Thursday, January 28, 2010
Today I have erotic romance author Lissa Matthews guest blogging about her upcoming release, Sugar Rush. I also had the pleasure of interviewing Lissa Matthews and I had such fun reading Lissa's answers and I hope you all enjoy reading it here. Now onto Lissa's guest blog:
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First of all, I’d like to thank Phoebe for allowing me to visit and share about my newest book. Sugar Rush is my first novella from Loose Id. I can’t tell you all how excited I am about this release. It’s a contemporary male/female erotic romance centering around plus-sized heroine Jane and cowboy turned travel writer Graham. You might be wondering why I say Graham is a cowboy turned writer, well, he grew up on a ranch in Texas and though he looks very good in cowboy boots and cowboy hat, he couldn’t wait to get out of the Lone Star State, see other places, meet other people. He went off to college, developed a panache for older women, for finding great out of the way places. And yes, I did mention Jane being plus-sized. It’s a good healthy plus-sized. Believe it or not, healthy is very possible, as is fit. Jane is a pretty, perky, and has become quite the snarky woman. It’s not that she doesn’t like men; she’s just sworn them off for a while. Oh, and did I mention the truffles? Jane, along with her business partner Edward, makes truffles. Decadent dark chocolate truffles with just a hint of heat. I have been asked how this concept came about and well…I haven’t the foggiest. I have a thing for baking. I love it. I have posted several recipes and my friends know that when I get in a funk with my writing, I’ll bake. I wanted something other than cakes because well, I’d already had a cake baker in another book. And then, I got to thinking about what we do when we’re sad, moping, depressed. A lot of us reach for chocolate. We might reach for wine or coffee or a run, but a lot of us reach for chocolate. After being dumped, Jane is no different. She reached for the chocolate. This book was a lot of fun to write. I had a blast with Jane’s snarkiness. She feels vulnerable and because of that, she lashes out and Graham, he’s a trooper. He lets her get it out of her system, lets her come to terms with things on her own, yet he stays by her, even after she’s tossed him out. This book is set in winter in Colorado. Denver and the surrounding mountains. I fell in love with the area when I was there a few years ago. We went in February when there was snow on the ground, ice in the mountains, but it was so beautiful. We went up to Pike’s Peak, over to Breckenridge, up to the Rocky Mountain National Park. We drove everywhere, in every direction within a hundred mile radius. It was a blast and it was inspiration, though at the time, I didn’t realize it. I live in North Carolina and when possible, my family and I go over to the Blue Ridge Parkway and rent a cabin in the mountains. The one we rent is on a cul-de-sac and it’s at the end, overlooking a valley with a Christmas tree farm in the distance. Behind it are woods and a stream. It has a wrap around deck, a front porch, a loft, a big stone fireplace and it was the other part of the inspiration for this novella. Graham’s cabin has a pond and the one I saw in Colorado, located in a valley did as well. At the time, it was iced over and the smoke coming from the chimney, well…it should have been on a post card. I am usually inspired by music, but occasionally I am inspired by more…a person, a scene, a place. Sugar Rush was a combination of place and music. I listened to a ton of country music during the writing of the novella and it seemed to fit Graham. It took a few months to complete the writing. It usually does take at least a couple months for me to get things exactly how I want them before I submit to a publisher. I am OCD when it comes to self-editing though, I have improved a great deal, there is always a good amount of editing and revisions I go through. I want the books I write to be the best they can be as do my editors. Sugar Rush is no different. I love these characters and the setting of this book. It made me want to take a trip to Denver again soon and I think I will first chance the opportunity arises. I would like to see the area in spring. I hope everyone enjoys reading Sugar Rush and again, I want to thank Phoebe for having me here today. ~Lissa Blurb:
Sugar Rush by Lissa Matthews
Graham Hall is twenty-six and has a dream job as a travel writer. He’s come to Colorado for work and a little personal down time. With his article done and the six-month lease up on the small cabin in the valley, he’s stayed around until his next assignment. In a downtown Denver bar, Graham meets Edward and after a short conversation agrees to a blind date with Edward’s business partner, Jane. After all, what could it hurt? Jane is completely oblivious to the machinations of Edward and Graham and shows up at Graham’s cabin to deliver a box of handmade chocolate truffles. From the minute he opens the door, she falls head over heels in lust. A plus size, mid-thirties woman, Jane isn’t sure what Cowboy Surfer, as she’s dubbed him, sees in her or why he’s so tenacious in his pursuit and tries throwing him off at every turn. The inability to say continue saying ‘No’ leads to hot, scorching sex and a lot of follow-up phone calls opening Jane’s eyes to the realization that maybe life doesn’t have to revolve around chocolate truffles, but rather around a delicious well traveled younger man. Despite his Southern blood, Graham is quite taken with the beauty of the winter wonderland that is the Rocky Mountains. After he meets local candy maker Jane, he’s taken with lust and hunger for more than the chocolate truffles she’s perfected. But, is their heat hot enough to melt her cold defenses?
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Excerpt:       “What the…?” Graham stood with his arms braced against the window frame and watched the wobbling woman outside on his front walk. Dressed from head to toe in pink and white fluff, she carried a pink box with a dark brown bow and was wearing the most absurd shoes.       Snow had fallen the previous night, and the drive up the mountains would have been a little tricky. She looked like a ski bunny, albeit a rather curvy one. He didn’t do ski bunnies. Much as he liked outdoorsy, adventurous women, something about the winter resort crowd had never appealed to him. He preferred privacy and solitary mountain escapes with roaring fires.       She stepped onto the porch and lowered the hood of her jacket. Her hair was a rich, dark brown wavy mass that stopped at her shoulders, and her cheeks were rosy from the cold. She was muttering something between barely moving lips, then pasted on a dazzling smile, shook her head, and knocked on the door.       Graham opened it, swung it wide, and grinned down at her. “My oh my.” He let his gaze travel leisurely from the top of her tousled mane to her pointed toes. She was a delectable, pink confection, crazy-ass footwear and all. From her mumbling on the porch and her scrunched-up face to the moment she shook it off and gave his door the most beautiful smile, his cock had stirred in his jeans and he’d had a funny feeling in the pit of his stomach.       “Oh. Wow. I, ummm…I have a delivery for…” She fumbled in her coat pocket then pulled out a card, stealing small glances up at him as her cheeks reddened further. He would bet his next paycheck it wasn’t from the cold this time. “For a Mr. Graham Hall. Are you him?”       He gave it an exaggerated thought. “If I wasn’t, I would certainly lie and say I was.” She frowned. He grinned. “What are you delivering?”        “Huh? Oh. Ummm, candy. Truffles, to be exact.”       She couldn’t stop staring at him. Did she like what she saw? He sure as hell did. “I didn’t order any truffles.”       “You didn’t?”       “Nope. I don’t even remember the last time I ate candy.”       Her frown deepened, and her brows furrowed. It was all he could do to keep from pulling her against him so he could taste those pouty lips. She was adorable. “I’m sorry for the mistake, Mr. Hall.”       “Quite all right. Would you like to come in and warm up for a bit? I can make some coffee or hot chocolate. I might even have some marshmallows around here.”       “I…uh, no, thank you. I should get back to town and see about clearing this up. I am so, so sorry for bothering you.”       She wasn’t looking at him any longer. “You didn’t. Bother me, that is, and I really must insist that you come in and get warm. Your feet have got to be cold in those…those shoes.” He grimaced as he said the word and took her by the arm, ushering her inside before she could say no again. Besides, it was damn cold out there, and he was glad to have the door closed.       She eased her arm out of his grip then backed up against the door. “Really, this isn’t necessary. My car has a very good heater and…wait, what’s wrong with my shoes?” she asked, looking down and wiggling her toes, lifting her feet off the ground one by one as if trying to see what he found so distasteful.        “They’re nothing but two pieces of leather, a couple of strings, and a spike.” And would be much better suited to digging into my ass while you were on your back. He cleared his throat and tried his best to ignore the dirty thoughts running through his mind. He glared down at her feet rather than looking at her face, at her lush mouth, in her expressive eyes. “They are the most ridiculous things to be wearing while trudging through the snow. How in the hell do you even walk in those on a good day, much less when there’s ice covering the streets and sidewalks?”       “I…well, it wasn’t snowing in the city, and I didn’t know I would have to trudge through the snow, and I park inside a garage, so I didn’t have to walk on any icy streets or sidewalks. At least I didn’t until I got here. You should really shovel your walkway. It’s dangerous not knowing where one is walking.” Her mouth had tightened, and her eyes had narrowed in his direction. She was not happy with him or his comments, and he was falling all over it, seeing her spark. Her smile twisted him all up inside, and her irritation with him did too. He loved that she couldn’t hide her emotions, that she showed everything she was feeling.       “Common sense should have told you that you wouldn’t be taking a leisurely stroll once you got up here. We’re in the mountains in winter. You need snow shoes, not those,” he offered with a dismissive wave of his hand in the direction of her feet.       He was rewarded with a huff. She crossed her arms over her chest, boosting what little of her cleavage he could see from the small opening at the top of the zipper in her jacket. Yum.       “You know what? You said I hadn’t bothered you, but you’re not being very nice and over a pair of... Look, just because you don’t like them—”        “I don’t like them because you’re an accident waiting to happen. You wouldn’t have slipped on the ice if you’d had proper shoes on.”       Embarrassment flooded her neck with heightened color. For a second, he felt bad at revealing that he’d seen her come close to falling on her face in his front yard, but the feeling didn’t last long. She could have been seriously hurt had she fallen.       She set the box of chocolates on the table beside the door and depressed the latch behind her. “Have a nice afternoon, Mr. Hall. Keep the truffles. Give them to your neighbor, your girlfriend, or throw them out.”       She opened the door. He put his hand on it over her head and closed it back again. “Stop. Please. I’m sorry for insulting your choice of footwear.” She just looked at him over her shoulder, one brow lifted in a quizzical expression. “Come over to the fire. Take your…whatever they are off and warm yourself up before you go back out there.”       When he made to put his arm around her waist, she shrugged him off and moved out of reach, walking over to the couch. She wasn’t lithe and skinny, his candy delivery girl. The ski bunny outfit couldn’t hide the natural curves of her hips and ass.       She was all woman under that bundle of fabric.       She unlaced her shoes, and he heard her sigh with pleasure when she got them off. She stuck her feet out in front of her toward the fire and wiggled her pink-socked toes. There was nothing flirty or coquettish in her movements. He found that interesting. She wasn’t trying to come on to him; she wasn’t trying to entice him.       What a fun challenge she would be.       “I offered coffee or hot chocolate to you before. Would you like me to make some?”       “No, thanks. I’m fine.”       He joined her on the couch after picking up the box of chocolates and settled into the corner behind her. “Want one?” he asked, holding out the unopened box to her.       She shifted on the couch. “No, thanks.”       Graham shrugged to himself and untied the ribbon, lifting the lid. “Uh, honey? The—”       “My name is Jane.”       He grinned behind her. “All right. Well, Jane, there are no truffles in the box, there’s only r—”       “What!” She turned around and took the box from him, looking inside it herself, finding only small pebbles glued to the bottom of the decorative paper cups. “I’m gonna kill him. I am going to wrap his tie around his gay little neck and strangle his gay ass,” she muttered.
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To find out more about me and my books please visit my website, blog and Twitter.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Today I have the pleasure of interviewing erotic romance author Lissa Matthews and she will also be guest blogging about her upcoming release, Sugar Rush, on Thursday. I had such fun interviewing Lissa and I hope you all enjoy reading it here and don't forget to come back to read her guest blog which I'm sure you will all enjoy reading since she gives an insight into how she came to write her upcoming release, Sugar Rush. Now onto my interview with Lissa:
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Phoebe Jordan: When did you know that writing romance was going to be the thing that you would do with your life? Which author inspired you to start writing romance?


