Archive for August, 2010

The Witch Queen’s Secret: a Free Short Story from the Twilight of Avalon Universe

August 31, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 5 Comments →

In the shadow of King Arthur’s Britain, a young mother will need all her courage to save the Queen’s castle from the hands of a traitor…

Dera owes Britain’s former High Queen Isolde her life. But as an army harlot, the life she leads is one of degradation and often desperate danger, with small hope for the future either for Dera or for her small son.

Through a Britain torn by war with Saxon invaders, Dera makes her way to Dinas Emrys, last stronghold of Britain’s army, to beg Queen Isolde’s help once more. Isolde offers Dera a new life, both for herself and for her child. But when Dera and Isolde uncover a treasonous plot, Dera must leave her little boy and undertake a dangerous mission, the outcome of which comes to her as a stunning, but wonderful, surprise.

And as she risks her life, Dera also draws nearer to Queen Isolde’s most closely-guarded secret: one that Britain’s courageous witch-queen may be hiding even from herself.

Book cover image
Book cover image Hi! I’m Anna Elliott, author of the Twilight of Avalon Trilogy from Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone imprint. The second book in the trilogy, Dark Moon of Avalon, will be released Sept 14, and to celebrate, I am giving away The Witch Queen’s Secret, a short story set in the same universe and featuring a minor character from Book 1.To learn more, visit


About the Book

As an author, I fall in love with my secondary characters, and often feel a bit guilty that their story has to take a backseat to narrating my main characters’ journey. Dera, the salty-tongued army harlot, was my favorite secondary character in Twilight of Avalon, and she tugged on my conscience all the time I was writing the next two books of the trilogy. I couldn’t find a way to fit her into the story arc of either Dark Moon of Avalon or Sunrise of Avalon—and yet I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about her, wondering what happened to her and her little boy Jory after we left them at the end of Book 1. The story I imagined for her grew more and more real in my head, until I just had to write it down.

So here is Dera’s story. Chronologically, it takes place between Twilight and Dark Moon. But it is self-contained; you don’t have to have read any of the Trystan and Isolde books to understand The Witch Queen’s Secret. Whether you know Dera already from Twilight of Avalon or are completely new to the trilogy, I hope you’ll come to care about her as much as I do, and I hope you’ll enjoy watching Dera win the ending I always knew she deserved.


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Thanks so much to the Romance Junkies blog for having me and for helping me spread the word!



What an author DOESN’T know. . . .

August 30, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 20 Comments →

Cheryl BrooksHello! My name is Cheryl Brooks, author of the Cat Star Chronicles series of hot sci-fi romance. My newest release, Hero, has been out for about a month now, and whenever anyone asks me, “How’s it selling?” I have to admit that I have absolutely no idea. Yes, it’s gotten some very good reviews, and the ranking on Amazon has been encouraging, but until you get that royalty statement about a year later, an author truly doesn’t know–unless you’re the sort who badgers your editor to get the Book Scan numbers, and I tend not to do that. Call me a wuss if you will, but I bother my editor as little as possible.

Actually, publishing is such a team effort that there are a lot of things that an author has very little knowledge of, much less control over. I get emails all the time from readers asking me why a book isn’t on Kindle yet or when it will be available on such and such a site, and I have to refer those questions to my editor. Sometimes it takes a while to get a reply, because my editor has to ask someone else. I’d like to think that someone like Nora Roberts has all of this information at her fingertips and has some say in it, but mid-list authors like myself don’t. I have had some input on the covers, which I think is very important. After all, who knows better what a character looks like than the author? My chief input on the cover of Hero, however, was to tell them not to change it. It was perfect just as it was. Hero

Contrary to popular belief, most authors don’t have anyone to answer emails or write blogs for them, either. If you get an email reply from me, or see a blog posted, you can bet the farm that I’m the one who wrote it every word of it. I recently received an email from a reader who was astonished that I answered him (yes, it was a HIM!) so quickly, but then wanted to be sure it was really me responding to his email. Yes, I said, it really is me. Hero may be my sixth book, but I’m not so rich and famous that I have someone to answer my mail! To be honest, I’m not sure I’d share that job even if I was rich and famous, because I love interacting with readers via email and through their blog comments. I’ve made several friends that way, some that I hope to hang onto for a very long time.

