The Long and the Short of It is celebrating its 2nd Anniversary

CONTEST RUNS: August 3 - 30, 2009

Win one of three Sony EBook Readers preloaded with several stories donated by contest sponsors.

Earn one entry for every scavenger hunt question you answer. Simply visit the author’s site and find a specified object or answer to a question. Check back daily (at the Long and Short Reviews website) for your clues, beginning August 3, 2009!

Rosemary Clement Moore was going to blog with us today, but something came up at the last minute. We're going to reschedule her because she's too awesome to miss. In the meantime, if you haven't read her before you should check out her books. She writes YA, but if you enjoy reading you'll enjoy her books.

So I've officially been back from vacation a full week now and I've been furiously trying to catch up where I left off. I know that many people compare us writers to schizophrenics and normally I would agree and even embrace the comparison, but the voices in my head were forced to stay silent for so long that they've managed to form an alliance and are now plotting to take over my brain!

They have been shouting at me from all angles and I can't get rid of any of them. As soon as I start working on one story, I'm pulled off and put on another one.
Right now I'm trying to complete three different novels in three different genres and have even started a fourth. I think I need a pill :)

My first release THE CHOSEN ONE is now available for Kindle download on Amazon and just seeing it there has had me grinning from ear to ear uncontrollably. I guess it finally feels real to me. If I'm this happy now, how am I going to react when it goes to print?

I've given myself a daily word count that I'm determined to stick to, so I'm going to head back into my cave and not come out until I make it.

Enjoy the rest of your week everyone!

I looked up the definition of romance in my dictionary this morning. It was interesting to see that the first definition listed is a list of the romance languages. In fact, what we often think of as the definition of romance is the third of four definitions. "Excitement, love, etc. of the kind found in such literature" according to Webster's New World dictionary. Out of curiosity, I went to The listing there is a bit different.

1. a novel or other prose narrative depicting heroic or marvelous deeds, pageantry, romantic exploits, etc., usually in a historical or imaginary setting.
2. the colorful world, life, or conditions depicted in such tales.
3. a medieval narrative, originally one in verse and in some Romance dialect, treating of heroic, fantastic, or supernatural events, often in the form of allegory.
4. a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention.
5. a romantic spirit, sentiment, emotion, or desire.
6. romantic character or quality.
7. a romantic affair or experience; a love affair.

Is it me or do some of those definitions make it sound archaic?

First off, Congratulations Caffey on winning an eBook of Sunswept! Please let me know where to get it to Thanks everyone who commented on Thursday!

...I promise to write something fascinating next week. It's been a crazy month and a half...including a part-time job (that isn't so part-time), conference, and more heavy work hours until Friday.

I finally got a day off but spent most of the day sleeping. Just woke up with the realization that it's my blog day. LOL

I don't know about you but I've discovered I'm a reality show junkie. The past two years I've been watching: So You Think You Can Dance, Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen, Next Food Network Star...and this year I added HGTV Design Star, The Fashion Show, and Chopped. I suppose when you can TiVo or come home late enough from work, you can still catch these episodes. I've started watching some things online.

I can imagine trying out for a few of those shows but when it comes down to it, I don't think I'd want to make a fool of myself on national tv. :) Perhaps these shows are filling the void of lack of time...I know my agent would be shaking her finger at me right now. No worries, I'll be tackling my paranormal proposal next week when I finally have the time. Life's too short to not have a the meantime, these indulgences is what keeps me sane!

Okay, I know today I'm supposed to be interviewing EMBER CASE but I hadn't planned on conference sucking the life out of me...and no R&R before working 12 hour shifts so I dropped the ball... Ember was gracious enough to let me postpone her interview until August, so in the meantime, I'm going to share an article I wrote for Long and Short Reviews earlier this month.

Since you're missing out on a free giveaway, I'm going to offer an eBook ARC of my current release SUNSWEPT. Anyone who comments on this article will be automatically put into a drawing for the 3 novella anthology. Winners will be announce Friday....

Thursday, July 2, 2009 Article

Readers and interviewers often ask me where I get my ideas from and what inspires me. I can say I leave myself open to everything. Sometimes an idea pops into my head during a conversation, while I’m brainstorming with friends, or when I come across a news article or radio piece. It amazes me that I can literally think of an entire storyline in a matter of seconds based on one simple concept. Most of my stories are inspired by true life whether it’s a personal experience or plucked from a news story.

For instance, ART OF SENSUALITY was born when I watched a 2007 documentary called “My Kid Could Paint That” about a child artist prodigy who had been embroiled in a scandal. Art experts and media were vicious in their efforts to uncover whether the girl actually created her paintings or if her parents had a hand in art direction or tweaking of her artwork. Unfortunately, this ordeal was something the girl was never able to recover from and the truth is still unresolved.

