Sunday, October 31, 2010

Review: Banished Witch by Anita Philmar

When Danni spots Omar, a mysterious man of her past, she thinks that the time has finally come to indulge her senses with him -- safely behind her web of illusions. Little does she know that Omar is onto her...

This story immediately transported me into the complex political situation of Ardenia. Danni is an appealing character, full of mystery and remorse over what she has to do to survive. But Omar had me enraptured. His determination and mission with Danni kept me reading on, hoping he would be able to sway her to return with him. 

In a word, this book was


Visit Anita Philmar at her website here.

Join me throughout the next week as I dissect each of the stories in the Paramourtal anthology!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010


When Clara asked if I had a book with ghosts, I had to snicker. Ghost, witches, and ESP are some of my favorite subjects to work with. I currently have two published with ghosts, spirits, imprints, but no angels; that’s published, not counting those written.  

What is the difference you ask between the four? Or are you asking, how does she know? How does one research ghosts? I certainly don’t have all the fancy, expensive equipment a popular TV show has, and strangers don’t invite me into their haunted houses to experience a showing for myself.

Once, in the middle of the night I woke to a very distinct thump, thump, thump. I gathered all the courage I possessed and tiptoed out hoping and fearing to witness my first specter. With only moonlight through the windows of my hundred year old home lighting my way, I crept from the bedroom. I had reached the dining room on my way to the kitchen where the noise was coming from when dark object hurled past me and hit the floor with a thud. Darn cat! I nearly swallowed my tongue, but is my adventure over? No, the thump, thump, thump is still coming from the kitchen. Once my heart dropped back down from my throat to my chest, I nearly turned tail. Then my stubborn streak came to the surface. On tiptoes again, I made my way again towards the kitchen with fear stronger than my hope at that point. Through the door, around the bar, and there--THERE--was the dog, chewing and pulling on the tendon of a ham bone trapped between his feet. Thump, thump, thump, every time it snapped loose from his teeth. I was actually disappointed. Here I had myself all geared up for a spectacular event, and it was just the dog, but it was a thrill also. The adrenalin did some pumping that night.

That’s why we read ghost stories.

We’ve heard stories from others, and maybe you’re even one of them, who have seen and heard the unexplainable. I admit I’ve never met a ghost, spirit, witnessed an imprint or, as far as I know, ever met an angel. I watch TV, fiction and non-fiction, and I read a lot. Read, as in research as well as novels with little attention to ‘Hollywood’ versions. I’ve made my conclusions, based on what I’ve investigated of people who claim to know, gathered up the most believed opinions and accepted what felt right to me in the way of possibilities. Here are those things that make the most sense to me: 

Ghosts are those who are earthbound, dead but have not passed on to the other realm. They’re stuck in one spot and one time, unless of course, they’re attached to an item that’s moved. Didn’t the little boy say, “They don’t know they’re dead?” Sixth Sense was the first movie in a very long time that got me with a surprise ending and the clues were there, visible once we knew.

Spirits are those who have passed on but return for one reason or another. They can pass through time and space.

Imprints are events with such powerful energies when they occurred that they are embedded in the area where they happened, playing the same scene over and over. No spirits or ghosts are involved, like watching an old movie.

Angels are angels. Though some believe every new born infant provides a body for an angel, others believe that angels are angels are angels and never anything else, both opinions based primarily on religious teachings.

What I find difficult to believe is that something as vibrant as the human spirit simply goes away, ends or ceases to exist when our frail bodies give out on us. Therefore ‘I want to believe’ that there is more. In my book Thirteen Souls, I have ghosts and a spirit with an involuntary medium relating what she sees and hears from them. (Or is she really?) The long winded title is unnecessary based on what I’ve learned of well known mediums. None of them are voluntary, few have only a minimal control over what comes when, and even fewer can clearly interpret what they do see. Ghosts and spirits, it seems are not very cohesive or cooperative. Ghosts may stay to help out in some way as I have them do in Mourning Meadow, (Or did they really?) and spirits may come back to give you some dire warning as took place in Thirteen Souls. That doesn’t mean they’re going to make it easy for you. Where would the mystery of it be if they did? 

You can visit Larriane at

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ghosts and Poltergeists

We all know what a ghost is, and the Dictionary of Mythology by J. A. Coleman (Arcturus Publishing, 2007) states it perfectly:


an apparition: a spirit of the dead.

These beings appear in mythologies world-wide and take countless forms, sometimes benevolent, sometimes evil.

