Sara Daniel Romance Author: October 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Love and Terror of Our Lives

by Lisa Greer

I have a new release an historical gothic romance, The Montmoors 2: The Bastard Returns—second in a set of serials that focuses on a cursed line of male heirs condemned to life inside a crumbling castle in Cornwall. The series moves through generations of Montmoors, and readers will learn whether the curse that rests upon the family—and dozens of other intrigues that pop up—will lead to happiness in the end.

I've been thinking a lot about gothic romance lately and why it's loved by fans old and new. What's so appealing about this genre, and why should you give gothic romance a try?

I think we've all experienced love—the sensation of your heart bumping faster when you see him or her, wondering if you can live without the beloved, feelings so strong for someone else that you don't need to eat or sleep, at least not much. And of course, mature love that is tested and stands strong through the years.

And if not love, then surely you've felt terror. That thumping sound you hear in the middle of the night that makes your heart stop for a minute or how you go looking behind the door after watching a scary movie. If those types of terror aren’t for you, then there’s always the icy grip of death, of impending loneliness, or any number of things perhaps that only frighten you. Terror and love are emotions, states of being, even actions that we all understand.

That is why I write what I do—gothic romance. The beloved authors of the genre like Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, and Emily Bronte understood that intersection of fear and desire.

Gothic romance in its most common, pure form, the type that makes its fans swoon, deals in scary realities—haunted houses, castles and troubled lords aside. A critic once said, in fact, that gothic romance is the choice between two men. And it is, isn't it? And isn't that choice an all too real one in life, if we broaden the scope a bit? The choice between opposites? For good or path or the other.

Gothic romance reached its zenith in the 60s and 70s with authors like Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. They kept going strong in some circles even into the early 90s with their mix of romance, Byronic heroes, ghosts, suspense, and danger—in spite of the fact that they should have been outmoded before they ever became popular.

But that wasn't the case. The genre adapted to the modern and post modern eras and still does and harkens back to the Victorian Era in some cases. Love and terror worked then, and they work now. The characters who play out the dramas of desire and fear are ones we can identify with, too—or at least that we love reading about.

The heroines of most gothic romances are hip and intelligent, but they don't mind relying on a man to do some of the fighting for them when it comes to ghosts or being trapped in the family mausoleum. They drink sherry and beer, smoke cigarettes, and wear miniskirts—or they don't. They write masters theses, act as dutiful daughters to their ailing professorial fathers, or work as art gallery owners. They are orphans, governesses, and heiresses, alone, yet strong. They are all of us as women.

And the heroes, well, the heroes are often Byronic—dark, isolated, secretive. They are mad with old loves and losses or haunted by sordid pasts. But sometimes they're not. Sometimes, the hero is the good friend, the guy who stands beside the heroine, the one who is the picture of mental health. And that's part of the fun. In many gothic romances, you'll have your doubts about the heroine's choice, and she will for a while, too.

Of course, gothic romance has been around since well before the 20th century. The mother of the gothic, Ann Radcliffe, and others were writing Gothic and gothic romance in the 18th century. My favorite gothic romance is still Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. What novel captures the solipsism of first love and the terror of its loss as well as that book? What Byronic Hero is better drawn than the gypsy Heathcliff? The macabre, mysterious, and frightening have always attracted readers. We do understand love... and terror, or at least we want to feel we are not alone with either emotion.

Here's a little from The Montmoors 2: The Bastard Returns for your reading pleasure.

The mysteries of Montmoor Hall deepen with each passing day…and night. A ghost haunts governess Catherine Roth while the master, Andrew Montmoor, is away.

To make matters worse, Catherine is falling in love with the troubled master of Montmoor Hall even though she knows Andrew is lying to her…but about what? And what will happen when the bastard brother, handsome Benjamin Smitt, returns to claim what is his?

She woke up in the night, not sure what had roused her. Catherine opened her eyes, and in front of her shimmered the image of Monroe Montmoor. He appeared exactly as he had in his portrait, and glowered with what could only be fury, and his green eyes blazed at her. He stood, silent and strangely translucent.

“No.” The whisper escaped Catherine's lips before she could stop it.

A twisted grin crossed his full lips, and she wanted to scream. A smile on his face struck her as more terrible than a frown. If he was so grotesque in death, what manner of monster must he have been in life?

