Category Archives: Paranormal Romance

There’s No Time Like Fall!

TGIF!! Another Friday is upon us. Casey here.

Friends, I am so close to finishing the first draft of Mystic Hero, I can taste it!! And no, it’s not ready for anyone to read yet. So forgive me, as I don’t have a lot to say today. 

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While I finish, I’m sharing some of my favorite fall photographs taken over the last few years.

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Most of these are from Old Sturbridge Village. My happy place! Enjoy!

Yankee Candle, Deerfield MA

Where are your happy places? C’mon don’t be shy, share!!

Attack of the Back Cover Blob

Another Friday is upon us! Yay! Casey here. Just a reminder, it’s still not too late to enter my Goodreads Giveaway for a paperback copy of The Undead Space Initiative (don’t wait, it ends midnight on 2/28).

IMG_1581 I don’t know about anyone else, but I find writing back cover copy to be more daunting and frustrating then writing an entire novel.

After I completed Mystic Storm and submitted it to my editor, I realized I’d never written a short blurb about the story. Normally, I write a rough draft blurb before I start a book to save time later with the query process.

But since I didn’t have to query this time – Oops – @#%#  – totally forgot. What was I thinking?

In any case, I found myself scrambling to come up with those precious few sentences that would capture a reader’s attention and make them want to read more.

My first attempt. Pathetic. And this is only a part of it. There’s more and its utter crap!

It’s not easy being the God of the West Wind, especially after the Fates administer their own unique brand of punishment. Now, Zephyr must live a dual existence until he figures out how to break the curse. As if his life isn’t complicated enough, a Muse, Kalliope Parthenos arrives on his doorstep searching for her missing brother Niko. Inquisitive and damn sexy, she is one temptation he can’t afford to indulge. Not while he’s under a curse and forced to lie every step of the way.

Kalli’s been watching out for her irresponsible brother for as long as she can remember. Used to rescuing him various scrapes, this time he’s angered a witch and been transformed into a pig. If they fail to save him, he’s destined for the dinner plate and Zephyr may end up cursed for eternity.  

Bleck. I don’t like it. It doesn’t really scream romance and seems to be all about Niko. Plus it gives away a major plot point that doesn’t need to be stated yet (shh, don’tIMG_1594 tell anyone).

So I went back to the drawing board and asked myself the following questions.

1. Who is the hero? And who is the heroine?

2. What do they want when the story begins? Or what is their problem? Notice, not what they ultimately achieve or end up wanting later in the story.

3. What are their initial barriers? Or what do they have to lose?

I focused on what is happening in the first chapter or two because the idea is to entice the reader to want to read more. Not to give away the whole story. Kind of like a query letter. In fact, most of the time, I use the query letter as the back cover copy (minus all the “business” bits).

So what did I end up with?

The Fates haven’t been kind to Zephyr, God of the West Wind. After interfering in a Hero’s Journey, they’ve cursed him. Yeah, he probably deserved it. But come on, did he really have to spend his daylight hours trapped in the body of a woman? And did they have to take away his power over the West Wind too?

As if his life isn’t complicated enough, a Muse, the supernatural equivalent of a tabloid journalist, appears on his doorstep. So what if she’s irresistible, whip smart and probably the only female on the planet who doesn’t find him charming, he has dangerous secrets that he will do anything to protect.

Kalliope is a Muse on a mission: Find her wayward brother, Niko, and bring him home before the other Muses discover her mission. By leaving their island sanctuary, she’s broken the “rules”, but she’ll risk banishment to save him from yet another ill-fated scheme. She’ll even accept help from Zephyr, the immortal world’s most undeniably gorgeous and notorious rake.

Granted, this still needs streamlining and the approval of my editor, but it’s better than what I had before – nothing!

How do you write your back cover blurbs? And what tips or tricks do you have to share about your process?IMG_1622

The Selkie – Rosanna Leo

Happy Friday everyone. Casey here with a special guest. One day while I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I encountered this awesome cover.

