Monday, November 30, 2009

The Pen Review: Royal Consort


The Royal Consort by Denysé Bridger

Author Site:

Publisher/Buy: Hearts On Fire Books

Genre: Adventure Fantasy/Romance (mildly erotic)

Rating: star4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gif

What I liked: With a rich setting, a beautiful setting, Denyse Bridger takes you away to another place as she tells such a vivid story of a fantasy world, old gods, and magical swords. The story and dialogue, were masterfully crafted as I read this, I easily got swept away! The research and world building was all there and I could tell that the research and search were done. This a book for those of you who love fantasy with romance and adventure. Check out the excerpt and the summary below to find out more! Denysé Bridger is now on my list of authors to follow! You all should add her too!


On the fantasy world of Foress, the daughter of the world’s last remaining god is challenged to locate one of the ancient swords that were forged as the Triad of Power among the once-powerful gods. Sherindal is a skilled warrior, but a woman with many conflicts in her heart. She has spent her life in the service of her father, the god M’Har, yet it is not she who will wield the most powerful of the swords. Diviner is to be her brother’s destiny, even though she is certain the legacy should be hers. Sherindal carries another of the three ancient weapons, Huntor. The final part of the triad is to be held by the hands of men, and her lover, the Prince of Ember City, is the guardian of Predator.

Read an excerpt:

She waited, certain her sire had heard her call. She closed her eyes, heart-weary and desperately afraid. This should not have happened for many years yet. Something was wrong, very wrong. The air changed subtly, a softening almost, and the hush grew deeper as time itself became suspended. The last remaining living god of Foress coalesced into flesh and sinew a short distance from where she waited.

“M’Har.” She rose and drew Huntor, placed it point down on the ground before her. She bowed curtly, and he halted a few feet in front of her.

“You must leave your anger here, Sherindal,” he advised without rancor.

“Must I?” she responded, and turned away, ashamed of her fear, and the fury it created within her.

“This was not supposed to happen, Father,” she whispered after a pause.

"Diviner has been stolen,” he told her, deep voice filled with dread. “I have guarded it since the Ancient Wars which nearly destroyed us, Sherindal. Kept it safe for the One who would one day wield it again in defense of our world.”

“Kept it for my brother!” she concluded with real bitterness. She wanted to remind her father of the accomplishments of her life, her strengths and knowledge, but she swallowed the words and waited for him to speak. They’d had this argument countless times, it left them further apart each time. She wondered if the point of no return had been reached, or if they would, in fact, engage in the futile game again. She had no strength left for games, and chose to admit defeat by concession.

“Your quest began over a thousand years ago, Sire,” she stated softly. “This world has not known war in a millennia.”

“Yet Diviner has been taken,” he reminded her. “The third sword of the Sacred Triad, in the hands of one who would use it to foretell a future that the mortals of this world are not meant to know, my daughter.”

“And you must pass on the Guardianship before you leave this world,” she concluded. He nodded and she raised Huntor in her hands, stared at its shining blade, the rhunes etched into the very core of the magical weapon. “It is not I who shall hold Diviner,” she said. “Yet it is my life… my Destiny… to find he who will.” She laughed, the sound a bitter, dark irony, then she stared at her father with eyes that burned in their mirthless amusement. “It is a hollow Fate, my father,” she hissed.

“Yet it is your Fate,” he returned with none of the rage that churned in the air around his daughter. He was old, and sadness the only companion he had in his darkest night. “Just at is was Argon’s fate to pass his weapon to Rienn, and for your mother to place Huntor in your hands before her final death.”

The reminder that her beloved carried a weapon like hers was always a source of unease. She’d feared for him when Argon died suddenly, on the other side of their world, in a war they’d known nothing about until his passing. The weapon had been delivered to Rienn by her own hands when M’Har had summoned her to complete the task. Now she would once again place the most powerful blade of the Triad into the rightful hands, but this time it would also be the hands of a stranger who held the mystical sword…

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Release! -- Season of Love

DCL Publications announces the release of their 2009 Christmas Anthology, “Season of Love,” on November 28. Please join me and authors Susan Blexrud, Bill Haworth and Kate Hofman in a sampler with something to please every palate. From Susan’s outrageous vampires in “Mistletoe Fangs” to Bill’s sweet time travel, “The Office Christmas Party,” we explore the paranormal. Then Kate dazzles with one of her classic Greek alpha male contemporaries, “A Special Christmas Gift,” and I finish with “Peace on New Earth,” my first science fiction novella. We had so much fun with this ebook, we hope you will, too!
Ratings are from G to R, sweet to sophisticated.
Link & Excerpt:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to All from The Pen & Muse!
May you enjoy your time with your family and friends!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Damnation Books December Books to Come!

Damnation Books is proud to announce our line-up of books for release on December 1st 2009.

