GUEST POST: E. Chris Garrison Talks About BLUE SPIRIT

BlueSpirit_cover_1200X800I’m really excited today because I have the pleasure of bringing you to a work close to my heart.  Blue Spirit is a fast-paced modern fairy tale that blends the fantastical and the humorous.  It’s really no surprise as it’s author, E. Chris Garrison whom I find completely hilarious.  I love the book and I know you will too.  But don’t take my word for it….

Introduce yourself and tell us a little about why you’re visiting the blog today.

Hello and thank you for having me on your blog! I’m Chris Garrison, an indie author from Indianapolis, Indiana. I am here because my publisher, Seventh Star Press, is helping get the word out about my latest release, Blue Spirit, a Tipsy Fairy Tale.

About me? Well, I’m a fan of all things science fiction and fantasy, though I mostly write urban fantasy, science fiction, and some steampunk. I am a long time homebrewer, and have been jokingly named Seventh Star’s official Brewmaster. I think it’s just to get me to bring “samples” of my stuff to conventions. I love board games and spending time with friends and family. My favorite band is Five Year Mission, who are doing a rock song for every original Star Trek series episode.

What inspired you to write Blue Spirit

Blue Spirit is a sort of spin-off of my Road Ghosts Trilogy. I had finished those three and wanted to move on to other characters and situations. I had the thought that rather than ghosts and demons, I’d like to write about fairies in our modern world. I also wanted to write something even funnier than the Road Ghosts, and I wanted it to be in first person so I could filter the world through one person’s senses and thoughts. I’d written in a sort of comic relief character in the second Road Ghosts book, Sinking Down, a drunken vampire roleplaying gamer named Skye, and it came to me that she might be the most fun to turn into a protagonist. Originally, I thought about setting it in Chicago where Skye lived, but instead went with what I know and set it here in Indianapolis. It was fun thinking up places in my own city that could be magical.

Blue Spirit is a fairy tale, of sorts.  What are some of your favorite fairy tales and why?

I am a huge fan of the Little Mermaid, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it’s the Disney version that I love best. I empathized with Ariel wanting to transcend the world she’d grown up in to become something else. Skye’s definitely impulsive and brave like Ariel, though she’s a bit older and makes more questionable decisions. I love the story of Pinocchio as a child, because I knew what it was like to yearn to be more than I was. I guess this is a similar theme with the Little Mermaid too, now that I think of it.As an aside, I watched Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons as a kid, and I loved the Fractured Fairy Tales segment most of all. I loved the skewed take on classic fairy tales, the sense of humor, and visual jokes. I guess that’s why I am a bit wry in my telling of my own fairy tales. 

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Although he was meant to be a sort of whimsical side character, I love the Transit King, Bask. He wasn’t meant to be more than a humorous plot device initially, but he’s turned out to not only be my own favorite, but a fan favorite as well. He’s also been borrowed by fellow Seventh Star Press authors R.J. Sullivan and John F. Allen in their writing. There’s just something irresistible about the little Fairy Godfather, riding the buses granting favors to those in need – in exchange for any favor he asks later. Also, I have great fun writing his vaguely Celtic accent and using him to say cryptic and prophetic things to my characters.  

Chris, you’ve been writing for quite a while now.  What are some things that you’ve learned on this journey from aspiring writer to writer with multiple titles under your belt?

I’ve learned that you’ve got to love writing. It’s not a quick path in any sense of the word. It’s a skill you have to work on by doing it often, and by getting feedback from others. I highly recommend finding or forming a critique group with other writers. The most important thing while writing the first draft is to keep going, don’t worry about whether your grammar and spelling or details are perfect. If you’re uncertain about something (say, a character’s eye color, or the length of a zeppelin) make a note as a comment in bold and move on. Write now, fix later. And be sure you do fix it later, go over the result before giving it to beta readers. When you get feedback, don’t feel obligated to change anything, but be sure to listen to what’s being said. If one reader says one thing, but others say different things, then it’s probably a matter of personal preference. But if many readers point out the same thing, it’s probably something you’ll need to fix.

