Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Guest author: D.A. Lascelles, on why it's all my fault

And now for something completely different...

This week's guest author writes fantasy and alternate worlds and all kinds of bizarre things, including the sexy stuff - and apparently it's all my fault. Including the state of world publishing and the Kennedy assassination. I do try.

But I dunno. I'll take the credit. Dave's stories are pretty cool. When you read a lot of romance, like I do, you tend to forget there are things other than heroic characters and endless happy endings. It's great to read from a different angle.


So, no doubt in order to make like the Royal Navy and give me my forty lashes - ooh, baby - and to say interesting things about publishing and erotica vs porn and why we can't all please everyone - please welcome small press and indie author D.A. Lascelles...


I blame Erica Hayes.

For everything (yes, she was there on that infamous grassy knoll some decades before she was born on a completely different hemisphere, she is cunning like that).

But in particular I blame her for the presence of two short stories I have recently published. If she hadn’t challenged publically on social media, if she hadn’t herself been so adept at writing erotica, then I probably wouldn’t have done it and the world may have been saved. Well, OK, I probably would have still done it but I wouldn’t have had anyone to blame but myself.

I’ve often teased Erica about her work being pretty much thinly veiled pornography. It’s one of the things we often discuss on social media along with the disparity between UK and Australian weather patterns. If you have ever read any of her excellent Shadowfae series you will see what I mean. It is the most glorious expression of erotica I have ever read – sheer poetry in its style, rich in visual description and gorgeously hot scenes. Or, as I once said on Facebook and which she promised to put on a book cover sometime: ‘Almost but not quite entirely unlike porn’. Paraphrasing Douglas Adams, of course… The standard she sets is enormously high.

So, I was challenged to do something to match the quality of Erica’s erotica. {ED: flattery will get you nowhere... actually, no, that's not true. See me later...}

I had previously worked with her on a Paranormal Romance anthology (the Shades of Love anthology) and in that I focussed on developing my writing of romance plots, though the sex scenes in my contribution (the novella Transitions) were of the ‘fade to soft candlelight’ style rather than explicit. To match her challenge, I realised I had to up my game. So, for my recent collection of shorts, Lurking Miscellany, I worked on two urban fantasy stories with a sexy theme.

One was a sequel to Transitions. Called Transformations it follows the characters on a night out to a Goth club where they encounter a very sexy person with unusual gender switching abilities. This was partly inspired by my own experiences in such a club, in fact the very one that is described (which is unfortunately no longer there). Our heroes face concepts of desirability and get into fights before saving the day.

The other, An Element of Desire, gets a little racier. In this, our hero Simon is an environmental activist with the ability to manipulate the elements through communication with the spirits that control them. He meets a woman for whom he feels the most immediate and insistent attraction. From their initial meeting it is not long before things get very hot and heavy… For some reason I decided to have the female character in this dressed in PVC. Well why on earth not?

Did I succeed in my challenge? Well, I will leave that to the readers to decide. I would however say that it is certainly worth a writer challenging themselves to do something outside their comfort zone. If you are finding the writing process too easy you may be slipping into familiar territory and while that may mean you are sticking to what you are good at, it can also mean you are boring your readers by retreading old ground. Rather than stick to this comfortable old armchair of the familiar, why not try to strike out into the unknown? If it gives you a gut wrenching feeling of fear as you consider this, even better. Often, when you get that feeling it means you are doing something right.

Self publishing has opened up the market to experimentation. I am quite fond of the traditional route of publishing, but it has one major flaw – each book published represents such a huge financial risk for the publisher that they tend to be very careful about their output. If something is not likely to sell they stay well away from it. The advance a publisher gives to an author on acceptance of a manuscript is basically what they are willing to bet on the success of that book. They are saying that the book will make at least this much in profit, so they can give that to the author and not lose any money themselves. Ditto the amounts they spend on advertising, cover design, distribution and printing. 

The more they invest the more convinced they are they have a winning concept. Books that are on the fringes of popularity, or attract only a niche audience or which are so radical they break conventions rarely if ever get published by this route. Similarly, books which might offend a majority of people such as those including the extremes of sex, drugs and rock and roll. However, they can be self published and when they are the financial risks are significantly smaller (although the profits can be equally small) meaning it is more viable to produce. This means that in the current book market, it is a good time to be radical and do something different.