One of Nine by Bruce Golden-short science fiction story

Demon Legacy by Kelly Brigham-paranormal horror novel

Jars in the Cellar by Lee Clarke Zumpe-horror short story

Deadly Affair by Collette Thomas-Book 2 of the Todd Hollow Series thriller/erotica novel

The Crimson Tower by Alex Marshall-dark fantasy short story

Better Off Alone by Yolanda Sfetsos-horror zombie short story

Afterlife by Naomi Clark-vampire paranormal novel

Phoenix and the Darkness of Wolves by Shane J. Cummings-dark fantasy novella

Betrayal by Michele Acker-Book 1 of the Blood and Ashes series-dark fantasy novel

Donny's Day by Brandon Berntson-horror novella

The Merkabah Rider: Episodes 1-4 by Edward M. Erdelac western/paranormal novel

Dannevirke by Sean McLachlan-short story historical horror/dark fantasy

Godiva in the Firing Line by Robert Appleton-science fiction novella

These titles go live at 12:01 a.m. on 12-01-09 with variable pricing enabled. With these books we are updating our variable pricing model to where book prices rise per download by twenty-five cents (on our website only). All currently available books on variable pricing will revert to their full price at that time.

Short stories are available as ebooks only. Novellas and Novels are available in ebook and paperback.

We will also be offering another free book starting on December 1st. This one is Christmas Day of the Dead by Yolanda Sfetsos with cover art by George Silliman. Who can resist zombies during the holidays?

If you would like to review one of our titles or interview an author, please contact Kim Richards at

Damn Good Dark Fiction

Kim Richards

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Pen Interview & Review : Samhain Publishing!

I have had the distinct pleasure of having an interview with Samhain’s spokesperson, Lindsay Faber. I also had the chance to read one of Samhain's books that they published. I also wanted to thank Perri Spector and the team at Planned Television Arts for such a wonderful job, introducing and arranging the review and interview.


Knight Dreams by C.C. Wiley

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Genre: Historical Romance


What I liked: What didn't I like about Knight Dreams? C.C. Wiley surely knows how to write historical romance. I found myself not wanting to leave Terrwyn's world. The dialogue, scenery, and the plot are just amazing. I really loved how her character was written, she's skilled yet she is cursed with a gift to see the future. Terrwynh's such an honorable character and I loved the way she was just so hell bent on getting her brother home no matter what the cost. This is when she later then meets the man she may set to be with, Sir James Frost. Together they will have to try to pave their future, whose to know whether it be together or not. Check out the excerpt to find out more. This is a must read for those who love historical romances.


For king and country…or the love of one woman?

Knights of the Swan, Book 1

Wales, 1415

Terrwyn, the daughter of a dispossessed Welsh lord, is blessed with unusual talents. Her skill with a bow and cursed ability to dream the future, however, didn’t save her younger brother from conscription into the English army.

To honor a deathbed promise, she sets out to bring him home—and discovers that one of the king’s knights holds the key to locating her brother. Now she must stay close to her sworn enemy…and try to ignore the growing heat between them. A difficult task, when they wind up manacled together.

Sir James Frost, confidante to King Henry V, can trust no one, particularly the young Welsh maiden impersonating an archer within the ranks. With treason brewing, the last thing he needs is the secretive beauty chained to his side. The connection between them, though, becomes stronger than any links of metal.

When an assassination plot places their lives in jeopardy, James is torn between duty and the woman he loves. He must choose where his fealty lies…and Terrwyn must decide if changing Fate is worth the price.

Excerpt :


The Interview

First off, thank you very much for coming to The Pen & Muse Blog to review and for an interview. The Pen & Muse Blog looks forward to hearing from you and reviewing more books.

Thanks so much for having me. I’m always thrilled to have an opportunity to talk reading, writing, and digital publishing.

Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What brought you to Samhain?

A part of me always knew I would love editing fiction, but I wasn’t sure the competitive world of New York publishing was a good fit for me, and there aren’t many opportunities in Cincinnati, where I’ve lived most of my life. A couple years ago Samhain held a contest for the best first line of a book, and I was checking out some of my friends’ entries when I noticed Samhain was hiring editors. I decided to apply and a couple grueling editing tests later, I had my first editing position.

How did you start in the industry?

As I said, my position at Samhain is my first in the publishing industry, though I edited newsletters, handbooks and policy manuals when I worked in university administration. What really brought me to fiction editing was finding a circle of writing friends for whom I did critiques and first reads. Our in-depth discussions about craft and methods taught me a lot about what makes a book work, and collaborating with so many different people helped me attune my skills to help focus on each writer’s vision for the book rather than my own.

What do you think about the ebook publishing industry right now?

It’s an exciting time to be a part of digital publishing. Ebooks are a hot topic right now as readers discover what digital has to offer and companies work to get in on the action. Dedicated reading devices like the Kindle, Sony reader, and nook, as well as iPhone apps, are making ebooks increasingly accessible and attractive to readers. We’re seeing the growth in our sales numbers.

What are your hopes and what you think they should change?

We hope the market for digital books will continue to grow and expand, offering new opportunities for readers, but for that to happen there will have to be change. Digital Rights Management - the encryption meant to prevent file sharing – currently makes files inaccessible and inconvenient for many legitimate users without preventing piracy at all. The industry is also struggling to set a price point for ebooks that will be attractive to readers but still profitable for publishers and booksellers.

