Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Wolf has been unleashed

I'm so excited! Settler's Mine: the Wolf released yesterday! I'm also a little nervous because this book is a little bit different. It explores D/s, which is something I've done but never this blatantly before. And Clyde is da bomb *Grins*.

The Blurb:

When Clyde goes into heat, no one else will do but one of his own secretive race, the Wolftons.

Angelica isn't expecting anyone when she hears a shuttle arrive. To her surprise, it's a virile Wolfton, who asks a single question, "Are you a whore?"

Her answer of "yes" plunges her into an erotic fantasy where her every whim is indulged. With Clyde, she takes the role of submissive to new heights.

Clyde knew he'd find sex to ease his urges, but Angelica's more than a willing body. She's his mate. And with his scent all over her, she's never going to be safe from the bounty hunters after his hide. Now this Wolf will have to outrun his pack to Settler's Mine to claim and keep his mate.

To read an excerpt.

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you all a safe and very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Emotional~Sensual~Satisfying Reads!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's Grinch-a-polooza!

Tired of the holidays? Are you ready to strangle the next person who says 'Happy Holidays' to you? Do you secretly dream of capturing Santa and putting him to work cleaning out your garage?

If you answered yes to any of these questions - Come join J.C. Wilder and Friends at the Annual Grinch-a-polooza chat event!

The fun begins at 6pm EST on December 24th. So grab a cup (or bottle) of your favorite libation, don your ugliest Christmas sweater and break out the matches - It's Grinch time...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice to you all. It officially arrived at 7:04 AM EST.

Today is the shortest day of the year, which means it's the longest night of the year. After today the days will start to get a little bit longer.

Welcome to the official start of winter.

Take some time today to reflect on the year gone by. What have you done? What things did you mean to do that somehow slipped by?

This time of year always makes me stop and think about what I want out of the coming year. This is not about New Year's resolutions, but about checking in with yourself to see if you're living the kind of life that feeds your soul or depletes it. If it's the later, then it's time to think about changes.

Me, I want to open my life up a bit more. I've always been a stay-at-home kinda gal, but working at home as a writer these past few years has really closed off my life in many ways. I need to get out there in the world, take a course of some kind, meet new people...something. I'm still thinking about it.

Whatever your circumstances in this tumultuous world, I hope the holiday season brings you joy and peace. And may the you find light and happiness to your life in the days ahead.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

And so ends my second year ...

I'm finishing up my second year as a published author, and am taking a moment to look back and reflect. I did a similar thing last year (right here:

Things I have learned:

  1. There is no secret handshake. Publication is a matter of talent, hard work, and luck, just like everybody said. You need talent to write the book, hard work to finish it, and luck to find the right publisher.

  2. Promotion is a never-ending story. Because I am published electronically, I can always promote a book. My back list never dies. This is a good thing and a bad thing. Good because it never dies. Bad because I can always do promotion.

  3. Some people will love your work and some will go 'hunh? How did you get published?' or words to that effect. It's largely irrelevant. You are published, you are talented, and you are good at what you do. Some people just don't get it.

  4. To some publishers, you are expendable. It is not a concern of theirs if you are happy, have good sales, or like your editor. On the other hand, some publishers truly care about you, your happiness as an author, your sales, and your relationship with your editors. Nurture those publishers.

  5. Make sure to have fun along the way. Don't take this so seriously. Enjoy the writing, enjoy the process, enjoy the whole schmiel. Be serious about your writing, but also enjoy it. When it becomes like work, take a break. You're in this to make money, yes, but you should also enjoy doing it.

Enough deep thoughts. I need to gird my loins (metaphorically speaking) to head out into the snow and meet friends for lunch. Then I plan to come back, get the fireplace going, and write with a mug of cocoa near at hand. I have stories to tell!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Video Blather and Chats

Hi all,

I just published my very first video blog! Yay! It's over at my website -- Click Here

But in addition, me and as many authors as can make it from the Holiday Hottie contest are chatting live at both the Ellora's Cave and the Samhain Cafe reader loops. In addition to closing out the Holiday Hottie contest so we can announce the grand prize winners, we'll also be doing some contests, recipe swaps, jokes and just plain ole fun.

When: December 19, 2009
Time: 6:00pm to 9:00pm EST
Where: Ellora's Cave and Samhain Cafe Yahoo groups

Now...go check out my first vBlog! And no laughing...on second thought do laugh because I'm just plain silly ;D


Monday, December 8, 2008

Why do I do it?

I’m a Christmas fanatic. I’ll admit it. I love the lights. Really really love the lights. I love Christmas trees. I love all the family get togethers. I love buying people presents, especially when you find that perfect gift. I love Christmas music. I love Christmas specials. I’m a nut about the holiday.

At Halloween, I was doing some decorating inside. My oldest asked, “How come you do the inside? No one is ever going to see it.”

Well, I deck out the inside at Christmas, too, as much as the outside. And so far, we aren’t having any huge family gatherings here.

So why do I do it? Why do I transform the inside of my house into a “winter wonderland” as my oldest termed it?

For me.

I do it for myself. Because I love seeing things all decorated. I love the traditions that come along with it.

When we decorate our Christmas tree, it’s like a trip down memory lane. There are ornaments from past years that the kids have made. There are ornaments that the hubby and I made together when we were first married and had little money. There are ornaments to honor the critters, kids, and marriage coming into our lives. Ornaments people have given to us through the years. And ones that the hubby and I brought into the marriage.

It’s the same with the rest of the house. There’s the Nativity Set that the hubby gave to me one Christmas. There’s my Christmas town that I set up on top of the entertainment center. There are house that I’ve acquired from various places, including a toy shop that was the hubby’s and a reindeer barn that I place Rudolph near. There’s the little tiny Santa that I place on our sculpture of the Currituck lighthouse. There are all my Christmas Snoopys. Candles.

I’m a sentimental sap and I love getting out the Christmas stuff to walk through memories.

I also just really find everything so beautiful.

I love this time of the year! For me, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Exciting news

Law's Deliverance is a 2009 EPPIE finalist in the science fiction/futuristic category! My coathor and I are thrilled!

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Promo time! Reincarnation, time travel and ...

... toss in a wise-cracking telepathic dog and you've got Endurance, Book 2 in my History Patrol series. It released last week in download over at Cerridwen Press.

This book is in first person male POV, which was really fun to write. I also had fun with Cerberus, the dog. He's a major character in the book and helps guide the hero, Nico Haidess, through the potentially deadly traps laid for him and the heroine, Lucinda Delacroix.

You see, Nico has been trapped in time by an immortality virus, stranded without the one creature he loved, his shapeshifting History Patrol companion, Persa. When Cerberus tells Nico that Lucinda is the reincarnation of Persa, the plot really thickens. Nico is a paid assassin and Lucinda is his target.

Oops. Lucky for Nico Cerberus was there ... or was it just luck or intervention by a Higher Power? Hmm.

In the course of the story Cerberus, Lucinda, and Nico all discover their destiny while tracking the bastard who infected Nico. And while doing so, they all discover some other important qualities like love, trust, and compromise. It's a fascinating journey for them all ....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm thrilled to announce that Beyond Shadows, my paranormal/shapeshifter novel, is now available from from Ellora’s Cave Publishing!

Beyond Shadows
N.J. Walters

This is a stand alone book, but it is a sequel to “Shadows Stir” from Dreams of the Oasis IV anthology.

An immortal warrior of the Shadow Realm, Blade’s self-control has been honed to a razor’s edge by centuries of fighting, but it vanishes the moment he lays eyes on Jacqueline Harris. The mere sight of her stirs his blood and he craves physical pleasures long forgotten.

Jac is an accountant, not a risk taker, preferring to live her life quietly. That all changes when she is sent to see a client by mistake and stumbles onto a crime ring. Now she’s on the run for her life.

The sexy stranger appears at her beach house, swearing to protect her at all costs. Dark and dangerous, he resembles the assassin she first fears he is. The last thing she expects is that he can morph into the deadly panther tattooed on his chest. The undeniable passion between them flares to life, but it is more than attraction. It is a soul-deep knowing that he will change her life forever. Blade becomes both protector and lover, but it’s up to her to save him from the shadows that haunt him.