So, why not push yourself to do something different? There will be an audience for you out there somewhere, even if it is one the big six don’t consider worth selling to.

D.A Lascelles is the author of Lurking Miscellany, Transitions (Mundania Press) and Gods of the Sea (Pulp Empires). He lives in Manchester UK. You can sometimes see him writing about Zombie porn on http://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/ but he mostly blogs about books, vampires, science fiction and Terry Pratchett. He is inordinately proud of the fact that one of his Pratchett articles was referenced on the French version of the author’s Wikipedia page.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaLascelles
Twitter: @areteus

Buy links for Lurking Miscellany: Kindle ~ Paperback

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Guest sci-fi author: Anna Hackett with In The Devil's Nebula

Please welcome Anna Hackett, author of action/adventure romance - and her new release IN THE DEVIL’S NEBULA.

Check out this cool cover! Love the colours and the starfield. This series is kind of a cross between sci-fi romance and treasure hunting.

"First there was AT STAR’S END and the treasure hunt to find the last remaining fragment of the Mona Lisa. Now travel to the heart of the Devil’s Nebula on the hunt for the gun used to assassinate Abraham Lincoln."

I don't know about you, but that sounds dead cool to me :)

Here's the cover copy:


He lost it all. His career, his woman, his sanity.

Two years ago, on a deadly mission to the lawless Devil’s Nebula, Commander Zayn Phoenix’s life imploded. Now the former Strike Wing pilot fills his days with dangerous adventures alongside his treasure hunter brothers.

But his nights are another story: haunted by nightmares of one unforgivable act.

Until an assassin lures him into a hunt. A hunt for her freedom from the Assassin’s Guild. A hunt for a derringer used in an ancient and infamous assassination—of old Earth president, Abraham Lincoln.

Zayn is compelled to join the perilous adventure with Ria Dante that will take them straight into the heart of the Devil’s Nebula, but not for money, fame or treasure. He joins because Ria has the face of the woman he left for dead in the Nebula years before.


Sounds cool? yeah. To read the first chapter or buy, you can check it out at Anna's website.









Monday, July 7, 2014

Guest fantasy author: J.M. Bray with MENDING THE SHROUD

Today please welcome paranormal author J.M. Bray, as part of his blog tour for his contemporary fantasy/romance MENDING THE SHROUD. Here's J.M:
 

Thank you so much for having me by for a visit, Erica. I really like the site. The July 1 release of Mending the Shroud  went by in a blur of tweets, Facebook posts, emails and well wishes. I'm constantly encouraged by the support of the writing community with great authors, like you, who pitch in and lend a hand...umm...or blog as the case may be.
The tour continues, and stops are still being added so click the banner and check out the great sites still to come!

About mid-way through writing Tearing the Shroud, I realized that the characters were not done with me. They had a tight hold and refused to let go. So, while still doing the legwork for book one, I jumped into work on Mending the Shroud. The story poured from me relentlessly and here we are to celebrate the results. If you haven't read Tearing, you won't be lost in Mending, but I think you might enjoy it more. You can find a bunch of buy links at Goodreads.

The story picks up a month later and we are instantly thrown back into the lives of Vincent, Jule, Flea, and Knife. What happens with Vincent and Jule's relationship? Is the Master, the evil force behind the Tearer, through with things? How did the events change the four friends? Who, or what, is Mr. Brown and how did he get all his wealth? Will they survive the events that unfold? All these questions and more are answered in Mending the Shroud.




I'm hard at work on Shrouded, book three, so keep your radar on and your eyes peeled for more of the Trilogy:





About the Book
The second in the fresh, exciting romantic fantasy Shroud trilogy takes up where 
Tearing the Shroud leaves off – with the lives, the loves, and the mythical world beyond our own. 

After accepting bodily possession and saving the world, Vincent thought his life would get easier. He thought wrong.

The Shroud may not have torn wide open, but it did tear a little, and the retribution for the failure is coming hard, fast, and directly at Vincent and the people he loves.