Imagine being that child whose paintings were sold for over a million dollars and then in a matter of seconds was reduced to snide remarks and fodder for journalists. The story was so engaging I thought it would be a great premise to incorporate into my storyline about an artist. I guess I related to the girl because I never had formal art training, other than the occasional high school drawing courses. So, it was easy for me to imagine what it would be like if I were an art prodigy. I decided that it would be interesting to crawl into her head. I started to come up with questions to fill the holes in my story. I wondered: What if the artist felt exploited and confused and wanted to generate a little white lie to solve her problems without understanding there would be severe consequences? How would she overcome the bad press after realizing there would be no simple fixes? What if she had a nervous breakdown and how would she recover? How would she react to meeting a hero who understood her and accepted all her idiosyncrasies? The questions continued and during the process of writing the story I was able to tell a tale that was happy with and hoped my writers would be too. Of course, it’s one of those stories that either readers loved or hated if they couldn’t open their mind to the possibility.

Many of my past and future projects are inspired by the news and I think that it makes for a more deeper, compelling story. I find that when you can turn reality into fiction and execute it well, it’s a true test that you can tackle any challenging storyline.

So I've finally recovered from yesterday's almost twenty-four hour trip back home from Jamaica to Orlando. My flight got routed to Fort Lauderdale and my always loving husband had to drive four hours to pick us up and four hours to get us all home safely. When I finally collapsed in bed it was 3:45 in the morning and I've only just awakened.

My trip home to Jamaica was nothing short of amazing. I spent seven incredible days languishing in the company of family and dear friends. Seeing my father walk my aunt down the aisle at her vow renewal ceremony was a beautiful heart-warming moment that will probably always leave me on the verge of happy tears whenever I think about it.

The best part of my vacation however was just sitting on my parent's verandah and looking at this spectacular view.

In writing news....I am so excited to finally be able to announce that my first novel is available on the Parker Publishing website. It is being offered in eBook first and will hit the shelves in February. You can find it here!

Enjoy the rest of your week everyone!

I was determined to see the sights while in DC, and I succeeded in seeing many of them. The memorials, monument, and's a powerful city that has been romanticized to a certain degree I think. Some people visit the memorials and historical sites without putting a lot of thought into what sacrifices were made in the past. I'll admit, I started my journey out that way. Very quickly I found myself surrounded by things and people that had me reflecting on my life, my self, and my goals.

The Capitol Building, the Washington Monument,and the memorials were all beautiful. Even the run down and seemingly forgotten World War I memorial that sat off in a bunch of trees that was reached by a broken and falling apart. The Vietnam I watched families search the books and walls for the names of loved ones, or I witnessed them finding the names on the wall, or as I walked past a memento of someone lost (flowers, wreaths, pictures) I was struck with a sense of pride.

It's the Korean memorial that lingers in my heart more than any of the others. I thought for awhile that it was because my grandfather fought in the Korean War, and maybe that was part of it. It goes deeper than that for me, though. I went to this memorial twice. The second time after hearing Candace Havens speak about perseverance (see part of her talk here). She was talking about writing, and she talked about her two closest friends, but when I went back to the Korean memorial a few days later...

As the wall says, Freedom is Not Free. It struck me, that while the men and women in war are fighting primarily for our freedom to live, they are also fighting for us to have emotional freedom, for us to live at peace with ourselves as much as with each other. Looking at the statues of the men, looking into their eyes, it didn't feel as if I was looking into stone. I could feel their pain. I could imagine how their minds would stray back to the families they had left had home. How thoughts of their wives, children, siblings, parents, and grandparents would drive them on when they wanted nothing more than to go home. More, I could see and feel their spirit. The part of each one of them that lived deep inside them that gave them the strength to face the hardships, the solitude that likely came with being away from home.

It occurs to me now as I think back on my visit to this memorial and the others and I think about Candy's speech, we all face feelings, thoughts, and fears similar to those that these soldiers dealt with. Granted, their fears are on a bigger scale than most of ours, but we all have dark places in our minds and hearts. We have fears, doubts, and questions that nag at us. We all wonder if we're making the right decisions. If we're taking the right actions. If there is a better solution to a problem than the one we're contemplating or acting out.

I didn't attend as many workshops this year as I wanted, and I will be listening to the cds when they come in, but I walked away from this conference with a better understanding of myself and what I want in this career. I don't have the answers yet on how to make sure my new goals come to fruition, as I'm still sorting through all the thoughts in my head, but I'm closer than I was before heading to DC.

