Oct 10-17: Hawaii
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Oct 10-17: Hawaii
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
There is a lot of trust and cooperation required in the editor-author relationship. You are both working together to make the book as good as it can possibly be, and that can be a challenge if you have different visions for what the book should be. I've been very lucky in my first few years in this publishing biz. I've worked with four editors who have all been fabulous and delightful to work with - though they all have their own distinct working styles. They've helped me make my books better and occassionally even laughed at the corny jokes I tend to sneak into the margins during the editorial process.
I got to thinking recently, though, about the psychological imprinting aspect of an editorial relationship. (Cuz I'm a total nerd.) When an editor is the one who buys your book, the one who says "Yes, you are awesome!" you automatically have a wealth of warm fuzzies to start off that relationship. However, when the editor is handed you and your manuscript and assigned the task of editing you, even if they say "Hey, wow, this is awesome!" there is still an element of would they have bought this if it was their call? (Which, I realize, is kind of ridiculous because editors are not, to my knowledge, forced to work on books they don't like and there are other editors at these houses who can take over in case of major artistic differences, but still the thought lingers. Ridiculous though it may be.)
Gratitude is a powerful thing. I feel a particular attachment to my first editor (who has since left the company). Is that because she discovered me? Or because we just had such similar styles and tastes that we clicked wonderfully? Does "clicking" with your editor make the book better? I don't know, but if there is a difference, I'm betting it's slight. Can readers even tell when I've changed editors? I doubt it. (But if you want to guess in the comments section, just for fun, I'll confirm any correct answers.)
It's possible that too agreeable a relationship could even make a book worse - like the rockstar authors who seem to be edited less and less as they achieve greater and greater success, to the detriment of the final product. We need editors to be rigorous, but we also have to trust them enough to accept their input. It's a balancing act of ruthlessness and appreciation. I certainly don't envy editors having to walk that tightrope with headcases like us authors all the time. (Though I flatter myself that I'm a very well-adjusted headcase.)
I think it's important not to discount the touchy-feely side of the editor-agent relationship. It builds a sense of loyalty that extends to the publishing house. You know that saying they always throw around on The Apprentice (I think it's The Apprentice, I haven't watched that show since I lived in Chicago with a roommate who was obsessed with The Donald) where they say It isn't personal, it's just business. The thing is, with most businesses, it is personal. There is a personal element that can't be discounted. Not to say money and contract terms aren't important, but the peace of mind of a good working relationship can be a powerful draw when an author is considering where to target that next manuscript.
They're fascinating things, the editor-author relationships. No two alike. Intriguing in their diversity and nuance. And I do love me some nuance. Your thoughts?
Friday, September 24, 2010
Today at the Damned Scribbling Women blog, I'm giving an inside look into the three versions of Mara Leonard I went through in writing Serengeti Lightning before I finally found the one who was the perfect match for Michael. Come on by and check out the character cast offs who didn't make the cut.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Go here for details on how to enter (and win!). And enter quickly! This opportunity won't last. Only the first 100 entries will be considered and the contest ends Tuesday, Sept 21st at midnight EST. The clock is ticking, y'all, so enter, enter, enter!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
- Serengeti Lightning is currently #4 on the MBaM Bestseller list! (And if you're really a list junkie like myself, you can click around the site and check out the category bestseller lists - like the uber-sexy shape-shifter list which includes all three Serengeti novellas!)
- The Naked Detective is now available for pre-order at Amazon! Psychics! Public nudity! Stolen gems! Studly Feds! What more could you ask for in a rollicking ride of a novella? Click now and in the middle of the night on November 16th, the Kindle elves will sneak into your house and insert the Karmic Consultant-y goodness onto your digital bookshelf. Long live the Kindle elves!
- And... we're keeping the original title for my December angels & demons release! So when I said to look for "a book by me" from Carina Press Dec 6th? Now I can officially command my reader-minions to seek out No Angel, the first story in a new world where angels and demons rub elbows with movie stars and politicians. And where Christmas morning takes on a whole new meaning...
