August 28, 2012

Writer Tip: Maintaining Tension, by Kaylin McFarren

Kaylin McFarren.

How do you maintain tension when writing suspense stories?

After attending dozens of writing workshops and numerous conferences, I compiled a list of rules that I depend on daily when writing romantic suspense. These recommended guidelines are a great tool for creating tension and expectation, which is essential to keeping your readers turning those pages!
Remember to show, don't tell! I’ve heard this over and over again and it is the most common mistake among new writers. The fewer blocks of description or passive writing you include, the better. Avoid "info dumps" where you include sections of research information and background details you might consider important. This will only serve one purpose: bringing your story to a screeching halt and turning it into a boring textbook. Instead, focus on current events or the overall point of your story by including realistic dialogue and fun, action-packed scenes.
Make sure to create a “believable” threat or frightening dilemma, such as a kidnapping, unexploded bomb or an impending disaster. You might add a psychological danger such as the loss of a job or dying family member. The trick is to make the threat relevant and potentially devastating to your main characters.
When things seem to go wrong, they can only get worse, which is a great plan of attack for keeping your reader’s interest. Ask yourself, "What would people do in this situation?" Then have your character do the unexpected, open the wrong door or make the wrong choice, leaving them facing the consequences of their actions.
In suspense pacing is by far the most important aspect of your story. A common practice is to increase tension by shortening your phrases and dialogue. While lengthy sentences add a more relaxed mood to your story, short choppy ones read faster and help make scenes more suspenseful. But don’t get carried away and make the mistake of wearing your readers out by keeping action rolling at fever pitch. As in “real” life, characters need to catch their breath after an exhausting action scene.
Determine the timeline for your story, remembering that quick scenes or episodes that occur in a matter of hours or over the course of a day are far more suspenseful than scenes taking place over several days, weeks or months.
Lastly, be sure to end each chapter with a great hook or final line to keep readers from putting your book down. This could be a revelation, unanswered question or sudden discovery that can only be answered or revealed by reading further. The best suspense stories leave readers hungry for knowledge and anxious to know where the story’s ultimately leading.

Stories that touch the soul

Kaylin McFarren


Book: Severed Threads
Tagline: When true love's found, death has no end.
Blurb:
Believing herself responsible for her father’s fatal diving accident, Rachel Lyons has withdrawn from the world and assumed a safe position at a foundation office. When called upon by a museum director to assist her former love interest with the recovery of a cursed relic from a sunken Chinese merchant ship, she has no intention of cooperating – until her brother is kidnapped by a drug-dealing gangster. In order to save him and gain control over her life, Rachel must not only overcome her greatest fears, but also relive the circumstances that lead to her father’s death.

Buy links:

Amazon http://is.gd/i0mpKE
Barnes and Noble http://is.gd/Ews5sL
Trailer: http://is.gd/1oI4pr

Find Kaylin here

Website: http://kaylinmcfarren.com
Blog: http://kaylinmcfarren.wordpress.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/4kaylin
Facebook: http://facebook.com/kaylin.mcfarren
Pinterest: http://is.gd/VqPHfc
Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/kaylinmcfarren








August 26, 2012

A Wacky Decision: Belinda McBride

Recently, I made a really wacky decision. It's one I've since come to regret.

I disconnected my cable.
Now that's not such a big deal, right? After all, I don't watch TV often. What I forgot was that when I unplugged, I literally unplugged everything…TV, phone…and internet. ARGH!The next item on my list is to restore my high speed internet. Who cares about TV? I need my Wikipedia!

That's the sound of Belinda in withdrawal.

Actually, the theory was sound; without the distractions of Twitter and Facebook, I could sit down and get some quality work done. The real outcome wasn't so pretty. I started missing emails from important people…like editors. I didn't have the quick fix of being able to go look up a little factoid online. And I got really lonely.


Well, the library isn't so far away, and Barnes and Noble has free internet too, so every day, I haul myself outside and drive to the nearest hot spot. What I've discovered is that I'm

 a worrier. Are the dogs OK? Does my mother need me for anything? It makes production difficult. I've got hundreds upon hundreds of unopened digests and messages because I'm in such a hurry to get back home.

Once I calm down and focus, it's not so bad, and I'm forcing myself to pay attention to the world around me. Right now, I'm looking out on the rooftop garden at the library. There are certainly some interesting folks here too. Downstairs a guy is preaching from the Bible. His grasp of history makes me shudder, but his intentions are good. There's a woman with a dozen stacks of

paper spread out over a table. Her head is down and she's sound asleep. It's mostly quieter here than the bookstore, but there's still the hum of whispered conversation.


In all, my experiment in being unplugged hasn't been so successful, but its had some highlights. I'm getting more organized; I make lists of what I need to do while I'm on the internet. That means less impulse shopping, I'm not wasting so much time online.


TITLE:
AN UNCOMMON WHORE
AUTHOR:
BELINDA McBRIDE
GENRE:
SCI FI/SPACE OPERA, M/M
BUY LINK:
EXCERPT WARNINGS:
 M/M sexual interactions
BLURB: 
"As a general rule, you won't find the love of your life while you're on your knees under a table."