That’s all it took for me to stop what I was doing and proceed to Amazon to check this book out. Two seconds into reading the first page, I was clicking the buy button. Shortly thereafter I read the entire book and loved it. This is a great story and a must read for paranormal fans or anyone who enjoys thrilling romances with mythical twists!

Rosanna and I connected through Goodreads where I immediately asked her to do a guest post for the Scribes. As you can tell from her words below, we have something in common – our love for mythological characters and paranormal romance.

Read on and don’t miss the excerpt!

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Thanks so much, Casey, for having me here today! What a thrill!

In deciding what to talk about today, I just knew it had to be mythology because Casey and I are both such mythology buffs. I have been since I’ve been able to read. Even as a small child, I gravitated to tales of vengeful gods, fantastic monsters and ancient curses. What’s not to love? Especially since most of those gods are rather dishy, in my opinion!

Of course, any myth lover will know the stories of ancient Greece and its pantheon of sexy gods. These were the tales that first inspired me to put pen to paper. My first 2 paranormal romances For the Love of a God and Sweet Hell are reinterpretations of the gods of love and wine, respectively.

However, I don’t draw the line at the Greeks. I love the mythology of ancient Britain too. My new release The Selkie draws upon one of these myths. They say in parts of Scotland that if a mortal woman is unsatisfied with her love life, she need only cry seven tears into the sea to call an immortal selkie man. He will love her as no mortal man can. Selkies are seal shape shifters who have the ability to shed their seal skins and walk as humans for great lengths of time on land. They are love genies, in a sense. If you manage to find and hide a selkie skin, that selkie is obliged to be your love slave! Not a bad deal, huh? This is the myth that forms the basis of my novel The Selkie. I hope you will get a chance to take a peek at it and explore this evocative mythology for yourself.

Blurb:

This was supposed to be her year. However, after losing her job and discovering her fiancé cheating, Maggie Collins has her doubts. When her grandmother dies, she hits rock bottom. Maggie travels to her grandmother’s home in Orkney, Scotland to sort through her gran’s things, only to discover the old woman has left her a seal pelt as her inheritance. She also learns that others are after the pelt.

To add to her frustration, Maggie’s dreams are filled with luscious images of a long-haired man, images that draw her to the magical beaches in Orkney. Although she’s lost her trust in men, this dream man inspires her with a lust she’s never known before.

Calan Kirk has also been dreaming. Dreaming of Maggie, the mortal woman who arouses him as no other woman ever has. Meeting her in the flesh when she arrives in Orkney is nothing short of spontaneous sexual combustion. But she is a human, and not to be trusted. He needs the seal pelt, not a red-haired temptress.

As a thief ransacks Maggie’s grandmother’s house, Maggie and Calan are thrust together. They must search for the animal skin, a mythical relic which once found, will either bring them together or rip them apart forever.

Excerpt: The Selkie

She continued to meander down the beach, taking the odd swig from a flask of brandy she’d pilfered from Nora’s stocked liquor cabinet. However, Maggie soon realized the real seal was following her. With each step she took, he glided through the water as if in step with her.

She nodded toward it. “You’re sweet, but I’m probably not the best playmate for you right now.”

She’d seen seals on the beach before with her gran. The locals were always pointing out spots where one could glimpse the sleek animals, or “selkies” as they called them. But this one seemed persistent. He seemed to stare back at her, with intensity. As a human would. As if he knew her.

As if he knew every inch of her skin, as well as its feel.

Maggie swallowed. Had she turned against men so definitively that she was turning to the animal kingdom?

And then she laughed at the ludicrous thought. She was grieving. For a lot of things. No wonder her brains felt just as scrambled as Liz’s breakfast eggs and just as dark as the black pudding she’d plopped on the plate next to them.

“Okay.” She relented, smiling at the seal. “Maybe some company might be nice.”

The animal bobbed in the water, as if in agreement. Maggie stared out at the beast, and was lost for a second in his brown eyes. She felt comforted, protected, by his vigilant presence.