Lissa Matthews: I didn’t know I was going to be a writer. The things I wanted to do, or thought I would do weren’t part of whatever greater plan there was. I didn’t become a concert flautist or a composer an English teacher or the roadie for a rock band (no laughing now). I became a wife and mother and followed a path I thought I was supposed to in order to make everyone happy. I have realized in the last few years that what I want, what will make me happy, is not always in line with everyone else’s wishes. I became a writer a long time ago, when I was a kid, I just didn’t know I could become one. It came about as I was sitting on the couch one day reading The Bride by Julie Garwood. I devoured romance novels daily, usually more than one. I would stay up until well after midnight reading. I began to wonder as I was reading her book if I could do it. So, I gave it a shot, started writing short, flash fiction then longer free reads, and finally started longer pieces. I haven’t regretted any of it.


Phoebe: Did you know what type of romance you wanted to write about or did you experiment with different genres before you chose the one that you felt was for you?


Lissa: I knew exactly what type of romance I wanted to write. I wanted to write very sexy, very hot, erotic romance.


Phoebe: What was the first fiction you ever wrote? And do you still have it with you?


Lissa: The very first was a fan-fiction serial my friends and I wrote in middle school and high school. It was stuff we shouldn’t have been writing at that age. And I do still have part of it…after all these years.


Phoebe: How much research do you have to do for your novels and does it take you a long time to gather that research?


Lissa: I have written a lot from people I know, from my own personal experiences. I have written based on trips I have taken, things I have read, seen, done. Recently I have been doing a lot of reading for a new book I am writing based in Alaska, talking to people that live there, that have visited. I write some fetish lifestyle things as well that have come from the extensive research and personal experience I have.


Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your currently released novel, Educating Rose?


Educating Rose by Lissa MatthewsLissa: Jack, the hero in Educating Rose, was based on a man, a friend I know that is in BDSM lifestyle. He was kind enough to allow me to use him as a basis for Jack. I often see, hear, meet, learn of things that inspire me. Jack and Rose were part of such inspiration. The realness of Jack, of the pain he suffered, the realness of Rose and how she went about learning what she knew, what she wanted. It was a fun story to write.


Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your upcoming novel, Sugar Rush?


Lissa: It was based on a trip to Denver I took a number of years ago in February. I was completely taken by the beauty of everything; the mountains, the snow, the small town of Breckenridge, the city of Denver. We passed a small cabin in the woods on the way into the mountains and even though it was so long ago, I kept it in memory and it fell right into this book. There’s a cabin as well in western North Carolina that inspired the inside of Graham’s cabin. From there, everything just fell into place.


Phoebe: How do you come up with each of your characters for your novels?


Lissa: How do you choose their names out of so many names out there? I like strong solid names. Real names. I want real characters that look real, act real, come off the page real…not superhuman, not Hollywood beautiful and thin, not perfect, and because I want real, I like real names, traditional names in some cases.


Phoebe: Do you have a favorite character that you really enjoyed writing about in your currently released novel, Educating Rose? Did you have a character that you felt you could really relate to in your currently released novel, Educating Rose?


Lissa: I loved Jack. I truly loved Jack. And I could really relate to Rose. She’s got a love for books and she started her journey into the BDSM lifestyle much like I did, online. Reading, researching, learning, asking questions. Rose had someone come to her, offering to help her, teach her. It doesn’t usually happen that way in real life, but for the purpose of fiction, that’s how it happened for her.


Phoebe: Do you have a favorite character that you really enjoyed writing about in your upcoming novel, Sugar Rush? Did you have a character that you felt you could really relate to in your upcoming novel, Sugar Rush?


Lissa: I really enjoyed writing about all the characters. Edward, the business partner was especially fun. He’s got only the best interest at heart for Jane but she sees him as meddling. And again, of course, I could really relate to Jane in a few different ways. Her love of chocolate, she’s plus sized, she’s a smartass.


Phoebe: Do you have a process of how you start to write your novels?


Lissa: I plunge right in. I come to a decision about a storyline and I just start writing. I do as much as I can, going with my gut with as far as I can see the detail.


Phoebe: Have you ever considered writing a series or are writing stand alone novels your preference? How would writing each be different for you?


Lissa: Yes, I have considered and am embarking on a couple of series as we speak. One, a contemporary. The other, a paranormal shifter. It is a scary thing for me to consider, to do. It’s something new, something out of my comfort zone and while I am unsure how to do it exactly, I am looking forward to the challenge.


