Secrets Vol 18 - PT 2:Flesh To Fantasy by Larissa Ione

“Never Do Anything You Wouldn’t Want To Explain To The Paramedics…”

When I first sat down and thought about the initial idea behind Flesh to Fantasy, a million things ran through my mind.

Like some of the crazy things paramedics have to deal with.

I’d always been fascinated by emergency medicine and the people who save lives, so much so that I became an EMT simply because I wanted to write my medical heroes accurately. But this particular tale became more than just a medical story. I had a hero who saved lives for terrible pay even though he didn’t need the money, because let’s face it, anyone who does the job is NOT doing it for the pay. It takes a special kind of person to expose themselves to danger, abuse, and infectious disease for little return.

So what I needed was a heroine who couldn’t grasp the idea of exposing herself to such misery. And I wanted her to be as opposite as the hero as possible.

All I had to think about was how I sometimes feel.

There are times when I want to escape from the real world. When I can’t stand to turn on the TV and see images of war, drive-by shootings, cruelty to animals. I don’t want to go outside for fear that I’ll see a car accident, a car-struck animal on the side of the road. I don’t want to see the elderly man trip and fall at the curb by the grocery store. I just want to lock myself away and pretend that nothing exists.

And so Kelsa was born.

Kelsa grew up in isolation, in a cult so far removed from reality that she’s never truly known what the real world is all about. Nor does she want to. She sits inside her apartment and tests video games for a living (RPG games, which just happen to be my passion!)

So basically, I took a man whose life is grounded in the real world, a place where, in his past, fun got him into trouble so he avoids too much fantasy, and a woman who can’t handle anything but fantasy, and threw them together to see what would happen.

What about you? Do you ever allow completely shut yourself away from reality, even for just a couple of days in order to get away from the real world? Or are you more comfortable in the real world where you feel like you aren’t wasting your life away?

I know I can spend DAYS playing video games, reading, or watching movies…what about you?


Cynthia Eden

I’ve always been fascinated by the paranormal. I’ll admit it—I’m a monster addict. Give me werewolves, vampires, mummies—give them to me, and you’ll have a very happy woman on your hands.

The Wolf’s Mate is my latest paranormal erotic romance release. It appears in Secrets, Volume 18: Dark Passions. This novella is actually the second tale in my “Wolf’s Call” trilogy.

The Wolf’s Mate features a French hero who isn’t your average male—Michael Morlet is a werewolf. The inspiration for Michael (and the other two heroes in my trilogy) actually comes from a very old tale. As the story goes, there was once a fearsome creature that terrorized the French countryside in the 1760s. This wolf-like beast killed dozens (some say hundreds) of people before it was killed. And just how do you think this beastie was killed? Hmmm? An infamous hunter, Jean Chastel, supposedly shot the animal with two silver bullets. This monstrous creature came to be known as the Beast of Gevaudan (Gevaudin).

When I decided to write a trilogy about werewolves, I thought instantly of the Beast, and I realized I wanted to write about heroes who hailed from the same land as this creature. Unlike the Beast, my heroes aren’t evil—they don’t go on killing rampages. They’re good, strong, dependable. Not raving animals.

In my creation, werewolves maintain their humanity when they change. They can be evil—just as humans can—but they can also be good. The Beast might have been a vicious killer, but my werewolves, well, they’re the good guys. And Michael, in particular, is the pack protector. His job is to hunt down those werewolves who turn on humans. Perhaps someone like Michael would have hunted the Beast…

In The Wolf’s Mate, Michael’s nemesis isn’t another werewolf—his enemy is a dangerous human who is trying to kill Michael’s mate, Kat Hardy. With danger stalking them at every turn, Michael must convince Kat that she can trust him with her life and that when werewolves mate, it’s forever.

Thanks for reading my entry, and I wish you a wonderful New Year filled with many good stories and happy times!

Cynthia Eden
“The Wolf’s Mate” available in Secrets, Volume 18: Dark Passions
Release Date: December 2006
Red Sage Publishing
ISBN: 0975451685


Susan Crandall on Oysters and Pearls

What on earth do oysters and pearls have to do with ideas and writing? It’s really simple. I’m an oyster. Some days as I sit at my desk, feeling sluggish and slimy, wondering if I’ll ever find my way thought the muck of a particular story, it almost becomes more than a metaphor.

