Happy Holidays

Winter is upon us and there is nothing like a cozy blanket, a warm drink, and a good book to help you survive.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mabon

Last Night was Mabon, the celebration of the Autumnal Equinox. From now on there is going to be more starlight than sunlight.

How do you intend to spend your dark hours? Reading? Television? Dancing? Sleeping?

The next big celebration is Samhain, Halloween, the night when the veil between the world of the living and realm of the spirits is at its thinnest. What are your plans?

Come see the spirits at play in my new story Spirit Board, due for release on NOOK, Kindle, and Smashwords on October 11th.

More details soon!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Meet Darlene

I'm scrambling to make a deadline and my dear friend Darlene Henderson has stepped forward with a blog for me. The sweet tea is ready and because the kids went apple picking today I have warm apple turnovers to go with it. Enjoy the refreshments and meet Darlene. 

Dog Day Afternoons


Since I've been writing, I think the question I've been asked the most is where do I get my ideas.  Rather than saying, the voices in my head of course, I tell them the ideas come from everywhere.  My story Always a Bride started with a billboard for a bridal fair.  My next story, Dog Day Afternoons wasn't quite so easy in coming to mind.  I'd long thought about writing a story about a heroine who meets her teen idol and they fall in love.  My publisher sent out a call for stories with dogs.  How oh how was I going to work a dog into the story I had.  My friend Jillian Chantal suggested an errant dog bringing them together.  One thing led to another and my story was born.  It was a fabulous story to write.  I was so in love with my hero it was like dating someone new.  Well that story was over and I was needing something new to write and had a few things started but not the right thing.  (See me really saying "I have ADD and am easily distracted and like new and shiny and don't finish things).  And the people from Dog Days kept hanging out in my head.  So where next?  Off to Scotland for the wedding.  So now I have a whole new former Scottish rock star to crush on while I write.  So where do I get my ideas?  From billboards, from friends, from the last story, from everywhere.  



http://amzn.to/TQV2E6


http://amzn.to/RNXr1R

~*~

Since I began serving refreshments, I've had several requests for the recipes. Here is the recipe I use for Apple Turnovers. I use Pillsbury Crescent Rolls Dough. (My pastry dough leaves a lot to be desired, like edibility for one thing.) However, if you are a good pastry baker, you may want to substitute your own dough.

Apple Turnovers


2 C peeled, finely-chopped apples
1/3 C natural sugar
2 TBSP flour (coconut flour if you have it)
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
Dash nutmeg 
Two cans refrigerated Pillsbury crescent rolls (They work much better than the store brand.)

Glaze:
1/2 C powdered sugar
2 to 3 tsp water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together first 5 ingredients; make sure apples are well-coated. Separate dough into 16 triangles. Spoon about 1 rounded TBSP of apple mixture into the center of each. Fold 3 corners of dough over the filling, and pinch together. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min. Remove from pans to cool. Combine glaze ingredients and mix till smooth. Drizzle over warm rolls. 

If you don't want to glaze them, just shake some powdered sugar over the top or a cinnamon & sugar mix.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Observance of 9-11

Today was the eleventh anniversary of 9-11 and NBC aired an interview with a "reality star" rather than observing a moment of silence. A "reality star" that I've only heard of from reading the headlines on tabloids while standing in line at the grocery store. (My bad, because the only reality shows I watch are The Amazing Race, So You Think You Can Dance, and Project Runway, and I don't consider them "reality" shows.)

What is more real than the sights we were horrified to observe on the Today Show, Good Morning America, and whatever CBS called their morning show eleven years ago today?

Shame on NBC.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Traditional versus Indie Publishing by Heather Peters

The tea is brewing and a fresh batch of blueberry muffins just came out of the oven. My good friend Heather Peters has just stepped into the Spell Room and wants to dish about her adventures in Indie Publishing. Pull a chair up to the table and have a cup while Heather shares. (The butter will melt right into the muffin.)

