Posts Tagged ‘paranormal romance’

Check out a brand new series on the Lachesis Publishing blog called AUTHOR TO AUTHOR:

David Lee Summers interviews best-selling science fiction and horror author Gini Koch, author of the hugely popular cross-genre science-fiction/paranormal/romance/comedy ALIEN series.

DLS: You’ve written under several pseudonyms including Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch. You’re clearly not hiding your identity when you use a pseudonym. What do you see as their purpose? Authors often build brands around their names. Do you build a new brand identity for each pseudonym or do you see these as subsidiaries of the Gini Koch brand?

GK: I write under pen names because my voice changes. I believe that your name is your promise to your readers. As Gini Koch, I write fast, fresh, and funny fiction. So, if you pick up something from Gini Koch, you expect to laugh a couple of times at least. But being funny is hard work and I don’t feel like doing that all the time. So my other pen names allow me to write in any way I want, changing my voice along the way, which is a lot more fun for me.

I write horror as J.C. Koch, I write SF/F/Paranormal as Anita Ensal and Jemma Chase, and I write novels set in the Old West and dystopian future fiction with an Old West flair as A.E. Stanton. G.J. Koch is the closest to Gini Koch – that’s the name I write the Alexander Outland series under. I think G.J. is a little funnier than Gini, but that’s kind of for readers to decide.

I look at the other pen names as subsidiaries, yes, because they’re all me, and they’re all coming from my mind. Most of the time these days I byline anything from the other names as Gini Koch writing as (say) J.C. Koch. It lets my readers know it’s me, but me writing in “that” voice, so they know more what to expect.

DLS: Who was your greatest writer influence/inspiration when you started?  What are some books of theirs you would recommend?

GK: I firmly feel that anything you’ve ever read will influence you – good, bad, or indifferent. However, I’d say that the writer who influenced me the most when I started writing was Terry Pratchett, and I’d recommend any and all of his Discworld novels.

Other influences would be O. Henry, Arthur Conan Doyle, Madeleine L’Engle, Dave Barry, P.J. O’Rourke, Clifford D. Simak, Robert Silverberg, and, possibly most of all, Robert Benchley. I’m sure the moment I send this I’ll remember other authors who were inspirations, but these will do for now.

DLS: The Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Kat series is now up to fourteen books with the release of Alien Nation.  Obviously sales factor into keeping a series going, but did you write the early novels with the idea that this could be a long-running series?  Will the series run indefinitely or is there a plan for it to end after a certain number of books?  Do you have an ending in mind if the series should come to a conclusion?

GK: I see almost all story ideas as series, and some of them I can see running for a really long time. When I’m writing an Alien novel, I normally “see” the next few books ahead. So, for example, when I was writing Book 5/Alien Diplomacy, I could “see” Alien vs. Alien, Alien in the House, and Alien Research. I might not know what’s going into which book, particularly smaller subplots and supporting characters, but I know where the series overall is going.

I don’t know that I can honestly say that I planned for such a long-running series, though I’m thrilled that’s been the case. In the first few books, I was aiming for Book 10/Universal Alien. All the books were, for me, aiming for that novel. Once that was done, now all the books are aiming for Book 20. So, hopefully we’ll get there. I’m currently contracted through Book 17, so here’s hoping!

DLS: You’re not only a prolific novelist, but a prolific short story writer.  Aside from writing to a shorter length, do you approach the two forms differently?  If so, how?  Do you think all writers should hone both skill sets?  Why or why not?

GK: I actually do approach short stories differently from novels. I’m an extreme linear writer. I start with the title, then the first line, and when I get to the end…I stop. I don’t outline novels because if I did, if I knew everything that was going to happen, then I wouldn’t bother writing it, I’d already know and have lost interest. So, if something surprises you in one of my novels, good, because it surprised me, first.

For short stories, however, I outline those in my head. I see what I want happening, and then I write. Usually the story changes a bit from my internal outline, but I know what’s going to happen. For whatever reason, knowing how a short will end doesn’t ruin the surprise for me. This is probably because I’m a natural novelist – it’s easy for me to write novel length. But short stories are much harder for me, so I plan them out much more. So far, it seems to be working.

I do feel that, as an author, you should learn to write in as many lengths and genres and styles as you can manage. It increases your odds of selling. But this is an artistic pursuit, and everyone does their art their own way, which is as it should be.

DLS: What do you see as the role of social media in an author’s marketing repertoire? What social media platforms do you prefer?

GK: Right now social media is where it’s at. It’s free, but it costs your time, which is not free. However, it’s a great way to meet and interact with readers and fans, and, frankly, as with having a website and a blog, being on Facebook and/or Twitter are kind of the baseline.

I like Facebook and Twitter a lot, am still basically useless at Instagram, though I keep on trying here and there, and I love Pinterest, but boy, is that the time suck if you’re not careful. But it’s so much fun, too. And I can show off my covers, do boards where I show who I think the characters look like or could play them in that movie/TV show that, sadly currently, only exists in my mind, share jokes, and then some.

DLS: In addition to social media, you put a lot of effort into getting out to conventions and festivals, and you often have an amazing dealer’s table set up.  You’re an author with a big publisher and books in the stores. Why do you go the extra mile to have this kind of presence?

GK: Because you don’t stay an author with a big publisher and books in stores unless you’re out there, pressing the flesh, so to speak. My personal viewpoint is that until you’re a household name – as in, if you go to any grocery store and say your name, people would know who you are even if they don’t read – you’d better be working. And part of the work that goes into being a successful author is going to live events, meeting readers, connecting with fans, speaking, sharing your personality, and so forth.

