Friday, July 27, 2012

Paranormal Romance Authors Present Workshop at Conference

Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Authors
Present Workshop At
Romance Writers of America Annual Conference

Left to Right: Laura Wright, Elisabeth Naughton, Darynda Jones, Alexandra Ivy, Jennifer Lyon, Sylvia Day
July 27, 2012

Do you love the hilarious quips in the latest Charley Davidson novel? Does the banter of the Wing Slayer Hunters sound like real men talking with each other, even though the books are written by a woman?

That's the magic of well-written dialogue.

A panel of popular and best-selling paranormal romance and urban fantasy authors spoke about dialogue at the Romance Writers of America Annual Conference today. Laura Wright, Elisabeth Naughton, Darynda Jones, Alexandra Ivy, Jennifer Lyon, and Sylvia Day inspired and entertained their audience with the topic "Rock Your Paranormal World with Dynamic Dialogue."  

You can enjoy the rewards of their wisdom by reading their books. I highly recommend all six authors and their series.

Laura Wright: Mark of the Vampire Series, starts with  Eternal Hunger.
Elisabeth Naughton: Eternal Guardians Series, starts with Marked. See my review of Enraptured.
Darynda Jones: Charley Davidson Series, starts with First Grave on the Right. See my review of  Third Grave Dead Ahead.
Alexandra Ivy: Guardians of Eternity Series, starts with When Darkness Comes.
Jennifer Lyon: Wing Slayer Hunters Series, starts with Blood Magic.
Sylvia Day (Paranormal): Renegade Angels Series, starts with A Touch of Crimson. See my review of A Hunger so Wild.

Happy reading!

/Eternal Hunger
Laura Wright
Elisabeth Naughton
First Grave on the Right
Darynda Jones
When Darkness Comes
Alexandra Ivy

Blood Magic
Jennifer Lyon
A Touch of Magic
Sylvia Day

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

RWA Conference, July 25, 2012: Literacy Autographing

Romance Writers of America
2012 Annual Conference
Anaheim, California

Lisa with Kerrelyn Sparks
Author of the Love at Stake series
Hello from Anaheim and the Romance Writers of America 2012 Annual Conference!

Today's highlight was the "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing, with more than 400 authors donating their time to meet their fans and sign books. Proceeds from purchased books went to literacy programs. Yours truly bought some autographed books for a blog giveaway. Details to come.

I concentrated on meeting PNR authors at the book signing. Every single author I met was friendly and gracious. Many made me laugh, just like their books do. I was fortunate to speak with:

Pamela Palmer--Feral Warriors series
Kerrelyn Sparks--Love at Stake series
Lynsay Sands--Argeneau Vampires series
Caridad Piñeiro--Sin Hunters series, Night of the Cougar
Alexandra Ivy--Guardians of Eternity series
Alexandra Ivy and Lisa
Author, Guardians of Eternity series
Lori Handeland--Nightcreature series
Rebecca Zanetti--Dark Protectors series
Tina Folsom--Scanguards Vampires, Venice Vampyr, Out of Olympus, Cloak Warriors series
Angela Knight--Mageverse series
Tes Hilaire--Paladin Warriors series
Alyssa Day--Warriors of Poseidon series
Darynda Jones--Charley Davidson series
Sylvia Day--Renegade Angels series, Bared to You
Jennifer Lyon--Wing Slayer Hunters series

I recommend all of these authors and series.
Jennifer Lyon
Author, Wing Slayer Hunters series

Lori Handeland
Author, Nightcreature series
Pamela Palmer
Author, Feral Warriors series
Nalini Singh
Author, Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series

Happy reading!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies
by Leslie J. Wainger

Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies by Leslie J. Wainger
Publication Date: May 7, 2004
Publisher: Wiley Publishing, Inc.
Length: 384 pages


Rating: 4.0♥s Very Good/Recommended
Genre: Reference/Writing Romance

You're not a dummie.

