Monday, June 22, 2009

The Paranormal Romance & the Normal Writer!

Welcome Kari,
With five books out with different publishers, my guest Kari Thomas is an expert on what's happening in paranormal romance. She's also an experienced reviewer and editor. First Kari, is it true you're descended from Scottish psychics? And how does that affect your writing?
(I promised not to ask about kilts.)
Lets just say can be very beneficial when you meet a sexy werewolf. I dont have to WONDER about what he's thinking! LOL!

Can a normal person write paranormal?
NOPE. You have to be completely insane. Why else would someone even ATTEMPT to write a paranormal without a bit of craziness in their thoughts? Hey! That just labeled me, didn't it?
Kari, have you always lived on the paranormal side?
If I answered that, I'd be in soooooooo much trouble!

How does writing about shapeshifters affect your day to day life?

I can't look at a dog or cat or any other animal without wondering: Shifter or normal? That's bad. Especially embarrassing when you catch yourself asking a pet owner : "So, does FiFi shift only at night, or does he do the day too?"

Paranoral romance has been so popular for so long? Do you think the end is in sight?
Say it isn't so! Can you imagine being an author who writes mainly in the Paranormal Romance Genre and one day reading that it's going the way of all "fads"? Well! I'm not going down without a fight! I'll fight to the end! I'll take no prisoners! I'll win the battle AND the war!
Oh. Wait a minute. I got carried away there. It's not that drastic. Yet. Ages ago when the Paranormal Romance popped up, publishers were a bit hesitant and skeptical. But readers quickly showed them there was a great yearning for this genre and a new age was issued in. It happened quick and became so popular there were suddenly thousands of books out there with this theme. Heroes were turning dark and wild. Readers no longer heard the word "Vampire" and went "Eeewwww!" Now, it's "Oh sigh, he can bite me anytime!" And don't get me started on those sexy Shapeshifters! Hairy or not, those heroes are definitely to "sigh/die" for!

Do you think there are too many Paranormal Romances on the Market?

Hey! Too many? Are you kidding? Tell that to a dedicated Book-a-holic and you'll get a fight.
Maybe, just maybe, there are a lot. But each book is unique, has its own special characters, and holds its own, in the Romance industry, against the other books. Publishers may complain they're getting too many Paranormal Romance submissions lately, but readers are still yelling: "Give me more!" There may come a time when those same readers are going to have to stand up and fight anyway (Hey, I'm so there!) but until then, we'll keep writing those sexy paranormal romances and they'll keep reading them. Gotta love that!

So, besides reading, tell me about your own paranormals and any Snoopy dancing moments.

HUNTED MATE won the Best Erotica 2008 Golden Rose Awards! That was a Snoopy Dance moment, to say the least, because there was a lot of great competition! It's released by Black Lyon and has a book video on YouTube. The hero is a Cat Shifter, and the model on the cover, Sean, is so perfect for Logan!

was a
Best seller in 2007 and still does great. Of course, its a Paranormal Romance, and the hero is another Cat Shifter, with the heroine as a Witch. With A Samhain book, it's now in both Print and Ebook and still receives a lot of great Reviews.

SEDUCING THE HERO is a contemporary with "a touch of magic" that adds humor as well as magic and LOTS of passion. It's Novella length, (approx 24,00 words) but is ALSO available in Print format at ; It's with and the Snoopy Dance moment there definitely was hearing that such a short book would be available in Print! Yay to Eternal Press & Amazon!

HER HEART, HIS SOUL (Book Strand) is a darker paranormal romance with Angel-Demons. I was so worried that because it was a bit different from the normal paranormal romance out there right now, that it wouldn't spark enough attention. BUT! I've received so many FANTASTIC Reviews! It comes out in Print in late August 2009 but is available in Ebook.
My latest is PREY FOR THE WOLF and will be out with Eternal Press in late October 2009. It's another Novella length and so will ALSO be available in Print as well as Ebook. The hero is a Wolf Shifter ---and one of the sexiest I've wrote to date! I will have the cover up on my website as soon as it's available.

All my books are available in Ebook and Print, which I'm so proud of! For more, about my current books check out my website

Anything new coming along you can tell us about?
Hmmm. How to answer that modestly....cause I wanna give hints! I'm working on my next Novel and it will probably be my longest length to date. Gotta hint that THIS ONE is going to be a SEXY, HOT, Paranormal Romance that will knock your socks off! (Smiling here) Okay, modestly, let's just say that I'm HOPING it will knock socks off.

Thanks, Kari, so much for visiting. I'd wave goodbye, but I'm holding on to my socks.
Thanks, and hugs,
Keep Reading! I'll keep Writing!

Here's a great deal. A chance to win twice! BOGOF: Buy one book from my list, send me the Proof of Purchase to and I will send you a FREE .PDF book of your choice from my list. TWO books for the price of one!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


This week's guest is romance author Skhye Moncrief. When I asked Skhye to be my guest I made the mistake of asking her to include her favorite reference book . It turned out to be like asking which chocolate in the box is her favorite. Oh well, she obviously likes reference books
as much as I do and has provided links to her reviews. Welcome Skhye.

