Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Meet my Next Guest Sharon S. Hartley!

I want to welcome Sharon S. Hartley. First I’d love you to introduce yourself. 

Hi!  Thanks for having me.  I live in Miami, Florida with my husband and a Jack Russell Terrorist named Rocket. I love telling romantic tales, and have way too many hobbies, including orchids, leading bird walks, and volunteering at a local museum.  

Tell us about your latest release.

 “Her Cop Protector” is available June 1st from Harlequin Superromance.  This is my third Super.  The story involves a subject I’m passionate about, the protection of wild birds.  My heroine, June Latham, is a bird activist, which occasionally gets her into trouble.  It’s how she meets, the hero, Detective Dean Hammer. June has a troubled background, and Dean unravels an old family mystery for her.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?  

Right now my favorite villain is Black Jack Randall from the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon and television series on Starz.  I absolutely despise/loathe/hate Jack Randall, but am in awe of the acting skills of Tobias Menzies, the actor who plays the part on the T.V. series.  Black Jack is a sadist who enjoys the pain of others.  It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read Gabaldon’s brilliant books, you’ll enjoy the way the story is portrayed on Starz. 

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

Gosh, this is hard, because I love all my characters.  But I’m going to have to say Whacky Taki from “The South Beach Search.”  Taki is a yoga teacher who attempts to live a truly yogic way of life, which is nearly impossible in our modern world.  She really does try, but keeps running off course, especially once she meets Reese, the hero, who is a federal prosecutor.  Taki changes her name and turns her back on her family’s money because she thinks it’s tainted and bad karma.  (I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do that!)

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I write romantic suspense because I’m fascinated by mysteries and the mystery of love.  I enjoy telling stories about cops and the dangerous bad guys that inhabit their world.  (Research can be such fun)  Police officers have a high suicide and divorce rate because of the stress in their lives. I treat them sympathetically, but definitely show their flaws.  I’ve taken every citizens’ police academy I can get into, including the FBI’s.  But I could never be a cop.  I’m probably duck for cover the first time I heard a gun.

4.) What are you working on now? 

The working title is “The Journal”, but in my mind I call it “Claudia’s Story.”  Claudia is a minor character from “The South Beach Search,” an important witness in a trial against a domestic terrorist that the hero is prosecuting. Claudia doesn’t trust the government to protect her and goes into hiding.  So now the feds and the bad guys are looking for her – although for different reasons.  I’m having a lot of fun telling this story.  It’s another Harlequin Super and will be released some time in 2016.

5.) What got you to start writing?

Maybe because I’m an avid reader.  Or maybe because I have an active fantasy life J  I’ve kept a journal since I was 13 years old and had attempted fiction over the years, but what I wrote was always, well, dreadful.  My sister decided to write a romance novel, challenged me to do the same, and that’s what started me on a path of studying the craft of writing.  I got hooked and ended up with an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?
I worked as a court reporter for thirty years, and a lot of my ideas come from that career.  Federal grand jury sessions, where I was sworn not to reveal the secret testimony I heard, provided a lot of inspiration.  I play “what if”, and the plots come from that.  So do some of the characters – although changed a bit so no one can recognize the victims or criminals.  Merlene, the heroine in “To Trust a Cop,” was based in part on a private investigator I deposed in a divorce case.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?


Because I write about crime and criminals, I think people would be surprised to learn I’m a yoga teacher.  Perhaps yoga calms me from my writing sessions.  I get a lot of satisfaction from sharing my knowledge and love of this ancient practice with students. I urge everyone to try at least one beginner’s class from reputable yoga studio.  You’ll love savasana, the deep relaxation at the end, and come back again and again.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I grow orchids.  I’m not sure if that’s a talent or an obsession since I now have close to a thousand plants.  I enjoy buying seedlings and nurturing them until they bloom.  I also conduct tours for visitors in a historic house museum in Miami.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

To write every single day for at least an hour.  Writers write. 

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

Buddha.  I’m certain he could teach me about patience and how to live in the present moment.  I’d love to hear what he says about enlightenment.  I have a lot of lessons to learn!

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

The Long and Winding Road.  It’s also my ring tone.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?
A parrot.  Parrots are very, very smart (being called a bird brain, believe it or not, is quite the compliment), long lived, and wouldn’t you just love to fly?


Thanks!



Blurb:

One Hot Miami Mystery
Homicide Detective Dean Hammer has two dead bodies on his hands and just one connection:  a pretty activist named June Latham.  She swears her only concern is rescuing the tropical birds she loves, but something isn’t adding up.  As Dean begins to unravel the mystery of June’s troubled family, he realizes she’s in danger. 

Excerpt:

             "I looked you up last night. Guess what I discovered?"
            "That I've never been married?"
            "No, that you --" June paused as his words sunk in.  "You've never been married?"
            "Wouldn’t want to make any woman a widow.  So, what startling thing did you learn about me?"  
            She shook her head.  Once again the man had thrown her off balance.  How could he possibly know she'd tried to determine his marital status?  "Forget it."
            "Maybe I don't want to forget it.  Whatever it was sure ruffled your feathers."  He grinned, obviously amused by his bird reference. 
            "Ha-ha," she said, not finding him funny.
            "Hey.  I seem to remember you inviting me on this little jaunt.  Did I misunderstand?"
            She sighed.  "No.  I thought you would enjoy yourself.  That was before I knew you preferred to hunt birds with that high-powered rifle you're so damned good with."

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rebecca Airies Has a New release! #RHACafe

A fellow RHACafe author has a new release this week. This is an erotic romance and you;re going to love it!