Publicity is another aspect that is handled by the publisher. Sure, I can get a press release written (by Sourcebooks publicist, Danielle Jackson and the PR volunteer for my local RWA chapter), but I’m the one who checks them for accuracy. Then, unless I have a specific request, someone else decides where to send them, and also who gets the advance copies of the book to review. I may write every guest blog that appears during the promotional periods, but they are graciously lined up by Danielle.  I know a great many authors who don’t have anyone to do that for them, and I’m very grateful that we at Sourcebooks have Danielle working so hard for us.

Distribution is something else that we authors don’t know anything about. My local bookstore had 3 copies of Hero ordered, but another from the same chain in Texas had 8. No clue as to how that is decided, nor do I know how my publisher decides how many copies to print.

Sometimes the whys and wherefores of publishing are a mystery, even to those of us who are right in the middle of it. So, the next time you pick up a book and the tall, dark, and handsome hero is depicted on the cover as a blond, you can bet that the author wasn’t happy about it, either. After all, the only thing the author did was write the book. What happens after that is up to someone else.

Question for the day:

Say you’ve written a book; what is the one thing that you would most like to have control over?

Joy in the TBR pile

August 28, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News No Comments →

I’ve been reading a lot lately. I’ve caught up on some books that I had on my TBR – to be read – pile for a bit. The only problem… well not a problem except to my wallet. LOL. The books on my TBR pile are part of a series. Usually before I get a new series even if they are recommended to me I like to read the first in the series to see if I enjoy it. My TBR pile has a lot of first books in various series. Books I’ve been trying to get to. Now that I have I am longing for the next in the series.

Since I enjoyed the first one of about five different series I am now going to buy the rest in the series. The various authors backlist if you will. At the time I got the first books in the series I knew they were the beginning of a part of a series but it took me so long to get to them that the series is now a few books in. I’m ecstatic I don’t have to wait. I now can get a few books to read in the various series. I’m sort of impatient when it comes to waiting for the next in a series I love.

So with my reading I have been doing I now have some new authors to add to my TBL – to buy list – and some reading to do. (Eyeing my TBR pile) I spot a few more books I am going to be reading and if the cover is any indication I have some more buying coming in my future. I’ve had fun finding the joy in the TBR pile.

What are some good books you’ve read?

McKenna Jeffries
…. sensual, edgy, unexpected

Chat Group:
Free Reads Site: http:/ /

Conquering Jazz – What’s a woman to do when she unwittingly makes a tantalizing proposition to her best friend?

Be brazen, bold and set some ground rules. Her offer. One night of carnal bliss. No emotion allowed.

His counter offer. A continued affair to fulfill all their sexual cravings.

His hidden agenda. Conquer to make sure their affair never ends.

Buy here at Liquid Silver Book.

Enthralled or Enthusiastic?

August 25, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Contests, Latest News 10 Comments →



I have always been fascinated with the idea of women succumbing to the thrall of an intrinsically evil creature such as a vampire. It seems no matter her upbringing, ideals, inhibitions and/or sexual hang-ups the vampire can bend anyone to his will. Well, maybe not Buffy. Of course, it’s a no-brainer to blame the vampire. I mean, he is doing that hypno-erotic-enthrallment-thingy that always gets the gal no matter how much of a tight-a$$ she appears to be. Nevertheless, after much thought, coffee, and bags of Hershey Kisses, I refuse to buy into that lame excuse anymore. Extensive research (by a couple friends and me) confirms not everyone is subject to hypnosis (especially Jackie, who is still watching Days of Our Lives, despite repeated trips to Dr. Bobbie at the strip mall). Yet, that is what ol’ Drac is doing—slight of hand, eyeball, whatever. So, what is really at work here? Read on, and I will be glad to impart my theory, and then you decide for yourself.  All right, consider this–you are on a first date, and super-hunky Rafe/Colin/Antony, takes you out to dinner, clubbing, maybe a movie, or perhaps all three. He does everything right and you find the evening enjoyable. Then it’s time for the good night kiss—he lays one on you, puts everything into it, and manages to caress your tonsils with his tongue. Unfortunately, the chemistry is more a sputter than a sizzle. However, Mr. Hunky thinks it’s all good and asks for a second date. You let the man down easy with the I-want-to-stay-friends-let’s-go-to-lunch-sometime rhetoric slam the door in his face and decide a bottle of wine, Mr. Personal Massager, and thou, is the only constant in a substandard dating-life.

