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Guest Post “One for Kami”

Today we have Charlene Wilson, an author of paranormal tales that take you away to other dimensions.  She weaves magic, lasting love, and intrigue to immerse you into the lives of her characters. And she brings you her latest heroine, Kami…

Kami fumbled with the note in her hands and gazed around Shannon Donnelly’s Blog. The beautiful flowers nodded their bulbous blossoms as a soft breeze blew. Memories of long strolls on the floral-bordered river trail at home filled her with thoughts of Ian’s warmed smile, kind hazel gaze, and his head of black wavy hair that couldn’t seem to resist the wind. Her heart ached, as she knew she might never have those moments with him again.

Dropping her gaze to the folded message, she gnawed on her lower lip. Should she go through with her plan? He didn’t know of the sweetness of Valentine’s Day, how this dimension celebrated love. She could just stuff it the pocket of her cape and forget the whole thing.

Kami traced the red heart she had drawn on the upper left corner. No, I need to do this. He has to know.

Releasing an anxious breath, she looked over her shoulder to the garden gate. Where is Charlene? She’s late.

“I heard that thought, and I’m not late. You’re early.”

The gate swung open and Charlene winked at Kami as she entered. “I kind of thought you’d take to our holiday, Kami, you being the romantic that you are.”

“Ian would love it, too.” A weak grin tugged the edges of her lips upward, but her conviction burned strong with her decision. She held out the hand-written valentine. “You will give it to him won’t you?”

Taking it from her, Charlene smiled and her head leaned to the side. “Of course I will.”

“And tell him…” she wrung her fingers and her red gloves twisted, distorting the intricate knit patterns. “Please tell him how much I love him. Charlene, tell him I was an idiot.”

“Oh, I’m not going to say that.” Charlene tucked the valentine into her sweater pocket. “If you feel that strongly about this, why not have it displayed at Ravencraft Romance Realm’s Love Letters ‘n’ Lattes? You can proclaim your love for him on February 14th  for the whole World Wide Web to see.”

A spark of thrill flashed through Kami’s chest and jetted to her toes. “That would be perfect! Do you think they’d let me do that?”

“I’m certain of it. I happen to be one of the contributing romance authors there.”

Kami couldn’t hold back a wide smile. She spread her arms wide and inhaled the sweet aroma of the beautiful red flora around them. “He’s sure to know I mean it, then, if I proclaim it to the entire dimension.”

She grasped Charlene’s elbows and looked into her blue eyes. “You will show him won’t you. I know you can one way or another, being our author.”

“Oh, Kami. You bet I will.” Charlene patted her cheek and nodded toward the blog readers. “Now, let’s get this introduce of One for Kami going and invite everyone to join in the tour-wide giveaway. We have some great prizes and they need to know they can get all the details at Charlene Blogs.

Excitement bubbled in Kami’s heart and her brows rose with her exclamation. “That’s right! So many prizes to giveaway, all because my story was just released.”

She turned to the readers and she knew her countenance had to be glowing. “There will be four prize packages! A One for Kami SWAG package, a Juicy Fruit prize package…” she glance at Charlene, “honestly, there’s got to be a way for me to nab that one,” she snickered, then back to the crowd, “A $10 Amazon gift card…”

Charlene grabbed her hand and held it up for all to see. “And your red gloves! We can’t forget the best part. KnitWit’s Knits & Crochet is making a special pair for this tour and offering One for Kami fans a 20% discount if they order something from their Etsy Shop by using the coupon code One4Kami! How great is that?”

“I can’t wait to see my gloves with the Hearts on Her Sleeve pattern on them.”

“I ordered a pair for myself. That prize alone is a $20 value!”

Sighing, Kami relaxed and allowed her breath to speak her thoughts. “I love my story.”

Charlene leaned her head, pride shining in her eyes. “And so will everybody else, sweetie.”  She squeezed Kami’s hand. “I know they will.”

