Friday, May 29, 2015

Do you believe in ghosts?

I’m not sure that I believe in hauntings, either residual or intelligent, at least as defined by popular culture. However, I do believe in a supernatural spiritual realm, that there are things that normally can’t be seen with the human eye or heard with a human ear. On rare occasions, something on the other side breaks through the barrier and we humans experience a paranormal incident. It’s creepy to think about and my gut instinct screams, “Stay far away from that.” I’m reluctant to confront what I don’t understand.

Now romance? That I understand. I’ve been writing romantic suspense for a while now. I love the ah-ha moment when the hero and heroine realize they can’t live without each other. Happily-ever-afters are a sweet fiction treat. The best romantic fiction increases the anticipation of romance until the pivotal moment when the stars align and the hero and the heroine become inseparable. If the writer can make my eyes water, or grab for the tissues, then that’s a good read.

Laurel Heights by Denise Moncrief
But I found I couldn’t write romance without adding a bit of suspense beyond boy meets girl, boy looses girl, and then boy kisses girl until she swoons... Inevitably, a villain would creep into my carefully laid-out plot lines, someone that didn’t want the hero and heroine to live happily ever after. When intrigue and danger collide with the passion of romance...well, I think that’s combustible. Two plot lines merge, and when well done, the result is breath-taking, heart-pounding romantic suspense.
So what happens when the writer adds a paranormal element to a romantic suspense plot line? Instead of only two plot lines merging, a third thread has to be woven into the plot. What’s the saying? A cord of three is not easily broken. Combine one woman running from her horrifying past, one hero who might not be who he seems, and a ghost determined to make life miserable for them, and you have romantic suspense with a paranormal twist.

The temptation to add a paranormal plot line to Laurel Heights was too much to resist, and so the concept became book number one in the Haunted Hearts series. The added tension of the haunting ratcheted up the suspense until the final moment when... No I’m not going to tell you. That would be a spoiler. Okay, okay, I will tell you one little thing the ghost did that I think is so...sweet. This ghost is a trickster, and apparently, she wanted the hero and the heroine to be together. So she pushed the hero Chase into the heroine Laurel, and the moment increased not only the paranormal suspense but the anticipation of romance.

Suspense, romance, and a paranormal element. For me it’s a perfect trio.

You can connect with Denise on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Searching for Magic

by Rose M. Channing

When I first started writing, I wasn't a writer. I was just a spacey, hopeless dreamer trying to capture her world (I didn't realize how perfectly that fit with being a writer for quite some time). Dreaming at night was just as important as living during the day. I passed my free time with pretend games. I searched my backyard for fairies and magical creatures. I knew that someday, something amazing was sure to happen to me, just like the characters in my favorite books. I'd find the portal to another world. I'd have amazing adventures, and become a hero, someday. I waited impatiently for my own magical powers to develop.

I was sure the magic was coming, because I didn't fit with the real world. But it never even crossed my mind as a child that I might be a writer someday. I thought I hated writing. I used to be the little girl crying at her desk because “I don't know what to write!” Teachers probably looked at me thinking, “Wow, this kid has no potential. She's not creative at all, and she's not even trying.”

It took me a while to realize I actually enjoyed writing on my own terms. If you told that girl she'd dream of becoming an author someday, she would have laughed at you. Or rolled her eyes. Or punched you. She wasn't very nice.

Writing became a way to hold on to magic. I believed in magic as a child (and I still do), but I always heard adults say it wouldn't last. Children are in touch with magic, they said, but that phase is short and special. I didn't want to lose it. When would it happen? And why?

The Mansion's Twins by Rose M. Channing
I started doing everything possible to capture that magic: being outdoors, writing down my dreams, staring up at the sky, daydreaming, and playing silly little games everyone else would think I was “too old” for. My sister always made fun of my for having imaginary friends. She said it was a childish phase, but I told her firmly I'd still have imaginary friends “when I'm a teenager.” I was right. I had imaginary friends as a teenager, and I still have them now (I'm 25). The only difference is now I call them characters.