I'm also thilled to announce the release of BY THE BOOK, which is part of the Jamesville series but can be read as a stand alone novel!

Amanda Barrington has moved to Jamesville to start a new life, but someone in this quiet town is trying to kill her.

Former soldier, Jonah Sutter, has returned home to help his sister pick up the pieces of her life. Sparks fly when he and Amanda meet.

He takes on the job of fixing the wiring in her house and ends up protecting her from her stalker. When Amanda is attacked again, all bets are off. And Jonah is no longer playing By The Book.

By The Book is now available from Samhain Publishing. To find out more about this book, or any other of my books, check out my website.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Life lessons from a car purchase

Hooray! I got a new car. I picked it up last night.

My 'old' car wasn't old -- it was just 2 years old. But I wasn't comfortable driving it. I had all-wheel drive before I bought it, and I really missed it. And here in the snowy North, AWD is very, very useful.

So I bit the bullet and talked the Spousal Unit into a new purchase. I forced him to test drive with me so we can be sure he fits (he had a problem with the old car which he neglected to mention until the purchase was done. Oops).

I agonized over the color choices -- should I get the green/gray with the off-white interior? Or the dark gray/silver with the black interior? I loved the green/gray color but I was worried about the dirt in the off-white interior. I thought about it, I paced, I read reviews, I looked at Scotchgard (c) products, I debated ...

I got the gray one. It was $1000 less and the interior sold me. As I drove it home through blowing snow I was so happy. It handles like a dream, it's quick, it's responsive, it's quiet, it's everything I wanted. I realized that the exterior is largely irrelevant. I don't see the exterior that much. I see the interior. And while I loved the look of the ivory/beige interior, I know in a year I'd be worried about that coffee stain, that scuff mark, or the spill in the rear hatch.

Life lesson? It's what's inside that counts -- the engine and the interior. Both cars were identical except for color (and price). Don't be swayed by fancy looks (or fancy book covers) and take a chance on what's inside. It's almost always the best choice.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Hero's Journey

This weekend I had the privilege of hearing Deb Dixon speak on both Goals Motivation and Conflict (a writer's bible of sorts) and the Hero's Journey. She used a lot of movie examples and we dissected movies. LOL she said we'd never be able to watch a movie purely for enjoyment again.

I tend to think of the hero, and by the way, when talking about the Hero's Journey, we're talking simply the protagonist, not specifically male, as going on a quest with this template. But she showed it applied to books without some quest as well. Like a romance. She said in a romance, you can have one character drive the book and another as its heart.

Which of course made me think about my own books. And how to apply this to what I write. I already do that in a lot of ways. I always think about my story as a journey. My character(s) tend to change throughout the novel. Not just romantically but usually the inner workings in some manner as well. I think I'm going to go back and revise an old story and really put this framework to the test. After I've done it (and don't hold your breath...I'm a deadline LOL for another story), I'll come back and report how it went.

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Beyond Shadows

Isn't the cover gorgeous!
The amazingly talented Syneca has created this gorgeous cover for Beyond Shadows, a paranormal/erotic romance due out on November 21st from Ellora’s Cave Publishing.
Warriors of the Shadow Realm are facing their own demise, becoming lost in the shadows that were once their salvation. The Shadow Lord, hoping to stave off their destruction, sends Blade, one of his fiercest warriors, to protect a woman who holds one of the keys to their survival.

Jac Harris is an accountant, not a risk taker, preferring to live her life quietly. That all changes when she is sent on an accounting job by mistake and stumbles onto a crime ring. Now the bad guys are chasing her and she doesn’t know where to run.

A mysterious man shows up at her family’s beach house swearing to protect her at all costs. But Jac doesn’t quite know what to believe. With an arsenal of knives strapped to his body, and clothed from head to toe in black leather, he resembles the assassin she fears he is. Blade becomes her protector and lover in this deadly game, but it’s up to her to save him from the shadows that haunt him.
If you want to check out an excerpt, just go to my website and click on the cover on the "News" page.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween contest

There's a big contest going on today through Halloween. A bunch of authors, (including me) are hiding in their house on a Trick or Treat Street. We've all contributed to a big Halloween goodie bag, and it all will be given away to one lucky winner. You go to each person's house, make your choice of what you think that author is thinking (you have an excerpt to help) and then send your pick to that particular author's e-mail.

Start with the contest page at Sam Cheever's website ( I'm the third house on the street. You can go directly to my house here. Lots of free excerpts, and believe me the Halloween goodie basket is fabulous.. Lots of luck....and do join us for the fun.

I've also added links to a few other Halloween goodies on my site here.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Beaudry's Ghost: Legends, Book 1 Releases in Print Today!

Today's the day!

It's the official release day of the print version of my award-winning paranormal romance, Beaudry's Ghost.

The sequel, Legends, Book 2: A Ghost of a Chance, comes out Dec. 30 in ebook, with print release about this time next year.

Watch the Beaudry trailer

Read an excerpt

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Sixth Cursed Halloween

Talk about a challenging book to write! I had to transform Deidre from a cranky, man hater into falling in love. I had to give her a hero worthy of her. I think Brad fits the bill, but only time will tell.


On Halloween night, Brad settles down to repot his Bonsai tree. After an argument with his girlfriend, he needs someone to talk to. He's not expecting the tree to talk back.

Surprise! Deidre's cursed inside his bonsai tree. She's been curled up watching him for years. This conversation's the first she's had in centuries.

Brad tries to set her free, but at the end of the night, he loses the ability to hear the woman with the sexy brogue. He vows he'll do what it takes to get her out, wanting to know the woman behind the voice. He even has erotic dreams about the woman she might be, for the five long years he searches for the saving spell.

Deidre hates men. All of them. Or does she? Brad's such an earnest hunk, so determined to do right by her. Maybe they have some redeeming qualities - like a sexy, muscular chest.

On the sixth Halloween, a woman from Brad's life turns Deidre's life upside down. Literally. That's not a good thing for a potted tree. Now she's getting a choice: a life with Brad without her magic or back to the trees, but she can work her curses and take her revenge. What will she choose this sixth cursed Halloween?

To read an exerpt.

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Free" time

This is the first weekend I don't have anything scheduled since Labor Day.

Pause for thought -- Labor Day. Long time ago, eh? I've had either a book signing, a trip, a conference, a panel discussion .... something since Labor Day.

I didn't realize how much I prized free time until I didn't have much of it. My husband asked what I'm going to do with it. "Write, I suppose?"

Yes, but I'm also going to take time -- maybe have a nap, go buy some apples and stop for antiques along the way, do some cooking, do some shopping. I've done all of those things wedged into my weekends in between other events, but this weekend I'm just going to do those things. I'm not going to fit them in, they'll be the main event.

I think that's what I miss most in my hectic schedule. I end up slotting activites into a schedule and don't have time to relax and just enjoy them. So that's what free time gives me. I don't have to begrudge the activity that takes me away from the thing I love to do in my free time -- write.

And that's enough deep thoughts for a beautiful autumn Saturday! I'm going to go out, enjoy the leaves, eat some apple pie, and poke around a few antique stores. I hope your Saturday is as pleasant!

Monday, October 13, 2008


It comes in many forms. One of the things I love about attending conferences is that they always seem to inspire. They make me think about the industry and/or about stories and figure out where both are going.

I attended the James River Writer's Conference this past weekend. I had a good time and really enjoyed the speakers. I learned a bit and stared considering my career and what I want to do over the next year.

David Balducci was Friday's speaker. He's really funny and an inspiration. Sent his book, Absolute Power to six agents. Six agents wanted it. I couldn't help but think...all I need is one. One will do fine! LOL. But I digress. I enjoyed listening to his stories. He had one about being on a train LOL and discussing poisoning. I'm going to have to find that book.

Adriana Trigiani was Saturday's speaker. I could have listened to her, too for several more hours. She's a very funny, gregarious woman. And very giving. When she was being told it was over, she kept saying, "I don't feel like I've done enough." Her advice, "Finish the damn book!" She said you can do anything once you finish.

I enjoyed seeing several of the agents in action. And several speakers. The panel on first page critiques for Fiction was interesting. The seminar on Romance was so much fun. I definitely feel inspired to start the "next thing."

Amazing how a few days with other writers refills the well.

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany Of Melany Logen

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October Newsletter and Contests!