Of course, Hunky-Joe can’t take the rejection and begins shadowing your every move. One night after weeks of stalking you, he appears outside your bedroom window…at midnight…scratching his longish fingernails (ewww) on the glass demanding entrance. He insists he is your eternal lover completely convinced you return his affections, and if that doesn’t wilt your curls, he soon expresses a burning desire to sex you up, while draining your carotid artery.   Now, be honest, how would you react? You’d wear down the heels on your favorite stilettos doing a Carl Lewis all the way to the cop shop demanding twenty-four hour protection, a restraining order against the nut-job, and only after you purchased a nine millimeter Beretta with a back-up clip, and a German Shepard named Kills-Many, who responds to the attack command in several languages to include Lakota. Given the above, why would this same scenario prove irresistible with a vampire-type as the culprit? Here is my theory, and really, I can only speak for myself. If a sinfully sexy, cultured, wealthy, ageless, master-of-seduction decided his only requirement was moi, naked, and willing then I would have to say let the games begin! (No, Eric, no enthrallment necessary, no need to break a sweat babes, I’ll go with you willingly. Want me to drive? Hey, you coming or what?) Additionally, a vampire has a lot more than those four fabulous factors working in his favor. Most important, he comes without the bothersome, and sometimes oinkish qualities of the human male. Let’s face it, Dracula/Eric/Bill isn’t going to drop his dirty underwear on the bedroom floor within inches of the clothes hamper, or adjust his package in public. I’ve yet to read a book, or watch a movie where a vampire empties his pockets leaving coins, crumpled bills, gum wrappers, gas receipts, movie stubs, and wads of lint strewn over every available surface in the house possibly after swigging a beer, and/or burping open a door.Regrettably, most folklore/myths cast vampires like Eric Northman into nefarious roles. Admittedly, blood-exchanges, M/s relationships, as well as sexual obsession might drive a person insane (though the jury is still out on that last one). Still, as I ponder what to prepare for supper, fold my second basket of laundry, pick up after my husband, daughter, and two dogs, I have to ask myself this; really, how bad could insanity be?www.MarieMarch.comI have traveled the world, lived on two continents, and in eleven cities. I have met my childhood hero. I have worn a uniform during wartime, and flown an airplane. Two crazy cattle dogs, both of which I rescued from puppy prison, own me. Currently, I am living in the Midwest, but will be moving to Europe in the fall of 2010. Transylvania here I come! You can buy Marie’s e-books at Whispers Publishing, Red Rose Publishing, eXcessica publishing 

Priceless Family Moments

August 13, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 9 Comments →

Summer has been very busy. I’ve been playing tourist in my own city. I had family visiting so we’ve been taking in the sites. It has been fun seeing things I see in a new light. I love when my family is visiting. We tend to laugh, talk and just have fun. There has been moments in their visit I know I will always remember.

The laughter when I got my brother-in-law with a whopper of a zinger. He has a sharp wit and is great with zingers. My sister, nephew and I dancing around the living room while watching So You Think You Can Dance. We were grooving to the tune and dances. Laughing as we chatted about other moments we had in the pass. Like when my brother-in-law screamed on the roller coaster and the picture of that scream. My cousin who loves to argue good naturedly with me.

There are so many times I spend with my family. I appreciate all of them. All these moments were priceless family moments.

Taige Crenshaw
…increasing the sizzle factor

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Wilde Seduction – What happens when a woman who doesn’t know how to relax meets a man whose lust for life will change her and make all her deepest desires come to life?

Buy here at Total-E-Bound.

Write What You Know & Know What’s Right

August 09, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger 16 Comments →

Write What You Know & Know What’s Right

By:  Kerri Nelson

One of the common bits of writing advice that I’ve heard through the years is to “write what you know”.  So, if you write about law enforcement and the legal system (as I often do) it would certainly help to have experience with these areas.  I have a degree in this field as well as over 15 years work experience.

But what if you don’t have experience or knowledge of a certain aspect that you want to include in your novel?  What are you options for “making it right”?

Well, in my opinion, that’s really the best part of fiction.  To a certain extent you can totally create your own world with your own rules.  Of course, it helps to have some basic knowledge of your character’s job and/or the setting of your book.  If you find yourself struggling to produce a realistic book, here are some research ideas for you.

1.  Do online research.

Just be careful that you are using a reputable website.  If you really want to get your facts straight, there can be a plethora of information online these days but it may or may not be accurate.  Check and cross check. 

2.  Buy the book.

That’s right. Do a search on or visit your local bookstore and search for a reference book on the location or specialized job that you’re creating for your novel.  Books are still the best source of information on just about everything. 

