Curveball - Kate Angell

Writing relaxes me. I can live through a day when most everything goes wrong, yet when I sit before my computer and escape into my characters’ lives, all is right with the world once again.

I love sports, especially baseball. I’m not athletic, but I make a terrific fan. There are no athletes as sexy as the Boys of Summer. I was fortunate my editor, Alicia Condon, allowed me to create the Richmond Rogues, a champion caliber team, where the members play as hard on the field as they do off.

In the earliest creation of any book, the characters must walk into my life and demand their story. I like them that visible. I often don’t have a plot in mind when I sit down to write. I do, however, know my characters inside and out. They are fully fleshed out in my mind, all flawed and conflicted and ready for me to fix them.

CURVEBALL combines three romances. Readers will meet the Bat Pack - Cody ‘Psycho’ McMillan, Jesse ‘Romeo’ Bellisaro, and Chase ‘Chaser’ Tallan – three major league power hitters.

On defense, Psycho plays right field. He’s loosely modeled after Johnny Damon of the New York Yankees. Damon plays all-out, all the time. He’s hit the outfield wall so many times, his teammates drew a chalk outline on the wall, similar to the ones drawn around a dead body.

That’s how I envisioned Psycho, a dedicated wild man who could jump like a super hero and snatch a fly ball from a greedy fan’s hands.

Then there's Romeo Bellisaro, the sexiest man in Major League Baseball. He can charm the Hanky Panky panties off any woman. Until he meets Emerson Kent, a Sports reporter for the Virginia Banner. Romeo accidentally roughs her up during a team brawl, only to have this sassy and intelligent woman bring him to his knees.

Chaser Tallan’s neighbor, Jen Reid, has been his best friend from playpens to the big league. Not until he accidentally kisses her does he realize he wants this woman in his bed for the rest of his life.

I hope you enjoy the Bat Pack. CURVEBALL was a fun book to write. I’m certain that Psycho, Romeo, and Chaser will make cameo appearances in the remaining books in this series.

Happy summer! Happy reading!
Kate Angell



Many authors mention in their bios that they always wanted to be a writer. Not me. I wanted to be an astronaut. Didn’t happen due to a right brain that quakes at the sight of anything requiring math skills, not to mention a body prone to motion sickness. Oh well…some dreams just aren’t meant to be.

I got the urge to write well into my adulthood. While on a business trip, I was attacked by a rabid dream. That dream eventually became LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION, a romantic suspense that officially releases tomorrow from Dorchester Love Spell.

LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION is a story about secrets and revenge and the steps some people will go to in order to protect the former and achieve the latter. I’ve always been fascinated by both secrets and revenge. Who among us doesn’t have secrets? Who among us hasn’t harbored revenge fantasies? Is it possible to get through junior high school without a hefty dose of both? I doubt it.

Years ago I knew a woman who went to great lengths to project the ideal marriage. She constantly bragged about how much her husband loved her and what a perfect marriage they had. Then I learned the secrets behind the lies. She was carrying on an affair that he discovered by tapping his own phone. Mr. and Mrs. Perfect were anything but. Although LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION isn’t about that marriage, it got me thinking about public persona versus private reality.

I’m also fascinated by the way the “common” folk act around celebrities. In SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION the playwright John Guare called it “star f*cking,” that annoying, name-dropping habit of those who need to brag about their connection to someone famous, no matter how tenuous the link: They once shared a plane with George Clooney, or they went to the same high school as Brad Pitt, or they played tennis with Pierce Brosnan’s third cousin’s wife’s uncle’s accountant. Of course, they fail to mention that George was sitting in First Class while they were stuck in Coach or Brad graduated a decade after they attended the school. And let’s just forget about Pierce and the accountant. That’s really taking six degrees of separation a bit far, don’t you agree? However, for many people being able to show some relationship between themselves and a celebrity makes them more important, if only in their own eyes.

In LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION Logan Crawford is initially attracted to Emma Wadsworth because she doesn’t give a damn who he is. At first he’s not even sure she recognizes him, and he can’t imagine how that could be possible. After all, he was recently named Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine. Everyone recognizes Logan Crawford, whether he wants them to or not. He’s used to a fawning public, but Emma doesn’t fawn. And that makes her both intriguing and irresistible in Logan’s eyes.

However, Emma’s the one with all the secrets. And she’s also the target of someone’s revenge. Make that two someones. In the blink of an eye she goes from being Philadelphia’s most beloved citizen to the city’s most notorious criminal. Think scandal. Think long buried secrets. Think murder. And it all starts with a spilled latte.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION and fall in love with Emma and Logan the way I did. I had a blast bringing their story to life. You can read an excerpt at my website, www.loiswinston.com . And if you hurry, you can still enter the contest I’m running to celebrate the release of LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION. Today is the last day to enter. I’ll be drawing a winner tomorrow, the official release date of the book. All you have to do is read the excerpt and answer the question on the CONTEST page < http://www.loiswinston.com/indexcontests.html > One lucky person will win a coffee themed basket, including a LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION coffee mug, gourmet coffees, chocolate, and other assorted goodies.

