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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

GUEST BLOG: HANNAH HOWELL

What if….

The first germ of the Wherlocke tales was small, a little tickle in my brain as I wrote about Highlanders. In some of my Highlander books I have members of the family blessed with some psychic gifts; the Murray clan is riddled with them. Yet, those gifts remained mostly in the background, were rarely a big star in the story. So, in my tiny brain perked the thought of a tale where the psychic gifts were more prominent, and not subtle gifts but big whopping in-your-face psychic abilities.

First problem – the time period. When the Murrays have a gift it’s kept pretty quiet and is usually a gentle one, almost just a strong intuition at times. Their tales are also set in a time when there were some pretty nasty punishments for being glaringly psychic. So I knew I had to come forward in time. I picked the late-Georgian period for several reasons. It was past the time that ‘witches’ were drowned, burned, tortured to death, or hanged, and I liked the clothes. It was also a time of enlightenment, studies in science, and many discoveries so I felt there would be a chance for a man or woman with strong psychic gifts to find love and acceptance. Yet, there was still a very strong fear of such things, superstition was still fairly rampant, so the family would have to be reclusive and hold fast to the secret of their nature.


So, from this ‘what if..” came the Wherlockes and their cousins the Vaughns. And they don’t have just intuition they have graphic dreams, and fierce visions. Some see ghosts, some have a telekinetic ability, some can mesmerize you into telling the truth, and on and on. There are many, many psychic gifts and this family has them all. In IF HE’S WICKED, the heroine has dreams and they lead her straight into the middle of the hero’s complicated and dangerous life. In IF HE’S SINFUL the heroine sees ghosts and that leads her into a search for the truth with a man she craves but who is betrothed to her own, treacherous cousin. And in IF HE’S WILD, the third book in the trilogy that will be on the stands May 25th, the heroine Alethea has visions, strong visions, and can even have them by touching something. Those visions draw her into Hartley Greville’s dangerous life.

Alethea has seen Hartley in visions and dreams for years but the latest vision reveals that he is in terrible danger. She goes to London to warn him and is plunged into a world of spies, secrets, and murder. Hartley finds his logical mind forced to accept the illogical, the unknown, the psychic world the Wherlockes and Vaughns inhabit. He must try top accept that Alethea can see what will happen. When passion flares between them, they are both put to the test. Can Alethea actually use her gift to help? Can she ever have more than passion from Hartley; can she find acceptance of all she is? Can Hartley push aside his need for everything to make sense in a proven, scientific way, and accept Alethea, as well as her gifted family? And what a family it is, too. Does Hartley even want to accept all the madness that comes with such a clan? As Hartley and Alethea wrestle with their beliefs, needs, and desires, they also have to find and defeat the enemy that wants them dead.

And all this from the simple whisper of ‘what if’ in my mind. Even I’m often astonished by what comes from that little question. This time it is the Wherlockes. Who knows where ‘what if..” will lead me next time. I hope you’ll give IF HE’S WILD a chance.

Monday, July 26, 2010

GUEST BLOG: FARIDA MESTEK

My first Regency-set novel, Margaret's Rematch, was released this March and while I was as excited as a puppy when it came out, I was not a little depressed by the concept of self-promotion. But as I was thinking of ways in which I could promote my future books, I had an idea for a big promo party - a Virtual Regency Party - and today I would like to blog about it. I think it can be a good promo opportunity for many authors as well as a way to get to know each other and have fun.

So what exactly is a Virtual Regency Party? First of all, it is a party for the characters – not the authors. My idea is that each author is to be represented by one/two character(s). The characters can be from the new or upcoming book or any other book of the author's choosing, as long as the characters are original and belong to the author.

The Virtual Regency Party is going to take place in a virtual manor house belonging to one of my characters. There I want to have a number of salons (each author whose characters participate can contribute ideas for the salons) with different hosts and hostesses who will help to run things along. Salons can be dedicated to different Regency-related things: fashion, music, books, politics, gossip, medicine, royal family, famous people, etc.. The characters can choose a salon they want to stick to or visit as many salons as they can, taking an active part in whatever is going on there.

A week before the Party each character has to make a short introduction; other characters can stop by to say hi or leave any relevant comments. The authors can supply their characters' introductions with pictures. Important: below the introduction each author is required to post the name, the title of the book(s) the characters are from, the authors' website/blog, publishing house/where to buy the book link.