If you're interested in more pictures from my DC trip, including some of the sites, more from the memorials, as well as pictures from the conference, check out my personal blog from yesterday at

I'm terribly exhausted. The trip to DC was fast and easy. The trip back, not so. We sat on the tarmac for 2 hours before we took off on a 3 hour flight back and with a crying baby in the row behind me, I had a tough time concentrating...but that's not what I want to talk about.

What I want to tell you is what an awesome time I had at Nationals! I'll recap the details next Monday when I am fully rested. I'm delighted to say that DC had a better vibe than San Francisco last year. As far as checking into the room and the on site restaurants--a total disappointment! I believe the hotel wasn't ready, or fully staffed, to handle a few thousand romance authors taking over for a week. I'm kinda seeing a trend with the past four conference hotels I've attended...however, the company I held made a big difference in my experience and I can only give a shot out to my online friends from Romance Divas.

From my trip to the Veteran WWII memorial to riding in a limo with my agency sisters to industry parties...there's plenty of dirt to give up...but as I mentioned, I'll be breaking all that down next Monday. For now, I will leave a bit of info regarding the erotic market for those who write in this genre. It's acquired from a compilation made by Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency, during the Passionate Ink party...Feel free to pass this link :)

Avon Red -- Should be Kensington Brava heat level

Bantam Dell -- No erotica

Berkley Heat -- Cindy Hwang would like to see more threesomes and more-somes, M/M, menages

NAL -- Paranormals with dark tones (Angela Knight flavor). Heat level should be Eclipse sensual like Lacy Alexander

Dorchester -- No erotic, but like hot romance like SJ Day, Jade Lee and wants to see fantasy

Grand Central -- Not sure about erotic

HQN -- Sexy title like Victoria Dahl. Sassy, sexual fearless. No anal, threesomes, or the female "c" word

Spice -- 12 books a year. Looking for paranormals with 100K

Kensington Aphrodisia -- 2 books a month. Single title anthology. Should be beyond Shifters and vamps. Concepts and series. The hotter the better and what can't be found in traditional romance

Kensington Brava -- Sensual. 3 titles a month: contemporary, historical and paranormal with one mass market reprint. Looking for single title author anthology. like Sylvia Day, Diane Whiteside, and Allison Kent

Pocket -- Not actively acquiring erotica. Trade market has cooled down. Really sexy, envelope pushing. Hetero characters. No threesomes, etc. More in line with Gena Showalter, Shayla Black, and Kresley Cole. Also looking for sweet contemporaries and Women's Fiction

St. Martin's Press -- Great fresh voices in all genres. No Sherilyn Kenyon (already have one). No erotic line because they have Lora Leigh, Opal Carew. M/M and single author anthology OK. Anything not illegal is okay.

Black Lace -- Officially closed.

As you read this post, DS and I are probably sitting on an airplane headed home to sunny Jamaica.

This trip is really important to me. I'll finally have the chance to see family members that I have'nt seen in way too long and my son will get to experience a culture and heritage that I am so very proud of.

While I'm there, we'll be attending my aunt's vow renewal ceremony and my dad will be walking her down the aisle. I'll try to post tons of pictures when I get back.

For everyone heading to RWA Nationals, I wish you safe travels and hope that you have loads of fun. Look out for Jax and Nikki while you are there!

Once a month I participate in Excerpt Monday where I provide an excerpt of my current release or WIP (work in progress). There are so many talented authors involved, some published and some trying to publish. It's a great mix of genres and heat level ratings and a wonderful way to get a first glimpse of something you may see at the bookstores some day.

Today I posted an excerpt of a book I started that is set in the Tuscan countryside and will be showcasing the vineyards, Italian cuisine, and a very touching love story. I hope to have it completed (or sold) sometime in the future. For now, it's on hold but I truly love the romantic aspect of Italy and what interesting adventures can be held there. Go to my BLOG ( and have a first ever look. I know if it sells I'll have to do some fine-tuning but it's just fun to see what people think. The final product will be an "R" rating but what I have up is a PG excerpt.

Next up, I'm going to be in Washington DC tomorrow so if any of you are going to be at the RWA Conference, please stop me and say "Hi". I love meeting you all and I would love to see you at the Literacy for Life Signing on Wednesday. It's a wonderful event that will help so many people with what we raise.

I am so excited about these events because it's one of the only time I can actually see my girlfriends from all over the world. It's very motivating and when I am surrounded by so much talent, it's hard not to feel enthusiastic and inspired. This year has been a milestone for a lot of my friends. Including my best gal pal, Kristen Painter, who landed a 3-book Urban Fantasy deal with ORBIT. I can't tell you how proud I am of her and know that she's just going to catapult to stardom. Her personality is as big a her heart. Now, it's my turn to get a big contract so I can finally make it to mass market instead of trade paperback. LOL Although, I'm just happy to be published. Period.