I happen to enjoy people – unlike what seems like three-quarters of the authors out there, I’m not an introvert – and I enjoy going to events. I love running the yap, I love meeting people, I love sharing my books with new readers and discussing plot points and characters with existing fans, and so on. So going to live events is work that I truly enjoy. But even if I hated it, I’d still do it, because it dramatically affects my sales and my readership, always in a positive way.

DLS: Tell us a little about Alien Nation. What else can we look forward to in the coming months from Gini Koch (or any of your other “secret” identities for that matter)?

Well, Alien Nation is about what happens when word of how well Earth’s repelled interstellar bad guys spreads, and many alien races head for our planet, looking for help from the person who’s been saving the day for a long time now – Kitty. In addition to the usual hijinks for Kitty & Company, we also see the end of some major villains, which was nice for me and the characters. Well, not those villains, but everyone else.

Alien Education/Book 15, releases May 2, and Aliens Abroad/Book 16, releases in December. I’m also planning to have The Alien Collection, which will be a collection of all my Alien series short stories, both previously published and some new, out this year, as well as a collection of my short horror stories, writing as J.C. Koch. I’ll be in several anthologies – Unidentified Funny Objects 6 from UFO Press, Submerged and All Hail Our Robot Overlords! both from Zombies Need Brains, and, finally, the long-delayed MECH: Age of Steel, again writing as J.C. Koch, from Ragnarok. Alexander Outland: Space Pirate, writing as G.J. Koch, gets a mass market re-release in June, which is pretty exciting. I’ll also have an audio release, The Legend of Belladonna Part One: Natural Born Outlaws, writing as A.E. Stanton, coming from Graphic Audio. So, lots ahead for 2017 and beyond!

Gini Koch writes the fast, fresh and funny Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books, the Necropolis Enforcement Files series, and the Martian Alliance Chronicles series. Touched by an Alien, Book 1 in the Alien series, was named by Booklist as one of the Top Ten Adult SF/F novels of 2010. Alien in the House, Book 7 in her long-running Alien series, won the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award as the Best Futuristic Romance of 2013. Alien Nation, released in December 2016 and won the Preditors and Editors Readers’ Poll for Best SF/F Novel of 2016. Book 15, Alien Education, will release in May 2017, with Book 16, Aliens Abroad, coming December 2017.

As G.J. Koch she writes the Alexander Outland series and she’s made the most of multiple personality disorder by writing under a variety of other pen names as well, including Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch.

Gini also has stories featured in a variety of excellent anthologies, available now and upcoming, writing as Gini Koch, Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, and J.C. Koch. Writing as A.E. Stanton, she will have an audio release, Natural Born Outlaws: The Legend of Belladonna Part 1, coming from Graphic Audio in 2017.

Gini is an in-demand speaker who panels regularly at San Diego Comic-Con, Phoenix Comicon, and the Tucson Festival of Books, among others. She’s also been part of the faculty for the San Diego State University Writers Conference, Jambalaya Con, the Desert Dreams Writers Conference, and the James River Writers Conference, among others.

Prior to becoming a full time author, Gini spent over 25 years in marketing and advertising, first in small- to mid-sized direct marketing firms in Los Angeles, and then with IBM, and she was a social media maven before it was cool.

Reach her here: www.ginikoch.com, faceboook, and twitter

David Lee Summers. David is the author of more than thirty sci-fi and horror fiction novels and short stories including his latest horror novel THE ASTRONOMER’S CRYPT for Lachesis Publishing. Connect with David Lee Summers. online via facebook and twitter, and check out his web site.

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OUR BOOK OF THE WEEK is the delightful light paranormal romance THE CUPCAKE COVEN by ASHLYN CHASE. Book 1 Love Spells Gone Wrong Series

CLICK HERE TO BUY (all ebook formats available)

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Pretty Wiccan Rebecca Colby borrowed money from her father to start a bakery, and now he’s calling the loan due. When she learns he fell off the gambling wagon and owes big money to some scary people, she has to start making a profit—and fast—before the loan shark takes a bite out of her.

Hot Cowboy Dru Tanner is looking for his missing sister who left Texas to explore their New England Wiccan roots. She’s the only family he has left, and he’s desperate to find her. Dru has to hide the fact that he’s not a Wiccan long enough to infiltrate a coven in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It’s the only lead he has.

Dru needs a job and a place to stay while he searches for his sister. Rebecca needs cheap help so she can work some baking magic. Dru makes Rebecca an offer she can’t refuse—if only lust doesn’t drive them crazy first.

READ AN EXCERPT:

The bell above the door tinkled, signaling a customer. Jumping to her feet, Rebecca mumbled into the phone, “I’ll have to call you back, Dad.” She hung up and took a deep breath to compose herself.

Plastering a smile on her face, she turned toward the counter and caught her first glimpse of the most incredible man she’d ever seen. He was tall, at least six feet. His jeans hugged lean hips in such a way as to leave little to the imagination, yet he moved in them casually, looking totally comfortable.

When he reached the counter a gorgeous smile softened his rugged features. Blue eyes and sandy brown hair peaked out from under the well-worn cowboy hat. Am I looking at a real live cowboy here in New England?

He tipped the brim of his hat. “Mornin’ ma’am. Or I should say good afternoon. I guess it’s past noontime, after all.”

If he was rambling a little bit, she was grateful for it. She didn’t think she could speak right away.

“I was wonderin’ . . . that help-wanted sign in the window . . . ?”

