Monday, September 24, 2007

Heroes is Back!!!!

Sorry, I try to keep these blog posts writing related, so I'll loosely tie the television series Heroes in by saying it's sucking away my writing time while giving me ideas. What a great freakin' show!! If you missed it, check it out tomorrow by clicking here. Season one is no longer available for viewing on the website, but I think season two will be posted there sometime soon. Last season I missed a few episodes and watched them the next day online.

If you're one of the people living under a rock and are unfamiliar with the show, Heroes is about a group of seemingly normal individuals who have extraordinary abilities. One girl can't die, another guy can fly, another can move through time, etc. There are conspiracies and mysteries, subplots withing plots, and the best part is that each show delivers answers while asking more questions. Unlike Lost, which I quit watching because they never answered anything, season one of Heroes ended with a bang. And season two picked up with a blast. Great show! New heroes, and lots of fun. Don't miss it. Oh, and Journeyman after Heroes was pretty good too. A guy who travels through time but has no idea why. The Quantum Leap for the new millennium.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Sad Reality, hahaha

I think the cartoon says it all. And from these ideals, great romance is born. The insecure heroine, the alpha male...chuckle chuckle Have a great Friday.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cover Art: Love it or Hate It?

Cover Art. Love it or hate it, cover art sells books. And not just print books, but ebooks too. Sure, some readers are high-minded enough to ignore poor art in favor of a decent blurb. But since I'm not alway one of those folks, I figure I can speak for the masses when I say that poor artwork can seriously cramp a book's style.

I'm not trying to offend anyone, just giving my oh-so-humble opinion. So I'll just flat out say it. I can't stand Poser. That animated, looks-incredibly-fake, computer art just turns me off to a book. I can handle photos or graphic art, drawn characters. But that computer animated stuff kills me. And I'm not talking about art that's been touched up or slightly altered by computers. I'm talking about something that looks like this...
Granted, it's not the best shot of the guy, and he's alone, not very romantic, but just looking at his pixeled, fake face, I'm turned off to any sort of romantic story. Same as if the hero or heroine on the cover is ugly. And yes, that HAS happened. But I won't put those covers up, so as not to embarrass the authors who are already embarrassed.(I'm paying for FICTION, here, and unlike real life, it's okay for everyone to be beautiful and perfect in a book. I want a fantasy. If I wanted real life, I'd go to Walmart at midnight and stare at the odd species of human who cart their kids with them while they search for light bulbs, Diet Coke and Twizzlers late at night in Augusta. Uh, okay, the Twizzlers part is me.)

But I challenge you to look at either of the guys below--and no, I'm not being biased, I'm deeply in lust with both males in the pics--and tell me they wouldn't put you in some sort of romantic lala land. The guy on the left is a model who's been grafted over a kick*ss dragon that I cut out to focus more on him. The guy on the right, I think, was based on a model but is clearly artwork and not real, more's the pity. I'd look at the back blurb on both books just because of these heroes. Hey, I'm shelling out anywhere from five to ten bucks on a book, be it electronic or print, so I want it to look as good as it reads! And I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. And the same could be said of a good vs. bad review on a book, but that's an entirely different discussion.

So as not to slam Poser (my pet peeve), let's look at another poor selling point. Characters and scenes that don't mesh with what the book's about. That's usually an author's sticking point too, when she writes about a lush, red-headed heroine, only to see a dark-haired woman with a pixie cut on her cover. Or worse, a steamy erotic story with a cartoony cover and sweet sounding title, something along the lines of "Loving Mr. Mom"(not an actual title) when it's actually a book about an alien who has to have sex with suburban housewives in ninety-nine positions to get home.

Then too, there are the wacked out titles. I'm sorry, but I refuse to go to a store, in the romance section, to pick up a book entitled Big-Assed Housewives, The Nympho Next Door, or The Lickable Lady. Okay, I made those up, and I sincerely hope no one actually used similar titles because they sound like porn. But they're like some titles I've seen out there that are actually on romance books. I'm astounded at the trashy sounding titles out there, and these are books, not with Hustler or Penthouse, but with reputable erotic romance sellers, both small press and large, who produce great storylines.

I'm off my soap box, and am not quite sure how I began ranting about titles when I'd started on covers, but it's all the same when you come down to it. If the wrapping looks shoddy, you might now want to open up the box. And in many cases, you'd miss out on a real treat.