Art seems to be a big part of the Seventh Star marketing model.  The cover art on this book is pretty extraordinary and it’s my understanding that the authors have a lot of say in the covers. Did you work closely with the artist, Anne Rosario? Tell us about that process.

Anne is a fantastic artist, a real professional, and a friendly person. I supplied her with a file containing my (often hilariously 1_Illustration_BlueSpiritbad) whiteboard sketches, along with notes and blocks of text from the book to go with the scene. She came back excited and had many questions about the characters, what they looked like, their personalities, and so on. She sent me pencil sketches of her ideas, and used feedback from me to produce the beautiful artwork you see on and in Blue Spirit. I very much look forward to working with her for the sequel, Restless Spirit. I’m interested to see how she’ll draw my trolls.

Blue Spirit is available right now!  Tell us where we can get it!!

 Print:

http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Spirit-E-Chris-Garrison/dp/1941706827

Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Spirit-Tipsy-Fairy-Tale-ebook/dp/B00X6571BC

Barnes and Noble Link:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blue-spirit-eric-garrison/1105805795?ean=9781941706824

I also have a book trailer video, which features the artwork of Anne Rosario, along with other information about Blue Spirit here:

http://sillyhatbooks.com/blue-spirit

My Blog and contact information are at http://sillyhatbooks.com and I can be found on Facebook as E. Chris Garrison, author.

Thanks once again for having me as a guest!

Synopsis of Blue Spirit: Gamer girl Skye MacLeod can see fairies, but only when she’s tipsy. More Grimm than enchanting, some of these fairies are out to ruin her life, wreaking havoc with her job, her home, and her relationships. With the help of her tiny fairy friend Minnie, Skye has to protect her vampire wannabe gamer friends from all-too-real supernatural threats only she can see. Can she keep it together and hold fast against a wicked fairy Queen’s plot?

Blue Spirit is the first book of A Tipsy Fairy Tale series!

ECGarrisonAuthorPhotoAbout the Author: E. Chris Garrison (who also writes as Eric Garrison) is active in the writing community in Indianapolis, Indiana. He lives in the Circle City with his wife, step-daughter and a cabal of cats. He also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.

Chris’ novel, Reality Check, is a science fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com during a promotion in July 2013.

Seventh Star Press is the home of Chris’ supernatural fantasy series, Road Ghosts, including Four ‘til Late, Sinking Down, and Me and the Devil.

#NEWRELEASE from Sabrina York: Guard Dog

I have a guest on The Belle today!  I’m always excited when I have guests.  It means you guys don’t have to listen to me ramble about myself!  I know that’s exhausting.  At any rate, I’m pleased to feature a hot new #military #romance from NYT and USA Today Bestselling author Sabrina York. 

CLICK ME

CLICK ME

Guard Dog by Sabrina York

A scorching sequel to Stone Hard SEALs

Mason Steele expected to be a SEAL until the day he died. And he was. A pity they revived him. Now he’s been mustered out of the Navy and his life seems wholly unsatisfying. He misses the action; he misses the camaraderie; he misses being able to use his tightly-honed skills. He’s lucky to have snagged this job with GAPS—the Guardian Angel Protective Services—it provides some hope for his future. But the last thing he wants to do is babysit a spoiled heiress who is obsessed with the color of her nail polish and carries a Chihuahua in her purse.

But there’s more to Pansy Hightower than can be seen at first glance. She’s smart, sassy and determined to save the business her late mother built. She resents having a guard dog and does what she can to lose her muscular shadow. But when it becomes clear that someone is targeting her—perhaps for the same kind of fatal “accident” that befell her mother, she decides having the 240 pound SEAL with killer instincts and lethal hands at her back might be a good idea after all.

Until they share a kiss, that is. Until those lethal hands prove they have other talents as well. Talents that leave her breathless and wanting and weak. The last thing either of them wants is a relationship, but the scorching passion between them cannot be denied…even though it will undoubtedly spell disaster for them both.