Thank you for having us here today, Shannon. It’s a real treat! Have your readers get those Kindles ready, because One for Kami is FREE to download at Amazon right now! (Feb 14th)! It’s a Sweet Sci-Fi Romance, the perfect “lunch-time” read.

One for Kami cover 5 1200x800 One for Kami

Can love be true if shared with more than one?  Kami doesn’t think so when she finds Ian is an elite and required to take three wives to eliminate the poverty-stricken population.  Why can’t he be poor the way she thought he was when she fell in love with him?

Determined to find a realm that doesn’t have such dictates, she travels to dimension Three-Two-Three to begin her search.  But is love truer in a place that only allows one spouse than it is in Ian’s heart?

What they’re saying

“Sweet, romantic, and heartfelt.  A great introduction to the author’s world.”—J.D. Brown Book Club

“One for Kami is a story that will have you willing to give up everything for your one true love.”—Annette, Gothic Mom’s Book Reviews

“[Wilson] spins a tale of true love spanning time and dimensions that will inspire the reader to sacrifice everything to find their soul mate.”—Debbie, Read2Review

Excerpt

Voices surged and Kami clung to the illegible sounds.  A low groan rode alongside them.  The vocals ebbed from her mind.  Mute gray light drifted before her eyes, a flash of white, and then a haze.  Darkness covered her vision.  A sour pang caused her to lurch and she heaved, the voices clambering from a distance.  The back of her skull thudded against a hard surface.  Words broke between melodic and static riffs.

“Kami, breathe.”

Another groan punctuated the din, so close she opened her eyes to find the source.  A woman’s profile came to view, a bright silver aura hazing the edges.  Her long arched nose and narrow chin set a shocking presentation to add to her crinkled eyes and white hair.  Her thin lips moved with a soft sound.  “Get that cleaned up before she sees it.”

The senior turned to her, and Kami’s focus zeroed in on her pale blue eyes.  Eerie yet kind, they held her attention.  Folds on the woman’s face deepened with her smile.  “Well, you made it.  You had us worried there.”

Kami blinked hard and swallowed, acid burning the back of her throat.  “What happened?”

“You were a little nervous during the transport, that’s all.”  The woman nodded to someone off to the side and Kami rolled her head to the side to see who it was.  The silver-blue aura stretched to the edge of a circular platform and she realized she lay on Ober’s transport base.

“Let’s get you sitting up.  It’ll clear your mind and help you focus.”  The escort slid her hand behind Kami’s neck.

As she pushed herself up, heat pulsed in her lower abs, spasms rushing through her core.  Her breath hitched and she leaned forward, pressing her arm along her hips until the sensations dulled.  A heavy sigh rushed from her lungs, causing the ache in her breasts to intensify.  She brushed her palm along her chest to relieve the sensitivity, but it sent chills down her spine.  A shutter clenched her stomach and the process started all over again.

God, this is awkward.  I need privacy here.

A chuckle rumbled to her left and she glanced at the man beyond the hazy stage.  His blond hair curled around his forehead and tapered to a band of shaved hair along the back of his head.  His white lab coat hung loose around his lanky shoulders.  A wide smile bloomed on his lips as he knelt beside her and held out a bottle of water.

His brown eyes sparkled with humor.  “You’ll be mighty sensitive in those regions for a while with the level of panic you emitted.  But that side effect will let up.”

She accepted the drink, a question on the tip of her tongue she didn’t want to voice.

“All of this affected your nerves,” he motioned to her private parts as if he had every right, “and those there are the most sensitive parts of a body.  I’d take you as my third right now just to enjoy the fallout.  Yes, sir, close the quota with a redheaded elite.”

Kami leaned away from him and his offensive comment.  That is wrong on so many levels.  How rude could one person get?

The woman pursed her lips into a little grin.  “This is Conrad.  I’m Coral.  We’ll show you around the city and get you acquainted with things before we let you roam on your own.  We can show you key areas to envision so you can sync and not have to deal with the vehicles they use here.  Horrid contraptions if you ask me.  Just remember to be hidden when you do so nobody sees you disappear.  Of course, we’ll be around should you need us during your stay.”  She motioned with her nod.  “Now, let’s get you off this Ober base and steady on your feet.”

