Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Desert Dreams Conference 2010

Every other year my RWA Chapter, Desert Rose, hosts a writers conference at the Chaparral Suites Resort here in Arizona. I always have a fabulous time, and this year was no exception! With a host of informative and entertaining speakers, fabulous networking opportunities, and editor-agent appointments for aspiring authors, writers truly get the most bang for thier buck at our conference! This year I volunteered in our hospitality room, at our registration table, and at our editor-agent appointment table, helping aspiring authors to sign in. I also signed my books at our terrific book signing event. Let me tell you that these ladies run our conference so professionally and smoothly I'm always amazed. One of the comments that I heard again and again was how warm and friendly our chapter is, and it's because we have a group of the most wonderful ladies (and our few gents) in RWA. If you would like some more information about our conference, you can visit the (new and improved) Desert Rose Website at: http://www.desertroserwa.org/

I bring a camera every year, and every year I'm so busy that I forget to take pictures, so I only have a few to share. Hopefully, I'll do better next time, but when you're having that much fun...

My editor, Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks Publishing, and I enjoying another fabulous meal together. It was such a pleasure to spend time with her.

A group of us in the lounge, enjoying some fabulous company! A few I know by name. :} Alexis Walker and hubby Bob, Deborah McTiernan, Angel Barbin (one of my roomies), Lori Combs-Graves, & Donna Warner.

My roomie, dear friend & CP, Donna MacQuigg, who drove all the way from New Mexico to attend our conference. Since she received a request from an agent to view her work, I think she found the trip worthwhile. Congrats, Donna!

Oh. I'm the one with the long hair. :}

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

FOR WRITERS: Research Link for Minerals (Gemstones)

I'm writing book two in THE ELVEN LORDS series, THE STORM LORD'S DAUGHTER, and I have an elven lady whose magic is with gemstones. Her main ability is to enspell jewels but she is certainly capable of 'creating' her own gems with her magic. But that would require more energy than just digging them up from the earth. And besides, each of the seven sovereignties that the elven lords created in England has been changed according to their magical gifts. So, I needed to know what gemstones she could unearth that were native to England, thereby altering the landscape.

So, all stop on the manuscript and off to hunt down the information. I should say at this point that although I change England with magic, which gives me more leeway with history than a straight historical author, I still need to know the facts before I change them. When I alter something, I don't wish to do it out of ignorance, but with purpose. Call me picky, but I do like to keep the historical aspects of my books as real for my readers as I possibly can.

So what gemstones can be unearthed from England? I tried all sorts of search words (which is the key when searching the internet) from natural minerals to lapidary England. Finally I thought of the term, mineralogy and bazinga! I hit the jackpot with this site:


It's amazing! Not only can you search the site for all the minerals found in England (or anywhere else in the world), but you can narrow it down by city/county etc. And each mineral has a photo and description, when it was named, chemical breakdown (I didn't need this, but it was cool!), etc. You might have to look up the definition of each mineral to find out what it was used for, whether to make concrete or pottery, but many of the minerals that were used for gemstones you would recognize by name.

I discovered that quartz is the most common mineral in England (and the world) so I had my answer for my book, and passing this on to save my fellow writers some research time (or hey, to those that love to look at pics of gorgeous stones).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


The Fire Lord's Lover
Book One of The Elven Lords
Copyright @ 2010 by Kathryne Kennedy

     The link between the world of man and Elfhame had sundered long ago, the elven people and their magic fading to legend. Tall beings of extraordinary beauty, the fae preferred a world of peace. But seven elves—considered mad by their own people—longed for power and war. They stole sacred magical scepters, created their dragon-steeds, and opened the gate to the realm of man again and flew through.
      Each elf carved a sovereign land within England, replacing the baronies that had so recently been formed by William the Conqueror. They acquired willing and unwilling slaves to serve in their palaces and till their lands. And fight their wars. Like mythical gods they set armies of humans against each other, battling for the right to win the king, who'd become nothing more than a trophy. They bred with their human slaves, producing children to become champions of their war games.
      The elven lords maintained a unified pact, using the scepters in a united will to place a barrier around England, with only a few guarded borders open to commerce. Elven magic provided unique goods and the world turned a blind eye to the plight of the people, persuaded by greed to leave England to its own, as long as the elven did not seek to expand their rule into neighboring lands.
     But many of the English people formed a secret rebellion to fight their oppressors. Some of the elven's children considered themselves human despite their foreign blood and joined the cause. And over the centuries these half-breeds became their only hope.