Are you psyched? Cuz me? I'm psyched.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Is that, or is that not, a gorgeous cover, ladies and gentlemen?
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
What are your most and least favorite things about being a part of the Three Rocks Pride?
Friday, September 10, 2010
- The Brilliant Minds behind the Nine Naughty Novelists have launched a serial novel on their blog (and they're giving away a nook, too!). The Zillionaire Vampire Cowboy's Secret Werewolf Babies premiered yesterday to rave reviews. Check it out! (And don't forget to enter to win that nook!)
- In the classic tradition of Old Skool romance, Smart Bitches guest reviewer "redheadedgirl" posted the funniest spoilerific review I've read in an age. Surrender to the Night, darlings. And surrender to the laughter. Here's the link. (I feel I should confess as I was linking this I actually shouted "Link me up, Scottie!" at my computer. Yep, I'm a nerd.)
**I almost forgot to mention! I'm giving away a Serengeti Lightning ARC today on Twitter. Just use the hashtag #serengetiARC by 10pm EST to be entered to win! Good luck!**
And if the title wasn't enough to get you over to the Naughty Nine, check out their rockin' book trailer!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
(Ab-tastic picture included because I have that exercise ball! Hunk Not Included.)
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Can I get a woot woot, folks?
November 16th we meet the next Karmic Consultant, Ciara Liung, a young lady with a penchant for nudity and finding stolen jewels. Behold! The nakedness: http://samhainpublishing.com/coming/the-naked-detective (And if you click through, I do believe there is even an excerpt link all fired up and ready to be read...)
In a little over two months, the Atlantic City adventure begins. Are you ready to get naked?
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
It's funny to me how I find myself boiling the story down to a single access point. Serengeti Lightning has shades of a bunch of different elements - the feeling that you're running out of time to have the life you want, the willingness to take risks with your heart, the strength involved in letting yourself be vulnerable, the dichotemy between what we think we want and what we really need, gender roles, steamy sexxing in a public place, and all the Happily Ever After you can handle.
But with all that to gab about, I seem to keep talking about one element of the book over and over and over again. Older woman, younger man.
An author friend commented to me recently that she also had an older woman/younger man story coming out in the next year. We talked briefly about how different the stories were likely to be - give any two authors the same premise and just watch how completely different the results are.
It got me thinking of all the variations on that cougar theme. The older woman could be in a position of power, the younger man a plaything. The older woman could be afraid of feeling old, the younger man a shot of youthful vitality to her system. Or it could be just a couple with an age difference creating issues they have to come. The dynamics can shift in so many different directions. It all depends on the characters, I think.
My particular cougar story falls mostly into the last category, but there are hints of the first two. Mara thinks she can discount Michael as husband-material because of his age, but she has never been more wrong.
Do you like age difference stories? Do you have a favorite angle on the theme that you like to see?
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Love can be a force of nature.
Serengeti Shifters, Book 3
Mara Leonard is through hitting the snooze button on her biological clock. The Three Rocks Pride schoolteacher is ready to get serious about starting a family, and she needs a serious man to make that happen.
Regrettably, that means crossing less-than-serious Michael Minor off her list of potential mates. Michael is impulsive and passionate, but his spontaneity leaks into shapeshifting whenever his emotions run high—a tendency he should have outgrown long ago. As a sex buddy, he’s delicious. Daddy material? Disqualified.
Michael is blindsided by Mara’s rejection. Nine years separate them, and his genetic malady means no one in the pride treats him as an adult. But if she thinks he’ll simply slink away to lick his wounds while she steps into the arms of another man, she has seriously underestimated him.
The tricky part will be convincing his over-analytical lover that he’s more than a disposable sex toy. That real bravery means tearing up her damn checklist and following her heart. And doing it without letting their explosive sexual chemistry expose the Pride’s secrets to the outside world.