If you’re not already receiving Awakening Desires—the Newsletter of Romance Author N.J. Walters—then you’re missing out on all the latest news, author interviews, excerpts and tons more! You’re also missing out on a chance to win every month!

The October 2008 issue is now available!

Check out the this month’s author interview with the talented Shelley Munro.

As well, each month, some lucky newsletter subscriber wins a prize. All you have to do to be eligible to win next month is to go to Awakening Desires Newsletter to join and read back issues.

October Contests!

October marks my 4th Anniversary as a published author. To celebrate, I’m having a special Anniversary Contest. I’ll be giving away 4 print books during the month of October—1 a week. If you’d like a chance to win, check out my website and click on the “Contests” page for details.

I’m also participating in The Raven Halloween Scavenger Hunt. There are lots of great prizes to be won, so be sure and check it out.

I’ll also be participating in the Kate Hill’s Halloween Page and Halloween Countdown Contest. Check it out!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Welcome to Autumn

Welcome to Autumn!

Fall is actually my favorite time of year. I love the crisp, sunny days and the way the leaves turn color. Then there is Thanksgiving and Halloween--two wonderful holidays!

I'm not fond of the fact that it means winter is almost here, but I enjoy autumn for what it is--a time of change, endings and new beginnings. I know that for most folks the time of great change is on January 1st, but for me it's always been fall.

Maybe it's the throwback to when September meant going back to school, meeting new friends and starting a new school year. My school days are long behind me now, but I fall is always a hopeful time of year for me.

I'm upbeat and excited about the possibilities of life. Two weeks ago I started a plan to try and find some balance in my life--not an easy task. So far, I've managed to work some form of exercise into my life almost every day. That's a big step forward.

How do you feel about the onset of fall? Are you looking forward to it or is another season your favorite?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Win a FREE download of Beaudry's Ghost!

In honor of the upcoming sequel, A Ghost of a Chance, is giving away a FREE download of my award-winning paranormal Romance, Beaudry's Ghost.

How to win? Click here! Drawing will be held Sept. 22, 2008.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Casinos, serentipity, and writing ..

I'm blogging today from offsite -- I'm out of town and logging in via the hotel's wireless. Having a great time. I'm at a casino with some friends and we're brainstorming books, eating, drinking, and gambling. I've lost $7 so far in 2 hours of gambling, which I think is pretty good. Last night was Native American night at the buffet so there was bison, elk, venison on the table, as well as wild rice, etc. All EXCELLENT fodder for one of my books in which the hero and heroine go to a funeral dinner of a Native person and sample the food.

Ain't it neat how serendipity happens?

Must go -- doing a bit of gambling before our morning 'session' starts!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Now out in paperback!

Just in time for the holidays, a book guaranteed to be a terrific Christmas present for your friends who love reading paranormal stories. And at $7.99, it's a great deal -- a trade paperback book for the price of a mass market one.

Lander's Moon By Eden Robins

Free-spirited healer Selena Alvarez has a thing for bad boys. Yet she never imagined spending her Christmas vacation running through a snow-blanketed forest from a violent and abusive boyfriend, or being saved by recluse Lander Paletsos, a hunky shapeshifting immortal with an attitude. Snowbound in Lander's castle in the woods, they soon discover whether a beautiful healer's spirit is enough to mend the heart of a deadly beast.

Paradise Designs By Ariana Dupre

Tara Simms is determined to create a new beginning for herself this holiday season. She's purchased a new condo on Miami Beach in the ultrachic Paradise Designs Resort and Spa where there is no chance of paranormal activity. She's looking for a new man and thinks that David Blake, the lead realtor at the high-rise, is a good prospect.When Tara sees the spirit of a murdered woman enter her condo she freaks out. David offers his protection and his apartment. Together Tara and David must solve the murder and help the spirit into the light.

Vampire's Christmas Carol By Karen McCullough

Can Christmas Eve be any more fun? On her way home, Carol's car slides into a ditch in a deserted area. The only available shelter is already occupied…by a vampire.To Michael, Carol is the bait in a trap. In an effort to hold on to his soul, Michael has resisted the urge to drink human blood for almost a century. Now he hovers between human and vampire. If he doesn't drink human blood before the night ends, he'll die. Carol is pure temptation to him, the Christmas present from hell…or heaven.

Order your copy here!

Quiet, conservative Lily Summers owns and operates the local flower shop. She also has a secret—she writes erotic romance.

Carson Granger has wanted Lily for years and when he stumbles onto her secret, he seizes the opportunity to get closer to her. Lily has a list of erotic fantasies she wants to research.

Carson offers himself up for reasearch, but he also has an agenda of his own—one that ends with them together forever.

Lily Blossoms is available today from Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

The Romance Studio just gave Lily Blossoms a 5 Heart Review. Here's a snippet of what reviewer Dee Dailey had to say:

"N.J. Walters takes a woman's fantasies and turns them into reality in this really erotic novel...worth reading again and again and again!"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Drip, drip, drip

Some days I wonder if I even deserve to be called an author.

My latest work in progress is going slowly. Understatement. Between family stuff, illness, day job, and the summer doldrums, that last glob of ketchup is sliding out of the bottle faster than the words are moving from my brain into my word processor.

That doesn’t mean I’ve made no progress at all. It’s just that it’s in such small dribs and drabs it’s hard to see that I’m getting anywhere. Yet the book I’m currently writing is actually at 60,000 words on its way to a projected 75,000.

I keep track of my daily word count and from that I can see that I’ve been working on this book for eight months now. My daily word counts are pathetic. Four hundred words some days; two hundred, six hundred. A couple of good days I went over a thousand each day. Some days, less than a hundred.

Yet even at that pace I’ve managed to write four-fifths of the book.

I think the point isn’t that it’s going so slowly. The point is that it is going. I may not get much done each day, but I keep at it. I keep chipping away. And even at a few hundred words a day, a new novel is emerging.

-- Katherine Kingston

Monday, September 8, 2008

Life comes at you fast

Anyone know those Nationwide commercials where...well, life comes at you fast?

That's sort of the way it is around here. I blink and it's into next month. I yawn and it's the next year. I can't believe we are over half way done with 2008. Almost over 3/4's done.

I made some resolutions back in January. To be kinder to me. To do things for me. And I think I'm doing pretty well on those. I've done a massage to reward myself for writing. I'm going to volunteer at the SPCA.

I had another resolution to fulfill. Start querying agents. That one I really need to work on this fall. The book is finished, though it needs some cleanup.

It's time to get busy!

How's everyone else doing on their resolutions for the year?

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

An old book in a new skin: the orphan finds a home

The first book I sold (as Every Rose Has Its Thorn) is now out in print (as Candy, Corpses & Classified Ads).

This was my Triskelion orphan, so I'm especially pleased it's finally out. I got the contract offer on Sept. 5, 2006 and it's just now seeing the light of print. Yay!

Here's the blurb and buy link (

When JT McCord jilted Molly Lawford she survived and moved on to marry twice. But her first husband died and her second husband ran off with a hairdresser. Molly gave up on romance and settled down in Tangle Butte, Minnesota, as a small town reporter.

Now JT is back in town as the Chief of Police. His first official act is to investigate how Molly's thought-to-be-vanished husband turned up buried next to the septic tank in Molly's back yard, dug up by a neighbor's marauding pig.

Molly sets out to solve that mystery with the help of Mr. Sex's Ladies (her book group), her newspaper editor, Tarot reader and some color-sorted M&Ms. If she can survive a couple of attempts on her life she might find the love of her life—all because of a pig and some plumbing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Dog Days…

Am I the only one who finds it hard to write in summer?

I’m not really sure why it’s so. The kids are out of school, admittedly, and vacation time does break up the days and weeks. Vacation traveling is wonderful, and I love it, but tends to leave me wasted for a while.

But it’s not really those things. And it’s certainly not the lure of the garden calling me to dig my fingers into the earth and get beautiful things to grow. Not in August in North Carolina. In fact, very few activities are appealing enough to lure me out of my air-conditioned office in the month of August.

Nonetheless, it seems as if the oppressive heat and humidity somehow slip into my spirit and suck at my energy even with air conditioning running and doors closed. And when I do force myself to scratch out a few sentences, they don’t satisfy me. I’m pretty sure that everything I write in August is total crap.

