Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Angels and Demons, Part 4: Fallen Angels

In Christianity/Judaism, while the angels were the subjects of God, one in particular thought he could do better. Lucifer, once an angel, engaged in a battle with the other angels, a rebellion to overthrow God and take command. Instead, he was defeated. He and his subjects were banished to the underworld, to Hell.


Fallen angels take many forms, depending on the religion they are from. Demons, succubi, incubi, and many more are considered angels who have fallen from favor. 


Because sin is exciting, these beings often make good fodder for paranormal romances. Do any of your favorites feature fallen angels?


Resources:

-Lucifer (the Wikipedia page)

-Fallen Angel mythology

-Mythology of Fallen Angels

-The Fallen Archangel: Lucifer

-Fallen Angels


Clara.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Christmas Wish List

The event of Christmas yesterday brought me many exciting new books (or the money to buy these new books). Here's some of the paranormals I scored:


Crave by J. R. Ward

Seven deadly sins. Seven souls that must be saved. One more no-holds- barred battle between a fallen angel with a hardened heart and a demon with everything to lose.

Isaac Rothe is a black ops soldier with a dark past and a grim future. The target of an assassin, he finds himself behind bars, his fate in the hands of his gorgeous public defender Grier Childe. His hot attraction to her can only lead to trouble-and that's before Jim Heron tells him his soul is in danger. Caught up in a wicked game with the demon who shadows Jim, Isaac must decide whether the soldier in him can believe that true love is the ultimate weapon against evil.



In Other Worlds by Sherrilyn Kenyon

This is the anthology that compiles all of the short stories Sherrilyn Kenyon wrote for Berkley.

Dragonswan which is the first Were-Hunter story every published. Scholar Channon MacRea has spent years studying the legendary Dragon Tapestry, devoting days and nights to deciphering the impenetrable Old English symbolism.

Then one evening the unnaturally seductive Sebastian appears. He claims to hold the key to solving the tapestry's mysteries... He also claims to be a dragon slayer trapped between two worlds. 

For Channon there's only one way to finally uncover the secrets of the intricate embroidery-by following this stranger into a fantastic alternate world of magic, danger, and adventure. 

Fire & Ice The League story with Adron (son of Nykyrian and Kiara). Adron Quiakides was the fiercest of the League Assassins. As his father before him, none could touch him until the day he traded himself for a pregnant hostage.

Butchered and left for dead, he barely survived. That single act of kindness cost him everything and left him emotionally and physically crippled.



No Mercy by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Live fast, fight hard and if you have to die then take as many of your enemies with you as you can. That is the Amazon credo and it was one Samia lived and died by. Now in contemporary New Orleans, the immortal Amazon warrior is about to learn that there’s a worse evil coming to slaughter mankind than she’s ever faced before.

Shapeshifter Dev Peltier has stood guard at the front of Sanctuary for almost two hundred years and in that time, he’s seen it all. Or so he thought. Now their enemies have discovered a new source of power- one that makes a mockery of anything faced to date.

The war is on and Dev and Sam are guarding ground zero. But in order to win, they will have to break the most cardinal of all rules and pray it doesn’t unravel the universe as we know it.



Prince Charming Doesn't Live Here by Christine Warren

Danice Carter is not one for glass slippers. A stilettos-wearing lawyer at one of Manhattan’s most elite establishments, Danice has a very strong grip on reality. So when she’s asked by one the firm’s founding partners to take on a personal case, Danice knows she’s in for the opportunity of a lifetime. All she has to do is convince her top boss’s granddaughter, Rosemary, to file a paternity suit. Sounds simple enough…until Danice arrives at Rosemary’s home and is pounced on by a handsome stranger.

Private investigator McIntyre Callahan’s was only following his powerful client’s orders: Find Rosemary—at all costs. Instead, he’s found a super-hot lawyer prowling around looking for answers he can’t give. The half-human, half-Fae Mac tries to warn Danice that she’s way in over her head—that Rosemary may roam among The Others, and may have dangerous ties to the Unseelie Court—but she won’t be deterred. Even if that means following Mac to the ends of the earth to find Rosemary…or surrendering to his supernatural powers of temptation…until death do they part.



Hungry For You by Lynsay Sands

As a chef and restauranteur, Alex Willan had enjoyed so much success she allowed herself to be talked into opening a second restaurant. It’s a decision she’s come to regret. Calamity after calamity have slowed the opening and driven her to the edge of bankruptcy. But things go from bad to worse when a competitor lures away the chef at her original restaurant leaving her torn between the choice to keep the original restaurant running, or getting the second restaurant going. With so much happening, Alex simply doesn’t have time for her sister Sam’s attempts at matchmaking, so when Sam calls with yet another man she “just has to meet” Alex tells her that if the man doesn’t cook, don’t even bother. Imagine her surprise when Sam says he’s a chef from Europe. He appears to be the answer to her prayers.

Cale Argeneau was finding himself somewhat world weary and bored so when his Aunt Marguerite suggested a visit to Canada to spend some time with his cousins, he thought “why not?” What he didn’t realize was that the intrepid Marguerite Argeneau thought she might have a match for him. Once he finds out, he’s less than excited. He’s waited centuries for a life mate and finds it hard to believe this Alex woman his Aunt keeps going on about could be the one. It was the shock of his life when he met Alex and found she was indeed a possible life mate. But that wasn’t nearly as shocking as the realization that the only way he was going to get anywhere near the woman was if he claimed to be a world class chef. Cale couldn’t even boil water, but he was about to take a crash course in cooking. He was also going to have to find out who was behind the calamities that were plaguing this new restaurant endeavor before someone got hurt. He’d do that and more to be near the woman who had reawakened his appetites, because it wasn’t just food he now found himself hungry for, but also Alex herself and the life he could have with her.


Merry Christmas, everyone! I'd better get reading!


Clara.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FELICITY HEATON: Angels - The Ultimate Forbidden Love

I’m Felicity Heaton and I’m here today to talk to everyone about why I decided to write angels for my latest romance e-books.


