Monday, January 30, 2012

KICK START MONDAY: Contests & More - with SKYE WARREN

Today's guest for Kick Start Monday is Skye Warren. Skye is one of my fellow SSS'ers. Her steamy stories are fluid and rich in characterization. If you're into finely crafted, dark erotica, Skye's your girl! Today, Skye is sharing some very interesting points about novel critiques and critique partners - and at the end, she's doing what all authors do here every Monday... she's giving away a free copy of her book, Below the Belt, to a random commenter. What's not to love about Mondays? :)

And now, I give the floor to Skye...

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When Critiques Get Tough

I read Angela Quarles’s experience with critique groups, On Writing: Is my zipper down or do you just not like my pants?, and thought I’d chime in. I regularly participate in two online critique groups (where I exchange with 4-6 people each) and have one standalone critique partner. And that’s just line-edits/chapter-by-chapter critiques. I have a different set of people I use for beta reads. I’ve also purchased critiques from authors via charity auctions and have entered RWA contests.

Yeah. My skin is really, really thick.

But my writing is that much better for it. I really think that it took a village to write my book. I am beyond-words grateful to everyone has helped me make my books what they are, culling the chaff and making the great parts sing. And the important thing to note was there was no other way for me to find that information than through critique partners and beta readers.
No amount of reading blogs or writing books could have told me which parts of my book would be well received or not. I’ve always thought that reading a book is a meeting of the author and the reader. The writer brings her voice and imagination, but the reader has her own experiences that make the book unique for her. That’s why critiques and beta reads are so critical. You can’t do it alone, because you’ll only ever have one half of the puzzle.

I could talk for a while about my experiences and the things I’ve learned along the way, but I summed it up for you in a nice, neat ordered package. Here we go.

1. When you read a criticism or suggestion, it will either feel right or it won’t. If it doesn’t feel right for you, don’t take it, no matter how accomplished or confident the person may seem. Critique groups have taken some heat for their ability to suck the voice, the uniqueness out of writing. Sure, it adds polish, but at what cost? But it’s the author’s job to have a strong vision for her work. Sometimes that means cutting something that’s good but not great. And sometimes that means leaving something great in, even if it disturbs people. Especially if it disturbs people! We’re in this to move people, yes?

2. Your very best work, the jewels, are the things that people both love and hate in equal parts. This might seem wrong on first reading, but I think it fulfills the premise of number 1, in that it represents my vision for the piece. That is voice. Some people will get it and love it. Others won’t get it and will hate it. This is one of the main reasons why getting feedback from different people is so important.

3. If someone hates your work, don’t keep exchanging with them. I had to learn this one the hard way. Mostly I can take negative feedback well. I’ve had my work torn up before, all criss-crossed with red digital ink. But this person kept trying to change my voice. She’d suggest changes almost every other line, and each change, I just could not see how hers were any better. They were just different – her voice, not mine. Ultimately I had to accept that she wasn’t feeling my work and that I wasn’t weak or thin-skinned to stop accepting critiques that weren’t helping.

4. Skip open forums, like blog comments or the like, in favor of personal critique exchange. It’s just too darn easy for a troll to come through and blow your self-confidence to bits. And what’s more, they won’t even include any constructive criticism to do anything about it. Furthermore, who is this guy? Start with one of the options that I mentioned above.

5. Give back. Always be gracious to the people who took their time to critique your work. Usually I can find a seed of helpful feedback in even the most scathing feedback. Actually, every time. And, if nothing else, they’re toughening you up so that when you get in front of readers, you’ll feel all right. Every time a reader says they liked my work, I feel like a gift has been granted from some sort of God of writing. Maybe I would have felt that way regardless, but I think it helps to have already gotten the bad stuff out in the open. Hopefully I’ve fixed some of it, but even if there’s a weakness in the writing, I should already know about it by now. Trust me, with fifteen or more fellow writers having thoroughly critiqued my work by the time it gets to an editor, a reader would be hard-pressed to shock me.

Here’s an example of one of those love/hate lines from my Taekwondo erotic romance, Below the Belt (To learn more about this story, click here). In this scene, the hero and heroine have recently met and he’s just finished giving her an orgasm - what a gentleman ;) But the important part is the last line of the excerpt, where I got comment from pretty much everyone. Some loved it, some didn’t, but I definitely kept it.

“Who are you, really?” she whispered.

“I’m no one,” he murmured, his face buried in her silky soft hair. “No one special.” It was the truth. He’d grown up too poor and too stupid to be anyone. No matter how hard he fought, he was just another loser from Podunk, Nowhere.

“Oh yeah?” she challenged softly. “A two time national medalist and forerunner for the male heavyweight competition is nobody?”

Abe lifted his head.

“Yeah, I recognized you,” she said.

She didn’t understand. It wouldn’t be enough. Not any of it, not ever. His throat tight, he gave a short shake of his head.

“Oh, Abe,” she said. God, what was that look in her eyes? He wanted to look away from it, but he couldn’t. “You’re someone special. I see it.”

The line wouldn’t come – the one that would make this whole conversation a joke, instead of the truth. He always laughed it off, or fought it off, no matter what came.

Not this time.


CONTEST


So what do you think – does the excerpt work for you? What’s your experience been with participating in critique groups and handling the tough feedback?

Oh, and one commenter will receive a copy of Below the Belt, the sexy story of a black belt who dominates the mats only to fall hard for a woman.




~ Natalie ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

Monday, January 23, 2012

KICK START MONDAYS: Contests & More - with CAROLE GILL

Today's contest is offered by a darling, darling lady and a writer I truly admire - Carole Gill. Carole writes edgy gothic horror, even though many told her that this genre was not in fashion any more. Not in fashion, I ask? Who isn't fascinated by large Victorian mansions with deep, dark secrets hidden in the walls, or the bloody, hidden history of a particular location or artifact? These types of mysteries have never failed to rouse curiosity and interest - and it will always be that way. This is my opinion, anyway. In The House on Blackstone Moor, Carole has taken a genre that took the 19th century by storm and pushed the envelope - made it more daring, more horrifying for the modern reader. The result? A must read for both horror and gothic novel lovers. If you like this genre, please go to Carole's website and follow the purchase links. You'll love this book!

And now, I give the floor to Carole and her giveaway...