3.  Borrow the book.

My husband actually suggested that I visit the library to do research for my Regency era romance recently.  I actually did a double take at his suggestion!  How easy it is to forget about FREE resources out there! 

4.  Take a class.

This is my personal fave idea (although, it can become highly addictive).  I’ve personally taken so many online classes that I couldn’t even give you a number.  Only a small percentage of those classes have actually yielded the perfect result for my quest.  However, I do teach several such classes myself (including one on adding legal and law enforcement elements to your novel) and I’ve been told by many class members that my experience shared has been invaluable.  So, for this suggestion, I recommend checking out the bio or credentials of the instructor for the particular class you’re considering before you sign up. 

5.  Ask an expert.

Now, this one may be more difficult to come by and may require a little ingenuity on your part.  But if you can find someone in the field that your researching (or someone who has visited the area you want to write about), it can be as simple as creating a custom interview for them to complete and return to you at their convenience. Or it can be as hands on as taking a patrol car ride along with the local law enforcement.   If you do go this route, be sure to write them a personal thank you note and if your book is published an included acknowledgement will go a long way to gaining more help in the future! 

Whatever method you choose for making your writing seem right, be sure to have fun.  Don’t be afraid to bend the rules a little.  After all, we are writing fiction and you should always strive to give your readers an escape from reality.

Good luck and happy research!

©  Kerri Nelson 2010

Kerri Nelson has always been passionate about reading books but when she wrote her first poem in the second grade, she discovered her love of writing.  At the age of sixteen, she became a columnist for her local newspaper as the high school correspondent for the weekly “Panther Tales” column.  She won the Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year Award for her efforts.After an education and career in the legal field, Kerri began to pen romantic suspense novels with a legal or law enforcement theme.  She is a true southern belle and comes complete with her dashing southern gentleman husband and three adorable children.  When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her baking homemade goodies for her family, feeding her addiction to blogging online or designing custom made book video advertisements (novel trailers).Kerri is an active member of Romance Writers of America as well as numerous Chapters including Hearts Through History Romance Writers, Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

Kerri is a multi-published author of romance in every genre from romantic suspense and paranormal to young adult and inspirational novels.  In 2009, Kerri wrote and sold twelve books to multiple publishers using her Book Factory method.  Her next paranormal romantic suspense Courting Demons will be released from Dorchester Publishing in 2011.

Kerri’s present book is Cross Check My Heart.

Read more about Kerri’s books at her website:

Come out and chat with Kerri at her blog:

Want to promote your work?  Play, learn and compete with other authors in the biz?  Visit Kerri’s industry blog here:

For the latest news and updates from Kerri, follow her on Twitter here:

The Perfect Storm and other small miracles

August 05, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 18 Comments →

Sometimes, the galaxy spins on its axis, or black hole or whatever, and all the stars align. The moon gleams in a cloudless sky, and turns night to day. Double-rainbows paint a rainy palette. You hit every green light on the way to work.

And sometimes a book that had no chance, finally gets its moment.

CJ Barry Author

I wrote Body Master many years ago as part of an anthology that didn’t quite gel.  I loved it, but the time simply was not right. There were other books to write, other contracts to fulfill, and years passed. When I found it in my files one day, my passion for that story was re-ignited for these two people—one human woman and one alien shapeshifter—walking down the streets of Manhattan on a mission that neither one of them wanted.  This was a story that needed to be told, but it would take a miracle.
Enter Fate.  I was given an agent who had faith in me, an editor and house that I’d always wanted to work for, and a market ripe for a story for the ages.

NYC with its amazing microcosm of humanity and underground labyrinth was the perfect setting. Seneca and Max with their ingrained and well-earned distrust for each other and shared loss were the perfect characters. Government secrets, hidden agendas, murderous intent, and betrayal was the perfect plot.

Body Master is the perfect storm.  It may never happen again, but for this miracle, I am grateful.


About the Book

Body Master cover art

Seneca Thomas is an agent with XCEL, a secret government taskforce charged with capturing the dangerous shapeshifters that have infiltrated New York City, passing for humans. Her Native American heritage gives her a special gift–the ability to see the shapeshifters for what they are.But when her partner is killed in the line of duty, Seneca finds herself teamed up with Max Dempsey–a shapeshifter. And when the pair discover a growing army of shifters gathering beneath the city, Seneca will have no choice but to trust the one man she shouldn’t.