Fortunately I know September is coming. Oddly, the cooler air of fall brings a sense of renewal for me. My energy returns even as the world prepares for activity to slow down, trees to go dormant and animals to hibernate.

The leaves explode in a blaze of color, new terms start at school, and I’m ready to get moving again. That includes writing. After a few weeks of producing little, I know it will start flowing again with the coming of Autumn.

Katherine Kingston

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The In-Between Place ....

I finished the second book in my paranormal series for Wild Rose -- finished it on Thursday. So I'm at that in-between place again: not quite done with the last book, not ready to start the next one.

I did decide what I'll start next: Book 3 in this series. The characters are firmly in my head, so I want to continue on. The In-Between Place (IBP) is somewhat relaxing, but I find that I always have a lot of catching up to do. I tend to put a lot of things on hold when I'm deep into writing, and now I have to deal with those things: promotion, scheduling, balancing the checkbook .... just daily Stuff.

I'm pleased with how the last book turned out and I'm anxious to start the next one, but I'm trying to restrain myself a bit ... I think the book is better (and the writing goes faster) if I take some time to think about it because I launch into it.

So I'm in Think Mode now ...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Killer Nashville

Isn’t that a great title for a conference for mystery writers?

It’s a terrific conference, too, and I’ll be heading there this weekend. It’s a chance to mingle and network with other authors, both published and unpublished, agents, editors, and others interested in mystery writing.

A terrific slate of panel discussions and talks is available, too, along with signings, critiques, breakout groups and social events. You can find out more about it here:

The Guest of Honor is forensic anthropologist and author Dr. Bill Bass, and a plethora of other well-known mystery writers will be there.

There’s still time to sign up. If you write mysteries of any variety, romantic suspense or related genres, and you live near Nashville, I urge you to come. It’ll be a great time and I guarantee you’ll learn a lot.

Undercover FBI agent meets small town mom ...

Mom wins.

My romantic suspense, Brilliant Disguise, is available now at Resplendence Publishing (right here in fact: Here's the blurb, which kinda tells the story:

Nick Baxter, an undercover FBI agent, thinks his BRILLIANT DISGUISE will fool the hicks in New Providence, Iowa. They won't suspect he's there investigating widow Shannon Delgardie, under suspicion of treason. What Nick doesn't know is that everybody in town is conspiring to protect her and investigate him in return.

Shannon needs help. The men her late husband blackmailed are closing in and the FBI might be involved. When Nick approaches her, can she trust him? With the aid of computer hackers and hair stylists, she uncovers the truth, finding a love she never expected in a tiny Iowa town.

{modesty mode} This one is a lot of fun -- a lot of fun, as Nick fumbles around town, trying to investigate Shannon, only to find that Shannon knows as much (if not more) about him as he does about her. Along the way sparks fly, blackmail is solved, and hot sex occurs (at least once in a barn).

It's fun.

{modesty mode off}

Lily Blossoms Available Today from Ellora's Cave

Lily Blossoms, Book 3 in the Summersville Secrets series is available today from Ellora’s Cave Publishing.


“What do you say?” Carson, the man she’s lusted over for the past five years, is standing in her kitchen, offering himself up for research.

Lily isn’t convinced she hasn’t fallen asleep at her keyboard and is now having the most amazing dream. No one in the town of Summersville knows she writes erotic romance under a pseudonym. Everyone knows her as the quiet, conservative woman who owns and operates the local flower shop, Lily’s Blossoms. She’s rarely dated and certainly not a man eight years younger.

But Carson is resolute. He’s wanted Lily for years and when he stumbles onto her secret, he seizes the opportunity to get closer to her. Lily has a list of erotic fantasies she wants to research including sex in public, roses, whipped cream and a striptease. Carson has a few ideas of his own and he’s determined to be the man she experiences each and every item with. What she doesn’t know is that he has an agenda of his own—one that ends with them together forever.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Voice Check

A unique voice. Every writer wants one. We all hear about distinctive voices in writing. Last week, I got a lesson in voice.

I was already reading Tempted by Megan Hart (finally!) and got the Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen from the library.

The words Gerritsen uses come together in short sentences and paragraphs. It makes for a quick, fast paced voice. All words are used to ratchet up the suspense. To make you keep reading at a frenetic pace. It draws you into the world with its suddenness. With the complexity.

Hart's prose is...the only way I have to describe it is lush. Each word choice flings the senses into abandon. Hart's writing is beautiful and elegant, yet not overly wordy. I'm also drawn into Hart's world but it's a more laid back, sensual affair than Gerritsen's.

Reading them both definitely gave me a lesson in what voice is. Two very distinct voices that do different things for me, yet I love them both.

Now if I could only figure out what exactly my voice is...

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Jackson's Jewel--Now Available


The last thing Jackson Connors wants is a housekeeper. He likes his life just as it is — solitary and uncomplicated.

Emerald Jewel is a New York designer with a stalker on her trail. She needs a place to hide out and Jackson's farm is the perfect solution to her problem.

Neither of them is prepared for the explosion of passion that flares between them.

Jackson’s Jewel is now available from Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Law's Deliverance is out!

We are so excited! Law's Deliverance released from Loose Id. Law and Larissa are both pretty special *Grins* and we're excited to have them go live.

To read an excerpt.

The blurb: Law's been urged to get a sex slave by many before he weds the "right" woman of royalty, but he's never thought about actually doing it. Until he sees Larissa sashay across the stage. She's angry, spunky, and beautiful. Before he knows what he's doing, he's bid on her. And won her.

Larissa's not happy to be won. She's not a sex slave and has no intention of doing what Law or anyone else wants. She soon comes to learn she's been bought by the Prince of Bergogia. Only being royalty has him in as many chains as a slave. With luck, a little hot, heady sex will win him over, and he'll let her go.

Larissa's plan backfires, and Law's more interested than ever. And so is she. But Law can't keep her forever on the side and she can't be his bride. Will Larissa be Law's downfall or his deliverance?

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ready to try a new author?

Then we have a deal for you! We have three ebooks available and you can read the first half of the book for FREE! If you like it, there are links in the document which lead you to purchase the book. If you don't enjoy the book then you're off the hook!

But we know you'll love these titles! ;)


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A hot summer release

I'm so excited. Blood Lines Bitter Love released overnight last night. Amaretto is bomb. I really enjoyed writing him.
Just look at my cover! *points and squeals*
Amaretto is out for a night on the town, a little dinner, a little dancing, maybe a little getting lucky...until he gets a stake in the back. Good thing he really is a vampire.

After getting knocked out by his prey, the would-be vampire hunter, Leif comes to...tied up and at the sexy vampire's mercy. His wannabe slayer days are over. Now he's got no choice but to team up with Amaretto and catch the rogue vampire terrorizing his city.
Soon, their nights are spent pursuing the killer and building sexual tension between them. Leif can't be attracted to a vampire, can he? The sex is hot and there's definitely something there, but Amaretto's not into forevers. Still, he's never been so tempted to try something long term as he is with Leif. When Leif takes off and gets himself into trouble with the killer, who's all too human, it's up to Amaretto to figure out how to save him and whether he can find a love that's never bitter, only sweet.
Mechele Armstrong

Enticements Now Available from Ellora's Cave!

Woohoo! Enticements is now available from Ellora's Cave! This PRINT book contains Capturing Carly and Craving Candy, books 3 and 4 of the Awakening Desires series.
The first two books in the series Katie’s Art of Seduction and Erin’s Fancy are also available in print.

All of the books in the Awakening Desires series are also available in download from Ellora's Cave.

Awakening Desires - Capturing Carly By N.J. Walters

Third in the Awakening Desires series.

Carly Ames has yearned for Nathan Connors for more years than she cares to think about. One wild night of sex with him resulted in their quick engagement. But now that she has Nathan, she's not quite sure that she can handle him.

Big and tough, Nathan is very well suited to his job as a sheriff's deputy. Protective and forthright, he is definitely used to being in charge. Now he wants to be in control of her sexual pleasure, but fears his sexual preferences will scare a good girl like her.

As circumstances conspire to keep them apart, Nathan senses that Carly is having second thoughts. Now he must convince her that she's more than woman enough to meet his demands, in and out of the bedroom, because now that he's captured Carly, there is no way he is letting her go.