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Inspiration plays a big part in a writer’s life. I suppose in my case I was inspired to write my novel because I got annoyed!

Truly I did. It happened when I read that gothic romance was passé.

‘Oh really?!’ I thought to myself! ‘I don’t think so!’

I then realized what I wanted to do. I wanted to write gothic romance that contained the darkest horror I could think of!

I wanted to do this because I thought if gothic romance is perceived by many people as ‘old fashioned,’ a book your Aunt Edna would recommend, that you might think is so awfully ‘not for you,’ it’s got to change!

In order for it to change I felt, it must be more extreme. The shocks and horrors that would have satisfied publishers and readers years ago, might not be, well—shocking enough for us now!
The world has changed. We live in uncertain and violent times and our fiction should, I think, reflect those changes.

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CONTEST

Now, I am still a huge fan and avid reader of the great gothic romances of the past and because I am, I have come up with a contest I think might be fun!

Okay, here goes: I’d like you to tell me which of these Bryonic characters curls your toes with passion!

Is it the darkly handsome Heathcliff from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights or what about the dapper (but tortured) Maxim DeWinter in Daphne duMaurier’s Rebecca or the long suffering (but very interesting) Edward Rochester from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre?

Come on, let’s go, write it down! One name please!

All entries will be eligible to win an eBook which is actually my homage to the gothic romance genre (but with dark horror in it), The House on Blackstone Moor!

And yes, Louis Darton is a darkly handsome hero with a horrific secret.
I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Please post your answers in the comments section of this post. I will pick a winner on the 29th January.

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THE HOUSE ON BLACKSTONE MOOR

Blurb:

“They say my father was mad, so corrupted by evil and tainted by sin that he did what he did. I came home to find them all dead; their throats savagely cut. My sisters only five and eight were gone as well as my brother who was twelve. My mother too lay butchered in her marriage bed. The bed her children were born in…”

Young Rose Baines discovers the savage murders of her family by her mad, incestuous father.
She is plunged into a nightmare of hell and is incarcerated in two madhouses after which she is helped to obtain a position as governess at Blackstone House.

The house is located on haunted moorland. Nothing is as it seems for Blackstone House and its inhabitants have hideous secrets. There is unimaginable horror there but there is love too--love that comes at a terrible price.

I have endeavored to create a story that is as haunting as it is terrifying. I hope it will remain with the reader long after its disturbing tale has been told.


Excerpt:

The air was still and warm; heavy. Low clouds hugged the horizon. There was the rumble of thunder too from somewhere far away. I would have preferred to see the moors in the sunshine, the moody atmosphere made it feel grimly forbidding. I didn’t wish to spoil the children’s fun so I smiled and followed their lead.

“If you walk to town, follow along through there,” Ada pointed, “you see at the bottom of that cliff, there’s an old footpath there, you can’t miss it.”

I made a mental note of it, although I didn’t know when I might go.

The children both held onto me. “Mind your step.”

I listened, as they had already frightened me as to the moor’s dangerous conditions.

“And the weather changes so quickly too.” Simon’s voice was grave. “Sometimes an entire herd of sheep have been known to perish.”

Ada shook her head. “Not so many as that Simon don’t be such a liar!”

Simon looked angry. “It’s true, I know it is so.”

“Well,” I said. “Whether it is or isn’t, I’m certain I shall be very careful where I tread.”
Each of them, it seemed to me, was vying with the other for my attention. Ada pointed out rocks and brush and Simon spoke of yet more doom and gloom.

Suddenly, they began to pull me forward. “This is the most fantastic thing you will ever see! Oh do hurry Miss Baines!” Ada was most impatient.

Simon tapped her. “She will see it in her own good time.”

“What is it children? What do you wish me to see?”

They exchanged mysterious looks; I thought to further dramatize the situation.

“Yonder. Do you want to see the ancient stone of legend?”

“What legend is that, Simon?”

Ada spoke up. “The legend of Blackstone Moor of course.”

They began to drag me then toward a rocky mount. “Just in here.”

I was led through a narrow crevice. It quite reminded me of Stonehenge. I wondered what it could be and began to grow excited too.

Suddenly we stopped, Simon pointed at a large flat rock. “There, that’s it!”

It looked like a ledge that had been deliberately laid down. I went to touch it but Ada warned me. “Touch it only if you dare.”

“I dare!” I cried. The surface was far smoother than I would have imagined.

“See how black it is, miss?”

“Quite black!” I agreed.

Simon nodded. “It’s as black as the eternal night and do you know why it’s black
Miss Baines? It’s black with blood!”

“Simon!”

“Yes truly! It has blackened with blood and gore too and innards and guts and things that soaked into the stone!”

“What a thing to say! Where did you hear such things?”

“I just know! Ada and I both know.”

This was the final straw, I drew him aside. “Simon,” I said. “You should know better.
This is not something either of you should think about; it’s worse for Ada since she’s younger than you. You Simon ought to know better.”

He looked down. “I suppose, but Ada’s older than you think!”

“Is she indeed, well I don’t think it appropriate, do you understand me?”

“Yes Miss Baines.”

“I don’t think it’s a subject for children. Besides, it’s probably not true anyway!”

He was agreeing with me, yet there appeared across his face the most quizzical look.

“But there were human sacrifices practiced on these moors once and all manner of dark rites too. Many people died here.”

This was making me feel sick.

“Who told you this?”

“No one.”

“Don’t lie to me Simon.”

“Someone, I can’t say…” Ada was watching him wide-eyed. Clearly she didn’t want him to give me a name, but I continued to press him.

At last he cracked. “Dora! It was Dora! Do you feel better now?”

“It’s not that I feel better, I just wanted to know who told you such things.”

Ada looked at me intently. “Please you won’t have Dora punished, will you?”

“No of course not, but whatever do you mean?”

Ada shook her head. “She might be severely punished that’s all.”

She quite unsettled me with that, but then I took it to mean she might be turned off without a reference. “Well I shall only speak to her about it then, alright?”

“Oh yes, miss. Thank you.”

I took their hands then and we headed back to the house, the children walking just ahead of me whispering with me just behind them wondering what they were saying.

***

The perfect opportunity to speak with Dora came about shortly before I turned in when she had come into ask me if I’d care for hot chocolate.

“Dora, the children mentioned ritual sacrifices on the moor. It’s not true is it?”