I have been writing paranormal romance for the past seven years and have been an indie author for the past four. During that time, I have written all of the main species covered in paranormal romance books. I have explored vampires, werewolves and shapeshifters, even witches and demons. Sometimes a writer needs a new challenge. Angels were that challenge for me.


What makes an author decide to venture into the world of angels? For me, it was more than just the challenge of writing a new species. It was the chance to take on a whole new world and see what I could do with it. I had heard that people were writing angels but that they were focusing mostly on fallen angels. I wanted to explore more than just the angels that had been cast out of Heaven. I wanted to explore this new genre to the full and that meant dealing with angels who were still in the employment of a higher power.


Here was my chance to see if feathers could be just as sexy as fangs, and I decided to take it.


Two out of the three angels involved in my Her Angel series so far aren’t fallen. They’re still working for the man, and even the third one is trying to prove his innocence and get back in. While I love the idea of the lost-soul angel who has fallen and then falls in a different way for a mortal, it isn’t complicated enough for me. I like my love to be really forbidden, and there’s nothing more forbidden than a fully-fledged angel falling for a mortal... unless you count an angel falling in love with a demon... and I even wrote that angle in Her Warrior Angel.


I had a great time exploring angels and the world that I was creating. I researched and dreamt up different ranks of angels, giving them different responsibilities and a different look to distinguish them. I thought about what my angels would be like and loved the idea of them being fun and frivolous, but having to deal with all mortals believing they were saintly and asexual, which they’re very definitely not. Then I thought about how the heroines would react to them. All three of the heroines are very different. Two already know that angels exist. The third is mortal and gets the shock of her life when her hero reveals that he’s an angel. All of them share common doubts though. Surely the hero can’t fall for them? Surely it’s a sin to be with an angel? I wanted the hero to have to work to prove that a relationship with them isn’t forbidden or a sin, except in the case of Her Warrior Angel where it really is very forbidden! In that book, the hero has to work to prove that he doesn’t care what the rules say, because he’s mad about the heroine.


I also thought about other elements like what things would be forbidden for angels to do, say or experience. I enjoyed playing on an almost childlike level of curiosity when it came to things that had been previously off limits to the angels—like alcohol for example. Humans would probably leap at the chance to try something that someone had told them they couldn’t do, so why would an angel be any different? All of the angels in my series are very curious about human life, human things, and anything that is prohibited. I think readers will relate to that. We’ve all been curious about things, especially when someone has told us no!


The last thing I considered was their loyalty to their world and their duties. In all of the stories, I have explored how that loyalty can cause conflict within them, leaving them torn between it and the heroine. There is only one true way for them to be with the heroine, without asking her to go to Hell and back, which is by surrendering their wings and immortality. That’s a tough decision for an angel to make, especially when they love flying so much. The series focuses on the sacrifice that the hero might have to make in order to win the heroine’s heart and love, as well as the great trials that the heroine might face to save her hero the pain of having to give up his immortality.


It’s one of the ultimate forbidden loves in my eyes. Angels and mortals (or demons!). Two very separate worlds with very different rules. Love has a way of overlooking such things though and teaching us to look beyond what people tell us to see, to what we feel in our hearts, and that’s what the Her Angel series is all about.


Stories in the Her Angel series:


Her Dark Angel
Felicity Heaton


An angel without a mission, Apollyon lives trapped in Hell guarding the bottomless pit. Surrounded by endless darkness, he longs to fly free on Earth once more but his master hasn’t called him in centuries. When the call finally comes, it’s to serve a new master, a beautiful woman he has often watched over, a woman who has always captivated him.


Serenity is shocked when a gorgeous black-winged angel shows up in her city of Paris claiming that she called him when she was only casting a simple vengeance spell. He’s no other than the angel of death! When Apollyon offers to obey her and help her have revenge on her cheating ex-boyfriend, she can’t resist the temptation, but can she resist him? Can an angel as dark as Apollyon ever fall for a mortal woman like her?


Their charade as lovers quickly becomes reality when one dance leads to another and Apollyon proves that he’s as sinful as he looks. His sensual and hungry touch brings Serenity back to life, freeing her from the hurt of being betrayed and reigniting her passion, but she can’t ignore her growing fear. Lost in their moment together, Apollyon realises that there is a reason he heard her call—he’s in love with her.


But will Serenity see past the wings and believe that Apollyon returns her feelings and won’t hurt her? When her ex-boyfriend asks her to forgive him and be with him again, will she take the easy route or will she find the courage to fly away with her dark angel?


Dark, passionate and erotic, Her Dark Angel is a tale of intense desire and deepest forbidden love guaranteed to get your heart racing.


Read the excerpt or buy now.


Her Fallen Angel
Felicity Heaton


Annelie fell for Lukas the moment he walked into her pub three years ago. He’s stunning, his vivid green eyes lending to his otherworldly beauty, but he’s seriously out of her league. When he tells her that she’s beautiful and confesses that he wants her, she can’t resist him and his passionate kiss. She unleashes her desire and seizes the moment and Lukas with both hands. But Lukas has a secret, one that will test Annelie’s love for him and threaten to tear them apart.


He’s an angel.


Annelie can’t believe it when Lukas says that their feelings for each other aren’t a sin, but she can believe his pain when he tells her the reason he’s on Earth. He is fallen, cast out of Heaven as punishment for a crime he didn’t commit. Lukas isn’t about to give up and accept his fate though. He’s determined to prove both his innocence and his love for Annelie, and to show her that the intense passion they share is real.


When Lukas and Apollyon discover who framed him, will he be able to stop them from going after Serenity and Annelie? Will he be able to protect the woman he loves and fly away with her into their forever after?


Read the excerpt or buy now.


Her Warrior Angel
Felicity Heaton


Einar is one of Heaven’s best hunters and he’s on a mission to uncover why an angel was working with demons. When he finds the first demon fighting a beautiful woman named Taylor, he intervenes and saves her life. Taylor has spent her whole life protecting London from the lowest demons and she’s not about to let an angel waltz into her city and take over her job, and she’s certainly not about to fall in love with him, even if he is gorgeous. The reason why she can’t is simple—she’s half demon.


