28 March 2011

Multi published author Annette Snyder talks about her writing

First let me say thanks to Sherry and The Heart of Romance for letting me brag about my work. I write because I love to and always hope others will take as much pleasure from my work as I have creating it. As an author, my goal is to write words that inspire, sooth, or make people smile. 

I’ve got thirteen books out, one on the way to submission and one in progress as I always write one book at a time. I’ve got probably thirty rough drafts waiting for their turn. My work has gotten rave reviews and Intimate Flames, released July 2009, is an EPIC Award Finalist this year.

Here’s the back cover blurb from that award winner:
Bradie Carpenter holds only memories of love lost. Armed with determination after Grant’s tragic death, Bradie ventures forward with their son. Without the exclusive Blain family name or the advantage of the family fortune and, diligent to overcome the obstacles of single parenthood, she sets a goal of a better life in the picturesque town of Union.
Andrew “Amen” Packard married too young with an unrealistic view of the future. After a turbulent divorce attributed to pressure from his firefighter career, Amen chooses his heated profession over affection for wife, family and friends. Not until he meets Bradie does he rethink his decision to exclude love from his life.
Can Bradie discover that money doesn’t always extinguish love?
Will Amen allow a ready-made family near enough to bash towering walls of seclusion?
Is friendship and attraction enough to heal the lives of two souls charred from fate?

You can read the entire first chapter at www.whiskeycreekpress.com

You can also check out all of my published work there or at my website http://annettesnyder.atspace.com or my blog, Fifty Authors from Fifty States, http://annettesnyder.blogspot.com 

Besides my writing career, my life’s a busy one just like any of yours. Family, job, dogs, laundry, dishes…the list is endless but I still have to sit down every day and write something. If I don’t, I feel like my day isn’t complete.

Again, thanks The Heart of Romance. Happy reading and I wish everyone a safe and happy journey this year and continuing.

It's been a pleasure to have you here, Annette,thank you for sharing your wonderful successes wit us.

27 March 2011

Sunday Shout Out

1 What is your favourite food?

2 Who is your favourite author, and why?

3 If you could live anywhere in the Universe, where would it be?

4 When drivng what do you find most annoying?

5 What event would you most like to receive an invitation for, and why?

6 What do you find most soothing?

25 March 2011

The ins and outs of publishing continued

But there are also cons to going with a new, untried publisher. Obviously, it’s much easier to start a fly-by-night outfit with no intention of making good on any promises than it is to start a genuine, hard-working company. And it’s very difficult to tell at first glance which is which. So while you shouldn’t be afraid to sign with a new publishing company if they offer a contract, you should proceed with caution.

If the publisher asks you for up-front money, they are most likely not legit. A legitimate, non-vanity publisher does not charge reading or editing fees. Nor do they try to sell their authors any paid services. If a manuscript is accepted at a legitimate publisher, the reading and editing is paid for by the publisher. The only up front fee that an author should ever expect to pay is the $35 copyright fee to the US Copyright Office. Many publishers are now requiring authors to pay this fee. If the publisher does not ask you to pay this, be sure to check that they will, in fact, pay the fee themselves and register the copyright, as some publishers are no longer even copyrighting their shorter books. They’re just inserting a copyright notice and calling it good.

And make sure to read your contract very, very carefully. Some authors have recently discovered to their dismay that their publisher has inserted a clause into the contract giving the publisher ownership of the characters and series of authors contracted with them. This means if your book is popular and readers demand a sequel, the publisher can hire someone else to write the next book in the series, leaving the original author out in the cold. More than one author has had to sit back and watch what should have been their next book come out in someone else’s name. Also be sure your contract includes specific terms for when and how your rights to your book are returned to you. With so many publishers failing and/or changing hands, a lot of authors are finding it difficult to get their publishing rights returned after the publisher has stopped producing their book.

If you can’t understand the legalese and complex wording in the contract you’re offered, you should get a competent attorney to review it. Yes, attorneys are expensive, but the consequences of a bad contract can haunt you for years. One of the pros of going with a new publisher is that they can be a little easier to negoitiate contract clauses with than some of the traditional publishers. So if something in the contract bothers you, speak up and see if you can negotiate better terms. If not, you’ve haven’t lost anything.

And if possible, talk to some of the publisher’s other authors before you sign a contract. If the authors who have come before you have had bad experiences with the publisher, chances are you will, too. Most authors have websites with a contact form. Contact them and ask how they like the publisher. It could save you some headaches in the future.

And remember, although you may be a newbie author and thrilled to finally have a manuscript accepted and a contract offered by a publisher—any publisher—if the book is really good enough to be published, you can find a legitimate publisher to take it. If the book is not good enough to be published, chances are the publisher who accepted it—usually the one asking you for up-front fees—is not really going to publish the book anyway. At least not until they’ve bled you for as much as they can get.

So should you go with a new publisher? If they appear to be legitimate, are willing to offer a contract you can live with, and other authors have had good experiences with them, then you’ve nothing to lose by giving them a try. But if not, run as fast as you can in the other direction.

Lauri Blasch,
Acquisitions Editor
Black Opal Books

23 March 2011

Publishing - The ins and outs by Lauri Blasch

At Black Opal Books, we’re often asked two main questions. The first: why did we start a new publishing company when so many publishing companies are failing? The second: should an author really go with a new, untried publishing company?

The answer first question is simple. Black Opal was started by four authors—who were also friends and business associates—who believed that authors were getting a raw deal from the publishing industry at large. Authors today are required not only to write the book, but also to revise, edit, and polish it on their own without much help from the publisher. And then if they are lucky enough to get the book published, they are also responsible for 99% of the promotion and selling. But after all this, they only get a small percentage of the income from the book while the publisher keeps the lion’s share.

Black Opal’s founders felt this was this was unfair. If you think about it, writing a book is a lot of work. From story concept to finished product, a novel takes most authors the better part of a year, if not more. So it seems only right that, after all the work the author puts forth to create the book, the biggest share of the profit, if any, from the book should go to the author. A lot of authors agree and have turned to self-publishing as the only way to make this happen. But as many self-published authors have discovered, there’s a downside to self-publishing.