Phoebe: What process did you have to go through to get your first book published and did it take you long?


Sugar Rush by Lissa MatthewsLissa: I entered the Wicked contest Cobblestone Press had early 2008. Educating Rose was that entry and I was one of the finalists. After that, I started writing a lot, started submitting. Educating Rose was contracted in February of 2008 and published in August the same year. Since then, I have had releases with Phaze, Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, and now, Loose Id.


Phoebe: Do you ever get writers block? What do you do to get rid of it so you can get back to writing your novels?


Lissa: I don’t know if what I get is writer’s block, but I know I get stuck, frustrated, irritated. This is one of the reasons I like having at least two books going at the same time. When I get stuck on one, I can work on the other. By doing that, I can hopefully keep the writing juices flowing. It usually works.


Phoebe: What is your biggest reader pet peeve, if you have any? (stock characters, unresolved endings, predictability, everything wrapped up hurriedly in the end, etc.)


Lissa: Stock characters are one thing. Predictability, definitely. Every book sounding the same. A series that should have ended long ago. Bad editing.


Phoebe: Which aspects of writing do you enjoy the most and why? And what is your biggest writing pet peeve? (overuse of exclamation points, adverbs, bad guys named Wayne, etc.), if you have any?


Lissa: I love writing. All of it, even when I’m frustrated and stuck, I love it. I can’t think of a better job, of a better career. Now, if you’re talking about editing…grins. I could give you a whole LIST of things that are my pet peeves...


Phoebe: What is the one writing tool can you not live without?


Lissa: The thesaurus. I don’t write without it. Ever. Is coffee or chocolate considered a writing tool? If so, I can’t live without either of those either. And recently, my netbook. I bought it this past fall and I quickly became enamored of it. I have found it has helped me focus a great deal on my writing. It’s what I write on all the time now. Everything else, like interviews, website updates, most email, etc…is difficult to do for me on the netbook, but writing. I love writing on it and can’t do without it.


Phoebe: How do you handle your writing schedule and your personal life without going insane?


Lissa: I write primarily in the mornings. I have a set word count that I must meet every day. Once I meet it, I can get on to the other business of writing and my personal life. I home school my son and having that freedom helps a lot with scheduling my days.


Phoebe: What do you do to relax after having spent a long while writing? Do you have any hobbies?


Lissa: I walk on the Greenway Trails in Charlotte. I read, I crochet, I want to learn how to knit. I watch some television. And I cook. I love to cook, to bake. I play video games with my kids, go to rock concerts with my daughter, NASCAR races with my son. I have a lot of hobbies and things I enjoy doing.


Phoebe: Is there any advice that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?


Lissa: Patience. It’s all in that one word. And tenacity. Don’t give up.


Phoebe: Is there any writing tips, research tips, promotion and marketing tips that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?


Lissa: I actually have a really good friend that is a promo and marketing guru. She has helped me tremendously with learning websites, blogging (even though I’m still learning). Twitter is invaluable, as is Facebook, MySpace. I think one thing I would say is to remember what you say is seen by readers and industry professionals alike. What you say, how you act, how you treat others is all very visible and reflective. Bathtub crayons for ideas when paper isn’t available. Notebooks, pencils. Hit the before school sales. Excellent deals on all sorts of things. Markers, note cards, sticky notes. My friend I mentioned before got white boards for us. Large sheets of it from the home improvement store. It was cut in half and is perfect for plotting, outlining, or just doodling. Listen, learn, talk to other authors, read craft books, attend workshops. Never stop learning. Never stop thinking you have more to learn.


Phoebe: Do you have a favorite genre you like to read? Who is your favorite author(s)?


Lissa: I read a lot of male/male erotic romance, ménage, fetish, historical. Gosh, favorite authors? There are so many! Sierra Cartwright, Eden Bradley, M L Rhodes, Ava March, Samantha Kane and the writing team of Anna Leigh Keaton and Madison Layle. I’ve recently begun reading Juniper Bell, Selena Illyria, and Vivian Arend, and R.G. Alexander.


Phoebe: What are you reading now? And what do you plan to read after that?


Lissa: Currently, I am reading Eden Bradley’s Tempt Me Twice. After that, I plan to read Midnight Hour by Anna Leigh Keaton and Madison Layle.

Thursday, January 21, 2010
Today I have paranormal romance author Adrianne Brennan guest blogging and I've also had the pleasure of interviewing on here for a written interview this past Tuesday. I will be having the pleasure of chatting live with Adrianne on my TAMFA—Phoebe Jordan podcast on Friday, January 29th at 6PM to 7:30PM EST (5PM to 6PM CST / 3PM to 4:30PM PST) if you all want to stop by and listen in. Also I will be reviewing her currently released novel, Blood of the Dark Moon, the first book of her Dark Moon series so keep a look out for the review. Now onto Adrianne's guest blog:
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Blood of the Dark Moon began as a series of recurring dreams about a decade or so ago. Initially I wrote shorts based on them, including a lengthy sex scene involving two vampires having an argument then engaging in a hot, intense lovemaking session. That short was expanded to cover two chapters of what would become Blood of the Dark Moon. As a plot bunny, this one was the most intense. I actually scaled it down significantly for the book. I didn’t want to branch off into realms that would be considered to be more BDSM and less erotic romance. Additionally I wanted the main character to handle her transformation with difficulty at first, but find strength and personal growth at the end. It’s not so much a coming of age story as much as it is a finding yourself story. Too many people search for themselves in their partner and wonder why later they wind up being lost and unhappy. If Amanda, the main character of Blood of the Dark Moon wants a chance with her lover and sire, she’ll need to be happy with herself first. The entire book took me a year to write. I visited the West Village in NYC to get a feel for the backdrop, based the blues club on a local one I attended while I was there, and even included a scene in the book which was based on an incident that happened to me in a bar/restaurant in real life while I was there celebrating the completion of my manuscript. It’s been a labor of love, and I’ve been thrilled to see it released in eBook, ecstatic to find it now on Amazon.com in paperback, and happy to be working on future developments in the series. I hope to keep Amanda and the characters evolving as the plot grows and when I end the series at a comfortable point, it’s my desire to do so with the feeling that I’ve explored the people in depth and I’m leaving them all on good terms. Blurb:
Blood of the Dark Moon by Adrianne Brennan
Amanda, graduate student and devoted follower of the Greek god Apollo, is intrigued when she meets Jesse, a handsome young scholar who shares her love of both the classics and the occult. He quickly sparks her interest—and ignites a dark flame of passion between them. Together, they embark on a shadowy path that leads Amanda straight into Jesse’s scintillating underworld of vampires, magick, and secret societies. Little does Amanda know she is about to fulfill a legacy that began over thirty years ago and ended in tragedy. Can she learn the truth about her identity in time to help those whom she has grown to care about and find happiness in her new life with Jesse? Blood of the Dark Moon combines the classic eroticism of vampires with a touch of modern sensual romance and occult intrigue.
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Excerpt:       Sometime after they had left the diner, Amanda could only guess that they were venturing further into Queens and would soon, perhaps, be in Long Island. She kept scrutinizing the roads and the signs, looking for places she recognized. Unfortunately, she hadn’t traveled very much out of Manhattan during her stay at NYU and so nothing looked familiar to her. She settled for chatting with Jesse and enjoying the view from her window.       It was almost midnight when Jesse finally pulled off a major road and stopped at a nearby rest stop. He parked the car off to the side and gestured towards the sky.        “You can’t see this in Manhattan. Damn, it’s beautiful.”       She stared up at the sky and saw all of the individual stars that had been obscured by the pollution from the city. Amanda leaned back against the car, finding herself awed by the majesty of the sky combined with the gentle, clean breezes that swept through her hair. Away from the highway and the noises of the city to distract her, she experienced the outdoors at its fullest. She was spinning away in the galaxy towards the stars.       With a flourish, Jesse opened up the back door of the car.        “Here, sit down with me.” He sat on the seat and pulled her onto his lap. Wrapping his arms around her, they gazed up together at the night sky.        “Gods, it’s beautiful,” she breathed.       As he brushed her hair away from her face he merely commented, “And so are you.”       She turned to smile at him before resting her head onto his chest. They stayed that way for a few moments until Amanda began to feel that something was odd.       She racked her brain to figure it out, still bedazzled by the night sky and the feeling of being in his arms, but couldn’t think of it.       Then at last she realized what it was: her ear was up against his chest, but she couldn’t feel nor hear a heartbeat.       Puzzled, Amanda wondered if it was just because his leather jacket muffled the sound, but that couldn’t have been it. At their close proximity, she should still be able to hear or feel something.       Figuring that the late hour and the fatigue were doing strange things to her mind, she dismissed it as her imagination. But in the silence between them, away from the city and the noise, the only breathing she heard was her own.       I must be losing it. But as she stared up into the sky, too many things fell into her mind, persistent in their logic. Amanda had never seen Jesse during the daylight, had never seen him more than perhaps taste food, didn’t know what he did for a living other than “freelance computer work”, and now she couldn’t hear a heartbeat nor him breathing.        “Jesse?” she queried, her hesitancy showing in her voice.       Feeling him freeze behind her, she wondered if he knew what was on her mind, and thought to phrase her next words with caution.        “You’re not a normal guy, are you? I mean,” she continued, trying not to rush through her words, let alone sound nervous, “not that I’m…all that normal myself, and all, but….” Her voice trailed off. Amanda did not know what to say, or how to say it.       Many moments passed without a response. With great deliberateness he ran his hands through her hair, and she delighted in the feel of his fingertips as they coursed through the strands, brushing against her neck as soft as silk.       In that moment she remembered their first dinner outing, when Jesse showed her the Latin magickal text which referred to strange allegories, symbols and various arcana. She recalled that the text kept referencing “blood” in some mystical context.        “Jesse?” Her voice was quieter, and she was no longer so certain that she was crazy.       YOUR TIME HAS COME.
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You can find out more about me and my books at my website, my blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Today I have paranormal romance author Adrianne Brennan who I have the pleasure of interviewing on here for a written interview. I will be having the pleasure of chatting live with Adrianne on my TAMFA—Phoebe Jordan podcast on Friday, January 29th at 6PM to 7:30PM EST (5PM to 6PM CST / 3PM to 4:30PM PST) if you all want to stop by and listen in. Also I will be reviewing her currently released novel, Blood of the Dark Moon, the first book of her Dark Moon series so keep a look out for the review. Adrianne will also be guest blogging about the book this Thursday, January 21st so don't forget to come back. Now onto my written review with Adrianne:
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Phoebe Jordan: When did you know that writing romance was going to be the thing that you would do with your life? Which author inspired you to start writing romance?


