Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Done Book is Done

I'm free! Huzzahs! It took over 20,000 words and three months more than I planned, but the first draft of In Cold Blood is DONE. It clocks in at around 53k and right now I never want to look at it again, so I've sent it to a brave beta reader for a second opinion. And, of course, because I never want to look at it again, this morning the opening of the sequel popped into my head.

No, brain. No.

I mean, I should probably at least wait and make sure it's not an actual garbage fire before I plan the sequel, right? And I have plenty of other stuff to get on with while my fearless volunteer is working her way through my mess manuscript in any case.

So right now I'm just going to enjoy that feeling of having finished a book, take a couple of days off to chill out, and then break into the edits for my next Amber Morgan story. The end of In Cold Blood has also coincided with me getting my perfume order queue under control for the first time since July, so I'll also be spending some time this weekend making new and exciting perfumes for the autumn and winter. And then next week, it'll be onto the next story...

Friday, 26 August 2016

Guest Blog - Ravenna Tate and the Alpha's Taboo Mate!

If you've read any of Ravenna Tate's Weathermen books, you know you're in for a treat with this new series! Today, Ravenna's giving us a glimpse into the world of the Blood Moon Lynx books, and a very steamy excerpt from the series opener. Without further ado, let's dive in!

Writing shifters was something I was asked to do by so many readers, I felt I had to try it. Did I hit a home run? Only time will tell. THE ALPHA’S TABOO MATE is book one in my new Blood Moon Lynx series. Here is the link to the series page on my website.

Here’s the series blurb:

One thousand years ago, in an unholy alliance, a male lynx shape shifter and a female vampire became lovers. Both knew their mating was forbidden, but their desire for each other was too great to ignore. Under a blood moon, they mated. The lynx bit the vampire woman, marking her as his mate. The vampire in turn bit the male lynx shifter, marking him as hers forever.

But then the lynx took a human female as a lover, betraying the vampire and pack law. When the vampire discovered his infidelity, she struck out against the two, but in the end couldn’t kill her lover. The human female and the lynx turned on the vampire. While she slept in her coffin during the day, they drove a stake through her heart. Unbeknownst to them, in doing so they turned the vampire’s mark of possession on the lynx into a powerful curse that affected his descendants for all eternity. 

Despite centuries of mating with other female cat shifters, the male lynx shifters still have vampire blood in their DNA. Because of this, they possess powers that include being able to see minute details at great distances, and being able to travel with tremendous speed while in partial or full shifted form. Their powers are strongest during a blood moon. When they mate with a human, however, the offspring possess enhanced negative traits such as greed and contempt for the pack and its laws.

As the legend of the unholy alliance grew into a myth, fewer cats believed in it, thus exposing all the packs to dangers that still lurk today…

Here’s the blurb for THE ALPHA’S TABOO MATE

Alpha lynx shifter Canyon Benedict has always known Fiera Kent was his mate. When leopard shifter Hawke Medina tries to claim her, in order to use her as leverage to gain control of the Kent fortune, Canyon takes matters into his own hands. But even after he and Fiera are officially mated, the threat from the Medina family is far from over.

Fiera has loved Canyon from the time she was a child, and is thrilled when he sneaks her away to his family’s secret cabin across the river so they can be mated. But Hawke won’t let it go. Canyon and his father eventually discover illegal business practices that uncover the Medina family’s web of deceit and lies affecting their entire village.

But is it enough? Will Canyon have to fight Hawke to determine which alpha can finally claim Fiera for life?

Read on for an excerpt!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

DEMONIZED - The Shiny New Cover

First, the obvious thing. I found this cover before I saw the redesign for UNDERTOW, so I know there's no...cohesion between this, UNDERTOW, and the Ethan Banning shorts, but hopefully I'll be able to update the shorts in the future to match one or the other. And this cover is, I do believe, stunning, so I'm trying not to get hung up on aesthetics too much. And, you know, never judge a book, etc.

But if you do want to judge a book by it's cover, you could do worse than judge DEMONIZED by this one.

Ta-da! Once again, this is by the amazing Erica Petite, and I love it. I've got Strong Feelings about how Ethan should look, and I know that the Ethan in my head will never be the same as the Ethan in your head, or anyone else's, so when I went looking for new cover art, I resolved to focus on mood and how evocative the art was, rather than try to find the perfect cover model. This cover has the mood I want, 100%. I snapped it up without thinking twice.