I wrote everything down to preserve it in my memories, so even if I did lose the magic, I could read my old journals, remember, and at least get pieces of it back. Through this search for magic, I found the pieces of a book's beginning. I found settings in my dreams, characters in my imaginary friends, and plotlines in my made-up games. Writing brought me more joy than I ever could have imagined. I could shape my own private world, incorporating everything I loved. I had recurring dreams about mansions. I always wanted a twin sister. I pretended I held my own magic, and could save the world... All basic elements of my first book, “The Mansion's Twins.”

Piecing it together, I found the portal to the world I live in every day. On the other side, I found the adventures I'd been waiting for. And in time, with practice and patience, I began to discover my own magic.

Visit Rose on her Website or Twitter

Monday, May 18, 2015

Readers Meet Author of Mystery & Suspense

I am a writer of American historical fiction, and as a Southerner I write about my beloved South, a place as rich in culture and history as the soil that gave birth to and nurtured her. I hope that I do honor to both within the tangled webs of mystery and suspense woven through my stories.

My tastes in literature were shaped as an adolescent and early teen by writers represented by Max Brand and Zane Grey, and Luke Short and  Frank Yerby and Frank Slaughter. Such writers provided my greatest reading pleasure during my formative period as a reader and today are the biggest influences on what I believe makes an entertaining story, and I am a story-driven author.  I describe my novels as a blend of the beauty and violence of Frank Yerby’s Old South  with the adventure and happily-ever-after of a Zane Grey western. I then spice the mix with a sensuous romance. But unlike Frank Yerby, whose endings did not always prove so, and like Zane Grey’s, whose did, I provide a happy ending. Life is tough for all of us, more so some than others. I read to escape, and I provide my readers the same opportunity to forget the strain and struggle—to rest, relax, and recoup if only for a while. Reality will intrude with the closing of the book—and other stopping points between its beginning and end.

So, I’m not big on wallowing in misery. Okay, that’s not true. The tale told must be worth telling, and that’s not going to be done without conflict, but I want the struggle and grief that I create to end on a happy note with the promise of a bright future.

Epico Bayou by Charlsie Russell
In five published novels, I’ve ranged my settings from eighteenth-century Spanish Natchez with my dark gothic, The Devil’s Bastard through the end of the nineteenth century (Epico Bayou and River’s Bend), all in the deepest of the Deep South, my home state of Mississippi. At present I’m completing a sequel to my latest novel Camellia Creek, a mystery driven by the exigencies and injustices of Reconstruction following the War for Southern Independence, the period when the United States made a fateful shift from our Founders’ Federal Republic to the dubious “advantages” of democracy. Aggression, tyranny—and the all-important resistance to both—make great fodder for fiction. I weave into these troubled times a mystery and a romance and characters driven, and sometimes swallowed up by, not only events out of their control but by self-imposed attempts to manipulate conditions to suit their purposes. Against such backdrops
River's Bend by Charlsie Russell
are the personal conflicts often conjured from the past and impacting the novel’s present. Old secrets and new lies, lost treasure, unavenged murders, and “haints,” real or imagined, demanding justice. In a nutshell, I write “escape” fiction.

Given my settings and my genre, I categorize myself a niche writer, focused on the values that shaped my place and my people and, in turn, myself. But my stories will appeal to anyone who enjoys mystery, suspense, and in some cases, the subtle whisper of the paranormal, woven into a refreshing return to a more “original, non-contemporary” look at the South, her people, and her history.

And of course, there’s the romance and happy ending for not always happy times. Those always work, then as well as now.

For more on Charlsie Russell, visit her at Loblolly Writer’s House or enjoy her blog, Loblolly Log 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

My Journey from a Teen Writer to Award Winning Published Author

Author A.K. Taylor

I’ve always had an overactive imagination as a child. After learning how to write sentences and grammar in school, I channeled it into writing short stories and poems at first. When I turned 16, I decided to take a personal challenge to see if I could write a novel. I had never been taught how. It seemed radical and impossible, but I want to try it anyway.