But perhaps you're an aspiring romance author and you're just dipping your toes into the waters of romance novel writing. Or maybe you've got a few manuscripts written and you're looking for some advice to improve your writing.

This book is for you.

Leslie Wainger took everything she learned as a romance editor for Harlequin/Silhouette/MIRA and turned it into a guide for romance novel writers. The beauty of Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies is that it is specific to romance novels. You can find plenty of books about writing characters, plots, scenes, dialogue, etc. But Wainger interprets all these topics as they pertain to the romance hero, heroine, and plot.

Part I covers the world of romance writing, including romance writing at a glance. An overview of the market and the definition of a romance and subgenres are included in this section. Please note that this book was published in 2004 and some of this information is now out of date. I docked the book one-half ♥ for that reason. Don't let that keep you from buying the book, however. There is plenty of classic advice included.

Part II is about the building blocks of a romance. Topics covered are the hero, heroine, plot, setting, and outline. Those starting out or revising a work in progress will find inspiration in this section. Part III covers the actual writing of the novel, such as voice, dialogue, pacing, and love scenes. I don't agree with all of Wainger's lessons in Parts II and III. For instance, she believes that head-hopping is acceptable. You'll have to decide for yourself. But there is invaluable information in these two sections. Part IV is about the crucial hook that captures the reader, doing research, and mechanics.

Part V covers submitting your manuscript, handling rejections, and making the sale. Again, this section is out of date. The submission advice is geared toward submitting to Harlequin and the big New York publishing houses. There is no mention of e-books or self-publishing. Part V is the Dummies' "Part of Tens," lists of ten tips, such as how to come up with a title and how to beat writer's block.

In short, while some of the information is out of date, there are enough timeless lessons on the craft of writing a romance novel to make this a well-highlighted addition to your reference library.

Happy reading and writing!

You may also be interested in:

On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel That Sells
Leigh Michaels

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review of THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD by Darynda Jones

Third Grave Dead Ahead
(Charley Davidson, #3)
by Darynda Jones

Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Length: 320 pages


Rating: 5♥s Outstanding/Don't Miss
Sensuality: Mild
Cover: 4♥s
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

If you haven't started reading the Charley Davidson series then run, don't walk, to your nearest online or brick and mortar bookstore. Right now. You don't want to miss this series. 

Still with me? Have you read First Grave On The Right and Second Grave On the Left? If not, be warned that there are spoilers from the first two books ahead. I don't suggest reading Third Grave Dead Ahead as a standalone book.


 Some days the light at the end of the tunnel is a train.--T-shirt

Charley Davidson, private investigator and grim reaper, is virtually mainlining coffee in order to stay awake. She's been awake for almost two weeks straight as the book opens. If she falls asleep, she inadvertently summons the sexy son of Satan, Reyes Farrow. And Reyes is angry at Charley because she bound his spirit to his corporeal body to prevent him from committing suicide. Both revenge and seduction are on Reyes's mind.

Charley takes a case searching for the missing wife of a doctor with a suspicious past, and has a run-in with a biker gang at a haunted asylum. Series-changing events and betrayals by those she loves turn her world upside-down.


I strode toward Mr. Coffee with lust in my eyes. We'd had a thing for quite some time now, Mr. Coffee and I …
 Third Grave Dead Ahead is stuffed full of Darynda Jones's signature humor, much of it surrounding Charley's efforts to stay awake. You'll find yourself bursting out laughing and then sheepishly looking around to see who heard you.
[I]t was a good two-hour drive from Albuquerque, which explained why it took me a little over an hour to get there.
And, as usual, Charley is a kick-butt heroine who gets her butt kicked on a regular basis. The predicaments and danger that she gets into will keep you turning page after page long after you should have put your book or e-reader down.
Never trust a man with a penis.
The case of the missing wife takes a back seat to the real meat of the book, which is the way Charley is used by those she loves. The actions of those characters (unnamed to prevent spoilers) and the results of those actions shake up her world. Although she gains a surprising ally, irreparable damage might have been done with others. Thank goodness for the humor that provides comic relief, because the book is also a tear-jerker. Keep your tissues handy.