Kami glanced at the platform.  “Sure glad this fog isn’t a lingering effect.”

Conrad’s cheery chuckle burst into laughter and he held out his hand to help her up.  She grumbled under her breath and with a glower accepted the offer.  His fingers slowly wrapped around hers and his thumb brushed along the top of her palm with light caresses.  The sensual touch sent a charge to her nipples and spasms to her core.  Her breath hitched, fire burning her cheeks and ears as she flush.

Her gaze snapped to the glint in his eye.  The idiot did that on purpose!  She snatched her hand from his grasp.  “I think I’ll let Coral help me up.”

Another burst of mirth spit from Conrad and his hand flew to his mouth, stifling it into a sloppy snort.  He peeked at her through gleeful lids and turned his palm to her in an apologetic gesture.

Kami looked at Coral to find the woman’s lips pinched between her teeth, the corners fighting to keep a serious regard.

I have to deal with these people for a week?  She swore under her breath and slid from the platform, abandoning the bottled water.  Pushing herself to a stand, she steadied her feet and tugged at her blouse to regain any dignity she had left.

Coral’s head tilted to the side and her white waves brushed her cheek.  “Oh, Kami, I’m sorry, dear.”  She pulled her into a hug.  “Things will settle down.”

Conrad sniffled and folded his arms across his chest, nodding with agreement as he calmed.

Her pale blue gaze sought Kami’s as she held her at arm’s length.  Brows pulling together, she whispered.  “You are still a Vella, correct?”

Kami hesitated, studying the lady’s demeanor.  What does being a maiden have to do with anything?  “Yes.”

“Then I suggest you keep a little distance between you and fellows while you’re here.  They’ll flock to you with that beautiful hair and those sweet blue eyes.  And you’ll find them hard to resist in your current state.”  She winked.  “Gotta save yourself for marriage, you know.”

Riotous cackles exploded and Conrad doubled over, staggering to catch his balance.

Kami’s mouth dropped open.  “God, give me a break!”  Shrugging out of Coral’s touch, she marched along the cobbled path toward the exit.  “I’ll find my own way around.”

As she gripped the doorknob, realization caused her to pause.  She glanced at her snickering guides.  “Um…  Is my new boss a man or a woman?”

Conrad’s mirth rose to a new level and filled the arboretum.  She huffed and marched out the door, his snorts and cries following her until he choked on his own breath.

Get your copy of One for Kami at Amazon: http://bit.ly/OneforKami FREE February 14th! If you miss that, leave a comment for a free book given away on March 1.

One for Kami book tour banner 3

Charlene Wilson Author Links

Creating worlds where dreams become reality.

char mtn 2Author site:  http://CharleneAWilson.com
Blog:  http://bit.ly/CharBlogs
Facebook:  http://bit.ly/CharleneAWilsonFan
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AuthorCAWilson
Goodreads:  http://bit.ly/CharleneAWilsonGR
Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/charleneawilson/

Guest Author Tessa Stockton

IMG_4638_CROP_LOW RESOLUTIONToday we have Tessa Stockton, and information on her new novella, Wind’s Aria, the first in her fantasy romance eNovella series, The Brother’s Keep. On Feb 1, we’ll randomly draw a winner from everyone who comments, and that person will get a free copy of Wind’s Aria!

Elected as the Songstress, Aria takes her place on the sacred platform to sing before every dawn. As long as she does so, peace and abundant life belong to her people. One morning, amidst a strange wind that brings with it a curse in its eerie howl, Aria loses her ability to make music. But the encroaching death that transpires isn’t her biggest tragedy. It’s that she adores the cause of her blunder, for he’s a magnificent winged creature who’s stolen more than her voice.

Excerpt From Wind’s Aria:

“Who are you?”

He pushed further back into the shadows as she strode closer. “Someone you need not know.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

When he didn’t answer, she sighed.

“What a strange, terrible day,” she mumbled. “Well, at least tell me your name . . .”

