Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy, Happy, Happy!!!

Some good news to share! Blog contributor Kerri Nelson has a new little bundle of joy. Baby boy Cooper was born on 1/27/10, weighing 6 lbs. 9 oz. Mom and Cooper are reported to be at home and doing well. Congratulations to Kerri, Dad and big sisters.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Pen Review: Rogues by Denysé Bridger

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Rouges by Denysé Bridger

Genre: Erotic Romance

Author Website: http://www.denysebridger.com

Publisher: Hearts On Fire

Rating: star4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gif


What I liked:
Denysé Bridger never disappoints. These three stories were amazing from start to finish! I couldn't find a way to peel myself away from this jewel of a book! From pirates, to sailors, and vampires, oh my! What more could I ask for in romance! From all three stories, readers will get swept away with the characters, scenes, dialogue, and of course the plot. Go and pick up this book, just go!

Book Blurb:

Three stories, one kind of hero, pirates anyone? Includes the short stories Angel-Fire, Storm-Singer, and The Phantom’s Lair… Historical adventure, and the darker mystery of an ageless vampire who keeps a witch at his side, his protector and his lover through eternity

Angel-Fire: A short intro to the world of Captain Jack Stanton, an honourable man with a tarnished reputation. Stranded in Nassau, caught up in a pleasant interlude with a barmaid, Jack has a vision that will lead him to his past and his future, if he can survive to get back Tortuga to discover what it all means…

Storm-Singer: The Isle of Nyx has become the dread of all sailors who must dare the waters surrounding the mythical island. Local legends say a vampire prince resides in the ancient castle that can be seen from the harbor of the island. At his side is a powerful sorceress whose song can control and summon storms.

In a desperate attempt to end the eternal threat looming over them, the people of the Aurora Islands sacrifice their greatest treasure, the princess Sarita, entrusting her with the task of seducing and destroying the dark prince who has been plundering their wealth and their people for centuries?

The Phantom’s Lair: Upon her arrival in the pirate port of Tortuga where her father is acting as Governor, Katheryn Hollinsworth is determined to choose her own path, and follow her heart wherever it may take her. On the streets of Puerta de la Plata, she encounters the mythical buccaneer known as The Phantom, and very quickly loses her heart to the handsome rogue.

Jack Stanton is a man who has never fully come to terms with his past, and in the Governor's pretty daughter he finds a most unlikely champion. But when his past threatens her life, and any chance of a respectable future, The Phantom must face the demons of his past, and accept the dictates of his own reawakened heart...









The Pen Interview & Review: Rick Reed & Incubus

Incubus by Rick Reed

Author Website: http://www.rickrreed.com

Genre: Gay / Dark Fantasy / Horror / Paranormal

Publisher: Amber Allure

Rating: star4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gif


What I liked:

Rick Reed surely entertains with Incubus which starts off with a sad tale of a man who loses his loved one. Surely it can't get worse, right? Wrong! Reed brings in the paranormal, after all all of those sad feelings and negativiity brings nothing good... or does it? An intresting read and a must not miss for lovers and those who love the genre alike.

Book Blurb:

Incubus is the haunting--and haunted--tale of Oliver and Ryan, a young couple who have traveled to Montreal from Chicago to get married. It's late and they're on their way home from their honeymoon--and their trip on Chicago's el trains and subways is fraught with strange characters, one a biker-jacket clad man who urges them to "Get close to Lucifer!" But the oddest stranger they encounter is a man in a zippered leather mask who waits for them in an underground parking garage with a knife. Only one of the couple will emerge from this encounter alive.

Oliver's depression overwhelms him, having seen his hope for a new life with his new husband squashed in an instant. He feels so alone. Or is he? When Ryan begins to appear to him again in the dark, and to make love to him, Oliver is happy...and in denial. He ignores this new Ryan's cold touch, his strange eyes, and the odd burns Ryan's touch leaves on his skin.

Has Oliver's despair and desire for his lost love opened a door to something dark and terrifying? Is the Ryan who returns to him really the Ryan he loves...or a demonic imposter? And when love is brutally ripped away, will Oliver decide it doesn't matter?

Read Excerpt: Here


The Interview

Tell us about yourself. Where are you from?

I am the writer Unzipped magazine referred to as "the Stephen King of gay horror." I have eleven published print novels, 13 exclusive e-books, and my short fiction has appeared in more than 20 anthologies. I have two new books (in both print and electronic formats) scheduled so far for 2010: Blue Moon Cafe (Amber Quill Press), a gay erotic werewolf story set to come out in March, and Tales from the Sexual Underground (MLR Press), a collection of my sex writings, slated for late spring/early summer release. I grew up in the Ohio River town of East Liverpool, OH a small pottery town of about 12,000 located right where Pennsylvania, Ohio, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia come together. A few of my books (Deadly Vision, Mute Witness, and Dead End Street) take place in my hometown's fictional counterpart, Summitville, PA. I spent most of my adult life in Chicago, a few years in Florida (Tampa and Miami) and now reside in Seattle, WA. I am very happily partnered with a man with whom I share custody of a spoiled Boston Terrier named Lily. I also have a grown son, Nicholas, who lives in Montreal with his husband. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, watching movies, cooking, or in bed.


When did you start to write? What inspires you?

Believe it or not, I have always wanted to be a writer. I remember writing my first short story at age six, my first play in fourth grade, and my first novella when I was in fifth grade, reading it aloud in installments to my classmates. By the time I’d finished high school, I’d already written a novel and dozens of stories and poems, all of which would now probably make me shudder…and not in a good way. What inspires me? Everything from dreams, to words, to good writing, music, and visual art, to how light looks on a rain-slicked road. In short, everything. Period.

Tell us about your stories, where do they come from? Your characters, how do you come up with them?

