Monday, September 28, 2009

Banned


It's Banned Books Week. It's time to show your support for the right for libraries to carry books such as the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. These three books have been banned for reasons such as political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence. My kids not only enjoyed this trilogy, but their father read it to them. I believe he's more than capable of making the decision of whether or not the books are appropriate for our children. For more information, visit the American Library Association. In the meantime, go out and read a banned book.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shifters galore!

A recent post at Dear Author about the dearth of werewolf novels in paranormal romance mass market, single title print, got me thinking. My first reaction was: huh? I've read many a werewolf. Then I realized, most of the ones I've read were either ebook or Nocturne -- category series, so doesn't actually count as "single title".
But I didn't stop thinking there! (I know, scary stuff, my thinking!)
I thought about all those shifter stories people miss out on because they aren't really hitting mainstream print. So, here are 13 shifter-types that I've read, some with examples. All from lesser known titles or ebooks, though I know some of these shifter-types show up in mass market print.
  1. Werewolf. My paws down favorite. No real way to narrow it down cause I've read many, so I'll just list the last one I read, a novella from Samhain by Keith Melton. Run, Wolf. A very different take on weres & recommended.
  2. Large felines. I have a friend and sometimes critique partner who writes a lion/panther shifter series for Cerridwen. Frances Stockton.
  3. Cats. These tend to be different, the type of stories for a cat versus a larger shifter, so I broke it out here. For some reason, these always seem to include a veterinarian as a protag. :)
  4. Gargoyle
  5. Monster
  6. Dragon
  7. Raven. OK, gotta plug myself here and say, yes, my upcoming Samhain release, The Forbidden Chamber, includes raven shifters. But, I also adore the story Kiss Me Deadly by Shannon Stacey. If Raven shifters in a Gothic setting rings your bell, really can't recommend this highly enough.
  8. Eagles and other majestic raptor types. I couldn't lump these in with Ravens because the character types are usually presented as more noble, not as dark as the Raven.
  9. Mermaid
  10. Selkie. So it's not an ebook series, but I love, love, love Virginia Kantra's selkies.
  11. Skinwalker. This one is frequently portrayed as either really dark, or the bad guy as this comes from several different Indian legends of a type of witchcraft that was taboo.
  12. Vampires. Several stories include vamps that can change shape.
  13. Snake.
Trust me when I say I've read all these shifters in paranormal romance (or futuristic), even if I don't list the titles. To get this done for Thursday 13, I didn't have time to locate some of these reads, but if you're interested in a particular shifter, let me know. I will happily find the titles for you.

As for werewolf stories, one of the books on my keeper shelf is Kelley Armstrong's Bitten. If you've never read a werewolf romance, you must start there.

OR...if you want to read an erotic werewolf short story, leave a comment in my previous blog post about my story, Wolf-Bitten, available on Fictionwise this week. I'm giving away a copy to a random commenter.

What interesting shifter stories have you read?
Do you get turned-off by the thought of one of the main characters turning animal? Don't like the hero to go all furry? Or does it make you want to scratch him behind the ears?


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wolf-Bitten on Fictionwise!

I initially started writing with the goal of one day having my book on Fictionwise. Didn't start with the goal of hitting the NYT. Nope, I wanted to see my book on Fictionwise. When I first started reading e-books, I shopped there & discovered a new world of sub-genres from small presses that completely blew me away. When I started writing, I needed to write a werewolf story, a romp, a good time. Wolf-Bitten came to me & I had fun.

So, today, having my first short story appear on this ebook retail site is making me very happy and a little weepy. To celebrate, I'm giving a copy of Wolf-Bitten to one random commenter on this post. Comments can be about anything (OK, within reason) but include contact info (twitter name is fine). Contest closes end of day Thursday (Midnight EST).

*warning* this story is ultra steamy/erotic with a demanding alpha wolf & a heroine who is no pushover. Explicit language.

And here's the link to the story with excerpt on Fictionwise.
*happy dancing*

Have a lovely day and keep reading!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Forbidden Chamber

Got my final cover art & it's gorgeous (by Natalie Winters).
Take a look.

The Forbidden Chamber, from Samhain Publishing, Oct 27, 2009.