With his gnarled, blue veined hand, he reached out toward her, and his mouth worked soundlessly, even as Catherine's mind screamed that his hand coming toward her was impossible. She didn't want him to touch her, would go mad if she heard what such a specter had to say. He shuffled a few steps closer to the bed.

He's going to touch me, to do something...

Jolted from her paralysis, Catherine screamed, a gut wrenching sound that made her own ears ring. The figure disintegrated, disappearing by degrees.

Her door burst open within seconds, and a disheveled Montmoor appeared at her side wearing a silken nightshirt that, thankfully, covered his body down to his calves.

“What in God's name is going on?” He sat on the edge of the bed and took her in his arms, and she didn't resist. Catherine sobbed against his warm neck, aware of his arms holding her tight.

“I saw something.”


“I think it was a spirit, a ghost, though I've never seen one before. I don't even believe in them!” She heard her voice rise to a hysterical pitch.

His arms tightened around her, and she felt his breath against her hair as his hands twined in the silky strands.

“It's the curse.”

“Why do you say that?” She remembered his words from the night before with a shudder.

“Because I believe what you saw was my great grandfather, his spirit. He’s vengeful. He never rests. He walks the halls.” His voice grew louder with each terrible word, and a wild look entered his eyes.

Catherine pulled away from him, frightened even more by his strange reaction.

“That's foolish. I couldn't have seen a spirit. It must have been a nightmare from being in a new and different place.” She almost believed it herself as long as she avoided looking at him.

“Tell me exactly what you saw.” He ground the words out, and all at once Catherine grew uncomfortable with his closeness to her on the bed. She crossed her arms over the thin chemise she wore, one of the lacy ones left by his sister, Alice. And did she really elope? There was something so strange about the story, about the way Lord Montmoor had not met her eyes when he had told it.

He leaned back, looking into her eyes.

“I saw the man in the portrait. Your great grandfather.” She forced herself to meet his gaze. The skin at the nape of his neck glowed in the light from the brass candelabra he had laid on the bedside table.

“As I assumed. He doesn't want you here.”

“Why wouldn't he want me here? And how do you know?”

Montmoor broke the intense gaze between them. “My destiny is sealed—or that is his wish—for me to be cursed and lonely.”


Watch the YouTube trailer HERE.

Learn more about Lisa Greer on her website. Stay connected with Lisa on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Wiccan Haus: Psychic Lies Release Day!

Today is release day for The Wiccan Haus: Psychic Lies. I started following the Wiccan Haus series from the moment it debuted almost one year ago with Shifting Hearts by Dominique Eastwick. Psychic Lies is currently the fifth book in the series.

This summer while I was writing Psychic Lies, I needed some inspiration and decided to visit the Wiccan Haus myself. Don't believe me? Look at these stunning pictures.

Okay, I admit, they're not from the Wiccan Haus, that magical island only accessible by ferry boat. But they are from an island. It is only accessible by ferry boat. And I came back amazingly refreshed and relaxed.

I had the pleasure of visiting Mackinac Island this summer. The top picture is the natural feature Arch Rock. Below is the coast with its crystal clear water and beautiful colors. I have been staring at these pictures ever since I returned, mostly because I couldn't stay and stare at them in person nearly as long as I wanted to!

The Wiccan Haus: Psychic Lies
Fiona must keep her ability to read minds during sex a secret from those determined to exploit her, especially a sexy truth-finding investigator who needs her psychic power to save his job.

Fiona has spent her life hiding her sexual mind-reading power at the risk of being exploited by the government. Instead, she pretends to have lifebond vetting powers like the rest of her family. When her fake power results in the death of an innocent woman, her life of lies unravels and she retreats to the Wiccan Haus.

Armando is the head of the Department of Truth-Finding for the Syndicate. To prove his unit’s worth to the government, he follows Fiona to the Wiccan Haus to expose her as an infiltrator of an enemy faction. The truth about Fiona is even more valuable to his people and his career.

Fiona uses her power to seduce Armando and stop his plans to betray her. But nothing is strong enough to keep her from falling in love with this man whose power threatens to destroy her. Now she must trust him, not only with her life and her psychic lies, but also her heart.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Inspiration Behind the Book

by Patricia Yager Delagrange

How many times have I seen an Amber Alert on the news which ends in the child’s death?  How many times have I been driving down the freeway and read about another child kidnapping in yellow lights across a billboard?  How many times have watched on the news that another child has been murdered?

Too may times.  One time is too many.