Awakening Desires - Craving Candy By N.J. Walters

Fourth in the Awakening Desires series.

Candy Logan loves her job as a publicist for TK Publishing, but her newest client is causing her problems. Determined to meet the elusive Lucas Squires and get him to agree to publicize his upcoming book, she crashes a party that he is giving in hopes of cornering him.

Lucas wishes he'd never let his friend talk him into writing a cookbook. He has his hands full opening a new location of his café, Coffee Breaks. He forgets all about his business problems, however, when a woman straight out of his dreams walks into his party. He knows he can't let her leave without finding out who she is.

Sparks fly between Candy and Lucas from the first moment they lay eyes on each other. The sexual attraction is immediate and consuming, but a case of mistaken identity gets their relationship off to a rocky start. Just when things start to smooth out between them, issues from each of their pasts threaten their budding relationship.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Music to Write By

Do you listen to music while you write? Or while you read? Work? Play?

Recently, I’ve seen authors include their Play Lists either in the fronts or backs of their books, presenting the music that inspired them while they wrote.

I’d love to be able to do that, too, but I can’t listen to music while I do anything else that requires significant concentration.

A lot of people say that music helps them get in the mood, or helps them focus or concentrate. For some, it helps to shut out other noises and activities that would divert their attention. For others it dispels a quiet and an emptiness that is a distraction in itself.

But music is itself the distraction for me. I’m not sure if it’s because I had a fair amount of musical training or if it’s simply that I have a compulsively analytical mind. Music never fades into the background for me the way it seems to do for many people.

Even while I try not to pay attention, my mind starts picking up on the rhythm pattern, the key, the musical hooks, any dissonances or other unusual features. If the music has words, I try to sing along, even though damage to my vocal cords from a couple of sinus surgeries has reduced my once almost four-octave range to a croaky octave and a half.

I love to feel the way the words fit into the music and interact with the rhythm. I can’t help but analyze the chord changes, the interesting riffs and odd bass runs, the melodic highlights and the mood set by the percussion.

Doesn’t matter whether it’s classical, rock, pop, hip-hop, jazz, whatever. You play, I’ll listen. And analyze. The only instrument I play is guitar, but if I’m listening to an orchestral work, that doesn’t stop me from picking through the rippling swells of the violins, the rushing force of the lighter woodwinds, the contained bellow of the brass and the romping beat of the percussion.

Sometimes even when there is no music playing, I hear it in my head, and my mind wraps around the notes, picking them out on the fretboard of an air guitar, adding vocals in my mind...


I’m supposed to be writing a blog entry right now.

-- Karen McCullough

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Unconscious writing?

Summer is just starting to wane. It's still hot, muggy, and the flowers are blooming, but the thing that always tells me the seasons, more than weather, is the light. There's a certain angle of light that tells me we're at the peak of summer, then the light changes and I know it's waning, it's passing, etc.

Odd how our senses catalog these things before the brain really processes it. It's almost instinctive, I think, this evaluation of our surrounding without conscious thought.

I think writing is like that, too. When I allow myself to drop into a book (and a character and a place), the writing is instinctive. Words flow out, scenes develop, and I don't have to consciously craft a chapter. I 'hear' dialog and I 'see' a setting. When that happens, it's almost magical. I wake up from a trance and realize I've written two chapters and wow, the book is heading in a direction I didn't anticipate.

That's fun. And it's for those times that I write -- for that feeling of 'slipping away' somewhere else. I have more fun in my own head than any TV show can provide, and I suspect other writers would say the same.

Now to go back into that place ....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Legal Affair by N.J. Walters--Now Available

A LEGAL AFFAIR is now available from Samhain Publishing.
Purchase it from My Bookstore and More.

Book 5 of the Jamesville series.

Alicia Flint enjoys her community, her home, and her career as a lawyer. But since her livelihood depends on her spotless reputation, it’s not easy to even date in this small town, much less take a lover.

Then a chance encounter with a stranger at a friend’s wedding tempts her to do something she’s never done before—have a red-hot, one-night stand. The guy will be gone tomorrow; no one need ever know her delicious little secret.

Gill Baron has come to Jamesville to visit friends and figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life. As a newly retired, burnt-out cop, he’s not looking for love, but he won’t say not to a night of no-strings sex with the seductive brunette. A night that leaves him wanting more.

When she meets the newest investigator on her latest case, Alicia is shocked to come face-to-face with Mr. One-Night-Stand. Jamesville doesn’t need another lawyer-related scandal to gossip about, but the truth is, she needs Gill’s top-notch investigative skills.

Their attraction is too deep to keep the town clueless of their affair forever. When Jamesville finds out, Alicia wonders if her reputation—and her relationship with Gill—will weather the storm.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's a Sizzlin' Contest

Where I live in the Southern U.S., July is hot, Hot, HOT. But even it's not as hot as the Sizzlin' Summer Contest the Hussies and friends are having.

I'm participating in this contest along with a bunch of other great Ellora's Cave and Cerridwen Press authors. There are lots and lots of prizes to be won.

Check out the contest here:

For even more chances to win, join us this Thursday, July 17th, at the Ellora's Cave Chat list where the contest authors will be having an all-day list-mom marathon. There will be all sorts of summer fun, sizzling excerpts and more prizes.

Join the chat list here:

Come join us. You might win some great beach reading for a hot summer day.

Katherine Kingston

Monday, July 14, 2008

Reading tastes

I was actually going to write a serious blog on animals but when I sat down to start, the subject of reading tastes came to mind.

My daughters are 7 and 9. One discovered reading in 2nd grade and began inhaling books. And I do mean inhale. The other has discovered reading this summer and as she says, "Reading's pretty cool."

But I already see they are going to have very different tastes.

The oldest had read the Fudge books by Judy Blume so I thought nothing of getting her Blubber from the library. She wouldn't read it. Wouldn't crack open the cover. She said, "I mostly like fantasy and mysteries." Which is true. She's read all the Harry Potter series, all the Secrets of Droon to date, is three books away from finishing Animorphs, read all the Nancy Drew books in her school library, etc, etc. I could go on and on about the serieses she reads.

The youngest has discovered Mr. Putter and Tabby. She LOVES those books. She's also reading Amelia Bedelia, Froggy, and Dr. Seuss. Animals and humor seem to be her reading of choice. It will be interesting to see if that changes. But I have hopes maybe she'll enjoy The Black Stallion and Misty of Chincoteague.

As for me, I do have genres I prefer but I read outside of them, too. I read a lot of paranormal and erotic romance. But I read animal books out the whazoo when I was a kid, still do, and read a lot of mysteries. Stephen King, thrillers, and romance rounded out my teen years. I think I have a fairly ecletic mixed bag of what I like to read and always did.

I was just wondering if everyone preferred certain genres like my daughters or was more ecletic like me. Did your tastes change with age? What genres do you read in?

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Guest Blog from Devyn Quinn!!

Hi everyone! It's my day to blog, but a fellow Aphrodisia author, Devyn Quinn, is doing a blog tour this month and I volunteered to be a stop on her whirlwind tour :)

So, enjoy the excerpt below and leave a comment for Devyn, and you could win a copy of her book! :)



