Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grounded: a Hayle Raven Story

A raven shifter can no longer fly. Can he find a mate, though he’s grounded?

"Grounded: a Hayle Raven Story" is now available for free download at the Samhellion.
This standalone short story is a follow up to The Forbidden Chamber.
Please, check it out & let me know what you think.

Winner of Michelle Picard's Ruling Eden

is RKCharron.
I'll be in touch to let you know how to get your book.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Welcome Michelle Picard

Today I'm fortunate to have Michelle Picard visiting with me to talk about her forthcoming novel, Ruling Eden. I'm lucky to have read Michelle's work and am a true fan. Let's all welcome Michelle!

A random commenter will be picked to receive a print copy of this wonderful fantasy for themselves! So be sure to leave a comment.

Ella: Tell us a little about Ruling Eden, your release from Crescent Moon Press.

Michelle: First off, I can’t tell you how much happy dancing I did when I received the contract offer on this book. It was the first manuscript I had ever finished and I cut my writing teeth on it. With all the love and attention it received over a number of years, it deserved a home. It’s just been released in electronic format on the Crescent Moon site, but will be available in print format in about a month through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I view the book as an interesting mix of fantasy romance and urban fantasy. It has a kick-ass first person narrator named Rachel. She’s an ordinary Boston gal, on the tough side because she grew up in foster care, who learns on the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday that she’s the ruler of a supernatural realm hidden on earth and is the most powerful supernatural being on the planet. Quite a shock, because she never knew there were supernatural beings.

So off she’s whisked to Eden’s Court where she confronts the seven races she’s supposed to rule (angels, demons, fae, witches, vampires, shapeshifters, dragons). The leaders of these peoples are on the whole a manipulative, moody bunch and can intrigue with the best of them.

In her new life she meets her sexy, noble, half-angel, half-incubus demon guardsmen Gabriel. They fight a soul mate attraction to one another while coping with solving a murder, preventing an interracial war, and helping Rachel learn to use her magic. Of course the fate of the entire earth also hangs in the balance. Why do things in half measures? Here’s the link to my excerpt if you care to get a taste for Rachel’s adventure.

Ella: Your wonderful fantasy stories, which I've been privileged to have read one, include a large cast of characters, all of whom are unique and pack an emotional punch. How do you give such depth to your secondaries?

Michelle: Secondaries are fun to write. I don’t have to do much planning for them because I never feel the pressure of fully developing their “issues” ahead of time. I write them spontaneously and don’t care how outrageous they become. After I grow to love them I, of course, have to do their stories justice by the end. Two characters by the names of Tarn and Sebastian (Rachel’s fae and shapeshifter guards respectively) are my particular favorites in Ruling Eden and I have big plans for them in the future. It’s quite a challenge to do that when they never become point of view characters. My other favorite is Qest, Rachel’s dragon brother. He’s easy to fall in love with. All fiery emotion (grin) and just the right amount of broodiness along with a loyal, caring and genuine nature.

Ella: Tarn and Sebastian are fantastic and memorable secondary characters and can't wait to read more of them. Hurry up and write!
Do you have a writer space, a ritual, or a unique way you get yourself in the zone?

Michelle: I don’t have a particular ritual. Mostly I depend on the characters speaking to me in my head and delivering the dialogue they want me to record. This happens mostly in the car and at the health club. Once this happens, I’m revved to write. If you want to call it a ritual, I am usually racing home with the notes I’ve sketched on a napkin or scrap sheet of paper and plopping myself in front of the computer. I’ve been blessed with an ability to write in chaos, although I can’t play music while I type. It gets in the way of hearing the characters’ voices. Kids screaming; fine. Music; impossible. Go figure.

Ella: The obligatory desert island question. If you were deserted on a desert island, what three things would you take?

Michelle: I’m a practical gal. I’d say a portable generator, my laptop (with adaptors to recharge it through the generator) and some large all purpose cutting implement. My first list included a book on survival skills and distinguishing plants for medicinal and nutritional purposes, but then I realized I could look that up on the web. I suppose the neighboring island better be close and have an unsecured web connection I can use. Is this unrealistic?

Ella: Not unrealistic in today's day and time. But no web connection on my desert isles, my girl! Cute cocktail waiters, maybe.
What's next for Michelle Picard?

Michelle: I’ve already written the direct sequel to Ruling Eden, speculatively titled Surviving Eden. My editor has it and will let me know if Crescent Moon is interested. Luckily, I consider Ruling Eden a stand-alone book. But I’d be thrilled if readers could continue following Rachel and Gabriel’s story beyond that. If Surviving Eden is contracted, I plan to write books three and four in that series. As of now I don’t believe the series will go beyond four books, but the Muse will let me know when I get there.