Adrianne BrennanAdrianne Brennan: In all honesty, I never set out with the intention of specifically writing romance, but just writing—namely within the paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy genres. Romance for me is something part of the plot, but I don’t consider it to be the main thing that I write. I often describe myself as writing either romantic or erotic romance fiction within those genres. With the exception of one short story that’s a lesbian sweet romance, that’s mostly what I’ve written thus far. My favorite authors in the paranormal erotic romance category include Charlaine Harris, LA Banks, and Laurell K Hamilton’s earlier works in the Anita Blake series.


Phoebe: Did you know what type of romance you wanted to write about or did you experiment with different genres before you chose the one that you felt was for you?


Adrianne: I’m definitely a “write what you love” sort of gal, and I love the realms of fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal genres and anything that exists as a subset within them.


Phoebe: What was the first fiction you ever wrote besides any school work? And do you still have it with you?


Adrianne: A rather lengthy fantasy novel. I still have it and plan to rework and submit it somewhere, someday.


Phoebe: How much research do you have to do for your novels and does it take you a long time to gather that research?


Adrianne: Depends on what I write. I mostly write about what I know, so little research is required. The most amount of research will come when I work on my Victorian paranormal erotic romance which will be the prequel to the Dark Moon series. For Blood of the Dark Moon, I actually went to the West Village to get a feel for the place and see what I’d be writing about when I wrote about it which locals may or may not recognize.


Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your currently released novel, Blood of the Dark Moon, which is also the first book in your Dark Moon Series?


Adrianne: Dreams and the whims of my muse. I liked the idea of exploring what it meant to be turned into a vampire for a young woman who had fallen in love, and to approach it from angles previously unexplored. I like the idea of doing for vampires what Spiderman has done for superheroes. I do not remove all of the mystique, but it’s interesting to see what new problems they have in addition to all that remains the same.


Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your upcoming novel, Shadows of the Dark Moon, which is also the second book in your Dark Moon Series? And what are your titles and plans for any of your future books in your Dark Moon Series?


Adrianne: I wanted to write about intrigue between the clans within the Order of the Dragon and the Rose as well as the political interaction between them and other vampires. So far we’ve only seen those within the Order. What are the rest like? Do they agree with the same principles we’ve seen our vampires agree with? I’ll be covering that and the future of the Order in that book.


Phoebe: How do you come up with each of your characters for your novels? How do you choose their names out of so many names out there?


Blood of the Dark Moon by Adrianne BrennanAdrianne: The names just sorta…come to me. Sometimes I have an idea in advance of what I want their names to mean. Other times, it just “clicks.”


Phoebe: Do you have a favorite character that you really enjoyed writing about in your currently released novel, Blood of the Dark Moon? Did you have a character that you felt you could really relate to in your currently released novel, Blood of the Dark Moon?


Adrianne: I absolutely adore Merideth. She’s a quirky, shy vampire librarian with a love for mint chocolates. She has her own story in Blood and Mint Chocolates, a spinoff of the original Dark Moon series. Amanda I can relate to the most, and yet the least. She’s much more innocent, more sheltered, less extroverted than I am.


Phoebe: Do you have a favorite character that you really enjoyed writing about in your upcoming novel, Shadows of the Dark Moon? Did you have a character that you felt you could really relate to in your upcoming novel, Shadows of the Dark Moon? Adrianne: This is sort of a spoiler, but the head of the Order is the absolute most fun to write, hands down. He’ll be coming in the sequel to Blood and Mint Chocolates entitled Blood and Spice as well. :D


Phoebe: Do you have a process of how you start to write your novels?


Adrianne: Yes. The plot bunny worms its way into my brain and entices me with awesome plot, nifty ideas, and sometimes cookies. Then it multiplies. I’m forced to sit down in front of the computer and write it all before it takes over my brain. Often times it comes to me in dreams. My subconscious is my best and biggest muse. The rest I daydream out until it makes sense. I have a vague idea of where I want the characters to wind up at the end and it’s just a matter of the best path there.


Phoebe: Which do you like best, writing a series or have you considered writing stand alone novels? How would writing each be different for you?


Adrianne: I like writing a series best. It’s less pressure to get it all out in one story as often enough I have more stories in me, and I want to write it all! Stand-alones are great for short, brief spurts of inspiration.


Phoebe: What process did you have to go through to get your first book published and did it take you long?


Adrianne: I had it a bit luckier than most. A friend of mine went and started her own publishing business, and encouraged me to submit my work to her editors. I was accepted, and here I am today. That publishing company has since went out of business, but it gave me that foot in the door and encouragement I needed to meet my lifelong dream of becoming a writer.


Phoebe: Do you ever get writers block? What do you do to get rid of it so you can get back to writing your novels?


Adrianne: Oh, yes—all the time! Nine times out of ten the problem is stress. If I’m too overwhelmed with the stresses of everyday life, I’m too drained to get anything out. In that event, I just take the “me” time I require to get myself back into gear.


Phoebe: What is your biggest reader pet peeve, if you have any? (stock characters, unresolved endings, predictability, everything wrapped up hurriedly in the end, etc.


Adrianne: Too much sex, plot too predictable, characters uninteresting and too contrived.


Phoebe: Which aspects of writing do you enjoy the most and why? And what is your biggest writing pet peeve? (overuse of exclamation points, adverbs, bad guys named Wayne, etc.), if you have any?


Blodd and Mint Chocolates by Adrianne BrennanAdrianne: The act of creating worlds and the intriguing people within them is what I love about writing the most. Biggest writing pet peeve? Hard to separate that from my reader pet peeve, but I’ll try: adverbs, run on sentences, misspellings, bad/unbelievable sex dialogue.