Helios Dayspring

Pasha is a slave, whoring for travelers at the most dangerous bar on Warlan. He has no memory, no future of his own, yet deep inside Pasha knows that that he is meant for better things. The day that Pasha spots the dangerous pirate in the bar, he knows that he mustn’t let the stranger slip away, regardless of what he must do to attract his attention.

Captain Griffin Hawke spent the greater part of a decade searching for his lost king, only to find Helios Dayspring crouched between his knees, swathed in the robes and shackles of a whore. Though he is appalled by the downfall of his king, the hardened officer finds himself falling for the allure of the sensual creature who has taken his place. Returning Helios to his position on the throne is the only right thing to do, yet Griffin knows that in doing so, he risks losing his lover forever.

"A whore is a whore is a whore, unless he's something else completely. I guess I must be an uncommon whore."

Helios Dayspring

EXCERPT

I continued to evaluate the room, when my attention was caught by a long, lean figure sprawled negligently at a table near the back exit. Even seated, it was plain that he was taller than the average humanoid. He was hard muscled and battle worn. His black hair was overlong and tumbled in a wavy mass down his neck. The profile he gave me was hard as a blade. An arched nose accentuated cruel, sensuous lips. He wore a black leather patch over one eye, and a scar bisected his high, hard cheekbone. Since he was blind on my side, I took the occasion to watch him openly. He couldn't possibly see me behind the veil, but I was certain that he felt my stare.
He surveyed the room slowly, stopping to watch a whore take position between a gambler's knees. After a few moments, the pirate reached down and readjusted his cock, and then turned his attention elsewhere. He might be interested, but he was here for a reason other than sex.

But God! His head turned slowly in our direction, and my mouth grew dry. My head spun at the impact of that gaze. His remaining eye was black as night and as fierce as flame. I felt the weight of his gaze from behind the veil, where my eyes were covered by a mesh panel. He looked at me for a few heartbeats and then moved on.

I shifted uncomfortably; my cock had grown long and heavy beneath the sheer gauzy robes that covered me from head to foot. Pain lanced through me as it reached the limits allowed by the chastity ring that shackled me. Every instinct urged me to cross the room, to take his arms and look into that dark face…to make him see me.

Sadly I could only go where summoned, and not far from the dark man, a nervous-looking human was gesturing to U'shma. My chest went tight as my owner rose to begin negotiations with the john.

 They whispered and they argued, and finally U'shma signaled defeat. Not really defeat; the twitch of his blunt fingers told me that he’d negotiated a higher-than-expected price.

Rising smoothly to my feet, I carefully manipulated the folds of fabric that shrouded my body and face. There were perhaps three seconds for me to decide on a course of action. An erupting fight in my path held me steady in place, buying a few more seconds and ultimately, the opportunity to act. I'd paused within a few paces of the dark man when a body inevitably slammed into mine, throwing me in his direction. My hand lashed out, knocking over the goblet of sweet wine that sat on the table.

"I'm so sorry," I whispered as the bloodred fluid soaked into his shirt and beaded off the battered black leather of his pants. He growled in annoyance and stood, hands brushing at the wet stains. I was tall, but he towered over me. His shoulders were nearly as wide as U'shma's blockish form, and the black eye was as fierce as I’d imagined it would be.

Once again my lust surged, my heart pounded, and I knew that this man could not be allowed to walk away.
http://www.loose-id.com/An-Uncommon-Whore.aspx

August 23, 2012

Paul Harry: The 5 Moons of Tiiana


The 5 Moons of Tiiana.
Paul, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's discuss your book first, and then dive into the interview.
Book: The 5 Moons of Tiiana
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Sphere Publishing, LLC
Cover artist: R. Bale
Length: 159,007
Heat rating: PG13
Blurb:
The 5 Moons of Tiiana is a science fiction narration on a soldier caught in the middle of an interstellar war, faced with rescuing the princess he loves, and solving a 2000 year-old mystery that just might yield the secret to bringing peace to both sides of the galaxy.
What are your main characters' names? Occupations? Ages?
Rez Cantor / Captain of the Shadow Guard / 36 yrs
Leanna / Princess of Melela / 16 yrs
Philip Golan / scientist / 38 yrs
Oolat / Solula / age unknown
Ahska / Motula / age unknown

Excerpt:

Unexpectedly there was a noise behind me; a muffled voice.
“Lock the door and draw the curtains,” it whispered. I whirled around, looking to see who had spoken. “And dim the lights …”
The voice was feminine–and familiar.
Without further thought, I moved to the office door, locking it. I pulled the drapes covering the large crystalline windows that faced the hallway and turned down the lights. It was then that I caught sight of movement from behind the curtains. A woman appeared, simply dressed in a night robe; her dark, yet graying hair pulled back. I recognized her instantly. It was Lady Tasha, the Empress of Melela; I immediately started to kneel. She waved at me emphatically.
“We have no time for that nonsense,” she snapped in a hoarse whisper. “Come to my side–now!” I obeyed instantly, moving forward to face her.
“My Queen, what is it?”
I lowered my eyes in respect; her sudden appearance had me at a loss. To say the least, I had never seen her dressed so informally, with her face unpainted. She looked older this way, and though the light in the room was dim, I could tell she’d been crying. Her face was fraught with fear, and her eyes filled with emotion. I listened as she spoke in quick, hushed tones.
“The peace signing tomorrow is a ruse,” she breathed, heavily. “The Relcor have no desire to leave any part of our monarchy alive. We are under a death sentence.”
“You must flee then,” I responded.
“No, we are trapped. There are spies everywhere, including the palace. They hold us prisoner, and the Emperor—he’s been drugged.”
“My lady, what can I do?”
She grabbed my arm with a firm, hard grip. “I need you to get Leanna out of there.”
Stunned by her request, I sputtered weakly. “B-b-but how? I’m Shadow Guard—I.M. would never allow me in—I don’t have the clearance.”
Boutal
“That’s precisely why I’m coming to you, Captain. I.M.’s been compromised, and I’ve nowhere else to turn. I need you—you’re the adjunct officer in charge of her care. She knows you, and I need you to get her out of the palace and off Melela. You must—I want her to live! General Spires says if anyone can do it, it’s you.”
I was speechless. My Queen was speaking to me as a mother begging for her child’s life, and I had no idea what was transpiring. I needed more information. I started to ask, but there was a rustling out in the hallway. One of the sentinels was at the door; he spoke through it.
“Brother, why have you locked the door and drawn the curtains?”
I felt the Empress’ hand press against my chest–she pushed on me hard–near the place where Spires had struck me. It was then that I felt the micro pin stuck to my jacket, its point pricking my skin. The Empress moved back and away.
“I must go before they find me gone.” She headed toward the curtains, but not without one final plea. “Save my daughter, Rez. Please!”
I watched her disappear, slipping into a hidden alcove behind the draperies. I was alone again, bewildered, and off-guard. The Relcor were rattling the door knob; I sprang into action.
“What!” I yelled angrily, rushing the door. I jerked it open and glared at the two sentinels. “Can’t a man get a lick of sleep? Fucking pricworms!”
The two aliens looked at me blankly; I knew their human side understood my meaning, but the alien infecting them was confused. This was my opportunity. I brushed past the two, pushing them aside.
“I gotta get some sleep,” I snapped. “Tell the General I couldn’t wait.”
I didn’t look back. I didn’t dare—not if my gamble was to succeed. I moved to the lift and hit the access button. By the hand of fate it was there, waiting. The doors opened and I entered.
Outside in the rain, on the safety of the streets, I mulled over what had just transpired. The Empress’ words rang in my ear, spies everywhere, watching—waiting. The news of this was inconceivable—the Interior Ministry had been compromised—but how? Security for the palace was layered precisely for this reason, to prevent outside forces from penetrating the inner circle. And yet, if the Relcor were in control of I.M., then there was no one I could trust. What was I going to do?
Plagued with a myriad of questions, I looked down at the micro pin sticking though the fabric of my jacket. It was more like a small nail about three quarters of an inch in length with a barbed tip on one end and a small green data crystal on the other. I left it in place. Undoubtedly it held answers, but I needed to find a place where I could decode it–someplace out of the exchange loop. If there was information on how to save the Princess, I needed to keep it private. Unfortunately, I was ill prepared. I had no weapons or the means to stage a rescue and I lacked discretionary funds. I carried few mercs and little coin on me. Like most soldiers I used the Imperial credit system to pay for everything, but using that system now would be a mistake. If there were spies watching the Imperial elite, a credit track would follow my every footstep–and returning to my flat was out of the question. Still, I needed money. Rescuing the Princess wasn’t going to be easy or cheap. There were bound to be bribes; just how much was the question. With few options available I made my way to a CTM where I withdrew an advance–enough to get me by for a few days. I left my card in the machine hoping someone would find it and use it. It wouldn’t hurt to have a vag create a false trail, giving me time to disappear off the radar.
Paul Harry - The 5 Moons of Tiiana Tour
Credits in hand, I walked the dark streets of Corin looking for a place where I could ensconce myself away from prying eyes. I wasn’t having much luck. Everything was closed; the shops, the taverns, even the street vendors were gone. Everyone was scared pithless—and who could blame them. No one knew exactly what to expect tomorrow. The stories regarding the Relcor were chilling at best. Some considered them alien zealots whose mere touch could usurp a man’s soul. And then there were the accounts of brutal sex rites, torture, and pagan sacrifices. Dark rumors flew about thousands being slaughtered for the pure pleasure of uc T’Krola, the heathen ruler of Relcor Prime. These black horrors included stories of those who had vanished forever, including my father.
Long before the war started he had been sent to negotiate with uc T’Krola, but he was never heard from again. His disappearance had plagued my youth, and I often wondered if he had been killed or consumed by them. Was he now a Relcor hybrid—a concoction of human and alien genetics—a pagan religious cleric who lived and breathed the debauched, sadistic teachings of Rodan? I would probably never know, but I secretly questioned if he would be at the signing tomorrow. I also wondered how much of his knowledge had aided the downfall of the Empire; he had been privy to much. Perhaps he had been tortured or coerced, for it took only twelve short years for the Relcor to conquer everything–all thirty-three planets. To this day it was a mystery that yielded no answer. For me, it was simply a thorn in my heart, giving rise to the whispers behind my back. I kept walking—everyone had skeletons.
My journey soon took me toward the darker corners of Corin, where the seeds of corruption grew without help from the Relcor. It was the only place where the city still breathed, where the poor and the criminal merged, their faces lurking in the shadows, for they had nowhere to run. I looked up the street. I was in the brothel district. Things were slow, but the lights were still on. I moved along searching for a hostel with a measure of cleanliness. Finding one, I ducked in.
The lobby was small and dark, befitting a place where no one wanted to be seen. There was a Lacta sitting behind the front desk. He glanced up at me with disinterest, and then returned to his business. I approached him.
“Yesss,” he said, not looking up from his work.
I looked at his bald, crusty head. He was an old snik, molting, his scales falling off.
“I need a room.”
Yesss, twenty credits. You want someone, yesss?” His black tongue flickered through thin lips. “We still have a good ssselection–businessss is ssslow.”
He waved a bony finger toward the wall behind him. On it were pictures of men and women of varying ages.