Okay, you newbie RWA conference goers, I've written an article for FRESH FICTION that gives you tips on what to do or not to do while there. I am just passing a bit of knowledge from my years of experience with going to conference. You don't have to take my advice, but just give it a read. Love to get your feedback.

Finally, Nikki and I will be doing interviews that we hope we will be able put up snippets of the events online for you to view. We'll see how that goes. :) The wrap ups will be showcased on our blog when we return. It's going to be a lot of fun if we get the awesome candid interviews. Angela James, Executive Editor at Samhain Publishing, is on our list of interviews as she and a panel of awesome folks will be doing a "Rogue Digital" workshop at Nationals. Can't wait to see what everyone has to say about Digital publishing.

I hope you have a wonderful week and I shall be doing updates of the conference on my BLOG. :)

See you all soon!
I'm lucky enough to call Candace "Candy" Havens a friend. I'm luckier still to be celebrating with her her latest release Dragons Prefer Blondes. If you've read Candace, you know that she writes wicked smart and kick-ass heroines that keep you entertained and flipping the pages. If you haven't read her, well she has this great new book out so you can remedy that.

Order it now! These books make great gifts.
Order from Amazon
Order from Barnes & Noble

Here's a teaser video that I made for Candace for the series. Her stories make it way easy to make fun videos.

~ Jake is absolutely fantastic! I loved him in The Demon King and I, but I LOVED him in Dragons Prefer Blondes. Can you tell us a secret about him that no one else knows?

I took it out of the first draft, but Jake loves to play XBox 360. He's absolutely obsessed with the Madden and Tiger Woods games. I swear, if I get to do more of these books I'm going to write a scene with Jake and Bailey Caruthers, the younger brother of my Guardian Keys, playing some kind of video game on the big screen.

LOL, I would love to see a scene like that. I can imagine how into the games they would get.

~ I know that you’ve celebrated many “wins” since your writing career took off, and you give a lot back to other writers. What has been one of the biggest rewards, personal or professional, that you’ve experienced in your writing career?

Honestly, for me, when people like you succeed, those are some of my greatest moment. The talent is all yours, but I like to think that maybe I gave you a 'little' push in the right direction. I set up the Write_Workshop to help other writers, because I had such wonderful mentors. Seeing you guys published is beyond cool for me.

Aww. And you didn't give me a 'little' push in the right direction. You gave me a huge one. Every time I thought about stopping or giving up, your voice was in my head encouraging me.

~ You've branched out and written a Blaze that’s coming out in February. I'm sure it's changed since I read your first draft (that I loved), but can you tell us a little bit about that?

It's called "Take Me If You Dare." It's a about a female detective who happens to run into a burned CIA agent in Bangkok. He helps her solve her case, and then escapes with her to beach resort. There's intrigue, lots of hot, sexy romance and some pretty funny characters.

~ What else do you have in the works? Please tell me there are more Caruthers Sisters books in the works?
I have proposals in for the next two Caruthers sisters books, and a couple in for some more Bronwyn/Kira books. Right now I'm working on the next Blaze, and a YA. The two books couldn't be more different, but then I like that.

~ Will you please pretty please with chocolate coating on top share an excerpt from Dragons Prefer Blondes with us?


Guardians protect Earth from other worlds. We are the first line of defense against those who want to harm humanity.

Add in the fact that we put our lives on the line every day and that the rest of the universe really doesn’t care for humans, and you have to figure only a crazy person would be a Guardian.

That’s definitely true. But I get to face down dragons, so it’s not all bad. These aren’t the dragons of myths and legends. The Ahi, which is their scientific name, come in all shapes and sizes. They are intelligent beings for the most part, but they have a warrior attitude that makes them hardheaded beasts.

It’s my job to make certain they behave—and take them out if they won’t. I’m not alone. My sisters are also Guardians who protect the rest of the world from creatures that would scare the pee right out of you.

We’re a tight-knit group, which comes in handy, since we’re in the middle of a big battle with evil trying to take over the universe. I’m talking darkness like we’ve never seen before. It hides in the most innocuous places and strikes at will. Scary stuff.

Don’t worry. We Caruthers sisters have a plan. Extinguish the evil and put its sad, sorry ass in a sling. Trust me, we can do this. Anyone who can run in four-inch Prada heels and kill a dragon can certainly save the world from the big bad.

Chapter One

“Alex, I’m getting married.” Aspen Randall screeched in my ear, her voice so high I could barely understand her. It didn’t help that I was holding the cell between my shoulder and ear as I pulled a dragon carcass out of the snow and into an industrial-strength trash bag. I was in front of a beautiful cathedral in Montreal, and thankfully, the streets were empty.

