September 5, 2011

Hello All,

I’m super excited to have this writer here today. I was lucky enough to find and befriend Saranna DeWylde during the Next Best Celler contest at Textnovel, and I’m extremely lucky we’ve stayed pals since. I could list her qualities (one of which happens to be a ridiculously fast and super efficient crit partner who puts me to SHAME) but I’ll let you get to know her through her writing, which is what drew me to her in the first place.

Saranna recently released her uber sexy THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MOUNT OLYMPUS and she’ll be giving away one PDF copy to one lucky comment EVERY TEN COMMENTS! Sweet!

I loved this book in its earliest draft and now – awesome.

Love the cover!

Welcome Saranna!

Let’s start out easy! What do you write and is there one genre you wish you could write but don’t?

I write paranormal romance, urban fantasy, contemporary and erotica. I also write a bit of true crime. I used to be a horror author but after my employment as a corrections officer, it sort of changed what I wanted out of my career and what I wanted to put out into the world. I’ve even got a romantic suspense that’s been poking at me to give it some attention.

The second part of the question is harder to answer. I don’t really write in genre, (contrary to labels I slapped on myself in the previous paragraph. *laughs*) I write the story that wants to be told. The one living in my head. So, if I have a hard-boiled cop story in my head, that’s what I write. If I have a historical in my head, I’ll write it. I think anyone can do the same as long as you’re true to the characters and the story that needs/wants to be told.

Um, the correction’s officer part is true and Saranna just sold her memoir about that time in her life. WOOT! Okay, back on subject. Are you a plotter or pantser?

Mostly a pantser. I usually have a general idea of what I want to happen, major plot points in my head when I start. I don’t write it down though, or make a story arc or an *shudders* outline. I do, every so often, write down some GMC statements where I can see them. Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. Just to remind myself what drives my characters and that really helps me keep them in character so I don’t have to go back and delete 20K of material because it’s not working.

Can you tell us what made you decide to self-publish Housewives?

It was a tough decision, but everyone who read it as far as agents and editors were concerned told me they thought it was too snarky. But my critique partner and other beta readers loved it. More importantly, *I* loved it. I believe in it. There is so much more to it than the snark and it’s using the gods as they were meant to be used. As an allegory for ourselves and what I like best about romance–in that it shows us redemption and happily ever afters are possible for all of us.

Further, publishing is changing so fast now. It’s shifting with new technology, new ways to get stories to readers and new ways to connect with each other. Platforms, markets, and even product are all in a spin. I wanted to dip my toe in the water and check it out. So far, it’s been great. I got exactly what I wanted for this book as far as character, content, even my cover is exactly what I imagined.

Regardless of whether I’m with a traditional publisher, an epublisher, and indie publisher or publishing myself building a backlist is important.

I had requests for something after I did some promo for my Kensington books that won’t be out until 2012.

So, you add all of that together in a big blender and get the self-publish smoothie.

Smoothies, yum. Okay, even a publishing smoothie is yummy considering so many of my fav authors are putting out titles on their own. So is there one pro and one con you’ve found from your experience self-pubbing?

They’re the same thing. Being responsible for everything myself. It was cool because like I mentioned earlier, I got to produce this product exactly to my specifications and my visions.

But wow, the pressure. There were some things I had trouble with and luckily I have awesome friends who were right there to jump in the fire with me and help me out.

Any advice for those considering the self-pub path?

I’ve only done it with one book so far, but I’ve learned that people do expect more from a self-pub book because of the stigma of being self-pubbed. It’s not as bad as it used to be, there are a lot of good books out there self-pubbed. But don’t let it get to you. Accept it and prove them wrong. Put out the best product you can. Engage an editor, take time with your cover and remember a book isn’t just your creative expression, it’s a product. If you want people to buy it, you have to treat it like a product and you are the brand.

Okay, now some fun stuff:

Who’s your favorite character in Housewives and why?

Thanatos. He’s so modern, kind of cyberpunk. He’s like Death living in The Matrix. He’s one of the most powerful gods, but he wears it so casually. He accepts what he is, a little dark and brooding, (I mean, come on. He’s Death.) but he still has a sense of humor, he’s witty. Hades was the one I thought I’d fall for, but I ended up being stuck on him just a little bit.

Where did the idea for HOUSEWIVES come from?

I was talking shop in chat with a few friends of mine and we were talking about cool titles. I threw that one out there and one of my friends demanded I log off and write it. So I did.

HA! I know that friend. She’s a slave driver. Thank goodness! Tell us a secret about Housewives. Were there any deleted scenes you’d put in the extras category if this were a dvd?

There were not any deleted scenes. Usually, there is something I delete but the words flew hot and fast with this one. I would just sit down in the morning and crank out sometimes three chapters a day and it was surprisingly very clean. Although, I had trouble with Demeter’s chapters. I didn’t like her much and living in her head was hard for me until she learns her lesson.

As I’m a card carrying metal head, it may surprise those of you who know me that this book had its own CD. Lady Gaga’s Fame Monster. Each couple has a song. I don’t write to music anymore, I used to, but I weaned myself away from it. Although, I could hear these songs in my head when I wrote them.

Hera/Hades-Dancing in the Dark

Demeter/Eros- Bad Romance




And if this were a DVD, I’d have an interactive section where you could dress them up like live-action Barbie dolls.

This is always hard, but can you tell us a secret about you?

I, the all powerful Amazon Goddess of Doom, am afraid of cows. I hate them. The neighbor’s bull broke through the electric fence to chase me a 1/2 mile UP-friggin-HILL home. And ever since then, the cows across the street watch me with their big soulful eyes, but inside, I know they’re laughing.

Or they could just be looking for my mini Amazons. They like to feed them Hershey’s kisses. (When my youngest was smaller, she thought if she gave them Hershey’s, she’d get chocolate milk so she’d sneak over and give them some.)

LOL! COWS?!? Hey I can’t say much since I freeze up like Medusa glared at me whenever a spider makes an appearance. Thanks for being a good sport.

Here’s an excerpt of HOUSEWIVES:


     “Thanatos!” she cried when she saw her oldest son lounging on her temple steps.

     “Hey, Ma.” He stood and endured her hug.

     “I thought you were working all week. Wasn’t there a natural disaster in South America?”

     “Wouldn’t you know it, it’s so cool. Red Cross showed up and the volunteers saved a bunch of people.”

     Nyx hadn’t seen him in what felt like a century. In fact, she almost started counting on her fingers to see if it had been that long. “I suppose you’re hungry. Fig cakes with cream cheese frosting?”

     Thanatos patted his flat stomach. “You know me so well.”

     “Why are you outside? You could have gone in, you know.” Nyx pushed the door open.

     “I didn’t want to startle you. Might fall and break a hip and I’d feel bad.” He shrugged.

     “You little shit,” she laughed. He was always teasing her about her age. She was a Titan after all and older than all of the gods. She was one of the last of the old guard; one Zeus was sure wouldn’t try to overthrow his power. He was mistaken about that one, only she didn’t want the power herself. She wanted him to stop treating Hera like crap. Or divorce her. That at least, would be honest.

     He smirked back at her. Of her two sons, Thanatos was most like her. She loved her children the same, but she had a special kinship with Thanatos.

     “So uh, what’s the deal with Persephone and Hades?” he asked as he followed her inside.

     Tartarus on cracker! What was with that girl that these dark types were so stuck on her? Was it because she was blond? Nyx just didn’t get it. Not that she had anything against the girl, but it wasn’t like she was as pretty as Hera. Or as smart as Athena.

     “You have been out of the gossip loop for awhile, yeah? They broke up, so to speak.”

     “He let her go? Dumbass.” Thanatos shook his head.

     “What would you have him do? Sacrifice the world for her?”

     “Well, yeah,” Thanatos answered as if that were the only reasonable response.

     Nyx couldn’t argue with that, but she tried anyway. “Hades released her from the curse too. He didn’t want her to be unhappy.”

     At that, her son was silent for a moment. “So how hard do you think Demeter would smite me if I asked Persephone out?”

     “She better not smite you, or I’ll kick her ass up over her shoulders. She has winter, but I’ll drench the world in eternal night if she tries.” Nyx was thoughtful for a moment. “Unless of course you were unreasonably handsy or demanding. Or acted like Zeus. Or—,”

     “I get the picture, Ma. By the way, you look great.”

     “You’re just saying that because my hair looks like yours now.” She scowled.

    “Moonlight and stardust. No one can resist.” He smirked as if it was just his trial to bear, being that attractive.

   “Nice deflection. I mean what I said. If you want Persephone, do what you will, but don’t be a dick. Got it?”

     “Yeah, Ma. Don’t be a dick. Got it,” he recited dutifully.

     “So I have to ask. What’s with you dark and tortured types and this girl?”

     “I dunno. She’s hot. It’s not like I want to marry her or anything. It would just be a date. Maybe a kiss.” He considered for a moment. “Maybe something else.”

     “That girl is a virgin, Thanatos.” Yes, he was her son and she loved him dearly, but he was one-hundred percent male—thinking with his parts. She had to struggle not to sigh.

     “She’s probably got a family of bats living in there after all this time. Don’t you think it would be okay if she—,”

            “You know, we so don’t need to have this conversation.” She threw her hands up in defeat. Nyx loved that her boys talked to her, confided in her, but there were some things a mother just didn’t need to know.