Looking ahead, Reyes and an ongoing character who gains special insight warn Charley of an upcoming war. As of this writing, it's going to be a long, difficult wait until October 30, 2012, when Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet comes out.

Happy Reading!

Book 1
First Grave on the Right
Novella 1.5
For I Have Sinned
Book 2
Second Grave on the Left
Book 3
Third Grave Dead Ahead
Book 4
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
October 30, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review of EMBRACE OF THE DAMNED by Anya Bast

Embrace of the Damned
(Brotherhood of the Damned, Book 1)
by Anya Bast

Embrace of the Damned by Anya Bast
Release Date: May 1, 2012 US/July 5, 2012 Int'l
Publisher: Berkley
Length: 304 pages


Rating: 4.0♥s Very Good/Recommended
Sensuality: Hot
Cover: 4.0♥s
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Centuries ago, Viking warrior Broder Calderson committed mass murder. As his punishment, the Trickster God Loki condemned him to fight against the Blight, demons from Hel, for his immortal lifetime.

He also condemned Broder to one thousand years of celibacy. 

When Broder finally meets Jessamine Hamilton, the one woman in all the world and and across time who is his as a reward for his service, she is being attacked by the Blight. The Blight are drawn to Jessa because she's more than human. When Broder discovers what--and who--Jessa is, he finds out that Loki has tricked him yet again.

Passion ignites between the two, but they know that Loki will not allow them to be together for long. The danger to Jessa escalates as she learns more about her history. Can Broder overcome his own past to keep her safe? And if he does, will the future only hold heartbreak for the couple?


Broder Calderson is a member of the Brotherhood of the Damned, a group of former Viking warriors being punished by Loki for their sins.  They must fight the Blight, minions of the goddess Hel, who are trying to bring about Ragnarök (the apocalypse). In Embrace of the Damned we're introduced to the members of the Brotherhood in all their "beefy goodness" (according to Jessa). I am looking forward to reading more about the beefcake.

But I digress.

Broder is an alpha male through and through, accustomed to giving orders and having them obeyed. He's dark, brooding, and grunts a lot. He's a good kisser, in spite of being one thousand years out of practice. Is he as sexy as Gabriel Mac Braire from Bast's Wicked Enchantment? Sorry, no. Nobody's that sexy. But I certainly wouldn't kick Broder out of bed for eatin' crackers.

You know those orders that Broder is accustomed to giving? Well, Jessa isn't accustomed to following them. She might not be a trained, kick-butt heroine in the beginning of the book, but she doesn't let Broder walk all over her, either. She's got a sassy mouth and some good lines. The only thing that bothers me about her character is that she's a bit too much of a sexual tease. Poor Broder.

The book moves along at a smart pace. There's plenty of suspense, mystery, and danger to keep you reading into the night.

I hope that we see more of Broder and Jessa in future books. I'd like to catch up with them, to find out what they're doing. For instance, now that Broder is…can he…? And is he still…? That latter question, at least, will probably be answered in the next book. No word on when that might be coming out, though. If you're reading this, Anya, thank you. We'd love to hear from you about that next book!

Happy reading!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Review of CONSUMED by Rebecca Zanetti

Dark Protectors, #4
by Rebecca Zanetti

Consumed by Rebecca Zanetti
Release Date: July 5, 2012
Publisher: eKensington
Length: 259 pages

Buy: Kindle Edition NOOK Book
Kobo Edition

Rating: 4.0♥s Very Good/Recommended
Sensuality: Hot
Cover: 4.5♥s
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Shifter, Vampire

Ten years have passed since the events recounted in Hunted. During those ten years Katie Smith has been virtually living as a human because she can't shift into her cougar form. A virus that the evil Kurjan vampires developed and with which she was infected stole that ability from her. It did give her one advantage, though. She can sense and track deadly werewolves, male shifters who have been infected with the virus and have become killing machines. The only "cure" is to put them down. She has spent the intervening years working with a team doing just that. And living away from Jordan Pride.

