I'm pleased to congratulate Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit sister Melissa Walker on her new release, Small Town SinnersTeen Love & Romance Books), and her great write-up in the New York Times Book Review. Melissa has the kind of bio my Vamped heroine, Gina, would envy. She's worked as an ELLEgirl Features Editor and Seventeen Prom editor. She's also written the Violet on the Runway series and Lovestruck Summer
“A non-judgmental, nuanced, fascinating look at the teenage religious right… Walker writes an outstanding contemporary novel with a cast of characters who, far from being portrayed as hateful zealots, are relatable for readers of all faiths. The extremism of Hell House is tempered by the perfectly understandable attitudes and intentions of Lacey Anne, who struggles with what it means to grow up, to question and to think for herself.” –
“Both tender and provocative… Walker creates an astutely balanced portrait of a conservative congregation’s in-your-face response to perennial issues of domestic abuse, teen pregnancy, and suicide, as well as of those who struggle to fit the prescribed Christian mold.” –
“This secular story about religious people could easily devolve into camp mockery, but because Walker takes her character’s crisis of faith seriously and sensitively, readers will, too.Definitely check her out.
Interview with Melissa Walker
What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you schedule time to write each day or are you a spree writer?
I try to write 1000 words each day when I'm on a deadline, preferably before lunch... that's the "plan" anyway, and it's awesome when it works, about 60% of the time.
What is the hardest part about the publishing process for you and how do you get through it? (For me, it’s copyediting and sour cream and onion chips.)
First draft is the roughest. I withhold lunch until I have my daily wordcount. Hunger is a huge motivator.
We drop your hero or heroine on a deserted island. Quick, what are the three things he or she can’t live without?
Lacey Anne would need her two best friends (Starla Joy and Dean--are people cheating?), plus her Bible.
If your story were a film, who would you cast?
I’m a huge fan of unknowns, and I’d probably like to see fresh faces playing Lacey Anne and her friends, but that’s avoiding the question, right? If I had to cast, I’d go with Taylor Swift as Lacey Anne, Ashley Green as Starla Joy and maybe David Archuleta as Dean (does he act?). If not him, maybe a Jonas brother—probably Nick, with some weight gain. For Ty, I have a picture in my head that I can’t replace with a real actor. Book guys are better. I will say that I’d love to see Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton (Coach and Mrs. Taylor on Friday Night Lights) as Lacey Anne’s parents. Love them!
Are there any contests or upcoming appearances/interviews/etc. you’d like to plug?
Congratulations on your fabulous new release!
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Jo Hutchinson is obsessed with a man she's never seen—only heard. Her late–night calls from the office to the mysterious "Mr. D." grow increasingly intimate, until they finally become full–blown phone sex. Still, Jo doesn't dare meet him. Instead, she embarks on a series of sizzling sexual escapades with other guys, sharing every sweaty moment with Mr. D. afterward, a passion–by–proxy arrangement they both get off on. But even as she's charting brave new naughty worlds, Jo knows that it's all really for Mr. D. Every pleasure she experiences—eagerly, athletically, vocally—is to please him.
Immersed in fantasy, reality just slips away—even the chance at that elusive combination of love and lust. Her new tenant, Patrick, an Irish hunk in geek's clothing, is totally into her. And in her lucid moments, Jo knows she feels the same. Can she tear herself away from her kinky dreamworld long enough to appreciate what's right in front of her? Or has Mr. D. ruined her for real life?
“I loved this book! It was steamy. It was romantic. It had lots of drama. And a wonderful ending to it.”—Books to the Sky
"a deliciously naugthy novel with an intense steamy narrative... a hot, spicy adventure you shouldn't miss!" -Romantic Times Book Reviews
“This novel is erotica at its best. A good, strong story driven by interesting characters, and steamy scenes that will leave you smiling secretly to yourself.” —The Raunch Dilettante
In case anyone is is interested, I've done a flurry of guest blogs recently in support of my latest release, Bad Blood from Samhain. Please feel free to check out all or none. (Or cry out in self-defense, "I've got it already; I'll buy the darned book if you'll just *shut*up*!" Cough. I'm easy.)
Action Distraction for Babes in Bookland (scroll down to July 13th)
My heroine interviewed:
And what's more fun than welcoming a brand new author to bestsellerdom? Yesterday evening, I learned that Kalayna Price had hit the USA Today bestseller list for the second novel in her Alex Craft urban fantasy series, Grave Dance!
See what people are saying!
“Wow I have to say I just say love this series and I'm simply in love with this world, these characters and where they seem to be headed. Alex is a strong heroine who can kick ass and take names, where Falin is sneaky and totally in love with Alex. The combo lets you know that while he may not be completely honest with her, he will do anything for her. Now Death, has me interested. You never know if he is coming for coffee or your soul, and don't forget he is drop dead sexy! Ms. Price has created an urban fantasy world that is filled with Fae, Dark Fae, and Reapers that will reach out and grab you and keep you hooked till the very end!” —Night Owl Reviews, Five Stars
“Grave Dance is another exquisite example of Kalayna Price's enticing storytelling abilities. Her vivid descriptions and unique characters combined with her gripping storylines will keep your turning pages and wanting more.” —Fang-tastic Books
“Grave Dance has got to be one of the ten best urban fantasies I've read. Since I am a voracious reader, that means they have beaten at least seventy others to hit my top ten list. Alex is funky, funny, and far from invulnerable.” —Fresh Fiction
“Alex seems to be on the path for some more pulse-pounding adventures to intrigue readers.” -Parkersburg News & Sentinel
“Grave Dance was an exciting and thrilling read and when it ended I threw a fit because I didn't want this book to end. Grave Dance exceeded my expectations on so many levels.” —Mystifying Paranormal Reviews
“I really enjoyed Grave Dance. I think Ms. Price has established this series as a must read with this installment.” —Michelle’s Book Blog
“Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now & put this author on your watch list.” —All Things Urban Fantasy
Speaking of Vicky Dreiling (see yesterday's blog), she's answering questions today over at the Forever Romance Facebook page.