Shoot. Should she tell the guy she might not be in business very long? Her Wiccan values had her believing that honesty was the best policy, but she could at least let him finish his sentence.

“Yes?” she prompted.

“Well, this is gonna sound pretty stupid if I’m wrong . . .”

His hesitation only lasted a moment. Then he gazed into her eyes with his piercing blue ones. “Are you by any chance a witch? Because if so, maybe we can help each other. I’m willin’ to trade my services for your help findin’ my sister.”

That sure wasn’t what she expected him to say. She almost tipped her head toward the ceiling to thank the Goddess.

“I—uh . . .Yes. I’m Wiccan. Do you want a locator spell?”

“Sure. If that’ll help me find her.” He reached into his shirt pocket and produced a picture of a young woman. She resembled him, but she looked much younger. Long blonde hair tumbled down from a similar cowboy hat, and she wore a checkered shirt, but the major similarities were her blue eyes and easy smile.

Rebecca hadn’t done a locator spell in a long time. And she’d never done one to find a human being, but the trade was a perfect idea. Witches aren’t supposed to make money by performing spells for other people, but a trade to save some money doesn’t count. Does it? She’d ask Hanna, later. For now, she was intrigued by the idea and the cowboy was waiting for an answer.

“Can you bake?”

He laughed. “I can learn.”

“No need. There are plenty of other ways you can help. I’ll have you fill out an application, and later I’ll check your references. By the way, our coven is meeting tonight. Would you be interested in attending?”

His brows shot up. After a brief hesitation he asked, “Do you think that’ll help me find my sister?”

“It might. You could also check out Myranda’s Occult Shop. She’s got loads of expertise and you can find any ingredients you need for a spell there.”

“A spell . . . Uh, sure, I’ll talk to Myranda.”

“Good! I hope to see you tonight,” she said. “I’ll get you that application now, and if your references are good you can start tomorrow.”

“Great. Can I get that application with a side of cherry pie?”

“Sure thing.” She smiled, already feeling a bit lighter.

LIKE WHAT YOU’VE READ SO FAR?

YOU CAN PURCHASE THE CUPCAKE COVEN RIGHT HERE! CLICK HERE TO BUY 

OR GET IT ON amazon, kobo, ARe.

Ashlyn Chase is a best selling author who writes funny and sexy, light paranormal romances and erotic romances. Connect with Ashlyn on her website and on facebook and twitter.

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This week’s Deal of the Week is by Lachesis Publishing author Louise Clark. Her book is called Fighting Fate, a contemporary romance with some paranormal twists and turns.

YOU CAN GET Fighting Fate at Lachesis Publishing for only .99 cents! Click here to purchase.

You can also get Fighting Fate  on Amazon, kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Faith Hamilton is different. Blessed with the power to draw her ancestors from the past into the present, Faith formed a strong bond with Andrew Byrne, her charming rogue of a “relative” from pre-Revolutionary Boston. Andrew’s first visit when they were both teens led to many more over the years. But despite her close friendship with Andrew, Faith has always felt that her life would never be normal unless she made a drastic change. Now she avoids relationships with people outside her tight family circle, fearing she might be forced to reveal her ability. Instead, she tries to keep it a secret, and her private life hidden as she focuses on her career. For a while she succeeds, until she meets the sexy and dynamic Cody Simpson.

Cody is a mathematician, a man devoted to classifying and defining the world around him.  Once hurt by a woman whose sole focus was her career, not the people in her life, he swore he would never allow himself to be attracted to this kind of woman again—until he meets the beautiful and captivating Faith Hamilton.

Intrigued by Cody, Faith can’t stop her growing attraction to him. Nor can she keep that charming rogue, Andrew from popping into her life whenever he chooses. As she frantically schemes to keep the two men apart, her problems multiply at home, at work, and most of all in her relationship. How long can she keep up this double life? More importantly, what will Cody think if he finds out about her magical power?

EXCERPT:

Footsteps sounded on the staircase. Faith closed her mouth on what she’d planned to say as a male figure emerged from the upper level, running lightly down the stairs. Seeing the two women he hesitated briefly, then he flashed a grin and said, “Hi.

Black hair, blue eyes, muscles in all the right places, Cody Simpson was the kind of man Chloe would appreciate as a son-in-law. He was also the kind of man Faith avoided. She smiled blandly back at him. “Hi.”

“Nice day, isn’t it?” He glanced at Faith, sweeping her with a look that catalogued every part of her, from head-to-toe. Then he deliberately looked from Faith to Chloe, his eyebrows raised.

Very much aware that the slacks she was wearing did little to minimize her height and that her blond hair had started to stray from the restraints that kept it in a tight chignon, Faith wished she knew some way of escape. She didn’t want to introduce Cody to her mother, who she knew would be intrigued by the good-looking man. She knew Cody expected to be introduced and that he wouldn’t understand why a casual, ‘Cody this is my mother, Chloe. Mom, this is Cody Simpson,’ left her frozen in terror. Each and every one of the good manners drilled into her from the time she was tiny was actively demanding she make the simple introduction. Every survival instinct was fighting back, just as intensely, telling her that she’d be a fool to open that door, even a crack.

She swallowed hard, avoided Cody’s eyes, ignored the surprised curiosity emanating from her mother, and said, “Yup.”

Cody raised his brows, then shrugged. “See you later, then.”

“Sure,” Faith said, hoping she wasn’t blushing.

Cody nodded and headed off toward the NIT offices. Faith shoved open the front door.

Outside Chloe said cheerfully, “What a gorgeous male. Who is he?”

Faith shrugged. “Our new systems guy. He lives upstairs so we hardly ever see him.”