My stories come from deep within my subconscious. That sounds pretentious, but it's true. I often don't realize how much I am pulling from my own psyche until long after I've written something and see how themes might parallel my own experience, although these wouldn't necessarily be identifiable to the casual observer. My characters come to me, rather than me to them. They essentially write all my stories for me; I sort of just chronicle what they do and say and sometimes even I am surprised by their actions and words. Does that sound crazy? Don't answer that.

Does your muse rule you or you it?

Both. I think, as I said, a lot of inspiration comes from my unconscious and simply letting it happen. That's where the muse rules me. But in terms of writing craft, discipline, and just plain old hard work, I rule the muse. I am very disciplined and rarely stop working on my creative output.

What are you currently or looking to work on next?

As I mentioned above, I have two new books coming out within the next few months. I am currently working on a new novel called A Demon Inside, which is basically a haunted house story underpinned with a bit of gay romance. I have also recently contracted to be an editor with MLR Press and am also exploring some voice-over work for audio books in the coming year.

What would your advice be to aspiring writers?

Um, don't. If you don't heed my advice because you simply MUST write, then you are probably in the right place. It can be a hard, rejection-filled road with tons of competition and there are certainly much easier and more lucrative means to making a living. But if you have the bug and can't shake it, make sure you discipline yourself, that you read a TON (I'm a firm believer in learning by osmosis), and that you be ruthless with yourself in terms of editing. You also need to be open to criticism and realize that you never really stop learning.

What do you like to read?

Cereal boxes. No, seriously, I am a big fan of crime, suspense, mysteries, and horror. Go figure.

What are your favorites?

James Purdy, Ruth Rendell, Stephen King, John Kennedy O'Toole, Denise Mina, Poppy Z. Brite...these are all writers I automatically buy when they have a new book out.

What is your favorite word? Least favorite?

Nibble. Granular.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

DAMNATION BOOKS, LLC ACQUIRES ETERNAL PRESS

DAMNATION BOOKS, LLC ACQUIRES ETERNAL PRESS

SANTA ROSA, CA (JANUARY 21, 2010)- On January 1st, 2010 Damnation Books, LLC took the reins of Eternal Press, moving the previously Canadian based publisher to the United States. Both companies specialize in ebooks and also paperback editions of their fiction.


The two companies remain separate brand entities but will share staff and resources. Damnation Books is found online at www.damnationbooks.com and Eternal Press at www.eternalpress.ca however, Eternal Press will be moving to a new website address soon. Readers and writers can visit the current site and will be redirected once the change occurs.


Ally Robertson former CEO of Eternal Press stated, “I handed over the Eternal Press reins to Kim Richards Gilchrist of Damnation Books LLC. I did so with great faith that by combining her efforts and resources she will take these two companies to the forefront of the E-pub industry. My decision to step down and stay on as the Head of Production and Art departments is a result of my confidence in her to take Eternal Press to heights I couldn’t. I wish all the best for both companies and know that with team work almost anything is possible.”


Kim Richards Gilchrist, CEO of Damnation Books, LLC and now, Eternal Press followed, “We are thrilled to bring Eternal Press to America. By sharing staff and resources, we expect both publishers to grow, beginning in 2010. Ally Robertson is staying on to head the production department, where her design expertise will benefit most.


“Eternal Press will continue to bring great romance, historical, contemporary, science fiction, fantasy and erotic fiction . We plan to expand the GBLT titles and reopen to Young Adult stories. Damnation Books remains dedicated to dark fiction, bringing you great horror, thrillers, dark fantasy, science fiction, erotica and will be opening up to dark-themed gay fiction. Both companies strive to bring quality reading at affordable prices in ebook (including kindle and iphone) and paperback editions.”


More information can be obtained by contacting Marketing Manager, Sheryl Connelly, via email at eternalpresspromotions(at)gmail.com.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Always Buying on iTunes? Check out the alternatives

I thought this article was great. Be sure to check it out if you love downloading music as much as I do.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Q&A with Patricia Altner & VAMPIRE READINGS Contest

Q&A with Patricia Altner & VAMPIRE READINGS Contest

I am so honored! My book, Love Fang, was chosen by Patricia Altner (Patricia's Vampire Notes) as one of four "new favorite discoveries." She listed me with Barbara Bretton, Catherine Jinks, and (drum roll, please) RICHELLE MEAD. Oh, my!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Pen Review: Interlude

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Interlude

Author: Madeleine Oh

Publisher: Ellora's Cave

Genre: Erotic Romance

Rating:star3a.gifstar3a.gifstar3a.gifstar3a.gif

What I liked: A beautifully written erotic tale of a women, Alex who borrows a cottage from her aunt and stays for six weeks. She embarks on a journey of magic, romance, and erotic sex with the mysterious Dai Hughes. Oh brings the magic, mystery, and the HOT sex in this enchanting tale. A must read!

Blurb:

A borrowed cottage, an ancient magic spring, wild erotic dreams and the mysterious Dai Hughes all lure Alex to the wildest side of wild Wales.

Publisher’s Note: Originally available in the Summon the Masters anthology.


Excerpt

Competition

Contest!

To celebrate the release of Stranded in PRINT, I'm giving away one print copy of the book, which will come with a goodie bag filled with postcards, magnets, and beauty goodies.
To win, answer this question, from my latest e-release,Uprooted, published by Pink Petal Books.


Q. Mari Dawson, the female lead of Uprooted, has a brother called Kale. What is his job?

Email your answer to jasmine@jasmineaherne.com by February 22nd. The winner will be notified no later than February 26th.

Thanks for entering. Read on for an excerpt from Uprooted!









