I love saying that. It makes me feel like a rock star.

Phoenix Rising Banner 540 x 200

At any rate, I’m going on a blog tour beginning Monday, November 13- Friday, November 17. I don’t usually do blog tours, but Bewitching Blog Tours was recommended to me by a few of my writer friends, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I’ll be supporting the first two books in the Phoenix Rising series, Naked and NeoGeisha. Along the tour stops, you’ll find interviews, articles by me, and a few excerpts. There will also be a RAFFLECOPTER giveaway where participants can win Amazon monies, autographed books, free ebooks, and I’m even selecting a winner to be a character in book three! Isn’t that exciting? Plus, you’ll get to visit a bunch of blog sites that you may not have known about before. So here’s the schedule—

November 13 Mythical Books
November 13 Literary Musings
November 13 SImply Kelina
November 14 Other Worlds of Romance
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Paranormal Romances
November 14 Fang-tastic Books
November 15 Paranormalists
November 15 Books,Dreams,Life
November 15 Mello and June, It’s a Book Thang!
November 16 The Book Junkie Reads
November 16 Vicky at Deal Sharing Aunt
November 16 The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
November 17 Share My Destiny
November 17 Saph’s Books
November 20 Supernatural Central
November 20 Lisa’s World of Books
November 20 Roxanne’s Realm
NeoGeisha Teaser 2

GUEST POST: Horror, Suspense, and Urban Fantasy by Gail Z. Martin


I’m so privileged to have the talented Gail Z. Martin today talking about horror, suspense, and urban fantasy as part of her Days of the Dead Blog Tour!

How do you decide whether a book is horror, suspense or urban fantasy? Does it matter? Do you care?

I categorize ‘suspense’ as something like The Woman in Black or Rose Red—creepy and atmospheric with a lot of implied threat and monsters in the shadows so that your imagination does the rest. Personally, I favor these over the blood and gore fest kind of movie. I like the way the tension builds.

In many ways, I think the suspense movie is the darker cousin of a mystery. You think something is wrong, but you don’t have the information to prove it, so no one believes you, not even you—until it’s too late. Usually, there’s an old scandal or injustice awaiting long-delayed vengeance. Often, the protagonist is drawn in against his/her will but not actually kidnapped or taken by force. The main character doubts intuitive warnings, and by the time he/she is convinced that something bad and spooky is going on, it’s too late. Suspense specializes in the movement you almost see out of the corner of your eye, the shadows that are a little too dark, the chair that rocks by itself. The individual images aren’t horrific in and of themselves, but they play on your nerves, building a sense of impending doom from an enemy you still haven’t seen so you don’t know how to fight.

I’ve heard it said that horror creates a sense of helplessness which is key to the impact. The monsters are bigger, the blood flows in rivers, and especially toward the ‘goreno’ end of the genre, too much is never enough. Horror plays on revulsion as much as helplessness, with a dependence on the demonization of physical deformity that may cue primal reactions but doesn’t live up to our enlightened best.

Horror is also often heavily moralistic. Teenage sex leads to dismemberment. Not reading your map carefully leads to death by cannibal hillbilly. Not being where you belong results in really bad stuff. Teenage girls should never answer the phone when they’re alone in the house. In that sense, they are the inflated version of the warnings you probably got from your mother. Lock the doors. Don’t talk to strangers. Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged. Check your gas tank and tire pressure. Don’t be alone in dark places. Break the rules and bad things happen.

Some experts say that horror is one way we as a culture deal with DEADLY CURIOSITIESuncertainty. (I’ve never heard if it’s just Americans, or everyone. We might just be weird.) Supposedly there are studies that prove that when the economy is bad, monster and horror movies come back into vogue. Maybe it’s a way for us to project our real-world worries (that we can’t do anything about, thus making us feel helpless) onto the silver screen, where we still feel helpless but it’s okay because it’s just a movie. Gotta love catharsis.

