Genre Spotlight: Urban Fantasy

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The paranormal and the every day intertwine in the genre of Urban Fantasy. Strange creatures and magic are just part of the every day life of the main character in any Urban Fantasy book. To help introduce you to this exciting genre, here’s a sneak peak and two upcoming reads, PLUS a look at why Carina Press fans love Urban Fantasy!

Helmut Goes Abroad by Matt Sheehan

helmutLife is pretty good for me, Helmut Haase, dashing detective and ladies’ man extraordinaire. I’m the industrious and charming half of the Fog City Detective Agency. My partner, Shamus O’Sheagan, is the most gifted and lazy Druid this side of the pond, but even he’s settled down with an Amazonian police officer. Together we managed to save the world once already, but our next case is hitting closer to home.

It all started when an old friend came to our door with a wild story about angel bones and necromancers. The bones belong to Azazel, former hero of the dreaded Cretan Empire, and the necromancers want to bring him back to life. The last thing anyone wants is Azazel to return and start another angelic war.

When Shamus locates our quarry in the Mediterranean, it’s bye-bye Wudong, hello luxury voyage to Capri, with a girl in every port and downtime to work on my fighting skills. Too bad such pleasures won’t last. Not with a coven of necromancers ready to fight us to the death over those angel bones and the fate of the world…

Read about Helmut and Shamus’s previous adventure in Helmut Saves the World, available now.

 

Demons in My Driveway by R.L. Naquin

demonsA Monster Haven Story, book five

Zoey Donovan—Aegis and co-opted protector of all things supernatural—is moving up in the Hidden world. Actually, she’s being dropkicked onto the front lines of a fight between the newly formed Cult of Imagination and Hidden governments everywhere.

The Cult is opening portals and unleashing demons, vampires and werewolves, growing closer to breaking the lock that holds back the zombie apocalypse with every world they crack open. Oh, and they want every last Aegis in the world dead, and a roving band of Hidden worshippers is only too eager to assist.

On the upside, Zoey finally has her mother back. But having another Aegis around—one with very different ideas on how to run things—is proving difficult. For their own safety, they’re stuck inside Zoey’s home. What was once a haven is now a prison, further straining maternal relations and alienating her reaper boyfriend. Taking down a cult and saving the world—again—would be a lot easier if she could go farther than her own driveway.

Why Readers Love Urban Fantasy

dangerouscallingThe characters are witty, gritty, and awesome.” –Goodreads review, Dangerous Calling by A.J. Larrieu

deathsdaughterI loved this book, everything about it and UF is definitely my category of choice when reading a book.” –Amazon review, Death’s Daughter by Kathleen Collins

These books can’t come out fast enough as far as I’m concerned.” –Goodreads review, Death’s Daughter by Kathleen Collins

witchlightThis steady to fast paced plot keeps readers intrigued with suspense, drama, magic, and romance.” –Amazon review, Witchlight by Sonya Clark

This paranormal urban fantasy mixes magic with technology for a riveting futuristic read.” –Goodreads review, Witchlight by Sonya Clark

 

Never miss out on the latest Urban Fantasy book. Click here for more!

Author Spotlight: Sheryl Nantus

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If you’re looking for writing advice, author Sheryl Nantus has you covered. Her latest, In the Void, combines everything you love about science fiction and romance, and here she writes about the most important thing an aspiring author can do.

Get your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard: writing advice from Sheryl Nantus

Every year thousand of writers go temporarily crazy for National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo – it’s a group exercise of insanity where the writer must produce a 50,000 word novel within 30 days. It’s a great exercise and helps teach the best habit a writer needs to have—getting that Butt In Chair and concentrating on writing.

And it’s hard—whether you’ve got a minute or an hour free it’s easy to slide off onto checking your email, Twitter or Facebook and suddenly you’ve run out of time and made no real progress on your novel.

Two of my first novels were NaNoWriMo projects—one, “Blood of the Pride”, ended up being bought by Carina Press and led to a four book series! I didn’t send off the manuscript on December 1st – it took months of editing and hard work to whip it into shape for submission. But I did it and the book sold and YOUR book can as well if you learn the best habit of all for an author—getting your butt in the chair and fingers on the keyboard. It’s hard at times and it’s always a concentrated effort to stay focused but the reward of writing a faboo book and getting it out there to the readers is well worth it!