My disclaimer...I've been fortunate that I LOVE my covers. Eliza Black, Kat Richards, Anne Cain, April Martinez and Trace Edwards are incredibly talented artists. And I'm only sorry Venus Press closed its doors, because the covers Dan Skinner did for my Talsons rocked.

And that's all I have for Thursday.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Backlist Wednesday--Whoops

I missed Backlist Tuesday because I'm knee-deep in edits and rolling with my WIP. So here's a snippet from my very first published novella, Blackthorne's Light, which came out in December of 2004 as part of the Dark and Dangerous Anthology from New Concepts Publishing.

One woman's quest to write about the dark side of life exposes her to the darkness within herself and the love of her life.

An Excerpt from Blackthorne's Light

"Ms. Vansant? This is what you wanted, right?" the young woman asked in a husky voice as she cracked her gum. She handed Adara a leaflet showcasing the hottest club in town.

Adara glanced at the page and smiled, then handed the desperate young woman a twenty and left the small porn shop where she’d been doing some of her research. Now won’t this make a fantastic article, she thought to herself as she narrowly avoided tripping over a homeless man lying on the sidewalk.

She tossed a bill out of her pocket to him with a small shake of her head and quickly moved out of this section of town. She didn’t exactly scorn the nightlife, but anyone stupid enough to foray around this area of Rathan after dark was begging for trouble.

She glanced up at the glimmering moon, taken with the dark blue blanket of sky fading to black, the indigo clouds racing with the wind in the chill October air. Shaken out of her contemplation of the night sky by a few lewd propositions, Adara quickly hopped into her car and drove towards her home. She had enough material to start this new journalistic endeavor and felt a strange excitement. She had a feeling that this story would definitely cap all the others.

As Adara passed several better neighborhoods, she sighed at the disregard that had caused the western part of Rathan to fall to shambles. A good-sized suburb just north of Philadelphia, Rathan had both its good and bad sections of town.

Adara lived in the nice section, the part of town where the middle-class lived comfortably and longed to join the wealthy in Society Hill. Unfortunately, layoffs and business closings had contributed to the neglected western half of town, the half that lately had been attracting a very dark element.

She pursed her lips as she drove down her street, a quiet neighborhood of smaller houses catering to singles and newly married couples. Adara left her car and unlocked her front door, bitterly aware that no one awaited her return.

She grabbed the mail that had collected on the ground under her mail slot and shuffled through the bills and advertisements with a huff.

"Nothing," she told her dark haired reflection in the mirror above a small wall table. She tossed the mail on the table, replayed her answering machine and managed a small grin at Maria’s message.

"Your article idea seems interesting. Go for it," her editor’s voice grumbled. "But let me know if you find anything out there that leads to better orgasms. Quite frankly, I’m getting tired of Herb."

Maria and Herb had been married for over twenty years, and happily so, Adara thought enviously. Yet it was Maria’s quirky sense of humor and candid speech that had made her an instant friend. Maria had taken to Adara upon first meeting her and the business they did together blossomed as quickly as their friendship. Maria edited for Chic Ventures, a racy woman’s magazine that had begun undertaking more serious topics of late.

Maria, however, maintained that as long as Chic Ventures continued to talk about sex, sex, and more sex, the magazine would never go out of print.

Adara threw a frozen dinner into the microwave and tossed her satchel on the kitchen counter. As she waited for the meal to cook, she eyed the newspaper article that had sparked the interest for her next story. She read again the news that a fourth woman had turned up missing in the past two weeks, making that now sixteen women in the last four months in the lower southeastern corner of Pennsylvania that had disappeared.

Apparently the few ties the women had were that all of them were quite beautiful, and none of them were particularly well-liked or behaved in life. Several of the lewd women, some prostitutes, drug users and a few alleged criminals had mysteriously vanished, no trace of their bodies ever found. The author of the article had nicknamed the case The Evils of Beauty, and the police had no leads on the crimes.

The microwave beeped and Adara grabbed the hot tray with a muttered curse. She ate hungrily, resolving tomorrow not to skip lunch and settled down at the table. She had tossed the idea around in her head several times. Most of these missing women had been speculated to visit the seedier side of life. Since Adara and most of the women she knew rarely ventured into the dark worlds of sex and eroticism, she thought she might generate a bit of interest in the subject with her article.

