UPDATE: **And the winner is ELI! Congrats on winning an autographed copy of Gemma Halliday's book. You should be contacted with the good news.**

One of my good friends, GEMMA HALLIDAY, is in the house and she's giving us some hot gossip on her HOT new series set in the heart of Hollywood...this is going to be one of those keeper series for me since I lived in L.A. for almost a decade (still miss it)...so I've been waiting for this book to come out! If you know Gemma's HIGH HEELS SERIES, you probably already know it's going to be a fun, laugh-out-loud, and entertaining read. This is the type of mystery that doesn't make your stomach queasy but brings a smile to your face. You really should pick it up...need more convincing? She's got a link to the infamous L.A. Informer Online site where you can find out where the gossip all began....

And here's Gemma:

You're known for your HIGH HEELS series, where high crime meets high fashion in fabulous Beverly Hills...and now you've got a juicy new series set around Hollywood headlines. I bet you had a lot of fun writing about this topic since it's everyone's secret (or not-so secret) obsession. What prompted you to come up with the idea for the series?

I’d love to take full credit for the idea, but my editor actually had a lot to do with it. I’d gotten tons of positive reader response to my tabloid reporter character Felix Dunn in the Heels series, so we thought it would be fun to do a sort of spin-off, borrowing him and a few other Heels characters in the process. Plus the whole tabloid setting gives me a legitimate excuse to indulge my TMZ addiction.

Has it been a challenge writing it with a new baby in the house?

Yes. Times ten. Baby’s adorable, but he hasn’t yet learned the fine art of power-napping.

Most people may not know that you have a background in screenwriting and acting. Did you have difficulty transitioning to screenplays?

My books tend to be very dialogue heavy, so switching between book and screenplay format isn’t that difficult of a stretch for me. The hardest part has been now boiling my paragraphs of description down to a couple sentences for the screenplays.

Have you ever considered going back to acting, even part-time?

It would be fun to do a cameo or something like that should one of my books hit the big screen, but other than that, I’m a lot happier writing than trying to stay “camera ready”.

What have you learned most about the publishing industry since you began?

Oh boy, hard to pick just one thing. I’d say that the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you’ve never really “made it” in this business. It’s a continuous battle to stay on top of trends and continue delivering what readers want. Which can be a fun challenge, but it’s always challenging.

How much has the economy impacted your career?

Interesting question. No doubt about it, publishing houses have been taking some hits in the current economy. But, I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure why. Everywhere I turn I keep hearing how romance is one industry that’s doing well in the bad economy. Go figure.

How tumultuous was your writing journey and where do you hope to see your career going?

It’s been a fun ride. :) There have definitely been some unexpected twists and turns, but I’m pretty happy with where I am and where things seem to be going for me. As to where I see myself going… the NY Times bestseller list, of course. ;)

Any secret desire to write different genres?

Not sure if it’s really a secret, but I’d love to write YA.

Writers either work alone or with a group of other writers. Do you have a posse you write with and do they write in the same genre you do? Do you meet them for writer dates?

I do have a group of other writers whose opinions I trust more than my own. Whenever I have something new, I’ll usually send it out to at least one of them (whoever isn’t in a deadline cave at the time) to read. We’re pretty spread out, so we don’t meet regularly, but they’re always an email away. And, no, we write in all different genres, which I think makes it even more fun reading each others' stuff.

Tell us about your latest release SCANDAL SHEET?

SCANDAL SHEET is the first book in my new Hollywood Headlines series, that focuses on the explotiots of L.A. most infamous tabloid, the L.A. Informer. Tina Bender is the Informer’s gossip columnist extraordinaire. She knows everything about everyone who's anyone. And she's not afraid to print it. That is, until she receives a threatening note, promising, "If you don't stop writing about me, you're dead." Teaming with a built bodyguard, a bubbly blonde, and an alcoholic obituary writer, Tina sets out to uncover just which juicy piece of Hollywood gossip is worth killing over.

Would you like to share an excerpt for our readers?

Absolutely. :) They can read an excerpt of the first scene of listen
to an audio excerpt of the first three chapters on my website at:

What is the most extreme sport you’ve ever done, or adventure you’ve ever taken, and what did you learn about yourself?

Okay, I’ll admit, I’m not much of a sports gal. I did earn a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, though, so I guess sparring big 6 foot guys would be the most extreme thing I’ve done. What did I learn? I can beat up 6 foot tall guys. ;)

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

Great questions! Lol! Um… Rockin’ Red, because I love painting my toenails the brightest color I can find.

Any advice for our writers or parting words for our readers?

Advice for writers: Keep writing! And try to read as many other authors in your genre as possible.

Parting words for readers: buy SCANDAL SHEET! ;)


In her previous life, Gemma worked in such diverse jobs as a film and television actress, a teddy bear importer, a department store administrator, a preschool teacher, a temporary tattoo artist, and a 900 number psychic. All of which have given her excellent fodder for future characters.

Gemma started writing fiction in 2002 and after winning several awards as an unpublished writer, her career kicked into high gear in 2005 when she won RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart Award. One month later she was offered her first book contract, saving her from adding another dead end to her eclectic employment history.

Her first book, SPYING IN HIGH HEELS, was published in 2006, and since then Gemma has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Reader's Choice award and two RITA nominations.

Gemma now makes her home in the San Francisco Bay area, where she is hard at work on her next book.

Want to find out more about Gemma, visit her online: www.gemmahalliday.com

I didn't realize how much I took my health for granted until the swine flu knocked me clear on my butt. I'm usually a fighter. The minute my body doesn't feel quite right, I delve into my arsenal of herbs and start the process of kicking whatever is trying to invade my immune system to the curb.

Nothing I tried this time worked, and I've spent the better part of the last ten days in a dizzy, fever induced fog. The weeks before I fell ill, I was putting in long hours, working hard on my proposal and longing for the chance to spend just an extra few hours in bed. My wish came true, but not at all in the way I imagined. I'm not 100% better yet, but I feel well enough to try and enter the land of the living.

My agent has my latest WIP in her hands and is getting ready to begin submissions. I hope to have good news really soon.

Enjoy the rest of your week everyone!