There is no love in this world more forbidden than that between an angel and a demon.


Sense tells Taylor to get out before she gets her heart broken, but she winds up convincing Einar to partner with her instead. Einar is certain that working with Taylor is a bad idea, and not only because he can’t focus when he’s around her, but he can’t let her go. The mission leads them deep into the city’s underworld, where old flames burn Taylor while new flames of passion and fear of the consequences consume them, and the threat of Einar’s demons hangs over them both.


Can a love so forbidden ever have a happy ending or are they destined to break each other’s hearts?


Read the excerpt or buy now.


Thanks for having me here today and if any readers have any comments or questions, please feel free to voice them and I’ll answer them as soon as possible.


Biography:


Felicity Heaton is a romance author writing as both Felicity Heaton and F E Heaton. She is passionate about penning paranormal tales full of vampires, witches, werewolves, angels and shape-shifters, and has been interested in all things preternatural and fantastical since she was just a child. Her other passion is science-fiction and she likes nothing more than to immerse herself in a whole new universe and the amazing species therein. She used to while away days at school and college dreaming of vampires, werewolves and witches, or being lost in space, and used to while away evenings watching movies about them or reading gothic horror stories, science-fiction and romances.


Having tried her hand at various romance genres, it was only natural for her to turn her focus back to the paranormal, fantasy and science-fiction worlds she enjoys so much. She loves to write seductive, sexy and strong vampires, werewolves, witches, angels and alien species. The worlds she often dreams up for them are vicious, dark and dangerous, reflecting aspects of the heroines and heroes, but her characters also love deeply, laugh, cry and feel every emotion as keenly as anyone does. She makes no excuses for the darkness surrounding them, especially the paranormal creatures, and says that this is their world. She’s just honoured to write down their adventures.


Find Felicity on her website, on her blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, or on Goodreads.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Interview: Pamela Turner


Today, I have the honour of sitting down with Pamela Turner, the author of Death Sword, a paranormal romance coming soon from Lyrical Press, Inc.

Let's get down to business!


Clara: Tell us a bit about your book.

Pamela: Death Sword is about a young woman, Karla Black, who learns she’s a half-human angel of death. But her new boss, Samael, resents her relationship with her partner, Xariel, who happens to be Samael’s ex-lover. When Samael takes his hatred to a higher level, Karla and Xariel vow to stop him. The problem? They’ve lost their powers and are facing a relentless angel of death who wields a poisonous rapier capable of killing both humans and angels.



Clara: What led you to choose angels as the subject for this book? How was the idea born?

Pamela: Angels have fascinated me for years. We tend to humanize them, downplaying their power. There’s often an incongruity between how we perceive them and their true appearances. For example, we usually see them with wings and kind, beatific expressions. But the Ophanim, for example, appear as wheels with many eyes. The archangel Raphael turns into a dragon-like beast so he can move through the underworld. Azrael is said to have 70,000 feet and 40,000 wings while Metatron’s size and height, according to the Zohar, “equal to the breadth of the whole world.”

Honestly, I don’t remember how the idea for Death Sword was born. I’m somewhat obsessed with death and I suppose my interest in angels, particularly the fallen angels and angels of death and vengeance, was instrumental in bringing the two ideas together. :)



Clara: From your blog, you seem to have done extensive research on angels. Exactly how much time did you put into the research for Death Sword?

Pamela: Hard to say. At least a couple of years. I started Death Sword for National Novel Writing Month in 2008 and it was accepted for publication in March 2010. I’ve compiled research on particular angels from various resources, particularly A Dictionary of Angels, Including the Fallen Angels (Gustav Davidson), Angels A to Z (James R. Lewis & Evelyn Dorothy Oliver), The Book of Angels (Ruth Thompson, L.A. Williams, and Renae Taylor), and The Encyclopedia of Angels (Rosemary Ellen Guiley). I recently became aware of Malcolm Godwin’s Angels: An Endangered Species which I plan to add to my research collection.



Clara: Share an interesting legend and/or fact about angels with us.

Pamela: According to Angels: An Endangered Species, “The term angel derives from a Greek translation of the original Hebrew mal’akh, which originally meant the ‘Shadow side of God,’ but later came to mean messenger.”




Clara: That is fascinating. Just the image starts to spur the imagination :)

Was there ever a point where you were afraid your dreams of being published wouldn't come about?

Pamela: Of course. I sometimes regret waiting so long. (I’ve published freelance articles and reviews but Death Sword is my first book.) I wish I had had the confidence to submit my work earlier. Then again, maybe it’s a good idea I waited. :)




Clara: What (so far) has been the best part of the writing and publishing process? What has been the worst?

Pamela: The best part was watching my manuscript improve as I worked with my content editor and my line editor. And there’s something magical about seeing your cover for the first time. With each step (cover, ISBN, galley), you know you’re getting closer to publication.

There really hasn’t been a “worst” experience. Call me weird but I even enjoy mundane jobs like revising.



Clara: Do you have any favourite characters, from this book or from any others you're working on?

Pamela: Xariel’s my favorite. He’s endured a lot, including being the victim of a sex curse and losing his wife to suicide. That’s probably why he feels such a strong sense of responsibility toward Karla and wants to protect her from Samael. Like my other angels, he’s not perfect. He tends to drink and swear too much, but he really cares about people.




Clara: Which writers have inspired/influenced your work?

Pamela: Let’s see... I’ve read several authors but these are the ones who’ve influenced me the most: Robert Arthur, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Madeleine L’Engle, Phyllis A. Whitney (YA mysteries), Stephen King, and Albert Camus. (I might be forgetting a few.) They’ve all had an impact on my writing even if in a very indirect way. They also inspired my love of mysteries, fantasies, and horror.




Clara: What do you do to overcome writer's block?

Pamela: Deadlines are a great antidote to writer’s block. LOL Seriously, though, I like working on several projects at the same time. If I get stuck on one, I move to another. Sometimes I read the Tarot cards to help me work through a particular problem. If I simply can’t focus, I step away from the writing to paint, draw, take photographs... When it comes to the last one, I can always say it’s for field research. :)



Clara: Sounds like a good plan to me!