When Aspen called I thought it was one of my sisters, so I’d picked it up without looking. I mean who the hell calls in the wee hours of the morning if they aren’t family?

It dawned on me that I hadn’t responded to her comment. “What a happy surprise. Who’s the lucky guy?” I pretended to be excited. Aspen went through men as fast as she changed shoes, so I couldn’t be sure who had been either brave or stupid enough to chance going down that path with the woman.

“Silly girl, Lord Huffington, of course. That means a big ole royal wedding for me.” She squealed again, and I wondered if I might need a hearing aid after this conversation. “We’ve been dating for three months, and we just can’t wait to get married.”

I sighed—on the inside. From what I knew about him, Huff was a stuck-up aristocrat who probably wanted to marry Aspen for her money. Everyone knew that his family had been struggling for years. His father’s investments were rot, and Huff had seemed more intent on living the playboy life than saving his family fortune.

Then again, Aspen probably knew all that. She just wanted to be called Lady Huffington. I’d met her ten years ago at a birthday party for my sister, Gillian, and Aspen declared us instant pals. My mother insisted I be nice, so I went along with the charade, which turned out to be a huge mistake.

Aspen was as shallow as they came, but she was one of those poor little rich girls. At the ripe old age of fourteen, I’d figured out pretty quickly that her parents had given her everything except love. I felt sorry for her, so when she wanted to hang out, I always tried to be there for her. “Wow. That’s—wow. I don’t know what to say.”

“I know, right? Beyond cool. Daddy says we can have a wedding in the States and at the castle in England. I can have the fairy tale twice.”

Oh, my God. My heart went out to her wedding planner. “Well, that is wild.” I slid the dragon, which was still warm to the touch, into the garbage bag. Thankfully, he’d been in human form, except for the talons, or he wouldn’t have fit. I had caught him inside the cathedral stealing a gold cross from the altar.

Dragons, demons, fairies, and a variety of other creatures had been giving my sisters and me hell the last few months. They were after treasures on Earth, and it was a constant battle to keep them from stealing. None of us knew exactly why these creatures wanted the valuables, but we felt certain it had something to do with the darkness trying to take over the universe. We are all Guardian Keys, and while it’s our job to protect Earth from these jerks, lately it had turned into a full-time occupation.

I had the element of surprise on my side and was able to sneak up on him while he was busy stealing, but he went scaly fast. He managed a couple of good strikes against me before he died. With dragons it was almost always a fight to death. They never backed down.

The snow swirled around me, wet and cold. The damn dragon was slippery and almost too big for the bag. I had to shove it down with my boot.

“Soooo,” Aspen trilled. “Since you are the premiere party planner and one of my dearest friends, I want you to do it all. Everything down to the last detail.” She squealed again, and I dropped the phone into the bag with the dead dragon.

No, no, no. The last thing I needed right now was to plan a wedding for a woman who had to have at least six choices of outfits for each day. She had two full-time stylists who could barely keep up with her. Planning Aspen’s wedding—I’d rather fight a cadre of dragons with my bare hands.

I fished out the phone and wiped off the dragon goo. Pushing the speaker function so I didn’t have to hold it close to my face, I prepared to put her off. “Oh, Aspen, hon, really I’d love too, but—”

“I knew you would.” She cut me off. “Oh, the jet’s here. I have to run. I’ll e-mail you with the dates. Did I mention we want to do it before the end of the month? And my color choices. I’m in a strawberry mood right now, so think luscious red with lots of white, and maybe some pink. Oh, I don’t know, maybe more of a sapphire since it’ll be a winter wedding. I’ll think about it on my way to London to see the castle. Ta! Oh, listen to me, I sound like English royalty already.”

The line went dead.

I snorted. Aspen was in for a rude awakening when she saw that castle. The last time I’d been there was four years ago for a charity event. I’d stayed in the dusty, drafty hunk of stone for one night and swore never to do it again.

The Contest: You didn't think I would forget to have a contest did you? Here's how it will work. Chat it up with Candace. Chat, chat, chat. Should you feel the desire to Twitter about this book/blog/video, come here and let us know that you did. Post a link to it on facebook, MySpace, your own blog, all those good things. Come here and tell us where you put it. Every place you post a link gets you entered into the drawing. (Candace even has a great round of contests on her site including a message for you to send out to your friends. Check it out here.

The winner will receive a signed copy of both of Candace's Guardian Key books.

Ready, set, CHAT!!
Last week Thursday I started a story that I couldn't get out of my head. Normally I'd try to fight any urge to put my current WIP aside, but the voices calling to me were louder than any I'd ever heard so I relented, and I'm glad I did.