Which brings us to the answer to the second question. Here’s the rub: although, it is slowly changing, a lot of venues do not consider self-publishing legitimate, so a lot of doors are closed to these authors. For example, some contests held for published authors do not allow self-published books. And some book distributors won’t allow self-published authors to list their books for sale with them. Even among other authors, self-publishing is not considered really being Published. Despite the fact that some self-published authors have not only created quality books, readers have rewarded their efforts by buying enough of their books to give these authors a great deal more money than most old-school published authors will ever make. At least not without a runaway best seller.

Another problem is that authors want to write. That’s why they became authors in the first place. To write. They don’t want to spend all the hours and effort it takes to learn how to correctly format all the versions of ebooks, find a good POD company, and deal with all the myriad of other business details that a publisher must deal with. They just want to write.

Black Opal’s founders understood all this. They decided to start a publishing company that offered higher royalties to start with, and then after the initial investment required to publish the book was recovered, royalties would increase so that the lion’s share of the income from the book would go to the author.

Still, there are pros and cons to going with a new publisher. On the pro side, a new small publisher such as Black Opal doesn’t have the backlog of books to schedule, so the time from acceptance of a manuscript to release as a published book is considerably shorter. New publishers are also often more lenient about the types of manuscripts they will take. Not that you can get by with submitting a poorly written manuscript and expect it to be accepted. But it does mean that new authors without publishing credits can get their manuscripts considered more easily at a new publisher. For example, because Black Opal was founded by authors, our policy is that we don’t judge a manuscript on the basis of the query letter or synopsis. Although we do require submissions to include both a query letter and a brief synopsis, we also promise to read at least the full first chapter of the manuscript before rejecting it. That way the author at least has a chance to prove they know how to write a novel, if not a query letter.

Lauri Blasch,
Acquisitions Editor
Black Opal Books

To be contniued on Friday 25th March

21 March 2011

Black Opal Books author Alyssa Lyons Talks about her debut Chick List book

Author Bio: Alyssa Lyons, like her character Jordan Davis, lives in Lynchburg, Virginia. The South is her playground. Its eccentricities fuel her stories. She specializes in “Solving Crimes Southern Style.” However, unlike Jordan, she is a cat person—rather she is staff to two cats she rescued. Like most cats, they believe they were the ones doing the saving and therefore she owes them. She taught high school American history and government, worked for the CIA and is a retired attorney. Or as she is fond of saying, “I am a recovering attorney.”
I didn’t know I could write until I was older. I was always a storyteller; that’s different from being a writer. I was a poet, songwriter, and playwright before if ever occurred to me could write novels. I know that sounds weird, but it takes more time and structure to write a novel. There’s all that pesky emotion and introspection and narrative that none of the other things I did required.
I started writing romance in the 1990s. I began to notice that romance was a part of every genre I read, from science fiction to thriller to historical to paranormal to mystery. Then I ran into a few books where I wondered how the person got that book published, and said, “I can do better than that!” After I completed the book, I realized it took ability to write poorly. And my book wasn’t fit to line a litter box.
People always ask me how long it took to write my first book. I always say, “Six months to write, and six years to rewrite.” I’m faster now.
My story, Last Wishes, is my first mystery. The subgenre is Chick Mystery, which is a cozy with a younger, hipper heroine and has some blood, action, and sex. (Miss Marple would never have sex!)
Last Wishes is a murder mystery and study of life in a small Virginia city. In the American South, the location is as much a character as the people in the story. The South has been shaped by the Civil War, sultry, humid summers, moonshine liquor, and Bible-thumping preachers. Its people are patriotic, suspicious of Yankees, and interested in everyone’s business. Southerners also revel in their eccentrics yet hide family secrets beneath layers of lies. As Last Wishes unfolds, the reader learns Jordan Davis is a perfect example of this dichotomy.
In Last Wishes, Jordan obeys the law when it suits her and fulfills the needs of her clients. Right now isn’t one of those times. She knows someone is killing older women in Lynchburg. Is the killer is sexy Judge Grayson Trent or is he her only chance of unmasking the real murderer before she becomes the next victim?
I want readers to have several hours of fun, while seeing if they can solve the mystery before Jordan does and chuckling at life in a small Southern city.

What books have most influenced your life?
I don’t have any specific titles, but rather genres. My ability to adapt and go with the flow, even in the face of “future shock,” comes from having read science fiction and fantasy most of my life. For example, I read a story by Arthur C. Clarke when I was just eight. It was about a communication satellite and control of the world. When the first one actually went up, Telstar I, I was shocked. I thought we’d had them for years. Another genre I love is mystery/thriller, from Nancy Drew and Perry Mason as a child to Daniel Silva and Tami Hoag as an adult. These stories teach and remind me to see beyond the obvious and open new ways to solve problems.
However, if I were to choose two titles I go back to year after year, they would be Jane Eyre and The Count of Monte Cristo. In Jane Eyre, true love is not only possible but triumphs over the most horrendous obstacles. Monte Cristo reminds me that there is justice in this world. This could explain why I write mysteries with romance.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Ray Bradbury, because of his sense of wonder, his embracing of the future, and his delicious sense of irony. He writes short stories, novels, screenplays, and stage plays. He’s also an excellent writer from a technical standpoint.

What are your current projects?
I have just finished Clubbed to Death and it should be released in late Spring 2011. In this story, Jordan’s half-sister is accused of murdering the president of the Junior League with a golf club. Now a private investigator, Jordan searches for the real murderer, uncovering a plot targeting foster children that puts her life at risk. Stabbed and Slabbed will come out a month or two later. In this book, Jordan and Gray, while on a honeymoon cruise from hell, must discover who killed an obnoxious comedian, and clear their own names before the ship limps back to port.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Keeping track of the characters and the timeline. In Clubbed to Death, I just knew who the killer was. After all, I plot everything. Then halfway through, I realized she wasn’t the killer. Someone else was. Thank goodness, my subconscious knew before I did, because all the clues were there and I only had to rewrite two sentences.