The man she's always loved.

After all, what good is she to him? She's a shifter who can't shift. And, she believes that he still sees her as a child.   

Jordan is the alpha of his cougar pride, and watched Katie grow up. He's wanted Katie since the day she became an adult. But any dream he might have entertained of being with her died the day he got infected with the virus. Unless a cure is miraculously developed, he'll turn into a werewolf at the next full moon and have to be killed.

Knowing that upheaval within the pride will follow his death, Jordan wants to escort Katie to safety before he turns into a werewolf. But enemies find them before the full moon in the form of a werewolf with a grudge, the virus, and unrest within the pride. The bittersweet relationship between the ill-fated pair complicates matters.

Even if they survive until the full moon, can Jordan beat the odds that are stacked against him?

She slowly took a step toward him. "You're better than any dream I've ever had." 
His smile was slow. Sexy. Devastating. "You are every dream I've ever had."
Whoo-hoo! Katie and Jordan's story! I'd been waiting for their book since they were first introduced, and I'm so glad they finally … well, you'll see. Let's just say that Jordan was worth the wait.
Jordan didn't kiss. He consumed.
 Oh. Yeah.

Jordan is a sexy, protective, honorable, powerful, alpha hero who does everything in his power to keep Katie safe. But Katie doesn't want to be "kept." She wants to fight for Jordan, and fight she does. She jumps in with both feet, whether it's in fighting werewolves or the virus. She's not about to lose Jordan now that she's finally got his attention.

The plot has many entwined story lines going on at once. Aside from Katie and Jordan's plot lines, there are story lines that continue to be carried along from book to book. Also, we get to catch up with old friends from previous books. The story of Janie, Zane, and Kalin continues. We get to see Zane as an adult, and he's hot! I'd say I can't wait for Janie and Zane's story, but that will probably be the end of the series so I should be careful what I wish for.

Jase and Kane's stories are set up. Next up is Kane's story, Provoked, coming out November 1, 2012.

Happy Reading!

Book 1
Book 2
Novella 2.5
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5
Nov. 1, 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review of A HUNGER SO WILD by Sylvia Day

A Hunger So Wild
(Renegade Angels, #2)
by Sylvia Day

Release Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Signet
Length: 368 pages


Rating: 4.0♥s Very Good/Recommended
Sensuality: Scorcher
Cover: 4.0♥s
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Shifter, Vampire, Angel

Wildly Passionate

In the world of the Renegade Angels, Sentinel angels are warriors created to watch over fallen angels who lost their souls and wings and became vampires. The Sentinels are served by lycans, fallen angels who kept their souls in exchange for mortality and indentured servitude to the Sentinels. Lycans were created by the Sentinels for hunting and containing vampires. Vampires and lycans are natural enemies.

A Hunger So Wild picks up where book one, A Touch of Crimson, left off, which was immediately after the rebellion of the lycans against the Sentinels. Elijah Reynolds, the most dominant lycan, becomes the reluctant alpha of the largest, most organized pack of lycans.

Vashti, second in command of the vampires, is tasked with forming an alliance with the new alpha. The vampires need the aid of the lycans in tracking down a virus that is infecting their minions. Vashti is chosen for the liaison even though she tortured and ultimately killed Elijah's best friend. And in spite of the fact that lycans killed her mate.

Sparks fly between the two, sparks of passion and conflict. As the factions try to tear them apart, Elijah and Vashti are faced with staying true to their own kind or to each other.


Elijah is an honorable, self-sacrificing alpha who can make tough decisions and brutally act upon them. Yet he's vulnerable when it comes to Vashti. He's a hero to love. Vashti is his match. She's a tough, deadly alpha female in her own right, but Elijah throws her off balance. She doesn't know what to do with the feelings that he stirs in her for the first time since she lost her beloved mate. Their passion is scorching. There is one scene of slightly dubious consent--with a bit of a twist.