And each time this occurs I wondered how in the world do the parents make it through such a tragedy?  How do they go on?  How can they return to work?  How can they face interacting with family and friends after their child’s death?  How do they go on living?

This question had burned in my mind for years and I wanted to write about it.  People have asked me how I can write about something that’s never happened to me.  I counter with: I write fiction.  All fiction writers tell a story they’ve made up in their heads.  But they imbue that story with their own feelings.  Which is what makes a good book.  And I have a wealth of feelings that I used when I wrote Moon Over Alcatraz.  I have two children.  I know what it’s like to love two human beings unconditionally, with no reservations.  My kids often ask me, “Do you love me, mom?”  And my answer is, “Always and forever.”

So I took a happily married couple, excited to have their first child, placed them in the delivery room, and had the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck, which produced a still birth.

And that’s pretty much what happened to that couple - their life stood still.  They didn’t know how to move on from there.  Instead of looking to each other for solace and renewal, they turned away from each other.  Both of them, unbeknownst to the other, dealt with their grief in a way that broke them apart, instead of pulling them together.

Losing a child is devastating.  And each person deals with that emotional turmoil in their own particular way.  I’d go so far as to say that no one can predict how they would act in that circumstance.  Emotions can be unpredictable, surprising even to the person who’s experiencing them.  This is what happens to Brandy and Weston.  You have a difference in their emotional upheaval.  One character is the mother who carried her baby to term, and the other is the father who didn’t have that same physical experience.

Following the death of their baby during a difficult birth, Brandy and Weston Chambers are grief-stricken and withdraw from each other, both seeking solace outside of their marriage; however, they vow to work through their painful disloyalty.  But when the man Brandy slept with moves back to their hometown, three lives are forever changed by his return.

Three days later we were standing at the edge of a hole in the ground at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Hayward, the silence so thick, the insides of my ears buzzed like a distant swarm of angry bees.  Mr. Peralta and another gentleman stood off to the side while Weston and I held hands next to a tiny casket.

Weston had chosen a simple mahogany box with gold handles, a bouquet of white lilies graced the top of the small box.  I knelt down and laid a kiss on the smooth wood then wiped off the tears that had fallen on top.  Weston joined me, placing a single red rose in the middle of the lilies.
He helped me up and we stood side-by-side in silence, my guilt over her death like a stone in my empty belly.  I missed everything I’d dreamed would be happening right now, yearned for all that could have been.

Weston nodded at the man standing next to Mr. Peralta and our baby was slowly lowered into the gaping maw.  She reached the bottom, and a bird landed on the rich brown dirt piled next to the grave.  It pecked around, chirping a little song then flew off - as if saying goodbye.  My heart squeezed inside my chest.

I picked up a small handful of soft dirt.  “Goodbye, Christine,” I whispered, throwing it on top of her casket.
Weston wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me in close to his side.  Why her?  Why my baby?  Was this supposed to make sense?  And, if so, to whom?

We drove home in silence.  No words existed to express my grief.


Learn more about Patricia Yager Delagrange on her website and blog. Stay connected on facebook and Twitter.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Children are the Keys to the Future

And now, children are the only hope for our past.

Sharon Ledwith is a brand new, uber talented author you definitely want to read. Her writing is YA, but pleases readers from every generation are sure to enjoy The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis.

When Amanda Sault and her four classmates are caught in a major food fight at school, they are given the choice of suspension or yard duty. It was a no-brainer. A two-week crash course in landscaping leads the kids to discover a weathered stone arch buried in an overgrown backyard. Instead of a forgotten lawn ornament, it turns out to be an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis. Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from an evil force—the five children, along with two offbeat adults, are sent on the adventure of their lives to save the Earth from an uncertain future. The Timekeepers’ first mission lands them in England in 1214, where they must find an adolescent Robin Hood and his band of merry teens before history is turned upside-down.

Amanda Sault silently studied the words she just scrawled: May 1st, 1214—Games and songs and revelry, act as the cloak of devilry. So that an English legend may give to the poor, we must travel to Nottingham to even the score.

She frowned. She was the Scribe. Amanda knew that meant she was supposed to understand what this riddle meant. But she didn’t have a clue. All she knew was that she, her four annoying classmates, and two offbeat adults were standing in what was left of the lost continent of Atlantis and they were supposed to be the Timekeepers, the legendary time travelers handpicked by destiny to keep Earth’s history safe from evil. But no one had told them how they were supposed to do it.