Kiss her, kiss her, kiss her, a little voice inside his head chanted. He pushed it away, with considerable effort.
He felt a tap on his shoulder and turned. Rachel stood before him, Will slightly behind her. "Good night," Rachel said. She leaned back and smiled at her Will. "Now, we’re turning in. Stay as long as you want. Mari, can you see everyone out?"
"Sure thing." The women hugged each other. Noah shook Will’s hand, and then the couple disappeared into the hallway. Noah heard them talking for a few moments, and then another door closed, and he heard nothing at all.
Mari rolled her eyes with a smile. "Love, huh."
Noah laughed. "Yeah, they definitely looked very tired. Ready to drop as soon as they hit the sheets, weren’t they?"
"Certainly were." Mari leaned back slightly to check that Aimee was still asleep on the couch. "She looks adorable."
He came to stand next to her. "Doesn’t she? And a lot younger than twelve. Twelve years! Cripes! If only I’d known about her."
Mari touched his arm reassuringly. "I thought we’d already had a chat about what-ifs."
"Yeah, we have." Noah looked down at her hand on his arm. She’d glossed her fingernails with some sort of shiny polish. He felt the heat of her skin through his coat, and his heart began to beat a little faster. "Listen, Mari..."
She moved a fraction closer, just a tiny move, but it put her within kissing distance. If he could only pull her against him, then-
"Yes?" she asked, her voice soft.
"Do you think, maybe…?" He tunneled a hand through his hair, trying to think. "Okay, I’m going to come right out with it. You’re driving me crazy." He kept his voice low, and checked his daughter every few words. He didn’t want her to wake up and hear this, but they couldn’t leave the room. He didn’t want Aimee to wake up and find herself alone, either. She’d be frightened.
"I feel the same," Mari admitted, sounding breathless. "What do you propose we do about it?"
Noah had been about to answer her when a sound floated up from the couch. Immediately, he turned to look down at his daughter. She was stretching. Her eyes fluttered open, and she yawned. "Is it time to go home, Dad?" she murmured.
An invisible fist clenched his heart, hard. She’d never called him Dad before. "Yeah, it’s time to go home." He rounded the couch and gently lifted his still half asleep daughter into his arms. She was feather-light. He gathered her against his chest. "We’re going home now."
He stopped next to Mari on the way out. A slightly sad smile curved his lips. "We’ll continue this discussion at another time, okay?"





Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Pen Review: Stolen Treasure

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Title: Stolen Treasures

Author: Laurie Ryan

Author Website: http://www.laurieryanauthor.com/

Publisher: BookStrand

Genre:Contemporary Romance

Rating:star3a.gifstar3a.gifstar3a.gifstar3a.gif

What I liked : One word, love. I literally loved this story of Claire and Dion. I love how these two characters come together and face obstacles together and then later find the desire that sparks something that burns, churns, and cannot be denied. Ryan keeps the reader entertained with tons dialogue and inspiration to journey with the characters. A must read!





Blurb:



Claire Saunders is on the brink of realizing her dreams and putting her past behind her. She could care less about a group of pirates preying on San Diego. Nothing will derail her. Or so she thinks, until she finds herself an unwilling passenger aboard a schooner at sea. A reluctant participant in a covert operation, she sails further and further away from everything she’s worked so hard for. Without her there, it will all fall apart.

Hot-shot agent Dion Gaetani can’t believe he’s been saddled with a civilian. Worse—a woman. Guilt-ridden over a prior op gone bad, this is a burden he doesn’t need.

Together, they must work in close quarters to capture a rogue band of pirates. The stakes are high. Dion’s own boat, the Treasure, is the bait. And an unwelcome yet undeniable desire is the complication.

Excerpt:

His eyes were drawn to her lips. Slightly parted, they invited him. The upper one was thinner, giving way to the fullness of her lower lip. An irresistible urge to taste it gripped him. Reaching up with his free hand, he ran his fingers lightly over her lower lip. The edges quirked slightly upward, sending shards of white-hot desire straight through him. Her lips were so soft. He gave up any lingering resistance, his only thought to keep it light and quick. Get it over with and out of his system.

The first contact created a tremor that racked his body, turning aside reason and will, leaving only a sensual urge for more. He knew she felt it, too. She shuddered, as if cold, and didn't resist. In fact, she leaned into it, tried to deepen the kiss. He welcomed it, reached up into her hair, and pillowed of the back of her head with his free hand, entangling his fingers without notice. Nothing mattered except the powerful erotic sensations screaming through his body, shattering his sense of reason.

Then her hand brushed his injured knee, and it had the effect of ice-cold water. Breaking contact, he jumped up quickly, breathing deeply to gain some control, elusive though it was.

"I'm sorry," he said finally.

"What?"

"I'm sorry. That should never have happened."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trailer Contest Winners!

The Winner's of The Pen & Muse are :

1st Beth Trissel with her trailer for Somewhere My Love!
2nd Kerri Nelson's trailer for Soul Searcher
3rd Wings of Desire trailer by Arianna Skye

Congratulations to our Winners!
To those of you who did enter, but didn't make it, never give up. All of your trailers were amazing and keep us on tabs.. you never know when another contest may pop up!

Voting has ended

Voting has ended for the trailer contest yesterday. Votes recieved today will not be counted.