Thanks so much for coming by hon. Okay everyone, Saranna’s an open book so if you have questions, ask away. And make sure you leave a comment to get a chance at a free copy!
And here’s where you can find THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MOUNT OLYMPUS:

13 TO LIFE author Shannon Delany

February 18, 2011

Welcome to the MAX-imum Exposure Tour for the 13 to Life Series!

Check out those awesome covers!

(I met Shannon at Textnovel.com in 2009. She’s a super gal, and is very supportive of other writers, both aspiring and published. Both her novel and her approach to promoting her novels are the perfect example of thinking outside the box. I highly reccommend getting to know Shannon and her wonderful characters.)

Each site throughout the tour will have swag and an individualized interview with either Pietr, Max or both! Shannon has also included an audio download for each interview so you can hear the Rusakova boys! (Due to technical difficulties – on my end – the audio download isn’t functional right now.)

And here’s today’s interview!


Hello, Max.






We all sighed (well I know I did) whenever you flirted in 13 to Life. Is there a love interest we should know about, or are we all in for another novel with you as the bachelor?



I do not know if I’m ready for love… I like to keep my options open. But, from what I understand, love is not an easily scheduled event.



13 to Life ended on an amazing set-up of unexpected events. Feelings and beliefs were betrayed and we all learned a significant reality about your mother. (I’m trying to be careful with the spoilers for those who haven’t read 13 to Life yet and should – soon!) Can you tell us how you feel about what’s ahead?



We are in for more trouble, that is certain. I am concerned about my family’s future. To have discovered a traitor in our midst and danger closing in on all sides… These are dangerous times for my family.



How are Pietr and Jess and have you managed to ‘teach’ your brother a little more about flirting or talking with her? (That was one of my fav parts of 13 to Life) He’s so reserved and you’re the opposite, it almost seems to drive you crazy. 🙂 What would you change about him if you could?



Pietr and Jess are as messed up as ever. This Sarah situation… How crazy is that, da? Pietr is trainable, but I do not think he puts much stock in my methods. I do not know if I would change anything about my little brother, really…Da, he is difficult. Da, he is annoying. But if i changed him to improve him–you know, make him more like me… Well, I do not think the world is ready for more than one of me. I am quite a lot to handle.



Okay, I have to know, and please understand, I torture all my guests this way, so you’re receiving equal treatment. What’s one ultra-embarrassing moment you’ve had?



My first kiss. Let’s not get into the details, shall we?



Interesting… Okay–just because you asked…and thanks for being such a good sport, by the way. Here’s a fun list I know all Shannon’s readers would love to have you answer. We want to know about your Favorites:



favorite Sport?



American football. Being able to properly tackle someone has many useful applications.






red–the color of passion



Favorite food:



a nice rare steak



Favorite book?



The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss–a classic about the Arms Race. And it rhymes.



Your favorite movie?



The Bourne Identity






I do not have time to give much thought to things like celebrities and Hollywood. My attention is split enough between survival and girls.



And last but not least – swimming and fishing in a country lake with a few friends or a night out on the town under the city lights?



Why not skinny-dipping with one girl in particular?



Thank you so much for this enlightening chat, Max.



As always, it is my pleasure.


Shannon Delany is the winner of the first-ever cell phone novel contest in the western world and the author of the 13 to Life series through St. Martin’s Press. 13 to Life is already available and Secrets and Shadows hits stores 2/15/11 with Bargains and Betrayals landing on shelves 8/16/11 (already available for pre-order!)and two more as of yet unnamed novels coming out in 2012.

For more about Shannon, visit her author website: www.ShannonDelany.com or her series website: www.13toLifeseries.com You can also find Shannon on Facebook and on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/Shannon_Delany


Want a fun freebie you can print out and use with a web-cam to make a bookmark much more than a bookmark? Go here and check out the Augmented Reality bookmark:http://ht.ly/3KgG7

Agent Shop – Welcome Stan Soper

December 12, 2010


All pitches were viewed by Stan Soper and we’ve had two requests for FULL manuscripts.

I’ve sent out e-mails to the lucky authors!

Thanks for participating, and I hope you’ll come for our next pitch session in Jan!


Hello everyone.

It’s Agent shopping day. The pitches below came in within the first thirty viable pitches, and followed the rules. I wish everyone the best of luck, and hope to see all of you, including those who didn’t make it in, at our next Agent Shop date!

Here are the stats:

Pitches received: 32
Pitches accepted: 17
Rejected Pitches:
8 – Too long
4 – Missing info
1 – Spam/Joke
2 – No Title (really?)

As always, I like to discuss a bit about the industry and what OUR responsibilities as writers are. I can’t stress enough how important it is to follow submission guidelines. It’s one of the reasons I make the pitch process at MuseTracks as strict as it is.

I’ve spoken to NUMEROUS agents in the course of the year I’ve been doing Agent Shop. Most of them are very willing to answer questions I have. If I were to compile a list of pet-peeves agents have, you can bet that ‘not following our guidelines’ would be at the top of the lost.

Writing is not our hobby. (At least it shouldn’t be a hobby if you’re submitting to agents and publishers.) It may be what we love to do more than anything. But when you make the decision to submit your writing to industry professionals who take their jobs very seriously, then you’d better be ready to be professional yourself.

A lackadaisical attitude will show through in your work – IF you’re lucky enough to catch an agent/editor eye. You wouldn’t walk into a job interview and flaunt the company’s guidelines. And it’s no different in the publishing world.

Learn the industry – even if you have the next best selling, multimillion making, novel of the ages. If you can’t be professional enough to follow the guidelines, no one will ever give you the opportunity to show it.

Okay, onward!

Here are the pitches that made it in.

Thanks to Stan Soper for agreeing to visit today! He’s a super nice guy and if you’re interested in getting your work out there, he started a wonderful site called TextNovel. You should stop by. It’s a great place to network, read, share, even collaborate. And they even have writing contests.

Stan – Feel free to e-mail me ( at the e-mail you already have or Candi_Agent_Shop@yahoo.com ) for any pitches you’d like to see more on and I’ll contact the author. Thanks so much for coming!

Good Luck to all of you and keep writing!

The Magic of Lavender
Fantasy romance

Jocelyn Gibson’s ready to kick start her life following her husband’s death. When she buys an old B&B to restore, she has no idea it sits atop powerful ley lines, or that dark forces want to harness their energy. Once the portal’s open, there’s no telling how far and wide the Lord of the Underworld and his minions might wreak havoc.

Also widowed, local veterinarian Eric Hendricks falls for Joss, but demons trap him in Tartarus in The Underworld. Joss learns about her family’s secret connection to the goddess Iris in time to rally her own forces, but can she save Eric and the town of Boiling Springs?

The Race to His Heart
Contemporary Romance
78,000 words

Love is like a stock car race; once you get going at top speeds, out comes the caution flag to put on the brakes. Well, that’s how Maddie Johnston likes to think of it.

Maddie is a quiet, unpretentious barista trying to make her way through college in Jacksonville, Florida. While slowly picking up the pieces of her mangled heart after the demise of an engagement, Maddie’s life is thrown for a loop when her childhood neighbor shows up to her family’s annual Fourth of July barbecue. Sure, it sounds pretty harmless except Connor Gray isn’t exactly the same kid she grew up with; he’s now a handsome and famous NASCAR driver.

Harbored and forgotten feelings soon emerge and the two find themselves thrust into a whirlwind romance. Only too bad for Maddie, as Connor is expected to marry a beautiful socialite in less than a year. Not only does Maddie need to convince Connor that he’s committing himself to the wrong girl, but she also needs to deal with the fallout of his dangerous career and her own grievous insecurities.

St. James Day
Contemporary Erotic

St. James’ Day, is the third book in the 12-part Pagan Spirits series. It’s a contemporary, erotic romance full of world folklore. This does not currently have a publisher attached to it.

Beltane, (Book One, published by Eternal Press), “is a must-read for those who love erotic romance with a dash of paranormal magic.”
–Denisse Alicea, The Pen and Muse

Midsummer Night, (Book Two, published by eXcessica, Dec. 2009), “is another winner of a book from Erin O’Riordan. The book has very interesting characters and hot, steamy love scenes.”
–Carol Langstroth, Mind Fog Reviews

In St. James’ Day (Book Three), Gillian wonders if she’ll ever get her chance to fall in love. The love of her life left with her money, and her best friend’s fallen in love with someone else. She’s attracted to newcomer James, but it will never work out: she’s a Wiccan; he’s a born-again Christian.

The Boy Next Door (Sanctuary Falls Series)
YA Paranormal romance

Heaven Mason is horrified when her mother takes her away from her friends in Chicago and moves her to rural Wisconsin. Parties and trouble have helped her dull the pain of her twin sister, Image, dying mysteriously. Instead of helping her deal with the lost, her mother throws herself into her research to develop a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Sanctuary Falls Wisconsin has an unusually high occurrence of the disease. It seems like the perfect place to look for a cure and keep Heaven out of trouble. Unfortunately, there are dark forces at work in the small picturesque town. Heaven soon learns that there is something different about her, something that makes her question everything, even her humanity. Layth Ariksen lives next door and manages to break through her wall of pain. Layth is Heaven’s only protection against the powerful forces who want to use her for evil and destroy what makes her human.

