Sunday, July 31, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Hey everyone. Hope you all are staying cool from the wicked heat. Who's curled up in the air conditioning with their eReader? #us. It's so hot in our neck of the woods, we're about to have a heat stroke. #seriously It's too hot.

We're here to announce the winner of Belinda Boring's Without Mercy eBook copy. Hmmm, who won?

First, as always, we want to thank everyone who stopped by and commented on our interview. We are thrilled to see Belinda has so many fans and loyal supporters. #youguysrock

Now, for the winner. We want to say a big congratulations to....

Lissette Martinez

We will contact Belinda with your infomation so she can get your copy to you.

Thanks again to everyone who stopped in. Be sure to come back Monday for our next interview and eBook giveaway.

Friday, July 29, 2011

PYN Review of Without Mercy


Without Mercy: A Mystic Wolves Novelette by Belinda Boring
Review written by Morgan Wylie
 
Blurb from the book:

What would you do if a simple errand takes a deadly twist, turning you from cautious prey to dangerous predator? 

When Darcy's outing takes a turn for the worst and tests her to the point of breaking, she struggles to maintain her humanity. Where loyalty and pack mean everything, she surrenders to the inevitable and only an act of complete trust can touch her. When all is said and done, with memories flooding her mind, Darcy holds tightly to the only thing that makes sense - it was all a dream. Or was it?


~~~

Without Mercy may be a novelette, but it is packed full from the very beginning with hints preparing us for hopefully more to come with the Mystic Wolves. I don’t want to give away too much, but it is full of intense emotions and suspense. Darcy, our heroine- who is also mated to the pack alpha, has a lot on her plate almost instantly and we see her struggle to deal with the way her situation unfolds. 

It’s a fast read, but this little gem definitely left me wanting more. I find the alpha in this story intriguing and delicious and I can’t wait to see more of Mason and Darcy’s relationship unfold. Belinda’s next novelette installment in the Mystic Wolves series is called Cherished. I am definitely a “wolf girl” (even though I love me some vampires- don’t get me wrong) and I will be keeping my eye on what Belinda Boring has in store for us in the hopefully near future.

Make sure to visit our interview with Belinda Boring, see what else she has in the works, her contact info, where you can find her book, AND comment for a chance to win!! Click HERE!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Diavolino Excerpt: A Guest Post by Steve Emmet

I’m often asked why I write about the paranormal. My response is that for me, a horror story simply doesn’t work unless it has a supernatural element. The things which make me shiver and pull the duvet tight around my neck are often no more than suggestions of something dark and threatening. Here’s an excerpt from my novel, Diavolino. I think my Catholic upbringing has a lot to do with it.

While millions across the world held it as a symbol of peace on earth,
Tom had always found St. Peter’s a malevolent structure. To him, the
great dome rising above Maderna’s fa├žade looked like the head of some
mythical demon, the colonnades, clawlike, outstretched to trap the
passing quarry.
Above the roof of the Apostolic Palace he sensed movement, something
dark in the air, like giant slicks of crude oil slithering in the
night sky. He wiped the sweat from his eyes and peered up again,
standing on tiptoes as if to get closer. The blackness was calling
him—a distant voice that he strained to hear above the shouting and
singing that came from the nearby fountains.
“Who are you?” Tom spoke to the sky. “What do you want with me?”
“Are you OK, sir?”
“What?”
“You don’t look well, sir.”
Tom looked at his side to see a young priest staring up at him.
“Are you OK?” the priest asked again.
Tom shook his head and glanced back to the sky above the palace.
“You won’t see His Holiness tonight, sir. Sunday. Sunday, he’ll be on
the balcony.”
“What?” asked Tom. “Yes, yes, I’m fine. Thank you. I’m fine. Sorry.”
“You need to be careful in this heat,” said the priest. “It can play
tricks on the mind. Good night.”
Yes, tricks on the mind. Tom felt all his energy drain away. His feet
were heavy and his head light. His clothes were soaked from the sweat,
and his eyes were stinging again. It was all he could do to drag
himself to Piazza Pio and collapse into a waiting taxi.
The ride was punctuated by moments of delirium; he took a brief call
from Elspeth somewhere along the way. It was hard to understand,
though, as if she spoke a language he only partially understood. Each
word he knew, but when they were put together, the significance was
lost.
Back in his room, he lay in a tepid bath and then took a cold shower.