Other reasons why I took this challenge were sad. I was the brilliant social recluse all throughout school. High school sucked altogether socially. I was bullied almost every day during my entire tenure in school. I was also forced to stop playing because of my age, so I had to find a way to get back into my childhood fantasy worlds to escape such cruel reality. I wrote my way back in. I wanted to hold on to my childhood despite growing up, and I wanted to put some of these things into the story. Neiko does similar things at an older age than me for the same reasons in the story, but her situations are more extreme.

Escape from Ancient Egypt by A.K. Taylor
I brainstormed while skating at a cousin’s birthday party. A plot and a scene in the skating ring where I was formed in my head. I couldn’t wait to sit down at the old computer in my parents’ room with Word installed on it. After I got home, I made a new document and took the “novel challenge”.

Time passed and I would get every opportunity I could to sit and write. I was addicted. After school, band practice, or after dinner was writing time. I would fight with my parents (no parents were harmed) over the computer. Solitaire, Taipei, or Free Cell be darned; I wanted to write! They paid for it later when I would stay up into the wee hours writing and not go to bed. I hated to put my writing on pause. I was addicted to it as much as video games. I got so mad at the teachers when heavy homework cut into my writing time. I would do homework during class, so I could free up time to write.

I wasn’t sharing this top secret with anyone at school. Nobody else was going to see it, so they could harass me about it until graduation. Only family knew. After about a year and over 100K words later, Neiko’s Five Land Adventure was born. It wasn’t called that 19 years ago, but I’m not sharing that embarrassing title. I started writing Escape from Ancient Egypt shortly after that.

During and after the writing of these books, more ideas for other stories, and an entire saga was born. Neiko was going to have many adventures. I wrote one story after another throughout and after high school. College slowed me down. After 13 years of encouragement, I finally publish. The first go was terrible after dealing with a predatory publisher, but I tried again. The rest is history.

Neiko's Five Land Adventure by A.K. Taylor
Did I ever think I would have written something award winning as a teen? Nope, not in a million years. In fact, I was afraid to share or publish for fear of humiliating myself and being tarred and feathered in the publishing world. I feared high school all over again; sharing anything was traumatic for me. I’ve had to undergo a lot of personal development to find confidence in my abilities, myself, and even other people again. That’s a whole different blog post.

A.K. Taylor can be reached by her Website, Facebook, Twitter

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Seduced Into The Greek’s World

Dani Collins
by Dani Collins

I’m all about the fourth book in a series right now. If you caught my blog yesterday, you’ll know that I just launched the fourth novella in my Montana Born series.

In another week or so, Seduced Into The Greek’s World goes on sale on Amazon. It’s a June release from Harlequin Presents and is the fourth and final Makricosta sibling in my Makricosta Dynasty series.

This series had its inception in No Longer Forbidden?, the book that became my First Sale. Nic Marcussen tells the heroine, Rowan, that he was removed from his family when he was a child because he wasn’t a Makricosta. He reveals that he has a sister and two younger brothers.

As soon as I wrote that, I wanted to know what happened to those poor kids!

Adara grows up and agrees to an arranged marriage with Gideon. They travel from Greece to New York hoping to discover they have More Than A Convenient Marriage?. That was one of my easiest ever books to write. I adore Adara and Gideon. They’re so in love and neither knows how to show it.

Next Theo and Jaya have An Heir To Bind Them. It’s just a tiny affair with the boss that goes awry. Theo is highly averse to family, given how messed up his is, but by now Adara and Nic have both got kids and he winds up with three babies crawling under his skin.

Now, finally, I’m telling their youngest brother’s story. Demitri is a serial playboy, lives by his own rules, breaks them for fun… And there’s Natalie, a cute Canadian girl who’s too nice to say, “No.” But she does and it’s a novel experience for him!

To celebrate wrapping up this series, I had these pretty postcards made. Would you like a signed one mailed to you? Email me off my website, tell me that you saw the offer here and be sure to include your postal address. I’ll be mailing them soon.


"I want you, Natalie. Not after five o'clock. Now."

Every woman has a fantasy she only dares dream about in the dead of night. But for single mom Natalie Adams, the reality of an affair in Paris with infamous billionaire Demitri Makricosta surpasses even her wildest dreams!