“Your life is forfeit if you open that door.”

All her life, Lady Isabel Colven has followed the path laid out for her, content to look neither left nor right for excitement. Her future holds a dutiful, passionless marriage to some nice young man, and she’s content…until the exotic and compelling Lord Rukh Hayle threatens her maidenly reserve. Rumor paints him as a wife-murderer; desire tempts her to look past his aura of danger.

Rukh refuses to let his family’s curse kill a third bride, but Isabel awakens the Raven within him, compels him to take her to wife—and to bed—despite the secrets that live under his skin. That lie is locked in the darkest corners of the manor, waiting to be unleashed. Their lusty union arouses the curse, entangling Isabel in an erotic tug of war that can only end in her destruction. There is no escape for either of them. Not from his family’s shadowy history. Not from demons imagined and real. And not from the choice Rukh faces to save his bride from a fate worse than death…

Warning: This gothic contains heady kisses that lead to ruin, passionate sex on a desk chair, a mysterious husband who may be a murderer, a cursed family of raven shifters, and an unspeakable evil hidden in the closet.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Copper Kiss by Aislinn Kerry

Here's a new release I plan to check out:

Copper Kiss, by Aislinn Kerry


Available now at Liquid Silver Books


Reina Campbell used to think that term papers were the worst of her problems. Now her werewolf best friend has been murdered, the cops are covering it up, and everyone, it seems, is vying for control of her empathic abilities. With Logan, the city's sire vamp, at her back, she's out to stop a murderer, and God help anyone who gets in her way.

But she didn't count on losing her heart in the process. And they're both about to discover that the truth goes beyond one were's death, and the cost of vengeance might be more than her life.

Read an excerpt * Buy the book

Sword Totin' Women

I blogged about this almost exactly two years ago today. And it's true just as much today-- I love books with warrior women. Here are 13 sword totin' women:
  1. Cinnamon Murphy, the heroine in my short story release, Scent of Cin -- Oct. 2 from Cobblestone Press. Cin fights hellions with her sword and martial skills. (erotic paranormal romance)
  2. Myla, in Inez Kelley's Myla by Moonlight. Myla is a protector, a shifter, and magic, all rolled into one. (fantasy romance)
  3. The Light Bearer, by Donna Gillespie. The heroine, Auriane is a warrior, captured and trained as a gladiator by the Roman Empire. (historical fiction that reads like fantasy, romantic elements)
  4. Karigan G'ladheon in Kristen Britain's Green Rider series. (fantasy)
  5. Tatiana in Eve Kenin's Hidden (futuristic)
  6. Skye/Mariah in Marianne Mancusi's Moongazer (futuristic)
  7. Mac in the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning (urban fantasy)
  8. Kerowyn in By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey. Actually several of Lackey's heroines apply. (fantasy)
  9. Rhapsody in Elizabeth Haydon's Symphony of Ages series. This is adventure fantasy of the big sweeping kind and the romance is integral. The only problem I have with this series is that it went too long & has been kind of left hanging. I can highly recommend the first three, written as a comprehensive trilogy, but you may want to stop there. Rhapsody is a wonderful, smart, sword totin' heroine & her characterization is one of the strongest I've read in fantasy fiction. (fantasy with romantic elements)
  10. Éowyn from Lord of the Rings. I love Éowyn. When I read the trilogy as a pre-teen, I wanted her to win the heart of Aragorn. But, she got her own HEA, so all ends well. (fantasy)
  11. Jirel of Joiry, the first sword and sorcery heroine from several stories written my C. L. Moore in the mid to late 30s. (fantasy)
  12. Red Sonya. This may be cheating a little, since she's a comic book heroine rather than prose fiction, but no list of warrior women could be complete without her. Just sayin' (fantasy-comics)
  13. Last, but certainly not least, there's the anthology series with many a warrior woman heroine, Sword and Sorceress started and edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley. This series was started specifically to promote the strong female lead. (fantasy)
If you want more imagery, check out this collection of Warrior Women art.
What woman-with-a-sword book rocked your socks?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Roaring Twenties! 20 Authors and over 20 Prizes!