Tangled Bliss

Chelsea Ash healed plants, but she can't fix her own problems. Alexander Woods, a gorgeous, new deputy in town and her boyfriend, refuses talk about part of his past, leaving her wondering what he's hiding. On top of that, a stalker is sending her creepy gifts and stealing her sense of safety.

Alexander is building a new life in Alden Glen. He wants a home after years of hunting the tainted. Chelsea is sexy, sweet and the sensual hunger explodes between them. He's not walking away from her. Even as they untangle the mess of their relationship, the stalker escalates his attacks. Alex will have to use all his skills to protect Chelsea and claim the future he's always wanted.




Excerpt:

Chelsea turned into the drive of her little cottage in the trees. Bright pink, blue and yellow flowers bordered the driveway. She stopped at the side of her cream-colored house.

Even as she gathered her things, her mind already focused on the long, hot shower she planned. It was good to be home. She looked forward to a great date with Alexander tonight. The thought that it might be one of the last dates she had with him did depress her.

Unless the man began revealing more about himself. With a sigh, she shook her head. She didn’t see that happening without some drastic intervention.

She got out of the car and walked up the flower-lined path. The scent of roses surrounded her, making her feel at home. Just before the front step, a sudden wave of nausea hit her. She took a deep breath. The sick sensation continued, but it didn’t come from within her.

She stopped and focused. The troubling impressions came from her left. She looked at a rose bush near the corner of her porch. Something different about the feel of the plant pulled her toward the bush.

She strode over to it. Her hand lifted, but she stopped before she touched the plant. The odd sensations coursing through her body caused her to hesitate.

She frowned when she saw the problem. The leaves drooped. Yellow blotches discolored the vibrant green foliage. The energy pulsing from it wasn’t normal, even from a sick plant. Something was off.

What the hell had happened to it? The leaves had been fine this morning. They’d been vibrant green. Several buds had stood tall, reaching for the sun. She’d looked forward to watching the petals unfold.

Now, those same unopened flowers sagged. The sepals, which protected the petals, had withered. This was not normal.

Especially for the home and surroundings of an Aelfir gifted with the ability to heal and grow plants. A brush of her fingers could open closed blooms. The transfer of energy into the plant could help mend disease or breaks in stems and branches.

She itched to heal those plants, but the sudden withering struck her as strange. She wanted it checked by someone who could detect the type of energies within the plant.

Maybe she was being too cautious. On the other hand, maybe not. After the weird letters and gifts sent to her, she didn’t want to take the chance.

Chelsea would call as soon as she made sure that was the only thing wrong. She headed into her house, passing through the living room and into the dining room. One step into the room, she stopped. She stared at the dining table. Her breath caught in her throat.

A wrapped gift sat on gleaming dark brown wood. A green ribbon wrapped around the stark white box. An elegant bow perched on top of the package.

Her stomach dropped. Nausea and dread rose. Fear sent a shiver skating down her spine. Someone had been inside her house.


Bio: Rebecca Airies writes paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi/futuristic romance. She loves reading, writing, crafting, a good cup of tea, chocolate and snuggly kitties. She's been writing stories since she was in her teens, at first trying to get over that elusive hump and finish a story. She loves creating new worlds, especially anything paranormal and fantasy related. You can usually find her working on multiple WIP at a time and she likes nothing more than losing herself in those worlds and characters.


Links:
Check out my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaAiriesAuthor



Saturday, July 25, 2015

Welcome My Latest Guest Barb Caffrey!

I want to welcome Barb Caffrey. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Thanks for having me! I'm a writer, editor, and musician from the Midwest. I play three musical instruments (saxophone, clarinet, and oboe), I hold two college degrees, and despite being a music major, I wrote for both of my college newspapers.

I've written since I was about ten years old, and have stories in a number of anthologies – GIFTS OF DARKOVER and FIRST CONTACT CAFÉ being the latest. And I'm a huge baseball fan – my favorite team is the Milwaukee Brewers.

Tell us about your latest release.

AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE stars Bruno the Elfy (originally known as Jon), a short young being from a magical race in a parallel universe. His people, the Elfys, send him to our California because they've detected unusual mage currents…but while that's true, that's not the whole truth—they really want him out of the way because they're afraid of his prodigious power. Once he's in Knightsville, California, he gets captured by an unusual family. The parents won't give them their names and expect him to do magic tricks for their friends; they don't feed him or give him water, and generally treat him like a prisoner. He makes common cause with their daughter, Sarah (originally Daisy), who's been under a strange curse that makes her believe she's far younger than she is. Bruno's teacher, Roberto the Wise, tries to help them, but ends up getting captured himself. Then Bruno finds out a Dark Elf, Dennis, is behind it all…and is going to sacrifice his teacher on May Day, just to prove a point.

How will Bruno and Sarah get Roberto out of there? And what will they do when they find out they're both actually on the verge of adulthood, not young kids at all? (Hint, hint: It makes a few things about their romance less troublesome.)




Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

My favorite villain is Dennis the Dark Elf. My late husband, Michael, helped me create Dennis…he's a hissable villain of the old fashioned kind, and gets all the best lines.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

That one's easy. Bruno is my favorite character. He has an indomitable spirit. He's deeply romantic. And he has a great sense of humor. (Plus, I'm a sucker for sweet, age-appropriate romances.)

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

Mostly, I write humorous urban fantasy. I like it for two reasons: First, it allows me to write something that I hope will make people laugh. And second, it gives me a lot of leeway, plot-wise.

4.) What are you working on now?

I just sent the sequel to AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE to my publisher, Lida Quillen of Twilight Times Books. It's called A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE. (Yes, I intended people to think "Big Trouble in Little China.") And I am finishing up my rewrite of a non-Elfyverse transgender fantasy/romance, CHANGING FACES, which is about two clarinetists.