Once again he found himself outstretched on the bed, unable to sleep.
That last call from Elspeth was preying on him. What was it she’d said
about Sima’s father?
It was a bit strange. He didn’t seem at all surprised or upset. He
just said that she needed him.
The Gulfstream was already on its way to Stansted. Tomorrow morning
Tom would meet Mohsen at Ciampino airport and take him to the Gemelli
Hospital. He fully understood Mohsen wanting to be with his daughter
at a time like this, but what did he mean by she needs me? Why hadn’t
he been shocked and upset at the news? Why wasn’t Homa coming with
him? The air conditioning hummed away, gently belching out waves of
cold air over Tom’s naked body. He didn’t find any of the answers. The
monster with the domed head and the huge claws carried him off into
the darkness before he had a chance.
~ * ~

Steve Emmett is a British author, born in Harrogate - the genteel Yorkshire spa town where Agatha Christie hid away from the world thirty-two years earlier. He studied at the prestigious Architectural
Association School of Architecture in London and built a few houses before going off the rails. He spent time in New York then returned to Yorkshire where, amongst other things, he served as an elected councilor.
He then moved back to London and worked in the real estate sector. For over twenty years he ran his own agency specializing in Italian country homes and, for almost ten years, lived by Lake Trasimeno in Umbria, the setting for Diavolino. Born at the end of the 1950s, Steve grew up on Dennis Wheatley novels and Hammer Horror films, and on many occasions started to put pen to paper.
Completely dissatisfied and unfulfilled with his career, Steve decided in 2009 that he wanted to write and began Diavolino. At the moment he is working on the sequel to Diavolino and a number of other horror projects. He has also recently launched an acting career, and is a reviewer for the New York Review of Books and Suspense Magazine. He currently lives with his partner and some rather large spiders in the Yorkshire Wolds, close to the ancient City of York.



Want to connect with Steve? You can find him at the following locations:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/emmett.steve

Diavolino is available from Amazon, Smashwords, Omnilit, B & N as well as he publisher's website: Etopia Press


Monday, July 25, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Belinda Boring

We are so excited to talk today with one of our favorite book reviewers turned author, the wonderful Belinda Boring, AKA Bookish Snob. She has a fangtabulous novella out, Without Mercy and she is going to be giving away a copy of it. Want to win it? Just leave us a comment below and you will be entered! Ready to learn about Belinda and her new book?

Tell us a little about your Without Mercy:
Without Mercy shares a story about Darcy, a female werewolf, and what happens when a simple errand takes a deadly twist, turning her from cautious prey to dangerous predator? Here’s a little bit of the blurb:

When Darcy’s outing takes a turn for the worst and tests her to the point of breaking, she struggles to maintain her humanity. Where loyalty and pack mean everything, she surrenders to the inevitable and only an act of complete trust can touch her. When all is said and done, with memories flooding her mind, Darcy holds tightly to the only thing that makes sense – it was all a dream. Or was it?

What inspired you to start writing?
In general, it was someone I trusted who asked me one day, “Belinda, have you ever thought about writing?” I laughed, told them I never would and here I am two years later published! LOL

For Without Mercy, I woke up from a nightmare with this gut wrenching feeling of grief that was so overwhelming, I couldn’t shake it. My BFF encouraged me to write the scene out and I did, posting it on my author blog. People really enjoyed and asked if there was more so I sat down one Saturday and finished it.

Is there a full-length novel in the works?
There is but not for the Mystic Wolves novelette series. I’m actually in the process of finishing another urban fantasy story called Broken Promises. It’s book one in the Brianna Lane series, and shares how Bree must not only fight for the man she loves, but also to save the world from a Fae invasion. In one crazy moment, everything in her life turns upside down and it takes one heck of a woman to rise above it. It’s definitely a lot of fun to write and I’m getting good feedback from it. Once I’ve released this, I have other stories to work on J

Will Without Mercy be part of a series?
It is! I actually got the idea from my BFF, Lacey on the day I released Without Mercy. Everyone was so excited about what they were reading, she suggested I continue to write small novelettes and continue the story on. Kind of like a serial that I would release every month or so. I’ve already started on the next installment called Cherished and it spends a lot of time showing the kind of relationship Darcy and Mason have and how they deal with the aftermath of Without Mercy. Lots of swoon! I have all kinds of ideas for future characters and storylines so be on the lookout for a sexy vampire called Devlin.