THE ROARING TWENTIES
A Romance Treasure Hunt!
20 authors, over 20 prizes, 20 chances to win. Read below to learn how to enter.
September 16-30

World War I is over, jazz music is blossoming, the flapper changes the definition of modern women, Art Deco is peaking, and the Great Depression looms! Go back to school (just for a few minutes) and learn about this fascinating era through photos. You’ll have a chance to win one, or perhaps several, prizes donated by some of your favorite romance writers!

Here’s how it works: Find one image (it won’t be hard) on each of the following websites. They could be Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie, a well known image from the Dust Bowl, or perhaps a flapper! You’ll know it when you see it. The more images you find (each author has only posted one image), the more chances you have to win. Find one image, you are entered once! Find twenty, and your name is entered twenty times!
Once you have danced your way through the sites, email your answers to ciarcullen@gmail.com

NB: If you want to opt out of being put on any newsletter lists, please just tell us so in your answer email. We will NOT be offended! We promise that if you opt out, it will NOT affect your chances of winning.

Here’s how to answer: “I found a flapper on Betty’s new release page.” No links, please!

Easy? You bet. Want to get started? Here are your links! Contest opens 9/16 and closes 9/30 EST. Good luck. Now, 23 skidoo, scram. And have fun!

Pam Champagne
Prize: Two winner’s choice ebooks!

Michelle Pillow
Prize: Ebook Divinity Warriors: Lilith Enraptured

Imogen Howsen
Prize: Ebook Heart of the Volcano

Shelley Munro
Prize: Winner’s choice of download from her Ellora’s Cave, Cerridwen or Samhain backlist

Catherine Wade
Prize: Her latest release, Another Time Around

Debra Parmley
Prize: Ebook A Desperate Journey

Sharon Cullen
Prize: Ebook Obsession

Juniper Bell
Prize: Ebook The Extremist

Debbie Mumford
Prize: Ebook The Silver Casket

Leslie Dicken
Prize: Ebook Beauty Tempts the Beast

Carolan Ivey
Prize: Choice ebook or print A Ghost of a Chance: Legends, Book 2

Vivian Arend
Prize: eBook winner’s choice of backlist

Ciar Cullen
Prize: Ebook winner’s choice

Renee Wildes
Prize: Paperback Duality

Mychael Black
Prize: Ebook Blood & Fire

Eliza Gayle
Prize: EBooks Rope Dreams and Watch Me Hide

Skylar Kade
Prize: Ebook Maison Domine

Janna Lee Hayes
Prize: Ebook Drive Me Crazy

Sydney Somers
Prize: Winner’s choice download from backlist

Ella Drake
Prize: Ebook Scent of Cin

Pamela Fryer
Prize: Punch Studio Tiny Book

Meg Benjamin
Prize: Ebook Wedding Bell Blues

Another Scent of Cin Excerpt


Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You don’t have to be published to participate–just an writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the Excerpt Monday site! or click on the banner above.


This is an excerpt from my upcoming October release from Cobblestone Press, Scent of Cin. The beginning of this short story was posted for Excerpt Monday back in April. That posting garnered a request which lead to my contract for the story. The previous unedited excerpt started at the beginning in the heroine's point of view (POV). The following is the following scene in the hero's POV:
* Warning: *
* Explicit language and adult content. Please read no further if you are not of legal age. *

***

As the son of a demon, he’d seen all types. No one compared to Cinnamon Murphy, even disheveled, on the floor, and newly brought back to life. He admired her spirit, but her body wouldn’t be able to support any escape plans as of yet. She wouldn’t have made it past his lapdogs, much less him, even in her top form.

He admired that form, her quirky charm, and the lush spice of her body. He moved around the table and reached down to her. When she ignored his hand, he straightened away from her.

“Who are you?”

Her voice was rusty and gravelly from the healing cut to her neck, and his erection swelled even more from the husky sound of pure sex. But his anger returned, anger at the audacity of his Queen. His rage at his inability to save the woman detective had crippled him until he remembered the wooden box hidden in his library. Seething regret crushed him, making him desperate. Desperate enough to perform the risky, long forgotten ritual of life sharing. Desperate enough to risk both their corporeal selves if the ritual imploded, reversing itself. Who knew the price to their souls?

