September 30, 2012

Hearts and Fangs Everywhere @ejkolodziej

Witch Devotions.

Turning over the blog to author Elizabeth J Kolodziej today. Enjoy the ride!

 - - -
Hello everyone! I am Elizabeth J. Kolodziej, author of the Last Witch Series and lover of kittens and puppies. I must say that with the third book coming out I have come a long way from where I was in 2009. Yes, 3 years seems like a very short period, but I personally think there are 3 regular human years and 3 long author years.
The Last Witch Series has been my baby because it was something I grew from nothing. It now has two novellas connected to the series, was in brick and morter

Barnes and Noble stores, got great reviews from places like Readers Favorite and Reader Views and I think it is still going places. In fact, I don’t think a series really starts to pick up until the third book comes out.

I did a poll once around five months ago asking regular people when they began reading a series. The answer? When the third book comes out and they know the reader is serious about their writing career. I can’t say I don’t feel similar considering the boom of self published authors out there who believe they want this for a career. However, most don’t seem to register how much work goes into being an author, traditionally published or indie.
With the thrd book out I have been asked if this is the last book and where I want to go from here. The answer? The Last Witch Series has at least two-three more books to go until it ends. Maybe more. Truthfully, I would like to make it an eight book series. Why? Eight is my lucky number. Go figure.
However, the beauty in this is I have now grown so much as an author that I am seeing the beauty in dabbling in other genres. For instance, I have created the zombiepunk series. I pray to have Gravely Inanimated out by the end of the year, or if anything early next year. Steampunk is a fun genre (I really love the clothes!) and not only that but italso  gives me a whole new arena of people to talk to and meet.
Also, there are my erotica books like, Demon Protection Plan, where I can be a little more naughty and have more freedom in how graphic I get with the sexual content. That is a whole other sort of lovely readers I get to meet and know.
Elizabeth J. Kolodziej
What genre is next? I have no idea. I always said I would never write zombies, but look at my steampunk book. So maybe I will write a little scifi. The point is after three plus years I have learned to keep my mind open to new and different writing. The way I write a book for Last Witch is totally different from the way I do it for ZombiePunk. In my opinion, one is more intricate and detailed than the other. That isn’t to say you get something more out of one book, you will just end up reading a different kind of style. And that’s ok! Different is not a bad thing and trying something new only brings out more ideas.
I am proud that I have come as far as I have in these past three years and I hope to keep going further. It is my fans I have to thank for being able to keep on going along with the tons and tons of marvelous writing friends I meet. I am in this for the marathon, not the sprint. You will continue to see me everywhere you go.

Hearts and Fangs,
Liz ^_^

September 29, 2012

Character Interview: Gwynn Powell @Wildwords2

Whisper of Time.
Today's guest interview is with Gwynn Powell, from the book The Whisper of Time, by Ute Carbone. We'll start with a bit about the book, look at an excerpt, and jump straight into the interview from there.
Book title: The Whisper of Time
Author: Ute Carbone
Genre: Time Travel Romance

Publisher: Whispers Publishing
Cover artist: Elaina
Length: 67 pages
Heat rating: Sweet/Sensual
Tagline: Love Beyond the Bonds of Time
Blurb: When fate offers Gwynn Powell a chance to start over, she jumps at the chance. Laid off and living with a husband whose gambling problem has eaten through a good part of their savings, Gwynn buys a farmhouse sight unseen, leaving both her marriage and her old home behind.
But fate has more in mind for Gwynn than just a new home. The farmhouse, tucked away in the Green Mountains of Vermont where even GPS can’t find it, is also a step back in time. And Slate Peck, the farm’s caretaker and part owner, is tied to Gwynn’s destiny in ways she never expected.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Gwynn Powell, 28, veterinarian, Slate Peck, 28, farmer

Interview with Gwynn Powell

Tell us about yourself. What are you like?
I love animals, which is why I became a vet. I have two pets of my own, a dog and a cat. I like to seize the moment and I believe in living for today.
What do you think is your strongest point? I’m pretty good at “rolling with the punches” and turning to do whatever it is life hands me.
Do you have a weakness? (If so, what do you think it is? What does your lover think it is? What does your enemy think it is?)
I sometimes jump into things without thinking things through. I’m pretty sure others would agree.
What drives you to do the things you do? What makes you want to be the "good guy?"
I trust my gut. A lot. So I tend to go with it. I want to be content in my life, I want that for the people I love also.
What's your favorite guilty pleasure?
Hmm, I really like baking. It’s something I’m new to and still learning. I baked muffins the other day. Next up, I might try some bread. Sky’s the limit!
If you didn't know how old you were how old would you be?
A lot older I guess. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been around for the better part of forever.
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
The woman who found timeless love.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
Oh, I love where I’ve moved to. The farm in Vermont is a dream come true. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but right here.
What song would best describe your life?
Hmm, probably “You and I will meet again” by Tom Petty.
If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
Let’s see… I would be mixer. A hand mixer used to blend things together and make something delicious.
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
Oh, that one’s easy. I’d be an Agway, with lots of food and supplies for pets and farm animals.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
I loved reading—my favorite books were about animals.
Tell us an embarrassing story that has to do with a pet. If you have no pets, a story about a significant other will do. ^_^
My cat, Miss Kitty, once jumped onto my head while I was driving and nearly caused an accident.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Do not shake.
Please Fill in the Blanks
I love pizza with mushrooms and peppers.
I'm always ready for anything!
When I'm alone, I tend to daydream a lot. I also talk to my pets and the animals on the farm.
You'd never be able to tell, but I’m pretty tough when I need to be.
If I had a halo it would be silver and very sparkly.
If I could fly I'd do it.
I can never leave the farm because my heart (and love) is here.
Books by Ute Carbone

About the Author

I'm a novelist and sometimes poet who lives in Southern New Hampshire. I’ve been married to the same great guy for a lot of years. We have two grown sons. I love hiking, skiing, and generally communing with nature. I'm a big fan of chocolate, theater, and really good stories.