You’re a book reviewer, so you’ve read plenty of books. What do you think makes a great heroine?
I love the strong and feisty heroine, the one that doesn’t cower in a corner afraid but still has the softness and vulnerability that makes her endearing. She’s the woman that doesn’t take no for an answer and will give everything she has for those she loves. Of course, my favorite part is where she brings the hero to his knees!

If you had to choose a favorite paranormal being, would it be a sexy vampire, a hot alpha wolf, or something entirely different?
Gosh, I hate choosing! I want to say I’m a “fang” girl all the way because there is something so seductive and dangerous about vampires. I’m all about the bite and it gives me the tingles thinking about what it would be like having one set his sights on me. But then in the next breath, having an alpha wolf stalk you, watch you, ready to pounce and ravish you? Its swoon inducing! Especially when that wolf is Mason. Then, after saying all that, I also have a love for angels and demon warlocks. So many that teases and tempts me!

In your opinion, what’s the best part of the paranormal romance genre?
I love that anything is possible and with the danger that comes from dealing with supernatural characters; it really increases the intensity and heat. I love the emotional rollercoaster I find reading the genre, the way I’m able to connect with the women who hold nothing back. It’s all or nothing. And without fail, I love the way the genre makes leaves me sighing in a gooey mess. I rarely read outside paranormal romance and urban fantasy because I don’t get the same rush and high that I do after reading romance. It’s addicting!

How do you keep motivated to write?
I surround myself with supportive people – my husband, friends I’ve met online, fellow authors and my best friend Lacey. Whenever I feel myself lagging, I know I have people I can turn to and they help me stay focused and heading in the right direction. They are all such an invaluable part of my life and I love them!

I’m also an incredibly visual person so it’s not a stretch for me to have music playlists, slideshows of story muses and book covers created while I’m still in the process of writing. Whenever I find it hard to start writing, I’ll put on headphones, crank up the music and stare at photos. Moments later, the story is flowing and I can’t type fast enough. You have to do whatever it takes, right?

What’s your take on the indie book movement?
I think it’s absolutely fabulous! I love being able to have complete creative control of the stories I write – from the storyline to the cover to how I want to promote it. I’m a huge believer in having options and being able to have a variety of directions to choose from. It’s about finding what’s best for you as the author and for your book. When I first decided I wanted to publish, I was terrified not being in a publishing house would hurt my career because where else would I find everything I needed? With the indie book movement taking the book world by storm, an author can find countless resources at their disposal and release something that is just as competitive and comparable. To me, that’s amazing and definitely an avenue I’m going to continue exploring.

Tell us a random fact about yourself:
I’m completely accident prone. I’m just coming off a 5 month stint with a damaged foot and wouldn’t you know it, I’ve almost hurt my other foot already on several occasions. I’ve learned to be extremely careful how I walk and to the amusement of my BFF, she now feels she needs to “escort” me everywhere. She thinks it’s hilarious to text me “walking’ instructions.

If you couldn’t write or read books, what would you do with your time?
It’s almost blasphemous to suggest that! My stomach seriously just sank into my stomach and I had a flash of panic. I don’t know what I’d do. I love what I’m doing within the book world at the moment – writing, blogging, reviewing, promoting – and can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I would hope I’d find something else I was equally as passionate about.

Where can readers purchase your book?
Without Mercy can be bought from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Where can readers connect with you on the web?
I was recently told I’m everywhere on the web LOL Okay let’s see if I can remember everything:

Belinda Boring’s Official Site – http://belindaboring.blogspot.com

Author Blog: Writings Of A Dreamer – http://thebookishsnobwriting.com


The Bookish Snob Promotions – http://thebookishsnobpromotions.blogspot.com






Would you mind sharing a small excerpt?

