Sunday, December 18, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
1. How long have you been writing?
Chris ~ I have been writing since I can remember. I used to write children’s stories when I was younger but professionally and as a published author, for about a year.
Cecilia ~ I have been writing as a published author for about a year. Before that much of my writing was for business publications and program materials.have been writing since I can remember. I used to write children’s stories when I was younger but professionally and as a published author, for about a year.
2. How long have you been a published author?
We have just become published authors within the past year.
3. What titles do you have available?
We have two published titles through XOXO Publishing—The Hottest Chapter and Dream Instruction.
4. What made you choose contemporary erotica romance as the subject of these books?
We had been writing Erotic RP storylines before we jumped into contemporary erotica. It was a natural transition. While we appreciate the many paranormal erotica stories out there, we decided to tackle something different and felt comfortable with contemporary stories. We just added a little pinch of spice to it.
5. Do you have any new titles coming soon? Will you be venturing into the area of fiction anytime soon?
Currently we have two works in progress—Countermeasure and To Russia with Love, book 1 and 2 of the Countermeasure series—in which the hero and heroine are immersed in the world of data espionage. They are filled with suspense, mystery and romance. Those two don't yet have a release date but we hope to be announcing it soon.
In addition, (yes we are gluttons for punishment) we have several novellas and shorts in different stages of development.
6. What is your favourite genre and why?
Contemporary Romance with a touch of erotica. Although it is a far cry from the big paranormal market out there today, the erotica aspect of it is as hot and like a piece of chocolate to take you away if just for a little bit.
We do enjoy fact checking and making the scenes and events reflect real and palpable situations but we also enjoy the Paranormal and Science Fiction/Fantasy where the world is your oyster and you can develop it any way you wish without thought as to whether or not your premise is truly feasible. You can create your own world, powers, creatures, characters, etc. without someone going, “Huh?”
7. What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?
Cecilia ~ For me it is the brainstorming session and story outlining with Chris. I love the thoughts and threads that come out of those discussions. They inspire me to get a scene down as a foundation for us to work with or for me to help build from what Chris has laid out. Believe or not, I also enjoy the editing processes. It is hard work but I love seeing it tighten a chapter.
Chris ~ I enjoy each part of the process. From plotting, creating the ARC, character development, fact checking and research and putting the words to paper (or screen). Each part has its own excitement and, for each completed piece, a new sense of accomplishment.
8. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?
Chris ~ I don't see me NOT co-authoring a book with Cecilia. The NaNoWriMo experience proved my self-worth and creativity exists regardless of our partnership BUT I wouldn't think of writing without her humor and wit to push me through the tough parts.
Cecilia ~ That’s easy. I already have a wonderful co-author that I write with. Chris fills in the gaps in my writing and inspires me to do better. If I’m having a difficult time expressing something, I’ll discuss it with Chris. Our dialog helps me get back on the right track. In essence, we are like two halves of a whole. When put together, the story flows to the page.
9. Where can readers find you on the web?
Chris is the ultimate geek so we are everywhere LOL. You can find us through the following links:
CA Duo Books - http://caduobooks.com/
Countermeasureseries - http://countermeasureseries.com
GoodReads Author Pages:
Chris Almeida - http://www.facebook.com/Chris.Almeida.Author
Cecilia Aubrey - http://www.facebook.com/cecilia.aubrey.author
Authors Facebook Fan Page - http://www.facebook.com/CAlmeida.CAubrey.Authors
Series Facebook Fan Page - http://www.facebook.com/Counter.Measure.Series
Thanks so much for being my guest.
Thank you so much for inviting us it is always a pleasure to talk with you Denyse! Here is a little bit about our two published stories and where they can be found. Enjoy!
The Hottest Chapter
Searching for inspiration, Eva sets out to organize her day. Armed with a cup of coffee and her to do list, she knocks out a great deal of work. Stumped on where to take her story, she breaks for lunch. It’s her lunch that gives her the inspiration to open the door into Lily and Jacob’s world. Before she knows it, they take control and she becomes mesmerized by their little game of sensual payback, leaving her hot and needy.