One hand resting on her protruding stomach, Rachel Carnavorn struggled to lower her awkward body into a chair. Feeling her rear connect with the cushion, she smiled in relief. “Whew, for a minute I was afraid my butt was bigger than the seat.”
Devon Carnavorn hovered anxiously at his wife’s side, ready to offer assistance. “Are you sure you should be up, darling?”
Rachel tilted her head back, treating him to a flash of her dazzling blue eyes. Black hair a tousle around her face, skin stained with the flush of her efforts, she smiled. “I know the doctor ordered me to rest, but I’m so tired of being stuck in bed, looking at the same four walls.”
Her gaze turned longingly toward the back gardens. Outside the bay windows the darkening horizon was a mixture of pinks and deepening navy hues. In another few minutes the sun would disappear into the west and night would spread its velvet cloak over the sleepy sky. “It seems like forever since I’ve been outside the house.”
Devon caught her hint. “Maybe you’ll be up to sitting in the garden a little this evening.”
“I’d like that.” As if caught unawares, she suddenly gasped and shifted uncomfortably. Her grip on his hand tightened subtly. She hesitated a beat. “Oh, good one.”
Devon frowned, concerned. “You sure you’re all right, darling?”
Stifling a groan, Rachel forced a laugh. “I’m fine, I think.” She patted the voluminous tummy protruding from her robe. “I swear I’ll soon be giving birth to football players.”
Throat aching with happiness, Devon offered another light peck, this time finding her soft lips. “As long as the babies are healthy,” he whispered, “I don’t care what they grow up to be.”
He bent, placing a light kiss on her forehead. Even hugely pregnant and perspiring, Rachel still looked desirable. Her flawless skin was fair, almost translucent, her cheeks lightly flushed with a pink tint. Her slender body had filled out, breasts and hips offering lush and feminine curves. He felt blessed that this incredible woman had consented to join his world and become his life-mate. “Just don’t tire yourself.”
“Easy for you to say,” she groused good naturedly.
A female voice behind them interrupted. “Are you ready for breakfast, sir?” Nocturnal, the Kynn reversed normal habits, living night to day, rather than day to night. Though able to function during daylight hours, their energies waned. The coming of darkness returned their strength—and renewed their many hungers.
Devon straightened up, nodding toward one of the kitchen maids. “Yes, Anne. Thank you.” He looked to Rachel. “What would you like, darling?”
At the mention of food, Rachel blanched. “Just a cup of tea, please.”
Devon felt his guts twist. “Nothing to eat? Some crackers, or maybe a little fruit?”
Rachel wanly shook her head. “I’m a little nauseous,” she admitted. “If I eat anything, I’d just be sick. Tea will be enough.”
Devon quickly seconded the order. “Just tea for me, too, Anne. Don’t make it too strong.” He would eat later. Why force Rachel to watch him perform the simple function she could no longer manage. He knew her inability to keep solid food down had become a torture. Instead of enjoying all the strange cravings a pregnant woman would normally and delightfully indulge in, his wife couldn’t eat without vomiting a few minutes later.
“Yes, Lord Carnavorn.” Dropping a quick courtesy, Anne hurried off.
Trying not to show his worry, Devon took the chair opposite hers. Something was wrong, very wrong, with Rachel. Looking at her, he couldn’t fail to notice how much worry had taken a toll on her mental and physical state. This in turn vexed him. These last months had been difficult, unforeseen events slowly turning their joy into dread.
Less than a month into her pregnancy, Rachel’s hungers had taken a strange deviation. She no longer seemed to need the sexual energies of a victim to recharge her waning energies. Her rapidly diminishing appetite had strangely become stripped down to a single element.
Her thirst was insatiable, becoming difficult to satisfy. There were no clear answers as to why her cravings had taken such a turn. Unlike sangre vampires, the Kynn did not subsist wholly on blood; the act of taking blood was a very small part of the ritual allowing them to feed off human sexual energies. To meet Rachel’s need for constant feedings, Devon was liberally bribing a blood bank attendant.
The look on Rachel’s face said she wasn’t pleased with this strange turn of events. “I wish I understood why this is happening to me.” A tear slipped down her cheek, the beginning of a torrent driven by frustration and fear.
Devon hated to see his wife cry. It made him feel weak, helpless. Her emotions were strung tighter than a harp wire. He feared that she was going to have a complete mental breakdown.
He laid a hand on hers. “Pregnancy is unknown among our kind. The doctors have said they’re sure it’s only temporary, your body’s way of nourishing the fetuses.”
His explanation failed to placate her. “Not that any man would find big, fat me in the last bit attractive.”
He made a tsking sound. “Fat or thin, you’re beautiful. As soon as the children are born, you will go back to normal.”
Rachel sniffed, looking at him through a tear-jeweled gaze. “But what if I don’t?”
Leaning forward, Devon cupped her chin with one hand, wiping away her tears with the other. Just touching her caused his body to heat up in an unsettling way. They hadn’t had sex in months and he hungered for his wife’s intimate touch. “You will.”
A whisper of a smile touched her lips. “You think so?”
“Oh, I know it.” He kept his hand in place, his gaze steady. Soft and smooth, her skin still felt like silk to his touch. Enjoying her, he brushed his thumb over her lips. “Once the children are born, you’ll go back to your old self.” He arched a suggestive brow. “Remember her? That sexy vixen who captured my heart?”
Amused, Rachel sniffed and shook her head. “I barely remember being thin,” she groused good naturedly. “Much less sexy.” A grin caught hold despite her negative thoughts.
Devon cocked his head to one side. “Oh, trust me. You are one very sexy woman.” He found her hand, lifting it to his lips. “And you’re the love of my life.”
“At least I’m something to you.” Not the first time she’d hinted of her unhappiness.
To spare Rachel’s feelings, he’d settled on a course of discretion by keeping his victims away from his home. Just as a man had to separate work and play, he now had to separate his craving for raw sex from that of his desire to make love to his wife. A very thin line to walk, but he was determined to make a success of it.
He placed a hand over his heart. “You’re everything to me.”
Gaze sharpening, Rachel looked at her husband. A small frown marred her forehead. There was a pause while she digested his words. She didn’t look entirely convinced.
“Am I?” She shivered as if a chill wind had swept through the room. Devon knew doubt lingered behind her acceptance of the Kynn’s open sexuality. She still had trouble believing he loved her even as he fucked other women. Burning up with curiosity, she’d never questioned him even though she knew the late hours he kept weren’t always due to work.
Clearing his throat, Devon reached for her hand. “Absolutely and undoubtedly.” He said it with such firm conviction he thought that maybe he wasn’t trying to convince her, but himself as well.
Truth be told, he hadn’t relished the idea of his wife making love to other men during her pregnancy. She carried his children, a joy he didn’t want to share with any other man. This change, however unsettling, meant that he would have her to himself just a little while longer. Later he’d have to let her go, knowing she must physically embrace other men. She would be a predator, her chosen lovers the prey. It was inevitable.
And hurt like hell.
The secret pain he’d always have to hide within himself.
She closes her eyes and pretends I rake no indiscretions, he thought. He felt no bitterness, only resignation. Embracing the cultic realm always exacted a price. Just as I will have to pretend she’ll make none.
A burden they would always bear, but together.
Rachel glanced down at their linked fingers and exhaled. “You always were a smooth talker. No wonder I couldn’t resist your seduction.”
Tucking away his own melancholy mood, Devon gave her hand a light squeeze. “I did my damnedest to get you,” he said. “And I intend to keep you.”
She laughed. “Flattery will get you everywhere.”
Feet back on solid ground, Devon relaxed. “Feel better?”
She winced, patting her tummy. “Fine. If only our twins would stop punting my kidneys.”
Anne arrived with tea just as Simpson, his majordomo, arrived bearing a large box. “This parcel has just arrived via private courier, Lord Carnavorn.”
Devon eyed the package, plainly wrapped in brown paper and neatly addressed. “I wasn’t expecting anything.” Most anything he received was usually delivered to the nightclub he owned.
Simpson set the parcel in front of Rachel. “It’s addressed to Lady Carnavorn.”
“Ah, that makes sense.” Since word of her pregnancy reached the Kynn collective, presents of all sorts had been flooding in for his wife. All were eagerly anticipating the successful birth of the first born Kynn.
Rachel rolled her eyes. “It’s been nothing but Christmas every day for months. My God, I’ve gotten so many baby things I could open my own store.”
Such adulation pleased Devon to no end. “You are their queen, darling.” He sipped his tea, piping hot Earl Grey with an extra helping of sugar. “Get used to the spoiling.”
Rachel stood up so she could better handle the size of the box, about a foot high and a foot wide in circumference.
“Spoiled rotten already.” She tore away the first layer of paper, revealing an elegant hatbox. “How lovely.” Using her butter knife to cut the ribbons, she lifted off the lid and peered inside. A look of dawning horror crept onto her face. The scream that followed was as sharp and fractured as shards of glass.
Face paling alarmingly, Rachel gagged. “Oh, God. I think I’m going to vomit.” Pushing the box away, she clamped a hand across her mouth and squeezed her eyes tightly shut.
Devon rushed to his wife’s side. Glancing into the box, he slammed the lid down. Fear bit with the force of an arctic front. He ignored it. He had to be strong.
“Get Lady Carnavorn back to her room,” he ordered Simpson in a tight voice. To the hovering Anne, he barked, “Call Rachel’s doctor. Get him here. Immediately.”
“Yes, sir.” Confused and upset, Anne hurried off to make the call.
Panting through her mouth, Rachel didn’t want to go. “Devon, what is—” she started to ask.
He cut her off. “It’s nothing, darling. A cruel prank. Let Simpson take you to your room.
Rachel shook off Simpson’s hands. She swayed slightly, gripping the edge of the table to retain her balance. “I—I’m all right.” She regarded him narrowly, her grimace frozen across her lips. She was trying to be brave, and failing.
Devon insisted, his voice sharpening with authority. “Please, Rachel. You’ve had a bad shock. The doctor is coming. He’ll want to check you out,” he told her flatly. “Think of our children.”
His words seemed to convince her. She flinched, jaw clenching in a spasm, but made no protest. “All right,” she said quietly and reluctantly let Simpson take her upstairs.
Alone, Devon returned to the box. It sat on the table, a specter bearing unspeakable evil. His senses reeled, but his mind remained amazingly clear.
Inhaling a steadying breath, he let it out, slow and shaky. A grim expression settled on his face. “What fresh hell is this?”
Though he didn’t want to, he lifted the lid. The sight had the impact of a hundred pound anvil. Inside was a mummified skull with a few hanging wisps of black hair. The identifier was in the silver charm cleaving the center of the forehead.
Devon’s entire body went weightless, his vision tunneling toward the single spinning vision. His chin trembled slightly until he clenched his teeth. He fought to keep his nerve, too well aware that he was close to failing. “Oh, shit. This isn’t good.” He drew a shuddering breath, wanting, needing, to deny it all. He couldn’t.
The charm had belonged to Lilith. The head, too, had been hers.
Seeing it, a million confliction feeling poured through him. She’d had several of them made—had even given him one in an earlier time. The gruesome part of his mind led him to wonder if the charm had been introduced before—or after—her death. Either way, the vision wasn’t pleasant.
Tucked beside the head, a plain white envelope beckoned.
Hand shaking, Devon retrieved it. A bold hand had incised a message across its smooth white face: PAYBACK IS HELL
A thin smile warped his lips as conscience prodded with a sharp barb. Guilt shredded his soul into tiny little pieces. Gasping in bitter misery, the past had just circled around and bit him squarely on the ass.
The avenger was now being pursued by the man he’d avenged himself on. The realization struck the wind from his lungs and the hope from his heart. For a moment he couldn’t think. The scars of old memories were ripped open, again becoming as fresh as they day they were inflicted.
He didn’t open the letter. He already knew what it would say. Just as he knew who it was from.
Adrien Roth. The man who’d brutally slain Ariel Van Sandt, his sire.
Tucking the envelope back in the box, Devon closed its lid. Temples throbbing with tension, he sat down and passed his hands over his numb face. A man he’d thought long ago dead and buried had just crawled out of the grave.
“Apparently I’ve been mistaken.” An understatement.
Mistake or not, he realized his wife and unborn children were in very real danger. Adrien had made sure that Rachel would open the box.
Fear banged in his chest, not for himself but for his wife and the babies she carried. Despite the warmth of the evening, he was suddenly freezing, chilled to the bone.
“He’s not just after me,” Devon murmured. The shock alone could have caused Rachel to miscarry the babies—far too premature to survive at this vulnerable stage.
That wasn’t going to happen. Not by a long shot.
He needed help. No, he couldn’t call on the collective. He’d helped turn Adrien against his will. The Kynn were not about force. That in itself was a crime by occult justice.
Kill an avowed enemy. That was fine. Fair.
Make him what he despised.
Punishable by death.
Anxiety knotting through him, Devon pushed the fatalistic thought out of his mind. He had no intention of meeting his maker if it could be at all avoided. Because Adrien had never become a member of the collective, formally he wasn’t recognized as Kynn. That was good. It would give him a chance to clean up this mess without facing a tribunal.
Swallowing the panic lodged in his throat, a curse slipped out under his breath. “Lilith promised she would control him. I shouldn’t have let her have him.” He swiped his tongue over his parched lips. “I should have killed him myself and sent his miserable soul straight to hell.”
Hands clenching into fists, Devon glanced at the hatbox. Undoubtedly Adrien was thinking the same thing.
Regret. Remorse. No. He refused to feel either. The only thing he’d done wrong was trusting Lilith to keep Adrien. Somehow she’d lost control, and had paid dearly.
He wouldn’t make the same mistake.
Plans crowding his mind, Devon already knew he had to meet this threat head on, but quickly and quietly—and without further involving his wife. He couldn’t afford another mistake like that. Gut-level aggressiveness kicked in. He needed someone outside the Kynn collective, but within the cultic realm.
He knew just who to contact, too. Everything could be accomplished with no fuss, no muss and without getting his own hands dirty.
To catch a slayer, you send a slayer.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Don't Talk to Strangers

