Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Beauty Bites--interview with guest Synnove Byornsson!

Beauty Bites releases today! In honor of Biting Love book 6, I've asked Dr. Synnove Byornsson to answer a few questions. Please welcome Dr. Byornsson!

A: Thanks for the welcome :) Just Synnove, please.

Q: Why is that?

A: I finished medical school but haven't done my residency...and I recently had a life-changing revelation.

Q: Maybe the right person with the right words will help you regain your calling.

A: It would take a complete disaster--or a pack of attacking ninjas--to change my mind. (Laughs.)

Q: Synnove is an unusual name. Tell us more about it.

A: It's Scandinavian. It means Sun gift.

Q: Which explains the blonde hair and blue eyes.

A: On my father's side I'm Scandinavian. On my mother's I'm German and African American. Don't judge a book by its cover and don't judge people by their looks.

Q: I understand you and your cousin Twyla Tafel have a long-running set of "incidents".

A: Hey--that thing with the water balloons and the cat wasn't my fault. And I didn't mean for Twyla to mistake that Lutefisk for royal jelly and smear it all over her face.

Q: I understand you've been invited to the famous billionaire ad exec Ric Holiday's Christmas in July party. Are you excited?

A: I'm more comfortable in a messy ponytail and scrubs. Wearing a tight skirt and heels? I'd rather do surgery on myself with a bandsaw. And I'm about substance. Holiday's all razzle-dazzle, for all that he's supposedly as good-looking as a stalking lion. But Twyla needs me to, so I'm confronting the lion in his den.

Q: Good luck, Synnove. Thanks for visiting us today!


Beauty Bites (Biting Love Book 6)
Beauty is skin deep…but the beast goes all the way.

When top Minneapolis ad man Ric Holiday is asked to design a campaign for a quaint little town, his first reaction is absolutely not. Meiers Corners is too near Chicago, home of the vampire who turned him as an orphaned boy.

Then the city sends an angel-faced med student with a body made for sin to plead their case. Synnove Byornsson is the ray of sunshine Ric hasn’t felt since he was human.

Armed with determination and a micro miniskirt, Synnove is prepared to crash Holiday’s penthouse cocktail party—and to dislike him on sight. But Mr. All-Style-No-Substance turns out to have a deadly smile, a barely restrained, feral strength, and piercing blue eyes that look at her—not at her cleavage.

Unfortunately Synnove has competition in the form of a sly temptress with a counterproposal. For the first time in her life, Synnove must cash in her genetic lottery ticket and fire back with some sizzle of her own—or her beloved Meiers Corners could become the new Sin City.

Warning: Contains a doctor with a bod for sin, an ad exec with a chip on his shoulder, sarcasm, sex, and a cabin full of annoying friends. Secrets are revealed. One heart-stopping, horrific moment leads to the ultimate of happily-ever-afters.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Want to win a Kindle/Nook?

Join me on my Beauty Bites release tour! Many ways to enter. Prize a Kindle or Nook (up to $140).

Be sure to stop by all the participating blogs to increase your chance of winning.

Tattooed Book Review
Reviewing in Chaos 
Reading Between the Wines (guest post)

Spiced Latte Reads
My Odd Little World  (guest post)
AJ’s Reading Nook 

Waves of Fiction
Talk Supe (review)
Musings From An Addicted Reader (review)
A Little Fiction of Every Flavour 

First Class Books (review)
What’s On the Bookshelf (interview)
The Readers Roundtable (interview)

Busy Moms Book Reviews (not posted yet)
Smardy Pants Book Blog

 A B S

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Author Tool Bag

I've only been asked once how to get into writing. Good thing--I had no answer because there is no one-path-fits-all, or even one-path-fits-most.

But since then I've looked for what others have to say on the subject.


My Author Tool Bag features sites I use in writing, editing, and marketing. It's stuff I've found online. The usual caveats apply--no recommendations either expressed or implied, don't click on blind links, have a good antivirus, etc. You know the drill.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

3T Writing Tidbit

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.

Pitching your story. These are the basic elements.

