Tuesday, March 29, 2011

And a few more answers...

Here’s a few more answers to some interesting questions I’ve been asked over the years:

I knew I wanted to be a writer after I sold my very first short story. That’s when I thought that people would actually want to read what I wrote.

My dad has been my biggest inspiration. He’s always inspired me to reach for my dreams.

The characters in my books are not based on people I know. They come totally from my imagination, although I study real people for certain physical characteristics and mannerisms.

So many books have such very different amazing things to offer that it is difficult to choose only one that is a must-read. I guess I would have to default to the very first book I can remember reading: Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

Life would be pretty dull if I couldn’t use my creativity.

If I could trade places with anyone in the world, past or present, real or fiction, I would choose Mary Magdalene, cause I’ve got a lot of questions for Jesus Christ.

If I was stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 things, they would be: Chocolate, my laptop, and a very long power cable to the nearest electrical source.

My favorite movie is Sense & Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. I’ve seen it a dozen times, and I still cry when Marianne gets sick and Elinor’s vulnerability is exposed.

The one thing that I would want all my readers to know is that I’m just an ordinary person who has the same feelings, hardships, and joys as anybody else.

If I could invite 5 people to dinner, they would be my mom, my husband, my two sons, and Jeff Dunham...cause we can all use some laughter in our lives.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The top seven wickedly romantic elements found in THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER

Number Seven:
The world of THE ELVEN LORDS is wickedly romantic in and of itself. An alternate eighteenth century England twisted by the magic that the elven lords have introduced, it’s ripe for darkly delicious tales of enchantment and adventure.

Number Six:
My half-elven hero, Dominic Raikes, may have a tender heart, but he has learned to hide it with a fa├žade of coldness as a result of the world he was born in to. As a general of the army and a champion of the elven war games, he is domineering, authoritative and oh-so-wickedly alluring to the woman that can see past these traits to the true man beneath.

Number Five:
My heroine, Lady Cassandra Bridges, has enough elven blood to allow her the gift of dance. She has an arsenal of spellbinding moves, included those of seduction…and death.

Number Four:
Mor'ded, one of the seven elven lords and the Imperial Lord of Firehame, is ethereally beautiful. Although he looks around thirty, he’s actually hundreds of years old and bored by so many years of living. Boredom makes him very dangerous. And the power to relieve that boredom in any way he chooses makes him very, very wicked.

Number Three:
There’s something about Ador, the black dragon-steed of the elven lord, which makes him a bit wicked, despite the odd sort of friendship he gives to Dominic. Perhaps it’s his mysterious motives. Or his connection to the scepter. Or that he plays a game with the lives of the English people just as dangerous as the one the elven lords play.

Number Two:
The fantasy elements in this world: A ring in the shape of a rose that reflects Lady Cassandra’s feelings. Magical black fire that burns only in the mind, and all the more dangerous for that. An elven garden that sings with the wind. A cloak of dreams. A slave who can weave sunlight.

And the Number One wickedly romantic element in THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER is:
Dominic’s seductive gift of magical fire. When you’ve read the book, you’ll have to let me know if you agree.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Signing Books at the Chocolate Affaire

I always have a fabulous time signing books at the Glendale Chocolate Affaire, and this year was no different, so I thought I'd share this picture that my wonderful sister took. And a special 'thank you' to the parents of one of my readers, who brought her book for me to sign, since she had to work that day. So very kind!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Just the answers...

I've been asked some interesting questions over the years, and thought I'd share a few answers here today:

Fairytales often inspire my stories, and my favorite is Cinderella. There’s something so satisfying in having the heroine transform herself on the outside, to match her true beauty on the inside.

I would have to say that My Fair Lady is *one* of my favorite musicals. I also love Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Hello Dolly, and Yentl (my favorite song is Streisand singing “Papa can you hear me?”).

I do spend a lot of time on research, and I try to be as accurate as possible, but I’m only human, and luckily so far I don’t think I’ve made any goofs. :}

It might be interesting for you to know that my book, My Unfair Lady, actually inspired the Relics of Merlin series. The entire time I was writing it, I kept thinking how unfair it was that men inherited the titles, but if titles were based on magical ability, it might even things up for the women. And so the Relics series was born. The fourth book in the series is currently on hold, as I received an amazing opportunity to write a new series with Sourcebooks Publishing (the largest female-owned publisher in the industry). Set in the Georgian era (back to research!), it’s also an alternate historical reality, where seven mad elven lords have found a way into the world of man, and have taken over England using their magical scepters. The first book in The Elven Lords series, The Fire Lord’s Lover, which is about a half-elven hero (picture Legolas in Lord of the Rings) and his assassin bride, was released in August 2010. A bit more intense than the Relics series, it stretched my imagination in unbelievable ways.

