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After Midnight - Black Phoenix #1

Re-edited, revised edition October 2013

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Dangerously Sexy Suspense

March 31, 2011

There’s a New Bad Boy in Town


Today's guest blog is by Karen Michelle Nutt, author of Time Travel and OtherWorldly Romance. Enjoy! And don't forget to check out her WEBSITE for more information about her and her books.


If you love paranormal romance, you want to fall in love with the hero despite his imperfections. They can have all sorts of flaws and weaknesses, but there must be a redeeming quality to make you care.

Fallen angels are identified as beings that have been exiled from Heaven for whatever wrong they’ve managed to do, but they’re still beautiful creatures with heavenly charms. They radiate power and beauty, but along with their lethal strength there’s vulnerability and the sense they need saving.

The paranormal genre has gone to the dark side when it comes to angels. They aren’t the cherub face beings with white feathers, you may have imagined. These angels have fallen from grace, but they still possess endearing qualities. They’re preternatural beings, but they are the closest beings resembling humans when it comes to imperfection. They possess the power of angels, but they are flawed in some way to land themselves earthbound. These creatures are misunderstood and darn right wicked at times, but this is what makes them perfect for a dark mysterious hero in paranormal romances.

For some reason the bad boy image with all his imperfections looks more attractive than a good boy persona who seems too perfect for words. A fallen angel falls right into the description of being dark and imperfect. Perfection is so boring. Perfection can take care of itself and doesn’t need saving. A fallen angel is exciting and dangerous because you can’t decide what they’ll do next. They could choose the path for light and good, but just as easily, they could go down the dark path of temptation.

Fallen Angels have an allure not easily dismissed. Move over vampires and werewolves, there’s a new bad boy in town.

In my fallen angels series, the Fallen are the Nephilim, the offspring of the angels who came down to earth to observe humans. These angels, who came down to earth, were known as the Watchers or the Grigori. They broke the rules and taught humans their secrets. They took human women for their own and children were born from this union. For these transgressions, they were banished from heaven.

The Nephilim do not want to offend God further and have continued to watch the humans and record history. They can shift at will into their angelic side with wings and all, but on the human realm, they must blend in and take on their human form.

In my first book, Eli: Warriors for the Light, Eli breaks the rules and not only reveals his true self to a woman, he’s fallen in love with her. Eli is to be sentenced for his crime, but he argues against the Elders of the Grigori that his love is true, that he’s found his soul mate. Since the Grigori believe they are soulless, they are intrigued by Eli’s claim. They decide to give Eli time to prove what he shares with the human is true love. But there are some of the Fallen Angels that fear Eli will succeed in his test of true love, and will stop at nothing to see that he fails.


Eli: Warriors for the Light (Fallen Angels series, Book 1) - available now


At a very young age the Rules of Conduct for the Fallen Angels were drummed into Eli Grigori’s head, but he’s managed to break them.


Ol’ Hallow’s Eve is the day the veil between worlds are thin. It’s the only day out of the year the preternatural beings are allowed to walk among the humans as their true selves. With Eli’s wings bound and his glamour stripped, the Elders send him back in time before Ryden O’Sullivan knew the truth about him. If she is truly his soul mate, then her heart should recognize him.


There are those among the Watchers who are afraid Eli might succeed in his quest for love. If he does, everything will change within the brethren. Hashasheen demons, assassins for hire are sent to take out Eli and Ryden. Eli is a warrior and will fight to keep Ryden safe, but time may be his biggest enemy. The Elders gave him until the end of Ol’ Hallow’s Eve. Ryden must fall in love with him by then or his life will be forfeited.


Lucca: Warrior for the Light (Fallen Angels series, Book 2) - available May 1st.

Lucca Marlowe is half human, half angel, a Nephilim who abhors humans. Banished for crimes against one of his fellow brethren, the elders bind his glamour and wings, casting him to the human’s realm. He’ll either learn to respect his human side of existence or live out eternity trying.


Lucca does not live a mundane life. Angels and demons demand he do their bidding. His estrange father resurfaces after centuries of being absent and he’s brought a friend from Hell.


To make his life more complicated, he fears he found his soul mate in a human female. Only Juliet Romeo has a secret that will bring the wrath of Heaven down upon both their heads.


It’s a race against time to find out who will end up with his soul.


If you’re interested in finding out more about my otherworldly romance, please visit my website at: http://www.kmnbooks.com
For interviews, contests and all things book related, please come by my blog on Mondays for new updates. http://kmnbooks.blogspot.com

I also frequent Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Sarah, thank you so much for having here today and letting me share my paranormal tales with your readers.