-- Post From My iPhone

Quality Romance is not an Oxymoron


Ten years ago, a good friend and excellent romance writer told me, “You have to be better than romance to write romance.” As I was just beginning my writing career and had the notion, as many novice writers do, that writing romance was a low rung on the ladder, my friend wanted me to know that there’s much more to writing bodice rippers than bodice ripping. She was so right.
This Christmas, I ran into a former business colleague in Orlando who told me he’d heard I was now writing romance novels. “I think I’ll give that a crack,” he said. “It’s a simple formula. How hard could it be?” I smiled at him and decided I’d let him live with his delusions. Let him see how difficult it is to create believable characters and make his readers’ hearts pound. How will he navigate point of view? And I can’t wait to read his sex scenes. They’ll undoubtedly drone on like an anatomy lesson. But let him have his fun. If he’s astute (and serious), he’ll pay attention to the rejection letters. He’ll realize the “simple formula” of writing romance isn’t so simple.
How do you suppose he’ll handle conflict? Heaven knows, he’ll probably have his h/h dueling it out with antiquated pistols. Of course, he’ll be proud of himself because he’d have researched the correct firearms for the job. But would he put us in the head of the duelers? Would we feel their anguish? Would our finger twitch and our heart beat in our ears as we squeeze the trigger? Oops, he just killed off the heroine. Now what?
Not that accuracy isn’t important. For my first print book, Love Fang, I asked a dentist friend to read over the scenes where my dentist heroine was practicing endodontics. I didn’t want any hygienists, dental assistants, or dentists to call me on inaccuracies as my heroine performed a root canal. My friend was happy to oblige. He returned the scenes to me with his stamp (or should I say drill) of approval. I hadn’t told him previously that the book was a romance, so this was the point at which I recounted the plot. He guffawed. “Oh, a romance? Why would you care whether it was accurate?” I guess I wouldn’t be thanking him in the credits.
As the lovely Sarah at Smart Bitches/Trashy Books says, educating the public about the quality of romance has to be done in baby steps. Sure, there’s still bad writing out there and there are writers who don’t do their due diligence, but that’s true in any genre.
We can change the public’s perceptions. The more we write quality romance, write about the attributes of good romance, and celebrate the writers who excel in this genre, the more people will realize how wrong they’ve been. Won’t you take a few minutes to blog your views? Or, the next time you’re in Barnes & Noble, how about siding up to someone with one of your favorite romance novels in hand and expounding on its exceptional prose? You might enlist a convert.

Susan Blexrud has five e-books currently available through DCL Publications. She is in print with a story in the anthology, 7 Sins, and her first full-length print novel, Love Fang, will be available later this month from Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Visit her at: www.susanblexrud.com.

The Pen Review: FLAHERTY'S CROSSING


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Flaherty's Crossing

Author: Kaylin McFarren

Author Website: http://www.kaylinmcfarren.com

2008 Golden Heart Finalist

Publisher: Champagne Books

Rating:star3a.gifstar3a.gifstar3a.gifstar3a.gif

What I liked: What a beautiful love story! Kaylin's story is so vivid and the characters are so profound. I really enjoyed reading the story of Kate and her journey to find out what's right for her and dealing with father on his death bed. The whole story is a whirlwind of emotions as we live and breathe with these characters. Flaherty's Crossing is an inspirational story that cannot be missed. Kaylin teaches us that through the darkness and confusion there will always be light at the end of the tunnel.

Summary:

From Pacific Northwest's award-winning author Kaylin McFarren comes a powerful novel about love, loss, and the power of forgiveness...

Successful yet emotionally stifled artist Kate Flaherty stands at the deathbed of her estranged father, conflicted by his morphine-induced confession exposing his part in her mother's death. While racing home, Kate's car mishap leads her to a soul-searching discussion with a lone diner employee, prompting Kate to confront the true reasons her marriage hangs in the balance. When her night takes an unexpected turn, however, she flees for her life, a life desperate for faith that can only be found through her ability to forgive.

Publisher: Champagne Books


Excerpt:

Kate closed the window. She turned on the radio and flipped through the channels, all crackling between towers. A political debate. Advice for the lovelorn. The brain-itching chorus of "Gypsy Soul." She clicked it off.

Her wheels screeched as she flew around another curve and onto the connecting highway. She released her foot from the gas pedal but, resisting the instinct to use the brakes, she shoved her foot back down to accelerate. Perhaps her way of defying death, or a desperate search for control.

She lifted her phone and called home again, only to hear the same message on the machine.

Where was he?

Suddenly, Drew's words came back to her: "Maybe we need to take a break."

They'd had plenty of arguments in the past, but never before had he mentioned separating. What if he viewed her unexplained absence tonight as blatant apathy?

Apprehension raised her blood pressure, burned the tips of her ears.

She speed dialed Drew's lifeline: his cell phone. It went straight to voicemail: "You've reached Drew Coleman with Milton, Sidis, and Stricklen. I'll be out of town until Monday. If this is an urgent matter, you can reach my assistant at..."

As Kate anxiously waited for the beep, she noted darkness in Drew's voice, a seriousness that had replaced the fun-loving spirit she'd fallen in love with.

"Drew, I'm on my way home," she said. "I'm heading back from my father's. I'll explain when I see you. Anyway, there was a detour. I just took highway sixteen off one-o-six, so I shouldn't be more than forty minutes away..."

The glow of her headlights bounced off something ahead.

It was an animal. A deer. Standing sideways in her lane.

Kate dropped the phone. "No, no, no!" she yelled, jamming the brake pedal to the floor. She yanked back on the steering wheel as if pulling a B-52 out of a nosedive.

In exaggerated slow motion, the deer turned its head toward her. No fear in its eyes. No attempt to move. Either at peace with its fate or unwavering in its defiance.

The car's beams elongated the creature's shadow across the road, the distance between them vanishing. There wasn't time to stop--they were going to collide.

Kate screamed, swerving into the hole of blackness off the edge of the highway. Every muscle in her body clenched, preparing for impact.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Pen Review: Tasmin's Choice

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Tamsin's Choice

Author : Mardi Ballou

Genre: Sci-fi

Publisher: Ellora's Cave


Rating:
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What I liked: I really enjoyed reading this story about a Empress who will do anything to save her planet and her father from falling into the hands of the evil monster. What's a girl to do but find her mate in 24 hours! I love the Empress for her character, conviction, and courage. She is everything and more with this, from the dialogue to the characters, this world was well created by Ballou. A great read from start to finish, this is a love story and an adventure not miss!