This is the first draft of my Virtual Regency Party project and I'd like to know what you think. Does this idea have merit? Would you and your characters like to take part in it? Do you have any suggestions? I'd like to have as many authors as I can get. Readers are also encouraged to come. They can either follow the party as readers or come up with a character and participate as well.

So, if you are interested in participating in a Virtual Regency Party, leave your comment here or drop me a line at faridamestek@yahoo.com with Virtual Regency Party in the subject line. Thank you!

Farida Mestek

http://www.faridamestek.blogspot.com/

Romantic stories set against the backdrop of Regency EnglandFarida Mestek lives in Ukraine, but she adores Regency England, where she spends a great deal of her time. She fell in love with it the moment she saw one of the film productions on TV when she was a child, and her love grew with every Jane Austen book that she read time and time again. Having been writing all her life, she decided to write Regency-set stories herself. Her dream is to build a Regency village, the aim of which would be to provide Regency-lovers from around the world with a veritable Regency lifestyle experience.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

GUEST BLOG: STEPHANIE BURKHART

A Different kind of Hero
By
Stephanie Burkhart


I’m excited to be here today at Long and Short and I just want to thank Marianne and Judy for this opportunity.

Beware. The Wolf is Coming.

My latest release is The Hungarian, a paranormal romance that takes place in 1901. It’s between England and Hungary. My hero is a Hungarian nobleman, Count Matthias Duma. On a dark autumn night, Matthias is heading back to estate nestled against the shores of Lake Balaton, when a pack of werewolves attack him. His wife dies in the encounter and the attack leaves him what he fears the most – a werewolf.

So what makes Matthias a different kind of hero? Aside from the fur and fangs? For one, Matthias is a Hungarian. Most of today’s romantic historical novels features an Englishman or a Scots as the hero. I wanted to set the story in Hungary because it’s in a unique location – Central Europe.

Hungary is caught between the modern western nations and the older, more rural nations who embrace old world myths and legends. In Hungary they still dance old folk dances like the Csándas, yet in 1901 Budapest boasted many “modern” archtechitual achievements, such as the Parliament Building, Széchenyi Bridge (on the cover) and Fisherman’s Bastian.

Matthias is this unique blend of old world traditions. His father was ennobled in the mid 1800’s and Matthias was his father’s only son. Matthias makes tokji, a fine Hungarian desert wine and he has distribution contracts in England. This leads him to Katherine Archibald.

Matthias does not give into the pack mentally. He has a set of servants who knows what he is and helps him during his transformation. He stays on the grounds of his estate when the moon is full, with only the stars and flowers to keep him company. The focus of the story is on the man, and not the beast. How Matthias tempers the wolf is at the heart of the novel.

Bio:

The Hungarian is my first novel release with Desert Breeze Publishing. I also have a short story, “Matchmaking A-Muse-Ments,” in the BeMused Anthology. I also used a pen name with my earlier work, SG Cardin. You can find me on the Internet at my blog, “Romance Under the Moonlight,” http://sgcardin.blogspot.com or on my website, SG Cardin Online at http://sgcardin.tripod.com. I currently work for LAPD as a 911 Dispatcher.


Amazon for Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003K15NG2

Barnes & Noble for Nook: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Hungarian/Stephanie-Burkhart/e/9781936000654/?itm=1&USRI=The+Hungarian+by+Stephanie+Burkhart
Sony EBook Store: ttp://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/stephanie-burkhart/the-hungarian/_/R-400000000000000233152

Monday, July 19, 2010

GUEST BLOG: KISS CARSON

Kids, Laughter and Life

Hello. I’m Kiss Carson, mother to three, wife to one (and that’s enough). I live in Queensland, Australia with my family, three cats and lots of fish. Somewhere in between the demanding cries of “Hey Mum!”, washing, cooking, cleaning...Oh! Don’t forget the “paid” work, I find time to write fantasy/paranormal romance novels.

Now, my gorgeous children, Miss 17, a budding wife and mother, Master 11, a quantum scientist in training, and Miss 10, environmental warrior, keep me on my toes, and give me countless moments of happiness. Not a day goes by where I’m not amazed by their resilience, determination and general outlook on life.

