Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Silent Night, Yummy Night to benefit the SPCA

No joke. I swear! A cookbook for puppies and kitties.

What I mean is, the proceeds from the Dark Eden Press Holiday cookbook will go to the North Texas SPCA.

Inside you'll find a bunch of yummy recipes donated by the authors and staff of Dark Eden Press. At least fifty of them. Sorry, I haven't counted them all up yet. But Jmo and I both contributed and I tested a new one last night. Artichoke dip. Yum!!! Fantastic with bagel chips or cut up pitas.

Today, December 18, 2007, DEP is having an all day party to celebrate the season and one of the prizes will be a copy of this very special book.

To join in the fun, if you don't already belong, go to:
and join up. Look for me, and I suppose Jmo will show up eventually, but we'll be there with excerpts from our books, both current and coming soon.

From what I understand, the cookbook is just one of many prizes which will be offered up today. I've heard rumor of gift baskets and copies of other books.

Oh, and by the way, not all of Dark Eden's books are extreme erotica. You'll be amazed to hear we have some traditional / mainstream romances and mysteries too. In fact, coming in January is a book with absolutely NO SEX in it - at all! Our publisher just about fainted when she heard that, so come and see the softer side of DEP.

And in the for what it’s worth department, the cookbook is G-Rated so you can give it to anyone for a gift! Yes, a gift which can be sent via email and appreciated for years to come.

See you at the party!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Candy Coated Clown

In the excitement of the coming holiday season, I would like to take the time to tell everyone of a vicious crime that is steadily sweeping the unsuspecting country.

Clown-Napping! Every day a clown is kidnapped for sexual gain. I know! I found it hard to believe too. In my new novel, Candy Coated Clown, I break the silence concerning this pitiful situation. I invite all of you to take time from your busy schedules to read this explosive exposé on clown love gone wrong.

Thank you for your time.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Candy Coated Clown


Champagne Books

Available Now


When Candice’s birthday stripper is a no show, clown-napping seems like a good idea—one that leads her right into the arms of true love, floppy shoes and all.


Candy, let him go. This time you’ve gone over the deep end.” April pried at my arm, managing to get it loose enough for clown boy to slip free.

“You let him get away!” I screamed only to be slapped in the face by Mags. The slap I could deal with but if April called me Candy one more time it was on.

“You cannot attack men and force them to strip,” Mags informed me. Out of slapping distance, I noted. She was smart enough to know to stay out of my arm reach. Even April was backing up.

I decided right then what had to be done and it wasn’t gonna be pretty. “Then clown boy is going to help me find my stripper.”

“Excuse me?” Ash asked weakly.

“Your boss screwed up, so it’s up to you to make this right.” I looked him straight in the eye and dared him to disagree.

“Wouldn’t it be easier just to call her and cuss her out?” Damn, don’t you hate it when they grew a set and talked back?

“Yes, but not as satisfying, as making you drive me all over town, then cussing her out.” Just so you know there was no logic involved in that statement.

Without waiting for him to voice any further objects I grabbed him by his puffy collar and herded him out the door. April and Mags for once had enough sense to stay out of the way. They had children and husbands to think about. They knew how I got when my steam was up and were smart enough to stay as far from firing distance as the could. Too bad Clown boy didn’t know it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Lucienne Diver of the Spectrum Literary Agency

It’s a well known fact that any author worth their salt would sell their soul to get an agent alone for five minutes. Well, a soul might not have been exchanged, but Morgan O has come up missing. If you see her, please tell her Jmo is sorry and to wear plenty of sunscreen. It’s hot down there.

The Morgan Diaries, well half of them, are proud to welcome into our palatial offices well known literary agent, Lucienne Diver of the Spectrum Literary Agency. Her clients are a veritable who’s who of the romance world. Jasmine Haynes, Rachel Caine, Patti O’Shea, and Marjorie M. Liu are just some of her clients. To say we are pleased to have her with us to today is an understatement.

TMD: Welcome to the Diaries, Lucienne. If there’s anything you need, please let us know. Excuse the smell of brimstone, Morgan O is horrible at house keeping and I’m so sorry she couldn’t be here today. She was so looking forward to meeting you.

Yeah, you keep saying that while trying to pull the pitchfork from your sittin’ cheeks, Jmo. Doesn’t he look cute wiggling like that? Hi Lucienne!

Lucienne: I love the smell of brimstone in the morning, so there's no problem there. Hi, all.

TMD: In the literary business a lot of attention goes to the authors and publishers. Could you tell our readers what part agents play in the publishing world?

Lucienne: If I had to choose one word to describe what we do it would be "facilitate." We work with an author to hone a work before it goes out on submission to give it the best chance to catch an editor's eye or, even better, start a flurry of bidding. We negotiate, aggressively market subsidiary rights (like film, television and translation) that have been reserved to the author. We make nag calls to keep things moving on everything from submissions to contracts to checks. We keep editors apprised of what authors are doing for other publishers if they write for more than one so that no one steps on anyone's toes and the most can be made of all opportunities. Agents also keep their contacts fresh and their ears open for new promotional or writing possibilities and put people in touch with each other so that things happen.

TMD: Did you always want to become an agent?

Lucienne: Actually, I was either going to become an editor or a forensic anthropologist. I applied to jobs in publishing and to graduate school. Publishing got back to me first. I started as an assistant at Spectrum Literary Agency fresh out of school and loved it so much that I've never left.

TMD: I’m sure our readers who are authors would love to hear what are some of the criteria you look for when reading a manuscript of a prospective client?

Lucienne: First and foremost, I want something fresh. A completely different angle or take on something, a fantastically quirky voice or just one that's so lovely it pulls me in. Pacing and plotting are also important. It's so disappointing to read something you love only to have it fall apart because no new twists and turns arise as the novel goes on or it just loses steam. I love a wonderful story well told.

TMD: Most of your clients seem to be in Romance, but you also have a few outside the genre. Do you find the range of clients available to you keeps the job interesting?

Lucienne: Absolutely. I'd actually say that about a third of my clients are in romance, a third are in fantasy/science fiction and a third are in mystery/suspense and mainstream. I'm a voracious reader. I love being able to handle so many different genres that each remains fresh for me.

TMD: Being readers as well as writers, we have authors we would just die if we got the chance to meet them. As an agent, who are some of the authors you’ve had a chance to meet or have yet to meet who have left you speechless?

Lucienne: Before I ever went into the business, way back when I was still in college, I met Roger Zelazny. I dropped my pen as I was asking him to sign my books. I dropped my books when I met Donald Westlake, who was absolutely charming and quipped, "That's funny; I've always considered myself light reading." After that, I'm not sure I spoke so much as blushed. I've gotten better since then.

TMD: On the same line, who would you love to represent if you ever got the chance?

Lucienne: Oh no, that way lies madness. I can list some of the authors whose works I find time to read no matter how crazy busy I become, like Laurell K. Hamilton, Janet Evanovich and J.K. Rowling. I also love Sharyn McCrumb, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mary Stewart, M.M. Kaye, Agatha Christie, Susan Andersen, Robin Hobb, S.J. Rozan, Aaron Elkins, in no particular order. The list could actually go on forever. My bookshelves are triple stacked because of my love of books.

TMD: With so many up and coming authors out there both in print and epublishing, how closely do you look at the epublishing world for prospective clients?

Lucienne: Honestly, I have so many submissions coming in to me that I don't have time to go looking for more, though I'm always reading the queries and partials that arrive, hoping for something intriguing.

TMD: Do epub credits give prospective clients an edge? How much does writing experience go toward catching your eye?

Lucienne: Writing experience may convince me to read an extra page or two, but it's always the writing and the storyline that make or break a submission for me.

TMD: Many authors view epublishing as a training ground for a career in print. In your experience how many e-authors actually make it into print and go on to become productive in the field?

Lucienne: I have no idea about the statistics, but I have three authors on my list who started out with epublishers.

TMD: If you could offer one piece of advice to an author before submitting to an agent, what would it be?

Lucienne: Don't rush a submission out the door. Workshop, revise, hone. Remember that you're competing with a lot of other writers who will be doing the same and most of us in the industry are so busy these days that we don't have time to nurture a diamond in the rough.

TMD: What is hotter? A sizzling romance or Florida humidity?

Lucienne: Absolutely a sizzling romance. The latter won't keep me up late, late at night!

TMD: It is a short time and well honored tradition here at the Dairies to ask one totally goofy question before you leave and since my contract for Morgan isn’t up for another ten minutes, here goes:

Everyone of us has a little vice to get us through the day. Tell us one of Jasmine Haynes vices.

Lucienne: Every once in a while she needs a dose of dark chocolate and port. Don't we all?

TMD: Thank you for joining us today. We hope you enjoyed your stay. While Morgan O smothers the remaining embers in her hair, and before you go, is there anything looming on the horizon our readers should be looking forward to from your clients? Come on. The brimstone smell is getting stronger and that means Morgan O doesn’t have that much time before it’s back to the fires of literary hell or edits. They’re both basically the same thing.

Lucienne: Fans of Marjorie Liu's Dirk & Steele books should be sure to check out her new urban fantasy series from Ace starting in July with the THE IRON HUNT. It's going to be every bit as phenomenal as the cover suggests.

BTW Jmo, you owe me a haircut and a pound of flesh, bwahahahahahaha-*cough* MO

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Silent Night, Magical Night Part Two

Welcome back to The Morgan Diaries special Holiday event with the authors of Silent Night, Magic Night. Now that the Oreos have been hidden and Jmo is sedated with an extra strong eggnog, maybe we can get back to the interview uninterrupted. Morgan O shoots Jmo a warning look.

TMD: Writing a book is always an adventure. To all the authors. What was the biggest challenge going into the anthology?

TJ: Um ... everything - lol. Hairs were definitely split during some of this project - especially on the title.

Whenever a writer is working on a project like this, there’s a lot of stress. You start thinking about - what ifs, and if only this... That was the biggest challenge for this anthology. The reward sat right in front of me a couple of days ago in the form of the ARC copy.

DH: For myself, it was writing a short story instead of a novel. I hadn’t done it before, so it was a new experience. Once I started typing, though, the story took on a life of its own and I could hardly keep up. It was SO fun! TJ tried to warn me, but too late – I think I might be addicted to shorts now! I’m already working on another one.

CS: I’m used to writing longer books, so getting used to pacing of a short story was a small challenge. I discovered along the way that I like writing shorts and plan to try some more.

Buffi: For me the biggest challenge was the name. I usually find a name around chapter ten or so. Since The Sword and the Sorceress is only six chapters, I had some major name issues. Ask Cathy. We had a whole list of possible and just plain im-possible names. Plus, a case of the giggles that wouldn't quit.

Hey! Is that another fruitcake? No? Well, let me jot down my address and you can redirect any stray fruitcakes my way.

Jmo: I think keeping it short too. I have been known to get wordy on occasion. Once you have the who and the what of a story, it’s hard not to get drawn into the characters and make the story explode into War and Peace.

TMD: Buffi, Catherine, and Dani, as members of Destination Romance how strange was it to write your stories with two authors who are not members?

DH: Hey, we always play well with others! Destination Romance is simply our little promotion group. Writing is an individual endeavor. This is actually the first time that any of us have been involved in the same writing project. It was great to work with TJ and J Morgan (until the chocolate supply gave out, but the nice policeman said he wouldn’t press charges as long as we cleaned up after the riot…).

CS: I agree with Dani that we love hanging out and working with all our writer friends. It was nice having the experience of working on the same book with the same deadline. We all encouraged and pushed each other when needed. I even learned how to make a proper cup of tea from T.J. Anyone for a tea party?

Buffi: Not strange at all. This is the first story I've written with Dani and Cathy a part of. And I mean REALLY a part of since we'd get online together and chat during our breaks. If someone had a problem, it was very easy to get someone's opinion. All we needed was a round of margaritas. We had a blast.

TMD: While we’re on the subject of Destination Romance, could you explain to our readers a little about it?

DH: Well, it all started when four authors banded together to fight the forces of evil by writing romance. Catherine Stang, Dani Harper, Buffi Becraft-Woodall and Donna McAteer formed Destination Romance in order to create this secret synergistic formula – 4 Authors + 4 Styles + 4 realities = Unlimited Universes! Bwahahahahahaha! (Oops, sorry, I always get carried away.) From paranormal to suspense to historical to regency to erotic and more, we have a romance for every taste. Together, we enjoy visiting the Yahoo groups and chat rooms devoted to romance books, and we’ve met some terrific readers.

Buffi: Destination Romance is a group of four authors who banded together for Truth, Justice, and…well, a really great time! DR is all about picking your adventure. Between the four of us we have Contemporary, Fantasy, Historical, Regency, Paranormal, and Western genres. Maybe more, I could have missed one. Haha!

Don't forget to drop by www.destromance.com and check out our new look.

TMD: T.J. not to leave you out, but how did you and Dark Eden round up the roster for the anthology? There is some major talent between these covers.

TJ: Thanks, I think so too. To tell you the truth, it wasn’t all that hard once I got a feel for what Dark Eden was looking for. The parameters of the anthology were quite broad, not an easy thing to work with when you are trying to get five authors to join you.

It hit me one evening as I drummed my fingers over the keys. They were looking for not only quality stories, but a certain aspect of uniqueness. So, after putting my thinking cap on, I had a lightbulb moment. Luckily, I have some great friends too. Big hugs to all of you.

I have a lot of respect for the writers who did this project with me, though a few of them needed a bit of convincing that they could write short. The one thing Dark Eden and I wanted was that ‘little something’ that would create a uniqueness to the anthology.

TMD: Since, we’re almost out of eggnog and those little Christmas cookies that T.J. snatched from Jmo’s desk, it’s time for a insane question to round out the fun. Jmo, it’s Christmas, stop giving T.J. dirty looks. They’re only cookies. I’ll buy you some more next time we go to Costco. Now, sit down and behave before you go on the naughty list. Sorry ladies, but he’s such a big baby when you touch his cookies just be thankful they weren’t Oreos. Okay back to the question. What list do you think Santa has you on this year? Be honest -- Jmo has a copy of it and we’ll be checking.

TJ: According to my husband, I’ve been nice this year. Next year he’s going to work on my naughtiness.

DH: Depends on the category. Diet-wise, Naughty. Budget-wise, Naughty. Housekeeping-wise, Naughty…. Well, you get the gist. But writing-wise, I’ve been VERY Good this year! (Any chance Santa could read Silent Night, Magic Night before he assigns me to a list?)

CS: What list will I be on this year – the good one, of course, but then that depends on who you ask. LOL.

Buffi: Ooo. I've been very good. I mean, you can't really count swiping Donna's appletini at the beach. Or the fall hayfight. Or trying to put Scooby in the pumpkin on Halloween. Or inciting Donna to hit Dani with a snowball. Or….

Ummm. You know this is really good eggnog. Can I get back to you on that list thing?

JMo: I think we all know which list I’m on. What about you Morgan O.?

MO: Moi? Oh, I’m on the GOOD list. Excellent with five stars. I’ll be getting what I want for Christmas, I just know it. I was also at Costco when they picked it out...

TMD: Thank you all for joining us and for the wonderful carols. Before you all leave, please tell our readers about any upcoming projects they should be on the lookout for and don’t forget to list those websites.

TJ: Catch my upcoming series of twisted myths, Between Heaven and Hell – The Passions. I also have a short format Time Travel entitled Ice Beauty.

You can find out more at www.tjkillian.com

D.H.: Check out the Destination Romance website http://www.destromance.com or the Destination Romance MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/destination_romance.

Dani Harper’s website is www.romancingthewolf.com
Dani’s MySpace page is
Both sites feature Scooby the Pug, her official muse.

CS: This month I also have another new release, In The Blink of An Eye, which is a romantic suspense. It’s available in print and e book from www.whiskeycreekpress.com. Sweet Serenity, a western historical romance, was just out last month from www.whiskeycreekpress.com Check out my website www.catherinestang.com www.myspace.com/catherinestang I have contest going on my newsletter http://groups.yahoo.com/group/catherinestang

Buffi: Thanks so much for having us invade, I mean interviewed . The carols were great (especially since I lip-synced it the whole time) I mean you do not want to hear me sing. Really.
Here is a list of places you'll find me hanging out. Drop by and say hi sometime. I love the company.


And there you have it, our first attempt at a multi-author interview. Please feel free to post comments for the authors. Try to hold the hate mail until after the first of the year. I can only use so much sugar to sedate Jmo and I'm not sharing my cherry Jelly Bellys with him.

Thanks for keeping up with us. Agent Lucienne Diver is next later this week!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Silent Night, Magic Night Authors

With Christmas around the corner, we at The Morgan Diaries wanted to do something special for the holidays. But these stinking carolers won’t leave us alone long enough to come up with something. So, we thought if we plied them with cheap eggnog and hit them over the head… uh, we mean gave them a nice slice of fruit cake, they would move on or at the very least stay unconscious long enough for us to get something done. While I prepared their repast, Morgan O opened the door and who did she find on the other side? None other but my fellow authors from Silent Night, Magic Night. They stopped by to spread some holiday cheer and we obliged by making them sit down, drink the cheap booze, and chat with us for awhile. In the interest of Peace on Earth, we refrained from making them eat the fruitcake.

TMD: Buffi BeCraft-Woodall, Dani Harper, T.J. Killian and Catherine Stang, thank you for all the beautiful singing and for joining us at the Diaries for a spot of eggnog, and no you won’t have to eat the fruitcake. Jmo, put it away before somebody gets hurt. And you have to answer some of these questions too, especially since you’re the token male.

Buffi: Fruitcake? I like fruitcake. Seems everybody gets one but me. I'll just stuff a little of that in my mouth so you don't hear the caterwauling that passes for my singing.

TMD: Even though the central theme of the book is paranormal, there is a wide range of stories in the anthology. Would everyone mind sharing a little bit about their stories for our readers?

TJ: The Tides of Yule
One magical night could change his life – it might end hers

Elizabeth Lapp left the Amish years ago, but she still practices the simple life. Even as a secret from her past haunts her, she’s not prepared for what is about to happen to her.

Noel St. Cloud is a mystic Stygian Knight on his way to celebrate Yule in the peace of Pennsylvania’s Dutch country. As he drives through a blizzard to find himself face to face with a Cascade of Frost Demons. In the middle of the swarming crystalline entities is his next mate.
From that moment they are set on a course with destiny while riding the magical Tides of Yule.

DH: When is a ghost not a ghost? In THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT, Kerri Tollbrook counsels the newly departed, but what happens when the tall, dark and handsome spirit she meets at the shopping mall refuses to be counseled?

Firefighter Galen McAllister feels like The Invisible Man when a malicious spell separates him from his still-living body. Kerri is the first person he's met who can actually see him. Now if only he can get her to listen to him…

Can they create enough magic in the nine days before Christmas to break the spell, or will Galen remain a ghost forever?

CS: All I Want is You
Their love is destined by the Spirits.

Enigmatic, jaded, Ross Stanton, Earl of Brynmor, would love it if the ghosts haunting his house would be quiet for a change. He'd like it even better if the young lady of the ton, who has chased him for years, would stop sending him messages. After all, he's only trying to protect her from his dark and dangerous secret.

Emma understands the spirit world, she hasn't quite figured out Ross though. Her love interest came back from the war – different. Never mind that, she's determined to have him as her husband and will do anything to get him. Three wayward ghosts, a duel at dawn, and a mystical twist is all that stands in her way.

Buffi: The Sword and the Sorceress
Love and Mercy are powerful forms of magic.

Gennie Pendragon understands magic isn't always good for the body or the soul. Born from the descendants of the mystical King Arthur and Merlin, she also knows the legends are real.
Excalibur, the King Maker, has remained hidden away for the past century awaiting his next master's hand to claim him. Once awakened, he has four days to test this unknown Pendragon. Only the Good and Just can wield his immense power, but Gennie is something he never counted on.

Nothing can change his destiny - not even their passionate love.

Jmo: Elfing Around is my contribution to the anthology.

Essie is an elf gone Wild! But Public Enemy #1 she’s not. Thrown behind bars two days before Christmas, Essie can’t believe the local Barney Fife thinks she’s a… it’s too horrible to say outloud. Hoor, okay there I’ve said it. Hunkalicious Sheriff Dalton comes to her rescue—in more ways than one. False arrest turns into the opportunity for Essie to finally be naughty for once in her life.

Forget the mistletoe! Come fall in love under the flickering lights of a Christmas tree and be naughty about it. Let’s just hope Santa isn’t watching. If you didn’t know—he frowns on naughty. That won’t stop Essie from discovering the best presents are always the naughtiest.

TMD: So how hard was it to write a story revolving around the Holiday Season?

TJ: I was actually stumped when I first sat down to write The Tides of Yule. In my brain the holidays equate to lots of cheer. I like cheer, but to write it is something very different. After days of fiddling with ideas, I decided to do what I do best. I can honestly say I’m thrilled to return to my roots in cross-genre with this story, and to the Stygian Knights.

DH: Are you kidding? I got to combine TWO of my very favorite things – the paranormal and Christmas! Scooby the Pug (my official muse) was excited too and I could hardly wait to get started! In retrospect I can honestly say that I enjoyed writing this story more than anything else I’ve ever written. Scooby had an excellent time too.

CS: I love Christmas, so it was fun using that time of year for the backdrop to my story.

Buffi: Not hard at all. Christmas is a state of mind. A little eggnog. A little more eggnog. I love the holidays.

Since East Texas is still pretty warm this time of year, you just hike up your shorts. Plug in the pretty lights, and there you go. I already had the basic plot idea down for The Sword and the Sorceress. I felt like the Christmas theme was a part of the story that had been missing while plotting it out. Plus, I love putting my own spin on any legend.

Hey! Jmo, don't you dare move that eggnog out of reach. Anybody want some fruitcake? No? Okay, more for me.

Jmo: It was fun to get to act nutty with a theme instead of just being crazy for no reason. Seriously, I love this time of year and have always wondered what those elves were up to when Santa wasn’t watching.

TMD: So how did the idea for Silent Night, Magic Night come about?

CS: You’ll have to ask T.J. how she thought up the idea. I know she was muse behind this book. All I know is early one morning Dani called me to ask if I wanted to write a paranormal Christmas story and I couldn’t resist the offer.

TJ: The idea came from the imagination of the owner of Dark Eden Press. She said - holiday and paranormal. Paranormal? Sure, I can do paranormal. Holiday? Let me think on it. I mean the truth is - she said here. I said when. End of story.

Buffi: I have TJ to thank for my invitation. It was like getting my Christmas present early. I love working with her. She's great.

TJ: Hey whose cookies are these?

JMo: Not the Oreos! She’s found my secret stash. Somebody stop her!

Buffi: (whispering) Anyone mind if I have another piece of this fruitcake? There's not much left. No takers? Awwww. This last piece just looks so lonely.

Morgan O: Jmo, put down the yule log. Excuse me, but Jmo is having a breakdown. Stay tuned tomorrow as we conclude our special interview with the authors from the Dark Eden Anthology, Silent Night, Magic Night.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Skylar Sinclair: Author and Cover Artist

What would a book be without a cover? Uh, something you couldn’t judge a book by. Good answer but not what we’re getting at. Romance novels are well known for their hot steamy covers, with men who make women swoon and women who make men want to sneak a peek when their wives are in the other room. TMD decided to go in search of the ultimate in secrets. Where do they find those gorgeous men to plaster on those covers that make us sweat? Well, Morgan O sweats, Jmo thinks about working out, but basically we both want to get into the mind of a cover artist.

*Ahem* I, Morgan O, take issue with the comment that I sweat. I do not sweat. Women glow. We dew. We grow moist, but we do NOT sweat... unless there’s a really good reason for it, like hot sex.

So...anyway...we went out and kidnapped one. Skylar Sinclair has the honor of both being a well known cover artist and a well established author in her own right. So, let’s get this interview going before the FBI wiretap kicks in. Morgan O will now remove the duct tape so we can get this show on the road.

TMD: Skylar thanks for joining us on The Morgan Diaries. Don’t worry, that duct tape ring isn’t permanent. Before you start screaming again, why don’t you tell us about this new book we’ve been hearing about? Shush, Morgan O. If we get her to promo, we can say this was all a publicity stunt.

Skylar: Thanks you two, now I don’t need to get my upper lip waxed…groaning…

Oh, yeah my newest release. I decided to try my hand writing a first person point of view story and, to be honest, I loved it! A Sexual Spark just released with Dark Eden Press and so far, it has been getting rave reviews. It is about a werewolf shifter named Loren who has more attitude that a box of T&T and a slinky body to boot. One night, at her place of work, a bar called Freaks, she encounters a drop-dead gorgeous man that will rock her world. But through the entire story, until the very end, she doesn’t know what he truly is…and then… Well, you are going to have to buy the book to see what this highly sexual stranger is J

TMD: Your books are always original and fresh—guaranteed page turners. Where do you draw you ideas from? Jmo put down the gun. Kidnapping is bad enough without stealing story ideas. Skylar, it’s only a water pistol. He wanted to use a pellet gun but shot himself in the toe. I thought this would be safer for all of us.

Skylar: You know you two numbnuts are more entertaining than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest, so don’t mind me (Skylar laughing and shaking her head). But really, I try and think of the most outrageous premises, ones that haven’t been done and go from there. Creatures that haven’t been dreamed up yet and men that women will want to get to know between the pages of my books, at least that is what I strive for.

Morgan O checks... um, no nuts here! You must be talking about Jmo.

TMD: When writing your own books, what comes first, the cover or the story?

Skylar: I usually come up with the premise than do the cover to give me a visual of what my character or characters look like.

TMD: You’re not only a bestselling author, but your cover art is truly out of this world. How do you find time to juggle both with what must be a truly hectic schedule?

Skylar: I have been doing graphic art for eight years. I studied and took classes in Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. Creating the cover is something that relaxes me after working all day, so it isn’t really a chore, but a joy to do. I write and do covers at night and finding time is just what you do when it is something you enjoy and love.

TMD: How did you become a cover artist?

Skylar: As I mentioned above, I have been doing graphic art for years, and last year a publisher approached me after seeing some of my graphic art and asked me to be their art director, and the rest just seemed to fall into place for me ever since.

TMD: It has to be next to impossible to condense a novel into one single image that showcases the story within. What elements of a story do you look at to get the heart of a book out there to draw a reader into buying the book? Come on, we all know we do judge a book by the cover even if we’re too ashamed to admit it.

Skylar: Oh, you are so very right. I once went into my local Borders and stood around watching both men and women—mostly women though—pick up books. I observed their reaction to each book they took off the shelves. After a while, I started asking some of the people why they chose the book(s) they did. The number one response was the cover, then the author, and finally the blurb.

When I create a cover for an author, I asked these questions to start the creative process:
1) Type of book – Romance or non-romance?
2) Mood of book – Dark and moody, light and more toward comic, sexy and steamy?
3) Characters on the cover and what do they look like?
4) Finally any important elements to translate something important from the book?

With these questions, I usually get what they are dreaming of for their covers the first time around. My number one rule, the author must love their covers before I consider the cover complete.

TMD: Would you mind walking us through the process of taking a cover from inspiration to completion?

Skylar: I would be happy to ;)

I start with the questions to the author as I stated above. From there, I do a mock-up cover to see if I am close to what they desire their cover to look like. It might be it right the first time or it could take several mock-ups going back and forth between the author and me before they are happy with their cover. After I get their approval on the mock-up, I create the final version. I then send them the final version for approval, and once that is done, the cover is off to the publisher.

TMD: When doing covers for fellow authors, how important is their input when coming up with the perfect cover for their books?

Skylar: The author’s input should be priority. It is their labor of love that wrote the book to begin with. And, their cover needs to reflect what is between the pages to draw the readers in, creating the craving to purchase the book.

TMD: You’ve done covers for a few different publishers—some truly fantastic ones. Have you ever had to adjust your style to mesh with the image the publishers are trying to project?

Skylar: You bet. Certain publishers don’t like the typical characters on the cover. They want more impressionist type covers, grunge-like, without faces. I find adapting to different publishers needs an easy thing for me.

TMD: As an artist who’s been around for a while, you must know what works and what doesn’t work in a cover, but what about what sells? In your opinion, do you think a fantastic cover can push a book up the bestseller chart?

Skylar: To be honest, a fantastic cover will get your book looked at more by the public if they can see it, but in the end, it is what is between the pages that will ultimately make you a bestseller with the readers.

TMD: Here at The Dairies, we pride ourselves on thought provoking questions that challenge the minds of our guests. So, Skylar if you could be a pair of thongs on any cover model, who would it be? And be thoughtful with your answer, we have $5 riding on it.

Skylar: Humm, crack of contentment you say… That is an easy one for me; sadly it is the late, Rob Ashton. The first time I saw him on a cover, I melted. With his dark good looks and luscious light brown eyes, he oozed sexuality. Even as he aged, he just became sexier, more virile. To me, he was and still is the cover model of my dreams.

TMD: We’re going to untie you now. Jmo, put down the water pistol before you shoot yourself again. Skylar, if we promise to let you put the links to your sites of interest so our readers can find out more about your wonderful books and examples of your outstanding cover art, will you agree not to call the police? Please say yes, because knowing Jmo he’s going to drown you with that stupid pistol, if you don’t.

Skylar: Skylar trying to rub the feeling back into her numb arms and hands, as she glares at the two before her… Fine, but remember hell hath no fury like…oh screw it, just watch your backs. Payback is a bitch or a blond named Skylar - Skylar grinning evilly as she rubs her hands together briskly.

I love to hear from the readers. You can visit my author site at:
www.skylarsinclair.com. If you go to my bio page and at the bottom is a link to see what cover creations I’ve done of late. I update that page weekly. You can also see my new and upcoming book releases.

TMD: Skylar, thanks so much for being such a good sport and joining us today. More importantly for not pressing charges. Here’s some money for a taxi. We would drive you home, but Jmo put Louisiana Hot Sauce in the water gun and shot himself in the eye. Guess who’s got to take him to the emergency room. A Morgan’s work is never done.

Skylar: Now that my hands and arms have feeling again and my lips have stopped stinging, I am more agreeable. So thank you for this, shall we say if not entertaining, but unusual interview, Morgan O and Jmo.

Since I have put up with you both, I have a personal plug for two of my covers entered in EPIC’s 2008 Quasar and Ariana cover art contest. The voting (EPIC members only) starts on December 3, 2007 and goes through December 11, 2007. I have entered Extraordinary Love and Faeful: Sexual Magic in this contest under paranormal erotic romance. There are 11 entries and if you are an EPIC member and like my covers, please vote for me.

I wish everyone happy hot reading,

Skylar Sinclair.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Vote Wicked for Christmas at Red Roses

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I think I used to many o’s there but I don’t care. For your information those are the perfect amount of exclamation points for the news I got today.

How Wicked Can She Go?
has been nominated
Red Roses For Authors
First Annual Christmas Awards

So I’d like to invite you all to stop in at Red Roses
to cast your ballot for the Witch with attitude
and make Nikki’s Christmas
come up Roses.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Fabulous Jackie Ivie!

Under the bloom of the Northern Lights, Morgan O and JMo braved a Survivor-Man journey for our latest interview. Jackie Ivie is an author with three bestselling novels under her belt and a fourth just hit the shelves, so we thought a dogsled trip to the frozen wastes of Alaska well worth the hardships to talk with this author. Well it wasn’t as far as that, but one little case of frostbite and JMo goes all mental. Morgan O told him about nose rubbing walruses, but he wouldn't listen so it's his own fault even if she did loan him a pair of bunny boots. At the same time she was seen to roll her eyes and exclaim, “Sheesh, we haven't even hit zero yet!” So after a cup of hot cocoa for JMo, and a stiff drink for Morgan after dealing with his whining butt for three hours, we settled down for a talk with Jackie about her newest book, Heat of the Knight.

TMD: Jackie, thanks for letting us into your lovely kitchen, and yes, JMo is housebroken - mostly. Anyhow, please tell us a little about your newest book.

Jackie: It's set in 1747, a time of depression throughout the Highlands. When I found out the English had taken away the right to wear kilts and play bagpipes, I just HAD to write about what it must have been like. Then there's my, hero, Langston Monteith, (man - what a fantasy man he is!) Monteith is a traitor to everything my heroine (Lisle) values (or so he seems), he's as black as pitch in deed (or so she thinks), and he's as gorgeous as sin (so everybody sees) I LOVED writing! Lived it as I wrote! -- then again...I always do!

TMD: As a writer of Scottish Highland historicals, how do you keep your books fresh and exciting with the genre already so congested with stories set in the same period?

Jackie: Good thing I don't read anyone else. Don't want to. As for me? I have an editor who gives me free rein. I can write any era in the Highlands that I want. Any battle. Anything. And I just want to live it as I write it. The way my writing works I just have to settle myself and I start envisioning. Scottish Highland mist. The bagpipes. The kilts. The massive, brawny Highlanders. There's so much history there. I couldn't possibly get bored.

TMD: With your fourth book coming out, do you find you are just as excited waiting for its release as you were with your first book?

Jackie: Definitely! I walk around with a copy of my new one and inhale the fantastic aroma of paperback book! There's absolutely nothing like the smell and fell and texture of your own book! Nothing. The first one, the fourth one. Same difference - I've found. Aside from which, my covers are jaw-dropping gorgeous. No trauma carrying that around! (Morgan O can verify this. I stood next to her as she handed a copy of her book to a priest!)

TMD: How much research do you enter into before starting a new book?

Jackie: I have tons of Scot books and castle books. I don't do much research once I start up the pc. I've already envisioned the setting. Mostly. Right now, I'm working on the 7th one and I wanted a jousting scene so I had to go find one. And yes. There were definitely knights in Scotland, In 1455, there was a tourney fought at Stirling Castle, where the king decided the winner (James Douglas) against a Burgundian knight. I'm putting that in my book, because I wanted a joust scene. So I chose 1456 as the setting.

TMD: What inspired you to write about the Scottish Highlands?

Jackie: Big, brawny, beautiful, rippled, sexy Highlanders in kilts! There's a wedding scene in my 6th book where the hero has to fight his way into the chapel, and he isn't in the best formal condition when he gets to the altar. What do the ladies do? Sigh. And giggle. And blush. Fun stuff.

TMD: Have you ever been tempted to jump into another genre and test the waters?

Jackie: Nope. Historical romance is it. I told my editor a couple of years ago, when everyone was discussing all the genres out there that, “I live, eat, sleep, breathe, dream, love historical romance. Sorry.” Her reply? Keep them coming!

TMD: If you could reveal one secret about Morgan O, what would it be?

Jackie: Morgan O? She's a writer, too. And she's fabulous. Duh.
(Morgan O grins - she lurves me!)

TMD: How many countries/ languages have you been published in?

Jackie: Four. English (hahaha! Got to count it), Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese.

TMD: How important do you think it is for an author to find their literary voice?

Jackie: It took me well into the second book to find mine. It's SOOOOO important that I can't quantify it. There isn't another writer like me, and I'm not like any other writer. In fact, I'm not even like the other Jackie Ivie books. The fourth one could have been written by a different person. THAT'S my voice. The characters and action tell the story. I'm just typing as fast as I can!

TMD: With the rise of other genres like sci-fi and paranormals, do you think historicals still hold a place of prominence in romance?

Jackie: Yes...and no. Historical romance will always be there. There's too much enjoyment in disappearing into the past. I think they're publishing less of them every year, though, but that could always change. Does it affect what I write and why I write it? Absolutely NOT. See the "live it, breathe it, sleep it” answer...

TMD: Do you ever see yourself writing a book set in Alaska?

Jackie: Definitely! Although I'll be leaning toward the Klondike gold rush era.

TMD: What other genres would you like to write?

Jackie: Historical. Historical. Historical. I tried a contemporary (I didn't have much fun). I tried a paranormal (I can't envision a vampire or time-travel, therefore I can't write it). It's a bit like my drawing. I don't have a plan when I set out. I just pick a starting point (if it's an animal or person, it'll be the nose) and then I draw out from there. I write exactly the same. I pick the starting point (the opening) and write from there. If I can't envision it, I can't do it. And vampires don't come brawny.

TMD: If you had the chance to kidnap one cover model to make into a love slave who would it be? (Morgan O points out to JMo that cover model Nathan Kamp’s first cover was Jackie’s first book, Lady of the Knight - oooh baby!!)

Jackie: My fantasy man is a hybrid of The Scorpion King and Conan the Barbarian. (Duane Johnson and Arnold Schwarzenegger). Always has been. The cover model is just that. A model. Nathan Kamp is a MAJOR babe, though. But...nah. Now, if I could just get a blend of Conan and the Scorpion King... (my new cover guy is very close, though. But without a gorgeous face? Don't even know who it is....)

TMD: Romance is a very competitive business, especially in the print side of the business. How important do you feel a personal relationship with your fans has been to your success?

Jackie: I love fans! It blows me away to actually find I have them! That's why I do book signings and personal appearances. The fans. Ultra important.

TMD: Thanks so much for letting us visit with you and JMo will clean his mess up before we leave. I told him frost bite is no excuse for dropping a one of a kind Bugs Bunny jelly glass coffee mug. Leave it to the Southern boy to get frost bite at thirty five degrees above zero. As he's mopping up, tell our readers where they can find out more about you and your books.

www.jackieivie.com, www.kensingtonbooks.com, www.akrwa.org, www.romanceunleased.com, www.celtichearts.org, www.amazon.com (I blog there).... Gee. I didn't realize there were so many!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why Morgans Write

A lot of people wonder, why do writers write? Frankly, writers ask themselves that on a daily basis. The Morgans are no exception. So we thought today would be a good time to discuss why we think we write, when there’s a million and a half other things we should be doing (like laundry and ski-joring). If you ever wanted to get into the head of an author, this is your chance times two.

Jmo: For me writing is like an ongoing TV show in my head and I can’t stop watching. When a story is flowing I can’t wait for the next word to hit the screen. Even though it’s all coming from my head, I honestly have no clue what is going to happen from one minute to the next. Sure, I think I had some idea where the plot is taking me, but the characters have ideas of their own and throw me for a loop every time I write.

Morgan O: I'm a visual person, so I can see Jmo's point about the TV show, but I'm deeper into the characters in another way I guess. I don't always see the action, but I feel it. That's probably how I can get so deep into third person, I put myself in my character's body and then act out the scene as if I'm them, looking out through their eyes. What are they feeling, thinking, hearing, smelling, or tasting? These are the things I reach for when writing. Anything to avoid cleaning house!

Jmo: First person is easier for me, because I like to tell the story from one person’s perspective. I think it helps draw a reader into the story. In the majority of my books, the main character talks to the reader. When someone reads my books, I’d like them to feel like they’re reading a letter from a friend, someone they can identify with on an emotional level to a certain degree. That isn’t to say, I don’t like a third person narrative. As a writer, third person frees you to explore the psyches of all your characters and get into their motivations, even the baddies. So, it’s like letting your multiple personalities out to play.

Morgan O: First person has to be done just right, and I have to admit you've got the touch. I haven't been brave enough yet. Besides, I like to peek out of other people's eyes. Learning how to focus and drill down into a person's thoughts has been a very interesting journey. It also lets me weave a truly wicked plot. I guess the description I like best is stolen from Mel Brooks, Spaceballs I think, Unbeknownst to [so and so], but knownst to us... That saying lets my inner imp out to wreak havoc on perfectly unsuspecting characters.

Jmo: Inner imp. I like it! There are times my writing is like that. Because my characters say and do things I would never do in my life. I’m not crazy. I’m just exercising my Inner Imp. Don’t think it would work as a defense in a court of law, but for writing it is perfect.

Morgan O: The hard part is stepping away from the computer, for me at least. I love the world inside my head. It was a great comfort to me the year the husband and I were split because he was working in Alaska while I was working Colorado and the kid was finishing Middle School. The writing filled many lonely hours and my characters became very close friends. I love visiting with them and catching up on what they're doing. Sometimes I have to make myself throw a boulder in their happy paths.

Jmo: True, writing is a lonely occupation. You have to have a solitary mind to be a writer. When I was a kid, stories were always my best friends, whether I was reading them or making them up, using my toys as the characters. Growing up, pictures replaced the toys in my storytelling. It would take years for the words to take over the visual images I used to tell the stories in my head but the images are still there. I’ve just found a way to translate them into words.

Morgan O: I almost agree with your comment about a solitary mind. Almost. For me, I've found that I must have a community around me for my writing to be any good. By this, I mean like minded individuals. They may not write, or even read, what I write, but the very fact they understand the process makes their support and even critical opinions invaluable. I couldn't have improved as much as I have in the last three years by taking classes. I'm hands-on and working with very supportive crit partners has value I can't begin to put a price tag on.

Jmo: That is so true. A talented author can’t get very far without someone to rein their imaginations, and more importantly, egos in. Every time I put my name on a book, there are three or four more names that belong right there along side mine. If you’re an author and can’t say that, you’re either very good or deluding yourself. Care to guess which?

Morgan O: I’m very good! LOL. Seriously, so, really, what it boils down to is each writer is crazy in their own special way, which is why no two people will ever write the same story, even when given the same information.

Jmo: As I’ve gotten a little older—not old, just older—I think I write because the dreams of my youth have either become truth or changed in their perspective. When I was younger, the stories were about the future, wild and insane in their scope and depths. Now, the depth comes from the life I’ve led and the experiences that have shaped the person I am today and not the person I thought I’d be. Could I have been a published author, twenty years ago or even ten years ago? I REALLY don’t think so. For one thing, the inspiration for everything I write wasn’t in my life and I was too plain naïve to realize the stories aren’t in my head screaming to get out. I’m screaming at them to get out so I can think.

Morgan O: And I think that sums it up. Long live insane writers and the editors who deal with them.

Oh, and let’s not forget, long live Anne McCaffrey.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

TMD interviews Jasmine Haynes

Welcome to another titillating episode of The Morgan Diaries. Today we are pleased to present an interview with noted author Jasmine Haynes, whose upcoming novel The Fortune Hunter is set to take the shelves by storm. We were able to figuratively sit down with the author over a cup of double shot Espresso and get her to answer a few probing questions.

TMD: Hello, Jasmine. We’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk to us and letting us pick your brain for a bit.

JH: And thank you for having me! I love double shot Espressos. And white chocolate mochas, too.

TMD: We would love to have you tell our readers a little about your new book, The Fortune Hunter.

JH: My latest Jasmine Haynes Berkley Sensation release, The Fortune Hunter, is out in November. It’s a sexy tale of a woman who agrees to be her own husband’s uninhibited mistress. Faith Castle wants a family, Connor Kingston wants to run her father’s company. In a modern-day marriage of convenience, the bargaining begins with the kind of no-holds barred sex life Connor desires and Faith is afraid she can’t live up to. Now everything is on the table, including them...

Please check out The Fortune Hunter movie trailer on my site!

TMD: What inspired this modern take on the arranged marriage story?

JH: In your review, JM pegged it right saying the book has a slightly historical feel to it. That’s because I got the idea when I watched an old Olivia de Havilland movie called “The Heiress,” which is set in the mid-1800s. Yes, I am a Turner Classic Movie channel addict. The heroine in the movie is a plain woman with a rich father, and she is romanced by the handsome Montgomery Clift. But does he want her or does he want her father’s money? And I thought, gee, what if he just came right out and said, “Hey, I want to marry you for your money, but I’ll make it worth every cent.” Of course, I figured they’d both get a lot more than either of them ever bargained for.

TMD: How does this book differ from your other novels?

JH: For Jasmine Haynes, The Fortune Hunter is my first full-length. All my other titles have been anthologies or novella-length. The Fortune Hunter is also the first book in a trilogy. The next two books feature Faith’s best friend, then Faith’s cousin. I did find myself doing a bit more humor in this book than in my other Jasmine books. I think Jennifer Skully is slipping in a bit! The book was also a test, because I’ve never written anything that length without killing someone, on the page, at least.

TMD: We just have to know. What was the inspiration for the piano bar scene? You can tell us if anyone was hurt making sure it was totally accurate, we won’t tell anyone.

JH: I will say that no one was hurt during the research for the piano bar scene. And we didn’t get arrested, either! Oops, didn’t mean to tell you all that!

TMD: This one is from Morgan O. Could you please give me the address of the shop with the special little room in the back?

JH: The shop is in Santa Cruz, California! I’m sure they’d like you to stop on by any time. I will say the scene that takes place in that little shop did happen, but I was only there on behalf of a friend, not myself, of course. Research, you know. Hmm, I wonder if they’d like to carry The Fortune Hunter on their shelves!

TMD: How much time do you spend actually researching the locations you use in your novels?

JH: I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and most of my locales are right here, places I see all the time, as with The Fortune Hunter, which is set in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco. I did set one of my Jennifer Skully books, Fool’s Gold, in a fictional town in Nevada called Goldstone. However, it was patterned exactly after the town my brother-in-law lives in. I went there for a visit and just had to write about it. So I don’t spend a lot of time researching locations, because I write what I know. Or I make up a place!

TMD: Your books have to date been both inventive and original while not necessarily adhering to the normal romance format. What are some of your literary influences?

JH: Thank you for that compliment! I always loved romance. I read the classics by Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen. And I discovered I needed the happy ending, like Jane Eyre ending up with Mr. Rochester rather than everyone either dying or living their lives unhappily as in Wuthering Heights. I also loved Daphne Du Maurier, Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney, which is where I got my love of romantic mysteries.

TMD: You write under a couple different pen names. Do you find assuming a new persona frees you to write something you normally wouldn’t?

JH: I always wrote different genres (within romance, of course, always had to have the romance!), and it was only when I realized the tone was different that I decided to use different pen names so that readers would realize that. JB Skully was my first as I was writing a darker-toned paranormal mystery series which I call the Max series. Jennifer Skully was totally different, being much more light-hearted, though with a touch of paranormal. And Jasmine Haynes came last when I tried my hand at erotic romance.

TMD: Your other books have always had a slight paranormal twist to them. Have you found yourself writing toward this genre or have you always been interested in the spookier side of romance?

JH: I’ve always loved the paranormal. One of my favorite books when I was younger was The Reincarnation of Peter Proud. I love ghosts, psychics, reincarnation. I’m not so much into the mythical creatures such as vampires and werewolves.

TMD: As a writer who is published in print and the ebook format, what are the major differences between the two sides of the modern publishing industry that you’ve noticed?

JH: The difference to me is the speed with which things can be accomplished in e-publishing. I can finish a book in June and have it out in a couple of months. In the print world, the fastest it can happen is 8 months. I like that instant gratification

TMD: What can we expect to see hitting the shelves from your assembled personalities in the near future?

JH: As I mentioned, The Fortune Hunter, out in November, is the first in a trilogy. The second book, Show and Tell, will be available in July 2008 and Games People Play will be released in early, hopefully, 2009. I will also have a novella in a Berkley anthology with Joey Hill, JC Burton and Denise Rosetti which is tentatively scheduled for December 2008 release. Jennifer Skully and JB Skully are on hiatus right now.

TMD: We’d like to thank you for joining us for coffee and the chat. It has been a pleasure talking with you. Please tell our readers where they can find out you on the net?

JD: Thanks so much for having me! All my multiple personalities can be found at http://www.skullybuzz.com and http://www.myspace.com/skullybuzz

Please go to my site to find out how you can enter my monthly contest.

Monday, October 29, 2007

This being Halloween or as close as I can get to the holiday spirit on a Monday I thought I’d spill on what paranormal series I can’t live without. That’s not as easy as it sounds. I’ve limited myself to my top five. These are in no certain order, but feel free to check them out if you aren’t already.

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The Betsy series by Mary Janice Davidson.

These books are the reason I started writing comedy. I can’t say enough how good these books are.

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The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward.

This series totally blows me away with each new book. They surpass Kenyon’s Dark Hunters. Nuff Said.

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The Argeneau vampires series by Lynsay Sands

Again I dip into the vampire pool. Sands series presents a new take on vampires that is both original and well worth the headaches you get trying to read them in one night. while not as comedic as MJ’s Betsy the books will have you hooting.

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The Immortally Sexy series by Stephanie Rowe

Rowe has captivated me with this series. I can’t get enough and die when I finish each new book. Rowe rivals M.J. for that special place in my literary heart. These books are just too damn funny.

And what paranormal list would be complete without a visit from…

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Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden.

I’m not even going to insult your intelligence by trying to explain why these books made the list. If you’re not reading them, SHAME on you.

Well that’s my list. You can agree or disagree with my choices, but you’re not getting them off my bookshelf. As you may have noticed I didn’t include Wicked on the list because I know it’s at the top of your list. If not, don’t tell me. My ego is fragile.

Everyone have a Wicked Halloween, and don’t get caught doing it. I can’t afford to bail any of you out.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Interview with Melanie Gilbreath

The Morgan Diaries has made a commitment to bringing you interviews with the heart and soul of romance. In addition to that we also would like to spotlight up and coming writers who we feel will someday make an impact on the genre in years to come. Today’s author is a relative newcomer to the field.

Melanie Gilbreath is an author who has a story in the best selling Midnight Showcase anthology, Spellfire Moons under her belt. Her first novella, Isabella in Pearls, released on October 26 from Dark Eden Press. We were lucky to catch up with Melanie for an interview this past weekend. She tried to run but Morgan O is mighty quick with a lasso.

TMD: Melanie, thanks for stopping by. Would you mind telling our readers a little about Isabella in Pearls?

Well, thanks for asking me TMD.I am tickled to be interviewed.

Isabella in Pearls is a contemporary romance about one uptight, slightly neurotic schoolteacher and one completely unrespectable, rough-around-the-edges guy finding true love and keep it despite their differences. Poor Isabella, she doesn’t know whether to run away screaming or hop on and ride him like a trick pony. You see, Isabella is one of those women to which reputation is very important, appearances are everything, and Jaysun is more than a little disreputable. So as you can imagine sparks, (and clothing) fly in this story.

TMD: How does it feel to go from doing a story in a successful anthology to being the one in the spotlight with Isabella?

Its actually a bit surreal. I was really surprised and pleased that Spellfire Moons did and is still doing so well. Of course mine wasn’t the only awesome story in there. I guess I am suffering from the usual angst writers go through. But I am also excited and very proud of the story.

TMD: Your stories always have a comedic twist to them. How important is comedy to romance in your work?

Very. Real life is funny. Even in the middle of the worst tragedies someone is going to make a smart remark or something and make everyone laugh. As a book reader myself, I think funny is more engrossing to a reader than somber or angsty all the time. I want people to walk away feeling good about the time the spent reading my stories, not feel like they need to take a Zoloft.
TMD: Out of all your characters which one do you feel the most kinship with?

That’s a hard question to answer. In a way, every character has pieces of me in there somewhere so I relate to them all. I get very attached to my peeps, I guess this is why I like to write series. If I had to choose at this time in my life I would have to say Melina Quinn, who is a character in an as yet unpublished series called Winding City

TMD: A lot of people don’t know this, but you were the inspiration for Nikki in J. Morgan’s book How Wicked Can She Go? This is a two parter so get ready.

How does it feel to be the inspiration for a character in someone’s book?

It’s a bit weird. I’ve known J. for quite sometime but I was still surprised at how accurately some of my personal foibles were caught on the page. I am also flattered, I mean, of all the very interesting friends and family J’s got he picked me. *sniffle* I am special….

Have you ever used a friend as a basis for a character in one of your books?

Oh yes, all the time. As a matter of fact Jaysun is based on my husband. I also have this one particular friend that is so quirky and unique I just cannot resist. However, I try not to let the cat out of the bag about who is who. It’s more fun if they guess.

TMD: It is a little known fact a few years ago you created your own world for authors to play in. Do you have any plans to do anything with the world started with Winding City?

Actually, yes. I didn’t make the world up all by myself, I had several close friends helping me. One of them, Jenna Leigh and I are collaborating on the first in what I hope will be a series. This project is my baby and I just know people have as much fun reading it as we are having writing it.

TMD: There is a rumor you married a famous underwear model. Is this true?

*sigh* Yes, I am married to Chief Tighty Whitie, the Firebringer. You know you made his day with this question, right?

TMD: Most authors have a crit group they work with. Do you have one yourself?

I do. It has shrunken some in recent months but is still active.

TMD: How important has it been to have a group in place to offer you support and criticism of your work?

I think its important to have people who will be honest with you about what you’ve written. Also, having a group of writers who understand you makes the rejections easier to handle. And because they understand you and the way you write they are excellent for bouncing new ideas off of.

TMD: Thanks for stopping by Melanie. Morgan O will let you up in a minute but before she does, can you let our readers know where they can find out more about you and your books?

Thanks so much for having me. I had a wonderful time!

Spellfire Moons is available from Midnight Showcase and can be found at this link:

Isabella in Pearls wasreleased on the 26th from Dark Eden Press. http://www.darkedenpress.com/index.html

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Morgan Does Morgan...What??

This is the part of the Diaries where we self gratify ourselves. Wait a minute! I don’t think that’s what I mean. You know? Where we talk about ourselves and force you to listen. Yeah that’s what I mean but it didn’t come out right either. Just forget it. This intro is stupid so feel free to ignore it and get on with the good stuff down below.

Today, on the eve of her new release, Halo In Her Pocket, I thought it was high time we got to know the O part of this pair. Man, that would make this the Story of O with a whole lot of Morgan thrown in. So prepare yourselves as the Diaries go Morgan on Morgan. Don’t you love how I made all this sound dirty without meaning to. Well maybe I did a little.

Jmo: So, Morgan O, aside from the naked cover models what inspired you to become a Romance author?

Morgan O: An absent (due to job - he was in Alaska and I was in Colorado with the teen) husband and an over active imagination. Also, too many years of saying, "I can write better than that!" Little did I know just how hard it is to write better than “that.”

Jmo: After reading Halo, I fell in love with the Alaskan setting. You described it so well, I felt like I was there. Did setting the book in a place you were familiar with make it easier to get into the story while writing it? Or did the tourism board give you a kickback for doing it in Alaska?

Morgan O: The setting is from my own experience. The house in the book was one where I used to babysit and I loved that house. So it only seemed fitting to immortalize it in one of my books. Besides, what's more mysterious than playing under the Midnight Sun?

Jmo: What gave you the idea for the T-shirt angle for the story?

Morgan O: My teenager asked me for some t-shirts and passed me a couple website links. I got caught up in looking at them and suddenly, the idea just popped into my head. What better way to play with some of the more notable ones? Research was a blast!

Jmo: Do you have a room at the top of the stairs we should know about? More importantly is DH locked in there and should we call for medical assistance?

Morgan O: No, no locked rooms. Vaulted ceilings make that a little tough. DH is in fine form and out doing his Daddly duty at the moment, picking up the child and ice cream.

Jmo: There were a wealth of minor characters in the book. Can we hope for a story for buttinsky best friend, Ginger? Hint! Hint!

Morgan O: Ooh, I hadn't thought of that. Maybe Ginger does deserve her own book... I'll have to think of what trouble she can get into during the Winter solstice... a condo at Alyeska, a ski patrol hottie, a hot tub... oh yeah, that could be the ticket. Thanks!

Jmo: On a serious note, I loved the fact the story was about Devyn’s empowerment and coming into her own as a person and a woman. As a woman and a writer do you feel it is important to give female readers something positive to take out of your books along with the romance?

Morgan O: As a woman who didn't gain a sense of personal power until I hit my forties, I'd love to see younger women find themselves sooner. Too often do they rush into relationships and find themselves tied down with babies. I wish I'd been able to control that nesting instinct just a little longer and had enough awareness to make the most of the situations I found myself in. I look back now and wonder if I hadn't been so naive, what wonderful things might I have experienced? Too often I took the easy route and ended up with a very predictable life, one I'm changing the rules on right now. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and my son, but there's that little voice inside that says, what if... So now I write and explore that little question in my own little way.

Jmo: Since becoming a professional writer, what has been the greatest impact on you personally?

Morgan O: Wow. The impact on my time is significant. I spend 99% of it at my computer. Sometimes this annoys the males.

On the upside, I've met some really fabulous people (yes, Jmo is fabulous but don’t tell him I said that!), both live and on the internet and for once, I can let loose my creative streak without making a mess, unlike sewing or scrapbooking. Oh, and housekeeping has most definitely taken a lower priority. A way lower priority. As in I'm lucky if the house get vacuumed once a... Well, that's too embarrassing.

Jmo: If you could give one piece of advice to all those authors out there who haven’t yet attained the grand goal of being published, what would it be?

Morgan O: Advice to authors - get in a good critique group. A partner is good, a group is better. The more opinions you have, the better rounded your work will become. And LISTEN to what they have to say. You may not be able to use all their wisdom, nor should you, but you can learn from their words. Also, remember this, until you are selling as many books as Nora, you are NOT a diva and your publishing house CAN live without you. Be kind, courteous, and respectful to everyone you meet because your bad behavior will follow you.

Jmo: To completely Morganize this love fest, what juicy things can we look forward to from the great and powerful Morgan O?

Morgan O: I love how you suck up. Coming in January, my first sci-fi, futuristic paranormal, Frozen, will be available. I wrote it in a fit of pique about living in Alaska again so it has a touch of snark. Then come next May, the books closest to my heart, The Rich Series, will begin with A Rich Investment. Sexy and dangerous, the series is contemporary and set in Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area. That one will be lots of fun for readers. I hope they're as entranced as I am.

Jmo: I would like to thank Morgan O for taking the time to sit down and talk with me today. No Morgan’s were harmed in the making of this interview, but several Oreos were mercilessly drowned and eaten.

Morgan O: Thank you for the chance to bare my soul to the world. I hope they find it more attractive than me baring... um, *ahem* nevermind. We won’t go there... yet.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

An Interview from Dark Eden

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We would like to thank Debra Durham, owner of Dark Eden Press for joining us today. For those of you out of the loop, DEP is an eBook Publisher who just opened its doors this past June. As a fledgling publisher, DEP has sought to break the romance barrier and prides itself on pushing the erotica envelope while maintaining a healthy dose of romantic literature to balance their growing catalog. In the past 3 months they have released no less than 18 titles, many of those earning rave reviews for their authors and the company itself.

TMD: Deb, welcome to The Morgan Diaries.

Deb: Thank you so much for allowing us the opportunity to come and talk to all of you.

TMD: Would you mind telling our readers a little about Dark Eden Press?

Deb: DEP is owned by three women who each have different likes when it comes to erotica. What we had in common was that none of us could really find the types that we wanted, and what we could find there were so few choices. We each had skills that were useful in running a business of this type so we decided to give authors a place they could feel free to go as far as they wanted in their writings, and readers had a place to come that offered a myriad of choices.

TMD: As a newbie Publisher, what have you found to be the hardest thing for you to accomplish so far in the epublishing world?

Deb: I would have to say the hardest thing so far has been trying to get our company known and to be taken seriously. With so many Epublishers lately going under, it has made it extremely tough to be looked at as something other than a ‘fly by night’ press.

TMD: A large portion of the eBook business is leans heavily toward the erotica market. We are just now seeing the mainstream print market going in this direction. How much do you think epublishing is influencing this decision?

Deb: I think it has been a huge influence for the print market. They have seen the successes of companies like Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id, and some of the smaller presses. The sales have shown that erotica is wanted, and bought, by many. Erotica is a genre that is no longer content to be kept in adult bookstores. It is a form of literature that dates back to the beginning of the written word for goodness sake. It is not anything to be kept hidden or be ashamed of.

TMD: A lot of Epublishers are quick to jump into the print market. What are your views on print as a goal when entering the epublishing market?

Deb: To print or not to print, that is a question I debate everyday. I think, for most epresses, print is a lofty goal, and a hard one to achieve successfully if you go to print too soon. I understand the want and the need, as it is something I think about often. Honestly, I would be happy as pie to never go into print. It is not a goal I had when I opened DEP because I believe in Epublishers as a whole. It is a difficult and expensive undertaking. I would like it to be at least five years before entering the print market, other than a few print on demand projects that may come up.

TMD: With so many print books readily available, what in your opinion makes eBooks so attractive to the modern reader?

Deb: There are so many advantages it’s unbelievable. You can carry an ebook reader in your purse, in some cases they are no bigger than your wallet. Think of being a busy mom who works, takes the kids to the doctors, to soccer practice, or waits for them to finish band practice. You can whip out your ebook reader and get a few minutes of reading in where ever you are. Also, some of the covers on books these days you don’t want your children or your mother looking at. With an ebook, you don’t see the cover once you scroll past the first page.

TMD: The epublishing market seems to be growing larger every year. As a publisher, do you see the possibility of eBooks someday replacing print or do you think they can exist symbiotically in the already bloated marketplace?

Deb: I believe they can exist together. They are doing so now, more so every day. As people become more and more attached at the hip to their computers, their phones, their blackberry’s, especially the younger generation, the market will continue to grow bigger every year.

TMD: After hitting you with that one, we’d like to hit you with a different question along the same lines. With the rising costs involved in the printing process, as well as the marketing side of the business, do you think th ere is a genuine possibility that print is rapidly becoming a thing of the past?

Deb: In my lifetime or my daughter’s, probably not. Anything is possible, but I do not see print books becoming a relic anytime soon. I love ebooks, but sometimes I want to curl up in the bath tub with a paperback and read until I am a prune. Even the biggest ebook fan occasionally wants the ritual of curling up, cracking open that new book with the new page smell, and digging into a great read.

TMD: With dwindling readership already affecting the entire publishing world, are you afraid that one day eBooks and books in general may cease to exist except as relics of a past?

Deb: Goodness no. Not as long as there are avid readers in the world. I cannot imagine never being able to pick up a book again and being able to read about some great love affair someone is having. The publishing world will always be ever changing. Publishers will come and go, but readers never will.

TMD: With so many different Epublisher already in existence, what sets Dark Eden Press apart from the herd?

Deb: Honestly, I think the biggest difference is the simple fact that we let our authors push the envelope farther than most publishers will allow. I believe the other difference is how open we are with our authors. Because of things that have happened with some publishing houses, authors are nervous and gun shy right now. We like to make sure that authors are in the loop on just about everything, from changes in policy to word counts and pricing. They are asked their opinions and have input into quite a few things here.

TMD: We couldn’t let you leave without one insane question. If you could be any snack cake, which one would you be?

Deb: A Twinkie of course. Soft and spongy on the outside, but deliciously crème filled on the inside.

TMD: Deb before we let you go, is there anything on DEP’s horizon, you’d like to tease our readers with?

Deb: We have two special things coming up early next year. In January our ‘Through the Veil’ series starts which is a time travel series that will run a book a month for 12 months. These stories are fantastic and hope they will be enjoyed by everyone. Also, beginning in March we will have the first of the three winners in our ‘Scottish Nocturnal’ contest that we are putting on with Romance Erotic Connection. We will also be putting out a submission call for a special series to be published in the fall/winter of next year so be looking for that.

To check out all the great books available from Dark Eden Press just click on the link below.