Good girls weren’t supposed to engage in sex without a relationship presumably leading to marriage. Adara smiled grimly to herself. But then, good girls didn’t always get Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome all wrapped up with marriage in a bow. Sometimes Mr. Handsome slept with your best friend. Sometimes his complaints about boring sex with his fiancĂ©e sounded because he was too tired from a previous fling with said best friend earlier that day.

Adara swore again just thinking about how blind she’d been. Today she felt more than glad that she’d found out about Marci and James’s defection. Her sex life hadn’t been all that great with James but she had thought, naively, that with time they would grow closer.

She wondered again about her article. Maybe the ‘bad girls’ in life had it right. They played by their own rules and didn’t get hurt as much, well, with the exception of the missing women. But, she thought wryly, it’s not as if she planned on robbing or killing anyone. And who was to say that enjoying one’s body was a bad thing anyways? She grabbed her notebook out of her bag off the counter and stared again at the leaflet she’d been handed.

She had a list of several well-known nightclubs but this one, she tapped the red paper, this one had a reputation all its own. Known for its Goth-dressing patrons, vampire hopefuls and no-holds-barred sexual dalliances both in the bar and in the back rooms behind it, Vampland had become the new underground hot spot for singles wanting sizzling, steamy sex and few strings attached.

Adara nodded. Yes. This would definitely be a piece that drove her readers wild. After all, it took a lot of guts and very little fear to enter into a world where anything was allowed.

Blackthorne's Light by Marie Harte
ISBN 1-58608-349-x

Monday, September 17, 2007

Getting In the Mood

It's that time again. Seasons of change, filled with mass market buying, pumpkins and turkeys, candy and costumes, and...pointsettas? Stores are beginning to nudge in the Christmas/winter holiday direction already. And as authors, if we want to publish a holiday story this winter, we need to be thinking about the holidays as well, if we haven't submitted one already. Holiday themed stories are fun, as much to write as to read. Puts you in the mood of the holiday as much as "in the mood," if you know what I mean.

But as an author, I sometimes find it difficult to push myself in the right frame of mind to write a Halloween or Christmas story in the middle of the summer. Okay, I should qualify that statement. I'm a total Halloween nut, so scary or thriller stories are always easy for me to tune into. I wrote Mirror Mirror in June, already preparing for October 31st. And Loose Id will be releasing it sometime in October, to my delight. But Christmas? Now the time crunch starts to hit for many publishers, if it hasn't already. In order to have those Christmas stories out by the holidays, the publishers need them yesterday. So authors have to jump into the mood early.

I grew up with my father playing Christmas music in August. Need I mention he's as big a nut about Christmas as I am about Halloween? But I can't seem to make myself listen to White Christmas while it's 85 degrees outside in Georgia. And with pumpkins and candy corn greeting me in every Target and Walmart, I'm having a hard time seeing beyond Halloween toward that most festive time of the year.

So how to fix the problem? How to come up with a winter holiday story that's spot on and not forced? The Internet to the rescue! If Christmas or Hannukah isn't floating my boat, I can always learn about Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Yule, Saturnalia and more. There are even spooky events celebrated in December--to my delight. One such Greek tradition holds that during the twelve days of Christmas, the Kallikantzaroi--ugly monsters of chaos which live underground during the rest of the year--are set free. So now my creative juices are flowing again, and I'm back to the drawing board dreaming up a story for a possible December release while still working on Guardian's Redemption, which I can happily say is halfway complete.

Happy Monday!


Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Man. This should really count for a Wednesday post. It's after midnight, but it feels like the same day to me! Exciting news. I just received my new cover for A Royal Continuum, and like a kid at Christmas, I want to show it off. There's just something about seeing the artwork, the vision to go along with a story you've created that's just magical. It helps when the artist and publisher take your story into consideration, however. Nothing's worse than a red-headed heroine with cropped hair when your heroine is a blond with long tresses riding a horse that's nowhere in the story.

Most publishers ask for author input, but in the end, it's the publishers who decree what is going to stand for your book. And let's be honest. Even with ebooks, readers (hey, I'm a big-time reader, I know what I'm talking about) look at the cover before deciding to read a blurb, though mostly if it's a new author they're not familiar with. A poor cover can really hurt sales.