Karen Michelle Nutt is the author of paranormal romances, writing for Tease Publishing LLC, The Wild Rose Press, Highland Press, Victory Tales Press and RJV Publishing.

Time Travels have been her passion. She's always been intrigued with the possibility of being able to reach back in time and change the past. Common sense says influencing the past isn’t impossible, but she can’t help but wonder: What if she can?

Fallen Angels, vampires and shape shifters embrace her darker side where their worlds intertwine with ours.
She shares her life with a wonderful man, three lovely children and house full of pets. In her spare time, she reviews for Paranormal Reviews, a great place to find paranormal books and other genres. Her new passion is the wonders of Photoshop. Her header for her website and blog were her first projects. She's since created book covers for Victory Tales Press and Western Trail Blazers.

If you'd like to know more about her books, please visit her at: http://www.kmnbooks.com

March 29, 2011

Today Is All About You


As you probably know, about three weeks ago I went from a stay at home mom who did the books for my husband's business and ran for parts when needed, to full-time employee at a local farm. No, not in the fields, but as a Bookkeeper/Office Manager/Human Resources gal. Why am I telling you this? Simple. My time to blog, tweet, promote—and most painful of all, hunt down new books—has been cut short.

So, I've decided to tackle two of those things in one post. How? With a little help from you. Yup, today's Teaser Tuesday is all about you.

Using the comments section, tell me about your book. Is it a new release or has it been out for a while now? As long as it's a romance, it doesn't matter to me. I want to hear about it! Romantic Suspense, Historical, Erotica, Paranormal...bring it! Give me the back cover blurb and a short excerpt.

There's only one rule: Please rate your excerpt toward the beginning of your post, especially those some visitors may find too explicit for their tastes.

Oh, and don't forget to include where we can buy it. Come on, share your book with me!



March 28, 2011

Spotlight On... Veronica Lynch


Joining me today at Off the Keyboard is author Veronica Lynch. Welcome Veronica.

Thanks for having me, Sarah. I hope we can have some fun today.

What’s the one interview question you always dread being asked?

Where do you get your ideas?

Tell us about THE LIST, and where we can find it.

It is a story of taking revenge against those who abused you for no reason other than it could be done with few repercussions. Fiona Thorpe decides to return to her 25th high school reunion, list in hand, with the intent of exacting payback on the names on a piece of paper. The first attempts come with surprising ease but during the formal awards banquet she is seated beside a handsome, charismatic man who wins her over with gentleness, attention and integrity. Little does she know this local Paladin who fights for the underdog, is Mick Dineen, top man on her list.

It is available at: The Wild Rose Press

Oops, I'm gonna hit you with your most dreaded question. Sort of. LOL How did you come up with the idea for THE LIST? 

I have always been intrigued with revenge, but could never find a reason which I felt was strong enough to fit within the confines of a novella. At the same time there was a number of articles in the news about bullies which of course have been around since the flood. [the original one] I needed to find a reason for a group of kids to pick on another and chose morbid obesity. The heroine of The List, Fiona Thorpe, once voted Most Likely to Explode, returns to the reunion a successful business woman, less than 1/3 her former size and a raving beauty. That in itself is great revenge against those who considered her less than. From there, the story practically wrote itself.

Sounds great! Who would you cast to play your hero or heroine in a movie?

As I wrote the story I pictured Nick Nolte [in his prime] for Mick Dineen and Anne Hathaway [though she’s a tad young] for Fiona.

Love your choices. What is it about the romance genre that appeals to you?

The hero and heroine’s journey to discover a happy ever after ending.

What do you find it the hardest part of writing a book?

Starting in the right spot.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When my second book was released in 2007. It was the book of my heart; when it happened, I knew I had made.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

This is a real guilty, warped pleasure: watching old Steven Seagal movies.

Do you have a favorite character or one you identify with the most?

Maggie McGuire, heroine from my second book, Try Just Once More. She is a woman who battles personal demons every day while attempting to put her life back together after her world is devastated by betrayal and depravity.

Is there anything you’d like to ask your readers?

I would ask what is their favorite character type for a heroine as well as a hero.

Thanks for visiting with me today. Where can we find you on the web?

Thank you, Sarah. You can find me at: www.Veronica-Lynch.blogspot.com or www.KatHenry.com.





The List (A Class of '85 story) by Veronica Lynch
Available at The Wild Rose Press


Revenge is a dish best served cold.


Twenty-five years ago, Fiona Thorpe's classmates voted her most likely to explode. Through hard work and rigorous self-control she is now every woman's fantasy, every man's wet dream. Head held high, and less than half her former size, Fee returns to her high school reunion weekend. Her goal: exact revenge on those who made her life a living hell back in the day. Her first attempts are remarkably easy and give her profound satisfaction. But no one is more shocked than Fee when she discovers the handsome, respected man seated beside her at the opening banquet is a modern day Paladin, who avenges those unable to defend themselves. To make matters worse, he is her former chief tormentor, Mick Dineen.