New World
Paranormal Romance/ Scifi/Urban Fantasy
50,000 words

New World follows Lily in her struggle to survive in a world where Vampires and Werewolves are in charge. The world has been devastated by war between the three sides and humans have come to a breaking point. Humanity’s only chance for survival is to pair up with the Werewolves, but Lily really isn’t expecting what the alphaWerewolf wants, her.

Highland Magic
Romance Time Travel

Take a twenty-first century magazine writer and a Seventeenth century highlander and you have a recipe for mayhem and magic thanks to eleven elderly witches whose good intentions go awry.

Unable to find a hero to substantiate her article, Remy’s elderly Wiccan foster mother offers to kill two birds with one stone by casting compatibility spell for Remy to meet her soul mate and write her story.

During the ceremony, the reader of ‘The Book of Spells’ drops the book and the page is lost. She improvises by picking the first incantation she comes to. Unbeknownst to all, the spell that’s been chosen is meant to breach time.

Driven by revenge for the murder of his family, Scottish highlander, Alexander MacDonald’s goal is to harass the British. In the midst of one of his many forays Alex literally runs down an oddly clothed woman standing in the muddied road. Feeling responsible for her injuries he takes her home to care for her wounds.

Alex is befuddled when she speaks of strange things but as the days turn to weeks he can’t deny his love and comes to a realization that with Remy by his side at he has found salvation.

Romantic Suspense/Steamy Romance

Unable to escape her past, Chloe Palmer returns to the Texas coast for her murdered father’s funeral and to faceRafael Solis, the man she left behind. Rafael is now Sheriff. Chloe inherits her father’s shrimp boat, enabling her to make a living for her young daughter. Rafael’s passion breaks down her emotional barriers but her impetuous nature draws her into a cruel vortex where she runs afoul of old and new enemies. Previous rivalries emerge, pitting Rafael against the heir-apparent to a crime dynasty. Rafael’s sister is dead set against her brother’s rekindled relationship. She confronts Chloe, but both are kidnapped by the drug runner’s crew to bring pressure on Rafael. The women are taken offshore, and when the drug runner sends word that Chloe is under his protection. The kidnappers dump the women overboard in an attempt to deny their role. Chloe has no love for Rafael’s sister but chooses to save her, helping her to body surf onto land. Rafael and Chloe battle an infatuated but vicious drug dealer, kidnappers, and a twisted curandero (Mexican healer). They emerge from the violence with a renewed respect for each other and a commitment to forge a life together.

BAD KARMA (2nd in Series)
Romantic Suspense/Steamy Romance

With a vengeful stalker on her trail and a hurricane in the Gulf, Skyler Danforth, RN, relocates to South Padre Islandonly to find new danger when her neighbor, Zach Bailey takes her heart by storm. After two attempts on her life, Sky moves in with her baby sister Cassie, a brilliant prodigy, in hopes of eluding her stalker. Cassie is in over her brainy head when a local heart-breaker and fire fighter, Javier Rios pursues her. He is attracted to her natural innocence and beauty but thinks she is a restaurant delivery girl. He falls hard for the Master’s degreed geek.

Sky tries to be patient with Zach but he is on the rebound and cautious. When the storm comes ashore and the island is evacuated, Sky and Cassie are trapped in the fortress-like hospital with a woman in labor, a heart attack victim and the stalker. Locked out, Zach and Javi use their own unique talents to breach the impenetrable medical facility, each sacrificing something of great personal value in the process. The easy going Zach is forced to step way outside his comfort zone and fight to protect the woman he loves.

BAD VIBES (3rd in Series)
Romantic Suspense/Steamy Romance

When agent Mike “The Iceman” Burke invades her South Padre Island turf, Deputy Darla Calhoun is assigned asliaison officer to his team. Her skills as a sniper come in handy as a gang of human traffickers strikes close to home, kidnapping local women including her best friend, Cassie. The ICE assignment plunges Darla into a dangerous mission and a steamy affair. Mike and Darla tear up and down the Intracoastal Waterway in search of the kidnappers and the captive women while Javier, Cassie’s husband, conducts his own investigation. Cassie escapes but is recaptured and thrown into the hold of a leaky grain barge. Mike and Darla’s search culminates in a firefight. Darla gets blown off her sniper’s perch on a water tower. Mike sacrifices the capture to divert the rocket launcher aimed at Darla. Together, they make the capture and are headed for home when they meet up with Javier on the ICW. They figure out where Cassie is being held but by the time they arrive, the barge has sunk with only a small air pocket. Mike and Javi dive in with an underwater torch for the rescue and they all motor back to the island to celebrate.

The Dating Game
Contemporary Romance

Widow JENNETTE RILEY’S love life is rusting away at the bottom of the romance scrapyard. Feeling frustrated with her lover’s ambivalent behavior, she realizes what is lacking in their relationship–his motivation to move their love affair forward. Needing to know where she stands with him, she sees no alternative but to accept her brother’s offer of help.

When his fiancée’s high-powered career takes precedence over their relationship, TYLER MORGAN decides he could use a diversion. Learning of a garaged classic car from a co-worker, he is determined to buy it. When he steps into what turns out to be Jennette’s backyard to ask if she’s willing to sell, what he gets instead is a case of mistaken identity and an intriguing offer he can’t turn down.

What Jennette and Tyler don’t expect is for a chance meeting and one simple date to grow into an all-consuming passion and love neither can deny.

Romantic suspense with paranormal elements
86,674 words

Everybody mislays things when they’re distracted, but when Gemma Cavanagh is upset, she makes them really disappear—and doesn’t know how to get them back. When someone breaks into Gemma’s house and tampers with her computer, her brother asks his Navy buddy, Brady McGrath, to look into it.

These days Brady is a cyber-security professional, but he has a questionable past in Asia and links to a shadowy anti-crime task force now operating in Seattle. His psychometric abilities make him an exemplary tracker, but tend to screw up his personal life. In his experience, women don’t stick around when they find out he can read their true feelings through his touch, including whether they’re faking it.

DOUG Wheeler is desperate to retrieve information Gemma’s ex had hidden. He’d rather have Gemma as his wife than his victim, but Brady’s death would be a nice bonus, for personal and business reasons.

Brady’s there when the police arrive to inform Gemma of her husband’s death. She is the obvious suspect, but Brady’s touch tells him she’s no murderer.
As the killer strikes closer, Gem and Brady reluctantly pool their talents and their courage to discover who is stalking them, and why.

Blonde Demolition
Romantic suspense

Blonde Demolition is Hurt Locker meets 24 with a chick.

A former government agent is yanked back into service when a bomb is found in her firehouse. She doesn’t want to go back to her old life, but when children are threatened she has no choice. Teaming up with her ex-lover she races to find the mastermind before anyone else gets blown up. Meanwhile she’ds hiding a secret that could explode in her face.

Paranormal Romantic Suspense

What does a hard-boiled homicide detective do when the serial killer he’s tracking is really a ghost?

When Detective Adam Skelton learns an antique gun is connected to several murders he’s investigating, he knows tracking down the killer could be as simple as tracing the gun’s history. When he meets Jillian Whitmeyer, the case becomes anything but simple. This gun shop owner has a special allure, even with her spiked hair and tattoos. Skelton soon learns that people who get close to Jillian have a habit of turning up dead. The more he investigates, the more deaths there are— both past and present—that lead back to her. Skelton can’t resist her, but as strange accidents start befalling him, Jillian “confesses” that her sister, who died many years ago in an accident with that same gun, is the true cause of the current mayhem. Skelton’s been a bad judge of women in the past and this one’s obviously a nut case…or is she? When the truth becomes dangerously clear, Skelton must find a solution or more people will die. But how does a just-the-facts detective deal with a ghostly serial killer and the sexy-as-hell sister she won’t set free?

YA Paranormal Romance

When driving through puddles of blood eighteen-year-old Alexandra Chance learns a valuable lesson; have plenty of washer fluid.

Alex is given a hard dose of reality as she watches zombies eat a church congregation. Zombies with the ability to develop intelligence, and harpies with an appetite for flesh have reduced pretty much everyone in her world to body parts and rivers of blood. Amidst the chaos Alex meets Tristan, a vampire-in-hiding who was created along with other fiends as an experiment in human development. Shrouded in doubt, Alex journeys with him in search of help, dodging carnivorous creatures along the way.

Alex and Tristan stay one step ahead of ravenous monsters that will do anything to make a meal of them. With a harpy at every turn, Alex discovers her talent as a slayer. While exterminating harpies is a rush, the real pleasure is in her growing feelings for Tristan, even though she fears what his secret may be. But when Alex finds him drinking a body, she’s not sure whether she’s next on the menu.

Rescue Me

Fiercely independent screenwriter Kendall Rikes takes a singles cruise, looking for Mr. Right. Instead, she’s found Mr. Wrong, Mr. Hopeless and Mr. You’ve Got to be Kidding Me. Where are the normal men?

Ex-FBI agent Grant Stiles is taking a little well-deserved R&R. He’s used to being in charge and owns his own security company. He’s looking forward to a little rest and relaxation.