From XOXO publishing store:
After a year of defensive training classes together, Darci Meyer would like nothing better than for Darius Lawrence, her hot instructor, to show the same interest in her that she has in him. Little does she know Darius is finding it difficult to stay in control around her. Will either of them survive the next lesson or will their feelings get the better of them?
From XOXO publishing store:
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Friday, December 02, 2011
Thursday, December 01, 2011
For most authors a review means validation for all our hard work and hope that we’ve produced a story readers will buy and enjoy. In many cases this is the only feedback we have to consider, since readers don’t often write what was once considered fan mail. But, just how important should that much-sought-after review really be? I’ve been writing, and getting reviews, for almost seven years now. I admit I was lucky in the sense that my first pro story was universally reviewed with top ratings and raves. But, that was before bloggers became a dominant voice in the world of books and reviews.
So, which reviews DO matter to the overall marketability of your book is what becomes the real issue now. There are sites I respect and value as reviewers, well established sites with a team of reviewers who take their jobs as seriously as the authors they are reading. They take time to evaluate and consider what they have to say about a book, and to make solid and rational statements about their perceptions. Sites like Romance Junkies, The Romance Studio, Siren Reviews, Talking Two Lips Reviews, Long and the Short of It (and sister site Whipped Cream for their reviews of erotic books), Coffeetime Romance, Just Erotic Romance Reviews–to name only a few. (There are many reputable review sites, and a quick internet search will find them for you.) These sites have a policy in place that requires reviewers to submit their reviews, and they will be approved by the owners before being posted to the site. This gives a little time for clarity and review of thoughts, which can be invaluable.
Recently, with the popularity of blogging, there has been a marked surge in reviewers who operate individually from a blog they own. While it’s certainly true that ALL opinions are valid and valued, when bloggers become reviewers you have huge potential for confrontation and “bad” reviews. I can only speak from my personal experience with this new breed of reviewer, and it’s a mixed response at best. In my career of over four dozen books, I’ve only received a few questionable reviews, and they’ve been from bloggers who take it upon themselves to review books they read. In one instance the reviewer hit a book that contained one of her personal red zone issues… you know, the one thing that will kill any book for you kind of thing. Instead of admitting she couldn’t be objective about the book, which had received a number of 4 and 4.5 (out of 5) star reviews, she chose to post a review that defied reason. She ranted, quite literally–other authors went to read it, I share the bad and the good, and they were all stunned and confused, said her review was incoherent and made no sense, so how was anyone to take it seriously? This made me think a lot about whether this kind of review even has a value to potential readers. It was the second time in six months that such a review appeared on a single-person owned blog, and the second time the book wasn’t what the reviewer anticipated when buying it and choosing to review it. So, if you are wholly mistaken about what you’re about to read, or you hit a topic that sets you off–is it remotely fair to then proceed to trash author and book for the world to see, so to speak?
Some bloggers work hard to be objective and clear in their efforts to review books, and I applaud their dedication to authors and readers alike. The ones I personally object to are the ones who publish ranting, inarticulate messes and get their friends to jump in the moment someone disagrees with them. As an author, I refuse to comment on bad reviews posted to blogs. If it’s my book being shredded, the blogger gets a thank you for your input, which is all that’s required. ANY author who attempts to “justify” their work is giving the power to the person who needs to express their negative opinion mostly for the sake of gaining attention. Same rule applies to Amazon reviews, you’ll often notice there is one really poor review on many works–and if you look closer, few people see that as helpful. They recognize it for what it is, someone using the power of the rating button to simply be petty and mean. That’s not to say those who take the time to post thoughtful and honest reviews aren’t appreciated, because these are the readers themselves and they are often the best reviews we as writers can ever hope to receive.
To new authors who really want to see your book reviewed, speak with your publishers about where to send your book for review, ask other authors who they trust. And, if you are unlucky enough to get a bad review, it will hurt, certainly, but smile, say thank you, and move on. Serious book review sites will listen to the author if there is a legitimate complaint about a review–I once asked Coffeetime Romance to review one of the reviews for a book I’d written because the reviewer hadn’t read the book–it was obvious in the fact that she continually called the hero by the wrong name and his name was part of the title. They removed the review and put it back into the queue for another reviewer to select in the event they wanted to do it more fairly.
