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Archive for August 2011

I have been interviewed...


posted by Lucy V Morgan on

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...by author Lux Zakari, over on here blog here. I chat a bit about my books, writing habits, happy endings and ritual sacrifice.

Well, maybe not that last bit. But yes. Go see it :)

Platform Building Campaign: Hell, Yes


posted by Lucy V Morgan on ,

26 comments

Around the time I started this blog and my publishing journey, a fellow writer and blogger called Rachael Harrie hosted her second Platform Building Campaign--a big bloggy free-for-all where writers connect to like-minded genre-mates and bask in the glory of each other's awesomeness. The third Campaign is about to get underway, and I have dutifully hopped on the bandwagon once more because....well. It's an ace bandwagon. There's leather upholstery, a mini bar, and is that Snoop Dog...?

...Fur-coated pimps aside, the Campaign is a wonderful thing. I wrote an article during the last about why writers should talk to each other, and I stand by it all. Writing can be a very lonely existence: just you, the laptop, a hero that keeps running off with a frigid but kick-ass wondergirl/his elderly butler/a cat with questionable sexual history. Fortunately for me, I've met some great writers since (and I don't own a cat, fictional or otherwise). I value their opinions; they don't think mine is too shabby; and when the stars are bright and the moon is full, one of us sacrifices a goat and then--er, I mean, we critique each other, and it's rather good.

Aaaaaanyway. I'm looking forward to meeting more fellow goat skinners authors, readers and publishing people. Am also looking forward to the challenges (I was a bit pants with these last time. I blame the Pepsi habit. I was in hardcore).

I think you should join in too. You can do it here.

Author Interview: Aubrie Dionne


posted by Lucy V Morgan on , ,

5 comments

Hot space pirates! Nom nom nom...
When I first began as an intern at Entangled Publishing, I had the pleasure of reading the original submission of PARADISE 21, Aubrie Dionne's new science fiction romance. I'm delighted to have Aubrie here on my blog to chat about the book, her writing habits and a liiiiittle bit about herself.

Aries has lived her entire life aboard mankind’s last hope, the New Dawn, a spaceship traveling toward a planet where humanity can begin anew—a planet that won’t be reached in Aries’ lifetime. As one of the last genetically desirable women in the universe, she must marry her designated genetic match and produce the next generation for this centuries-long voyage.
But Aries has other plans.
When her desperate escape from the New Dawn strands her on a desert planet, Aries discovers the rumors about pirates—humans who escaped Earth before its demise—are true. Handsome, genetically imperfect Striker possesses the freedom Aries envies, and the two connect on a level she never thought possible. But pursued by her match from above and hunted by the planet’s native inhabitants, Aries quickly learns her freedom will come at a hefty price.
The life of the man she loves.