She began crying. Clearly I had upset her. “I am sorry! I never meant no harm Miss Baines.”

“I know you didn’t, but in the future you must not discuss fanciful matters like that with Ada or Simon, children are children after all.”

“I shan’t say no more! But please, don’t tell the mistress.”

“Of course I won’t.”

“Thank you miss.”

“I am amazed at this whole legend surely it is a fabrication, it can’t be true!”

“Oh, but it is true Miss Baines. So help me. Blackstone wasn’t the ancient name it used to be called Bloody Stone Moor because of all the sacrifices performed there, thousands over the centuries. It’s all true you see, all of it.”

I nodded and watched her leave. I was settled into my new position, but already something evil had frightened me.

Was evil here too? Would I be forever troubled by the dark forces that seemed to follow me or would I eventually know peace?


About Carole:

Carole Gill wrote her first story at age 8. It was science fiction. She switched to horror in her teens and has been writing ever since.

In 2000 Carole was selected by Northwest Playwrights of England for further development but found she preferred fiction writing.

Widely published in horror and sci-fi anthologies, The House on Blackstone Moor, published by Vamplit is her first novel. It is a tale of vampirism, madness, obsession and devil worship.

Set in 19th Century Yorkshire its locales include Victorian madhouses as well as barren, wind-swept Yorkshire moors. The story is a marriage of horror and darkest gothic romance set in 19th Century England.

A former New Yorker now resident in England and residing in Yorkshire gave her the knowledge of the area the novel is set in. Also, as a great admirer of the Brontes and frequent visitor to the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth she found herself nearly obsessed with recreating the gothic romantic narrative.

Having been employed in a hospital which had been historically a workhouse and asylum in Victorian times, Carole was able to add great realism to the depiction of the asylums as described in her novel.

The sequel, Unholy Testament follows in 2012.

Website: http://carolegillofficialauthor.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carole-Gill-Author/120405794703293
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/carolelynngill


~ Natalie ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

REV UP WEDNESDAYS - A weekly booster shot for inspiration... Catching up with JAID BLACK

Hello world,

Today's REV UP WEDNESDAY guest is USA Today Bestselling Author and Ellora's Cave powerhouse, Jaid Black (pseudonym for Tina M. Engler, founder and owner of Ellora's Cave Publishing). She is known to many as the "Queen of Steam," a well earned moniker. Her motto? "Well-behaved women seldom make history." - by Laurel Ulrich. When publishers wouldn't contract her books because they were too risqué, what did she do? She started her own publishing company, with a focus on digital books. And today, that company has grown to become one of the Big Six of the digital publishing world. This alone can give you an idea of the kind of person Jaid is - but aside from her amazing, unique credentials, she is funny, respectful, down to earth, and most of all, she calls a spade a spade. Even better, she really loves "Chocolate Mouse Royale ice-cream from Baskin & Robbins, Jamocha Almond Fudge ice-cream from Baskin & Robbins, & Mint Chocolate Chip ice-cream from damn near anywhere." (taken from Jaid's website). How could I ever disagree? To top it off, she has some really great advice to give readers here. I really like this lady, don't you?


More about Jaid...

How long have you been writing?

13 years

When did you decide that you wanted to write for a living (that "aha" moment)?

After The Empress' New Clothes was published and people actually bought it. It was a "wow!" & an "aha" moment for me :-)

What did your family say when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

Go for it.

What is your preferred genre both for reading and writing?

For reading, true crime and old school romance faves. (By old school I mean favorite romance authors I read before I started writing it!) For writing, I prefer erotic sci-fi romance capture fantasies.

Did you start by writing full time or did you have a day job?

I worked as an international reservations agent at Continental Airlines. To this day I remember the airport codes of most major cities... too bad that never comes up in Trivial Pursuit, lol.

Did you take any writing courses or did you just sit and write a book?

I don't believe in taking writing courses unless it's for learning something technical, like formatting screenplays. As to writing in general, you're either born with the gift or you're not. It's like being a fast runner; you either are or you aren't.

Did/do you have a crit group or mentor to guide you?

No.

Do you use a/several pseudonym(s) and if so, why did you choose to have one/them?

I have written under 3 names, Jaid Black being the most popular. I intended to be Jade Black (as opposed to Jaid), but at the time AOL was pretty much it in terms of the online experience and jadeblack@aol.com was already taken so jaidblack@aol.com I became. (FYI: I don't use AOL anymore, lol.)

How long did it take you to make your first sale? What was your first thought when you did?

A few years after I had been published multiple times at my company, Ellora's Cave! By then I didn't need the money, but I did need the personal validation of knowing someone - anyone! - other than myself would publish me. Plus, it was good exposure for EC.

Did you sell the first story or novel you wrote?

No. That manuscript, if you use the term very loosely, will never see the light of day lol. I don't even know what happened to it actually. Maybe anthropologists will unearth it 1000 years from now :-P

How many drafts did you write of your first novel before you felt you got it right? What about now - do you still write several drafts of a story?

Of my first published novel? One. I can't imagine writing more than 1 draft.

Do you read industry or writing related blogs? If so, can you share some useful links?

I avoid them like the plague. You know what they say about opinions.

Did you get an agent first or did you submit directly to publishers?

I subbed directly to publishers; they rejected me for being too "pornographic" so I created my own company.


If you signed with an agent, how did you go about the process of finding your agent/publisher?

By the time I accepted a contract from an outside publisher, EC was already doing very, very well. So basically I phoned Ethan Ellenberg up, told him I'd been offered a contract with Berkley, and asked him if he would represent me, lol.

Did you ever get rejected? If so, how did you handle it?

Many, many times. Every rejection made me cry.

What, in your opinion, do agents/publishers look for in a new author in the current market? Is it all to do with talent or with trends?

With agents it always has to do with trends, or at least it does 99% of the time. With publishers it pretty much depends on the house, but most of them seem to gravitate toward established trends. There are, however, publishers like Ellora's Cave that set those trends by taking chances.

What do you think of the changes going on in the book industry (e.g., e-books vs. print books, and big publishers getting involved in digital publishing)? Where do you see the industry going?