Phoebe: What is the one writing tool can you not live without?


Adrianne: A computer. Any computer!


Phoebe: How do you handle your writing schedule and your personal life without going insane?


Adrianne: You know…that’s an excellent question. The best way I handle it is one day at a time. That way I don’t overwhelm myself and create additional stress which I don’t need. If I have to make sacrifices, I make sacrifices. I also do my best to set priorities.


Phoebe: What do you do to relax after having spent a long while writing? Do you have any hobbies?


Adrianne: I knit, crochet, watch anime and various other sci-fi/fantasy TV shows, cuddle with my kitties, go out to wine tastings, work out on my elliptical, and practice yoga.


Phoebe: Is there any advice that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?


Adrianne: Yes. Keep on writing and don’t give up. Also don’t be intimidated by published writers—once upon a time they were *just* like you!


Phoebe: Is there any writing tips, research tips, promotion and marketing tips that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?


Adrianne: Be real, socialize, don’t be just about you and your books—that’s boring. Just be yourself and don’t be afraid to talk to others about your works and what makes you passionate about the genres you write in. Socialize with people of like interests. I feel VERY bad for those who are introverted; the process is that much tougher for them.


Phoebe: Do you have a favorite genre you like to read? Who is your favorite author(s)?


Adrianne: Anything in the paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy genres and their subgenres. My favorite authors include Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Madeleine L’Engle, LA Banks, Charlaine Harris, Douglas Adams, and also enjoy a lot of Piers Anthony’s works.


Phoebe: What are you reading now? And what do you plan to read after that?


Adrianne: I’m STILL trying to finish Eclipse but I’ll be honest, I hate the Twilight books with a passion. I’m reading them so I can respond to people intelligently when they ask me if I like them and if not, why. I plan to scrub my brains out with soap afterwards and read some awesome Cecilia Tan books that I bought at Arisia when I’m done.

Monday, January 18, 2010
I have read a couple of ebooks published by Wild Horse Press which include ebooks by Jessica Coulter Smith, Linda Palmer, Paige Warren and T.L. Mitchell. So when Wild Horse Press contacted me to inquire if I accepted review requests from publishers and asked me if I would like to review Karoline Barrett's debut paranormal short story called, Between Here & Ever After and I accepted. I love their website because it is so clean and easy to find everything you would like to know about their authors, books and submission guidelines and more. I might really consider submitting my manuscript to them if I ever get it finished and editing enough to fit their requirements for submission. Today I will be reviewing Karoline's paranormal short story called, Between Here & Ever After, which I was happy to get a copy to review. The heroine of the novel, Madelyn Douglas, is killed in a freak accident and when her spirit rises from her body she is given a task to complete before she can move on. She must save her ex-fiance, Brian Rossi, from a fate living in the bad side instead of the good side in the ever after. Thinking Brian is mixed up with the mob, Maddie does her best to convince him to walk the straight and narrow but somewhere along the way she falls in love with him again. Is it possible for a ghost to have a happy-ever-after? I sure think so since Maddie and Brian seem to have a connection with one another that is strong even after so many years of being apart. I haven't read a good ghost romance in a long time and though this is a short story, which I seem to have a love and hate relationship with, I had a great time reading it. Karoline Barrett delivers a wonderfully exciting debut novel about two long lost lovers who get a second chance to be with one another with a twist since the heroine is a ghost and the hero is alive with suspicion of being connected to the mob. I give this book 4 Open Books:

4 Open Books
Here is the description of the book from Karoline's website and picture:



BETWEEN HERE & EVER AFTER by Karoline Barrett $3.98 (47 Pages)


Between Here & Ever After by Karoline Barrett
Killed in a freak accident, Madelyn Douglas has been given a task to complete before she can move on. She must save her ex-fiance, Brian Rossi. Thinking Brian is mixed up with the mob, Maddie does her best to convince him to walk the straight and narrow. But somewhere along the way she falls in love with him again. Is it possible for a ghost to have a happy-ever-after?
Friday, January 15, 2010
If you know me then you know that I really can't help but grab as many of Jessica Coulter Smith's books as I possibly can because she is such a talented author who always seems to grab my attention. Though she can frustrate me sometimes with her books but in a good way since they keep me on my toes wondering what's going to happen next. Today I will be reviewing Jessica's first contemporary erotic short story called, Christmas Wishes Come True, which I was really excited to get a copy to review. The heroine of the novel, Elise, doesn't feel like celebrating Christmas this year since a divorce has left her feeling more like Scrooge than Santa. But will the handsome, charismatic Nathan be able to change her mind? He may be just the present she needs this year and that I completely agree with that. I haven't read a good christmas romance in a long time and though this is a short story, which I seem to have a love and hate relationship with, I had a great time reading it. Elise and Nathan seem to have an instant attraction to one another from the first time they meet and that is only the start to what will be a beautiful lasting relationship. Though that relationship will have a rough start since Elise is just getting out of a marriage where she caught her ex-husband having sex with a woman in their own bed. So Elise has trust issues that will really affect her budding relationship with Nathan even though she is coming to really love him like she never loved her ex-husband. All in all I enjoyed reading this novel though I wish it were a bit longer since I would love to get a longer story between Elise and Nathan. I give this book 4 Open Books:
4 Open Books
Here is the description of the book from Jessica's website and picture:
CHRISTMAS WISHES COME TRUE by Jessica Coulter Smith $3.98 (104 Pages)
Christmas Wishes Come True by Jessica Coulter Smith
Elise doesn't feel like celebrating Christmas this year. A divorce has left her feeling more like Scrooge than Santa. But will the handsome, charismatic Nathan be able to change her mind? He may be just the present she needs this year.