Interview

How did you get your start in the industry?
I first got into writing about forty years ago. I had read a story in the historical book that so intrigued me I felt the story need to be fictionalized and expounded upon. That was my first foray into writing a novel. Needless to say, that was way before the web and way before self-publishing and when I finished the book I couldn't get anybody to read it. That was extremely disheartening and did little to soothe my ego.
Sometime later I was reading the Sunday paper and the little news blurbs they use for filler. One of the blurbs was a short article on the EPA investigating something or other and shortly below that was an article about Arnold Schwarzenegger starting to film Terminator two. It was then that an idea struck, and I began to wonder what would happen if the world's ecological systems collapsed and someone, say from the future had to return to the past to save the world. I was really taken by that concept but I knew a story wouldn't do it justice.
Now my background in high school and college was theater. In fact, I had written a rock opera in college with two other friends, and we obtained some moderate success with it, but I had never written a screenplay before. So I got a book by an author by the name of Sid Fields on screenwriting, and I went to the University library, and I began looking at screenplays and how they were formatted. Taking that knowledge I wrote my first screenplay and I entered it into the Nevada screenwriting competition. To my surprise I took third place and suddenly doors began open. It was so much easier to have Hollywood open to looking at my material than a book publisher. So for the next 30 years I spend most my time writing screenplays.
Now fast-forward to the present. Everybody and their brother wants to write the next hit movie; the field is cramped with screenwriters and the competition is stiff. And, to make matters worse, Hollywood now is less willing to take a chance on an unknown—so what’s a writer to do? Well for me, the answer was simple. Get back what you do best—write a killer story and use today's technology to put it out to the public. So that's what I did.
What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
As I stated earlier, when I started writing, computers were comprised of a small six-inch screens with green lettering. There was no Word or WordPerfect, and the Internet was a fledgling baby. Now today, we have a world filled with Internet connections, social media, and the means to advertise to millions. So for me, it's learning how to master all these new social happenings like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.
What websites do you visit daily?
Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, KDP, CNN are just a few.
If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
The opening. I was never satisfied with the way my first book opened. But ironically, thirty years later I ran across something that gave me a technological inspiration, and I'm thinking of revisiting that story and making a few changes. We’ll see if it works.
What do you enjoy most about life?
Figuring out why we do it. Why do we come here? And what are we supposed to learn? I believe that there's a reason for everything. For me, just getting up each morning and counting my blessings is enough. I have a terrific family and a decent life. Sometimes that's all you need.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Don't smoke the pot, stupid. It's a waste of time.
Do you have a muse? Describe this person, please.
I can't say that I have a muse per se, but I did have a very good friend who passed away from cancer several years past. He was my sounding board. I could runs ideas passed him, get his feedback, and he wasn't afraid to give me the truth whether I liked it or not. I miss him.
What does "balance" mean to you as a writer?
The 5 Moons of Tiiana - back
When I find it I'll let you know.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
Not really.
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
I grew up in Las Vegas. I spent many years there as a craps and blackjack dealer in a number of major casinos. The stories I could tell would probably curl your hair, but that's another tale.
Which of your books would you recommend to someone who doesn't normally read your genre, and why?
I would recommend this one: The 5 moons of Tiiana.
For this story, I did something that I've never done before. I wrote it in first person. I did this for several reasons. First, I wanted to emulate one of my favorite authors, Edgar Rice Burroughs. He was the author of Tarzan, and more importantly, John Carter of Mars. His John Carter series was written in first person, and surprisingly, I found it easier to voice my main character in the same way.
I think writing in first person allows the story to flow. It enables the reader to have a personal attachment to the main character as he forgoes the trials and tribulations of his journey. It also allows the reader to learn or discover the story at the time as the main character. I just find it more personal, and I've already had a number of readers who normally don't read science fiction take a chance—to their surprise they've enjoyed the story.
Additionally, I'm not an overly abstruse writer. I like to follow everything I learned as a screenwriter. Grab your audience as quickly as possible and hold on to them. I believe this book is a good example of that. I think it grabs you in the first few pages and doesn't let go—at least I hope so.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
The books I read are little out there—not exactly your standard fare. I am intensely curious about what our fate is, where we go after here, and the expansion of our lives within the universe. One of my most recent reads was: journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life between Lives by Dr. Michael Newton. You know the old adage, “truth is stranger than fiction.” Read this and you will know why.
What do you think is the future of e-publishing?
I think e-publishing is awesome. I think it opens up a world of incredible possibilities for many many people. Never before have we been given the opportunity to put our thoughts, dreams, and desires out to the general public with such ease. I would equate it with the advent of the printing press, and a revolution in the making.
What was the proudest moment of your life so far?
I could say it was the birth of my children or getting married, (they were great), but honestly, it was the standing ovations I got for the rock opera I co-wrote and produced while in college.
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?
I would take my wife and daughter to Hawaii with only the clothes on our backs. Anything you need to be bought there and it's only the memories that mean anything anyway.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Christmas, seeing my daughter go nuts says it all.
What good book have you read recently?
Destiny of Souls: New Case Studies of Life between Lives by Dr. Michael Newton.
Where were you at midnight, on December 31st when the new century started?
I quit my job at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and went to the Eagles concert at the Mandalay Bay.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
I'm not sure with the PG rating is on the site, so let's just say I sleep.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Red, maybe blue.
Paul Harry