London, England, 1724
      The people lining the streets of London cheered while General Dominic Raikes rode to his doom. Not that they had any idea what awaited him at Firehame palace, and if they did, he doubted they would care. He resembled the elven lord too much for that. Yet he had won the final battle and they hailed him as their champion despite his elven white hair and pointed ears.
      Young women threw flowers from upper-story windows, the petals flickering through the air like snow and coating the dusty streets with color. Gray skies covered the sun and in some places the buildings nearly met above the streets, further shadowing the rider's passage with gloom. The glass-fronted shops had been locked up as their owners joined the throng in the streets: painted harlots, street urchins, costermongers, servants, and the occasional prosperous Cit, distinguishable by his white wig. The fishy smell of the Thames overlay the stench of the streets as his troops approached Westminster Bridge.
      Over the murky waters the flaming turrets of Firehame palace beckoned Dominic onward.
      He shook back his war braids and straightened his spine and glanced back at his men. They had cleaned their red woolen coats as best they could, and lacking wigs, had powdered their hair to resemble the elven silver white. They had polished their boots and buttons, brushed their cocked hats. Despite their stern faces, Dominic could see the glitter of pride in their eyes and nodded his approval at them. They returned his gesture with wary respect.
      Dominic turned and sighed. They were brave, good men, every one. Some he owed his victory and life to. He would like to oversee their promotions himself but it would be too dangerous. He didn't know the personal life of a single man, nor did they know of his. Dominic had grown used to his solitary existence, yet sometimes he regretted the necessity of it.
      The hooves of his horse met the road at the end of the bridge with a crunch of pebbles. The noise of the crowd faded as they neared the open gates of Firehame palace. Red flame jutted from the top of the stone pillars flanking the entrance, danced along the outlying curtain walls.
      Dominic halted his mount for the span of a breath, studying his home with the unfamiliar gaze of one after a long absence. Elven magic had tinted the stone walls a glossy, brilliant red. Warm yellow flame slithered up the stone, whorled over the buttresses, making the entire structure shimmer in his sight. The towers soared above the three-storied palace and Dominic's black eyes quickly sought out the tallest, looking for a flicker of wing, a jet of red fire. But he could see no sign of the dragon and so flicked his reins, urging his horse into the courtyard.
      Dominic wanted nothing more than a bath and then the quiet of his garden or the sanctuary of the dragon's tower. He knew he wouldn't manage any of his comforts until he'd been tested in fire.
      He thrust away the memory of pain and dismounted, feeling his face turn to stone, his body conform to rigid military posture as he crossed the paved courtyard and ascended the steps into the opulence of Firehame palace. Several of his officers followed, although many decided to forgo the privilege of coming to the attention of the Imperial Lord of the sovereignty of Firehame.
      The back hallways they marched through displayed the magic and wealth of the elven lord. Delicate tapestries that rewove their pictures every few minutes covered the walls, and thick rugs of rippling ponds and bottomless chasms carpeted the floors. Dominic breathed in the scent of candle wax, perfume, and elfweed, ignoring the portraits framed in gold with their moving eyes that followed their passage. At the end of summer the air in the corridor still felt chill against his cheeks. His ears rang from the silence.
      Then Dominic opened the door leading to the great room and the thunder of applause broke that brief moment of quiet. He paused, waiting for his men to compose themselves, then started down the middle of the enormous room through the crowd of gentry that awaited them.
      Fluted columns lined the sides of the hall, capped with ornately carved capitals that supported archways even more ornately carved with golems, gremlins, and gargoyles. Courtiers milled between the stone supports, a riot of colorful silk skirts and gold-trimmed coats. Full court wigs of powdered white sparkled with the addition of the ground stone the nobles used to imitate the silver luster of elven hair. Buckled shoes flashed with diamonds; ceremonial swords sparkled with ruby and jet.
      The smell of perfume became overwhelming and Dominic suppressed the urge to sneeze. He kept his gaze fixed on his goal, the dais of gold where the elven lord Mor'ded waited, but he caught the faces of the courtiers from the corners of his eyes. The lustful gazes of women—and more than a few men—followed his every movement. Despite their fear of the elven, humans could not resist their beauty, and Dominic had inherited more elven allure than his half blood warranted.