Thursday, January 14, 2010
It has been a very long while since I had an author interviewed or guest blog on my review blog but I'm happy to say that I have Dena Celeste be my guest this week. This past Tuesday I interviewed Dena Celeste about her writing experience and books. Today Dena will be guest blogging about how she came to write her debut novel, Her Master's Gift, and her story, Love in the Lights, which is in the Winter Kisses anthology. Now onto Dena's guest blog:
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Hi there Phoebe! Thank you so much for having me here. I’m thrilled to be able to talk more about the writing process I went through for Her Master’s Gift and Love in the Lights! I’ll go in order of publication, if you don’t mind. Her Master’s Gift was a story I began for a submission call. It soon became something much closer to my heart. I didn’t know, originally, what the story was going to be about. I had several false starts, which I do indeed have saved! Still, the first part of chapter one came pouring out of me one night and I was caught by the characters. I do work out my own issues through my writing, so there are several things people I know and love recognize in it. Still, the characters took me by surprise a few times! Jeanie had some surprising details that I wasn’t aware of until they were written on the page. And I know that Nancy has a story waiting to be told! She was very loud and vivacious in my head. It took me about three months total to write HMG, and I have to admit to puzzling over what to call it. Thankfully, I have friends (like Selena Blake) who are more than willing to toss out words and options until we could cobble something together that fit it. While it didn’t get picked for the sub-call it was originally written for, I’m more than certain that HMG belongs where it’s at! And did you see the cover? I’m so in love with it still that I look at it often. Love in the Lights is one of the stories among the awesome tales of the Winter Kisses anthology! I have never written a sweet romance before this one, and I will admit to being a little nervous. I wasn’t sure if I could pull off a romance without the sex because, honestly, I enjoy writing sex! It’s fun to write, and it’s even more fun to “research”! I think that sex and romance go hand-in-hand, but…I wanted to write a story about Chanukah. The call required that it be sweet or slightly sensual, but that was the limit. In BDSM, a limit is usually something to be pushed and explored. With this particular limit, I got to stretch my writing muscles and see what I could do when held back a bit. It’s like bondage, funny enough! I learned how to explore romantic feelings, and express a divine sexiness, within a confined set of rules. At first, all I knew was that it had to be sweet, and that I wanted to write about Chanukah. So I stared at my screen for awhile, not quite sure where to go from there. One thing I recommend for all writers, aspiring authors or not, is to have a circle of other writers! It helps to have friends to toss out encouragement and advice. My friend Valerie Mann suggested I make each chapter represent one night. Thankfully, that idea spurred me to write an outline. Now, for me, outlines aren’t a natural first step. I usually try to pants it first, and see what comes. If I get stuck, I start writing an outline, since that’s a bit easier. Kind of. Now my outlines can be sparse or detailed, and comprise the whole story or only the part that has me stuck. I’ve had lines like, “And then something happens with her friend.” in the outline, and have to come up with details on the fly. That’s my favorite kind! It allows me to roll with my muse, but also gives me something to go back to if I’m suddenly abandoned mid-sentence. The outline went very well, and the ideas flowed from there. I found myself writing about a different kind of sensuality, something intense, yet also modest, slow and special. Every step that Abi and Josh took together was incredible to write about. I also liked going from one day to the next. It actually kept me from getting stuck in the details. If you can’t tell, I can ramble. A little bit. I wrote Love in the Lights in a week. Yes, a week. I cut it a wee bit close. I also spent a week trying to shine it up before I submitted it. I waited on pins and needles for a few very short days to hear back about it, and I was thrilled that it was accepted! I didn’t know what the anthology would be called, or what the cover would look like (between Jill Noble and Fiona Jayde I knew the cover would rock), but I was (and still am) thrilled to have a story in such good company!
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Title: Her Master’s Gift Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing Release Date: October 5, 2009 Buy Link Blurb:
Her Master's Gift by Dena Celeste
Now that Katie’s been collared, she’s settling quickly into life with her master Sam. But she thinks she’s ready to expand her experiences and he’s quick to help. In fact, Sam has a special gift planned that is sure to delight her, if only she can gather the courage to move beyond the past and accept it without regrets.
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Excerpt: The metal was cool, shockingly so, as it came into contact with the sensitive skin of her neck. His fingers barely touched her, and yet even that small caress made her shiver. Goosebumps rose in a wave over her entire body and she felt even more bare than she already was, if that was possible. The lock closed with a quiet ‘snick’ and the joy that bubbled up from the depths of her soul shone from her. She knew she was glowing, could feel it emanating from her skin. “You’ve come to me, and you’ve bared your body, and your mind, and your soul. We have explored many things, both pleasurable and painful, and I am honored to collar you today. We will travel this part of the journey together, confident in our trust, secure in our love. I claim you as mine.” Tears welled up in Katie’s eyes and flowed over her cheeks at his words. In her position kneeling at his feet, she bent over and reverently laid her lips on first one boot, and then the other. She lifted her face to look up at him, and as she spoke, his hands came up to cradle her damp cheeks. “You found me, and didn’t just mold me into what I am now. You urged me to find out who I was for myself, and no one else. You accepted me, even when I was afraid. You were even willing to let me go, if that was what I needed. You encouraged me, and you guided me, and now I accept your claim. You will be my master, and I will be your slave, happily. I choose you, Sam.” Her words wavered as his hands lightly glided over her cheeks, down her neck, over her shoulders and all the way down to her hands to help her stand in front of him. Katie fell into his light green gaze and his head dipped down. His lips touched hers, gently at first, and she responded even to that tender touch. The kiss went on, and as it did, his tongue slid into her mouth, silkily dueling with hers until she pressed her body to his, small whimpers released from her throat. Katie came back to herself when she heard the others in the room softly clapping for them. She could feel herself blush from her cheeks above to the cheeks a little further south, and knew that her embarrassment could be seen by all. When her master turned away for a moment, she let her fingers come up to stroke her newest adornment. Her hands were toying with the lock at the back of her neck when her wrists were firmly gripped. “It’s time to play now, my beautiful slave.” Sam chuckled in a dark, sensual way that sent desire ripping through her, and Katie’s wrists were bound behind her neck.
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Title: Winter Kisses Anthology Love in the Lights by Dena Celeste Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing Release Date: December 21, 2009 Buy Link Blurb:
Winter Kisses (Anthology) by Angela Nichelle, Barbara Sheridan, Dena Celeste, G.R. Bretz and Kelley Heckart
Abigail Bloch has been away at school for the last few years. Returning to her mother’s home renews her interest and need for the Jewish traditions. Unfortunately, the man who had been her best friend growing up, Joshua Cohen, gives her a chilly reception. Over the course of Chanukah, a time filled with food and family and friendship, the growing number of flames must melt away hostility and illuminate the love that can grow between them.
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Excerpt: “Baby! You’re home!” Abigail Bloch’s mother grabbed her in a warm, tight hug. Abi dropped her gym bag onto the porch swing and returned the embrace. The familiar scent of home, cinnamon-sugar and matzo ball soup surrounded her. “Hey, Mama. Yeah, I’m home. I’d like to breathe sometime soon though.” Tugged inside by her firecracker of a mother, Abi’s ears rang at the blast of noise coming from the kitchen. “Sorry I’m late, but the bus broke down. I was stuck in Atlanta for a couple hours before they switched us to a different one.” “That’s okay. Everyone’s here already and I made all your favorites. It’s not every mother who can say her daughter made the President’s List!” Rosie Bloch raved. Abi followed her mother through the house. She tossed her bag into the open entrance of her room. “It’s no big deal, Mama. Really. Are the latkes ready yet?” Warm, flaky, perfectly fried. No one made potato pancakes like her mama. “Of course! And I made extra since we’re hosting the dinners this year.” Abi groaned. Hosting meant all their close friends and any family in the area would be there. “Great. That’s just...lovely, Mama.” For her mother’s sake, Abi’d find a way to endure the crowd; Rosie Bloch loved nothing more than showing off her skills in the kitchen. “Oh, did I tell you? Joshua took off work for the holiday, too! He’s such a good boy. Have you kept in touch with him like I asked you to?” Abi winced. “Sorry, Mama, there just really wasn’t time. You know how crazy school has been for me. Sleeping and studying were more of a priority.” “Well, I guess I understand that. No matter. He’s in the kitchen. Go set the extra tables up, would you?” With that said, her mother rushed off to deal with some vaguely familiar-looking people across the room. Abi figured they were neighbors she hadn’t seen in a long time. In the kitchen, Abi automatically stepped over toys she assumed her sister’s kids had left strewn over the floor. The intense scents of potato pancakes, soup and kugel teased her senses and she gave an appreciative sigh. She couldn’t wait to eat; it had been hours since her last meal. “Oomph!” Abi caught herself against the wall as a large male body backed out of the kitchen and turned straight into her. “You got that okay?” On reflex, she reached out and grabbed the arms balancing the platter. “Yeah, I’m f—. Uh, Abi. How are you?” At the sound of the familiar voice, she looked up. “Joshua. Wow, you’ve grown...taller.” She knew she was being a bit cheeky, but couldn’t help it. “Yeah. That happens when you grow up. If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go put this down.” Frowning at the coldness in his response, Abi looked after him in confusion as he walked away. Wonder what his problem is. The clamor of her Nana, sister and sisters-in-law in the kitchen drew her out of her thoughts and back into the action. “Guys, where’s the other tablecloth? Mama wants me to set up another table for the food. Holy cow, what’s she making?” There were pots everywhere, and casserole dishes covered in foil lined the island in the middle. “Abi!” “Angel face!” “Hey there!” The chorus of greetings spun her head but Abi hugged everyone in turn. “Guess it’s time to put me to work, huh?”
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“Aunt Abi! It’s time to light the candles! Come on!” Abi quickly put her plate down on the nearest flat surface as her niece dragged her to the table in front of the window. She stood there as her mother led the kids in taking out the two candles needed and explained about the shammas candle, which was always used to light all the other candles, and where to place the first Chanukah candle. As she said the familiar prayers, the skin on the back of her neck prickled. She turned to the side to find Joshua Cohen staring at her. She caught his gaze and smiled at him, but once again he stabbed her with an icy glare. A pang of hurt and confusion washed through her. What had she done to prompt such a cold response? She hadn’t been the best at keeping in touch, but then, neither had he. She understood how busy he was as a lawyer, even if it was at a small firm and she didn’t hold his lack of communication against him. So why was he so mad at her? She gazed at the lit candles as the crowd around her dissipated. The lights were so beautiful, and the antique silver menorah cast a glow all around the table. The menorah was only for pleasure, to be looked at and not used for actual lighting, and Abi let the simple beauty of the flames entrance her. Rubbing her hands over the knee-length skirt she wore, Abi glanced around the room. It was so good to be home again. “How’ve you been, sweetie?” Her sister Anne slung an arm around her shoulders. “Oh, I could be worse. Any idea why Joshua is acting like I shot his dog?” “I’m not sure. Maybe because you went off to college instead of staying here and attending a local university? You were his best friend, and then you were gone. I don’t know. You could always ask him. Goodness knows you’ll be seeing him often enough since Mama’s hosting.” Abi leaned into her sister. “Yeah, maybe I should ask him, but heck, this isn’t easy for me, either. It’s hard coming back after so much time away. I mean, three years! I think I’m going to wait until he comes to me. If I can stand it that long.” Abi was determined that Joshua would realize she could still be a part of her hometown community, and hadn’t given her place away just because she’d gone off to experience school and the world. “Well, let’s nosh some more. When all else fails, there’s food!” Abi laughed and allowed Anne to drag her back to the table filled with brisket, roasted chicken and all kinds of goodies.
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You can find out more about me and my books by going to my official website, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010
It has been a very long while since I had an author interviewed or guest blog on my review blog but I'm happy to say that I have Dena Celeste be my guest this week. Today I will be interviewing her about her writing experience and her books but that's not all because she will be guest blogging about her novels on Thursday. So don't forget to come back this Thursday to read more about how Dena came up with her books and such. Now onto my interview with Dena:
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Phoebe Jordan: When did you know that writing romance was going to be the thing that you would do with your life? Which author inspired you to start writing romance?