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Pamela: Be patient. Writing is an involved process and if you’re too eager you can fall victim to unscrupulous agents and publishers. Learn about the industry and keep working on perfecting your craft. Write, rewrite, then rewrite some more. Take classes whenever possible. The industry is in a state of constant change and you need to stay current.

Most of all, have fun. If you don’t enjoy the story you’re writing, readers will notice.

All best! Thank you to Clara Hanoux for interviewing me. Much appreciated!


Clara: My pleasure.

Pamela Turner is the author of the upcoming short novel, Death Sword, scheduled to be released by Lyrical Press in January 2011. You can visit her at Haunted Dreams, Dark Destinies or her website.



Come back on Wednesday to hear about Felicity Heaton's new series featuring angels!

Clara.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Angels and Demons, Part 3: Guardian Angels

A common belief in many religions is that angels are guarding us. In fact, the Catholic Church states that every soul has one, although this is not a matter of faith. 


Guardian angels are said to be many things. Sometimes they're invisible. Sometimes they come in corporeal form, as someone you know or in another human form. Sometimes they appear as a ball of light (rather like a benevolent ghost). Some say that guardian angels are the ghosts of the dead come back to watch over you -- although religion teaches that the angels are a separate entity altogether. 


Either way, these are great fodder for a paranormal romance! Have you read a romance where the main character was a guardian angel?


Resources:

-Guardian Angels (wikipedia)

-Guardian Angels in the Catholic Church

-Do You Have a Guardian Angel?

-Archangels and Guardian Angels


Clara.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Angels and Demons, Part 2: Angels in Other Religions

Many of the angels in Judaism/Christianity were influenced by Zoroastrianism. That religion describes an epic battle between Ahura Mazda (God) and his angels and his brother, Ahriman (the devil) and his demons. 


Islamic ideals also hold that God (Allah) has a contingent of angels at his command. 


In each of these religions and others, angels are the messengers of the gods. They provide and relay the services of God to humans on earth. Although they take different forms for different religions (or in some, are not described at all), they perform the same purpose. Angels are the embodiment of each religion's ideals (which, when pared down to the basics, are mostly similar).


Resources:

-Myth Encylopedia page

-Different Types of Angels

-Angels Explained

-Otherkin page


What are some of your favorite romances featuring angels?


Clara.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Angels and Demons, Part 1: Angels in Christianity/Judaism

In Christianity and Judaism, angels are the servants of God. They embody the ideals God hopes to invoke in his subjects (humans) and they act as messengers. 


There are several famous angels, many of which are archangels. They are:


Gabriel - an archangel, believed to be the leader of all angels.


Raphael - a healer, called on when someone is sick or terminally ill.


Barchiel - dubbed as the "bringer of hope". 


Michael - the warrior, who defends the heavens against demons. 


Uriel - the archangel of Salvation. 


Of course, different texts list different angels and their deeds. Have you seen any of these (or other famous angels) mentioned in paranormal romances?


Resources:

-Arch Angels

-Hierarchy of the Heavens

-Interesting things about angels

-Angels and the Angelic Realm

-All About Angels

-Myth Encyclopedia page

-Angels in Christianity

-Otherkin page

-Angels Explained


Clara.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Time Travel

Time travel is tricky. 


After all, you've got a character from the present, past, or future and you're sending them into another time period. If you're sending them into the past, they're going to know what happens (vaguely) for important events. They're also going to think of things like speech patterns, slang, and dress code as archaic. Their attitudes will differ from the people natural to those times. While they might be able to fit in (depending on their familiarity with history), there will be many differences between the culture they know and the culture they are thrust into. 


Not to mention the small problem of time itself. If they're going back in time, they can't mess around with the outcomes of history, etc. or they might prevent themselves from being born. Most books remedy this with a loop -- the main character going back in time then becomes his/her own ancestor, thus s/he needs to go back in time in the first place. 


However, going forward in time eliminates this problem. They can't rewrite history because they don't know what it is. They will only rewrite the ambiguous concept known as the future (and we all know that isn't written in stone). 


But going forward in time creates its own set of problems. After all, the adjusting period is much more exaggerated for someone who has no idea what to expect. Learning what became of friends, relatives, etc. might be disturbing to the character. Not to mention the culture shock they would get. 


For a writer, it is easiest to take what is known and extrapolate. So moving a character from the past to the present or from the present to the past is easy. Moving a character from the present to the future -- not so much. 


Like in alternate history, you have to think about what sorts of events might have brought us to whatever future you create. You're building a new world, a new culture, as surely as if you were creating another dimension. If you're wondering where to start, take a look at my world building blog mini-series here


Good luck!


Clara.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

ALAN CASS: Writing the Paranormal


When first asked to provide a piece of writing on the subject of the paranormal, or supernatural as I prefer to call it, I approached it with some trepidation. I mean really, where do you begin on such a subject? The very subject of life after death is one with which everybody has a personal belief, after all - it’s something which we’ll all care about one day whether we like it or not, in our final few moments (as long as we’re afforded the courtesy) there won’t be many who don’t wonder ‘What now?’ So on that note, I’ll begin.


There can be few of us who’ve crossed the fine line between life and death, and lived to tell the tale…it’s a paradox of possibilities. So with that in mind, surely there is the possibility that something more is out there: maybe…just maybe, we can dream awhile. Use your god given imagination if you dare, that’s what it’s there for after all. And as writers, isn’t our imagination our bread and butter? Are the boxes at the very back of the mind those which we writers choose to open? The boxes most people deem too dangerous to explore? The boxes that lead to some pretty big earth shattering questions about ourselves and the world we live in? I believe whole heartedly that one of them will be marked, ‘life after death - urban legend or reality?’