Try an excerpt before you buy!

His gaze skated over her and he took in the rips in her dress, the scrapes on her legs and the dirt smudging her cheek. He should have tended to her wounds right off the bat. He should have seen to her comfort. He should have—

An ominous clicking sound and a sudden riffle of movement near his ankles captured his attention and he glanced down.

Lola, in her pink tutu glared up at him, her lip curled over impressively pointy teeth. Mason tipped his head to the side and met her challenging gaze with one of his own. It said: Really? Whatcha gonna do, Ratacus?

He probably shouldn’t have.

She lifted her leg.

And peed on his boots.

“Son of a bitch.” He didn’t mean to boom as he leaped back, but he did. Pansy shot up, her eyes wide. “What?” she cried. “What is it?”

He shot her a contrite look. “Your dog peed on my boots.”

“She does that.” Pansy huffed a sigh and headed for the powder room to grab a hand towel. “One of the reasons I don’t date.” She knelt before him and mopped up the puddle.

He should have stooped to help her, but honestly, he couldn’t. He couldn’t move to save his life. Because there she was, kneeling before him, with her head so close…

A scintillating thought, a captivating vision, a scalding need rose like the hydra. That, and a lowering realization.

He was a pervert. A goddamn pervert.

CLICK for more!

CLICK for more!

She was cleaning his fucking boots for God’s sake.

“You need a shower.”

Right. No idea why he blurted that.

Well, maybe one idea. He desperately needed her to stand. To move away, before he lost his mind and did something insane and necessary, like pull her closer.

She looked up at him. He forced himself to step away, he had to. Or his erection might have brushed her cheek.

And that would have been a disaster.

“Yeah. Um. You’re all banged up. We should get some antiseptic on those scrapes. Do you have a first aid kit?”

She said nothing so he glanced at her. That she was staring at his crotch sent a bolt of lightning through him. Her tongue peeped out and she lifted her gaze. He could have sworn he saw something simmering there. He tried mightily to ignore it.

Surely it wasn’t what he thought. Imagined. Ached for.

“Do you? Have a first aid kit?”

She shook her head. “I have no idea.” Nearly a whisper.

“I’ll call the concierge.” This was a penthouse suite. Surely there was a concierge. “Why don’t you go…um, clean up and I’ll call down for something.”

She stood slowly, holding his gaze. Something about her, her energy, her intensity, had shifted. It made him antsy. It made him restless. It made him hungry. She turned around—his heart sank—but then she said, softly, with a tentative quiver to her voice, “Could you unzip me?”

Holy. Fuck.

She peeped at him over her shoulder. Her eyes, so beautiful and blue, bore into his. “I can’t do it myself.”

He was certain she could. She was a grown woman. She’d been dressing—and undressing—herself for years. But he couldn’t refuse. Not when she asked so politely. “S-sure.” Hopefully she missed the stutter.

She could not have missed the fact that his fingers shook as he tried to grasp the tiny teardrop at the top of her zipper. Why the fuck did it have to be so tiny? It took forever for him to make the long journey down her spine, partly because the damn zipper kept catching and partly because he really wanted to savor the journey. As it advanced, more and more of her creamy skin was exposed. He wanted nothing more than to place his palm on her, to stroke her. To feel the heat of her skin against this.

But she’d asked him to unzip her. Not make a move.

It was a damn good thing he’d developed indomitable willpower as a SEAL. Denying himself things crucial to his being—air, water, food—was par for the course in their training.

This was by far the most difficult denial of all.

When he reached the bottom of the zipper, when a hint of a crease at the base of her spine was exposed, he stepped back. Though it cost him. “There,” he said.

Jesus, God. He was going to heaven for this.

He fucking better.

His restraint was nothing short of a penance.

But then…

Holy God.

But then…she shifted her shoulders and the scrap of material drifted to the floor. She shot another glance at him, something that was too much of an invitation to be misunderstood or misconstrued, and, wearing nothing but her skimpy bra and panties, padded into the bathroom.