For some reason, she felt she knew him, and that she was meant to be in this exact spot at this precise time. For a quick moment, she had the impression she was standing on the edge of a huge cliff, destined to tumble from its heights into the welcoming waves below.

For the first time in her life, Maggie experienced a peculiar sense of destiny.

Buy Links:

http://www.lsbooks.com/the-selkie-p698.php

http://www.amazon.com/The-Selkie-ebook/dp/B0095M6R7O/ref=la_B007X5P4I8_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347123491&sr=1-1

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-theselkie-930496-140.html

 About Rosanna:

Rosanna Leo is a multi-published author with Liquid Silver Books. She loves it when the geeky girl ends up with the hot guy and has made it her mission to see this happen as much as possible in her books. Her favorite things are her family, dusty libraries and Nutella. She is the author of For the Love of a God, Up In Flames, Sweet Hell, The Selkie and the upcoming Sunburn.

www.facebook.com/rleoauthor1

www.twitter.com/LeoRosanna

www.goodreads.com/author/show/5826852.Rosanna_Leo

Thanks for being our guest today Rosanna! Scribes fans if you have questions or comments for Rosanna -Fire away!

Also, what is your favorite tale from mythology?

Amish Vampires, Oh My! Leanna Ellis & Her Scary Tale of Stepping out of her Market

Happy Sunday, Katy Lee here. Last October on this day, the Northeast was under 2 feet of snow with no electricity. This year we await a hurricane, hoping Halloween isn’t canceled AGAIN! Because of the loss of power last year, my special guest, Leanna Ellis missed out on all the Scribes’ readers. So she is here again this year to chat with you all.

Let’s hope the power stays on this time.

Now last year, her release, Plain Fear: Forsaken, an Amish vampire story hit the shelves. Now this year, Leanna has a second release in her Plain Fear series. Forbidden. As an Inspirational writer, there are pretty strict guidelines to follow when writing for this market. One of them being, absolutely no vampires. But Leanna had these stories to tell, so what was she to do?

Here she is to tell you about it. So please give Leanna a warm welcome!

Happy Halloween! Oops! Did I say something wrong? Did you know that little phrase can be fairly controversial? There are certain camps regarding Halloween.There are those who embrace the holiday with all the gore and such and drape their houses in cobwebs. Then you’ve got those who allow their kids to dress up and enjoy the candy but no gory or other-worldly costumes. Then there’s the group that shuns the holiday because of its roots in paganism. So I didn’t mean to offend anyone by saying ‘Happy Halloween,’ but I just meant it as a friendly greeting. Like Halloween, we each have to figure out what is right for us and what is right for our families. And this is true in writing too.

In light of all of that, it seems very appropriate to discuss my novel, Plain Fear: Forsaken, which is a bit like Halloween, somewhat controversial. Some people may love the idea. Others may withhold judgment until they’ve heard more about it or even read it. And others will shun it just because of the subject matter. Just last week, I received this great review where the reviewer said, “Plain Fear Forsaken is a book that screams to be opened. It offers a fresh portrayal of vampires and their complex world, while taking readers on a journey of love and heartbreaking loss. This haunting tale is wonderfully written, with such intensity that you will not put it down.” Obviously a really nice review. Within an hour, I received an email from a reader who called my book, “Evil.” Did they read the same book? Apparently. But like Halloween, it’s not for every reader and it was a risk to write it, much less publish it.

Amish and vampires? Really? Yes, really. I’m asked a lot how this book came into being. Forsaken actually began as a joke. I was at a book signing and another author and I made a joke about we should write an Amish/vampire story because those were the two genres that were selling incredibly well. It really was a joke. I didn’t rush home and start writing the book. But I suppose some seed was planted in my warped little brain and took root. Soon a character was speaking to me about her story and wanting me to write it. But I resisted. However, there was a very intriguing element that I couldn’t seem to ignore. To me, this was a Phantom of the Opera type story, with a love triangle, and a clear dividing line between good and evil. So just playing around with the story idea, I wrote the prologue and first chapter. Then I set it aside because I was busy meeting other deadlines. Besides what was I to do with an Amish/vampire story?