Can you explain the rising popularity of eBooks?
I have been published in print and electronic formats since 1999. Over the years, I have watched it grow in fits and starts. There is an ongoing need to conserve resources. Space is at a premium. The ability to store thousands of books in one device solves both of these problems. Even with the current e-readers, books are available in regular and large print and audio. Large publishers are like oil tankers, they can’t change their business practices on a dime. This opens the gates for small press and independents that have a lower cover prices. There will always be a place for printed books, art, coffee table books, and photography. I predict by the next generation, the small paperback will be largely replaced by the downloaded eBook.

How did you come up with the title of your book?
My heroine, Jordan Davis, runs a funeral boutique named Last Wishes: You Wish It—We Guarantee It. One of her clients is a murder victim. She leaves a last, secret wish for her godson, which is revealed when the will is read. This wish challenges his sense of self and turns the lives of all those around him inside out.

Please tell us a little bit about Last Wishes?
It is a murder mystery and study of life in a small Virginia city. In the American South, the location is as much a character as the people in the story. The South has been shaped by the Civil War, sultry, humid summers, moonshine liquor, and Bible-thumping preachers. Its people are patriotic, suspicious of Yankees, and interested in everyone’s business. Southerners also revel in their eccentrics yet hide family secrets beneath layers of lies. As Last Wishes unfolds, the reader learns Jordan Davis is a perfect example of this dichotomy.
In Last Wishes, Jordan obeys the law when it suits her and fulfills the needs of her clients. Right now isn’t one of those times. She knows someone is killing older women in Lynchburg. Is the killer is sexy Judge Grayson Trent or is he her only chance of unmasking the real murderer before she becomes the next victim?

Blurb: He was a judge. He didn’t break the law…at least not until he met her. Judge Grayson Trent never suspected the woman his Aunt Becca hired to handle her funeral arrangements would be the very same woman who has consumed his fantasies from the moment he saw her standing before him in court. He soon discovers she hasn’t changed her ways. Not only does she still ignores the rules when it suits her, now she’s a target for murderer. Unless she is the murderer herself.
She wasn’t really breaking the law, just bending it a little…and all for a good cause. Jordan Davis sees nothing wrong in disregarding a silly city ordinance, especially when it interferes with fulfilling the last wishes of her clients. To her Judge Trent is a narrow-minded, overbearing stick in the mud—a very sexy and hot stick in the mud. Until it seems as if he’s responsible for several murders. Maybe the hunk of a judge isn’t as law abiding as she thought. Or maybe, they’re both in danger of being a killer’s next victim.

“There she is! That’s Jordan Davis! The woman ruining our lives!”
Judge Grayson Trent winced at his mother’s uncharacteristic outburst. Normally her voice never rose above a genteel drawl, except when yelling at him. As he slanted a glance to his right, the idling engine of the motorcycle beside them drew his attention—a red Triumph Rocket III. The rider wore a one-piece red-leather catsuit that he’d swear was painted on the long-legged figure of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model. A full face red helmet shielded her head from view, except for an enticing curly black ponytail brushing her lower back in the breeze.
Attached to the bike’s back, where the second seat should have been, was a red metal cage with rollbar.
He grinned at the panting black miniature Schnauzer, his front paws on the edge of the cage. He wore a custom-made red crash helmet with faceplate and a small black leather jacket. Emblazoned in red letters across the back was “Born to Ride.”
Gray chuckled. “The pooch looks capable of handling the controls.”
“It’s a trap. That sweet animal is just another one of her weapons.” Libby inched forward until they were even with the driver. “You don’t understand. She’s a charlatan! She draws in unsuspecting old people who have money with promises she’ll make their last wishes come true.”
“And this ruins our lives how.” Unable to stop himself from feasting his eyes on that red catsuit, he stared at the dog’s mistress. “Have you been fighting about Becca?”
“Gracious, no. We don’t even talk.”
“So what’s the problem?”
Then she raised the face shield on her helmet.
Their gazes met.
He groaned. “It’s her.”
She was a she-demon, a succubus. He’d seen her once, three thousand miles from here and been on fire since. He couldn’t go to sleep without seeing her dark blue eyes with touches of purple staring at him, beseeching him. Every night he imagined her splayed in his bed, her long, wavy black hair spread over his pillow filling his dreams with heat.
He hadn’t imagined he’d ever see her again. But he’d hoped he would. If he wanted his life back, he had to exorcise her from his mind, and what better time to start then now, on her home turf. That way when he left to return to California, he’d be free of her.
His eyes widened at of the look surprise on her face. Or was that interest? He hoped the former, yet both dreaded and desired the latter. As a judge and knowing what she was, he should have nothing to do with her. He snorted. Yeah, tell that to the fantasies kept up at night and put her face on every woman he was with.
Narrowing his eyes, he returned her look with his most judicial glare, the one guaranteed to put the fear of God into criminal defendants appearing before him.
Except for her.
Surprise lit her eyes. Then she did the damnedest thing—gave him a slow, sexy smile and winked.
God help him. He thought she’d learned her lesson in San Francisco when he almost tossed her in jail for twenty-four hours for defacing public property. Instead, he’d let her off with a fine and warning. If his mother was right, she hadn’t learned a thing.
The moment the light turned green, she shot him a sassy grin, tapped the shield back into place, and peeled off down Boonsboro Road, the schnauzer hanging on for dear life.

My website and blog: http://www.alyssalyons.com
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Last Wishes Released: March 1, 2011

Sale Locations:
Black Opal Books: http://blackopalbooks.com/wordpress/?page_id=626
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004PGO27W
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004PGO27W
B&N http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?WRD=Last%20Wishes,%20Lyons
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/44399
ARe: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-lastwishes-519477-173.html

19 March 2011

Please welcome K.H. LeMoyne today

It's good to invite another  Black Opal Books author today, and without any more ado I'm handing over the baton to KH, today's guest

Bio: K.H. LeMoyne has been writing romance ever since someone told her that she had to grow up and get a real job. Then she switched to writing romantic fantasy to keep real life from getting in the way of a good story. The love of things mystical and magical keeps her writing, with characters who fight for never-ending love against insurmountable odds. Well, that and occasionally she gets to write about elves and dragons…but that’s a different story. 