My office and I have been very close friends lately as I have been working on several projects while having a huge blog party and watching constantly the bestseller list at My Bookstore and More to see what SOUNDS TO DIE BY is doing (and I thought I'd moved past the neurosis stage.)

Anyway, in the last two weeks I spent 12 days the Top 10 Bestseller list at MBAM. This last weekend SOUNDS TO DIE BY was voited Best book of the week at Long and Short Reviews (well it was a tie, but I'm still excited to get to make that claim.) I'm having a blog party at my personal blog with a different guest every day. Today's guest is my ediotr Lindsey Faber and she's addressing a super scary topic. You should totally go check it out. I look forward to reading the comments when I get home from volunteering at the youngest kiddo's school.

But the best part of the last two weeks, the part that gives me warm fuzzies and makes me feel all gooey inside, are the reader emails. Like most authors, I was sure that I'd written a good book but was a little worried that my message might not translate well. So far it has. I have gotten some amazing responses to the story, which has helped motivate me to get book 2 finished. Though you guessed it. I'm worried it won't be as good as the first one. LOL Guess I'll be counting on Lndsey to help make sure it is.

Why do you think that we have so much self-doubts when it comes to something that really means something to us? Why do we convince ourselves that something we know we do well isn't going to be recieved well?

Every writer reaches a point in their career where paranoia becomes a huge obstacle in the writing progress. In my case, getting my proposal to my lovely agent. She's been good at the subtle hints but she's very anxious about reading this new project. It's totally not what I usually write and it's a lot of pressure. Maybe these unnecessary fears are causing my own subliminal sabotage. Yep, it's easy to start the wheels of self-doubt, anxiety, and paranoia to turn when your head is stuck in personal struggles. What keeps me going, even with all the pressures that comes with publishing, is my love of storytelling. Maybe it's because I feel it deep in my gut that this project may be 'the one'. I've probably felt that with all my projects but this time it's different in a good but hurt-so-bad kind of way.

Well, during this writing lull I decided to contact a few of my writer friends for some pep talks. Some of these authors have even made it to the bestseller lists in the past...but they're going through this bizarre transition I'm going through with their own proposals. It's scary. No one's safe and if someone who's had good success in the past are struggling to find a publisher now...it makes it even more intense for someone who's at the beginning of their career like me. Writers need other writers. Often along the way we step back, but it's only for personal clarity and reflection. Sometimes we're needy, and sometimes we need the alone time but the pure truth is that we're never alone--after all, no one understands writers better than other writers who walk the same path.

Honest, this post isn't meant to be a downer. It's about perseverance and commitment to a goal, to yourself. It's a commitment to achieving that career that we've all been working toward for as long as we could remember. We just need to remind ourselves the reasons why. Sometimes we lose ourselves in the moment, the crisis...but if we can't see ourselves facing these same speed bumps in our future, then maybe we should stop and consider if this choice we've made is really what we want....

As for me--I'm making a stand to fight the paranoia monster! I've decided that I'm not going to allow myself to fall into that gray area where authors throw away their career because they couldn't take the pressure. I've seen it happen with girlfriends who have put out one amazing book that garnered rave reviews and instant lists who have quit before they even began--those one hit wonders who should have kept the paranoia locked up. It's a shame to see such talents wasted...a real shame. Not me. I'm a fighter, I'm going to keep my eye on reaching the finish line. After all I've been through, I think it's good to have some self-doubt to get us to re-evaluate things. It just means we're human. We're bound to make it happen if we never give up. Those famous words that Rose said to Jack on the raft after the Titanic sank, "I'll never give up, Jack. I'll never give up." Let those words ring in your ears a few times and it'll stick.

Goal for this week: I'm going to put my all into my proposal, then I'm going to close my eyes and press send.

**CONGRATULATIONS LYNNE ROBERTS for winning an autographed book of BUNCO BABE TELLS ALL by Maria Geraci! You'll be contacted shortly. If you didn't leave an email addy, please email me at jaxcassidy@gmail.com.**

I love interviewing authors I've met and authors I call friend. A lot of interesting things happen at conferences and you'd have to show up to find out...Anyway, I love attending these week long or weekend events to meet the people I've been corresponding with via email for years. Mostly, I love the connection I have with other authors who share a common career path and desire to succeed. When Maria and I met up in Washington, she kept me laughing and she's the most down-to-earth person you'll ever meet. Contrary to what people believe, authors have to keep their day jobs until they hit it big and it could be a while. I admire her work ethic and commend her for being a nurse. She's smart, funny, and very personable--the type of person you can go out to dinner with and chat all night. Her books have the same fun and intimate feel and I hope that you'll pick one up. I'm telling you, it's a great read when you're curled up during those cold, rainy (or snowy) nights. Stoke the fires, have a glass of wine or a cup of hot cocoa because you'll keep turning the pages and forgetting the craziness around you...

Now for the interview :)

What made you decide to write about Bunco and what exactly is this game (for those who are unfamiliar with it?

Bunco is a fast paced dice game, usually played by women. Think of a guy’s poker night, but substitute margaritas for the beer and gossip for the cigars. Plus, there’s prizes.

I’ve played Bunco for over 16 years now. It’s a totally fun girl time and a great way to de-stress. When I decided to write a women’s fiction novel, Bunco seemed like the perfect backdrop. Think Bunco meets Sex in the City, and voila! You have my Bunco Babes!

How did you come up with the concept of your series? Was this your first project, if not, how many manuscripts did you write before you took a chance on this?

I wrote 2 historicals before I wrote BUNCO BABES TELL ALL. The first one was terrible- my first ever attempt at writing. The 2nd historical was much better. That manuscript was a finalist in the American Title 2 contest and helped land me an agent.

The concept for the Bunco Babes series actually came to me at the RWA convention in Reno. I was out with friends at dinner and had on my “lucky” Bunco bracelet. I looked down at it and it came to me in an epiphany. I had to write about a group of friends who’ve played Bunco every week for the past 10 years, but one of them was still single… etc, etc… You get my drift.

What have you learned most about the publishing industry since you began? How much has the economy impacted your career?

Wow, that’s a loaded question since I knew absolutely nothing about publishing before I decided to write! And what I knew before I sold would fill an ocean. I guess the most important thing I’ve learned is to always expect the unexpected. People come and go, an idea that seemed “hot” one day, isn’t the next. The only thing you can control about your career is the quality of your writing and your professional attitude.