Please Fill in the Blanks

I love pizza with spicy stuff.
I'm always ready for (see the bored question).
When I'm alone, I try to get things done.
You'd never be able to tell, but I goof off a lot.
If I had a halo it would be tarnished.
If I could sell a million books I'd quit my stupid job.
I can never stop because it feels too good.

Books Coming Soon

The Garden: The Unauthorized Biography of Adam and Eve
Prequel / Sequel to The 5 Moons of Tiiana

Find Me Here

August 21, 2012

Character Interview: Tunney Nichols (Jean Joachim)


The Renovated Heart.
Today on Romance Lives Forever we're featuring a character interview with one of Jean Joachim's heroes, Tunney Nichols of The Renovated Heart. Jean's allowing him to be interviewed by Adora Smutz, so we'll step out of the way and let her take over!

I’m lucky today to have Tunney Nichols, hero of The Renovated Heart here with me for an interview. Leave a comment with your email address and Tunney will select a name at random to win a copy of “The Renovated Heart.” Sit in that chair over there, Tunney, would you like some coffee? *Jean pours coffee*. First question.
Are you upset your name is not in the title?
No, not really. The house I grew up in is on the cover, so I’m happy. I’m not that egotistical, no matter what that crazy lady interviewer, Adora Smutz, might be telling you.
Is your love interest the way you pictured her? Or would you have preferred someone with a different hair color?
Are you kidding? Better. Kit is better than I could have imagined. Her beautiful hair, shining in the moonlight, her big…soft…round…fits so well. *blushes*. She’s perfect, Jean. Good job, I wouldn’t change a thing, even that little beauty mark on the inside of her left thigh. Hey, did I just say that? *Puts his hand over his eyes.*
Sunny Days,
Moonlit Nights
Do you have any annoying habits your author did not share with us in your book?
Yes, I do and I’ll be damned if I’m going to share those with the world here! I’m not stupid.
Any hobbies we might be interested in knowing about?
Nope, just lovin’ my beautiful woman. ‘Spose that’s more of a regular activity than a hobby. Tunney snickered.
Are you happy with the profession your author chose for you or would you rather be working at something totally different and why?
I love building. Almost as much as I love Kit. Like reclaiming and saving old things, like my house…and my life! *laughs*
Would you like to be taller, blonder, thinner, or smarter than you have been portrayed?
Nah. Jean caught the sexy beast in me just right! Not that I’m bragging or anything. But Kit seems happy with me. That’s enough for me.
The Marriage List
Now for a personal question. Is there enough sex in the book for you? Would you have liked more?
Hey, show me a guy who says he wouldn’t like more and I’ll show you a liar! If she had put any more in the book, it would have crossed over from steamy to erotic. Kit and I like to keep some things to ourselves. *wiggles his eyebrows*
Did you author handle your “love” scenes the way you like or was she too explicit or not explicit enough?
I’m okay with her descriptions. Did I say that okay, Jean? *grins*
Is you’re heroine a good kisser?
Kit? Oh the best. She’s great in the sack…wait. I think I’m not supposed to say that. Don’t tell Kit, okay? *whispers*
Are you happy with the setting? Did you want a bigger house or car?
I love that old house but I could have used a fancy sports car. Win some, lose some.
Now and Forever 1
How many re-writes did you have to live through?
Jean made me promise not to tell. And I’m expecting a hundred bucks in my bank account by tomorrow, Jean. *winks*
Did your author listen to you when you tried to redirect her?
Jean didn’t need direction from me. Is that the way you wanted me to say that, Jean?
Did your story end too soon?
My story will never end. My fairy tale with Kit will last forever.
Who was your favorite supporting character?
Zoe was. The kid’s got guts.
Did you fight much with your author or did you two see eye-to-eye?
Now and Forever2
No one fights with Jean and gets away with it. Oops, is that TMI? Seriously, she wrote me just the way I am. Turns out that for a writer, she’s a pretty good listener, too.
A bit about the Renovated House
Can a broken heart be renovated like an old house? Kit’s life came to a halt when her husband slapped her with a divorce. Finding herself without a job or a place to live, she’s forced to take Tunney Nichols up on his offer of cheap rent for his parent’s house. The catch: she must allow him to renovate while she’s living there. Out of fear, Kit tells a lie she soon regrets as she is drawn to the sexy man plastering and painting his way into her heart.
Now and Forever3
Can Sarah forget the abuse from her late husband? Can she fix her heart and the hearts of her children? With her two children in tow, Sarah relocates to be near her sister, she meets Jim, a neighbor and English professor. A mutual interest in writing, paves the way for a friendship that blossoms into romance. But is Jim the right man for Sarah or does another man from her past still light her fire?
Find the eBook here
(paperback coming in a couple of months):
Stop by Jean's Facebook page for latest news of her books. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jean-Joachim-Author/221092234568929

August 20, 2012

HALF: Interview with Elise VanCise

Half, by Elise VanCise.