 Get it now:  http://www.amazon.com/Hot-SEALs-Guard-Kindle-Worlds-ebook/dp/B0134EZ9AY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1438372525&sr=1-1&keywords=guard+dog+by+sabrina+york


More about Sabrina:

Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy to scorching romance. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Get updates and alerts from Sabrina here: HotSheet Sign Up.

Sabrina’s Military Romance Titles!

Stone Hard SEALs (Action-Packed Military Romance Duet)

Sterling’s Seduction (Elite Metal Collection)

Tarnished Honor (The Incomparables: Heroes of Waterloo)

Whipped—in the WTRAFSOG Collection #8  

Recent releases from Sabrina York

Heartbreak on a Stick (Contemporary Romance)

Pool Man

The Real McCoy—in the Cowboy 12 Pack

Come Hell or High Water—12 Alarm Cowboys

Amazon Reviews: Proceed With Caution

beautykingdomGood morning, Dear Readers!  It’s a beautiful day here in sunny South Carolina.  I do hope it’s sunny and warm where you are.  I thought I’d begin this latest rant (yes, brace yourself.  it’s going to be a rant.) with an exclamation of how excited I am to see the newest chapter in A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice for those that might not know)’s Beauty series.  If you know anything about me at all you know that part of the reason I do what I do is because of the original Beauty trilogy (don’t worry, I’m going to put a link up later so you can get them for yourself). If you’ve read my novel Beast of Burden, you probably recognize that I was very much influenced by Rice.

I read the original Beauty Trilogy for the first time at probably twelve or thirteen years old.  I smuggled them out of my sister’s room (sorry, Lucy Blue) and read all three in a weekend.  They opened my eyes to a world of not just kinky sex (I already had a rudimentary knowledge of sexy stuff at that point) but to a world where the act of reading was actually a sensual experience.  With every word in those books I was shocked, delighted, aroused and utterly intoxicated.  By words.  The descriptions of the people and places and experiences are so visceral and those images have stayed with me all these years.  I owe Ms. Rice a tremendous debt of gratitude.  She made me a reader, a writer and a woman in that single weekend with just under a thousand pages of text.  Since then I’ve read those books all the way through at least a dozen times.  I had to purchase a new set a few years ago because the ones I had were missing pages and the covers were torn.  I consider them to be my personal reference.  When I’m writing an erotic book and I get lost, I read Beauty’s Punishment (my favorite of the trilogy) so that I can remember that erotic stories are not just about sex, but about the people and the story.  The words. Nowhere in those books does anyone talk about dripping wet love holes. Nor does the dialogue make you cringe.  (“I fuck.  Hard.”  What?!!)  The world in which Beauty and her companions exist is a world where sexual slavery is not only accepted, but longed for.  It’s a symbol of status.  Therefore, there are no silly contracts or instructions on how to properly flog your sub. Rice has no interest writing a BDSM instruction manual or a treatise on how to properly engage in an abusive relationship.  It’s a FANTASY.  It seems with all the erotic fiction out there, we’ve forgotten that these are FANTASIES that are supposed to entertain and titillate.  Not inspire a lifestyle.  But I digress…

Now comes the rant.

I was reading the Amazon reviews of the new book, Beauty’s Kingdom, this morning when I got to work.  I plan to go and get my copy this weekend, but I was curious as to what others were saying.  They were all pretty positive, but I’m having a hard time believing any of them.  NONE of the reviewers on that first page had ever read the first books.  NONE.  One of them claimed that “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty” came out in 1999.  Another said that she hadn’t read the originals because she didn’t think that they would be her cup of tea, but she got an ARC of this and thought what the hell. I get the distinct impression that all of these folks picked it up and thought, “I wonder if this is as good as 50 Shades?”  Which just cuts me to the core for a number of reasons that I’m sure you can guess based on past posts.  The reason why this is annoying to me is because what I really want to know is— will Beauty’s Kingdom stand up alongside the original trilogy?  Is it edgy and sexy and dripping with raw sensuality like the originals?  None of these folks who I’m sure are very intelligent people could tell me because they hadn’t done their research.  And if they’re getting ARCs, then they aren’t just the “average reader” anymore.  They’re a pro reviewer, for lack of a better term.  The “average reader” is looking to them for guidance before they spend the money.  They have a responsibility, in my opinion.  It would be like Roger Ebert reviewing Star Wars after only having watched the last fifteen minutes.