I’ll be honest, since I sold in a down economy I’m not sure how much it’s impacted my career. I know that my publisher (Berkley) has gone green and that’s reduced paper and postage waste. Personally, I love doing copyedits on the computer. But I would have loved more ARCs, a bigger promotion budget for my book, that kind of thing.

BUNCO BABES GONE WILD is the second book in your Bunco Babe series, can you tell us more about it and share an excerpt of your latest release?

Bunco Babes Gone Wild is the story of a woman who decides to shake up her boyfriend after he presents her with a calculator for their 5 year anniversary (instead of the engagement ring she’d been expecting). So she goes to my fictional town of Whispering Bay, Florida, home to the Bunco Babes (the characters I introduced in my first novel, Bunco Babes Tell All) to seek solace and advice from her big sister. She gets a lot more than she bargained for though, and finds herself in the middle of a Bunco feud and a theft. She also meets a hunky new guy she can’t seem to stay away from. All in all, it’s a sexy, humorous, light women’s fiction story.

Here’s an excerpt:

Dave pulled off his jeans. Underneath he had on a pair of board shorts. Georgia crossed her arms over her chest. “That’s a bathing suit.”

“You sound disappointed.”

“Well, I’m not.”

He gave her a look that said he didn’t believe her. “Your turn.”

“I’m not stripping down to my underwear.”

“Suit yourself.” He walked out the sliding glass doors and onto the beach.

Georgia watched, blatantly jealous as he dove into the cool blue water.

He made her feel prudish. But she wasn’t a prude. There was just something… unnerving about him. Like she was betraying Spencer. Which was ridiculous. Dave had absolutely nothing over Spencer. Spencer was classically handsome, smooth, successful, smart, urbane, thoughtful (well, most of the time).

Dave on the other hand, was just sort of good looking. Sure, he had a nice butt and every once in a while he could be funny, but he was like beer. It was tasty, but who wanted beer if you could have champagne? And she was definitely a champagne kind of girl.

If Dave could strip down to almost nothing, then so could she. Besides, he’d already seen her boobs. And it wasn’t like she was naked. She was wearing a bra and underwear. Her bikini was a lot more revealing than—

Her fingers froze on the jeans zipper.

Shit. She’d forgotten she was wearing granny panties.

But that was good, wasn’t it? It was in no way revealing. Or sexy. Or anything remotely connected to sexy.

She bit her bottom lip. What if Dave thought this was the sort of underwear she wore all the time? She craned her neck to see him floating on top of the calm water. It looked absolutely blissful.

A river of sweat ran down her back, pooling into her already damp jeans.

The hell with it. What did she care what Dave Hernandez thought of her underwear?


How tumultuous was your writing journey and where do you hope to see your career going?

I don’t think I’d call my journey tumultuous. I’m probably pretty lucky by most standards. It took me 5 years to get the “call” but I don’t think I was ready earlier than that.

I hope to continue to sell books, gain more fans, become a better writer. And of course, get bigger advances!

Writers either work alone or with a group of other writers. Do you have a posse you write with and do they write in the same genre you do? Do you meet them for writer dates?

I write alone, but I have a great group of supportive friends. My local RWA chapter meets once a month and of course, there’s fabulous online networking. I can’t imagine how writers did it before the computer age. It must have been very lonesome! I have a couple of critique partners who I depend on to give me advice, but they don’t live near me, so again, thank God for the internet!

What should readers expect to see from you in the future? Will you ever write outside of the contemporary genre?

I’m working on a new women’s fiction novel titled THE BOYFRIEND OF THE MONTH CLUB. It will come out early 2011 from Berkley. It’s quirky and hopefully funny and sexy, like my Bunco books.

I began by writing historical romance, but I don’t really see myself going back to it. However, you never know, right?

When you sold your first book, how did you feel and what did you do to celebrate?

I was sick with the flu, so I “celebrated” by going to bed and sleeping. Honest! I wish I could describe the feeling when my agent called to tell me I’d sold. It was part relief, part disbelief, part haze (maybe because of the cold medicine I was on!), but honestly, I’ll never forget it. It was like a dream come true.

You threw a crazy fun Bunco Bash at the Romantic Times Convention, do you plan on doing another at RT next year? Don’t hold out on me.

I loved throwing that Bunco Bash! It was so much fun, and I wish I could do it again. But unfortunately, I’m not. The timing on my release just doesn’t make it financially prudent since I won’t have a Bunco book to promote next year.

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

I’d be “Clear and Shiny.” Because what you see is what you get with me. And of course, I have such a shiny, fun disposition.

Any advice for our writers or parting words for our readers?

Keep writing. Write what you love and don’t ever give up!

About Maria:

Maria Geraci was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised on Florida’s Space Coast. Her love of books started with the classic, Little Women (a book she read so often growing up, she could probably quote).She lives with her husband and their children in north Florida where she works part-time as a labor and delivery nurse by night and writes romance full time during the day (sleep is not an option). Her first book, Bunco Babes Tell All, a sexy, funny women’s fiction story debuted in May, 2009. The follow-up, Bunco Babes Gone Wild, comes out in November. Maria is currently working on a romantic comedy scheduled for an early 2011 release date. You can visit her website at www.mariageraci.com.

I'm sure you're expecting Abi but she's in bed with the FLU which has been going around. Last week I caught something and luckily it wasn't nearly as bad but I guess I'm doing a double blog post this week.

What shall we talk about? (Since I was suddenly asked to be a replacement)

I've been worldbuilding because that's what you do when you write paranormals. Unfortunately, I was so smug about creating such an amazing universe that I tend to get consumed by it. As I was working on my proposal...which is taking much to long...I realized that my overactive imagination may be the reason why I'm having so much difficulties writing it. As a writer, we are filled with details and it's about how much we want to reveal to the readers to keep them hooked. While I was so eager to expand on this world, I forgot that readers want to be whisked away, not bogged down with too much story. That got me thinking--instead of investing so much on ideas that would bore folks, I need to focus on things that should matter the most in a romance: Emotion. Relationship. Love.