I'm happy to report that in one week, not only did I write a novella that I'm pretty darned proud of, but I also managed to pen another three chapers of FORBIDDEN MASALA. My goal for the remainder of the week is to edit the novella and ship it off to my agent for her approval.

Next Wednesday, my post will coming to you from the beautiful island of Jamaica. I'm really looking forward to being home with my family, but I'll miss not making it to nationals this year. I wish everyone safe travels and hope you all have lots of fun in DC!

Have a glorious week everyone!

It's so easy to get wrapped up in the day to day and forget to look for romance in our lives. Sadly, that's a habit that relates to more than romance.

I've noticed though that setting a goal to identify "romance" has kept me a little more focused on it. And I find it in un-traditional places.

Just this last weekend, we got together with a bunch of friends for July 4th. One friend is going through a rough patch, but watching him reminded me of so many of the heroes we read about in romance novels. He's solid and dedicated to his family. I watched him in the pool with his daughter and while most of the other adults were talking to each other, he was talking to and playing with his kiddo. She was the focus of his world and he didn't seem to miss the conversations around him. It's said that we as women often look for our fathers in our spouses. In this little girl's case, she couldn't pick a better man if she finds a man like her dad.

Seeing them together inspired me to come home and dive into a round of revisions. A lot of my current hero mirrors this friend of ours.

Keep looking for the romance!

**UPDATED: CONGRATULATIONS CRISTA! You just won an autographed copy of BRANDED BY FIRE**

Today I’m welcoming my favorite New Zealander Nalini Singh as our guest blogger! She’s just as sweet and brilliant in person and I’m excited about all her success. Glad you could spend the day with us. :)

(Yes, there is a contest at the very end of the interview...Enjoy!)

Thanks for the invite, Jax!

You’re most known for your Psy/Changeling series and they’ve garnered incredible reviews. How has life changed since the popularity of your paranormal books from your start at Harlequin? Was it a difficult transition from contemporary to paranormal?

The transition was actually quite smooth for me. I’ve always had an interest in writing paranormals – the very first short story I ever won a contest with was about angels!—so it felt very natural.

The biggest change from when I first started writing, is that I’m now able to do it full time, which is just such an amazing, wonderful gift.

I’m sure every author wants to make the USA or NY Times list someday, so how do you feel about making the USA Today’s Best Sellers list? What did you do to celebrate the first time you found out?

I think there might have been some screaming and insane grinning involved *grin* Oh, and dancing. It was just such a fantastic buzz, and every time I think of it, I smile.

Your new book Angels’ Blood from the Guild Hunter series is getting phenomenal reviews. What inspired you to write this series?

It began with an image of an angel—strong, beautiful, with an edge of cruelty—high in tower in New York, with a cell phone to his ear. Who was he? Why was he there? And what kind of New York was this?

I was incredibly fascinated by the image and had to know the answers to those questions.

How tumultuous was your writing journey? Did you have the support system you needed when you decided to write romance?

When I first started, I knew no other writers and wasn’t part of any kind of a writing group, so I had to learn and research everything myself. What I did have was a lot of support at home, and sheer stubborn determination—even when the rejections started coming. *grin*

A few years later, I found out and joined the Romance Writers of New Zealand, and not only did I find a huge resource in terms of information about writing and publishing, I met a fantastic group of women. Some of my dearest friends are members of RWNZ and they’ve been with me throughout this journey. :)

How many books do you write a year? Are you a plotter or a panster?

At the moment, I’m writing 3 books and a novella a year, and that’s a good balance for me. I’m a pantser, or as I prefer to call it, an organic writer. I do have to plot to a certain extent in terms of the overarching arc of my series, because that has a final end, but as to each particular book, I start writing and see where the story takes me.

If you were a nail polish what would it be called and why?

Midnight shadows. Because I could be exotic and mysterious…at least as a nail polish if not in real life ;-)

What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done, and what did you learn about yourself?

Packing up my bags and moving to Japan. I learned that I could not only survive, but thrive in an unfamiliar environment—it really built my confidence, and I think that flows through to everything I do in life.

What are you currently working on and what will we see from you in the future?

I’m currently working on the next Psy/Changeling book – to be released after November’s Blaze of Memory. I also have a Guild Hunter novella in the Must Love Hellhounds anthology (September). The next full-length Guild Hunter novel will be out in February 2010 and is titled Archangel’s Kiss.

Nalini has provided us with a blurb of her latest release and an excerpt of her book is featured on her website: (warning, it might just singe your computer screen!)

July 7th 2009

Hailed by Christine Feehan as “a major new talent,” New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh now brings together two fierce changelings in her most explosive story yet.