  • WHERE is the story set?
  • WHO is the protagonist?
  • WHAT is the protagonist's BIG PROBLEM?
  • HOW does your book fit in the marketplace? (Or who is your reader or what is your genre or who writes like you?)
For each of the elements, decide what is the most interesting feature and use that to illustrate. For example, WHERE is the story set. My Biting Love series is set in the small town of Meiers Corners Illinois (just outside of Chicago), a German-settled community filled with quirky folk. If I were pitching to an Illinois agent I'd mention that but in general I'd pick one or two quirky folk as my interesting item. Note: what's interesting will change over time. For example, there was a time when the hooker with a heart of gold was new and innovative. I suspect my granny stripper will be old hat, pardon the pun. Nixie, as a tiny punk rocker with a bazooka in the closet, is one of my favorites for interesting.

More on pitches here:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Author Tool Bag

I got this tip from Endpaper Notes (http://almakatsu.blogspot.com/). Make quotes from your books into pictures to share on Pinterest.


My Author Tool Bag features sites I use in writing, editing, and marketing. It's stuff I've found online. The usual caveats apply--no recommendations either expressed or implied, don't click on blind links, have a good antivirus, etc. You know the drill.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Taking the Stage--Heather Long Interview--plus giveaway!

I'm so grateful to Heather for switching blog dates when my release date for Beauty Bites changed. Heather Long is a Samhain author who is not only a talented writer, she's gracious and kind. To celebrate today's release of Taking the Stage (and in thanks for her kindness switching :) I am offering a giveaway (details below). Please welcome Heather!

Who's your favorite character in Taking the Stage? Why?

I’ll be honest it’s hard to pick my favorite character in any book, particularly because the characters I write about I have to enjoy or I wouldn’t write them. That said, Anthony and Roseâtre cracked me up all the way through this book—from their stubborn confrontations to their dangerous passion. It was that initial spark that made the book really come alive for me. Of course, Heidi always gets a few zingers in, and I adore the stage manager for that reason.

You write a great variety of romance from your Always a Marine military series to the paranormal Soulgirls. How do you pick which to write next? Any special tricks or traps to writing different styles back to back?

I try not to write the same genre in the row, sometimes I’ll write a couple of Marines back to back, but for the most part, switching genres helps me stay fresh. I’m always excited by the change of pace. It’s not that one is easier than the other, but demands different things from me and it’s those challenges for my creativity that amp up the pleasure in what I’m doing. I can honestly say that I have fun when I write because I switch it up.

What do you do for fun?

I’m a television junkie, but I also like to go and have coffee with friends or every few weeks get together with my girlfriends for a Girl’s Night Out. Laughing till it hurts can do wonders for stress levels.

You're sitting down to your favorite meal. What's on the table?

Roast beef, roast potatoes, brussel sprouts and some mint sauce for the beef.

What's next up? (What are you writing now? What's the next book out? Any more books in the Soulgirls series?)

Let’s see Raising Kane, the fifth book in my Fevered Hearts series will be out next month, and I just finished Some Like It Deadly which is the third in a contemporary series that launches next February. Up next are some holiday stories that I need to finish off for this year and Soulgirls 6, Tricks of the Trade. Book 3, Waiting in the Wings releases in November. So lots of fun to be had—what other job can I do that takes me from the Old West to a paranormal Las Vegas and everywhere in between?



Roseâtre takes one look at the white tigers that the stage manager has brought in to shake things up at the Midnight Mystery Lounge, and nearly has a heart attack. It doesn’t matter that the beautiful creatures’ handler raises her pulse and makes her want to purr. The tigers are sure to recognize her—and arouse her need for the hunt.
Pride outcast Anthony diNapoli wasn’t expecting to encounter an Amazon princess when he brought his white tigers to the lounge. The lucrative show will go a long way toward securing his future, but not if he gives in to the urge to make her submit to his dominance, and claim her as his mate.
No matter how desperately her body aches for the sun-kissed stranger and his completely lickable abs, Roseâtre is no man’s prize. Yet she finds herself hungering for Anthony to defeat her and take her for his own.
It’s show time in the Arcana Royale’s Midnight Mystery Lounge and all bets are off.
Warning:  Contains sword fights, shackles, sexy showgirls, and a game of dominance between a determined weretiger and an Amazon who refuses to submit. Blades, bliss and battles, oh my!