His only hope is to once again accept possession from Coleman and do battle with the deformed, terrifying Kafla. But this time, he's not alone. Jule, the woman he loves and hopes to marry, is possessed as well, and together the four of them become a formidable team.

Together they hope to stave off the invasion and take the fight to the Realm, but only a supreme sacrifice can mend the Shroud and save both their lives and their worlds.

Mending the Shroud Links

About the Author
J.M. Bray lives in Southern California with his college sweetheart and their two dogs. After a lifetime together, they are happier than the moment they met. When not writing or working his "day job", he loves to cook, play the guitar, and travel with his wife. Every chance he gets, he races an old Porsche named "Tuffy" at tracks in the southwest.


Connect with JM

NEW AND IMPROVED Website: www.jmbray.com
Twitter: @jmbraybooks
Email: jmbray@jmbray.com
Blog: http://blog.jmbray.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JMBray.books
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jmbraybooks/



Thursday, June 19, 2014

Author interview: Erin Moira O'Hara with THE KNIGHT OF CASTLE KILDARE

Welcome to my friend Erin Moira O'Hara with her new ghost romance, THE KNIGHT OF CASTLE KILDARE.

Firstly, as always - check out the hot dude:

Mmm. Ghostly-moon-mist-dude-castle! You can see what to expect from this book, eh? Clean, simple, but effective. Nice work!

In case you needed more clues, here's the lowdown:

Modern woman Kate Manning has always been fascinated by Sir Caleb, a fifteenth century knight whose portrait hangs in the mysterious Castle of Kildare. Now the new owner of the castle, Kate finds herself even more drawn to him, until one day the unbelievable happens: Caleb steps out of the portrait.

Frozen in time since a gypsy cursed him hundreds of years ago, Caleb awakens at the touch of the most desirable woman he's ever seen. Yet to end the curse and free himself from the portrait forever, he must claim the heart of a woman with Romani blood – not this flirtatious blonde who tempts him beyond belief.

As Caleb fights against his growing feelings for Kate, he must also find a way to keep her safe from those obsessed with the castle's hidden treasure. There are some willing to do anything to unearth it, no matter who gets in their way…

Portrait-stepping ghosts! The claiming of tempting hearts! Time travel-ish shenanigans! Hidden treasure! Sounds cool, eh?

Now, I have a few burning questions for Erin:

Tell us about the characters in The Knight of Castle Kildare. What inspired them?

The knight of Castle Kildare was inspired by an old TV series called The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. It always frustrated me that Captain Greg (the ghost) and Mrs. Muir (a widow with two children) could never actually get together.
My story is based on a sexy young knight called Caleb from the sixteenth century and a modern day, independent woman, called Katrina who has never had a serious boyfriend.

Your hero in Knight is a ghost, of sorts, and an Elizabethan ghost at that – what challenges did that present for you, in writing a romance with a modern (and living!) heroine?

My biggest challenge was to restore Sir Caleb, a supposed ghost to life. Aha, he could have been cursed by a gypsy, not actually killed. This frustrates him greatly as he hates the gypsy who cursed him and vows to wring the neck of any gypsy who crosses his path. Big problem.
Another challenge was coming up with a good reason for Katrina to be such an innocent in this day and age. After a bit of thought, I realised it’s Katrina’s infatuation with the handsome Knight and her grandmother’s enthralling stories that have prevented her having a normal relationship with any other man.

Is Knight a steamy story? Do you like to read/write erotic romance, and if so, what’s the appeal?

I normally write spicy romantic suspense with sensual love scenes and gritty action, although humour always seems to sneak in. I do read some erotic romances by authors who write them well and have good storylines.

Are you a history fan? What kind of research did you do to write this book?

I’m not a big history buff, although I used Queen Elizabeth I in The Knight of Castle Kildare, so I needed to research her reign and pilgrimages through England. I also needed to research the Romani Gypsies around that time. I was astonished to discover the Romani people (as they liked to be known) were often executed or chased out of the country. It amazes me what humans will do to each other, even in this day. However, this fact helped greatly with my storyline.

What’s next for you – what are you writing/publishing now?