In addition, I'm working on a novel set in my late husband's Atlantean Union military science fiction universe. But I'm still in the very early stages of that.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I read a great deal, and had read most of the books in my school's library by the time I finished third grade. And I started to wonder…could I tell some interesting stories, too?

Of course, my first stories were all about baseball. But later, I turned to poetry, then science fiction, and finally fantasy…while I've continued to write a little of everything, what I'm best at is funny urban fantasy.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Most of the time, I have some sort of inspirational dream. Or I read something that makes me think. Or maybe both. (Actually, I'm not sure where my ideas come from. But I really do dream up a few of 'em.)

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

My first love wasn't writing at all. It was music.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I play three musical instruments well (saxophone, clarinet and oboe), two fair-to-middling (piano and trombone), and I compose music.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

Persist. Persist. Persist. And keep on persisting.

This stuck with me because it rang true. You have to keep trying. You can't give up. And you have to keep writing, keep honing your craft, until you finally manage to come up with something workable. Something others will hopefully enjoy.

I believe strongly in the power of persistence, coupled with the power of hard work.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

I'd like to talk with Gautama Buddha about the nature of suffering. I'd like to find out if he believes anything close to what Viktor Frankl believes, as explained in Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning. (In other words, is suffering intended to make us better, wiser people? Or does it just exist for no reason whatsoever? Frankl clearly believes that suffering must be worth something, which is why talking to the Buddha would be so interesting—the man who came up with "All life is suffering" must have something to say, surely.)

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

"All You Need Is Love," the Beatles. (Note I'm not a huge fan of the Beatles, but this makes the most sense.)

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

A lion, or perhaps a tigress. (This is assuming my husband comes back as the same animal. Otherwise, I don't want to be bothered.)

Short blurb:

Bruno the Elfy believes he’s very young, has no power, and has no enemies.

He’s wrong.

Quickly sent to our Earth (the Human Realm) and told to watch for magic, Bruno must unravel the lies, keep his mentor from being tortured, and—oh, yeah—figure out why he’s so strongly attracted to young, Human Sarah.

Because his life depends on it.



Excerpt:

"Now, that’s odd," Bruno said as he looked frantically for Roberto and Sarah. He saw neither of them.

Cautiously, he went up to the door and knocked. Surely this was the correct protocol? As he wondered, Sarah opened the front door.

"Shh," she whispered, putting her forefinger to her lips. "My parents are fighting with Roberto. Get in here before they notice you, too!"


"All right," Bruno said quietly as he felt himself being pulled inside. Sarah closed the door softly behind him and motioned Bruno to follow her.


As he went through the front room, he faintly heard Roberto’s raised voice. Roberto was saying, "Now see here, madam," but just as Bruno had been ignored, Roberto was apparently being ignored, too.

"Oh, Elfy," Sarah’s mother said in a high-pitched, carrying whine. "I just have to take you out today. Get into that uniform we bought you."

"But—but—but—I’m not—" Roberto sputtered.

"What do you mean, Elfy?" her mother said. "You’re not what? Interested? I don’t care, you’re going!"

"What’s going on?" Bruno whispered.

"Like I said," Sarah whispered back, tossing her long, black hair, "My parents are fighting with Roberto. Fortunately for us, they’re all upstairs in the attic, so I can get you inside without being seen."

"But—but—but—" Bruno tried, knowing he sounded like Roberto.

"Please, Bruno, wait for later?" Sarah pleaded. "I know you have a lot of questions. So do I, and I’m sure Roberto does, too. Not that I care."

"What happened?" Bruno asked again.

"I can’t tell you right now," Sarah said, looking around. She motioned for silence.

In the distance, Bruno heard Sarah’s father say, "Why doesn’t that outfit fit anymore, Elfy? Did you witch it?" in a threatening tone.

"No! Like I’ve said, I’m not the same Elfy as before!" Roberto’s desperate voice shouted.

"Well, we know all Elfys can change their shapes just as easily as they change their names," the woman said, loudly enough for Bruno and Sarah to hear. "I think you’re the same Elfy, and even if you’re not, which you are, I say you’re going out with me today! And that’s final!"

"Sarah, what—?"

"We don’t have time," Sarah whispered urgently. "They’re about to take Roberto out and show him off to their friends, and they’ll be coming down here anytime. Please, I’ve got to get you inside my room before then!"

"All right." Bruno let himself be pulled toward Sarah’s room. As they went through the kitchen, he realized how hungry he was.

"Can we stop for food?" he whispered.

"No," Sarah said.

They heard footsteps and voices on the steps.

"Quickly! Get in here!" Sarah pulled Bruno through the kitchen, toward her bedroom. "We have about half a minute, no more. I’ll go and distract them until they leave. I definitely don’t want them knowing they now have two Elfys to torment, rather than just one!"

"That’s a good point," Bruno mused softly, just as Sarah pulled him to her door.

"Get in, quick! I’ll make sure they don’t come in here."

"You said before they never do," Bruno interrupted.

"True, but there’s always a first time. Anyway, since they didn’t see you, hopefully they will not sense you either. Now, get inside!" Sarah pushed him inside the door.

Bruno whirled, but wasn’t fast enough to stop Sarah. He did, however, hear her say through the door, "I’ll be back as soon as I can. We’re really in for it now."

Bruno went and sat on Sarah’s bed, running his hands across Sarah’s elaborately embroidered bedspread, even more confused than before.

What in all the worlds and time was going on here?