Similarly, they list a poltergeist as:


a mischievous, noisy spirit alleged to throw things or move them about.

Here are the links to the Wikipedia pages for Ghosts and for Poltergeists.

But when have we read these beings in paranormal romances? To be honest, these books are few and far between. I've seen many like Erin McCarthy's A Date With the Other Side or Lori Foster's short story Tangled Dreams, where ghosts exist in the novel to propel the main characters into a relationship, but rarely are the ghosts themselves the protagonists. Potentially, this could be because the death barrier is a steep one to overcome. However, in paranormals, anything is possible. 

In fact, one of my favorite books by Kresley Cole, Dark Needs at Night's Edge, features a ghost for a heroine. Do you have any favorite paranormal romances featuring ghosts?

Later this week, Larriane Wills will be speaking about ghosts in her works! 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

AFRAID to Submit?

Some authors (and no matter what some say, as long as you write and continue to do so, you are an author) are afraid to send in their prized manuscript, the one they've slaved over to make every line perfect. I'll admit, at one point, I was one of those authors. But then a friend convinced me to give it a try. And even though I've now got enough rejections to paper my walls, it was worth it. 

So you've got an amazing manuscript, but you don't want to send it to an agent or editor at a publishing house. Why not?

Is it different?

Don't worry about that. There are some publishing houses that thrive on the different instead of the commercial. 

Are you embarrassed over what you've written? Or afraid someone else will be if they knew it was you? 

I have a very simple solution for you. Submit it under a pen name. The editor will still know your name, but you'll be stating that you're "writing as" so and so. Some authors (especially those writing erotic romance) will publish under a name that isn't their own. Don't worry about trying to operate under two separate identities. Over time, you'll grow accustomed to your second name. You'll grow into it. And there's nothing wrong with writing under a pen name—for one, you'll never have to change it if you get married or divorced. 

What else is stopping you from sending out your manuscript? Are you afraid you aren't good enough?

News flash: you won't know if your manuscript is good enough for a particular publishing house until you try. And I should remind you that even if you do happen to get a rejection, it isn't necessarily because your story wasn't good enough. That's doubly true for print publishers. Sometimes, it just doesn't fit with their program or it sounds too similar to something else they're publishing. 

But the only person who can tell you that your manuscript "isn't good enough" is you. Everything can be fixed with enough work. If you truly think that your story isn't good enough, you should find out why you think that way and fix it! If you can't find anything to fix (and neither can your critique partners or beta readers), it's time to send that story out. That is, if you have dreams of being a published author. 

I'll be honest, I once didn't. At one time, it was enough for me to write stories that I loved to read and tuck them away in a drawer—or hand them over to close friends and family members. But if you think your story deserves to be shared with more than just a handful of people (and most writers, at some point, do), maybe you should try sending out that prized manuscript. If you're a paranormal romance writer, chances are you're a paranormal romance reader, too. So research who your favorite authors have published with. Start there. Or view my useful links page at the side. You'll find plenty of places to submit to. All you need to do is choose the one your manuscript will fit with the best. 

Then you need to develop the courage to send it out. 

Join me next week as I talk about ghosts!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Interview with Cindy Spencer Pape

And after the whirlwind of reviews from last week, I'm lucky enough to sit down with their author, Cindy Spencer Pape! Let's get down to it!

Clara: Why did you choose gargoyles for this series?

Cindy: I wanted something different, that hadn’t been as overdone as vampires, werewolves, etc. Also that year, my publisher was doing a special group of stories featuring birthstones. Garnets, January’s birthstone is featured in the first book, but I didn’t stick with that series for the others. Still, each book features a gemstone, so I thought gargoyles, who turn to stone, would be a good match for that theme.

Clara: How extensive was the research for this project? Did you look up myths about gargoyles or did you create your own mythology? 

Cindy: Mostly made it up. The bulk of the research was getting their French words and phrases right—my college French is a little rusty.

Clara: Did you find that there was a pivotal point in your career, a point where you said to yourself, "Yeah, I can do this!"?  

Cindy: Not really. I always doubt myself. In about 1999, I decided to sit down and try to write a book. I did, and finished it, even though it’s awful. But that gave me the courage to write another, and another, and another.

Clara: Was there ever a point where you almost gave up writing? How did you overcome it? 