I said it 11 years ago and I'll say it again now: digital publishing will one day be the only type of publishing that exists. It's naive to think that everything in life BUT books will advance in terms of technology. Not to mention the fact that print books put a strain on our natural environment; it takes a substantial number of trees to make one box of Kleenex so you can imagine the waste caused by the mass production of print books. It doesn't help that bookstores rip the covers off and make them unsellable if they don't move them in X number of days, then turn around and reorder the same titles two months later. Recycling is more expensive than most people think so to use recycled paper the majority of publishers would have to pass that cost onto someone else (raise the price of books for the consumer or lower author pay) to stay financially sound. In other words, recycling isn't used much in the print industry.

Do you think writers should consider self-publishing?

I think authors should do whatever feels right to them. They need to go into it with realistic expectations, though. A good editor is worth their weight in gold and doesn't come cheap. You need a professional quality book cover and good artists don't come cheap. You need to market the hell out of your name and ads definitely are not cheap! Plus the market is already flooded with self-pubbed books, the vast majority of which seem to be lacking in editing, art, and marketing.

How do you feel about so many bookstores closing across the US? Do you think this trend is similar in other countries?

I feel badly for the clerks being put out of work by the big chains. Unfortunately, they are the casualties of technological evolution.

Are your books available in print or in digital format?

Both. The vast majority of my sales are digital, though.

What advice do you think aspiring authors should heed today?

Behave professionally. Don't get involved in gossip and drama. Believe in your writing or no one else will. NEVER give up! When you do make it, don't read reviews of your books because your editor will give you a heads up when a good one comes in. If negative reviews somehow penetrate your self-imposed bubble... fuck 'em. It's just one person's opinion and people tend to take the time to write for negative reasons far more so than for positive ones. From a publisher's standpoint the most important rule to remember is this: Do not bite the hand that feeds you; it's tacky, classless, thankless, and professional suicide. What I've learned over the years is that if an author will publicly attack one publisher, they will attack you too if you contract them.

What are you working on now?

A story for the Ellora's Cave anthology, Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Do you read when you are plotting or writing a story?

No way.

What book inspired you to write romance (or whatever genre you write in)?

Prisoner of My Desire by Johanna Lindsey.

What hero/heroine/character was the most fun or challenging to write for you?

The most challenging to date was Kil from Enslaved. I knew people wanted his story very badly so I felt intense pressure.

How do you juggle work, writing, chores and family/personal life? Do you have a secret to time management that you want to share with readers?

Xanax

Do you have a ritual that you follow when it comes to writing?

Nope.

Where do you see yourself, careerwise, in 5 years time?

Doing the same thing I do now, but taking on additional entertainment venues. I've got several things in the works right now that I can't talk about yet. (Sorry!)

What's your website URL?

http://jaidblack.com

Are you on Facebook?

http://www.facebook.com/jaidblack

How do you connect with readers?

Facebook, Twitter, and RomantiCon.

http://twitter.com/jaidblack

http://ecromanticon.com

And lastly, please tell readers about the recent experience of having one of your EC books hit the NYT bestseller list.

I'm positively thrilled! Not only is it our first book to hit the major lists, but the author who wrote it (Laurann Dohner) is exclusive to EC. Nobody can say she only made the list because of books she has in New York. This is a dream come true for me!

About Jaid:

She has been described by veteran Hollywood actor/writer/director Emilio Estevez as "A wonderful satirist!" Jaid Black is the pseudonym of Tina M. Engler, the founder & owner of Ellora's Cave Publishing. Ms. Engler has been featured in every available news outlet, from the Washington Post and L.A. Times to Forbes, Publisher's Weekly, national TV news stations, and the Montel Show. Ms. Engler was officially recognized by Romantic Times Magazine with their first ever Trail Blazer award as the mastermind of erotic romance as you know and love it today. Writing as Jaid Black, her books have received numerous distinctions, including a nomination for the Henry Miller award for the best literary sex scene written in the English language.


Latest and upcoming releases:

Something Wicked This Way Comes: Volume I



~ Natalie ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

Monday, January 16, 2012

KICK START MONDAYS: Contests & More - with JESSICA E. SUBJECT

Today I'm introducing the talented and wonderful Jessica E. Subject who writes about settings in books, i.e., locations. This is a topic after my own heart as I love to explore different locations when I write. Jessica, however, is a true "traveller"...and she takes her settings a few steps out of the beaten path...

Welcome, Jessica!

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Settings – How to choose

To start off, I want to thank Natalie for having me here today. :)


I now have three stories out as part of Decadent Publishing’s 1Night Stand series, and each of them takes place in a different setting. I’m not talking different rooms—as most of the 1Night Stand stories occur in a hotel room—but different cities, countries, and even planets.
So how did I choose?

For Celestial Seduction, the first story I wrote, I wanted it set somewhere in Canada. And since the Castillo Resorts and Hotels (also common to the 1Night Stand series) are a chain, they are usually located in a big city. To remain in familiar territory, I wanted to limit the setting to Ontario. The two big cities that came immediately to mind were Toronto and Ottawa. And in the end, I chose Ottawa.


Now, Beneath the Starry Sky takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, the flagship setting for many books in the series. Because this city is unfamiliar to me, I had to rely on other authors to answer questions about this city and surrounding area.

And in my most recent release, Unknown Futures, the setting is a space station owned by the Space Service (mentioned in Celestial Seduction). With this setting, I had a lot of creative freedom and enjoyed adding in the futuristic technology throughout the station.


--------- ********* CONTEST ********* ---------

So, contest question: Which do you prefer, more familiar settings or those that are completely different from those you know?

Giveaway

I will randomly draw a name from those who answer my question in the comments to WIN one ebook copy of winner’s choice of any of my Decadent Publishing stories. Please leave your email address in the body of your comment so that I may contact you if you win. Contest is international. I will choose a winner on January 20.

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Unknown Futures Blurb

Attacked as a young adult, Jewel is left scarred and alone. She applies to the 1Night Stand service, believing no one can see past her appearance to love her. But she doesn’t expect to be sent to a space station where her date could be any number of unusual alien species.

Flavia left everything behind to be one of five humans working for the Space Service space station. Extremely homesick, she is excited to learn she will be a guide to a woman from Earth visiting the station for a couple days. She is immediately drawn to the petite woman, seeing past her scars to her true inner beauty, stirring unforeseen desires.

Unfortunately, Jewel is there for a date which Flavia hasn’t been told about. Can she contain her lust and simply show her a good time? Or will she let her desire lead them into an unknown future?