      When he reached the Imperial Lord's throne, Dominic stared at Mor'ded for longer than he intended. Silvery white hair cascaded past broad shoulders in a river broken only by the tips of the elven lord's pointed ears. Black, fathomless eyes stared coldly into Dominic's own, the expression robbing them of their almost crystalline brilliance. Smooth, pale skin glistened like the finest porcelain over high cheekbones and strong chin. A full mouth, straight nose, high brow.
      When Dominic looked at the Imperial Lord, he might as well have been gazing into a mirror of his future, for although his father must be over seven hundred years old, he did not look a day over five-and-thirty. And despite the thickness of his elven blood, Dominic aged at a normal human pace. In ten years, Dominic would look like the man before him.
      Dominic dropped to one knee and bowed his head, war braids dangling beside his cheeks and eyes fixed on the marble floor. A wave of silence rolled across the room until he could hear nothing but the breathing of his men and the rustle of the ladies' silk skirts. "I have won the king, my lord."
      At his words, the room erupted in applause again and Dominic stood, gazing at his father, hoping to see a glimmer of pride in those cold black eyes. He had fought for years to achieve such acknowledgement.
      Imperial Lord Mor'ded smiled, revealing even white teeth, and cut his hand through the air, signaling the court to silence. He stood with a grace no human could possess and stepped down from the dais, one hand wrapped around the black scepter that enhanced his magic. Dominic's eyes flicked to the rod, the runes carved upon it swirling momentarily in his sight before he quickly looked away.
      As a child he'd been constantly hungry. He'd been stealing food off the sideboard in the grand dining room when his father and court had entered. He'd hidden under the table and his father had sat, the triangular-shaped head of the scepter jutting beneath the crisp white linen. Dominic didn't know what made him reach out and stroke the forbidden talisman, for everyone knew only one of true elven blood could hold it without being flamed to ash. But he hadn't tried to wield it, had only touched it, and since then he couldn't look at it without feeling strange. As if the thing possessed a conscious awareness of him. It bothered him that he had such a fanciful thought.
      Mor'ded reached his side and placed his other hand on Dominic's shoulder. The chill of his long fingers penetrated the heavy wool of Dominic's coat. "After a hundred years the king will finally be returned to his rightful place. Thanks to my son, the champion of all Firehame."
      Applause thundered again. The elven lord's words echoed in Dominic's ears. His father had publicly acknowledged him as his son. Fierce pleasure rose in Dominic's chest and he had to force himself to concentrate on Mor'ded's next words.
      "General Raikes has defeated Imperial Lord Breden's forces and we have won the ultimate trophy—King George and his royal court. London will again be the center of taste and fashion. The sovereignty of Firehame will house the man who decides what color breeches you wear."
      A ripple of excited pleasure ran through the courtiers and Dominic stared coldly at the assemblage. Did they not hear the disdain in his father's voice? Did they not understand the mockery toward the king who should be their rightful ruler?
      Mor'ded's fingers tightened on Dominic's shoulder, and the elven lord's magic shivered through his spine. Dominic forced himself to relax under the painful grip. It did not matter if the ton understood or not. They could do nothing about it, anyway.
      "Tonight we will feast in my son's honor."
      His fingers gave Dominic one last painful squeeze before he released his grip and climbed back up on his dais. With a flourish of his scepter, Mor'ded filled the long great room with sparkling white fire, the flames harmlessly bouncing off the wigs of the men and the silk skirts of the ladies. The courtiers laughed and wove their bodies through the magic, and Dominic watched them with hooded eyes until his father grew tired of amusing his playthings.
      When Mor'ded swept the skirts of his red silk coat through the door behind the throne, Dominic followed, resisting the sudden urge to draw his sword and run it through his father's back.
      He'd tried it once. It had cost him the life of his best friend.