Find out more about Body Master and read Chapter One


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How to get your hands on a copy

Berkley Trade Sensation
August 3, 2010
Paranormal Romance
ISBN-10:  042523455X
ISBN-13:  978-0425234556


About the Author

C.J. grew up reading science fiction novels, comic books, and her brother’s Cracked magazines. In high school, a creative writing teacher told her she should be a writer, but she decided to go to college instead. In college, a writing professor told her she should be a writer, but she decided to be a computer programmer instead. A husband, a cat and two kids later, an adult education teacher told her she should be a writer. She finally gave in, and after selling the first novel she ever wrote, decided that all those teachers were right. Seven novels later, she continues to bring her unique blend of high adventure and sizzling romance to her novels. C.J has won numerous awards for her novels, and is a member of the Romance Writers of America.



CJ Barry on Facebook




Writing Hell Yeah & Frying Okra!

August 02, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 13 Comments →


Good morning! Thank you for inviting me to make my first stop on my Hell, Yeah blog tour at your site. It’s a delight to be here. Let me hear a big hell, yeah from everyone who likes cowboys, sweet tea and hot biscuits. That’s not nearly loud enough, darlin’. I’ll put the microphone out there a little further. Now that’s more like it! I do love an enthusiastic bunch of readers. Now grab a glass of sweet tea, one of those hot biscuits and some fresh plum jelly and let’s talk about Hell, Yeah. 


Momma had me convinced that if I did not learn to make sweet tea, hot biscuits and fried okra that I could not get a marriage license and she wasn’t totally sure I could get into heaven. And that was not just passable tea, biscuits and fried okra either. It had to be as good as Momma’s. And in those days, it didn’t matter if you are going to apply for that marriage license above the Mason Dixon line or below it. The first question they ask after your name is where you were born. If you say Texas or anywhere in the south they tell you to go home and bring back sweet tea, biscuits and fried okra and then they’ll decide if you can have the license.

Writing Hell, Yeah was a lot like making fried okra. First rule is that you have to plant the seed and do some waiting for the plants to grow. I Love This Bar planted Cathy’s seed. She was already in the ground and ready to sprout when I started writing Hell, Yeah. She was going to produce a southern heroine with a kick ass attitude just as surely as an okra seed is going to produce okra and not tomatoes or peaches. And I knew that Travis was on his way to Mingus so he was sprouting like an okra plant in the hot sunshine in the story even before everyone else knew it. And he was going to produce a sexy cowboy hero with a big heart and a respect for southern women.

I’ll take another hell, yeah or two while I have a few sips of tea! Very good! Now you are really getting into it!

Then boom, Travis walked right across the Honky Tonk floor and kissed Cathy at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve and neither of them had ever seen the other before that moment. Dear hearts, that is symbolic of tossing okra that’s been rolled in cornmeal into sizzling grease. More than the Mason jars at the Tonk got steamed up in the fire set off by that kiss right there on the first pages of Hell, Yeah. In spite of the bitter cold north Texas wind, things heated up to the boiling point between the sexy cowboy and the sassy bartender.

Now the next thing when you are frying okra is that you can’t turn it too fast or often because it will get soggy, but if you don’t get it turned when the bottom layer is golden brown it will burn. Not even the possums and coons that come up in the back yard at night will eat burned okra and the folks at the marriage license place always ask, “did you ever burn the okra, let the tea boil over or horror of horrors, burn a biscuit?” If the answer is yes to any of the above then you’re sent back to your momma.

It’s the same with Cathy and Travis in Hell, Yeah! Turn it too quick and they would lose all interest in each other and the story would fizzle right there and they were so right for each other. Let the okra set in one spot too long and it would burn, which almost happened a few times when Cathy’s hot temper got the best of her better judgment. Or when everything heated up to the scorch stage and she wondered if they were just a flash in the pan with no substance to hold them in the tough times or if maybe, just maybe, she’d found the right man after all.

Patience is the crucial ingredient in frying okra. Don’t get in a hurry. Give it plenty of time. Cathy had to have some time to sort out her trust issues and decide if her roots in the Honky Tonk were more important than Travis. He wasn’t ready to trade his wings in for roots so he had to have some time for that. Will the okra be perfect? Will there be a happy ever after? Hell, Yeah holds the answers and I can’t wait for y’all to read it.

Tell me, would you learn to make good sweet tea, hot biscuits and fried okra for a chance at a cowboy like Travis? 


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