Book trailer: http://youtu.be/HOBmZ9vKwYE

Available from Decadent Publishing and other ebook retailers.

Buy Links here: http://www.markofthestars.com/wp/?page_id=7671

Bio:

Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from anyone who has enjoyed her stories.

Website/Blog: http://www.markofthestars.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/jsubject
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-E-Subject-author/205759796126370
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4959083.Jessica_E_Subject
Google +: https://plus.google.com/100079570422204018357/posts

~ Natalie ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY: An Eternity of Roses, Snippet #13

Hello world,

Yesterday I was so excited because I was hit with inspiration and started penning the opening pages of a short story. The excitement is still with me because once the roosters woke me up this morning (yes, I live in a town, but it's surrounded by farm fields), I just couldn't go back to sleep. All I could think of was the resolution of my story. When it came to me, I flew out of bed at 5am and started jotting down points in the Word file.

There's nothing like the feeling of a story coming together in your head, don't you think? And now, I deserve to take a break and join the Six Sentence Sunday party. :D

I didn't have much time to visit blogs last week, and I apologize. I will do my best to make up for it this week. When I'm writing, I just get carried away and forget everything else. But I do love my SSS dose every Sunday, and I look forward to it.

To all the readers, please check out all the SSS talent here. Lots of cool stuff to read!


So, where were we?

You can read last Sunday's post here. Emmaline and Adrian are getting close by the River Ver in Hertfordshire in 1807 England...

The shadows of regret, anger and guilt played on his face but quickly they ebbed, and the crease between his brows vanished, as though he’d finally decided to lift that weight from him.

He drew deeply into his lungs as his thumb drew lazy circles around the back of her hand. “Here speaks the voice of common sense and reason. You see why I can never let you go.”

That was her Adrian—never one to agonize too long over things, even when he had good reason to. Relieved, she let loose a brilliant smile and returned her gaze to the quiet scene before them.

Hope you enjoyed this one! Here's wishing you a fabulous Sunday...

Until next time, live well and love deeply!

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

REV UP WEDNESDAY - (on Thursday :D) - A weekly booster shot for inspiration... Catching up with HAILEY EDWARDS

Hello world,

This post comes a day late. After an iffy connection and being kept out of my Gmail account for most of the day, I gave up. I hadn't scheduled this post ahead of time so I was screwed. I have already apologized to today's guest author for the delay, and hope she's forgiven me. Anyways, here we are now - with a REV UP "Thursday" instead of "Wednesday" author interview - as I finally manage to put this blog post up :D.


Today's guest is the wonderful and talented Hailey Edwards, Samhain author and writer of the Daughters of Askara and Araneae Nation series. Seriously, have you taken a look at this girl's website and book covers? Haunting, beautiful, captivating. Her writing? Totally lives up to my choice of adjectives. She's an ace at world building, and adept at capturing all the little details to make her historical, fantastical worlds as tangible as the mug of coffee sitting on my desk right now. Check out her excerpts (links below) to see what I mean. If you love fantasy, paranormal romance and urban fantasy stories, this is a Samhain author you will want to take note of and put on your "to read" list.

Before I start...

HAILEY'S GIVING AWAY AN ARC OF EVERMINE TO A LUCKY COMMENTER. ISN'T THAT SWELL? ENTER YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENT BOX FOR A CHANCE TO WIN.

So here's a little glimpse into Hailey's journey to publication...

How long have you been writing?

I've been writing for three years.

When did you decide that you wanted to write for a living (that "aha" moment)?

Publication has always been my goal. When I started writing my first book, it was with visions of holding it in my hands one day.

What did your family say when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

I'm so blessed that my family supports me. They allow me the time I need to think and work without grumbling...too loudly.

What is your preferred genre both for reading and writing?

I read and write fantasy, fantasy/romance, urban fiction and paranormal romance.

Did you start by writing full time or did you have a day job?

I started writing part time even though I'm a stay at home mom. Once I got my first contract, that's when I started putting in full time hours for study, critiquing and writing.

Did you take any writing courses or did you just sit and write a book?

I sat down and tried to write a book. It didn't go well. I have attended many writing workshops since then and even had a mentor for a while. Study is part of my day, because learning and growing is part of the job. You can't let yourself or your ideas become stagnant.

Did/do you have a crit group or mentor to guide you?

In the beginning? No. It wasn't until I got serious about writing that I participated in a mentor program, where I got to pick Jess Granger's mind for three months. I don't have a critique group. I do have other authors (and beta readers) who read and critique my work so that it's polished and ready for submission.

Do you use a/several pseudonym(s) and if so, why did you choose to have one/them?

I have one, which is Hailey Edwards. I chose to use a pseudonym for that layer of protection between my public life and my private life.


How long did it take you to make your first sale? What was your first thought when you did?

I wrote a novella and sold it within six months of deciding to give writing a try. My first thought was "Wow, this is great" followed by "I have a long way to go if I want to make this my career". That's when I got to work.

Did you sell the first story or novel you wrote?

Um, no. It was a mess. Lots of telling. Little showing. I'm still proud I finished it, and I'm going to revise it one day. I still love those characters, how could I not? They're the reason I'm where I am today. Now that I have a better grasp on my craft, I'd like to give them a second chance.

How many drafts did you write of your first novel before you felt you got it right? What about now - do you still write several drafts of a story?

My first novel was shelved. The second was on its third draft when it was contracted. Since deciding where to start a story is difficult, I do write several first chapters. As a whole, I write one clean draft then revise as necessary.

Do you read industry or writing related blogs? If so, can you share some useful links?

I don't follow any particular blogs. I belong to the Romance Divas, and I get all my industry-related news there.

Did you get an agent first or did you submit directly to publishers?

I submitted directly to a publisher.

Did you ever get rejected? If so, how did you handle it?

Yes, I have been rejected. I was disappointed, of course, but I learned from the experience. I filed the book away for later revisions and applied that knowledge to a new project, which was contracted.

What, in your opinion, do agents/publishers look for in a new author in the current market? Is it all to do with talent or with trends?

I can't speak for agents or publishers, but, as a reader, I love finding new-to-me authors with great voices and new ideas.

What do you think of the changes going on in the book industry (e.g., e-books vs. print books, and big publishers getting involved in digital publishing)? Where do you see the industry going?