Buy links:
Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/1p6xvQj
Amazon (UK): http://goo.gl/dDoBnd
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/m8o49ad

Social media links:
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Barb-Caffrey/e/B00H8EROC8
Blog: http://elfyverse.wordpress.com
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/barb.caffrey.1
Twitter: http://twitter.com/BarbCaffrey
Google-Plus: http://plus.google.com/101403408003727584589/posts
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2843982.Barb_Caffrey


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More updates....

I am back! I had a great time and was able to relax for a bit.

I to want you to know I will be getting back to the handouts next week. I had to take my laptop to the repair shop because I had trouble connecting to the internet and kept hearing a weird noise. I dd it just before I went on vacation.

The good thing is they fixed everything - it turned out my hard drive had gone bad. So when I got it back I got a blank slate. Thank goodness I learned to back up all my data. So now I have to reload all my files. I should have everything done in a day or two.

I'm also happy to say that Phaze Books has bought the nineth book in the Vespian Way series  titled Timeless Desire - Yay! It has a tentative release date of mid December. I'll keep you posted as things progress.

Barb:)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Meet My Latest Guest: Shauna Aura Knight

I want to welcome Shauna Aura Knight. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Thanks for hosting me! I’ll give the informal intro, then the “grown up” bio. I’m a total geek and creative nerd. I write fiction and nonfiction, I paint, I’m a graphic designer, I teach workshops on facilitation and leadership. And, when I have the time, I plan events and do things like building life-size replicas of Jabba the Hutt for themed parties.


Shauna Aura Knight: An artist, author, and presenter, Shauna’s creative work is inspired by awakening mythic imagination and the shadows we each face. She’s the author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels including A Fading Amaranth, Werewolves in the Kitchen, Werewolves with Chocolate, A Winter Knight’s Vigil, The White Dress, the Autumn Leaves, and The Truth Upon Her Lips.


Shauna’s mythic artwork and designs are used for magazine covers, book covers, and illustrations, as well as decorating many other spaces. She travels nationally, offering workshops on facilitation, community leadership, and personal growth. She is the author of The Leader Within, Ritual Facilitation, Dreamwork for the Initiate’s Path, and many other articles on personal transformation, leadership, and related topics.


Tell us about your latest release.

My newest book is A Fading Amaranth. Nathaniel’s been a vampire long enough to grow weary of glamoured seduction, and he’s lost his poetic muse. He meets reclusive artist Alexandra—her telepathy has overwhelmed her for years, and she can bear no one’s touch. However, she can’t hear Nathaniel’s thoughts, and she’s immune to his vampire glamour. During scorching nights together, they rediscover their passion for life.

When a Faerie creature stalks Alexandra, the lovers find themselves snared in a paranormal battle alongside Chicago’s mage guardians. Worse, Nathan’s rising bloodlust places Alexandra in danger. Will she master her abilities before going insane? What will they risk to be together?

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

Darth Vader. He starts out so very bad, so easy to hate. And then, at the end, just when you’re all excited and thinking yeah—he’s going to get his butt kicked…then he goes and turns against the Emperor to save Luke. And then you see beneath the mask, and realize what a completely tragic figure he is. Since then, I certainly love a good villain, but I have a special place in my heart for the villains who are as tragic as that.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

This is such a tough question because I connect to all of my characters so much. I really like Nathaniel from A Fading Amaranth, and the mage guardians Jocelyn and the Walker who are side characters in that story but who star in my longer urban fantasy series I’m working on. However, I’d have to say my favorite main character so far would have to be Sonya from The Truth Upon Her Lips, which is my book that will be coming out in about a month. Sonya’s not your simpering heroine; she’s strong and kick butt. Her magical powers threaten to overwhelm her, and she faces some pretty titanic magical forces from those who stand against her, but she doesn’t back down.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

Paranormal romance, urban fantasy, epic fantasy, some dystopian and space opera. Basically, anything speculative and fantastical. I’ve always enjoyed fantasy and sci-fi, I’ve never been interested in contemporary fiction. Give me a movie with spaceships or magic any time. Chick flicks? Not so much. I was raised on Star Wars and Star Trek and the Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, and books by Anne McCaffrey and David Eddings and Mercedes Lackey. That’s the stuff that I find fascinating.

4.) What are you working on now?

The Truth Upon Her Lips, Book One of the Roses Rising, is coming out soon, and I’m in the finishing phases of A Golden Heart of Glass and A Winter Knight’s Silence, but I’m also working on Book Two of the Roses Rising, Until She Wakes From Sleep. I also have a longer urban fantasy series that explores the psychic mage characters introduced in my book A Fading Amaranth. These stores all feature romance, heroes, magic powers, gods and goddesses, and some vampires, shifers, and a bit of old fairytale magic.

5.) What got you to start writing?

My parents both worked at a bookstore when I was a kid, and they read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy.  I mowed through their book collection as a kid. I wanted to be a writer from about third grade onward when I started writing short stories in English class, and I started writing my first novel when I was twelve, a science fiction story. I’ve been writing ever since, it’s just that I’ve only started publishing my work in recent years.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Often from dreams; I frequently have these massive, epic dreams. Swordfighting and space battles and magic. A lot of my fiction ideas come from that. Other ideas come from “what if.” Werewolves in the Kitchen came from a “what if” moment while I was doing my laundry. The Truth Upon Her Lips came from a “what if” moment while I was standing on the side of the road after I’d been in a car accident that totaled my car. What if…there was a really sexy EMT? What if…the woman in the car had precognition, but it had suddenly failed her? The story pretty much wrote itself from there.

