Thursday, June 27, 2013

Back to the Blog....Juliet Blackwell!

Meow, today i'm pleased to welcome back to the blog as a guest blogger the NY Times bestselling author, Juliet Blackwell!

Juliet Blackwell is the New York Times and national bestselling author of the Witchcraft Mystery series, featuring a powerful witch with a vintage clothes store in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury neighborhood.  She also writes the Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series, starring Mel Turner, a failed anthropologist who reluctantly takes over her father’s high-end construction company…and starts seeing ghosts behind the walls.  Under the pseudonym Hailey Lind, Blackwell wrote the Agatha-nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series, in which ex-art forger Annie Kincaid attempts to go straight as a faux finisher: Feint of Art, Shooting Gallery, Brush with Death, and Arsenic and Old Paint
A former anthropologist and social worker, Juliet has spent time in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France. She currently resides in a happily haunted house in Oakland, California, where she is a muralist, portrait painter, and recipient of the overly zealous attentions of her neighbor's black cat, who seems to imagine himself her new familiar. Juliet served two-terms as president of Northern California Sisters in Crime. Visit her at

and now, on my blog....JULIET!

Familiarly speaking…by Juliet Blackwell

Hello, Everyone!
We all need inspiration from time to time…even witches.

If you’re a really lucky witch, your inspiration might also be your beloved pet. A “witch’s familiar” is a companion animal thought to enhance and support a witch’s magical powers. Because animals are considered closer to other spiritual realms than are humans, it is believed familiars can assist their witches in communicating with spirits on other planes.

A black cat is the typical image that pops into many a mind when thinking of a witch’s familiar. But felines aren’t the only candidates: pigs, toads, birds, dogs, and even mythical creatures such as unicorns are also commonly referred to in the history of familiars.
Interestingly, the concept of companion animals assisting their magical masters is not unique to Europe: in Mexico and Central America, the concept of the nagual (pronounced na-wall) remains powerful. The nagual is like an animal alter ego, and is most often nocturnal: the owl, the toad, the coyote. Some believe that when one dreams, one’s nagual is traipsing about on adventures.

The protagonist of my Witchcraft Mystery Series, Lily Ivory, is a lonely, misfit witch who, upon arriving in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, realizes she has finally found a place where she feels at home. Her whole life, Lily has been such a loner that she did not even have a familiar. Within weeks of opening her vintage clothing shop, Aunt Cora’s Closet, Lily is visited by a powerful – and gorgeous—male witch named Aidan, who brings her a present: Oscar.

The familiar Aidan foists upon Lily is no cat. Instead, Oscar is a talkative, ever-hungry, shape-shifting critter of indeterminate origins:
I whirled around to find a misshapen creature perched, gargoyle-like, atop an antique walnut jewelry display case. He was small and bent, with a muscular body and scaly skin, a large head, a snout-like nose and mouth, and outsized ears like a bat’s. His fingers were long and human-like, surprisingly graceful, but his enormous feet had three toes and long talons. His voice was deep and gravelly.
“I’m your new familiar,” it said.
“I’m afraid not,” I said. “I’m a solo act. I don’t need a familiar.”
“You’re a witch, aintcha? Ya gotta have a familiar.”
“Says who?”
“It’s in the handbook.”
“There is no handbook. Besides, I’m allergic to cats.”
“I’m no cat.”
“So I’ve noticed. But I’m probably allergic to…creatures such as yourself, too. Besides, I can’t have a goblin in the shop.”
“I’m not exactly a goblin.”
“Gnome, then.”
“Not really a gnome, either….”
“Whatever you are, you’ll scare away customers.”
“Howzabout a pig?”
“A pig?”
With a sudden twist of his scrawny shoulders, he transformed himself into a miniature Vietnamese pot-bellied pig.
(Fun factoid: after I had decided to name Lily’s fictional familiar “Oscar”, my elderly dog passed away and a neighbor’s green-eyed black cat decided to adopt me, wooing me with his feline ways, staring at me through my office window while I tried to write. The wily critter’s name? “Oscar”.)

When I first told my editor that I wanted Lily’s familiar to be a creature capable of shape-shifting into a miniature potbellied pig, rather than a traditional cat, she thought I was nuts. But she relented after I gave her a little history of familiars.