Sure!

The loud click of a gun being cocked stopped me cold. I didn’t need to turn around to see death had finally caught us. I closed my eyes for a brief moment and grimaced.

Seconds. We’d missed freedom by mere moments and with adrenaline coursing through my body, a feeling of defeat crashed over me. To come so close and be stopped was devastating.

I dug deep for courage as my hand was squeezed. Jasmine would be terrified enough without seeing fear in my eyes and if we were going to get out of this, I needed to keep her calm. Or at least calmer than I felt.

Giving her a look I hoped conveyed confidence, I motioned for her to stay quiet as I positioned her behind me and turned to look at our attacker. All night I’d sensed the person breathing down our necks, following closely but always just out of sight. Now I could put a face to our stalker.

I saw the gun, aimed straight at me. The finger poised over the trigger ready to shoot. The hand holding it was steady and trained to adjust to every movement. I shied to the left and back again. Without hesitation, the gun’s motion mimicked mine.

Damn. Judging from the precise motions; whoever was holding the gun knew what they were doing. If they took a shot, they wouldn’t miss and out running a bullet was too risky.

A quick sniff at the air and drawing on my other senses told me I was dealing with a human male and I couldn’t help but grin at the bitter scent of fear mixed in with the sweetness of his excitement. It was intoxicating.

I may be a female but as a werewolf, I held incredible strength. My body began to relax. As long as I paid attention to the gun still pointed at me, and made no crazy moves, our chances of escape had just increased.

I looked beyond the weapon and recognized the determined face that stared back at me. The emotions rolling off his body caused my wolf to raise her head and howl. This wasn’t a pack mate or dominant wolf to play submissive with by showing my throat. Looking at our attacker, I could feel my hackles rise as she growled, desperate to take over.

~ * ~

We want to thank Belinda for stopping by and talking with us. Want to find out more? We'll be chatting it up with her on our Blog Talk Radio show this Wednesday at 3:30pm PST. Go to our channel and set a reminder so you don't miss it. 


Now is your chance to score yourself a copy of Without Mercy. Leave us a comment below, even a simple 'hi' will count. Don't forget your email address in the following format (so the spammers won't get it ;-)) parayournormalteam (at) gmail (dot) com

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Winner Announcement

Hey everyone. Hope you are having a fangtastic weekend.

We'd like to announce the winner of the prize pack for Sirenz by Chalotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman. The prize pack includes a printed copy of Sirenz, along with some really cook swag.

This week's winner is... Vicki Keire. Congratulations! We will forward your information to Charlotte and Natalie. They will be in contact with you regarding your prize.

Thanks to everyone who stopped in and commented. Be sure to come back and check out our next interview and eBook giveaway with Belinda Boring.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Terrible Twos: A Guest Post by Joely Sue

The Terrible Twos

I mean Act 2 of course, the dreaded middle. I don't care how strongly a book starts for me, there's always a point where the plot begins to drag. I get tired. I start to doubt the book, the characters, and myself.

Why did I think I could pull this off again?

This is never going to sell.

This book is never going to end!!!

Over the years, I've learned a key technique that helps me find the strength to push through.

Commit  before writing a single word.

This might seem a stretch at first, but in Linda Spangle's 100 Days of Weight Loss, she asks whether you're interested or committed to losing weight. An interested person may start out strong but as soon as something challenges your willpower, it's easy to slip.

On the other hand, a person committed to losing weight will not stop. No sweet treat challenge at work or disappointing "unfair" number on the scale will affect your motivation, because you KNOW you will succeed if you keep on doing what you know is right.  Even if you do slip off plan a little, you have the confidence to rein yourself in and get right back to work, because nothing is going to keep you from doing what you committed to finishing.

Now apply this to writing. Are you interested in writing this book? Or committed? Ask yourself several key questions before you write a single word.

  * Am I willing to dedicate the next x months to writing this book?  Faithfully, butt in chair, every day, without fail?

  * Does it fit within my brand?

  * Have I prepared myself with as much research, plotting, character development, and world building as possible (suitable to your writing process)?