My final word to new authors on this touchy subject is this–reviewers are avid readers who love books, and they do this job because of that love. They are busy people with busy lives, just like authors, and they volunteer this service to support the writers they love so much. If you submit a book for review and it doesn’t get picked up, don’t hound the site owner or bitch on your Facebook about it–just keep sending the book for review, and accept what comes back to you with grace and professionalism. Most of all, just keep writing…the reviews are only a tiny part of the process, and at the end of the day, readers will read what they want to read. Reviews are bragging rights, they are not likely to make your book a best-seller or a flop, your writing skill is what does that, so keep learning your craft and improving with every new book!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
The heavy darkness in the
He was an impressive figure in his solitary stance against the world. Tall, and straight, alert to all that drew breath in the sprawling city. If anyone had been permitted to venture close, they would have been surprised by the guardian who held vigil against the unseen evils that plagued their safe existence. He was a handsome man, with dark, aged eyes that saw everything and gave back very little. Despite the ancient wisdom that resided in him, his face was young; smooth, contoured planes striking in quality. He was dressed in the colours of the stormy night, and a wide-brimmed hat shaded his features further. His muscular form was given disguise by the fluttering, full length cape that added to the aura of mystery and danger that emanated from him.
It had been a night much like this, less than a season past, when his life had been altered in the most painful of ways. The woman he’d grown to love had died, in his arms, after a savage attack–by him. Gabriel Lucienne felt the anger and the agony searing his soul yet again when the ethereal face of Naenia Velarian swam into focus before his mind’s eye, blotting out the turbulent sky with her stunning beauty. As always, tears rose to make the image shimmer and glow, until it shattered with the falling of a single salt-tanged droplet of moisture, then he swallowed the rest of the endless swell of loss that wanted to pour forth in the wake of this tiny concession to grief.
Lucienne pushed aside the weakness that threatened to consume and paralyze him, turning his attention outward. To the night, and the evil that darkness spawned with such careless abandon. He could feel the presence of his latest assignment, an ancient warlock who preyed on the idle rich of
The Hunter’s steps echoed on the cobblestones as he strode through the heavy night air, his passing ruffling the dense churning of white mist that coiled and writhed on the ground. As he moved, steady, graceful, and lethal, Lucienne tugged his hat a little further down on his forehead, obscuring his features in shades of deep grey and black shadow. It hadn’t been so long ago that he’d walked these streets in search of a demon who had penetrated the echelons of the
Lucienne stopped suddenly, a new scent reaching him amid the potent mix that was uniquely
A scream ripped the low-level drone of night sounds in the
A red haze of blood-drenched fury tinted Lucienne’s vision and he lifted the gun and fired at the creature bent over the dying girl. He absorbed the shock and the vision as he moved toward the vampire; for he was in no doubt that what he had interrupted was a feeding creature of the night. He’d thought them all dead when Vladius was destroyed, but now realized it had been an uncharacteristically naive belief to assume that one vampire had spawned all who might walk the earth. The silver-haired head of this creature rose, and Lucienne stopped moving for an instant when he was transfixed by the hypnotic power of the vampire’s blazing eyes. They shone with preternatural brightness in the shadows, one minute molten gold fire, then the ice of winter-blue skies.
With an effort of will, Lucienne shook off the mental hold and advanced swiftly. The creature was startled just enough to slow his reflexes, and Lucienne’s gun fired again in a quick volley of bullets. The vampire was flung back against the wall by the impact of the attack and the Hunter delved into his coat a second time. This time he produced a heavy silver stake and triggered the lethal point as he leaped toward the creature.
Lucienne was airborne when he was slammed hard into the nearest stone wall by a new arrival. Stunned, he shook his head and tried to discern what was happening around him.
“Not before I finish this, Paien.”
Lucienne trembled inside at the malevolence in that rich, cultured voice. His eyes adjusted to the darkness and he was finally able to see the semblance of forms in the narrow space of the alley. He was being held against the building, one-handed, by a fair haired man. At the mouth of the alley, blocking any exit, stood a woman who was equal to Naenia Velarian in her beauty and stature. She looked every bit as fierce and formidable, as well.