Kendall reenacts a Titanic moment in a rescue boat, arms outspread and tasting her freedom. Grant jumps in to save the day, sending them both into the Caribbean Sea. Finally they wash up on a small island with a big mansion and an even bigger secret.

After being rescued, Kendall admits her love for Grant who shies away. He’s not into the love game – at all. But when the pair are chased by a drug runner who wants the booty Kendall accidentally took from the island, they’re thrown together with Grant as Kendall’s bodyguard.

Kendall discovers condoms aren’t sea water-proof when her doctor announces her pregnancy. She’s thrilled, Grant is horrified. Kendall determines to raise the child alone. When the drug runner kidnaps Kendall, Grant finally realizes his love for Kendall and launches a rescue.

The Reluctant Witch
Paranormal Romance Suspense

My name is Lolita Vette, a seventh generation seventh daughter of a long line of witches. And I’m a fake. A charlatan. While telling fortunes and selling love potion isn’t as sexy as running a grift, it’s a lucrative and steady business.

I’m not a witch. Just a girl with an elevated Kinesic ability. My brain processes a person’s microscopic tics and tugs so clearly, they may as well text me what they’re thinking. Combine my God-given curse with a decent ability to cold read, and you’d be surprised how many rational people start believing in magic.

After years of scamming marks, I finally signed the deed to my own place. Now trouble comes after me like ticks to a dog. I’ve been robbed, assaulted and Tug Shelby — the man I hadn’t yet decided on whether he belonged in a shallow grave or my bed–is missing. Vanished into the ether, unless you count his little finger and a helluva lot of blood.

Now even I can’t help but search for a little backwater magic in this mess of a world.

The Mischievous Lady Moorecroft
Historical Romance

Major Victor `Vicks’ Geale returns to England with a secret. Surrounded by a band of wounded soldiers, he finds his pay and commission have been forfeited, he’s inherited a crumbling estate with worthless title and a mountain of debt. Geale reckons his only option is to marry an heiress to fund the rebuilding of his estate.

Beautiful and rich, avowed spinster Lady Evangeline Moorecroft is the ultimate party girl of the Regency set. Unable to resist the bait of a notoriously naughty masquerade, Evangeline awakens to discover she’s been ambushed into marriage with hard-nosed Lord Geale.

Lord Geale offers Evangeline a bargain. Get his estate and reputation on solid footing and he will grant her an annulment. As an uneasy alliance forms on the attraction between them, Evangeline has second thoughts about dissolving her marriage.

Her treacherous and well-connected mother the Duchess, however, has little patience for her daughter’s poor marriage and even less for the idea of becoming a grandmother. She gives Evangeline an ultimatum: end her marriage or the Duchess will use her connections to end Geale’s life.


December 3, 2010

It’s Agent Shop time again. And just in time for the holidays!

Our visiting agent is Stan Soper, of the Soper Literary Agency.  www.soperagency.com

“We primarily focus on YA and literary fiction, but we will consider other works of outstanding quality.”

The Pitch date is December 12th at 10:00 am EST.

Remember to read the rules carefully. https://musetracks.wordpress.com/agent-shop/

I don’t like to toss out pitches, but to be fair, I have to go with the pitches that come in that have abided by the rules. And as always, you have to wait until I post the word ‘go’ before sending me your pitch. Only the first 30 viable pitches will make the cut!

Want a chance to win the top pitch slot?

Stop by on Friday Dec 10th when I have the wonderful Jennifer L. Hart on the blog. She’ll be talking about her new release, REDEEMING CHARACTERS, and giving away a signed copy to one lucky winner. But it gets even better… If you leave a comment using the word REDEEMING, I’ll enter you in the drawing for the top pitch slot for Sunday!

That means you’re guaranteed a spot!

My gift to you all for the Holidays.

Shannon Delany – 13 to Life

May 14, 2010

Today I’m ultra excited to welcome Shannon Delany,

author of the soon to be released,

13 to Life – A Werewolf’s Tale.

Here’s the awesome cover!






So, if you couldn’t tell, I’m very happy to have Shannon visiting MuseTracks today. My 14yr old daughter is just as excited. She’s waiting for the June 22nd release date – and I’m not exaggerating – with GREAT anticipation. She read a portion on Textnovel and has been chomping at the bit for more ever since. I was extremely lucky to meet Shannon at Textnovel. She’s been an invaluable support to many other writers (myself included), and a stand up friend besides. I’ll post her links below. There are a bunch. Shannon is a busy gal.

Welcome Shannon!

ME: Where did the idea for 13 to Life come from?

SD: 13 to Life started with just that phrase and the fact I was noticing tons of vampire books but very little in the werewolf realm (of course that was 2008).

ME: You wrote 13 to Life as a cellphone novel at Textnovel, (BTW folks, 13 to Life WON the first ever cellphone novel contest in the western world). Was it difficult to switch over and write 13 to Life into a full length novel?

SD: Yup. I’m a “Cyber Cinderella,” getting my big break from a cellphone novel contest. Switching formats was actually wonderful. Writing in a cellphone novel format is very much about establishing an economy of language. You stay very focused on the heart of the story and don’t necessarily get into great detail or lots of subplotting. So when I made the switch it was like I’d been holding my breath and, suddenly, I was able to breathe.

ME: Huge congratulations on both the win and the three book deal with St. Martin’s Press btw. How has the impending release of 13 to Life, and the writing of the next two novels changed your everyday life?

SD: Thanks, Candi! I ❤ St. Martin’s Press. Things have gotten a lot more hectic since getting the contract for the series, but I had been balancing family, farm and freelancing for about a year before all this, so overall my schedule hasn’t changed too much. I do think more about how I present myself and my brain’s always contemplating marketing strategies, but other than that it’s as frantic here as it was normally. 😉

ME: What’s one piece of advice you’d share with any aspiring author about the road to publication?

SD: Understand it takes time.You need perseverance to get your contract, but then you also need patience to flourish in those months between contract and the time the book’s finally on the shelves.

ME: Tell us a bit about 13 to Life.

SD: It’s a story about teenagers and the amazing and often difficult transformations they’re dealing with. There’s romance and betrayal, friendship and heartache and loads of danger. And (no big secret) there are werewolves. 😉 As much as it’s a paranormal story, it’s also a story about people and their struggles. I want readers to read it in whatever way best appeals to them: zip through it for the fun and excitement or ponder it for the questions it raises through subplots and symbolism. It can be a fun, fast read or it can be used to open discussions about a variety of things.

ME: Tell us a little about Shannon.

SD: Wow. I don’t know what to tell. I write because I feel I have to. Characters and worlds sort of bubble up inside my brain and encourage me (or pester me, like Pietr did) to tell their stories. When I’m not writing, I’m reading or doing art, working on the farm or hanging out with family and friends. (I told you she was busy!)

Thanks for coming today! We wish you the best with the release of 13 to Life!

Here’s where you can find Shannon:
www.13toLifeSeries.com (where readers and fans can tour Junction online starting in June)

Facebook Fanpage: http://tinyurl.com/FB13toLifeFans

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/autor/show/3200239.Shannon_Delany

Shannon can also be found on www.Librarything.com, www.Jacketflap.com, www.AuthorsDen.com and the Facebook Fan link is above as well. She’ll be attending BEA in NYC with other members of the Class of 2k10 at the end of this month and she’ll be attending RWA in Orlando at the end of July. Between both those 13 to Life will be released (June 22) and Shannon’s blog tour and massive book giveaway will happen (watch her blog for details).

13 to Life can be preordered at all major online book retailers and Shannon encourages readers to express their opinions with their spending–so order from the store you respect the most.


So comment!

AGENT SHOP w/ Stan Soper

February 8, 2010

Morning everyone!

I’ll keep the stats quick because there’s an interesting trend that I’ve noticed these last two pitch sessions that I’d like to give my two cents on.

So, we had:

59 – Pitches received

13 – Too long

8 – Missing Info

1 – No pitch? (Must have been a mistake send?)

7 – Over 30 pitch limit.

On to my gripe/concern/question…

What’s with the fluff?

I’ve been receiving pitches on colored backgrounds, with emoticons, with sig lines that take up another page and a half of the e-mail, and even a couple that played music in the background.

Now to me, and we’re all entitled to our opinion, these kinds of additions to pitches/queries/submissions is not only highly unprofessional, it’s annoying!

I can’t impress enough that this is a business. While e-mail makes submitting to an agent or editor that much easier, it also seems to make some people think it’s a less formal way to reach the industry professional. There are VERY few agents or editors that I’ve had the occasion to speak with who enjoy or even tolerate anything more than the standard pitch/query.

I know of one that will give a form rejection immediately for ‘fluff’ stuff.

When you’re contacting an industry professional, keep it simple. Name, contact info, book info, relevant writing experience (and even this should be limited), is about all you need. The fluff doesn’t show your creativity. Do that with your writing.

Now, I’d like to welcome Stan Soper with the Soper Literary Agency, and creator of an awesome writer’s site you may have heard me mention on occasion, TextNovel.

Stan, please let me know if there are any pitches you’d like to see more of, and feel free to add your two cents in the comments below.




How To Marry A Warlock In 10 Days

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Word Count: 80,673

Hijinks and outrageous fun are back in force for the second book of the 10 Days story arc. Grace and Caspian are living Happily Ever After in Hell, but there’s fresh evil threatening the magickal world and only Midnight Cherrywood and Dred Shadowins can stop it.