At the moment I’m working on suspense series based around six ex-SAS soldiers, who have formed a security protection service. They will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Their assignments take place in Australia and other parts of the world, wherever the job requires them to be. Each of my heroes has his own demons to deal with and a woman who will tie him in knots and frustrate him in everyway possible.

What do you like most about The Knight of Castle Kildare?

It’s a light fun read with a little suspense, passion and a twist or two. The main characters just clicked, even Miles (the butler) with his dry sense of humour. I based him on Colin Firth in a very straight-laced way.


Well, any kind of Colin Firth - strait-laced or otherwise - is good with me. Thanks, Erin :)

You can check out THE KNIGHT OF CASTLE KILDARE ebook here:

Amazon  ~  Penguin Books  ~  Kobo

And check out Erin's website

So, do you enjoy ghost romances? Kind of an old-fashioned thing, right... or do you say NOT, and bring back the ghostly hero?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cool new cover art: TETHERED by Pippa Jay

A big ol' sloppy welcome, if you please, for sci-fi romance author Pippa Jay!

Today is the cover reveal for her new sci-fi romance novella TETHERED. What do you think? Intriguing, yeah? The dude is kind of a mysterious monk type... but there's a spaceship, and nebulas and stuff. Hmm. What could it mean? Are there monks in space? Or is he just in disguise! which would be really cool, too?

Either way, it's eye-catching. Leave some comment love and tell us what you think!

Here's the cover copy:

TETHERED

She can kill with a kiss. But can assassin Tyree also heal one man's grief, and bring peace to a galaxy threatened by war?

For Tyree of the Su, being an assassin isn’t simply something she was trained for. It's the sole reason for her existence. A genetically enhanced clone—one of many in Refuge—she's about to learn her secluded lifestyle, and that of all her kind, is under threat by a race capable of neutralizing their special talents to leave them defenseless.

For Zander D'joren, being a diplomat has not only cost him his appearance, but also the love of his life. Scarred, grieving, he must nonetheless continue in his role as co-delegate to the fearsome Tier-vane or risk a conflict that could only end one way.

Now both of them need to keep each other alive and maintain a perilous deception long enough to renegotiate the treaty with the Tier-vane, or throw their people into a war that could wipe out Terrans and Inc-Su alike. But there's more at stake than humanity, whether true or modified. Can the love growing between them save them both? Or merely hasten their destruction?



Sounds lots of fun, eh? I like assassins, especially space assassins. And scarred dudes are cool.

TETHERED comes out on 25th July - you can add it to your Goodreads shelf.

Also, sign up to Pippa's newsletter for updates.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Author interview: Daniel de Lorne with Beckoning Blood

Welcome to Daniel de Lorne!
Author of the sexy M/M paranormal romance BECKONING BLOOD

I met Daniel briefly years ago at Romance Writers of Australia, where he was pretty much the only guy in the room who wasn't someone's husband or a waiter. But hey, men write romance too, and Daniel has this unique voice and cool paranormal ideas that I'm sure you'll love.

You can check out The Boys Are Coming, Daniel's free prequel story to Beckoning Blood. But first of all, this awesome cover!

Goggle. If this doesn't scream 'hot boy vampires', I don't know what does. That handprint is so cool. This dude will kick your ass.

Beckoning Blood
A gripping, blood‐drenched saga about twin brothers, the men they love, and the enduring truth that true love never dies – no matter how many times you kill it.
 
Thierry d’Arjou has but one escape from the daily misery of his work at a medieval abattoir – Etienne de Balthas. But keeping their love a secret triggers a bloody chain of events that condemns Thierry to a monstrous immortality. Thierry quickly learns that to survive his timeless exile, he must hide his sensitive heart from the man who both eases and ensures his loneliness...his twin brother. 

Shaped by the fists of a brutal father, Olivier d’Arjou cares for only two things: his own pleasure and his twin. But their sadistic path through centuries is littered with old rivals and new foes, and Olivier must fight for what is rightfully his – Thierry, made immortal just for him.

Nom nom. Okay, you lot, enough with the drooling. He had me at 'gripping, blood-drenched saga', but hey, I'm like that.

Here's a few questions I asked Daniel about his book. Leave him some comment love, ask some of your own. Go right ahead. He doesn't bite...