      His father lit their way through the gloomy passage with white fire that slithered on the ceiling above them. Dominic knew most of the passageways behind the walls of the palace. He'd spent hours as a youth exploring them. This particular one led from the throne to Mor'ded's private chambers, and branched off only once by means of a tunnel that his father told him twisted far beneath the palace, finally opening onto an entrance to the fabled land of Elfhame. Of course, only a chosen one could pass into that land, and Dominic had still failed to prove worthy. They both ignored the heavily warded door blocking the tunnel as they continued on to the end of the passage.
      Mor'ded opened the door to his chamber and Dominic followed him into the room and suppressed a shudder. Very few people were allowed into the Imperial Lord's private chamber, and he didn't count himself lucky to be one of them. The walls glowed with iridescent color, a copy, Mor'ded had once told him, of the truly living walls of his old rooms in his homeland of fabled Elfhame. Plants grew in the corners of the room, pale pink pods that occasionally liked to dine on warm meat through some corrosive process Dominic didn't want to understand. A striated crystal sat next to the double doors that led out onto a balcony broad enough for a dragon to land. The stone picked up the color of the gray skies and threw it into the room. Large enough for a table, and yet shaped like a cone, the crystal held a hole in the top of it that Mor'ded often slipped his scepter into.
      Chairs that resembled flower petals, a bed that could be some sort of deformed swan, and a desk that snapped closed like the jaws of some great beast completed the room.
      Dominic always felt displaced here, as if a part of his mind rejected the surroundings. But then again, he'd become quite skilled at projecting his mind out of his body. It was the only way he'd survived the trials with his sanity intact.
      Mor'ded slid into one of his petal-chairs, the scepter carelessly laid across his lap. He liked to play with Dominic a bit before he began, taunting him to display any human weakness.
      "You used magic to gain your victory."
      Dominic clasped his hands behind his back and widened his stance. No use in denying it. He'd seen the shadow of the dragon hovering over the battlefield, his father atop the great beast, enjoying the sight of the games. "I used it to save the lives of my men."
      That handsome mouth crooked, so like Dominic's own. "It looked to be quite a firestorm."
      Dominic shrugged.
      Mor'ded shifted, the swish of his silk coats loud in the silent room. "Breden is furious, of course. He says we should not allow any of our bastards to play in the games. Indeed, that we should cull any of those possessing the slightest degree of power."
      Dominic kept his face impassive. He did not doubt that the elven lords would destroy all their offspring on a whim, for he knew of their madness better than anyone. "One of Breden's bastards tried to quench my fire with a wave of water from the Bristol Channel."
      "Which I pointed out to Breden," replied Mor'ded. He waved a graceful hand. "It matters not what he says. His pride has been injured by the loss of the king. He had become complacent, and we elven must never succumb to that human weakness, eh, Dominic?"
      "Never, my lord."
      "Aah, but it makes me wonder. Have I allowed myself to become complacent?" Mor'ded leaned forward, his glittering eyes intent on his son's face, baiting him with the agony of anticipation.
      Dominic clenched his teeth.
      Mor'ded collapsed back in his chair, the petal swaying with his laughter, a ringing song emanating from the depths of the flower. "You were one of my greatest mistakes, and yet a most amusing one. We elven procreate with you animals so rarely, and yet a brief rut with a common kitchen maid produced a bastard with enough of my blood to bear a marked resemblance to me. And sometimes I swear your heart is all elven." He shook his head, pale locks winking with silver. "Still, who knew that when I saw you fighting with the other kitchen boys and threw you into the game you would rise to claim the king one day? Not I."
      "You've taught me well, Father."
      "Indeed. And now we must again test your worthiness. You know what has to come, do you not?"
      Dominic lifted his chin.
      His father stood, the scepter held before him with both hands, calling on the additional power the talisman gave him. "There is no other way to be sure of your power. Defend yourself, boy." And he unleashed the black flame.
      It engulfed Dominic with a hiss and a scream, licking at his feet, shivering down his arms. His clothes appeared unaffected by the flame, and yet he felt them melting into his flesh, fusing into him. His skin still looked whole, and yet he felt it searing into ash. The black flame only burned in the mind, but ah, even the worse for that. He gritted his teeth and vowed that this time, he would not fall. His own little game he always played against his father.