Elise, welcome to Romance Lives Forever! Let's jump in and learn details about your book, Half.
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Buy links (you may list several):
Publisher:
Cover artist: Elise VanCise
Length (words): 39,570
Heat rating (as for movies, R, PG13, etc.): R
Tagline: Which HALF will win?
Blurb: Guarding CEO Alex Blazen during a charity gala was an easy job for Valeska Gorstef...until all hell breaks loose...literally. Forced to face her own darkness, Valeska may lose her only chance to live a human life. Two sides of her soul will be at war. Which HALF will win?
What are your main characters' names?
Valeska Gorstef, Alex Blazen
Occupations?
Valeska owns Black Knight Securities and works as personal security for clients. Alex is CEO of Blazen Enterprises. A conglomerate of different industries and businesses including medical research.

Excerpt:

Alex looked into her face. He was searching for something. “What’s going on Valeska? You keep saying we and our. This isn’t your society, you are human.”
A sad smile on her lips Valeska shook her head. “I’m half human. I have lived longer as a vampire than as a human Alex. You must remember that.”
She started walking again and turned down a hall lined with rooms. Pausing at the very last door Valeska turned to her companions. “There will be times that I can not be the person you have known. Here I have to be the creature they know in order to keep you safe. Even you Travis, new vampires are a delicacy to some. This was probably a mistake, coming here.”
Marcus opened the door next to hers and shrugged as he just tossed his bag inside on the floor. “Might have been a mistake but we can’t turn back now.”
Opening the door to her childhood room, Valeska had to agree. “No, no turning back.”
Inside the room was dark but she could clearly see all was as she left it. Even the porcelain doll that she knocked off the windowsill that night lay shattered on the floor. The room was clean there were fresh linens on the bed but to her it seemed unclean. She shook her head to banish memories.
Moving with that supernatural etherealness Valeska stood at that window opening it wide to the night. Picking up the broken shards of a painted smiling face she tossed them out the window.
After a few breaths she sighed, nothing changed. She was still here. Her nightmares were still real and she still stood at this window and wished on those stars shining above that she were truly whole and not half.
Tell us about your latest book, including its genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
In the Dark
HALF is a paranormal thriller, with dashes of action, horror, and of course romance. HALF centers around Valeska Gorstef. When she takes a job as personal security for CEO Alex Blazen, Valeska is forced to look at the dark half of her soul she’s tried to keep buried. She may be forced to make choices that will lead herself those she cares about most deep into that darkness. Her fear is not being able to come back into the light. Which HALF will win?
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love the process of creation. Seeing the world in my head unfold and grow as it falls onto the paper. Falling in love or hate with the characters as they become three dimensional.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Don’t let others instill doubt, be confident in who you are. Be the square peg in the round hole.
Is your muse demanding?
She can be very demanding at times. To the point of being in a shop and having to stop in the middle of it, pull out pen and notebook to write down the idea pouring out.
Are your stories driven by plot or character?
I believe both, I think of it as planting a garden. The characters are the seeds and the plot the soil, water, and sun. You see and feel the characters grow with the foundation of the plot goal and the events that surrounds it guiding the growth until they finally bloom.
What are some jobs you've done that would end up in a book?
I’ve had a couple of interesting jobs. The ones that might make it into a story in one variation or another would be administrative secretary for a school, medical records researcher, clerk for supervisor of elections office.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
I hope they were able to feel like they were part of the story.
List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
Elmore Leonard, JD Robb
Don't Touch
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
Yes, She Did.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
If money were no object I would have a huge luxury house boat. I could dock anywhere I wanted for as long as I like, then try some place new.
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
I’m a casual kind of person. I can dress up and be fancy when the occasion calls for it but mostly comfy jeans and a soft tee, other products would be DVDs I keep a stack handy on my desk to pop in while I’m working. Mugs, I have an addiction to mugs and coffee cups, and peanut butter Oreos.
Do you play any online, board, or role-playing games? Which ones?
I’ve not been playing a lot of games as of late. On Facebook I play The Ville, Family Farm, You Don’t Know Jack. And on G+ I love Gangs of Boomtown.

Please Fill in the Blanks

I love pizza with extra pepperoni.
I'm always ready for an adventure    
When I'm alone, I read, write, or plot J     
You'd never be able to tell, but I am near sighted in one eye and far sighted in the other. It really messes with my perception sometimes.
If I had a halo it would be crooked.
If I could win the lottery I'd travel to all the places on my list.
I can never change a light bulb because I’m so scared of heights I won’t get on a step ladder.