Are some wounds too deep to heal? Or can two former enemies find common ground?


Frustrated with the holdup, Fee glanced around the room, hoping to see Dru the minute she entered the ballroom. A hand on her arm claimed her attention. “Here comes someone you should meet.”

“Who?”

“Last year's Eastman Award winner,” Rafe said, “and a helluva nice guy.”

“Where?”

“There, coming toward us.”

One nano-second later, all thoughts of revenge evaporated like steam out of a boiling kettle.

Thick gold hair flecked with gray grazed the collar of his jacket. His features were weathered—as if he'd already lived ten times over. Broad through the shoulders and chest, and narrow at the waist and hips, he possessed the long legs of a broken-field runner. Moving across the parquet floor as if born to a runway, he looked confident and at ease with himself. Without disrupting that graceful, fluid motion, he undid his tie, then shrugged out of his suit jacket.

She'd almost given up on finding a man like this.

This one had the Look.


March 27, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 3/27



Welcome to another Six Sentence Sunday. 
This Sunday not only wraps up the month of March, but this scene from Not Without Risk.



“Right, distracted.” She curled her bottom lip between her teeth and bit down.

A jagged awareness shot into his gut. “Ms. Conroy—”

“There is no way that whether or not I slept with Lee is of any use to your investigation. I did not kill him.”





I appreciate each and every comment and bit of feedback.  Thanks for stopping by every week!
And don't forget to check out all the other SSS posts.




March 24, 2011

Children and the Supernatural


The fabulous Laura Kaye has taken control of my keyboard today. That's okay, though, I've always been very good at sharing.

Don't forget to check out Laura's WEBSITE for more information on her and her books. Laura did ask me to let you know that her website is under construction right now. She invites you to join her at her Twitter Website Launch Party, 3/31, 9-11:30 pm EST (#launchlaura)


When I was ten, I had a sleepover one summer night with my twelve-year-old cousin Christine. In the middle of the night, she woke me up because she “felt weird.” It was cold in the room—and there was no air conditioning—and then a dim light moved up the stairs towards her bedroom door. The light came in the room, moved through it while elongating into the height of a person, and disappeared into the door that led to the attic. Her parents much later told her a woman had hung herself in the attic.

When I was sixteen, I went for a walk and passed my neighbor, Miss Betty, in her backyard. I said hello to her and she smiled at me, and I was happy to see her because she’d been sick in the hospital for a week. When I returned, I told my mother that Miss Betty was home again. She looked at me and said, “She can’t be home, Laur. Her sister just called to tell me she died at the hospital this morning.”

These are but a few of my childhood ghost stories. My whole family believed, and maybe that’s why I was so open to the idea of it. We regularly got together for family dinners on Friday nights and listened as my grandmother regaled us with ghost stories and family lure about evil-eyed curses. Weekend entertainment often involved searching around my grandmother’s house to see where “the ghost” had hidden her rings and necklaces (her crucifixes were what most disappeared, and then reappeared weeks later in obvious or, alternately, totally impossible places).

So, my childhood left me a believer. And, as a writer, it’s also left me fascinated with the idea that children are more open to the supernatural. Think about it. Children are less likely to know or care what’s socially acceptable. Children are less likely to know or care what’s possible or believable. And children are remarkably observant and in tune with their environment. I like to think all of this makes them more susceptible to realities adults might refuse to acknowledge.

My imagination is therefore totally energized by the idea of putting a child in the room with a supernatural creature of some sort. In fact, my upcoming novel, Forever Freed, was born by asking the question: What would happen if a vampire ended up having to take care of a human child? The story ended up straying a good deal from that question, but the interaction between my vampire hero, Lucien Demarco, and Olivia “Ollie” Sutton, the five-year-old daughter of the heroine, is one of my favorite parts of this book. And, while she knows there’s something different or off about Lucien, her innocent propensity to find the good in others leads her to conclude he’s something miraculously good. Despite the fact that I wrote it, the moment she tells him what she thinks he is slays me every time…

When my now six-year-old daughter was about sixteen months old, we moved into a new house and pulled out some photos we hadn’t had room for in our old house. I’d just gotten a big wall of shelves all set up in our basement with two-dozen framed photographs, and I carried her downstairs to see them. We walked up to the wall, and she pointed her pudgy little finger and said, “Gamma” [Grandma]. “Where?” I asked her. “Gamma,” she said again, shaking her finger in the direction of a photo of my mother, who had died when my daughter was just eight months old. I don’t know how she knew that was my mom, but I like to think maybe my mom comes to visit her. And my daughter is open enough to receive the company.