      Dominic held up his hands, his own magic instinctively responding to the assault. White, blue, gray—he could call the entire spectrum of fire magic except for the black, but only the red fire did any damage, and his father easily squelched the blaze before it could sizzle the tiny fibrous hairs off his monstrous plants.
      "Come on, lad. You can do better than that," said Mor'ded. And increased the magic twofold.
      Dominic gasped for breath. The blackness slid down his throat and into his lungs, charring them until he could not breathe. The pain he could withstand, but the suffocation always defeated him. He dropped to one knee. His magic flared again and he imagined he felt the power of the black fire within him, the flame that burned only in the mind. Dominic tried to call it forth, but as always, nothing happened.
      He always forgot how bad the pain could be. How could he forget?
      Dominic had been wounded in battle many times. His men whispered that his elven blood made him impervious to pain. They did not know his mind had been tempered in fire, that the cut of a sword or sting of a bullet seemed a minor ache compared to the agony of his father's magic.
      And Dominic knew he couldn't possess the power of black fire, as much as he wished for it. The gift would have been revealed when he reached puberty, when any elven powers first appeared, and he would have been sent to Elfhame with the rest of the chosen children. Only those with small magics stayed in the human world.
      Yet his father continued to test him again and again, as if he suspected his son held stronger power as well. Or perhaps Mor'ded just enjoyed torturing him.
      Dominic's lungs began to falter, his breath reduced to no more than a strangled wheeze of agony. His other knee collapsed and he fell to all fours, cursing his weakness. Cursing his father.
      And suddenly the burning fire ceased.
      Blessedly cool air caressed his cheeks and he sucked in a deep breath. Dominic resisted the urge to run his hands over his face, his hair--to reassure himself that he stood unharmed as he'd done the first time he'd endured one of his father's trials. Mor'ded had laughed at him and Dominic had vowed never to give the man the satisfaction of that pleasure again.
      Dominic rose with elven grace.
      Mor'ded studied him with narrowed eyes. "No elf could withstand such pain and not instinctively call forth his own magic in defense. Again you've proven how truly weak you are…and yet…"
      Dominic let out a tired sigh. He did not bother using the blue healing fire. His body might be whole, but it always took some time for his mind to heal from the memory of the pain. And he rarely used so much of his power; he felt tired unto death. "Either destroy me completely or allow me to leave. I'm half human, you know."
      "Indeed, indeed." Mor'ded chuckled, lifted his scepter and the door of his chamber flew open with a breath of fire. "You look so elven I forget you're half animal. Go lick your wounds, then. I want you rested for the feast tonight, and of course, your marriage tomorrow."
      Dominic halted in midstep. He had forgotten the date. Easy to do, since he'd almost forgotten what his intended looked like. He'd met Lady Cassandra a few times and could only recall a plain wisp of a girl with brownish hair and eyes. "Is it tomorrow, then? I suppose it's best to get it over with."
      Mor'ded rolled the scepter between his palms, his black eyes glittering. "It will make the humans happy, seeing my son wed to one of their finest aristocrats. And who knows? Perhaps you will breed true and produce another champion."
      Dominic sighed. Fatigue shrouded him and it took all of his will to pick up his feet and put one before the other again. He had realized years ago that it would be pointless to fight the destiny his father had forced upon him. If Mor'ded wanted him to take a wife and breed champions, so be it.
      It mattered only that Dominic never allowed them to be used against him.
      When he left Mor'ded's room his feet took him to the tower stairs and not his own chambers. Halfway up the curving staircase a wave of nausea overtook him and he allowed himself a brief moment of weakness. In the dark, where none could see. He felt again the searing of his flesh and the constriction of his lungs. Sweat broke out on his forehead while his body trembled in wave upon wave of remembered pain. But he gritted his teeth against the sobs that threatened to rise from his chest and for a brief moment pictured his father's slim neck between his battle-hardened hands.
      He thrust the futile image away and began to climb again. The elven lord could level London if he so chose. Dominic's strength would never be a match against Mor'ded's and he'd been forced to accept that.
      But he had won a victory today. He'd made his father proud enough to call him son before the entire court. Dominic would grasp that slender victory, as he'd grasped even smaller accomplishments over the years.