I am an oyster. The written word -- stories, novels, poetry, song lyrics -- are true pearls; wondrous, beautiful things created almost magically by the dull, ugly oyster. Not to say that all writers are dull and ugly … but it’s a fact that all books are beautiful in their own way, luminous and precious, just like a pearl.

Every writer approaches their story development in a different manner. For me, the oyster, here’s how it goes. It starts with a tiny grain of sand, a speck of an idea, a flash of an image, a familial relationship that strikes a chord. I may not even notice it when it first lodges in my mind. But soon, I realize it’s there, rubbing my imagination until it gains my full attention. For example, my first published novel, BACK ROADS, began with this image I had in my head of a car abandoned in the middle of a dark country road with the driver’s door open, lights on and radio playing. It was constantly there, rubbing, irritating, until I finally asked myself why that car was sitting there in the road and what had happened to the driver. The possibilities were endless.

So, to narrow those possibilities to a manageable few hundred, I looked at it from another angle, the story building angle. I began to create a heroine whose life could be impacted by this abandoned car. Sheriff Leigh Mitchell, a woman feeling restless and utterly unfeminine, was born -- and the story, the pearl of my imagination, began. Add a stranger who reminds Leigh what it is to be a woman and a missing teenager, and the layers began to thicken.

Each book has developed in a similar fashion. Now that my sixth novel, A KISS IN WINTER, is coming out, I’ve decided that process was no fluke, this is how I work. I am an oyster.

The sand in the case of A KISS IN WINTER was my daughter’s photography. She has this way of framing a picture that gives a unique perspective to the subject matter. I loved looking at the world through her eyes. Then I started thinking about how photography allows someone else a glimpse of a photographer’s exclusive and personal view of the world. That really got the ball rolling. I ended up with a story in which the villain vandalizes the subjects of a calendar published by photographer Caroline Rogers. He’s careful and methodical. He wants her to know he’s coming. He wants her to anticipate the moment when he comes after the subject of her December photograph, her sister.

In order to decipher who could possibly have cause to embark on such a vendetta, Caroline turns to psychiatrist, Mick Larsen; a man whose professional experiences have filled him with self-doubt, a man whose choices have left disaster in their wake. Mick is reluctantly drawn into this mystery, as his feelings for Caroline grow. He has a very good idea that the ultimate target is not Caroline’s sister, but Caroline herself. Of course, it takes both Caroline and Mick to uncover the truth … but will they do it in time?

I’m very proud of my most recent pearl. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed following Mick and Caroline through the emotional and dangerous minefields that lay between them and true happiness.

Now I’m off to bury myself in the low-tide muck and see what lodges in my imagination to produce the next luminous pearl.



Psychic Witches with Attitude … SPELL Identical-triplet trouble in spikes …

The first book in my upcoming Triplet Witch Trilogy, SEX AND THE PSYCHIC WITCH, will be released in August of 2007. Where did I get the idea for triplet witches? I didn’t have to go far. The three figments of my inspiration live next door. They were about ten when we moved here, and they’re about twenty-three now. Identical. The first time they came to sell me Girl Scout Cookies, I thought I was hallucinating.

Story ideas are everywhere. My witches are psychic because my muses, Kate, Sarah, and Meghan—not to be confused with my psychic witches, Harmony, Destiny, and Storm—have a personal telepathic communication system upon which I elaborated. Let me be clear, however: I’m not writing about Kate, Sarah and Meghan. They inspired me and shared wonderfully fun triplet secrets with me, and there the resemblance ends. Oh, except for the fact that my neighbors are every bit as beautiful as my witches.

I introduce the triplets in THE SCOT, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. They’re spunky fighters who practically ‘raised each other’ after being abandoned at birth by their mother. They know that being strong is the only way to survive. Like Vickie, in THE SCOT, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, the triplets are heredity Pictish witches, but unlike Vickie, they’ve always known, and embraced, their heritage, so there’s a great deal of the free spirit in all of them.

The oldest is Harmony. Everyone with whom she comes in contact feels a great sense of peace. Harmony is a psychometric. She gets vibes from objects, about the objects and the people who owned them. She also gets vibes from people and spirits, strongest if she touches the person or object. Harmony hates going into her sister’s vintage clothing and curio shop because she’s bombarded with warring vibes, both positive and negative. Harmony is the shop’s buyer. She’s blunt, bossy, used to having her way, instinctively protective, and a born mediator/peacemaker. Her psychic skill is strongest when divining/involving the past.

