Friday, November 30, 2012

Release Day! Stroke of Midnight…Cinderella, Eat Your Heart Out!

Today the first book in my Breathlessly Ever After series releases today from Ellora’s Cave Publishing! Each book in the series is based on a fairy tale and the first book is Stroke of Midnight. Can you guess which favorite bed time story this one is centered around? Okay, enough guesses! Cinderella! Buuuuttt…with a slight twist…

No-nonsense Rowyn Jeong can’t compare to her bubbly stepsister Cindy. But everyone has their talent, and Rowyn’s is a keen eye for business and the bottom line. Being labeled the plainer, wicked stepsister never bothered her…until Darius Fiore reappeared. Six months ago, they indulged in a hot one-night stand and the sexy business tycoon branded her body like no man before. But his return jeopardizes her position at her stepfather’s company. He’s also the man Cindy has in her sights—and hands.

Behind closed doors, Darius discovered more lay beneath Rowyn’s hard exterior than the ice queen persona she presents. The sultry vixen left him in a tight spot—literally. He understands her family’s disregard has her hungry for love and acceptance but breaking down her defenses won’t be easy. Especially since his presence risks everything she’s worked so hard to achieve.

Warning! This is not the fairy tale your mama lulled you to sleep with! More like it’ll keep you up…don’t blush! Just telling the truth!

Being wicked has never been this good! Check out Stroke of Midnight from Ellora’s Cave Publishing today!

Buy here

Read Excerpt here

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Aponte Literary Agency: 5 minute Interview

Today it is my pleasure to introduce Natalia Aponte and Victoria Lea, from the Aponte Literary Agency: Recently I signed with Victoria who is wonderful to work with, so I am very excited they are here today.   
What are your thoughts on digital?
Victoria: I believe with the current revolution of Tablets, IPads and E-readers more consumers are moving towards digital content, including digital books. With the movement towards digital content, publishers and authors have to embrace the new digital world.
Natalia: I think it’s a great development for writers. For the first time writers can take control of much the marketing and promotion of their books at affordable rates. That’s major. Another important point is that ebooks will have much longer lives than paper books: discovery no longer depends on being found on shelf. Your book is “new” to anyone who hasn’t read it yet. So as long as you promote your book you can find new readers for it.
What I like is the positive outlook you both have and that you are meeting this change in publishing straight on.
What are your thoughts about digital piracy?
Victoria: Digital piracy is a huge problem. It deprives rightful owners of enjoying the benefits and earnings of their work, it is against the law and it causes a large amount of economic damage.
Natalia: It’s stealing! Preventing ebook piracy will be one our biggest challenges over the coming years.
What can new authors do to make themselves valuable to you?
Victoria: New authors really have to focus on building a media presence and self-promote where their target readers are.
Natalia: Yes, if you want to sell books then start building your platform and commit to maintaining it.
This is very good to know. I know it is a continual work in progress for me.
What ways are you observing that readers are finding them?
Victoria: Readers are finding many of the books they read through word of mouth via social media sites like Amazon and Goodreads.
Natalia: -- and also blogs, Facebook, author websites.
What is the one question no-one’s asked and they should?
Victoria and Natalia: Do you love my book? I think it is important to love any work you want to represent.
Do you see an increase of queries after NaNoWriMo?
Victoria and Natalia: We get so many queries that it’s really difficult to tell.
(For fun) What is your favorite beverage?
Victoria: Coffee!
Natalia: Coffee!
This is one of the *many* reasons I think you both are awesome!
The next Interview will be with Martin Biro, Editor from Kensington on December 6, 2012.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Let's Talk Heroes

How exciting to be here with our new chapter mates! Love the name of the blog. The only thing better than being called a magician, will be getting to know all of you!

The we that is Alicia Hunter Pace (Jean Hovey and Stephanie Jones)
Might as well get that we business out of the way right off. Yes, there are two of us—Jean Hovey and Stephanie Jones, writing as Alicia Hunter Pace. We write contemporary and fantasy, but somehow it always turns out to be romantic comedy.
Regardless of the genre, our stories always seem to start with the hero—whether it's a magic casting elf or a smooth talking southern fraternity boy, damaged from the wrong kind of living and loving. We fall in love with our heroes, right along with the heroine and, of course, we want our readers to feel the same way.