I have loved eBooks from the start. I've been a Kindle owner/user since the first generation. I believe the market will continue to see a shift towards eBooks and eReaders.



Are your books available in print or in digital format?

Both. You can purchase my work in print or eBook form at most major book retailers from Amazon to Target.

What advice do you think aspiring authors should heed today?

Writing is work. I think to be successful you have to treat it like a job. That doesn't mean I don't love it or enjoy it, but that does mean I dedicate a set number of hours to work every day and keep a tight schedule for my projects.

What are you working on now?

Right now I'm working on the third book in my Daughters of Askara series, Eversworn.

What is/are your favourite book(s)? Do you read only books from the genre you write in?

I do read and write more or less in the same genres. My favorite series are Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark, Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series, and Jim Butcher's Dresden Files.

Do you read when you are plotting or writing a story?

Yes. I can't not read. It's part of my day, every day.

What book inspired you to write romance (or whatever genre you write in)?

That's an easy one. Karen Moning's Darkfever is the book that sparked my love for romance novels, although that series isn't romance. Without the books that book lead me to read, I might not be where I am today.

What hero/heroine/character was the most fun or challenging to write for you?

The heroine who was the most fun for me to write is Emmaline DeGray. I love her and her hero, Harper. But it was Emma's voice guiding me through the first book in the series. Even though her book has been written, I don't think we've seen the last of her by a long shot.

How do you juggle work, writing, chores and family/personal life? Do you have a secret to time management that you want to share with readers?

I wish i had a secret time management scheme. My family comes first, so I have to sneak in writing time around their schedules. It's probably the reason I get most of my work done at night.

Do you have a ritual that you follow when it comes to writing?

I follow BICHOK, but that's about it. (Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard)

Where do you see yourself, careerwise, in 5 years time?

In five years, I'm not sure. The market is changing so rapidly now, it's hard to keep up. As long as I'm writing and keeping my readers happy, I'll be happy.

What's your website URL?

http://haileyedwards.net/

Are you on Facebook?

http://www.facebook.com/authorhaileyedwards

How do you connect with readers?

Readers can find me on Facebook, Twitter, my forum, or contact me through the contact form on my website.


About Hailey:

Hailey is a wife turned mother turned writer, who loves her husband, her daughter and alone time with her computer. Whenever southern living strikes her as too ordinary, she can be found squinting at her monitor as she writes her next happily-ever-after or with her nose glued to her Kindle’s screen. Wings and/or cupcakes are usually involved…


Latest and upcoming releases:

Everlong is available in both paperback and digital formats. MORE INFO, INCLUDING AN EXCERPT, HERE.

The second Daughters of Askara novel, Evermine, is set to release from Samhain Publishing in February. MORE INFO HERE.

A Hint of Frost (Araneae Nation series), the first book in my new fantasy romance series, Araneae Nation, is set to be released in April. MORE INFO, INCLUDING AN EXCERPT, HERE.

Eversworn, Book 3 in the Daughters of Askara series, is set to release from Samhain Publishing in June, 2012. MORE INFO HERE.

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Monday, January 09, 2012

KICK START MONDAYS: Contests & More - with DAWNE PROCHILO

by Dawne Prochilo

My career as a writer started many years ago (1999 to be exact) and since then I have added many new titles to my career. Author, radio segment guest, blogger, freelance sex advice writer and book reviewer. All the titles lead up to one main goal... to further my career.

My newspaper career turned into receiving my first writing contract for a novel, which of course lead to many more contracts. My love for the non-fiction writing style was lost in the author-ship, so I dove into online web content to satisfy my need...which lead into a fabulous opportunity to write for USA TODAY in September 2011. I am still amazed at all the success I have had in 2011 and I am hoping 2012 opens new doors for me in the publishing world.

My first novel, On Her Own, was a sweet romance that Harlequin was ready to offer me contract for. But at that time in my life I was working full time and Harlequin wanted me to sign a contract for four more full-length novels in a 12-month time frame. Knowing I couldn't meet that contract and deadline, I had to turn Harlequin down. Sad day for me... sigh.

But since then I have published a dozen books and have six contracted for 2012. I am thrilled with where my career has taken me and look forward to many more years, and books.

***************************CONTEST***************************

Have you ever? Could you ever? Had a cheap affair? A wham-bam or hit and run in a motel room? Better yet, let's add another twist to this- have you ever re-connected with someone from your past AND THEN had a one-nighter? People of my age (coughing, I'm not THAT old) have been getting reacquainted, thanks to social networks, and if you look closely enough on these social network posts and read between the proverbial lines, you can see who has a crush on who and who could quite possibly be... hmm, how shall I out this delicately... 'dating' each other.

Answer one of the questions above (honestly / anonymously here if you must) but then email me your name and email for the chance to win Room 11). Email me at dawne dot prochilo at yahoo.com


---------------------------


UPCOMING RELEASES:

ROOM 12 - To be released Feb 2 by Secret Cravings Publishing:

Blurb -

Imagine the situation...

Romance novelist Paige Sinclair has always had a crush on her old high school classmate, Rob. Decades later they meet by chance through a social network website. They decide to meet up for a no-strings attached day of sex in a motel room. These are the kinds of fantasies Paige writes for a living. She never expected to live one herself...let alone with Rob. After a day of romping in the proverbial hay, confessions are exposed. Can the duo survive the truth?

For more info, click here.

This book contains explicit language.

---------------------------

About Dawne:

She's the Promotion Director for Secret Cravings Publishing.

She's a freelance writer for a newspaper, writes web content articles for mademan.com, yahoo.com and associated press. She's also a reviewer for Eden Fantasy products and writes for their sister website, Eden Cafe. She also reviews for Coffee Beans and Love Scenes, Simply Erotic Reviews and is the owner of Girls' Only Reviews.

She does a weekly radio segment for a local rock station where she discussed relationship and marriage, has been a contributing writer for USA TODAY and oversees 15 blogs every day.