Really, where would an Amish/vampire story ever fit? I was writing in the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) where Amish is very popular. Why couldn’t I write a traditional Amish book? Well, that’s just not how my brain works. I mentioned my story idea eventually to a couple of writer friends. They laughed but in a good way and encouraged me to write it. Well, I wasn’t so sure.

However, I was becoming obsessed with the story and very passionate when I spoke about it to anyone. I spent a lot of time in prayer over this book, because I didn’t want to write something that God didn’t want me to write. Also, I knew I’d have to leave the Christian market and sell it in the secular market. I wasn’t about to make that move without God’s clear direction. He began to show me in more ways than one that this was the book He wanted me to write.

More than a year passed, and I was at a writer’s conference minding my own business and not pursuing this story at all. An editor said the perfect submission would be…you guessed it! An Amish/vampire story. So I made an appointment to meet that editor and just talk about the idea. It almost felt like when an addict first admits she has a problem. I felt like I was teetering on the edge when I said, “I’m a writer and I’ve written an Amish/vampire story.” Well, she requested it.

Then I had to tell my agent about it. Thankfully, my agent loves the way my brain works. I caught her at the same conference and whispered to her that I’d had a request for a book I hadn’t even told her about. When I said, “Amish/vampire,” she laughed out loud in a joyful way. Gotta love an agent like that.

After she had read the prologue and first chapter, we had some serious discussions about ABA or CBA (secular or inspirational) and adult market or young adult. We both felt that in order to have a book about good versus evil, you have to be able to show evil and in the inspirational market I would be hindered in that way. I was once told that I couldn’t have a character say ‘pee.’ Really. Also, my agent and I decided that even though the heroine was young, the topics were adult. In YA novels, the characters are often in school and dealing with issues teenagers deal with. But in the Amish world, kids stop going to school at age 14. They’re making big decisions about their life much earlier than Englisch teenagers.

So began the submission process. Some editors got it, and some didn’t see how the two genres could ever be combined. Thankfully, Sourcebooks had a visionary editor, Peter Lynch who got it and gave Forsaken a chance. It’s honestly been great working with him, and I know God led me to this publisher.

What I love about this story is that it shows the battle of good and evil. Yep, I guess that reader did get part of the theme of the book. Evil doesn’t always appear with pitchfork and horns though. Quite often, evil is appealing and attractive and hooks us in before we realize what has happened. Such is the case with my heroine Hannah. She simply loved a boy. But she opens her heart and her mind too easily and the consequences could be devastating. Even though this story is published in the secular world, it has a powerful spiritual message, a message the world needs to hear.

In Plain Fear: Forsaken, Hannah Schmidt, a young Amish woman mourning the mysterious death of her beloved Jacob, must decide between two brothers, between good and evil. When she learns her first love is now the vampire Akiva, she must forsake him and cling to a new love, a lasting love, one that will save her soul.

To read an excerpt, click here. And now also available is the sequel:

Plain Fear: Forbidden Rachel Schmidt Nussbaum, a young Amishwidow, is now seven-and-a-half months pregnant with her first child. She blamesherself for her husband Josef’s death, and believes she is being punished byGod for her past sins.
So when a stranger arrives claimingto be an old friend from her wilder years, saying only she can fix things forhim, for Josef, and for herself, she makes an impulsive decision to follow him.It is a decision that will send Rachel on a dangerous journey—one that willlead her to the depths of ultimate danger, the potential for new love, and abattle that will decide both the fate of her soul and the life of her unbornchild.

Winner of the National Readers Choice Award, Leanna Ellis writes women’s fiction. Known for her quirky characters and wacky plots, don’t let the quirkiness fool you as Ellis probes deep in the heart and plucks at the heartstrings. She lives deep in the heart ofTexas with her husband and children and an assortment of dogs and cats, including her crazy labradoodle, aka Hilo Monster, and her new kitten, Sawyer.