Destiny is a true middle child. Since her mother couldn’t name a new baby Panic, she called her Destiny, certain if she hung around to raise a set of twins, panic would be her destiny. Destiny is the best friend, a spunky kid who takes lemons and makes lemonade. She’ll go out of her way to avoid conflict, but she’ll fight hard if pushed too far. Destiny gets premonitions, incomplete flashes that are like looking at a scene through a pinhole. Her psychic skill is strongest when divining/involving the future.

Storm, the “unexpected twin,” caused her mother a storm of emotions that made her “run” before the triplets’ father came to take them home from the hospital. As children, Storm’s sisters teased her about being the straw that broke the camel’s back and scared their mother away. Storm is the bad girl seductress with a nurturer crying to be set free. A rebel with frustration and anger to overcome, she hides behind her Goth trappings. She can be charming when she’s not a brat. She’s tenacious and a natural salesperson, but she’s the most insecure of the three. Storm uses her psychic insight to see and hear events not present to the senses. Storm’s psychic skill is strongest when divining/involving the present.

Harmony, Destiny, and Storm are at their most powerful when using the power of three as one. You’ll meet them in THE SCOT, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. Look for Harmony’s story, SEX AND THE PSYCHIC WITCH, in August.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy THE SCOT, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, Vickie and Rory’s story, as much as I enjoyed writing it. I really love that sexy son of a Scot in a kilt.

If you have any twin or triplet stories, I’d love to hear them. At any rate, I’m giving away a copy of MY FAVORITE WITCH and will choose a winner after Christmas from among those of you who respond to my blog.

Peace, Joy, happy endings, and long hours of reading pleasure.

Merry, Merry,



Deborah MacGillivray

In January 2005, my agent informed me Dorchester Publishing was interested in my Contemporary Paranormal Romance novel, The Invasion of Falgannon Isle. Chris Keesler wanted the book―if I could get the length down. Well, I did and sent it back to him in early March. Then, there was nothing to do but wait. Hurry up and wait―a writer’s life. Due to another editor leaving, the publisher coming down with the flu, the Romantic Times convention and the Romance Writers of America convention, I had a long spell before going to contract in September 2005.

Instead of sitting and waiting for word, I spent my time doing shorts stories for ideas I might later turn into full novels. I get a LOT of ideas, and often fear losing that freshness of the muse. I do a quick short version, then I have the story safely tucked up for later. Constant writing also keeps the wordsmithing sharp. I never really intended to see them published as short stories. However, when it was decided that Highland Press would do two holiday anthologies, I knew I wanted to use two of the stories I’d done while waiting to go to contract on my novels.
I think Christmas always holds vivid memories for us. Of late, it seems harder to catch the purity of the holiday. Too commercial. I wanted to conjure that specialness of when Christmas wishes were for simple things. The charm that seems to be missing now. That childlike magic was the starting point of my two stories.

My novella in Christmas Wishes is All I want for Christmas is a Hula-hoop…and a Mother. Inspiration, as it often does for me, came from music. The soundtrack of my life, as they say. One of the most enduring memories of Christmas for me is the old Chipmunk song “Christmas Don’t Be Late”. In it, Alvin the Chipmunk keeps telling how he wants a Hula-hoop for Christmas. Ah, a much more innocent time.

I wanted to capture that feeling of a little girl dreaming of simple gifts, not any of the expensive, high-tech stuff kids would ask for today. Allison Challenger wants a Hula-hoop…and a mother. And maybe a pony and kitty, too. The precious five-year-old thinks her ballet teacher, Leslie Seaforth, is just perfect for her new mum. Determined, she sets out to give Santa a helping-hand by playing matchmaker for her sexy daddy, Keon. When a snowstorm strands Keon and Allison at the river home of Leslie―who just happens to have Alvin the Cat and Edward the Pony―Keon knows all he has to do is come up with a Hula-hoop.

For me, Christmas also brings back memories of ballet recitals and all the preparation, so I wanted to tap into that special excitement. In Holiday in the Heart, my inspiration came from music once again. This time Elvis’ “Blue Christmas”. I was not a big Elvis fan growing up, though my mum was. However, Leanne Burroughs, owner of Highland Press, is. So is our proofreader Monika Wolmarans. Naming the cat in the story Elvis is my gentle nod to their passion for the King.