“What did you do to me?” she rasped.

Averting his eyes, he had to look away before he pounced on her. He didn’t have the time for his attraction. He couldn’t hunger for her vulnerable nakedness as she began to turn pink with life. In sharp counterpoints to her full head of auburn hair and deep brown eyes, her dusky areolas beckoned. Riveted, he couldn’t keep his gaze away. As he watched, her nipples pebbled despite the oppressive heat made sweltering by the use of his own power during the ritual.

For years he’d missed the intensity of desire. Now was not the time to enjoy the carnal delights of flesh. He wanted to lick every last freckle on her skin, and she had quite a number of them. Everywhere. But, enough of this. Time slid away while every second compounded his desperation. “I’m afraid this is my fault.”

“Bastard!” She tried to move again, no doubt to kick him in the balls. After watching her for weeks, he knew she’d put up a fight if she could. He well understood her usual bag of tricks. To save a life, she’d pull any dirty maneuver. He admired that.

“Settle down, Cin. I would never harm you, but my enemy’s lackeys followed me to our meeting. They killed you simply for being near me.”

“Only friends call me Cin.”

Her eyes flickered with wariness, but he could see she believed him. Otherwise, she would have pounced when he’d reminded her she had been killed. He was sure of it.

“I am your friend,” he said.

“Okay, friend. What’s your name?” she asked, her lip curled in a dubious expression as if she didn’t believe he’d tell her.

He meant to give his name. He wanted to offer her that power over him, but he found it more difficult than he’d thought. Possession of a true name compelled a demon to obey, but he trusted Cin not to use his unwisely.

At his hesitation, she smiled without warmth. “You may call me Murphy, like all my clients. I take it you need help with Hellions?”

She didn’t ask again about her death, or her rescue from becoming Shade.

“Yes. I need your help to find my son.”

Her eyebrows shot up, and he chuckled, struck with black humor. Demons didn’t safeguard their spawn, but he was no demon. He’d managed to shock the notoriously worldly, calculating, ruthless gumshoe, Cinnamon Murphy. He didn’t wait for her response. “In exchange for bringing you back from the dead.”

He paused, and she went pale as death. His heart stuttered with panic that he’d made a mistake in the scrollwork—never his strongest ability—maybe gotten the ritual wrong, and she would slip through his fingers. But she recovered, dispelling her visible shock as if it were vapor.
He continued. “I’d like you to find where the Demon Queen has hidden my son.”

***

Links to other Excerpt Monday writers

Note: I have not personally screened these excerpts. Please heed the ratings and be aware that the links may contain material that is not typical of my site.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

SFR insights at Borders True Romance

Heather Massey from The Galaxy Express has been a busy, busy blogger. Yet another wonderful post on Science Fiction Romance, this time at the Borders True Romance blog: Science Fiction Romance: A Primer, MARS NEEDS WOMEN.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Post-Apocalyptic Movies

Here are 13 post-apocalyptic movies I have lined up to get me in the mood to write a story. (In no order)
What happens after the world, or civilization as we know it, ends?
  1. Escape from New York
  2. Resident Evil I, II & III
  3. Road Warrior
  4. The Postman
  5. Planet of the Apes ( I put this on the list with reservation, because I've never really gotten into it, but it's heralded as best of the best in p-a movies. So, here it is.)
  6. Waterworld (Okay, this movie kinda sucked, but--the director quit in the middle of production, and that's when the movie started sucking, in the middle of the movie. I actually really got into the first half before the movie went nuts)
  7. 12 Monkeys
  8. The Matrix
  9. The Terminator (sorta--we only see glimpses forward into the post-apocalyptic world)
  10. The Stand
  11. Tank Girl (this movie is considered to be really bad. Gets bad reviews. Gets panned. But something about Lori Petty's character appeals to me).
  12. Three animated movies: Wall-E, Titan A.E. & Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
  13. Bonus--The Omega Man & I am Legend
    The Omega Man is an older movie based on same story as the new movie starring Will Smith, I am Legend. This is a bonus cause I haven't seen either one, but I now have I am Legend sitting on the shelf, ready to go.