Warning: This book features break-up sex, make-up sex, a lioness who’s a cougar and a hot young lion who’s grown up in all the right ways. Note: All electrical shocks are purely metaphorical.
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
On cue, the door squeaked open behind her and her breath caught. The hairs on the back of Mara’s neck stood to attention. She didn’t need to look to know who had just walked in. The temperature of the room escalated until Mara was tempted to press the ice-cold glass against her temple. She swirled the amber liquid in the tumbler, her eyes locked on the glass. She refused to look at him, but her breathing quickened as her sharp ears picked out the sound of him prowling up behind her. All thought of lists, plans and break-up speeches flew from her mind.
His voice was a delicious rumble. She felt it like a hand, stroking from her nape to the base of her spine. Mara tightened her fingers on the cool glass, focusing on the tactile sensation to keep from melting into a puddle of hormones at his feet. “You’re late.”
Muscular arms appeared on either side of her, caging her between the heat of his body at her back and the unyielding wood of the bar at her front. “Sorry, gorgeous. Unavoidable. I got held up.”
He was so close. The warmth of his breath carried the words to caress the skin of her neck. Mara couldn’t have suppressed her reaction even if she wanted to. A shiver snaked down her spine. Goose bumps leapt up on her forearms. She set the whiskey glass back on the bar before she dropped it—or crushed it in her grip, no longer sure of her ability to control her leonine strength.
She braced her hands on the chipped wood of the bar. Her fingers flexed and gripped the wood as she fought against the instinctive urge to press back against the firm wall of his chest. She so rarely resisted anything where Michael was concerned, throwing herself into each moment. Coyness and playful obstinacy provided a delicious novelty.
“You know I would never keep you waiting if I could help it,” he continued, the words stroking against her skin.
Her eyes fell closed at the slumberous intent in his voice. Heat pooled low in her belly. God, to think he hadn’t even touched her yet.
Just the thought of his touch was enough. Her mind provided a thousand vivid images of his hands on her, half memory, half fantasy. She knew his touch, inside and out. She could almost feel his fingers probing her slick folds. Her thighs clenched on another rush of wet heat.
He inhaled sharply and she knew he’d scented her reaction. “Am I forgiven?” he asked against her neck. The whisper-soft brush of his mouth was the only point of contact between their bodies, but she felt him on every inch of her skin.
Mara’s breath shuddered out. “Just this once,” she whispered, too hungry for him to be mortified that he’d reduced her to panting need in the span of a minute and a half.
“Good.” His mouth curved in a smile against her throat. He pressed a quick kiss to her pulse point. Then his heat shifted, drawing away from her abruptly as his arms released her from the cage of his body. Mara bit her lip to keep from moaning at the loss.
Michael snagged the barstool next to hers and dragged it closer. He didn’t so much sit on it as lean against it, keeping his body angled toward hers. His eyes dropped to her legs and his lips quirked in a little smile to let her know he appreciated the view.
She kept still, turning only her head to meet the wicked sparkle in his bright blue eyes. Landon, the pride’s Alpha, looked like a lion even in human form—all tawny golds and browns. Not Michael. His hair was nearly black, his eyes a striking pale blue.
Mara’s own feline pelt was the exact shade of her not-quite-dark-enough-to-be-brown hair, her eyes a greeny-brown that would have looked at home on any feline. When Michael walked as a lion, his mane was nearly as dark as his hair, which was unusual but not unheard of among lions.
It was his eyes that stood out. The pale, crisp blue looked unnervingly human in his leonine face.
At one time, Mara had wondered whether the oddly human appearance of his lion form was part of why he had such difficulty drawing a line between the human and feline aspects of himself. The animal was so much stronger in Michael than in any other shifter she’d ever met. At first, that animalism had unnerved her. Now she found herself drawn to his wildness. Something she never would have expected, given her own rigid control.
He propped one muscled forearm on the bar in front of her and Mara’s eyes locked on it. She’d been surrounded by strong men her entire life. She didn’t know why the play of muscle beneath his sun-bronzed skin should be so hypnotically fascinating, but she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the visible evidence of his strength.