What readers are saying about Sheryl Nantus…

“I’m really enjoying this series. It has a good mix of mystery, action, paranormal politics, and romantic angst.” –Goodreads review, Claws Bared

“Well-written urban fantasy with a strong, appealing heroine.” –Goodreads review, Blood of the Pride

“I had a hard time putting this one down for even a second.” –Amazon review, Family Pride

“The first book in this new sci-fi futuristic romance series is a riveting read that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.” –Goodreads review, In the Black

About In The Void

inthevoidCatherine Rodgers doesn’t like Mercy ships, or the courtesans who work on them—not after her husband left her for a Mercy woman. But after her yacht gets blown up to prevent her from cracking the lid off a corporate scam that’s left hundreds dead and a few people very rich, the only ship around to save her is the Bonnie Belle.

Sean Harrison has worked as one of the Belle’s courtesans for years, bringing happiness to countless women along the space lanes. When he’s asked to care for Catherine while the Belle brings her to safety, it should be just another job.

Somehow it’s anything but. Sean is captivated by Catherine’s sense of justice and responsibility. And Catherine finds a softer, more emotionally intelligent man in Sean than she expected. Drawn together in darkness under the threat of death, they find the beginning of something lasting. But with pirates after the Belle and a price on Catherine’s head, that beginning might be all they get.

 

Find out more about Sheryl by visiting her website, and following her on Facebook and Twitter!

How to Spot Hookers or What I Learned Researching LOVE ON THE BOARDWALK

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By Christi Barth, author of LOVE ON THE BOARDWALK

This book is a sequel (although it also stands alone – everyone can buy it, I promise!) to Love at High Tide, which is set in Ocean City, MD where I vacation every year. Half the reason I wrote the book was because I wanted a diary of the awesomeness of our beach life. Pretty much the only thing I researched was the name of the flag alphabet the lifeguards use (semaphores – see, I still remember!).  And how long it takes to buy a gun in both Maryland and Delaware (ooh, now you’re intrigued, huh?). Love on the Boardwalk, while full of the same zany characters, moves up the coast to take place in Atlantic City, NJ. While I’d been there once for a wild and crazy New Year’s Eve, it wasn’t exactly familiar. So I took a research trip to the boardwalk.

I learned that this rolling wicker chair—the ultimate in laziness for two people—pushed by another human being while you loll about beneath an umbrella (yes, I’d feel pretty darn guilty if I was in it) is called…um…a rolling chair. They are iconic to the AC boardwalk.  Down on the Ocean City boardwalk, we have a motorized tram. Just sayin’.

I learned all about how credit card scams work, and how many different scams there truly are. Writers often joke that the FBI must have secret spycams on our computers, given the odd things we research. In a week I was all over the web looking up white collar crime, how easy it is to buy a gun under the table, and the NJ mob. Pretty suspicious, I’ll admit. Let’s see, time for a disclaimer: no crimes were committed while plotting this novel.

But the funniest thing for me was the time I spent getting the down-low from a pit boss at the biggest casino in AC. He and four croupiers stood around an empty craps table—right beneath a security camera—spilling the dirt on what really happens at casinos. They started by teaching me how to spot hookers. Trust me, I did not *ask* for this information, and I’m not sure what about me gave them the impression I wanted to know. But it did make me giggle…and it did make its way into the book. I could not find a way to work in the description of the out and out sex they’ve watched people have at the slot machines (ewwww – I went to a different casino to play slots later that night).

So that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever learned – how to spot hookers. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever learned?

CARINA_0914_9781426898945_LoveOnTheBoardwalkAtlantic City is the perfect place for detective Bradley Hudson to nurse his broken heart. A week of beer and strippers is sure to erase his former fiancée from his memory for good. What he didn’t count on was running into a sassy redhead from his past. Maybe a rebound romp is an even better plan…

Trina Trimble, private eye in training, is thrilled to be reunited with the hottie she almost hooked up with last summer. She’s undercover on her first solo case, but there’s always time to lock lips with a sexy cop. Besides, a fun fling with Brad doesn’t have to last beyond his week in town.