Science Fiction Romance for Dummies

Dirty Sexy Books, an online review and book club site, hosted guest blogger Heather Massey from The Galaxy Express. They're reading a Science Fiction Romance book this month and their investigation into the genre has been enlightening to watch. The article: She thinks my tractor beam is sexy, and the discussion in the forum. Go check out Heather's post, Science Fiction Romance for Dummies.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

If you love Fantasy Romance...

You'll love Myla. I had the chance to read this book before release & I can whole-heartedly recommend it. Go forth and get this book!

Myla by Moonlight is now available from Samhain Publishing




Magic bites... and its name is Myla.


Created at Prince Taric’s birth, Myla is a spell, an enchantment designed to appear and protect him when he needs it most. She has always been content to do her duty…until one night of forbidden passion leaves her longing to experience life—and love—as a mortal woman. Yet the risk is too great. Even if her blood runs as red as his, she can never give him the one thing he needs: a child.

Taric’s blessing—and his curse—is knowing the kingdom’s future depends on his producing an heir to continue the bloodline. His bond with Myla has always been that of protector and protected. When it suddenly becomes something much more, he unwittingly sentences his people to certain death.


An old enemy is plotting to destroy all he holds dear: his lands, his people, his father, and his lover. And this time, even if they fight tooth and blade, their shared magic may not be enough to save them…

Click here or here to read an excerpt.
Click here or on the cover to purchase.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wolf-Bitten Reviewed at Coffee Time Romance

Rypleigh of Coffee Time Romance gave Wolf-Bitten 4 of 5 cups.
"Alpha males and strong females are the things romance novels are made of. Ms. Drake delivers with this wonderful story of true love. I found myself wanting to know more about the PACk and Wolfsbane. The petroleum sensitivity is an intriguing concept. I hope Ms. Drake continues this subject in future stories"

Thursday, September 3, 2009

13 Interesting Links

Here are 13 links I've run across on twitter in recent weeks.
  1. A Romance Novel for Michelle Obama. This is a pretty cool article about a Romance author handing her novel to President Obama.
  2. Teresa Says It Loud and Says It Proud: I WRITE ROMANCE NOVELS!!! Emotional piece about writing Romance. Made me tear up.
  3. Suvudu Free Library. This site posts free e-books, usually older books or the first in a series. Usually SF/F, but some are Romance. Authors include Anne McCaffrey, Keri Arthur, Jennifer Stevenson, Karen Marie Moning and Lara Adrian. (Also check out $1 Orbit Books)
  4. The Case for Steampunk Romance, a post at Dear Author by Heather Massey of The Galaxy Express that explains Steampunk. The comments are worth the read as well.
  5. What the Heck is it? Sub-genres in Fantasy and Science Fiction. A post that explains the genres in SF/F. Ever heard of mannerpunk?
  6. Changes at Samhain Publishing. Changes in editors and PR.
  7. Sex on the Kindle. She actually begins the article: "Sony recently unveiled its new e-reader into a market that's red-hot—in part, thanks to closet fans of cheesy romance novels and tween lit who don’t want you to see what they’re reading." (emphasis mine) But, she gives Liquid Silver Books a mention, which is cool.
  8. Ran across two interesting posts about Gothic Romance. One on the occasion of the release of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber (at popculturedivas). The article explains Gothic Romance.
  9. Previously, I also found a more scholarly article on Gothic at the blog, Teach Me Tonight. Since my upcoming Samhain release is Gothic/Historical Paranormal Romance, I'm hoping the genre gets a little love.
  10. The New Yorker lists Seven Essential Fantasy Reads.
  11. John Scalzi posts on Worldbuilding, Briefly. His approach to worldbuilding which I found to be pretty cool. (I can't quite completely do it his way, but I like his explanation, a lot).
  12. The 2009 Hugo Awards, Dramatic Presentation: Short Form goes to Dr Horrible's Singalong Blog, Joss Whedon.
  13. Jeannie Lin blogged on Men: The Appeal of Warrior Culture at Unusual Historicals. Love historicals based on warrior culture. In historical romance, I love them Vikings.