Previous Books

Blueberry Truth—a novel about two people wanting a baby and a little girl who needs a family
The P-Town Queen—a romantic comedy about an oceanographer trying to get back to her research and her relationship with a man who’s hiding from the mob by pretending to be gay

Books Coming Soon

Afterglow (January 2013) A romantic comedy about an older woman who is getting divorced and needs to get her life back on track and the younger man who helps her do it.
Searching for Superman(June 2013) A romantic comedy about a woman looking for the love of a superhero and a man who dresses up like one.
I’ll be Seeing You (July 2013) a short story trilogy of three generations of women and the men they love
Sweet Lenora (July 2013) a historical romance novella, part of Champagne Book’s Dark Heroes series, about a young woman who stows away on a clipper ship and the dark and daring ship’s captain.
Leave a comment to win a copy of my romantic comedy, The P-Town Queen.

Find Me Here

September 28, 2012

Suspense: A Fist Full of Ashes @rannsiracusa

Fist Full of Ashes.
Welcome to Romance Lives Forever, Ann. Tell us about your book, All for a Fist Full of Ashes.
Author: R Ann Siracusa
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Breathless Press
Cover artist: Staci Perkins
Length (words): 97K
Heat rating: PG, sensuous with a few explicit sex scenes,
Tagline: A young tour director and a handsome spy take a fast-paced romantic romp through Italy in pursuit of a lost grave, an assassin, and a once-in-a-lifetime love.
I’m Harriet Ruby: Tour Director Extraordinaire. At least, I thought I was worthy of that title, until…
My first mistake: Agreeing to conduct a private tour of Italy. Fourteen Italian-Americans from New Jersey? All family, for three weeks, with four teenagers? What was I thinking? Fate responds to my engraved invitation by placing one of the family under surveillance as a suspect in an assassination plot, and who is assigned to the case? None other than my favorite drop-dead-gorgeous spy, Will Talbot.
My second mistake: Allowing Will to coax an invitation from the family matriarch to join the tour.
And that was just the beginning. The matriarch, searching for the unknown location of her mother's grave so she can bury her brother’s cremated ashes (which have been smuggled into Italy wrapped in Cuban cigars), and her quirky family members sweep through Italy leaving chaos, hilarity, and danger in their wake.
What are your main characters' names?
Harriet Ruby and Will Talbot
Heroine, 25; Hero, 34
Harriet is a Tour Director for Adventure Seekers Travel in Rome
Will is a Europol undercover spy and an ex-Special Forces contract operative for the US government.
Tell us about your latest book, including its genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
All For A Fist Full Of Ashes is the second novel in a romantic suspense series entitled Tour Director Extraordinaire. The lead characters are the same in each book, but the romance moves to a new level in each, while the external spy story is resolved.
I'd say this is cross-genre because it is more than 50% suspense and less than 50% romance. It's also humor. I could never sell to conventional romance publishers because my work is too action/story driven.
Meet Harriet Ruby, Tour Director Extraordinaire
Dead Man's Leg
She’s an intelligent, well-balanced but over-trusting young woman whose biggest problem is that she doesn’t have any real problems. For twenty-four years, her life has been good but predictable and ordinary. In book 1(All For A Dead Man's Leg), Harriet takes a position as a tour director in Europe, but instead of being a trainee, she is responsible for a small group touring Spain and Morocco. All goes well until she and her group get lost in the medina in Tangier…and one of her tourists dies.
Will Talbot, a handsome stranger and Europol spy in disguise, offers to help her smuggle the body out of Morocco. At that moment, Harriet’s once-predictable life turns upside down and will never be the same again.
Little does she know that getting out of Morocco is only the beginning.
Meet Will Talbot, Mysterious Spy
Tall, dark and to-die-for gorgeous, this spy and ex-Special Forces contract operative for the US government has a troubled past, huge issues with trust and guilt, and a calling to rescue innocent victims.
He’s everything perfect on the outside that a principled spy should be—intelligent, intense, self-diciplined, creative and intuitive, and with a great sense of humor to boot—definitely larger than life. But vulnerable on the inside and out of touch with his emotions.
Nothing in his action-filled, dangerous existence could have prepared him for Harriet Ruby.
Water And Fire
Harriet and Will’s intense magnetic attraction to each other creates a volatile combination. Together, they experience hilarious misadventures, great sex, and life-threatening journeys in pursuit of murderers, smugglers, terrorists, and a once-in-a-lifetime love.
All For A Fist Full Of Ashes
In Book 2 Will and Harriet have been seeing each other for a year and have agreed to a no-strings attached, sexual relationship, but there’s no denying the feelings are far more than casual.
They come together on the job in Italy. Harriet is conducting a private tour of Italy for an Italian-American family (fourteen relatives, for three weeks, with four teenagers). What was she thinking? Will has one of the family members under surveillance as a suspect in an assassination plot. He convinces the family matriarch to let him travel with the tour.
The family matriarch, searching for the unknown location of her mother's grave so she can bury her brother's cremated ashes (which have been smuggled into Italy wrapped in Cuban cigars), and her quirky family members sweep through Italy leaving chaos, hilarity, and danger in their wake.
How do you come up with ideas?
My inspiration is world travel. My initial interest in traveling came about because, being an architect, I was interested in how earlier cultures expressed their values, ideas, religion, and social customs in the buildings they built. I never expected travel and writing to come together, but they did. Now, when I travel, I look for unique things about the location or culture and try to imagine what might happen under those circumstances that wouldn't happen elsewhere.
When I read a book, I want to go places I haven’t been and do things I’ve never done. I want to be someone else. When I write, I want to share with readers the incredible wealth of culture and tradition, of architecture and scenery, from other countries that I’ve been fortunate enough experience. So most of my stories take place in other parts of the world where I’ve traveled.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
Usually something I see, hear, or read sparks an idea. For example, when I took a hot air balloon flight over northern San Diego County, we were drifting silently over huge and expensive residential estates. Very remote. Suddenly we came over the tops of some trees and startled several people on the ground below us who never heard us coming. They were so close I could read the expressions of surprise on their faces. And I thought, what would happen if a person was taking their first solo hot-air-balloon flight and came upon someone burying a body? (That’s one I’m going to write someday.)
Once I have an idea how the novel begins and a general idea of the ending, I think about what kinds of characters would be engaged by these circumstances, and come up with my lead characters.