Because I spent most of my life writing screenplays, I'm very visual in my head. It's a positive and a negative when it comes to writing. The positive is that I am pretty decent at dialogue, the negative is that I tend to go over the top. Writing books is a different level of writing all together. You have to make things simple, yet every single word has got to count. Readers want to invest in the characters, they want the jarring emotion, they want the intensity of the relationship...but they also want to be able to read a story that makes sense. Sounds easy, right? WRONG. Simple isn't easy. Simple is complex in its own way and the challenge has really gotten me to think outside the box. Well, the epiphany came just in time but the downside of understanding is me having to re-write all these chapters to fit the new story mold I've created.

Fun, fun, fun. I get to start over from page one again.

If you're sick, I feel for you. Been there and finally recovered.

If you're well, you need to write! What's your excuse?

So, it's 2:00 and I'm just now getting to my computer for the day, which is very strange for me since I live at my computer. Anyway, I've been asked a lot recently about writing a blind hero. I don't closely know anyone who is blind, but I did try to become aware of what a blind person would have to go through on an daily basis. Our very own Jenius Jax joined some other friends and blindfolded me one night at a retreat. They had fun and I gained insight.

When I was writing Ian (my blind hero), I watched Daredevil several times and I thought back on At First Sight with Val Kilmer. I was watching Ray for the first time a few days ago, and it made me think of Ian in Sounds to Die By. I know one person who lost her vision as she aged, but I don’t know anyone who has been blind for most of their life. I relied on movies and my own imagination to make sure I captured Ian’s character correctly and handled his lack of vision as accurately and believably as possible.

When I watched Daredevil, I paid attention to how things sounded and how he could judge where things were because of sound waves, but I didn’t go so far as to give Ian an actual visual sensation from the sounds. That was one of my favorite things they did in that movie, but I wanted Ian to have to get through life without that sort of advantage. I also needed to get inside Ian’s head, so I blindfolded myself a few times to see what I noticed when I didn’t rely on my vision to get me through the house. I would shower and dress with all the lights off and my eyes closed to consider even the small challenges a blind person would deal with.

I felt that I’d done a pretty good job of writing a blind hero, and after watching Ray, I’m even more confident that I did. Jamie Foxx (Ray) was on a bus at one point and the driver asked him how he got around without a cane or guide dog—something Ian does in the book by choice at times. He explained how everything makes a different sort of sound and that he wore hard-soled shoes because they made sound vibrations off the walls so when he came to a doorway the sound changed. I used the sounds waves vibrating in the air around him as the explanation in the book, but Ray’s sense of hearing was a lot like what I did with Ian’s character. For example, he was in a restaurant on a date and made a comment about the Hummingbird outside the window. His date was surprised that he could hear it, but he sort of shrugged it off with the remark that you just had to listen. Ian does the same kind of things to Kieralyn.

Sounds to Die By has by far been my most challenging story to write, but it has also been extremely rewarding. In doing a few simple exercises of blindness, my writing improved because I had to find new ways to describe things, but I also came to appreciate the things we take for granted a little more. Like a great song.

For example, I love the song Do You Know by Enrique Iglesias. If you listen to it normally, you hear the ping pong ball bouncing at the beginning, but you can easily lose the sound of it when the music and lyrics kick in. By closing your eyes and concentrating on that ping pong ball, the rhythm and feel of it before the song kicks into full swing, you can hear the ball beneath the lyrics and music. You feel its rhythm more viscerally. Try it. I’d love to know if the same is true for you.

Available Now!
Sounds to Die By, Sensory Ops book 1
Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60504-677-8
Samhain | Kindle Version | Books on Board

Also, check out my month long blog party. I’m giving away some great prizes with an eReader for the grand prize on Halloween. www.nikkiduncan.com/blog.

I normally love cold season just because I can pull up my boots, wrap myself in the plush scarf and don my knit hat to complete the full fall/winter attire. Living in LA, when the weather dropped to 60, you'd see all the women ready for the winter to parade the latest fashion. Unfortunately, when I'm talking about 'cold season'--I'm really talking about being laid up in bed with runny nose, stuffy head, coughing, and downing cold meds like it's candy. I totally lost track of life. I even missed last Monday because I was down with the icks. Today, I'm just behind schedule because I found myself trying to catch up with my workload. Clients aren't necessarily happy when you aren't working on their projects so I had to cram a weeks worth of work into a weekend.

The only good thing that came out of being sick was catching up on tv. I don't watch the tube when I'm working and I tend to become overly obsessive. It's easy for the day to disappear and I'm wondering what day it is. Now that things are starting to ease up, I can feel a bit of breathing room. Unfortunately I'm going to have to start up on my writing projects that I've managed to neglect. I'm really excited about the current WIP because when you're writing paranormals it's always a good thing to have a breakthrough...thankfully, I had one and now I'm ready to start back up.

Hopefully next week I'll an entertaining topic--but for today, I thought I'd pop in to give you the 411 on my life....yes--even writer's have to deal with real life. :P
**UPDATE: CONGRATULATIONS, JODER! You just won an autographed book from Kate Pearce! She'll be emailing in regards to your win. Thanks for playing!**

I'm one of the lucky ones who got to know Kate before all these string of releases and--let me just say, she's an incredibly amazing and lovable person inside as she is on the outside. This past conference in Washington, I finally got a chance to hang out with her in person and she's a real inspiration! We have so much in common but beyond that--she's smart, witty, and full of life--which I can't wait to spend time with her again. I am so excited about the buzz she's getting, which is SO deserved, and I'm happy to have her visit us at HoR!

**For your chance to win an autographed book by Kate Pearce, all you need to do is comment to this post and leave your email address if it's not linked to your blogger account. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday**

And now, let's get to the inteview...

You’re most known for your steamy erotic historical romances from Kensington and you have plenty of experiences writing in different genres. Was it a difficult transition for you and how do you get all the stories straight when your deadlines are close together?

When I did finally get published, I was published in 3 different erotic romance sub-genres within the first year, (Regency, Contemporary Western and Futuristic), so I never had to make a definite choice as to which single sub-genre I wanted to write and there was never any question of me having to stick with one. (I’m a great believer in not having all your eggs in one basket.) Now, of course, just to complicate matters, I’ve added paranormal historical romance to the mix with my NAL contract :)

I never have any problems keeping everything straight, because the characters are all so distinct in my head. I have written the wrong character name in occasionally, but I usually catch that before it is too late!