I wasn’t one of those people who knew they wanted to be a writer. But I was born with the love of a good fairy tale. I cut my reading teeth on George MacDonald’s books: At the Back of the North Wind and The Princess and the Goblin, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Granted few of those have a happy-ever-after ending, though they created wonderful worlds and mystery. I graduated to heroes and heroines who could walk through fire and perform the impossible, enter: Kathleen Woodiwiss, Victoria Holt, Phyllis A. Whitney and every romance novel I could find in the public library.

I’ve read romance ever since and spent more time, over the years, creating different endings for characters I liked or another story for a secondary character who never found one of his/her own. And, like many authors, my own stories started in my mind long before I made the commitment to write them down on the computer. This sounds long-winded but I do have a point coming.

The book releasing this week is not the latest story I’ve written and is, in fact, one of several releasing this year, but it is one very close to my heart. The Return of the Legacy was one of the first stories I ever wrote. I have rewritten much of my initial effort and edited even more after that, but I consider it special even though I enjoy each plot and character I create. I’m very pleased it was a match for Black Opal Books. To work through a release process, the various edits, interaction with a cover designer and other nuances of the delivery process has been a very educational experience for me. Writing a book is only step one. Write the best book you can, rewrite, edit, polish – all are only the beginning of the process. So learning every piece from beginning to end is really my objective.

The publishing industry and the format of delivering stories is changing in ways we can’t predict. My perspective may be different than many authors starting out, but while I look at writing as something I enjoy doing, I also look at producing a good story for a reader as a business. Story, characters and fantasy have to weave into something that is enjoyable enough for a reader to be worth their time and money. My goal is to provide several wonderful hours of escapism, hours that make a reader forget their concerns, hours that make them read without noting the passage of time. And for romance, always the ultimate ‘ah’ of two people who deserve their happy ending at the end of each story.

Blurb:Three magical dimensions…Two mystical bloodlines…One undeniable destiny.
Born a magical empath, Logan MacKenzie has spent his life protecting his family from discovery. Evil has found them anyway. What begins as Logan’s search for answers on Earth becomes a race for survival in the magical dimension of Loci.
The battle to save those he cares about will reveal his true lineage—the bloodline of the Makir, one half of a pair of sentinels chosen to guard the mystical portals between dimensions. The price of his acceptance: a love he never imagined possible and a heartbreaking choice.
Her family attacked, her home destroyed, and now stranded on Loci, Briallen of Tir Thar, descendant of a magical race, has only to summon the power within her to return to her own dimension—or so she had hoped. Unfortunately, her powers aren’t cooperating, and the sorcerer bent on her family’s destruction will stop at nothing to possess her.
Raised without knowledge of the portals, the Makir guardians, or her own destiny, Bri takes a leap of faith in an alliance with Logan. Embracing an uncertain power and accepting his goals as hers offers her the only way home. If they fail, the consequences of allowing the portals to fall to evil are unthinkable—the destruction of every magical dimension throughout space.

In the millennium before the dark ages of man, the lands of the earth were connected, rich with the ethereal forces of the universe.
Mystics and magic coexisted with man, until human greed, coveting power and fearing the unknown, begat persecution and hate.
Threatened to extinction, the children of magic fled, the most powerful of them ripping great holes in the universe to hide their brethren throughout space—the one true bloodline, forever charged with their partners in protection of the great portals between worlds.
To mankind, the exodus passed without event, without notice, without remembrance, the existence of magic…mere fables.
But the tides have turned, and the darkest of magic conspires to come home.
The bloodline of the Makir will be waiting.