That much we agree on. It's our tastes in heroes that differs. Consequently, some characters end up being definitively Jean's and some Stephanie's. There is always so much talk of how to define a hero—alpha male, beta male, gamma male—whatever that is.

We seem to have a never ending problem. Jean just cannot get what an alpha male is and Stephanie is always on a quest to make her understand. Is he a control freak and a jerk or is he just determined to take care of business as he covers up how broken he is? No one wants to fall in love with a jerk. Do they?

It's a quandary.

Of course we are going to always have a soft spot for the hero from our first sale, Sweet Gone South.   He's an uptight, rule-following, straight laced judge.  We see him grow through the story as he realizes that he simply can’t control everyone and everything.  He started out with some very definite ideas about what was and wasn’t acceptable. Unfortunately, they weren’t always the same plans that we had for him.

Sometimes he won; sometimes we did.  But it all led to happily ever after, and that's what counts.  Here is the cover for his story, Sweet Gone South

What characteristics do you think makes a hero an alpha male?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Editor Latoya Smith : 5 minute Interview

Latoya Smith is an Editor for Grand Central I met her for the first time at the 2012 Moonlight and Magnolia conference in Atlanta. She graciously agreed to my five-minute interview and had some wonderful things to say.
Need to ask this: What affect/effect has going digital done to sales?
LS: Honestly, digital has given us a platform to publish books that may not have had a place in print, either because the genre wasn’t selling well or the content crossed genres, making it difficult to sell into accounts. There are many books that do well in both formats or better in ebook. It’s just a matter of watching trends and making sure we have a variety of titles to appeal to all readers in both ebook and print.
I found this very encouraging as a writer and reader!

How does your Company address piracy issues, especially digital:
LS: HBG has a Piracy team devoted to taking care of this issue. Anytime a site is found, the team forces them to remove our content from their site. I think this is pretty interesting and proactive. 

New authors: What can they do to make themselves valuable to you?
LS: Aside from writing great content, they have to be a self-promoter and a team player. We value ourselves in our relationships with our authors. We look at it as a partnership, the editor/publisher working with the author as a team to help brand the author and spread the word. We have a team in place to assist in making sure the author is maintaining and updating his/her website and social media as well as being involved in writing communities, various blogger sites and Goodreads is a big help as well. Building a platform and using every opportunity to spread the word about his/her brand is key.

In what ways are readers finding your authors? Especially new?
LS: We have a website, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest account where we are constantly talking about what we have up and coming. Our publicity team also has a large reviewer list where we get both print and online reviews for our books. We have great blogger outreach in addition to supplying conferences and events with books. Aside from that, we also advertise and host a number of contests and giveaways via social media and Goodreads. This is excellent! I like the support you give your authors.

What is the one question no-one's asked, and they should?
LS: Nothing that I can think of. I think I’ve been asked every question possible. -This is a good thing! Next time I'll ask you the most unusual question you've been asked. :)

What do you think of serials digitally?
LS: Readers love series in both print and digital. We normally look for projects with series potential. This is very good to know!

How does NaNoWriMo affect submissions? Do you seen an increase?
LS: Honestly, this has never had an effect on submissions for us. We get a nice amount year round.

For fun: What is your favorite beverage?
LS: I'm torn between coffee and pineapple juice J Coffee is always good. And Pineapple juice I hear has great anti-oxidents.

This has been a fascinating interview. The next 5-minute interview will be with the Aponte Literary Agency on November 29th.


Monday, November 26, 2012

The winner of Julie Johnstone's $20.00 Amazon gift card is...

Drumroll here!
Robin Delany you are the winner! Please contact me at, and I will send you your gift card. Congratulations and thanks everyone for commenting!

Is your life set on cruise control?