What have you learned most about the publishing industry since you began? How much has the economy impacted your career?

I’ve learned that in publishing things seem to happen either super-fast or super slow and that even when you make that coveted sale to NY, you just enter a whole new world of worrying and a level of paranoia that can destroy you. I’ve learned to focus on the things I can control, like writing an excellent book and turning it in on time and ignore the other stuff.

I’m not sure yet how the economy has affected my career. I’ve been lucky enough to be offered new contracts, although I know many excellent authors who haven’t. I should imagine that print runs and sales have been affected, but until I see my royalty statement in Nov/Dec I won’t be able to say precisely what the impact has been.

You recently landed a major deal to write a vampire series historical set in the Tudor period, can you tell us a little more about it? What inspired you to come up with this idea?

This was a weird one. My agent, Deidre Knight, was talking to NAL about me and was asked by the editor if I could write Tudor Vampires, because they would love some of those. So Deidre asked me. :) I thought about it while I was picking my daughter up from school and came up with an idea to base a series around King Henry VIII and his six wives. (I did Tudor politics as a minor in my history degree), the premise being, that the real reason Henry had so many wives was due to all that Vampire activity going on at his court. (of course!).

Deidre loved the idea and asked me to write up a 1 page proposal. I did that, and off it went to NAL who seemed to quite like the idea as well and asked me to send in a proposal for the first three books. I ended up doing this in three weeks…It was really tough going and I had to keep it to myself because it was all so new and we were hoping no one else was doing the same thing. :) After a couple of rewrites, to add more sex, (I think I’d gone too far the other way LOL) Deidre sent it in and gave them a couple of days to get back to us. Then we heard nothing…and we were just beginning to think we’d missed the mark, when they came back with an offer for the three books. Deidre took over the rest of the negotiations, while I went out and bought lots of non-fiction about the Tudors to refresh my memory! :)

How tumultuous was your writing journey and where do you hope to see your career going?

I wouldn’t say it’s been particularly tumultuous. Like most aspiring writers I’ve had terrible contest scores, horrible critiques, many many rejections, editors turning down fulls , editors leaving…the usual stuff that makes you want to just give up and cry. From the outset I saw it as a slow and steady progression and that’s how I still view it. I write the best book I can, and if someone wants to buy it, that’s great. If tastes change and I’m out of a job again, then I’ll just keep going and reinventing myself until I get it right again.

And of course, I’d like to be famous-did I forget to mention that?

Writers either work alone or with a group of other writers. Do you have a posse you write with and do they write in the same genre you do? Do you meet them for writer dates?

I have a great set of local critters, The Hot Writer Babes, whom I’ve worked with for several years now. We all met at a local writers group and have stuck together through a load of life experiences. Only one of them writes romance, but the four of us make a great all-round team. I also have several people who crit my work for me online-I write so many books I need them all--LOL--I don’t really brainstorm much I usually wait until I have something written down before I get any feedback on it.

Tell us about your latest release SIMPLY WICKED? Would you like to share an excerpt?

SIMPLY WICKED is book #4 of the Regency-set erotic romances set in The House of Pleasure. Here’s a quick blurb:

When Anthony Sokorvsky wakes up in the punishment corner of Madame Helen’s pleasure house, he questions where his desire for sexual punishment has led him. In an effort to change his life, he agrees to squire Madame Helene’s widowed daughter, Lady Marguerite Lockwood about town.

Marguerite has her own issues to deal with, her short marriage ended when her husband was killed in a duel with his best friend, ostensibly over her. In an effort to avoid the scandal, she’s tried to withdraw from society, but Anthony Sokorvsky proves impossible to resist.
Anthony’s nemesis, Lord Minshom refuses to give him up. To Anthony’s horror, even as he finds sexual compatibility with Marguerite, he’s still drawn to the darker side of pleasure. While the couple struggles to understand each other, Lord Minshom believes he holds all the cards to destroy their relationship. But Marguerite and Anthony discover than when it comes to love and acceptance, anything is possible.


Here’s a short excerpt from Chapter 1 when Anthony is invited to meet the mysterious Lady Lockwood by her half-brother, Christian Delornay.

“Would you like me to scrub your back?”

Anthony’s startled gaze flew to the doorway. Framed against the sunlight stood Christian Delornay, Helene’s son. A permanent fixture for the last year at the pleasure house, seeing as he now lived there and worked for his mother. In the past, Anthony had never paid much attention to him, being far too busy with his own pursuit of sexual excess to worry about another man’s.

“No, I thank you.”

Christian shrugged, the gesture eloquent of his French upbringing as was his slightly accented English. From his prone position in the bath, Anthony took Christian’s measure and reckoned they were of similar height, although as he understood it, Christian was only twenty.

“Are you sure?”

At Christian’s amused tone, a now familiar burning rage churned in Anthony’s gut.

“Absolutely, and you can get out as well.”

“I am perfectly within my rights to be here. This is my mother’s dressing room after all.”

Christian moved closer until Anthony was forced to look up at him.

“You often frequent your mother’s bedroom do you?”

Christian smiled. “Unworthy of you, Lord Anthony. Try again.”

Anthony closed his eyes. “Get out.”

“I will if you agree to have dinner with me and my sister tonight.”

“Why would I want to do that?”

Christian skimmed his fingers along the rim of the bath. Anthony couldn’t take his eyes away from the slow gliding motion.

“Because I asked? Because you wish me to go away so that you can finish your bath in peace?”

“All right.”

“You will come?”

Anthony glared up at his smiling companion. “I said I would, now get out and shut the door behind you.”

Christian bowed. “We will see you at seven then in the main salon.”

As soon as Christian left, Anthony got out of the bath and dressed hurriedly in the plain brown coat, black breeches and matching waistcoat Judd had left for him. If he caught a cab down to the shipping office by the docks he should still be able to meet Valentin. He paused to check his reflection in the mirror. His lips were a little bruised and swollen, but apart from that, he looked well enough. Lord Minshom was always very careful not to mark his lovers above the neck.