“You know him then?”

Faith shook her head. “Not really.” A wash of heat told her that now she really was blushing. Not surprising since she’d just told her mother a whopper. Well, not a complete whopper. What she knew about Cody came from Sue Green. She respected Sue’s opinion enough that she’d wasted more than an hour or two fantasizing about dating Cody Simpson, but she didn’t actually know him the way you do when you talk to someone. Nor was she going to allow herself to get to know him. As attractive as he was, Cody Simpson wasn’t for her. Not now. Not ever.

Like what you’ve read? You can get Fighting Fate at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon for .99 cents. This week only!

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Our BOOK OF THE WEEK is SISTERS OF SPIRIT, a wonderful anthology about love and friendship written by four real life friends: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Annette Blair, Lynn Jenssen, Christine Mazurk and Jeanine Duval Spikes (also known as J.D. Spikes Lachesis Publishing author of The Possession).

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!

What It’s About:

Four life-long friends face the biggest changes of their lives.

Four sisters—not related by blood—but by spirit, each embark on a quest

Four women find out what they’re truly made of, and what love really means.

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Our BOOK OF THE WEEK at Lachesis Publishing is The Accidental Witch by Jessica Penot (paranormal with romantic elements). It’s funny, scary, clever, and features a heroine that you will just love to bits.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!

What it’s about:

Phaedra Michaels is a small town psychologist who is beginning to lose hope. Two of her patients at the local hospital in Dismal, Alabama have just killed themselves, she’s still reeling from her divorce and what turned out to be a disastrous marriage, and her father has died, leaving her without any notion of who her real mother is.

Just as Phaedra decides to commit herself to a serious drinking problem and an eating disorder, or two, a mysterious spell book arrives in the mail. Feeling desperate, Phaedra uses it to cast spells to save her fading patients. Suddenly, good things start happening.  Phaedra’s patients begin to get better and she even starts dating the sexy doctor from the hospital.

Phaedra is so happy she doesn’t notice the small things that start to go wrong in Dismal, or the dark creatures slithering out of the shadows near her house. When Phaedra finally realizes her spells have attracted every card-carrying demon from hell, she has no choice but to accept help from a slightly nerdy, 500 year-old warlock with a penchant for wearing super hero T-shirts and a knack for getting under Phaedra’s skin. Now, if only she could get the hang of this witch thing, she might be able to save her town.

EXCERPT:

I carefully pulled the twine and the brown paper fell off. Beneath the paper was a large, leather bound book. It looked like an old journal or recipe book. It was tied together with a red ribbon and the ribbon held numerous pieces of paper. I ran my hands over the smooth leather and read the title of the book. It simply said Spells.

I laughed and pulled the red ribbon that held the book together. The book fell open. Inside, it was like a recipe book a mother would pass on to a daughter. There were old typed pages with handwritten notes in the margins. There were pages added with handwritten spells on them and drawings.

“What the hell?” I said as I leafed through the old book. There were potions and summoning spells and candle spells. In-between pages, there were pressed flowers and herbs and some of the pages were stained with old candle wax.

I set the book down and went into the kitchen and opened the fridge. At least the kitchen was done. It looked like any other modern kitchen. It had granite counter tops and marble floors. I’d spared no expense making it look like something that belonged in an old southern mansion. I wanted the house to be perfect and I had Johnny Boy’s money to help me achieve that dream. The lights flickered when I entered. I would have to talk to Lawson about that in the morning. I took a beer out of the fridge and opened it. I had a sip and grabbed a roll of cookie dough. Armed with the cookie dough and beer, I returned to the book. It had fallen off the counter, to the floor, and was opened to a page. I laughed again. The page it had opened to was love spells. That was just what I needed.

I sat down and ate and drank and leafed through the book. I stopped at a page with an interesting picture on it. The spell was an awakening spell. It awakened you to the supernatural world. I hesitated and looked at the script around it.

Something fell upstairs and the lights went out. I fumbled around and found the nearest flashlight and switched it on just as the lights flickered back on.

“Lawson, you asshole,” I said as I turned the flashlight off. “The wiring is done in the parlor, my ass.”

A sudden wave of fatigue washed over me and I picked up my mess and carted my sorry butt upstairs. I climbed into bed with my flashlight. I still had the book of spells. It had been so long since someone had given me something that I had forgotten what it felt like. I knew the book was more than weird. It bordered on creepy. A normal woman would probably burn the damn thing, but I wasn’t a normal woman. I was a lonely divorcée living in a house known to be haunted, but I loved it the way most people love their pets. I was the daughter of a man who had made it clear that he loathed me, with a step-mother who’d bought me toilet paper for Christmas. The creepy book was wonderful to me. It meant that someone out there, even if they were a freak, cared about me, and freak love was better than no love at all.

Did you like what you read? You can get The Accidental Witch at Lachesis Publishing.

Connect with Jessica online on her web site and on facebook and twitter.

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Catrina Burgess author (aka Cat Brown)

Catrina Burgess (aka Cat Brown) is an author and blogger based in Arizona. When she’s not writing, she loves to bake and spend time with her husband and three rescue dogs  Coco, Trouble, and Ashy and their cat Shitty Kitty.

Welcome Cat!

When did you launch Romance Junkies and what made you decide it was time to step back from running it?