At any rate, despite the purist rage, I’m really excited to get my copy of Beauty’s Kingdom in a couple of days.  I’ll be sure to post my review here when I’m done AND on Amazon.  If for no other reason, then I believe in supporting authors– even superstars like Anne Rice.  And I wouldn’t be a true indie author if I didn’t remind you…

HEY!  If you like erotic retellings of fairy tales, try Beast of Burden by Alexandra Christian!  Don’t believe me?  Try an excerpt…

***********

His words were cut short by another booming of thunder so loud it echoed off the stone walls, throwing the oil lamp tobeastofburden_original the floor at his feet. Without care for who he was or how he frightened her, Sascha leapt from the bed and threw herself into his arms. At first he was paralyzed with shock, having no idea how to react to this sudden change. After a few moments of her sobbing into his shoulder, he found himself wrapping his arms around her protectively.

“It’s alright,” he soothed. “You’re safe.”

“No I’m not,” she cried. “I’m as unsafe as any one girl could possibly be. Locked up in this castle without a soul that I know. A slave that has no idea what to do or say!” She burst into another torrent of sobs that left her shuddering against him. In a swift movement, he lifted her into his arms and carried her to the chaise by the fire.

The embers had burned low, but still offered some illumination and warmth. He cradled her body against his, tucking her head under his chin. “You’ve nothing to fear, little one,” he purred into her ear softly. “No harm will come to you here.”

“I wish I could believe you, My Lord,” she sniffled.

“Why can’t you?”

She hesitated, the words catching in her throat. How could she tell him how he frightened her? How the slightest glance from him brought terror and arousal in one crushing wave. It was too humiliating and shameful to admit. “I just…I mean…you…”

“Are you afraid of me, Sascha?” He asked this question so matter-of-factly that she nodded before she could stop herself. She blushed deeply and he chuckled. “Put your mind at ease, girl. I promise that it’s not my intention to hurt you.”

They sat on the chaise for several minutes, neither one speaking. The only sounds were the crackling of the fire and the storm raging beyond the walls. Finally, Sascha stared up at her new Master and realized the absurdity of their situation. “My Lord?”

“Cianan.”

“What?” She looked up at him, clearly confused.

“My name. Cianan. Anyone who awakens me in the middle of the night should call me by my given name.” He smiled warmly then tensed again. “But only here.”

Sascha nodded. “Cianan,” she began, her voice still trembling. “Why are you suddenly being so kind to me?”

“You thought me unkind before?” She could only stare at him. “Perhaps I can be a little rough around the edges,” he admitted. “I never meant to be unkind. I beg your pardon if it seemed so.” She seemed to accept this and their silence resumed. She relaxed into his embrace and he sighed, relieved she wasn’t going to run. He inhaled deeply, taking in the scent of her, committing it to memory. Every breath made him believe in her more and more. She was his mate and he would do everything he could to convince her of that fact. “I can feel more questions burning on your tongue, little one.”

Sascha blushed again. “Well…I was wondering…the library…”

“What about it?” His jaw tensed.

“Might I borrow a book? I like to read,” she asked nervously. She kept her eyes trained on the flames before her, not wanting to see any anger on his face. “And I noticed you had a beautiful library.”

“As I’ve told you, you may go anywhere within the castle grounds you like…”

“Except for the cellar,” she finished. “But why not there?” This was the real question that burned on her tongue. The greatest mystery that had grown in her mind.

“It is none of your affair,” he answered stiffly, moving her carefully aside and standing by the fireplace. “It’s my place and you are never to enter. Do you understand?” His eyes flashed with a sudden fury and Sascha cowered.