With the Big Boss and the Bigger Boss on their side, what could go wrong? Aside from the fact that Middy’s been jilling off to Dred’s likeness in Weekly Warlock for years and Dred is spying for the High Chancellor playing at being the cavalier playboy? The lamia. (This is the fresh evil, or not so fresh depending on the time of the month.) A Bitch Kitty Deluxe that could destroy that fabric of the world, but no magick can stop her.

The ten days? Dred’s mother slips Middy a potion at a hen party and she has to marry Dred in ten days or they’ll both lose their magick. Maybe they should have let mom know they were just posing as affianced?

Cursed sex toys, leather pants, self-sacrifice, and the light that can be found in the darkest of places round out this journey to Happily Ever After.



His Obsession

Contemporary Series Romance

53,000 words

Desperate to save her beloved brother from possible political ruin, always sensible Isabella Dipaolo follows an impetuous plan to steal an incriminating letter from powerful mogul, Duncan “Mac” Macpherson. Mac lets Isabella steal the letter, his first step in using her to bring down the man he believes responsible for his sister’s death.  However, he doesn’t count on his own weakness for the tempting Isabella.

Against her better judgment, Isabella succumbs to the passion that burns between them, not realizing her seduction is part of Mac’s master plan. He delivers an ultimatum: be jailed for theft or become his mistress. When she agrees to be Mac’s mistress, Isabella finds herself in a prison of another kind with a jailer she doesn’t want to escape.  Soon, it’s not just her brother she’s trying to save as Isabella struggles to prevent Mac’s need for revenge from destroying them both.

If only she can convince Mac that there’s more than lust between them, that she’s more than just…his obsession.



Redeeming Characters 

Contemporary romance

79,000 words

Animals may bite but people always suck. It’s the motto thirty-two year old Drue has lived by all his life. He longs for the snow to melt so he can disappear into the wild with nary a nitwit to be seen—to escape the confines of a narrow-minded and cloying society.  Yet, when he discovers an old friend has published the book he helped create, a new plan surfaces. Revenge.

Bestselling author Dakota Whitmore is in a slump. Sure, her husband is dead and she’s adopted his long-time mistress’s child, but she’s endured more difficult things.  Maybe what she needs is a little help, a beta reader who will tell her that her work hasn’t turned into a steaming cow pie. How about uber sexy Drue, the man who helped her pen her first—and only, bestseller? Nothing could possibly go wrong. Right?



Highland Captive

Historical Romance

94,000 words

Laird Duncan Ranald has good reason to hate all things English. They nearly wiped out his clan. Discovering the luscious beauty who washed up on his shore and stoked his lust is English, he decides to keep her as his leaman for a little revenge.

English-born Lady Alera of Arundrydge is a procrastinating defender and nurturer. She wishes to avenge crimes against her family and find her father, who is missing and presumed dead. When Viking slavers steal her, she escapes only to be caught by a big, sexy barbarian, whose touch ignites passion.

Realizing she’s his soul mate, Duncan decides to wed her, but Alera won’t cooperate. Escaping Duncan  becomes more and more impossible for Alera as she helps his clan and he creeps into her heart. But if she stays, how will she gain vengeance and what will become of her father?

Set in the Scottish Highlands, Highland Captive is a 12th century humorous romantic romp, in which the pairing of enemies, whose antics sizzle off the page, prove love can lead to happily-ever-after. (Rewrite of Golden Heart Finalist: Highland Destiny).




Young Adult

51,000 words

Fifteen-year-old aspiring actress Amanda Martin gets more than she bargained for when she’s an extra in a movie filmed in Chicago starring her favorite teen heartthrob, Josh Brennan.  After a picture of them appears in the paper, mushrooming Internet gossip and cruel anonymous texts upset her.  She wants to be known for her talent and fears her reputation is trashed.  Thanks to her disapproving parents and their troubled marriage, she already has plenty to worry about.

Her parents won’t let her work on the movie again or be interviewed so she can set the record straight.  Amanda vows to change their minds.  She also wants to date junior Justin Clark, who’s in the school play and choir with her.  Despite a great first kiss, he hasn’t asked her to Winter Dance.  Josh does; she’s disappointed to learn his invitation was just a publicity stunt, again putting her in the public eye for the wrong reasons.  But he helps her learn not to care what others think even when a girl dumps the punch bowl on her and everyone laughs.  When Justin sets aside his nerves and asks her out, they celebrate with a dance in the spotlight.



Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy (m/m)
83,000 words

Risk-averse anthropologist ADRIAN THORNAPPLE has been playing it safe with an office job, but when his neighbor ODs on his doorstep, he finally gets that life is short, civilization doesn’t mean safe, and that he should follow his dreams. He agrees to go on an Amazon expedition, but the journey morphs into a nightmare of illegal drugs, slave labor, and a terrifying quest through the rainforest and across the spirit plane. Lost and desperate, Adrian partners with secret operative CAPTAIN THOMAS FERRELL, who has been unwittingly shape-shifted into a savage man-eating jaguar. Together they find the lost temple, bring down the drug lords, and fall in love. In this Brokeback Mountain meets Beauty and the Beast darkly humorous gay paranormal romance, Adrian just wants to go home… until he learns that saving the world is a lot more fun than returning to his corporate cubicle!



The Green Eyed Doll

Romantic Suspense 

93,000 words

Catherine McCoy keeps her past a secret, moving on before the busybodies and newshounds discover her whereabouts and ruin any chance she has for normalcy.  She’s worked hard to regain her independence and learn self-defense.  All she wants now is a chance to start over.  In her latest stop, she meets the sheriff who ignites a flame she thought lost forever.  But not telling him about her past will cost her dearly.

Sheriff Matt Ballard is hunting a killer who kidnaps green eyed women, paints their lips red, ties a matching bow around their necks and leaves them looking like a porcelain doll.  Fear and suspicions boil over, and local vigilantes begin their own hunt.  In the midst of the turmoil, Matt falls for Catherine, a fiery redheaded newcomer in town.  When her past is plastered across the front page, he can’t forgive her secrets and lies. 

Catherine is kidnapped, but the killer discovers this woman is different.  She fights to save her own life…again.  She has no intensions of becoming another Green Eyed Doll.



Twin Justice

Romantic Suspense

93,000 words

Assigned a murder investigation, the new FBI partners’ hunt for a female vigilante who’s cutting the throat’s of America’s most monstrous criminals.  The team uncovers an organization called The Final Justice Unit, which serves as judge and jury eliminating offenders who’ve managed to slip through the judicial system. 

Alexis Turner has finally landed a transfer to the coveted Special Investigations Unit.  A firefighter’s widow, she’s devoted to her identical twin who’s recovering from a brutal rape and beating.  Alexis and Dalton deny the sexual tension and growing affection but fall in love in spite of their efforts.  Suspended when an artist’s sketch of the killer is a dead ringer for her, Alexis believes Dalton’s betrayed her.  She’ll go undercover and put her life in jeopardy to bring down the vigilante organization.

Dalton Murphy isn’t sure about his new partner’s capabilities.  He’s waited for the one case which will catapult him to fame.  He wants to transfer to the elite Secret Service and protect the President, proving he’s capable of saving the highest ranking official in the nation.  Dalton violates direct orders to prove her innocence.  He’ll uncover facts sure to destroy her family and lose her love forever.



Candy’s Man

Contemporary Romance

Approx. 59K

‘Roses are red’ and so are shoes.  Recently divorced and encouraged by her two best friends, Candy Walker surrenders to temptation and buys an extravagant pair of red shoes to boost her spirits.  She is not to know that the purchase will begin a chain-reaction of events which will change her life forever. 

Cleve Hammond is a man with a secret.  A passionate encounter with Candy while on a holiday cruise leaves him decidedly miffed when she runs out on him but that is the least of his problems.

While relegating Cleve to a holiday ‘fling’, Candy doesn’t know all hell is about to break loose until she meets her new ‘boss’.  Cleve has been catapulted into her life and his twin brother, Nash, brings his own share of turmoil.

Will the situation jeopardise everything Cleve has worked so hard to conceal?  Will Candy find her way through the ensuing chaos and learn to trust again?



The Land of Imagining

Fantasy YA
80,000 words

Alexia thinks she’s just an ordinary girl with a lofty goal – to become a best-selling novelist. But a magical pen and a story she writes about a mystical Land of Imagining blighted by evil challenges everything she knows. Alexia isn’t human, she’s an All-Knower, their Chosen One with the ability to control them with her pen.

Before she can write to save everyone, the leader of the demons steals the pen and captures Alexia’s family. In a race against time, Alexia must trust demons so she can find the demon’s secret lair and save her family, and people, before the Land of Imagining becomes the Land of Terror.



Love and Lies

Paranormal romance

Word Count: 95,947

After the death of her mother in 1808, Dara became a duke’s mistress, something she’d sworn never to do, to support her orphaned siblings.  Returning home after ending the two-year affair, she finds her brothers dead and the duke claiming responsibility.  She tries to avenge them but instead ends up with a blank period in her memory and a new life as a vampire.  Protecting her remaining sister’s descendents became her only means of salvation.  Now in the 21st century, the duke is back and has a confession to make.