Brad and Trina are supposed to be just flirting, not forging a new forever. Brad’s still healing, and although Trina changes careers the way other women change shoes, she has finally found her calling in her new life of disguises and stakeouts. But when an irresistible job offer threatens to lure her away, Brad will need to decide to let her go or bet it all on love and risk his heart again.
Purchase your copy at Carina Press

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Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage.  A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning.  Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance.  Christi is President of the Maryland Romance Writers and lives in Maryland with her husband.

Historical Small Towns

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By Tyler Flynn, author of HUNTING THE SPY

I love those small towns that few people have ever heard of but which have a rich history soaked into the stones of the buildings and roads. Deal on the coast of Kent is one of those places, a small town in the shadow of Dover, strung out along a pale line of beach fronting onto the choppy waters of the channel that separates England and France.

Deal was best known in centuries past for being the haunt of smugglers. A smart church at one end of the town served a few respectable families, a burial chapel at the other end served for the poor who thronged the slums and alleys of the lower town.

The smugglers ran wild. The story goes that when the government threatened to send in the army to flush them out, the smugglers simply mounted cannons at every street corner and prepared to blast the soldiers to smithereens.

Deal is part of my family history. Ancestors were sea captains and policemen, post office messengers, green grocers and fish sellers. Women in our family toiled along the windy streets to market. And all of them keeping a wary eye across the sea in case the French decided to invade. I always knew I wanted to set a story here – somehow the place seems both romantic and poignant. The ideal place for lovers to meet. But they would have to fight to stay together, as Nathan and Peter do in Hunting the Spy.

Is there a place that has a special meaning for you?

CARINA_0914_-9781426898938_HuntingTheSpyEngland, 1792: Revolution rages in France, and war with England is imminent. But Nathan Kennett is fighting his own battle. An undercover spy catcher, he’s after an unknown informant who’s supplying valuable secrets about the English coastal defenses to the French.

When he discovers a dead body in his employer’s house, with Sir Peter Ross hunched over it, he has his suspect. Lean, strong and firm, Peter is Nathan’s ex-lover—and a member of the aristocracy. He represents everything Nathan hates and has the arrogance to match. Peter broke off their affair with no explanation, but is he capable of murder, and treason besides?

Trying to keep one step ahead of his enemies, Nathan has only two days to identify and deliver the informant to his superiors in London. Peter swears his innocence and offers to help find the true culprit, but as riots swell in the streets, Nathan can’t be sure he can trust him. Or himself, when they’re together.

Tyler Flynn was born in the English Lake District which has left her with an abiding love of mountains and water, and of the great outdoors generally, as well as a passion for history. Her favourite hobbies are travelling and reading, and she adores cycle racing – but the armchair variety which involves watching other people do all the hard work.  She loves writing because it allows her to live in worlds that ought to exist.

Of Sacrifices and Stories

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By Kristine Wyllys, author of LOSING STREAK

We hear about sacrifices all the time. The grim-faced soldier on dusty land, protecting their country. The firefighter who runs into buildings others are running away from. The good Samaritan who jumps into dangerous waters to pull out a drowning stranger. The romantic in me, the one who celebrates bravery and heroism, loves to hear about men and women risking everything for the sake of someone else. Judging by how often those stories get shared about the web, I’m not the only one. We love to hear a good story. We love recognizing those who sacrifice. And we should. They deserve recognition.

But all around us, all the time, sacrifices happen. It’s the father who works a job he detests to provide for his family. The single mom who devotes her every hour to her children, leaving none for herself. The child who goes to a community college so they can stay behind to help their parents. The friend who empties their bank account to help another friend. The person who devotes their every free hour to volunteering. On and on, every day, in tiny, quiet ways. It’s done out of love. Out of duty. To make our world, and the worlds of others, better.

In Losing Streak, my main character, Rosie Young, sacrifices everything for her family and the boy she loves. Her sanity, happiness, and later, her freedom and even morals. Often, all she wants is for someone to stop and notice. To recognize it. She wants to feel like someone sees it and it matters. I’m sure everyone who has quietly sacrificed has felt this way at some point. We’ve wanted someone to look over and say, “I see what you’re doing. It doesn’t go unnoticed and it absolutely matters.” Sometimes we need that in order to keep going.

