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.