Their problem: no matter what happened—good or bad—they weren’t supposed to mess with the past. Period. Dot. End of story. Amanda felt hot liquid build in her throat. Her thumb traced the words of the arcane riddle. Their first Timekeeper mission. Amanda knew this wasn’t the end of the story.

This was just the beginning.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, The Last Timekeepers. Book one, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, debuted May 18 from Musa Publishing. To read more about the book, or purchase, please click HERE. Keep up with Amanda and the world of The Last Timekeepers series on Facebook.

When not writing or digging up the past, Sharon enjoys reading, yoga, kayaking, time with family and friends, and single malt scotch. She lives in the wilds of Muskoka in Central Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, a water-logged yellow Labrador and moody calico cat.

Visit Sharon on her blog and Facebook. She is only a tweet away. Feel Free to click HERE.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Zane's Art is Here!

Early this year when Musa posted a submissions call for a series called Finally Ever After, I jumped at the opportunity. The stories were to be short, happily ever romances about lovers who have loved each other and lost.  Now they have a second chance to create the happy ending they didn’t get the first time.

I love characters with a past history, especially in a short word count. They have instant attraction and long-standing unresolved conflict—the perfect elements for a fast-paced, emotion-packed readZane’s Art had all these things coupled with a strong present conflict.  The story flowed out of me so fast I knew it was meant to be!

High school art teacher Julianne Truman's last chance to save her beloved art department from budget cuts is to sell the old sketches that her former boyfriend—and now famous artist—Zane DeMonde drew for her. But is she prepared to let go of his artwork and the last traces of him in her life?

Desperate to save his artistic reputation from the exposure of his early works, Zane returns to the home town he wanted to forget. He accuses Julianne of profiting from his success and demands she take his art off the market and cancel the auction.

Their high school attraction flares back to life, forcing Julianne to choose between the students who count on her and the man she never stopped loving.

“Cancel the auction.”

Julianne Truman’s head snapped around at the hard male voice. The stapler fell from her hand and cracked open on the floor, as she caught sight of the extraordinary face that went with the voice. Her knees shook as she climbed down the ladder. She hadn’t faced Zane DeMonde in nearly fifteen years. At one time she’d believed he’d be part of every single day of her future.

“Zane, I didn’t expect you to come.” She stepped toward him. His black hair was a little shorter than the last time she’d seen him, but at shoulder length it was still far longer than most men’s. Gone were the black hoodie and ripped jeans of his youth. Now he wore chinos and a sharply pressed blue button-down shirt, open at the neck.

The dark storms in his cobalt blue eyes were exactly the same as the day he’d walked away from her. “Cancel the auction. The sketches and painting are not for sale.”

She swallowed. “I own them. If I choose to sell them, that’s my business.” And it was breaking her heart to part with the only piece of him that she’d been able to hang onto all these years.

“When they have my name on them and you’re getting rich off me, it’s my business.”

Getting rich was so far from the truth Julianne would have laughed if her chest weren’t so tight. “It’s an honor to have you back in town.” At least her students would think so. Her brother would likely burst an artery. And she—well, she couldn’t even begin to process the mix of emotions she was feeling. “Do you have a minute to talk? I can explain what’s going on.”

“I know what’s going on.”

She hoped he couldn’t hear how hard her heart was hammering or sense how desperately she longed to wrap her arms around him and pick up where they left off fifteen years ago, as if he’d never left her. “Then you know that the arts are at the bottom of the school district’s priority list. To have supplies for the classroom, to restore the school mural, to give my students a chance to explore different mediums, the art program needs an alternate source of funding.”

“You’re the Dentonville High art teacher?”

She couldn’t help feeling defensive at his derisive tone. “Yes, and I love my job.”

“Do you? Or have you never moved beyond your high school life?”

Zane's Art is currently available from Musa PublishingAmazon, Barnes and Noble and All Romance eBooks.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Life as a God

Today we’re talking to the Sun God himself, Apollo, about his story Apollo Rising.

Thank you for coming to chat with us today. Why do you think Nancy DiMauro choose you to represent her?
I think it’s the blonde curls. [Absently flicks a lock of his hair.] She’s got a thing for them, and being the Sun god and all, I traded an extra hour of sunlight for the opportunity. She wanted to give her kids one last day of summer. Fair trade.

