Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Author Interview & Contest: Lorraine Nelson

First let me just say, I HATE LONG DRIVES! Okay, not entirely true. I LOVE long drives... when I'm not doing all 11 hours of the driving! But I'm here in Colorado, ready to start this new chapter in my life.

Blah blah blah, Renee, get to the cowboys!


Today I have someone very very special with me, Evernight Publishing debut author Lorraine Nelson! I've been stalking following Lorraine's publication journey through a message board and our mutual friend/superstar Ju Dimello, so I was delighted when the post came up that she was offered a contract!

When/How did you decide writing was something you just had to do?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve written poetry, short stories and children’s books. It’s always been an integral part of me. A bit of a loner growing up, my reading and writing kept me occupied. When my children were younger, I wrote for their age group. Now they’ve grown, I write for mine.

What steered you to romantic fiction, or your particular flavor of romance?

I’ve been an avid romance and mystery reader for many years. It seemed natural to com

bine the two and try writing one. Romantic suspense is a growing market and, as most of my novels end up with an element of suspense in them, that seems to be the genre for me... although some, such as Zakia, are quite hot. Writing romance and/or suspense is the one thing I’ve always wanted to try my hand at, but I didn’t complete my first manuscript until March 2009. To be able to combine the two and craft a believable, entertaining story gives me a great sense of satisfaction in what I do.

What is your writing routine? When/where is your preferred time to write? What obstacles do you deal with, if any?

Routine? I’m supposed to have a routine? LOL

Oh thank goodness, I thought I was the only one without a routine!

When I sit down to write I tend to read over the last couple pages I wrote to get back into the right mindset for that story before I start writing. If I need to research something, I do it as I go. It isn’t uncommon for me to be working half a dozen stories at a time, so it helps keep them straight. And if I stall out on one, there’s always another beckoning me from the background.

I write at my desk in my home office anytime the muse strikes. Peace and quiet is essential for me when I’m writing. Lately, I tend to write more at night to avoid interruptions, especially if I’m editing someone else’s work.

My youngest son moved home, complete with girlfriend and baby girl, my precious granddaughter, Alexis. I love having them, but it sure cuts into my writing time.

What is the most important thing you've learned, either in writing or publishing, or both?

Anyone can do it if they want it bad enough. When I started writing for adults in 2008, I thought I knew what I was doing. I mean, I’ve always had a good command of English grammar, and read mega loads of books, so what was the big deal? Well, let me tell you, I’ve learned a thing or two along the way! My first attempts were riddled with head-hopping and a few other things. Needless to say, writing is a continual learning experience and I’m enjoying the challenge.

As to publishing and being published, I’m loving it. Zakia and the Cowboy involved a fair amount of editing, but I didn’t have any trouble making the deadlines. My editor, Emma Shortt, is terrific; my cover is fabulous and everything has been done with efficiency. The Evernight team is great to work with! I find that I’m even enjoying all the promoting that comes with having books for sale.

On Thursday, October 13th, my Christmas novella went live on Amazon. I enjoyed learning the process of self-publishing and even designed my own cover. I’m toying with the idea of putting another one on Amazon, a full-length Christmas novel, in November.

That's so exciting to take that step into self-publishing already! (And awesome choice on the cover dude, how adorable!)

What do you currently have your bookmark in?

LOL, Renee! I haven’t had much time to read lately. I’ve started A Question of Impropriety by Michelle Styles, which I keep in my purse. If I have a lengthy wait anywhere, that’s what I read. I’m loving the hero in that story… a reformed rake, and of course, the heroine has a hard time believing he’s changed and tries to keep her distance.

Are we going to see more smexy cowboys?

I’m working on books 2 and 3 of the Thunder Creek series, the sequels to Zakia.

(YAY :D)

The following is a scene from chapter two of Zakia and the Cowboy.

Her pace slow as she rounded the front of the truck, she paused for a moment to let reality sink in. She was home.

Strange to feel that way when she’d been gone so long but she now realized how much she’d missed the place, the country air, the smell of fresh cut hay… and the man. Once the shakes and numbness subsided, she strode purposefully in his direction.

She felt his eyes on her as she approached, the stream of light provided by the bare bulb hanging behind him highlighting her journey yet keeping him in shadow. Only a few feet away from him she paused, her husky voice cutting through the quiet of the night as she simply said, “Hello, Luke.”