So, how about you? Any interesting childhood encounters with the supernatural in your family? *pulls up to circle time with tub of popcorn* Do tell!

Thanks to Sarah for having me over! And thanks for stopping by,

Laura Kaye




FOREVER FREED
Laura Kay

available May 20, 2011
The Wild Rose Press


I stalk my new neighbors, a single mother and her child, drawn by the irresistible scent of their joy and love. I crave their blood, starved for some healing respite from my ancient grief. Now to lure them into my grasp.

But they surprise me. Little Olivia accepts me without fear or reservation—talking, smiling, offering innocent affection that tugs at my long-lost humanity. Her mother, Samantha, seeks me out when she should stay away, offering sweet friendship, and calling to the forgotten man within me. They lure me instead.

Ah, Dio, Lucien, run and spare them while you can…


Find Laura Online:




Twitter:  @laurakayeauthor

March 20, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 3/20


Welcome to Six Sentence Sunday! 
My six this week is a continuation from Not Without Risk
Shocking, I know...I'll change things up soon, I promise.



As perverse as it was, Justin found he enjoyed her spirit, her unwillingness to give him the easy answer.

“You’re the one who brought it up,” he reminded her.

“Because you were afraid to.”

“I wasn’t afraid, I was…” He paused, letting his gaze slide down the length of her. “Distracted.”


Want to play? It's not only easy, it's fun! 
You can find information on how to join in the fun at the Official Six Sentence Sunday site. 
Check it out!



March 19, 2011

Read an eBook Week Winners!!


It's time to announce the Read an eBook Week winners!
(I know, I'm late. Forgive me.)
Before I do, I want to thank all of you for visiting and leaving such wonderful comments. It really means a lot to me.
And now....Congratulations to Karen in TN and Emma Lai.
I'll be contacting you via email soon.




March 18, 2011

Guest Blogging


I'm chatting over at Emma Lai Writes today.
Come on by. The more the merrier!



March 17, 2011

Two Celebrations, One Day


Today's blog is by multi-published author, Kat Duncan. Enjoy! And don't forget to check out her WEBSITE for more information about Kat and her books.


It's March 17th, so I'm here to wish you a Happy Evacuation Day! I know many of you will be celebrating Saint Patrick's Day. For sure I've got many Irish ancestors who would be pleased to know Saint Paddy has not been forgotten. But dear old Saint Pat won't mind sharing his holiday a bit. I live near Boston, Massachusetts, where every year on March 17th is a local holiday called Evacuation Day. It's the day in 1776 that the British decided that blocking Boston Harbor was not a good idea anymore. They sailed off to Halifax, Nova Scotia, taking many Boston citizens loyal to King George with them.

Hey, I know, but not everyone in Boston was a patriot in those days, more's the shame.

After the big donnybrook at Lexington and Concord in April of 1775, the American colonial militia chased the British back to Boston, but that wasn't the end of the story, bless me heart, so it wasn't. It was a big day in history, but that was just the beginning. The British troops holed up in Boston. Back in those days the landscape of Boston was a peninsula with a wee little spit of land giving access from the landward side and of course great access from the sea. The American militia had no navy so the Limeys figured they were safe as long as they could come and go through the harbor. What they didn't figure on was thousands of angry militia men and their families willing to surround Boston peninsula and set up camp there - for a whole year. 'Tis sure a good bunch of them were stubborn Irish stock.

As soon as the Brits got reinforcements they went off in a huff and attacked Bunker Hill (really Breed's Hill, but that's 'nuther story) in June that year. Although the British claimed a victory at Bunker Hill, they lost a mob of men (over 1000). They didn't easily forget how ruthless these colonial rebels could be. Huzzah!

They had trouble keeping Boston supplied with food, but they were willing to hang onto The Hub even though it had absolutely no value to them as far as fighting the colonials. That's the British bulldog for you. Rah, rah! There were skirmishes here and there and by the time winter was settling in, General-and-all-around-good-guy George Washington was fresh out of ideas. He didn't want to hang around Boston anymore. There were British strongholds in New Jersey and New York that he was itching to attack.

So, along came this wacky idea, from a guy named Henry Knox, to go up to Fort Ticonderoga in New York, which had been captured from the British earlier in the year. Knox suggested that 59 cannons from Fort Ti would be nice way to greet the British in Boston some winter morning. Washington thought the idea was brilliant. He made Knox a general and sent him off to New York. It took Knox a couple of months to get back with the cannons. Hey, have you ever tried to drag 59 cannons weighing in at 5500 pounds each over a frozen lake and down through the rough country of upper state New York and then lengthwise across Massachusetts? Did I mention this was wintertime? In New England? If you're interested in a bit more history, here's some info on the Knox Trail.