Dena CelesteDena Celeste: Romance was always a part of my life. From the fairy tales, to children’s TV shows (anyone remember Tommy and Kim on Power Rangers?), to Nancy Drew. When I got a little older, I became even more interested in romance, but it really struck a chord when I found erotic romance. It reflected more of the rawness that I associated with sex (at least sometimes) while still containing plot and emotional growth of the characters. My favorite authors at that point were Laurell K. Hamilton, Diana Hunter, Joey W. Hill and Jacqueline Carey. I’ve been writing all of my life, mostly poetry for the first 14 years or so. Then fan-fiction was my passion for about 4 years. That was when I had story ideas but I was, at least then, afraid of trying for what I really wanted: to get out an original story. Not that my fan-fiction wasn’t good or worth writing, but I really wanted to branch out into my own work with my own characters. Finally my boyfriend gave me a prompt and I ran with it. After that, I jumped in headfirst!


Phoebe: Did you know what type of romance you wanted to write about or did you experiment with different genres before you chose the one that you felt was for you?


Dena: I knew I was going to write erotic romance, mainly, because it tends to be my favorite thing to read. Writing in the BDSM subgenre was not only fun, but it gave me a way to express my thoughts and opinions about that Lifestyle and to explore and experiment in my own mind. Writing has always been my favorite medium. I intend to explore a few more subgenres, like the paranormal one, and I have a few works in progress in that vein. What really shocked me recently with my sweet romance in the anthology Winter Kisses was how much I enjoyed writing a story that had absolutely no sex in it. Still, I had a lot of fun ratcheting up the tension and still managed to imbue it with a different kind of sensuality.


Phoebe: What was the first fiction you ever wrote? And do you still have it with you?


Dena: My first original story was a paranormal erotic romance that I called Soulbound. It’s my first finished story and I’m still quite proud of it. I do still have it with me! It got saved onto my computer along with the rest of the writing I’ve done for the last 5 years.


Phoebe: How much research do you have to do for your novels and does it take you a long time to gather that research?


Dena: It depends on the story, of course. For Her Master’s Gift, most of the things that happened in the story have come from my own personal experiences. The only research I needed to do was on canes, the sound and feel of them, the different types, and so on. The rest just flowed. For Love in the Lights, I did a little more research. The characters use a little more Yiddish and Hebrew in there than I’m used to using, and for a certain part of the story I had to search for some Old Testament verses. For some of my WIPs, like my witchy Serpent’s Daughter tale, I have had to do some research into witchcraft, the elements, correspondences, etc. That’s been a lot of fun!


Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your debut novel, Her Master’s Gift?


Dena: At the time I started writing it, I was trying to get over a betrayal by someone I trusted. I wanted to grow past it, and get out into the world again, and also be free to experience the things my lover and Master wanted to help me to have. I had to understand that not every woman would hurt me, or even every dominant woman, and what specifically went wrong, and also work through my insecurities. So in a way, Her Master’s Gift expressed the love and trust a slave gives to her Master, the way I did to mine, not just for playing with toys or serving him, but in the really tough, scary, emotional situations.


Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your currently released anthology novel, Winter Kisses?


Dena: Love in the Lights was such fun to write! I saw the call for a holiday sweet, and I wanted to represent Chanukah, since my faith and Jewish roots are very special to me. My friend Valerie Mann actually helped me come up with the idea for the chapter-per-night format. The rest was just a matter of me making an outline and sticking to it…except when my characters decided to surprise me in a couple of places. I was rather shocked at how much fun it was to write a romance without the added sexual element. I found other ways to bring out the sensuality of both main characters, while still remaining true to the “sweet” part of the call.


Phoebe: How do you come up with each of your characters for your novels? How do you choose their names out of so many names out there?


Her Master's Gift by Dena CelesteDena: Well, my characters tend to come out of hiding one at a time…I don’t do a whole bunch of torturing myself over how they look and so on. They’re usually fully-formed, except for names and histories. If their names don’t come to me on their own at some point, then I go looking on some naming websites. I go by the character’s background and personality-type to pick names. It’s not usually first names that give me problems, but surnames! Those are hard for me to come up with on my own.


Phoebe: Do you have a favorite character that you really enjoyed writing about in your debut novel, Her Master’s Gift? Did you have a character that you felt you could really relate to in your debut novel, Her Master’s Gift?


Dena: Well, in Her Master’s Gift, I explored myself through Katie’s experiences. So I obviously identified very much with her. My favorite character to write about was probably her friend Nancy. Exuberant and smart and very willing to help a friend.


Phoebe: Do you have a favorite character that you really enjoyed writing about in your currently released anthology novel, Winter Kisses? Did you have a character that you felt you could really relate to in your currently released anthology novel, Winter Kisses?


Dena: I felt I could relate to Abi in that I like having the connection to my roots, and to the man I adore, in my faith. My characters tend to show me things, and what she helped to show me, and hopefully readers, was the beauty in her faith. My favorite character to write about had to be Abi’s niece Danielle! She was a pip, that’s for sure.


Phoebe: Do you have a process of how you start to write your novels?


Dena: Not really. I’ll get a line in my head, or a title, or a character will show up, and I’ll put it down. Hopefully I can get the ball rolling from there, but sometimes I have to let it sit and stew a bit.


Phoebe: Have you ever considered writing a series or are writing stand alone novels your preference? How would writing each be different for you?


Dena: Oh gosh. I have considered writing a series, and in fact started a prequel to one of my finished stories, but right now my muse has distracted me with a couple works-in-progress that just won’t leave me alone! Every story is different for me. The process and how it pours out differs. I like the continuity that a series represents. I have several that I love to read, and there’s a comfort in returning to the same characters with a new story! A standalone is exciting and nerve-wracking as I pick out character names, think about what might happen, and wonder what the story will evolve into.


Phoebe: What process did you have to go through to get your first book published and did it take you long?


Dena: Well, my first published book, Her Master’s Gift, was originally written for a submission call. When it wasn’t accepted, I couldn’t just let it lay there, especially since it incorporated a few F/F scenes, one of my favorite things to write! I loved what it had become, so when a good friend told me about Noble Romance Publishing, and I saw how daring they were and willing to accept that aspect, I had to give it a go. I’m so glad I did! It took a good 5 months from the time I began writing it, which is amazingly fast all things considered. However Her Master’s Gift was the first book published, not just finished, so its acceptance was the exciting leg on a journey I’d been on for about 3 years there.


Phoebe: Do you ever get writers block? What do you do to get rid of it so you can get back to writing your novels? Dena: Oh, do I ever! Sometimes I wait it out, let things stew. Sometimes I try to write an outline and see if that gets the juices flowing. If all else fails, I’ll just write one word at a time, no matter how bad it is. Can’t fix a blank page, after all.