Dimension of Tir Thar—Isle of Iverna:
Briallen dug her fingers into the chiseled rosettes of the stone lattice and, pressing her lips tight, peered into the courtyard below. Guards, prisoners, and smoldering piles of refuse obscured the garden pathways, the sparkle and vibration from the enchanted flowerbeds crushed beneath heavy boots. Pulling back, her shirt snagged on the rough stone, and she bit back a curse.
The risk of visibility from below was unlikely. The secret stairway provided perfect camouflage. However, the vaulted ceilings echoed even the smallest of sounds. One slip of noise and she’d be detected by Owain’s leather-winged sentries, circling above the castle’s watchtowers.
Her hand clenched over the six-inch-square shape buried deep in the heavy folds of her skirt, reassured by the touch that the only journal she’d found of her mother’s spells was still in her possession. With no time to fume over her failure to find more, she made her way down the stairwell. Nestled between the thick exterior walls of the courtyard and the interior ones of the Great Chamber, only her family would know to look for her in the passage.
The unobstructed view through the shimmering magical door at the bottom revealed a clear path, but she closed her eyes, swallowed hard, and leaned back against the cold stone. Piles of broken pottery, shredded tapestries, and shattered wooden furniture at the end of the breezeway were only a small sample of the destruction of her home and people.
Harsh to see but now wasn’t the time for emotion.
She straightened her shoulders and pressed a stone in the wall, her fingers searching and finding the latch inside. Soundlessly, the fissure opened to the corridor. She slid out, pressing the invisible doorway back into place.
Her quiet tread and nimble movements would have made her father proud. A small bit of comfort, though she held to the thought as she crouched behind a pile of rubble at the edge of the courtyard. Thick and cracked, the remains of her father’s hand-carved desk barely offered enough coverage for concealment, but she crawled closer.
The bark of the sorcerer’s soldiers, Owain’s hand of justice, rang in the air as they prodded women and children—what was left of the people who’d lived and worked beside her family—toward the open arches of the courtyard’s gates. Cries of fear fused with the clamor of shattering glass, breaking furniture, and the howls of giddy looters reverberated along the bare patches of stone on the ivy-spotted walls.
Bri blinked back useless tears and forced the stench of burned flesh and smoky tar drifting from the charred remains of the stables to harden the shell of anger around her emotions. Owain’s sorcery had laid bare her parents’ home, and his troops now reveled in their destruction. While her heart ached for the losses of this day, she seethed with fury, the need to save her brothers beating back the vengeance that percolated in her veins.
A makeshift platform covered the courtyard’s singing fountain, Fae melodies silent since Owain’s horde had breached Iverna’s shores.
The guards obscured a full view of the platform. However, the tall, dark hood of Owain’s minion, overseeing the destruction, stood a head above all others. A bout of bickering shifted the distribution of guards enough for a quick, clear view of the four stakes raised in the center of the platform.
Her chest tightened as air locked painfully in her lungs. Wrists bound and tethered to a rung at the top of the first stake, Nicholai slumped, his dark head down, his chin unmoving against a rust colored blotch caking his white shirt.
“Please don’t be dead,” she whispered at the sight of her older brother.
She’d have to act quickly. If she failed, death would be a kinder fate than what Owain planned for them. He wouldn’t settle for their deaths. He’d extract their souls, twist and drain them to feed his power, leaving only the vile carcass of their current selves—like the minion on guard, swaying before her brothers.
Christoph, Nicholai’s twin, was tethered alive at the next stake. Blood, thick and black, colored his white blond hair. But even bound and gagged, he glared defiantly at the guards around him.
Ten guards, six of them bearing the insignia of black flame—symbol of the sorcerer’s special protectorate—and one minion guarded her brothers. The collection and number a visible testament to the difficulty of her brothers’ capture and their perceived threat. Their strong levels of magical ability coupled with their years of training should have awarded them the edge in battle.
Yet they’d fallen.
Owain’s powers had reached far indeed. Bri murmured a silent prayer that her brothers’ capture had at least inflicted damage on the powerful sorcerer. This breadth and scope of power wasn’t impervious. She didn’t understand what had driven the sorcerer’s attack, but she understood clearly the ramifications. Her father defeated, her brothers held captive, her mother missing, and her people enslaved.
Iverna’s defense shield, their first line against invasion, had fallen to the boiling clouds of black magic that had rolled in from the sea. The oily mist neutralized the protective sigils and wards of the lookout beacons and rings of prayer that dotted the isle’s hillside. Her father’s fleet and the isle’s guard, the second line, stood little chance against ten thousand live kraken-like vessels bearing legions of Owain’s troops and jackal scouts. In the port and the village’s edge, men fell like brittle twigs beneath the onslaught of the hordes, while minions breached the magical safeguards of the castle.
The isle’s people fled to the dense regions of woods inland. Her brothers, with their guards, had held that line of defense. They’d been the third and last line of resistance.
That had succumbed as well.
No location on the island was safe from Owain’s eye. His minions, scouts, and sentries had hunted the people like rabbits, tracking them despite the seasoned skill of her father’s finest warriors. She’d escaped detection in her mother’s secret chamber, watching the destruction in the large scrying chalice that dominated the room as she tossed aside bits and pieces of useless items in search of a spell or enchantment to stop the tragedy.
Her presence wouldn’t remain hidden for long. Owain’s creatures were thorough. Fortunately, she didn’t need seclusion. With Iverna smoldering in ruins, it was now up to her.
She swallowed the bitterness at her lack of skill. Not allowed to develop her magical powers to the levels of her brothers, she’d accumulated what little she knew covertly with occasional stolen glances in her mother’s grimoire, in defiance of her mother’s warnings.
Her target hovered next to the platform with gray wisps of devil’s fyre wafting from beneath his hood. The minion, his glowing knife slung from the belt around his cloak, kept guard at the outskirts of the other soldiers.
Taking a breath, she straightened her shoulders, loosened a pearl button then two from the front of her blouse, and pushed her neckline to the edge of one shoulder. A few steps along the courtyard’s edge, she shifted from hiding and knocked a battered brass pitcher with her foot. The noise caught the attention of the nearest soldier, a large, meaty man with more holes in his mouth than teeth.
One hand gripped her arm fast and hard, the other grabbed her chin, the fingers digging into her skin. The man’s black eyes receded beneath dark furrowed brows, leering at her with disgusting interest. Nausea threatened as the sour stench of the man’s breath and body odor invaded her nasal passages.
“A pretty package. A nice bonus to ease my boredom.”
Bri pulled back and stumbled, her fall stopped by the man’s brutal grip on her arm.
“The hunters have found the last one, Captain.”
The call came from the far end of the courtyard. It took a second for the comment to register. She yanked at her captor’s hold and scanned beyond the captain, several yards away in his black and red uniform, to catch a glimpse of the newest captives.
Goddess, be merciful.
Her youngest brother was being marshaled toward the platform, his mouth gagged and his eyes covered, as if the six-year-old would cause true danger to these hardened mercenaries with mere words or vision. His arms also bound, jerked at the awkward pulls and prods.
Bri sought out Daniel’s mind. Are you hurt?
Close enough to notice the tear streaks marking through the dirt and soot on his face, she winced at the initial anger and fear he fed back to her. But he gave her a tense shake of his head. His emotional flood of anxiety radiated for her, for his brothers, and their parents, not for himself.
She bit back a curse. Daniel was a child, too young to be held accountable for any vendetta. Her parents’ illusion of following a peaceful path to their destinies had led them all to ruin. Her mother could have stopped this—should have stopped this. She had the power. Perhaps they all did, but instead they’d been left defenseless, vulnerable. Trained only in what her mother had considered appropriate for their future.
Bri yanked again at the hand holding her and dug the heel of her boot into the oaf’s foot.
“Bring the girl here with the others.”
Finally, her struggles had attracted an officer’s attention, a momentary godsend against the thick fingers pawing at her blouse and skirts.
Resisting a release of his prize, her guard pulled her back. “She’s only one of the help.”
Sweet Goddess, what an imbecile.
The officer moved closer. As she turned away, he grabbed her jaw to get a good look at her face. “That’s no servant. She’s the daughter. Secure her next to the runt.”
The guard still held her firm. “What harm would there be to try her before they’re finished?”
A hand delivered a quick slap to the guard’s forehead followed by the sharp point of a glowing blade. “Follow orders or you will join them.” The officer stepped back and shot a glance at his captain.
“The whelps will be enough lure for their traitorous mother, Lieutenant. Secure the girl separately. We’ve orders to return her to the sorcerer.” The captain gestured to the minion with his sword arm. “Prepare the crystals, but hold for my command.”
“A damn shame.” The guard’s gaze lingered over her, leaving a film of unclean where his eyes lit on her hair and body. His hands were rough as he secured a crystalline braid around her wrists in front of her body, the magical tether numbing her powers and movements.
Remaining silent, she averted her eyes from the other guard’s gaze. But she couldn’t avoid the captain’s dark, hate-filled look. His smile, slow to curve, held no warmth, leaving his eyes hard and cold.
“The idiot is right. You carry your mother’s beauty well.” He walked around her, assessing, and leaned close to whisper in her ear from behind. “No inducement of looks would entice me to risk Owain’s displeasure.”
A shiver of cold rippled unbidden through Bri’s body. Her entire life she’d been surrounded by those who loved her. Never had she felt so much hate directed toward her—and by total strangers.
The captain backed away and motioned the guard to position Bri by the minion at the foot of the platform. A dozen or more crystals now circled on the ground around the platform, a pale wash of yellow signaling their activation.
The crystals vibrated, rising in the air, the yellow deepening, strengthening, darkening, with striations of orange and red.
Daniel let forth a guttural sound from behind his gag, startling the lieutenant, who moved between Bri and her guard to reach up to the platform and smack the boy about the head. The crystals emitted a shrill cry. The colors wavered to orange and yellow.
A chance. At last.
Bri bent her head and began the chant as quietly as possible. “Might, will, power and fire.”
She knocked against the guard and pivoted toward the minion, her hands brushing its cloak. The pain of the crystalline braid seared her wrists. She ignored the acid-like fire on her skin as her fingers found and curled around the hard, icy handle of the minion’s blade.
Opening her mouth for the next phrase, her voice choked. No sound issued forth. 

