Monday, August 26, 2013

Kelly Steel on Creating Folklore

Please welcome Kelly Steel to the blog today! Her debut novella was my very first venture into vampire stories and I asked Kelly to talk about how she created the fascinating folklore in her story!


Do you believe in mystical characters? Supernatural beings? Witches and vampires?

I’ve always been intrigued so I wrote about a character named Leo, who was in love and on the verge of getting married. Then by a stroke of bad luck, he turns into a vampire.

We always get the advice to write what we know about, so how could I write about a
vampire? I did some world building. Gave them a home on an exotic island. However, that island couldn’t produce a vampire. Therefore, I had to bring him in from old England. And my imagination took over. I did a plot outline and then made Leo, my vampire fall for a nice girl. On the verge of proposing to her, he turns into a vampire. Now he couldn’t burden her with his immortal self. Then he discovers that his beloved is accused of witchcraft and is about to be burned. He sprints her away to a ship sailing for a British colony.

Then my editor pointed out that her research showed that the witch burning was truly over by the time this British colony was populated. So, my hero had to skip a century into time slip when he sprints his beloved to this ship! At my editor’s suggestion, I had to change my heroine’s name to an old English name. She is fabulous in her research and her critical eye for detail made my story that much richer.
About my story:

Forgetting about his mortal beloved who had died he lived for thrill and adventure now. While enjoying his massive wealth amassed throughout the years, his life is empty. Then he comes face to face with Eve and is drawn in. Eve is also attracted to Leo and they couldn’t help but give in to their desire and passion. Yet when the demon is unleashed then what would happen? Would Eve accept the person Leo is?

What would happen if you fall in love but for some reason that person is not who he really is? Would you walk away from your love?

One commenter will be getting a kindle gift copy of my ONE BITE LEADS TO ANOTHER.

After a spate of violence on his home island, Leonardo D’Silva returns home to find chaos on Lenuka Island. Who is responsible for this? And is the intriguing schoolteacher, Evelyn Hathaway connected to any of it? Face to face with Eve, Leo is taken back to the memory of his first love. Who was Eve? Was she a witch? And when Leo turns to his real vampire self after a night with Eve, will she still accept him?
Evelyn Hathaway is intrigued by the handsome Leonardo D'Silva, the benefactor of her school, whom she's met for the very first time. Handsome, sophisticated and oh, so gentlemanly, she can't get him out of her mind. She's never met him before, yet she senses a strong connection, a feeling that they've met somewhere before, in another time and place.  Who is this Leonardo D'Silva, with the hint of a demonic glint in his eye? Can it be possible...?

Read Reviews

Buy Links       Amazon       Amazon UK

Amazon India       Amazon France        Amazon Japan


Kelly Steel was born and brought up in the South Island of New Zealand. After her father’s retirement, her parents moved to warm and tropical Fiji, where she continues to reside.   She loves her adopted home and thrives in the warm friendly environment, both of the climate and of the people.
Connect on web:
Facebook      Twitter       Author Page     Goodreads

Watch this Video of One Bite Leads To Another:

Link to Video

It's a fun story! So, back to Kelly's question ... would you walk away from love if you discovered that person was hiding a major secret about his/her identity from you???

Monday, August 19, 2013

Best Advice?

There is so much advice out there for aspiring writers, it can be pretty overwhelming. Some of it will work for you and some of it won't because we're all unique individuals and there are no one size fits all pieces of advice. At least I haven't found one yet!

Some pieces of advice that have worked for me?
  •  read widely
  • write, write, write
  • find YOUR voice
  • have fun
I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about how 1 piece of advice can work in 5 different ways. I hope you'll stop over and check it out.

What piece of advice has worked well for you?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Helen Lacey & Looking for an Agent

Please welcome the lovely Helen Lacey back to the blog again. I've just finished reading Date with Destiny and it is awesome!! Grace and Cameron are terrific characters and the plot has lots of great twists and turns - a fabulous story!


What to look for in an agent….
Thank you for having me here today.

It’s a little mind boggling how much publishing is evolving into different platforms and opportunities at the moment. Five years ago, even two years ago the landscape looked very different. Go five years further back again and the big print publishing houses had a grip on what books got into reader’s hands and only a few authors I knew had an agent. Thankfully that’s become something of an obsolete model and now authors have every opportunity to drive their career down several different paths.
Of course these changes, these opportunities, bring about more questions and one of the most common questions I get from other authors, both published and aspiring is “Do I need and agent and how do I get one…” . My answer is usually the same – it depends on you.

Let’s imagine that you've decided you do want an agent…remember the old WIFM acronym (What’s in It For Me). That’s important. What will having an agent mean for you? Will it mean instant publication with one of the big houses? Not necessarily. Will it mean a bidding war and a multi-book deal? Probably not. What it will mean, if you have the right agent, is you now have an advocate for your work and someone who believes in your book. That’s the optimum scenario, of course. I do know authors who have signed with an agent simply because they were offered representation, and not because this particular agent would have been the best ‘fit’ for them. My advice is always, do your research.
I signed with my agent before I was published. I had a book that had done well on the contest circuit and was with an editor and had been there for about a year. The day after I signed my agent made contact with the editor (who is actually now my editor at Harlequin) and a few months later I sold my first book after 23 yrs of submitting and eighteen rejections. So why this agent? There were a few things that felt ‘right’ with this agency when I was researching agents. Firstly, I wanted to work with a small agency and one that focuses on romance. I narrowed my list down to three and considered my options. Then I spent a month or so following their blogs/websites and also researched who they represented. When I saw my agent was judging a contest I entered and from there got a request for the full manuscript and then an offer for representation. There were things more important to me than just signing with a big agency – I wanted to be with someone who understood the changing face of the publishing industry and knew the romance genre.