I started Romance Junkies back in 2002. At that time I was a freelance web designer and aspiring romance writer. I’ve always been a big reader and in between working a day job and writing I was doing a lot of reading. I thought it would be fun to start doing book reviews with some of my friends. And since I was a web designer I decided to whip up a little website where we could post the reviews. I thought the site was going to be a small weekend project, but the first week we were open, I got a very nasty email from one of the big romance review sites. The letter had a very threatening tone and was telling us we couldn’t feature certain authors that were apparently “their authors.” I remember reading the email to my husband and afterward saying in an astonished tone, “Who knew there was a romance mafia.” I’m pretty laid back, but I don’t like bullies. I decided that day to spend all my free time working on the Romance Junkies. My goal was to try to make it as big as possible, for no other reason than to annoy the “Romance Mafia.”

After 13 years of running the site, I decided it was time for a change. I wanted to spend more time working on my writing, and I wanted to try some new projects. Some new challenges.

Are you still involved in the Romance Junkies site?

Marie Harte, who writes contemporary romance for Sourcebooks publishing, is the current owner/operator. She is a good friend, and I know she is going to do a fabulous job with the site. I have stepped down from all Romance Junkies management, site decisions, and actual work, but I’ve stayed on with the site as a reviewer. I plan to do a few reviews here and there.

When you founded Romance Junkies back in 2002 what was the online world like for romance authors/novels and how has it changed since then in your opinion?

Big review sites and big blogs filled Romanceland. I remember I would hit my favorite sites and blogs each week to get news and gossip about what was going on. Over the years, social media has expanded with things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Now I get a lot of my Romanceland news via Twitter and Facebook. Rather than blogs run by a big group of people you see a lot more small, individually run blogs. A lot of young book reviewers are doing their reviews on YouTube.

You’re also an author – when did you start writing and why?

I started writing back in 2001. When I turned 36 years old, my husband lovingly told me, “You need to start working on that writing dream you’ve had since you were a kid, because let’s face it time is running out.”  I told him I had no idea how to write a book, and he gave me one of his no-nonsense stares and told me, “Stop whining and go figure it out.” Now in his defense, he does tend to be very straightforward in the things he says. He will tell you the honest truth, whether or not you want to hear it. He is also the most supportive husband—he is one of my main critique partners and has really helped me over the years become a better writer.

I started working on that first book in 2001. It took me eight months to write that first book and five months to edit it. While writing that book, I realized how much I loved the whole writing process. Yes, it’s crazy hard, impossible some days, but so much fun. There’s nothing better than battling through and writing a book and getting to those sweet words—THE END. Nothing cooler than seeing the characters you have in your head become walking and talking entities.

What genre do you write in and why?

I started out writing romance. I have four stories that were published with one of the big epublishing houses. I’m not going to name them since my career with them ended when the house blew up with a bunch of crazy drama.  Around that that time I got very sick. So sick I had to give up my day job—I was teaching computer classes and doing freelance web design. My husband, who had always helped me run Romance Junkies, took over the bulk of the work on the site. He also had to take on an extra job since I was no longer able to work. The poor boy had a sick wife at home, was working two day jobs, and was putting up features on Romance Junkies during the wee hours. I told you he’s a very supportive husband. Every year I got a little better and after two years I was able to get back to working on Romance Junkies. Though sadly I was still too sick to go back to working a regular day job.

When I was really sick, every six months I would try to write. The first two years the fatigue was so overwhelming I just couldn’t write. I didn’t have the mental clarity to get words down on paper. And then after year three of being sick I saw that author Candace Haven was offering a fast draft class. I decided to give it a try, even though I knew there was a very good chance I wouldn’t be well enough to participate. To my surprise suddenly I could get the words out. The tips I learned about fast drafting in that class really changed the way I wrote. Instead of editing as I worked, I started just banging out a fast, rough first draft. It was so freeing to allow myself to be creative and to turn off the editor in my head. Of course with no editor on duty, that meant my rough drafts were incredibly rough, and it would take me as much time to polish and edit a manuscript as it did to write it.

Before I was sick, I wrote romance, but now the stories coming out of me were much darker. Even more surprising—they were YA. Working on that first young adult book Awakening was a life saver. When your life is full of fatigue, your world becomes very small. You mourn the high energy person you used to be. You have so many limitations on the things you can do you get depressed. I took all that depression, all those dark thoughts and I poured them into my story. I spent the next two years writing the four books in the Dark Ritual series under the pen name Catrina Burgess. Those characters in the book, the Scooby gang as I call them, kept me entertained and I truly believed helped me get better. I’m still sick, and I still have a lot of limitations on the things I can do, but on a good day I can think clearly. I’m mentally 70% there, which is a huge improvement. More importantly, I’m well enough to write. I never realized how much I loved writing until I couldn’t do it anymore.

You’re published by Full Fathom Five – the publishing company launched by James Frey – who shot to fame years ago with his bestseller A Million Little Pieces – how did that come about and how is it going so far?

I’m with the infamous James Frey publishing through the Full Fathom Five Digital house. I wrote the first three books in my Dark Ritual series and posted them on Wattpad. Wattpad is a teen writing community. I honestly didn’t think anyone would be interested in reading my YA books. I was writing them to entertain myself and my teenage nieces. I was shocked when the series started to get a lot of traction on Wattpad. Before I knew it, the first three books had over 3 million reads. I was getting fan email from teens from all over the world. I decided to enter Awakening, the first book in the series into a Wattpad writing contest. To my amazement, out of 3,000 entries, Awakening was picked as one of ten winners of the Wattpad 2014 Prize. Awakening was named best suspense book. After winning the contest, I was contacted by Full Fathom Five.