Brisk and to the point, he acknowledged her presence. “Zakia. What brings you out here? Slumming these days?”

Zakia sighed, hurt but unsurprised by his words. “I never considered living on the ranch as slumming, Luke. My leaving had nothing to do with the ranch.”

“It had everything to do with it. You left for a better and brighter social scene. Why are you here now?”

“We’ll talk about my reasons for leaving later. Right now I have a long story to tell but the short answer is this…” Looking him in the eye as best she could in the near dark, she put all the emotion and desperation she could into her voice when she replied, “I’m in trouble, Luke. I need your help.”

“Hah! If that’s all you came for you might as well head back to town. Daddy’s money always seemed to be more comfort to you than I ever was.”

“That’s not true, Luke! As miserable as I was living way out here with only the bunkhouse cook to keep me company during the day, I was just as miserable alone in the city. I was packing to come back when the divorce papers came. I thought you didn’t want me anymore.”

“Nice try, but I’m not buying. You left without a word or a warning and you show up again the same way. I don’t want or need you in my life. Now go. Get off my property.”

* * * *

Turning his back on her was the hardest thing he’d ever done, other than watching her drive away. She’d been sick that morning and he’d rode home on Prince at noon to check on her, only to pull up short as he’d seen her car pull onto the road. Frantic, he’d dismounted and ran into the house hoping to find a note, something, anything to tell him where she was going and when she’d be back. Nothing greeted him except an empty dresser and closet.

Now she was back. Damned if she wasn’t more beautiful than ever. Her delightful teenage curves had filled out nicely, fulfilling the promise he remembered from their time together.

“Luke, please! I came here because you’re the only man I trust who can help. I can’t leave until you hear me out. Then, if you still want me to go, I’ll be out of here so fast, you’ll wonder if it was all a dream.”

As hard as it was to refuse her anything, even now, he had to for his own sanity. It had almost killed him when she left the first time. She wasn’t going to have the chance to do it again. “Trust? You wouldn’t know the meaning of the word. I don’t have time to listen to some trumped up story, Zakia. I’m busy.”

What would you like to promote here?

I’m pleased to announce that Zakia and the Cowboy is a Featured Title at All Romance Books and numbers in the top 40 on their bestseller list. It’s available at the following locations:

Evernight Publishing


All Romance Ebooks


1 Place for Romance

If you’re interested in a Christmas novella, His Christmas Wish is available at Amazon for 99 cents.

Where can readers find you?

I’m usually kicking around on Facebook, but they can message me directly through my website and/or blog. I love to hear from readers, so if you’ve read my work, please take a moment to contact me and let me know what you liked or didn’t like about Zakia and Luke’s story.






Please post a comment and your email addy to be entered in the draw for a free download of Zakia and the Cowboy. Winners will be announced on my blog tomorrow.

Thank you for having me here today, Renee.

Thank you so much for coming by today, Lorraine!
I'm flattered to have had you here, and wish you much success with this series!

Guys, go ahead and comment to win; this is a BESTSELLER!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Musical Monday: Opeth

I'm super excited today, because tomorrow, I move to Denver, Colorado. And next Tuesday, Opeth will be in Denver performing at the Ogden Theater. Guess where I'll be? It's fate, really, and the fact that Opeth played on NPR today means that my little corner of the world is coming together nicely after a few days of uncertainty.

Okay, so that's a little dramatic. Anywho.

Probably my favorite band in the world, second only to another Swedish progressive metal band, Opeth is one of the few groups that can speak to every one of my moods.

Except happiness. There is a huge void where you might find "happy" in their albums.

Opeth inspired the opening scene of what was originally the beginning of "Waking The Dead" (which was worked and reworked until it resembled something entirely different). I turn to them whenever I need inspiration, particularly when my brooding male Alphas refuse to talk to me.

This song is something that's a bit different from their usual death metal growls.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Author Interview & Contest: Lucianne Rivers

Hello all!

I'm so excited today to have the opportunity to have Lucianne Rivers, author of the Caldwell Sisters series. The third installment, ENTICE ME, has just been released by Entangled Publishing. To celebrate the release, Lucy is giving away an incredible prize to a commenter here today!