My Booklist

In the Dark
Don’t Touch
HALF

Books Coming Soon

Taken (coming this winter)
Elise VanCise
Dean Cross waited impatiently for his estranged wife to step off her flight. He has hope that after three years of separation they can put their marriage back together again. The last passenger disembarked, no Lucinda. Had she missed the flight or changed her mind?

Kidnapping isn’t just a crime, it’s a multimillion dollar business. Most believe only rich kids or missionaries in a foreign country are held for ransom. The Cross’ find out anyone can be Taken.

Contests

A free e-copy of HALF to one commenter

Find Me Here

August 14, 2012

Interview with Synithia Williams


You Can't Plan Love

Synithia, welcome to Romance Lives Forever.

Let’s talk about your new book. Tell us about You Can’t Plan Love.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Length: 78,000 words
Heat rating: R
Buy link: Coming soon http://is.gd/Mwc3Qd
Tagline: Love doesn’t always go according to plan.
Blurb:
After several bad relationships, Kenyatta Copeland decides to control her love life with the same discernment she uses in her professional life.
Knowing firsthand the heartbreak that comes when desire and emotion rule a relationship, Kenyatta assumes marrying Brad Johnson will lead to a stable life. But as much as she believes she can plan her future, it’s hard to ignore the way her boss, Malcolm Patterson, ignites her passions with just one look. After Malcolm learns of her engagement, he makes a play for her heart and reminds her that passion between a man and a woman has its perks … but also its costs. When Brad suspects there’s more than work between Kenyatta and Malcolm, he works harder to keep Kenyatta by his side. Torn between her promise to marry Brad and her irrepressible longing for Malcolm, Kenyatta must decide if she can live her life in a passionless marriage of convenience or once again trust her heart. Yet Brad isn’t as perfect as he seems, and by the time Kenyatta realizes this it may be too late.
What are your main characters' names?
Kenyatta Copeland
Malcolm Patterson
Ages?
Kenyatta 28
Malcolm 33
Occupations?
They both work for H20 Environmental-An environmental consulting firm with offices throughout the Southeast United State.
Excerpt:
Kenyatta scoffed. “Sure. Well it sounds like you’re spending way too much time paying attention to me and my relationship.”
“Why not pay attention to it? I think it’s fascinating to watch a smart, beautiful woman try and convince herself she’s in love with a man who doesn’t even arouse her.”
Her brown eyes widened, sparking fire. She had never looked so damn tempting. He took a step toward her, but she was too angry to notice. She pointed her finger at his chest again and tried to push him back.
“You have no idea what you’re talking about. Brad does arouse me.”
“Liar.”
“How can you begin to make interpretations about our sex life?”
“You never have the look of a woman who’s had a great night of sex.”
She laughed caustically. “Really, that’s your answer? Unlike the chicks you bring through here, I don’t need to put on a show for the world to see that I’m having sex. I’m not going to walk around in yesterday’s clothes with my hair flying all over my head just to prove a point.”
“It’s not about putting on a show; it’s about the look in your eyes when you talk about him or see him. You don’t look at him as if he knows all your secrets and all the ways to turn you on.”
“For your information, Brad knows...enough about me to keep me happy.”
“That’s not the same as arousing you.”
“There’s more to a relationship than arousal. What we had—have is built on more than that.”
He rolled his eyes. “Yeah, patience and understanding.”
She nodded. “Yes, and for your information, he does arouse me. He’s the best...I’ve ever...had.”
“That’s such a lie you can’t even say it with a straight face.”
“And how would you know?”
He stepped closer and lowered his voice. “Because I arouse you every day and you try to pretend like I don’t. I’m not a fool, Kenyatta. I can tell when a woman wants me.”
Anger flared in her eyes, and her cocoa skin flushed with emotion. “You conceited bastard! You think that every woman in the world is ready to fall at your feet. You’re the epitome of what I don’t want in a man. Cocky, chauvinistic, and convinced he’s God’s gift to women.”
“Not women, Kenyatta, just you.” He pulled her into his arms. Before she could utter another word, his mouth crushed down on hers. She stood against him motionless for a second before responding to his kiss.
Malcolm’s original intention was to prove his point. He knew she was attracted to
him, and her accusation of his conceit hit a nerve. But as soon as she melted in his arms, he forgot his reason for kissing her and got lost in the feel of her soft lips against his. He’d never wanted a woman as badly as he wanted her. Malcolm squeezed her butt, pressing her against him so she could feel how she affected him.