Books by Dawne Prochilo:

Crape Myrtle - June 2009
On Her Own - July 2009
Sex Sells - Feb 2011
Room 11 - Feb 2011
Rachel's Desire - March 2011
When We Meet Again - May 2011
His Holiday Seduction - Oct 2011
Insatiable Kate - Oct 2011
On Her Own (re-release) - Nov 2011
Wildfire Beach - Nov 2011
A Cougar's Revenge - 2012
Callie's Way - Feb 2012*
Lynn's Chance - March 2012*
Weekend Retreat - April 2012
Melody's Dance - May 2012*
Tessa's Passion - July 2012*
Weekend Retreat - Summer 2012

*Series- The VW Club

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY: An Eternity of Roses, Snippet #12

Hello world,


First week of the new year's already gone - can you believe it? It seems like just yesterday we were listening to Christmas tunes and watching Santa movies and rom coms, and now... we're already on our way out of January :D.

As always I look forward to the SSS post, and appreciate all the comments you leave. Last week was an important post for me and I was overwhelmed by the wonderful responses!

So, about my finished novel, An Eternity of Roses... (please read more about it, including the full prologue, by clicking here).

My two lovers, Lady Emmaline Deramore (inspired by the beautiful and exotic, Monica Bellucci) and her hunk of a fiance', Adrian Segrave, Viscount Bournemouthe (inspired by none other than, yes, an exquisitely cleaned up Chris Hemsworth), are getting cozy by the banks of the river Ver that runs by their families' estates in the St. Albans area. The time period: pre-Regency England.

Can you picture them? :D


Please check out my last SSS blog here to see where I left off. And here's my excerpt:

She had no doubt – Adrian was made for Belvoir, and Belvoir was made for him. His daily strolls to the corn fields and the wheat fields dotted with haystacks, the backbreaking tilling of earth pregnant with promise, was as much a part of him as she was. Adrian was not the kind of idle aristocrat to manage his property from the comfort of his study. The tenants loved him, not least for his advanced notions on soil improvement, animal husbandry and estate management. Even his dutiful father could not have matched Adrian’s common sense and perseverance.

She turned her head sideways to look up into his eyes and waited for him to say something, anything.


Hope you enjoyed it. For more SSS goodness, please check out what the other SSS authors have in store for their readers.

Also, if you are interested in an author interview (a Rev Up Wednesday post) or running a fun contest on my blog, with promo (a Kick Start Monday post), please email me at angelaguillaume@gmail.com for more information. I'm aiming to fill more slots, especially for the Monday contest blogs.

Until next time, live well and love deeply,

~ Natalie ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

REV UP WEDNESDAY - A weekly booster shot for inspiration... Catching up with BARBARA HUFFERT

Hello world,


Today's Rev Up Wednesday is the fabulous Ellora's Cave author, Barbara Huffert. Barbara is an interesting sort of character (hope you don't mind me saying this, Barbara :D). I mean this in the most positive of senses. She's a knitter, I found out from her blog site. I love knitters, perhaps because my mom is one and I love her to bits. However, a knitter who writes erotica and erotic romance - I've never met one of those... until I met Barbara! :D.

Barbara is also a poet, and she has some amazing work posted on her blog at http://barbarahuffert.blogspot.com. I got my start in poetry and have a fine appreciation for the genre. In short, Barbara is eclectic; she's fun, spiritual, and a positive soul. She's also a self-professed black sheep of her family. So, after knowing this lady, I'm thinking that's a very good thing... :)

So here's Barbara's story...

How long have you been writing?

Forever it seems although I’ve only been published since 2007.

When did you decide that you wanted to write for a living (that "aha" moment)?

I didn’t really have one. Writing books started as a challenge from a friend and continued because I discovered it was fun.

What did your family say when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

You probably don’t want to know that. Let’s just say I’ve always been the black sheep in my family and my writing didn’t help matters.

What is your preferred genre both for reading and writing?

I read anything and everything. So far I’ve written romance, erotic and non, but there are some horror tales rolling around in my head.

Did you start by writing full time or did you have a day job?

I still have a day job.

Did you take any writing courses or did you just sit and write a book?

As Nike would say, I just did it.

Did/do you have a crit group or mentor to guide you?

Not really but I do have a writer friend I trade chapters with. We use that to help motivate each other. And I have a bunch of friends I bounce ideas off of, to see if anyone would be interested in reading a particular plot.


Do you use a/several pseudonym(s) and if so, why did you choose to have one/them?

I had a lovely pen name chosen but then my mother kept nagging me, insisting that I don’t use my own name because it would embarrass her as my first book was an erotica. Of course, that inspired me to only write under my true name.

How long did it take you to make your first sale? What was your first thought when you did?

Um, as long as it took to hit the send button. The friends I shared my stories with pestered me to submit somewhere. I did, fully expecting a rejection which I intended to use to pacify them. You can’t imagine how stunned I was to get a contract instead.

Did you sell the first story or novel you wrote?

Nope. In fact, very few people have ever seen that one. I love the plot but I’ve learned so much since then.

How many drafts did you write of your first novel before you felt you got it right? What about now - do you still write several drafts of a story?

I learned the hard way how much I hate rewrites so now I try very hard to edit as I go.

Do you read industry or writing related blogs? If so, can you share some useful links?

Not as a habit though I will if someone shares a link with me for something they found interesting.

Did you get an agent first or did you submit directly to publishers?

Directly to the publishers. With erotica you can do that. If I add horror then I suspect I’ll have to start looking for an agent.

If you signed with an agent, how did you go about the process of finding your agent/publisher?
Did you ever get rejected? If so, how did you handle it?


Yes and no. I had a book rejected because although it was a decent story it wasn’t right for the publisher. It came with encouragement to submit it elsewhere which I did.

What do you think of the changes going on in the book industry (e.g., e-books vs. print books, and big publishers getting involved in digital publishing)? Where do you see the industry going?

In a lot of ways digital publishing is great. It allows you to carry so many choices of what to read next with you. However, I personally miss the feel of holding a “traditional” book.

How do you feel about so many bookstores closing across the US? Do you think this trend is similar in other countries?

I think it’s very sad. I’ve spent many enjoyable afternoons browsing through bookstores.

Are your books available in print or in digital format?

All are in digital, some are in print.

What advice do you think aspiring authors should heed today?

Write your story, your way. Worry about finding a publisher after you’re happy with it. If you don’t love your story it will show and it won’t be as good as it could have been.

What are you working on now?

Believe it or not, a vampire romance.

What is/are your favourite book(s)?

There are far too many to name.

