Wednesday, September 29, 2010


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


3 snake-haired, winged female monsters

A glance from these monsters [...] could turn a man to stone. Their names were Euryale, Medusa, and Stheno and only Medusa was mortal.

They lived in Cisthene and were depicted as having snakes for hair, tusks like a boar, hands of brass and the hindquarters of a mare.

Of course, over time that was weeded down to being snakes for hair and eyes that would petrify you where you stood. Needless to say, I've never read a paranormal romance containing one of these creatures, though it would be interesting, don't you think? Gorgons appear in Library by Apollodorus and in Metamorphoses by Ovid.


-The Wikipedia Page

-Medousa and Gorgones

-Gorgons in Literature

Cherish D'Angelo will kick off October as she talks about her new release! Hope to see you there.



Sunday, September 26, 2010

Review: She's No Faerie Princess by Christine Warren

This book, although I've owned it for years, is still my favourite paranormal fairy romance. In fact, it is the book which made me a fan of Christine Warren. And here's why: 

Niece to the Faerie Queen, Fiona seeks to take a vacation from a life of politics. To that end, she escapes to New York City despite the ban placed by the Queen on all inter-world travel. There, she meets the gruff, sensual Tobias Walker. But while she is determined to lure him into bed, he seems determined to keep their relationship on a professional level. 

The tension in this book was so thick, even closing the cover couldn't dispel it from my brain. Whenever I want a fun, sensual read, I turn to this book. Warren, as she proves with each of her books, is a master at creating crackling chemistry and ground-shaking lust between the main characters, never more so than in She's No Faerie Princess. This one should go on any paranormal romance lover's must-read list. 

In a word, this book was:


Visit Christine Warren on her website here or buy the book


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fairies and Pixies

Fairies, often called the Fae, Faeries, etc. are separated into two types of lore. One states that they are tiny winged creatures, no bigger than butterflies and with butterfly wings, but with humanoid bodies. Another type of lore, in which their size is comparable to that of humans, is the Sidhe. 

Pronounced SHEE, these beings were said to live in another world, parallel to Earth, which could be reached through gateways found in the Irish hills. Queen Mab (of the Seelie court, vs the Unseelie court) was considered the queen of the Sidhe, and Puck is a prominent figure in myths -- said to be a mischievous sidhe. The Sidhe were said to come out during the solstices (especially the summer solstice) and lure humans to come with them and become their slaves.

Another popular form of fairies are the Tuatha De Danann. These are winged beings, considered to be the inhabitants of Ireland before the first humans settled there. More information is cited in the links below.

Although the Banshee is technically a type of fairy, I will be speaking of that lore separately. 


-The Wikipedia page for Fairies and for the Sidhe

-Mythical Creatures Guide: Fairy

-Fairy Myth and Lore

-Tuatha De Danann

-Brief History of the Sidhe

-The Monstropedia page

-Different Types of Irish Fairies

-Classification of Fairies

-Seelie and Unseelie Courts

-British Goblins: Welsh Folk-lore, Fairy Mythology, Legends and Traditions by Wirt Sikes

My favourite paranormal romances featuring fairies are:

Lois Greiman

Pixie Lust

Cheyenne McCray Magic series

Forbidden Magic

Seduced by Magic

Wicked Magic

Breath of Magic (in No Rest For the Witches)

Shadow Magic

Dark Magic

Christine Warren

She's No Faerie Princess

Prince Charming Doesn't Live Here (forthcoming)

What are your favourite books featuring fairies?


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chewing Your Nails and Twiddling Your Thumbs: What To Do While You Wait For A Response

So you've recently sent that prized manuscript to a publisher, either through email or through the mail. Now what are you supposed to do?

I share your frustration. There's nothing that quite compares to the anxiety you feel while sitting at your desk chair waiting for an answer. Checking your email every five minutes doesn't speed the process (I wish it did). So what are you supposed to do while you wait?

Well, one thing you shouldn't do is follow up too quickly. Even if the guidelines say to expect a response within one month. If it's been thirty-two days, let it slide for another week or so. Often unforeseeable things happen which push make responses a little late. Although no news does not always mean good news, by being too pushy you may close doors even if your manuscript would otherwise have been accepted. No one likes added stress. If it is far beyond the time frame specified (I'm talking at least a week and a half to two weeks), a polite note listing the title of your story and when you sent it in might be appropriate. You'll at least know if you can expect an answer soon, after all. 

Another no-no is to bitch about it on the internet. Of course, there are places to report things like unusually slow response times or bad contracts—such as the forums at Absolute Write. But even this should be done cautiously and respectfully. You don't want someone googling your name and witnessing your bad behaviour towards other authors or publishers. That, too, is a deal-breaker for some.

But what does that leave you to do? Chew your nails. Well, every author has their own way of doing things. I know one that sends so many submissions out that she expects a response from someone almost every week, and uses that to take her mind off the waiting for the others. Another good use of your time would be to focus on writing your next great piece. After all, if the one you just sent out is accepted, you want to have your next book available to sub to them (or someone else), right?