You can buy Return of the Legacy at:
Black Opal - http://blackopalbooks.com/bookstore/product_info.php?products_id=33&osCsid=b1fb2c1c6f750cd153fa2389395d9cfa
Amazon US - http://www.amazon.com/Return-Legacy-Portals-Destiny-ebook/dp/B004RZIE0M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1300114152&sr=1-1http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/47315
Barnes & Noble - http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Return-of-the-Legacy/KH-LeMoyne/e/2940012187338/?itm=1&USRI=return+of+the+legacy
Amazon UK - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Return-Legacy-Portals-Destiny/dp/B004RZIE0M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300465120&sr=8-1
All Romance - http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-returnofthelegacy-524583-173.html
Smashwords -
 You can learn more at:

18 March 2011

Promoting For the Prolific ~ Bobbye shares her experiences

It's good to welcome back fellow Black Opal Books author, Bobbye Terry, and today she is sharing the joys of simultaneous multi book releases.  Good luck with all your new books, Bobbye.

Promoting For the Prolific

Don’t ask me how I did it, but I submitted a bunch of books to different places. The publishers published them, and that’s a good thing. But now, I am in the enviable or stupid place (It all depends on your perspective) of marketing three new books for two different publishers and indie publishing the third. Did I mention I also have another book that just came out in November 2010 that still needs tender loving care? Yep, you guessed it. That one is with a totally different publisher. Now, to make this really interesting, the book from November 2010, It’s Magic, was written under my pseudonym, Daryn Cross with co-author L.J. DeLeon. The second one, Craigs’ Legacy, was co-authored under the pseudonym, Terry Campbell. The third, Buried in Briny Bay, was written under my real name, Bobbye Terry, and Millicent, the indie published one I solo published under the name Daryn Cross. Lost yet? I am, “sorta.”

How do I keep all this straight? Lots and lots of preplanning and many hours of promo. Between my blogging, advertising, sending off review copies and doing interviews, it’s hard to get back to the real business of writing more books. I am proud to say I’ve written more than 115,000 words for 2011 as of March 13. So it’s not making me slack up too much. I do admit my days are longer, though. Also, some of my publishers help by sending out my copies for reviews themselves.
That is an awesome word count Bobbye, congratulations.

Having said all that, how does a person market this many books at one time?

1) Set the foundation - make sure you’re networked. That means listservs in your genres, professional ones for writing organizations to which you belong (if you don’t belong to any, select some—you’ll learn a lot), get on at least one popular group site such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., and post regularly. I am on all three of these, though most of my time is spent on Twitter. Also join sites such as Goodreads, Shelfari, Library Thing. Go where readers are, so make sure you frequent some sites for them that are not predominantly for writers.

2) Know what market you’re predominantly selling to. Mine is the e-reader market, not for those who read in print (though all my full-length novels are available that way). So, I want to make sure to comment on forums for those readers.

3) Pimp yourself out for blogs and interviews everywhere you can. The more of these I write, the faster I can produce them. They do bring you more followers on social networking sites and I am certain it has brought me readers.

4) Participate in blog hops and blogfests. These can be a lot of fun. When this is posted, I will be in the middle of a Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway.
Check my http://daryncross-fantasy.blogspot.com/ for details.

5) Blog on your own blogs and consider more than one with a different pseudonym for different genres. I write all my solo mystery/suspense under my real name, and all my solo fantasy/sci-fi as Daryn Cross.

6) Consider having special separate websites for long series. I have just produced one for my indie series at www.TheCashChroniclesSeries.com These don’t have to be elaborate, just enough for folks to see about the different books and what the series is about.

7) Don’t substitute quantity for quality—whatever you do, do it well. Don’t throw anything up and make sure what you send to someone else’s blog is well done.

8) Don’t spend a lot of money on print advertising. Once or twice a year you might want to splurge on something big like a coop ad in RT Book Reviews. Instead, think smart placement online, maybe offering to write for RT Book Reviews there and also on large sites with $10 to $50 banners, book cover ads, featured author, etc. By all means, take advantage of those FREE opportunities.