And then there’s urban fantasy. To me, urban fantasy borrows a lot from suspense (as well as noir/detective) and adds in elements of horror. That can be played for laughs, as with Kevin J. Anderson’s Dan Shambles zombie detective, or played with British wit, like Simon R. Green’s Nightside, or played for straight horror, like the early Anita Blake books and some scenes in the Harry Dresden books. (One reviewer who read my Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy complained it gave her nightmares!) Urban fantasy plays on our uneasiness about the big city (or our qualms about how well we really know our neighbors, even in a small town like Sookie Stackhouse’s Bon Temps).

Urban Fantasy gives us much worse explanations for the movement in the shadowed alley than a mere purse snatcher. The genre tells us that while we might be safe in the light, the night is still ruled by beings much older and hungrier than we are. The use of ancient mythological figures and monsters as well as beings like the Fey and vampires reminds us that humans are a young race and that we don’t know nearly as much as we like to think we know.

To me, I think the scariest thing that suspense, horror and urban fantasy provides is knocking our pride down a few pegs. We don’t know everything. We don’t have it all figured out. We aren’t really top of the food chain. Money, power and privilege isn’t worth a flying rat’s ass if you can’t outrun a zombie. Gated communities won’t keep out the walking dead. The things we put our trust in to save us can’t rescue us from the worst situations. Maybe now and then, we need a horror movie to remind us of that.

Pass the popcorn.

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with never-before-seen cover art, brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for my stories and for books by author friends of mine. You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Details here: www.AscendantKingdoms.com

Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! Grab your envelope of book swag awesomeness from me & 10 authors http://on.fb.me/1h4rIIe before 11/1!

Trick or Treat! Excerpt from my new urban fantasy novel Vendetta set in my Deadly Curiosities world here http://bit.ly/1ZXCPVS Launches Dec. 29

Treats not Tricks! Enjoy a super-scary excerpt from my Jonmarc Vahanian Adventure Monstrosities http://bit.ly/1ZG0TMW

Trick Or Treat from my friend John Hartness’s Quincy Harker series Raising Hell Chp 1  http://bit.ly/1MEMFSQ

More Treats! Dragon’s Lure excerpt http://www.sidhenadaire.com/books/DLEmberling.pdf

Plenty of tricks! And excerpt from my Retribution Deadly Curiosities short story in the Athena’s Daughters anthology http://w.tt/1sipN0O

About the Author

Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications

Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications

Gail Z. Martin is the author of the upcoming novel Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC (Dec. 2015, Solaris Books) as well as the epic fantasy novel Shadow and Flame (March, 2016 Orbit Books) which is the fourth and final book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga. Shadowed Path, an anthology of Jonmarc Vahanian short stories set in the world of The Summoner, debuts from Solaris books in June, 2016.

Other books include The Jake Desmet Adventures a new Steampunk series (Solaris Books) co-authored with Larry N. Martin as well as Ice Forged, Reign of Ash and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) from Orbit Books and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities from Solaris Books.

Gail writes four series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures, The King’s Convicts series, and together with Larry N. Martin, The Storm and Fury Adventures. Her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Realms of Imagination, Heroes, With Great Power, and (co-authored with Larry N. Martin) Space, Contact Light, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens.

My Love Affair with Sherlock Holmes, or How I Became a Sapiosexual

BU Tour poster

CLICK HERE to be sure and visit the other participants in the Tour!

As is pretty obvious from my blog, I’ve written a lot of romance in my day.  Of course anyone who knows me personally thinks that my romantic endeavors is pretty funny.  I’m the girl who prefers gory horror movies to RomComs.  My husband and I express our love usually through a series of expletives.  So the fact that I’m a closet romantic is a source of much jocularity for my family and friends.  Of course, the one thing I have in my corner that makes my romances unique is my love of super geniuses. No, I’m not being affected by a full moon.  Yes folks.  My name is Alexandra and I am a sapiosexual.

A sapiosexual is defined as a person who is sexually aroused by intelligence.  A lot of women are obsessed with meatheads that have rock hard abs and powerful thighs.  Not that those things aren’t nice, but I do love a man who can read.  And if he has a really big….. vocabulary then so much the better.