Blurb:

Duty forces Empress Designate Karloutria from Planet Nowemapo to find an Earthling mate in forty-eight hours. Prepared to sacrifice her chance for love to save her father and her planet from a monster, Karloutria never expected to fall for Luca.

Luca d’Alessandro needs a second chance. All he has to do to rule Nowemapo as the empress’s consort is beat out the hefty competition and make it through the ritual sex trials. Piece of cake, as long as he keeps his head on straight and his soul buttoned-up. But then he never expected to feel what Karloutria arouses in him.


Want to read an excerpt: Go here

The Pen Review & Interview : Brigit Zahara

Welcome to the afternoon edition of The Pen Review. Today's guest is none other than Brigit Zahara! Thank you to Brigit, Rachel from Morgan Productions, and Laura from Ellora's Cave.


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Flavors of Ecstasy Vol 4

Authors: Brigit Zahara, L.A. Day, Isabelle Drake Regina Carlysle, Madison Hayes, and Aubrey Ross

Genre: Anthology/Romance

Publisher: Ellora's Cave

Rating: star3a.gifstar3a.gifstar3a.gifstar3a.gif

What I liked:

As an anthology it stands on it's own. Each author has their unique writing skills and characters. Brigit Zahara's Stick Up is one of those stories. Now for those of you who didn't know, Brigit was once a former CIA operative, now for me that sparks an interest into reading her work as she has tons of experience. Her scenes and characters are so vivid that you feel you are actually there living in the moment with her characters. That's exactly what I felt when reading Stick Up. So those of you looking into some thrills, chills, romance, and action, look no further than with Brigit's Stick Up and the stories in this anthology.

To read any more of Brigit's work please head over here.

Blurb:

The wonky thermostat at the historic bank building where Monica works is on the fritz again. Just when she thinks things can’t get any hotter, a pistol-packing stud slides her a note. He’s demands money while his sexy smirk demands her body’s response.

Realizing that he is none other than her old boyfriend from college, there with his appearing-out-of-nowhere sidekick, the couple’s former best friend, Monica gets pretty hot under the collar. But when the daring duo take her hostage and retreat to a rustic hideout, the situation really heats up.


Now to the interview....





Tell us about yourself. Where are you from?

I am originally from New York but moved with my husband to Majorca, Spain over a decade ago.



When did you start to write? What inspires you?


I began writing some twenty years ago as a way of taking myself out of my head and distracting myself from my work. When I finally left my job, writing became my new occupation. I am inspired by excitement, adventure and passion in all their many forms.


Tell us about your stories, where do they come from? Your characters, how do you come up with them?

I know it sounds boring but they just come to me. Perhaps the trigger is a thought, a memory, an image, a sound...but in the end, the stories and characters themselves materialize out of my mental mist. LOL


Does your muse rule you or you it?

Definitely me it. If I sat around and waited for it to appear, I would be doing nothing for a very long time. So I just sit down and start working, and eventually, my muse shows up and lends a hand.


What are you currently or looking to work on next?

As a fan of the genre in print and film myself, I will next be tackling a M/M erotica story.


What would your advice be to aspiring writers?

Consider the criticisms you receive, apply them if accurate, discard them if not. But keep writing either way.


What do you like to read?

My taste is pretty eclectic but I do go through cycles. Right now I'm in a thriller/mystery phase.


What are your favorites?

Usually it's the last great book I read...that's until I discover the next one. :) The last non-fiction I read and loved was The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle; the last fiction book was Velocity by Dean Koontz. I would highly recommend both.


What is your favorite word? Least favorite?


"Surrender" and "Can't" respectively.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Pen & Muse Needs A Book Reviewer!

Do you enjoy reading books and reviewing them? Well then the Pen & Muse needs you!
If you are interested in reviewing and reading books, we could use a good one.

Benefits: Free Books
Requirements: Lover of books, romance genre reader and open to others, and be willing to read and write about the books, read about 2-3 books when reviews jobs come in.

If you are interested please email me @ thepenmuse(at)gmail.com

Friday, January 15, 2010

Published Authors: Need a new way to reach your readers?

I know there a lot of published authors on here. I am the newsletter editor for Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. I've also started a side job in order to make a little extra cash. So if your published and want to reach your readers in a new way? How about a personalized newsletter? I can make that for you. My prices are fare. I charge anywhere from 50-60 dollars. So if you are interested, please email me @ denissealicea(at)mac.com subject: newsletter. I will make a mock up the newsletter for you and you can let me know what your looking for. I will soon be putting up a website to show you some of what I have done. I look forward to hearing from you!


Denisse

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Entries Part 2

Entry 17: SMOLDER by Melina Morel




Entry 18: "Release" by Beth Kery




Entry 19: DEMON HUNTER: SEEK & DESTROY by Cynthia Vespia




Entry 20: MY Vampire and I by JP Bowie




Entry 21: The Exceptionals #1: Measure of a Man by Teel James Glenn & Jerry Kokich




Entry 22: Lone by Rowan McBride




Entry 23: Soul Searcher By Kerri Nelson





Entry 24: Hot Chocolate Kiss by Gianna Bruno





Entry 25: Dark God Descending by Tony-Paul de Vissage



Entry 26: Players By Angela Daniels




The Entries Part 1

Entry #1 - Wings of Desire by Arianna Skye



Entry #2
Savage Cravings by Marie March

Entry #3 - Somewhere My Love by Beth Trissel

Entry : 4 Discovering Her Wolfen Heritage by Missy Martine

Entry 5: Kilted Lover By Nicole North

Entry 6: FLAHERTY'S CROSSING by Kaylin McFarren

Entry 7: LA Heat by Pat Brown

Entry 8 :Soliloquy by Janet Fogg


Entry 9: The Passage to Summer (in the A Dance of Manners anthology) by Gerri Bowen

Entry 10: Devon Falls 4: Haunting Magic by Raine Delight

Entry 11: Dragon Slayer by Fiona Jayde

Entry 12: Collingsworth by Andy Eisenberg

Entry 13: King of Swords: A Dom For Christmas by Antonia Tiranth

Entry 14: Teed Off! by Nicola Furlong

Entry 15: BASHED by Rick Reed

Entry 16: Thirty Nine Again by Lyn Reynolds






The Trailer Contest Begins

Be sure to Vote for your favorites. Rules are below. One Vote per entry per person and that includes a person with multiple emails. Please don't email from various emails or tell friends, etc to do so. I will disqualify the entry if this happens.