Where do you think the ebook industry and the publishing industry is heading?

It’s a brave new world out there, and I think there are a lot of exciting possibilities. We’re a long way from seeing the demise of print books – Samhain’s own print program continues to grow – but ebooks are clearly going to be central to the future of publishing. The industry is going through a lot of change and innovation at the moment. It’s hard to say exactly how this will play out, but it’s sure to offer more options both for readers and writers. More ways for readers to enjoy their books and more varied content. More ways for authors to get their books in front of an audience and more career paths depending on your interests and skills.

What do you like to read?

When I find time for pleasure reading – which isn’t often enough these days – it’s usually romance. Historical romance was my first love, and I still read a lot of it, though lately I’ve been more into romantic suspense, categories (love Silhouette Desires), young adult and the occasional paranormal. Outside of romance I read a lot of graphic novels, classic literature, and whatever gets passed to me by friends and family.

What are your favorites?

How to choose? Even before I discovered romance, my favorites were romantic fiction – books by L.M. Montgomery, Jane Austen, and Bess Streeter Aldrich. I have even more beloved authors within romance, and couldn’t begin to list them all, but some favorites from this year include books by Eloisa James, Tessa Dare, Toni Blake, Larissa Ione, Karen Rose, and Catherine Mann.

Thank you again for your time and cooperation.

Thanks so much for having me. If any of your readers have further questions for me, I’ll be happy to answer in the comments.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Pen Interview: Yolanda Sfetsos of Faith Healer

Welcome to a late edition of The Pen & Muse Interview! I had the pleasure of reading Yolanda Sfetsos Faith Healer story and wanted to bring you an interview with her! Come and join us!

If you'd like to see the review on the book check it out here.

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!

Hi Denisse, and thanks so much for having me here today.
I live in Sydney, Australia with my wonderful husband, lovely daughter, and cheeky cat. I’ve been writing stories since my teens and have loved every minute of it. Asides from having an overactive imagination that helps with my writing, I also love reading, going for walks, watching my favorite TV shows – Dexter, Castle, Supernatural, Burn Notice – and movies. Oh, and I enjoy research... especially if it’s about the paranormal/supernatural and mythology. Spending time with my small family is very important.

What inspires you to write?
Inspiration is everywhere. I guess as a writer, the potential for a story in everyday situations is always there. I love twisting reality with the supernatural. But mostly I write because I can’t imagine not writing. Does that make sense? If I don’t do something writing-related every single day, I start to get irritated. So it’s best to squeeze in a little writing time whenver I can. Lol.
I just love telling stories.

Do you find that your muse takes over when writing?
My muse is a total slave driver. Seriously, sometimes I wonder who’s really in charge when it comes to my writing. I might start a story and think I know exactly where it’s going, but my muse likes to change it on me. But that’s cool. My muse and I get along just fine. ;)

Tell us a bit about your Faith Healer Trilogy? What inspired it?
The Alyce Kerr, Faith Healer Trilogy is the story of Alyce Kerr, who happens to be a celebrity Faith Healer. Her power to heal comes from a binding with a demon. He gives her the power to help others, but sucks a little bit more of her soul each time.

I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of faith healing. That was enough to get my muse interested, and after a little research, Alyce was born. But I wanted her trilogy to be about more than just her ability. The focus is on how it affects her life and the way she sees herself as she slowly spirals into a cycle of self-destruction. She’s a tormented soul who doesn’t make the best decisions – which includes her relationship with Ross Garcia.

This is also the story of two people who love each other but just can’t seem to stay together. Something keeps getting in the way. It’s also about a demon’s obsession with the woman he’s bound to, and how he’ll do whatever it takes to possess her entirely... even if Alyce will do just about anything to get rid of him. However, that quest gets both her and Ross into a heap of trouble during the span of the three books.
Do you have any other works in progress that you want to share?
Well, I’m actually writing a spin-off that takes place in Alyce’s world. If you read the second and third installments of Alyce’s trilogy, you’ll meet someone called Sebastian. This story is about him. From the first time he appeared on the page, I knew he’d demand a story of his own. It’s a dark, sexy, paranormal, horror tale that may not have a happy ending.

I’ve got other projects in different stages of completion, and even some that are still circling around inside my head. There’s always something to work on.

What would be your advice to aspiring writers out there?
I know it probably sounds cliché, but don’t give up. No matter how hard it seems or how many rejections you get along the way, if you love to write, keep writing. The more you write, the better you’ll get. And keep learning. Be open to listening to feedback about your stories without being overly sensitive.

And most importantly, enjoy the stories you’re telling. J

What are your favorite books at the moment?
I’ve been reading a variety of books in different genres. Here are the last five books I really enjoyed: The Drowning City by Amanda Downum, FlashForward by Robert J. Sawyer, Dexter By Design by Jeff Lindsay, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris.
If course, I’ve read heaps of awesome books this year and have many more on my TBR pile.