I spent a good deal of time researching the new house and their management. It’s always a risk to go with a new house, but I decided to take the risk. It took six months to negotiate a contract we could both live with. Once I was on board with the house, I got to know the staff as I worked with them. And I really enjoyed working with them.

The toughest part of the whole process was the eight months of publisher edits. Since I signed in January and the first three books all came out the month of October, I was under very tough deadlines. But somehow I survived them, though I don’t remember much about last summer, it seemed to have whizzed by in a blur of edits.

I love how the series turned out. I adore the covers. And I would have happily continued working with FFF, but unfortunately the digital house this year decided to downsize. They are not taking on any new submissions. I plan to write a half-dozen books set in the same world as the Dark Rituals series, but now I’m free to do whatever I want with those books. It’s a bit scary having an orphaned series. It’s very unlikely another house will pick up the rest of the series. At the moment the plan is to self-publish the rest of the books. Nowadays when you self-publish you have to consider covers and edits. Those expenses come out of your own pocket. You cross your fingers and hope that the book sells enough to repay the money you paid out of pocket. There is no guarantee it will. There is a risk, but there is also quite a bit of freedom having full control over your book. It allows you to take more risks with the story and the characters.

Given your background at Romance Junkies – what do you think are some key things that every author should do to promote their books?

If you asked me this question three years ago, I would have had a pat answer for you. There seemed to be a roadmap that authors could follow to find success and sales. But in the last three years the publishing industry has been in a free fall. Suddenly authors who had been making a great living writing are having a hard time surviving.

I’ve given a lot of thought to why there has been such a drastic change in Romanceland in the last three years. Is it because Amazon changed its algorithms?  The fact that so many indie authors are now publishing romance? Has the avalanche of free books turned readers off from buying books? Could it be that the middle class is shrinking, and people seem to be working more which leaves them less time to read and less money to spend on books? I think it’s a combination of all of the above.

So what can an Author do that will ensure she/he sells a zillion books? If I could answer that question, I would be the most popular person in Romanceland. I think it’s still important to try and get your name out. It helps to be active on social media. Book blog tours, Facebook ads, reviews—I think these things still help with book sales. But when it comes to the big sales I think it’s lightening striking—the combination of timing and luck. If you are lucky enough to have a project that hits big with Amazon rankings and somehow gets found by the readers and those readers spread the word about the book to all their friends–you get this grass roots buzz happening. The rankings and readers interest gets the blogs all talking about the book, and the big sales seem to follow. I don’t know that anyone has found a guaranteed way to make all of those things happen. If they did, I’m sure the whole of Romanceland would be talking about it.

Personally, I’m going to try a few non-writing projects see if I can raise my Author visibility. In the fall I’m going to start doing YouTube videos about paranormal topics. Hopefully, I can make the videos informative yet zany enough to entertain my teen readers.

Let’s say your book has been out there for six months, and the shine is off the apple – what are some key things that an author should do to keep their name out there?

Another good question. The answer seems to be write more books. It’s a tough time in publishing—authors are expected to write multiple books a year and, at the same time, do a ton of social media and marketing. You see many authors struggling to find time to write with all the marketing they are doing. Some authors seem to be able to juggle the two seamlessly. I’ve seen authors who are somehow on Twitter all day long interacting with their readers and yet they still find time to write. I wonder when they sleep.

What do you love reading and who are three of your favorite authors?

I love Jennifer Estep’s spider series. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is on my “auto-buy” list. I just discovered Calia Read, and I love the books in her new series–Unravel and Unhinge.

You have chronic fatigue syndrome – how does it affect your writing and daily routine? What are some things you do to help keep yourself balanced?

Chronic fatigue is a dreadful thing to have. Most people don’t realize how debilitating fatigue can be. There are days when I feel like I have a house sitting on my shoulders and getting up and putting a load of dishes in the dishwasher seems like an impossible task. I’ve always been a type A personality, but no amount of mental strength or willpower can fight through that much fatigue.

I found what works for me, is if I set a weekly page count. I try to write every day, but that’s not always possible. I find with the weekly page count it helps me push myself to get pages done on those days when I feel well enough to write. But there are many days during the week when I’m too sick even to sit at the laptop. Especially if I overdo it.

Last Olympics the women’s volleyball team had a mantra they used—breath, battle, believe. It’s a mantra I’ve adopted to help me get a book done. I breathe and take it easy on days I can’t work. I battle and work on the book on days I feel good. And I believe that if I keep working away the book will eventually get done.

Bonus: What are you really good at and why? (can be something silly) J

I can crochet afghans. It disturbs and amuses my friends that I can crochet. I’m someone who lives in graphic t-shirts, jeans, and vans, and I guess crocheting is something that people always think of grandmothers as doing.  I’m good at it thanks to my very own grandmother who taught me how to crochet.

Thank you!!!!!

Connect with Catrina Burgess (aka Cat Brown) via her website and via facebook, goodreadswattpad, and via her blog

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This week’s DEAL OF THE WEEK at Lachesis Publishing  The Accidental Witch by Jessica Penot (paranormal with romantic elements). It’s funny, scary, clever, and features a heroine that you will just love to bits.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!

or get it on amazon.

What it’s about:

Phaedra Michaels is a small town psychologist who is beginning to lose hope. Two of her patients at the local hospital in Dismal, Alabama have just killed themselves, she’s still reeling from her divorce and what turned out to be a disastrous marriage, and her father has died, leaving her without any notion of who her real mother is.

Just as Phaedra decides to commit herself to a serious drinking problem and an eating disorder, or two, a mysterious spell book arrives in the mail. Feeling desperate, Phaedra uses it to cast spells to save her fading patients. Suddenly, good things start happening.  Phaedra’s patients begin to get better and she even starts dating the sexy doctor from the hospital.