      He shoved open the wooden door and stepped out onto the flat roof of the tower. Humid air caressed his skin; a light breeze swept his silver hair against his cheeks. The metallic smell of the dragon teased his nose and he glanced across the rooftop at the huge beast.
      Ador raised his black-scaled head and blinked at Dominic, his red eyes glowing even in the overcast day. Strange eyes, with elongated pupils with black lines radiating from them, separating the red color like pieces of a pie. The dragon's leatherlike wings lay tucked against his sides, appearing deceptively small against his long, sinuous body.
      Dominic removed his woolen coat and spread it out in his usual place at the base of a merlon and sat, his back against the stone. He leaned his head against the hard surface and closed his eyes with a sigh of utter weariness.
      The dragon shifted. Dominic heard it in the slide of scale on stone, felt it in the tremble of the floor beneath his feet. It had once frightened him, the sheer size of the beast. But no more. He'd gotten used to the beast and Ador…well, the dragon had finally managed to tolerate him.
      "Do you remember the first time I came up here, Ador?" Dominic didn't wait for the dragon to answer. He rarely received a response to his musings. But for Dominic it was enough that someone listened. "Father had tested my magic by burning Mongrel to ashes. He was a good dog and a loyal friend. I didn't think I'd ever forgive myself for not having enough magic to protect him."
      The pungent smell of the Thames swept across the tower, even at this height, and for a moment, Dominic thought he could hear the muffled sounds of the city below them.
      "It was the first time I realized I could no longer allow myself to care for anyone. Man nor beast. For Father would always use them to test my magic." Dominic blocked the images of those who had suffered because of him. He'd found it much easier to bear the pain himself. "But my human weakness for companionship made me think of you. All alone, atop your tower. And then I realized Father would never harm his dragon-steed. That I could care for you, at least. Even if you couldn't return the sentiment." Dominic cracked a hopeful eye. But Ador appeared to have fallen back to sleep, his lungs like a great bellows pumping beneath those black, shiny scales.
      Dominic sighed and allowed the solitude of their high perch to settle over him. The world seemed very far away up here. The wars, the court, his father, all dwindled to minute specks of matter. One final small tremor shook him, dispelling the last memory of pain. And when he spoke again his voice held the coldly rigid control it always did.
      "I have done well, in most respects, to be like my father. Remote and untouchable, concerned only with my own pleasure. But you know the truth of me, don't you, Ador? Whether you willed it or not, you've been forced to hear my true thoughts over the years." Dominic scrubbed a weary hand across his brow. "This elven face of mine is deceiving, for I've been cursed with an all-too-human heart."
      Ador snorted and his wing twitched, his only reaction to Dominic's damning statement. Ah, well. Dominic should consider that a remarkable response. Usually the dragon resembled nothing more than a still lump of shiny black coal.
      Dominic rose and arched his back, wincing at a stab of pain. Just an ordinary pain, though, from an old bullet wound in battle. He smiled with relief that it held none of the taint of black fire magic. "Are you aware I'm to be married on the morrow? A dangerous proposition, for one such as I. I almost feel sorry for the girl…but the aristocracy are used to being breeding stock, are they not?"
      He picked up his coat and slung it over his back. His mind felt settled again, the memory of the burning fading to a manageable degree. Dominic couldn't be sure if the dragon's quiet presence soothed him or if the release of his thoughts brought him peace. He knew only that he always healed faster atop the tower.
      He'd taken a few steps toward the door when the dragon's rumbling words stopped him.
      "I smell a change in the wind."
      Dominic turned and stared into those red eyes. "What do you mean?"
      Ador, of course, did not answer. He closed his eyes again and huffed a small stream of smoke through his nostrils.
      Dominic considered the implications of the dragon's words. Ador had once told him Father was mad. An obvious statement, it seemed, and yet those words had allowed Dominic to deal with his father time and again. So he did not think the dragon referred to something as simple as the coming of the king. Yet no matter how he twisted the statement around in his head, he could not fathom it.
      Ah, well. How could Dominic know the turnings of a dragon's mind? It would become clear in time…or until Ador chose to make it clear.
To meet Dominic's future bride, you can read chapter two at: http://www.kathrynekennedy.com