He stood, speechless, knowing he shouldn’t be there at all—conversing with a Meleyan—especially not their musical deliverer that he was set to doom the day after tomorrow.

A peculiar grumbling interrupted her insistence, to his relief.

“Sorry.” She patted her stomach. He could see, even in the blackened night, how her face turned a deeper shade of red than her hair. “I’ve forgotten to eat. I guess I’m hungrier than I realized.”

He plucked an apple from the tree he’d nearly become a part of and held it out to her. The girl approached tentatively. She reached for the fruit but recoiled when her fingers brushed his.

“Is touching me so horrible?” he asked.

Her jaw dropped open and her delicate brow furrowed. She inclined her head. “It . . . hurt.”

“How?” he asked, for her fingers felt good to him, soothing. Warm. He wanted to try again.

Coming soon! eNovella #2, Sea God’s Siren.

A former choreographer, dancer, and musician, Tessa Stockton now writes romance and intrigue novels in a variety of genres. Wind’s Aria is the first in her fantasy romance eNovella series, The Brother’s Keep. For more information visit  www.TessaStockton.com

HPIM1104Links for Wind’s Aria:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Winds-Aria-ebook/dp/B00B1FEC2A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358964244&sr=8-1&keywords=wind%27s+Aria

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/winds-aria-tessa-stockton/1114146612?ean=2940016000206

Things That Go Bump

When I first started writing, I started off writing SF and Fantasy. This was partly due to being in my teens–I was on a total SF/Fantasy kick for reading. And it was what I was drawn to. Years later, I switched over to Regency romance–quite a jump most folks think, but not really. You see–it’s all about the world building. And the emotions.

In between the SF/Fantasy and Regency (and there’s a bigger cross-over in that audience than you’d ever know, given the Regency dancing that’s shown up at most SF conventions), I did some YA Horror stories–stuff that goes bump in the dark. Again, it’s all about the world building–and the emotions.

EdgeWalkersNow I’m back to SF/Fantasy for an edgy Urban Fantasy–Edge Walkers. This is one of those things where you shake your head as a writer and wonder what are you doing…but then you write the story anyway. When I wrote the story, I needed a change up from the Regency writing. I also wanted to get back to my roots with SF/Fantasy, and wanted to do a zombie book that worked for me (most of them don’t, however, I adore the movie, Zombieland–but Edge Walkers is nothing like that). I also wanted to do a book where the sex needed to be in the story–I was at a phase where I’d been reading too man books with sexy scenes that just seemed to have the scenes stuffed in there to add the sex. That didn’t work for me.

The trouble with all of this is that Edge Walkers isn’t part of the Urban Fantasy series I’m doing–the Demons & Warders series with Burn Baby Burn and Riding in on a Burning Tire, which is due out soon (and the third book is going to be Angels Don’t Burn). It’s not a Regency, and is nothing like those books in tone, so it’s going to have to find it’s own readership. I love the book, but then you always love your babies–even the challenged ones.

But now it’s out I do plan to get back to the Regencies–I have plans there. And I’m more than ready to step back into that other, lighter world.

That’s the best part of taking a diversion with the writing–it leaves you eager to go back to the other stuff.

Will Edge Walkers do well on it’s own? Maybe–or maybe it’ll be a grand experiment that leaves everyone (even me) shaking their heads. But a writer’s got to go what a writer’s got to do. It would just be nice, from the marketing side of things, if all my ideas fit better into a single box.

 

Best Advice from RWA National: The Promise To Your Readers

It was an upbeat conference this year. Editors didn’t look so hunted. Those writers not yet published didn’t look so desperate—probably because the decision to be published is now in their own hands. And the self publishing panels weren’t just about how to format an ebook, but actually had a lot of great info.