The story for A Fading Amaranth came from two scene snippets I wrote years and years ago. The first scene was a vampire trying to glamour a woman in an alley; she wouldn’t go under his hypnosis magic and he was snarling and frustrated. The other scene was a vampire with a woman in her bed, trying not to bite his lover. Those scenes didn’t seem to be about the same characters at first, but once I figured out the storyline thread between them, that’s where the story took shape.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

I write pretty spicy romance that often features Pagan characters, or various kinds of magic…but what I also do professionally is teach leadership and facilitation, particularly within the modern Pagan community. I write everything under the same name, though I have a few different blogs so people can focus on my fiction or my nonfiction. People who know me largely as someone who teaches Pagan leadership are sometimes surprised to find out that I write romance and fantasy novels. And people who meet me in my role as a public speaker are often shocked to find out that I am an introvert and actually pretty shy!

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I keep pretty busy; along with being a writer of fiction and nonfiction, I’m also an artist, a graphic designer, a professional presenter and public speaker, and I’ve done theatrical design and event planning. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve built some crazy things like a life-size Jabba and a reproduction of the Carbonite Chamber from Star Wars. I love planning events, I just wish I had bigger budgets to do them properly. I’d love to organize a Faerie masquerade ball in the Midwest.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

I went to a lot of scifi/fantasy conventions in my twenties and attended a lot of author panels, and I heard a lot of really great advice so it’s hard to boil it down to just one piece. I can encapsulate it this way; keep writing and learn how to be a better writer. If you’re really serious about writing, learn how to do it well and keep at it. I don’t want to put forth the “anyone can do this, just keep at it” advice, because I don’t think that’s true; not everyone is going to have the skill as a writer to do a good job at it. And not everyone is going to have the patience and perseverance to keep at it. And some writers aren’t going to be able to handle a serious edit of their work—and trust me, everyone’s work needs an editor. So yes—do keep at it, but if you’re really serious, also be willing to do the work to learn your craft and become a better writer.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

Growing up, I was a big-time nerd for history, and a lot of my heroes and role models were people like Einstein and other scientists. I’ve always been particularly fascinated by scientists who sacrificed their own health and wellbeing to learn more about the universe, like the Curies. I’m also fascinated by military strategists. So who I’d pick really depends on the day. Today I’d pick Rumi or William Butler Yeats. I’d love to talk to them about the mystical inspirations of their poetry.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

This is so hard because I really love music; in fact, I obsessively create soundtracks for each of my stories. I don’t know that this song describes my life, but I often write to it; Queste Saranno by Origa. Or Inner Universe by Origa.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

Cat. No brainer. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m halfway a cat already. Maybe a great cat, which would be slightly more majestic than a house cat. Well, sometimes they are more regal….I am working up a freebie short story I’ll give away to folks who join my email newsletter; the story focuses on wereleopard Kade from The Truth Upon Her Lips around Halloween. Did you know that great cats like leopards really like to play ball with pumpkins? Yeah, not quite so majestic, but there are some hilarious YouTube videos of this. Funny where inspiration strikes!






Excerpt from A Fading Amaranth:

“I must go now,” Nathaniel rasped. He had to, or he risked biting her whether or not she was glamoured. Yet he couldn’t stand the thought of leaving Alexandra there, of not tasting her. There was something about her, something that made him want…he didn’t even know what he wanted. Given his life, it probably wasn’t something he could have. “I have to find…I have to feed.” His hands shook. That was a bad sign.

 “All you had to do was ask.”

He looked up at Alexandra in surprise. “What?”

She took a step closer to him, and he caught her wrist, unable to resist scenting her again. She wasn’t overcome with lust in the way she would be under his hypnosis, but she did want him. When they touched, he could feel her attraction to him growing. Fascinating, he thought, that he could sense her feelings like that, even though he couldn’t bring her under.

He wanted her so badly he burned, but it wasn’t just his teeth, his blood. He wanted her in a way he hadn’t desired a woman in years. He ached to kiss her. Could he do it without biting her?

With the blood hunger riding him, could he stop himself from trying?

“I’m sorry,” he whispered.

She caught at his wrist, and he looked at her in surprise. “Don’t go.”

“I must. I have to go. Quickly.”

“Am I right that you only take a small amount of blood? Is what I sensed correct?”

“Yes,” he hissed as she stepped closer.

“Just ask.” She reached up to caress his cheek, and he barely suppressed a flinch.

“I cannot, my lady. You are not susceptible to….It will hurt. I cannot allow that,” he said, though he still found his head dipping down to her. He had no idea how he was even coherent; his vision hazed with red, throbbing to the beat of the pulse in her neck.

“Oh.”

He couldn’t resist nuzzling his cheek against hers, brushing his lips across her neck. Ah, the taste of her. He pulled back, shaking, and she reached up to pull him closer. He shut his eyes and gave in, kissing her, trying to keep his fangs from cutting her lip. Moaning, she kissed him back, pulling herself against him until he wrenched himself back. “I must go,” he snarled. Her desire nearly shattered his control completely.




Saturday, July 4, 2015

On Vacation!!!! And Other Updates....

Hi all!

For those of you who follow my writing down the bones probably noticed I didn't post this past tuesday. Those of you who follow my interviews might have realized I didn't post an author interview either. I have decided to take a much needed vacation. I'll pick everything up on July 18th with an interview with Shauna Aura Knight so be on the look out for that.

I wanted to give a quick update - I don't get a chance to do this very often.

I was looking around today and found out that ARe is having a sale today - all my books there are 50% off! ARe:http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Barbara+Donlon+Bradley

I am also visiting two blogs this week. One is already live,

http://marielaval.blogspot.com/2015/07/welcome-to-american-author-barbara.html?showComment=1436050380145#c8805777960152983738

I had a lot of fun answering her questions! Come on by and leave a comment.