As with AFTERLIFE, I don't have a release date set yet for DEMONIZED, but hopefully it'll be before the end of the year. AFTERLIFE will be the priority, because it's much longer and, well, it's really where Ethan's story starts, so that makes sense. News will come as I have it to share, I promise. In the meantime, enjoy the new covers! And if you can think of anything cool you'd like to see added to the updated books, let me know. I want to offer something extra for people who may already have read both books, if I can come up with something. Money is precious and I like to think if you part with yours for one of my books, I make it worthwhile.

So...missing scenes? Flash fiction or short stories? Q&As? Facts about Yasmin and Ethan's world? I'm open to all ideas!

Monday, 22 August 2016

AFTERLIFE - The Shiny New Cover!

Drum roll please...


I cannot tell you how excited I was when I saw this cover originally, because this is just is Yasmin, and the colours and background are so perfect for Shoregrave and this particular tale. The stars were definitely right on this occasion. Many thanks to the amazingly talented and gracious Erica Petite for providing the perfect cover for AFTERLIFE's return.

And here's the blurb - reworded from the original and possibly still to be finalised:

Yasmin Stoker lives a double life. By day she's a ghost tour guide for Shoregrave's tourists. By night she's beholden to the undead king of the city, Nicomedes. Her duty is simple: keep the supernatural predators in check by feeding on their souls. It's an easy job until she witnesses a ghostly girl killing a teenage boy. 

When Nicomedes orders her to keep a mortal private eye off the trail, she has no choice but to obey - even though her insticts tell her not to, and soon she finds herself trapped in a deadly web of deceit. With her undead and human allies to help her, Yasmin must deal with rogue zombies, crazed ghosts, and a charming history teacher in her quest to solve the mystery. And along the way, she uncovers some heartbreaking truths about her own existence...

I don't have a release date in mind yet as there's a fair bit of work to be done on both AFTERLIFE and DEMONIZED, but I'm aiming to have them both available by the end of the year. Stay tuned for DEMONIZED's new cover later this week!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

"It always seems impossible until it's done."

I think In Cold Blood is nearly finished. The whole sprint writing method has certainly upped my productivity, and I'm working through the final big action section at the moment. After that, it's the winding down/winding up the story part of writing that I'm always a bit crap at, and after that, it's done! Huzzahs! I feel exhausted. I really didn't expect this book to take so long, and I'm still worried that I'll read it back and discover it's shite, but at least it will be finished shite.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Right now, it's definitely still unfinished, and I have a lot of threads to tie up. I already know there will be a sequel (because it's me and I can't write standalones unless they're short stories), so it's a matter of deciding where to end and what to leave for the next book.

After that, I'm going to ask someone to read it over for me. I'll admit I don't usually do that, because most people whose opinions I trust are busy, and because I'm normally very good at self-editing for nonsense. But since this book has been a slog, I think an extra pair of eyes will be needed.

After that, I think it's time to get back to Lola and Tristesse. September seems like the perfect time to get back into Lola's witchy world. I've been planning Book 3 from the second I finished DARK DAYS, and trying to figure out to best structure the book, as I think it will need multiple points of view to really work. Now I've figured out the best way to do things, and I'm happy with the world-building I needed to do, there's no reason to wait any longer to get started.

Apart from, you know, finishing In Cold Blood. And there's a short story I might write in between the two as a palate cleanser. We'll see. Really I should be taking things off my to-write list, not adding new things on, especially if I want to get DEMONIZED and AFTERLIFE out there before the end of the year.

Anyway! Before any of that, there's still Phoebe and Aisling's story to wrap up. Wish me luck!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Author Interview - Shari Elder

Very belatedly, because I am doing everything very belatedly at the moment, I'm delighted to welcome Shari Elder to the blog for a chat! Her novella SHIFTER TRIALS was recently released and promptly added to my TBR pile. Shari has kindly agreed to answer a few questions for me, and I have finally carved out the time to actually post them, so let's get to it!

Welcome, Shari! Let's start by hearing a little bit about your newest release.

First, thanks so much for hosting me. I’m thrilled to be here and to share my novella, Shifter Trials. Its based on the greek myth, Atalanta, a huntress who would only agree to marry a man who could beat her in a footrace. I turned Atalanta into Talia, an alpha shifter, who would have trouble finding a mate who is her equal in strength and spirt. Voila, Shifter Trials. Here is the blurb.

On the night of the full moon, any male shifter can call the Trials to race against Talia Orion, alpha of the united wolf-eagle clans. Clan law requires Talia to marry the winner of the Trials, a grueling twenty-mile marathon through dangerous, rugged terrain. The product of an unhappy, political alliance masquerading as a marriage, Talia trains obsessively to ensure she avoids her parents’ fate.  Her newest vampire trainer, Hayden Mitchell, makes her powerful even as he knocks down her defenses, and finds his way, first, into her bed then into her heart.

