Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A look at the research....

Most of the people who read my blogs and interviews have some background on my latest paperback release, SHADES OF DEATH. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, and maybe those who do know it, I thought I'd tell you a little bit about the research that went into this book that I’m sharing with you today. The novel is called Shades of Death, and it’s a very different kind of vampire story than the traditional vampire romance.

When I began this book a few years back, I discovered that there are a wealth of fascinating vampire legends from all over the world. Every culture has a legend, and each legend empowers the vampire creature with different attributes and abilities. I’ve used those types and unique qualities to create both a mystery and a deadly killer who is attempting to evolve into an entirely new species of vampire. There are a lot of elements to this book that are outside the norm, and when I had two best-selling vampire authors tell me I should publish because it was an approach they had never encountered before, I thought it was worth finishing.

In the elements of this book you will also meet two special groups of people, at the Raven’s Eyre you will meet the people who comprise The Institute of Paranormal Investigation and Research. Run by a brilliant scientific investigator who is also psychic, the Institute is part of a worldwide network of professionals who study all realms of the paranormal and the beings who inhabit the shadows. Tied to them is a second group called S.I.G.H.T. – which stands for Surgically Induced Genetically Heightened Telepathy. The purpose of SIGHT is to enhance and enable investigations at all levels, and the team of scientists who work at that project are near a breakthrough when their team leader is drawn into the mysterious killings in Vancouver, close to the Raven’s Eyre.

I’ve tied legends, murders, and a romantic subplot all together to create a story that I hope entertains but also gives you some new information about vampire species. There is the possibility of a sequel here, so there are no total finishes. I’d like to know what your thoughts are before I go back and consider a sequel seriously.

Anyway, that's a brief glimpse at what's it all about. For anyone who would like to read the first chapter of this novel in its entirety, you can do that here on my website:

If you’d like to buy it, in print, eBook, Kindle edition, (or review it), here’s that information:

Genre: Horror/vampires/ thriller/ romance
Page Count: 305 (short novel)
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
BUY eBook:

BLURB: Deep within the ageless Carpathian Mountains , an ancient evil wakes. Imprisoned many centuries ago, the creature has waited, patiently, for the one destined to grant her freedom.

Arienne Lereaux has studied the preternatural menace called "vampyre" for most of her life. She is an expert in the field. Loosely affiliated with a secretive organization called The Institute of Paranormal Research and Investigation, she turns to them when she unearths what may be the first representation of the vampyre ever to exist.

The enigmatic and attractive Head of the Institute, Adam Raven, has spent a lifetime tracking the clues left by his mother's disappearance in the mountains of Romania nearly twenty years past. When Arienne arrives at the secluded island headquarters of the Institute, he wonders if she holds the key to finding his lost mother. But before too many days pass, the city of Vancouver is rocked by a series of grisly murders. As it races to find the culprit, the Institute faces an evil unlike any it has encountered before...

In the middle of their hunt, another branch of their network is making a scientific breakthrough in genetically heightened telepathy. The team responsible may soon hold a weapon that will have world powers at their door—until their lead scientist vanishes after leaving Toronto to consult Raven and his people. Ancient myth is suddenly not myth, and evil may take many guises before the Institute can restore the delicate balance that was destroyed the night Arienne stumbled into a remote castle in the mountains half a world away...

Thursday, July 22, 2010


So, if you're in the mood for something hot and sexy... drop by and check out this bit of sizzling flash fiction that is being featured on The Mistress Journals.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

GUEST: Isabel Roman

Today my guest is Isabel Roman... The book sounds wonderful, and I'm sure you'll enjoy learning more about this talented author! Welcome Isabel...

World Building

Things you need in your world-first, you have to figure out that you want to create a world. It’s like a flow chart, one leads to two, or sometimes three depending on your answer. Follow the arrows, and you’ll have a great world. Don’t follow them, and confusion and delay ensue.

1. What is the setting? It’s most important, whether it’s 1882 Philadelphia or 2002 Philadelphia. Special government? Particular society? Is what you’re building (vamps, magickers, whatever) public knowledge like in True Blood or hidden like in the Buffy verse?

2. Your verse. Are you writing straight history, alternate history, vampires in historical or modern times? Magickers in any time—what do they do, who are they? Very important to know these things before you get going. It’s a pain in the ass to change them later.