And if you like watching book videos, check mine out on my homepage or at YouTube < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-EAejc7OC8 > On my website you’ll also find information about my other books, reviews, interesting links, articles on writing, and more. So grab a cup of your beverage of choice, stop by, and stay awhile.

Happy reading!



It was early one Saturday morning. My friend Britta and I were having a yard sale. A couple of hours and many cups of coffee into the yard sale we were kicking back in our lawn chairs staring at all the junk that no one had bought. We were silent, and in fact hadn’t muttered a word in probably thirty minutes. She was most likely thinking the same thing as me, Let’s just haul this off to Goodwill and hit the beach.

So this is how the conversation went:

Britta: Wouldn’t it be cool to be a spy?
Me: Yeah.
Britta: Just like Sydney Bristow we could travel around the world under aliases.
Me: Yeah.

Britta: So what’s your next book about?
Me: I dunno. Something teen, definitely.
Britta: (long pause)How ‘bout teen spies?
Me: Hmmm...

Slowly, I sat up, ideas starting to ping pong around in my head. Teen spies...that really was a cool idea. Then I ran and got a notepad, and here’s the conversation continued:

Me: Oooh, oooh, we cold totally have like...
Britta: And, and, oh my God, what about...
Me: Wait a minute. I have a better idea...
Britta: No that sucks. You need to do this.
Me: Hey, who’s writing this anyway?

Hours went by. Literally. And when we got done, we looked up and saw all of our junk was gone. And this was how the conversation went:

Britta: Where’s all are stuff?
B’s husband: Some lady came, offered fifty bucks for it all, and loaded it up.
Britta: Cool.
Me: Cool. (long pause)So what now?
Britta: Hello? Go write the freaking series.
Me: (sigh)


Jennifer Ashley

I know a few authors who get annoyed when someone asks them where they get their ideas. I like the question, personally, because it’s fascinating to try to figure out how stories evolve—how we go from nothing to a complete world inside a book.

I think authors are thrown off by this question because usually the answer is “I don’t know.” It’s difficult to remember the germ of an idea after it’s been fleshed out and given life as a complete book.

I’ve written twenty-three books now (five more will be published this year), and several novellas, and I’ve lost track of what inspired them all. Ideas stream to me constantly, from dreams, random thoughts, incidents I observe, current events, historical events, a word, a phrase . . .

Here are a few inspirations I remember:

Perils of the Heart (my first published novel). I read a legend of a woman pirate commandeering a merchant ship to rescue her pirate lover from prison in Havana. So what if I put an innocent governess on this ship, and suddenly she’s forced to participate in pirate plots? And what if the handsome captain of the ship assumes she’s a pirate? The potential for fun and heat was too much to resist!

The Pirate Next Door. I was desperately trying to come up with a plot for another historical. I had plenty of ideas, all of them “blah.” I looked out my window at my neighbor, who is a biker. I thought “If I was writing a contemporary, I’d call it The Biker Next Door. But I’m doing a historical—so—ah, The Pirate Next Door.” And the entire story popped almost fully formed into my head.

The Captain Lacey mystery series (written as Ashley Gardner at Berkley): I wanted to write a series with a Regency dandy as a sleuth. However, several authors had already done that, so I thought—what would be the opposite of a Regency dandy? A forty-year old cavalry captain, gentleman-born but his fortune lost, with nothing to do after the Napoleonic wars and no money. He would live in the “bad” part of town and have street girls for neighbors, and be getting over a broken heart. Captain Gabriel Lacey was born. I’ve written six books in this award-winning series so far. I did get my Regency dandy though—he’s the hero’s best friend. :)

Tales of the Shareem (written as Allyson James). In the past in England, lower-class village men sometimes auctioned off their wives as a quickie (though technically illegal) divorce. I thought, how unfair—why shouldn’t the men be auctioned off, too?

And then I thought—why not? How about a scifi story in which a factory creates men to be sexually enhanced and sold as pleasure slaves to women? And to make it more interesting, the factory has shut down, the Shareem (the slaves) are outlawed and barely allowed to live. What would these men do to survive, and what would women do to have access to the forbidden Shareem? I’ve written four of these books now and more are on their way.

Dragon Heat (forthcoming by Allyson James from Berkley). I was staying in a NY apartment for a weekend and thought—what if a young woman opened the spare bedroom door and found a dragon behind it? What if time and space had bent to allow a sixty-foot dragon to occupy a ten by ten space? (My brain can go in odd directions sometimes.) And what would happen if the dragon was allowed to cross over and become human? I changed the location to San Francisco, because I knew it much better than Manhattan, and Dragon Heat was born.

The Immortals series. This one came to me on one of those sleepless nights—what if a group of men existed through time to help people in trouble? One would be Adrian, the leader with a dark past. One would be Tain, red-haired and Celtic. One would be Hunter, compensating for a broken heart. And so many more possibilities! When there was danger, the Immortals could be called via a spell or ritual, and would appear to help.

I kicked that idea around in my head for a long time, thinking about plots for each character. I didn’t have the chance to pitch it, having plenty of books to write and deadlines to meet, until my editor at Dorchester told me she’d welcome new ideas for a continuity series if I had them. The Immortals seemed to fit right in, and I quickly wrote a synopsis…. And here we are.

