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.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Join Jmorgan tomorrow at Coffeee Time Romance Exotic

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Are you up for a scary story or two?

Tired of watching the same old ghostly documentaries on TV?

Well, Jenna Leigh and J. Morgan are ready to scare the dickens out of you as they haunt
Coffee Time Romance Exotic
tomorrow night with true ghost stories from the heart of the South and tease you with paranormal excerpts that will chill and thrill you to within an inch of your life.
So get ready to pull another log up to the fire and sit a spell and prepare yourself for the fright of your life—not that the thought of Jenna Leigh and fire shouldn’t be enough already to take a good five years off your life. Just kidding. No not really.


OCtober 24th
7:30pm EST

Come if you dare…

Monday, October 22, 2007

Thanks to all our friends

A special thanks to everyone who helped to make the grand opening of The Morgan Diaries a success. This past week has been a blast and we couldn’t have done it without all our friends, both old and new stopping by.

If you thought last week was a party wait til you see what we have planned for the future. The interviews will keep coming and have we got some great ones planned. No, I’m not telling you now. Stick around and you’ll see.

Alright I’ll give you a sneak peek. This week join us for an interview with the publisher of Dark Eden Press as she stops in for a heart to heat. We’re not stopping there. Later this week we’ve got a special event so unbelievable it can only be called Morgan on Morgan, as I put Morgan O in the hot seat about her new book Halo in her Pocket and on a few other things that inquiring minds are dying to know.

That’s all you’re getting from me today so go get some sleep. You’re going to need it. Today’s only Monday and there’s a whole week ahead of you. Depressing isn’t it. Maybe we should rename it Morganday. Yeah, I like the sound of that. Excuse me while I go write my congressman and get that in the books.

Night All,

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Invader Jenn from Down on De Bayou

Hi there, I'm Jenna Leigh and I've taken over Morgan Diaries!! Break out the silly string and toilet paper and let's party!! Not really, I was given permission to come aboard for the evening by the M-Twins, so all is well. All is well!

The Morgan Duo been reviewing and interviewing some great folks, so I'm really honored to be in such great company. They asked me to tell you a little about myself, so here it goes.

I write paranormal, fantasy, scifi, and contemporary romance. Why? Because I like to read those genres best. But, I'm basically an any book in a storm type of girl and have found some of my favorite authors that way. Long Live The King~Stephen Rules!!

The Wolf's Heart from Samhain, my story High Chairs and High Stakes in the antho-Spellfire Moons and Tigre Moon in the antho-Alien Seduction both from Midnight Showcase could all be considered if not erotic romance, then very close to it. While Braless in the Buick, my contemporary romance, while steamy is not as erotic, though you couldn't tell from all the aggravating I took about it at my Sucky Day Job (yes, all caps are needed there)

My latest story The Last Legacy is a fantasy romance. This means that I built a whole new world for my characters to play in with wyverns, who are very different from dragons, thanks. There's also wizards, sidhes, gods, goddesses, sylvans, smurfs, (grins) and of course, a fair damsel who may or may not be in need of rescue. And don't forget the talking cat.
Here's an excerpt from the madness that poor JMorgan has to live with continually. Clicking on the book cover will take you to Champagne Books.

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Lilly Tremaine only thinks she wants to live in a fantasy world. Meeting Faelen McKenna might change her mind. He is a wyvern and a very special one, able to change into a man, if only at night. The guardian of her family for almost a thousand years, he’s here to protect her. When they finally meet face to face, sparks fly. Unfortunately, they are flying from Lilly’s eyes because he has to be the most exasperating man she’s ever met.
When he whisks her off to the magical realm of Aetherea, she is amazed at the denizens of this new land. Gods, elves, fairies, muses, dragons and queens are all living in a parallel universe that exists alongside reality. However, danger looms on the horizon, because someone is trying to keep Faelen and Lilly apart. They fight the forces of evil to achieve what every fairy tale must have, a happy ending.

He grinned mischievously at her and began to speak in a monotone. “You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind, a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead: Your next stop: The Twilight Zone.” And because they were where they were, the theme song began to play on the radio.

“Make that stop!” She put her hands over her ears and closed her eyes. What if she turned her head and that banshee thing was looking in her window? She would die on the spot. She hated that movie, hated that part of the movie even more so. It still had the power to give her chills. Lilly would imagine the hag sitting on a tree branch outside her window only waiting for her to look at her before she ripped out her heart. She opened one eye and looked around, it all looked normal, but that’s exactly when they fooled you.

“Lilly, calm down. This isn’t the Twilight Zone. It’s only another place, slightly to left of the center of the universe. My kind isn’t normal, so we don’t have a normal pub out where just anyone can find it. This is the land of magic, the fairy, if you will. One owns the pub, in fact. Come on.” He got out and hurried around to open her door.

She sat with her fists clenched tightly in her lap. When he opened the door and the light came on, she gave another squeak and cringed. “Don’t be the banshee lady.”

“Lilly! I’m not the banshee lady. She owns the music store down the street. She’s very nice.”
Despite his reasonable tone, she refused to leave the safety of the car. Instead, she curled up a little further in the seat. He squatted down beside her and put his hand on hers, giving it a tug. “Come on.”

“No, you go on ahead, I’ll be fine right here, honest.” She closed her eyes again.

“I will protect you, I promise.” He sounded sincere, plus, she hadn’t heard any banshees howling yet.

She cracked one eye open. “Swear?”

“Yes.” He raised his right hand and gave her a solemn look.

She stared back just as solemnly then, with a decisive nod let him help her out of the car. Her legs were shaky, but the warmth of his hand on her arm was reassuring. Lilly smoothed her dress, then her hair.

“Stop fidgeting, you look fine.” He put his arm around her waist as he led her to the door of the pub. Soon they stood before an ancient round door studded with square-headed nails. It looked like the entrance to a dungeon, or hell. Either way, she was sure whatever lay behind it would terrify her. Banshees? There were actually banshees? This sucked rocks.

Faelen knocked, and a small panel about midway on the door opened. “Who is it?” someone hissed.

“Who the hell do you think?” Faelen leaned down and glared at the person behind the door. “Let me in, dammit. It’s cold.”

“Bloody hell, you again?” The panel slid closed and Lilly sighed in relief. Good, they couldn’t go in; she was fine with that, really. Then came a sound designed to fill a person with dread, a sound to chill the bones, and still the beating of a person’s heart. It was the creaking of the door opening to let them in.

Hope everyone has a great week!


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Review: The Fortune Hunter by Jasmine Haynes

The Fortune Hunter by Jasmine Haynes
Release Date: November 6th, 2007
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
ISBN: 978-0-425-21917-1

Length: 97,000 words

His Rating: 5 Stouts
Her Rating: 4 Stouts
Okay, so imagine there're glasses of beer there. I'm working on it.

If she wants to realize her lifelong dream of having children, heiress Faith Castle had better find a husband—pronto. But there are two roadblocks on her road to happiness: she knows no eligible men, and she’s not exactly Miss California.

Then she meets Connor Kingston. He’s yummy. He’s available. And he thinks she’s sexy…

But he’s also honest. After a kiss that leaves them hot and bothered, Connor offers to marry Faith, but purely as a career move. It’s far from romantic, but it’s as good an offer as she’s going to get. Each has a caveat, though. She requires his fidelity—he wants a no-holds-barred sex life.

From their wedding night on, they get more and more adventuresome—and Faith starts feeling different about herself and her body. And somewhere in the midst of ecstasy, they come to know the most foreign, exciting aphrodisiac of all—love…


He actually wanted to marry her?

Faith laughed, a real laugh, not one of horror or disbelief. His compliments warmed her, made her sit straighter in her chair. God. Was he starting to win her over? “I’ve never met anyone like you. You just say what you’re thinking, don’t you, without worrying how the other person is going to judge you?”

He leaned back in his chair and spread his hands. “What you see is what you get.”

The girls at the next table in the café turned saucer-eyed like one of her little kindergartners. He continued to ignore them. Rather, he didn’t even appear to notice them.

What you see is what you get. What Faith saw was extremely appealing. Broad chest with nicely defined muscles tapering down to a hard abdomen showcased by a formfitting polo shirt. She just didn’t know that what she saw was the same as what she’d get. With a jolt, she realized she was actually considering his outrageous proposal. “So, I get children and a husband who promises not to wander as long as I have sex with him as often as...” She tilted her head. “How often?”

“At least once a day if I’m stressed. It’s a good tension reliever.” He didn’t even crack a smile. “How about you?”

Gee, once a year would be nice. She had low expectations. “I’ve never really thought about it. But we’re talking about the bargain here. Lots of children, no infidelity, as long as there’s sex once a day.” She started to tingle. “And all you want is to run my father’s company.”

He didn’t address the last comment but went back to the sex issue. “Not just wham-bam sex. Real sex.”

She couldn’t believe she was having this conversation. She glanced around to see if anyone was listening, but except for the table of young women too far away to eavesdrop, they weren’t the center of attention. Far from it, they were just another couple in a crowded coffee shop talking about sex. “Define real sex, please.”

His breath whispered across her hair. “Mind-blowing sex. Last night doesn’t count since neither of us had an orgasm, but it was a damn good hint of things to come.”

She had to swallow and not let her erotic thoughts rule her emotions. “What if you get tired of the same woman every day?”

“We won’t get tired if we’re willing to try anything. To experiment. To let our inhibitions go and no limits.”

His use of “we” was so terribly seductive. She tried to appear unmoved. “Anything? I’m not into bondage or stuff that hurts.” She tipped her head one way, then the other. The discussion had become almost a game. Except for the core of heat burgeoning inside her. “Or wife swapping. Or group sex.”

“Just the two of us.” He stroked her middle finger where her hand lay on the table. “No pain. Only ecstasy.”

The Morgan Diaries Review:

JMo: As I started the book, I was struck how much it read like a Historical. The party at the country club was the perfect way to open the book. I instantly found myself drawn into the characters.

Morgan O: See, I didn't get the historical feel at all it felt modern to me right from the start, probably because I grew up near what is now called Silicon Valley. In fact, she’s captured the location very well.

JMo: I've read a lot of Historicals that started with a huge party and the ladies in waiting whispering about the dark mysterious man who just appeared at court. I got that sort of feeling when I read The Fortune Hunter.

Morgan O: Fair enough. It is a time honored institution that carries forward into modern times.

Jmo: The arranged marriage plot just reinforced it for me.

Morgan O: Ah, but the difference is they arranged it themselves.

JMo: That's the twist. Conner came off to me at first as the stylish rogue with a good heart. Faith was the royal bristling at the restrictions she was forced to live beneath.

Morgan O: Good analogy. And I started falling for Connor when he approached her in such a straight forward fashion.

JMo: Even their names reinforced the concept - Faith and Kingston.

Morgan O: Faith Castle and Connor Kingston. A Castle needs a King.

JMo: Too true. I liked his honesty, as well. He was not willing to lie to get what he wanted - the big business side of it, which MS. Haynes described so well. For all intents and purposes the marriage was a merger at the beginning but as the story progressed we began to see Conner was just as vulnerable as Faith. He wanted the love of a woman, children and everything that went along with marriage that his own past made him deny the fact to himself. His research of Faith was evidence of his need for something other than a marriage of convenience. He could have gone with Trinity but he wanted a woman who wasn't superficial—a woman of substance.

Morgan O: Yes, he wanted a lasting marriage, a legacy, to leave behind, a piece of himself, the ultimate goal. Isn't that part of someone's hierarchy?

JMo: He might have said it was the better company he wanted, but we could see the truth. What I liked was the fact at the beginning Conner thought he was in control of the marriage bed but by the end Faith had total control over him.

Morgan O: He didn't just dominate her, he brought her up. I liked how he taught her to own her sexuality.

JMo: And she owned it very well.

Morgan O: Okay, we made it to the sex. What about the sex? Did it in anyway offend your sensibilities?

JMo: Not really. Ms. Haynes did a great job balancing the sex with the emotional content it needed. It just wasn't sex for sex's sake. Each scene reinforced the evolution of Faith and Conner's relationship. Normally I’m the prude in this pair, as anyone will tell you, but the sex was hot without being over the top. What about the panties? And the remote control?

Morgan O: Loved that! Have even used in one of my stories but it will be old news by the time that book gets published.

JMo: See, that was a dominance issue, but then it became him wanting to pleasure his wife and his growing desire to pleasured only by her.

Morgan O: I have to say the sex scenes were varied and fresh I personally loved the piano room scene.

JMo. Who the hell was in that chair watching them? That's what I want to know.

Morgan O: My guess was Lance, or one of her cousins.

JMo: Or the bartender?

Morgan O: Nah, he wouldn't have spread the rumors, it had to be one of the peers.

JMo: Probably, the way the rumor mill was rolling, but I know he said in the beginning he wouldn't cheat on her, but by the end you could see it wasn't because of an agreement.

Morgan O: Very true, but the rest of the world was tripping over themselves to tell her different. What annoyed me were all the people trying to convince her he was so evil. What I loved most was Faith's faith and how she refused to believe all the so-called evidence being thrown at her.

JMo: No, it was the evolution of her faith. In the beginning she had none in herself, those around her except for Trinity. By the end of the book she knew she was worth something more than being daddy's girl and transferred that faith on Conner. He was worth believing in. Their marriage was worth believing in.

Morgan O: She had a choice, stick with Daddy or her husband. Not an easy one to make.

JMo: Overall, I felt she tied the book up very well, and didn't rush to get it over with as so many authors seem to do. Ms. Haynes developed the story and characters and didn’t cheat this reader one bit. The Fortune Hunter kept me reading and wanting more throughout the book until the very last page.

Morgan O: Yes, it came to a very natural conclusion, with tensions high right down to the last minute. All that soul searching and waffling... I don’t want to spoil the ending and we’ve come close to do that, however, we can say it follows the rules of Romance and has the standard Happily Ever After ending we all love so much.

The Final Analysis:

Morgan O: I give this one four beers because I got a little run-over by the mischief makers all sticking their fingers in the pot. Also, the constant focus on sex between them. They needed to spend just a wee tad more time getting to know one another. The sex was hot and varied, the lead characters solid and interesting. The secondary characters were a bit of a comedy act, but many were likeable in their own ways. All in all, a good read, told well. I’d recommend it to my friends!

Jmorgan: I give it five out of five. The Fortune Hunter was a pure delight from start to finish. Ms. Haynes has written a story that draws in the reader and demands they care about her characters. The sex is an emotionally charged rollercoaster leaving the reader panting for the next twist and turn. I couldn’t put the book down and defy anyone to try.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Valerie Loves Romance and More! Really, she does!

We at the Morgan Diaries are not above a little trickery to get an interview. Case in point, we wanted to get a reviewers view of Romance, so we sent a little email to one Valerie Bongards about a Gerald Butler underwear modeling extravaganza. Sure enough our little bird was first in line. So, after we explained our little fib, she agreed to talk to us for a bit after we agreed to bid on a Butler signed G-string on Ebay for her. But it was worth blowing the budget to interview this long time reviewer with Love Romances and more. Val has long been at the forefront of Romance, both with her reviews and her work inside the epublishing industry and is the perfect person to tell us exactly what direction the Romance industry has taken in the past few years.

TMD: Val, welcome to The Morgan Diaries. Would you mind telling our readers a little about how you became a reviewer with Love Romances and More?

Valerie: Hi. Well, I was in a chat with some authors and the owner of Love Romances and More at that time was also there. So, I said I would love to review books and she invited me to join up. I had to send her a sample of a review and well, as they so often say, the rest is history. This was about four years ago.

TMD: As a reviewer and long time reader, you probably have seen many trends in Romance come and go, does the popularity of the paranormal genre surprise you?

Valerie: Oh, not at all. It’s my all time favourite genre. I really love that in e-books we find much more of it and it is included often in most other genres. So we have suspense with paranormal elements, historicals with paranormal elements, contemporaries with paranormal elements...well, you get my drift.

TMD: The instability in the past few months of the Epublishing industry sent shockwaves through the Romance community, yet the industry was quick to stabilize in light of recent events. Has this hiccup in the industry affected the policies concerning reviews on books from new epublishers?

Valerie: Well, not too much. It’s just as difficult for the review sites as it is for authors when an e-pub closes. We have to take reviews off the websites, or change internet addies when the books come out somewhere else. We have a whole file of reviews of books that have been done from a publisher that is now closed and they haven’t been re-published. On the whole, every publisher has the same chance to get reviewed as long as we are contacted. That said, we get hundreds of requests every month and we only have so many reviewers. So, if anyone wants to review, stop by the Loveromancesandmore website!

TMD: It is no secret you have been a great supporter of many authors through the years. You are always a fixture on many of the yahoo groups. Do you think the relationships you’ve developed are indicative of the openness of the E-industry and its authors toward their readers?

Valerie: I think it’s fabulous. It’s an opportunity especially for authors to build a firm fan base. I’ve heard from many readers that the interaction between authors and readers is very important. Many of the big print pub authors are practically untouchable, but the intense, intimate interaction between epub authors and readers is refreshing and fun. Some epub authors recently hit the print pubs and have already gotten their fan base established while they were e-pubbed. I love hanging out on the groups and rah-rahing for my fav authors.

TMD: A reviewers life, despite what many people think, isn’t all about getting free books to read. Would you mind letting our readers know some of the realities of being a reviewer, especially when you come across a book you just can’t finish?

Valerie: Hehe!! Well, free books are definately a benefit...and if you’re a bookaholic like I am, then it’s a great way to feed your addiction. At Love Romances and More, I can choose which books I want to review, as long as none of the other girls beat me to it. I’m trying to figure out a way to stay awake 24/7 so as to get every book I really, really want...hehe!! Sometimes I over-extend myself and request too many books. I have to get my reviews done within 30 days after receiving the book. When that happens, then it’s sometimes like over-eating, trying to get them all read and reviewed on time. So, I try to pace myself so that each book is a relaxed and refreshing read. Sometimes I’ll try a *new to me author* if the blurb catches my eye and I can honestly say that I have never not been able to finish a book. I may be a bit disappointed in a story, but I always finish them.

TMD: Have you ever reached the point where reviewing has made you feel that reading is more work than entertainment?

Valerie: Nope, never!!! If it was a full time, paying job, I would be in heaven!

TMD: After being in the industry for a while now, how would you describe the evolution of epublishing from where it was a just a few years ago?

Valerie: Certainly more popular. Of course, in the US it’s growing in leaps and bounds. More people are discovering e-bookreaders and are going for books in electronic form. Even established print publishers are starting to put their titles in electronic format. Recently, I saw a news snippet on the TV here in Germany about the Frankfurt Book Fair which talked about electronic books and how the German publishers are looking at this format now.

TMD: In the same light where do you see it going next?

Valerie: Many people talk about electronic publishing taking over print publishing, eliminating the need for paper and thus saving the forrests. This could eventually happen, but I don’t think this will happen in my lifetime. It is definately here to stay, that’s for sure and I can see more publishers opening up and especially more specialised publishers for fiction and non-fiction.

TMD: If you were marooned on a deserted island and you could have either Gerald Butler or a crate of books you’ve never read. Which would you chose? Morgan O just pointed out how cruel that one was. Bad Jmo. Bad Jmo.

Valerie: Oh yes, you are very bad....lol!!! This is just so not fair. Infact, downright cruel!! Why the heck can’t I have both?

Note: Morgan O thinks she should have both. Deprivation of any kind is no good for a girl. Guys are used to it, women are not.

TMD: If you could be the heroine in your very own romance novel, which genre do you think you’d like it to be set in?

Valerie: Oh, paranormal for sure, and I would be the one with the powers!!!! And a lovely, sexy, hunky alpha male please!!! Gerard Butler would be perfect....*swoon*

TMD: After reading and reviewing for so long, have you ever been tempted to write a novel yourself?

Valerie: Yep, I have really felt tempted to write my own novel. Have started a couple even and really wanted to get down to business and finish something...but...I'm having so much fun reading and I think there are too many authors out there that are doing a far better job than I ever could.

TMD: Thank you for joining us on the Diaries, Val. We hoped you enjoyed your stay and the grumble… grumble… expensive pair of drawers you made us buy.

Valerie: Thanks for having me! LOL!!! I shall be watching the post and attacking the postman every morning from now on until they arrive!! Hugs!!

*Morgan O slaps Jmo's hand* Stop grabbing at her ass! Shame on you!

To check out Val's reviews just head over to Love Romances and more for hers and many more great reviews.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lynne Connolly in Full Color

TMD welcomed into its sprawling set of offices none other than author extraordinaire Lynne Connolly this past week. For those of you unfamiliar with Ms. Connolly’s work, she is an author who began her career writing enchanting historical novels, which garnered rave reviews for their authenticity and flowing stories. In recent years she has turned her hand to writing some of the hottest paranormals around. We were lucky enough to get her to consent to an interview with the Diaries. After chatting about The Beautiful Game for an hour or two, Morgan O slapped Jmo upside the head, telling him to get on with it, so we settled down to the interview.

TMD: Your upcoming novel Cats Eyes has us waiting for its release with baited breath. Can you tell us a little about it?

Lynne: It’s the latest in the Department 57 series, and the first from Loose-Id, my new publisher. Department 57 is a kind of James Bond series, with secret agents going on daring assignments, meeting beautiful girls, and men, and generally creating mayhem. Except the agents are Talents – vampires, shape-shifters, anthros and Sorcerers. Anthros are the half and halfs, like mermen and the like, and Sorcerers are a special race of people who have extraordinary psi skills.

I write two kinds of books for the series – full-length novels which are romances between a man and a woman, and shorter, hotter ménage stories. Cats’ Eyes is a ménage. It’s about Silje (pronounced Silya) Nordstrom, a Norwegian Forest Cat shape-shifter, and two male jaguar shifters, who are working undercover in a male strip club. They’re both looking for the dealer of a new kind of drug which is very dangerous to shifters. So when they get together, sparks fly!

TMD: Getting your start in Historical Romance, what turned you toward writing paranormals?

Lynne: I’ve always been interested in paranormals and I wanted to write a contemporary novel, but they never worked for me before. The paranormal element gave me the extra spritz I needed and the first paranormal romance I wrote flew off the keyboard. I loved writing it so much, I had to write another one! And writing in two genres keeps me fresh.

TMD: Each genre has its own pitfalls and requirements. How do you prepare for either genre?

Lynne: For both, I research first, but of course the research is different. For the historicals, a lot of the research is offline. I visit libraries, museums and stately homes to get the atmosphere and the facts that I need. The Internet just isn’t reliable enough to do much historical research with, but it is useful for making contacts at the big museums!
For the contemporaries, the Internet is much more useful. Maps, layouts, hotels, apartments, it’s all there if you know where to look.

After the research, the process is much the same. Planning, then writing, then editing. The good stuff!

TMD: Where does your inspiration come from? Those hot, hot heroes... bet you saw one or two at La Bare in Houston last April, eh? I heard you really, really liked that (bar, hangout, watering hole...searching for right word here) and dropped a few precious pounds there.

Lynne: I didn’t go to La Bare, but I know someone who did! But yes, the cover models at Houston were quite inspirational!

My ideas come from all over the place. I just pick up on something and the author’s motto comes into play – “I can use that!”

TMD: Inspiration is very important, as Morgan O was nice enough to just point out. What were some of the early influences on your writing? And who are the authors currently having an impact on your writing?

Lynne: Early influences, many and varied. I’ve always been a voracious reader. Dickens, Alan Garner, Lewis Carroll, Georgette Heyer and writers like Kathleen Fidler and Nora Lofts were all early influences, especially Dickens who is in many ways the writer’s writer.

Now, I discovered the wonderful books of Laura Kinsale and Robin Schone, both of who have paved the way and shown us that romance doesn’t have to be ghettoized, and that it is worth making the effort to write well.

TMD: Lynne, you’re a long time veteran of epublishing. How has the market changed since your first book was released?

Lynne: Enormously. When I joined, epublishing was the Wild West of publishing. Now, with companies like Ellora’s Cave and Loose-ID, the market has gained respectability and sales that rival the big New York companies. The market has recently been through a shake-up, and I don’t think it’s stopped yet. Smaller companies are finding it more difficult to hold on as barriers to entry rise and the larger companies are consolidating their positions as market leaders.

TMD: A lot of readers say ebooks fill a need that has long been lacking in the print side of the industry. Do you feel that is an accurate statement?

Lynne: Yes, very much so. It gives expression to the writer who doesn’t quite fit in any convenient slot, and for the wilder side of romance. From highly erotic to quirky comedies, the epublishing market can provide them. It can also respond much faster to customer demand, so that when a genre proves popular, the writer can learn about it and write more of the same. If her muse takes her that way!

TMD: Do you feel that Epublishing is geared toward a different type of author than print?

Lynne: In some ways, yes. Epublishing is more international, and I believe is helping to bring all branches of publishing closer. When a book comes out in eformat it is available worldwide. So authors can live anywhere to participate.

TMD: What do we have to look forward to on the horizon? Anything we should be dying to get our grubby little hands on? Hint. Hint. (Note: Jmo's hands are grubby, Morgan O's are clean and well manicured)

Lynne: Lots! I have the new Department 57 story coming out next week at Loose Id. I’ve just sent them the next Dept 57 story, a full-length novel this time, Svetlana’s story. I’ve also sold the Wildfire series to Ellora’s Cave. The first book, now called Sunfire has been rewritten and the second, Icefire, has just been accepted. I’m starting the third one now!
I have several ideas for new series, all set in my paranormal world, which I want to start on next year.

And yes, there are the historicals. I’ve sold the Triple Countess series to Samhain, and the second in the series, A Chance To Dream comes out next month. They have also accepted a new trilogy, also set in the 1750’s, the Secrets trilogy.

TMD: We refuse to let you walk away without one Crazy Morgan Question to end this thing. You had to see it coming. If you could be the assistant to any of the ten Doctor Whos, which Doctor would you pick?

Lynne: Tom Baker because he was such fun! Chris Ecclestone was sexy, the new Doctor, David Tennant is quirky and interesting, but Tom Baker was the one I remember best. And he always had a packet of jelly babies in his pocket!

TMD: Lynne thanks for joining us today. We hope you enjoyed your visit and please don’t steal the Rooney Poster over JMo’s desk. He gets pissy when you touch his stuff. But before you go, would you let our readers know where they can find out more about your books.

Lynne: I think the Beckham poster might be in more danger! Rooney is an amazing footballer, one of the best in the world today, but Beckham has the looks!
Thank you for having me, it’s been fun!

Please welcome Lynne and enjoy an excerpt from her latest release:
Hi, I'm Lynne Connolly, writer of paranormal romance! Welcome to my world!
Lynne Connolly’s Department 57: Cat’s Eyes
Series: Department 57
Series Note: Other titles in this series were originally published by Triskelion Publishing and are not currently available; however, this title stands alone.
Genre: Polyamorous Shape-shifter Paranormal Suspense
Length: Novel

New city, new job, new life: Silje Nordstrom, a Norwegian cat shape-shifter, is starting over. Except that she's still working for Department 57, the covert government agency for Talents -- just in New York, with a new identity. And she's still alone, still too sexually inhibited to find the mate she needs. That is, until she meets sexy Brazilian shape-shifters Devante and Aristides.

Sent to a male strip club on an operation to find the dealer for a dangerous new designer drug, Silje is transfixed by two Brazilian strippers. They're so into each other there doesn't seem to be room for anyone else. But things aren't always as they seem.

When booked for a private dance, Devante shows Silje a hot Brazilian samba in the bedroom. And once he's got her where he wants her, he brings in his lover Ari. Together, the men show Silje exactly what she's been missing.

But they still have to find the source of the drugs, and the Talent's enemy, the terrorist organization the PHR is involved. If they don't close this outlet down, New York will be flooded with a dangerous, addictive drug, designed for Talents, but affecting everyone. If Silje's not careful, her new beaus could end up on the body count.

This part is where Silje's friends have booked her a private performance by the Brazilians, so they can search their apartment.

These guys really were sexy. They stood at ease in their ridiculous feather costumes with those killer smiles. Devante bowed to her. “We are a birthday present from Diane and Candy.”

Then Ari turned on the CD player, and those drum rhythms started up.

She backed up, and they followed her, right through the cramped lobby, suddenly even tinier in the hot atmosphere.

“Oh, my goodness. I thought it was my friends at the door!”

So far, it was going as planned.

Ari put the CD player down on the floor, and after Devante drew a chair into the center of the room, Ari took Silje’s hand and sat her in it. Then they began to dance. That hip-swaying motion did its job all over again and warmed her, from the core of her being out. Their feathers touched her as they moved, getting closer, and then backing off. Please don’t strip. Please.

The first feathers fell to the floor.

“I thought you guys didn’t do anything outside the club?”

Their smiles fixed on their faces, they continued dancing. Oh, God, they were good at this. Really, really good. Now her brain caught on the word “really” and wouldn’t let go, chanting it in her mind as they danced and shed their plumage around her.

The music escalated, the beat got faster, and other instruments joined in. Around her, the feathers whirled, falling to the floor like brightly colored rain. The dancers postured and twisted around Silje, but did not touch her.

Muscles gleamed with sweat, beading on the lightly oiled bodies. She wanted to touch, to slide her hands over the sweat-slicked skin, taste them with the tip of her tongue, and join them in whatever hedonistic pleasure they had in mind.

The thought shocked her right down to her soul. Never had she forgotten her job before, never had she lost her cool, but then she’d never been forced to watch two men stripping down to their feathers just for her. Two men with incredibly beautiful bodies at her command. They prostrated themselves before her, going down limbo-style, on their knees, the bulges at their crotches making her mouth water.

They were gay. She’d seen them kiss.

Brazilian, her treacherous mind told her. They have all kinds of variations down there.

Both men were down to their G-strings, or whatever they were called on men, when she felt the first probe to her mind.

She’d been waiting for that.

She let them in. Right in, or at least farther than they’d been before, enough to see her for what she was. In the club, she’d kept her identity carefully hidden, the way she’d been trained, but now, in this controlled environment, she could show them what they were up against.

It had the effect she wanted. Devante, at present in front of her tightly clasped knees, stopped dead. Ari, behind her, ceased in the act of feathering his fingers above her arms. His hands stilled, barely touching her goose-bumped flesh.

She felt rather than saw them lock gazes over the top of her head. The music pounded on, but they lost the rhythm and remained still.

Ari’s hands gripped her arms. “You’re a Talent.”

Thank you, Lynne!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

J. Ellen Smith visits the Diaries

The Morgan Diaries were lucky enough to run into J. Ellen Smith, owner and publisher of Champagne Publishing, at the local Starbucks. We weren't stalking! We'll keep saying that until the Restraining Order says different. After we agreed to pay for her Orange Cream Frap and a pumpkin cream cheese muffin, she allowed us to ask her a few questions. We later found out it was a delaying tactic until the police arrived to escort us away. But we got the interview and Morgan O got a new pair of handcuffs from a very nice police officer (who looked suspiciously like Dylan McDermott - rawr!). All in all a great day for The Morgan Diaries.

TMD: Ellen would you mind telling our readers a bit about Champagne, other than the little bubbles in fancy wine which tickles our fancy. (Morgan O loves those bubbles just a tad too much...)

Ellen: One day, while having vanilla lattés with a friend, we sat and complained about the latest thing we'd read. Same plot, same formula... ho hum boring. We chatted a while about the types of books we'd like to read. It was around that time that the idea that would become Champagne was born. Several more months of research ensued, and then it was time to either put up or shut up. I'd been saying for two years that I could do it, and I decided that the time had come.

Champagne Books came into being in early 2005, initially as a romance only publishing house, and has since moved into acquiring other genres. It's been fun adding a whole new mix to our author loop because we now have some very creative guys that come to our chats and take part terrorizing... er... chatting with the readers.

TMD: As a Canadian based publisher, have you noticed whether or not trends between our two countries seem to run in the same direction?

Ellen: The trends are very similar. You must remember that in this day and age of the internet, the boundaries that used to block many outlets are no longer there. We interact with readers and authors all over the world, and that is what drives us.

TMD: With so many e-publishers folding, how has Champagne managed to stay competitive in this turbulent market?

Ellen: Good question! Let me know when you figure it out, okay?

Seriously, we continue to turn out a quality product. We're quite picky about editing and books that do not meet our standards simply do not get contracted. Our editors are dedicated to creating bestsellers, and sometimes that makes the editing process painful on both the author AND editor, but it is all worth it in the end. Our cover art is probably some of the best in the industry, and that is in part thanks to our amazing art director, who has steadfastly refused to bow to pressures to compromise his vision for us. He is absolutely, 100% in charge (except for those times when I am) and I trust his judgment implicitly.

We keep our prices competitive and don't rush to move faster than we're prepared to go. And then there are the authors. Champagne authors are some of the finest that I know, and I'm so proud of each and every one of them. Without our fine stable of authors, we wouldn't be where we are today

TMD: With so many publishers turning more toward Erotica, than straight romance, do you feel there is still a place in e-books for a purely romantic novel?

Ellen: Definitely. And our sales prove it every day.

TMD: Another question along that vein. For the past few years paranormal romance has dominated the majority of e-book sales. Do you think this is a fad, or do you see it as a viable extension of the market like Historicals, Suspense, and Contemporary Romance?

Ellen: I used to think it was a fad, but it's turning out to be a bona fide subgenre of the romance genre. Our paranormals do very well, especially ones that include shape shifting, DNA altered stud muffins, or cats that talk. Science Fiction romance is another strong seller for us.

TMD: Champagne has attracted an amazing array of authors who consistently put out well crafted stories. Do you feel a close bond between a publisher and its authors is a vital component in making a company successful?

Ellen: Thank you!

I would have to say that yes, I do believe it's important, especially in the early days. When we first opened with a handful of authors, we were all striving toward the same thing. All working hard to be recognized. While we are still moving in the same directions today, it is harder to maintain the same degree of 'closeness' as our house grows. As that happens, we rely on our editor/author relationships to pull through the tough spots, and of course we have a wonderful author liaison lady (Kat) who takes care of a lot of issues that I am not able to get to anymore.

But my authors always know how to find me if they truly need me, and know I'll never turn my back if they've got an issue, need to brainstorm, or just want to vent.

TMD: With your company based in Canada, how do you manage to stay competitive with American publishers when it comes to the print side of the industry?

Ellen: Quite frankly, I don't consciously try to stay competitive with American publishers. I stay competitive within our own small press field by simply paying attention to trends, watching prices and keeping our costs as low as possible, so that higher print costs are not passed along to the consumer. I communicate quite regularly with other small press publishers which also helps with competitiveness, consistency and whatnot.

TMD: Every publisher has established a Yahoo Group to aid in promotion. How important is the reader/author relationship in the epublishing industry?

Ellen: It's VERY important. E-readers are an extremely loyal bunch once they find an author(s) that they like, but often the way they find them is through the social channels such as forums, Yahoo Groups, chats, etc. These types of promotional opportunities are crucial for an author to establish him/herself in the field.

TMD: As a veteran of the epublishing game, where do you see the industry heading in let's say the next five years?

Ellen: I think we're going to see more and more electronic books. Our youth have been raised on technology, and reading on an electronic device is becoming commonplace. The market is going to explode in the coming years, and I look forward to seeing it when it does, but in the mean time, I do think that readers enjoy a printed book in their hand. I doubt that will change in quite some time.

But hey, did you ever watch Star Trek and see those nifty devices that Picard and company carried around? Won't be long before everyone has something as smart as that.

TMD: Is it true you can tell a Canadian likes Moose Head by the antler marks on his thighs? <<= blame this one on Morgan O, she's from Alaska.

Ellen: Well I don't know about those folk up there in Alaska, but remember this, Canadians dismiss all beers under 6% as "for children and the elderly."

TMD: Ellen, thank you for joining us at TMD and not leaving in spite of that last question. Before we're handcuffed…I mean tie up this interview, do you mind telling our readers some of the upcoming events they can find Champagne's authors attending?

Ellen: Oh certainly! We have a live chat coming up at FAR (Fallen Angel Reviews) on Halloween, so I would like to invite everyone to come out for an evening of spooky tales, masquerade games and the occasional vampire visitor! Come early, stay for as long as you'd like because once we get chatting, the Champagne crew is hard to shut up. Chat starts at 9pm EST.

Now do remember, if you need bail money, my number is..... never mind. I have no money. I keep giving it to all the authors.

TMD: Thank you again for joining us and the offer of bail money, but I think Morgan O worked something out for us. For our readers if you’d like to check out some of the fabulous books offered by Champagne Publishing we’ve included the addy to their website below, as well as the addy to the Champagne Yahoo Group so you can keep up to date on all the new releases coming up.


Monday, October 15, 2007

TMD brings you a 5 day weekend

The Morgan Diaries
is kicking off its Grand opening in style.

Join us starting Wednesday as we bring you interviews, guest blogs,
and our first ever review featuring Jasmine Haynes’ newest novel, The Fortune Hunter.

Here’s a rundown on all the fun:

Wednesday: J. Ellen Smith joins us for our first interview.

Thursday: Lynne Connolly Guest Blogs with a taste of her newest book, Cat’s Eyes

Friday: Valerie Bongards of Love Romances and More brings us our second interview.

Saturday: The Fortune Hunter Reviewed as only Jmo and Morgan O can do it!

Sunday: Jenna Leigh brings her own brand of insanity along with an excerpt from her book The Last Legacy.

That’s too much fun for one Blog but do we care?
We might not respect ourselves come Monday but what the hey!
We all deserve a 5 day weekend every once in awhile!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

News from TMD

The Morgan Diaries is proud to present, our first interview. Join us on Wednesday October 17th as we sit down with J. Ellen Smith, owner and publisher of Champagne Books. She discusses not only her company but gives her views on the state and future of Epublishing. This is definitely a can’t miss opportunity and the kickoff of TMD’s commitment to bring our readers interviews with the people making a difference in Romance today.

The Morgan Diaries,
where romance is more than a genre…
It’s a way of life.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Join the Morgans at Love Romances Cafe tomorrow

Have you ever wondered what two Morgans do when they’re not writing or blogging? Well, truthfully we procrastinate a lot—a whole lot, but tomorrow we made a solemn promise to do something constructive with our time. No, we’re not cleaning the house or doing high maintenance yard work. Who do you think we are the Cleavers?

Tomorrow, you can find us chatting with some of our very good friends at Love Romances Café for the entire day. We’ll be talking about Jmo’s book, How Wicked Can She Go? If you think that’s enough reason to show up, the best is yet to come. We cordially invite you to come. Yes, Morgan O is about to unveil exclusive first look excerpts from Halo in her Pocket, a must read if there ever was one! So join us tomorrow for a lot of fun, some fantastic authors and the craziness you come to expect from Morgan times two.


Shameless Promo

From: Halo in Her Pocket by Morgan O'Reilly, Copyright 2007

Devyn shook her head, and gathered her purse and discarded shirt. “I don’t know why I let you talk me into these things.”

“Because you have the hottest bod in town.”

“Only because you made me wear jeans that won’t let me breathe and sandals that won’t let me walk like a normal person. Now I look like a slut.” Especially after their two hours spent in the spa right after lunch, which included new hair, new makeup, manicure and pedicure. This shirt was the last touch to the new Devyn. But, hey, it made Ginger happy. Devyn did feel a little better about how she looked.

“A classy slut.” Ginger kissed her on the cheek then pushed her out of the cubicle.

“Gin!” she protested, stumbling in the four inch sandals Ginger had shoved onto her feet earlier.

She fell against something hard and warm. Strong arms wrapped around her and a deep chuckle rumbled under her cheek. Devyn’s hands flew out to grasp thick biceps of iron in an effort to regain her balance.

“Whoa there! I got you.”

“Oh, God, I’m so sorry…” her voice trailed off as she looked up into deep brown eyes. Dark, melted chocolate eyes. Sinful, make-a-girl-roll-over-and-beg eyes. Eyes so deep they made her mouth water, her body liquefy, and her inner imp try to think of ways to make him take her over his knee and spank her.

Effortlessly, he lifted her just enough to set her straight on her feet, but he didn’t let go. The way her pulse started pounding it was a good thing. Already shaken by Ginger’s words, any blood remaining in Devyn’s head surely rushed to her nether lips and made them throb with aching need. The reaction was so intense that it felt as though the hard seam of her jeans pressed tight between the petals of her labia. All she had to do was rock her hips forward to increase the pressure on her clit and she’d probably climax. Then again, she didn’t seem to be the only one, if the hard protuberance behind her rescuer’s zipper was any indication. The way it pressed against her abdomen was quite obvious.

Large hands grasped her waist as the devil’s eyes stared down at her.

“I’m… I’m awfully sorry… about… t-t-that,” Devyn stammered.

“Why? I’m not.” His deep voice was quiet, the rumble in his chest teasing her hardening nipples.
She was wrong about the location of her blood. All of it rushed to her face making her feel dizzy for yet another reason, and it made her angry. She was not a blushing virgin, nor was she a dimwitted, ditzy female.

Before she could get worked up, that small, crooked smile of his blasted the rising wind of indignation from her sails.

Ginger left the dressing room and bumped Devyn’s shoulder, jostling her even further into the stranger’s arms. “Well now, this is what I call a fortuitous event.”

Her friend’s amused observation pulled Devyn from her stupor. Stepping back, her gaze dropped, taking in the rest of him before staring at the floor. A crisply-pressed, ivory cotton dress shirt, unbuttoned at the neck, was tucked into black jeans riding low on his hips. Not obscenely tight, they still molded to his lower body in a way that said they were old friends.

“I agree,” the stranger said smoothly. “May I have the pleasure of your name?”

Devyn looked up again. Sun-streaked hair in a variety of shades from warm honey to bleached blond curled over his ears and the collar of his shirt. Warm, just like his tan and burning eyes. High, sculpted cheek bones and a square jaw showing the glint of a golden, five-o’clock shadow. He looked clean and smelled even better with a hint of leathery fragrance clinging to his skin. And tall. Even with her extra four inches of height from the sandals, she still had to tilt her head back to meet his gaze. Six two? Three?

“My silent, yet adorable, friend here is Miss Devyn Wynne. I’m Ginger Gladstone.” Leave it to Ginger to ignore awkward situations and emphasize Devyn’s single state. “And you are?”

One of the warm hands moved from Devyn’s waist to shake Ginger’s hand. “Shane DeVilbiss.” His attention returned to Devyn a moment later. “Pleased to meet you, Miss Wynne.”

Like warmed honey, his voice flowed over her, causing her body temperature to shift once more, this time back to her core as his large hand returned to her waist and pulled her closer. Her fingers flexed as she realized she still gripped his muscular arms.

“Likewise,” she said, and recalled her polite smile. “Now that we’re acquainted, maybe you should release me.”

“I don’t know. I think this style of greeting works just fine.”

“Any friendlier and we’d be in bed,” she laughed weakly. Yeah, she could see him in bed, his dark eyes looking up from between the curtains of her long hair hanging down, her thighs straddling his hard body as he…

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

Sunday, October 7, 2007

What is the future of books?

As with all our blogs we really want to bring you some topics we hope you can empathize with. I hope this will be one, because I would really like to get some views from you on this topic. Well here goes.

For the past few years I’ve noticed a decline in the amount of new readers I see in the bookstore aisles. What alarms me is the fact I see very few younger readers and when I do they seem to congregate at the Manga shelf. I’m not knocking Manga because the way I see any reading is better than no reading at all. Even my own daughter to my shame does not read unless she is forced to—usually by gunpoint.

Books are only around to this day because there has been a renewable source of people wanting to read them. With this newer generation, I’m finding a reluctance to stretch their minds and let their imagination paint a new world for them to discover. I’ve heard, I’d rather watch the movie than read the book so many times I want to scream. Harry Potter aside I haven’t seen children get excited over a book in years. Growing up, I couldn’t wait for the new Hardy Boys book to come out. I loved solving the mystery before they did. As I grew older my worlds expanded to Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Romance. Nothing was sacred when I wanted some to while away a few hours.

What I’m getting at is where is the world going to? If our children, our future, don’t have anything to spark their creative juices, where will we find the next Gene Rodenberry, the next Stephen King or any author that makes us think, cry or fall in love with something bigger than ourselves. Most of our scientific advances have come from people who read H.G. Wells and said to themselves we can do that. Hell, the cell phone in your pocket is a product of Star Trek. I’m still waiting with baited breath for my lightsaber btw.

If books are becoming a thing of the past, what will take their place? Call me crazy but my money’s on Video Games. Don’t give me that look. I’m serious. If you’ve ever sat down and played a modern video game you’d know they have highly developed story lines, amazing graphics, and as much as I hate admit it, force our children to reason out decisions to achieve their goal. The downside is they might have to kill a hooker or two to do it. But, the point is with our children turning away from reading as a source of entertainment, video games are in my opinion the future of books.

Scary thought. One day instead of reading the new Kenyon book, you might be forced to pick up a joystick and play it out on the PS300. I might be going off my rocker but I can’t see any other conclusion to the trend we as a race are following. We have evolved past words to become a visually based form of sentient life form.

We’ve come full circle don’t you think? Our ancient ancestors expressed themselves with pictures painted on cave walls. Now, our children are expressing themselves with pictures on a 52” flatscreen.

So the question is, are you ready for a future without a book in your hands?

I’m not. My eyes go buggy if I play Resident Evil for longer than 3 hours, then again they do it after 3 hours of reading. Maybe I’m just old, but don’t quote me on that.