He scanned their less-than-impressive surrounds. “So this is your idea of a romantic night out, eh, gorgeous? You never cease to surprise me.”
Mara forced herself to focus on the playful words, rather than the heavy pulse of lust still throbbing in her veins. “You said you wanted a date. No one said anything about romance.”
He shrugged and her attention snagged on the play of muscles across his shoulders. Had he been working out? He’d always been strong, but now he was almost as heavily muscled as his brothers. The youngest Minor brother had finally grown into those divine shoulders. Mara licked her lips. Hallelujah.
“I thought the romance angle was implied. This is…rustic.” He coughed.
Mara followed his gaze. Rustic. That was putting it nicely. The Bar Nothing was a seedy meat-market on a good day. Wednesday was apparently not a good day.
The gloomy dive was populated by morose drunks at scarred tables, a chipped, almost-sanitary bar, and a battered jukebox which had been stuck on moaning country ballads ever since she walked in the door. He was right. It was a far cry from romantic.
Michael grimaced as he took in the pair of hard-drinking cowboys at a nearby table. “I feel like I’m on suicide watch.”
Mara couldn’t even contradict him. This place was damned depressing. And it was definitely killing the mood. The buzz of sexual friction faded as the miserable reality around them sank into her skin.
She felt like she was counting down the seconds to the death of their relationship. This was supposed to be their last hurrah. It couldn’t end like this.
Mara polished off the last mouthful of whiskey and set the empty glass on the bar. “Let’s go home. I don’t know why we’re here in the first place.”
Michael caught her barstool when she tried to spin away, spinning her back. “Hey, I’m taking my girl out for a good time. That’s why we’re here. And we’re going to have a good time.” He flashed her a grin, slathered in charm, and laid his hand, palm up, on the bar in front of her. “Come dance with me. We’ll make our own ambience.”
“One dance. Then I promise to take you straight back to the ranch and do unwholesome things to you all night long.”
A smile tugged at her mouth. “Promise?”
He grinned. “Scout’s honor, gorgeous. C’mon.”
Mara couldn’t work up much enthusiasm for swaying back and forth to the world’s most depressing country song in the world’s most depressing honky-tonk, but she took his hand anyway. She trailed her lover onto the uneven slab of floor in front of the jukebox that doubled as a dance floor and slipped naturally into his arms.
Two minutes ago she’d been ready to jump his bones and now she just felt tired. Michael was so damned charming. So determined to make their date a success.
He had no idea she was going to break up with him tonight. Guilt sliced through her, further souring her mood.
Not that he’d probably give a rat’s ass. But the thought of having that conversation—the one where she told him there would be no more sexual marathons and mind-blowing orgasms—weighed heavily in her stomach, like she’d swallowed a boulder of doubt.
She kept her distance, leaning back in the circle of his arms. No sense getting comfortable there. Those arms wouldn’t be wrapped around her for much longer.
But Michael didn’t know that.
“What’re you doing way over there?” he grumbled, hauling her closer. He tucked her tight against him, her breasts pressed against his chest, her thighs rubbing his firmly muscled legs as he swayed. The heat of his body enveloped her, his strength a warm contrast to her softness, and the boulder of doubt melted away.
She couldn’t think about tomorrow, or even later tonight. All she could do was feel him.
The man was sin incarnate. His strong arms wrapped around her, keeping her snug to his body as they rocked in time with the lazy drawling rhythm of the song. The music was more heartache than sex, but somehow in Michael’s arms it sounded like Let’s Get It On and Sexual Healing all rolled into one. Her body felt thick and warm, as if every molecule were heating and expanding, but at the same time lighter than air. If she weren’t holding onto his rock-hard biceps with both hands, she could have floated away.
The hand he curved into the small of her back began a slow, deliberate circle, teasing the upper flare of her ass, then retreating again. His erection rubbed her stomach, a promise of the night to come.
The last night.