Why do you write about vampires—what's the attraction?

What’s not to love? Their immortality gets me the most. I find something comforting about a being (even a fictional one) having been present through so much of history. They’re also incredibly flexible – in the storytelling sense. You can do whatever you want with them because they exist on the edge of ‘normal’ humanity. Then there’s the power over life and death, and the intense meanings evoked when talking about blood. I could go on but I’m starting to sound like a groupie.

No, no. It's okay. We're all vampire groupies here...
Who's your favourite character in Beckoning Blood, and why?

Olivier. He’s the nastier of my twin vampires {ED: twin vampires, folks. You know you want this book} but he’s got a whole lot more going on than his killer instinct. He is a bit of a jerk but there’s just something about him that draws me in. Everyone loves a bad boy, right?

Totally :) Who would win a fight: your vampires, or Buffy? Explain.

Don’t make me choose! Picturing Buffy dead (again) is too horrible. If it were just Buffy on her lonesome, then I think my vamps would win – though they’d have to really want to fight her. And there wouldn’t be any of that standing around soliloquizing that bad guys always do. They’d get in and get the job done quick. If it’s her and all the sidekicks, then I think my boys would be in trouble.

Your vampire heroes walk into a bar, looking for a late-night snack. Whom do they choose to menace, and why?
a) Any human who smells good. They're not fussy.
b) That weak-ass sparkling vamp over there. He looks like a real loser.
c) A bike-chain-wearing, vodka-swilling vampire rival. Might as well eliminate the opposition while we feed.
d) Each other. Fight's on!


Again with the choosing! Olivier would go for that bike-chain-wearing, vodka-swilling vampire rival. Ain’t nobody going to intimidate him (and seriously, vodka? Is that vamp on a diet?). Thierry would go for a human and make it quick, then leave his brother to the fighting.

(And poor Edward…he’s never going to be able to live that sparkling thing down.)

No. {evil giggle} No, he never will.
Is Beckoning Blood part of a series – what's next from Daniel de Lorne?

I’m working on a sequel, which has a working title of Binding Spirit. I’ve got a first draft already but it’s still early days. Revisions ahead! It’s been fun writing about these characters again, spending more time with them and seeing what I can make them do.


Thanks for coming, Daniel. Sound awesome? Yes, yes it does. And guess what? You can get a free taste of these sexy boys at Daniel's website: www.danieldelorne.com/the-boys

Buy links for BECKONING BLOOD: Escape Publishing ~ Kindle ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ Nook

Links to Daniel's social media:
Facebook ~ TwitterGoogle+

Any questions for Daniel? Tell us why you love vampires or M/M romance or anything with a bloody handprint on its chest? Let's hear it.

Friday, May 23, 2014

SCORCHED release day! Superheroes! Cool book giveaway!

Happy release day to SCORCHED!

Yes! My new urban fantasy book about superheroes and villains. First in a new series, published by HarperImpulse. And to celebrate, I'm giving away a pack of 4 cool Kindle books about superheroes. You know you want them, right?

First, behold the dark action-y awesomeness that is SCORCHED:


In a world where everyone wears a mask, you can't trust anyone… not even yourself.

Verity Fortune was once Sapphire City’s top crime-fighter, wielding her powers of telekinesis to battle the city’s most despicable villains.

Now, she’s consumed by a single burning desire: revenge. Against those who took away her mask, her memory, and nearly her life.

Having escaped from the asylum they left her to rot in, Verity dons her mask once again and becomes the Seeker, a vigilante warrior for truth.

But when she unwittingly uncovers an evil conspiracy deep within her own family, she’s suddenly on the run, alone and hunted by those she thought were on her side…




I totally love this book. I hope you will too! Go ahead and add it on GoodReads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21976885-scorched


Done? Cool. Now for giveaway goodness!

Here are the Kindle books you can win:

The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M Campbell
Metawars: the complete series by Kelly Meding
Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines
Black and White by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge

  Cool, eh? Come and get your Rafflecopter on. Leave a comment and tell us your favorite superhero (or villain!) ~ and get more entries by doing the Rafflecopter thing.

Enjoy!