Which brings me to Sherlock Holmes.  Now, Sherlock would scold us all soundly for being affected by the moon OR sexuality.  However, my new release this month ISN’T a romance. I’m not actually the author.  I’m the editor of a new book of paranormal Sherlock Holmes stories called “An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.”  The reason why I was so excited to do this project was because I’ve been in love with Sherlock Holmes since I was ten and saw Nicholas Rowe in the Spielberg movie “Young Sherlock Holmes.” And what’s not to love?  He’s super-intelligent, funny, irreverent, and physically adept. It’s also one of the only portrayals of Holmes that contains a plausible romantic storyline that also explains why there hasn’t ever been a romantic storyline.  I think that part of the reason for the popularity of Sherlock Holmes these days (other than the inexplicable beauty that is Benedict Cumberbatch) is that intelligence is a rare commodity at the moment. At least it seems that way given the barrage of reality TV, Kardashian updates, and freakshow television we’re assaulted with on a daily basis.  Sherlock is a breath of fresh air in a world that stinks of stupidity.  Our anthology seeks to highlight Holmes’s genius while at the same time calling him out on the fact that sometimes– shit happens and there’s no viable explanation.  And I think my authors accomplish that goal quite effectively.

If you love Holmes or are a sapiosexual– check out the teaser below:

Click me to PREORDER NOW!!

Click me to PREORDER NOW!!

In An Improbable Truth:  The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 14 authors of horror and mystery have come together to create a unique anthology that sets Holmes on some of his most terrifying adventures.  A pair of sisters willing to sacrifice young girls to an ancient demon for a taste of success, a sinister device that can manipulate time itself, and a madman that can raise corpses from the dead are just a few among the grisly tales that can be found within these pages. 

You can also hit up the “An Improbable Truth” tab for excerpts!

Be sure to visit the other ladies on the Full Moon Blog Tour!

Now, down to brass tacks.  The ladies over at Broad Universe are hosting a little contest where you can win books, swag, and all manner of goodies.  All you have to do is click the Rafflecopter widget below to enter! Winners will be chosen on NOVEMBER 10, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran

CLICK ME to enter the BIG CONTEST!!!

CLICK ME to enter the BIG CONTEST!!!

Hello, kittens!  Happy Spring!  We’re back here at the Southern Belle from Hell to welcome a sizzling new author, Jan Moran.  Jan is here today to tell us a little about her new book Scent of Triumph


Hi Alexandra, and thank for sharing your soapbox with me today! I’ve always been a fan of horror and creepy-crawly thing that go bump in the night.

 People often ask where writers get their ideas. A couple of days ago on my blog tour I wrote about how I summon the muse, so today I thought I’d share more about how my work evolves. Writing is a different experience for every writer. Some writers plot heavily, while others are seat-of-the-pants writers (known affectionately as “pansters”). Me—I’m somewhere in between. I like to allow room for surprises.

 When I begin thinking about a new book, I draw from subjects I know something about—or would like to learn more about. While I’m writing, I’d like to learn something fascinating, too.

 Inspiration often comes when I’m walking on the beach or swimming laps. Sometimes flashes transpire in the middle of the night. (Always keep a notepad by your bed, even if it’s hard to decipher your midnight scribbles.)

 So, here’s how I begin a new book:

  1.       Who’s the Protagonist? – Strong female protagonists     and entrepreneurs who forge their own paths to success inspire me. I like to share their fascinating, adventurous, inspirational stories. The character’s name, heritage, background, physical attributes, and inner life come next. I wonder, what are her passions, flaws, and dreams? All of this goes into a master notebook. Once she becomes three dimensional, I’m ready to move on.


2.       Where’s the Story Set? – Locations are one of my favorite things to think about. As a child, books were my magic carpets to the world. Travel is stimulating—I love to explore new cities, countries, customs, and cultures that I can share with readers. I find something intriguing about every place I visit, so it’s hard to choose, but France, England, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Spain, New York, Texas, and California (my home) are among my favorite places.