Are you living your life exactly as you would if yesterday a doctor told you that you had four months to live? In other words, are you living your life to the fullest? Are you doing all the things you ever wanted to do? Are you doing anything you ever wanted to do? Do you at the end of each year get out your bucket list and check off at least one thing?

I don’t know you personally, but I think it’s safe to say most of you would answer no. I surprised myself with my own answer when faced with this question, but I’ll get to that later in my story.

Recently, a rather witty and wise friend of mine told me a story where a good friend of his wife’s was diagnosed with breast cancer in the very late stages of cancer. Unfortunately, for this woman, who incidentally was in her early thirties, the cancer had metastasized, and she was given roughly four months to live. The woman was married, her husband and she rather successful, and with no children.

Her husband, being the kind of man romance book heroes are modeled after, told her he wanted to spend every penny they had saved and make sure she lived every single day of the life left to her to the fullest. If money mattered at all to him, he knew it could matter later and not now. So the husband and wife set out to live their remaining time together to the fullest.

In the four months she had left, they braved the icy waters of Alcatraz to swim a mile and a half to San Francisco. They climbed mountains in exotic locations. They ice fished. They sky dived. They went everywhere she had ever wanted to go, and they lived every moment as if it was the last. When the woman died, roughly four months later, her husband, though mourning, said he had lived more in those four months than he had in his entire life.

After hearing this story, I examined my own life. Was I living it to the fullest? Was I doing everything I had ever wanted to do? Was I living each day as if it were my last? Well, the answer was no and yes. I am doing two things I always wanted to do. I write books and I stay at home with my children. Neither of these decisions was easy or came without financial repercussions, but I did it because I had always wanted to and to live any other way was unacceptable to me. But would I say I am living each and every day as if it were the last?

Well, no. If today were my last day, I would jump on a plane and go somewhere I have never been. I have always wanted to go to Paris, England, Ireland, and Spain. I have always wanted to learn to scuba dive, play the piano, and surf. Realistically, I know I can’t just up and go do all these things. For one thing I do have children, and for another tomorrow is not my last day, so I’ll need money to eat and pay the bills. But hearing the young woman’s story who had cancer has reminded me that I need to focus more on living my life to the fullest. I am currently planning a trip for myself, my husband, and my kids for Spring Break. We are going to go somewhere amazing and have some ‘live your life to the fullest’ fun. I am also going to learn to play piano this year if it’s the last thing I do!

So though I realize I’m not living each and every day to the fullest, I do feel lucky that I am living my dream job as a writer. My first book BARGAINING WITH A RAKE came out November 7, and my second book CONSPIRING WITH A ROGUE will come out December 17. These books are part of a series called A WHISPER OF SCANDAL NOVELS.

What I love best about the heroes and heroines in these books is that even though they are living during the Regency Era when strict adherence to social rules ruled the day, each of my heroes and heroines isn't afraid to challenge the rules placed upon them to live their life to the fullest and grasp the love they have always wanted.

Here is a little blurb of CONSPIRING WITH A ROGUE
In order to save the man she loves from the enemy bent on destroying her, Lady Whitney Rutherford sheds her identity and escapes her past, making a new life for herself as Mr. Roger Wentworth, missing person locator extraordinaire. But when Whitney's best friend from her old life comes up missing and there is every indication the girl was taken by the debauched members of a sex club, Whitney dons a new disguise and infiltrates the sex club, determined to unravel the mystery and save her friend. She never expects to encounter Drake Sutherland―the man who still has her heart. In the dark world of pleasure and sin, Whitney must play a dangerous game where one wrong move could mean the death of her friend or the destruction of the man she loves.

And now for a sneak peek!

“We’re here. Best to get out quick and into the club.” The driver unfurled the tiny steps and motioned her out. “Ye’re not in a fine neighborhood of gleaming-door-knockers anymore. Linger here, amongst the thieves and the rabble too long, and ye’re likely to find yer throat slit or, if ye’re lucky, just yer pocket emptied.”

The man’s black, beady eyes blended with the dark night, making his gaze hard to decipher, but his blunt speech left nothing to her imagination. Perhaps she had been too bold insisting she come without Peter, but at the time, she thought coming alone might be the best choice.