 Anthony had walked the earth for a millennium in service of the vampire council when he bought Dara’s innocence in an attempt to stave off boredom.  When her brothers were killed by another vampire, he claimed responsibility to keep her from hunting the true killer in hopes of keeping her safe and failed.  That failure has haunted him ever since.  A chance arrives for him to clear the air and make one additional confession: he wants her back in his arms for all time.




YA paranormal romance

48K words

A movement along the edge of the cliff caught my attention. A small rabbit nibbled at a tuft of clover growing between the rocks. I came to attention like a pointer. My nose began to quiver and my mouth water. I twitched my butt.

Without thought, I bolted out of the house after the rabbit. My blood raced and I breathed in short sharp pants. I could hear the creature’s heart pound and smell his warm vibrant flesh.

He took three frightened leaps and disappeared into the forest. I skidded to a stop, trembling so hard my teeth rattled.

What’s wrong with meI wanted to take a bite out of a poor defenseless little bunny. I pursed my lips and screwed up my face. Gross doesn’t begin to cover it. This is way past PMSing. 

Tears welled up and spilled down my cheeks.

I turn eighteen tomorrow. Surely, there’s no connection.




Women’s Fiction/Literary Fiction

Word count 61,500 

Coming of age in the turbulent 60’s of the South, Sara Jones navigates her way through poverty and discrimination, as well as physical and sexual abuse to find a way to escape her lot in life (a life which her mother terms having a ‘snake-bit’ fate).  

Johnny’s love gives her hope for a bright future but his death in Vietnam painfully closes that door.  Her pursuit of a college education spurns her desire for better things but an abusive husband puts a halt to that endeavor.

Will Sara find a way to break free of her ‘snake-bit’ future?  Are the voices she has come hear telling her the way out or pulling her deeper into a void that she so desperately wants to leave behind?   



Don’t Cross the Line

Paranormal Romance

Word Count 100,000

Don’t Cross the Line is a 100,000 word novel, the first in a series of stories. This one follows Gemma Davies, a were-tiger. She is reaching the age where her alpha and father demands that she must find a mate, or he will find one for her.

However the man that she loves, Cade MacDonald can never be hers, he is of another species of shape shifter, a werewolf, and to be together would mean execution for them both.

When the female heir of a neighbouring pack is murdered, Gemma must work alongside Cade to find out who killed her. It doesn’t look like the murderer is done though. Gemma is attacked in her own home; she escapes and lands in the arms of Cade. While she fights to keep her distance from him, fate keeps on throwing her right back at his feet.

She meets Karl Ellis, another were-tiger like herself, a potential mate. Cade does everything in his power to prove that Karl is just using Gemma. When the evidence from the case begins to build up and it all starts to point to Karl, Gemma considers that Cade might have been correct.




Word count: approx. 105,000

While her father and older brother confront redcoat forces, Kate Chambers is
entrusted with the upkeep of the family farm. As the burden of chores
increases, her younger siblings are often more hindrance than help. And now
she’s discovered an injured man in her hayfield.

A deserter from the invading British army, Stephen Blackthorn is in search
of a home in a world where he doesn’t belong. Patriot and Loyalist alike
view him as the enemy. Then Kate, ignorant of his identity, takes him in.

Will he find a place in her heart, or will the wider conflict of the war
drive them apart?



Young Adult
75,000 words

At sixteen, Megan Delaney is suddenly able to see ghosts and read people’s minds. This makes her a mosaic—a person possessing pieces of supernatural powers—and not welcome in the town of Collingsbrook. Keeping her new abilities on the down low is her top priority, but she decides to share her secret with her good friend Ryan. He swears not to tell a soul.

When word gets out at school, Megan becomes a target. She can’t believe Ryan betrayed her this way. Her classmates tease, torment and threaten her, and then the coolest guy in school offers to make it all go away. Tyler, the hunkiest player on the school’s football team who Megan’s dreamed about for, like, ever, says he’ll be her bodyguard and date for the upcoming fall formal—and help her show others that mosaics aren’t the bad guys they’re made out to be.

All Tyler wants in return is for Megan to use her powers for what he calls a “teeny-weenie” favor. One that feels wrong on too many levels.




Urban Fantasy Romance

98,000 words

Marine biologist ZOE MORGAN is a die-hard believer in the power of reason.  So when fanciful scenes of a mystery lover and deadly fire creatures begin playing in her dreams, she writes them off as byproducts of an overactive imagination. Until people from her fantasies appear in reality, and she’s faced with two disturbing conclusions: either she’s lost her mind, or her irrational suspicions are true – she’s been targeted by Fire Elements in a scheme to overthrow the Sentinels, including her lover, who protect Elemental balance and shield humans from harm.

Waylaid by a career-crippling case of creativity block, bad boy musician GAVIN CASSIDY finds his muse when he’s summoned back to duty by the Dreaming – a parallel world where dreams mirror reality – to rescue a woman who holds the key to a weapon he and his fellow Sentinels need to stop the Fires.  Torn between a growing attraction to the muse and his responsibility to the humans he’s sworn to defend, he must choose between losing the only woman he’s ever loved or serving up innocents to the jaws of insatiable Fire Elements who feed off emotions, leaving insanity in their wake.




Contemporary Romance

Word count: 85,000

When fourth generation farmer, Jacob Henderson stomped on her heart nearly ten years ago, Amanda Riley made the biggest mistake of her life – she ran off and married his younger brother. 

Amanda, now divorced, returns to her small hometown a successful horse trainer and National Cutting Horse Champion to set up her own training facility.  Nothing could have prepared her for falling in love with Jacob all over again.  But how can she risk her heart a second time knowing the secrets she keeps could destroy any chance they have? 

Brought together to save an abused horse, Jacob sees an opportunity to have the love and family he’s always wanted.  But he struggles with Amanda’s past marriage to his brother, after all marriage is forever.  When his brother shows up claiming to want Amanda back, Jacob must decide between family loyalty and love for Amanda.




Contemporary Romance with elements of suspense

Word count:  93,000

How could a man she’s never met change her life forever and provide her with the love and family she believed would never be hers? 

Abandoned at birth, Katie Delynski believes love and relationships are learned.  And she hasn’t learned anything good about either.  When multi-millionaire, Keith O’Neil kills himself, Katie discovers he is her father and someone hurt by his indiscretions wants her to pay for his mistakes.  Katie meets the O’Neil family and their friend, Conner Patterson, who is on leave from the police department.  They stir a sense of belonging she is afraid to believe in. 

As a social worker, Katie’s mission is to get prostitutes off the street.  When she buys an abandoned building for a woman’s shelter, Conner jumps at the opportunity to renew his passion for restoring old structures and offers his help.  Katie finds herself falling in love with Conner, but fear he’ll walk away if he learns the secret driving her true mission, keeps her from acting on those feelings.  Conner isn’t afraid of the love he feels for Katie, he’s scared he won’t be able to protect her when someone wants her to die for her father’s sins.  



A Demon’s Redemption

Paranormal Romance

Word Count: 88,061

Lorelei is your typical college student – who happens to have a talent for sniffing out demons and sending them back to hell, kind of like a psychic bloodhound. But once a year, she must help one of the fallen earn their way back into heaven. How do they do that? By atoning for their sins. And so far, everything is working out for her – until she meets Azazel, son of Azazeal, a member of the Underworld hierarchy. Does the demon fall far from the seed? She has a month to find out.

Azazel has always lived in the shadows of his father’s misdeeds. But redemption is his one chance to break free of his father’s sins. If only he hadn’t promised to bring down Lorelei for his bid for freedom. Will he keep his promise to his father – or to the woman he comes to love?



Highland Magic

Paranormal Time Travel

Approx. 90,000 Words

Magazine writer REMY PARKER will try anything to nail her story.  Even when the story mirrors her own life. When Remy’s Wiccan foster mother offers the assistance of her group of off-kilter friends to cast a compatibility spell, Remy puts herself in their bumbling hands. In the midst of spell casting, a costly blunder occurs.

Soon Remy’s life is taking a drastic turn. Not only is the spell one to help Remy find her soul mate, but one that sends her to Scotland in the year 1696 to locate him. Remy believes she is dead. All she can do now is wait for her angel to take her to heaven. Instead, what she gets is a kilted madman on horseback.

Driven by revenge for the murder of his wife and unborn child, Alexander MacDonald has vowed to keep his remaining children safe from the British. In a hurry to returning home, Alex runs down a woman alone. Her unconscious state compels him to aid her. Even though her strange behavior drives him daft, he finds her hard to resist. Alex must decide if he can give up his revenge in order to make a new life with Remy.



The Transformation of Aurora Sage

Women’s Fiction-Paranormal Romance

Word Count-34,553 (and counting)

Would you be interested in my book, The Transformation of Aurora Sage, which is about a young woman with Dryad lineage who falls instantly in love with an Italian Vampire of Satyr ancestry?  The story follows Aurora from overworked office worker who hates almost everyone in her life, except her twin sister, Autumn, to becoming a ravenous carnivore with an insatiable blood lust. Ultimately, she learns of her family heritage and the reason for Aleandro’s obsession with her and comes to terms with what she has become.  

I believe my story has enough of a twist with the right amount of romance balanced with violence to be an extremely enjoyable read for any and all fans of the genre. 