What is your favorite word? Least favorite?
I like to use the word 'awesome' a lot when I blog and Twitter. So, that’s got to be one of my faves. As for my least favourite, I don’t like the word 'no' much. It just sounds so final, doesn’t it?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Girl, A Pen and The Bush...

Hi there and a big South African wave to the gracious ladies and followers of The Pen and Muse Blog. I'm Judah Raine, and I'm thrilled to be here to share a little and get to know you. I've done my best to answer the wonderful questions that have been cooked up for me

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!

I currently live in a little leafy suburb of Durban, South Africa, called Westville, where I share a house alongside a river with my "all-growed-up" interior designer daughter and our "zoo". I'll be moving soon, a little futher up the hill - a place called Hillcrest, which is just that - and I'll be exchanging our river for the closest thing to country life a girl can find in the city! As a farmer's daughter, I'm living proof that you can take the girl out the bush, but not the bush out the girl!

Along with writing, which is my abiding passion, I'm a singer, musician and songwriter, and also dabble in poetry, mainly for my own fun. I suppose you could say I'm "creative-obsessive", having tried everything there is in the "arts and crafts" genre. Beading remains a firm favorite, though, and I make wedding gowns for family and friends in my "spare time."

What inspires you to write?

It's a necessity! Take away my writing and you got one mean and nasty woman... seriously though, I've been writing for as long as I can remember. My Dad used to say I was born with a pen in one hand and a book in the other. It's also the only way to deal with the gazillions of people that live in my head... For me writing is therapy, fun, obsession, and my way of interpreting life and situations. I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, with endless sweeping landscapes of high gradeur and harsh beauty, soft rolling hills and pristine beaches... with all that at hand, and the incredible passion that encapsulates Africa, being able to share it all through my writing is a challenge and a joy.

Do you find that your muse takes over when writing?

Not only when writing, lol! I have a very demanding muse. Petulent when ignored, loud and persistent too... I tend to write in marathons, letting the words simply pour out and do what they need to do. Editing comes much later, when the muse is resting... Being an incredibly busy person, I find I don't have "daily" time to write much, so it means setting aside chunks of time and setting a "date" with the muse, who usually has so much to say by then that I don't get a word in edgeways!

Tell us a bit about your current work? What inspired it?

I currently have three books in progress, all of which are up at Textnovel, and one of which earned an "Editor's Choice" award. The Unmaking of Missy is one I've been busy with a long time - Missy (or Mellua) is a complicated girl, having been caught between a Victorian type grandmother and a domineering mother, and it's taking time to sift through the layers and explore the emerging woman as she discovers life and love for the first time. Being Mrs Belamy is my version of the marriage of convenience scenario, and one that started out as a fun concept but which is becoming intriguing as Maeve discovers that being the wife isn't the simple business arrangement she expected. A High Wide Place is a little "darker" (my "Editor's Choice") and is set in the magnificent Drakensberg mountains - a place dear to my heart, truly high and wide and intensely beautiful.

Do you have any have any other works in progress that you want to share?

I'm currently researching for a series on the British 1820 Settlers, a group of people "exported" to South Africa by the Colonial Government to settle on the eastern frontier, and provide a buffer between the Cape Colony and the Xhosa tribes. They endured incredible hardships, most of them being hopelessly ill-equipped for "farming" in an area that wasn't at all suitable for agriculture. Being of 1820 Settler descent, it's a part of South African history that intrigues me, and I'm looking forward to being able to "meet" the characters and tell their stories.

What would be your advice to aspiring writers out there?

First, be disciplined. There's no substitute for good old fashioned hard work and self-motivation, especially when things aren't going too well. Second, be "teachable". Listen, ask questions, look, and learn. Hone your craft, and be open to criticism that is honest and objective. Third, have fun. Enjoy your work. Love writing and it will love you. Never let it become a chore, and always listen to the inner voice. It's usually right! Finally, don't rush it and never give in. Remember the old question about how you eat an elephant? Spoon by spoon...

What are your favorite books at the moment?

I'm an avid reader with a very eclectic taste. I still love the old classics (being an English major, they move with me wherever I go!) and will read anything as long as it's well-written. I hate slap-dash or bad writing. At the moment I have my hands full with moving and with Classic Romance Revival, which is growing rapidly and needs constant attention (A group for authors writing "classic romance, which can be found at Hopefully, once I've settled into my new home I'll have time to read again.

What is your favorite word? Least favorite?

Favorite word... difficult, there are so many. But if I have to choose... okay, it's a real "South Africanism" - "Eisch!" Which basically is an amalgamation of everything you can think of (oh no, oh dear, hell's bells, wow, amazing, fancy that, no-way.... the list goes on, but I guess you get the picture!) Least favorite? There are three,actually, and they're inseparable: "You can't do..."

Well, I guess I've used up my fair share of space... it was great to be here, and thank you for inviting me along. If you'd like to find out a little more about me and my books (all set in South Africa), please visit my website at
or find my books at

Happy Reading Everyone!