Ella: Definitely hoping for that sequel!
And last, but perhaps most important, what's your favorite writing snack?

Michelle: Salt and sugar. With caffeine not too far behind on the list. Actually I got into a chevre cheese and sun dried tomato on petits toasts habit a while back. (Try saying that fast ten times.) But I have to take breaks between such a high salt snack from time to time. Today it was mini cream puffs.

Ella: Thank you Michelle, for taking the time to visit with me. To visit with Michelle yourselves, she can be found hanging around in these spots:

Don't forget to comment for a chance to win a print copy of Ruling Eden, released a few short weeks after the ebook. A cool bonus, anyone who signs up for Michelle's newsletter will receive a packet of wildflower seeds to grow their own Garden of Eden. You can sign up through Michelle's or go directly to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/michellepicardnewsletter/

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lots to share

Today I'm a guest at The Blackraven's Erotic Cafe. Stop by for my interview about writing paranormal/SFR, inspiration, and ravens. Be sure to enter the contest! A copy of The Forbidden Chamber is up for grabs.

Another cool announcement, The Forbidden Chamber is 30% off right now at Fictionwise! Check it out here.

Or, if you prefer to ebook shop at AllRomance or OmniLit, they're running a Samhain special until the 24th. If you buy The Forbidden Chamber, you get a 25% rebate.

Chamber has had another wonderful review. From Lexie at Poisoned Rationality: "Isabel is hands down one of my favorite romance heroines."

Later this month, a Forbidden Chamber followup short story, Grounded, will be available free at the Samhellion, Samhain Publishing's author website. To receive an announcement when it's available, sign up for my low-email newslist at yahoo, or check back here.

I've also written an article "Finishing that First Novel" for the Samhain newsletter this month. Check it out!

And, that's what I have to share for now. Happy Wednesday folks!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

13 Twisted Fairy Tales

Twisted fairy tales are a favorite of mine. Maybe it's that taking the familiar and giving it a kick. Maybe it's the fun of seeing how an author can take something well-known and make it new. Or, maybe it's taking a familiar character and seeing him/her in a new situation. Whatever the reason, I love twisted fairy tales. Here's a list of 13 twisted tales.
  1. Changing Thumbelina, short story by Emily Ryan-Davis. If you're a fan of erotic romance, do yourself a favor and go get this short story. You'll never regret spending that $1.49! This is the retelling of Thumbelina. The story is unique, creative, hot, and the characters are unforgettable. Truly.
  2. Stardust by Neil Gaiman is basically a refashioning of fairytales & not necessarily a twist on a specific well known one, but I like the feel of the fairytale world he created. Awesome stuff.
  3. Candy Houses by Shiloh Walker, Grimms are guardian angels and Greta gets a shot at her HEA. This is the first in a series.
  4. I could seriously list more than 13 books by Mercedes Lackey alone, but for the sake of keeping this list short, go check out a list of her works, or start with the fantasy series Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms. Have much love for this series.
  5. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Newbery award winning retelling of Cinderella.
  6. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire. I think that Cinderella may be the most popular tale for refashioning, but that's just a guess.
  7. Nancy Madore's erotic series of bedtime stories for women, Enchanted, Enchanted Again & Enchanted Dreams.
  8. Beauty and the Beast has been retold countless times in Romance. Here's one list of books that follow this theme, compiled by Romantic Times. I'll just point out: A Rose in Winter by Kathleen Woodiwiss, simply because she's the author who brought me to Romance.
  9. I've seen a few erotic stories of Snow White and all those dwarves.
  10. Red (plus Scarlet & Crimson, the books in the Dead World series) by Jordan Summers. Futuristic Paranormal Romance, twist of Red and the big bad wolf.
  11. Bluebeard's Egg by Margaret Atwood (even if you haven't read it, obvious that the title short story in this collection is a twist on Bluebeard. Or maybe that's only obvious if you've heard of, or read, Bluebeard.)
  12. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Many may guess, especially given the cover of some versions (or images from the movie pictured to the right), that this story is a twist on Red Riding Hood. But this story also has twisted elements of the Bluebeard fairy tale.
  13. The Forbidden Chamber, my own twist on Bluebeard.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Early Reviews for The Forbidden Chamber

"If you are looking for something a bit different with a dark gothic feel, this is a must read. I was entertained from page one, and the uniqueness of the story held my interest. As a fan of gothic novels, I am thrilled whenever I get my hands on one I haven't read, and even more thrilled when it is this engrossing." Rating: 4.75 (out of 5)
Reviewed by: Teagan S. Boyd Nov.10.09