Do you have any tricks you'd like to share with the rest of us during this strenuous period?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010


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


a demon preying on the dead: a fiend.

But that doesn't tell us a whole lot about ghouls. What are they, really? What do they look like?

Sources seem to be divided on this. Half state that a ghoul is a monster similar to a zombie (as they are seen as secondary characters in Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series). They are mindless monsters intent on infecting others with their highly contagious disease. 

Clearly not the subject of many paranormal romances. 

The second source states them as defilers of the dead. In other words they prey on the dead to eat (and because the you-are-what-you-eat analogy, they become the Undead). Some sources state they are solely female, others that they can be of either gender. Some sources state that they are able to transform into the guise of animals. 


-The Wikipedia page


-The Vampire by Montague Summers, pages 231-237.

Unfortunately, I cannot name any paranormal romances featuring ghouls as the protagonist(s). Does anyone out there have one to recommend?


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Patching Up Story Flaws

So you've finished typing up that prized manuscript, and you've sent it off to one of your dear (honest) friends to get their opinion. But what if they decide that something is missing or not right in the story? Do you rewrite the whole thing?

Truthfully, the answer is sometimes. If it's your first draft (or your first novel), you'll probably want to rewrite it multiple times as you grow and learn as a writer. Taking writing courses helps with this—but what helps even more is to keep writing. The more you write, the more you grow. Practice makes (near) perfect, as they say. 

But sometimes, even after you've polished up that manuscript to within an inch of its life, your dear friend still says there's something missing. What do you do then? Well, if they are specific, dissect that manuscript and fix what they think needs fixing (assuming you, as the author, agree). But if your reader isn't able to pinpoint the something that is bringing down your story, there are a few things you can try:

1) Make a chart of your main and minor characters and their characteristics. 

List things like appearance (eye and hair color, build, etc.), personality (likes, dislikes, pet peeves, fears), and speech patterns. When reading through your manuscript make sure that each character behaves as they should. 

2) Make a flow-chart of subplots.

And make sure each of these has closure. Leaving these open-ended can sometimes disturb the reader. Even in a series you need the closure of adding an extra "We haven't found what we're looking for...yet." That way the reader doesn't expect to know until the next book what happens. But if you leave it open-ended, they might start to wonder. 

3) Write all the tones/themes in your book on sticky notes.

Then stick them to the wall, the computer monitor, what have you. One at a time, search through the manuscript and examine the symbolism you have to go along with each theme. This is often done unintentionally, but if you find something missing, something that might accentuate that theme, add it.

Conversely, write down the tone/mood of each scene. When reading through it, make sure the sentence structure, etc. matches and conveys that tone. If the character is angry or afraid, there will be short, direct sentences. In a love scene, there might be more flowery prose—certainly more description!

Those are the top three things that I find help me to organize and flesh out my characters. What about you? What are your tricks?


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Interview with Vivian Arend

It is my great pleasure to sit down with Vivian Arend, author of Tidal Wave and Whirlpool. Let's move on to the interview!

Clara: Why did you choose merfolk for this series? 

Vivian: I had two goals when I started- one, I wanted to write about a 'different' kind of shifter than wolves or big cats, and the sea has always fascinated me. The second grew out of the first--the thought of a uniquely matriarchal society led me to investigate dolphins, and then legends of the sea.

Clara: How much research about merfolk did you need to do before writing this? 

Vivian: Not too much, since I was building my own world setting. The rules I created are very much simply what I decided would work. I will admit that I used one picture for inspiration-- you can see it here on my website. I'm still looking for the name of the artist, which I lost. And this picture, with the blue glow of St. Elmo's fire, became the second scene in the first book.

Clara: Is there anything interesting about merfolk that you would like to share with us? 

Vivian: I do know that some traditions consider merfolk to be selkies- skin shifters. the type that if you hide thier skin they can't change again until gaining possession of it. I wanted a more natural set up, similar to werewolves, and left those stories alone.

Clara: How long have you been writing and why did you choose paranormal romance? 

Vivian: I started writing in Nov 2007 on a bit of a dare. Wrote my first erotic romance in march 2008 and was published in 2009. I write paranormal romance because I love the surprises of creating new worlds, and then the challenge of having to follow those rules! I also write contemporary--western, red-hot--the similarities between the contemp and paranormal is that they tend to be set in the wilderness, or small towns. I've got a lot of experience in both! 

Clara: Do you have any favourite characters that you've written?

Vivian: I do- I love Robyn, the deaf werewolf in my first shifter book Wolf Signs. She's a no-nonsense kinda gal, and sticks up for herself. Also from that series—I love TJ, who started as a side kick younger brother, and in October he'll have his happily ever after.

In my contemps, Beth from Rocky Mountain Haven is a wonderful strong character who takes charge of her life and learns to love again, and Jack, from an upcoming release Falling, Freestyle, is just so damn sexy he makes me melt.

Clara: Which authors influenced your work or inspired you to write? 