Tell us a little about yourself?
The family thing’s a bit complicated. I have a twin sister, Artemis. You so don’t want to see her when she’s mad. When we were children we had to protect our mother, Leto, a Titan, from Hera’s wrath since Zeus is our father. When Hera sent her pet, the Python, after Mom, I killed the beast when I was only four days old. We gods grow up so quickly. [Smiles.] We celebrated Python’s death with games. It was there Cupid shot me with a gold arrow. [Runs hand through hair and furrows brow.] I’ve never been what you would call lucky in love.

What is your birth date?
We didn’t really have calendars back then, and the passing of the years doesn’t mean as much to an immortal as it does to you. I have a number of feast days but tend to think of my “birthday” as the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.

Where do you live? What is it about that area that drew you there?
I have houses all over the world, and of course, my palace on Olympus. The place I consider home is just outside Old Towne Alexandria in Virginia. I love that it’s so close to the Potomac River, which reminds me a bit of the Styx. Olde Town is an eclectic mix of old and new, and that appeals to me.

What do you wish people would know about you?
That I’m not my father. I’ve only ever loved Daphne, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t care about my lovers through the eons, and most of them didn’t end with bad fates. The ones that did. . . they still haunt me.

If you loved Daphne so much, why did you wait until now to try to break the curse?
Fate is a funny thing. It unfolds as it will. A person needs to be ready to embrace whatever Fate has planned for him. For me, that means a few thousand lessons in humility and asking for help. Arrogance, you see, [Shrugs.] it’s my fatal flaw. I wouldn’t be part of the Greek Pantheon without one.

What music do you listen too?
God of Music, remember? I listen to all of it. I just love when one of the Muses prods someone into doing the unexpected.

Will we be seeing more of you or are you stepping out of the lime light?
I’m hoping to step out of the lime light, but I doubt the Fates will allow it.

What is your perfect evening?
Evening is Artemis’s time. She’s the moon goddess. Now, my perfect solar eclipse? That’s a different story.

I’m an aspect of the sun, and light refracts. This means at any given moment, I can actually be in two thousand places at once. While, I’m sitting here with you, some of my other aspects are driving the sun chariot, inspiring artists, listening to a symphony, and having a discussion with my oracle.

 Sounds exhausting. What do you do to relax? I play my lyre, and spend time with Daphne.

Is there anything you wish Nancy had kept her mouth shut about?
[Gaze wanders to the ceiling.] I wish she hadn’t mentioned my collection of art that depicts Daphne. Alex, my oracle, is right. It makes me look more than a bit stalker-y.

Tell us about Daphne. What drew you to her?
Do you have an eternity? For me, it started long before Cupid shot me with that damned arrow. From my chariot, I look down on the world. I saw Daphne running through the fields and hunting game. The way the light flashed on her throat was entrancing. Her slender wrists and ankles begged to be caressed, and the sinuous lines of her body drove me mad with desire. Then, my rival Leucippus disguised himself as a girl and hid within Daphne’s troop of nymphs. I told Daphne that she had an intruder in her ranks, and that the nymphs should bathe naked and thus expose him. They tore him apart. She was… remarkable in her fury. I would have seduced her then, but I knew she swore to follow Artemis’s path and take no lovers. I intended to honor Daphne’s choice. Then Cupid shot me with a golden arrow, and reason had no place in my heart. I had to make Daphne mine.

What really pushes your buttons?
Cupid. Enough said.

You’re not on the cover. How come?
Did you see how beautiful Daphne looks? Besides I am there in the way the sunlight and the rainbow bathe her skin. I’m really very happy with the cover.

What’s you biggest turn ons?
Daphne. [Laughs.] Could I be any more predictable? Music is also wonderful. It’s kept me sane through the eons Daphne’s been trapped in the laurel tree.

What are your biggest Turn offs?
Wow. There’s really not much that can ruin the mood. I’m a very sensual being.

What your favorite Ice cream flavor, Chocolate, Vanilla, or Strawberry?

Do you believe in ghosts?
You’re kidding, right? I’ve seen, and talked with spirits of those long past from the mortal realm in the Underworld. Hades rules over what you would call ghosts. So, yes, I believe in ghosts.

What is your biggest fear?
Losing Daphne forever.

Why should the readers be interested in Apollo Rising?
Who doesn’t like a good love story? Cupid once said that the reason heroes go on quests is to prove that they deserve the prize. The winged freak was right about that. Even for the gods, love extracts a terrible price. Like most of the Greek myths, Apollo Rising is about so much more than whether I can break Daphne’s curse and restore her to her true form. It’s a story about accepting responsibility for our mistakes, and what we’re willing to sacrifice for love. Would you make a deal with Hades, the devil himself, if it was the only way to free your love even at the cost of everything else? I have to tell you, my uncle’s not a fun man to barter with, and he hates giving up the souls in his care.