Your new release, Paradise 21, is a sci fi romance--a genre which is receiving a lot of attention lately. What inspired you to write science fiction in particular? Is it hard to balance the different genre elements?
This one time, at band camp...I wrote a kick-ass book.
I grew up watching the old Star Wars movies so many times, I think it imprinted in my DNA. I also loved Star Trek The Next Generation. I loved how the setting was sci fi, but it didn’t get too technical. I really enjoyed the more romantic episodes of Star Trek, where they explored Jean Luc Picard’s relationship with Beverly Crusher, and Commander Riker and Troy. They even gave Data (my favorite character) a few romantic episodes!
I wanted to write a romance/adventure story in a science fiction setting. I worked hard on balancing adventure, science, and romance. When I initially submitted my manuscript, my editor encouraged me to beef up the romance aspect, and after I did, the story flowed with more emotion. So yes, it is hard to balance the different genre elements, but when you get them right, it’s like a flavorful soup recipe, and the elements simmer together nicely.
Mmm...soup. Ahem. You're planning a sequel to Paradise 21. Have you had to do any specific research? How much of your time, as a writer, does research eat into? And do you enjoy it?
I love doing research. For the sequel, Tundra 37, the setting is an ice planet. Since I live in NH, which is much like the frozen planet Hoth in Star Wars in the winter, I didn’t need to research too much about the cold! I know what it’s like to feel my hair freeze in the morning if I don’t blow it dry!
I spent a lot of time researching wooly mammoths, because I have created creatures much like them in Tundra 37. I wanted a prehistoric feel to the planet, and wooly mammoths were the way to go!  
 Can you tell us a bit about your publishing journey? What are your aims, and have they changed at all since you entered the industry?
I’d love to have my books in Barnes and Noble on the shelf. I didn’t realize how hard it was to get widespread distribution. Since the revolution of ebooks, this step in the process isn’t as crucial, so I’ve learned to be content with my books on the Barnes and Noble website. For now.
My publishing journey involves a lot of typing. Paradise 21 is my fourth book and the one that has garnered the most attention so far. Before Paradise 21, I wrote three other books, twenty short stories, and a novella. I had no idea how many books you need to write to hone your craft, and the more books you have, the more of a chance you have at getting noticed. I thought I’d write one book and that would be it. Naive=me.
But, what I have found is that I like writing books. I don’t mind typing out 1k-2k a day. It’s actually soothing for me, and I love to see how the stories and characters turn out. My first book took two and a half years to finish. Now I can write a novel in 6-7 months.   
You're a musician as well as a writer. What does it mean to you to be a creative person? Do you need certain things, have a certain disposition?
Music and writing are a lot alike for me. Playing a phrase is much like composing a sentence, and a full symphony is like a novel. They both involve discipline and are lifetime pursuits. My mom was an artist, so I’m pretty sure I got my creative side from her!
I didn’t choose to be a creative person. Music and English were my strongest subjects, so flute and writing kind of chose me. I’d be an awful mathematician, and anything having to do with chemistry= forget it! My sister is a nurse, and my brother works for the government designing lasers and new defenses for helicopters. So I guess they got all the science and math talents, and I got the creative stuff!
 [Makes mental note not to mess with Aubrie's brother] Do you have any advice for fellow writers?
I have a load of it. But I’ll stick to a few things, and anyone that wants more advice can email me!
#1. Keep writing. If I stopped after my first book, or even my third, I wouldn’t be here today.
#2.Find critique partners and beta readers (besides your mom/sister/best friend). I have 6 critique partners and two beta readers. Each person has different advice to offer me. Critiquing others’ work makes me a better writer myself! (Just like teaching flute makes me a better flute player).
Thank you so much for having me here today! 
Aubrie has left the building...probably in something that flies, and has lasers. Lasers that fire out of flutes. In the meantime, you can check out her website here, buy PARADISE 21 here, and you can find her on Twitter as @AuthorAubrie. 
I am now jonesing to watch Star Trek. This could be a good thing, or a very bad one...

Winner: THE WHAT IF GUY by Brooke Moss


posted by Lucy V Morgan

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I hope you all enjoyed Brooke's post on ideal male leads. The winner of THE WHAT IF GUY ebook is Amy--congratulations! Thanks for entering, and happy reading. If you'd still like to read the book, you can buy a copy here.

Guest Post by Author Brooke Moss & E-Book Giveaway


posted by Lucy V Morgan on , , ,

3 comments

Helloah, my pretties. I'd like to welcome women's fiction author Brooke Moss to my blog today. Not only is she sharing her thoughts on awesome male leads, but she also has a spanking new e-copy of her novel, THE WHAT IF GUY, to give away. Entry details are at the bottom of this post; in the meantime, Brooke is going to put down her cheese (she likes cheese quite a lot) and amuse you for at least six minutes...