To keep in touch with Leanna, you can find her at:

www.leannaellis.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Leanna-Ellis/49487472434

Leanna, thank you so much for sharing how Plain Fear: Forsaken and Forbidden came to be. Stepping out of your market can really be a scary thing to do. It’s a risk we are glad you took.

Writing a Prequel By Lisa Kessler

Happy Friday everyone. Casey here. I am so thrilled to welcome back Lisa Kessler as our guest to discuss prequels. I know I’m excited to get my hands on this story. If you haven’t checked out Lisa’s paranormal romance novel, Night Walker, now is a great time to explore her world!

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Hi everyone –

Thanks so much to Casey for inviting me to visit with the 7 scribes today!

I’m really excited because my new release, Night Thief, is now available! It’s a prequel to Night Walker, and writing it was an interesting experience.

The main characters, Kane and Rita, play a major role in Night Demon (Book 2) which was already written and turned into my publisher. So when I started writing this prequel novella, I had a few plot points I knew I had to hit.

Based on the timeline of the other book, I knew they met in 1840 in Paris. I also knew how the relationship needed to conclude. Without giving away any spoilers, this was where the writing of the prequel got interesting.

As I got closer to the end of the novella, my heroine was not excited about becoming immortal. Not at all in fact. My palms started to sweat that I wasn’t going to be able to make it all come together! LOL

I’m happy to report that she finally came around, but it took rewriting a chunk of the novella and adding a few thousand words. Shew!  Now I understand how tough it must have been for George Lucas to get those Star Wars prequels to gel with his first three movies.

So I thought I’d ask you…  Have you ever written a prequel after the other novels were already complete?  What was the experience like for you?

Thanks again for having me on the blog, Casey!

Lisa

Twitter

Facebook

Lisa’s Blog

Lisa’s Lair website

Here’s the blurb for Night Thief…

After the fall of the Mayan civilization, Kane, an immortal Night Walker, has taken refuge in France for over 800 years. The modern world holds little interest for him until the night he meets the Golden Thief and is robbed of much more than his pocket watch.

Marguerite Rousseau is living a double life. By day she is the assistant to an eccentric French artist, Antoine Berjon, and by night she dons elegant evening gowns to woo French dignitaries before lifting their wallets.

Sparks ignite when Kane captures the thief, but Marguerite harbors a dark secret that could ruin them both.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Night-Thief-Novella-ebook/dp/B009J7PC4O/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/night-thief-lisa-kessler/1113064536?ean=2940015511499

Thanks for being our guest Lisa! If you have questions for Lisa, please ask.

Scribes fans, anyone considering writing a prequel or a novella?

Scents and Sensibility

Happy Friday everyone! Casey here with more writing tips to share.

One piece of advice that new writers (and even non-newbies) hear frequently is – “Use the five senses.” This is a corollary to “show, don’t tell.”  If you want to show, not tell, then one of the ways to do that is to use the five senses.

We all know what the five senses are: taste, touch, hearing, smell, and sight. But how does one seamlessly incorporate the senses into writing?

1. Be in the moment. One of my favorite techniques is to think in first person, even if the book is in third person. If your character walks into a room, ask yourself – what does he or she see? What do they hear? What do they smell? Now, you do not have to incorporate all three of these senses in the scene. Only if they are relevant (more on that later.)

Cherry Cordial, The Undead Space Initiative, taking a good look at Ian McDevitt.

Not wanting to look at his tempting neck again, I stared at his hands instead. Big mistake. Long tapered fingers, smooth palms, and a crescent shaped scar between his thumb and forefinger. I like a man with big strong hands.

2. Use the sense or senses, that fit the scene. Writing a love scene? Then that is a place where you might want to concentrate more on touch, taste, smell. But don’t forget sounds and sight can be sensual too. This is the place for silken skin, a lover’s sigh or the coppery glint of firelight in the heroine’s hair. You get the picture!