Though DarkRiver sentinel Mercy is feeling the pressure to mate, she savagely resists when Riley Kincaid, a lieutenant from the SnowDancer pack, tries to possess her. The problem is not simply that he pushes her buttons; the problem is that he’s a wolf, she’s a cat, and they’re both used to being on top.

But when a brilliant changeling researcher is kidnapped from DarkRiver territory, Mercy and Riley must work together to track the young man—before his shadowy captors decide he’s no longer useful. Along the way, the two dominants may find that submitting to one another uncovers not just a deadly conspiracy, but a passion so raw that it’ll leave them both branded by fire…

Any parting words for our readers? For our aspiring writers?

To my readers – thank you for all your support of my work. You guys are the best.

To aspiring writers – believe in yourself and your voice. And write. Then write some more. That’s the best way to learn.


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nalini Singh has traveled as far afield as the deserts of China and the temples of Japan, but it is the journey of the imagination that fascinates her the most. You can find out more about her books, check out photos from her travels, and read free short stories on her website:

**To be eligible for an autographed book of MINE TO POSSESS, Nalini's RITA nominated book, just post a comment and you'll be automatically submitted into the drawing! If you already have the book, she will send you a Psy/Changeling series magnet instead. The winner will be picked randomly and results will be posted on at the top of this interview post on Tuesday**

Happy Thursday!! Today we have Meg Benjamin (a fellow Samhain Publishing author) with us and she's talking about music and writing and how they go together in her world. She's also sharing an excerpt of her latest book with us, and YES, THERE IS A CONTEST!

For the contest portion we're going to challenge you a little bit. Whoever makes the best comment in the comment section (as judged by Meg who will be around) will win an ARC of
Wedding Bell Blues. And come on, we all love to get our hands on ARCS so we can read the stories before anyone else. You know you do, so get creative and get to commenting. Make them fun!

And now, with no further chatter from me, here's Meg!! Hello HoR Readers! It's great to be here, I hope you like what I've come up with.

Music and Silence

At the end of Finder, Emma Bull’s author bio has a neat thing: the soundtrack for the book. These are the songs she listened to while she was writing, and it’s pretty extensive (also, from my point of view, sort of obscure). Bull is obviously one of those writers who likes to listen to music while she writes. I had a creative writing teacher who was like that once—he always used the same Mozart concerto, and when it reached a particular passage, it was his cue to begin writing.

I’ve frequently wished I were like that, too. It seems so cool—listen to the music and it jiggles your brain right into the story. Unfortunately, I can’t do it. When I write—and when I read—I need quiet. It’s always been that way for me. I’m one of those annoying people who will tell you to quiet down in the library, or ask you to turn down your music if you’re related to me and you’re in the room next door to my study. I don’t need absolute silence, of course. If I did, I’d never get anything done. Right now, for example, I’ve got some energetic finches cussing each other out just beyond my window. But that’s the kind of music I can always manage to blot out.

I think part of the problem is that when I listen to music, I like to listen to it. I want to hear the words along with the rhythm. That leads to some conflicts with my DH when I turn on my iPod in the car—he likes a soft background mutter, while I like it loud enough to listen to what’s being sung. One of the joys of Texas singer-songwriters is their lyrics, and I want to hear them (for some suggestions of singer-songwriters to listen to, check my Web site at

That doesn’t mean I sit in rapt silence while I listen, as you do in a concert hall. But the things I do while listening usually take a different part of my brain than reading or writing—playing computer solitaire, for example, or chopping onions. When I write, I need to concentrate, and the music seems to be filling the same channel in my brain as the words I’m trying to find.

Music can put me in the right mood for writing, though, even though I turn it off when I actually start work. And those songs sometimes show up in the books, as a sort of thank you to the artists for helping me get going. James McMurtry’s Red Dress shows up in Wedding Bell Blues because I wanted a really sexy song for Janie to dance to, and that song definitely qualifies. Joe Ely’s Cool Rockin’ Loretta is in Venus in Blue Jeans as a dance-around-the-shop-feeling-good song, which it really is. Some writers, like Jennifer Crusie, seem to include songs and singers in their books they want to clue you in on, like Dusty Springfield or Kirsty MacColl. If my references to McMurtry and Ely make people go out and listen to their stuff, I’d be delighted.

But I still can’t listen to music when I’m actually writing. For that, I have to listen to the music playing in my head! So I wish I could give you the soundtrack for my books. I wish there was a soundtrack for my books. But I can’t. My mind just doesn’t work that way. You’ll have to be satisfied with listening to the music my characters listen to. Apparently, they don’t have the same problems that I do!

So—this is what the characters in Wedding Bell Blues (July 21 from Samhain) are hearing. All of them are available on iTunes if you’d like to hear a sample.