Interview

How did you get your start in the industry?
I am a newbie to the publishing industry. I’ve written for years, but it wasn’t until 2010 that I decided to pursue publishing. I made a goal to finish one of the many novels I started by the end of 2010, and then made another goal in 2011 to revise and perfect my novel. The goal for 2012 was to query and see what type of feedback I got. I still can’t believe my dream came true relatively quickly.
What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
I continue to research ways to improve my writing. I’ve joined Romance Writers of America and have plans to start attending my first writing conferences this year. I’ve purchased several books on character development, plotting and even writing steamier sex scenes. It’s important to me to get more books out there that are even better than my first one.
What websites do you visit daily?
Outside of Facebook and Twitter, I regularly visit my publisher’s site http://crimsonromance.com, PubRants and The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.
What do you enjoy most about life?
That wonderful--yet fleeting--moment when my boys are being sweet and my husband and I look at each other and smile.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Take some creative writing classes while in undergrad. My major was biology, so I took some fun electives (sociology of sex, history of jazz, and public speaking for example) but I didn’t take a creative writing course.
What does "balance" mean to you as a writer?
Balancing my day job, family and writing. When I made up my mind to try and publish my first novel I thought the hardest part would be finding time to write. Luckily, that wasn’t hard to do. My kids go to bed at 8:00 every night, except on weekends. So it was easy to wait until they went to bed then write after 9. But, when you add in the social media aspect, it can impact your life throughout the day. The need to check Facebook, Twitter and your blog. If I push that to 9 p.m. then I’m not writing until 10 or 11. I’m still learning to balance this so at the moment I refuse to sign up for Tribbr, Pintrest or Google +.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
Ha! That’s a loaded question! Indirectly, yes things my family or friends do ends up in a book. Conversations I’ve had may spark an idea, or interests of people I know may become interests of my characters.
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
My day job is the Environmental Coordinator for my county. Although working in public service has its difficult days, I really enjoy my job. I help develop air quality programs and water quality regulations that have a direct impact on the quality of life where I live. When the bureaucracy gets me down, I get to do fun projects with other “greenies” that promote green business practices and personal sustainable behavior change. In 2010 our areas largest paper listed me as one of the areas Green Queens, and although the title means every time someone throws away a plastic bottle their calling my name, I love the fact that my efforts are appreciated.
Which of your books would you recommend to someone who doesn't normally read your genre, and why?
I only have one book right now, so of course I recommend it. If someone hasn’t read a romance within the last ten years then I would say give this book a try. Romances aren’t full of weak damsels in distress waiting on a strong man to save them. That idea makes me want to gag. I wrote about the struggle for a professional woman who’s been hurt in the past trying to pick a man based on reason instead of romance. Kenyatta is also struggling between choosing her career over the wishes of the man she thinks is perfect for her. These are real decisions that women face daily that I think many can relate to.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
I read romance. Historicals are my favorite, but after decided to pursue publishing I started reading more contemporary romances. Everyone once and awhile I’ll try something outside of the genre if it’s recommended. But if I need to just relax and waste an afternoon, I’ll pick up a romance.
What do you think is the future of epublishing?
I think it’s here to stay. I was one of those people who once refused to buy an e-reader because I loved “real” books, bookstores, and libraries. I still do, but I also love the convenience of e-books. For others like me who’ve embraced ebooks and the convenience they provide, I can’t see epublishing as a fad that will go away. Just like we evolved from VCRs, to DVD players to Netflix I think it’ll be the same with books. The only difference is that some books will still be worth having in a hard copy on a shelf.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Thanksgiving, because you have all of the eating and family togetherness of Christmas without the hassle of buying gifts.
What good book have you read recently?
Two, the Rebound Guy by Farrah Rochon and Temptation Rising by A.C. Arthur.
If your life became a movie, who would you want to play you?
Angela Bassett, because I love her.
Which statement is more like you:
"I am a vacation spa because I am laid back and relaxed."
"I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation, because I do things as fast as possible."
Please Fill in the Blanks
I love pizza with artichoke hearts and mushrooms.
I'm always ready for a get together with friends involving wine.
When I'm alone, I read and watch television all day long.
You'd never be able to tell, but I’m shy. It’s difficult for me to come up with “small talk,” but I’ve had to learn because I do a lot of networking in my day job. Now I just ask a bunch of questions and try to get people to talk about themselves.
If I had a halo it would be bronze, dented, and tarnished.
Synithia Williams
If I could only win the lottery I'd have vacation houses in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and London.
I can never skydive because I’m afraid of heights and just thinking about it makes my palms sweat.
My Current Books
You Can’t Plan Love from Crimson Romance
Contests
To celebrate my first novel, I’m giving away a Reusable Bag filled with Swag! Details coming soon on my website.
Find Me Here

August 1, 2012

RLF Gems - Blog Stats for July 2012

RLF Gems.
I'm proud to present the top bloggers (by page load) for the month ofJuly 2012. There were two ties with the exact number of hits. I checked that twice - and it's correct.

We had huge hits this month for the articles on MFRW Summer Camp, and readers were enthralled by new releases from Gemma K Murray, Starla Kaye, Kendall McKenna, Elizabeth J Kolodziej, Maggie Brooke, and others. Here are the top five by page hit:

1. MFRW Summer Camp (Kayelle Allen)
2. Gemma K Murray
3. Terri Molina
4. Starla Kaye (TIE)
4. Elizabeth J Kolodziej (TIE)
5. W Lynn Chantale (TIE)
5. Maggie Brooke (TIE)

Participants this month in alphabetical order by first name are:  Casey Crow, Elizabeth J Kolodziej, Gemma K Murray, Jannine Corti-Petska, Kendall McKenna, Lisabet Sarai, Liz Borino, Maggie Brooke, MS Spencer, Ruby Duvall, Starla Kaye, Teri Molina, and W Lynn Chantale.
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