Anyhoo, the cannon arrived in late January and Washington had to decide where to place them around Boston to persuade the Brits to surrender or leave. He finally decided on a plan to put them up on Dorchester Heights, but even taller-than-average future presidents need time to drag cannons uphill, so Washington had to create a diversion to keep the Brits busy on the other side of Beantown while he got the cannons in place. By early March the plan was set. The Brits saw the cannons and planned to attack, but a convenient snowstorm delayed them and they reconsidered their options. They decided to abandon Boston, so they sent word to Washington that if they were allowed to leave in peace, they wouldn't burn Boston. Huzzah!

On March 17th, the British packed up all their ships and departed. Washington entered the city and the Americans took control of it. After an eleven month siege, Boston was ours. And it remained American for the whole war. Now that's something to celebrate. Happy Evacuation Day! And Happy Saint Paddy's Day, too!



SIX DAYS TO MIDNIGHT
Kat Duncan

BUY LINK


The finance mogul thinks Janet Thompson is worth a fortune. The President wants her for revenge. The nuclear arms trader needs her dead. The diplomat is willing to rescue her. And Janet thinks she’s only taking a break from her boring job.

But she’s not the only one in for a surprise. Janet isn’t the easy target they all thought she would be. Her high flying escapes win her media fame, and expose a devious geopolitical conspiracy. Brandt, the haughty magazine cover diplomat soon finds he has been bumped to page two. And likes it. The sweet easy revenge the president thought he would get comes with a price he deserves. Only Anton Zelman, the ruthless investment banker, gets what he asked for, to die in Janet’s arms on world-wide television. What is Janet’s reward? Something she never dared hope for. True love.

Six Days to Midnight combines unusual settings with outrageous characters exchanging snappy dialogue sprinkled with humor at all the wrong places.


Excerpt:


The Russian minister's eyes grew hard, and his face stern. With one powerful blow he slammed the desk top with the palm of his hand. The glasses danced. Clear liquid spilled from Janet's glass. The desk groaned and bent under the power of the man, the wooden legs grinding against the cement floor.

He held his two huge hands up before him, turning his wrists and admiring his hands like a sculptor.

"These two hands build Transnov. They not happy is without oil. They not want Anechka open it. They want go there and reopen pipepline themselves."

He gestured, turning a huge imaginary valve wheel to release the black gold once again into his pipeline, a satisfied smile overtook his face as he worked.

Then he leaned his weight back into his chair, its wooden frame strained to the limit, creaking like a ship under heavy sail. He rested his two huge feet on top of his desk.

"I've missed my old villa on Caspian Sea." He closed his eyes in dreamy rapture. "Janet, you have chance to enjoy spa?"

"Yes, I did. It was very lovely."

"Yes," the man intoned, his voice sliding into a comfortable sigh. "I will enjoy having my old villa back."

Janet tried to imagine which would be worse, sharing the spa with Nikolai or Andy. It would be equal she decided. They were both the same. Two people divided by a common personality.

"Nikolai," Brandt pleaded. "Your army must not move on Azerbaijan."

"Why?" the man roared. "Give me one reason why I should not."

Brandt's eyes darted back and forth, knowing the man had every reason to invade, and none for restraint.
"Your men. Do you want to risk Russian lives?"

"If American recession gets any worse, my men will need target practice Azeris will provide."

Brandt licked his parched lips.

"Nikolai, please," Brandt spoke in desperation. "Give me two weeks. I will get the Transnov reopened without the Russian army."

"Two weeks without Russian army. Two days with Russian army."

"Nikolai," Janet interrupted, "what about your legacy? Do you want to be the one who is remembered by history as the man who was duped by Mirza ul-Beg and Zelman to destroy America?"

Nikolai sucked in his cheeks contemplating Janet's words.

"One week. You deal with Zelman and relieve ailing economy, or I deal final blow to she-wolf Anechka. But, I promise nothing," he said, standing to end the meeting. "Now go."



Kat Duncan is an active member of the New England Chapter of RWA, and RWA-PRO. She has written a series of popular newsletter articles on grammar and style. Check out Kat's online workshops here. Kat writes romantic suspense for The Wild Rose Press and is an indie publisher of romantic suspense, historical suspense and non-fiction shorts on writing. Find Kat on the web at http://www.katduncan.net

March 16, 2011

Wednesday Shout Out


I heard of the author shout out from an author friend of mine and thought, Why not?  But why make it only for authors? Readers, let's hear from you, too!