On Monday, I stepped into the elevator at work and a man was already inside. He was dressed in “corporate cowboy” attire: button-down shirt, jeans so new they’re actually blue and the crease is sharp enough to cut something, cowboy hat, and cowboy boots that desperately need to be broken in. He looked me up and down and said, “You’re not dressed for Stampede.”

I shook my head, smiled, looked him up and down, and remarked, “All you’re missing is the belt buckle that can deflect bullets.”

He reached down, lifted his overhanging belly, and said, “No, I’m not.”

Oy-vey. Why me?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More Paperbacks for Summer

Piggybacking on NJ's post regarding paperbacks to pack along with you on your travels, the first and second books in the Vampire Council of Ethics series are both available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Borders, etc.

Carinian's Seeker
Series: Vampire Council of Ethics (V.C.O.E.) - Book One

Order at: Amazon | B & N | MbaM | MbaM

Beautiful genius, Carinian Derrickson, wants to live long enough to date a man from the future generations of spacemen, complete with ray guns and starships. She's not crazy, she's just afraid of dying young of some dreaded disease, like all the rest of her family. Her research into gene therapy has shown her the way to extend her life is by emulating traits only before seen in fiction. Vampire fiction. Only the beings that shouldn't exist are very real indeed.

Serati's FlameSERATI'S FLAME
Series: Vampire Council of Ethics (V.C.O.E.) - Book Two

Order Print Copies at or Barnes & Noble

There’s a rogue on the loose, and the Vampire Council of Ethics has just the man for the job. Alaan Serati, along with his team of elite fighters, is a Seeker for the V.C.O.E. The lethal vampire law enforcement assassin is also the most eligible bachelor of Clan Serati. His job: Take out the rogue vampire who killed his mate years ago. But working with a fellow Seeker quickly becomes a pain in his backside. How is he supposed to accomplish the mission if he can’t keep his mind or his hands off of his fellow officer?

For more years than she wants to remember, Tameth Serati-Cole has worked almost every day, side by side, with the gruff and gorgeous Alaan. It’s been hell considering the special bond between them, something rarely developed between mates. But Alaan doesn’t really want her. He’s still pining away for the woman taken from him years ago. So when he declares his need to bond with her, this lady Seeker ain’t biting…even if she’s wanted to since the day they met.

Paperbacks for Summer!

We all love e-books, but sometimes you want a paperback book to take with you to the cottage or to the beach.

If you like contemporary, vampire, time-travel, or paranormal, you might want to check out some of these books!

I just love these covers. :-)

To check out all my print books, just go to

Ellora’s Cave Print Books or Samhain Publishing.

Enjoy your summer!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Reality versus Fiction

One of the charges most often leveled at romance books is that they will confuse their poor, empty-headed readers into expecting reality to match what they read (never mind that this more accurately reflects the person's low opinion of romance readers than of romance books themselves).

So, it is with brutal honesty, and as a service to romance readers (and reviewers) everywhere, that I offer this critique of reality versus fiction with regard to my fiance's recent proposal.

Preparation for the proposal

In fiction, proposals are often spur-of-the-moment things, when the hero is completely overwhelmed by his feelings, and must make the heroine his Right Now. The alternative is in romantic comedies, when the hapless hero makes attempt after attempt to create the Perfect Moment, with little or no success.