Thanks for joining us. I look forward to reading about your quest.
My pleasure.

A soft glow beckoned from around a corner. While Hades pretended to be a traditionalist, he indulged in modern conveniences every chance he could. Ultra-violet panels, the ones mortals used to simulate sunlight, glowed from inside the walls. They brought day into the vaulted cavern. Hades had encrusted the ceiling with aquamarines since Apollo’s last visit. The light played off them simulating a summer sky. Another token of Hades’s love. Stalactites wider than a city bus hung from the ceiling. Others met stalagmites to form fluted columns reminiscent of the Pantheon. Stone draperies served as curtains, which separated Persphone’s chamber, and Hades’s media room from the main audience hall.

Reaching the center of the room, Apollo dropped to one knee.

“Lord Hades, I come to you as a supplicant.”

Hades could have passed for one of the stalagmites with his sharp and jagged features. His skin held a bluish cast from lack of sunlight. Obsidian color hair hung loose to his shoulders. Flint hard eyes glared at Apollo.

Persephone, on the other hand, reminded Apollo of a spring breeze. Sunshine colored hair swept away from olive skin, slightly pales in her time in the Underworld. Her bright ginger-colored tunic broke the unrelieved grays and blacks of the great hall.

“What brings you here?” Hades’s voice reverberated through the chamber.

Apollo raised an eyebrow. “I seek information, and possibly a trade.”


The few times Apollo had needed something from Hades, he’d been treated as an honored guest. But not this time.

Enraged to the point of incivility by Persephone’s upcoming desertion, Hades was likely to vent his temper on any target. Sadly, Apollo provided him with one that could give him a decent fight. Daphne’s soul might cost more than Apollo could pay.

“What do you wish of me?” Hades asked.

“I wish to barter for Daphne’s soul.”

“I never said I had her.”

They’d never been friends, but then, they hadn’t been enemies either. There really wasn’t any reason for Hades to oppose Apollo’s attempt to rescue Daphne.

“Does that mean you are going to vie her to me?” Apollo asked.

“Give? Give? Now why would I do that?” Hades’s laugh grated in Apollo’s ears.

“What do you want, Hades?”

His gaze went hard. “A boon.”

“What kind?”

“Unlimited. To be provided when I demand.”

Apollo choked. If he agreed Hades could demand anything from him. Even the sun. The God of the Underworld had never been happy with his lot. Hades had helped his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, wrestle the cosmos from Cronus. The brothers then drew lots for their domains. Zeus chose the sky, which is why Apollo as his son, was the Sun God. Poseidon chose the sea. But the brothers tricked Hades into becoming Death. In choosing the underworld, Hades lost the ability to walk comfortably in the sunlight. But if he took the sun from Apollo, Hades could remain above ground with Persphone.

Could Phoebus Apollo lose the sun?

Who would he be without it?

Learn more about Nancy DiMauro and her impressive work on her website Falcons Fables and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Feel the Rhythm of the Wolf

I'm excited to share with you AMAZON, Book One in The Ushers series, a hot, new release from VANESSA NORTH.

Jack's routine investigation of rogue wolf sightings threatens to uncover both Bianca's secrets and her passionate nature. Can she trust him enough to make the sacrifice her destiny demands?

Born albino, Bianca was spared death in infancy when her mother found safe haven among the ghosts and misfits of Amazon Pack. As Guardian of Amazon, she protects the hidden pack with a ferocity that belies her delicate appearance.

Jack’s routine investigation of rogue wolf sightings in his territory uncovers both Bianca’s secrets and her passionate nature. He finds her alluring and terrifying: he’s convinced she’s his mate, but is she also the Usher--key to their culture’s most sacred prophecies?

The Usher’s destiny requires a sacrifice to repair a rift in wolf culture and set the Goddess free. Can Jack and Bianca trust each other enough to pay that price?

Bianca pulled her v-neck t-shirt over her head, shucking off her shoes and jeans. Jack immediately started shedding his clothes as well. Growing up among wolves, he’d never really given much thought to nudity. Their bodies grew in size as they shifted, so he was accustomed to stripping down before a run in order to preserve his wardrobe.