You’re originally from England but moved across the pond to California, do you ever see yourself moving back? What is the most exciting thing about where you live?

I’m not sure if I could take the weather over in England anymore. I like my sunshine too much :) But I do miss my family and friends over there, so maybe when I’m famous, I’ll have a house in London as well and a private jet to take me back there quickly!

I live in the Bay Area near San Francisco and it is a fabulous place to live. You can reach the beach, the mountains, the lakes, the snow and the beauties and sophistication of the city itself all within a few hours drive. What’s not to like?

What is the most extreme sport you’ve ever done, or adventure you’ve ever taken, and what did you learn about yourself?

I did a tandem sky-dive on my 40th birthday-is that extreme enough? I learned that I can scream really loudly with terror, and yet still feel more alive and more aware of being alive than I’d ever felt before.

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

I would be Pansy Pinkalicious Sparkles because, well-that name says it all, right? And my 7 year old daughter would love it so much.

Any advice for our writers or parting words for our readers?

Just keep writing and please keep reading!!


Kate Pearce was born into a large family of girls in England, and spent much of her childhood living very happily in a dream world. Despite being told that she really needed to ‘get with the program’, she graduated from the University College of Wales with an honors degree in history.

After graduation, real life did intervene and she ended up working in finance which was not the greatest career choice for a would-be writer!

A move to the USA finally allowed her to fulfill her dreams and sit down and write that novel. Along with being a voracious reader, Kate loves trail riding with her family, ‘western style’ in the regional parks of Northern California

Kate writes in several different romance sub-genres under different names. She is a member of RWA and is published by Kensington Aphrodisia, Ellora’s Cave and Virgin Black Lace/Cheek.

To find out more about Kate, visit her online at http://katepearce.com
Today is my son's 12Th birthday and I'm torn between celebrating and wanting to cry. I'm really proud of him. In these uncertain times that we live in, I've managed to raise a smart, conscientious and honest young man. But when I look at him, so tall, strong and handsome, I long for the days when he'd let me hold him for hours and rock him to sleep.

I'm happy to report that I've finished my latest WIP. As I neared the finish line, I was so excited that my hands were actually shaking when I typed 'The End'. I wanted to dive right in and start editing, but I know that I need to approach it with fresh eyes. So, it will sit on the shelf for a couple weeks until I decide to tackle it.

Enjoy the next few days everyone...my weekend will be filled with birthday cake and happy tears.

Today is the day that my debut story SOUNDS TO DIE BY releases.

I'm having a month long celebration at my blog with goodies every Saturday leading up to an eReader given away on Halloween. I've also just posted an interview with Ian and Kieralyn on my website and I'm blogging multiple places today. I’ll also be chatting and sharing excerpts today in the Samhain Cafe, on the Samhain Blog, at Shayla Black’s blog, Melissa Schroeder’s blog, and the Sizzling Pens blog.

I know, we're expecting Trish Milburn today but due to an unforeseen personal emergency Abi had to re-schedule our guest blogger today.

So, if you're interested in reading about Motivation and the four steps I think would help you through a first draft, visit me on my BLOG and find out!

October is just flying by and soon it'll be Halloween. I love that holiday, the only thing I don't love is the fright night events and horror flicks. Call me chicken but I have never enjoyed any of those things. That's where me and Mr. Right are different. He loves mindless gore movies and I want to throw up even though I know it's all Hollywood magic. Maybe I'm too visual of a person. I started out writing horror screenplays but I can't, for the life of me, sit through a horror flick without totally wigging out. Uh-oh, just let out one of my personal secrets...I guess I am a girly-girl beneath the tough exterior. I love chick flicks and I love being pampered, but don't get me wrong...I am no stranger to whipping out my vicious side when necessary.

So what do you love about the season? What will you be doing for Halloween? What is your deep, dark secrets....spill it!

I am still writing and trying to get things polished and done before sending it my agent. I had to take a break last week and deal with a very sick husband who is still recouperating at home. Writing is proving to be a bit challenging when having to stop every five minutes or so to administer meds and chicken soup. But then....life goes on.

In other news, my angel is turning 12 next week! Sometimes I can't believe that I have a child, much less one that is so handsome, smart and well adjusted. We are celebrating with a laser tag party and a barbeque. He's invited 12 of his boys and we'll have tons of family and friends in attendance. The only person missing from our celebration will be Jax who is truly a part of our family :(

I hope you all have a great week!

My family has been invited to a costume party. I have my costume, a Play Boy Bunny, but I'm wondering what I should get for CIS. I was thinking of getting him some silk jammies and he could be Hugh. He would also be comfortable, which he would love. What do you think? Can you think of something else I could do for him that would be fun/funny?

Now, for some exciting news. Reviews and feedback is beginning to come in on SOUNDS TO DIE BY. It's a Recommended Read from Joyfully Reviewed and I've received emails from other reviewers and winners of ARC giveaways that they LOVE it. As this is my debut book, I'm sure you can imagine I was a little nervous about how it would be received. My mind has settled tremendously with the positive responses.

And if you want some exciting new for you, for the month of October I'm having a party at my personal blog. I'm celebrating my release, my anniversary, and other authors with October releases. Some guest bloggers are having their own contests on their day, but every Saturday is Giveaway Saturday. The prizes with get better each week and will end with an eReader pre-loaded with some great books given away on Halloween. I hope you'll come visit. Here is the kick off post that explains the details of the party.

I can feel the cold season creeping through and know that winter is right around the corner. There's a devilish delight because I love breaking out the winter clothes. I love layering shirts, wrapping up in scarves, knit caps, and stomping around in those cute and comfy UGGs that people loathe. When the Christmas lights and decorations come up, I get all giddy because it's a confirmation that the holidays are near. It's also a great time to stoke the fires, curl up to a book, and just take everything in stride. Most people may find this time of year stressful but I find it rejuvenating. I'm re-energized and ready to meet all those goals I set out for at the beginning of the year.

Since cold weather can be hard on the body, there's a few products that I rely on to get me feeling all soft and pretty...don't we deserve to feel pretty?

Naturally is a product in Canada and this whipped Wild Mint Lime lotion in a 4 oz tube is to die for! It smells so good and I'm totally addicted to the creamy smoothness, without the oily after affects of most lotions. I stumbled across it at The Cracker Barrel. I know! It's around $9 a tube but well worth the price.