Voting Rules:


1) Votes will be counted via email.

2) One vote per person and per email. No multiple email accounts should try to vote over and over again.

3) Send vote to thepenmuse(at)gmail.com, subject: Entry #


4) Voters you have until Monday Jan 18th!

I'm in print!!!


Great news! My contemporary romance, Stranded, is now out for pre-order in PRINT!


This fun, sweet romantic comedy-drama has been compared to When Harry Met Sally and other popular rom-coms. Don't miss it!


Stranded

When Rachel Coles flew to New York to surprise the man she thought was her fiancé, coming face to face with his wife broke her heart. She needed a shoulder. So, she turned to a man she met by chance--handsome carpenter Will Norton. Together they turn her disaster into a short but magical holiday.
Will was attracted to the pretty brunette he met on the plane, and the fun sightseeing day they share only deepens his feelings for her. He’s just starting to regret never seeing her again when he learns Rachel’s had all her suitcase and purse stolen.
Now, as he offers her his guest room while she waits for a new passport, Will and Rachel find themselves struggling against a deep-rooted attraction that shows every sign of making itself permanent. The only trouble is, Rachel’s stay in New York will be anything but…


To read an excerpt and to order for only $11, click here.


And, if it's not too late to say this - best wishes for 2010!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Pen Review: Heirs to Darkisle

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Heirs to Darkisle Darisle Book 1 by Cassandra Pierce

Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary

Publisher: Siren Publishing

Rating: star4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gifstar4a.gif


What I liked: Loved the entire book! The chemistry between Briana and Sebastian is amazing, you can feel it every time they are together in a scene. The dialogue just runs so smoothly and keeps you entertained and wanting to know what happens next. Cassandra Pierce is an author to watch for. I can't wait for the next installment.

Blurb:

Sebastian and Ruby Morgan arrived in the small seaside town of Darkisle, claiming to be the grandchildren of the reclusive Edgar Morgan, who recently died at the age of 108.

From the beginning, Briana Dempsey has her doubts the Morgans are who and what they claim to be. She is, however, certain of one thing. Sebastian Morgan unnerves her in ways she's never experienced before. His skin is cold, his eyes are hypnotic, and he seems to have no heartbeat. Yet all she can feel when she's with him is an all-consuming fire that fills her with desire.

When a local woman is murdered and Briana is implicated because of her involvement with the Morgans, she must confront the truth about the mysterious man she has fallen in love with. Is he the lover of her dreams, or the architect of her nightmares?

Excerpt:

A pair of French doors opened onto a small patio overlooking the rock-strewn beach. Noticing her interest, Sebastian pushed them open and motioned her outside. Briana headed straight for the sand. He caught up to her as she made her way toward the water.

Finally, things were falling into place tonight. They were alone. The Morgans’ private beach was quiet and romantic. Even the weather was cooperating. The moon was glowing a vibrant amber, and the wind was blowing off the ocean, strong but pleasant.

Sebastian tilted his face and let the salty gusts tousle his hair. “Storm’s coming. I can feel it.”

Briana nodded. “Well, we get a lot of those in the spring. One of the bird-watchers at the motel told me the winds can get strong enough to blow tropical birds up here. Amazing, isn’t it? You might wake up to find a flamingo on your roof.”

“Unlikely, though appealing.” He smiled, but looked back as if to make sure. “So how do you like Morgan House, with or without rare ornithological specimens?”

“Makes me realize how small my own place is. I’d be embarrassed to show you around the way you just did for me.”

“Not at all. I would be delighted to be your guest.”

“You know…I feel I should do something for you, considering all you’ve done for Todd. I’m not much of a cook—my idea of a big meal is a frozen pizza—so I don’t quite dare to invite you for dinner.”

“A meal would not be necessary. I’d enjoy your company without any food at all.”

“That’s nice of you to say. Have you met many people since you got here?”

“Your brother and Ami were the first. Aside from you, though, none have been as memorable.”

Briana hoped the darkness obscured her hot blush. “This probably isn’t the easiest place to start over. Darkisle is one of those towns where everyone knows everyone else, as the old saying goes. If you haven’t lived here all your life, it can be tricky to fit in. Boredom is another issue. Fall and winter get pretty dreary, believe me.”

“Yet you choose to stay,” Sebastian observed.

“Mostly because I don’t know any other way of life. My family has lived here for generations, just like yours.” She paused as a sudden thought came to her. “I wonder if they knew each other, way back when.”

“An intriguing possibility.”

“I doubt my great-grandparents traveled in the same circles as yours. Still, it’s an amusing thought.”

“Quite.”

They had strayed close to the waves. The sand here felt wet and hard.

“I’m going to take off my shoes,” she said. “The water will destroy them.”

Sebastian watched her pull off her boots and socks and toss them as far as she could onto dry land. With a murmur of pleasure, she thrust her bare toes into the sand and burrowed them in deep.

“Do you like the water?” she asked Sebastian.

“I’m afraid not. I prefer to observe from a distance.”

“I can deal with boats as long as the waves aren’t too rough. But you’re right. Looking at it from here is perfectly fine.”