Demitri is astounded by fiery Natalie. One night isn't enough, so to quench his lust he insists she become his mistress. The closer Natalie gets to emotions Demitri has kept locked away, the more he distracts her with dazzling gifts and luxury holidays to ensure that seduction remains the only thing between them…


Award winning author Dani Collins writes sexy, witty, vibrant romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Tule’s Montana Born and herself.

Stay current with Dani’s new releases by joining her newsletter or visit her here:


Amazon: US | Canada | UK 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hashtag Author 101 Fail

Dani Collins
By Dani Collins

I’m accidentally on Book Four of a series I didn’t know I was writing. That’s why it doesn’t have a name. Hashtag Author 101 Fail.

Here’s what happened:

I was invited to send a novella to Tule’s Montana Born imprint last year. At first it was going to have a Fair theme so I thought, Hmm, summer, fair, baseball… I made my hero a pro ball player. By the time I submitted it, the Fair series was full, but they were doing a Homecoming series. So that story turned into Hometown Hero.

Initially I was intimidated to write shorter stories (about 35-40,000 words, whereas I’m used to 50-55 for Harlequin.) I was pleasantly surprised to find I loved the length and I especially loved the tone and the town and everything about writing these fast-paced, sexy contemporaries.

So when they asked if I wanted to write a Christmas book, I said, “Sure.” Keep in mind that my family all gave me horrified looks when I told them. I’m the original Grinch. They were pretty sure I’d tank, but my heroine Liz was in need of the Christmas spirit and by the time I’d finished that book, we both had some.

Now, when I started Blame The Mistletoe, I was still getting my feet wet with the town of Marietta, which is the fictional town where most of the Montana Born series. 

His Blushing Bride
Authors are encouraged to overlap characters to give the reader more of a sense that the town is real. Since I was still a bit of a newcomer to Marietta, I opened my Christmas story in the home of Skye and Chase from Hometown Hero, so those stories wound up connected.

Then along came the Bachelor Auction series. Fortunately, I was finishing up Blame The Mistletoe so I gave the hero a sister, Meg, who winds up bidding on Linc and having The Bachelor’s Baby.

And then… This year’s wedding series. By this time I was begging to be included. I love writing for Tule, love Marietta and love everything about writing these stories.

Fortunately, I was getting smart and had already set up Liz with a brother, Bastian. He comes to Marietta for her wedding and falls for Piper, the high school music teacher. Bastian is a playboy, she’s a virgin… His niece is a hoot and the rest of the cast from the other books all make an appearance.

If only the series had a name. Have you read any of my Montana Born stories? Got any suggestions?


Award winning author Dani Collins writes sexy, witty, vibrant romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Tule’s Montana Born and herself.

Stay current with Dani’s new releases by joining her newsletter or visiting her here:


Amazon: US | Canada | UK 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Writing Dystopian Fiction

Author Kate Wrath
by Kate Wrath

Writing dystopian fiction is like laying the soul of humanity bare. Opening it, exposing it, extracting its essence. Maybe that’s why I’m so fascinated by the potential of a dystopian world. The elements may be foreign and fantastic, but at its heart, it’s all about the people.

Characters. I love characters. Not the stereotypes, not the shells, but the down-deep, hidden-motivation, make-me-cry-when-I-suddenly-understand-you characters that live beneath the simple, visual surface. Characters that make me change my mind. That make me grow. Characters whose burdens I share, whose laughter sends shivers of joy through my ribcage, and whose thoughts make me ponder, ponder, ponder long after the final page has been turned.

I’m obsessed. You can probably tell. I’m calling it a good thing.
Out of all the many, many elements that go into a good book, I truly believe that the characters are the most important. They’re the single point of contact that bridges the gap between all the genres out there. The human experience. We can all relate to that. So, obviously, I strive to bring these kinds of amazing characters into all of my writing. And yeah, my dystopian world is a perfect place to test their metal and see what they’re really made of.