From Misfortune Cookie:

“Gabriel, this is so good. I haven’t had anything like this since my grandmother’s.” The flaky crust melted in my mouth. Tart apples, perfectly tender and coated with cinnamon and spices exploded with flavor. And the ice cream, so thick and creamy, had to be homemade.

3. Use the senses well and with restraint. It’s easy to go a little crazy and over describe! Overuse of the five senses can cause your reader to put the book down. Also, use them logically. If it’s an action scene, then your heroine or hero is unlikely to stop and take the time to wax poetic about a particular sight or smell. But maybe, they’ve been injured and they can taste the metallic tang of blood in their mouth. Or there is a sound that gets your heroine’s attention.

From The Undead Space Initiative:

Meaty thwacks rang out in the alley as I passed by.

Do not look.

A soft oomph, followed by a clipped English accent, “Try that again, bastards.”

4. Make or find lists of five senses words. And steer clear of the over-used ones if you can. I see this a lot in paranormals- all the alpha males smell like “dark spices.” This is also true in love scenes where it’s easy to overdo the “colorful words” and start using euphemisms instead aka purple prose!

From Mystic Ink:

Heat pressed against his side, comforting him. When he wrapped his arm
around the warmth, a feminine sigh escaped.

5. Look for places where you’re telling and not showing. If you have –  he smelled cookies, then replace it with how the cookies smelled.

From Mystic Ink:

A sultry summer breeze drifted by, carrying the sickening sweet scent of decay mixed with salt water from the nearby Mystic River. She wrinkled her nose. The heat wasn’t doing the corpse any favors either. The wind reversed. Cinnamon and warm dough from the bakery next door wiped away the stench.

You can always add the five senses in after you complete the first draft. If you find it’s hanging you up while writing, skip them and come back to it in editing.

Practice exercise: Observe the photo below and apply the fives senses. (Yes. These are my cupcakes of doom. Those of you who have tasted them have a leg up! Hopefully you liked them!).

Remember this is practice, no input from The Doubt Monster allowed.

Happy writing everyone! What are your tips for using the five senses? And if you have questions, ask away!

Speaking of senses, over at my blog, I share a recipe – Galloping Goulash!

Scrabble Withdrawal

Greetings! Suze here. I’ve got a problem. A withdrawal problem. My drug of choice? Online Scrabble.

For months now I’ve been playing online Scrabble, pretty much every day. Now, I’ve been good. Seriously. I’ve limited myself to playing with only a few people–my sister, Aunt Nancy, and a couple of friends. I could easily be playing Scrabble all day long with everybody I know, plus random strangers, and I’d never get anything done. It reminds me of the endless Monopoly and Scrabble games said sister and I would play as kids when our parents would ditch us to go bowling or to play softball. We had our own rules, including double points for dirty words–unfortunately, the online version does not allow for this, and I always feel a litle sad when I have the letters for a particularly choice nugget and don’t get my bonus. Sigh.

Suddenly, there is no more Scrabble. I’ve heard the site was hacked. Hacked? Really? Don’t you computer hackers have anything more important to do, like uncover government conspiracies, expose criminals and bring them to justice, or steal precious artifacts from museums as part of some larger caper? You have to attack an innocent game that brings joy to so many people?

And yet, I can’t help but feel that this may have happened for a reason. A personal reason, that has unfortunately had wide-rippling consequences across the vast sea of Scrabble devotees. (Sorry, everyone!)

Right now I’m working on a story that has me out of my comfort zone. A paranormal romance novella, with zombies and everything. The idea came to me and seemed like so much fun, I couldn’t let it go. So for the time being, I’ve replaced my Scrabble habit with a zombie habit, and it seems to be working. The story is flowing. I’m on track to finish it by my target date. I’ve temporarily feng shuied (sp?) my life, and I rather like the results.

What about you? What’s your online game of choice? If you don’t play (gasp!), have you stepped out of your comfort zone recently?