So I'm happy to say Trace--oh esteemed illustrator for Amber Quill Press--has composed yet another winner for me. I like this cover because it looks just like Firebreather but is slightly different since this is Matthias's story. Look for A Royal Continuum from Amber Heat in month!!!! And to read a short excerpt, click on the cover.

Happy Dreams,

Monday, September 10, 2007


Well, folks, The Dragons' Demon is officially live on the Samhain website. Finally.... Feels like I was waiting forever. :) Enjoy the blurb, and the book...

In the Ordinary world, forces are at work which keep the balance of the universe in order. Enter Eve Sinclair, a higher demon with a mission: to sway those souls on the brink of Decision, to push them toward heaven, or toward hell, as they are meant to go. But a prank played by her brothers puts a kink in her plans. Eve finds herself holding the proverbial bag, accused of stealing a precious dragon egg. Even worse, it’s a royal egg, as she learns from the furious commander of the dragon legion, Ranton. Not a creature to have on one’s bad side, Ranton shifts between his human and dragon forms, keeping Eve off-balance and off her game. Though Eve is a master at manipulating males, Ranton proves the exception…as does his brother, the new dragon king. In their arms she’s mere putty. And soon they’re not only molding her desires, but her heart as well.

To read more, click here for an excerpt. Happy Reading!


Sunday, September 9, 2007

Remembering Madeline L'Engle

Madeline L' Engle 1918-2007
Remembering Madeline L'Engle, beloved author of science fiction, religious meditations and children's fiction. Ms. L'Engle died this past Thursday, Sept 6th, at the age of 88. In her lifetime, she wrote more than 60 books, but is perhaps best known for her genre-breaking A Wrinkle in Time, which won the John Newbery Award as the best children’s book of 1963. It sold more than 6 million copies by 2004, was in its 67th printing and was still selling 15,000 copies a year. Children read this book in English class at schools, and I read it when I was in middle school twenty years ago.

This book influenced me to think outside the box, and it showed that an author doesn't have to write down to a child in order to make the book interesting, or even readable. I, for one, will miss the contributions Ms. L'Engle would have continued to make, but my dog-eared copy of A Wrinkle In Time is still on my keeper shelves. Madeline L'Engle, you will be sorely missed.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Upcoming Event: I DREAM OF DRAGONS Sept 9th

Hi! Today's post is a reminder about an upcoming event. I put the wrong date up on my website, and it has been since corrected. I DREAM OF DRAGONS, Samhain's collection of dragon themed stories, will be released Sept 11th. To celebrate, on Sept 9th, at the Samhain Cafe, myself, Bianca D'Arc, Summer Devon, Nina Mamone and Kathleen Scott will host a day of chatting, excerpts, contests and more. So stop by and join in the fun. Only four more days to The Dragons' Demon is released!!

I Dream of Dragons

Knight's Challenge
by Summer Devon
The Dragons' Demon by Mare Harte
Wings of Change by Bianca D'Arc
Dragon Tamer by Kathleen Scott
Hard to Guard by Nina Mamone

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Backlist Tuesday: The Thief of Mardu

You know, when I first saw this cover I didn't like it. Too dark, hard to see the guy. But once I saw it in the proper light, I was hooked. :) (Kat Richards, the artist, is my hero.) The Thief of Mardu is a futuristic romance, one tied to the world I created for Lurin's Surrender, my first single title for New Concepts Publishing, where the hero, Catam of Mardu, was first introduced.

The Thief of Mardu, however, is a stand-alone story. Professional thief Isa Araye has a bad feeling about her current job, and the dead body she trips over near the safe proves something is terribly wrong. Catam of Mardu, a successful bounty hunter, is bored with his life, restless for reasons he cannot explain. So when his peacemaker brother needs his help, he readily agrees. How hard can it be to track down a murdering thief hiding on his own homeworld? But things are not as they seem, and Catam’s boredom turns into something else entirely as he and Isa set out to prove her innocence.

I still intend to write stories for the rest of the Mardu brothers: Sernal, Rafe and Gar. (Sernal and Rafe make appearances in Winner Takes All.) But with everything else on my plate, these poor brothers have fallen to the wayside. *sigh* But Catam has his own story, and the stubborn Mardu won't tolerate anything but a happy ending. Want to read more? Click here for an excerpt.