Hi, Amber.
Okay, let's talk about writing. There's the actual act of writing, learning the craft of writing, blogging, networking with industry folks, schmoozing with readers, maintaining your website, marketing with an endless cycle of promoting your work, and don't forget your real life that is anything but self-cleaning and self-sufficient. Well, now you know why I write fiction--a pretty little world that I can control because that mountain of dirty dishes and laundry never disappears no matter how much I mine for control of chaos!

So, somewhere along the way I have to do research. Yes, even the gal who studied the eclectic hard science and soft science, geology and anthropology, has to reconstruct extinct cultures or build new planets teaming with political, economic, and ideological strife through research.

Remember, I said writing was all about control. ;) Ms. Polo asked me to give you a wee list of references that every paranormal reader might want to keep on hand. Some references may not apply to you based on the type of paranormal fiction you write. So, be patient with me. ;) I'm kind of OCD...


Here are a few medieval references that helped build my understanding of the way people thought in what became Europe. Of course, I took Medieval Literature and Renaissance & Reformation English Lit solely for research purposes. I wouldn't recommend that route with anyone who isn't ready for the challenge! But I want to stress that fantasies introducing new worlds tend to have worlds built upon medieval lifeways.

And you can't go wrong with a sweet bible of legend or myth, eh? Here are a few additional medieval reference books...

If you're working on a time travel set in a Christian world, invest in at least one used copy of anything dealing with Christian mythology. Yes, I said mythology.

MEDICINE AND SOCIETY IN LATER MEDIEVAL ENGLAND (a great place to get a feel for the view of early medicine)

You'll also need something defining and labelling castle anatomy. Medievals have castles and readers connect with the terminology like THE ANATOMY OF A CASTLE.

Don't forget to learn the terminology for warfare. One excellent source is THE DICTIONARY OF ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL WARFARE.

THE HISTORY OF HELL comes in just as handy when dealing with a Christian culture. It's a wonderful challenge to pit a paranormal character against a Christian in historicals. ;)

Lastly, You can really see the way Christianity evolved and controlled people by reading ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HERESIES AND HERETICS's entries, . Just jump from one entry to where they refer you to a similar topic.

How does a writer characterize with astrology, something amazingly foreign to most of us in our scientific world? Well, astrology is built on thousands of years of symbolism passed down to the present. We've just distanced ourselves from it through ideological guidance and what most people don't refer to as ideology, science. The best thing you can do is to truly attempt to understand the pros and cons of each sign if you choose to work astrology into your wip. Try a few of these:

HOW TO SPOT A BASTARD BY HIS STAR SIGN (EXTREMELY entertaining, and look for the book about the female aspect) YOUR ASTROLOGY GUIDE TO COLORS (symbolism in color)
HANDBOOK OF CHINESE HOROSCOPES (this book combines eastern/western signs to really peg a person's personality) YOUR STARCHILD (signs during childhood because they change)

You will also need a book on western Sun signs. And don't discount how Western symbolism learned and dealt with through Tarot and Numerology in your quest to gain an understanding of what you're dealing with in a wip dabbling with astrology. Here are a few keepers to expand your understanding...

TAROT IN TEN MINUTES (meanings of the Major Arcana) THE MASTER NUMBERS (Oh my! This one pegged me to a T.) NUMEROLOGY. My favorite Tarot deck that helps me figure out just what is going on with Tarot is Lucy Cavendish's THE ORACLE TAROT. Ms. Cavendish wisely put one or two key words on each card to express the card's significance. You cannot go wrong trying to descry card meanings with this deck. And I love the fresh artwork.

Lots of books containing magic or spells show how astrology, Tarot, and numerology deal with the same information. The presentation just varies from basic numbers to vignettes of extravagent symbols, i.e. a picture on a Tarot card--worth a 1000 words... MAGIC FOR LOVERS.

The stuff paranormals are made of...
THE WITCH'S GUIDE TO FAERY FOLK (a resource to define the fairy you're working with)
DRAGONS: A NATURAL HISTORY (a place to start in determining the dragon you need)
MONSTERS: AN INVESTIGATOR'S GUIDE TO MAGICAL BEINGS (how to find, avoid, and deal with monsters of all types)
A FIELD GUIDE TO DEMONS, FAIRIES, FALLEN ANGELS, & OTHER SUBERSIVE SPIRITS (a guide written by two anthropologists where supernatural entities are differentiated between with habitats including the psyche!)
SLAYERS AND THEIR VAMPIRES (understanding how a person can venture into the forbidden world and not be labelled equally forbidden)
VAMPIRES, BURIAL, & DEATH (the bible to vampire studies)
ANGELS A TO Z (the dirt at your fingertips)
LIFE AFTER DEATH (the evolution of Western ideas about the afterlife)
TIME TRAVEL (what's been done and where time travel is going, plausibly)
SEX AND THE PARANORMAL (just in case you want your story to be a bit deeper)

To see what other reference books I've blogged about dealing with science, historical topics, the paranormal, cultural analysis, and writing, visit my blog.

