to calm their urges to prevent them. Ignoring the worlds around her, she believes that she has found a neutral balance.

Until Naeem, the demon whose life she saved so long ago returns to shake her every foundation.

Now, my blurb writing skills or lack thereof aside, this novel does possess a May-December romance, Malice being several decades older than Naeem. It also makes a statement about mixed-race/species issues. Malice struggles with being raised as a sorceress and finding a home amongst demons. Needless to say Malice’s ability to bind adds a slight BDSM flavor to the text.

How do you come up with ideas?
I meditate a lot and day dream constantly. Many of my stories are products and subjects of my mental wanderings. I get inspirations from movies, photographs and music. I trained as a painter so a ton of my inspiration is based on visual themes, a postcard or a specific set of colors. I still have certain images branded in my brain that yearn to be woven into stories, like several of Mapplethorpe’s photos, Virginia O’Keefe’s paintings and Clive Barker’s ‘Nightbreed,’ the multitude of monsters in that film was highly inspiring!
What is the single most important part of writing for you?
The most important aspect of writing is just getting the material down on paper. Once I have pages, then I have clay with which to mold and shape otherwise known as edit, cut and add. Every page is a small victory to me as I am an absolute masochist when it comes to beta readers and editors. I don’t mind seeing red cause it tells me when its dead…corny I know.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
I’m a craftsman at heart and to me writing is a craft a lot like weaving. All of the parts have to be interlaced, constructed to build one solid form that can hold a myriad of ideas and fantasies. I enjoy trying to make the metaphors and similes cater to the theme, to achieve the right balance of world creation and character development needed to achieve the sound basket.

Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
I would love to be the type of person who can plan out a book from start to finish. I would work sooo much smarter and get so much done. Unfortunately, I am notorious panster, who plots by whims and what ifs, trial and error. Even when I attempt to do an outline, I always veer off course and go on tangents.

What did you learn from writing your first book? 
The most important lesson I learned from writing my first book is to be persistent. Seriously, I am stubborn about completing a manuscript. No matter how distracted I get, I try to stay the course and work on one manuscript even though other ideas are knocking hard on the door. Persistence is a good trait to have, when you get rejection letter after rejection letter. I had certain manuscripts that didn’t sell, and ended up in the free read category of my website. But all together, just refusing to give up or give in was a valuable lesson.

Would you consider self publishing?
I most certainly would not. My grammar is shaky at best and my punctuation is suspect on any given page. I enjoy writing and telling stories, but the mechanics of editing, polishing and promoting weigh me down. I highly applaud those people that can self publish, but with a full time job, I just want to get my stories on the page and into some semblance of a novel.

How many hours a day to you spend writing?
On a good day, after work, I try to spend at least four –five hours writing, completing edits or doing some sort of promotions. On the weekends if I’m lucky, I can get in maybe six hours but that doesn’t count distractions such as gaming and well…gaming.  

Is your muse demanding?
My muse is a narcoleptic drunk. I am certain of it. Sometimes it rants and raves about what I should write and then other times it’s passed out in some dark, dank bar. There are times when it propels me to contemplate what the proper shampoo for a werewolf might be and others when its face down doing the Conan in some platter of fried pub food. Many a night I have threatened it, complained to and about it, but then it comes staggering back with a “you really should write this.”

Are your stories plot or character driven?
All of my works are character driven despite my nefarious plans to tell a grand message. I fixate on a character and run with the hundreds of possibilities, motivations and quirks that drive them. It’s my curiosity about how my characters would react to certain situations that drives my fiction. However, my propensity to get caught up in characters often leads to a lot of scenes ending up on the chopping block. Do I like to ramble about what kind of shampoo a werewolf might use or the convention scheduling of a paranormals conference…hells yeah!

How do you balance a life outside of writing with deadlines and writing muses?
It’s extremely easy and difficult at the same time. I work a full time job so of course when I get home I would love to spend all evening writing, ignoring family and friend obligations but that is so not possible. The desire to be so selfish and hermitlike appeals to me so often I have to fight it. And I must say that my friends and my furry kids do all that they can to make me socialable. I feel grateful that I can eek out the time I want to write but like a child with ice cream it doesn’t stop me from wishing I had more time. Hence the lottery pipe dreams where I can quit my job and spend all my time writing.