I write four or five pages of back story, delving into the circumstances which lead up to the inciting incident. This is when I might do some initial research regarding real incidents I want to use. Some of the back story it is the characters' background, but not like the character profiles some writers use. Sometime pieces of the back story show up in the actual novel, most of it doesn't. It is information I need to write the story, but the reader doesn't.
After that, I prepare a one page outline that looks like a calendar – one box for each chapter, one sentence about what happens in each of the scenes in the chapter. Like a Story Board. Only the essential actions needed to move the story forward. "Joe kills Marcia." I identify the plot points in the chapter boxes. Many authors use 3x5 cards instead, so the chapters/scenes can be rearranged at will to try out other ways to play out the story.
Then, I actually start writing. Things change along the way, and sometimes they change enough that I have to change the story board. Most of the time, it's figuring out how Joe is going to kill Marcia and what happens when he does.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
You mean, besides telling myself, “You’re nuts!”? Well, it would be very hard to limit my advice to one or two things, since I have a long list. And, truth be known, I probably wouldn’t have listened. I’m sure I heard these words of wisdom from others along the way.
First, I’d convince myself that my calling was to be a writer and not to put it off but start writing right away, which would include learning the craft, writing every day, and networking with other writers.
Second, my advice would be “Run away from home!” Advice which wouldn’t have been practical or possible but might have prepared me for the difficult task of juggling even more plates in the air than I already had. The important thing is to set aside the time to write and stick with it, in spite of your family and your job. Don’t allow interruptions, even if it’s only fifteen minutes a day.
Third, learn to write anywhere. Always have something with you and use whatever time is available to write.
Fourth, learn to “write by the rules” first. When you master them, then you can break the rules by making conscious choices. Bottom line: Most of us have to pay our dues.
Fifth, learn to take and use criticism, don’t get discouraged, and be persistent.
Sixth, prepare a career plan.
Are your stories driven by plot or character?
My novels are about 60% plot and 40% character driven. I find it hard to separate plot and character. To me, fiction is all about people reacting to circumstances and each affecting the other. If I put one set of characters into a given situation or story idea, it becomes this novel. But if I put different characters into the same situation, it will end up a different novel because they react differently. The characters’ reactions, in turn, affect the action/plot. Chicken and egg.
Family Secrets
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
In my romantic suspense series, I want the reader to be transported to an interesting place in the world with exciting characters doing things and having experiences the readers wouldn't have in their own real lives. In that process, I hope they'll have fun and a good laugh or two and, at the same time, learn something about other countries and cultures. I want them to feel like they've been there. Nothing deep or profound, just fun, fast-paced, and sexy. An escape from the real world.
I can do deep, profound, and emotion-wrenching novels, but those aren't romances.
List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
Dick Francis and Katie MacAlister. I aspire to write like a combination of those two authors. LOL
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
It's The Journey That Counts
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
Half the time where I live now (in San Diego) and half the time in Rome. Rome is still my favorite city. I know that's, in part, because I fell in love and got married there, but it's also a great place to live.
What song would best describe your life?
I'm not sure the whole song describes my life, but the title does.
I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
Chasing the boys at recess (that was in grammar school).
Tell us an embarrassing story that has to do with a pet. If you have no pets, a story about a significant other will do.
This is a story about someone else's pet and my husband. Jerry, a friend of my two sons who lived about a block away, had a dog named Lady. Lady defied every effort to keep her locked in the back yard, and she really loved chasing things. She followed Jerry everywhere.
One Sunday morning my husband was out watering the front lawn and along came a neighbor riding her bicycle. And in her wake, nipping at her ankles and barking, came Lady.
My husband squirted water at the dog (and of course hit the woman, too) and yells, "Hey, Lady. Why don't you go home?"
Of course, the woman thought he meant her, not the dog. For years afterward, until we moved away, every time she and her husband drove past our house, she would point at it. You could tell by the way her mouth moved and her expression that she was saying unkind things about my husband's rude behavior.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Caution: Hazardous to your health.
If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
You could start either with Family Secrets: A Vengeance of Tears, which is a stand-alone historical (WWII) Mafia thriller. Or, if someone wants to read the Tour Director Extraordinaire series (romantic suspense) it's better to start with Book 1 – All For A Dead Man's Leg.
Please Fill in the Blanks
I love pizza with pepperoni.
I'm always ready for bed. It used to be because of the sex, now it's because I'm old and tired. How life changes!
When I'm alone, I write, quilt, or read…well, sometimes I try to catch up on housework.
You'd never be able to tell, but I enjoy opera and classical music as much as I enjoy today's rock music and riding a quad in the desert.
If I had a halo, it would be pretty lopsided.
If I could make the best seller list, I'd drop dead of shock (and delight).
I can never know if there are planets in other galaxies with intelligent life because I'm not likely to live that long.
My Booklist
All For A Dead Man's Leg – Book 1 in the romantic suspense series Tour Director Extraordinaire
First Date – Short Story 1 in the romantic suspense series Tour Director Extraordinaire
All For A Fist Full Of Ashes – Book 2 in the romantic suspense series Tour Director Extraordinaire
Family Secrets: A Vengeance of Tears
Books Coming Soon
Halloween in the Catacombs – Short Story 2 in the Tour Director Extraordinaire Series
A free read coming in October
Destruction of the Great Wall – Book 3 in the Tour Director Extraordinaire Series
Coming in November
All In The Game
Sci Fi Romance – Coming in November
R Ann Siracusa
First Christmas Follies – Short Story 3 in the Tour Director Extraordinaire Series
A free read coming in December
All For Spilled Blood – Book 4 in the Tour Director Extraordinaire Series
Coming in February 2013
I'll be having a contest in relation to my two releases in November. It will be a drawing for a B&N or Amazon gift certificate and some other prizes including ebooks. Details to be announced.
Find Me Here