Take Master 11 for instance. He has Asperger’s Syndrome...extremely entertaining at the best of times...A few weeks ago he discussed Darwin’s Theory of Evolution with me. (clears throat) Now, I don’t think Darwin’s Theory is something a 11 yo should be worried about, but Master 11 isn’t like any other child I’ve met. His favourite show is Life After People. He knows about Pandora’s Box and Nostradamus. He knows about the horrors of the wars, where, when, how and who. He reads 2-3 books a day, the “Horrible” Series. Horrible History, Horrible Science, Horrible Nature etc, etc... However, ask him to name the four TMNT’s, he’s lost. Hehehe

In my writing, I often draw on Master 11’s emotional skills to give life to my heroes. In my third book, In the Shadows of Angels, Luke is a little lost, and sometimes quite intense. There is no happy medium with Luke Benedict. Ella, however, is the complete opposite, whimsical, open to love, and too eager to fall head over heels (a little reminiscent of Miss 17).

Never give up your sense of humour. When everything else looks grey and dreary, laughter is sometimes the only thing that’s left.

In the Shadows of Angels

When Ella Jeffries receives a mysterious book, she is drawn into its pages and transported back in time. The year is 1709, and the place is the hauntingly beautiful Aingealag Estate tucked away on the shores of Loch Moibeal in the Scottish Highlands. She rescues Lucius “Luke” Benedict, the gorgeous Laird of Aingealag, from an unjust beheading for the alleged murder of his wife.

Luke’s burning dark gaze and sensual aura draw Ella into his tragic life, and the safety of his strong arms. However, the closer she comes to Luke, the more baffling the mystery becomes. With the help of Luke’s beloved horse, Jury, a ghost cat named Shamus, and Moibeal the Loch Monster, she inches closer to clearing Luke’s name.

Can Ella save the Benedict family, or will Aingealag’s shadows swallow them all whole?


Excerpt

Pulling on his coat, Luke hurried through the castle, the unbearable iciness prickling his skin. However, the frosty night hadn’t drilled him from his slumber. Someone had screamed, a shrill, terrified sound that shattered his serenity.

He approached the corridor intersection. Soft muttering came from the dimness ahead. Moving closer to the corner, he peered into shadows further up the hallway, uneasy. This hallway led to Roslyn’s room. Had his wife returned from the dead to wreak revenge on her loveless husband?

Someone, or something, shuffled towards him. Luke rubbed his bristled chin, refusing to allow fear to control him. Everything could be explained rationally, even the stumbling, whimpering thing sliding along the wall. Stepping forward, his eyebrows shot up when he recognized Ella’s slight form. She stared behind her as though some night creature hunted her down.

“What are you doing here?” Luke regretted his rough tone when Ella stiffened with fright and turned to him, her sapphire eyes wide as carriage wheels. Her pretty heart-shaped face paled.

Luke lunged for her when she stumbled—or swooned—he wasn’t quite sure what happened. In less than a heartbeat, he cradled her in his arms and she gazed up at him as though he’d saved her from a fate worse than death. Ella’s hand rested lightly on his chest, her simple touch rippling through the hard, masculine shell he’d spent years building.

“Damn,” he muttered and dumped her on her feet before he succumbed to her sweet seduction.

As he stepped away, Ella’s fiery curls tangled around a button on his coat. She jerked towards him with a grunt, leaning a shoulder against his chest as she untangled her hair.

“You scared me half to death,” she told him, her voice shaking.

Luke contemplated the top of her head, wanting to touch but not daring. He didn’t need the added complication of another woman at the moment. Finally free of her hair, he stepped back. Maybe he should flee her tempting form while he still could. Instead of running like a coward, he stared into her shimmering eyes and managed a frown. “What are you doing here?”

“I—.” Ella pointed behind her. “Ah—.” She indicated in front of her. “Then—.” Her trembling finger moved to him.

Luke raised his eyebrows, bewildered. Ella folded her arms and moved closer to him. Her hair hung around her shoulders in a mass of copper colored tangles, her pale face drawn with fear. Her unloved foundling aura brought out the protector in him, stirred his emotions and somewhat confused him. Cursing his addled mind, he pointed at the door visible at the end of the corridor.

“Did you go into that room?” he demanded.

In the Shadows of Angels can be found at www.kisscarson.com.au, www.solsticepublishing.com and most online bookshops.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

GUEST BLOG: CHASTITY BUSH

First, I would like to thank Long and Short Reviews for hosting me today.

Is It Only Me?


For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Chastity Bush and I am the author of five published romance novels.

I love writing but I have found that since I started creating my own stories and characters, I have a bit of a problem when watching movies or reading books.

It seems that I have the story figured out before it even begins. My husband and I watched two movies this weekend and wouldn’t you know it, the movie had only been on maybe ten minutes and I knew what was going to happen.