Vivian: I followed Lauren Dane to Samhain Publishing to get the complete set of her Cascadia Wolves, and that was the beginning of the adventure for me. I also really enjoy Shelley Laurenston—got kicked out of bed one night for giggling so hard I was shaking the bed. 

Clara: Do you have any pointers you would like to share with authors who are just starting up?

Vivian: Hmm, top three things?
A. Write a first draft. Stop trying to make it perfect as you're writing. A finished story is far better than an edited and incomplete one.
B. Read lots—in the area you want to write. But when you start writing, follow your own instincts, not how someone else does it.
C. Have fun. While there are times you need a thick skin ie when a critique partner asks if you are insane, most of the time, this gig is supposed to make you smile.

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

Vivian: Oh, you really don't want to know. I've been told I'm a freak. :D I write fairly quickly, but I also write all day long. So I can finish a 30K novella in two weeks. I'm under a deadline right now, so I just wrote 45K in 10 days.

On the slower side-- I write in stages now. An outline thread of what happens. A thicker 'plot' outline, and then dive into the story. A month from beginning to end on a 40K book is a nice time frame for me.

Clara: What is the best—and worst—part of writing and/or publishing that you've discovered so far? 

Vivian: The best? So many good things, but the best is the readers. Getting emails and finding out people enjoyed reading something I wrote? Priceless.

The worst? At the start it's the waiting. You submit and then you wait. And wait. I now pretty much know when things will happen, so the worst part has become the paperwork details that I HATE filling out. I want to tell stories, not do paperwork!

Clara: What do you do to get rid of writer's block? 

Vivian: Ummm, not get it in the first place? I have a little note on my desk. Says 'Just tell the story'. I've been telling my kids stories for years, now I'm telling readers. I'm interested in so many things, and there is a story in everyone of them. Open your eyes, and share what you see. 

.Visit Vivian on the web, on her blog, or on Twitter. Buy Tidal Wave here, buy Whirlpool here

Thanks for showing up, everybody!


Sunday, September 5, 2010


The mermaid is often confused with the selkie (a magician who can change into the form of a seal by donning a magical skin) and a siren (a water being who lures sailors into rocks with its voice). According to the Dictionary of Mythology by J. A. Coleman (Arcturus Publishing, 2007), a mermaid is:


a monster, part woman, part fish

These beings are said to sit on rocks, combing their long hair, and lure sailors to their death. In some versions, they are said to be able to grant three wishes. Some say that they cannot survive on land while others say that some of them married mortals and lived ashore. 

In early versions, mermaids had many birdlike features, including wings.

In Irish lore they are regarded as pagans banished by St. Patrick. Some Greek stories say that the burning timbers of Trojan ships turned into mermaids.


a monster, part man, part fish

the male version of a mermaid.

Generally, a mermaid is an aquatic creature with the head and torso of a human but the tail of a fish. 


-The Wikipedia page

-Mermaid Folklore and Mythology

-Mermaids in Mythology and Literature

-The Natural History of Norway, Vol. 2 by Erich Pontoppidan

My favourite paranormal romance books about mermaids include: Sleeping with the Fishes (The Mermaid series, book 1), Swimming Without a Net (The Mermaid series, book 2) and Fish Out of Water (The Mermaid series, book 3) by MaryJanice Davidson

And, of course, my guest coming later on this week, Vivian Arend!

What are your favourite paranormal romances featuring mermaids?


Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Blog Hop!

Book Blogger Hop

Yes, it's Friday again, so I'll be hopping by 5-10 new blogs that I've never seen, and I've added my name to the list. Now for the question:

Do you judge a book by its cover?

Sadly, yes I do. To me, a professional book has a professional cover. If I'm turned off by the cover, I never pick up the book to see if it might be something I like. However, if I do like the cover that doesn't mean I'll like the book or buy it. That only means it's passed the first hurdle -- the second is the blurb or excerpt. If those pass the test, then I buy!

What about you?


Wednesday, September 1, 2010


In Greek mythology, the siren is a bird-woman of the water whose song is said to lure men. Their songs would wipe men's minds so the sailors would no longer be able to steer the ship, upon which time, it would crash into the rocky shores of the sirens' den. They are featured in several pieces of Greek literature including: The Odessey by Homer, Epitome by Apollodorus, and Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes.

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


a monster, part woman, part seabird. 

They were originally winged beings but, when they were defeated by the Muses in a music competition, they lost their wings and took to the sea, living on the island of Anthemoessa, where their songs charmed the crews of passing ships and lured them into the rocks. 

Others say they were originally maidens attendant on Core who were changed into the form of sirens for failing to prevent Core's abduction by Hades. 

[...] They are usually depicted as birds with human faces.


-The Wikipedia page

-Sirens in Greek Mythology

-Crystalinks: Sirens

-Sirens: A symbol of passion

Here is a fairly common myth that I, for one, haven't seen a lot of in paranormal romance. But perhaps I haven't been looking in the right places. Does anyone out there have any recommendations for reading about sirens in paranormal romance?

Next week: Mermaids, and an interview with Vivian Arend!