Here goes...

1. At this moment, I am (where?) ...


2. Right now, I wish I was (where?) because ...


3. I'm happy this week because...


4. My biggest challenge this week is...


5. The thing I'm looking forward to the most is...


6. The last book I read was...

Join me!  I've placed my answers in the comments. Post your answers there, or on your blog. If you DO post it on your blog, let us know where to find you!



March 14, 2011

Spotlight On...Mary Campisi


Today I have author Mary Campisi with me at the keyboard. Welcome, Mary, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in a very small town in northwest Pennsylvania with two older brothers and a younger sister. There were no malls, no McDonalds, and one movie theater that closed in the summer to avoid competition with the drive-in. (One man owned both.) One thing this town did have was a wonderful library . . . about 2 miles away. I walked there at least once a week and fell in love with the characters and places I read about. It was then I began creating different endings to some of the stories I read, and if I didn’t want the story to end, I continued it on in my head – exactly the way I wanted it! Though I moved away and lived in different cities and states, family and the small town community have always stayed with me and are often central themes in my stories. I currently live in a small suburb in Ohio with my husband, youngest daughter, and lab rescue mix, Cooper. My husband and I blended our families almost sixteen years ago, (his two, my three.) Four of those children are now self-supporting young adults! I like to cook, work in my perennial garden, read, walk my dog every morning, and ride on the cushy back seat of my husband’s Electra Glide Classic.


Tell us about A TASTE OF SEDUCTION and where we can find it.

The idea for A TASTE OF SEDUCTION started years ago, actually when I was lying on a hospital bed waiting for outpatient surgery. I think it was the first of what would be three surgeries in two months and the last ended in a complete hysterectomy for severe endometriosis. I was trying to take my mind off of surgery and started playing around with the ‘what if’ scenarios. That’s where the idea for Anthony and Meriel was born. I wrote the book but my editor wanted contemporary romances from me, so the story was shelved. Years and several revisions later, A TASTE OF SEDUCTION was born! This book is a classic tale of good sister/evil sister and the man they both want.

A TASTE OF SEDUCTION is available at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon


Describe your writing in three words.

Emotional, intimate, conversational


Which comes first, plot or characters?

I come up with a very basic plot but it’s the characters who drive the plot. Wrong characters and the story dead ends.

When I’m contemplating a new story, this is what happens:
First I come up with a premise. It’s got to be something that grabs me and won’t let go. Maybe it’s based on something I’ve read in the newspaper, saw on television, or experienced. I keep thinking about it - for weeks, sometimes months or years until it consumes me. Once the obsession for details starts, it’s time to write the story. I know the beginning and end, but most of all, I know the emotion I want to evoke. I play what if scenarios and that’s when the characters come alive. I usually allow myself to start planning out the story when I’m about three quarters of the way through my current project. I focus on one story at a time, so I can keep the momentum going and don’t get caught up in the honeymoon phase of a new tale which could tempt me to ditch the current piece that’s not cooperating or has me stuck. I’ve prided myself on completing every book I’ve begun and I think one of the main reasons I’ve succeeded is because I only choose projects I’m over the top in love with and won’t start another book until the current one is finished.


Which of your novels most reflects who you are as a writer?

The one that most reflects who I am as a writer today is the piece I recently sent to my agent, a contemporary romance titled, IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU. This is a story of love, forgiveness, and second chances, not only from the hero and heroine but from the extended families and the community. There’s a certain amount of levity that’s not present in all of my contemporaries but which I find gives balance to the more poignant moments. I love this story and fingers crossed editors will too.


What is your top writing career goal?

I could say the NYT Bestseller list and that would be a nice benefit, but my biggest goal is to publish regularly, continue to grow readership and be compensated accordingly.


What surprised you the most when you became published? 

Oh, there were many surprises but perhaps two that really got me. The second book was as hard to sell as the first. I wrote A TASTE OF SEDUCTION (admittedly, a much weaker version), but the editor turned it down, saying it wasn’t quite right. That was tough. I had spent months writing this book and there was no significant feedback as to why it didn’t work for her. I had no other direction and didn’t know what else to do with it, so I set it aside and wrote a contemporary. The same editor loved the story and bought it. Though I wrote several more contemporaries, I never gave up on A TASTE OF SEDUCTION and years later, I brought it out, revised, sold, revised again, and ta da, here it is. The second shocker was that people I talked to thought I was on my way to wealth and Hollywood SMILEY


Where do you see your career in five years?

Writing, selling, writing, selling . . . Two books a year and a novella, plus I’d like to mentor other writers and making a few lists would be nice too.


Where can we find you on the web?
 