There were fewer people she had to fool that way. Now, stepping out into the murky atmosphere, uncertainty filled her. Darkness consumed the narrow alley, but she needed no light to detect the filth. The stench of rotted rubbish almost made her gag. She forced herself not to react. A man would not flinch at such a thing. A quick glance around the driver into the black night left her confused.

Where was she? A splintered shingle hanging by one creaky chain and reading, Melvin’s Gin House, swung back and forth, pushed by the light wind blowing through the alley. To the left of the gin house a piece of wood nailed over a door—the windows of which had bars running parallel—read Martin Morvin Pawnbroker. Between the two broken-down dwellings stood a dark red door.

The driver stuck his hand out at her. “That’ll be a shilling."

Reaching into her top-coat, Whitney pulled out the blunt and offered it him. He snatched it out of her hand, turned, and was halfway into his coaching seat before her surprise evaporated. She scrambled after him and grabbed the horses’ reins to prevent him from departing. “Wait a blessed minute,” she commanded in the deepest voice she could muster. Securing her bearings was mandatory before this man left. “I paid you to take me to the Vagabond Club, and I don’t see it.”

“Ye blind?” the driver asked, tugging on the horses’ reins.

“Certainly not, you insolent man. I demand you step down and show me where The Vagabond Club is.”

“Nay.” The coachman snatched the reins away and shoved at her.

A chuckling beggar teetered on the sidewalk near them. “You gonna let the big man bully you, huh? Here—” The man stumbled as he hurried forward. He extended an empty bottle. “Clock him over the head with this.”

“No, thank you. I fight fair.” But did she? How did she know? She was not really a confounded man, after all. But a man would fight, and so must she if she did not want to be abandoned in this alley. She swung around took a deep breath, cocked her arm back, and slammed up toward the coachman’s nose.

“Ow!” She stumbled backward and landed on her bottom. “Your face is bloody hard,” she moaned, extending her fingers and wincing. “I believe I’ve broken my finger.”

“Yea?” The driver clomped toward her and leered down. “I’m gonna break more than yer wee little finger for that punch ye give me.” The murderous glare in his eye and the fact that he grabbed the lapels of her kerseymere told her he meant what he said.

Better to bluff than go down like a coward. “This coat is expensive, you buffoon. Get your bloody hands off of me.” Speaking the words of a belligerent man might come easily now, but they were likely to get her killed.

The drunkard cackled as he shuffled off, and in the distance, a night watchman called out the weather. Splendid. She was going to be murdered while her only hope for protection, the night watchman, was busy informing her that it was a cool night.

“Ye’re one queer fellow,” the hackney driver said as he reared back his fist.

“He’s been told that before,” a deep voice said smoothly. “If you really want to offend him, you will have to be cleverer.”

She jerked around and gazed at Drake emerging from the darkness. Wonderful. Now she had two imminent threats to deal with.

I challenge you to examine your own life and see how you can live it more fully. If tomorrow was your last day to live what would you do today? One lucky commenter will win a $20.00 Amazon gift card just in time to spend for Christmas. Please make sure to leave your e-mail address and name in with your comment.

My books can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the Apple ibooks store, and all major e-book retailers.

Have a great day!
Julie Johnstone

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Winner Announced

You win the $10 Amazon card, if you can accept it.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
If you can't accept it, another winner will be chosen.
Please remember December 10-14th we have A Blog Marathon where prizes will be awarded. :)
Now, back to writing....

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day After Turkey Day

I hope you had a lovely and restful Thanksgiving! Be on the lookout for more fun next week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

December Blog Marathon: Hero and Heroines

December is just around the corner and I’m in the mood to celebrate. So, I am kicking off a blog marathon that will occur starting December 10th-14th.  Since I love characters—I wanted to focus on the Hero and Heroine of a story.  I chose mine from the current book I am writing.
I have tagged five writers (see below) who will blog during the week in December and each one will give away a prize (our Holiday Celebration). 
So come on in, sit down, grab your favorite drink and enjoy!
Book/Story you’ll be talking about (blurb):  Illumination (currently writing)
In an effort to stop a war darkling Mina started one. Fleeing her own kind who want her dead, she turns to Xander, her people’s mortal enemy for help, who faces a choice—help her and lose everything, betray her and regain it all.
Is it a stand alone book or part of series?  This is a second in a series and I’m trying to make this a stand alone. 