He murmured noncommittally and slid his hands into his pockets. Briana casually swung her gaze along the water and ended up staring right at him. There was no question which view pleased her more.

“You probably won’t mind spending the winter here. I get the feeling the isolation won’t bother you at all.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because you always seem so content, so self-assured. Like now. You look like someone who prefers being alone.”

He removed his hands from his pockets and gingerly stepped through the rocks, making his way cautiously toward her. He settled himself beside her, careful not to submerge his feet the way she had. “It may look that way because I am so used to being alone.”

“Then I’m wrong?”

“Not entirely. I admit I’ve spent most of my…existence…on my own. With solitude comes safety. You’ve probably discovered that for yourself.”

Briana nodded. “To some extent.”

“I won’t deny my interest in self-preservation. At times, it has become an obsession. I have desired it above everything else—money, position, even love. That particular door closed for me long ago. I made a conscious decision never to pry it open.”

“Why?”

He turned his face to the night sky, and Briana took the opportunity to study his profile. By now, everything about him had begun to arouse her: the firm, aristocratic planes of his cheekbones, the graceful way he moved, the controlled rhythms of his speech. He was utterly unlike any man she had ever met.

“Over the years, I’ve come up with a number of reasons. Perhaps I should call them justifications. No doubt some seemed legitimate, at least at the time. Strangely enough, at the moment I can’t remember a single one.”

“I’m glad to hear that.”

Suddenly, he fixed his eyes directly on hers. That she felt herself drawn into those mysterious, dark green depths came as no surprise. What she did find inexplicable was the giddiness that crept over her, the slight blurring of her own vision that accompanied his interest. She felt grateful for the solid rock beneath them.

“Sebastian,” she whispered. Her voice grew husky with need.

“Shh.”

She fell silent. The longer his gaze held hers, the more lightheaded she became. She didn’t move as his right hand came to rest on her shoulder, fingers stroking the side of her neck. The contact only intensified the need that swept through her with the force of a wave swamping the rock they perched on.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Announcing The Pen & Muse Book Trailer Contest!


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Think your book trailer has what it takes to win?


Put yourself up against the best out there!


Winner will win an 30 dollar gift card to Amazon.com!


Send your entry to thepenmuse(at)gmail.com, subject: BT Entry


Official Rules:


1) One book trailer per author.


2) Trailer link and title must be sent via email.


3) Trailers must be put up via Youtube.

4) You have until Jan. 8th to send your entry.



Voting Rules:


1) Votes will be counted via email.


2) One vote per person and per email. No multiple email accounts should try to vote over and over again.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Pen Interview: Discovering Her Wolfen Heritage with Missy Martine!

I had the pleasure to read Ms. Martine's Discovering Her Wolfen Heritage. Now for your pleasure I have brought her over for an interview. Please check our the book review here.

Enjoy!

~Denisse



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Tell us about yourself. Where are you from?

I was born and raised in the great state of Tennessee. I’m what you’d call a real, “Southern Belle”. Well, you might call me that if you’d had a few too many margaritas! I am from the south, raised mostly in Tennessee with small periods in Georgia and Mississippi, but I’m as far away as the typical “Southern Belle” as you can get. Aren’t they supposed to be dainty and demure, with quiet, enticing personalities? Well, there you go! It’s definitely not a description of me.
The first half of my life was pretty uneventful, with me following my childhood desire of becoming a nurse. I worked on the medical floor of a hospital for a few years, and then realized that I was more cut out for medical management than I was patient care. I followed this revelation by managing a medical supply house and DME supplier for over 12 years.


During this time I was unhappily married, and after twenty years finally got the courage and gumption to change my life entirely. I ended the unhappy marriage, and looked for ways to branch out professionally. You can’t imagine my surprise when I was introduced to the internet by a close friend, and almost immediately met this remarkably pushy, younger man. He bombarded me with romance, letters, phone calls and delivered roses until I finally gave in. He turned out to be the love of my life and we’ve been together for twelve years now. Even after all this time, he still fills my life with romantic gestures and passion.

When did you start to write? What inspires you?

I didn’t seriously begin writing until a couple of years ago, but I began playing at writing back in 2003. I was in the recovery process after suffering a series of strokes in 2002. The strokes had left me unable to communicate verbally for quite some time. It was a fluke that we figured out that I could type my thoughts, even when I couldn’t speak them. It was so frustrating, to know what I wanted to say in my head, but not be able to make the words come out my mouth.
I was unable to work in the medical field, or any other field, after the strokes. I was bored out of my mind, and began reading romance books by the dozens. I could lose myself in the stories, and take myself into other worlds, worlds where I didn’t have physical or mental limitations. It was great for a while, but it wasn’t enough for me. My loving husband could see that I was depressed, and needed a reason to carry on with my life. With that in his mind, he started goading me into writing my own book.


He was subtle about it, for the most part. I really didn’t take him too seriously. I’d never thought of myself as artistic, or creative. I had already left nursing before the strokes, and opened my own medical billing service. I might have eventually been able to go back to my business, but the stroke left me with problems with short-term memory. It’s a problem that will, forever keep me from working outside the home again. I ignored his ramblings until he said, “You really ought to try and write your own. You’ve certainly read enough of the silly things to know what’s required, or are you afraid of failing?” Boy, those were fighting words to me…LOL I couldn’t pass up that challenge, and I began working on “Table for Three.


I think that the idea that inspires me the most in my writing is telling stories about second-chance love. The books I read helped bring romance back into my life during a very bleak period. They helped me realize that there were reasons to go on. I wished that I’d been able to read them when I was trying to decide whether to end my first marriage or stick it out. It would have made my decision a lot easier. I’m inspired when I think that one of my books might convince someone who has given up on love that there could be a second chance for happiness in their future.