Rosemary Clement-Moore is talking to Get Lost in a Story today and giving away a copy of her latest, Texas Gothic! Check her out.
New York Times bestselling author Rob Thurman's got information on new contests, signings and releases over on her blog. If you haven't read Chimera yet, you're going to want to run out and grab it in preparation for the sequel, Basilisk, which releases August 2nd. Really, seriously awesome series. (For you Cal Leandros fans out there...just as awesome, I swear!)
August 2nd will, in fact, be an AWESOME day, because it will also see the publication of the first book in a brand new series by Rachel Caine (Working Stiff), Book One of the Revivalist series), a debut mystery by Tammy Kaehler (Dead Man's Switch) and the omnibus edition of Chloe Neill's first two Firespell novels (Firespell and Hexbound).
But over here, I want to celebrate that Vicky Dreiling's fabulous second novel How to Seduce a Scoundrel is #39 this week on the Bookscan Romance bestseller list! Because I was away at the Romance Writers of America National Conference when this came out on July 1st, I missed having a happy release day blog for Vicky. I'm making up for lost time!
Vicky's first novel, How to Marry a Duke has been one of the most talked-about debuts of the year. Just check out these fabulous quotes:
"What a terrific romp of a read! Vicky is a bright new voice in romance."
--Sarah MacLean, New York Times bestselling author of NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE
"An enchanting debut, full of humor and heart!" —New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter
"Dreiling's delightful debut combines the rituals of Regency courtship with TV's The Bachelor.... Dreiling is definitely a newcomer to watch." —Romantic Times
“Vicky Dreiling has set a high standard for hopefully many more books to come! She has woven a fabulous and fascinating Regency Romance focused on the tensions and trepidations surrounding making a good marriage, both in terms of love and traditional aspirations for wealth and title.… This novel is a treat to enjoy and now I can hardly wait to read how the wild hawk gets tethered in the second book.” —Fresh Fiction
“Vicky Dreiling’s debut novel recreates a familiar tale, and molds it into a witty, nourishing romp of a romance – one impossible to put down. How To Marry A Duke is the perfect blend of historical romance and chick lit. Dreiling’s imagery, vernacular and landscape paint a tasty portrait of love and its many splendors….Dreiling mesmerizes as she brings an era to life. She fills the pages with laughter, sensuality and charm. How to Marry a Duke is an irresistible ride readers will return to again and again.” —Examiner.com
"Vicky Dreiling delivers a tale chock full of warmth, wit and tenderness. She's sure to please readers everywhere!" -Samantha James, New York Times bestselling author
"A delicious read! Better than chocolate! Sexy, fresh and witty, Vicky Dreiling is an author to watch!" -Sophie Jordan, New York Times bestselling author
Her new novel is similarly and deservedly lighting up the sky. Go, Vicky, and happy belated book birthday!
It's not only Teaser Tuesday, it's the release day for the awesome Texas Gothic
I hadn't even known goats could climb trees. I had been livestock-sitting for three days before I'd figured out how the darned things kept getting out of their pen. Then one day I'd glanced out an upstairs window and seen Taco and Gordita, the ringleaders of the herd, trip-trip-tripping onto one of the low branches extending over the fence that separated their encloseure from the yard around Aunt Hyacinth's century-old farmhouse.
I couldn't agree more.
An interesting question arose in the comments section of Rob Thurman’s guest blog a few weeks ago about how far a writer can take something from mythology away from its roots and still call it by its name of origin. In other words, are vampires still vampires if they can walk about in the sunshine and don’t need to drink blood to survive.
I gave this a lot of thought, and I realized that there are certain things that readers identify with various mythical beings that will lead to certain expectations no matter what you call them. In other words, a rose by any other name would still bear thorns. The flipside of that brings immediately to mind Lynn Flewelling’s Aurenfaie—the beautiful, long-lived magical race that claims her hero Seregil—think a fusion of the Scarlet Pimpernel and Sherlock Holmes—from the Nightrunner series. (Okay, they don’t so much claim him as send into exile, but you get the picture.) Something about the Aurenfaie leads readers to identify them with elves or The Fair Folk, liley the second half of the name.) And that leads them to the impression that the Aurenfaie have pointy ears, even though they don’t. In other words, faie=fairy, fairy= elf, elf=pointy ears.
I wondered what other preconceived notions writers might be confronted with when they create new worlds. Do fangs without fur automatically mean vampires? Do fangs with fur equal shifter (mammalian, of course)? Are there other expectations, like with vampires and blood that without which are non-starters for the reader? I’ve seen books with vegetarian vampires and energy vampires which would lead me to think that this is not necessarily the case. Sure, as you get away from the source material, you may lose some readers, but you may pick up others intrigued by the novelty.
As I mentioned in my Myth is Bendy blog, even source materials can’t seem to agree on definitive versions of any myth or creature. For example, in Chinese mythology, vampires are more comical than frightening and can only move by jumping up and down and with arms outstretched. Even within the same culture, attributes of gods and other beings may vary. Myths largely developed before written language, and thus were often recorded after centuries of oral tradition had played telephone with them. Not to mention, contact with other cultures through invasions, interbreeding or proselytizing changed various stories as history marched along its petty pace.
I’m not sure it’s possible to go too far with something when nothing about that thing is or ever was set in stone. No matter what you do, some will love it. Some will hate it. Worse, some will be completely indifferent.
But that’s my two cents. I want to hear yours. How far is too far?