My favorite workshop was held by Barbara Freethy, Bella Andre, and Tina Folsom—three ladies who’ve done very well for themselves and who have shown that self published does not mean bad books or terrible sales. The best advice I heard came from Bella Andre who talked about the contract a writer has with a reader—a contract to deliver not just a good read but a certain level of sensuality in the books. She’s established as a secondary identity for a different type of book (and no, I’m not going to tell you the name—you’ll have to hunt it up yourself). But she did the new name because the books offer a different level of sex in the books—it’s a different “type” of book.

Now, I’d been looking at genre for “different”—and thinking that of course that’s why you needed a pen name. But this hit home—of course it’s not genre. It’s more about the feel of the book—what type of book is it. And that got me looking at my own bookshelves again.

I read sexy books—love the good ones. But it’s not my primary read. And that got me thinking.

Paths of Desire is a book I did to break out to a larger book and a more sweeping historical. I amped up the sex in the book—probably too much so. It’s a good book—or I think so. But I got to thinking about my readers. I’d had one reader post a one star review—and I think she’s right. It’s not the book for her, but she’s my reader. And it’s a brave new world.

This lead me to do an edit and I’m bringing out Paths of Desire: The Sweet Regency Edition. It’s more like my other Regencies—not exactly the door shutting on the sex (it’s a romance, and these folks become lovers, and that’s a vital part of the plot), but making it more about the emotion and less about the body parts. A new cover and a new ISBN denotes the new version of the book. And now readers can choose which version they like better.

I’m also going to be looking closer at my urban fantasy books, too—maybe I’ll bring out the hot version and the plot version and let readers pick which they prefer. Or maybe I’ll just bring them into the “Shannon Donnelly” version so that no pen name is needed—it’ll be a change of genre, but not a change of tone.

Either way should be interesting.

So what do you think—hot or not? Or is it best to have a choice that you the reader can make in which edition you like best?

The Pitch, The Blurb, The Writer’s Headache

It’s not enough to write a book–you have to figure out the pitch…the blurb…the exciting sentence that’ll make someone want to read a book. So you have to switch from a writing mind to a marketing mind, which is not always easy. But at the Desert Dreams conference this past weekend, I had a “duh” moment–this blurb is the external conflict for the main character.

This is a “duh” moment since it seems obvious, but I’d be struggling with fitting external/internal/more than I need into a short, catchy sentence. I know some folks like high concept–I’m more about interesting conflict.

Paths of DesireSo I’ve been applying this insight to the books, and came up with this for Paths of Desire:

NO MAN’S MISTRESS…

She wants a rich lord for a husband—she won’t end like her mother, abandoned and broken.

NO WOMAN’S FOOL…

He wants to prove to his friend she’s the wrong woman—he knows too well the pain of a bad marriage.

WHEN AN ACTRESS CROSSES PATHS WITH AN ADVENTURER IN 1813 LONDON…

The last thing either wants is to fall in love, but when desire leads to a passion that won’t be denied, how can the heart do anything but follow?

This is way shorter than what I had and I actually think (hope) it’s far more catchier. Can you match these others to my books? (Click on the phrase to see the book.)

Reformed rakes make the best husbands–or do they?

Will it take a Gypsy thief to steal the heart of a rake?

A girl who can tame any wild creature….

A Gypsy lord out to redeem his name…

Some of the lines came out as questions, some as core situations.  The situation ones obviously needed a bit more, but they are at the heart of the book.

So…better maybe? We’ll see in the sales.

Novelist’s Inc’s Cast of Characters

Cast of Characters CoverNovelists Inc. is the only writers organization devoted exclusively to the needs of multi-published novelists. They’re also doing a lot to innovate these days, and help authors publish–this includes starting to do some publishing too.

Today, April 3, NINC is bringing out  a fiction anthology, Cast of Characters, with twenty-eight original stories, eleven of which are from New York Times bestselling authors that reads like a who’s who.