Pigs have been identified as powerful witches’ companions all over the world. They’re smart, live close to homes in traditional villages, and “go wild” easily even if raised in captivity. Also, pigs “root” in the earth, turning over dirt, rocks, and sod to find their treasures in the fertile soil. According to Judika Illes’ Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, root-working is an ancient form of magic associated with great botanical knowledge: “The term ‘root-worker’…implies power and knowledge and a special relationship with Earth and her protective spirits…once upon a time, it was not considered safe to disturb the Earth, unless one knew proper rituals and had received permission to dig.”

Lily Ivory was already gifted in the use of earth magic: she brews potions, specializes in the magical and healing powers of botanicals, and often buries her charms until they mature. But Oscar’s mere presence helps Lily with the fluidity of her spells, to maintain her intention, and to slip through the spiritual portals to reach her guardian spirit. Besides, in his talkative goblin-like form, he’s also a great sounding-board, companion, and comic relief.

Oscar’s so much fun, in fact, it makes this author rather wistful, wishing I had a familiar of my own….but then again, the neighbor’s cat would like to remind me that I do have an awfully cute Oscar at hand.
In Juliet’s latest book, Tarnished and Torn, Oscar has decided he really should have transformed into a lion to help Lily out of a hairy situation.  He doesn’t accomplish that, but he is a great help, nonetheless.  Join Lily, Oscar, and the whole gang as they go up against a tricky demon menacing San Francisco! 

Thank you for a great post, Juliet!

Folks: Juliet will be giving away a copy of TARNISHED AND TORN (Or, if the winner prefers, any book in the Witchcraft mystery series!)
To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:
* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link:
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. US residents only. Contest ends midnight, June 30th. Good luck!
Next month:
July 2:  Victoria Laurie & MJ Holliday!
Starting July 15: Our Kids Need to Read Fundraiser! Watch the blog the week of July 9 for details!
In August:
Mary Janice Davidson
Carole Nelson Douglas and Midnight Louie!
Erika Chase
Anne Purser



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Welcome to the blog...NANCY GIDEON!

We welcome author Nancy Gideon to the blog!

Michigan author Nancy Gideon’s writing career is as versatile as the romance market, itself.  Her books encompass genres from historicals and regencies to contemporary suspense and the paranormal. Also listed on the International Movie Database (IMDB), she collaborated on the indie horror films In the Woods and Savage with screenwriting and ADR script credits, and even played the character “Bar Extra.”
The mother of two grown sons, one married and proud producer of her grandson and the other shanghaied into being her assistant, she also works full time for the law firm, Redmond, Redmond & Yokom.
A prolific writer, Gideon attributes her creative output, which once peaked at seven novels in one year, to her love of history and a gift for storytelling.  She also credits the discipline learned through a background in journalism and scheduling writing time around diaper changes, Scout meetings, band lessons and outings to the Zoo Boo . . . and, of course, OCD.  The due date for her third book and her second son were on the same day . . . and both were early!  When on deadline, she turns on the laptop between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. to get a chapter in before work.
R:  Welcome to my hotseat, Nancy! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.

Thanks Rocco! I’m the author of over 54 novels ranging from historicals and series contemporary suspense to dark paranormals, with a couple of horror screenplays thrown into the mix. Before I became a writer, I was an avid tale spinner who looked forward to those story problems on tests. The publishing bug hit me in fifth grade when I saw my name in print for the first time on a fractured fairytale in the school newspaper. I’d always written bits and pieces of books but never got serious about the page one to page end until I was a stay-at-home mom who wrote in long hand in notebooks while my boys were in the sandbox. I write because I can’t NOT write, and now share my keyboard time with my 9-to-5 as a legal assistant.

R: Tell us about your Moonlight shape shifter series. How did that come about?

The “By Moonlight” world is set in the shadows of New Orleans where a secretive clan of Shape-shifters struggles to survive under the nose of a city that doesn’t know they exist. The first four “Moonlight” books follow tough and determined NOPD detective Charlotte Caissie  and her preternatural lover Max Savoie, who has inherited a criminal empire and is thought to be the prophesied savior of their species, as they try to align their very different lives. The next four “Shadows” books spin off with new couples within that same web of intrigues and unknowns. The series started out as one book written for a short paranormal line, and before I knew it had become three long novels that were purchased by a totally different publisher.