Cindy: There was. In 2006, I’d been writing and submitting and collecting rejections for a while. I had three manuscripts I was trying to place, so I decided to try the e-publishers. I sent one to Ellora’s Cave/Cerridwen Press, one to Triskelion (long gone now) and one to The Wild Rose Press. I told myself if one of them didn’t sell, I was done. As it turned out, all three did, and I instantly had three publishers to juggle.

Clara: How do you come up with your stories? Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow? 

Cindy: Some of each. It’s very free form, but I do write enough of an outline that I kind of know where I’m going, though I rarely stick to it completely. My ideas come from everywhere—bits of overheard conversation, old fairytales, movies I hated the endings to, dreams—you name it.

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

Cindy: Procrastinate. Then eventually, just sit down and make myself string one sentence after another until it’s flowing again.

Clara: Do you have a favourite story that you've written? Favourite character? 

Cindy: I can’t say I do. You have to fall a little in love with each hero, and identify a little with each heroine or you’ll lose interest in the story and that will show in your writing.

Clara: You cross genres—from contemporary, to historical, to paranormal. Did anyone ever tell you not to do that? Do you think that it's more difficult to create a "brand" when you cater to multiple genres? Or, conversely, do you find that your fans are broader?  

Cindy: Yes, I’ve been told I should focus on a single “brand.” But then I’d really upset the readers who love my westerns, if I wrote only paranormal. Or upset my paranormal readers if I wrote only historical. It’s also a way to keep my writing fresh and my interest level high—I need to vary my style now and then. I do find that most of my readers will cross genres and read my other books.

Clara: What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Cindy: Don’t. Give. Up. And enjoy what you’re doing, or don’t do it. If writing isn’t fun, you should probably look to something else.

Thanks so much for having me here. It’s been a lot of fun to talk about my gargoyles!

Clara: Thanks for stopping by, Cindy!

Cindy's Stone Heroes gargoyle series which I reviewed last week is now available in paperback form. Find it here


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review: Stone and Sky by Cindy Spencer Pape

When Marc Armel, the prince of the gargoyle clan, finds a harpy washed up on the beach, he immediately takes her under his wing. But after her fall from a cruise ship, Aldara can't seem to remember why it was so important she come to Canada. In fact, the only thing she knows is how incredibly attracted she is to Marc. 

This fourth book of the Stone Heroes series made for a beautiful and alluring conclusion. Again, Cindy has crafted a charming union between Marc and Aldara, one that I couldn't put down. In this book, she finds the perfect balance between sizzling chemistry and touching emotion. Although I was sad to see the end come, the conclusion felt right—not to mention it left me with the hope that she will continue to write books in the world she's laid down for us.

In a word, it was:


Join me tomorrow as I interview the talented author of the Stone Heroes series, Cindy Spencer Pape! If you want to learn more about the fourth book in the series, you can visit her website or purchase it here


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review: Stone and Fire by Cindy Spencer Pape

When Dana and Beau meet at their friends' wedding, the chemistry between them sizzles, but after an amazing night, Beau strides out of her life to deal with an emergency at his gargoyle clan. Months later, they meet again in London, both on the lookout for the same magical artifact, and their sexual attraction is rekindled. 

This book promised fire and it delivered! Cindy sure knows how to weave a scorching, emotional tale. I love a man who can't seem to resist a woman, and that seems to be exactly what Dana is to Beau. Add to that the complication of her magically mating him without realizing it, and I was hooked throughout this book. Dana was a well-rounded, complex character whose driven, kick-ass personality perfectly offset Beau's broodiness. Together, they made a pair I'd be willing to read over and over again. The third book of the Stone Heroes series started hot, with Dana and Beau's first encounter, and it only got hotter. 

In a word, this book was:


If you want to be seared by the chemistry, visit Cindy Spencer Pape at her website. Or you can purchase the book here

On Saturday, I'll be reviewing the fourth and final installment of the Stone Heroes series. 


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review: Stone and Sea by Cindy Spencer Pape

In the second book of Cindy's Stone Heroes series, Remy is sent to Atlantic City to retrieve a cup. But first, he finds himself deliciously distracted by the alluring Marina, who drags him neck-deep into danger—danger of losing his life and danger of losing his heart. 

Marina's personality rocked me back on my heels from page one. A very dynamic, engaging character only matched by the mouthwatering Remy. In this fantastic book, Cindy weaves the perfect combination of danger, intrigue, romance, and of course steamy sex! In her second installment of this series, she outdid herself. This addicting book is sure to make you want to read on to the other two stories in this series. 