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Just Released: TOUCHED BY AN ALIEN by Gini Koch

How can a sexy marketing manager join forces with an Alpha Centauri male in Armani to save the planet--using hairspray, a Mont Blanc pen, and rock n’ roll?


She’s Touched by an Alien

Marketing manager Katherine “Kitty” Katt steps into the middle of what appears to be a domestic dispute turned ugly. And it only gets uglier when the man turns into a winged monster, straight out of a grade-Z horror movie, and goes on a killing spree. Though Kitty should probably run away, she springs into action to take the monster down.

In the middle of the chaos a handsome hunk named Jeff Martini appears, sent by the “agency” to perform crowd control. He’s Kitty’s kind of guy, no matter what planet he’s from. And from now on, for Kitty, things are going to be sexy, dangerous, wild, and out of this world.

Read the fist chapter for free at: http://www.ginikoch.com/deathlessprose.htm

Better yet, just buy it today at:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

FOR WRITERS: From manuscript to book-in-hand

Another writer asked me what she could expect after her book was accepted for publication, and I thought I would share that here. This is a timeline I put together for my very first book, so it should be helpful in that regard. Please be aware that it’s a general timeline only, and that mileage may vary greatly from one publisher to another. But still, I thought it might helpful to others to have some idea about what to expect.

Request Author Blurbs—send rough manuscript
Email Editor ideas for marketing/cover/book blurbs

Complete Author Questionnaire rec’d with contract and email to editor
Publisher does preliminary work on cover

Receive initial edits, generally the major revisions.

Email to editor: Author Bio & Photo,
Dedication, name under which book is to be copyrighted, any acknowledgments or author’s note to be included either before story or after.
Receive cover art

Sales Reps meet with Buyers and initial orders are made.
Receive line edits, now is the time to make any additional major revisions.

ARC’s are sent out from publisher for reviews

Receive galleys, edit for minor revisions, small changes only (spelling, grammar etc.).

Receive front matter, review for any corrections


Receive cover flats

Receive author copies from publisher.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

My favorite fact about romance readers...

"studies show that women who read romances have sex 73% more often than women who don't." ~ Romance Writers Report, Volume 28, Number 11

Forget the chocolate and flowers, gentlemen! Buy your girl a romance book. :}

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Releasing Today: QUEEN IN EXILE by Donna Hatch

To celebrate her new release, Donna Hatch has offered an interview with Kai Darkwood, the hero from her fantasy novel, QUEEN IN EXILE, so enjoy the fun!

Interview with fantasy character Kai Darkwood, knight and Sauraii warrior, in the new fantasy novel, Queen in Exile
by Donna Hatch, author of Queen in Exile.

Walking toward the arena where the knights have just finished training, I wave to a tall, dark-haired knight who is handing his gear to his squire, and I call, "Captain Darkwood, may I have a moment?"