September 24, 2012

Dreamweaver: Paranormal Romance from @TiffinieHelmer


Welcome to Romance Lives Forever, Tiffinie. Let's talk about your book!
Title: Dreamweaver
Author: Tiffinie Helmer
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Buy links:
Publisher: The Story Vault
Cover artist: Kelli Ann Morgan of
Length: A novella
Heat rating: Hot
Tagline: He was more than a dream…
A desperate man...
“Lucky” Leroy Morgan led a charmed life, until he was murdered. Now he’s stuck in Limbo, unwilling to move on after catching a glimpse of the future he was supposed to have and the amazing woman who was destined to be his. Using the Northern Lights as a conduit back to earth, he attempts to seduce her in her dreams, hoping to anchor himself to the physical plane. If he doesn’t win her heart, he’ll be forever lost.
A tempted woman...
Gemma Star is fairly conventional considering her hippie upbringing. Her biggest fear is that she’ll end up like her Tarot card reading mother, who isn’t all there. When Gemma starts having out-of-this-world sex with a dream lover, she starts to wonder if she is losing her mind along with her heart. What if her crazy mother is right? If she continues consorting with her Dreamweaver will there be lasting consequences to her soul?
Will their love survive? Or is it just a dream...
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
“Lucky” Leroy Morgan (30) was a professional mountaineer before he was killed. Gemma Star (25) is a bookstore owner of Chinook Books in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Chapter One
Gemma’s lips trembled apart on a moan of pleasure so intense her body shivered with it. Synapses fired behind eyes she dared not open for fear he’d leave her wanting again.
Last time, he’d taken her right to the brink of release before disappearing, leaving her writhing with hunger. Not this time. This time he’d better take her all the way, damn it.
Her body came alive under the tutelage of his skillful hands. The way he knew just how to caress her, tease, and torment, until she wept, threatened, and begged for more.
Her hips arched off the bed, seeking, wishing to be filled, but once again he strung her out until she was mindless with need.
Oh, please, please. Quit dinking around and take me, already.
He chuckled as though able to read her thoughts, while his hands breezed over her breasts, the heat of his mouth hovered over her nipple, until she sunk her teeth into her lower lip to keep in the whimper. Sensations flooded her, tightening her muscles, and her hands clenched the sheets beneath her as little cries escaped her bitten lips, betraying her.
A growl of satisfaction vibrated from him, pouring into her body, pushing her closer to that delirious edge.
The alarm blared in her ear, jerking her awake.
“Nooo,” Gemma groaned. Her sound of distress battered around the empty bedroom. “Not again.” Would her dream man ever truly make love to her?
She opened her eyes and found herself alone. Of course she was alone. He was just a dream, part of her imagination. Her very creative imagination.
But he felt like more than that.
For weeks now he’d been visiting, always in the deepest of night. That magical time where the world slept and passions awoke.
She threw back the covers, the chill hitting her nakedness.
What the--?
She never slept naked.
A quick glance around the room showed her flannel pajamas tossed to the floor, along with her pink polka dotted cotton underwear.
Huh? She knew she’d crawled into bed last night fully clothed, including her hand-knitted woolen socks currently hanging off the top of the dresser. Her copy of The Three Musketeers lay face down, where she’d placed it before turning off the light. She’d given up on her love of romance books once the erotic dreams had started, not needing the added stimuli. She’d hoped reading the classics would settle down whatever the heck was going on with her subconscious mind while she slept.
She grabbed a robe hanging over the back of a chair and slipped into the warm terrycloth. It was springtime in Alaska and just like Johnny Horton was famous for singing, it was currently forty below.
No one in their right mind slept naked.
And she was very worried that she was no longer in her right mind.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Don’t lose yourself. I was a young bride of 19 and worked hard putting my husband through college, had four children all before I was 28, and in the meantime I lost who I was. My identity was either someone’s mother or wife. It wasn’t until my youngest child went to school that I began living for myself again. So many women put off their lives, sacrificing themselves for their family. I’m not talking about being selfish, and there is sacrifice when you have young children, but stay true to yourself. You’ll be a better wife and mother because of it. And a hell of a lot healthier.
Do you have a muse? Describe this person, please.
Yes, and she’s always off somewhere in the South Pacific. She’s temperamental, loves to sun worship and have frosty drinks delivered by hot Cabana boys.
What does "balance" mean to you as a writer?
Something I should do more of.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
Yep. The best revenge is putting someone in your novel…and then killing them.
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
Moosed Up
I am a potter and sell pottery at my local coffee shop that is set up as an Art Gallery (very cool). My pottery is also featured in Park City. On top of that, I commercial fish on the Bering Sea of Alaska in the summers, and the rest of the year moonlight at Barnes & Noble. I’m just a tad busy. See, why I “should” really look into balancing my life.
Which of your books would you recommend to someone who doesn't normally read your genre, and why?
Moosed Up. It’s funny. The sex is hot, but there is a lot of humor, and action, and intrigue. I’ve even had men contact me telling me how much they enjoyed it.
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview. What will you take with you and where will you go?
A bikini, sarong, flip flops, and my ereader. Somewhere tropical. I love Kauai.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Halloween! Candy apples, witches, roasted pumpkin seeds, crisp air, and colorful fall leaves. It’s also perfect convertible weather!
What do you like to do when you're bored?
I am never bored. Bored is a bad word in my house. If uttered, it will get you a list of chores.