And I start off as I always do, when did you decide writing was something you just had to do?

After the birth of my daughter, Lily, nearly two years ago, I felt this huge surge of creativity and took a screenwriting class at my local community college. This began a love of writing. From there I learned the craft of writing prose, and made the switch.

What steered you to romantic fiction, or your particular flavor of romance?

I've always read romance, beginning with anything by Austen or the Bronte sisters, and then moving on to more "adult" titles by Linda Howard and Jude Devereaux. At the movies, I tend to veer toward romantic thrillers. It makes sense that as a writer I'd be drawn to the genre. I'm a romantic, and my dream is to love passionately, and be loved the same way in return...

What is your writing routine? What obstacles do you deal with, if any?

I've just been through a break-up. Writing has been been next to impossible. I hope to return to it very soon.

Sorry to hear that, Lucy! I do hope you get back to writing soon, because I know you have some great stories in you that need to be told. (Just look at her back list, guys, great stuff!) What is the most important thing you've learned, either in writing or publishing, or both?

That it's not possible to make the switch from reader to writer without learning the "rules" of writing. Because there are many, and you probably won't pick up on them just from consuming fiction.

I wish someone had told me about all the stuff that goes into writing a book BEFORE I started! GMC, try explaining THAT to an eight-year-old, LOL. Speaking of reading, what have you read that you think readers should look out for?

My favorite book ever is Shirley by Charlotte Bronte, followed by any one of Susan Wiggs' historical romances. Currently I am reading Cover Me by Catherine Mann.

The heroine of Shirley is a girl called Caroline who loves a man who doesn't seem to love her back. Her story stays with me...

To celebrate the release of ENTICE ME, the third novella in the Caldwell Sisters Trilogy, I'm doing a giveaway of all three stories. Please leave a comment on this post to have your name entered into a draw. The winner will be chosen a week from today. (October 19)

Good luck, Lucy

All three books are available for purchase here: Lucianne Rivers

My blog:

Wow, THREE BOOKS guys! Get to commenting!

I want to thank Lucy again for stopping by here today, and for giving away such a generous prize!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Musical Monday and Winners

I've been a bad blogger this week.

I moved from my employee housing on Saturday, and expect to move from my current apartment within the next two weeks or so. We're looking at Colorado, which I've never even been to, but I figure I can do anything for six months until I return to Arizona for work in the spring.

So please forgive the fact that I've left my autopostings to do all the work for me.

Winners of Evernight's BIG Birthday Bash!
$5 Giftcard to Evernight Publishing: Pommawolf
FIRST Copy of "Waking The Dead": Kathryn

Congratulations, guys! Kathryn, please e-mail me at your convenience, I'm not sure if my message made it to you!

Back to the music. What am I in the mood for today?

Swedish progressive ANYTHING. Rock, metal, you name it. The Swedish know how to write music.

A.C.T. is one of those rare gems I stumbled across completely by accident. They're super catchy, and their lead singer is adorable. Always helps. This song also was played on repeat after a particularly rough break-up, even though I'm fairly certain the concept of this album is about an insane groundskeeper, conniving landlord and a sentient apartment building.

Yep, those Swedes.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Author Interview: Seleste deLaney

Please extend a warm welcome to this week's guest, the (absolutely awesome, downright gorgeous and sweet as can be) multi-published author, Seleste deLaney! Seleste writes for Evernight Publishing, Decadent Publishing and Carina Press, and is here today showing off her release, GunShy!

When/How did you decide writing was something you just had to do?
Wow. I like the way that’s worded because I don’t get to answer with the standard “all my life” thing. I wrote a lot as a kid, Then wrote a ton of poetry as a teenager. Then I went to college and wrote papers (*yawn*) and dabbled with writing again (but not seriously at all). Sometime after graduating, I started noticeably suffering from depression. I didn’t realize how therapeutic writing was until after my son was born and I started doing it regularly. That was about the time I started for real, and I’ve never looked back.

What steered you to romantic fiction, or your particular flavor of romance?
Most of my stories have had strong romantic elements, though there are few that most people would classify as straight romance. For me, falling in love is such an integral part of life that to avoid it is doing a disservice to the characters (and in that way, to the reader as well). I want my characters to be whole people, and generally that means some sort of romantic entanglement, whether there is a happily-ever-after or not.