3.       What’s Her Job? – Once I know what my protagonist does, and what’s important to her, the story begins to emerge. For example, during my career perfumery, fashion, and business were my passions. I’m also a strong advocate of the entrepreneurial path. So, in writing Scent of Triumph, I studied forward-thinking female entrepreneurs of the twentieth century in beauty and fashion: Coco Chanel, Nina Ricci, Elizabeth Arden, Estée Lauder, Madame Carven, Mary Kay. These smart, gutsy, entrepreneurial women lived cinematic lives steeped in creative endeavors, along with their share of drama. Of course, future protagonists will have different career paths, but you can bet that it will be something just as interesting.


4.       What’s the Time Period? – I’ve always loved history, so it seems natural to set my stories in the not too distant past—within the last century. I also like to weave in generational stories, such as those of a mother or grandmother. Family relationships, especially children, are important to me, and often figure prominently in my work. And of course, there’s always a love interest or two…or three.


5.       What Does She Learn? – The main character’s arc, or what she learns during the course of the story, is vital for a satisfactory story. My main character has flaws and makes mistakes (like all of us), but learns from her blunders. Ultimately, she should prevail over unimaginable adversity—whether from external forces or against her own internal struggles (or both). For example, Scent of Triumph is one woman’s journey, a journey filled with courage and creativity, with love and loss, and at the heart of it all, a relentless will to survive, to triumph on her own terms.


Great visiting with you and your readers here, Alexandra! I love to hear from readers and other writers, so feel free to say hello on my blog, Facebook, or Twitter.


I dunno about you guys, but I learned a lot from that post.  That Jan Moran is one smart cookie!  Not to mention that she’s written an amazing book. And speaking of, here’s a little more about that….

About Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran

Scent of Triumph is the story of Danielle Bretancourt, a talented young French perfumer with a flair for fashion and a natural olfactory gift. In the language of perfumery, she is a Nose, with the rare ability to recognize thousands of essences by memory. The story opens on the day England declares war on Germany, and Danielle and her family are caught in the midst of a raging disaster sweeping across Europe.

Her life takes a tragic turn when her husband and son are lost behind enemy lines. She spies for the French resistance, determined to find them, but is forced to flee Europe with fragments of her family. Destitute, she mines her talents to create a magnificent perfume that captures the hearts of Hollywood’s top stars, then gambles again to win wealth and success as a couturier. Her intelligence and flair attracts the adoration of Jonathan Newell-Grey, of England’s top shipping conglomerate, and Cameron Murphy, Hollywood’s most charismatic star.

Danielle charts her course through devastating wartime losses and revenge; lustful lovers and loveless marriages; and valiant struggles to reunite her family. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, here is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.

Author Bio

Jan Moran writes smart, stylish, sensual sagas. She’s also written several books on Jan Moranperfume.

 “My most recent book, SCENT OF TRIUMPH, was inspired by my love of perfumery and history. In writing, I drew upon my own family history and my mother’s memories of World War II, imagining a young entrepreneur whose talent, determination, and fearlessness catapult her to the pinnacle of success, despite mounting personal tragedies and the elusiveness of love.

“I write about strong, capable, female entrepreneurs.  I’m a world traveler, so I also enjoy writing about different destinations.”

Jan Moran is the author of SCENT OF TRIUMPH, a historical novel, and FABULOUS FRAGRANCES I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list.  She is at work on more series in fiction and nonfiction.

As a fragrance and beauty expert, she has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN and Extra, Women’s Wear Daily, Allure, InStyle, and O Magazine. As an editor and writer, she has covered fragrance, beauty, and spa travel for a variety of publications.

Author Links

Website: http://www.janmoran.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/janmoran

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9056.Jan_Moran

Loki’s Game Blog Tour: An Interview w/ S.H. Roddey

Loki'sGame 200x300(1)Guess whose back? Back again? Noooo… it’s not Slim Shady.  It’s me, yer old pal Sexy Lexxxie.  I’m back on the blog today to welcome one of my favorite authors, and indeed one of my favorite people, to the page.  Siobhan Kinkade is a particular friend of mine and she has a new book, Loki’s Game, that has just come out from Sugar and Spice Press.  She was kind enough to sit down with me and answer a few questions about love, life and where bodies are buried.