Do you read when you are plotting or writing a story? Do you read only books from the genre you write in?

Sometimes. I am very character-driven. I hear them in my mind. If reading distracts them, I don’t do it.

What hero/heroine/character was the most fun or challenging to write for you?

The couple in Chaos. As I said, I hear my characters in my mind. They chattered and argued non-stop the entire time I was working on their story which caused a lot of inappropriate laughter in public on my part.

How do you juggle work, writing, chores and family/personal life? Do you have a secret to time management that you want to share with readers?

I write when the characters demand it. For the most part they seem to understand that I can’t do that during the day job hours. Even so, it doesn’t keep them from whispering to me while I’m working.

Do you have a ritual that you follow when it comes to writing?

Not really. I let the characters dictate that. With one book, I had the same old Disney musical playing in the background. With my current WIP, the heroine prefers if I write out somewhere.

Where do you see yourself, careerwise, in 5 years time?

Hopefully, I’ll be writing more and at a day job less.

What's your website URL?

http://barbarahuffert.com/

Are you on Facebook?

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1611743245

How do you connect with readers?

On facebook and I do occasional chats. I also welcome emails.




About Barbara:

Barbara Huffert lives in Pennsylvania with her adoring cats who keep her company while she taps away at her laptop, purring to help bring stories out of her mind and onto the page. She has always been the black sheep of her family, horrifying her relatives by writing heartfelt, soul-rending poetry as well as short fiction and erotic romance.

Latest and upcoming releases:

This year I released Condemned, the third book in my Cosmic Connections series and Close to Forever, my first mainstream romance. Both can be found at Ellora’s Cave - http://www.jasminejade.com/m-515-barbara-huffert.aspx



~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Monday, January 02, 2012

KICK START MONDAYS: 2012... Kicking it writer-style :)

Hello world,


First of all, I hope you all got to celebrate the start of the new year in style, but especially, with those you love most. Mostly, I hope you didn't do like boring, old me - I was so tired that I slept through all of it, and only opened my eyes at 7am on the 1st. I wanted to slap myself. Lol.

Now, another announcement. After the biggie of the name change last week (thanks for all the encouraging comments to Friday's post, by the way :D), I want to kick start this year by announcing that various authors are signing up to hold contests and give away amazing prizes, every Monday, on this very blog!

If you're a reader, please follow this blog and make sure to visit every week :). If you lose one opportunity, you'll have fifty more chances to win!

Authors, January is already booked up but I'm still looking for takers. Please email me at angelaguillaume@gmail.com for details.

I can also offer an author interview on Wednesdays from end of March onwards, as I'm booked up before then.


As a side note, I'd appreciate it if you please took some time to check out the prologue from my just-finished paranormal/fantasy novel, An Eternity of Roses. I recently posted it on this site under the tab "Works in Progress". Hope you enjoy the read!

This promises to be a great year, folks. So I wish you a happy journey, everyone, wherever you're going!

Until next time, live well and love deeply.

~ Natalie ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY: An Eternity of Roses, Snippet #11...AND ABOUT CHANGE

Hello world,


First off, let me start by saying that I wish everyone a beautiful, successful and blissful new year - one full of great memories to cherish. For a writer, I know the biggest dream is publication, so I want to say to my fellow writers - may 2012 bring you more and more pride and success as an author.

Second, I want to thank everyone for returning every week and commenting on my excerpts. It means the world to me, and I really appreciate it. Last week I didn't have time to make the rounds as usual, and I hope to make up for that. If I don't visit your blog today, it will be some time during the week.

Now, there's another big announcement I wish to make. Well, it's big for me at least :D. I've been debating with myself whether to do this or not, but my beautiful friend and sister of the heart, Zee Monodee, encouraged me by first setting the example, and also by being incredibly supportive.

I have always thought that using a pseudonym was the way to go, because I could keep my private life separate from my writer's life. However, that started to make less sense when my actual friends here in Malta joined my Facebook friends list. They know my real name. Then, I started to get to know other authors, who also now know my real name. For instance, authors in RWA who I met during my stay in Atlanta, Georgia, and other authors I met via Facebook.

I'm at a point where I just want to be me. Some people call me "Nat", others "Angela", and even those who know the real "me" sometimes get confused. I've had other writers here - and even old friends from school - ask me why I just don't use my name. I used to have reasons - but perhaps the biggest one was that I wanted to hide.

Or to protect my family. But my family is behind me 100%. They know what I write, how I write, and they are proud of me. My mom wants to read my work and loves it (she's biased, I know, lol). My husband has wondered why I use a pseudonym. So, why shouldn't I simply be me?

Basically, over the coming week, I'm going to change my Facebook name, Twitter name, the name on this blog... and everywhere else I use it... from Angela Guillaume to my real one: Natalie G. Owens. My books will come out under my real name. I will simply be me. Okay, Angela is actually my middle name and Guillaume is a twist on my maiden name, but everyone, all my friends, know me as "Nat". I want everyone to know me as Nat, because that's who I am.

So this may not be a big deal to many of you - and you may say, what the heck? - but it is to me. This new year is starting with big changes. Changes that I'm making happen. It's a bit scary, but also exciting. I'm taking off my mask for good... it wasn't that strong anyway, and now it's gone. I hope this brings me luck.

I also hope that many of you will now get used to calling me Natalie, or Nat, instead of Angela. Lol. Perhaps it will take a while.


And now, on to my SSS post...which continues from the last one I posted here. ...

It was as though nature acknowledged the raw emotion that gripped Adrian at the mention his father and brother. But, no one more than Emmaline knew how, for a time after he’d assumed Arthur’s responsibilities, he was like a shored fish that had lost its shoal. Although the tragedy wasn’t his fault, he had still not completely shaken the sense that he was merely a usurper who’d slipped in shoes that were too big, too wrong, for him.

“Belvoir has not been the same without them,” he brooded.

Emmaline cursed herself for bringing up the subject, and shook her head. “Do not say that. Belvoir is safe and thriving because of you, Adrian. ...

To read other amazing excerpts from the SSSers, please go here.

Also, if you are interested in an author interview (a Rev Up Wednesday post) or running a fun contest on my blog, with promo (a Kick Start Monday post), please email me at angelaguillaume@gmail.com for more information. I'm aiming to fill more slots, especially for the Monday contest blogs.

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.