I appreciate you taking the time to read this and am looking forward to a response soon.




mainstream romantic suspense

80K words

A widower, who would have preferred to be a divorcee, finds herself falling for the guy who fed her husband tips, via e-mail, on how to win her heart, and who, in the process, fell in love with her himself. Does she stick to her rules of “no kissing, no touching, no holding hands, no candy, no flowers, no gifts” or should she open her heart to love?

An undercover agent must find a way to infiltrate the loose-lipped, bar-hopping, upper-crust Charleston social scene and knows that his former best friend’s wife is one of the stars of this crowd. Does he tell her that he knows who she is or does he keep it a secret so she’ll fall in love with him for himself instead of the person she fell in love with years before?

Together they solve the mystery of her husband/his friend’s death and realize that they’ve been in love with one another all along.



Having a Wonderful Time

Women’s Fiction Mystery/suspense

Word count 50,300

A serial killer is ravaging Houston and the case fell right into Detective Megan Garrison’s lap, but the question remains, is she ready?

Homicide Detective Megan Garrison is freshly back from a six month medical/psych leave after the murder of her sister left her questioning herself, to say the least.  Now, with the approval from her psychiatrist, Dr. Amy Poole, she is back to prove that she has what it takes to get the job done.  Megan and her Partner Jason Matthews investigate a homicide that leads them to the conclusion that not only has a serial killer made Houston its feeding ground, but this murder was not the first and most assuredly won’t be the last.

Now, while following the trail of blood, Megan tries to get a break in the case and at the same time reassemble all the pieces in her life that are already broken.



Truth Be Told

Single Title Romance

90,000 words

Home for Christmas, Meg Bourland discovers her father is being blackmailed.  When her attempt to help is rebuffed, the Atlanta SWAT team member enlists the help of her LA police officer brother and his partner to uncover the truth.  Meg’s rule of no involvement with anyone in law enforcement is in jeopardy when she’s attracted to her brother’s partner.

Scott McClaine came to Fort Worth to celebrate Christmas and recuperate from a life-threatening bullet wound he received saving Meg’s brother’s life.  He finds himself embroiled in family scandal, solving a crime, and falling for his partner’s sister.  Scott struggles to accept his new physical limitations and control his growing interest in Meg. 

Meg learns a dark and dangerous secret.  The truth threatens to ruin her father’s career as mayor and destroy the family she holds dear.  As they put together the pieces of this puzzle, Meg and Scott face their own personal truths and discover love requires selflessly giving to each other.



Jump, Fall

Romance – Contemporary women
60,000 words

Katie Scarborough isn’t like all the other Southern Belles that surround her. She’s brunette, she’s freckled. She’s also short and a little more round than the pageant queens that seem to fill her world. To top things off, she’s painfully shy as well. The one thing that ties her to her Southern sisters is the dream that the fairy tales they all heard as young ladies will somehow come true.

Throughout her coming of age years, she suffers a series of miscues and embarrassments where gentlemen are concerned. She begins to wonder if the fairy tales are just lies and if a girl who doesn’t quite fit the norm is capable of being loved. Although, once she goes off to college and catches the eye of her dream man, she starts to think maybe she was better off single.

Set in the fictional town of Dunham, Mississippi, Katie’s story is the first in a series of novels featuring the quirky, yet lovable characters of the Mississippi Delta. The second novel in the series is completed, a third is in the beginning stages.



Vermont Escape

Single Title Romance

88,000 words

Jill Barlow, a Fort Worth socialite, relocates to Woodstock, after her husband and father, a Texas state representative, are killed because of his fight to stop casino gambling from coming to the state.  She’s stunned to find herself drawn toward a hardheaded Yankee, a Vermont assemblyman.  But his negative reaction to her fits right into her plan to never get involved with another politician.

Jerrod Phillips is shocked to find he’s attracted to the Texan he suspects could be involved in the murders.  He’s afraid she’s like his ex-wife, who years ago deserted him and their two young children, resulting in his somewhat irrational hatred of blondes from the Lone Star state. 

Jill’s peaceful new life is shattered when her home is ransacked, her shop broken into, and Jerrod’s brother kidnaps her.  He demands the flash drive, which the gambling syndicate believes she has.  When he fails, he’s murdered, and they physically threaten Jill.  She must choose between putting her and her friends’ lives in jeopardy and the possibility of finding justice for the murders of her father and husband.  If she survives, is there a chance for her and Jerrod, when he holds her responsible for his brother’s death?



By Grace Alone

Contemporary women’s fiction

60,000 words

Hurricane Katrina has devastated New Orleans. Homes are crushed, streets are flooded, and a piece of Vivienne Lavoie’s spirit has been swept away with the receding waters as she works diligently to put her beloved city back together. It’s her job as a civil engineer, but she also feels it’s her responsibility to ensure her heritage isn’t lost in the wake of the storm.

An unexpected pregnancy forces Vivienne to choose between her beloved city and raising her child. While pondering adoption, she meets Charlie and Samuel. Both men are trying desperately to sort through their own struggles. Through their friendship they discover the myths and legends surrounding New Orleans and that they’re able to feel normal again. They find that Vivienne makes their struggles seem bearable, until a death crashes their spirits again and forces them to reevaluate everything. It is then that they are able to begin their personal rebirths.

Because of her Louisiana heritage, the author knows the Cajun culture is rich with ghost stories, traditions, superstitions and a dialect unlike any other. Throughout BY GRACE ALONE bits of this culture are shared with readers who may never get a chance to experience it firsthand.




Paranormal Romance

Word Count: 90,000 words

Luke Bennett is a man with a dark past and the single-minded goal of revenge. He wants to buy Cori Tremaine’s Kentucky horse farm, Greenhills. He plans to destroy the legacy her deceased father had built by chopping up the land to make way for a gated community.

Cori Tremaine is a photojournalist living in New York. She regrets selling her family home but she can’t maintain a large farm and have the career she loves.

Falling in love with Cori, the daughter of the man who ruined his family, rips Luke’s plans apart. As they fall in love, his lies and secrets threaten their future.

Cori’s love for Greenhills and the emotions that arise from her decision to sell brings two 17th century spirits to life. English lord Stephen Wentworth and a Gypsy, Lilianna Rossar, promised their love would live forever despite their different backgrounds. Their story is shown against the backdrop of the civil war that ultimately killed them.

When Lilianna and Stephen find out Luke is their descendant, they must break an ancient curse before it strikes down Luke and Cori whom Stephen and Lilianna believe are destined to love each other as they did.



The Midas touch


90k approx

There’s something out there, watching, waiting, preying on people; or so they say.  Serena is a practical woman who doesn’t believe in fairy tales or myths.  So even though her best friend claims to be clairvoyant and that an evil is stalking her, Serena still doesn’t believe.  That is, until the day she was attacked while running to grab lunch.  When she awakes her concept of reality is challenged by the god-like man at her bedside, and the society he inhabits.  A society that has existed for a millennium since before the ancients themselves, they hold the truth of all mankind, all myths and all legends.  Her protector Darius is the reason she lives and is sworn to uphold the laws of his world.  Can they destroy this evil? Or must he destroy her to save them all?


Good Luck everyone!

Agent Shop Results

January 12, 2010

Ms. Winston found SEVEN pitches she wanted to see more of this time around. Great odds folks!

Congrats to all of you who received an e-mail from me with the request info, and any who didn’t, remember this is subjective.

Next month’s attending agent is Stan Soper of the Soper literary agency. I’m especially happy to welcome Stan to our Agent Shop as I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him through TextNovel and the Next Best Celler contest.

I would encourage any aspiring or published author in any genre, or writing level to take a look at TextNovel. Joining is free and even if this is a fairly new group, the number of members, readers and fans has grown exponentially over the last year.

TextNovel is a wonderful way to get your work seen. You can work on improving your writing, building a following, or even just throwing out a new idea to see what a readers response would be.


And they have contests!

So keep working on refining those pitches, keep writing and make sure you check back to find out who our future agents will be.

Happy writing.


Interview with our own Best-Celler finalist: Candi Wall!

November 23, 2009

By Marie-Claude Bourque

Hi everyone,

I am very excited to interview my wonderful writing partner and fellow Musetracker Candi Wall.

It is still amazing to me that Candi is now a finalist in the TextNovel/Dorchester Best-Celler contest with not only story but two: STAY: a Contemporary Romance of roughly 80,000 words and PRIMITIVE NIGHTS, contemporary romance of  82,000 words.

Candi will tell us more about them today and about how she stays sane while competing in the TextNovel next Best-Celler contest.

COMMENT AND WIN! And please leave us a comment for a chance to win a copy of my first Dorchester release, sexy gothic paranormal and ATV winner ANCIENT WHISPERS or a $20 gift certificate from Amazon!

M-C: What is the first thing you did when you found out that you were a TextNovel Dorchester finalist?

Candi: As any professional, I nodded my head, saved the document I was working on, and immediately set out to make a plan of action for the deadlines I had to make…

Ummm, yeah right. Unfortunately for my hubby, his number was the first one I hit. I was lucky that he listened to my incoherent screeching long enough to figure out what the fuss was. If he hadn’t, I’m certain the police would have been at the door!