I guess it is because I look at the movie/book and think, “This is what I would do if this were my story and these my characters.”

Although this burden ruins the movies/books for me, it does in a way remind me that my imagination is alive and well.

I am not sure if this happens to all writers or just me.

However, this is something that I hope other writers cannot do with my books. You see, I like to think that my stories and characters are completely original and something that people look at and say, “Wow! I didn’t see that coming!”

That, in my opinion, is the sign of a real writer. The ability to create something people can’t stop thinking about even when it is over. I am a huge fan of the True Blood series because of this. There has not been one single episode where I could say that I knew what was going to happen. The same goes with the television show Dexter.

These characters and situations are so original that I find myself, my imagination, working overtime to try and figure them out and still, it is not possible.

I have had aspiring writers tell me that they have submitted to publishers who claim they want something bold and new, that pushes the envelope and make the reader ask questions and yet, when they received their manuscript that does just that, they rejected it. The often ask me what they should do.

Now, I am not a publisher and have no interest in being on that side of the fence but I do think that before a pub posts something like this in their guidelines, they really need to take a look and ask themselves if this is something that they really want. After all, there are some authors out there who have a muse that works on overtime all of the time. Something that pushes the envelope for one, may step over the line for others.

The only advice that I can give these authors is to keep trying. What is big now may not be big tomorrow. What doesn’t work for one company may for another.

Enough of my ranting! I hope you all have enjoyed my opinion, because that is just what this is, my opinion. And if not, that’s all right too. If you would like to contact me you may do so at chastitybush@yahoo.com

Chastity Bush is the author of the Guard My Heart Series and three other published novels known for their spicy romance, suspense and humorous edge. She loves to spend time with her husband and their two daughters and is completely addicted to “Dexter” and “True Blood”.

Chastity loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted through her website at http://chastitybush.webs.com.

Monday, July 12, 2010

GUEST BLOG: GINGER HANSON

The Why Factor
by
Ginger Hanson



I’m not sure if all writers are plagued by what I call “the why factor,” but I know I am. What is the why factor? It’s the need to explain why something happened or why someone did something. It’s a constant search for ulterior motives and I tend to search for the why factor in everything. In writer jargon, it’s called back story, but I don’t limit my creative tendencies to story characters. I make up back story to explain the actions and conversations of complete strangers, family members, dear friends, and even rescued pets.

Rescued pets? Especially our rescued pets. They had a life before they arrived in our home and that life influences how they behave. For some reason I need to figure out the why factor to help me cope with their actions.

Let’s take Sierra. She’s a cute little beagle we found at the local airport last December. Shy, but willing to be coaxed close, she was suffering from malnutrition, fleas, ticks and worms. We brought her home to join our family.

First order of business was a trip to the veterinarian who checked for a microchip and found none. Several hundred dollars later, she was officially our dog with a microchip to prove it.

When we adopted her, we didn’t know our beautiful great Dane would be diagnosed with bone cancer within ten days. Bone cancer in large and giant breed dogs is a death sentence with a two to three month period to say goodbye.

Sterling was a huge guy, weighing in at 160 pounds. He loved to look out the office window and bark at anyone walking on the street. UPS and FedEx carriers were favored game. He liked to follow up his noisy alert with a personal, in-your-face (he was tall enough to do that) greeting when I opened the door to accept the package. After the first moment of terror, the carriers greeted him back.

Sierra seemed happy to join the barkfest, lending her yodeling cry to Sterling’s powerful alert. Everything we read about beagles said they were a vocal breed and we figured her barking would continue when Sterling was no longer there to help.

We were wrong. Without Sterling to signal the alert, Sierra quit barking. Since she’s a beagle and supposed to be noisy, the why factor kicked in for me. I had to make up a story to explain why she didn’t bark once Sterling was gone.

Based on her shy, quiet personality (all the vets and vet techs commented on her easy-going manner which seems to also be an oddity in the beagle breed), I decided she must have been in a family that had a more aggressive, alpha dog who wouldn’t let Sierra alert first. Which would explain why Sierra doesn’t know she’s supposed to let us know if someone rings the doorbell. In her earlier life, it wasn’t her job to respond, it was her job to join in after the alert was made.

Of course, I have no idea if this explains why she acts the way, but I think my tendency to write back stories for our rescued pets stems from my tendency to write about animals in my stories. Sometimes they are only peripheral characters mentioned in passing, more often they are supporting characters.