Phaedra is so happy she doesn’t notice the small things that start to go wrong in Dismal, or the dark creatures slithering out of the shadows near her house. When Phaedra finally realizes her spells have attracted every card-carrying demon from hell, she has no choice but to accept help from a slightly nerdy, 500 year-old warlock with a penchant for wearing super hero T-shirts and a knack for getting under Phaedra’s skin. Now, if only she could get the hang of this witch thing, she might be able to save her town.

EXCERPT:

I carefully pulled the twine and the brown paper fell off. Beneath the paper was a large, leather bound book. It looked like an old journal or recipe book. It was tied together with a red ribbon and the ribbon held numerous pieces of paper. I ran my hands over the smooth leather and read the title of the book. It simply said Spells.

I laughed and pulled the red ribbon that held the book together. The book fell open. Inside, it was like a recipe book a mother would pass on to a daughter. There were old typed pages with handwritten notes in the margins. There were pages added with handwritten spells on them and drawings.

“What the hell?” I said as I leafed through the old book. There were potions and summoning spells and candle spells. In-between pages, there were pressed flowers and herbs and some of the pages were stained with old candle wax.

I set the book down and went into the kitchen and opened the fridge. At least the kitchen was done. It looked like any other modern kitchen. It had granite counter tops and marble floors. I’d spared no expense making it look like something that belonged in an old southern mansion. I wanted the house to be perfect and I had Johnny Boy’s money to help me achieve that dream. The lights flickered when I entered. I would have to talk to Lawson about that in the morning. I took a beer out of the fridge and opened it. I had a sip and grabbed a roll of cookie dough. Armed with the cookie dough and beer, I returned to the book. It had fallen off the counter, to the floor, and was opened to a page. I laughed again. The page it had opened to was love spells. That was just what I needed.

I sat down and ate and drank and leafed through the book. I stopped at a page with an interesting picture on it. The spell was an awakening spell. It awakened you to the supernatural world. I hesitated and looked at the script around it.

Something fell upstairs and the lights went out. I fumbled around and found the nearest flashlight and switched it on just as the lights flickered back on.

“Lawson, you asshole,” I said as I turned the flashlight off. “The wiring is done in the parlor, my ass.”

A sudden wave of fatigue washed over me and I picked up my mess and carted my sorry butt upstairs. I climbed into bed with my flashlight. I still had the book of spells. It had been so long since someone had given me something that I had forgotten what it felt like. I knew the book was more than weird. It bordered on creepy. A normal woman would probably burn the damn thing, but I wasn’t a normal woman. I was a lonely divorcée living in a house known to be haunted, but I loved it the way most people love their pets. I was the daughter of a man who had made it clear that he loathed me, with a step-mother who’d bought me toilet paper for Christmas. The creepy book was wonderful to me. It meant that someone out there, even if they were a freak, cared about me, and freak love was better than no love at all.

Did you like what you read? You can get The Accidental Witch at Lachesis Publishing for only .99 cents. THIS WEEK ONLY!

Connect with Jessica online on her web site and on facebook and twitter.

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We’re going to WOW you ALL SUMMER LONG with GREAT DEALS at Lachesis Publishing.

This week we’re offering Book 1 and 2 in the Bloodmane Chronicles by Sara Brooke for only 1.49 each! A whopping 70% off!

Click here to purchase both books (all e-book formats available).

THE AWAKENING: Book 1 of the Bloodmane Chronicles: Renda Bloodmane is a twenty-eight year-old quiet librarian living in a small town in Florida. But all of that changes when she starts seeing dead people everywhere she goes. Including a hunky ghost named Cole whose been dead for more than 100 years. When she visits her best friend Bobbie Trillo in Georgia she realizes that Bobbie’s mother is being possessed by a demon and she’s the only one who can save the woman from the monster bent on destroying her. 

CHILD OF THE DEAD: Book 2 of the Bloodmane Chronicles: Renda Bloodmane is back at work at the library and is also “dating” Cole, the sexy ghost from Georgia. When her co-worker asks her to help a young girl named Katie who is acting strangely, Renda finds out the child is being haunted by an evil gang of ghosts whose leader was a child serial killer when he was alive. Renda must do everything in her power to fight them and save Katie, before the child becomes their next victim.

Photo of Sara Brooke courtesy Eugenio Wilman is an Amazon bestselling author of horror, paranormal romance, and suspense fiction.

Sara Brooke is an Amazon bestselling author of horror, paranormal romance, and suspense fiction.

A lifelong avid reader of all things scary, Sara’s childhood dream was to write books that make readers sleep with their lights on. She hopes that isn’t too troubling for the thousands of readers worldwide who have purchased her books.

Sara resides in beautiful South Florida. She can be reached via her website at www.sarabrooke.com. Sara welcomes feedback and questions from readers.

You can Like Sara’s facebook page  – called, The Bloodmane Chronicles . Connect with Sara on facebook, on twitter @SaraBrooke8, and on her website. Sara welcomes feedback and questions from readers.

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What’s a guy to do when a beautiful and sexy witch asks him to be her baby daddy? TUG OF ATTRACTION is our DEAL OF THE WEEK. .99 CENTS! This week only! 

NEWS: TUG OF ATTRACTION is a winner of the 2016 Still Moments Magazine MAPLE LEAF AWARDS for BEST COVER (cover by Holly Kennedy who just happens to be the daughter of author Ashlyn Chase! 🙂 Congratulations!!! 