I tend to have cats in my stories, so when I thought of Blue Christmas, I thought of a British Blue cat. Thus Elvis the cat was born. Blue Christmas Cat is a sequel to All I Want Is a Hula-hoop…and a Mother. Dara Seaforth, sister to Leslie, has been snowbound in a remote Scottish cabin for the Holidays. Elvis the Cat turns up on her door step on a snowy Christmas Eve, and with him brings Rhys St. John, and the possibility that love never dies―and on a Blue Christmas all things are possible.

I was raised with part of my life in Kentucky, part in England and Scotland, so both stories reflect that. One set on each side of the Pond, they drew on my love of cats, of the endless enchantment of love and all the beautiful times of Christmases Past. A wonderful two-book project, eleven stories and one novella in each, I was honoured to share this special gift of the heart with twenty-one other wonderful and talented ladies.


Angel's Choice - Lauren Baratz-Logsted

The Gossip Girls. The A-List. The Clique.

You’ve seen the books. You’ve seen the covers. They all look like and are taken to be the Young Adult (YA) version of chick-lit even though, if you actually read the books, you find them to be more like satire; and if you talk to the teens who read them, you realize that the teens, unlike alarmist adults, are smart enough to take them as such.

Last year an unusual thing happened. A prominent YA editor, familiar with the books I’d published up to that point, contacted me asking if I’d consider writing a YA book for her. She wanted it to be like The Gossip Girls – certainly, she wanted the sales of The Gossip Girls – but not, meaning she was hoping for something with the same spunk but a little more substance.

Being the kind of author who is always surprised when anyone, particularly someone in publishing, knows who I am and knows my work, I was, quite naturally, flattered. And, since I’m always eager to learn a new writing trick and YA was not a field I’d delved into before, I jumped in, reading examples of the more prominent commercial series as well as more thoughtful volumes. I read a lot about shoes and vampires and angst.

And then I started writing.

The book – a-misfit-at-private-school seriocomic piece plus mystery – was going along fine when it was interrupted by a visit from The Idea Fairy. Yes, as crazy as it sounds, The Idea Fairy pays a visit to my brain a few times a year, depositing compelling plots there as well as commanding characters who simply will not shut up. In this instance, The Idea Fairy showed up with an idea for a more serious book than I had intended, destined to derail any plans I had of successfully penning the next best-selling Au Pairs or other frothy offering. The Idea Fairy wanted me to write the least funny book I would ever set out to write, a book with a dead-serious theme, and, since The Idea Fairy was kind enough to arrive with the plot nearly fully developed, I shut up and listened.

The book that came out of all of that is called Angel’s Choice, an earnest novel for older teens about the eponymous Angel Hansen, a smart girl on track for Yale who, on the eve of her senior year, does a very stupid thing. She goes to an end-of-summer party where she sees Danny Stanton, the boy she’s been in love with forever. She tells herself, as she has often told herself, that this is the night Danny will see her clearly and realize he is in love with her too. But when Danny goes off with someone else, Angel gets drunk and in turn goes off with another guy. She winds up having sex for the first time in her life, in an act she’s too drunk even to recall clearly later, an act that has a consequential result: she becomes pregnant. What will she do? Will she follow in the footsteps of her best friend, who had an abortion six months earlier when she got pregnant? Or will she do what no one, including her parents and guidance counselor, want her to do: have the baby, thereby complicating if not destroying the perfect life she was destined to lead? Everything that follows is Angel’s Choice.

It is, perhaps, foolish, or at least counterintuitive, to publish such a serious issues-oriented book in a publishing climate where publishers are constantly looking out for the next hot young teen chick fix. And yet that is exactly what I’m doing, supported by an editor – a different editor than the one who initially approached me about writing YA – who refers to the book as being “important,” an adjective I’d never, not in a million years, imagined anyone attaching to one of my books.

Will anyone be interested in my quiet, thoughtful novel? Who is to say? I do think that the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice camps will have something to say about it and can readily envision both camps holding it up as supporting their stances or reviling it as going against their beliefs, or even one of each, all depending on what side of the bed people get up on that day.

Reviewers and critics talk about listening to the silences in individual works. I think the same can be true of publishing in general and when I go into the YA sections of bookstores there is a cacophony of fashionable books that are to literature what Dynasty and Dallas were to more serious TV and film in the ‘80s. I have no objection to the plethora of party books, but I do think there’s enough room on the shelves for one book about a girl who wants to make an important choice, choosing not for the rest of the world, but merely for herself.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted, in addition to being the author of Angel’s Choice has written four Chick-Lit novels: The Thin Pink Line, Crossing the Line, A Little Change of Face, and How Nancy Drew Saved My Life, and the literary suspense novel Vertigo. She’s also editor of and contributor to This Is Chick-Lit. You can read more about her work at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com.