Judah Raine - Welcome to my Romance World, where things are as Write as Raine!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Pen Interview: Kilted Lover & Nicole North!


Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m from North Carolina . It’s a beautiful state with lots of green, wonderful mountains, beautiful beaches. Of course, I’d love to live in Scotland in summer, and perhaps a nice tropical island in winter. I love to hike, swim, bicycle or just sit and take in beautiful scenery. I love to explore new places and try new things. And when it comes to writing, I like to try new things, as well, or challenge myself with new elements.

What inspires you to write?
The need to express myself and be creative. The need to entertain others and affect them in some way. I enjoy playing with words and using them to create mental pictures because I’m a visual person. I never know what will inspire a story, since many things have. I might hear a song and instantly two characters appear in my head, and I hear their dialogue. This is exciting and I like to see where it leads.

Do you find that your muse takes over when writing?
Most of the time it does. Some stories are more fun to write than others. Some flow easily and others don’t. I still haven’t figured out how to make them all flow easily as if they’re writing themselves. But when they do, it’s a blast, and very rewarding.

Tell us a bit about Kilter Lover? What inspired it?
The Highland Games inspired Kilted Lover. I have a friend who writes sometimes and we attend Highland Games together. I told her we should brainstorm and come up with one story each which starts at Highland Games. I don’t think she created one, but I created two. One is Kilted Lover and the other is Devil in a Kilt in Secrets Volume 27. I’ve always found caber tossing an interesting event at the Games, so I decided to make the hero of Kilted Lover a caber-tosser. I wanted him to be big, tall, strong and muscular. He also needed to be a true hero type, put his life on the line and come to the rescue of a stranger, a woman whose name he didn’t know but a woman he was instantly attracted to. Originally it started out as a sort of contemporary spoof of Scottish romance novels, which I love. But I wanted to give it a humorous twist. The heroine thinks of the hero as a Scot because of his kilt, and his name is Scott. Her name is Les, (short for Leslie,) which sounds like lass. And one of the villains is English. The story does contain some humor, but also action, adventure, suspense, and of course hot erotic scenes.

Here’s the blurb for Kilted Lover: When kilted caber tosser Scott MacPherson tosses Leslie Livingston over his shoulder to rescue her from two armed thieves trying to steal her priceless amulet, they are thrust into a deadly but sexy adventure. Though Leslie already has a lukewarm, uninterested boyfriend, her attraction to Scott is white hot and undeniable. She wants to lick this tall, muscular alpha male all over and explore the depths of eroticism with him. But will he want anything more than one night once the danger is behind them?

Do you have any have any other works in progress that you want to share?
I just turned in a historical paranormal erotic romance novella, Scoundrel in a Kilt, third in the kilted shape-shifter series, behind Devil in a Kilt and Beast in a Kilt. (Unrelated to Kilted Lover.) Scoundrel is about Brodie a cursed Highland chieftain who shape-shifts into a selkie. He loves his selkie abilities and so must be convinced to allow the modern day time-traveling diva, Erin , to break his curse. Wow, was he stubborn!

What would be your advice to aspiring writers out there?
Don’t give up. It may take longer than you’d planned to become published, but that’s okay. Take it in stride. The only way to fail is to stop writing and stop submitting. Keep learning and growing as a writer.

What are your favorite books at the moment?
There are so many, this is difficult to answer. I love all kinds of romance--erotic, historical, paranormal, contemporary. I love books with a lot of sexual tension, romance, emotion, delicious hot love scenes, and sexy heroes I can fall in love with.

What is your favorite word? Least favorite?
One of my favorite words is ‘delicious.’ (See above.) I overuse it in my rough drafts, then have to go back and edit or think of alternatives. One of my least favorite words is ‘manhood’ when referring to the hero’s you-know-what. I never use it. What do I use? I’m not allowed to list them here. LOL

I want to ask the readers the same questions: What is your favorite word and your least favorite word? I’ll give away a copy of my ebook, Kilted Lover, to one commenter. Thanks for allowing me to be here today, Denise! I enjoyed it!

Kilted Lover Chapter One Excerpt:

Book Video:

Buy Link:

My website:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How to Create Sexual Tension in 10 Easy Steps By Nicole North

How to Create Sexual Tension in 10 Easy Steps
By Nicole North

My latest release from Red Sage, Kilted Lover, is a contemporary erotic romance novella with what I consider a lot of sexual tension.

Sexual tension is the “want it but can’t have it” factor that makes the characters crave each other sexually, but they must abstain, at least for a short while. I teach a month long workshop on how to create sexual tension called Turn Up the Heat!, but here is an abbreviated list of how you can heighten sexual tension.

1. Have a strong conflict between the characters, a good reason they can’t go for it and jump into bed on page one and live happily ever after.

2. Use sexy, appealing visuals from both characters’ points of view, along with the other four senses: sound, touch, smell, taste.

3. Write one or more hot kiss scenes.

4. Allow some of the conflict to erupt through sexy banter or repartee. This works better for some stories than others. It should feel natural, not forced. And not pointless bickering.