Brooke spied mature cheddar...
Greatest Contemporary Heroes
By Brooke Moss

            Thanks for having me on your blog, Lucy! I am so excited to be here.
              There is absolutely nothing better than opening a book and discovering that you are reading about a grade A, class act, built for manual labor in and out of the bedroom, hot male character. You know the type. Long hair, or short, whatever floats your boat. Dark eyes, or light ones that sparkle when he gazes down at the heroine, take your pick. A rugged demeanor, or the hot, geeky type. Any hero that makes your toes curl as you’re flipping the pages.
              I’ve read my share of amazing heroes in many different genres. There is a vampire named Dante in an Ivy Alexander book that still makes me blush when I think about him. There is a hot gargoyle character named Jax in Jess MacCallan’s upcoming trilogy that makes me weak in the knees. It would be a shame not to mention Alaric, who was created by the amazing Alyssa Day. And lest we not forget the lovely YA werewolf goodness that Stephenie Meyer and Maggie Stievfater provided.
              But my favorite hero characters are the ones from contemporary romance.
              I know, I know…some readers consider contemporary romance heroes “boring”. But I am here to crush that myth. Contemporary heroes are as hot and earth shaking because they could actually be…dare I say it…real. A cop? Totally real. A carpenter? Got one living next door to me. Trucker? Mailman? Reporter? They’re everywhere. In fact, we are completely surrounded by potential contemporary romance heroes.
              I enjoy a hero who doesn’t necessarily start out as the most attractive character. At first glance, he doesn’t seem that interesting. And frankly, he needs a good shave and a long shower. But boy, with the addition of a few descriptive words, and a twist of focus, and possibly a heart-wrenching emotional scene—and that hero becomes the hot guy who lived across the street, but the heroine never gave a second glance to. Before now.
              Now they are slamming into walls as they stumble their way to the bedroom, and they are crying out each other’s names as they fall into a whirlwind of passion. And believe it or not, there is nary a magical dagger, a set of wings, a set of fangs, or any sort of mystical journey in sight. Just two people, that could be you or me, falling in love.
              Amazing, right?
              Some of the most, ahem, memorable heroes from contemporary romance that I love have come from the brilliant and hilarious minds of Kristan Higgins and Jennifer Crusie. Both authors have the ability create heroes that I feel completely capable of running into at the grocery store. That’s the key with contemporary romance: turning an otherwise unmemorable person into a hero that a reader will look back on and sigh contentedly.
              In Catch of the Day, Kristan Higgins shifts her hero, Malone—or Maloner the Loner—from a grouchy, lobsterman…into a dark, mysterious sex machine. And all it takes is the act of Malone rubbing balm onto the heroine’s hand. Then whammo! He turns into the man I still refer to as, “my boyfriend”.
              And in Kristan Higgin’s Fools Rush In, the heroine has spent years overlooking her ex-brother-in-law, Sam, who is an unassuming single dad to her teenage nephew. All it takes is a rainstorm without power, and before you know it…you’re looking at Sam like the cop-slash-stud muffin he really is. And wishing you lived on Cape Cod so that you could get arrested and handcuffed by him.
              Jennifer Crusie’s book, Charlie All Night, took a character who wasn’t blatantly good looking, and seemingly normal, and evolved him into the most amazing one night stand her heroine—or anyone—would ever have. I can’t listen to the radio without wondering if the DJ who is talking is as hot as his voice sounds!
              In contemporary romance, authors are given the opportunity make someone who would be otherwise overlooked, as attractive and appealing as hot vampires and gargoyles. It takes some finesse, and some darn good writing, but it is possible to make a reader blush and giggle to herself while reading about the local mechanic or waiter. It doesn’t all have to be mythical beings and mortality threatening circumstances. Sometimes all it takes is a minor twist of fate—for instance, a water heater going out, or a fender bender—to make a hero go from drab to fab.
              My name is Brooke Moss, and my debut novel, The What If Guy, is available now. It tells the story of single mom, Autumn Cole, who is returning to the small town of her youth to reluctantly reclaim her role as daughter of the town drunk. Things become even more complicated when she realizes that her son’s history teacher, Henry Tobler—who makes teaching history and playing the violin very appealing—is the college sweetheart she never stopped loving.
              The What If Guy is available at Barnes & Noble.com, Amazon, Diesel Books, Books On Board, and at your local bookseller. Grab a copy today, and then let me know what you think!
            Find me elsewhere on the web, at my websiteblogTwitterGoodreads, and Facebook.

                        Fondly,
                        Brooke Moss

THE WHAT IF GUY
What would you do if your “what if” guy showed up at the lowest point of your life?
(Autumn Cole clocked hers with an encyclopedia.)

     After losing her job at a swanky Seattle art gallery and finding out her father has been hospitalized, single mother Autumn Cole reluctantly returns to her tiny hometown of Fairfield, Washington to put the pieces of her life back together.
     Her disgruntled twelve-year-old son isn’t thrilled about going from hip to hick, but Autumn’s got it worse. She resumes her role as the daughter of the town drunk, promptly facing a crisis with her father that’s been decades in the making.
     Running into Henry Tobler, and nearly breaking his nose, is almost more than she can handle, but can rediscovering love–and herself–with her “what if” guy teach Autumn to forgive before it’s too late?

To win a copy, simply leave a comment below (please make sure I have a way of contacting you!). I will announce the winner on August 23rd. Good luck, and happy reading. 

Lux Zakari Giveaway--Winner!


posted by Lucy V Morgan on

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The winner of Luz Zakari's latest release, FINALE, is Stormfairy. Thanks for participating, everyone--if you'd like to buy a copy of FINALE then you can do so here, and don't forget to check out Lux at her website here to stay up-to-date with her forthcoming releases.

I have another awesome ebook to give away, this time from snarky new chick lit writer Brooke Moss. It will be up shortly!