“Of course, My Lord,” she replied, her eyes cast downward. “I will respect your wishes.”

He looked down at her, trying to smile reassuringly. “Of course you will.” The clock on the other side of the room struck the hour and Sascha yawned. “We should get you into bed lest you be exhausted in the morning.”

“And what should I expect in the morning?” she asked, allowing him to help her to her feet and lead her toward the bed. “Shall I report to the kitchens or the stables?”

He looked puzzled. “Neither.” He pulled back the covers and gestured for her to climb into the bed.

She obeyed and continued. “Well… I was sent here as your slave. But looking around me and the clothes given for me to wear, I just can’t figure what my duties should be.”

“To do whatever I require,” he answered simply, tucking the coverlet around her body. “And right now I require that you sleep.” He turned to leave, but was stopped with her hand on his arm.

“Couldn’t you just stay with me, My Lord?”

He raised his eyebrow. “Of course not. It wouldn’t be appropriate…”

“Please,” she pleaded. “Just until I’ve gone to sleep.” Her eyes looked past him to the window where the wind and rain still pounded at the stone walls. “Storms frighten me so.”

He sighed, defeated by her eyes again. He looked around and pulled a chair from the other side of the room to her bedside and sat down. “It seems that of the two of us, I am more slave to you.”

And so it begins…

MystiConWell, Con season is upon me once again.  That magical time when myself and author Tally Johnson take off to make our public appearances in the hopes of winning friends and influencing people.  Our convention year always begins with my personal favorite southeast convention– MystiCon in Roanoke, VA.  It started out as a reboot of a smaller convention the first year we went but has now grown to monumental proportions.  As in, if you don’t have your tickets yet– too bad.  They’re already sold out for the weekend.

MystiCon is pretty special to me.  The first time I applied, I was super-excited to get accepted because Roanoke, VA has familial connections for me.  My mother was from Salem which is about 15 miles outside of Roanoke.  We used to visit my grandmother there at least once a month when I was a child.  Whenever we went to the mall Christmas shopping or out to dinner– we usually drove into Roanoke.  In fact, the hotel where the convention is held– we drove past it countless times.  The mall where we would always go shopping with my gran is less than a block down the road.  Some of my best memories were made there in Roanoke.  So that’s why I’ll always be faithful to MystiCon.  It’s like going home.

Another reason to go is the people.  Tally and I have made so many amazing friends through the con circuit and we don’t get to see them too often.  So MystiCon is just this big party where we get to hang with our friends we never see.  Mark Davis, Gail Z. Martin, Christina Stiles, Andy Deane and the Bella Morte gang, and countless others will be on hand not just to share their knowledge on panels or sell their wares– they’ll be there to reconnect with friends and make new ones.  That’s the best part of convention season.

So, if you’re in the area and are planning on coming to MystiCon this year, stop over and see me.  I’d love to say hi, hang out and have a write-in or just have a drink.  And of course, I will have books for sale.  Here is my schedule:

Friday, 2/27:     10pm:  Iron Author

Saturday, 2/28:   10am: The Weird South

                             7pm: Author Readings (sexy edition)

10pm: Broad Universe Rapid Fire Readings (horror edition)

Sunday, 3/1:        11am: How to Get Rejected (I’m expert at this one.)

                              1pm: Say What???

COVER REVEAL: Wine Service by Zenobia Renquist

It’s a very exciting day here at The Southern Belle from Hell!!  One of my favorite erotic authoresses is taking over the blog today to reveal the cover of her delicious new book, Wine Service.  Mmmm… two of my favorite things, wine and steamy romance.  So get ready for….

PC1_WineService-400x600

She offers satisfaction above and beyond what is requested.

 Lexie’s job as a housekeeper at a five-star hotel doesn’t normally include the unique and risqué form of room service that important hotel guest Mr. Malena has requested, nor the generous tip he’s offered. Lexie can’t resist, and what should have been a one-time thing turns into an introduction into the sensual world of customer satisfaction. She finds much enjoyment in her “work,” but is it worth risking her job?