TUG OF ATTRACTION – WHAT I’TS ABOUT:

Book 2 Love Spells Gone Wrong Series

Failed actress Brigit Love moved back to New Hampshire from Hollywood with one goal: to have a child. So far her only babies are furry and live at the animal shelter where she works. Brigit isn’t willing to marry to get what she wants, so doing things in “the correct order” may not be possible. Even her Wiccan spells don’t seem to be working. Until she comes up with an outrageous idea that just might do the trick.

Handsome tugboat captain Ethan Cox loves his life as a happy bachelor and his only goal is to keep things exactly the way they are. No wonder his coven friend Brigit thinks he’d be the perfect guy to plant the seed and walk away whistling, especially with an iron clad contract protecting his interests.

Ethan truly wants to help Brigit, but the contract she draws up stating he must give up all rights and responsibilities leaves him with a sinking feeling. Will he lose Brigit’s friendship and make coven rituals awkward if he refuses—or lose even more if he doesn’t?

Ashlyn Chase is a best selling author who writes funny and sexy, light paranormal romances and erotic romances. Connect with Ashlyn on her website and on facebook and twitter.

Ashlyn’s  other books in the Love Spells Gone Wrong Series include The Cupcake Coven (book 1) and Tug of Attraction (book 2).

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Venice, Italy was captured by Patricia Barletta’s imagination before she captured this photo.

Where does your story take place? In a galaxy far, far away? Or maybe in an anthill teeming with tiny creatures? No matter where you’ve chosen to place your characters, they have to be someplace. The setting of a story is much more than logistics – making sure a character doesn’t trip over a table or walk out a door that wasn’t there before. Setting is also a state of mind. We think one way if we’re on a busy city street in the summer and another if we’re trudging through the mountains in the middle of a blizzard. Characters in a story should, too. What if you’ve never experienced either of those conditions, but one or the other is important to the tale you want to tell? What if you want to set your story in a place where you’ve never been? How do you do that and make it authentic?

Image: www.ispirando.it

My book, Moon Dark, is set in Venice, Italy, in 1797. I’d never been to Italy when I decided to set my story there, and I certainly couldn’t time-travel back to the late eighteenth century. I knew a little bit about the city, that it had canals and gondolas, and a celebration called Carnevale, but not much else. So I had to do some serious research about the physical place, as well as its history and customs.

The first sources I went to were travel guides. These are great for giving the layout of a place, as well as the tourist attractions like historical sites, which were in everyday use in my historical story. Most have detailed street maps. Some show the floor plans and interiors of important buildings, and some others give details that only the natives know. This type of information is important if you want your characters to appear like they belong where you’ve put them.

Image: Merlin TV series http://www.bbc.co.uk

Next, my research took me to political histories of Venice. Even if you’re writing a story set in the present, a little knowledge of the setting’s history helps fill in background details, because no one lives in a vacuum. No matter who or what your character is, he/she/it should know or want to know something about the past, whether immediate or distant, because it impacts the present. In my case, I discovered that Venice has a long history of keeping secrets and protecting herself by using spies, called capo neri. Putting them in my story added another layer of danger and suspense.

One of Canaletto’s paintings of Venice Image: www.telegraph.co.uk

Every region of the world has its own rules of conduct, and we interact with each other differently now than we did in the past. I needed to discover how the Venetians lived their lives and where they slept. I delved into social histories, which explained customs and mores of the time. Since the buildings in Venice are unique because they have entrances which open directly onto the canals, I looked at books on architecture. Fortunately, at the time my story is set, landscape painting was the hot fad, and Canaletto was its master in Venice, so I was able to look at his artwork reproduced in books that showed scenes of the city. For stories set in the modern era, photography books work well. And of course there’s the app, Google Earth.

I happened to find a memoir written by a Venetian about his ancestor who lived at the time of my story, which gave me fabulous details about Venice and her inhabitants. Journals, travelogues, and newspapers are some other good resources for discovering what the people of a time and place are thinking about. Your characters may be focused on the action in your story, but other stuff is going on around them.

The next stop in my research journey took me to fashion books, because people move differently in corsets and petticoats and waistcoats and breeches than they do in tee shirts and jeans. Besides, readers of romance want to know what the characters in a story are wearing. Finally, cookbooks reveal how and what people from a specific region eat. You are what you eat, right? And don’t forget to check the weather. It’s not sunny and seventy-two degrees everywhere all the time. You can get details about conditions at different times of the year online. You can even find out the specific date the moon was full centuries ago.

Patricia Barletta (right) with her friend enjoying Venice.

Serendipity plays a big role in research. I’ve tripped over quite a few interesting details that I’ve used in my stories to make my characters and settings more authentic. Once you get the sense of a place, you can extrapolate and let your imagination run wild. I don’t think there ever was a Canale di l’Ombres (Canal of Shadows) in the real city of Venice, but I put one there.

I finally got to travel to Italy last year and see Venice. It was everything I imagined – magical and mysterious and beautiful. And I was thrilled to discover that a lot of my descriptions matched the actual sites. But I can’t decide which was more fun: creating it in my imagination or riding through its canals and walking its alleys.

Moon Dark

Patricia Barletta writes historical romance with paranormal elements. Her first release with Lachesis Publishing is MOON DARK and it’s the first in a new and exciting series called the AURIANO CURSE SERIES. You can buy it here at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon, kobo, Barnes and Noble.

Find out more about Patricia Barletta and her books on her website: www.patriciabarletta.com.

Connect with Patricia Barletta on facebook: Patricia Barletta on facebook

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