Lucienne reacted on instinct and flung the stake toward the man who had been his first target. A roar of fury rose in the night and he was slammed harder into the brickwork at his back. For several beats of time, Lucienne held onto consciousness, then he lost his battle and the gaping abyss of true blackness swallowed him.
Soren was at her master’s side before the last echoes of his scream of pain had faded into the night. She pulled the stake free of his chest and flung it aside, then turned to look at the man who now lay at Paien’s feet. Her fangs elongated and her eyes shimmered, their enhanced vision sharpening further in the space of time it took for her true nature to emerge. She walked to the nobleman’s side and was reaching for Lucienne when she was pushed away.
“Get deVillier to safety,” Paien ordered harshly. “I’ll take care of this.”
“I want him dead, Paien!” She snarled in contempt. “And I want to savour the pleasure myself.”
“No,” Paien positioned himself between his beautiful lover and the fallen hunter. He was shocked himself by his defense of the mortal, but something deep in his soul was demanding that he keep the man alive. He winced unconsciously when he heard the growl of his vampire father ripple the night air, and for an instant he looked in that direction. His stomach twitched in response to the sight of deVillier ripping the girl’s throat out and gorging on her blood. The ancient vampire’s healing would be rapid with the veritable feast he was indulging in at that moment.
In the distance, police whistles were blaring, and Paien knew they had only precious minutes to get away from the scene of this grisly murder.
“Take him back to the estate, Soren,” he ordered firmly. “I’ll follow you.”
She was still glaring at him, and Paien shuddered imperceptibly at the low, guttural rumble of her vampiric anger. He waited, unmoving, and finally she went to their vampire father and bent to touch his shoulder. deVillier’s head rose and he smiled at Paien for a moment, blood trickling from the corner of his mouth as he silently dared his knight to reproach him.
“Come, deVillier,” Soren murmured. “Paien will finish him for what he’s done to you.”
deVillier straightened, stumbled a little before he righted himself, then drew Soren close to his side. They rose in a graceful arc, and vanished into the cloud-strewn sky.
“Who are you?”
Paien turned to peer at the mortal, surprised to find the man was standing again and had a crossbow aimed at his heart. For an eternity that spanned centuries in the space of seconds, the two men stared at each other. Paien’s heart, inert for decades, perhaps centuries, suddenly surged to painful life in his chest, and the savage, pounding beat almost deafened him for timeless moments.
Lucienne looked into the unnaturally bright blue of the fair-haired man’s eyes and his breath caught in his throat. It was impossible, but he felt undeniable recognition as he stared into the fathomless depths of the vampire’s eyes. The night dropped away and he was standing on a battlefield, the armourment of the Templar Knights weighing on his body... and this man was at his side, sword drawn as they faced a common enemy...
“It’s not possible,” Lucienne breathed, shaken to the core of his spirit.
“Do you intend to use that?” Paien asked, his eyes flitting to the crossbow.
Again, the sense of drowning and flying assailed Lucienne. His own voice whispered a more recent memory to him: “My life is committed to the vanquishing of evil, in whatever shape it may take. My talent, if it may be called such, is that I can sense evil.” He let his mind focus, reaching into the presence beside him, and the answer murmured: “Evil does not rule this one. Evil may have made him, even left its mark on him. But evil does not rule him. So I cannot kill...” He’d been right each time he listened to this quiet voice within him, and he knew he was right now. The man/vampire before him, awaiting his judgement, was not truly a thing of pervading evil. Not as the other vampire he’d sensed and confronted in this alley. Lucienne didn’t know if he was relieved or disappointed, and refused to examine the paradox more closely. Trusting instinct, he shook his head and said very softly, “I can’t.”
Paien leaned closer, confusion evident on his features.
“Who are you?” He heard the dread that textured the soft query, but he ignored it and waited for an answer.
“Lucienne.” He paused, and with equal reluctance, asked the same question of the man before him.
“Paien deBrassaunt,” Paien whispered, the reply extracted from a part of his soul that he’d thought long gone.
Profound understanding passed between them, and went unacknowledged by words or reaction.
“Why are you here, Hunter?” Paien asked when Lucienne made no effort to say anything further.