Please Fill in the Blanks

I love pizza with artichokes, mushrooms, and olives.
I'm always ready for an adventure.
When I'm alone, I write.
You'd never be able to tell, but I’m a brute.
Tiffinie Helmer
If I had a halo it would be slightly bent.
If I could be a superhero I'd be Wonder Woman. Come on, the woman has her own invisible plane and a pair of red, kickass boots.
I can never scuba dive because I’m claustrophobic.

Previous Books


Books Coming Soon

Bearing All

Find Me Here

September 6, 2012

The Sword and the Pen: Elysa Hendricks

The Sword and the Pen

Elysa, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, The Sword and the Pen.

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy Romance
Buy links:
The Sword and the Pen
Star Crash
Star Raiders
Publisher: Elysa Hendricks
Cover artist: Joleene Naylor
Length: 72,000
Heat rating: PG-13

The Sword and the Pen

When his fantasy becomes reality, reclusive author Brandon Davis learns how to live.
Blurb: It was time. After penning ten popular sword-and-sorcery novels, Brandon Alexander Davis was ready to move on. Ready to stop hiding in his fictional world. Ready to start living a real life. There was just one problem: as he plotted the noble death of Serilda D'Lar, his fictional creation complete with mile-long sword, skimpy leather outfit and badass attitude, appeared in his study.
Was she nothing more than a crazy fan, or had Brandon finally cracked?
This warrior woman whom he knew so well, so strong yet vulnerable, was both fantasy and reality. She was an invitation to rediscover all he once knew--that life is an incredible, magical journey and, for love, any man can be a hero.
What are your main characters' names?
Brandon Alexander Davis
Serilda D'Lar
Brandon - 35
Serilda - 30
Brandon - fantasy novelist
Serilda - rebel warrior