Traditional versus Indie Publishing
Heather Peters

I've been writing for nearly twenty years, as have most of you out there.  I began creating on my Commodore 64 (remember those dinosaurs?) in the late 80's, after devouring mostly historical romances.  After I began reading contemporary Harlequins, Silhouettes, etc., I knew I wanted to write my own love story with a HEA.
It took me nearly two years to finish my 60 thousand word contemporary novel. Now it was off to submit it to traditional publishers, mainly Harlequin. Of course, I was rejected, repeatedly. I became so discouraged that after a few years, I gave up and put my book on the shelf to gather dust, got myself a day job, and that was that.
Forward to 2006.  E-book publishing became so prevalent I couldn’t ignore the fact that my dust filled type written 210 page novel was languishing on my book shelf. I decided to clean it up and submit it as an e-book to a very reputable e-publisher. Success! They accepted it, and in 2010, Secret Dreams I signed a 7-year contract (a very bad decision on my part) and ignored my naiveté.  Hey, let's face it, I was assigned my own editor, received an awesome cover, and given a $100 advance. Happy did not describe my emotions at the time. I mistakenly thought that I was on my way to some big bucks.
Ah, no, not really.  To make a very long story short, my delusions of grandeur became reality shortly after. In nearly two years since the release of SD, I've never made back the $100 advance from this particular e-book pub, and although I have five other e-books out there, I've never been able to clear more than several dollars royalties on any of them.  After a few years and maybe enough royalties to buy myself a couple of 'treats', I've grown weary and very disillusioned by the traditional e-pubbing world. I haven't submitted to an e-publisher since 2010.
Forward again to June, 2012.  With rumors looming that the e-pub I submitted SD to was suffering from negative financial problems, I decided to write indie for the first time, and completed a two novella sports romance anthology, the first in a trilogy.
I had nothing to lose. So with the help of my critique partner and other friends, I learned how to download my book onto Amazon and Createspace, hired a cover artist, an editor and voila, I became an independent author!
I loved the fact that Amazon provided a bigger percentage of units sold and also, five free downloads within a 90-day span. My first free weekend, I received 3100 downloads and the week after that, I sold 82 books. I'm very proud of those numbers, and I am aiming to go even higher with each book I independently publish.
I've averaged sales of two books a day since June 30th. No, not a flood of sales, but I have to tell authors out there:  every second since I published Playing for Keeps/Body Check has been fun, enjoyable and totally, entirely worth it.  The cost of editing and a cover artist was under $200, and I've nearly made that back in 8 weeks.
I no longer have to surrender my work to anyone but myself.  I don’t have to worry if the traditional e-pub is going to survive or thrive. I was never happy with the editing of Secret Dreams, because I believe my editor and I had completely different ideas about my characters, but I went along with it, which I regret to this day.
To date, I've sold 130 indie books in exactly 2 months, compared to selling under 100 books in two years among three different traditional e-book publishers (with virtually pennies in royalties).
Suffice to say, I'm having fun, and don’t have to worry about failing traditional e-pubs.  I love to  promote/cross promote/share my books with other wonderful authors out there, receive invaluable advice from friends on how to make indie pubbing a success, and  have joined wonderful groups/blogs where the members help get their books out there to the masses.
Indie publishing IS the future, and I'd like to add a post script regarding the traditional pub that published Secret Dreams, Surrender and Best  Laid Plans:  I have requested my rights back with multiple,  requests, to no avail.  Now, my work will be held hostage while I wait another five years to retain my rights.  Deciding to self publish has been the best decision I've ever made.    
            If anyone would like to contact me, and talk about indie publishing, I'd love to share thoughts.
My website:  www.heatherpetersauthor.vpweb.com
Facebook:  Heather Peters

Hi! It's Liberty, again. Heather was too shy to mention but Book 2 in her Sports Series is due to be released this fall. Here is a sneak preview of her new cover designed by  http://stanzalonedesign.weebly.com/book-covers.html
be sure to keep an eye out for it.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Jillian Chantal's Hot Pursuit

I am truly blessed with good friends. Today Jillian Chantal is dropping in for a spell. Her new book Hot Pursuit is being released on September 6th by Ellora's Cave. It is part of the Blush line. 