“I’m hunting,” Lucienne’s smile reflected the irony in his tone and he shouldered his crossbow. “Have you ever heard of a man calling himself Mandrake?”
Paien’s smile was an echo of Lucienne’s sardonic humour. He nodded.
“Try the old Carfax Estate,” he suggested. “The owner died recently, and Lord Rupert Avondale is restoring it,” he informed Lucienne, knowing the hunter didn’t actually have a name for his prey, and that this would insure he pursued and eradicated the right man.
Paien nodded curtly, glanced over his shoulder, and pointed.
“You might want to leave before they find you here,” he commented.
Before the words did more than register, Lucienne felt the shift in the air that told him he was alone again. He pulled out his grappling gun and aimed at the roof. He was swinging over the edge as the alley began to fill with policemen.
“You dropped this.”
He turned in time to catch his wide-brimmed black hat as Paien tossed it and swirled away in a current of displaced air. Smiling grimly, Lucienne donned the hat and tugged it down on his forehead.
“Carfax it is,” he murmured to the darkness and turned his attention back to the man he’d been assigned to hunt down and destroy...
© 2010 Denysé Bridger
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
What’s in a book cover?
I was having a conversation recently with one of my acquisitions editors, and we got to talking about covers and how people respond to them. Authors often agonize over their book covers, driving artists to distraction with their “vision” of what is the perfect image to sell their book, but in the end, is it really the cover that pulls a reader? A good cover catches the eye, but what makes the reader part with their valued dollars? I’m thinking it has a lot more to do with the author from the moment the cover says “pick me up” to the potential buyer.
Ultimately, we buy books for the stories they tell, so it’s the words that are really going to persuade a reader, isn’t it? How many people have been “fooled” by a stunning cover that masks a half-assed story that lacks depth and passion? I admit it’s happened to be a time or two, so I’ve started ignoring the pretty pictures to a large extent and really reading what is written in those all important blurbs on covers or webpages.
I am often reminded of how much more important the words are when I am looking at Harlequin books. I admit that my favourite line of HQ books has been their flagship imprint, Harlequin Presents. Now, consider every book in that line carries the same white cover, banner, and then the image of a couple in the middle of a circle. What is important in these books is the title and author name blazed across the cover, not the often generic couple that adorns the book. These books rely on catchy blurbs and author reputation.
And what about the opposite–a cover that you find really ugly for whatever reason. Does that put you off the book to the point where you refuse to pick up the book and read the back of it? One of my publishers recently released a book with a cover that I detest. Not even the presence of Jimmy Thomas saves it for me. I know the author and she’s not someone I’d read if I was stuck on a desert island, so I have no way of knowing if I’d excuse that cover if it was someone else. I do know that I frequently buy books with plain covers that contain little more than author name and title, so I like to think I’m not always influenced by something as shallow as a picture on the cover. *lol*
So, I’m curious what you, the readers, think of covers in general. Do you like sexy heroines, curvy heroines, kick-ass heroines–or are you drawn more to the hero of the story? The book cover that I spoke of earlier had the very sexy Jimmy Thomas, but the heroine was a frumpy looking, plus-size girl who just looked very unattractive. I have nothing against plus-size heroines, I’ve written them myself, I just don’t feel the need to label the book that way–a woman is what she is, and her body size is not what makes her beautiful to the hero, is it? Yet, here we are all of a sudden using this as a marketing angle. It’s a shame that everything devolves into a superficial need to “label” at all, but there you have it. Curvy girls are as gorgeous as slim and trim girls, it’s the skill of the writer that makes you fall in love with the characters, not the emphasis on what your heroine’s dress size is. So, again, would you buy a book just because the girl on the cover is less than “perfect” by media standards? I’m thinking there has to be more to it than that.
So, dear readers – let’s hear from you – what do you like, and what don’t you like to see on the covers of the books you buy?
Monday, November 14, 2011
Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to a couple of wonderful new authors who have made the leap from Role-play on Facebook to published authors. They're debut effort is included in the best-selling collection called Evernight, available from XOXO Publishing and Amazon, as well as other online outlets. So, without further ado, meet Aaron Speca and Patricia Laffoon...