5. Allow your characters to fantasize about each other.

6. Put your characters in close quarters, or make them have to work together so they can’t avoid each other.

7. Show what they like or admire about each other, even though they may not be able to admit it.

8. Keep the conflict high, but also show how the characters connect. If you’re writing romance, the reader wants to believe they can reach a happily ever after and not fight forever.

9. Show their emotions. You want to show how physically attracted they are to each other, but also that something deeper is going on. They’re developing feelings for each other and falling in love.

10. Use your characters’ backstories to play up the sexual tension and conflict, either because they already know each other, or because of emotional baggage or issues.

Hopefully, these ten tips will get you going on turning up the heat and sexual tension in your stories.


Kilted Lover: When kilted caber-tosser Scott MacPherson tosses Leslie Livingston over his shoulder to rescue her from two armed thieves trying to steal her priceless amulet, they are thrust into a deadly but sexy adventure. Though Leslie already has a lukewarm, uninterested boyfriend, her attraction to Scott is white-hot and undeniable. She wants to lick this tall, muscular alpha male all over and explore the depths of eroticism with him. But will he want anything more than one night once the danger is behind them?



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Pen Review: Who Mourns for the Hangman?

Welcome to the late edition of The Pen Review!
Today we are looking at S.A. Bolich's Who Mourns for the Hangman?


Who Mourns for the Hangman? by S.A. Bolich

About the book:
Old Scraggy the hangman made a deal with a witch to make sure he would never hang an innocent. His magic rope is never wrong. This latest sinner looks like the wickedest of them all—until Scraggy learns his name.

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Publisher: Damnation Books


What I liked: What an interesting tale, Bolich writes. Such a great tale that really makes you think, can magic really fail? In the case of the hangman, would he change his mind once he knows the truth of his latest sinner bound to hang on the rope? A short story not to miss! Want to know more, go and purchase it!

Rating: star4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gif

Scraggy had to turn his head from the luminous glare flaming from the hempen coils. He had never seen his girl shine so bright, all but blinding him with her argent blaze. The rope quivered in his hands, burning brighter and brighter, demanding justice. Awed, Scraggy shook it out, noting how the guards crowded back from its touch, and flung the loop over the crosspiece. The loop fell perfectly in front of Young James' face…

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Pen Review: Eternal Press Reviews

Angel of Windword_200x300_72dpi.jpg

Title: Angel of Windword

Author: Maggie Dove

Length: 83,497 words, 320 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance/Suspense

Rating: star4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gif

What I liked: A beautiful suspenseful story from start to finish. Maggie Dove surely know hows to write tantalizing characters!Nicholas is just simply delicious! A tale of love, mystery, and suspense, not to miss!

Evil forces are at play surrounding Angelique Beauvisage, but she has no clue. Sensuous and suspense-filled, ANGEL OF WINDWORD, begins with a murder that takes place four years before and turns into a perilous cat and mouse game played by two reluctant lovers, who spin a web of deception that only their love can unravel.


His thunderous expression softened. “Come closer.”
His eyes swept over her face as he caressed her cheek with the knuckle of his forehand. “I did not see her slap you, but your cheeks look burning hot. Answer something for me, Angelique” he ordered gruffly. “Has that woman ever hit you before?”
Angelique drank in the comfort of his nearness. His touch was soft and soothing. “Never,” she lied. “Victoria has never slapped me or hurt me. My lord, it was really my fault...I provoked her.”
He definitely will have his way with me and my place will be in his bed!

Mon Dieu! A guttural sound escaped her lips when she recalled her own words. She was not certain whether she was more distressed at having thrown those awful words at her stepmother or the dreadful possibility that Nicholas had actually overheard them.

Attempting to sound nonchalant, she stammered Victoria’s original question to him, “H-how long had you been standing there, monsieur? Did you...did you hear anything?” she asked in a faint whisper, her voice cracking with embarrassment.
“Hear what, my love?’ he asked innocuously.

“Monsieur, how long had you been standing there?” she repeated with mounting dread. Then gazing at him, she suddenly wished she had not asked. His dark blue eyes sparkled with complete understanding as he stood casually against the doorjamb, strong arms folded across his chest, a devil of a smile beginning to form on his face.

“How long, monsieur…?”
Nicholas did not wait for her to finish. Without another word, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her hard on the lips. Then, just as suddenly, he let go of her, allowing her to fall back against the doorpost.

“Long enough to know I’m going to enjoy those willful ways of yours. Not to mention putting you in that bed of mine.”
Her heart pounding fast against her heaving chest, Angelique watched in stunned silence as Nicholas turned on his heel and made his exit. She could still feel his warm lips against hers as his deep, masculine chuckles echoed in the hallway.


Title: Tempest Roams in the Pathless Sky

Author: Graeme S. Houston

Length: 193 pages, 61,324 words

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: star4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gif

What I liked:Looking for action packed science fiction? Well look no further as Graeme Houston is in the house! Graeme's version of the future is what Sci fi was built on. From the dialogue to the characters, Graeme portrays a interesting world. A science fiction novella not to miss!