Unleashed Anthology - BOND OF SILVER

By Rebecca York

"Bond of Silver" is my novella in this anthology. Sue Kearney and I wanted to do an anthology featuring heroes with super powers. We explored a number of ideas and finally came up with the idea of New Atlantis–an island in the Caribbean. It was settled by the people of Atlantis who fled their original home when they were persecuted because of their paranormal powers. They hide their new home with a force field generated by the minds of their inhabitants. Since there are not enough of them to keep the shield active, they send out their young people–first in a dream and then in real life–to bring back a mate with latent paranormal powers who can help them keep the island hidden.My hero, Alexander, is an expert in telekinesis. But that’s not going to save him from the problems he encounters when he meets Claire and finds out she’s the daughter of a bitter woman who refused to return to New Atlantis with her lover.But Alexander gets to use his telekinesis to save Claire’s life–and also to make love to her. And there’s a nice surprise for the two of them at the end of the story.

Rebecca York


Cooking Up a Storm

Available now from Mills & Boon.

Dieting does it to me every time. I was starving. Famished. Ravenous. I couldn’t stuff my face with decadent delectables, so I decided to write about them instead. Only I read cookbooks like they are novels, so I needed more than tasty treats. Sensual fun, or course. I mean, what else do I write? Combining the two I found some suggestive vegetable photos, and had another element. Then the woman who could embody all of these things came to me, the owner of Come For Dinner catering, Lauren Brody. Smart, confident, and willing to try anything once, she’d need someone strong and determined to match her.

I spend hours just daydreaming about my characters, usually while the babes run screaming around a playground. I can ‘work’ and keep both eyes on them. Not to shabby. Lauren grew in my mind, her backstory blossoming, but it wasn’t until I read an article about biotechnology investing that Cameron started to sprout. Cameron was intense, walled off, but he left a door open through his music, and a music in his responsible approach to being a venture capitalist.

With a to-die-for menu mapped out, I set them onto the page. They sparked from their first meeting. With the backdrop of the holiday season and a few naughty treats, Lauren and Cameron blended together beautifully. I had a grand time waltzing them through mouth-watering dinners, stylish restaurants, and tantalizing deserts. For me, the book came together fluidly, the characters leading the way to a delicious finale.

Here’s what the reviewers have had to say:
Marilyn's Romance Reviews says Cooking Up A Storm is "a real winner" and "absolutely delicious and delectable, full of passion, romance and humour"
Of Cooking Up A Storm, Contemporary Romance Writers says "Sincere thanks to Jenna for this incredible sizzling and entertaining story."
Coffee Time Romance says Cooking Up A Storm is "an intense and steamy romance that will have you on the edge of your seat!"
“You feel the chemistry between Cam and Lauren immediately” says Pink Heart Society Reviews.


Cindy Holby

Creating a character

People often ask me where I get my ideas for characters. I have found that some of my characters take on traits of people I know without my meaning too. I look back on them and say, wow. he's exactly like my oldest son or my husband or my son's friend. And a lot of my characters are inspired my people I actually know.

The main character in Shooting Star, Ruben, came to life one day when I was helping out at my former job over Christmas. I was in the process of writing Stargazer, the first book in my star series. I had no plans for Ruben, other than the fact that I needed to get Shaun and Lilly off the swamp planet. But Dan, a college student that I worked with changed all that. We were cutting up and Dan walked out of the back and did this funky little dance move. I just shook my head and said "Someday I'm going to put you in a book." and he said. "Can I be a smuggler pilot type? And have this really cool knife?" And a character was born.

But the best part was watching Ruben grow. Not only was he convenient for advancing the story line but his personality took on a life of its own. I loved the part in Stargazer when the Circe drugged him and he thought he was going to have to seduce all of them. But then I started thinking about where Ruben came from. What made him the man he was? Did he have secrets? And what could I do to a man who was used to having what ever he wanted whenever he wanted. And thus came the story for Shooting Star. Ruben is a man with a secret past and those secrets finally catch up with him. Then I put him on a primitive planet with a beautiful slave woman who has a young son and things start to happen. Which led to the birth of another character named Boone. His story comes next. If I ever get it finished that is.