  * Do I believe in this book? Does it excite me?  Do I burn to tell everyone I know about the great idea?

For me, this last question is extremely important because I do most of my drafting "dark and early" before work.  Is this a book I'm going to WANT to get up at 5 am for?  Day after day, despite Evil Day Job challenges, kid catastrophe, pet emergencies, health scares?

If I'm able to answer yes to these questions, then I COMMIT myself to finishing the book. Even if I start slogging through the middle and can only manage a couple of hundred words a day. Even if a new shiny project pops up and tries to distract me.

Nothing will keep me from finishing the $&@%* book!!

Of course revisions are a whole other type of war, but completing a first draft is the first and most important battle.


~ * ~


Joely always has her nose buried in a book, especially one with mythology, fairy tales, and romance. Find her on her Website: http://joelysueburkhart.com; Twitter: @joelysue; Facebook http://facebook.com/joely.s.burkhart; along with several free reads.

Her latest release is Return to Shanhasson, the final book in an erotic romantic fantasy trilogy.  Also watch for her smoldering hot BDSM novella, Golden, releasing from Carina Press on August 29th!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Interview with Sirenz Authors Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman


Welcome to our interview with co authors Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman. These ladies have written a fantasy novel about two friends who make a deal with the devil...if you consider the Greek god Hades as the devil. 

Along with this interview is a prize pack that includes a printed copy of the book as well as some swag. #weloveswag! So if you would like to enter the contest, leave us a comment with your email address. Now, on to the interview. 

~ * ~

Q. What’s your book about?
A. When two high school girls fall in love with one pair of on-sale designer shoes, there’s going to be a fight. Unintentionally Meg and Shar cause a tragedy to an innocent bystander that only Hades, Lord of the Underworld, can undo—for a price. Employed as his new sirens, they must complete a task or face eternity serving him.

Q. Was the storyline for Sirenz a mutual decision?
A. It had to be. We each drafted individual chapters but we needed a single storyline to stick to—or we’d still be working the book! We’d brainstorm together to get direction, go home and write, then come together again to edit.

Q. Are you your characters?
A. Yes and no. Both main characters have a bit of each of us. Meg (Nat’s character) is an earthy, vintage loving pixie—just like Nat. However, Meg is eco-friendly to an extreme, just like Char who’s really into recycling. And Shar, (Char’s character) is an outspoken, blond, exuberant shop-a-holic. Nat is the bigger and more savvy shopper, while Char is blond and exuberant. So the characters are an amalgamation and mix-up of both of us.

Q. How long have you known each other?
A. Funny you should ask—we were just trying to figure that out! Nat joined Char’s critique group back in 2004 or 2005, somewhere in there. So that would make it… 6 or 7 years or thereabouts.  It feels like we’ve known each other forever, but also, oddly enough, there are days when we feel like it hasn’t been that long. Time is weird like that.

Q. What is it like co-authoring?
A. Co-authoring has its challenges and perks. The challenges are different views, styles, visions, and schedules. You have to learn to work through all those—and there’s no “Co-Authoring For Dummies” book. We’ve prioritized the friendship over the book because if we weren’t speaking to each other, we couldn’t write the book anyway! The perks are you only have to write half the book, the other always brings a fresh perspective so there’s no writer’s block, you can torture their character in your chapter, and you always have someone to keep to the schedule and encourage you.

Q. What kind of writing schedule are you on?
A. At the moment it’s a bit of a shipwreck; between family stuff and promo for SIRENZ, there’s hardly been any time to tap out a few words, BUT when things are normal (as normal as things get with three kids and husband each), we work individually, then send chapters to the other to edit and add the next chapter. This back and forth goes on until we have five chapters, or a chunk as we call it, then we get together to go over chunk changes. A chunk can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks depending on what’s going on (kids, activities, emergency trips to the beach for sanity, etc.). All in all, we work whenever we can.

Q. Are you a Plotter, Panster or Plotski?