At first Brandon thought the shriek was an electronic whine that came from his computer. Panic threatened. When was the last time he'd backed up his files? It had been during that bad electrical storm three months ago when he'd almost lost everything, the same time his writing troubles began. Fortunately the freak power surge from a lightning strike only fried his monitor; his CPU hadn't been harmed. He should have learned from the experience, but writer's block had driven him past rational thought. The idea of losing what little work he'd managed to accomplish these last few weeks made him choke in fear. He scrambled to hit Save.
"Hell, no! Roark doesn't deserve a chance to defend himself. And even if he did, I'm not stupid enough to give him the opportunity to skewer me. That's something Donoval the Honorable would do."
At the sound of the familiar yet condemning voice behind him, Brandon whirled. He slipped off his chair and landed hard on his tailbone. Pain shot up his spine and blurred his vision.
"What? How did you get in here? And who the hell are you?" He stared up at the woman and gulped. The sword in her hand pointed straight at his heart.
"You know damned well who I am."
The woman didn't sound happy-- and didn't look sane. She loomed over him. Her attire, a short, tight leather skirt, a leather bra, and knee-high boots left a lot of skin exposed to his view. The smell of leather, fresh air and warm woman teased his nostrils.
"What are you?" She poked him in the arm with the tip of her sword.
"Ow!" He scooted back, nearly under his desk.
"Warrior? Priest? Sorcerer?" She crouched down to rest on her heels, and stared at him. The position put her full breasts nearly in his face. "Definitely not a warrior." She pinched his arm. "You have muscle, but not enough to wield a sword in battle. No courage, either. Priest? Unlikely. They don't fear the sword. Only their god makes them cower. Wizard? Perhaps, but not one of any power, or else I'd be at your feet. So…you're the wizard's assistant most likely." As if satisfied with her conclusion, she rose to her feet.
"Get up. I'll not harm you. I wish to speak to your master. He and I have business to discuss."
Brandon eyed the woman warily. Though her speech and clothing were odd, she sounded and looked extremely familiar. Why? Was she a crazy fan he'd somehow communicated with before?
To be honest, she bore a striking resemblance to Serilda, if shorter. She was five feet seven or eight inches, rather than six feet, and she was less buxom and had softer features than the character he'd ultimately developed. Actually, this woman was more like how he'd envisioned Serilda originally, when he'd introduced her in Donoval's second book: an extremely feminine woman forced to survive in a harsh world by denying her nature. Hillary had convinced him that in her own books Serilda needed to be stronger and have more sex appeal, hence the height and the bigger chest. The change hadn't sat well with him, but the public-- men and women-- loved her, and the books had hit all the bestseller lists. As a result, he had a thriving series, a pending movie deal and cash in his once empty bank account. Success was hard to argue with.
Despite the trampy clothing and hard scowl, she was attractive. Short reddish blonde curls framed an elfin face. Dark lashes fringed large, cat-like green eyes. Sun-kissed skin covered high cheekbones, and her lips, though currently set in a hard line, were full and red.
"I said get up!" She grabbed his arm and hauled him to his feet.
He was surprised that, when he stood, he topped her by a good six inches and probably outweighed her by sixty pounds. That size difference gave him a bit of confidence, but the nasty-looking sword she held with such self-assurance negated it. One could never trust the actions of a crazy person.
"Who are you?" She looked him up and down then seemed to dismiss him.
He pulled himself to his full height and stared down at her. "Brandon Alexander Davis. This is my home."
Star Raiders
Unimpressed, she laughed. "Brandon? What kind of name is that? Bran is what I eat to ease my bowels."
Heat crept up Brandon's neck. Being compared to a laxative made him angry, which helped push fear away. "Who the hell are you? And what are you doing here in that ridiculous costume?"
"Who I am and" -- she paused, and two spots of color stained her cheeks-- "what I wear is a matter I will discuss with your master. Where is he? Has he run to hide from me? It will do him no good. I'm determined to find him and solve this."
"I don't have a master. I live here alone." Damn! Why had he told her that? He eased back from the lunatic toward the phone. Could he hit speed dial for 911 before she skewered him? Then what? Even if he succeeded, it would take the police a good fifteen to twenty minutes to reach his isolated home. Could he wrest the sword away from her before then?
His size would be an advantage, but even standing at ease, the woman radiated strength and skill. The odds seemed against him. To win he'd have to hit her-- hard-- and he doubted he could bring himself to do so. The lessons of chivalry his grandmother had taught were too deeply ingrained. In that way, he and Donoval were of one mind. No matter how greatly provoked, men didn't hit women.
Although, the thought of wrestling with this woman was appealing.
"No master? Do not lie to me." The lunatic's fingers flexed around the hilt of her sword.
"Why would I lie?" he snapped. "It's obvious your beef is with someone else. If I knew who and where he was, why would I protect him?"
"Because you're a coward. A powerful sorcerer inspires fear if not loyalty in his minions. But you should fear me more than him," she warned.
"There is no him! I'm the only one here. And I'm not a coward." Being called one triggered something inside him. Having phobias about crowds, insects and small furry animals didn't make him a coward. Not really.
She gave him a thoughtful look. "Is it possible? Are you the one?"
"The one what?"
She ignored his question and studied him. Her intense perusal made him squirm.
"Why didn't I see the resemblance?" she murmured.
"What resemblance?" He didn't like the turn of this conversation. Come to think of it, he hadn't liked the original direction, either.
"To Donoval. You are him-- in form at least." A bit of fear crossed her features, though anger quickly erased it. "I'm loath to believe it, but you are the wizard. Did you construct me so you could play God in my world? Does it give you pleasure to toy with me?"
"What the hell are you talking about? Play God? I'm just a writer trying to make a living. I write stories for people to read and enjoy. It's just entertainment."