My website:  http://www.marycampisi.com

My e-mail is:  mary@marycampisi.com


Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

What makes you decide to give an author you haven’t read before a try?

Thanks for visiting with me today, Mary.




A TASTE OF SEDUCTION
Mary Campisi
The Wild Rose Press

A young woman of noble blood, raised as a peasant girl...

An orphaned stable boy, now grown and the surrogate son of a powerful earl – the same earl who just so happens to be the young woman’s father . . .


Meriel and Anthony have nothing in common – she runs barefoot and talks to animals, he won’t loosen his cravat unless the bedroom door is firmly closed. Meriel believes in love, hope, and happily ever after. Anthony believes in keeping a safe distance from anything resembling an emotion. They have nothing in common but an undeniable, burning desire for one another they can’t ignore or understand, and an ailing ‘father’ who will do anything to see them together. Unfortunately, there are others, who will stop at nothing, willing even to kill, to keep them apart.

EXCERPT:


"Thank you, Anthony," she said, a small smile lighting her face. "You’re very kind." She leaned over and planted a chaste kiss on his cheek

Kind? He wondered if she would still think him kind if he told her that right now all he could think about was tasting her lips, touching her breasts, feeling her bare skin. Kind? Hardly.

He cleared his throat and met her gaze. He had to set her straight before she started imagining all sorts of other crazy things about him. "Kind? That’s not a term that’s usually associated with me."

She laughed, a tinkling sound that ran through his body like fire. "That’s because you want everyone to think you are some sort of cruel beast. You even had me fooled for a while." Her voice dipped to a low purr. "But you aren’t a beast, Anthony, not at all. No beast would eat my bread just so he wouldn’t hurt my feelings." 

He frowned, hoping his scar stuck out white and ugly. "You should be afraid of me." Men twice her size couldn’t look him in the eye.

"How can I be afraid of you when you’ve got butter on the side of your mouth?" She reached out to brush it away with her forefinger. "And all over your lips," she murmured, tracing her finger over first his upper and then his lower lip.

Anthony caught her hand. She was playing a dangerous game and she didn’t even know it. He opened his mouth and flicked his tongue along the tip of her finger. He heard the small catch in her throat. His tongue traced another finger, and then another. Sweet Jesus, but he wanted her.

"Come to me, Meriel," he whispered, planting a kiss on the inside of her palm. "Let me taste you."


March 13, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 3/13




BY REQUEST: This week's six continues where we left off last week. (although it still doesn’t answer your question, does it?) *evil grin*

Remember, last week ended with Justin asking Paige, 'Did you sleep with him?'





“Not recently.”

Cocking his head, Justin met her vivid green eyes. “Could you please clarify that?”

“I could. I won’t.”

"I see," he replied and his lips curved.




 Don't miss any of the fantastic posts! You can find the link to them all at the Official Six Sentence Sunday site:




Until next time...



March 11, 2011

Why I Write


Today marks my last blog post for Read an eBook Week, and your last chance to leave a comment in order to be entered to win an e-copy of my romantic suspense, Not Without Risk. For some reason, today’s post has been harder than normal for me to write. I’ve written and re-written it at least four times. Each time I came up with a topic I realized either (A) I’d blogged about that topic not that long ago, or (B) it was a straight up promotional post.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against posts promoting my books, why would I? But today I wanted to offer something different. After all, if you want to know more about my books, you can always follow the links beneath my covers listed to the right. So instead I chose to tell you a little about myself and why I write.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I have notebooks filled with poems, story ideas, and partial chapters from as far back as age five. Yes, thanks to my older sister, I could read and write by age five. And I did. I read everything I could get my hands on, usually re-writing the story in my head as I went. If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always answered something different depending on the day. I couldn’t make up my mind. Then I picked up my first romance novel. Suddenly I had my answer: “I want to get married, have children and write romances.”

As a young girl, I always had a story to tell. At times they were funny, other times scary, but they were always, and I mean always, happily-ever-after. You see, I’m a romantic—a die hard romantic. I believe in love, not just as a fundamental part of human relationships, but as a force that really can heal emotional scars. I truly believe there is someone for everyone—the person they are meant to find.

Their other half.

Their soul mate.

Don’t you?

As an author you’re always told to write what you read. I read contemporary romance and romantic suspense, and that’s what I write. There’s nothing I love more than taking two characters, helping them fall in love, foil the villain and live happily-ever-after. It’s a natural for me, a no-brainer if you will. I mean, what else would a die hard romantic write, if not romance?

So what about you? What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you doing it?



Shed your inhibitions. ~ Pursue your dreams.