R:  Was anyone in particular your inspiration for Cale Terriot?

I’m thinking Jeremy Renner. He’s got that strutty firecracker intensity all wrapped up in a hot package. I like ‘em thuggish.

R: Out of all your characters, do you have a favorite?

I’m always involved with the characters of the book I’m currently writing, but two of my heroes stand out for me. One is Harmon Bass, the half-Apache tracker from my Dana Ransom historical series I wrote for Zebra and the other is Max Savoie, the shape-shifter enigma from my “By Moonlight” series. They were so much fun to work with because, although very different, they were dark, tortured, complex and unpredictable.  And I like that about a hero.  Cale Terriot from my new release is right up there with them.  His character wouldn’t leave me alone until I started writing what I thought was a short scene that ended up being 150 pages—in the middle of the book!  I had an awful time letting him go when the manuscript was turned in.

R: Tell us a bit about your latest release

Foremost, PRINCE OF SHADOWS is a bit of a game changer. It moves the series’ action from New Orleans to Lake Tahoe to focus on the brutally dangerous Terriots who are struggling to strengthen their clan in preparation for war. Their threatening presence debuted in HUNTER OF SHADOWS and was upped in BETRAYED BY SHADOWS as they made an aggressive move against the New Orleans clan and especially the MacCreedy family.  Kendra Terriot has negotiated a truce for the lives of her MacCreedy cousins but those stakes have just been raised, forcing her to make a terrifying choice to secure their safety and her own. My hero and heroine are star-crossed lovers separated by a dark history and are now caught in a dangerous arrangement to unite their clan while healing their own hearts.  Here’s the blurb:

PRINCE OF SHADOWS  / Pocket Star E-Exclusive /  5-27-13
Others Controlled Her Fate
A gentle female held hostage in a deadly play for power, Kendra Terriot’s only means of survival for herself and her family is to play to a careful courtship game. The one she chooses from her clan’s dangerous heirs will inherit the coveted crown, keeping her their prisoner forever . . . unless she can retain her virtue until rescue arrives.
The Past Destroyed His Dreams
Favored son of their brutal Shifter leader, the only calm in Cale Terriot’s violent world is a childhood love for his delicate distant cousin whom he’s pledged to make his queen. With Kendra at his side, he knows he can become the kind of ruler his clan needs, but first he must learn how to become the kind of mate she desires.
A Choice Would Determine Their Future
In a treacherous race for control, where weakness means death, Cale must prove he’s not the beast his beauty fears and still protect her, especially once her unrequited love returns to free her. The only way to win her respect could mean surrendering his throne. The only way to win her heart could mean letting her go . . . even if she no longer wants to be saved.

R:  You’ve collaborated on indie horror films. Tell us a bit about that experience and how it differs from your novel writing.

A local book store recommended me, because of my vampire romance series, to an Indie film maker looking for someone to write a novelization for his horror film “In the Woods.”  I’m a movie junkie and was THRILLED to get up close and personal to that industry! Writing the novelization was unique because I was building off someone else’s ideas and words but I did get to add some of my own touches. After that project, I collaborated with the same group on several screenplays, with one, again building off what they had, and on another, taking just bare bones ideas and running with it. Since I write the first draft of my books as if I’m watching a film in tight action/dialogue style, the jump to screenplays was surprisingly fun and easy. The hard part was leaving the motivations and introspections to the director and actor! Everything about the experience was great – being on the movie set as “Bar Extra,” getting movie credits as actor, ADR script and screenwriter – as especially hearing words I’d written spoken on film! It certainly upped my cred with my sons’ friends.

R:  Do you have a “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share?  How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?

I sold my first book on my own and looking back now, it was nothing short of a miracle.  I was SO ignorant about the business of writing and had no contact with other authors or industry professionals. That Call was initially answered by my two-year-old son who was sure it was my mom and he wouldn’t give me the phone.  When I wrestled it from him, he started screaming like he was being murdered. And on the other end I hear this calm voice saying, “This is Carin Ritter at Zebra Books and I’m calling to make an offer on Sweet Tempest.” I asked her to call back because I had to go shut my son in his room. After I hung up, I was certain I’d never hear from her again. We actually worked on projects together for years.