On Wednesday I'll be on Lily Bishop's blog, answering her interview questions. Here's her main blog address - http://lilybishop.com/ - I'll post a direct link when I get it. Here;s the main link - comeone by and say hi! http://lilybishop.com/ww-meet-barbara-donlon-bradley/

Oh and I sent in book 9 to my publisher! Fingers crossed I hope to have good news soon.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Meet my Latest Guest: Margaret L. Carter!

I want to welcome Margaret L. Carter. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

My fascination with vampires began when I read DRACULA at the age of twelve, and I started writing at age thirteen. From vampires and horror, I branched into reading all kinds of speculative fiction. Inevitably, I decided to major in English in hopes of getting paid for reading. I’m married to a retired Navy Captain, and in the course of our numerous moves, I earned degrees from the College of William and Mary, the University of Hawaii, and the University of California (Irvine). My dissertation, on the Gothic novel, included a chapter about DRACULA. I’ve had stories in various fantasy anthologies such as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Sword and Sorceress” series. At book length, I was first published in literary criticism; after that, my first novels were SHADOW OF THE BEAST (from the viewpoint of a female werewolf coming to terms with her heritage) and DARK CHANGELING (from the viewpoint of a half-vampire coming to terms with his heritage—note the pattern?). My husband also writes fantasy. We’ve collaborated on a sword-and-sorcery trilogy, beginning with WILD SORCERESS, and a prequel, LEGACY OF MAGIC, was recently published. He’s the primary author on those books. We have four sons, eight grandchildren, and a couple of great-grandchildren, as well as two cats and a St. Bernard.

Tell us about your latest release.

In “Merry Twinness,” an erotic paranormal romance e-book short story with a Christmas setting, the heroine discovers that her lover has a secret he must reveal to her before he can formally propose marriage. It was inspired by the telepathic twin motif I’ve encountered in numerous SF stories.

http://www.ellorascave.com/merry-twinness.html

“Bear Hugs,” an erotic shapeshifter paranormal romance e-book novella, has just been re-released in the trade paperback URSA MAJOR, paired with Lena Loneson’s “Alpha Mountie.”

http://www.ellorascave.com/ursa-major.html

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

Hannibal Lecter. He’s incisively intelligent and cultured as well as, in a sense, utterly alien to normal humanity. (The prequel, HANNIBAL RISING, loses that last quality.) It’s impressive how, even though he’s manipulating Clarice Starling for his own purposes, he also proves himself to be a brilliant psychiatrist, who helps her work through the traumas of her past even while he’s in a maximum security cell (and, later, in the psychodrama he sets up at the end of HANNIBAL).

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

Roger Darvell, protagonist of DARK CHANGELING and CHILD OF TWILIGHT. He’s the earliest fully developed vampire in my published works, so I have a special fondness for him. As a forty-year-old psychiatrist suffering from dark cravings and a very strange midlife crisis, he discovers he’s actually only half human, his mother having been a member of a naturally evolved vampire species. He embodies my favorite fictional theme, the character who discovers hidden truths about his own nature.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I started as a horror fan and writer, then expanded into fantasy. I’ve also published several books and articles about the supernatural in literature, mainly vampires. Now I write mostly paranormal romance. From the beginning of my interest in horror, what really fascinated me were relationships between human and nonhuman characters. I wanted to read fiction from the viewpoint of the “monster,” which was much harder to find in my early years. When paranormal romance became a separate market category, I recognized it as the genre I’d wanted to read and write all along. (In fact, the first complete story I ever wrote, as a teenager, involved love between a man and a ghost.)

4.) What are you working on now?

The next-generation sequel to FROM THE DARK PLACES, a horror novel with Lovecraftian elements and a romance subplot published by Amber Quill Press. I started planning the current novel-in-progress over thirty years ago, before I’d even completed the first book, but I never got around to writing that sequel until now. I decided it was about time. Oddly, I now have the opposite problem from the one I had when I first plotted this work. Back then, while writing the earliest draft of FROM THE DARK PLACES, which occurs at the same time it was originally written (the 1970s), I contemplated its sequel as a near-future story, set about twenty years after the first book. I had to imagine a plausible future that would eventually be made obsolete by real life, no matter how accurately I guessed what those two decades would be like. Now reality has overshot my sequel heroine’s twenty-first birthday by almost twenty years! So I decided to keep her the age she needs to be, yet set the story approximately in the present; a 1990s time frame would simply confuse readers. I’ll include a prefatory note stating that the time lapse has been fudged.

5.) What got you to start writing?

After reading DRACULA at the age of twelve and delving into all kinds of speculative fiction, I started writing at thirteen because the library didn’t have enough books of the kind I wanted to read, particularly horror. What I really wished for, as I mentioned above, were stories sympathetic to the “monsters.” I devoured all the ones I could find, but in the 1960s they didn’t have a thriving market the way they do now. An occasional gem buried in an anthology barely satisfied my longing. So I wrote my own.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Mostly from other fiction that I admire. I yearn to create stories like the ones that especially enthrall me—but with my own slant.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

I worked for over twenty years as a legislative editor for the General Assembly of Maryland, proofreading material very different from horror and fantasy (although some ideas the legislators come up with can be rather horrifying).

8.) Do you have any special talents?