Oddly, I wrote Feather’s Last Dance, my recent Sweetheart Rose release from The Wild Rose Press, before we even owned a beagle. I decided to use a beagle in the story and named him Darwin because one of my daughter’s friends had a beagle named Darwin. One of my favorite story lines in Feather involves Darwin’s infatuation with Cuddles, the poodle.

My recent Regency adventure romance, Lady Runaway, features a foxhound named Sir George that Lady Riana finds in an alley when she is hiding from the villain. Sir George later plays a key role in locating Riana when the hero is looking for her.

Although I don’t have an animal in all my fiction, I noticed early on that animals kept popping up in my stories. By the time I wrote what became my first published historical novel, having an animal in the story had become part of my writing style and that novel revolves around the ownership of a beautiful horse. Since I’m an animal lover, adding animal characters seems a natural step for me. I don’t think I’d enjoy writing about my heroes and heroines quite as much if they didn’t love animals. And in order for those animals to be part of the story, I have to know how they became a part of the lives of my characters. This means I have to build each animal a back story and that way I know “why” they’re in the story.

Award winning writer, Ginger Hanson signed the contract for her fifth book last month. The author of contemporary and historical novels, Ginger’s articles, essays and short stories have appeared in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and ezines.

Feather’s Last Dance, set in the small fictional town of Tassanoxie, AL and published by The Wild Rose Press, is Ginger’s first foray into contemporary fiction. The second Tassanoxie novel, Ellie’s Song, is slated for a 2011 release. Lady Runaway, Ginger’s historical Regency adventure romance, was published in 2009 by Twilight Times Press. Her two earlier Civil War adventure romance historicals were published in 2004. Visit Ginger at www.gingerhanson.com

To learn more about the goings on in Tassanoxie, AL, visit with the town gossip, Miss Mabel at missmabeltalkstassanoxie.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

GUEST POST: NICKI GREENWOOD

The Earth-Conscious Writer

We hear it all the time these days: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We're asked to keep the health of our planet in mind when doing tasks as varied as building a house or brushing our teeth. Do you wonder how you, as a writer (and thus bound to using mass quantities of resources and energy in writing and marketing your books), can make a difference?

So did I.

My realization that I Was Not Helping Matters came when I cleaned out my office of old manuscript copies, contest entries, and rejection letters. I had a forest or three of paper kicking around, and I was horrified. What could I do? What can YOU do?

Well, you can use the unprinted sides of that paper for notes. You can get a good shredder and whip it into packing material for shipping. You can send all that shredded stuff to your recycling center. You can try your hand at editing on your computer, instead of by printed page. (It takes a while to get used to, but a decent monitor can go a long way toward making the transition comfortable on your eyes.) You should also consider using paper that has post-consumer recycled content.

In addition to the paper problem, you can limit energy use by putting your computer on Energy Saver settings like Sleep or Hibernate, so that when you walk away from the desk, ol' Clicky takes an energy-sipping nap. When looking for editors and agents, try submitting your manuscript or query electronically, if the option is available. Carpool to conferences and meetings.

One of the best things about my publisher is that they offer books in eBook format. Not only are eBooks less expensive to produce and distribute than paperbacks, but they help reduce the use of paper, inks, glues, fuel, and all the other myriad resources that go into producing and distributing a printed book. After a short period of adjustment, I got quite used to reading books on my eReader or on the computer. I still like a book in my hands once in a while, but eReaders are getting better all the time, and their comparison to a printed page is exceptional.

Lastly, think about those trips to the library, post office, office supply store, etc. Combine trips if you can. Support local small businesses, which helps to limit the carbon output of shipping merchandise long distances. Buy organic and biodegradable items where you can. Spread the word to other writers. You can and do have an impact on the earth with every choice you make. The smallest change is still a step forward.

Nicki Greenwood graduated SUNY Morrisville with a degree in Natural Resources. She found her passion in writing stories of romantic adventure, and combines that with her love of the environment. Her works have won several awards, including the Rebecca Eddy Memorial Contest. Her first book, “Earth,” is on sale now in print and eBook through The Wild Rose Press.



“Earth” tells the love story between Kincade Murphy, a Montana rancher whose paranormal gift has mysteriously vanished, and Allyson Hamilton, a plant biologist who won’t stop until she discovers the truth about him. When Allyson uncovers a plot to force Kincade off his land, the reticent cowboy must risk it all--including her discovery of his gift--to protect her.

For more information on her books or upcoming events, visit Nicki’s website at http://www.nickigreenwood.com.