Agents are a bit of a Catch-22 – It’s hard getting an editor without an agent but an agent isn’t always interested unless you have an editor. I sold my first six books on my own then worked with agents on and off for the next two decades (yes, I’ve been around THAT long!). Even when I had publishers interested in the “By Moonlight” series, I was having a terrible time finding an agent. Finally I sold the first three books on my own. When contract time came up again, I met with my editor at a party in New York and asked what agents she liked working with.  Before I had a chance to track any of them down, my current agent, who was on her list, found ME. I guess my editor dropped the hint that I was looking . . . that was easy!

R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?

Coffee from my Keurig!  Two cups to get me from 5:00 a.m. to when I have to leave for work at 8:00. Music fuels my creativity – but not while I’m writing!  I always have a particular type of music that becomes the soundtrack for my work-in-progress to keep the juices flowing while I’m driving or taking Vitamin-D therapy on my balcony. It can be anything from Classic rock, opera, techno, Cajun accordion, or swing, to the heavy metal and AC/DC for my new release.

R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?

To when that man hung the first paper towel dispenser in the ladies room so that when you reach way up for them, the water runs down your arms.  I’d slap him and say, “What are you thinking?”

R:  If a movie were to be made of one of your books, which one would you want it to be and who would you pick for the lead roles?

I’ve had readers say they’d love to see the Moonlight series on screens big or small. When I wrote the first four “By Moonlight” books, I always pictured Clive Owen and Rosario Dawson from their roles in “Sin City” but everyone has their own ideas when reading, which is what makes it personal and engrossing.

R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?

I used to be such an introvert that when I was in school just the thought of going up to the front of the class to turn in a paper would have me hyperventilating. I got over it . . . mostly.

R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done? 

Thinking I could walk from the Pocket author party back to the hotel in heels in the wee hours of the night while in NYC. It was only eight blocks . . .

R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?

Enjoyment!  I love to get lost in a book to the point that I’m thinking about what the characters might be doing when I can’t get between the pages. I want my world to suck them in, play with their emotions, and not let go until that last page. And then I want them to want more.

Just for Fun:

Night or Day? 
I’m an early bird!  I’m at the keyboard at 5:00 a.m. to get in some writing time before going into my 9-to-5 as a legal assistant.

Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) 
I love ALL things fur, fin and feather but I can’t have a dog at my apartment, so for now, cat it is.

Beach or Pool?  
Poolside.  Oh, cabana boy! My refill, please.

Steak or salad? 
I’m a carnivore.  Make it medium rare.

Favorite Drink? 
Bud Lite Lime on those occasions that call for it.

Favorite Book? 
Stephen King’s The Stand. Taught me loads about characterization and tension.  And anything by Dean Koontz.

Favorite TV Series?   
Justified and Walking Dead

Favorite Movie?   
L.A. Confidential. How could you not love Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey and a very young Simon Baker all wrapped up in one twisty turny thriller.

Favorite Actor: 
Depends on what book I’m writing.

Favorite Actress: 
Toss-up between Cate Blanchett and Helen Mirren

Dirty Martini or Pina Colada?
If you like Pina Coladas . . . It’s all about the beach.

Hawaii or Alaska?
I’ve always wanted to do a Hawaiian cruise!

Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present—it would be Pavlov. Just feed the dog, already!

If I had just one wish, it would be—a quick and permanent cure for cancer. It’s messed with enough of my friends and family.

If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be  . . . No, thank you.  I’m not into that swapping thing. Other people’s moccasins are too narrow for my wide feet.

R: Where can readers find out more about you?

Thanks Rocco and Toni for such a fun and informative Q&A!!

R: Thank you, Nancy!

the winner of our Gena Showalter/Kait Ballenger giveaway is: Beautiful Disaster! Congrats!

June 28: : Juliet Blackwell returns!

Coming in July:  Victoria Laurie, Ellen Byrumm, Kate Collins and...our KNTR fundraiser!

IncredibleBlogging Cat

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

We welcome Gena Showalter & Kait Ballenger!

Today I have two authors in my hotseat - the co-authors of AFTER DARK, debuting June 25th, NYT Besteselling Author Gena Showalter and debut author Kait Ballenger!

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today best selling author of the White Rabbit Chronicles, Otherworld Assassins, Angels of the Dark, Lords of the Underworld, and several of other series.  She has written over thirty novels and novellas.  Her books have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazine, and have been translated in multiple languages.