How long have you been writing?
We've been writing for a little over a year, since we joined a little Dark Hunter role playing (RP) group that now has nearly a thousand fans. We joined separately and met there, and after a while our group did an alternate future storyline, and we decided to surprise everyone in the group by making our characters husband and wife in that future. We wrote so well together that we decided to develop the beginning of their relationship in the present day, and then brought them into an alternate pirate world that one of our players created and rediscovered their relationship all over again. That was the basis for our first published short story "Tears of the Mermaid".
How long have you been a published author?
*Checks the calendar* About ... seven weeks. *grins*
What titles do you have available?
Our story is "Tears of the Mermaid" in the anthology "Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness" from Allison Cassatta.
What made you choose mermaids as the subject of this story?
Well, Patricia's character Trish has been a mermaid in every incarnation. She's always had a fascination with mermaids and mermaid lore. When the pirate page was created in our role playing group, it was a perfect fit!
Do you have any new titles coming soon?
We are working on a follow up short for Volume 2 of "Evernight", then we would very much like to expand Rudy and Trish's story into a full-blown novel.
Will you be venturing into other areas of fiction or nonfiction anytime soon?
This is all so new to us, we are just going with the flow. We've been tinkering with bringing some sci fi elements into our latest paranormal story in our RP group.
What is your favourite genre and why?
Sci fi, paranormal, and fantasy, because there is just so much you can do with your imagination. It truly is stepping into another world.
What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?
We write almost exclusively with partners, and it's that "eureka" moment when a story just comes together, because you and your partner have a common vision and the characters and the story just take on their own life.
If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?
Our RP group has done some great stories in the Dark Hunter world, and we would be humbled and thrilled to be able to co-write some of them into a Dark Hunter book with Ms Sherrilyn Kenyon. There are at least three or four really good books in there, I just know it.
Where can readers find you on the web?
EXCERPT FROM "TEARS OF THE MERMAID" BY AARON SPECA & PATRICIA LAFFOON, IN THE ANTHOLOGY "EVERNIGHT: ROMANCE IN A WORLD OF DARKNESS" FROM ALLISON CASSATTA
Trish did not have long to wait. He didn't arrive the way she thought he would. No, he stole onto the beach like a thief in the night. His steps faltered at first as he rose up from the waves that crashed upon the shore. He quickly found his footing and made his silent way towards the single, solitary figure sitting by the bonfire. Tossing down a bundle of clothes, standing naked he towered over her.
A small gasp escaped her lips and it was not one of pleasure by any means. "What?" he demanded. "Do you not find my form to your pleasing? I seem to remember a time when you thought so."
She turned her face away from him, and in that moment he leaned over, inhaling her scent. His eyes flared in the rapidly darkening dusk, then narrowed as he pulled on his britches, tucking his feet into a stout pair of black leather boots.
"You lied to me; you said there was no human here." The look on his face turned into a snarl. "I can smell the same male on you that I smelled before!"
She scrambled back from her place on the sand in fear. "No! No you are mistaken!"
"Am I?" Aaron bent his knees slightly, grabbing Trish by her slender arms, dragging her up his well-defined chest. He could feel her resistance in the way she went rigid against him. His groin tightened as he drew in her scent again, dragging his nose and lips from the curve of her graceful shoulder, up her slender neck nuzzling just under her ear, whispering, "He was here, but he's not now is he?"
She tensed at his touch turning her face away from him. There was only one man's touch that she relished and his was not it. She had sent Rudy away from the island, and yes, she had summoned Aaron but it was to tell him that his attentions were no longer desired; actually that they never were. Now that he was here, the fear and trepidation she always felt in his presence came flooding back, as did the memory of his last visit when he first suspected that not only was there another man here, but a human at that. She had refused to tell Rudy where the scars had come from.
"I…," she trembled, "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Trish you lied to me once and paid a heavy debt for it; don't let us have a repeat of that tonight. You called to me; there must have been a reason, what other could it be than you wanted me."
(For the rest of this story and eleven other great tales, go pick up Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness, available directly from XOXO Publishing, or from Amazon for the Kindle. Twelve stories for $5.99.)