Hero/Heroine (or Protagonists):
Xander Fjordson—is a Mage
Wilhelmina (Mina) Tepes---is a Dark

What do they look like?
Xander is tall, lean, with blond hair and dark blue eyes. His face is all angles and planes. He’s accustomed to wealth, preferring suits.  
Mina is average height, slender, with a shock of spiky black hair, large brown eyes, and pointed face. She favors goth clothing and has silver piercings in her eyebrow, lip, nose, ears, and cheek.

What is their favorite food and drink?
Xander prefers a good well made steak and a glass of excellent Scotch
Mina adores cheese puffs or Cheetos, and likes to drink red wine with her friends.

What are they likely to wear to a formal event? (Would they even go to a formal event—why or why not?)
Xander thinks its part of his job to go to formal events—of course he would wear a tux, he’s always put together.
Mina loves to dress up—but is more likely to wear combat boots in a formal dress.  

What are they afraid of?
Xander is afraid of dreaming
Mina is afraid of spiders

If given orders --what is the first reaction?
Xander looks at who is giving the orders, is it someone higher ranking—he will consider following them. If he feels they are above them, he usually won’t take any order into consideration.
Mina does what she wants, when she wants. Orders are just suggestions to her.

What is their favorite color?
Xander loves green
Mina has a fondness for black and red.

What do they consider romantic?
Xander thinks a candlelit dinner is romantic, but in reality it’s different. Romantic to him is going to an art museum. (He’s going to find that what was normal for him before is going to change with Mina)
Mina thinks anywhere Xander is—is romantic. She’s easy to please. Well, if there is a taste of blood involved—even better.

What keeps them apart?
Xander and Mina are at opposing sides in a war.  They also struggle against ingrained prejudices and beliefs.
As a reader—what draws you to certain characters? Why?
I’m going to give away a $10 Amazon gift card (online) to anyone who can accept it. Please leave a comment and your email address like this:  john at yahoo dot com. I will announce the winner on Saturday!

The next five authors who will do the Marathon here at Romance Magicians are:
1.      December 10: Heather Leonard

2.      December 11: Carla Swafford

3.      December 12: Rashda Khan

4.      December 13: Suzanne Johnson

5.      December 14: Moriah Densley

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Crimson Romance Author, Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

It is my pleasure to introduce Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban, a fellow author at Crimson Romance. She writes paranormal and her debut book IMMORTAL LOVE is available now.

Hello M.V, Thank you for having me here. 

Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
You are originally from Spain--do you write in English first or Spanish? 

I write in English.

English and Spanish have very different sentence structure. For me, it’s easier to write directly in English than to translate the story later from Spanish.  --I find this fascinating, and quite the challenge.

Actually, in the case of Immoral Love, I did the opposite. I wrote Immortal Love in English, and then I translated into Spanish. You can read about my experiences at my blog ( It was quite an adventure. 

Do you think there are some stories more suited for the Spanish language than English? Why or why not?

IMHO, English is a great language for technical/scientific writing.

Spanish is a more lyrical language, more musical if you wish, which makes it a better fit for poetry. But, please, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there are not great poems written in English.--I think some languages are better suited for the flow of poetry. Like French and your native language-Spanish.

What is your writing process:

         --do you plan it all out, or write as you go?
I start with an idea, a scene, two characters arguing, making love. From there the story grows until I have an outline in my mind. Then, I start writing.
I may write the outline down or just a couple of sentences stating the gist of the story and the ending. But without this basic outline and a clear idea of where the story is going, I cannot write. --I agree, you have to have what I've heard some say the "tent poles".

          --what is your preferred time of day to write?