Enjoy the following excerpt for Taking the Stage:
“Not the toes.” Roseâtre refused to squeal. As lead dancer for the Arcana Royale’s Midnight Mystery Lounge, she would never squeal or scream, but her voice pitched high enough that the syllable at the end of toes cracked.
The great white tiger snuffling her feet through the five-inch strappy black-and-sapphire Louboutins rolled his head away. Instead of obeying, he stroked a whiskered cheek down her bare leg.
“Cut!” Voice booming, the show’s stage manager hustled out from the wings. Heidi was a brisk woman with a quick temper and a stout body, dedicated to creating the best shows. After Pandora’s escape from her contract, she relied on all of her girls to have the same dedication to the performance, Roseâtre more than most.
Pandora. She’d always made the lead look easy. She’d walked out on the stage and owned the audience. Roseâtre believed Pandora could have shared the stage with twelve chimpanzees and it wouldn’t have mattered. Gazes would have been riveted to the tawny nymph.
The white tiger stretched out his neck and yawned, showing off a mouthful of glistening teeth. He flexed his paws, claws scoring the stage. She wasn’t fooled by the sleepy-eyed expression or house-cat similarities. Big cats weren’t pets.
The rest of the dancers relaxed from their poses, some even dropping down to coo and stroke the cats whose arrival had elicited a long round of awws and aren’t they sweets. Roseâtre, however, shifted away from the cat with his tickling whiskers and raspy tongue.
“Rose?” Heidi beckoned, a pen behind one ear and a notebook tucked under her arm. She pursed her lips in a you’re-not-in-trouble-yet moue, but the wrinkles knitting her brow told an entirely different story.
“Yes, ma’am?” Roseâtre didn’t drag her feet. One certainly never dragged Louboutins, but she couldn’t quite resist displaying her mutiny with an uplifted chin and wrinkled nose.
Her nose twitched. Her sinuses burned. Her eyes threatened tears. But she maintained her composure.
Damn cats.
“Look, I know you’re not thrilled with this idea.” The opening gambit was classic Heidi, softening her up for the too-damn-bad often attached to those statements.
Closeted together at the far end of the stage, Roseâtre was glad to be out of earshot of her shield-sister Cerveau, the other dancers and thankfully, the damn tigers.
The Midnight Mystery Lounge was closed for an entire week so the dancers could learn this new act. She’d woken to the bad news that the diNapoli Tigers—tigers—were joining the show for a three-month trial to drum up business in the magical casino and resort.
“But you’re just going to have to get over it. The apothecary will provide you with a tea for your allergies. We need this show and you’re the headliner. That means you and the tiger will be all over each other on that stage and you’re going to love it.”
And there it was, the verbal slap demanding submission. The command chafed. But a promise was a promise and she was as bound by her oath as her shield-sister Cerveau was by her curse.
“Is there any way we can do this without cats?”
“Not really, no.” The sympathy was real, but from Heidi’s compressed expression, the stage manager was plainly not on Roseâtre’s side. “I’m sorry, Rose. But the diNapoli Tigers were an enormous success in Monaco and Paris. We need them for resurgence of interest or the Overseers may very well break up the show.”
“Really?” Panic drifted under the surface of her skin, sending her heart puttering. The Overseers controlled the Arcana Royale, the sprawling complex where meta-humans of all types were welcome and could be themselves. They controlled the shows, the people and in the case of the dancers, their souls. Breaking up the show meant the dancers with varying leases on their souls could be placed elsewhere at the Overseers’ discretion.
Worse, Roseâtre and Cerveau could be separated. Roseâtre couldn’t allow that to happen. She’d sworn an oath. Pride could be sacrificed. Honor could not.
A shield-borne oath was an oath.
“I’ll try. It’s not just the allergy, though.”
“What is it?”
No simple answer existed. Roseâtre glanced over her shoulder to where the great cats lounged. Some groomed themselves while yet another rolled over on its back, presenting its belly to Peppermint for attention. Of all the dancers, Peppermint was the most gracious, the most loving and the most likely to enjoy gamboling with the tigers on the stage.
“I assure you, nothing is wrong with my cats.” The dark, deep masculine tones teased up her spine. She jerked her attention back to discover a bare-chested, bare-footed blond god had joined them.
Oh my. Who did he kill to get those abs?
She snapped her jaw shut with a flicker of irritation, and forced her gaze up from the hard six-pack of clear-cut muscle to roam over the ripped planes of his chest and shoulders.
Dear gods, does it end?