3. Continuity. Don’t change things between the first half of the book and second. (See #6)

4. Characters: what are their special ability? Do they have one? What are they trying to do and with what?

5. The Bible: For example: Contemporary alternate history vampire world. Define central characters; here it’ll be your vamps. Do they have special needs or abilities not the traditional vamp needs or abilities? Figure out if the World needs anything unique to accommodate those needs/abilities.

6. Remember all this. No forgetting and fudging it later. Star Trek had The Nitpicker's Guide for Next Generation Trekkers where they picked all the problems each episode had either within a specific episode or overall in the larger Trek universe. (And yes, I did have them! I’m such a geek.) Ah, to be big enough to have a bestselling book nitpicking all your mistakes. Move over JK Rowling and Trek! Here we come!

This is your verse. This is your world. This is where your story, be it one or a series of a dozen will inhabit. Don’t forget what you said HERE so it’s the same THERE. Whatever you put in, broad or specific, it’s part of the world, the characters. There’s no need to explain it, your readers are smart enough to get it.

Read Dark Desires of the Druids: Sex & Subterfuge available now in bookstores! And be sure to check out Isabel’s free story!


A master magicker, Morgana Blackthorne has a tenuous hold on her following. When a strange Englishman arrives on her doorstep with news of other druidic magickers, and magicker problems, she’s intrigued but suspicious. There hasn’t been contact between the American and European druids in over a hundred years. Plus she has her own worries and doesn’t need the handsome earl adding to them.

Lucien, Earl of Granville, left England to seek out the Blackthorne Druid line and discover what they’ve been up to since contact was lost. Once he and Morgana meet, their mutual attraction distracts him from his purpose. Embroiled in her problems, he finds himself more concerned with her welfare than is practical for a passing affair.

When I invited you into my bed, it never occurred to me I wouldn’t want you to leave.
There are darker forces at work and the hunger of a weak magicker desperate for power. Will Lucien convince Morgana of his true feelings before things spiral out of control? Or will the surrounding subterfuge tear them apart?


“Lucien Harrington,” Jacobs, her butler, intoned, “the Earl of Granville.”

Smiling, Morgana swept out of the circle, stepping into the foyer, and greeted her guest. His timing was off, but as the magicker she knew him to be, not suspect.

“Welcome, Lord Granville,” she said, offering a slight curtsy.

He was tall, with dark blond hair, dark blue eyes, and a sharp nose over which he looked down at her. Her eyes traveled over his face, down his body, clothed in immaculately tailored Savile Row, back to his face. Arousal pooled hot in her belly.

She’d never wanted any man. Yet Morgana wanted Lord Granville. Her skin prickled at his nearness, her womb clenched with want.

Forcing her mind off his body, she studied his face. Briefly, want flashed in his eyes and she smiled a truly wicked smile at him. It was gone as fast as it’d shone and she returned to studying him. There was grief hidden deep in his eyes, along with suspicion and weariness. Tilting her head, she wondered what caused those emotions. Suspicion she could easily understand. It’d been more than a hundred and thirty years since their families had any contact. Though, since he’d sought her out, she should be more suspicious of him.

“Mistress Blackthorne,” he bowed over her offered hand. Flicking a glance behind her, he said, “I hope I’m not interrupting.”

“Not at all,” Morgana smiled. She could all but feel David’s displeasure. Suppressing a giddy smile, she took Lord Granville’s arm and led him into the parlor. “We’re about to begin the New Moon Ritual. Do you still practice it in England?”

Looking up at him with guileless eyes, she waited for his confusion, gratified when it sparked briefly in those bottomless depths. Damn them all. She could be as gracious as she liked, but in the end, resentment bubbled to the surface. They’d abandoned her ancestors to indentured servitude and hadn’t bothered to contact any of them since.

“I’m afraid we lost that custom when we lost the valuable Blackthorne line.”

Morgana raised her eyebrow at him as they entered the parlor. Wasn’t he the diplomat?

“Would you care to join the ritual, Lord Granville?”

He bowed again and smiled. “It would be my pleasure, Mrs. Blackthorne.”