Tell us about the Wolfen Heritage Series? What brought it on? Do the characters resemble people you know?

“A Wolfen Heritage” trilogy is my debut into writing erotic, paranormal romance. It’s about two families of wolf shapeshifters. The main character of book one is Remus, an Alpha to his pack, and loving head of his family. He’s known, since she was a little girl, that Maddie is his mate. Unfortunately, Maddie and her brother were brought up in ignorance. They were never told about their own Wolfen heritage, and now they’re struggling to find their way in a world that’s totally foreign to them. It’s a wonderful story filled with romance, passion, suspense and comedy. There are even a couple of surprises to keep the readers interested in following on into the next book. It has a little something for everyone. Book one is called “Discovering Her Wolfen Heritage” and is available from Siren/Bookstand right now. Book two, “Denying His Wolfen Heritage” will be out early in 2010. You might find it interesting to watch the trailer for book one at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze39Y4ytiJo

I have to tell you that I was inspired to write my first shapeshifter book after I read Dana Marie Bell’s “Wallflower” in her “Halle Puma” series. Those books really blew me away! The characters are unforgettable, the story full of humor, suspense and passion. They are everything I love in a book. After reading it I was determined to create my own characters that might be just as appealing to other readers.

With the exception of my first book, “Table for Three”, I’ve never consciously designed a character to resemble anyone from real life. In “Table for Three”, Cass was in a twenty-year abusive marriage that she was finally able to escape from. She moves to start her life over and meets two younger men and gets a second chance at love. Are you seeing a pattern here ☺. She is loosely based on my own life. Did I forget to mention that my loving, romantic husband is quite a bit younger than me?? Just call me a cougar!

What are you currently, or looking to work on next?

I’m just finishing up book two in “A Wolfen Heritage” called “Denying His Wolfen Heritage”. The final book for this trilogy, “Changing Their Wolfen Heritage” is already outlined.
At the same time I’ve been working on the sequel to “Table for Three” called “Catch Her When She Falls.” I have received quite a few emails from readers asking if I was going to tell the story of one of my secondary characters, and that’s what this book is all about.
To keep everything fresh, I have to work on multiple projects. With that in mind, I’m also working on a shapeshifter, romantic suspense called “Screams on the Mountain.” There are outlines for a ménage, romantic thriller tentatively titled “She Wakes”, a romantic paranormal called “Passion from the Pen”, and a tearjerker called “Christmas in July”. As you can see, I’m a person who thrives on multi-tasking and 2010 is going to be a very, busy year for me.

What would your advice be to aspiring writers?

Give your characters life! I can’t tell you how important it is to develop the personalities of your characters before you begin. I know a lot of other writers will disagree with that, thinking it in some way inhibits them from making changes to them in the story. It’s just the opposite.

I use excel charts to create each of the main, and many of the secondary characters in each of my books. The outlines come first, so that I know what type of characters I need, and then I create them. I give them physical descriptions, personal backgrounds, and personality traits. It’s during the creation of these bios that I become personally acquainted with each and every one of them. Imagine how much easier the dialog flows when you know that John has an overbearing personality, with little sense of humor. He’s self-conscious about his weight, and secretly longs for the attention of his personal assistant. It’s easy to create the banter back and forth if you already know your character like a best friend. You’re able to get into their heads, and that’s something that’s not easy to do when you create them on the fly. It becomes a way to make your characters real to you, and to those who read your books.

What do you like to read?



I’m a very eclectic reader. I love mysteries, romantic suspense, erotic romantic fiction, paranormal erotic fiction, science fiction, and action adventure. I have to admit though, that erotic romance and erotic paranormal romance are my favorite.

What are your favorites?



Well for Action/Adventure I have always loved the Dirk Pitt novels by Clive Cussler. Robin Cook is great for hospital mystery/suspense, while nobody can beat the mysteries of Mary Higgins Clark.
For my romance books there are several, but topping the list is Leah Brooke. I was inspired to write my first book as a ménage after reading her “Desire for Three” in her “Desire, Oklahoma” series. Her books continue to be a great source of enjoyment to me. They were the original ones that truly brought romance back into my life after recovering from my strokes.

Other favorite romance authors include Diana Palmer. Her “Long Tall Texan” series is wonderful, and I have every one of them in either hardback or paperback. There’s Lacey Thorn, Lora Leigh, Maya Banks, Paige Tyler, Sandra Brown, LaVyrle Spencer, Sandy Sullivan, and last, but never least is Tymber Dalton.

For paranormal my favorites are Dana Marie Bell, LoribelleHunt, Stormy Glenn and Tianna Xander in no specific order. I’m also very fond of books by Annmarie McKenna, Bianca D’Arc, and Sandy Lynn.
Strange as it may sound, I’m also fond of reading M/M by Carol Lynne (her Cattle Valley Series is great!), and anything by D.J. Manly.
Any of these authors I’ve listed always have me first in line to buy their newest releases.

What is your favorite word? What is your least favorite word?

My favorite word is family. I didn’t have one growing up, and I yearned for one when I grew up and married. It was something that was never meant to be. I have my husband, but no children, parents, grandparents or anything like that. I have one sister, but we are ten years apart in age, and not close at all. Family is something I think a lot of people take for granted, and have no idea how much they would miss it if they didn’t have it.
My least favorite word is hopeless. I don’t believe there is such a thing, no matter what context you use the word in. Nothing is ever hopeless, no matter what you have been told, or what you might think. I’m living proof of that. I finally grew up to be a writer, after the age of fifty!


Thank you, Denisse, for allowing me to join you today for this chat. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to tell you all about myself, how vain does that sound..LOL I hope I’ve managed to spark some interest in your readers, enough that will send them to my website to check out the books I write, and maybe leave me a message in my guest book. You can find me at www.missymartine.com