Neutrogena's Moisture Shine lip gloss not only tastes good, it hydrates the lips and has just a hint of color to make your lips look natural and shiny. I hate those lip gloss that taste too sweet..if I want candy, I'd rather be eating that instead of my gloss. It's taken me several dozen of trial and error buys before I found this one and it's a keeper. For $6 a tube at Target, it lasts quite a while even with several applications a day.

I love, love body butter! Bath and Body Works has the most amazing selections but my all time favorites are the Japanese Cherry Blossom and the Velvet Tuberose. I'm thrilled that they're $7 each when I normally get them for $15. I need to load up on them because I can't get enough of the product. The mild fragrance and the great softness that comes after the application always make me feel like I'm pampering my skin.

Another great buy at Target is Botanic's brand products. These face washes, scrubs, moisturizers are all amazing stuff. My favorite is their Purifying Face Scrub for $8. I usually use face wash in the shower and then the face scrub and I guarantee a shiny softness to your face. I even noticed that it helps when I have minor breakouts.

Hopefully you'll take a day out of the week to make your own mini-spa...just sink in the bath, light the candles, and make sure to indulge. Between work, life, family, and everything in between...YOU should come first.

Okay, I'm off to write...

10/02/09 - Thanks again to Kate for a great interview and thanks to everyone that showed up and left a comment. Our winners are Chaeya, A.M. Wells and Dyanne. Please contact me at abigail@abigailmckenley.com so I can get your books to you!

Kate Douglas is an amazing author and I'm so excited that she agreed to let me interview her here on HoR! She signed with Kensington in 2005 and hasn't slowed down since. Keep reading to find out more about this talented writer and don't forget to comment for a chance to win one of three books!

When and why did you begin writing?
Does my first published poem in the local paper in the fourth grade count? LOL...my first writing job was right out of college in 1972 when I went to work for a country/western radio station—KCEY in Turlock, California—writing commercials. I did a lot of freelance over the years and was a newspaper reporter for a weekly paper for three years, but in the back of my mind, I always wanted to write fiction. I never really knew what kind until I discovered romances, but it took me years to act on it and many more years to get published. I sold my first romance to an epublisher, Hard Shell Word Factory, in 1998, but I didn’t sign with NY until 2005 when Kensington bought Wolf Tales. I was fifty-five years old, sort of late to be starting a new career, but I don’t think I’d want it any other way. Timing has worked perfectly for me.

What is a normal day for you? Do you have a regular writing routine?
I generally write seven days a week. I’m up early and in my office before seven most days, coffee in hand. Some nights I’m still here at eleven or even later. Obviously I take breaks during the day, but with my schedule I really do have to write every day. The good thing is, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing!

Where do you like to write and is there anything specific you need - like a favorite pen or a favorite snack?
I work best in my office, in my big old leather recliner with my laptop in my lap and a glass of ice water or cup of coffee beside me. My office is upstairs in a house that’s built on five levels—at this end of the house it’s the second story, but I can go down five flights of stairs to get to my husband’s workshop because we’re built on a hill...at least I know I’m getting my exercise!

How much time do you spend doing background research for a book - and what has been your favorite "find" while doing this research?
It depends on the story. For the DemonSlayers series, my new release from Kensington Zebra that debuts in March, 2010, we actually made trips up to Mount Shasta in northern California, and down to Sedona, Arizona so that I could actually experience the energy vortexes I’m writing about. In my series, the vortexes power gateways between dimensions and demons are slipping through from Abyss, intent on taking over all the worlds of Earth, Eden(heaven), Atlantis and Lemuria, another mythological world. Actually going to the places and hiking to the vortexes makes a huge difference in the writing. I can write with more authority if I’ve actually been to the places I’m describing in my books. For my Wolf Tales series, I’ve done a lot of reading about wolves and pack dynamics, though my Chanku obviously have their own dynamic that’s nothing like the real critters. We also made a trip up to Kalispell and Glacier National Park, since that’s where Anton Cheval has his Montana home. Seeing those mountains and forests really gave me more insight into the descriptions for my stories.

As far as my favorite find? That would have to be a little crystal/metaphysical shop in Sedona where I could have spent days wandering through the displays! I’ve always loved rocks and gems in their natural state, and this place was a treasure trove. I ended up spending way too much money on little bags of rocks that I bought for the sole purpose of wanting to take a bit of the shop home with me.

You write Contemporary, Paranormal and Erotic Romances. Do you find it difficult to switch gears when writing different types of books? Do you write one book at a time or do you work on one or more concurrently? Which is your favorite to work on?
I haven’t written straight contemporary for years, not since I made the switch to erotic romance back in 2001, so that’s not been a hard change to make. I’m not having too much trouble switching gears between erotic paranormal and “regular” paranormal (is there such a thing?) though I have to admit, when I was writing DemonFire, (NOT erotic) where I have two very powerful men in lead rolls, I was constantly fighting the desire to put my two men together in a relationship! LOL...Dax is my hero and Alton is a Lemurian warrior who is brought in to help Dax fight demons, and if this had been erotic romance, they would have ended up as the love interest. As it turns out, Eddy Marks is perfect for Dax and she gets the guy...but Alton finds his woman in HellFire, the second book in the series. I’m writing that one now, and Ginny Jones is a fun character. She’s a young African American woman who works as a 911 dispatcher. She’s got a pretty jaded and cynical view of men in general, most specifically arrogant men, and Alton, as the immortal son of Lemuria’s leader, has arrogance to spare. Putting them together has been fun.

I can only work on one book at a time. I tend to totally immerse myself in a story and actually have to take a day off between books and read a book by another author to get myself out of my fantasy world. The world of the Chanku is totally different from my DemonSlayers, so it’s not an easy segue to make. As far as my favorite? I’d have to say whichever one I’m currently working on at the time. I fall in love (or lust as the case may be) with all of my heroes! While I’m writing in a particular world, it’s more real to me than the one outside my door. If I don’t love a project, I don’t think I could write it very well.