About Zenobia…

Zenobia Renquist is an Air Force brat turned Air Force wife. She and her husband are owned by two demanding cats of the long-haired persuasion. Born in Europe and currently stationed in Hawaii, Zenobia has been traveling all her life. “Where are you from?” is not a question she likes to be asked but will usually answer Virginia, because it’s the one place that feels like home.

 Zenobia’s stories range from steamy to scorching and she writes whichever genre catches her interest at the time. When not coming up with ways to torture her characters, she enjoys knitting and crochet (both regular and Tunisian) as well as reading shoujo and yaoi manga.

 Learn More About Zenobia Renquist:

Website – http://zenobiarenquist.com

Blog – http://blog.dreneebagby.com/

Twitter – http://twitter.com/ZenobiaRenquist

Newsletter – http://ymlp.com/xgeusujygmgq

Facebook Fan Page – http://www.facebook.com/Author.DRBagby.ZRenquist

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2772093.Zenobia_Renquist

Goodreads Group – https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/139893-q-a-with-d-renee-bagby-zenobia-renquist

 

Forgive Me Somehow, Danielle Steele

CLICK ME to buy!

CLICK ME to buy!

In case there’s someone out there who didn’t know, my big sis, Lucy Blue, is a much better writer than me.  So much better that I’ve let her take over my blog today to talk about her new release, Alpha Romeo.  It’s a scintillating tell-all book written in the style of a Hollywood memoir.  Think about it this way– it’s the book about Angelina Jolie that you’ve always wanted to read.  Lucy herself describes the book as being  throwback to the old Danielle Steele/ Sidney Sheldon days.  Anyway, today she’s taking over to talk about how she came to write Alpha Romeo and why it’s such an important book for her. 

***********

When I was a teen-ager, my mother’s favorite writer was Danielle Steele.  It was one of the many things we fought about.  “Those books are just garbage,” I would tell her.  “They all have the same stupid, melodramatic plot.  The characters are paper dolls.  They read like the back of a cake mix.  You read Thomas Hardy for fun, for heaven’s sake.  How can you read that crap?”

                As I recall, her defense usually ran along the lines of different strokes for different folks.  But if I’d been particularly obnoxious, she might point out that she couldn’t understand how her beautiful daughter could enjoy “sickness” like Stephen King and Anne Rice, either, but she still loved me.

                As I got older and started writing fiction of my own, she read every word I wrote.  She was what that sicko Stephen King would call my “first reader,” and she praised it all, even the stuff outside her comfort zone, even the stuff I never finished.  She encouraged me every step of the way, and when I sold my first book, a horror opus about vampires, consumptive whores, and Shakespeare, no one could have been more proud.

                Mama’s health was never great, but about ten years ago, she took a definite turn for the worse.  I was in the midst of writing about medieval vampires for Pocket Books.  I actually made my first draft deadline for The Devil’s Knight during a two-week leave of absence I had taken from my day job to take care of her after her second open heart surgery.  I don’t remember ever having the conscious thought to write a “Mama book.”  I was very happy with my vamps.  But right around that same time, reading a tabloid account of a celebrity divorce, I got the idea for Scarlett Cross, a movie star who’s been haunted her whole life by the violent death of her mother.  I started writing about her in first person, a technique I hadn’t used for anything but short stories since college, because that was just how she came out of my head.

                There are no supernatural monsters in Scarlett’s world.  Maybe at that point in my life, the real world seemed a lot scarier than any horror I could think up.  Maybe I lost the knack for believing in fairies and witches and vamps for a while.  I know I made Scarlett a movie star to keep the fantasy, to keep that distance–the same reason, I suspect, that all of Danielle Steele’s heroines in those days were fashion models and lady business magnates and the daughters of Russian nobility.  Those women go through hell, but they look fabulous doing it, and they never have to worry about stuff like money or bad plumbing (at least not after the first fifty pages).  I know for me at that time, the story of an ordinary woman watching her mother waste away was beyond my talent and strength.  But I could write the outlandish trials and tribulations of Scarlett Cross at lightning speed, wallowing in her pain.  I wrote her made-up memoir right alongside my paranormals, hundreds and hundreds of pages of her voice telling the lurid story of her life while my own life as I had always known it fell apart.