Interview & Book Giveaway: Author Lux Zakari


posted by Lucy V Morgan on , ,

18 comments

Stroke the fishnets. You know you want to.
Lux Zakari is the author of two powerful erotic novels: Coercion, and the newly-released Finale (isn't it pretty?)--if you're looking for more than girl-meets-pork-sword, you need to read her stuff. She's a fellow fan of Sweet Valley High novels, enjoys detailed fantasies of men in low-slung jeans, and believes that erotica doesn't need a cherry on top to be hot. 

Lux has stopped by today to talk about her publishing journey, her twisted characters, and to give away a copy of Finale. Read on to find out a) how awesome it is and b) how you can get your hands on it (metaphorically speaking, since it's an ebook. Ahem!).

When music legend Jonathan Levant dies in a motorcycle accident, no one is more stunned than his former lover Olivia Gray, a hedonistic ex-celebrity who learns she’s been inexplicably named the guardian of his children. Olivia’s reluctant acceptance of the new parental role obliterates her hope of resurrecting her songwriting career as she faces sarcastic teenagers, suicide attempts and séances. The upset to her self-indulgent life forces Olivia to finally face the truth about the cruel decisions of her wild past, her now uncertain future and her secret, turbulent relationship with a man who, even in death, continues to upend her world. 

1) Can you tell us about your publishing journey? Have your ambitions changed since your first contract, and have your views of the industry changed at all?

I started as a content editor for an e-publisher as a way to get my foot in the door, and the position gave me valuable insight as to what publishers are looking for, how to turn someone off with a cover letter, how to meet and connect with other authors, and how to tell a good story, period. Of course, I’ve made plenty of mistakes between Coercion and Finale, and hopefully I’ve learned from them, but otherwise I’m grateful for the experience. Although my ambitions are still the same – to be a prolific author who remains true to the story and not necessarily the market – my path on how to get there has changed, as have my views on self-publishing, which is something I used to be skeptical about but now I’d like to give it a whirl. I think I will be happier having full control, but who knows – I’m not in the same place I was last year at this time, so it’s actually difficult to predict what will work best for me in the future and what won’t. I’ll just hope for the best, jump right in and see what happens.

2) Your erotic novel, Coercion, didn't follow a genre-traditional arc. Do you think romance and erotica are about more than happy endings?

Click to purchase salty goodness
I am the first to admit that I love stories that end happily ever after. However, what I love even more are stories that end exactly how they’re supposed to, and the characters grow from the experiences they’ve had, and long after I hit “The End,” I’m still thinking about them. I don’t think a story needs to end happily – or unhappily – to be powerful; it just has to make sense and be fitting. I think the terms “romance” and “erotica” set up certain expectations from readers, and rightfully so; as a reader, I like to know what I’m getting into when I pick up a book. But from an author’s standpoint, I’m just out to tell a story, regardless if the ending involves bicycles built for two. I would like my readers to have the expectation of not knowing what to expect!

3) In your new novel, Finale, did you explore any new territory? Is there a "story" behind your inspiration for this book?

I think many people who read Finale will instantly recognize the inspiration for the story; however, the similarities are completely on the surface, just a few face-value facts. Otherwise, the story just bloomed in my brain based on a “What if?” scenario, and like always, I took the idea and ran with it. I definitely step into new territory with Finale; it involves a whole lot of situations that I have little experience with, such as fame and parenting and, sadly, flings with ex-teen idols. On a similar note, I was recently talking to a friend about how I’m actually very unobservant, and he said, “How are you a writer, man?” then added, “Maybe that’s what makes you a good writer – you’re just making shit up!” That being said, I enjoyed stretching my wings with this new story, and it’s quite a leap from my first novel. Those who have read Coercion will notice a big shift.

4) Do you have a specific writing space or room? Do you need certain conditions, or are you free and easy?

I actually just moved into a new apartment and have, for the first time, a designated office, which I love. I hope to pen many opuses there! As for when I write, it’s whenever I get the chance. The stolen moments when I bang out a scene or a short story are some of the most gratifying.

5) What is your advice to fellow writers? (If you have any at all!).

Always write the story you want to tell exactly the way you want to tell it. There will be at least one person in the world who will be incredibly grateful that you did.

If you'd like to win a copy of Finale, simply leave a comment in the section below. Don't forget to leave your email address so we can contact you! The winner will be chosen at random, and I'll post the results on the 19th (Thursday). Good luck!

Moving House


posted by Lucy V Morgan on

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I've moved house a fair few times over the past few years (due to the husband's job), and I can't say that I'm enthralled about the prospect of doing it again.

But I am. Next Saturday, actually.

(I should probably start packing, right?)