*That’s my summary for now. I’d love to answer questions, so fire away.  :-)*

Bobbye Terry is a multi-published author of several different genres. She writes fantasy and science fiction under the pseudonym, Daryn Cross.
Her most recent books are Craigs’ Legacy, www.blackopalbooks.com
Buried in Briny Bay, www.turquoisemorningpress.com

In April, she will begin to indie publish her science fiction series, The Cash Chronicles, but the prequel to the series, for release March 25, is an historical set in mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. The story, Millicent, introduces the villainess who is responsible for the dystopian U.S. of 2145.

17 March 2011

A glimpse behind the scenes - for readers

“What do you think you know?”

Why does that inner voice nag when an author sits down to work?
Aspiring authors and readers often assume the more experienced the writer, the more assured they become. And of course in many ways this is true.
Authors who write for more than one publisher meet and work with different editors. Each editor has their own preferences and angles, as does the publisher the editors and author are working for.

And within that publisher’s remit the author may cover several different sub-genres that all have their own perspective on how the they must approach their subject. So over time authors learn to adjust their writing style to suit both the publisher they are targeting and the requests of their editors.

From a reader’s perspective this may sound simple, but believe me, even for the most experienced and adaptable writer it can present problems.

Authors set out to write a book that will catch their readers’ interest and bring them back again and again. Author’s aim to write, to maintain and improve the quality of writing, the story content, to create more rounded and believable characters. Their books are not just stories, they are also an advertising campaign. The quality of the first chapter will entice the new reader to keep turning the pages, while final chapter of the current book must entice those same readers to buy the author’s next book, and the one after that, and… Well you get my drift.

The publisher sets out to contract authors who will provide a quality product. – I use the word product advisedly here. – It may still be ‘a story/book/novel’ but to the publisher it is also a product, one among many, all competing for acceptance, all competing for a growing reader following. To do this the publisher, at some point, will take risks on new authors. They are looking for writers who not only offer a quality product/book, but ones they think will offer quality manuscripts on a regular basis. After all a publishers target, like the authors’, is to sell books and gather a robust reader following.

To do this they, like the author, need to provide a quality product their readers will buy and keep coming back to them for more. Unlike the author, the publisher must do this over various genres and various ‘products’/book/authors. They have several ‘balls’ in the air at the same time, and if they drop one they must have an immediate replacement handy to keep the steady flow of production going without interruption.

And what of the editor? ‘The jam between the slices of bread’ you could say.
Like most artists, writers become so involved with their work it doesn’t matter how carefully they revise, self-edit and check yet again, errors slip through. It doesn’t matter how long the author leaves their work alone to give them space and a new perspective on their writing, their characters, their plot and their story, their brain and their eyes will still ‘float’ over some errors. They will ‘see’ what they intended to write, not what is on the page. It may be a comma in the wrong place, a spelling error their spell-checker missed and they overlooked. But those errors will be there. And it is the editor’s job not only to spot and highlight these, but to point out the areas where writer-style and ‘in-house’ publishing style may not coincide. Writer and editor have to work to readjust the writing without compromising the story to accommodate their publisher’s house-style.

Add a deadline to the mix and suddenly there is a high-level stress factor involved, and up pops that nasty little voice saying, “What do you know?” Or worse, “Do you really think you can do all this in time?”
Having done it once, readers may be forgiven for assuming next time will be easier for the author, and in some ways it is. The author knows, to a degree, what they may expect. But the industry is constantly changing, advancing, shifting.
For the modern-day author simply writing is no longer enough. They have to cope with their own promotion, which includes all things online from web and blog site creation to visiting hundreds of new sites tot tote their book. Virtual and ‘real’ book signings, most of those can be great fun.
But seriously, there is so much that every author must address that once came under the publishers’ jurisdiction, is it any wonder that every so often that pesky little gremlin gets the chance to pipe up and ask, “What do you think you know?”

Enjoy the blurbs and excerpts of Sherry Gloag's books at: www.sherrygloag.com 
Buy her books at:-
Duty Calls
The Brat 
The Wrong Target

What makes a book a 'keeper' for you,
what would prevent you from finishing a book?

16 March 2011

The importance of 'The First Kiss'

Mention the word 'kiss' and it evokes memories in everyone. 
Mention Cupid and everyone thinks of February 14th!
Be we Cupids work all year round.
So while getting our targets together may seem easy to the innocent bystander, ensuring they stay together may depend a great deal on the kind and quality of their kisses. 

Kissing in Western cultures is a fairly recent development and is rarely mentioned even in Greek literature. Cultural connotations of kissing vary widely. Depending on the culture and context, a kiss can express sentiments of greeting, affection, respect, love, and passion. Depending on the culture, relationship and context,  may carry a different social significance.  The French are renowned for kissing the fingers, whie embracing each other the Mediterraneans' kiss each cheek, to name just two of the most obvious.
In the Middle Ages it became a social gesture and was considered a sign of refinement of the upper classes while in China rubbing the nose against the recipient's cheek is a sign of affection. 

There are so many different kind of kisses there just isn't space here to begin listing them, so I won't!

But do you remember your first kiss?  You know the one I mean.  The one between you and that first 'someone special'?

On January 10th 2011 The Guardian.co.uk posted an article asking that question.
They say that according to Sheril Kirshenbaum, a scientist at the University of Texas, a first kiss is likely to be one of your most vivid memories.

Sadly I must be an exception, or else the kiss was so unmemorable it never rated even the vaguest memory! As an author of romance that’s a shameful admission, but true.  As an author of romance I wish I’d written Judy Garland’s line of 1939 "Twas not my lips you kissed, but my soul."

This so represents what I search for when writing.

In my short Valentine novella, The Wrong Target, published by eTreasures as part of the Cupid’s Gone Wild anthology and still available at http://www.etreasurespublishing.com/  and http://tinyurl.com/6ys4h6a there is explosive emotion between Tina and Ryan all the way through the story, but their first kiss does not come until near the end of the story.
It may have resulted from a challenge from my heroine to my hero, but indeed, that kiss reached their souls and sealed their future.