Hayden has loved Talia since the first moment he saw her. As the destined ruler of the vampire clan, he has another agenda – to politically unite Talia’s clans with his own—what Talia fears most, and will never forgive him for.

I love a bit of mythological re-working! It's a great source for story ideas. Do you have a favourite genre to write in?

I love to create worlds and culture, design cities and governments, imagine what ifs. Given that, I love paranormal and science fiction romance. Both genres give me the freedom to pull out the entire mental lego set, throw it on the floor and just create.

If you could have dinner with any three writers, living or dead, who would they be?

Jane Austen, Mary Shelley and Maya Angelou. Each one created rich, innovative stories that challenged how we saw the world and how the world should look in fact. The weren’t just writers, their lives broke barriers for all women. I would love to sit at their table and soak up their personal stories, and be a better person for it.

Are there any books you can just read over and over again and never get sick of?

Yes, my favorite children’s books – Dr. Seuss‘ Oh the Places You Will Go, Green Eggs and Ham and Yertle the Turtle; Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, Shel Siverstein’s The Giving Tree, and Ogden Nash, The Zoo and Custard the Dragon. Even now, I find them inspirational. If I need a lift, I always turn to these classics.

The tough one: tea or coffee?

I have to choose! I can’t get out of bed or get to the page without a cup of coffee. But, in the afternoon, I crave a good cup of hot tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

Nothing beats a good cup of Earl Grey, it's true. What else are you working on right now? What's up next from you?

I am completing a science fiction romance novel at the moment, called Race to Redemption. Here’s a quick summary.

Terran Alliance storm racing champion Elaina Carteret has it all—wealth, celebrity, respect and a god-of-a-fiancee—until betrayal and tragedy sends her into exile.  Resurfacing as Lainie Carter, a medical transport driver on the isolated desert planet of Ranhar, her rule-bending approach to her job infuriates the med facility director, Dr. Erik Hansen, who runs the outpost with an iron hand, a permanent scowl and the tightest bod on the planet.

So if you fall in love with SHIFTER TRIALS, you know there's more coming from Shari soon! Thanks for dropping by, Shari :)
Thanks, again, for hosting me. I love visitors, so please come by and chat. Virtual coffee and cookies for all. You can find me at:

Twitter: @ShariElderBooks

You can pick up a copy of SHIFTER TRIALS at:

Monday, 8 August 2016

"Our great weariness comes from work not done."

The shocking realisation has hit me that it's August, it's bloody well August, August is actually here and is a thing that is happening now and I still haven't finished In Cold Blood. I started working on it in all earnest in April, and given that it was supposed to be a nice, quick 30k novella, I really should be done with it by now. Unfortunately, it's currently a nice 35k novella and still not done and oh my god what am I doing with my time?

The answer, perhaps obviously, is "not writing." Between April and now, a lot of stuff has happened. Kyle has had back surgery, which he's still recovering from. We lost Rem. The day job has been manic. Common Brimstone has been manic. Brexit happened. I wrote a 21k novella under my Amber Morgan pen name. Okay, so that was writing, it just wasn't writing on In Cold Blood.

I really am determined to get this book done this month, because the only reason I've been stalling is that I'm worried it's rubbish. Which...I mean, it could be, but I can't improve it by leaving it unfinished. And it's probably not rubbish; I'm just somewhere in the middle of this handy chart right now:

Why am I so worried? I guess because this book has a lot to do. It's set in the Urban Wolf world, but Ayla and Shannon are nowhere to be seen. It needs to set up an entirely new aspect of the world, as well as expand on a previously mentioned one. My heroine is a nervous wreck and my love interest isn't very good at being a human and they're quite hard characters to write. I stalled for four weeks on the last chapter because I kept panicking over whether these two people would do this thing, and every time I opened the manuscript to get shit the fuck done, I just found myself reading articles about Brexit instead. Thanks, Brexit.

I really was starting to feel like I would have to abandon the whole book, and that feeling came around the same time we had to have Rem put to sleep, so basically I was not having a good time at all, which made it even harder to figure out whether to carry on writing or give this up as a lost cause. I really, really, really did not want to quit. I'm very precious and selfish about my writing time, because between everything else I do and the state of my shoulders, arms, and wrists, there isn't a lot of it. To admit that I'd wasted nearly five months of writing time on a book that I couldn't finish would have been maddening.

But I couldn't figure out how to break through this block, and then I convinced myself it was because I'm a terrible writer who writes terribly and is too terrible to realise it. And that spurred me on to research loads of techniques for just sitting down, shutting up, and fucking writing, because I got sick of my own anxious internal monologue.