So now you’ve entered the what if phase, and since you’re a writer, you’ve engaged that god given imagination of yours: here’s where the cross over takes place, an amalgamation of myth versus reality, and the mind. When I began writing my novel, and I promise you no plugs here, I thought to myself long and hard: I figured that if I were going to embark on a journey, (of self discovery in fact) and were I going to throw myself vigorously into a project that I would complete, then quite simply the subject matter had to have been one with which I have a genuine interest. Ergo, the supernatural. I choose to write about the supernatural as it’s such a diverse topic, you can really open those aforementioned boxes and let your imagination run riot. If the full moon intrigues you, then Werewolves really do exist. If mirrors bearing no reflection excite you, then Vampires exist…this is your imagination we’re talking about, remember? The opportunities are limitless, as is your imagination…as long as you open those boxes.


With that being said, I’ll take this opportunity to return you to the box marked ‘life after death - urban legend or reality.’ We’ve covered the legends, now let’s explore reality: after all, that’s where the real shocks usually await us. I’d like to steer every last one of you away from fantasy as much as possible, you’ve got your story in your mind and you’re ready to go: here’s the deal. Fantasy is the reader’s role. Reality is yours. The tension is over and done with, and the moment lost once your Werewolf or Vampire…lurks menacingly from the darkness. The real fear exists in the terrified school girl who knows (choose your poison) she’s about to be it’s victim, that’s where you make it as real as gassing up the car…or for that matter, taking in the full moon - they don’t exist right? So what’s the problem? Oh right I forgot, your imagination is now telling you they do! Of course it is! Put yourself in the right situation, or wrong as the case may be, and anything really is possible.


Urban legend…or reality…I know which one I fear more. Sweet dreams!


Alan Cass is the author of a supernatural thriller, My Name Is Death. Visit him online at www.alancass.co.uk.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Interview With Shona Husk


Welcome, everyone! I have the pleasure of sitting down today with Shona Husk, the author of Boyfriend in a Bottle, out now with Samhain Publishing!


Clara: Tell us a bit about Boyfriend in a Bottle.


Shona: Be careful what you wish for. It might come with an expiration date...


Josie’s well-meaning friends just don’t get it. It’s not that she’s overjoyed to be thirty-two and celibate since her boyfriend dumped her. She’d love to settle down, but she refuses to settle for just any man. After all, better single than a sucker. Nevertheless, she humors her friends and follows the instructions attached to the gift they’ve given her—a beautiful bottle from a new-age shop. Lick, and the perfect man will appear.


It works. The naked man she finds tied to her bed is everything she’s ever wished for. Except Mr. Perfect comes with a time limit.


Kede is tired of living life by the hourglass. Once, fulfilling the desires of the women who freed him was enough, but now it’s just another job. Josie is different, though. She sees him as a real man—a man she wants for all time.


Kede wants more than a moment. He wants a chance at life outside the bottle, and he wants a life with Josie. But he belongs to the goddess Inanna, and his time is running out…




Clara: Why did you choose to write something about genies?

Shona: At its heart the story is a simple wish fulfilment fantasy. And genies are all about wish fulfilment, so who better to embody a woman’s fantasy than a man who is there solely for her pleasure…of course when dealing with genies there is always a sting. In this case the time limit. The better he does his job the faster the sand runs through the hourglass.


Clara: A good fantasy, I'll say!

How long did it take you to do the research for this piece?


Shona: I tend to let ideas simmer before starting the story so I don’t know how long I spend building the idea.

The biggest part was creating a back story for how Kede, and his brothers, got into the bottles. I wanted to stay away from the traditional 3 wishes genie, or the cursed into the bottle story while still keeping the Middle Eastern origin. I have a large book on world mythology which is always a good starting point when I’m looking for inspiration. Inanna, the Sumarian Goddess of love and war, seemed like the perfect creator. Once I had her the story grew.

Like any world I had to create rules. I needed to work out how he was summoned, how he could be set free, and what would prevent him from ‘cheating’ and avoiding going back into the bottle at the end of his job.


Clara: Did you research the genie myth beforehand?


Shona: No, I didn’t research genies. In part because I wanted to create my own mythology—that’s the fun of writing paranormal romance. Taking a well-known creature, or idea and putting a new spin on it.


Clara: Why did you choose paranormal romance when you began writing? What about the genre called to you?


Shona: I grew up reading fantasy novels and watching TV shows like Dr Who and Buffy, so making up alternative realities seemed like the natural thing to do. All of my (very) early stories were fantasy. It wasn’t until I was an adult I discovered romance novels—in particular paranormal romance. As they say, the rest is history :)

Paranormals are so much fun to write and the only limits are set by my imagination…and yet at the core they are still about love and acceptance.


Clara: What is the best (and worst) part of the writing and publishing process, that you've found so far?


Shona: Writing and publishing are two different beasts. Writing is about creating and the love of stories. Publishing is business.

I love writing and making up new worlds and myths. The worst part is trying to work out why a story isn’t working, but my crit group will always give it to me straight and help find a solution.

The best part of publishing is still the offer of a contract (that never gets old), closely followed by seeing the cover art. The worst is the waiting…


Clara: How long does it typically take you to finish writing a story?


Shona: Hmm, that depends on the story. Generally I can get a story roughly plotted over a weekend and do a first draft in a week for a novella, or a month for a novel. Then I edit, and that takes as long as it needs. Some stories appear on the page as easily as breathing and require very few revisions before I send it off. Others have to be dragged kicking and screaming into existence and involve more re-writes that I choose to remember. My January release with Samhain, How to Breathe Fire, is one of these—but I loved the idea so I kept re-writing until it worked. It was worth the hard work, I hope readers love Matai and Camea as much as I do.


Clara: Do you have any favourites out of the characters that you've written?


Shona: I do (characters are not children, so I’m allowed to pick a favourite) but I’m not going tell :)


Clara: Fair enough. Let's move onto the next question, then.

Which writers (if any) inspired/influenced your work?


Shona: My love of fantasy definitely influenced my writing as that was what I started writing (I still write fantasy occasionally for a change of pace). Of course most fantasy heroes are either magical or sword wielding. I think I was 14 when I started reading Katherine Kerr’s Deverry series. Rhodry (also known as ‘the hot-half-elf’) was my first literary crush. Rhodry was a dishonoured soldier; a silver dagger riding the roads looking for hire. I still love a warrior hero (especially one with a dark past) as they have an edge and yet they are honourable.