The kind of place Lucy would like to move to (courtesy of Laura Ashley)
The kind of place Lucy is actually moving to, because pub flats suck.
 Anyway--yes. Moving further south; close to the beach; even closer to unfortunately named shops, and right into an apartment that needs industrial cleaning/a cannon full of magnolia paint/counselling. This means I'm going to be quiet for a week or two. You can imagine me shaking my weary hands at the carpet cleaner that has failed to remove three layers of grey from the tasteful pale pink shag, or perhaps covering myself in paint while trying to rid the dining room of its jaunty, sherbet orange tones.

I've lined up three rather awesome author interviews to post in the meantime. When we're unpacked, and when the new place is remotely habitable [weeps into fists], I'll be back.

Enjoy the rest of summer.

Mixing Up The Myth: Vampires


posted by Lucy V Morgan on , , , ,

9 comments

I've been making progress on blood fizz pop, my vampire novel. It's either urban fantasy or paranormal romance; I haven't worked that bit out yet--but I do know that my vampires are not traditional, and I've been wondering what readers will make of that.

I have a friend (not mentioning any STEVE names, ahem) who doesn't like it when I mix up the myth. If vampires can go out in the day, aren't afraid of crosses, and don't live forever...they're not vampires. Does he have a point?

A whole set of politics and restrictions come along with the usual vampire concept. They've been done to death. I'll never do them better than Buffy or Angel. I wanted new avenues to explore (that weren't girl parts); new ideas. So here's a quick rundown of my vamps:

1) They don't live forever, but they age veeeery slowly. They're immune to disease, but not to being wounded.
2) They're stronger and faster than humans, in order to catch prey and protect their mates. They can hear the thoughts of those who desire them--also to aid them in catching prey. (This is disturbing if dogs desire them, as my hero discovers).
3) Besides those few factors, they're basically humans who need to drink blood once a week or so to survive. They have a pulse and a heartbeat. Some of them even have tans.
4) They hate the taste of blood...unless it comes from their human blood mates, who age at the same rate once they are bonded to them.
5) They're governed by an advisory board that forbids them to kill humans.
6) They're only allowed to turn people with the permission of the board; they have to drink someone dry and just hope they're strong enough. Too weak, and the human just dies. There's no way to predict whether someone will turn or not.

There's a lot of other conflict and backstory wrapped up there--as well as some blood-magic warlocks, or Wielders--but I'm curious: do readers prefer that authors stick to traditional myths? I'm probably not the first person to perform all these tweaks and twists (indeed, my favourite vampire novel, I AM LEGEND, does a good job of that), but does the "special-ness" of the vampire diminish if you remove some of his more famous characteristics? Would it put you off a book? Any recs for vampire novels that mess with the genre a bit?

Looking forward to your input!

Entangled Publishing: Happy Launch Day!


posted by Lucy V Morgan on , ,

4 comments

For months now, I have been reviewing submissions for a sparkly new publisher. Today, they're throwing open their doors. Curious? Go take a look at:
click me!
Entangled focuses on fiction with romantic elements. I've had the pleasure of sifting through urban fantasy, paranormal romance, young adult (we like novels with crossover appeal), sci fi, contemporary, romantic suspense...even the odd horror. I have clenched my fists with glee over unique premises. I have stayed up until 3am to finish a submission, only to pound out a letter to the ed that says YEEEES (which sounds dirty. I kind of like that, I'll leave it in). And because I've seen just how cool these books are, I think you ought to know about them.


If you're a reader, you'll be pleased to hear that most books come in both ebook and paperback (some of which you'll be able to find in bookstores). They have full-length novels and novellas. They plan a short space between books in a series, so you don't have to wait (and you can usually share the author's pain in that regard on Twitter. Go on, look them up. They're amusing, and they'd love to hear from you). You can click here to join the launch party (and possibly win a Kobo reader loaded with yumminess).

Also, have you seen the covers? Mmm, shelf candy.

Come closer
Closer!
Juuust a liiittle biiit...
OH YESH. I have you.
Om nom nom

Ahh. [Swig of beer]
As a writer, I have been consistently impressed with Entangled's conduct coming up to the launch. They are market-savvy, well-connected and utterly passionate. They have a strong sense of what Entangled represents, and have worked hard to put together a business model which favours authors--with a high royalty rate, publicists, and strong editorial support--as much as it does the publisher. (You can find out more about this here, submission guidelines are here, and the ed team's current wishlist is here).

I wish them the best of luck, and I'm looking forward to putting some of these books on my shelves along with other favourite authors. I bet they're going to smell delicious (and be great, obviously. But tell me you don't get high on that new book smell...).