Contributors include:

CATHERINE ANDERSON
VICTORIA ALEXANDER
JO BEVERLEY
BARBARA BRETTON
JULIE COMPTON
TANYA ANNE CROSBY
CAROLE NELSON DOUGLAS
ROSEMARY EDGHILL
ANGIE FOX
HEATHER GRAHAM
VICKI HINZE
CJ LYONS
KATIE MACALISTER
ASHLEY MCCONNEL
JULIE ORTOLON
LAURA RESNICK
PATRICIA RICE
DEB STOVER
VICTORIA STRAUSS

And, as they say, more. It’s not quite a cast of thousands, but as NINC puts it, you do get “a collection of unforgettable personalities.”

Stories range over all genres–so there’s lots to enjoy, including:

  •   #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander delivers her first short story with a contemporary setting – as does New York Times bestselling author Tanya Anne Crosby.
  • New York Times bestselling author Jo Beverley brings back the hero of her novel Forbidden Magic.
  • New York Times bestselling author Angie Fox creates a new Biker Witches story.
  • New York Times bestselling author Katie MacAlister tells the story of one of her most beloved teen characters as an adult.
  • National bestselling author Julie Ortolon tells the beloved Pearl Island story her fans have been clamoring for.
  • National bestselling author Diana Peterfreund offers the origin story for one of the most important magical items in her “killer unicorn” series.

You can buy Cast of Characters from from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple and all other online booksellers. And Novelists Inc. is offering a free e-book of “set pieces” from upcoming member novels. You can get this volume free at the Novelists Inc. website, www.ninc.com.

To read more, head on over to Fiction Studio (Lou’s site — he edited the anthology and is the current NINC president). Or just go buy the book–short stories are a great way to find new authors to love.

Joan Vincent Guest Blogger – Honour’s Debt

Welcome guest blogger, Joan Vincent…

Joan VincentHi, I’m Joan Vincent. I live in Kansas which is a long way from Enlgand and the Regency period. And I have a minor in American History. Who knew I would read over 200 regency romances in a month one summer long ago and decide I would like to take my hand at writing one? Certainly surprised me, delightfully so.

Honour’s Debt is the first book in my Honour series. It started out far different than it is today. It began it as a sweet rather simple regency like all my previous books and then, in chapter five my villian was killed. That rather stunned me. I needed at least 50,000 more words and what’s a story without a villian?  My sister said “find a worse villian.” After ruminating on it a few days I sat down and just starting typing. (I do plot but I’ve found if I don’t let my characters do what they want the story just doesn’t go anywhere. I once thought I created the characters and I’m in charge but something else is at work too) To my amazement a very dastardly villian–a master French spy appeared. Along with him came a young emigré pursing him. When I told my sister I didn’t know who this young man was she suggested i use for a character from an earlier book. The story reshaped itself; it became an entirely different more complex story. And it flowed onto the pages. In a week I had sketches for six more books but that it for another time.

Honor's DebtI didn’t fall in love with my hero but I like and respect him very much. Truth be told I did fall in love with the young emigré. He was six when he first appeared in the first regency I ever wrote –not the first one published. It was very spooky when I learned one of the men who tried to kidnap him in that book was the French master spy in Debt. These two men are in every book in the series.

The hardest part of writing the book was a multitude of research. After years of researching for and writing regencies I am grounded in a lot of regency history. But I had never had a hero who was in the military–much less the cavalry–the 15th Light Dragoons. I chose the 15th after research revealed they were in Spain in 1808. Then the real work began. There was the question of Light Dragoons or Hussars–you can read reams of information and still wonder about that. Also what color was their uniform, and in particular the facings they wore–each regiment’s is different. Once I got the details I needed I knew the hero’s motivation was grounded in what happened in Spain. More research was necessary to find the location where the action would take place in England. The setting had to have smuggling which led me to a study of Martello towers. More investigation followed on cottages. I always sketch out my character’s homes and this story involved several.

I like to be as accurate as possible. Accuracy in detail grounds the story, but plot drives it. Major Quentin Bellaport, Viscount Broyal sets out to redeem a debt of honour but falling in love was not part of the plan. Intent on saving Maddie Vincoer from the maelstrom of a funeral, a wedding, and kidnappings, he can only pray she’ll forgive his deceit. Will she believe she is not a pawn to his Honour’s Debt?