Emmylou Harris, “Cattle Call”

James McMurty, “Red Dress”

Lyle Lovett, “If I Needed You”

Patsy Cline, “Faded Love”

Ray Wylie Hubbard, “Without Love (We’re Just Wastin’ Time)” (actually, Cal doesn’t specify a song, but Ray Wylie talks about playing this one at a wedding reception)

Willie Nelson, “Yesterday’s Wine”

And here's an excerpt for the book you're trying to win!!

Wedding Bell Blues

Pete Toleffson and Janie Dupree have to dance at the wedding reception since they’re best man and maid of honor, respectively. Pete’s a non-dancer, but Janie’s going to help him practice.

The music on the radio changed to Lyle Lovett and “If I Needed You”. Janie extended her hands. “Come on, it’s not that bad.”

“Yeah, it is.” Pete sighed, but he moved toward her, taking her hands. “This isn’t a waltz.”

“No, it’s not.” Janie smiled. “It’s just beautiful.” She swayed back and forth lightly, letting the music move into her bones.

After a moment, Pete began to move with her in a sort of tentative way.

Janie shuffled lightly to the left and back again, taking the rhythm from the music and pulling Pete gently in her wake.

He stumbled, half-catching himself, but Janie kept hold of his hands, sliding back and forth easily, humming along with Lyle. The tension began to fade in his arms.

On the radio, Emmylou Harris started singing “Cattle Call”. Pete stopped in his tracks. “What the hell?”

Janie laughed. “C’mon, it’s a waltz. Dance with me.” She extended her arms.

Pete pulled her closer, one hand at her waist, the other holding her hand out rigidly. After a moment, he began leading. Emmylou’s sweet soprano yodeling followed them around the yard. Janie found herself emphasizing each downbeat, enjoying herself immensely as Pete’s arms began to loosen slightly.

The music slowed and shifted to another slow one. Without thinking, Janie moved closer, letting Pete slide his feet alongside hers. She could feel the hard muscles of his shoulders beneath her fingers, flexing slightly as he moved her in careful circles. She let him push her along, keeping her spine straight but moving steadily closer until their bodies finally touched.

She hadn’t meant it to happen, really. Pete came to an abrupt halt, his shoulders stiff again. Janie started to move, but his hand at the small of her back held her in place. Then he began to dance again, more slowly this time. Another waltz began to play. Apparently, the DJ was psychic.

Janie could feel the smooth plane of his body pressing against her breasts. An ache had started low in her body that had nothing to do with exhaustion and everything to do with Pete Toleffson. She closed her eyes and let her cheek rest against his chest for a moment, feeling warm skin and smelling faint hints of sweat and aftershave, letting herself relax against the hard muscles of his chest and thighs.

One muscle was very hard indeed.

What the hell was she doing? Janie’s head popped up abruptly. Pete Toleffson was staring down at her, his eyes obscured in the dim light. “Something wrong, Ms. Dupree?” he murmured.

Janie shook her head, feeling a weird bubble of panic rise in her chest. This was just a dance, after all. She danced all the time.

Pete’s fingers spread against the small of her back, nudging her closer as their bodies moved slowly back and forth. Her hips brushed against him, and she was aware again of the hard shape of his erection.

Okay, she wasn’t imagining it—something was definitely going on beyond a quick turn around the backyard.

The music faded and changed to a muted commercial. Pete stopped moving.

Janie felt as if she were standing on the edge of a precipice, looking down. She could step back. Or she could leap over the edge and fly.

Pete’s hand moved from the small of her back to cup her cheek, and Janie stood very still, looking up at him. His eyes were dark in the dim light of the backyard, but she could see the fire behind them as he moved closer. Then his lips touched hers.

Wedding Bell Blues can be found at

All right, peeps, get to commenting!

I didn't sleep well at all last night. My husband and I dropped our son off at a friend's house yesterday evening for his first sleepover and I just wasn't ready for it.

He is eleven years old and this is the first time that he has been away from us. Yes, we happen to be those parents. The ones who don't mind that their son tags along on every date night and every anniversary vacation. You see, we've been married for thirteen years and having him made our family complete. I truly believe we are better people because of him.

So at 1:30 this morning after tossing and turning for hours, I got out of bed and headed to my office where I wrote my blues away. I became so engrossed in my story that I didn't notice that DH had gotten up, showered and was headed out the door to work. I wrote for six hours without a break! DH joked that maybe we should send Gorgeous Boy away more often since I got so much work done without him here. After I gave him one of my evil looks, he quickly apologized :)

As far as work is concerned, I am now squarely in the middle and looking straight at the finish line. I am determined to get this novel finished and off to my agent before we leave for Jamaica.

Off to get more writing done before Gorgeous Boy comes home!