"This book is filled with so much uniqueness, that I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a good gothic romance, a historical romance, or anyone who’s longed for the blending of the two with a paranormal shifter twist." from Becka’s Impromptu Book Review Oct.31.09
Rebecca Goings, author, reviewer, blogger


"THE FORBIDDEN CHAMBER combines the lovely, lush and dark aspects of traditional gothic romances with a breathless pace, a unique dash of supernatural and a delicious demonic twist–a perfect accompaniment to your Halloween chocolate stash. Dark only. Milk is not nearly sexy enough." from Scorched Sheets. Oct.27.09
Emily Ryan-Davis, author, reviewer, blogger.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Forbidden Chamber Excerpt II

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 The Forbidden Chamber, from Samhain Publishing.
If you like it and want more, come check out my simple newsletter contest for a chance to win a download. Or, it's available for purchase today at MBaM.

“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.


“...We both know what will happen before the night is through. Or do you? Your purity is the very reason we are married. Do you know what to expect?”

“Yes.” Well, she didn’t understand, but her answer was sure. He arched a brow at her, and his lips quirked. He didn’t believe her.

“No matter. You’ll understand before the day dawns.”

She shivered, and his smile broadened to show all his teeth.

“Well then,” he purred and swayed toward her before he blinked slowly. His smile faded as he sat back. “It pains me to wait, but I must inform you of your status before we go further. Despite rumors you may have heard about me, I am an honorable man when allowed the choices to behave in an honorable manner.”

He took a deep breath, and Isabel kept her mind from conjuring stories, weaving the rumors in her mind. What was he saying?

“There are some things I must explain before the sun goes down.” His voice no longer unaffected, his ominous tone should have frightened her. He reached across the space to the small table, plucked a sweet pink confection from the plate, and placed it upon her lips. How could such an attentive man harm her?

She had her answer when he pushed the candy into her mouth. His finger followed. The sweet taste on the back of her tongue exploded, at odds with the salty digit touching the tip. A small blaze erupted beneath her skirts. Her lord’s dark eyes glittered with banked promise.

He ran his short nail across her lips. Once. Twice. She wanted more. So much more, but her new husband sat back in his chair and folded his hands across his waist. The crested ring reminded her of his status, a powerful man of influence. With his legs extended toward the fire, the bulge in his pants stole her attention. She swallowed the sweet confection that made her mouth water. Or was it the handsome man before her who whet her appetite?

His urgent voice opposed his relaxed outward appearance. His eyes bore into her, the dark eddies within lit by the fire.

“First, I must give you a commandment you will obey. Do not question it, but trust I have your best interests at heart.”

His ring flashed in the firelight when he raised his hand and pointed toward a red door she’d not seen before. Overwhelmed by the expectations of her wedding night, her mind fixated on the barred passage.

Red, a strange color for a door.

Absorbed in the tableau before the fire, she hadn’t noticed her surroundings beyond their fireside setting. Well, other than the giant bed on the far wall that she dare not consider. Pulled back in invitation, the bed drapes absorbed the light in the room. The dark black velvet matched the covers folded down to expose luxurious sheets of white cotton.

The entire room held rich appointments in colors of black, white, and red. With the nearly monochromatic design, the red lined chairs, pillows, and small appointments drew her eye, but the door remained ominous. She turned to her husband. The picture of the red barrier ghosted her vision and superimposed over the figure reposed in the chair. She blinked the harrowing image away.

“Never open that door. Plainly put, if you open that door, you will end as my first two wives.”


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.

Alexia Reed, Urban Fantasy (R)


Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG13)

Joining us this week:

Jane Bled, Yaoi/M-M Erotica/Vampire/Paranormal/Horror (PG 13)
Danie Ford, YA Urban Fantasy (PG 13)
Heather S Ingemar, Dark Fantasy (PG13)
Babette James, Fantasy Romance (PG13)
Cynthia Justlin, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Kaige, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Julia Knight, Fantasy Romance (PG 13)
Jeannie Lin, Historical paranormal romance (PG 13)
R.F Long, Fantasy (PG13)
Shawntelle Madison, Paranormal Romance (PG 13)
Debbie Mumford, Fantasy (PG 13)
Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG13)
Megan S, Paranormal (PG 13)
Rosalind Stone, Women’s Fiction (PG 13)
Jo Lynne Valerie, Paranormal Romance (PG 13)

Kendal Ashby, YA (R)
Jax Cassidy, Contemporary (R)
Cate Hart, YA Paranormal (R)
Inez Kelley, Romantic Comedy (R)
Aislinn Kerry, Fantasy (R)
Jeanne St. James, Contemporary Erotic Romance (R)
Cherrie Lynn, Paranormal Romance (R)
Jeanette Murray, Romantic Comedy (R)
Christa Paige, Paranormal (R)
Michelle Picard, Fantasy Romance (R)
Mary Quast, Contemporary Romance (R)
Alexia Reed, Urban Fantasy (R)
Zora Stout, Contemporary Erotic Romance (R)