Headmistress Tina Blackberry and business tycoon Ryan Thomas can't control events after Ryan's daughter steals his coveted golden arrow and takes it to school, But put Cupid on the job and nothing can go wrong, or can it?
“Goddamit,” he exploded, “Can’t you stand still for one second? I have something to say, but I can’t while you’re jogging round the room.”

She halted toe to toe in front of him. “You have me dismissed from a job I loved, because I upheld the safety of my pupils, and still have the audacity to stalk me to my holiday destination and demand I listen to you because you have something to say?” Flapping her hands at her sides, she spun away and back again, planting her hands on the chair arms, she pinned him in his place and snarled, “Let me tell you something. I’ve come here to enjoy myself and your presence isn’t part of my plan.”

“What is your plan?” he demanded.

“To get laid!” Astonishment pushed her away from the chair, her eyes wide, her lips curved up in a defiant sneer. “I intend to find myself a man and screw the living daylights out of him. And,” she paused deliberately, “I don’t need you for that.”

To find more information about Sherry Gloag's other books, The Brat and Duty Calls -

visit her webiste and blogsite at

Website: www.sherrygloag.com
Blogspot: http://tinyurl.com/68oomm6

and other places online:-
Duty Calls – http://tinyurl.com/4rxo5sw
And The Brat, her debut novel - http://tinyurl.com/5spkumm
The Wrong Target - http://tinyurl.com/5vadzhq

15 March 2011

Heather Hiestand talks about The Bachelor and other novels

Welcome Heather, it's good to have you here today.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. For instance you have a young family, how do you manage to fit your writing round your family?
Because I have an active toddler I write in an easy chair in the living room while he naps. I have always enjoyed writing, but only considered myself a proffessional for the past five years or so. I've had seven novels published, plus a bunch of shorter stuff including my Valentine novella which is part of the Cupid Gone Wild Anthology.
When I wrote "The Bachelor", a novella in the Cupid Gone Wild anthology, I had no idea charity bachelor auctions existed outside books and movies. After all, I’ve never been invited to one, but they do exist!
For instance, you can check out http://bachelorauctions.com to see how successful an event was last year, raising money for an emergency shelter charity. Talk about high end!
I love this top ten list I found for a Jacksonville bachelor auction:


1. All proceeds support students with developmental disabilities at North Florida School
2. Audience participation is encouraged
3. Spend hundreds of dollars in one place and not feel bad about it in the morning
4. Pocket full of phone numbers
5. You might meet your future spouse
6. You might meet your future EX!
7. The only event in Jacksonville that you can legally bid on an escort
8. Best Silent Auction in Jacksonville
9. Group dates are encouraged
10. No strings attached... you don't have to take the bachelor or bachelorette on the date package you purchase…take whoever you want!
Want to set one up for your own charity? I found this primer consisting of a series of You Tube videos: www.ehow.com/videos-on_86_organize-bachelor-auction.html

In my story, the auction takes place in a more modest surrounding, a karaoke bar. But hey, Cupid can cause love to strike anywhere!
My bachelor and bachelorette both wound up at their charity auction by accident, but it worked out well for them! Thanks to Cupid’s arrow, what might have been a super hot one night stand turned into the love of a lifetime. Thanks, Cupid!
Abbie Harper didn’t mean to bid on the date, but one look at Jake Cordalys and she’s ready for red-hot romance. Jake isn’t looking for something complicated, but when Cupid is involved, all plans go out the window and romance flies in.
Cupid's Report – In Progress
Cupid 1127 here.
I first encountered Unlikely Subject Abbie Harper on February 11th, while cruising Facebook for a most improbable pair to bring together. I would make an excellent personal assistant for you because I never, ever procrastinate. Also, I’m a thoroughly modern Cupid. Note my use of the Internet. I bet all the other cadets are out walking the streets. How archaic!
Every status on Abbie’s profile centered on her daughter. Clearly, she focused on family instead of herself, but I sensed longing beneath these updates for something else. This young widow needed to find love again, but my candidate would have to be right under her nose. Like someone in her daughter’s life.
Abbie had Friended the Vancouver, Washington school her seven-year-old daughter attended, and so I dug into the school’s Friend list. Who did I find, you ask? The most unlikely match for her of all – Jake Cordalys. Yes, the guy is as sexy as they come, and certainly has no trouble finding the ladies, but true love has eluded him so far.
Jake’s a substitute teacher in the school. Not a perfect match for Abbie. In fact, I’m certain no one but me could brew true love between a wealthy, young widow and a younger, poorer man, but I will make it happen. The impossible match!
Love this complicated takes time to sort out!
The Kindle link is: http://www.amazon.com/Cupid-Gone-Wild-Valentines-ebook/dp/B004LLIYO8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1299198218&sr=1-1

I also write for Cerridwen Press and The Wild Rose Press as Heather Hiestand and Anh Leod for Ellora’s Cave, and have novels available at Cerridwen Press. Please see my website for information on print anthologies that are available with my romance and mystery stories!

I have seven novels published, plus a bunch of shorter stuff. The release date for my latest novel,Victoriana Adventure, from The Wild Rose Press is 13th April.
Marooned in backward Victoriana by a magical Christmas cracker, Ollie Brown wants to get home to modern Tacoma. The enticing girl who shelters him tempts him to stay in this alternate reality, but what does a nineteenth century princess need with a twenty-first century skateboarding chemist in a world where science is banned?
Princess Lenchen thrills at the chance to assist the handsome stranger who speaks of oddities like candy bars and “grinding.” Ollie offers a breath of freedom, but Lenchen knows he feels trapped and out of place. She reluctantly tries to help him find a way back to his world, though she longs to know more about him—and to escape her cloistered life in the widowed Queen Victoria’s court.
Every girl wants her own Cinderella story, even if she's already a princess—but if Ollie stays with her, will he be allowed to be himself?
For more information visit
My Website: www.heatherhiestand.com
My Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Heather-HiestandAnh-Leod/24271017921
Mt Blog: http://blog.heatherhiestand.com/