A. Initially we were ‘pansters’ flying through scenes by the seat of our pants, and the book ran off on too many tangents. We put on the brakes and roughly plotted out what would have to happen in each chapter so the story came to the conclusion we wanted. We’ve since evolved into ‘flying plotters.’ We brainstorm like maniacs, pulling in all crazy and outlandish scenarios, then sit down and choose which one to follow as we plot, chapter by chapter.

Q. What advice would you give to writers?
A. We’ve tried to narrow it down to five: 1-take the time to hone your craft. This can be hard to do when you’re excited about a project, but so important. Practice really does make perfect—and it’s not a race to see who’ll finish first. You’re not in competition with anyone but yourself to write the best novel you can. 2-Be active online. Network with book bloggers, readers, editors and other authors, it’s a friendly community and the camaraderie is great. 3- Join a critique group or do beta-swaps with other writers because there’s nothing like another pair of eyes. Add to this to learn to take criticism, if you haven’t already, it’s extremely helpful and will make you a better writer. 4- Finish. Your. Novel. Sadly, most people don’t. 5- Never, never, NEVER give up.

Q. Describe your co-author in 3 words.
Char about Nat: free-spirited, unconventional, creative

Nat about Char: hysterical (as in funny), big-hearted, and boundlessly enthusiastic (I know that’s 4, but her enthusiasm bears description!)

Q. Any projects coming up?
A. Nat: Together Char and I are working on the Sirenz series, and plotting out a co-authored middle grade novel. On my own, I’m revising my Victorian fantasy and slowly but surely writing a new contemporary fantasy.

Char: Sirenz Back in Fashion edits, finish writing Sirenz 3, push for Sirenz 4; A MG novel I’m working on with my agent; developing a contemporary MG series with Nat; put other manuscripts on hold while these are completed.

Q. What would you be if you couldn’t write?
Char: Maybe be a book reviewer since I love reading, but I’d have to be dead not to write.

Nat:  Miserable probably. I’d have to write something—even if it was just for me. I’d need to keep my hands busy so I’d probably be knitting, spinning, making jam…

Q. Where can we purchase your book?
A. If your local indie bookstore or big chain store doesn’t have Sirenz on their shelves, ask for it and they can order it for you. (Mendham Books where we had our launch party has several signed copies for sale.)

Excerpt from Sirenz:
“I don’t want your soul. I want your service. You two will be my new Sirens.”
          “Your what?” I asked.
          “Greek Mythology, Shar,” whispered Meg.  “The Sirens were these bird women who sat on the rocks and sang.  Sailors couldn’t resist them, so they crashed their ships and drowned.”
          Meg and her occult studies.  Who knew they would come in handy?  She could converse with psychos.
          “Hello?  That’s a fairy tale—the stuff they make a TV series out of!”  It’s not real.  It’s not!  I refused to believe it, but the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach told me that I was kidding myself.  I turned to Hades.
          “Fine.  Okay, let’s pretend that you’re telling the truth—hypothetically.  Why would you need new Sirens?  What happened to the originals?”
          Hades shook his head sadly.
          “Once Odysseus sailed past without succumbing to their call, they threw themselves into the sea and drowned.  The same thing happened when Jason and the Argonauts resisted them.  They didn’t take rejection very well.  So I kept replacing them. I need a steady workforce.”  Hades grinned and I felt sick all over again.
          “You mean, they died??” I was only 17 and not liking what I was hearing.
          “Every profession has its risks.”  He straightened his immaculate Jerry Garcia—signed—tie. “No one’s immortal but us gods.”
          “Get to the point,” Meg said.  “What would we have to do?” 
          “Oh it’s easy,” he purred, “You two will bring me a specified individual who executed an agreement with me, and which, shall we say, is about to expire. You lure him to an underworld portal which will send him to Tartarus, my kingdom.  In exchange, I will undo this terrible tragedy and you’re off the hook. A one shot deal. Simple, no?”
          “Too simple,” said Meg.  “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.  What happens if we can’t do it?”
          Hades looked sideways at us and grinned with a sly smile.
          “If you fail, you must reside with me. In the Underworld.  For all eternity.  And I’ll have another job for you—taking care of my pets.”

~ * ~

We want to thank Charlotte and Natalie for stopping by to chat with us about Sirenz and their journey in writing. Be sure to listen in on Wednesday at 3:30pm PST when we interview them on Blog Talk Radio.

Now's your chance to win the prize package we showed above. Simply leave us a comment with your email address and you will be entered. It's that simple. We look forward to hearing from you!