What are some jobs you've done that would end up in a book?
Honestly, I do have an idea for a book about a waitress at a paranormal diner. I was a waitress, the world’s worst, during my high school years and boy did I have some stories to tell. I would imagine a waitress at an alternative diner would have a few as well, serving werebears hash and eggs; a plate of raw eggs for a Serpentoid and raw steak for vampires…Uggh, yes I often feel more like a paranormal write than a romance writer.

If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
It depends on whether you prefer Fm or MM actually. A Guardian’s Desire would be my recommendation for a Fm reader in that it embodies all that I love about strong, dominant female characters and freakish, badass monsters!  Obedience Training would be my starter choice for the MM crowd as it touches upon my love of big man/little man fiction and of course…freakish, badass monsters! All in all, I love my monsters!

What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
Honestly, I just hope my readers enjoy the world’s I create. I hope that they are entertained first and foremost. If they can pull a message from the text then it’s a win but I just want them to enjoy the fantasy as much as I.

List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
I am a rabid fan girl of Neal Asher, a British Sci-fi writer who has world building skills that would knock even Star Wars out of the park. I read everything the man publishes and that I can attain from royal post. Another favorite of mine is Brian Keene, an American horror writer who literally terrifies me, but I can’t put his books down no matter how gory, over the top or creepy they are. I must confess I hardly ever read romance.

A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
Farming Monsters Since the 1970s

If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
If money were no object and I had lots of it, I would probably move to Canada, to Vancouver. Why? Because a ton of my favorite SyFy channel movies are filmed there, the lakes and rivers are cleaner and I prefer cooler climates. I would have a nice rambler with a cat sanctuary on the premises.  

What song would best describe your life?
The Cure- “The Same Deep Water as You” would definitely be the title of my soundtrack. I am constantly obsessed with the hurdles I place before myself.  

Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
I would be a new age store that sold trance music, candles, jewelry, essential oils, spices and herbs. I would sell paintings and pillows and homebrew wines. There would also be a small section devoted to Godzilla memorabilia.

Fill in the Blanks
I love pizza with bacon and pineapples.
I'm always ready for a rave- I absolutely love to dance.
You'd never be able to tell, but I am a fan of Godzilla and a recovering World of Warcraft addict.

Find Me Here

November 11, 2011

Salute to Author Veterans 2011

Today, I'm honoring fellow authors and members of the publishing industry who are veterans. This is by no means an exhaustive list. These are all folks who are proud to stand and be counted. I ask that you visit their sites, and get to know their books.

The History of Veteran's Day (from the US Department of Veterans Affairs)
World War I – known at the time as "The Great War" - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of "the war to end all wars."

Authors Who Served

Bob Mayer - Founder of Who Dares Wins Publishing
US Army Infantry and Special Forces

Charles Kaufman - Author of Night of the Machetes
US Air Force

Denise Patrick - Author of Inspirational and Historical Romance
US Army

Teresa D'Amario - Author of the True Mate Series
US Air Force, Ret.

Diana Cosby - International Best-Selling Author
US Navy, Ret.

Isis Rushdan - Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy Author
US Army

Mahalia Levey - Author of The Decadent Side of Sin Romance
US Navy

Misty MacRae -  Prospective Author
US Navy

Nancy J. Parra - Author of Romantic Suspense
US Air Force

Rochelle Weber - Author of Science Fiction Romance
US Navy

Kayelle Allen - Unstoppable heroes, Uncompromising love, Unforgettable passion
US Navy

Rogenna Brewer - Harlequin SuperRomance
US Air Force

SG Cardin - Romance Under the Moonlight
US Army

Sandy Wickersham-McWhorter - Unexpected Romantic Fiction
US Air Force

Sue Charnley aka Rue Allyn - For Books, For Love, For Ever
US Navy

Suzie Quint - Falling In Love with Romance
US Army

William Maltese - Providing Readers with International Best-Sellers for over Four Decades
US Army

Special Mention 

Military News Blog - former military and police authors

E. Marcelle Cole - Department of Pediatrics
US Army

RomVets - Women Writers Who Served

Anne Ashby  - Writing Warm Fuzzy and Fun
New Zealand Armed Forces Navy

Thank you
My sincere thanks to all those who have served, are currently on active duty, waiting to be called up, and to their families, and the families of those whose loved ones have sacrificed all. You are never forgotten, always honored.