Kai turns toward me with his famous, heart-stopping grin, and lets his gaze rove up and down me as he approaches. "Of course, fair one. What would you ask of me?" he asks in his lovely, Darborian accent, faintly reminiscent of Irish. His brilliant blue eyes narrow as he comes to a stop within arms' length. "You are familiar to me. Have we met?"

I'd almost forgotten how handsome he is and I stammer, "W-Well, yes, I'm your author."

"But of course. You look more beautiful than ever. That gown is much more flattering than those strange leggings you usually wear."

"Yes, well, no one is supposed to look good in sweats."

He cocks his head to the side. "Tell me, why do you lock yourself away hour after hour?"

"Um, well, to write about you. And this interview is about you, not me."

"But you are so much more interesting than I."

"Now Kai, I know you are a very private person, but I promise I'll keep my questions general; nothing terribly personal."

His blue eyes twinkle as he folds his muscular arms over his broad chest. "You already know everything about me."

"Yes, but my readers don't."

"Very well. I will agree to this interview. If I dislike any question you ask, I will simply kiss you to make you forget." A cocky grin tugs at his lips.

I blush deeply, unwilling to confess exactly how much I'd like to be kissed by the gorgeous Kai Darkwood, and manage an outraged, "Kai! I'm married!"

"A pity."

"Don't try to turn your legendary charm on me, Kai Darkwood, I wrote you."

"Or did I simply tell you what to write?"

Refusing to admit how much I've dreamed about him, I take a breath to steady my knees. "Back to the interview. Would you please explain exactly what is a Sauraii warrior?"

"Very well. A Sauraii Warrior is highly trained in weaponry, battle tactics, and hand-to-hand combat. It takes most people several years to complete the course. Some never finish at all."

"But you finished it in record time."

Kai shrugs modestly. "My father did, as well."

"Please tell us why you're here in Arden, instead of in Darbor where you live."

"My king commanded me to come train the knights of Arden out of concern for his friend and ally, the King of Arden."


"Arden has enjoyed a century of peace and has developed an abhorrence to violence, even training in self-defense. Their knights train out of tradition, but not out of real desire. Their skills are very limited which makes them vulnerable to enemy attack."

"And they're in danger of enemy attack?"

"Our spies have told us the barbarians of Hanore plan to attack after spring thaw. We have much to do and little time."

"Tell me, what is your impression of Princess Jeniah?"

Kai shifts uncomfortably. "She is lovely, and has graciously forgiven me for our....misunderstanding upon our first meeting."

"She intrigues you?"

He stiffens. "She is royalty. There can be nothing between us. It's just as well." His fingers move unconsciously to a lock of braided hair hanging around his neck, and a fleeting, haunting look appears in his eyes. When he catches me looking, he masks the brief display of emotion.

Very softly, I ask, "Will you ever let down those walls around your heart?"

There is a brief look of alarm, then a devilish light enters his eye as his irrepressible grin slips back into place. "I think it is time I kissed you."

Reminding myself I'm married, even while I wonder if kissing a fictional character counts, I turn and run, almost tripping over the skirts of my medieval-style gown. Kai's laughter chases my retreat.



Rumors of war hang over Princess Jeniah’s peaceful country of Arden, a land that shuns both magic and warfare. Following a lifelong dream, Jeniah forms a telepathic bond with a revered creature called a chayim, who is prophesied to save her kingdom. But when a Darborian knight comes upon Jeniah with her chayim, he sees only a vicious monster about to devour a maiden, and he slays the beast.

Devastated by the loss of her chayim, and fearing that her own magic is evil, Jeniah doubts her destiny. When the enemy invades Arden City, they slaughter the people, storm the castle, and execute the royal family. Rescued by the knight who slew her chayim, Jeniah is now heir to the throne of Arden and the only hope for freeing her people.

On the run and hunted by enemy soldiers, Jeniah must place her life and the fate of her kingdom in the hands of this trained killer. Torn between embracing her destiny as queen of Arden, and her love for a mere knight, she must ultimately rely on her magic to save herself and her people from death and tyranny.

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Donna Hatch