                And out of that came my latest book, Alpha Romeo, the story of Scarlett’s first love.  Mama passed away in 2008, years before my notebooks full of Scarlett gelled into anything like an actual book, but sections of that manuscript were the last of my writing she ever read.  “I love this one,” she told me.  “This one is you.  This is the one.”  And while I know my vamps are as much me as Scarlett, and I still think Danielle Steele’s writing kind of sucks, I love this story in a way I’ve never loved anything else I’ve written.  Because I know she would love it, not because her daughter wrote it, but because it’s her kind of book. 

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Our poor mother always wondered how she ended up with two daughters who liked to hide in a fantasy world.  I think it’s safe to say that we are exactly what she made us. Here’s more about the book:

If the tabloids only knew.

Scarlett Cross is the classic Hollywood princess. Daddy is a movie star; Mama was a supermodel murdered when Scarlett was only four years old. Now she’s eighteen pretending to be younger for the sake of her father’s image and starting her own career as the muse of a famous European auteur. But bad boy actor Romeo Kidd is everything she’s ever wanted. He makes her feel safe and loved and wanted for the first time in her life, and she’ll do anything to keep from letting him go.

If Alpha sounds like your kind of book too, you can click the image above and zoom right over to buy it!  It’s also available from Purple Sword Publications and All Romance if you prefer a different format.  They also have nifty-neato excerpts so you can test drive first!! 

Vacation!!

feetYes, boys n’ ghouls, its that time of the year again.  Time for your old pal Lexxx to get away from it all and go on a fabulous vacation!  I’m so lucky because I belong to a family that considers a week-long family vacation to be of utmost importance.  Each year we take off:  myself, my Tally, my 2 sisters, their husbands, my niece and my daddy, and take a trip to the most beautiful of all coastlines.  North Myrtle Beach, SC is quite possibly the most perfect vacation destination for a southern belle like me.  It has miles of wide, soft sandy beach, blue water, sunshine, monuments to redneck culture— it has it all.  Historically, this is also a great writing week for me.  I get totally relaxed and the floodgates open up.  If I don’t finish a great WIP, then I usually make good progress or start something new.  So I’m looking forward to that! Anyway, I thought I’d say a few words as to what will make it perfect for me.

Essentials for the perfect beach vacation:

1.  A fantastic book.  Or 10.  I always take a few books and my Nook with me to read on the beach.  Incidentally, the first Ellora’s Cave book I ever read was lying on North Myrtle Beach.

2.  A drink.  Traditionally, the week of my family vacation is the only time I really  indulge in the spirits.  Most of the time you’ll see me lying on the beach or sitting in the sun with a red solo cup in hand, imbibing something cold and fruity.

3.  A notebook and/or laptop.  I have to write.  Its some kind of imperative, so I’ll be sure to take some writing implements with me.

4.  A perfect swimsuit.  In case you haven’t seen my picture, I’m not Angelina.  I am not what one might call “bikini worthy.”  However, I’ve got it where it counts and I like to flaunt it.  This year I bought two amazing swimsuits that are perfectly pinup.  They look fantastic and I can’t wait to strut it out on the beach.  And as I always say, if you’re self-conscious about how you look in a swimsuit, follow this simple procedure.  A) Walk out on the beach and find the inevitable “speedo guy” with the back hair so thick he looks like he’s wearing a shirt.  B) Pitch your umbrella beside him.  Trust me… you’ll be the belle of the ball.

Alright, I’m off, kittens!  Don’t forget to miss me!  And if you need a scrumptious, sinful summer read, I think I can help you out. As always, click the link and discover something new!  Love yas!