What is your writing routine?
I’m supposed to have a routine? Crap. (*jots down note to set up a routine stat*) Seriously, my biggest obstacle, now that my kids are back in school, is focus. During the day, I have a difficult time focusing on creating fiction. I can do blogs and edit and take care of all the business stuff, but my creative juices flow best at night when the house is dark and everyone else is asleep. So, most of my actual writing happens between the hours of 10pm and 2 am.

In my perfect world, I suppose I'd have a routine where I write for 20 minutes and miraculously 8,000 beautiful words appeared on the screen while I sip my morning coffee. I'm holding out hope this is possible!

What is the most important thing you've learned, either in writing or publishing, or both?

That no matter what, you have to do what’s best for the story. I won’t add sex just to add sex. Same with violence or anything else. My characters have a story to tell and other people don’t get to dictate what that story is. Luckily for the most part, my editors have all understood my characters and have helped me see deeper into things rather than having me change them.

As for publishing, the biggest thing I’ve learned is it’s a business and the moment things become personal, it means I’ve stepped away from that. I can like the people I work with (and in general do), but that doesn’t mean that I can put blinders on to my career path. It also means, like I mentioned above, I have my own path to follow, and I won’t let anyone else choose it for me (even if my way takes longer).

Favorite book/story you've read recently, or what are you reading now? Any scene, hero or heroine that just jumped out at you?
I just read Bloodlines and Hunter by Skyla Dawn Cameron. LOVED both books. Zara Lain is the most bad-ass, snarky heroine ever. I have a feeling those books are going to be go-to reads for whenever I need a good dose of kick-in-the-pants.

What is your favorite line from GunShy? Just to give us a taste before we hop into the excerpt :)
As soon as his zipper was down, her fingers searched for the waistband of his underwear... and found his dick instead. “Oh God,” she moaned against his mouth, and he pulled back from the kiss. “You go commando. Of course you go commando.”

Oh, wow! As if anyone needed any more incentive to read on!

GunShy is book 1 of Cupid’s Conquests

Banished from Olympus with orders to restore love to the world, Eros starts with a match no one sees coming. No one but him.

Straight-laced principal Kira isn’t looking for love, especially not right after getting dumped. Then a chance encounter leads her to Jesse, and damned if she isn’t drawn to the bad-boy with a heart of gold. A night of reckless abandon leaves her confused. Was there something there, or did she imagine the connection between them?

Jesse knows lying to Kira is a mistake, but she's the first woman in a long time to see the man and not just the rock star. When his plan to come clean goes terribly wrong, Kira bolts, leaving Jesse in the dust.

Now Eros has to nudge the star-crossed lovers together and prove to Zeus that love does exist, even among the gun shy.

At Evernight:
At Amazon:
At All Romance Ebooks:

Where can readers find you?
I am literally all over the internet. I’m on Twitter (!/SelestedeLaney) , Facebook (, and Google+ ( under Seleste deLaney. Plus, there’s my website (, blog (, plus I blog periodically at Here Be Magic ( and The Evil League of Evil Writers ( , and I do occasional reviews at Wicked Lil Pixie ( And sometimes I sleep too :P:P

Thanks so much for having me here!

And thank you for joining us today, Seleste! Now some homework for my readers. Go check

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

I'm still over the moon about my December release with Evernight Publishing. Adrian and Miriam's story, "Waking The Dead," is the first in a series following a pack of mythical shape-shifters responsible for keeping the dead where they belong. The pairing of Adrian and Miriam was initially a challenge, because essentially Miriam's kind undo everything the hellhounds strive to maintain.

I went through the entire manuscript of "Waking The Dead," trying to find the perfect six-sentence excerpt to demonstrate that, despite their differences, Adrian and Miriam are just meant to be. I hope this does it justice.


The need to feel his flesh against hers, to have her wrapped around him as he thrust into her over and over, tempted his restraint as he breathed in her scent.

“Incredible,” he said into her hair. “No witch should smell this good to a hellhound. It’s dangerous.”

“It’s called shampoo,” she said into his chest, with a gentle smile in her voice. “It wouldn’t hurt you hounds to use it either.”