Sara Brookes, Erotic Sci Fi (NC 17)
Emily Ryan-Davis, Romance (NC 17)
Ella Drake, Historical Paranormal Romance (NC 17)
Angeleque Ford, Erotic Dark Urban Fantasy (NC17)
J.W. Hankins, Dark Fiction (NC 17)
Annie Nicholas, Paranormal Romance (NC 17)
Kim Knox, Erotic SF Romance (NC17)
Michelle Polaris, Erotic Futuristic Romance (NC 17)
Bryl R. Tyne, Contemporary M/M (NC 17)

Friday, November 6, 2009

“Love's Alchemy” by Ciar Cullen

I've been waiting on this story to come out.
Very excited to finally get my copy. And I have it in my hot little hands already. What are you waiting for?

“Love's Alchemy” by Ciar Cullen
Read An Excerpt Online
Genre: Paranormal Romance

ISBN: 978-1-60504-690-7
Length: Novel
Price: 5.50
Publication Date: November 6, 2009
Cover art by Anne Cain

She holds the key to unlock his past—or unleash hell.

Sidra Patmos has the ability to see the real underbelly of lower Manhattan—a horrifying world where wraiths, demons and a few quirky mortals battle for supremacy. Desperate, she seeks out a paranormal researcher to tell her why her life is a waking nightmare.

Instead of answers, her meeting with the dark and irresistible Van Barlowe unleashes a chain of events far more dangerous than her blackest visions. And a desire she can barely manage to hold at arm’s length.

After three desperate centuries, Van has finally found the Alchemist—Sidra. Somewhere locked deep inside her lies the knowledge that will rescue his family from ruin. The only way to reawaken her abilities is to hold his enemies at bay long enough to convince her to step through the mists of time.

Redemption waits there, and a timeless bond ignited by the undeniable pull between them. The missing ingredient: Sidra’s willingness to risk that Van’s attraction runs deeper than sexual chemistry…

Warning: This book is not work safe! Reading about sexy immortal heroes and feisty demon hunters getting it on can minimize productivity, increase daydreaming and lead to frustration eating.

Purchase today at MBaM


In part to celebrate Samhain's Birthday and the release of The Forbidden Chamber, I have an ongoing contest. I'll pick a winner from my yahoo newsgroup and from my quarterly newsletter on November 13th. Winner will receive a download of The Forbidden Chamber.

To join newsgroup: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elladrake/
To receive Quarterly Newsletter, see the form on the side of the blog, or go to my contact page.

*The Samhain birthday party is now over*
Other prizes from Samhain and authors will be given out during the party at the Samhain Cafe. Come for a visit! Ebooks and print books given away every hour & a lucky winner will get an ebook reader! All you have to do is comment during the party to enter.

Happy Birthday to Samhain Publishing

Samhain Publishing, who published The Forbidden Chamber, has published 1000th title in four years. Read more on this press release.

Join the party today at the Samhain Cafe today from 10am to 10pm.
See ya there!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

13 Cool Images

Looking through the Flickr: Creative Commons images for storyboarding my current project, I ran across some images that don't fit my storyboard, but I thought were cool. creative commonsThey're all under Creative Commons license, which can be viewed for each image (along with a larger size) by selecting them.
  1. Encadré (Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro)
  2. Moon of Zanthos
  3. provence
  4. Breakfast at Sixtina
  5. Clonmacnoise, County Offaly
  6. Herfst - Autumn
  7. The Carpetbag Brigade
  8. WINTER GEISHA WITH UMBRELLA AND LANTERN -- Meiji-era Studio View  ("Salt Print" # 1)
  9. Kiva at Spruce Tree House
  10. Ded Bob Sho

  11. huele a libertad

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Raven Happy Hour Column

Today is the first of my new monthly column on Sci Fi & Future Tech at The Raven Happy Hour. I'm discussing the fascinating subject of Green Goo. You don't want to miss it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

At the Paranormal Romantics Today

Talking about my twisted fairy tale, The Forbidden Chamber.
Drop by and find out why Chamber is twisted. Yes, yes, it's twisted.

And comment for a chance to win a digital download of The Forbidden Chamber, out now from Samhain Publishing. Available at MBaM.

Go here, to Paranormal Romantics.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nano, nano!

It's National Novel Writing Month.
Time to write a novel of at least 50,000 words during the month of November.

Get ready, get set, Go!