Kait Ballenger is a full-time paranormal romance author, wife, professional bellydancer, graduate student, and soon-to-be-professor. She is the multi-published author of the Execution Underground paranormal romance series about an international network of supernatural hunters who fight to protect humanity alongside the powerful women they seduce.

And now, in the hotseat: Gena and Kait!
R:  Welcome, girls! Gena and Kait: Tell us a bit about yourselves and how you became interested in writing.
Gena: I usually put this question off, answering all others first LOL  Talk about myself?  Shudder!  Um…I guess I am quirky and driven.  Definitely trying to kick a Vanilla Birthday Cake Oreo habit.   Animal lover.  Wife.  Mom.  (Perhaps here is a good place to mention these facts aren’t in any kind of special order.)  Day dreamer.  Split end hunter/slayer.  And forever trying to tame curly hair into something sleek and straight.  As for writing, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I ended up dropping out of college three times.  And quitting multiple jobs soon after I started.  And being voted “Worst Employee Ever” three years running—by my mom.  I sat down and had a heart to heart with myself about what I could truly see myself doing for the rest of my life.  Writing was the only answer that fit.

Kait: I’m a wife, mommy to three fur-babies, and graduate student just working to make a name for herself in the crazy publishing industry. I finish grad school in November with an MFA in Writing. After I graduate I hope to find a part-time position as a professor while continuing to write. Currently, writing is my main job, though I work as an activities director at an assisted living facility for Alzheimer and dementia patients on the weekend. I’m also a paid tutor for high school level English students. My undergrad degree was in English and I earned it from Stetson University, which is where I met my husband—the dean’s son. DH works as a bartender, but is also a screenwriter, so you’ll be seeing his movies on screen hopefully in the near future. I was the first in my family to go to college. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, but moved here to Florida when I was fifteen. I’m the oldest of three daughters. I’m 22 and will be 23 in September. I like to name my pets after fictional characters and I hope someday that people love my characters enough to name their pets after them. I admire Gena for her mission for sleek and straight hair, because my hair is SO curly I couldn’t get it all the way straight even if I tried (the one time I did, it took over three hours just to get it even remotely straight). I love big sparkly jewelry, particularly earrings. I have my nose and belly button pierced, and I really love the sunshine even though I burn to a crisp when I’m in it for more than five minutes =)

R: Gena, you write so many varied series! Do you have a favorite?  
 I love different qualities about all my series, so it’d be difficult to pick a favorite.  I love the Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark for the alpha heroes, the White Rabbit Chronicles for the snark—and alpha heroes—and the Otherworld Assassins for the rush—and alpha heroes.  Okay, you got me.  My favorite thing is the men.  I am a proud book boyfriend slut.

R: Gena, I and the HUMAN loved BUFFY! Tell us about your White Rabbit series, which features a “zombie-slayer!”
 White Rabbit Chronicles is loosely inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and features a sixteen-year-old girl (named Alice/Ali) who wakes up after a car crash to learn the world is filled with zombies hungry for human souls.  Ali needs the help of sexy bad boy Cole Holland to become the slayer she was born to be.

R: Kait: How does it feel to make your debut with Gena?
The opportunity to debut with Gena is something I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams to be possible. It's phenomenal! Sometimes, I still can't believe that it is actually happening to me.

R:  Kait:  I’ve heard that you are also a professional bellydancer? How did that come about?
 I bellydanced as a hobby, just for fun, for several years before my then-instructor asked me to teach beginner’s level classes at her studio. After teaching for a year, by chance I ended up with a position working as a performer for an Arabic restaurant. I performed there professionally for nearly two years. I specialize in Egyptian Caberet style bellydance, though currently I’m not working any gigs or performing regular. With my writing schedule, it’s become more of a hobby for me again, though I’d certainly love to get back into performing at some point.

R: Kait:   Tell us a bit about your debut novel, and what inspired you to write it.
 Shadow Hunter is a prequel novella to my Execution Underground paranormal romance series, which is about an international network of supernatural hunters. Shadow Hunter tells the story of vampire hunter Damon Brock and how he came to establish the Rochester division of the Execution Underground—which is the division the series focuses on. It’s hard to say I was “inspired” to write Shadow Hunter, because I never had any plans of writing Damon’s origin story, until Harlequin contracted me to do it for the anthology. So I guess you could say the contract “inspired” me haha.