That lead to me sitting down last weekend with a timer app on my phone, setting it for five minutes, and just...writing. Maybe that sounds like a "well, duh, what the fuck were you doing before?" kind of thing, but honestly it's been a bit of a revelation for me. Instead of pottering around the internet all day and hopefully cranking out 1000 words (which is what I aim for each day), I worked like this for half an hour and wrote 1500 words. This is freaking awesome, and all I had to do was put my brain on notice for five minute intervals, like "THIS IS IT, GO GO GO OR SOMETHING BAD WILL HAPPEN MAYBE!"

A revelation. It works. I just have to take away the time to worry about what I'm writing. Unfortunately, because work and Common Brimstone both stayed manic last week, I didn't have time to use this sprint-method again until this Saturday just gone, but hey - in one hour on Saturday I got over 2k written. I can't be unhappy with that when I got precisely 0k written for most of July.

And best of all, I broke the back of that chapter that was causing me so much doubt and stress, and now the end is realistically in sight. Huzzahs! So this is my plan going forward - sprint-writing for five minutes at a time, for as long as my arms will stand up to it. Every day if possible, but we'll see. I'm confident I can finish In Cold Blood by the end of August that way, and then I can assess whether or not it's an actual dumpster fire or a good book. Wish me luck!

Friday, 5 August 2016

Guest Blog - Norah Bennett and R.I.L.Y Forever

Friday means guest blogs, as we all know, and this Friday we're welcoming debut author Norah Bennett! She's got the works: an intriguing title, a heart-wrenching blurb, a beautiful cover, and a romance that sounds equally beautiful. So without further ado, let's see what R.I.L.Y Forever is all about!

Julia and Ethan meet at the age of sixteen and are drawn to one another, first as friends then as lovers. When everything and everyone Julia holds dear is threatened, Julia is forced to do the unimaginable. Under a veil of secrets and lies, the young lovers are violently separated. The last time Julia sees Ethan, he gives her a heart-shaped silver locket with the inscription, R.I.L.Y. Forever.

Twenty-two years pass before Ethan and Julia’s lives intersect again in a small town in Northwest Jersey. Their reunion is unexpected and emotional. Their passion reignites and their relationship flourishes despite Julia’s abusive ex-husband and Ethan’s possessive ex-wife. But the past rears its ugly head and the lovers soon discover that a foundation built on secrets will always crumble. Can Ethan and Julia overcome their painful past and learn the lessons of honesty, trust, and forgiveness in time to save their love?

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Julia stopped walking, thinking, breathing! Her world narrowed to him—his tousled, thick, brown hair, his mesmerizing gray-blue eyes that changed with his every mood, and his long, thick lashes that were the envy of every girl in high school. Julia devoured Ethan with her eyes. She couldn’t help herself. She was starved. He was taller and more built than she recalled, but his handsome face with its square chin, slightly crooked nose from years of playing football, and full, sensuous lips, was the same image that visited her dreams nightly.

Julia knew the instant he became aware of her. He stopped answering Aimee as his gaze shifted and centered on her. His pupils widened and his eyes darkened to a smoky gray. Aimee followed his gaze. Her brows furrowed and she took a step toward Julia. But Ethan grasped her elbow and shook his head.

Julia’s eyes never left Ethan’s tall, muscular frame as he walked toward her. The room and all its inhabitants fell away until there was only him. The soft caress of his eyes touched every inch of her. She studied his face, but his expression was neutral. He stood silently examining her and it was left to Julia to break the silence. The problem was she had no idea what to say. No words were adequate to express how she felt. But as her eyes locked with his, she hoped they voiced what her lips couldn’t. She missed him. Missed him every second, minute, and hour they were apart. When he was hers, he was her best friend, her lover, her confidant. He was her everything. When she lost him, the ground beneath her feet shook so violently, it brought her to her knees and it took years to learn how to stand on her own, without him.

Tears pooled in Julia’s eyes and spilled down her cheeks. She wrapped her arms around herself. Ethan’s assessing gaze tracked her every movement and then his eyes, followed by his mouth, softened. 

He remembered. 

About the Author

Norah is a contemporary romance writer living deep in the woods on a lake in NW Jersey. She has been married for thirty years to the love of her life. She has two adult children, a Great Dane, a Maltipoo, and a Cockatoo. There is never any peace in her house and she likes it that way.

By day she is a serious professor and administrator at a university in the Northeast. By night she lets her imagination flow as a romance writer. Although it is incredibly hard to balance both worlds, it’s a hell of a lot of fun walking around having this delicious secret, this alternate life that few people know about. Welcome to the world of Norah Bennett.

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