Jillian, I have the tea brewing in the pot, please entertain our guests while I remove the scones from the oven.


Many, many thanks to the lovely Liberty for inviting me over to chat a bit today. Now I know she likes to impart tidbits of wisdom on her blog, so I'm going to endeavor to give a little something to the writers who read this post. It may be a very little something, but anyway, here goes. Let's talk a bit about naming characters. I'm a huge fan of giving my characters names that mean something. I even have some baby name books and one super resource called Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Every once in a while, though, inspiration comes from elsewhere. In my novel, Hot Pursuit, for example, Cecil is the hero and Evangeline is the heroine. If I'd used my sourcebook, I probably wouldn't have chosen these two names. Cecil means blind and I guess it could fit this character as he seems blind to everything but his quest. Evangeline means bringer of good news and this doesn't fit her at all. I mean, really, she's a lawyer- what good news could she bring? - "Oh, yeah, hey, you've been sued." Yeah, right.

Anyway, let's get past all that and let me tell you another fun way to grab names for characters. I travel a lot. When I travel by car, I pay a lot of attention to the road. I also notice signs along the way as well as exits. Once when I was driving to Atlanta, I read an exit sign near Montgomery. It was for two towns. One called Cecil and one called Waugh. I jotted them down as they sounded cool. Later on the road on the same trip, I noticed an exit in Georgia that had Senoia and Griffin on it. Jotted those down, too.

About six months later, I was heading down I=75 from Atlanta to Tallahassee and saw an exit for two towns called Ocilla and Sycamore. Fast forward about a year and a half. I decided to write Evangeline's story and used Cecil Waugh as the hero's name, Senoia Griffin as the name of the heroine's client and you'll have to read the book to find out exactly who Ocilla Sycamore is.

As to Evangeline's name, I have a friend named Rita Van Fleet who suggested I write a story about an all-female law firm. I wasn't too sold on the idea at first but after I started it, I decided it was a pretty fabulous jumping off point. So, in honor of her and another friend of mine named Evangeline who goes by Van, I named the heroine Evangeline (Van) Fleet. So, you see, there's inspiration all around for great character names. Go out and find some!

As I read this over, I realized I over-used the word name, but what's a girl to do? What other name for name is there?

Van and Cecil's story is called Hot Pursuit and it truly is a chase across the globe.

BLURB:

Blush sensuality level: This is a sensual romance (may have explicit love scenes, but not erotic in frequency or type).

Racing across the globe to help a client isn’t part of corporate lawyer Evangeline Fleet’s normal legal services, but this is no ordinary client. She’s the beloved daughter of an old family friend. In her efforts to save the girl, Evangeline gets in over her head when sexy Interpol agent Cecil Waugh enters the picture in hot pursuit of her client. He follows the lawyer on an international chase from New York City to Rio de Janeiro where they forget their differences for a moment and fall into bed together. Before the sheets can even cool Evangeline makes a daring escape, leaving behind her lover.

Relentless in his quest to find Evangeline’s client, Cecil continues the chase across Europe. But it soon becomes unclear who his main target is—Evangeline’s charge, or the spitfire of a woman herself. Only time will tell how hot this pursuit will become.

Book video:

EXCERPT:

An Excerpt From: HOT PURSUIT
Copyright © JILLIAN CHANTAL, 2012
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
Barbara buzzed Evangeline’s office. Van was on the floor on her ab cruncher, dressed in a pair of black leggings and a sports bra. “Hang on, I’m across the room,” she yelled in the direction of the speaker. She rose, walked to her desk and picked up the headset. “Yeah. What? It’d better be a Federal judge or something. You know it’s my workout time.” She tapped her toe, impatient to get back to her exercise.
“Not a judge but an Interpol agent. On the phone. He insisted I interrupt you.”
“Barb, who do you work for? Me or that guy?”
“You.”
“Well, then. What’re you going to tell him?”
“That you can’t be interrupted?”
“See, that was easy, yeah?”
“Yeah, boss. Should I get his number?”
“Tell him I’ll call him back in thirty minutes. What’s his name?”
“Cecil Waugh.”
Van doubled over in laughter and held on to her stomach. “Oh God, what would a Cecil Waugh look like? A nerd in taped-up horn-rimmed glasses with his pants belted under his armpits and a pen protector in his shirt pocket?”
“You’re terrible.” Barbara snickered.
“And you love me for it.” Van laughed.
“Yeah, right. I’ll tell him you’ll call back.”
“Thanks.” Van hung up and finished her workout. She took a quick shower in her private bathroom. She dried her hair, curling under the ends of her pageboy cut and put on a red merino-wool pantsuit for the depositions she had scheduled for later in the morning. The suit was double breasted with three large buttons on an asymmetrical bodice. She slid on her red patent-leather stiletto pumps with the pointy toes, the ones she called her Wicked Witch of Manhattan shoes. She wanted to look especially tough since the lawyer on the other side was from Miami and had a reputation as a real asshole. She thought she might need to use the pointed toes on his butt. Kick some ass, as it were.
Van nodded at herself in the mirror. Yep, the red is the right choice. Makes me feel more powerful. And it doesn’t hurt that it looks good on me. She grinned over her vanity, pinned on a white topaz broach, flattened the collar of the suit jacket and walked to her desk, ready for the day’s challenges.
Before she could take her seat, her phone buzzed again and Barbara said, “That Waugh guy—”
Van yelled into the speaker, “What? The nerd with the pocket protector on the phone again? He sure is an impatient little nerd, isn’t he?”
“Er. Not exactly, boss—”
Van’s door burst open and banged backward on the jamb. A gorgeous man with dark hair hanging over his brow, dressed in khakis and a polo shirt that showed off his toned biceps, strode into her office. There was no sign of a pocket protector anywhere on the man. He said, “Cecil Waugh, Interpol.” He thrust his hand toward her as if to shake hers.
Ignoring his hand, furious that he’d come into her office uninvited, gorgeous or not, she said, “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Barging in here?”
He dropped his outstretched hand to his side. “You didn’t call me back like your secretary said you would. I have a witness on the lam and you know where she is. I’m not a patient man, so I came over here to get some answers. Nerd that I am.” His gaze raked over her body with a sneer and he added, “Your secretary said you were too busy to come to the phone when I rang up earlier. Was that a lie? To avoid my call so you could keep hiding your client? Is obstructing justice a hobby with you?”
“You rude son of a bitch. I’m not sure you have any authority in this country and you certainly have none here in my place of business. I have no obligation whatsoever to tell you anything. I definitely have no obligation to take or return your call. I suggest you leave before I call security.” She sat in her chair and reached toward the phone.
“Look, I’m sorry I barged in but there’s some urgency to the situation. I’m not trying to be rude but I need to speak to Senoia Griffin. Now.
She glared at him. Held his stare for a full twenty seconds. Then, not breaking eye contact, she picked up the phone, pushed a button and said, “Leo, I need you in my office right now. I have an intruder.”
Cecil said, “All right, all right, damn, I’ll go. Call off your security dog. But this isn’t over. Not by a long shot. I’ll be back with a warrant. Soon.” He turned to walk out, stopped and looked back. He looked her up and down for the second time then turned toward the door.
She gasped at the audacity of the sneer he’d had on his face as his gaze raked over her. “Lots of luck with that warrant, buster. You’re in New York now. I think you’ll find that people here have rights. Now get out of here, you jerk.”
He stalked out of her office, the door slammed behind him, so hard it rattled in the frame. Again.
She got up and walked out into the secretarial area. Barbara stood there looking at the suite door and Van said, “Not so much a nerd, huh?”
Barbara shook her head. “I know I’m wet. God, what a man.”






Visit me on the web: www.Jillianchantal.com