November 10, 2011

What We Deserve by Kerry Freeman

Romance Lives Forever is proud to welcome author Kerry Freeman to the blog today. Kerry, take it away!

From Kerry Freeman

I wrote What We Deserve for NaNoWriMo 2010, and it is the perfect example of characters getting their own way. I never planned for WWD to be a ménage, but Sean had his own ideas. He got pretty stubborn when I tried to force him to do what I wanted, which was choose between Tyler and Jamie. You can probably tell who won that battle.
I'm currently working on my NaNoWriMo 2011 story with all new stubborn characters.
Years after Sean's heart was broken by his first love Jamie, he is ready to try his hand at love again with Tyler, his handsome, perfect-geek-for-him boyfriend. But when Jamie returns home after twelve years in the Army, Sean finds himself unable to choose between his passion for Tyler and his still smoldering desire for Jamie.
But if Jamie and Tyler get along, maybe he won't have to choose after all.

November 8, 2011

Champion of Valor, Book III in Nicole Zoltack's Kingdom of Arnhem series

Please join me in welcoming Nicole Zoltack, author of Champion of Valor, Book III in the Kingdom of Arnhem series. 
Nicole, tell us a bit about your book. You have beautiful covers, by the way. Just lovely.
Thank you! The genre of Champion of Valor is Fantasy Romance.

The Mystical Conch Shell of the Sea has been stolen, and it's up to Selliki, the selkie, to get it back. Selliki sets across the continent of Alethereia to find Arnhem, and Gabrael, the mage she loves. Selliki knows that no union between a selkie and a human have ever had a happy ending, but neither can ignore their feelings. Each night, they experience terrible, real dreams that show how doomed their love is.

The final war between Speica and Arnhem is threatening the entire world. Lucifer has aligned himself with Speica and wants nothing less than to bring about the Apocalypse before its time. In the last battle, cowardice is revealed, promises are broken, and many people die. Trolls fight icthyocentaurs, dwarves armed up against the Drow, angels against demons. Only one kingdom will prevail; that is, if the world doesn't end.

Other books:

Woman of Honor, Book I in the Kingdom of Arnhem series
Knight of Glory, Book II in the Kingdom of Arnhem series
Seeing for the First Time, 1 of 6 in the What You See is What You Get series (paranormal YA)
To See, 2 of 6 in the What You See is What You Get series
Or Not To See, 3 of 6 in the What You See is What You Get series
A Sight for Sore Fangs, 4 of 6 in the What You See is What You Get series

Nicole, how can readers contact you?

November 1, 2011

Wannabe A Writer? Jane Wenham-Jones

Jane Wenham-Jones is a novelist, journalist and presenter and the author of the Wannabe Books - two how-to manuals on getting published and becoming well-known. Below is an extract from Wannabe a Writer? available on Amazon or through all good bookshops. For more on Jane see