What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
I've been writing for over twenty years (yes, I started when I was merely a babe in arms) and I've watched the publishing industry change and grow in directions I never thought possible, at speeds I couldn't imagine. Everything about the industry is different except for the most important aspect - the writing. The most important thing I did when I started my career is the same as what I do now - I write. In the end, nothing I do matters if I haven't written the story.
What websites do you visit daily?
I don't visit many websites, but I do spend more time than I should on Facebook and reading email. I do enjoy the Romance Lives Forever blog. I love reading the excerpts and interviews, but I have to limit myself. My TBR pile is already at dangerous levels and I'm so far behind I'll be dead years before I finish reading them all.
What do you enjoy most about life?
I like people. Though I'm content to spend time with myself and my imaginary friends, I love being around other people - friends and family. I think my theme song should be "I Like Life" from the movie Scrooge.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Don't be so afraid of making a mistake, of writing less than perfect prose. Take more chances. Experiment. Write more. And eat more chocolate.
Do you have a muse? Describe this person, please.
My muse lives in the attic of my mind. She finds the basement much too dark and damp for her refined tastes. She's a bit flighty little girl, a bit cranky old woman and full of energy and enthusiasm. She has the attention span of a goldfish - about 3 seconds - and is easily distracted by shiny objects. She loves to laugh and play. When I'm writing she sits on my shoulder and whispers ideas in my ear. She changes her appearance to suit her mood. One day she's a fairy, the next a vampire. Sometimes she's a cat, sometimes she's a cowboy. She and my inner critic are arch enemies. They can't be in the same room at the same time without getting into a cat fight.
What does "balance" mean to you as a writer?
Balance? I'm not sure what that is. I don't have enough coordination either physically or mentally to be "balanced." I can't ride a bicycle or balance my life. I do set priorities. Sometimes family, friends and home life are on top, other times I let my writing life take precedence. But I've never been able to find a way to balance the teeter-totter of the two.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
Everything I've ever heard, seen, done, or experienced eventually finds its way into my writing in one form or another. I don't think I've ever taken a friend or family member and morphed them into a character in one of my books, but bits and pieces of them show up.
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
Star Crash
Let's see I was a commercial casualty insurance underwriter. I worked in various retail stores. I ran a cleaning service. I had a home daycare centers. My husband and I owned and operated a video store and did home delivery long before Netflix thought of it. And I still work part time for a wholesale text book company and go out at the end of the college terms to buy back used text books from the students.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
I read just about everything from historicals to futuristics, from horror to inspirational, YA to mainstream. Though I have a soft spot for fantasy romance, if it's a good story I don't discriminate by genre.
What do you think is the future of epublishing?
The ebook revolution has been a long time coming. My book first book, a western historical romance Rawhide Surrender was published in 1999 by one of the first epublishers - Hard Shell Word Factory. Back then ebooks were a tough sell. eBook readers were few and far between, expensive, and didn't have the capacity or ease of use of the newer versions. I still have my old Rocket Book ereader. I've since reclaimed my rights to Rawhide Surrender and have re-released the book as Her Wild Texas Heart.
I think epublishing is one of the best things to happen for authors and for readers. The opportunities are both exciting and scary. I received a Kindle Touch for Christmas and love the ease of purchasing books and having them at my fingertips. I'm not about to give up on print, but I like having both options.
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview. What will you take with you and where will you go?
Since I'm going to somewhere warm with sandy beaches and crystal clear water, I'll be packing my swimsuit and sandals and sunscreen. Other than that I'll need my Kindle, laptop and toothbrush. Oh, and I'd take my hubby.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the food, the getting together with family and friends without the pressure of gift giving. It's a time to relax and reflect on all the good things in your lives.
Where were you at midnight, on December 31st when the new century started?
My hubby is an IT guy for a major corporation, so on 12-31-99 we along with all the other computer guys were having a party at the company office. The executives wanted to be sure Y2K2 didn't crash their systems, so all the IT people had to come in to work. Hubby knew nothing bad was going to happen, because he and the other guys had already checked everything out and fixed the problem. Still, the company brought in pizza and we had an impromptu New Year's Eve party. Not terribly exciting, but my motto is "real" life has always been: Boring is good. Excitement is vastly overrated.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
Bored? What's that? I won't say I never get bored, but it happens so rarely that I can't recall the last time. Even if I don't have anything to do, a book to read, a movie or TV show to watch, the characters who live in my head keep me well entertained. Sometimes I wish I could shut them up and let me be bored for a few minutes.
If your life became a movie, who would you want to play you?
You mean my life isn't already a movie? Hmm, Sandra Bullock comes to mind. Anyone but Kristen Stewart. Maybe Jack Black.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Since my "real" life is totally vanilla, bland, boring I guess my color would be a warm, creamy beige. My fantasy life, however, is a phantasmagoria of colors - pinks, blues, reds, greens, purples and oranges - neon, of course.

Please Fill in the Blanks

I love pizza with an olive oil base, feta cheese and sundried tomatoes.
I'm always ready for visiting with friends and family.
When I'm alone, I talk to my fictional characters.
You'd never be able to tell, but I'm a really boring person.
If I had a halo it would be held up by my horns.
If I could fly I'd spend all my time in the sky watching the world.
I can never ride a motorcycle because I have absolutely no sense of balance or physical coordination.

My Current Books

Star Raiders
Star Crash
The Sword and the Pen
This Heart For Hire
Her Wild Texas Heart
The Baby Race
Counterfeit Love

Books Coming Soon

Tango In Paradise
Dark Star Dawning
The Nine Lives of Thomas Cash Riley
Elysa Hendricks

Find Me Here


September 5, 2012

Character Interview: Quinn Wells

In Hot Pursuit.

Karen, welcome to Romance Lives Forever! Let's talk about your new book, In Hot Pursuit.