Clara: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?


Shona: Write!

Experiment with different genres and different types of heroes/heroines. Push yourself to try something new. Read outside your genre, read outside of romance. And most importantly have fun.


Thank you for dropping by today, Shona!


Clara.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Djinn (genie)

The Dictionary of Mythology by J. A. Coleman (Arcturus Publishing, 2007) lists a genie as:



genie

a spirit made of fire capable of taking on any shape [also djinn, djinni, jinnee, jinni].

The five orders of jinn, in descending order of power, are marid, efrit, shaitan, jinn, jann. 

They were created some 5,000 years ago and lived on Mount Qaf but were dispersed when they became disobedient. The survivors reassembled on an island in the Indian Ocean from where they now operate. 

They are said to have magic powers over humans and interbreed with them. 

In some accounts they are described as half hyaena, half wolf, with the power to take the form of any animal, serpent or giant invisible to humans. It is said that they ride abroad at night on such mounts as foxes or ostriches. 



We all know, from such tales as The Arabian Nights: Tales of the Thousand and One Nights that a genie is able to grant wishes to whatever human lucky enough to stumble across one. While not commonly seen in paranormal romance, I have stumbled across a book or two featuring them, such as Cindy Spencer Pape's Djinni and the Geek. 


Or my guest next week, Shona Husk, who wrote Boyfriend In A Bottle!


Resources:

-The Wikipedia page

-D for Djinn

-Exposing the Djinn/Genie myth

-The Monstropedia page

-Different Types of Djinn

-Djinn around the world

-History of the Djinn

-Arabian Nights: Tales of the Thousand and One Nights

-Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends by Gertrude Landa.


Clara.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

GINA GORDON: My 5 Tips For Writing Love Scenes


I am not ashamed to admit that the sexy times in a romance novel are my favorite parts. Of course I love the sexual tension, the tender moments, the realization of love but nothing gets my blood pumping faster and harder than a good sex scene.  


So what have I learned about writing sex scenes?


1) If it doesn't turn you on, don't write about it.

There is nothing worse than a cold and mechanical love scene. What's even more saddening is a love scene that borders on creepy. If biting makes you cringe, so will your heroine. If being tied up goes against everything you believe in, your heroine will feel the same way.
However, don’t limit yourself either. I find the idea of writing a BDSM story terrifying. But with a little research and some guidance I am slowly learning the emotional and intimate connections that come with a BDSM relationship and feel more confident in order to portray it on paper.


2) It’s not all about mechanics.

Fitting tab A into slot B should not be your main focus. Despite this being about sex, inner dialogue and introspection play a major part in a love scene. Their bodies aren’t the only thing involved. Love, worry, doubt, hope…these are all things to think about when writing a love scene. Besides, the physical, what else is at stake?
Don’t forget about your setting. Where are they? What items are around them?
Use all five senses. Although touching is probably the best part, the scents and sounds of sex are just as important.


3) Always make the first kiss explosive


Now this may not necessarily go with an actual sex scene but in my eyes, it matters. A first kiss should be about fireworks. Hearts should be racing, stomachs should be flip-flopping, hands should be holding on for dear life. It should be fairly long, more than just a sentence or two and intricately describe the intensity and excitement that can only come from the very first time two people's lips touch.


4) Don’t forget your plot


Sex forwards the plot. How many times have I heard that? Too many…because it’s true. Frivolous sex does nothing but give you a quick thrill. If you want your reader to believe your happily ever after, remember that each love scene must be a stepping stone. With every love scene you have to raise the stakes. And I don’t mean make the scene longer or add more positions, etc. (Of course that does help) When I say raise the stakes I am talking about the emotional connection of the characters. Each love scene should reveal a flaw, heighten their level of intimacy or expose a characteristic that brings them closer to their happily ever after. In short, your love scene must have a purpose.


5) For every action, there should be a reaction. 


If the hero kisses the heroine's neck, does she quiver? Does he feel her pulse beat under his lips? If the heroine skims her fingers down the abdomen of her hero, does she feel his goose bumps under her fingertips? Does his stomach tense under her touch? Following this rule not only brings the scene to life but also helps to connect the characters on a deeper level.


Gina Gordon writes romance with sizzling chemistry. Her newest release, Forever in Lingerie, will be released from Lyrical Press, Inc. tomorrow, November 22nd. Find Gina online at her website, www.ginagordon.net

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Incubus/Succubus

According to the Dictionary of Mythology by J. A. Coleman (Arcturus Publishing, 2007), an incubus is:



incubus

a devil in male body: a spirit attacking women during the night

Early accounts regard the incubus as a fallen angel. In some accounts, the incubus rides his victim, sometimes even to the point of death from exhaustion. The offspring of such a union are monsters of all descriptions. 



Whereas in the same book, a succubus is:



succubus

a demon in the form of a female which attacks sleeping men and has intercourse with them.



I've read many accounts of incubi/succubi where these creatures are similar to vampires. But instead of feeding off of blood, they feed off of sexual desire and sexual energy. While this is undoubtedly good fodder for an erotic romance novel, most authors prefer to stick with traditional vampires. While certainly, there are books featuring these creatures, I have read none of them. 


Does anyone else know a book featuring these creatures that they would like to recommend?


Resources:

-The Incubus Wikipedia page

-The Succubus Wikipedia page

-Incubus and Succubus mythology (an article)

-Famous Succubi 

-Incubus/Succubus ghosts


Next week, I'll be moving on to genie lore with some exciting guests!


Clara.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Interview with L. K. Below

Today I have the great pleasure of sitting down with L. K. Below, whose short story His Familiar Touch I recently reviewed in the Paramourtal anthology. Let's get down to business!


Clara: Why do you choose to write about witches?

Lindsay: Haven't I answered that question for you enough? LOL. ("Why Witches" guest post can be found here). Witches thrill me because of the possibilities. There are so many different things they can do (see the future, make magical potions, etc.). So that's why I write about them. I broke them into specialties for me to be able to make the most out of them. It's fun!