Aside from writing? Other than being a meticulous proofreader, the kind of person who can’t help wincing at all the errors in published works, I can’t say that I do.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

Not exactly advice, but support: When I had the privilege of briefly meeting Madeleine L’Engle, one of my idols, I told her I wanted to be a novelist. She said, “If you want to be a novelist, you are one.” The memory of that kind remark has encouraged me through the difficulties of pursuing publication.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

C. S. Lewis, who’s near the top of my list of favorite authors of all time. I’d love to hear him read scenes from whatever he’d be working on now, if he were still writing. Maybe the story of what happened to Susan, left alone in our world after THE LAST BATTLE? Also, I’d like to ask his opinion of many changes that have occurred since his death in 1963, such as space travel (he was dubious about humanity’s spreading its corruption to other planets) and female clergy in the Anglican church (in his lifetime, he was against that).

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

“God Only Knows (What I’d Do Without You)” by the Beach Boys; it was released shortly before my husband and I got married, and it encapsulates my feelings about our relationship. If I hadn’t married a future naval officer, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today! I might have spent my whole life in or near the city of my birth. And without his encouragement, I probably wouldn’t have worked up to a PhD in English, in which case my writing career would have been very different if it existed at all.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

Cat. Domestic cats have it made. Nothing to do all day but eat, sleep, and be petted, and unlike dogs, they’re not expected to cater to human commands.

Website:
Explore love among the monsters at Carter’s Crypt: http://www.margaretlcarter.com
Facebook:




At midnight on Christmas Eve, Nicole goes home with her lover, Cal, to spend the night at his house. Knowing he plans to give her an engagement ring, she hopes to find out why he hasn’t previously invited her to stay at his place longer than one night at a stretch. Before proposing, he confesses the truth he’s been hiding—a secret that may destroy their relationship or transform it.

Excerpt from “Merry Twinness”:

“Time for the special gift.” He plucked a tiny box wrapped in red foil from under the tree. “Wait,” he repeated when she reached for it. “Before you open this and answer the question that goes with it, I have something important to tell you. Or more like show you.”

His hesitant tone and the apprehension in his eyes chilled her. “So you do have a dire secret?” She didn’t quite succeed in keeping her voice light.

“I hope you won’t think it’s too dire. But it will come as a shock.” He set the box on the couch and clasped both of her hands in his. “Please don’t freak out.”

Footsteps muffled by the carpet sounded in the adjacent dining room. The door leading to it opened. A man stepped through, took three paces toward the fireplace and halted. Nicole blinked up at him, at first too stunned to process what she saw.

Cal’s double.

Except that he wore a University of Maryland sweatshirt instead of a pullover sweater with a white shirt and Christmas necktie, he looked identical to her lover. No, not quite—the mane that grew to just below his ears was less tousled than Cal’s but a bit shaggier, as if overdue for a barber visit. The clothes and hair, though, didn’t negate her first impression. She couldn’t doubt his identity. 

She sprang to her feet. “You have a twin brother? And you never told me?”

“I don’t exactly have a twin. I am twins.”

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Writing Down the Bones: Story Construction and Evaluation The Romance Novel Pt 3 - Supportive Characters

A day late again but it's that time for me to work on the next section of the hand out created by Janice Bennett. This session we're dealing with those wonderful supporting characters.

So...

1.)What secondary character(s) do you think you need to create for your manuscript to help your hero and heroine with their overall goal? What character(s) do you need to make that goal harder to reach?

2.) You must ask yourself if the secondary characters and their sub-plot necessary for the book? Is it strong enough to last the length of the book and not overpower your main plot? Does this subplot work well with your main plot?

3.) Are your secondary characters developed and believable? Will your readers remember them? Can you control them so they don't take over?

4.) Are these characters unique? Do they help move the plot along? Do they compliment or contrast each other and the main characters to make the story strong?

next week will be on story structure....

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Meet My Latest Guest - Dena Garson!

I want to welcome Dena Garson. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Hi, Barbara! Thanks for letting me drop in. I’m Dena - I’m a Process Improvement Consultant by day and an author by night. I write contemporary romance as well as paranormal and fantasy romance. In addition, I’m a mother of two boys who keep me on my toes - they play lots of sports and xbox every chance they get.

Tell us about your latest release.

Risky Business is a book I published with Ellora’s Cave a few years ago. But after getting the rights reverted back, I have re-released it with only a few minor tweeks (and a new cover). It’s a story about two co-workers who are drawn together during their company’s annual party because of a bet.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

Loki from the Marvel Universe. He’s one of my favorites because, like Snape from Harry Potter, you really can’t be sure if he’s a bad guy or a good guy. It keeps you guessing every time you see him.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

I really enjoyed writing Katie from Ghostly Persuasion. The world building we did as a group (it’s a multi-author series) made writing the book fun. Katie just blossomed as I wrote the story.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

Romance! I have several contemporaries, a couple paranormal and one fantasy. I just write the stories that pop in my head - it really isn’t a matter of choice. My only choice is which story I want to work on at the time.

4.) What are you working on now?

As soon as I finish edits to my newest contemporary and send it off to the publisher, I plan to finish working on a Native American/historical/paranormal story I started last year.

5.) What got you to start writing?

Actually, it was a conversation I had with my BFF. We both read a lot and exchange books. One day while we were talking about a book we had just read, she turned to me and said, “One of us should be writing this stuff.” I agreed so I began researching how to do it. I joined a local writing group, attended RWA National Conference where I could take a bunch of writing workshops and started putting words on paper. A few years later I published my first work with a local magazine. It was a couple more years before I published my first book with Ellora’s Cave.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Ideas come from a variety of places - conversations with friends, scenes I witnessed while shopping, articles I read, or even lyrics from a song. It’s always the “what happened next” and “who are these people I’m seeing in my head” that drive the story.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

I’d like to think there was a lot because I’d hate to be normal! It’s usually the other way around though - people who know me are surprised to learn that I write sensual romance. It’s really kinda funny! But I suppose most people are surprised to learn that I’m a Rock Chick. I love rock and roll - the louder the better - everything from Five Finger Death Punch to Rob Zombie to the Rolling Stones.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I do a variety of crafts but other than writing, my favorite pastime is making jewelry and other beaded pretties. I could play with my beads for hours.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

“Give yourself permission to write crap.” That was from Candice Havens. I am a bit of a perfectionist - I struggled with my writing in the beginning because I’d get caught up in finding the perfect word instead of getting the story down on paper. I got nowhere fast doing that! Candice’s advice helped me mute my inner editor until after I’d gotten the first draft done.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

Cleopatra. I want to know what the real story is and see how she lived her life.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

Shatter Me by Lindsey Stirling (with Lzzy Hale). It’s a song about that feeling of being stuck and afraid of taking a chance but then you finally do. Love it!