M-C:  You are so poised all the time and professional, that you had me for a while there, but yes, it is pretty big news and you had all the rights to be screeching!

 I know you have been super busy working with Dorchester editors for the cover copies and also to work on the revision since your manuscripts are both due soon. What are your days like trying to get it all done?

Candi: CRAZY! It’s been fun though. I joke all the time that one should be careful what they wish for, because when you get it, you certainly have to be ready to step up to the plate!

I don’t get to have a set schedule. Since I do Animal Control for three towns, the pager is always at my side, and I promise the demented gadget is possessed with a sadistic funny bone and likes to go off at all times of the night or day. Usually when I’ve managed to get myself into writing mode and am flying through edits.

Then of course, I have three children (Four actually, but one’s away at Basic Training so it’s just a matter of finding time to write to him) who take up a HUGE portion of my time. We volunteer with scouts for both boys, run to and from games, practices, and school functions. My daughter is a bit easier right now, just a matter of getting her to and from various social functions.

But in between, even if it’s only an hour – I write like crazy. I’m actually very lucky that I can write very fast. It’s not pretty out of the gate, but in edits I tend to have more blocks of time to piece it all together.

M-C: Ever since I’ve known you I have been amazed at both the amount and quality of what you produce with all the responsibility you have. I wish I had oh say a quarter of that ability to just sit down and write!

Do you have any advice for writers who suddenly become involved in a “popular vote-style contest.” What would you have like to know before you started?

Candi: GO FOR IT! That’s my advice. It’s amazing what you can learn both about your writing and yourself. Contests are a wonderful way to meet people. They can really help you break out of your shell, take chances, do things you’d never thought you’d do or could do. Every single time you set yourself a goal, whether you complete it or not, you move yourself that much further in the game of learning what it takes to be a writer, and perfecting those skills.

If there was one thing I could have known about this style of contest before I started, it would have been how much time you have to dedicate to your contest entry. Be ready to jump in with both feet. Be ready to get out there, meet people and convince them why they need to come and read/vote for you.

Asking someone to vote is one thing, convincing them there is a great read in it for them is another. Love your work, and let others know why they should as well.

M-C: I think you hit it there. Love your work! I know for me, it is what carried me through asking for votes. I kept remembering how passionate I was (still am) about my story and it was easy for me to ask people for help.

Can you tell us what STAY and PRIMITVE NIGHTS are about?



Bracken Elliot and Abby Burke are polar opposites in every way possible. At least on the surface. Under the layers of their protective walls, they’ll both find that giving in to love can be the biggest risk they ever take.


Damon Hanson’s way of life is near extinction. Myla Jordan has every intention of stopping that from happening. But the deepest threat lay in their hearts, and in the world destined to keep them apart.

M-C: I am more familiar with PRIMITIVE but I have to say it would be really hard to pick one. Damon is such a sexy hero and Abby and Bracken have such a strong emotional connection, I really do want to see both stories in print!

Where did you get the ideas for these stories?

Candi: For STAY, Brack and his son have been characters on paper, in my idea’s folder for a while now. Their story just didn’t open up to me until the Next Best Celler Contest came along. Then it just unfolded almost by itself.

PRIMITIVE NIGHTS was completely different. I was reading the news one day and the article covered the plight of an un-contacted Peruvian tribe. I followed the story, but as I read this image formed in my mind. I contacted the officials at the website set up for information on these endangered tribes and asked some questions. The rest just followed. I kept my novel as true to the reports and history of the people as I could, while taking it out of reality and making it a HEA.

M-C: Oh yes, now I remember when you had just told us about the news story you read and how inspired you were. Wow this takes me back before all those crazy contest we have all been involved with and when we only talked about the craft and how to best word something!

What series of words would best characterize your writing style or tone?

Candi: Intense, sexy, realistic, modern, hopeful, deep, emotional, and touching.

M-C: Realistic. Yes, I think you nailed it very well there. How does “realistic” translate in your story?

Candi: I love real life. Don’t get me wrong, the idea behind any book I chose to read is to be transported to somewhere besides my own reality. But the stories I write are still supposed to do that. I just use modern situations, real life heros, kick-ass heroines who are kick-ass because they are strong and bear the weight of all that will come with grace. And the men, they have faults that balance their perfections, and each one is a hero in his own right. Not a man who saves the world, just a man who makes a difference and loves deeply.

I write stories that tell about real life situations with a HEA, because I believe there still is HEA all over.

M-C: As I said on Leah’s blog before, I always found your stories full of depth and yes the hope in them is also why I love them so much. I find that very timely in the current situation we all live. We all need hope and like to see hard-working people get their own happy ending.

Do you have any idea why you write more realistic stories?

Candi: Without a doubt, my style comes from the way I feel when I see someone doing something that can so easily be done but so many chose not to do.

I love an ever day hero. The men who sit on the bleachers at their kids games in their dirty work clothes because they came straight from work to see the last half. I love watching a soldier nod and grab the door for another person. I get goosebumps when a fire pager goes off and the person wearing it leaves their groceries in the cart and runs from the store. And I applaud those who decide to take the time to help out someone else – even if it’s miles away or in dangerous situations – because they feel that it’s the right thing to do.

Everyday heros and heroines have stories that inspire and I love giving them a HEA!

M-C: So true and so glad you are tackling these sometimes difficult stories. Is your setting important in your story and why?

Candi: Yes and no.

For STAY, the setting isn’t too important or relevant to the story other than it’s the one place my heroine wants to stay. It’s easy to imagine and sticks in your mind even as the characters take over.

With PRIMITIVE NIGHTS, it’s important to slowly show the beauty of my Hero’s land, so the reader connects with his reasons for wanting to preserve his way of life. I use much more setting in this story, and even built a beautiful legend around one of the flowers.

M-C: Is this story more character-driven or plot-driven or both? How so?

Candi: STAY and PRIMITIVE NIGHTS are both character driven.

STAY touches the soul. I actually cried while rewriting one scene.

PRIMITIVE NIGHTS has extreme depth as well, but the plot is intense and really makes life difficult for my characters.

M-C: Oh I so want to get those printed in my hot little hands! What do you think readers will get out of your stories?

Candi: With both stories, I want my readers to feel inspired by the characters. I want them to fall in love with these every day people who fall deeply in love and must weather any number of difficulties to get to, or give in to, those emotions. We tend to be a fairly closed off society. I want my readers to sigh when they close my novels at the end and feel good.

M-C: Those are really my kind of stories. Well that is obvious since you are my writing partner. A little insider in the Musetracks group, I am convinced that the deep emotions in all our stories, Jenn’s, John’s, yours and mine, are what drew us together in the very first place when we were all just starting to write.

Can you share with us your regular writing schedule and how long you have been writing?

Candi: Is there such a thing as a regular writing schedule? I tend to write anywhere and anytime I get a second to do so between my hectic shcedule.

I’ve been writing since I can remember. It’s always been the one thing I’ve done for myself, even if the stories were just for me. Then about a year and a half ago, I decided I’d placed my dream of becoming a writer on the back burner for long enough. I joined groups, did a ton of research and began learning what it takes to be a professional writer. Along the way, I met three wonderful writing partners who have helped me on the difficult road to publication.

It’s a tough, bumpy road, but I love it all. I wouldn’t change a moment of my experiences thus far!

M-C: Do you have any more projects in the work?

Candi: ALWAYS! Right now, my focus is on finishing edits for STAY and PRIMITIVE NIGHTS for Dorchester’s Next Best Celler contest. But my idea folder is full to overflowing and as soon as I have time, I’ll be on to the next novel.

M-C:  If readers want to know more about you and your writing, where on the web can they find you?








M-C: Do you have any parting words of wisdom for struggling aspiring authors?

Candi: Keep writing. I know you’ve heard this a million times before, but that’s because it’s the truth. Keep pushing yourself to write better, write faster and you’ll see the improvements. Rejection comes to everyone. Utilize what you can from it and get back to the computer or notebook.

Push yourself, experiment, try something completely outside your comfort zone. The only way we can get better is to continually try and fail. Someday, you’ll look back at how far you’ve come and thank yourself for not giving up.

And now, you tell me…

What have you done lately to push yourself to that next level? Entered any contests? Joined any groups? NaNo’d?

M-C: I’m not sure I want to answer that one (being an ATV is one heck of a ride so I know how you feels right now!) LOL I am so excited that you are going through this as well and thank you for answering all my questions!

But everyone, please, share your latest push to the next level and you be one of the first to receive a copy of ANCIENT WHISPERS (winner of American Title V/ last year’s Dorchester contest) or a $20 Amazon gift card for a few latest releases of your choice!!!

And don’t forget to mosy over to the Dorchester site to tell the editors what you like about Candi’s cover copies (blurb!)

You can vote/comment for

STAY and PRIMTIVE NIGHTS by clicking the on either of the names. The links will take you to the Dorchester forums!

Let’s get those stories published, Folks!

I’m Branding today…

November 9, 2009

Hello All,

I’m guest blogging at Texting Between The Sheets today.

What is Author Branding?

I’ve got my Brand in the works.

Come on over.


October 13, 2009

Morning All!


I’m blogging with the wonderful ladies over at Southern Sizzle today.


Stop by and say hi! And tell us what you think about ‘Agent Shop’ over the past few months.




Have a great day and keep writing.