So, do your homework…don’t sign with an agency simply because they ‘offer’ you representation. You are the creative arm of the author/agent relationship and you should be with an agency that encourages your creativity and truly believes in your stories.
To celebrate the release of my August Harlequin Special Edition Date With Destiny, I have a copy to give away to one commenter.


Helen Lacey grew up reading Black Beauty, Anne of Green Gables and Little House on The Prairie. These childhood classics inspired her to write her first book when she was seven years old, a story about a girl and her horse. Although, it wasn’t until the age of eleven when she read her first Mills & Boon, that she knew writing romances was what she wanted to do with her life. Her parents’ love of travel meant she saw much of the world in those early years and she feels fortunate to have had a diverse and interesting education over several continents.

She continued to write into her teens and twenties with the dream of one day being a published author. A few years and careers later, including motel operator, florist, strapper, dog washer, and retail manager, she got the call from Harlequin Special Edition. She loves writing about tortured heroes, both cowboys and CEO’s, and heroines who finally get the love of the man of their dreams. She now works part time in her sister’s bridal shop, where she gets to meet fascinating people, some of whom might one day end up being in one of her books.

From Welsh parents and a large family, she lives on the east coast of Australia in a small seaside town at the southern most point of The Great Barrier Reef, with her wonderfully supportive husband, many horses and three spoiled dogs.

Connect with Helen:

Website    Blog      Facebook    Twitter     Goodreads 

Financier Grace Preston did fourteen-hour days in New York City. She didn't do small towns in Australia. Not since she'd fled almost twenty years ago. But when a personal trauma sent her home-with a secret she couldn't reveal-the last person she needed was her first love.

Local cop Cameron Jakowski had loved Grace for most of his life. But he wanted marriage and family and she didn't. He was small town, while she was big city-and lived half a world away. But for now she was right here-a walking, talking temptation. One he managed to avoid...until he made one mistake. He kissed her. And reawakened the passion that could change their lives...forever.

Read Reviews

Buy Links
Mills & Boon UK     Harlequin US     Amazon     Amazon UK

B&N     Powell's Books     BAM      indieBound

Link to Trailer

Good advice, Helen! Anything to add  to her list for agent shopping?

(I'll be out of town when this posts with spotty/non-existent internet coverage so I'll catch up when I'm back!)

Monday, August 12, 2013

The GaryFest!

Love this idea!!

If you haven't met Gary yet, it far past time you did! Gary is a great guy (former Canadian now living in the UK) and his posts are always worth a visit. Here are the 'rules'!

Announcing the "Anti-Blogfest Gary Fest" on August 12, a blog hop in honor of Mr. anti-blog hop himself, Gary at Klahanie.

Hosted by Mark “Madman” Koopmans, Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, “Life is Good” Tina, Rockin’ Robyn Engel and Morgan “The Morg” Shamy. 

The rules are *very* simple. 

Create the titles of three PG-13 rated blogfests you would never join - and then add a descriptive sentence or two.


So, here are 3 blogfests I would never, ever sign up for!

Your Most Embarrassing Moment!

Top Ten Horror Movie Picks!

Dill Pickle Recipes for Every Meal of the Day for an Entire Year!

I'm way too private for the first, way too wimpy for the 2nd and while I know some of you may love dill (*shudder*), it's one of the smells/tastes I can't tolerate at all!

How about you - what's one blogfest you'd NEVER enter?

(I'll be out of town when this posts with spotty/non-existent internet coverage so I'll catch up when I'm back!)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dear Author I Shall Not Name

A book really surprised me last night, but not in a good way.

I'd picked up a book by a new-to-me author. I liked the premise and the characters sounded fun. I enjoyed the set up of the story, the way I could see what the characters couldn't see coming. It's a romance and I thought the author had some unique twists and turns for her characters to face. The dialogue was great and for the most part their interactions were fun and honest. The story was working at a solid B+ for me.

Then I got to the last page.

I'd spent a few hours with these characters, I'd gotten to know them and I liked them. I wanted them to have their HEA (happy ever after). And I thought they were getting it - I liked the way the author was setting it up, another good twist (or so I thought). Then the last page exploded it all.

To me none of it made sense. The direction the last page took was in exact opposition to the characters & their goals & their feelings.

The author probably intended it as a cliffhanger (there is a book 2), but it didn't work for me at all. Not only would I downgrade the story to a D or worse, I will never read the next book. In fact I doubt I will ever read anything by this author again.

As a romance writer, I tend to prefer HEA or happy-for-now endings, but ambiguous endings can totally rock too (think The Giver or Possession). Above all the ending has to make sense and be true to the rest of the story.

This one didn't and wasn't & I felt cheated out of the hours I'd spent with the book.

Okay, rant over. No, I will not reveal the book or author, nor will I write a review - I only comment on books I've enjoyed enough to share. But I probably will stew over it for a little while longer.

And you can bet I'm going to be looking more closely at the endings for my own stories!

How about you, do you get annoyed by shocker endings? Do you have things that turn you off authors forever too?