He glanced over at the Albina as she shook her hair out. Standing in the moonlight, she was stunning. He saw her delicate pink nipples were still hard and aroused from his kiss. The curls of hair on her mound were as fair as her hair, and he saw the delicate pink folds glistening, swollen with arousal, peeking through the white curls. Her beauty was astounding.

He saw marks on her skin, leaned closer to examine them. Tattoos, he realized. All wolves were tattooed after their first shift. Most of them were tattooed in black ink with colors for emphasis, but several of hers were done in white. As befits Albina, he thought as he admired the elegant symbols. Her entire back was covered, here and there a shadow in grey? or a bit of color drawing attention to some of the more consequential tattoos. Clearly, she was a powerful Guardian for her pack--she’d not have been tattooed so many times without having achieved her place of power by virtue of her skills.

As she turned to fold her discarded clothes, he could see some scars on her body, remnants of fights won. The tattoos glimmered in the dark, beckoning him to trace them with his fingers, his tongue. He groaned, and she looked over her shoulder at him with a smile.

“Kathy has changed already, are you ready?” she asked, turning to stare at his body in the moonlight. Hard and muscled everywhere, his upper body hairy and tattooed all over. She looked at his signs and symbols of strength and honor, a visual representation of his place in his pack. They confirmed that he was a fit mate for her--his beautiful body bore scars of fights clearly dominated, and the tattoos that marked him as a leader curled around them.

She smiled, her gaze lingering at the proof of his arousal, standing proudly from the bed of black curls at the top of his legs. She blushed slightly as she realized he had followed her gaze. He grinned back at her with a wink as he sank to his knees.

She had seen many wolves shift before. However, she found herself curiously watching him, to see if her mate--there was no longer a doubt in her mind that he was indeed her mate—would seem different from those others.

It was sensual, witnessing his change--his body shook and he turned his head with a loud cracking noise. He owned his change like only a powerful wolf could--it was masterful, graceful almost, as his black fur grew over his body. Then he sat, watching her, a huge black wolf with golden-brown eyes. He was resplendent. She knelt next to him, still in her human form, and caressed between his ears. His fur was soft and his eyes kind. He closed them and rolled his head into her hand like a dog seeking a touch from his mistress. His essential masculine scent still surrounded him in his animal form, and as she stroked his head, he snorted and his tongue lolled out between sharp lethal teeth to lap at her hand. She loved the feel of his fur between her fingers, and he clearly enjoyed her attentions. But then he shook his head, took a couple of steps towards the woods and whined back at her. If they were mated, they’d be able to read each other’s thoughts, as pack-mates could, and even more than that, they’d be able to share their feelings through their mate bond. But even without that bond, she could sense his eagerness to run.

She grinned and let loose her wolf, feeling the change work over her, bringing forward the animal, tucking the woman away inside.


Vanessa North was born in New England but moved to the South as a teenager, where she learned to appreciate biscuits and gravy, bluegrass, and that most welcome of greetings: “Hey y’all!”

She has a degree in Mass Communication, but has long since abandoned journalism in favor of writing romance. Instead of telling the news, V would rather tell stories. Vanessa has a voracious appetite for books and loves all kinds. She writes obsessively: every day brings new ideas and stories to tell. When she’s not buried in a book—hers or someone else’s—you can find her taking thousands of photographs of the people she loves.

She lives in Northwest Georgia with her handsome husband, not-quite-civilized twin boy-children, and a pack of dogs.

Learn more about Vanessa North on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pitch On Workshop -- Gripped

The Pitch!

Genre: YA Contemporary (Edgy)
Word-count: 58,000

Pitch: Taylor has it all: hottie boyfriend, perfect grades, and queen bee status. She also has an addiction. When she's dumped, she uses alcohol to numb her heartache. The more she drinks, the more reckless she becomes. Driving drunk, she crashes her car, forcing her to face her addiction. The truth is, she can’t survive without alcohol, and she’d rather die than give it up.

The Workshop!
Wow, I really like the issue addressed in this book. I think it's a super-interesting premise. What I'd like to see is a bit more about Taylor's character. You've shown us the stereotype of who she is, but what is going to make the reader care about her? What makes her unique? Instead of "she also has an addiction," maybe you can hint at her desperation to belong to the cool crowd or a traumatic incident in her past--whatever set her along the path to her addiction. Once we have a reason to care for her, we can root for her to beat her addiction.

That's my two cents. Let's see what everyone else has to say!