R:  Ladies, tell us a bit about your dual release, AFTER DARK!

GS: Mine is The Darkest Angel (which was a blast to write!):

Winged warrior Lysander has been alive for centuries, and yet he’s never known desire-until he meets Bianka. Spawned from the bloodline of his enemy, the beautiful but deadly Harpy is determined to lead the untouched Lysander into temptation. He may try to evade her attempts, but even the most iron-willed demon assassin can resist for only so long.... 

KB: My part of the anthology is Shadow Hunter (which was my first experience writing under deadline and I had to finish it within only one month!)

Vampire hunter Damon Brock's first assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York, a city crawling with the undead. But he isn't the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is fierce and ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family-and she works solo. But being alone is no longer so desirable when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf. As they work to massacre the local covens, the line between good and evil blurs when they are forced to decide between their lifelong beliefs... and their newfound hearts.

R:  Gena and Kait:  What future projects are each of you working on? Anything else new this year we can salivate over?
Gena:  I’ve got three!  First up is The Darkest Craving, releasing July 30th.  

Having endured weeks of torture in the bowels of hell, Kane wants nothing to do with his beautiful rescuer, Josephina Aisling. The half-Fae female threatens to awaken the demon of Disaster inside him—a beast he’s determined to kill, no matter the price.  

Josephina is hunted by a brutal enemy—her royal family—and Kane is her only source of protection. He’s also the only male to ever set her aflame, and even he succumbs to the heat. But as they navigate the treacherous world of the Fae, will the love they are building be torn apart?

Then comes Through the Zombie Glass (September 24th):
“Zombies stalk the night. Forget blood and brains. These monsters hunger for human souls. Sadly, they've got mine...”
Alice Bell has lost so much. Family. Friends. A home. She thought she had nothing else to give. She was wrong.
After a new zombie attack, strange things begin to happen to her. Mirrors come to life, and the whispers of the dead assault her ears. But the worst? A terrible darkness blooms inside her, urging her to do very wicked things.  She's never needed her team of zombie slayers more, but ultra bad-boy Cole Holland, the leader and her boyfriend, suddenly withdraws from her... from everyone. Now, with her best friend Kat at her side, Ali must kill the zombies, uncover Cole's secret and learn to fight the darkness.
But the clock is ticking...and if she fails at a single task, they're all doomed.

Then, it’s the second Otherworld Assassins novel, Black and Blue (Oct, 22nd)!

                                  HE IS EVERY WOMAN’S FANTASY. . .
Corbin Blue is a man of many talents. One of the most powerful otherworlders ever born, he is wealthy, a professional football star, and a legend in the bedroom. But only a select few know he is also a black ops agent...and there is no better killer. When he and his crew are attacked and separated, he’s forced to turn to his boss’s daughter for help―a woman with even more secrets than Blue.
                                 …SHE BECOMES HIS ONLY OBSESSION
Evangaline Black has always been wary, guarded. No man has ever breeched her walls. Until Blue. He has never been denied something he wants, and now, he’s decided he wants her. As he sweeps her into his double life of seduction, intrigue, and danger, he helps her see beyond the darkness of her past. But as an enemy closes in, Blue will have to let Evie go to keep her safe—even though he'd rather die than live without her…

KB: The next thing up for me is Twilight Hunter, which is the first full-length novel in the Execution Underground series, releasing on August 27th.

Twilight Hunter (Aug 27th)
Hunters of the supernatural, the Execution Underground are an elite group tasked with protecting humanity…but what happens when danger collides with desire?  
Jace McCannon has one loyalty: the Execution Underground. Despite his mixed blood, his hatred for the werewolves he hunts is legendary. But in his search for a sadistic killer, Jace finds himself face-to-face with a stunningly seductive packmaster…and longing for a night with his mortal enemy. 
Nothing can stop Frankie Amato from defending her kind—or catching the rogue responsible for killing women in her territory. For that, this alpha female needs Jace's skills more than she wants to admit. But as their investigation exposes evil truths, need burns into a passion that dare not be fulfilled. For to do so will have deadly consequences for them both….

The second full-length novel in the series, Immortal Hunter, releases in late January 2014. I also have a YA urban fantasy series about to go out on submission.