I am a night person. In a perfect world I would write at night. But if I have to get up early, I can’t stay up late so I work whenever I have time between my translation/editing projects.-- Ah, Funny how our writing preferences never match with our day jobs! I like to write in the late morning, early afternoon or early evening.
In your book, "Immortal Love" you profile a Spanish Poet, what drew you to him and why?

Immortal Love started as the story of an author searching for an agent. It was a projection of my own struggles, at the time. That the agent in my story turned out to be Becquer was inevitable, for he was perfect for the job. Becquer, who is the most beloved of the Spanish poets today, failed to be recognized as a writer during his life, and had to work odd jobs to make a living.
Who better than him then, to understand my protagonist’s predicament? Besides he was handsome and had but a short and difficult life. He deserved another chance. --I am a great believer in second chances, and bravo for giving him one.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the story of how Becquer, my protagonist in Immortal Love, became immortal. So far I have been doing research for, although I know the fictional story of his life, Becquer was a real person and I need to learn as much as I can about him and his time (nineteenth century Spain) to make the story both fantastic and real. 

Becquer was a wonderful writer and poet. Even if he wrote in Spanish and the musicality of his poems is somehow lost in translation, enough remains to captivate the reader even in English.

Please click here if you wish to read one of his Rhymes.

For fun: What is your favorite beverage.

It depends. Coffee to wake up in the mornings, water if I’m thirsty, a margarita when I want to relax in good company. --Ah yes coffee! My favorite.

 Thank you for visiting with me today! I hope you can stop by again soon. May the words always flow. 

Author Bio: Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban is the author of the young adult fantasy TWO MOON PRINCESS (Tanglewood Press) and the paranormal romance IMMORTAL LOVE (Crimson Romance). The amazing Ginger Knowlton at Curtis Brown represents her YA novels.  
Originally from Spain, she lives in Bucks County, PA, where she works as a freelance writer, editor and translator. Visit her for more information at


Monday, November 19, 2012

Balancing Writing and The EDJ (Evil Day Job)

(This is my first post, and I wanted to wave hello to everyone *waves* I am so happy to be a part of Southern Magic RWA and am looking forward to meeting everyone.)

When most authors start out, they don't write full time. They have a EDJ: Evil Day Job. Stephen King was a teacher. John Grisham was a lawyer. Others, like Dr. Robin Cook, continue pursuing their first career.

I myself am a web developer. I don't really consider my job an evil day job. A geek from way back, I've been in the software industry for almost twenty years. It's a steady paycheck, good benefits. That doesn't mean I wouldn't take the opportunity to write full time. I would. With both hands. Then I'd run away with it like a cat with its tail on fire.

But until that day, I have to figure out how to balance my work life and my writing life. It's not just finding time to write, either.

Finding time to write: Believe it or not, I think that's the easy part. I get up early. Or I stay up late. I write during lunch hours. The hard part is...

Having energy to write: I may get up early and stay up late, but I barely have the energy to string together a sentence some days. I'm also chronically ill (stupid Crohn's!), so that takes a toll as well. Best lesson I've learned? Write lots and lots when you feel well to make up for the days that you don't. But still there's...

Attending author/writing events: You have a full time job, but you want to go to RWA National. What do you do? I hate to say it, but I've stopped taking vacation for anything except author/writing events. I have all the events that require days off in 2013 already on my work calendar. If I end up with a few extra days at the end of the year, my husband and I will take a nice little trip. What I haven't learned to handle is...

Concentrating on work at work: I have a bad habit of mentally running through plot lines when I should be working. This does not help when I'm trying to write some complicated code or a stored procedure from hell. Seriously, how does anyone sandbox those things? Anyone have any hints on wrangling plot bunnies during work hours?

You think King, Grisham, and Cook had these problems?

About Kerry:
Author. Southerner. Geek. Writer of romance, believer in HEA. Positive there's nothing better than shrimp & grits and red velvet cake. Kerry was born and raised in Alabama, and she grew up swearing she was going to get the hell out of Dodge the instant she could. Turns out Dodge ain’t so bad, and she never left. Alabama’s version of a city girl, she married a country boy, and the adorkable couple lives in a small town with their two socially awkward dogs.

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