That’s what I’d like to do today and I’d love it if you’d help me. Use the comments to tell me about someone you admire for their sacrifice. Maybe it’s big or maybe it’s small. Maybe it’s loud or maybe it’s quiet. Maybe they’d be okay with you telling us their story. Maybe they’d only be comfortable with you talking in generals. If you’re not sure, you should probably check with them. A random commenter’s “nomination” will be chosen to receive a $20 Visa giftcard. The commenter will receive a signed print copy of book one, Wild Ones, and a free e-copy of book two, Losing Streak.

And the rest of us? We’ll get to recognize and be recognized. We’ll get to tell the people around us, “we see you and your story.”


LOSING STREAK (The Lane #2)

CARINA_0914_9781426899041_LosingStreakHappiness doesn’t come without a price.

Rosemary Young knows the Lane. It’s where she grew up, raising a brother barely younger than she was. It’s where she served drinks, wearing a gaudy uniform in a low-lit bar to support her mama. It’s where she fell for a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Brandon Williams might’ve had a taste for gambling and been headed nowhere fast, but something about him made her almost forget every promise she ever made.

These days when Rosie walks the Lane, it’s on the orders of the man who owns it. The man who owns her—Joshua King. A bet gone wrong ties her to him, serving as the collateral Brandon didn’t have. For Brandon the guilt is a white-hot brand, but Rosie can’t bring herself to regret it completely. The safety of those she loves is worth the sacrifice.

Now King’s called Brandon back to town early and given Rosie one last job to do before they’re free. Nothing—not even King—will keep Brandon from Rosie, not after three years of simply existing without her. And before it’s all over, everything that had been done in darkness will come to light and nothing in their lives will ever be the same again.

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

author

Kristine Wyllys is a hopeless romantic with wild hair and a thing for twangy music. Born near Detroit, these days she dances around a dusty kitchen in the south with a baby on each hip and the boy she fell in love with at fifteen. When she’s not playing pretend, you can find Kristine at her website kristinewyllys.com

Saying Goodbye to a Series

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By Lynda Aicher, author of SHATTERED BONDS

The release of Shattered Bonds brings an end to the Wicked Play series and it is truly bitter-sweet for me. I spent the last two years creating this world, these characters, their stories. They are my people. Ones I’ve toiled and cried over, cheered and sighed for. I love them in a crazy way maybe only authors and readers can understand, but crazy or not, they are mine. And now it’s time to let them go.

Shattered Bonds is Noah and Liv’s story, but it is also the series end which meant involving all the previous characters, winding up plotlines while evolving the world forward. It created challenges that required me to do something I almost rebelled against, yet the story had to be told. I confess, I cried while writing the epilogue. I’m a sap, I know, but it was my last goodbye to a cast of characters who I believed earned and deserved their happy endings. They are a family by choice and I will miss them in that crazy author way.

Now maybe, okay really, one of the reasons I didn’t lament too long is that my next series, Power Play, releasing next year is a spin-off of Wicked Play. Do you remember those hunky hockey players who were friends to Holden Hauke in Bonds of Courage? Yeah? Well they get their own stories! Which means some (maybe all) of the Wicked Play characters will be sneaking into the new books. Some things work out so well. It’s almost like I planned it that way… (You can read the first chapter of Game Play, Power Play #1 in Shattered Bonds. ☺)

So as a reader, are you sad when a series ends or do you like having a clear ending to a world?

***

“For loyal fans, this is well worth a read.” - 4 stars, RT Book Reviews

  {49225590-7E3D-4CF1-A3F4-F6B0FBA0A8B8}Img100Shattered Bonds, Book Seven of Wicked Play Will the doors of The Den close forever? When the lives and friendships of The Den owners are thrown into chaos, Noah Bakker steps in to deal with the fallout. He hasn’t had a sub or participated in a Scene since tragedy changed his life four years ago. But as an investor in the exclusive BDSM club, he can’t walk away from the lifestyle completely. As he works to keep the club running, he finds himself drawn to Liv Delcour, the seemingly naïve sister of one of the other owners. Liv didn’t know about the naughty things her friends were up to behind closed doors, but when their secrets become headline news, she’s more curious than shocked. As she works with Noah to keep the media at bay, she finds that his dominant strength is more than a little arousing. Soon they’re exploring their mutual desires in the most wicked ways. Liv isn’t sure if she can completely submit to Noah the way she thinks he wants her to—and Noah isn’t sure he can withstand the pain of falling in love… New to the Den? Start at the beginning with Bonds of Trust. Start reading Shattered Bonds now!

 

 

About Lynda Aicher After years of weekly travel as a consultant implementing computer software into global companies, Lynda ended her nomadic lifestyle to raise her two children. Now, her imagination is her only limitation on where she can go and her writing lets her escape from the daily duties of being a mom, wife, chauffeur, scheduler, cook, teacher, cleaner and mediator. Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Facing Fear Can Change Your Life

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By Alison Packard, author of BREAKING HIS RULES

It’s hard to believe that my new release, Breaking His Rules, is my fifth book with Carina Press. It’s an accomplishment I’m very proud of, but it’s one that almost didn’t happen.

You see, about three years ago, my local Romance Writers of America (RWA) chapter announced that Angela James, executive editor of Carina Press, was to be a speaker at an upcoming meeting, and in addition to her presentation she would be doing a Kamikaze cold read. A what, you ask? Well, I asked the same thing and when I was told that the first five pages of manuscripts submitted by the members of my chapter would be read aloud in front of the group, and that Angela would stop the reader exactly where she would stop reading if the manuscript had been submitted directly to her and then give an honest critique, my immediate reaction was…oh hell no. I’d never had my work read aloud to anyone and I was petrified that everyone in the room, including Angela, would think it was total crap.

As the submission deadline approached, I agonized over whether or not to participate. But then I realized that if I was serious about this writing thing then I needed to hear what a respected editor thought of my work. So, still scared to death, I plunged ahead and sent in my five pages.

On the day of the meeting I was as nervous as I’ve ever been. Throughout Angela’s presentation all I could think about was the cold read coming up. Finally it arrived. One of my chapter mates started reading the submissions aloud. As Angela gave her feedback, I was sweating and my stomach was in knots as I pondered the fate of my five pages. After six of my peers’ pages were read to the group, it was time for mine. My knees shook as my work was read aloud. I kept waiting for Angela to stop the reader so she could critique the words I’d written, but she allowed the reader to finish all five pages. I was in shock. Did that mean she liked it? I wasn’t sure.

I’d like to tell you I remember everything she said after it was over, but the only thing that stands out in my mind were these words: “I’d like to see more of this.”

Long story short, I sent her the manuscript for Love in the Afternoon and it was published by Carina Press a year later. When I look back, I’m proud of myself for facing my fear and submitting those five pages. If I hadn’t, I might not be celebrating the release of Breaking His Rules today.

Just for answering the following question on this blog, I’ll enter you in a random drawing to WIN any e-book of mine OR a print copy of my second book, The Winning Season. The question is: “What fear have you faced, and did overcoming it change your life in any way?”

About Breaking His Rules

CARINA_0914_9781426898921_BreakingHisRulesLosing fifty pounds is an incredible achievement. But for Melissa Atherton, progress doesn’t come with praise—a scathing comment from an evil cousin at a bridal shower threatens to crush her new self-esteem. Who will she bring to the upcoming wedding? Showing up without a date would be humiliating. It just isn’t an option.

Personal trainer Jake Sawyer was attracted to Melissa before she lost weight, but her progress has him floored. When she admits she plans to hire a male escort—and why—his heart all but breaks. Melissa’s come too far to be knocked down, especially by her own family. He’ll go as her date…and figure out a way to keep his hands to himself.

But when a steamy hotel room encounter takes them both by surprise, Jake balks. He’s sworn never to date one of his clients, not again. And Melissa can’t bear to be just friends with the man who treated her so tenderly, even if it was only for a weekend. Jake’s helped her see she’s strong enough to stand up for herself, but will she find the strength to pursue the only man who’s ever seen the real her?

70,000 words

About Alison:

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Alison now lives in Southern Nevada where she’s still getting used to the blistering summers and the slot machines in every grocery store.

When not working at the day job that pays the bills, keeps a roof over her head, and supports her book and chocolate habits, Alison spends most of her free time writing. But when she takes a break, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.

For more about Alison, you can visit her website, hang out with her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

Calling All Beta Heroes

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By Emma Barry, author of PRIVATE POLITICS

I hope you’re sitting down because I am about to say something shocking. I don’t always love alpha heroes.

Let me backtrack! Like so many before me, I fell in love with romance in guise of one Sebastian Ballister, Marquess of Dain, from Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels. In my head, Dain looks like Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, only unlike that cad, he’s very smart. Beyond his brains, Dain is arrogant, selfish, and rakish. He behaves utterly irrationally—like the mewling man-child with very serious mommy and daddy issues that he is. I don’t know how or why the eminently reasonable Jessica Trent put up with him, but such is love.

As I began to read in genre romance, I found a bevy of alpha heroes. You know the type, leaders who suppress emotion, have significant physical strength, and are willing to resort to violence/threats of violence to achieve their goals. While we don’t always read merely to explore our fantasies and while reading can be a safe way to explore things that we would never put up with in real life, there’s a definite fascination with the alpha. Indeed, most romance heroes seem to come in three flavors: alpha, ultra alpha, and alpha-lite.

But while I can get into sometimes, I do like heroes who are nerds. I like heroes who challenge traditional masculinity. I like heroes who struggle. I like heroes who are imperfect. I like heroes who are funny. I like heroes who are more than a little vulnerable. I like heroes who would help you vacuum the floor.

Which is why the hero of my latest book, Private Politics, is a beta with a lower case b. He’s been in love with the heroine since the moment they met, but he just can’t seem to do anything about it—at least until she needs his help with a brewing scandal. Then epic hugs, late night walks, and explosive chemistry happen. Liam is more than just a beta hero; Alyse is more than just a socialite fundraiser.

Wanna read the blurb?

CARINA_0914_9781426898914_PrivatePoliticsNew York socialite Alyse Philips is not the airhead people take her for-she’s great at convincing D.C.’s rich and powerful to open their wallets. Never one to coast on her family’s connections, her real dream is to help charities in a bigger way. Before she can pursue her ambitions, she discovers a money-laundering scandal that’s got her signature all over it. If Alyse can’t clear her name, she’ll never work in nonprofits again.

Political blogger Liam Nussbaum has been pining after Alyse for six months, certain she’d never go for a quiet guy like him. Helping her with the investigation is a no-brainer. But going up against a seedy network of money and influence isn’t just a romantic opportunity or a chance to grab the headline that will take him into the big time-it’s a gamble that could destroy his blog’s reputation.

As Liam and Alyse dig deeper, their hearts collide alongside their ambition. Will they choose love or politics? Because in Washington, everything comes at a price.

It’s available at all the fine online retailers, including Amazon | B&N | Carina | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads

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So…do your prefer your heroes alpha, beta, or both?

Emma Barry is a novelist and full-time mama and graduate student. She is the author of Brave in Heart, a historical romance set during the American Civil War, and The Easy Part, a contemporary romance series about political staffers, including Special Interests and Private Politics. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves hugs from her toddler twins, her husband’s cooking, her cat’s whiskers, and Earl Grey tea.

You can reach her on the web and Twitter. She would love to hear from you!

The Best Way to End a Series

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By Jeffe Kennedy, author of ROGUE’S PARADISE

This feels like the end of an era to me, seeing the release of Rogue’s Paradise, the third book in my Covenant of Thorns trilogy.

It’s funny because, for so many people out there, this book represents the moment they’ve been waiting for. If you’ve been reading the series all along, you’ll know what I mean. The relationship between Rogue and Gwynn, my very difficult Fae lord hero and my very stubborn scientist heroine, has been a complicated and fraught one to resolve. I knew that, when I started the first book, Rogue’s Pawn.

What I did not know was that people would think I’d left them with a cliffhanger.

That book has had a long, slow rise in popularity since it came out in July of 2012 and at first I didn’t get all that much feedback on it. But I recall vividly the day I went to the salon and my waxer sat at the reception desk, tapping her nails and giving me a mean look. I literally paused in my tracks.

“I have a bone to pick with you,” she grumbled.

What was it? Had I bounced a check?  Committed some cardinal sin of waxing hygiene? Let me tell you, if there’s one person you don’t want to piss off, it’s the woman about to wax your nethers.

She slapped her hand on the desk. “How could you leave me hanging like that??”

And it hit me that she’d finished reading Rogue’s Pawn. “Um…sorry?” I said.

She forgave me—and flat refused to read book 2, Rogue’s Possession, until she could read the third book immediately afterwards. Knowing now how she is, I agreed that might be the best strategy. I know she’s not the only one. Of the people who have kept up, they’ve made it clear to me that they expect me to deliver the goods they’ve been waiting for.

I think I have.

But that brings me back around to the strange place where this celebratory culmination for readers feels like a sad good-bye to me. It’s not just me, either. When my wonderful, insightful editor Deb Nemeth returned the final copy edits to me, she wrote:

Damn, this is really a rough one for me to turn in. I feel so emotional–I have such love for these stories, and this hero and heroine. They dug their hooks into me so deeply, and I feel so sad to be done with this series.

I suppose that’s a sign of love. Far better for us to say a nostalgic farewell than to be bitterly relieved to see it done. That’s why it’s best for series to end while they’re strong, instead of dragging them out into a pitiful shell of what they once were.  I think we all can think of examples of each…

What are some series you think ended in the best way? Or, eep, went on too long? Which ones do you wish, wish, wish the author would write just a little more of?

Jeffe Kennedy is a scientist and an award-winning author of fantasy, fantasy romance and erotic romance. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She lives in Santa Fe, NM, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Foreword Literary.

Visiting Museums for Research

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By Eleri Stone, author of GUN SHY

One of the best things about writing a historical series is all of the research I get to do. I like reading history books, personal diaries and travelogues. There are tons of websites where you can access maps and records at the click of a button. And then, of course, there’s my favorite form of research—visiting museums.

That might be a nerdly thing to admit, but I’ve loved taking trips to museums ever since I was a school girl and saw the enormous whale hanging overhead at the American Museum of Natural History. The Cloisters sparked my interest in the medieval period and touring old sailing ships in Mystic left me with a longing to write about pirates. Now that I live in the Midwest, we’ve visited a lot of old forts, restored villages, living history farms, and train museums. One of my favorite museums out here is the National Mississippi River Museum. They have a really wonderful steamboat exhibit.

I like sharing my love of history with my kids and I think being able to see the artifacts with my own eyes enriches the stories I’m telling too. Writing a paranormal/fantasy that’s set during a real historical time period, I need the historical parts of the story to feel as authentic as possible in order to let the reader really sink into the story. Being able to describe exactly how the light catches an Amberina glass helps with that. Those details are always going to be in the background so it’s easy to dismiss them as not important but I think they are, and museums are a great place to go to gather up all of those kinds of details that the history books miss.

My new book, Gun Shy, let me combine my love of history and a fascination with cowboys into a paranormal adventure story about love and redemption.  You can read more about it here.

Do you like visiting museums? Have a favorite?

CARINA_0914_9781426898891_GunShyBefore the cure, Lieutenant Lyle Dalton’s job was simple: kill the Reapers. Now, under orders to inject all captured flesh eaters with the serum that restores their humanity, his Rangers at Fort Dougan face entirely new dangers. Someone wanted the Reaper cure badly enough to spill blood for it, and Lyle needs to steal it back if he hopes to hold the border.

Jane Fisher escaped Scraper crime boss Gideon Moore with only the clothes on her back. What he took from her can never be replaced, but her new home at Fort Dougan is the first safe one she’s known. Or was, until the remaining supply of serum was stolen, flown high into the mountains on Gideon’s command. Serving as Lyle’s guide through Scraper territory means revisiting her own personal hell, but it’s also an opportunity–for closure or revenge, Jane isn’t quite sure.

Beautiful, proud and haunted, Jane is a temptation Lyle’s worked hard to avoid. The mountains are the last place she needs to be. But if Jane can find the courage to face down a man like Gideon for the sake of the fort, no force on earth will keep Lyle from her side.

Don’t miss Reaper’s Touchavailable now!

Eleri Stone is a RITA-nominated author of paranormal and fantasy romance. She was born in New Jersey, but now lives in Iowa with her husband and their three children. All of her stories have some element of speculative fiction in them and they all end with a happily-ever-after.

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