Your Wolf Tales series is one of Kensington Aphrodesia's top sellers. In January 2010 your fans will be running to the bookstores to pick up your ninth installment. I've read almost all the books in this series and you manage to never disappoint. How do you keep your writing fresh and your readers coming back for more?
Thank you—and don’t forget, the series continues in the Sexy Beast books (and that one Wild Nights anthology) so Sexy Beast VII, which just released, is actually the sixteenth story in the series. I’m currently contracted through Wolf Tales 12 and Sexy Beast VIII/Chanku Spirit (which will be my last Chanku novella—only writing novels after this one) and if the series continues as Aphrodisia’s top selling series, I imagine they’ll want more. I find it pretty easy to keep the Chanku stories fresh because they, as a species, continue to evolve. More characters are continuously added, and in one case, we’ll be losing a character, as there is a death in Wolf Tales 10 that will put a whole new set of events in motion. I’m not going to publicly announce who dies, but I’ll be posting the excerpt before the book releases, and the character’s death occurs in the first chapter, so anyone who wants to know in advance will be able to read it on my website.

FWIW, I have first chapters of all my books through Sexy Beast VIII/Chanku Spirit on my website at www.katedouglas.com/eroticromance I have an 18 and older button readers need to click, but it’s there for my protection as well as to keep younger readers out. My books are NOT pornographic, but they are sexually explicit, and I’m not comfortable posting things for younger readers, even though I’m well aware that there are a lot of high school kids hooked on my books. (Of course, if Wolf Tales had been around when I was in high school, I imagine I’d have been reading them!) I’m glad to hear you think the stories remain fresh. I try!

Your Demonslayers series comes to Kensington Zebra in 2010. Can you tell us a little about it?
This one is so much fun! Dax is a demon who’s too good for hell—he’s kicked out of Abyss (hell) and ends up in the void, where he’s hired by the good guys to fight a demon invasion on Earth. He’s not the most heroic of heroes—he’s hit with a curse the minute he steps into Earth’s dimension and ends up working with the pragmatic newspaper reporter who saves his life and a tiny will-o’-the-wisp named Willow who helps him access his demon powers while he’s in a borrowed human body. They’re accompanied by Bumper, a mutt who’s a cross between a standard poodle and a pit bull—sort of a pit in a Shirley Temple wig look. They are eventually joined by an exiled Lemurian warrior (Lemuria is a mythological world much like Atlantis—you can read about it online) named Alton, battling demons in the little town of Evergreen, California, on the slopes of Mount Shasta. Dax has just seven days in his borrowed body before he’s sucked back into the void, so the whole story is a race against time to save the world. My tag line says it all: It’s the battle of good versus evil—and the demon’s the good guy.

I’ve got the first chapter posted at www.katedouglas.com Just click on the DemonFire cover.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Never, ever give up. The one who said that to me, Patricia Lucas White, just passed away this summer after a long battle with cancer, but years ago when I was very discouraged and wondering if I’d EVER sell a book, she encouraged me to keep at it. If I hadn’t believed in her belief in me, if I’d quit when I wanted to, I wouldn’t be where I am now, enjoying my career to the fullest and watching my books selling around the world. It’s been an amazing experience, and I will always owe Pat for forcing me to see that if I quit, I was giving up on something I’d never be happy without.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
See the above—and remember that writing isn’t something you do—it’s who you are. If you can easily walk away from writing, you’re probably not meant to be doing it in the first place. This is not an easy job and it’s not one where you’re ever through learning. Even well-established, famous authors I’ve gotten to know are quick to say that if you don’t keep putting out books that are always better than your last one, you won’t make it as an author. It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done, the most rewarding and at the same time the easiest, because there’s nothing I’d rather be doing. If you love it and if you have the stubbornness to stick with it in spite of rejections, it’s the most rewarding career in the world.

Which reminds me of another bit of advice—when you get a rejection from an editor or a bad review, remember that the editor is NOT rejecting you as a person, merely that particular piece of work. The same with reviews—reading, whether as an editor or a reviewer, is subjective, so take the comments/critique as that person’s opinion of that piece of work at this particular time. Learn never to take it personally, or the negatives will eat you alive.

Do you have a favorite book(s)? What makes it/them your favorite?
LOL...whatever I’m reading at the time. I love to lose myself in a good book—I’ve got favorite authors and I’m discovering new ones all the time. I’ve just gotten into Christina Dodd’s new series—haven’t read her before and she’s wonderful. Anything by Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Andersen, Angela Knight, Virginia Kantra, Stella Cameron, Joey Hill, JR Ward, Elizabeth Hoyt...and the list goes on! I want my books to flow, to have a rhythm to them when I read, and all of my favorite authors write that way. I love Jayne’s characters, Susan’s dialogue, AK’s amazing action scenes. Stella sets a scene so beautifully you practically fall into the pages, and Joey Hill captures her readers with absolutely beautiful prose. Elizabeth Hoyt sets her historicals so perfectly that you feel as if you’ve entered that period along with her characters, and when I read JR Ward I swear I can hear heavy metal playing in the background—point being, I like really good writing. I want to read well-written books, and hope to some day write as smoothly as my favorite authors manage to do.

Is there anything you would like your readers to know?
I hope my readers know how much I appreciate their support. I spend so much time on my computer that the online community has become my social life, and my readers are the friends I interact with the most. I love their encouraging letters and the funny notes they send me. I really love hearing what they think of my books, even if they don’t particularly like a story or a character. That interaction is important to me, and it often gives me ideas for new stories.

I would also love it if all my readers were on my newsletter, as those folks are the ones who know where I’ll be traveling and how we can get together. I don’t usually do regular book signings, but when Doug and I are on the road, we make planned stops at bookstores and I get a chance to meet readers who live in the area. It’s turned out to be such a terrific way to meet the people who read my books, and I’ve loved getting to know every single person who’s made it to one of my stops. We always have a good time, but the only way I’ve found to plan these stops is through my newsletter. You can subscribe by sending an email to KateDouglas-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Thank you so much for this opportunity. As I told you, and will tell anyone reading the blog, I will be in Hawaii when this is published, babysitting our three year old granddaughter Ella and one year old grandson Owen—along with our daughter and HER daughter, five year old Gracie. It should be a blast, but if I don’t respond right away, that’s why

For more information about Kate and her books, visit her website at www.katedouglas.com.