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Buy links:
Barnes and Noble:
Publisher: Crimson Romance/Adams Media
Length: a tad over 72,000 words
Heat rating: PG13
When $25 million is stolen from her employer, a relationship-phobic accountant hunts for the thief alongside a handsome bachelor who falls for her.
Quinn Wells believes her life is just as it should be -- calm, relaxed, and free of relationship entanglements. The theft of a $25 million dollar gift to her employer, Houston Cullen University, changes all that.
Quinn, knowing her own innocence is in question, takes matters into her own hands by setting off in pursuit of the coworker she believes is responsible for the theft. But Logan Rice, the donor of the gift, isn’t going to let her out of his sight.
As they race from city to city, Logan is determined to win over Quinn and convince her they have a chance as a couple. But Logan’s wealth and social position are the opposite of Quinn’s middle-class life, and he devastates her by withholding information about his past. Will she discover what is most important to her before he walks away?
What are your main characters' names? Ages? Occupations?
Quinn Wells -- 44 years old -- Controller of Houston Cullen University
Logan Rice -- 42 years old -- Executive Director of the Bridge 

Interview with author Karen Sue Burns

Tell us about the main character in your current book. What is she like?
Quinn Wells is a divorced woman in her early-forties who is content with her life having a good job and happy daughters. After being divorced for ten years, she has convinced herself that she isn't relationship material, i.e. she'd damaged goods. She's looking forward to becoming a grandmother, continuing to work until retirement age, and cooking. She would love to publish her own cookbook. Her life turns chaotic with the theft of a $25 million gift to her employer, Houston Cullen University. As university controller, she’s appointed to deal with the police and proceeds to use her analytical skills and gut instincts to solve the theft. The search for the thief provides the perfect opportunity for the reader to view the many sides of Quinn -- analytical and organized over achiever, general smartass, doting mother, loyal friend, reluctant lover, and brave citizen in the face of danger.
If your main character was here today, what would she say is her strongest point?
Quinn has excellent logic in dealing with problems, along with plain old smarts that guide her search for the thief of the $25 million. Plus, she is tenacious and thinks outside the box in most instances.
Does she think she has a weakness? (If so, what does she think it is? What does her lover think it is? What does her enemy think it is?)
Quinn would say her weakness is that she's too smart for her own good -- yes, she's a smartass and thinks she is right about most everything.
Logan Rice would say her weakness is that she has given up on love and her thinking that she can't make a relationship work for the long term is plain wrong.
Rebecca Holland would say that Quinn's weakness is an over inflated sense of importance at Houston Cullen University as everyone knows that accounting is a necessary evil and boring as hell, just like Quinn.
What drives your heroine to do the things she does? What makes her want to be the "good guy?"
Quinn believes in "truth, justice, and the American way." She has a conservative nature and believes that hard work, dedication, and a strong will lead to success. She believes that by using her smarts she is the good guy who works are being fair to all. On the other hand, she does have a bit of a quirk or spark that generates her smartass trait. Her tenacity in going after the thief stems from her belief in justice and righting a wrong.
What's your main character's favorite guilty pleasure?
For women, a guilty pleasure usually relates to chocolate, jewelry, or clothes. Quinn's guilty pleasure is kitchen gadgets. She has a ten year old car and a plain cell phone, yet she has the latest style of food processor, four coffee pots, enough kitchen knives to open a store, and three sets of pots and pans. Rather than wandering around the shoe department at Nordstrom's or Macy's, she stalks the aisles of Crate and Barrel and every boutique kitchen store in the Houston metro area.
Coliseum in Rome

Interview with Character Quinn Wells

A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
The title would probably be something like: The Tenacious Broad
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
This is an easy one, I would be a kitchen store. i would sell everything, other than food and large appliances, that could be found in a residential kitchen. And, naturally, I would be forced to tour the world for the very best products for my store . . . ooh, too much fun!
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Watch out, too smart for her own good.

Please Fill in the Blanks -- Responses by Quinn Wells

I love pizza with black olives and extra cheese.
I'm always ready for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, usually wine if it's after 11 am.
When I'm alone, I enjoy trying out or creating a new recipe.
You'd never be able to tell, but my first grandchild will be born soon. (I agree, I look so young for forty-four!)
If I had a halo it would be lopsided. I'm so not an angel.
If I could have a dog, I would spoil her like crazy. Hmm, maybe I should adopt a puppy.
I can never grow house plants because I have a black thumb, seriously, left hand.

About the Author

Karen Sue Burns writes romantic suspense and mystery featuring feisty heroines who find themselves embroiled in risky situations full of adventure and sexy heroes. She has worked as a CPA for over 25 years. She’s traveled to Rio de Janeiro, London and Oslo, audited glass molds for wine bottles in California, and taken a helicopter to a drillship off the Gulf Coast--all in the name of accounting. For the last 16 years she’s been controller at a liberal arts university in Houston, Texas handling the financial statements, the annual audit, and preparing IRS Form 990. Accounting has been good to her, but writing romance novels is her passion. In Hot Pursuit is her debut romantic suspense novel. Karen may be contacted via her website at


In Hot Pursuit is the first novel for the author.

Books Coming Soon

Karen Sue Burns
The Liberation of Mr. Delaney, a contemporary ghost mystery and book one in The Texas Ghost Series, is currently planned to be indie published by the end of October 2012.

Find Me Here

About the images

Statue of Liberty outside the New York-New York Casino in Las Vegas: One of Quinn’s favorite sights during the first leg of her search for the thief of the $25 million.
Trevi Fountain in Rome: Throwing a coin in the foundation alongside Logan is a comforting act for Quinn -- “They had crossed an unspoken boundary. The warmth of his gaze filled her with hope. Hope that what lay ahead wouldn’t bite her in the butt. But at that moment, the planets in her world were in perfect alignment.”
The Coliseum in Rome: This nighttime photo was the inspiration for the cover of In Hot Pursuit.