In the distant future, the Earth is tumbling into a vicious circle; great glaciers of ice push ever further towards the equator, the reflected light cools the earth yet further, fueling the great catastrophe which will lead ultimately to snowball Earth. All we have left is a thin, ever shrinking strip of habitable land. The displacement wars, which lasted thousands of years, sparked by the initial push of the great glaciers, have thrown mankind back into the dark ages.Aadesh, an orphan is sent by the priests of Old Kuala Lum, on a journey to deliver a message to New London. Captain Philip Daemidrien, will be taking him by airship, but everything goes wrong right from the onset. Attacked by mechanical creatures from a long dead past, the captain must use every ounce of cunning he has to outmaneuver the terrors. But not only does the captain harbor secrets of his own, Aadesh will find that he is in far more trouble than he ever could have imagined. His only hope may be Philip and a genetically enhanced assassin called Elizabeth. They find that even Earth is at stake, and ice is the least of their worries....


With a flash of sunlight upon steel, a monster swooped upon her. The branch shuddered as its steel claws folded around the bark, and the branch bowed under the weight of it. She threw herself onto her feet, ready to defend herself, and found herself at a complete loss for any action that might be effective against it. Against such a thing as stood before her… something that drew a blank from the encyclopedic chambers of her mind, a silver monster dredged up from someone’s personal hell, maybe even from her own version of it.

She let out a painful short gasp at the massive steel swords it unfolded into its hands and stood almost frozen to the spot, contemplating it as it contemplated her. The scales upon its chest reflected in its many facets, the fear she betrayed on her face and in her eyes.

Lithe and quick, a single pull of her calves sprung her by her toes into the air as the blades swung to meet. She heard the thud as they embedded themselves into the trunk of the tree and in desperation she grasped at the branch above her. Deftly she pulled herself up and around, onto the branch and sprung along its length. She heard the grinding of metal as it pulled the blades out and turned to follow. She glanced back at it, and it was the pure, shining metal of the blades, caught in the light of the morning, that wrenched at her heart causing it to beat painfully against her chest.

The metal thing behind her was unscratched, not battered like the rest of the junk the ancients had left. Not worn out like the dwindling weaponry kings fought for. This shone as if it had had just been built, or as if someone had lovingly restored to what it once was.


Title: The Horsed Thief: A Virtual Tale of Old Basra

Author: Teel James Glenn

Length: 13,170 words

Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction

Rating: star4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gif

What I liked:Teel Gleen combines two of my favorite genres together! Fantasy and science fiction all into one. Who can resist love, magic, and of course murder! When all these world combine, it is sure to make an explosive combination. Be sure not to miss it!


In Old Basra the thief Asad El-baha falls in love at first sight with the beautiful Princess Fatinah, but he is the number one priority for murder. In the real world the office is a hotbed of bullying and unrequited love. The two worlds collide when the evil wizard-emir who transforms Asad into a horse, and the game goes horribly wrong…


The guard nearest chopped at his head with the heavy curved blade of his sword, but Asad deflected the sword blow then darted in and slashed at the man’s arm, forcing him to drop his weapon.
“Ayyah!” the turbaned soldier yelled, “The devil has cut me.”
This stopped the other guards from rushing pell-mell at him, and Asad reversed direction and headed once more into the maze of bushes and for the latticework wall.

His lighter blade would not last long in any prolonged combat, and he had no illusions about his ability. He was a skilled street fighter but the guards of the emir’s palace were handpicked men with real training, not haphazard tricks; his only real chance was to run.
But to where?

The courtyard seemed awash with bodies, but God chose that moment to pass his hand over the moon. The cloud-cast shadows shrouded the yard and clumsied the feet of all but Asad. The very numbers of the guards allowed the scurrying thief a few moments to plan.

“Here!” it was the muffled sound of the woman’s voice cutting across the confusion of male voices. She leaned by a gate hidden near the far corner of the court as if in fear. He moved toward her and noticed she had unlatched the iron gate.

“May God protect you, my lady” he said as he slipped through.

“And he you, lover of songs.” She said. “Fatinah.”

“What?” He whispered.

“My name.”

Then he was through the gate and running, a smile on his face, the image of jade green eyes floating before him.


Why Rita Hates Monkeys by Shelley Dayton

Genre: Mystery, Adventure

Rating: star4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gif

What I liked: What is there not to like about Shelley Dayton's Why Rita Hates Monkeys?! There is comedy to die for, adventure to be sought, and of course tons of intrigue and mystery! A funny story to read and enjoy for everyone.

Three friends’ vacation from hell staggers through a jungle well seasoned with adventure, intrigue and humor.

When the ladies of Short Mountain Mortgage clock out, chaos clocks in. Why Rita Hates Monkeys follows Vicky, Rita, and Lynette as their vacation in a Mexican rainforest goes horribly wrong. The aggressive bats are frightening and nobody can identify the dinner meat, but the trip becomes a real adventure when a monkey flings a hand at them. Their guide Elsa asks them to find the hand’s owner.