Clara: How long did it take to do the research for His Familiar Touch?

Lindsay: Not long. Mostly because witches is such a universal theme. I had only to decide what specialty the witch had, and I was good to go. What took longer was researching cougars -- because I wanted Rikkita's werecougar behavior to be similar to that of actual cougars.


Clara: What is the best (and worst) part of the writing process?

Lindsay: The best? Writing itself. The compliments I get from friends, readers, etc. The worst? I don't think I've really decided on that part yet. It might be promotion (because that takes away from my writing time). It might be editing (although I enjoy editing to the direction of an actual editor and not for myself). But it's just a very rewarding experience, for me at least. 


Clara: How long does it typically take you to finish a story?

Lindsay: Actually, I write extremely quickly. When I set my mind to it (like for National Novel Writing Month), I can and do write a 50,000-word novel in a month (sometimes even in a week). But that's first draft only (and even then, only if I'm not distracted by something shiny...like the internet). It takes a bit longer to edit and polish it up. 


Clara: Do you have any favorites out of the characters you've written?

Lindsay: Yes. But I don't suppose you want to hear about my young adult works. I suppose for romance, my favorite isn't a character so much as a pair together. I love Rob and Hannah. They're great. You see them as side characters in The Princess and the Frog (coming soon) and then they've got their own story coming up, too!


Clara: Which writers inspired/influenced your work?

Lindsay: Putting me on the spot, now are you? I don't know (honest answer). There are certain authors that inspire me for certain works. For instance, I'm trying (key word=trying) to write a humorous fantasy in the style of Terry Pratchett. Or I'd love to try a historical in a similar style to Julia Quinn. But for my completed pieces, I have no idea. I can tell you authors that I love (Christine Warren, Lori Foster, Julia Quinn, Sally MacKenzie, Kresley Cole, Lynsay Sands) but I can't tell you whether or not they've influenced my published works. It's unconscious. 


Clara: Was there ever a point in your career where you said, "Yeah, I can do this!"?

Lindsay: When you're in writing, you have to say that to yourself everyday. Granted, some days it's easier -- you get an acceptance that day, or take a peek at a galley or cover art. But being a writer trying to break into the publishing industry, you have to say that to yourself at least once a day. And you have to convince yourself that you mean it, too. 


Clara: Was there ever a point in your career where you almost gave up writing?

Lindsay: There have been dips, lows in my mood. After all, it's hard to tell myself that I'm the best after I get a rejection on the same manuscript for the umpteenth time. But it's all about perseverance. That is the key to being published and continuing to be published. 


Clara: How do you come up with your stories?

Lindsay: Many ways. I get a lot of my ideas from dreams or just as I drift off to sleep. I also get a lot of ideas in the shower. This annoys me, because there's never any paper in the shower, and if there was, it would be wet. I have to keep repeating the idea to myself over and over as I hop out, hunt down some paper, and scribble it down. But I already have more ideas than I'll ever write. I place them in a binder, which I call the Big Book Of Story Ideas. Actually, now I have two binders. Not including the scribbles in a word document I have. Sadly, I'll never write them all. But I try to flow with the ones that catch me up. 


Clara: What do you do to overcome writer's block?

Lindsay: I set that book aside for a bit. I have so many works going on all at once, I just open another one, read through what I've got (fix it if it needs fixing) and continue on from there. Eventually, I'll get back to that first one. And when I do, I'll no longer be stuck. 

Another method that helps me is to vary the length of the pieces I'm writing. If I've just finished a novel, I switch to a short story or novella. And vice versa if I've written a lot of short things lately. Or I switch genres. Nothing better to clear the mind than to write something completely different, like young adult, fantasy, or even poetry. 


Clara: You cross genres. From paranormal, to contemporary, historical—even straight fantasy and young adult! Has anyone ever told you to focus on one, and create a "brand"? Or do you think your fans are broader because of it?

Lindsay: Almost everyone I meet seems to think I should have a brand. But I'm one stubborn pumpkin. I could never focus on only one. I write the story idea that grips me, and anyone who is interested in that story idea will read it. Those who aren't, won't. I'm not that worried about it. After all, I'm versatile in my reading and writing, and I'm sure there are others out there like me. I don't write all these genres to please everyone, after all. I write them to please myself. That's what writing is about. 


Clara: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Lindsay: Don't give up. It's simple enough advice, but there are still times when I think, "What the heck am I doing?" But I keep going, and eventually my confidence in my work returns. If you want to make it in the publishing industry, you have to never (ever) give up. 



Visit Lindsay (L. K. Below) on her blog, lbelow.blogspot.com, where you'll find the itinerary for her His Familiar Touch Book Tour. Comment there -- or here -- by 11:59PM EST on November 15th to be entered to win a signed copy of the Paramourtal anthology!


Clara. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review: Rain by Kevin Hosey


When Kyle retreats to a mountainside cabin after the failure of his marriage, he meets an intoxicating woman -- but she only comes out when it rains. 


While this tenth story in the Paramourtal anthology evokes a somber mood from the beginning, with the onset of Kyle's irritability, it seemed stretched. The story seemed to drag for me at parts, though the beginning swept me away. Kevin Hosey certainly did a good job of evoking Kyle's black mood, though the hero was a bit too bitter for my tastes. In fact, the entire story (even the romance) was tinged with bitterness. Even the end.


In a word, this story was


Bitter. 


Find Paramourtal here. Join me on Sunday as I sit down for an interview with L. K. Below, author of His Familiar Touch!


Clara.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Review: The Underlying Beat by Evelyn Welle


When Megan is taxed with the task of convincing the reclusive composer Lee Ching to record with her studio, she finds that meeting with him might just change her life...


I hate to say this, because the story was exceedingly well-written, but what should have been a mysterious, engrossing story was, well, boring. At first, I felt a passing interest in who Lee Ching really was, but that quickly faded past the first few pages. Megan was an interesting character, but not as dynamic as I would have liked her to be. Despite the flawless sentence structure, I found that there was something lacking in this ninth story of the Paramourtal anthology. 


In a word, this story was


Boring.