In reality, my fiance wrote, edited, and revised a proposal. Then, deciding that still wasn't guaranteed of success, crafted a devious plan to reduce my willpower to nothingness before overwhelming me with his charm and leaving me no choice but to accept his proposal.

Lead-in to the proposal

Traditionally, the man gets down on one knee before his intended before asking if she will marry him. Often in fiction, there is first a sumptuous meal.

My fiance gave me a two-hour hot stone massage. (See above comment regarding devious plan to reduce my willpower to nothingness.) He totally wins.

The wording of the proposal

Fictional proposals are full of clever wording, double and triple meanings, and scintillating wit. After all, the author knows you're going to be reading and rereading this passage, so she's got to get it right!

While "cleaning up" after the massage, my fiance said casually, "Oh, I forgot about this rock." But it wasn't a massage stone, it was a diamond. Double-meaning, clever wording and wit, although briefer than most fictional proposals.

The ring

Fictional heroes tend to have either huge bankrolls that can buy diamonds big enough to give you carpal tunnel syndrome from the effort of lifting your finger while wearing it, or be sweet yet impoverished heroes who give promisory rings that they swear to upgrade once they've made good, which they're certain they'll do with the heroine at their side. The ring always fits perfectly.

The ring stopped just past the first knuckle of my ring finger, being MUCH too small for my finger, because it was a family heirloom. The diamond dinner ring had belonged to his mother, but the large central diamond had come from his grandfather's diamond pinkie ring, which his father had reset with a slab of jade in the center when he inherited it. My fiance now wears the jade pinkie ring, which he inherited from his father. So the stones in our rings share a history. And, we get to have the stones reset into our choice of modern rings, a decision I will make jointly with him, versus having to spend the rest of my life wearing a ring someone else selected. He totally wins.


The fictional heroine invariably squeals, throws her arms around the neck of her man, kisses him passionately, and says, "Yes!"

I giggled, closed my eyes, and said, "You're so silly!" Then realized I didn't recognize the ring. Opened my eyes, and squealed, "You mean, that's a REAL ring?"

What does this tell us about romance fiction versus reality? That real men can be even more romantic than fictional romance heroes. And that romance writers can be far, far LESS romantic than fictional romance heroines...or at least much slower on the uptake.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sizzlin' Summer Contest

Add some sizzle to your summer!

July is getting hotter by the moment!!!

This month we have some of the most sizzling authors from Ellora's
Cave and Cerridwen Press here with us to help put some sizzle in your

Grab something cool and join us in a huge contest. Each author is
giving away a prize. All you have to do is go to "Hussies" contest
page, click on the author's name, and answer the questions on the
form provided and hit submit. It's that easy. And if you don't know
an answer, no worries, there are links to the authors' web sites and
publisher pages to help you out.

So come on, what are you waiting for? Have fun and good luck!!

Nicole Austin
Prize: to be announced

Nathalie Gray
Prize: to be announced

Sally Painter
Prize: Autographed copy of Things That Go Bump in the Night

Sahara Kelly and Scott Carpenter
Prize: Download of all three Parners in Passion books: Eleanor and
Justin, No Limits and Pure Sin

Ciana Stone
Prize: Download of A Taste for Jazz and new release, Maxwell's Silver

Tilly Greene
Prize: Tote Bag of Goodies

Tiffany Bryan
Prize: Download copy of Bekeweled and Bedeviled

Trista Ann Michaels
Prize: Ebook: Destined for Two, Book 3 in the Entwined Fate series

Taige Crenshaw
Prize: Download of Golden Seduction, Book 1 of the Rarieties

Stephanie Julian
Prize: Download of Seduced in Shadow

Shelley Munro
Prize: Download copy of Wanderlust

Samantha Kane
Prize: Copy of At Love's Command

Natasha Moore
Prize: Print copy of Seasons of Seduction IV

Rowan West
Prize: Winner's Choice Download of any of Rowan's backlist and a deck
of EC Silver Playing Cards

Robie Madison
Prize: Winner's Choice download of any of Robie's Backlist

NJ Walters
Prize: Print copy of Summersville Heat

Marilu Mann
Prize: Copy of Sapphire Tease (releases in September)

Marianne Stephens
Prize: Autographed copy of Second Sight Dating

Lara Diamond
Prize: Download copy of Man Overboard

Lacey Savage
Prize: Paperback copy of Fighting Chance

Katherine Kingston
Prize: Trade paperback copy of Pleasure Raiders

Kate Hill
Prize: Download of any of Kate's backlist

Karen Erickson
Prize: Download of any of Karen's Backlistn

KZ Snow
Prize: Reader's Choice download of any of KZ's backlist

Janet Miller/Cricket Starr
Prize: A deck of tarot cards

Fae Sutherland and Marguerite Labbe
Prize: Ebook of Exceptions to the Rule

Claire Thompson
Prize: EBook of choice from Claire's Site

Cindy Spencer Pape
Prize: Download of any of Cindy's backlist

Ashlyn Chase
Prize: Copy of Heaving Bosoms in Paperback

Ann Jacobs
Prize: Download of any of Ann's Backlist

Adele Dubois
Prize: Download of Intimate Art and Two deluxe packs of seashells for
home decor

Judy Mays
Prize: Download of Celestial Passions: Meri

Mari Freeman
Prize: Reader's Choice Download of any of Mari's titles

Allyson James
Prize: Download of any Allyson James backlist

Anh Leod
Prize: Download of Lucky Number Seven

Cris Anson
Prize: Download of Book

Tawny Taylor
Prize: Paperback book, tote and some goodies

Liddy Midnight
Prize: A Charm Bracelet, winner's choice from my book-themed designs

Lady Jaided: The Ellora's Cave Magazine
Prize: Winner's Choice download of any EC/CP book and a Lady
Jaided/Ellora's Cave Goodie bag

Monday, June 30, 2008


By N.J. Walters

Rejection! We’ve all been on the receiving end of it. Felt the sharp sting of disappointment, the prick of tears, or the rise of anger. It’s not fun.

But some of us set ourselves up for it. That’s what being a writer is all about. It’s mounds of no thank you’s and form letters, with only the occassional yes thrown into the bunch, if you’re lucky

According to the Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, to “reject” means to: refuse to accept, consider, submit to, take for some purpose, or use. To cast off. To throw back. To decline.

Sounds simple. Your book does not satisfy our requirements at this time. Why you ask? You sweated blood for it, spend countless days and hours slaving over it. Why doesn’t it fit?

Because it doesn’t.

It’s as simple and as complex as that.

Nearly every writer has been rejected at some point or another in their career. Most of us, many times! My very first book was rejected due to POV (point of view) problems. Like most beginner writers, I had a hard time with this. Why? Because many established writers get away with head-hopping from one character to another within a scene, but most publishers won’t accept this from a new author. Go figure.

Still, the rejection letter and the handwritten note helped me realize what was wrong with the book. If you’re lucky enough to get a handwritten note or a letter that isn’t a standard rejection form—READ IT! This is a professional editor giving you free advice. I reworked that first book at least a dozen times, if not more. But guess what, it finally found a home. It took almost a decade, but I did it.

Rejection is easier when you’re just starting out and haven’t published. No, really. I mean it. Getting rejected once you’ve been published hits you even harder. After all, you’re a professional now and are supposed to know what you’re doing. Right?

At least that’s how it’s been for me. I had a story rejected by one publisher only to rework and tighten it and have it accepted by another. One book almost never saw the light of day because it was rejected the first time around. I was so devestated by this rejection I almost chucked the entire book. Instead, I put it away for a while and finished my current work-in-progress. When I was done, I pulled out the rejected manuscript, looked at the editor’s comments, reworked the book and resubmitted it. This time it was accepted!The book has been out for a while now and it is a fan favorite.

If there is one thing I’ve learned as a writer, it’s that you have to make peace with rejection. It’s a fact of life and it’s not personal.

Rejection is a great teacher. It taught me that I can always rewrite a book, can fix any problem (no matter how large), and can always find a home for my story—even if it takes years and another stack of rejection letters.

While it’s no fun, rejection can be helpful. It’s all in how you look at it.

Emotional~Sensual~Satisfying Reads! (newsletter group)
A Legal Affair—Samhain Publishing—July 15th
Jackson’s Jewel—Ellora’s Cave—July 25th