Phoebe: What is your biggest reader pet peeve, if you have any? (stock characters, unresolved endings, predictability, everything wrapped up hurriedly in the end, etc.)


Dena: I don’t like it when a story is wrapped up in a way that feels rushed, no. But my biggest reader pet-peeve…wow. That’ a difficult one. Probably a stilted feel to a book. I want to be taken on a journey, and I know that sometimes the flow will change, but…that odd, start-stop-start-stop-like-a-15-year-old-just-learning-how-to-drive makes me want to climb the walls!


Phoebe: Which aspects of writing do you enjoy the most and why? And what is your biggest writing pet peeve? (overuse of exclamation points, adverbs, bad guys named Wayne, etc.), if you have any?


Dena: Hm. I love the art of creation, and exploring things that I might otherwise not, either physically or mentally or emotionally, or all of the above! I don’t have a writing pet peeve, really.


Phoebe: What is the one writing tool can you not live without?


Dena: My computer! My hands cramp up horribly sometimes, so I like to be able to go with the flow of the story, as fast as my mind can take me. I have my own version of touch-typing that works well for me.


Phoebe: How do you handle your writing schedule and your personal life without going insane?


Dena: Who said anything about not going insane?


Phoebe: What do you do to relax after having spent a long while writing? Do you have any hobbies?


Winter Kisses (Anthology) by Angela Nichelle, Barbara Sheridan, Dena Celeste, G.R. Bretz and Kelley HeckartDena: Actually, writing is my relaxation after having spent a long while taking care of my parents, or studying for a test, or reading an emotionally-heavy story. My hobbies are playing with cameras, phones, and any techno-gadget with buttons. I try to behave in elevators… I also like to spend time with animals, to walk and ride my bike, and watch TV and movies. Reading I would term as a need, more than a hobby. It’s like food and water…I can go without for a little while, but not happily and eventually I need more!


Phoebe: Is there any advice that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?


Dena: I have gotten amazing advice on this journey. The best advice: Keep writing. We all need encouragement and cheerleaders of course, to help us to keep writing. If you want to write, then write! What’s funny is that 5 years ago, the “Sit down and write” advice frustrated the heck out of me. But as I’ve gone on, there’s just no way around the truth: Writing is lovely, and wonderful, and a passion that I will always do. But it’s work. Hard work.


Phoebe: Is there any writing tips, research tips, promotion and marketing tips that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?


Dena: Get a publicist! I have the most awesome publicist (Alix Taylor with Heetr Promotions) who helps me to promote my books, and gets me to fabulous blogs like this! I have many more opportunities thanks to her help. Getting published is a major milestone, but the work increases exponentially from there! You need to promote, get your name out there and your book(s) out there!


Phoebe: Do you have a favorite genre you like to read? Who is your favorite author(s)?


Dena: My favorite genre is romance, of course. Subgenres from there: BDSM, paranormal, ménage, contemporary, fantasy. Favorite authors: JD Robb/Nora Roberts, Jacqueline Carey, Joey W. Hill, Laurell K. Hamilton, Christine Feehan, Jean Johnson, Valerie Mann, Selena Blake, Chris Owen, Sean Michael, Bobby Michaels and the list does go on. Those are just some of my auto-buys.


Phoebe: What are you reading now? And what do you plan to read after that?


Dena: I’m currently reading Street Game. Soon I have to crack into my schoolbooks, but in between study sessions, I have plans for Flirt (the newest Anita Blake book), Naamah’s Curse (the newest Kushiel’s Legacy book), Fantasy in Death (JD Robb’s IN DEATH series!!), and Savor the Moment (Bride Quartet book 3). Those are on my auto-buy-as-soon-as-affordable list.

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing an Advance Readers Copy of Keta Diablo's upcoming release from Ravenous Romance called The Sin Eater's Prince, which you got a sneak peek at in the anthology, Boys of the Bite. I've had the pleasure of reviewing several of Keta's other books and was excited about getting my hands on a copy of her first full-length vampire novel. And I have to say I'm glad that I did because though I had a lot of things going on in my life I had a great time reading it. The novel starts with the hero, Owen Rhys, the sin eater of his village in Wales, who has been shunned by the local villagers his entire life—except by Andras Maddock, the local physician who is the other hero of the novel. We see how Owen lives by himself since his father's death with no one to care for him or love him the way he wants to be love. Owen and Andras have a chemistry that you can read from the very start of the novel when Owen is called to go about doing his job as a Sin Eater with Andras going with him as a doctor to the families homes. At first Owen is trying to deny that he was in love with the one man he thinks will never return that love but all that changes. Owen is shocked when Andras saves him from death at the hands of a vampire and admits he cares deeply for Owen. Owen suspected that Andras was a vampire for a while but it wasn't until the attack that he finally confirmed his suspicion that he was a long tooth that his father had warned him about.
Dagan, son of Traherne, the vampire Andras killed to save Owen, will stop at nothing to avenge his father’s death and obtain the Prince of Wales’s mystic sword from Andras. The divine claymore holds the power to grant immunity from the sun’s harsh rays—the one exemption the dark Lords of the Underworld has sought for centuries. While reading this novel I did have to trouble with the Welsh words that were used throughout the novel, which sometimes happens when I read historical romances, but that didn't take away from my enjoying the plot of the story. There is a lot of revenge, redemption, dark versus light, good versus evil in this novel that had me virtually flipping the pages to find out what will happen next for Owen and Andras. There are some pretty heated love scenes between Owen and Andras that had me wanting them to never end since I could practically feel the heat and lust coming from the both. I always seem to enjoy the love scenes from Keta's books both erotic romances and m/m erotic romances because they are so tastefully written. Keta Diablo delivers a novel that is about star-crossed love and sorcery mixed with physical lust and blood lust combined that will keep you on your toes wanting to know what will happen next. I have to say again that I'm glad that I got the chance to get my hands on an ARC of this novel because it was such a joy to read. I look forward to reading any of Keta's future books and we may be lucky enough to get another book about Owen and Andras since I think that the ending of this novel might just be the beginning for them. I give this book 4 Open Books:
4 Open Books
Here is the description of the book from Keta's website and picture:
THE SIN EATER'S PRINCE by Keta Diablo $6.99 (135 Pages)
The Sin Eater's Prince by Keta Diablo
Owen Rhys, the sin eater of his village in Wales, has been shunned by the local villagers his entire life—except by Andras Maddock, the local physician. In love with the one man he thinks will never return that love, Owen is shocked when Andras saves him from death at the hands of a vampire and admits he cares deeply for Owen. Dagan, son of Traherne, the vampire Andras killed to save Owen, will stop at nothing to avenge his father’s death and obtain the Prince of Wales’s mystic sword from Andras. The divine claymore holds the power to grant immunity from the sun’s harsh rays—the one exemption the dark Lords of the Underworld has sought for centuries. Star-crossed love, sorcery, and bloodlust collide on a vengeful path where only one side can remain victorious. Revenge and redemption. Dark versus light. Good versus evil. The Sin Eater’s Prince.

About Me

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Phoebe Jordan
I'm a part-time aspiring romance novelist, book reviewer and blogger. I've always wanted to travel the world and learn everything I can about other countries. Learning the Italian language is one way of trying to make that dream come true. Traveling will help me with my writing because I'll be learning about the history of the U.S., Latin America, England, Italy, and Ireland, the countries I find so fascinating while reading the romance genre.
 
I read and review romance novels of almost every subgenre along with erotic romance, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy and young adult novels. You can find the reviews at my blogs, Talk About My Favorite Authors and Phoebe Jordan's Reviews. I’ve also started a live podcast show called TAMFA | Phoebe Jordan hosted on Blog Talk Radio. This show is dedicated to everything I love about romance and young adult novels. I love having romance and young adult authors live on my show to be interviewed and showcase their books.

I plan to write contemporary romance, romantic suspense, erotic romance, paranormal romance and young adult when I get my writing career started with help from Keta. I'm not sure what genre I'll write to begin with since I love to read so many different romance genres.
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