R:  Do each of you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share?  How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?

GS: (side note: this happened so long ago, my timeline may be off, but this is how I remember it as of today lol)  I had written six books in roughly three years when I received my first offer of representation.  I asked for time to make my decision because the manuscript was with other agents.  I called the others to let them know there’d been an offer.  Only one was interested—my ultimate dream agent—and she asked for a few days to read the book, and I agreed.  A few days later, her offer came in and I didn’t hesitate.  I agreed, and let the other agent down easy (I promise!)  I’ve been with Deidre Knight of the Knight Agency my entire career, and I can tell you I’m more in love with her now than I was in the beginning.  She’s a champion for her authors!

KB: I'm represented by Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency (whose super agent!) and she offered me representation after reading my third manuscript, which is now what readers know as Twilight Hunter (releasing August 27th). I managed to secure representation with Nicole through a cold query. She requested the full manuscript and less than 24 hours after I sent it to her, she called and offered me representation. After we polished up the manuscript some, we sent it out and only a few short months later we received several offers. Ultimately, we choose Harlequin. Getting the call to find out that my books had sold to Harlequin is it pretty much indescribable. On phone with Nicole, I literally collapsed in the middle of my living room, bawling my eyes out from happiness and thankfulness. I still feel very blessed.

The below questions can be for both, or you can take turns:
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?GS: Music.  Or white noise of some sort, like a fan.  Also, my dogs have decided I need them to work, so they’ve taken to napping in my office and farting constantly.

KB: I’m pretty versatile, so I don't think there's any must-have for me. I'm used to writing on the go, so I can easily adjust. But, ideally, I like to be comfortable when I write, so if I had to choose a must-have it would be either my PJs or sweat pants to lounge around the house in.

R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
GS: I don’t know about most surprised, since there’s so much info out there about me (some true, some false), but I’ll go with…I can do the Elaine dance better than Elaine. (anyone who watched Seinfeld will know what I’m talking about LOL)
KB: That I'm only 22 years old...seriously lol.

R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
GS: Pure enjoyment.

KB: That magical human connection that happens when you really fall in love with a book and the emotions in it resonate with you. That's what I hope for =)

R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
GS: I’m a mix of both, though I lean more heavily toward pantser.
KB: I'm a little bit of both. I naturally lean more toward panster, but I find my books are structured better if I force myself to plot beforehand, so I’ve been doing that more frequently as the years progress.

For both authors:

Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  

GS: Night
KB: Night

Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  

GS: Um…even though I have three dogs…cat?
KB: Dog, but I own both.

Beach or Pool?  

GS: Neither.  I burn. 
KB: Depends on my mood. But like Gena, I burn easily, so I need loads of sunblock and an umbrella to cover me from the sun, even though I'm a Floridian. ;-)

Steak or salad?  

GS: Steak. (Suck it, salad!)
KB: Steak. I'm not a fan of most vegetables.
Favorite Drink?  

GS: Water (seriously--I go nutso without it)
KB: Milk (0%)

Favorite Book?  

GS: Right now I’m head over heels for MacRieve by Kresley Cole and Barefoot in the Sun by Roxanne St. Claire.  These women are beyond talented.  
KB: The Harry Potter series but the first book is my favorite.

Favorite TV Series?  

GS: New Girl
KB: Supernatural

Favorite Movie?  

GS: Eek!  The horror of picking just one.  Shakespeare in Love, maybe.
KB: It's hard to pick just one. Emotionally: The Notebook. For sheer screenwriting genius: Fight Club.

Favorite Actor:
GS: Ryan Gosling (my husband tells me I giggle like a schoolgirl every time he appears on screen)
KB: Jensen Ackles—specifically Jensen as Dean Winchester *le sigh*

Favorite Actress:
GS: Zooey Deschanel (she makes me smile)
KB: I wouldn't call her my favorite, but I think Jennifer Lawrence is really talented. I liked her in both Hunger Games and Winters Bone.

Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? 

GS: Pina Colada
KB: Piña colada
Hawaii or Alaska? 

GS: Alaska
KB: Hawaii

Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be 
GS: Jesus___________________
KB: I agree with Gena's answer. That was my first thought as well. Jesus.