In my books, you will find characters struggling for survival, running for their lives, and responding to one crisis after another. But it’s not all about the killer robots, evil overlords, and guys with guns (though I have gotten a lot of reader love for my evil overlords in particular, because hey, evil overlords are fun). Violence, despair, and hopelessness tend to be intrinsic to dystopian worlds, and many a dystopian character has been sent scrambling to survive. These ordeals can reveal the utmost depths of a personality-- with all its flaws and all its glory. They can shine a light into the black waters and allow us to see another world entirely. It’s our world. It’s us. We are written in the pages of the story. Your life, my life-- lines of ink sinking into the paper. I invite you to gaze into my dark reflection and see what you find. With any luck, it will be something worth keeping.

Evolution by Kate Wrath
E by Kate Wrath
E is one girl’s story of survival after she is dropped into an urban wasteland where every moment is a tooth-and-nail fight to stay alive.

Evolution carries on the adventure, taking us outside the boundaries on a dangerous quest to change the world.

Eden by Kate Wrath
In Eden, (release date June 13, 2015) the tale continues, as our characters must face tough decisions that will reveal their true selves.

Jason and Lily, the prequel, (release date July 23rd, 2015) is at its heart, a story of love, friendship, and hope.

Praise for E:
“I loved Eden.  She was everything I like in a main character.” -Robin from Where Books Lead Us

“The power and the beauty of the dark, poetic language won me over, reminding me of some of my favorite poets.” - Anka from Reviews With A Twist

“The characters were the story. I was reading it for them. They were captivating, funny and really lovable.” - Laquesha from We’re All Bookish Here

“With compelling characters, an intricate plot, and excellent pacing, Kate has managed to weave a story that leaves you willingly trapped in its clutches.” - Jerome from Light Knocks

You can connect with Kate Wrath through her website, Goodreads, Facebook, or Twitter.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Meet Author Debra Shiveley Welch Who Writes about the American Indian

Author Debra Shiveley Welch
I’ve been writing since I was a child and had always dreamed of writing a novel.  I love words: the sound of them, the flavor of them, the feel of them on my tongue.  Words like meander, wend, sparkle, kinnikinnick.

Kinnikinnick – I love that word! It’s American Indian for a bark or shrub used for smoking. In southern Ohio, we pronounce creek as crik, and we have one such stream called Kinnikinnick.  Just listen to the sound of it, the feel of it as you say it: Kinnikinnick Crik! Amazing!

I was born in Columbus, and when you drive down West Broad Street, you eventually arrive at the beginning of the Great Plains. Wow!  The grandeur of it boggles the mind. I decided that I wanted to someday write a book about the first people who were here, but I wanted it to be authentic, honest, respectful.  So I waited until the right moment, the time when I knew that I could write a book that was honest and true.

In 2004 I and my son were adopted by Julie Spotted Eagle Horse Martineau through the Making of Relatives Ceremony, or Hunkapi.  It is a serious ceremony, and truly makes us bound for life as sisters.  I decided that this was the time; now was the time to write that book and show the majesty and dignity of our First Americans; to honor my sister and my new family.

I asked my sister to act as a consultant.  I did so because I didn't want to write about the sacred things which are not supposed to be written about, and I wanted to write about those which I could with utmost authenticity.  I also wanted to make sure that I represented the Lakota people with the deepest respect and honor.

Cedar Woman by Debra Shiveley Welch
Her help was invaluable.  Because of her guidance, I was able to write freely, knowing that I would be guided in the authenticity of my story, and like the graceful jingle dancer, my words could dance across the page, telling my story with the complete respect and truthful representation of the people I was representing.

Also, in Cedar Woman, you will find many words of the Lakota Sioux.  Pronunciation and translations are included the first time each word is used.  There are three dialects in the Lakota language and no standardized spelling.   I have chosen the spelling and pronunciation of these words in keeping with the dialect of my sister Julie, who is of the Lakota Plains Native Americans.

Powwow is described in detail, as well as the various forms of regalia, etiquette, music, and as with any ethnic festival - the food!

My son and I have attended the Muddy River Powwow for many years, and in doing so, have come to know and love our adopted family; they have brought us much joy and peace.  This book was written to honor them.

I hope you enjoy Cedar Woman.

Toksa Ake Wakan Tanka Nici Un - Walk With God

Debra loves to hear from fans. You can reach her through her website, Facebook,  Twitter.