Never leave a stone unturned. ;) Or a reader might hurl it at you!

Thanks to Amber for inviting me over to ramble. Most folks get all weird when I start spouting off reference titles. Yes, I realize I people have no idea what to do with the things I discuss. *chuckle* So, sharing was tons of fun.

I'm giving away a copy of THE SPELL OF THE KILLING MOON to one person who tells me what their favorite myth or historical reference book . Please leave a comment with the title, author's name, and why you like the reference book. Amber will draw the winner Sunday June 27th and post the name here. ~Skhye

The Spell of the Killing Moon offers the best of spine-tingling suspense. The setting is perfect... Moncrief’s ability to wield magic and emotion are without compare. Her words twist together emotions and visuals until you experience this tale as if the trap were set for you. Some lines blend a kind of poetic magic: “Moonlight wove a special kind of magic, a spell so vacillating that a person never knew if reality were anything other than a dream.” Darkness and premonitions and deadly intent fill these pages... a unique blend of mystic Medieval Gothic and romance…and a true blood-curdling thriller. 5 books" ~Snapdragon, LASR

Skhye Moncrief pushes the envelope by twisting legends to create new worlds where readers can fall in love beyond this reality. Her stories are available at The Wild Rose Press in e-format and print.

Contest Closed. Skhye will pick a winner!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Julie Wallace's Event Planning Tips

Welcome Julie Wallace, (writer, poet, editor, trainer, and event planner) Today, I’d like to pick your brain on planning an event.

First,, Julie, please tell us about your experience in planning programs and events.
I've worked on a variety of events from poetry readings to fashion shows to simple high school fund raisers. I also spent two years working for a large non-profit. Currently I work at a software company in sales, marketing, and training. And I've seen a lot of badly organized events, so I know what not to do! Being active in the Genealogical Society of Isabella County, however, has really given me the opportunity to wear many hats. I’ve used organizational and computer skills to compile a database of first families in the county, and also written all of the promotional pieces for our annual open house event.

How did your successful “Family History Detective Day” come into being?
Not long ago I dived into researching my family history and found a supportive group: the Genealogical Society of Isabella County, (MI). While the organization had enthusiastic members and had worked on a variety of projects, they were looking for a way to reach the community and share knowledge and resources. Someone suggested and open house and I volunteered to chair the event.. Our “Family History Detective’s Day” featured speakers, representatives from organizations, and prizes; it was a free event and open to the public. We had about fifty people attend – not bad for our first year. In four months the committee met, brainstormed, planned the event, and hosted it without any major catastrophes, and we’re getting ready to do another one this coming October 17. What are the most important pieces in planning an event?
Planning and promotion. You've got have a schedule and know who's going to be doing what and when. Spending time on the details will pay off on the day of the event. Then the actual event day, you don't have to worry. Your ability to control all of the details is gone, so you have to relax, and go with the flow of the day.

Promotion is crucial. Without it, you do not have people attending. And without people you have one sad event. So promotional ideas are perfect for brainstorming with the organizing committee. Get creative! Don't just stop at the local newspaper or radio stations and call it good. Get flyers out there at local businesses. You've got to reach people and entice them to attend. Check out Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies or The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Meeting & Event Planning for the basics.

Last week Deborah Schneider, who plans events for the King County (WA) Library System described Romance Extravaganza. If a group of authors wanted to do something like this, what advice would you give them?
Plan and promote. Pick a chairperson. Set your budget. Brainstorm and get creative. Have fun planning. I think the type of approach Deborah described could work for any genre - think about Crime & Punishment for mysteries/detectives/police stories), or Joke-A-Minute for a celebration of joke books. What about poetry readings or cooking demos? Hire local actors to dress & act as characters. Tie it in with other events happening around town, for example, 2009 is the 150th anniversary of Isabella County. There are many events scheduled throughout the year. The Genealogy Society is sponsoring two events this fall. First, there will be a Victorian Funeral Tea and Cemetery Walk. that features a fancy tea discussing Victorian Funeral customs; then participants stroll through a nearby cemetery and meet local actors dressed as ‘famous folk’ from the area who just happen to be buried in the cemetery. I’m also on the committee for the Historical Fashion Show, so we’ll be gathering authentic clothing from the past 150 years soon. How’s that for events for writers to love? I can feel historical romance plots thickening already!

Thanks for the tips and ideas to get authors thinking creatively. Besides events, Julie, what are you working on?
I’m writing a food-inspired memoir tentatively titled "Essays To Eat By." I'm becoming active in the online writing world, and would love to connect with other writers and editors.
Find me on Facebook and Twitter.
Photos: Genealogist Larry Noyes in costume as an undertaker, Julie Wallace (in red) at “Family History Detective’s Day”