Visit Isabel's website

Saturday, July 10, 2010

HOUR OF THE WOLF - a review

by CJ Elliott
ISBN: 978-1-60088-543-3
Publisher: Cobblestone Press

Today I have done something I rarely do – I’ve read an eBook, and now you’re going to hear about it! For the first time, I’ve been so drawn to a concept that I have *gasp* BOUGHT a book online. Of course, being the dinosaur that I am, I promptly printed it to read…. LOL

Anyway, having just indulged in the world created by C.J. Elliott – I wanted to share some impressions of the book, which is the first of a set called “The Four Brothers Clan Series” – and oh my what brothers!!

So, in Hour of the Wolf you will meet Matéo – and the beautiful Reese Emerson. Reese is a unique character, and a perfect match for the loup garou hero of this tale. She hears whispers, other people’s thoughts constantly disrupt her life. In an effort to escape and find some peaceful rest, Reese flees to her sanctuary in the mountains. What she finds is not solitude and peace, but a passion that will change her life forever.

Matéo is hunting a predator who owes a blood debt that Matéo intends to collect. When his prey sets sights on Reese, he is forced to reveal his true nature.

Cindy Jacks has a beautiful, fluid writing style that takes her readers in and keeps them enchanted with her descriptive words and strong imagery. The passion is seductive and sensual, the story exciting and vibrant with life and tension. I wanted Hour of the Wolf to go on because I wanted to know more and stay in Cindy’s world. I can’t wait to read the next chapter of this exciting and engaging series…

If I was a reviewer, I’d give this five kisses, five stars, whatever you want to use as a label. Instead, I will give CJ Elliott five HUGS and ask her to get the next chapter out as quickly as possible, because I love what she’s doing and can’t wait to meet the next of her sexy brothers and see what he’s all about!!

You can get a copy of Hour of the Wolf from Cobblestone Press, LLC – and believe me, you will love it!!

Visit the author at her website

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

GUEST: Phyllis Schieber

Hello everyone. Today I have a very special guest to introduce you to, and I think you'll enjoy this post, and meeting Phyllis, as well as learning about a very cool book! So, first, meet Phyllis:

Sinners Guide to Confession - Kaye and Barbara are longtime friends, now in their fifties. Ellen, who is several years younger, develops a friendship with the other two women years later, solidifying this close-knit group. The three women are inseparable, yet each nurtures a secret that she keeps from the others.

Willing Spirits - Jane Hoffman and Gwen Baker, both teachers and in their forties, have a friendship that helps them endure. Years after Gwen is abandoned and left to raise two sons alone, she finds herself in love with a married man. After Jane is humiliated by her husband’s infidelity and Gwen must face her own uncertain path, the two women turn to each other. Now, as each is tested by personal crisis; Jane and Gwen face new challenges—as mothers, as daughters, as lovers. And in the process, they will learn unexpected truths about their friendship—and themselves.

Phyllis Schieber: The first great irony of my life was that I was born in a Catholic hospital. My parents, survivors of the Holocaust, had settled in the South Bronx among other new immigrants. .In the mid-fifties, my family moved to Washington Heights. The area offered scenic views of the Hudson River and the Palisades, as well as access to Fort Tryon Park and the mysteries of the Cloisters. Her first novel, Strictly Personal, for young adults, was published by Fawcett-Juniper. The Sinner’s Guide to Confession, was released by Berkley Putnam and in March 2008, Berkley Putnam issued the first paperback publication of Willing Spirits.

NOW, join us on the Sinners Guide to Confession and Willing Spirits virtual tour. To learn more about the tour, visit You can also learn more about Phyllis Schieber and her books at

Now, Phyllis herself:

I am a wife, the mother of a son, a sister to a brother, the daughter of a father I adored, and quite fond of men. Nevertheless, I cannot think of one man I would choose to have lunch with over one of my girlfriends. I know some will balk at this confession, but it is true. Mind you, I would happily have lunch with any or all of the men aforementioned, but it simply would not be the same as lunch with one of my girlfriends. The details matter so much with women, and we savor them shamelessly. Everything matters. The best men (in my view) are the ones who recognize their deficiencies and genuinely work to compensate. The nuances that come naturally to women require just does not seem to come as naturally to them.