If I had just one wish, it would be
GS: More wishes.  What?  I can’t go there?  Fine.  To eat whatever I want and never gain a pound.  No, no, to have more money than I could ever spend, so that I can eat whatever I want and have the pounds sucked off no matter how much it costs.
KB: It sounds morbid, but if I had one wish in the world it would be that my husband and I die at the exact same time—once we’re well into old age, of course. The reason I say that is just the thought of living without him just seems unbearable. Gena’s answer is much more fun than mine haha. 

If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be 
GS: I couldn’t leave my family.  I’ll stick with me.  
KB: I agree with Gena. I enjoy my life and I'd miss my family, so I wouldn't want to trade places with anyone else.

Gena and Kait will give away a copy of AFTER DARK to one lucky commenter!

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:

* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link:
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
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* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck!

Next week:  Nancy Gideon!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Why I...and the MIDNIGHT LOUIE!

Midnight Louie is OUR kind of detective.

In his own words, he’s short, dark and unobtrusive.  He talks like a detective out of a 40s pulp novel.  Plus, he’s remarkably light on his feet and he can shimmy into places Columbo would never dare to tread.
And why not?  Louie is a cat.

A 20 pound, jet black tomcat with all of his – um- assets intact (well for the most part.  He has had a vasectomy – yeah, you heard me right) Louie is the first furpurrson of mystery, or as he puts it, the star of his own multivolume mystery series. And make no mistake about it, Louis is THE star, even though at times he finds himself sharing center stage with some very interesting humans.

A good deal of the charm for me in this series is Carole Nelson Douglas’
well fleshed out characters, both feline and human. Eighteen pound plus tomcat Louie shares the stage in his books with four human characters, two men, two women; two amateur sleuths, two pros. Crime-solving Temple Barr, PR woman and burgeoning sleuth, is Louie’s roommate. (No one “owns” Louie.) He’s Temple’s protector and “muscle.” Hard-boiled female homicide lieutenant C.R. Molina has to put up with the pair of them. Max Kinsella is Temple’s ex, a magician and counter-terrorist operative on the run. Matt Devine is an ex-priest radio advice counselor who’s become Temple’s fiancée.  And this is not to mention the feline characters, which include his alleged daughter, Midnight Louise (who loves ragging on dear old pops), Ma Barker, his mom who still oftentimes refers to him by his given  name, Grasshopper, a bomb and drug sniffing Maltese, Nose E, several assorted cats, big and little…oh! And let’s not forget those glamour pusses, cats of the female persuasion that set Louie’s tail to thumping:  Shaded silver and gold Persians Yvette and Solange, between whose affections Louie bounces like a furry black ball; the deadly Hyacinth, a seal point Siamese whose claws are dipped nightly (supposedly) in Curare; and Satin, a comely black chick with a fluffy tail, one of Louie’s first amours and the maybe-momma of Midnight Louise.

Douglas writes the series as if it were a daytime soap, interweaving plot points and characters throughout.  And, like any loyal soap follower, we’re all dying to know what happens next? Who will Temple end up with, her long time love, the Mystifying Max?  Or radio hottie/ex-priest Matt Devine? More importantly, will Louie ever be able to decide between those darling Persians, Yvette and Solange?

As Louie says, he lives in “the city that never sleeps” – and with a crew like that, who could?

More importantly, who would want to?

The newest Midnight Louie mystery debuts August 6 -CAT IN AN ALIEN X-RAY.
And for those of you who missed it in hardcover, CAT IN A WHITE TIE AND TAILS debuts in paperback July 2!

Article by:

The "Human" - author of her own series about a shamus cat - The Nick and Nora Mysteries, MEOW IF IT'S MURDER, coming Fall 2014 from Berkely Prime Crime!
Toni Lotempio author photo

and moi- Rocco, the Incredible Blogging Cat - the unabashed inspiration for "Nick" - Louie and I have lots in common!

IN honor of Midnight Louie's next book, the HUMAN and I will give away a classic Midnight Louie mystery - which one is a surprise - to one lucky commenter!  Leave your comment and email addy below to be entered!  We'll select a winner using from all comments on June 23!

The winner of our Michelle Rowen/Sarah Dearly giveaway is: Barbara E! Congrats!

June 24 - Nancy Gideon in the hotseat
June 28 - Juliet Blackwell guest posts!