It was, in a word:


If you want to find out for yourself what the hype is about, you can visit Cindy Spencer Pape at her website, or buy the book here

Join me on Thursday for a review of the third book in the series, Stone and Fire!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Review: Stone and Earth by Cindy Spencer Pape

Damien St. Pierre enters Philadelphia on a mission. But despite his very best intentions of finding the all-important heirloom of his gargoyle clan, he can't help but be distracted by his intriguing new landlady, Katie Calhoun. 

This story sure packed a punch! It began with a bang as the chemistry between Katie and Damien sizzled and sparked—and it didn't let up until the end of this short story. I only wish it could have been longer. Stone and Earth demanded that I continue reading from the beginning to the very end, but by the time I was done, I was calling out for more! What could Cindy have done with just a little more space? I guess I'll have to find out in the next installments.

In this book, Cindy sets the groundwork for a complex and engaging new world. One sure to be filled with characters just as intriguing as gargoyle Damien St. Pierre and his witch mate. I, for one, can't wait to read more!

It was, in a word:


Interested in reading the chemistry between Katie and Damien for yourself? Visit Cindy Spencer Pape at her website or by the book here. Join me on Tuesday for my review of the second book in the series, Stone and Sea!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Golems and Gargoyles

Most have heard of gargoyles, beings of animated stone. Much to my consternation, those weren't listed in my handy Dictionary of Mythology by J. A. Coleman (Arcturus Publishing, 2007). But this was:


an image brought to life: a servant automaton

A golem, in my mind, is only slightly different from a gargoyle. A gargoyle springs to life on its own -- that is the nature of a gargoyle. On the other hand, a golem must be created and brought to life by someone else. 

Check out these resources for interesting things about gargoyles and golems:

-The Gargoyle Wikipedia page

-The Golem Wikipedia page

-About Gargoyles

-Gargoyle Etymology and History

-The Golem myth in film and literature

-Background on Golem Legends

-The Jewish legend of the Golem

-Babylonian Talmud: Sanhedrin 65(b) (The earliest account of a golem)

-Jewish Magical and Mystical Traditions on the Artificial Anthropoid by Moshe Idel (golem tales from ancient times onward).

Coming up next: A 5-part special! Return next week to see my reviews of each of the four stories in Stone Heroes by Cindy Spencer Pape, now in paperback with Ellora's Cave! And to follow up, I'll be interviewing Cindy.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

CHERISH D'ANGELO - Top Ten Great Things about Being an Author in Today's Publishing World

1) I can finally get these voices and stories out of my head. Yes, I hear voices. Yes, I feel slightly schizophrenic at times. I can't control when a story idea comes blasting through my cerebral cortex. I see fictitious people.

2) Microsoft Word, Grammar check and Spellcheck are my three best friends.

3) I'm self-employed and self-motivated. Good thing my self likes to work.

4) I can take my work with me on holidays, all thanks to the invention of the laptop.

5) I meet such awesome people at writers' conventions. Other writers, publishers, agents, booksellers. Conventions are a potpourri of all things 'book'.

6) I meet such awesome people at book signings. Readers are so diverse and so interesting, and I am always pleased to meet people who are on the reading end. I want to know what they like, what they want.


      7) I can publish my own books as ebooks. I don't need a publisher to do this. No more wasting time waiting. I'm not getting any younger.

      8) The publishing world is evolving at warp speed and the future of writers is exciting. It's far easier to self-publish than ever before and much more acceptable. Like the Berlin Wall's demise, we have broken through the barrier that once held authors back. We don't have to wait.

      9)I get to give my books away and do Random Acts of Divineness. See my posts during my tour to find out more about RAD.

       10) I can go to work in my home office in my pajamas (which Spellcheck insists is pyjamas) and take breaks when I want to. I'm in my Winnie the Pooh jammies now. Oh sorry, did I blow your image of a romance author writing in a flowing pink negligee and satin robe?


~Cherish D'Angelo


Lancelot's Lady ~ A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.


Lancelot's Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooks, Amazon's Kindle Store, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. Help me celebrate by picking up a copy today and "Cherish the romance..."


You can learn more about Lancelot's Lady and Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at and Follow Cherish from September 27 to October 10 on her Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour and win prizes.


Authors: what are some other great things about being an author? Readers: what are some great things about reading?


Leave a comment here, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You're guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for doing so. Plus you'll be entered to win a Kobo ereader. Winners will be announced after October 10th.