I had a phone call this week from the woman who took care of my mother for many years. Marva is at least ten years younger than I. She is also the mother of five, a grandmother, and the person who taught me more about patience, kindness, and good humor than anyone else I ever knew. One day, in the early months of my mother's first serious decline, we brought her back to her apartment from yet another hospitalization. I was already weary, and I had no idea what was ahead, how really bad it would become in the months and years to follow. After we got my mother settled, I left to do some errands. When I returned, my mother was resting. She looked so sweet, so vulnerable, curled into herself with her head resting on her folded hands as though in prayer. Her skin was flawless as it remained to the day she passed. She opened her eyes and smiled at me. I had this sense of knowing that I would never again have my mother whole. I lay down beside her, curved my body around hers, and placed one of her hands on my cheek, flattening her palm with my own. I cried softly for no other reason than I was sad and exhausted. And then Marva sat down beside me on the bed and stroked my back, soothing circular strokes, murmuring in her lilting Jamaican accent that, "It's gonna be alright." I believed her.

I knew from the start that Marva was unique. She was, as my mother always said in Yiddish,a Gutte neshumah (goot-teh nesh-uh- mah): a good soul. A decent person with a good heart. Marva and my mother became the best of friends, and I took joy in their compatibility and in the knowledge that my mother was so well cared for while I went about my business. After my mother passed, I stayed in touch with Marva because she had become part of my life. Still, lives get busy, and sometimes months go by before one of us calls. She phoned me last week, and I was so happy to hear her sweet voice. She said, "Oh, Phyllis, I had a longing to hear your voice and your laugh." And, as always, I was moved by Marva’s sincerity, her ability to speak from her heart. We talked for quite some time, and at the end, she said, "I love you." And I told her I love her, which I do. After we hung up, I began to think about how women express their love. In Willing Spirits I describe the night that Gwen and Jane, the two main characters “fall in love”:

Yes, women do fall in love with each other. Differently, of course, than they fall in love with men. Falling in love with a man is a feverish experience. There is little control. But falling in love with a woman is much more serious. It guarantees so much more for the investment. For it is from other women that women are nurtured. It is from other women that they hear what they hope to hear from men. I understand. I know how you feel. I’m sorry for your pain. I care about what you think: Words that need no prompting. In that circle, women tell each other things that men and women tell each other first with their hands and lips and tongues before they can tell each other with words. Women comfort each other with touch that is meant to heal, rather than to excite. The mysteries of love are less complex between women. The hidden passages are easier to negotiate. And the dangers do not seem as great as when the same journey is taken with a man. Around each dank and frightening corner, women hold out their hands to each other and form a human chain that is, quite simply, spiritually different. The lucky ones find men who (and it is a deep and well-kept secret between women) are more like women.

I know a woman who was my student many, many years ago. P. was in my tenth grade class when I was a twenty-three-year-old English teacher. Her life story was incredibly sad and painful, not unlike the stories of many of the students I met along the way. I became a presence in her life, and we stayed in touch. After she graduated from college, she visited often. I welcomed her into my family, called her frequently, sent her money when she was in need, and told her that I love her at the end of every conversation. My son, now twenty-five, recently overhead me say, “I love you” to her and asked, “Do you really love her?” And I said, “It doesn’t matter.” I tried to explain that the words were a balm to P.’s soul. She knew she could rely on me for that bit of normalcy in her other otherwise complicated and often lonely life. My words were an offering that asked for nothing and gave everything. In fact, I do love P., but I wanted my son (who always, always, says, “I love you too” when I say, “I love you” to him at the end of every conversation) to understand that expressing love is an offering that should be made often and with joy.

I love the women in my life because we speak the same language. I have a circle of women friends who sustain me, keep me sane, remind me of my worth, and reassure me that I am treasured. We say, “I love you,” at the end of every conversation; we sign off our emails with the same words, and when we see each other, we embrace and affirm our love. I think it is because women spend so much of their lives nurturing—their children, their husbands, their partners, their ailing parents, their students, co-workers, the list is endless—that they understand the words are a gift, a promise. The words are a reminder to those we cherish that they are not alone, that they matter.

Thank you so much, Phyllis, for joining me today and for letting my readers get to know you and your books!!

Visit Phyllis: