Monday, January 30, 2012

Demons Do It Better!

The list can be so long and give a woman a lot of ideas!

I’m sure many of you have read books where the demons are downright ugly and totally gross.

Then there are the demons who are sex on the hoof.

Jared in A Demon Does It Better is one of those.

What does a demon do better? He can take an innocuous moment and make it so sexy that you would melt. Such as he did with his first meeting with Lili when she’s in a scent shop in the magickal plane of Inderman.

Can you imagine holding a bottle of perfume and have a man show you just how sensual it is? This is how Jared did it and proof a demon does it better.

He picked up the bottle and carefully tipped it against his fingertip. Turning toward her he gently traced a path down her throat then repeated the touch on each wrist. The oil turned to liquid heat, causing a lot of thoughts of wearing the perfume and nothing else.
Lili couldn’t keep her eyes off his hands. Strong, capable, yet gentle. She was positive they would feel the same everywhere else on her.
Get your mind back where it belongs!
Easier said than done.
He lifted her hand, palm up, and leaned over to sniff her wrist. His breath drifted over the surface. When he lifted his head, his eyes blazed a vivid blue.
“She’s right,” he murmured. “This is meant for you.”

Demons are sensual creatures. Ones who relish the feel of flesh against flesh. Here’s evidence that Jared likes to take it one step further.

Before Lili could ask him what he was doing, he pulled her out of her chair and into his arms. He captured her mouth, kissing her so deeply the action was as intimate as sex. It blistered her down to her toes and she could only hang on for the ride as his tongue invaded her mouth without her even thinking of protesting. Lili gripped his arms, feeling the hard muscles ripple under her touch. She kept her eyes closed, losing herself in the sensual clouds that moved around her. She felt wrapped in something that seeped into her bones. A heat that was untamed and had her wondering if the images that flared behind her closed eyelids were his or hers. Sheets flowed around them while their naked bodies writhed in ecstasy, a magick that was wild setting the room afire as they sought something on a far sensual plane that few could attain. A pairing that was so perfect that her senses cried at the beauty that flooded her mind. Now she knew he shared the same images.

But demons have a sense of humor too. It’s necessary when a sexy demon is encountering a drunken kitty.

Jared turned away to hide the grin that was stretching his mouth to the limit.
“And here I thought I’d seen it all,” he muttered, struggling not to laugh and quickly losing the battle.
“Don’t even think about it,” she warned him. “You’ll only encourage her.”
“I’m only a puss in a gilded cage,” Cleo warbled, rolling from one side to the other.

Jared shook his head and walked into the kitchen. He dropped onto one of the chairs and buried his face in his hands, his shoulders shaking with the laughter he could no longer hold back. The sound sounded foreign and rusty to his ears. When was the last time he’d truly laughed in true amusement?
“It’s not funny!” Lili stormed in, her magick flying around her in erratic flutters. “Cleo can be out of control when she’s sober, but you have no idea how bad she is when she’s drunk on catnip wine. One time she even snuck into a zoo and tried to seduce a lion!”

He shook his head, unable to form any coherent words. His mouth worked. “My stomach hurts,” he finally gasped

It’s not thought that demons have a sense of right and wrong. Or worrying about others. Jared might have literally been branded a psychopath, but he reveals there’s much more to him than a dangerous streak.

Jared smiled and shrugged. “I don’t know. I had this strong feeling that you needed me and the shadows took over from there. It was like that first time I showed up at your house.” He touched her face with his fingertips, pulling them away, and staring at the dampness on his skin. “Don’t cry for us, love. We’ve all been demented for so long we don’t know anything else. Heal the ones above and leave us to our punishment.”

And last but not least, this demon is a team player. No matter what he does, he does it better.

Jared smiled and stole her breath with his kiss. “I guess a witch and demon as a team do it even better.”

Any ideas what you feel a demon does better?


Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Magickal Fusion

Welcome to the world of magick and mayhem

Hm, if I’m not careful I’ll be humming a magickal version of ‘It’s A Small World’! And now you’ll hate me for that tune bouncing around inside your head.

But if you think about it the title works well for the world I’ve created.

I’m an only child so perhaps that’s why world building turns so real for me.

It’s always been difficult for me to describe my world since it resides inside my head. Sort of a special computer that allows me to switch from one world to another. I’m a big fan of The Big Bang Theory and Sheldon has a make-believe world that sometimes I wonder is close to what I do. A very scary thought!

My writing turns into a 3D movie inside my head. I can see the Victorian house Jazz and Krebs share, the color, sights and sounds of the boardwalk where Nick’s office building resides. The funky mountain town Stasi and Blair live in. The desert-like compound Maggie knows as home. Lili’s cozy cottage, the mixture of gothic and modern that’s known as Crying Souls Hospital and Asylum, and the magickal plane of Inderman with everything that tempts the magickal senses.

I wish I could draw because I’d love nothing better than to create my world for others to see. But I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. My 8th grade art instructor gave me a D even though I flunked the course, because he said he had never failed a student and couldn’t that time. Trust me, you don’t even want to see my stick figures.

So I try to show my world with words and descriptions. I hope you see the characters the way I do, their worlds, and even what goes on around them. That you feel a part of the story and you might even look over your shoulder if a shadow doesn’t appear what it should be or just maybe that cat has a knowing look in her eye.

Is that sparkle in the air a hint of pixie dust or just a trick of sunlight? What about that dog howling? Is it really a dog you hear or something more sinister?

And what about that woman standing behind you at Starbucks? Is there something ‘different’ about her?

That’s how my world works. Anything is possible.

Is that what you want from your world? To do the improbable?


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A World of Magick

Anyone who’s known me for a long time is aware I’m actually very shy. Ask me about myself and I sort of stare at the floor. I’m not trying to be difficult, but I can’t imagine anyone wants to know about me.

Ask me about my critters and I’ll talk your ear off. Ask me about my books and your other ear will follow ear number one. And you’ll be running for the hills.

I think it also has to do with something that happened in 1983 when I was still a newly published author with my third book just out. I was at a very large group signing and met an author who I’d enjoyed for some years. I was so excited to have a chance to meet her and tried to do my best not to gush. The minute the woman learned I wrote category romance I was suddenly relegated to the lowest of the low. She was so rude to me that I couldn’t believe anyone would act like that. I didn’t read her books after that. That could be why I feel better when my books speak for me.

Perhaps it’s because I’m an only child that my characters have always been real to me. I see them in 3-D inside my head and there are times when I’m positive Fluff and Puff the magick bunny slippers are roaming the house, Irma’s taken over the passenger seat in my SUV, or Maggie’s on duty if I’m running errands after dark. Who knows, maybe Lili’s around when I’m sick and Cleo’s crooning the Soft Kitty song.

Whether writing or reading, the characters are important to me. They are what rounds out the story.

I can sit here and talk about Lili, how she came about in my head (you have to admit it’s kind of funny to have a witch doctor heroine), what kind of man will enter her life, and what creature will be her sidekick.

Lili made her first appearance in 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover as wallmail correspondence between her and Jazz. I wasn’t entirely sure when her book would appear in the series. I have a file with notes, ideas of her story, and creature thoughts.

I also knew it meant deciding what historical facts I’d weave into the book. One I won’t mention since it has to do with the plot and one of the characters.

Creating an asylum as dark and disgusting as I did was actually easy. A movie I’ve watched more than once is Bedlam, starring Boris Karloff. A ‘hospital’ housing the mentally ill in ways no one would want to comprehend. A Demon Does It Better was the perfect background for an asylum and easy to create a demon hero who was literally branded a homicidal maniac. Especially, when you consider the hospital was ultra-modern and the dungeon was still back in the 1700s. Although there is the hospital greeter, a vulture perched over the hospital doorway announcing everyone will die. Yes, he’s a bit of sunshine.

Cleo was easy since I wanted a diva kitty and giving her Cleopatra’s heritage made it fun.

A Demon Does It Better is special for two very good reasons. It’s dedicated to my mom who passed away last fall and to a wonderful friend, Beverly Barton, who I also miss every day.

This is what I can talk about. Characters, families and friends who all seem to be intertwined.

What does it mean to you? Would you prefer knowing everything about the author (although please don’t ask my weight or how I lost my virginity! No joke. Someone did ask me that once!) or about the books themselves?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Magickal Journey

My path as a writer has been a strange and winding one. Plus never boring.

After all, 32 years ago I started out with sweet traditional romances and worked my way up to sexier romances and now witches, and vampires, and demons, oh my!

Funny thing is some people think I’ve only been writing for a few years since they don’t know me before my Hex and Demon series. Now I’m putting out many of my backlist books showing my readers there’s many sides to me. And isn’t that scary!

And fun.

I like to think my readers can identify with my characters. I know I do. Friends say I’m most like Jazz, my first witch. I know she’s said and done things I’d love to do. And a few that I have done. I have bunny slippers that tend to end up in odd parts of the house. I swear I can hear them screaming if one of my dogs drags them around the house.

So what does that say about me? I love my paranormal world? It’s real to me. No, I don’t hear voices. Well, yes, I do and if I don’t listen to them the book doesn’t go the way it should. :} So it’s a good thing.

While an excellent story is necessary, I’ve always felt it’s the characters that make it ‘real’.

Are the characters in a book important to you? Do they make you hungry for the next book?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Those Pesky Resolutions

Long ago I spent the first of every year writing out my New Year resolutions. The list was pretty much the usual along with whatever had to do with me personally, get back to my workouts on a regular basis, be nicer in the grocery store (don’t ask), polish the furniture before I can write my name in the dust, do more cooking than just throw something in the crock pot,

Then there’s the writing resolutions. Make all my deadlines, don’t play paper toss game when I should be writing (I should take the app from my Nook, but it’s so fun!), write a certain number of pages per day.

There is an excellent reason why I don’t make resolutions. They’re too easy to break.

What I’ve done instead is make out a wish list. I don’t do this just at the first of the year, but add to it throughout the year. There is no reason why it should just have to do with January. I have a variety of wish lists. What I’d like to do with my writing. Personal wishes and anything else that comes to mind. The fun part is crossing out something once it’s accomplished.

How I do this is thinking what’s lurking in my imagination. What book I hope to write and finish. List the books I hope to see go to contract. Are there conferences I hope to attend.

Putting them down in print makes it real. A promise that I need to do what I’ve said.

Some would say it’s the same with resolutions, but calling it a wish list makes it easier for me.

And don’t we all like to see wishes come true?

Do you make resolutions? And if you do, how many do you find you keep or do you close your eyes and toss the list?

How would you feel if you made a wish list? Would it be easier to keep or accomplish?


Monday, January 16, 2012

Cleo Tells All

“Desdomoana Haversham here,” the ghostly television hostess smiled at the camera. Dressed in a flowing white gown, her snowy hair rippling in waves down her back, and skin like rare porcelain, the spirit looked the part of one long gone. “My guest today is Cleo, the former queen of the Nile.” She wrinkled her aristocratic nose and stifled a delicate sneeze. “I deeply apologize, I am allergic to cats.”

“You’re dead.” Cleo sniffed back. The chinchilla Persian cat sat on a bright pink silk cushion with the same regal bearing. “Plus, I do not shed.” She ignored a couple silvery hairs floating in the air.

Desdomoana dabbed at her nose with a snowy-white linen handkerchief. “Yes, well, we are here to talk about you and your witch, are we not?”

“Yes, we are,” the fluffy feline purred. “And I must say I am very pleased to be back in San Francisco and especially, Inderman where we can find a higher quality of salmon.”

“What can you tell my viewers about Lili Carter? Yes, we know she is a powerful witch with healing magick in her bones, but what is she like at home?” Desdomoana leaned forward, her pale blue glittering with glee at the prospect of learning the dark and dirty. “Does she have odd habits? Uses her magick all the time? What is going on with the lovely witch now? Tell all, my dear.”

Cleo tapped her paw against her mouth in though then sighed. “The witch is boring with a capital B.”

“Boring? Never!”

The feline leaned forward. “Do you know how long it’s been since she’s gone on a date? Even had coffee with a male, appropriate or non? As for sex, well …” her voice drifted off. “What can I say? For someone of Greek descent, she is more a Vestal Virgin. Although they weren’t as virginal as they claimed. The ones in Pompeii were especially ….” She tittered. “But I hope to see that change.”

“How so?” Desdomoana’s purr rivaled Cleo’s. “Don’t tease us, darling.”

Cleo looked over her shoulder before turning back to the PNN, Pretenatural News Network, hostess. “Well, as you know, Lili is on the staff at Crying Souls Hospital and Asylum,” she said in a low voice as if afraid of being overheard other than the thousands of creatures watching the broadcast. “Now you tell, me how many suitable males can you find at a hospital?”

“Mundanes always seem to enjoy if they affiliate with a doctor,” Desdomoana chimed in.

“Trust me, not at Crying Souls.” Cleo raised her eyes to the ceiling. “Not a suitable one in the bunch. I have devoted my life to seeing that witch mated the an appropriate male, but that isn’t happening.” If she’d been humanoid she would have looked as if she was biting her lip. “It’s a trifle dry in here, don’t you think? Would you have any catnip wine around?”

“No, we don’t. You found someone for her,” the sultry vampire cooed. “Didn’t you?”

“I have more chosen a proper male for her than once and she has always turned them down.” The cat sighed. “Lili is not one to choose well and I’m afraid that could happen this time. Although,” she absently chewed on a claw, “we did meet this lovely specimen in the scent shop in Inderman. Her pulse did race when he spoke to her and I must say I’d raise my tail for him any time.” She looked around. “Are you sure you don’t have any catnip wine in the studio?”

“Yes, I am,” Desdomoana snapped. “We are here to discuss Lili Carter. She’s well known for her work with not just the supernatural community but even treating mundanes. And you are also known for your involvement helping the younglings when they’re in the hospital. Why would you both return to San Francisco after so many decades? Did she leave because of a scandal?” Her dark eyes fired with avarice for juicy gossip. “We understand that Dr. Carter worked in Bedlam hospital during its worst. Is that why she will be working in the asylum at Crying Souls? It’s been said there are truly evil creatures housed there. Isn’t she afraid of dealing with the afflicted?”

Cleo uttered a hiss of frustration. “She’s a doctor, for Fates sake! She treats who is ill.” She ripped off the tiny microphone slipped in her fur. “This interview is over. I should have known you were too cheap to have catnip wine on hand.” She stalked off the set.

“We aren’t finished!” Desdomoana yelped, raising blood-red tipped fingers.

“The Queen of the Nile has left the building,” came back to the vampire.

What about you? What question would you ask Lili’s furry partner? Cleo tends to talk more if you have catnip wine on hand.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

What Is It About Being a Romance Writer?

Last Dcember I celebrated my 32nd year since I sold my first two books. It’s been quite a journey.

Years ago romance authors were considered someone who wrote ‘those kind of books’. Many times I was asked when I’d write a ‘real’ book. Considering my books were sold in bookstores and people read them I saw them as real books. People even commented it was nice I had a hobby.

All I knew was that I wanted to write since I could pick up a crayon. And romance was something I wanted to create.

Over the years I’ve written a variety of romance books while finding my way toward paranormal and urban fantasy. My first paranormal romance was published in 1990 about a psychic who dreamed of a murder.

Over the years I’ve been asked what surprises me about being a romance writer. Everything.

What a surprise that I can release my imagination and put my story ideas down. A warm and fuzzy feeling that people want to read what I write. The sense that some of those readers over the years have even turned into good friends.

Writing is always a strange process. At least it is for me. My characters talk to me – yes, I hear voices – and tell me what I need to write. I have to listen to them because if I don’t things don’t go well. Trust me on this.

It’s not even a ‘what if’ inside my head. More like ‘you have to write down what I tell you’.

Writing is a solitary occupation, but I’m not really alone. My characters are always chattering away, the dogs do their part in reminding me they’re due for book time, and my parrot believes he’s in charge. Connecting with other authors who have also become good friends.

All are excellent surprises. The kind we all like. As rich as chocolate and strong as coffee. The feeding of our imaginations and the knowledge we can curl up with a good read.

I’m as bad as many with reading late into the night because I need to finish a book. And the same when I’m writing because I can’t stop writing.

I hope I’ll continue to have surprises in my work. That way I can never become bored.

Does anything about a writer surprise you whether you’re another author or reader?


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Who Would You Be?

Who Would I Be?

The fun part about writing my witchy series is putting a bit of myself in each character. Usually, it’s my demented sense of humor and my friends will tell you they hear my voice any time they read Jazz’s books.

But if I had a choice for A Demon Does It Better, who would I be?

That’s really a toughie. I adore Deisphe with her bad kitty attitude and her caring nature for her patients. The idea of turning into a sleek leopard sounds like fun.

Lili with her gift of magickal healing. A cozy house, good friends.

But I’d have to say I wouldn’t mind being Cleo for a day. Can you imagine a cat with her history? She’s THAT Cleo! The female who had Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony as lovers along with ruling Egypt.

I’m sure she wanted to be thrown into one of the slinky cats known during that ancient time, and instead is a fluffy gorgeous Persian. But maybe that’s what she likes since she has a good-sized tail to twitch at any admiring male.

Cleo also loves children and enjoys visiting the Pediatric ward where she relates stories. I’m sure she has to make sure many of them are G-rated. She has magick of her own and she has a pretty cushy life. Sleeps when she wants, gets to visit interesting places, and a powerful witch at her beck and call. Sometimes overindulges on catnip wine, but it’s expected when you’re thousands of years old.

I wasn’t going to create a clich├ęd cat for a witch. I wanted one that was equal to Lili. Cleo is that and more. It’s not just feline arrogance, which she definitely has. She also has a soft heart for anyone hurting. And she’s not above offering a wealth of advice about the opposite sex. Refer to above. Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile.

I like the idea of naps on a silk cushion, a sense of freedom, and hopefully a better diet than your average kitty kibble. Oh that’s right, Cleo only eats gourmet food.

Cleo is a force of supernatural nature. She gives as good as she gets and always comes out on top.

So who wouldn’t want to have that kind of power?

What about you? Would you be willing to hang out inside a critter for awhile?


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Demon Does It Better Excerpt

How do we know a demon does it better? The following will explain. Enjoy!

Cleo sneezed as Lili stepped inside the Shop of Scents.
“My allergies,” she complained.
“Then don’t breathe.” The witch had no sympathy as she examined the many-colored bottles, some labeled, others a mystery.
“You wish something special?” The silver-haired woman at the counter greeted her with a broad smile. “Fragrance to tempt your lover? Something to give you luck perhaps?” Her pale eyes peered at her closely. “Ah, you are the healer. Something soothing, then?”
Lili picked up a bottle and pulled the stopper out. She smelled spring flowers and fresh greenery. Another bottle yielded a winter of sharp ice while the third had her thinking of an ancient bazaar of spices and heat.
“You have not been here in many years,” the crone named Sameka said. “You chose a scent that was light and carefree.” She gestured toward a delicate pink glass bottle. “No longer is it you. You require a fragrance that holds a hint of darkness and mystery.” She held up a finger. “Wait here.” She moved with the ease of someone much younger—Lili gauged her years to be past nine hundred. She parted the amethyst silk curtains and disappeared into the back of the shop. She returned a moment later carrying a gilt-trimmed bottle that looked as if it had been owned by royalty. She set it on the counter and carefully eased the stopper out.
Lili didn’t need to lift the bottle to inhale the contents. They lifted their way to her. Images of silk, moans in a dark night, and a sensuality that warmed her bones were only parts of what she sensed in the perfume oil. She feared to ask the price. She only had to look at the shopkeeper to know it was very old and very rare.
“This is truly what you are now, and even more so as each day passes,” the old woman told her with a knowing smile.
“Huh. She must see something we don’t,” Cleo muttered.
“Quiet, you.” She wanted to try it on her skin. There were no worries it wouldn’t smell right with her personal chemistry. Sameka never forgot a customer or what suited them.
“Try it.” The male voice near her ear was as intoxicating as the perfume.
She looked up to see her mystery man standing next to her. Dark hair, eyes that rivaled a cobalt ring she had, and so good-looking her senses immediately kicked into overdrive.
He picked up the bottle and carefully tipped it against his fingertip. Turning toward her, he gently traced a path down her throat, then repeated the touch on each wrist. The oil turned to liquid heat, creating thoughts of wearing the perfume and nothing else.
Lili couldn’t keep her eyes off his hands. Strong, capable, yet gentle. She was positive they would feel the same everywhere else on her.
Get your mind back where it belongs!
Easier said than done.
He lifted her hand, palm up, and bent down to sniff her wrist. His breath drifted over the surface. When he lifted his head, his eyes blazed a vivid blue.
“She’s right,” he murmured. “This is meant for you.”
“Oh my,” Cleo said in a hushed whisper.
Lili silently repeated the words, not even realizing that little stunned the jaded cat. For a moment she forgot they had an avid audience.
“I shall wrap it up.” The crone swept the bottle away and soon had it nestled in a velvet covered box.
The witch didn’t wince at the high price.
“Who are you?” she asked the man.
“Someone who knows what scent a woman should wear,” the crone cackled.
He lifted Lili’s hand and pressed a light kiss in the center of her palm. She felt the burn of his lips all the way to her core.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It's Not Your Typical Hospital

What a terrific way to start the year than with a new book release?

How many of us watched medical dramas? Go all the way back to Dr. Kildaire, Ben Casey, onward to Medical Center, Marcus Welby MD, to ER, House and Grey’s Anatomy.

I’ve used doctors in my past books, but nothing like Dr. Lili Carter, an ER physician in San Francisco’s Crying Soul’s Hospital and Asylum. Nor the patients she encounters. Not a human in the bunch. But that’s what makes it fun.

Where else will you encounter a wereleopard nurse, a dragon shifter head nurse and a musty old wizard doctor? A regal Persian cat who’d been Cleopatra in another life and is only too happy to advise you on your love life. And who else should know better about romance than the queen who seduced Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony?

And a witch who heals with magick and a smattering of actual medicine too. Can you imagine the kinds of medical schools Lili attended over the centuries?

But a sexy witch needs a male who can handle her. That’s where Jared comes in. A demon with a dark past who Lili should have run from the first second she saw him. But who wants to run away from a hot guy who has you thinking silk sheets and some absolutely yummy sex?

I’ve always said I write what I love to read. That means magick, hints of suspense, quirky, and surprises.

Plus my characters can say and do what I want to at times.

As I said it’s fun to start out the year with a new book whether its mine or any of my friends’ books who yes, I immediately download to my Nook. If I can’t sleep and there’s nothing good on TV I know I’ll have some fun reading ahead of me.

Along with A Demon Does It Better, I have some of my backlist books coming out as ebooks and more coming each week. You can find them through along with Amazon, BN, and Smashwords.

Just remember, a book a day keeps the frownies away. :}

And Happy New Year!