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

I’d like to be a bird. I think the sensation of flying - the soaring, the dipping and diving, the wind in your feathers - would be fabulous. And the views you could see from up there! Oh, how marvelous!



Here’s the burb for Risky Business:
Mia Sanford has admired Jake Hudson from afar ever since she transferred to Marketing. She might be comfortable tangling with the company playboy in meeting rooms, but not in private. Facts and figures she can handle, but that blue-eyed devil is out of her league.

Jake was impressed with Mia, the sexy analyst who provides his monthly Marketing data, the first day he met her. Not only is she smart and reliable, she has legs that have inspired a few sizzling hot workplace fantasies. However, her girl-next-door demeanor and the company’s no fraternization rules force Jake to keep things strictly professional.

When Mia becomes the target of an embarrassing betting pool at the annual office party, Jake alerts her to the danger. But since he never expressed an interest in her until now Mia isn’t certain if he’s really looking out for her, or just trying to win the pool himself. If she trusts him, it might place both her reputation and her heart on the line.

Excerpt for Risky Business:

Thankfully, Mandy’s smug grin was hidden behind her glass when Jake stepped up to their little group.

“Ladies.” Jake’s deep, smooth voice rippled through Mia. Her skin tingled and her hair stood on end, as if to beg for his attention. She shifted her stance to adjust for the moistness she felt gathering in her nether regions as soon as Mandy mentioned Jake’s name.

“Jake,” Mandy said politely.

“Are those stiff accountants you hang out with behaving over there?” Robin asked.

Jake chuckled and looked over his shoulder in the direction he had come from. “For now.” He stepped closer to their little group and whispered, “Don’t tell anyone, but that’s the real party crowd. They’re just waiting for Patterson to leave so they can bust out their moves.”

Almost as one, Robin and Mandy leaned to the right so they could look around Jake’s broad shoulders. Jake and Mia shared a grin. When Robin turned back, it was clear she wasn’t sure what to believe.

“Are you serious?” Robin asked Jake.

“Very. Give those guys a little beer and a few wild women and you’d better watch out.”

Robin was looking more interested by the second.

Mandy elbowed Robin. “What do you think about going and introducing ourselves to some of Jake’s friends?”

“Works for me,” Robin said with a grin.

“You two aren’t really going over there, are you?” Mia asked in disbelief.

“Sure.” “Why not?” they said at the same time.

Mia looked at Jake for help, but he simply pasted an innocent expression on his face. Mia shrugged and said, “Whatever. Have fun, I guess.”

“Thanks for the inside scoop, Jake,” Robin said with a wink.

“See you two kids later,” Mandy added with a lift of her glass.

“And off they go,” Mia mumbled as she watched her traitorous friends weave their way across the room, leaving her alone with Jake. She turned and looked up into his eyes. Even though the lights were too low to see the exact shade, she knew they were the color of well-worn denim. “I hope you’re aware of what you unleashed on your pals.”

She considered the man standing before her. He was tall with broad, strong-looking shoulders. She knew he played ball with some of the guys in the office because she’d often heard them talking about the games over coffee in the break room. The way his shirts fit indicated he worked out. Add that to his classic blond hair and blue eyes and he was definitely drool-worthy, as Mandy would say.

The biggest question in Mia’s mind was whether or not he would ever see her as anything but an analyst with more opinions than boobs. Thankfully she had the data to back those opinions up.

“They may thank me in the morning,” Jake said with a twinkle in his eye.

“They might,” she conceded.

He stepped closer to Mia. Close enough that she could feel the warmth of his body radiating to her already flushed skin.

“Besides,” he lowered his voice and held Mia’s gaze. “It served its purpose.”

“What purpose is that?”

“To get you to myself.”

Buy Links

B&N: 

Smashwords: 

CTR:

ARe:

Kobo: 

iBooks: 

Dena’s social media links:


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Writing Down the Bones: Story Construction and Evaluation: The Romance Novel - Part 2

Sorry I didn't post this yesterday. Time got away from me...

And we're back for another section of the handout I'm working off of. Once again this came from a handout created by Janice Bennett and I will be updating and putting my own spin on it.

Now we're going to the next section she labeled as the Hero and Heroine Profiles:

You want three dimensional characters. The more of their background you know the stronger your character will be. When stuck ask the next five questions.

1.) Is there a goal for your hero and heroine that can cause them to struggle or make a major sacrifice to reach that goal?

2.) Have you created internal conflicts that would tear your charcaters apart when a major decision must be made?

3.) Does both of your characters have that 'fatal flaw' that can make the opportunity to reach their goal difficult? Is it enough to to build suspense and make your reader doubt they will be successful? And make them happy when your hero and heroine are?

4.) Are your characters matched in their strengths, talents, skills, motives, desires and determination to create a strong conflict?

5.) Can your reader bond with them? Do they draw an emotional response from your reader?