Research -- Do You or Don't You?
Frederick Forsyth carries out what he calls "relentless research," spending an entire year at it. Minette Walters is also extremely thorough and painstaking -- consulting forensic scientists and attending post-mortems as well as the usual background reading.
While I'm writing this, Jilly Cooper is working on a new racing book. "I have about a hundred books to read," she told me. "Biographies of jockeys and autobiographies of trainers and biographies of horses…"
I, on the other hand, err on the idle side when it comes to research and tend to proceed on a need-to-know basis rather than mugging up for months in advance.
Lynne Barrett-Lees works in similar way. "It's all too easy to spend precious writing time jotting down facts, facts, facts, and to put off the hard bit," she says. Research for her "happens organically as a by-product of writing, definitely not the other way around." She says: "I don't allow myself to sweat the small stuff until I reach a point where I need to. As long as I've established there's a patient soul or two who'll fill me in on any detail I need, I simply call them, as and when, while I'm writing."
All of which shows that there is no right or wrong answer to how much research you should do as long as, whether it takes six months holed up in the British Library or six minutes on the phone to a friend, you do enough.
Even if you are writing "what you know" you're still bound to have to check something, and check it you must for as we've said already, your novel will only work if it rings true and you won't achieve that if your facts are wonky.
It is also worth remembering that what we know can only ever be just that -- what WE know. By talking to others we can gain different insights or whole new angles on what we thought was familiar territory. Hilary Lloyd, the author of A Necessary Killing (UKA Press), is an ex-farmer who drew on her own experiences of living through the foot and mouth crisis for her novel.
Despite her first-hand knowledge, there were still things she needed to investigate. She says: "My experience of the epidemic was traumatic but a novel demands much more than reminiscences and feelings. I needed facts, and details of procedures employed by government and other official departments. I also needed to confirm that my own trauma wasn't unique so I read through dozens of bewildered, distraught or angry messages on internet forums used by rural people at the time, and downloaded enough articles and comment from newspapers to wallpaper the whole of the house! The reading and absorbing of this material gave me a much wider view and helped flesh the bones of my plot."
I did a similar thing when I was writing my second novel, Perfect Alibis, by talking to lots of different women who'd had affairs -- or as many I could find who would admit to it!
Interestingly, for the same book I asked several friends who'd had appendicitis what it felt like, and was surprised by just how different their accounts were, and how entirely varied their symptoms.
It was a lesson on the importance of getting more than one version of anything one's not been through oneself. Make sure you've got the majority experience down rather than a one-off.
For if you are asking a reader to suspend their disbelief and get totally absorbed in the world you've created, then you owe it to them to make sure that world is as authentic as possible.
I usually do this in one of two simple ways -- go on Google or ask someone who might know.
Google is a wonderful tool. There isn't much you can't find out on the internet these days though a word of warning: do always check more than one source.
I have just spent a sobering half hour trying to find out how many grams of carbohydrate are in a large glass of wine (hoping to shed ten pounds on a crash Atkins-type diet while still getting pissed every night). The answers have been variously 3g, 1.8g, 5g, and almost 7g (with the only consensus the dispiriting news that to lose weight you have to give up the booze).
Asking an expert on the given subject is usually a safe bet -- although again, two is better than one. During the writing of my last book, I checked facts with a GP, a gynecologist, a dog-owner, two wine-writers (who contradicted each other), an ex-policeman, a nurse, and a solicitor.
I also pored over the London A-Z, studied different models of answer-machines, and, since the novel is entitled One Glass Is Never Enough -- suffered several near-terminal hangovers.
And I still missed something. I never want my husband to read anything until after it's published but this time I wished he had. He instantly spotted an irregularity that I had totally overlooked (a bottle of champagne to the first reader to write and tell me what it is. Clue: it will help to be a gardener) and which I've been kicking myself for ever since.
I always think that if you have a scene that is heavily dependent on some specialist knowledge -- let's say a scene in the operating theatre in a hospital -- then it is a good idea to let someone with first-hand experience -- say a surgeon or a nurse - to have a quick read through and check for any dodgy bits.
Even if you have that sort of experience yourself make sure your knowledge is up-to-date. Police procedures, for example, have changed a lot over the years, as have the job-descriptions of teachers. Find someone who is doing the job right now rather than speaking to the old duffer next door who retired in 1976.
If you are lucky enough to get a publishing deal the copy editor will pick up things that need checking, too, but be professional and make sure everything in your manuscript is as accurate as you can make it before you submit it. There's an old adage about keeping going through a first draft, that says: "Don't get it right, get it written." It's excellent advice. As long as once you have got it written, you make sure you've also got it right.

Buy links:
Amazon UK (paperback)
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (paperback)
Amazon US (Kindle)
The Book Depository