1.        How did you start writing?

It actually happened before I realized it. I was just a kid doing a homework assignment for English class. The assignment was to write a new ending for Beauty and the Beast, and instead of writing a few paragraphs, I ended up writing twenty pages. It has been all downhill from there.

2.       What genres do you write in?  Which is the most satisfying?

Too many to count! I love writing paranormal romance, but my first love is horror. So long as I’m doing bad things to people on paper, I’m not tempted to crack skulls in real life.

3.       What sort of “rituals” do you engage in to help you write?

Now I’m going to have to tell on you too! Aside from loud music to drown out background noise, my most successful ritual is the Thursday night write-in at Starbucks with you and Crymsyn Hart.  Not that we actually get much work done for playing on Facebook and dealing with people banging on the tables, but we do at least try.

4.       Tell us about your new book, Loki’s Game.

It started as an accident several years ago. It started out as a short story about a woman who answered an ad in a newspaper that turned out to be for the position of “wife.” It grew and twisted into this convoluted mess involving a pair of shapeshifters (because as you know I suffer from Epic Brain Syndrome). Then out of nowhere something in my brain broke and my hero ended up being a descendent of the Nordic Dragon, Fafnir, and the guy chasing him decided to tell me that he was actually disguised as Loki.

The first draft was submitted two years ago, and after finding a few glaring structural errors, I pulled the submission and went back to work on it. Having finally decided that it wasn’t as stupid as I thought, I revised, rewrote and expanded until it became what it is. And late last year, Kelly at Sugar & Spice Press agreed to take a second look and offered the contract.

5.       Loki is heavily rooted in Norse mythology. Do you often use mythology to inspire your writing?  Where do you draw inspiration from?

Mythology often eats my brain. Something about the power of gods and monsters has always appealed to me. I think it’s why a lot of my work features werewolves, shapeshifters and vampires too. They’re strong and unusual, and a good monster always makes me happy.

The inspiration itself comes from all over the place. Sometimes it’s music, other times it’s the people or situations around me. A lot of what I write is kneejerk reaction to something happening in my life.

6.       This is your first novel-length work.  Did you find it difficult to make the transition from short to long form?

Actually, no. Going back to that EBS from earlier – when your brain works on that epic level like mine, it’s hard to keep it from wandering into novel territory. Plot points and twists come out of nowhere and the characters like to get all snarled up in situations that take pages and pages to resolve.

This is my first published novel, but I have two others sitting on a shelf, waiting to see if I ever go back and fix them enough to sell. Lately it has been harder to keep things short, which means anthology calls with word count limits are like pulling teeth.

7.       What advice would you give budding writers?

If you want to be a writer, then be a writer. Don’t talk about doing it. Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t say “one day I’ll finish something”. And for goodness’ sake, don’t spend all of your time rewriting and revising! Write it, do your self-edits, and let it go. The longer you micro-manage your manuscript, the harder it’s going to be to let it go.

8.       Where can readers find your work?

All over the place! Information on all of my books can be found on my blog, and I’m available on GoodReads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and All Romance eBooks.

Wait, revise that. My books are available on those sites. I’m not actually there. I’m not for sale… at least, not for cheap.


Now… the important stuff.  THE BLURB!!

Unemployed museum curator Lily Redway responds to an advertisement in the newspaper, thinking she is applying for a job. On the other side of that small, black-and-white box waits two things: a fantasy world come to life and a man named Rowan Keir.

 Rowan is a man with many secrets. He is a shape-shifter, a descendent of old world mythology, and the guardian of a rare and valuable Nordic artifact. He is also being hunted by the god Loki and has spent the last six hundred years outsmarting and outrunning him.

 With the fury of Asgard on Rowan’s trail, Lily finds herself caught up in a real-life fantasy story, a love triangle, and an ages-old war that pitches her into a different world and one very hard truth: All is fair in love and war.

I can promise you, dear readers, that this book is a HOT and amazing read.  Go buy it NOW!