Another time period I would love to write about one day is ancient Egypt. I’m fascinated with mummies and pharaohs and tombs…and a lot of women were powerful back then. Imagine what would happen if the magic of their gods was real? My mind boggles.

I don’t listen to music or anything while I’m writing. It might just be me, but I have to imagine myself in the story, and then I tell my reader what I see. And I’m not sure if I really know what I’m doing yet, but some days I think I do. :} But I do hope my writing has improved, since practice is supposed to do so…and I spend a lot of time practicing.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Win books all week long at Publishers Weekly: http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/beyondherbook/

Barbara Vey at Publishers Weekly's Beyond Her Book blog is having her annual anniversary bash all this week. A host of authors are celebrating, and giving away books to commenters (including yours truly). Comment each day to enter to win a variety of romance books! Come join the party at: http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/beyondherbook/

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Interview with Summer Wine Lee from MY UNFAIR LADY

The streets of London are busy, the clatter of hooves and the rumble of carriages over cobblestone mingling with the calls of costermongers and flower girls. I knock on the door of a tidy little brownstone that smacks of new wealth with none of the sophistication of the landed aristocracy. A girl with wild green eyes and black hair, dressed in a gown of clashing colors that makes me think she’s half gypsy, opens the door.

Maria: Well, what do ya’ want?

Author: Er, I have an appointment with Miss Summer Lee.

The girl’s eyes narrow as she studies my modern clothing suspiciously, but before she can say another word, a voice calls from the parlor.

Summer: Oh, do stop being so tiresome, Maria. Let the lady in and bring us some tea.

The black haired girl humphs, but allows me inside, and I try not to gawk too much at the antiques that surround me as she leads me into a smallish room with dark green velvet drapes heavy enough to feel oppressive. I blink while my eyes adjust to the light, and study the girl sitting on the chaise. While Maria had made me think gypsy, Summer Lee made me think of a forest fairy, with her diminutive stature and golden coloring. I had to remind myself that although I knew Summer well, I was a complete stranger to her, so I resisted the urge to hug her, and instead sat on a lovely velvet wingback chair.

A: You asked to see me?

S, nods eagerly: Oh, yes. I need your help.

A, smiling: I think you can manage whatever life throws your way, Summer. You don’t need me.

S: But I do. I’m terribly confused, you see, and it’s all your fault.

A, squirms a little, but refuses to feel too guilty: You’re in a bit of trouble. But I have every confidence you’ll figure everything out.

S: Tarnation, if it weren’t for that man, I’d agree with you.

A: I assume you mean the duke?

S, throws her arms up in the air: Who else? Not that I’m complaining about hiring him, mind. He managed to turn the outside of me into a lady, leastways.

She did look charming. Her hair had been swept up in an elegant back bun, with perfect spiral curls falling across her cheeks, a fringe of hair on her forehead softening her elfin features. She wore a dress of ivory satin, edged with lace around the neck and hem, with a full bustle swelling behind her. Embroidered slippers peeked from beneath the lace of her gown, and a stunning pearl choker circled her throat. I sighed as I looked down at my worn tennis shoes and denim-clad legs.

A: You’re now as lovely outside as you are on the inside.

S, scowling: Ha. You know darn well what terrible thing I did—

Fortunately, Maria chose that moment to enter the parlor, bearing a tea tray glittering with silver and china, which she set down with a clatter. The hem of her purple and green striped skirt lifted, and out ran the tiniest Chihuahua I’d ever seen. The little dog barked at me once, then cocked her head at my shoelaces, a wicked gleam in her eyes, and promptly bounced over and settled herself at my feet, chewing on the ends of the strings gleefully. At the same time, the bundle of fur on Maria’s shoulder uncurled itself to reveal a little monkey, gazing at me curiously.

A, smiling in pure delight: Chi-chi! India, you little scamp. You’re both even cuter than I imagined.

M, frowning in confusion, and then shrugging: Summer, the duke is waiting in his carriage for ya’. And ya’ know how he hates to be kept waiting.

S: He’s more than an hour early. She huffs. Oh, botheration, tell him I’ll be right there. Looks at the tea tray and me regretfully. Do you think you can come back so we can have a proper talk?

A: I’m sorry, Summer, but I don’t think I can manage this again. It’s…difficult to come to you. I start feeling woozy, and kinda hazy around the edges.

Summer bounds to her feet, silk skirts swishing, and grasps my hand.

S: But wait. You have to tell me what happens. What am I going to do?

A: I wish I could, Summer. But the truth is, I just don’t know.

S, brown eyes flashing gold: Tarnation, how can you not know?

A: Because my characters always take over the story, Summer. I have no idea what you’re going to do next. The room shimmers and fades and Chi-chi lets go of my shoelaces with a startled yelp. But don’t worry. I promise you’ll have a happily-ever-after. I write romances, after all.