March 10, 2011

Spotlight On... Jennifer Jakes


Today my guest is historical romance author, Jennifer Jakes. Welcome, Jennifer, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Thanks! I live in the mid-west with my husband of 18 years, our 2 daughters and several spoiled pets. Come to think of it, that kind of describes the girls too. Hmmmm.


Tell us about RAFE'S REDEMPTION, and where we can find it.

He rode into town to buy supplies, not a woman.

For hunted recluse Rafe McBride, the raven-haired beauty on the auction block is exactly what he doesn't need. A dependant woman will be another clue his vengeful stepbrother can use to find and kill him. But Rafe's conscience won't let him leave another innocent's virginity to the riff-raff bidding. He buys her, promising to return her to St. Louis untouched. He only prays the impending blizzard holds off before her sultry beauty breaks his willpower.

She wanted freedom, not a lover.

Whisked to the auction block by her devious, gambling cousin, and then sold into the arms of a gorgeous stranger, outspoken artist Maggie Monroe isn't about to go meekly. Especially when the rugged mountain man looks like sin and danger rolled into one. But a blizzard and temptation thrust them together, and Maggie yearns to explore her smoldering passion for Rafe.

But when the snow clears, will the danger and secrets that surround Rafe and Maggie tear them apart?

excerpt:

Maggie wanted freedom, not a lover…

Oh, Lord. He was going to kiss her. She shouldn’t want this. She was confused enough. Respectable women didn’t kiss men they barely knew, certainly not men who made them have wild, exotic dreams.

It was crazy. He was making her want crazy things. Making her not give a damn about her reputation or her virginity. Or her long-awaited freedom. All she could think about was that dream, and the way his sinful mouth had felt. The table was only a step away, and honey was just as sweet as peach juice…

She swallowed hard and looked up into his hooded eyes.

“Maggie,” he groaned. “Don’t be scared. I’d never hurt you.”

Her mouth parted to object, but firm lips covered hers, hungry, demanding. She gasped, shocked at his hunger, but even more at the illicit response coursing through her. An aching heat unfurled low in her stomach, pulsed between her legs. Oh, yes. It started just like in the dream.

He deepened the kiss, coaxed her lips with his warm tongue. Long, languid strokes teased the inside of her mouth, encouraging, tempting before he pulled back to nibble the corners of her lips.

Oh, God. Is this what all kisses felt like? Hot, lethargic? Melting her like molasses over warm bread?

“Kiss me, Maggie,” he breathed.


Available through the The Wild Rose Press and their distributors both in print and e-book.


Wow, sounds great! How did you start writing?

Well, I was younger I had trouble sleeping. Instead of counting sheep, I made up stories to entertain myself. Then a dozen years or so ago when our oldest daughter was born, she didn't sleep. Ever. OK, rarely, but I started passing the late night "rocking chair" hours with my old habit of making up stories. This time I took notes. I carried those around in a file folder marked: The story I'll write someday. About 4 years ago, my husband and I sold our trucking business. I found myself with enough free time to write. And I figured it must be "someday".


How do you approach your writing, are you a plotter or a pantser?

I'm a recovering pantser. Once I saw all the revisions required of an ill-plotted story, I new I had to change.


'Recovering pantser', I love it!  Why did you choose your genre?

For me there could be no other. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE westerns. Dances with Wolves, Open Range, The Outsider, True Grit. I grew up watching Clint Eastwood movies, a favorite of my dad, and I guess I was hooked.


What is it about the romance genre that appeals to you?

I'm just a die-hard romantic. Always, always have been. Even when I was watching Clint Eastwood or John Wayne, I'd be "re-writing" the scenes or ending in my mind so that it was more romantic.


What are you passionate about?

Love! Oh, and chocolate. Oh, and really good fajitas.


What do you find is the hardest part of writing a book?

My stories have a suspenseful element, but I don't want that to overtake the romance/erotic element. So I think finding the perfect balance is the most difficult.


Where can we find you on the web?

My website/blog is:  http://www.jenniferjakes.com
I'm on FaceBook
and on Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/erotichistory


Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Yes, do you see a relation to the kind of movies you enjoy and the genre of books you enjoy?

Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Sarah!

Thanks for visiting with me today, Jennifer.




After trying several careers—everything from a beautician to a dump truck driver—Jennifer finally returned to her first love, writing. Maybe it was all those Clint Eastwood movies she watched growing up, but in her opinion there is no better read than a steamy western historical.

Married to her very own hero, she lives on fifteen acres along with two beautiful daughters, two elderly horses, two spoiled cats and two hyper dogs.

During the summer she does Civil War reenacting and has found it a great research tool, not to mention she has continued appreciation for her microwave and hot water heater.

Visit Jennifer Jakes at www.jenniferjakes.com