The cool dislike in his blue eyes slapped her back to the present. Everything about the man seemed larger than life, from his thick thighs, easily three times the size of hers, to his wide hands and square, chiseled jaw.
“Roseâtre, Anthony diNapoli.” Heidi’s snapped introduction rebuked her. “Anthony, this is our headliner, Roseâtre.”
Be professional. She extended her hand and kept her gaze focused above his chin. Despite the five additional inches her designer shoes added to her considerable height, topping at around six foot, the man towered over her.
And he inspected her with an air of detached amusement, his gaze clearly dipping below her chin to where her breasts strained against the confinement of the black leotard.
“Your pleasure, I’m sure.” The bastard smiled and ignored her hand.
“Anthony’s cats are in high demand, and he’s graciously consented to this trial contract so we’re going to do the best we can to make the most of this situation.” Heidi turned to Anthony as though unaware of the icy drop in Roseâtre’s regard. “We’ll add extra rehearsal time so Roseâtre and her cat can get used to each other.”
We will? Incredulous, Roseâtre could barely pull her eyes away from Anthony to look at the stage manager. “More rehearsals?” Tired of holding her hand out to the air, she let it drop.
“Absolutely.” Heidi nodded briskly, clapping her hands and striding away to gather the dancers, completely ignoring the cats with the poise of one who was likely more dangerous than the wild animals. “Ladies!”
Cerveau stood next to Kiki, Peppermint and Amber, the question in her expression obvious, but Roseâtre shook her head, waving her off with one short hand gesture. She didn’t need backup.
“So what’s your problem with cats, princess?” The words shivered up her spine. Anthony’s voice prowled behind her, his body heat brushing against her in challenge and invitation.
“Does it matter?”
She didn’t have to play nice. The bastard couldn’t be bothered to shake her hand.
“It might. You’re going to be riding my tiger every night for the next three months.” The words dripped with mockery and some other indefinable emotion.
Roseâtre shifted away, sparing him a dismissive look. She’d practiced the art of cool disdain for years under her mother’s tutelage. He might call her princess in his low, rolling sexy voice as a jest, but it didn’t make it any less true.
“What’s the problem now, princess?”
“You’re getting sarcasm on my shoes.” She lifted one, taking great care to inspect it.
Anthony threw his head back and laughed, a deep belly-trembling shout of amusement.
The noise drew the dancers’ attention like children to free chocolate. Cerveau’s face twisted comically, a mixture of censure and curiosity reddening her cheeks. She wouldn’t approve the tone, but she would appreciate the cause.
“You still haven’t told me why you don’t like my cats.”
“They’re cats.”
Head canted to the right, he studied her. The deep blue of his eyes was enhanced by a circle of darker blue along the iris. His pupils seemed to blink on their own, but that wasn’t possible. Roseâtre forced her gaze back to his dimples, just barely disguised by the thick rush of blond beard coating his cheeks.
“Cats are magnificent, bold and affectionate creatures. They are slow to trust, but have unshakable loyalty.”
“Until you’re dead and then they just eat your corpse.” She shuddered.
He laughed again. “You don’t need your body when you’re dead.”
She was missing everything Heidi was saying to the other dancers. Clearly, the stage manager didn’t care because she wasn’t even looking in Roseâtre’s direction, much less shooting her with her optic laser beams of impatience.
“I’d rather my body was undisturbed, thank you very much. The idea of anything feasting after I’m dead is unappealing.” Not to mention sacrilegious. A warrior’s death should be honored with blades and flame, never teeth.
Or, the gods forbid, a hairball. Roseâtre grimaced.
“Would you prefer they do it while you’re alive?” The silken whisper brushed against her ear. Tingles raced over her skin from the sweep of his beard on her cheek.
Heart leaping, Roseâtre barely managed to suppress her startled scream and settled for smacking his chest. The hard muscles didn’t even budge as her hand made contact, leaving a vivid, white mark against the golden tan.
“You really need to stop doing that.” Enough is enough. The man might be here at Heidi’s request or the Overseers’, but his job was to deal with the damn cats.
“Stop what?” The mock innocence coating his teasing grin reminded her more of the tiger yawning than it did a conciliatory gesture.
“Invading my bubble.” She rolled her hand in the air between them. “You haven’t been invited into my bubble.”
The coolness in his gaze warmed considerably, his grin widened. He was obviously enjoying the hell out of her irritation.
“How does one get invited into your bubble?” He batted the air in front of her, a downright playful gesture that sank its claws into her belly.
Nope. Not going to be turned on.
About the Author:

A national best selling author, Heather Long lives in Texas with her family and their menagerie of animals. In addition to military romance, Heather writes a wide variety of romance from paranormal historical western romance to contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She loves characters and the stories they have to tell. As a child, Heather skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel.

Email: heather@heatherlong.net


GIVEAWAY: My thanks to Heather for this great interview and excerpt! To celebrate today's release I'm offering an ebook copy of the first Soulgirls story Into the Spotlight to one commenter (chosen at random). Comment through Thursday, winner announced Friday.

Destiny doesn't like to be messed with. And the House doesn't always win.

Soulgirls, Book 1

Fifty years ago, Jeannie Williams made her way to Las Vegas seeking fame and fortune. Instead, she lost her soul and wound up performing nightly shows at the Arcana Royale. Every day, she straps on her feathers, her glitter, her stilettos, and she dances. Every day, it’s the same.

Until the day he walks in.

For six centuries, Malcolm Reynolds has been the go-to guy for anything his family needs: warrior, diplomat, wrangler, researcher, and now an attorney. He enters the Arcana Royale Casino, intent on negotiating the release of his cousin’s bad debt, but one look at the golden-skinned showgirl ignites a fire of need that he’s never experienced. When the fantasy come true sits at his table, words he never expected to hear come out of her lush mouth: “I need your help.”

Now he’s in for the toughest battle of his life, because the Overseers own both his cousin’s debt and her soul. And he’s not planning on leaving the Royale without either one.

This book has been previously published and has been revised and expanded from its original release. 

Product Warnings
Contains high-stakes games, sexy showgirls, and a powerful showdown between a vampire that can’t lose and the House that never does. Spells, slots, sirens and sex, oh my! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Honoring the Cost

The stories we tell are important, but none so much as the stories that heal.

I was looking for a way to give back to the marvelous community of readers and book lovers in return for all the support I've gotten over the years. I'd given up finding just the right way when I saw YA author friend Christa Desir is a strong proponent of the Voices & Faces Project, a survivor testimonial writing workshop. Coincidentally, she is supporting a campaign right now. I do like a nice coincidence :) Her wry and touching appeal is here:
Here's the campaign:


The Stories We Tell

A testimonial writing workshop for survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence, and sexual trafficking.
To thank you, I'll be donating 25% of my Samhain store royalties on purchases of Beauty Bites made between now and September 2, 2013.
Even better, Beauty Bites is now 30% off in the Samhain store! Through--you guessed it :) -- September 2, 2013.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Author Tool Bag

The Internet is full of distracting shinys. Here's the cure (bonus, it's laugh-out-loud funny). http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/10-ways-for-an-add-writer-to-be-ooh-shiny-productive-2/

My Author Tool Bag features sites I use in writing, editing, and marketing. It's stuff I've found online. The usual caveats apply--no recommendations either expressed or implied, don't click on blind links, have a good antivirus, etc. You know the drill.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 1T Olio

Quick update time! Thanks to all my readers, friends and writing folk who helped make the following happen.
Can tripping over your own feet lead to falling…in love?

Media superstar Zan Sinclair runs with a rich, exclusive set, thanks to his hit communications show, Revealing Secrets. But he’s tired of high-gloss, meaningless dates. He just wants to meet a nice girl—like shy Dr. Vicky Brooks, sister of his international model ex-girlfriend, Ronnie.

He texts Ronnie to arrange a casual meeting at the CommuniCon convention in Kansas City. Problem is, Ronnie gets the wrong idea. She thinks Zan wants to get back together with her.

When Vicky’s twin wants help winning back an ex-boyfriend, kindhearted Vicky can’t say no. But Ronnie’s ex is Vicky’s longtime crush, smart, sexy Dr. Alexander Sinclair. Now the safe-from-afar crush is shockingly real, making her heart pound, making her want…more.

How can Vicky and Zan finally meet…and more…without sending Ronnie into a jealous rage? Worse, will Zan’s posh friends ever accept shy Vicky?

Thanks to EJR Digital Art for the beautiful cover and Blue Otter Editing for the final polish!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Synopsis Woes? Click your heels and make a wish...

Synopsis. Does even the word make you ill? Sure. A synopsis is like putting your story on an X-treme diet. Who likes diets—especially ones that reduce your baby to a bare 1% of the total?

Good news--it doesn’t have to be that way! You can ease the stress of writing a synopsis by using this technique.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Author Tool Bag

Weekly social media tips from writer Alma Katsu in Endpaper Notes. Here are a couple examples:

My Author Tool Bag features sites I use in writing, editing, and marketing. It's stuff I've found online. The usual caveats apply--no recommendations either expressed or implied, don't click on blind links, have a good antivirus, etc. You know the drill.