Find Paramourtal here. Join me tomorrow for my review of the tenth and final story in Paramourtal


Clara.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: Sympathy From the Devil by M. C. DeMarco


When Ariel follows the mortal she's playing guardian to into a bar, she meets Forcus -- a fallen angel who might just call off the mortal he's sent to tempt Ariel's mortal. If she'll have sex with him, that is.


This short story was thrilling, lighthearted, warming, and hilarious. Most of it is spent in conversation, but the back and forth barbs between Forcus and Ariel are more than entertaining. Even the ending was cute. This might just be the best story of the anthology!


In a word, this story was


Cute.


Find Paramourtal here. Join me tomorrow as I review the ninth story in the Paramourtal anthology.


Clara.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review: Of Fate and Fire by Rebecca Rhielle


In an ancient time of turmoil, Eleia finds herself restless. But as she exits her village, she meets a man. A dangerous man -- and a man she might just be able to give her heart to.


This seventh story of the Paramourtal anthology began beautifully, entrancing me with the beauty of Eleia's and Aurelius's love. The worldbuilding in this story is exquisite and the story spellbinding. But the ending... I won't give it away, but the ending did not uplift me in the same way the story did. While this author would undoubtedly make a wonderful fantasy author, I don't think I'll ever pick up another romance of hers again.


In a word, this story was


Disappointing.


Find Paramourtal here. Come back again tomorrow as I review the eighth story in the Paramourtal anthology.


Clara.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Review: His Familiar Touch by L. K. Below


When Rikki learns that her inability to shift into cougar form might be because she's a witch's familiar, she sets out to find her witch -- and along the way, meets the mouthwatering Derek. 


This story was lascivious from start to finish. L. K. Below definitely got the need and sexual tension of the two main characters across. Throughout the story, she layers in Rikkita's primal cougar nature with phrases like, "as enticing as the smell of raw meat." While that isn't an image which would usually invoke excitement in me, in this story, she makes it work! This and many other phrases work to tinge her desire with a primal aspect. Not to mention, the story is peppered with humour! I find it hilarious that she strolls around asking strangers to touch her. 


And Derek is definitely a man a girl can fall in love with. He's dominant, but thoughtful at the same time. He ensures that Rikkita continues to think about him -- but in the end, he lets her make the big choice (whether or not to stay with him) on her own. 


In a word, this story was


Lascivious.


Find Paramourtal here. Remember to return on Sunday, November 14th when I'll be interviewing L. K. Below!


Clara.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Review: The Flower of Hell by Noree Cosper


When Gabriella tries to corner and kill a demon, a vampire hunter gets in her way. Much to her annoyance...or maybe her pleasure.


For a story that should have held me enthralled, this seemed...over-told. Gabriella's voice seemed bored, like she'd done this a hundred times (which, from the context of the story, I gather she had). But it didn't hold me like it could have. Instead, I found my mind wandering, wishing to skip on to the next one. 


In a word, this story was


Over-told.


Find Paramourtal here. Join me tomorrow as I review the sixth story of the Paramourtal anthology!


Clara.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review: The Prince and the Spoon by Kelly Wisdom


On a walk in the park, Summer is kidnapped by a band of pixies, taken before a fairy king dressed in a purple kimono, and thrown in a dungeon -- all for a spoon her companion, Hunter, happens to carry in his pocket. How is she supposed to get out of this one?


The ridiculous in the fourth story of Paramourtal starts with Hunter's costume and the three fairies who corner him and Summer in the park, and it just gets weirder from there. But I loved it! Summer's voice hooked me from the very beginning of the story. I only wish it hadn't ended so soon. The light tone of this story is sure to brighten anyone's day. 


In a word, this story was


Hooking.


Find Paramourtal here. Join me tomorrow as I review the fifth story in the Paramourtal anthology.


Clara.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Review: The Fisherman's Wife by K. Stoddard Hayes


When Sean's wife, Muireen, finds her seal's skin, the selkie leaves despite his pleas for her to stay. Devastated, Sean doesn't know whether her love for him and the children is enough to make her come back to him. 


This third story in the Paramourtal anthology was astounding! I felt Sean's grief and Muireen's longing. Their love was tangible and seemed to flow off the page. This brilliant story should have been first in the anthology, in my opinion. It is the best so far and would have been a great way to start the anthology off. 


In a word, this story was


Astounding.


Find Paramourtal here. Join me tomorrow as I read and review the fourth story in Paramourtal! 


Clara.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Review: Dark Legacy by Elizabeth Ireland


The Guardian of the family lake has always been a member of Katherine's family, always one half of a happily married couple, who can only be reunited with their love when the next guardian takes over. As Katherine leaves her husband to pack away her dead grandmother's things at the lake house, she worries that the next guardian will be her. 


As I read the second story of the Paramourtal anthology, I was disappointed. Although intriguing, I found it flat. I didn't feel the bond between Katherine and Patrick, and to be honest, didn't care whether or not Katherine was the next Guardian. I felt no connection to the main characters and only a passing interest in the plot. If I had picked up this book in a store, this second story would have been one I'd skipped over. 


In a word, it was


Flat.


Find Paramourtal here. Join me tomorrow as I review the third story in the Paramourtal anthology!


Clara.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Review: A Touch of Sand by Nicole Brugger-Dethmers


When gently-born Angeline is kidnapped by the Sandman, Nicholas, a servant, sets off to find her—even though in order to do so, he must acknowledge the feelings he has for her. Feelings which might scandalize society. 


This story is the first story in Paramourtal, an anthology of paranormal romance tales. It started with great intrigue. Even though I wasn't transported back to whatever time period this took place (it didn't specify, but from the story my guess is Regency or Victorian), my interest was immediately sparked by the main character, Angeline, and Somnus the Sandman. Actually, Somnus was such an intriguing character that I found myself rooting for him throughout this story. Even so, the story ended on a satisfactory note. I wonder what the author might have done with it if she had been given more space. 


In a word, this story was:


Satisfactory.


Find Paramourtal here. Join me tomorrow as I read and review the second story in this anthology!


Clara.