The first book of the Immortals: The Calling hit shelves on May 1. This is Adrian’s story, with The Darkening by Robin Popp (June 2007) telling Darius’s story; The Awakening (August 2007) by Joy Nash telling Kalen’s story, and The Gathering (Sept. 2007) telling Hunter’s story plus bringing the series arc to a close. But wait, there’s more! Tain’s story will also be told in a followup book, pub date TBA.

I did an interview with Adrian of The Calling on Dorchester’s website at http://www.dorchesterpub.com/Dorch/SpecialFeatures.cfm?Special_ID=2264

Read about the books that come from my wild brain at http://www.jennifersromances.com/; http://www.allysonjames.com/; and http://www.gardnermysteries.com/

After all these books, have I run out of ideas? No way! New ideas come every day. If only I had time to write them all down….


Jennifer Ashley
(and her other personas)


Coming Home

Are you a member of my generation? No, not Generation-X. I mean Generation-OTD (Older Than Dirt). If so, the Vietnam War was a definitive event in your life. The news bombarded you with it each night, you heard it debated in classrooms and saw anti-war protests—or maybe participated in them. I grew up in a military family, so I had a perspective of the war and politics that many of my friends in school didn’t, but the war infected my life, just the same. You couldn’t have lived in the US during the 1960s and 70s without that being the case.

In the last couple of years, I’ve written two stories with Vietnam as the backdrop. One is a novel and the other is this story, Coming Home. Neither are statements on the war itself, just on how it affected families, careers and lives.

Coming Home is a fictional account of a young man’s leave during his tour of duty. Tom Stabler goes back to his home, a Nebraska farm, and the world has shifted. His soul is troubled; he’s seen things and done things he doesn’t know how to process. His parents seem older, the house smaller. Then he is reunited with the girl he left behind, and with her he finds peace.

I’ve grounded Coming Home in Vietnam, but Tom Stabler’s story is not unique, though it is more intense. On a smaller scale, remember the first time you went back to your childhood home after being away at college? Didn’t everything seem different? Lives changed, neighbors came or went, and you weren’t there to experience it. You felt out of place, slightly disoriented. Now you understand Tom and the idea behind Coming Home.

What do you think? Have you ever had this feeling?

I hope you enjoy Coming Home! Please visit my website http://deesknight.com) to find Coming Home and my other works, excerpts, contests, and news.

Thanks for being with me!
Dee S. Knight


Castle of the Wolf

CASTLE OF THE WOLF is the story of a young woman, Cissy Fussell, who finds out after her father’s death that she has inherited a castle in the Black Forest – but only on one condition: in order to keep the castle, she has to marry the son of her father’s old friend. Unfortunately, said son turns out to be a beast rather than Prince Charming.

Two people are to blame for the existence of CASTLE OF THE WOLF (apart from myself, that is). The first is Gaelen Foley, who, incidentally, also gave me the cover quote for the book (and I'm really glad she liked the story she unwittingly inspired!). When I first got to know her, we talked a little about settings, and this e-mail conversation gave me the idea to choose Germany as the setting for some future novel. But that was not all: after she had read THE LILY BRAND, my debut novel, Gaelen told me, “You do know, Sandy, don’t you, that now you have to continue writing dark and kinky?” Ha! I thought. I can do kinky, so dark shouldn’t be a problem either. (Ha, indeed, for this was before erotic romance exploded all over the place and put a whole new definition on “kinky”.) Now, if you mix “dark” and “Germany” and “early nineteenth century,” you end up with “gothic novel.” And the Black Forest, with its deep, dark woods and old castles seemed the perfect setting for such a book. Besides, I spent the early years of my childhood there, thus writing CASTLE OF THE WOLF allowed me to revisit my childhood memories and dig through old family pictures. It was simply wonderful! (That the novel didn’t turn out too dark or too gothic is entirely the fault of the lady with the sturdy boots. Never give your characters sturdy boots, I tell you! They’ll only stomp all the gothicness to dust. Literally.) So, I now had my general premise and my setting: I was going to write a gothic romance set in the Black Forest. But what I was still missing was some idea where and how to start my story. And this is where my former folklore prof comes in.

The last the seminar I took with Professor Simon was about death and mourning rituals (very uplifting, indeed!). For this course I wrote a paper on death, mourning, and femininity in Victorian Britain, for which my major source was Pat Jalland’s DEATH IN THE VICTORIAN FAMILY. In an aside she mentions that people didn’t only dye their clothes black, but that they also dyed horses for the funeral procession.

Horses? But what ...

What if they used cheap dye, and it started to rain?

And into my mind sprang the picture of an old gig, rumbling across a muddy country lane, and thus I had found the beginning of my story: “Water poured from the skies and shrouded the world in grey. Raindrops drummed on the fold-back roof of the old gig, wormed their way through the ancient material and dripped onto the hats of the three passengers. Wetness glinted on the back of the shaggy mare, and dye ran down her sides, leaving black oily puddles on the muddy country lane.”


All the best,

For more information on Sandra and her books please visit www.sandraschwab.com.