The story builds upon the foundation of A Touch of Crimson, and A Hunger So Wild is best understood and enjoyed if you've read the first book. The ideal situation would be to read them back-to-back. The action, intrigue, betrayals, and mystery will keep you turning the pages well into the night. The braided plot lines are long and involved over the course of the two books, and aren't completed. Even the story of Adrian and Lindsay, the hero and heroine from A Touch of Crimson, continues.

*Minor spoiler ahead.*

My biggest complaint with the book is that I couldn't get enough of it. I swiped to the next page on my Kindle Fire expecting more of Elijah and Vashti's story, only to find that the book ends before their story is tied up neatly with a pretty bow (though you won't be too disappointed). A Hunger So Wild sets up the next book, A Touch of Seduction, the last book in the trilogy. I trust that we'll learn all the answers we've been waiting for since page one of A Touch of Crimson. I look forward to it.

Happy Reading!

Novella 0.5
A Dark Kiss of Rapture
Book 1
A Touch of Crimson
Novella 1.5
A Caress of Wings
Sylvia Day

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Review of WICKED NIGHTS by Gena Showalter

Wicked Nights
(Angels of the Dark #1)
by Gena Showalter
Revised Review

Wicked Nights by Gena Showalter
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Length: 416 pages

Buy: Paperback Kindle Paperback & NOOK Book
The Book Depository (July 6, 2012) Free Worldwide Shipping

Rating: 4.5♥s Very Good/Recommended
Sensuality: Mild
Cover Rating: 4.0♥s
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Angel

Redemption or Downfall?

Zacharel is a cold, unfeeling warrior angel. He allowed humans to be killed during his battles with demons once too often. As punishment, he is to lead an army of rebellious, rejected angels for a year. He is to teach them the respect, discipline, and sanctity for human life that he has yet to learn himself. If his warriors fail, he will suffer their consequences. At the end of the year, they will all either be allowed to stay in the heavens or lose their wings.

Annabelle Miller witnessed her parents' deaths at the hands of a demon--a demon that only she could see. Accused of the crime and committed to a mental institution for life, she is constantly attacked by demons. When Zacharel's army is called to attack a hoard of demons around the institution, he discovers that Annabelle is the draw for the demons. A crack opens in his ice, and he rescues her.

But will she be his redemption, or his downfall?  

Wicked Nights is the first book in the Angels of the Dark series, a spin-off of the Lords of the Underworld series. Fans of the Lords of the Underworld series will recognize Zacharel from that series, most recently from Paris's story, The Darkest Seduction. If you liked him in Lords of the Underworld, you'll love him in Wicked Nights because the greatest strength of the book is its characters. Zacharel starts out cold and tortured, but his character's journey throughout the book is poignant and powerful as he learns to truly live from Annabelle. Annabelle was abused by humans and demons alike, and yet she retained her basic love of life and her sassy spirit. She's an absolute delight who thaws the "Winged Wonder" with her warmth. Gena Showalter's signature humor shines in Annabelle, though Zacharel does learn to "make a funny" or two.

I don't want to spoil too much of the plot. Let's just say that Zacharel had shut down his emotions because of a tragedy in his past. Annabelle is pursued by minions of a high demon who marked her as his own. (Even saying that is giving away a bit much, but it's integral to the story.) The demons continue to pursue Zacharel and Annabelle after he rescues her from the institution, which propels the plot forward. A heartbreaking twist will surprise you.

I felt that at times the book took on a preachy tone. An overall theme of good versus evil, of humans choosing to listen to demons rather than rejecting them, pervades the book. Even Zacharel's description of the Lords of the Underworld, some of whom make cameo appearances, took on a moral overtone. I suppose that's appropriate from an angel's perspective, but it seemed out of character for the Lords. I don't mean to offend anyone--you might find the book uplifting and inspiring.

Again, I believe that the strength of the book lies in the characters. Read it for the funny, bittersweet, action-packed, self-sacrificing, loving interactions between Zacharel and Annabelle.

Koldo's story, Beauty Awakened, is up next in early 2013.

Happy Reading!