Their options are to help, or a local tribe will have them for dinner. And then later for a midnight snack.


Lynette shrugged. She hadn’t moved. But something else had, way up in the canopy. Something with rotten fruit, a good throwing arm, and lots of like-minded friends.

Suddenly the greenery around us danced and shuddered beneath a solid rain of heavy, stinking fruit. Something foul smacked into the side of my head. The screaming started up once again.

“This way!” screamed Elsa. “We are very close to camp!” We followed her short, pumping legs, pummeled with every step. Something exploded on my chest, splattering liquid on my chin. The monkeys followed us with ease. They hooted and screeched like soccer hooligans.

The covered porch popped into sight. It was Rita this time who tripped and fell, her leg entwined in…well, twine.

“Leave her! We’ll go back for her corpse later! Hahahaha!” screamed Lynette, a far better loser than winner. She sped by me and pounded to a stop on the covered porch. Elsa was there too, hunched over and pinching her side.

Several feet behind us, Rita sat up in a clearing and pulled at the thick vine. A troop of a dozen black-and-white monkeys swarmed to the front of the trees, lobbing with accuracy and enthusiasm. Rita wore a complete cap of rotten, yellow fruit, and her denim shirt was drenched in juice. Her voice was hoarse from screaming.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Write Your Name Across the Sky Author Contest!


Official Rules:

1. On November 9, 2009 (12:01 a.m. Central Standard Time) the contest will kick off by accepting entries via e-mail only at All entries must be received no later than November 30, 2009 (11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time). Any entries received outside of these dates will be deleted.
2. The contest will be conducted in three rounds of judging, but you must have entered this first round to be eligible to move on to subsequent rounds.

3. For round one, entrants must submit the first page of their novel or novella only. The first page must be formatted as follows: Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1.5 line spacing, no additional space between paragraphs, no indent of paragraph, 1 inch margins, header containing manuscript title, genre, and total word count of the novel or novella. No names are to be on the actual first page document. Your real name, pen name, e-mail address and mailing address are to be included in the accompanying e-mail only.

4. Your novel can be in any romance genre (including any sub-genre and time period setting) and the total word count of your complete novel or novella must be a minimum of 8,000 words and a maximum of 100,000 words.
5. Judging will commence on December 1, 2009 and 12 semi-finalists will be chosen to move on to Round Two. Semi-finalists book titles only will be posted on the Book Boost website Special Events Page and the individual semi-finalists will be notified via e-mail no later than December 10, 2009.

6. Second Round Semi-Finalists must then submit the first three chapters (up to 50 pages) of their novel or novella. These entries will be judged by a carefully selected panel of quality published authors. The same document formatting rules will apply to this round.

7. Entrants will have until December 15, 2009 (11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time) to submit their second round entries for review by the Second Round judges. If your entry is not received by this deadline, it will be removed from the Semi-Final rounds.

8. Judging for the Second Round will commence on December 16, 2009 and run until December 23, 2009. The professional author judging panel’s scores will determine the Top 3 Finalists. The winning titles will be posted on the Book Boost website Special Events page and the finalists will be notified no later than December 24, 2009.
9. The Top 3 Finalists will be required to submit their completed manuscript no later than December 31, 2009 (11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time). If your entry is not received by this deadline, it will be removed from the Final rounds.

10. Judging for the Final Round will commence on January 1, 2010 and run until January 10, 2010. The Grand Prize winner will be announced no later than January 11, 2010 on the Book Boost website and other web locations. By entering this contest, the winner grants permission to the Book Boost and Hearts on Fire Books to publicize their win for promotional purposes. Additional documents will be required of the Top 3 Finalists including an author promotional photo and author biography for publicity purposes.

11. All decision of judges is final. The novel or novella must be the entrant’s individual work and they must own all rights to the work product. The novel must not be under contract with any other publisher at the time of original contest entry.

12. Both published and non-published authors may enter the contest. There is no fee for entry.

13. One entry per person. Multiple entries will be destroyed and only the first entry received will be considered an official entry.
14. PRIZES: (1) Grand Prize Winner will receive a publishing contract from Hearts on Fire Books to be released in 2010. The same winner will also receive 1 free year of Author Promotion at the Book Boost website; (2) The First Runner-Up will receive 6 months of free Author Promotion from the Book Boost website for any novel that is already published OR a Free Online Writing Workshop of your choice (up to a $20.00 value); (3) The Third Runner-Up will receive 3 months of free Author Promotion from the Book Boost website for any novel that is already published OR a gift card to the online bookseller of your choice (up to a $10.00 value).
15. Permission is granted by the sponsors of this contest to promote the contest on your website, blog, or other web sites where you have permission to post. A copy of the official contest poster is available by request. Contact the Book Boost at for the poster image file or copy from the image located above.

16. Any inquires regarding the contest can be forwarded to

17. Sponsors of this contest reserve the right to alter the rules of this contest as needed should any such rules be deemed problematic. Any changes to the rules will be posted on the website Special Events contest page.