Tag Archives: romance author

Insta-Love, is it real?

Thursdays Bite

the manic event of love

Lately I’ve been listening to podcasts, one of which is the DBSA podcast conducted by the ladies of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Dear Author. This is a terrific podcast for anyone who loves romance, romance authors, or smart ladies debating the romance world. First of all, let me say that as much as I love listening to the podcast, I’m scared to death one of these amazing women will read and review something that I’ve written. They are super-smart and not afraid to state their opinions. And boy, do they have opinions. Which is good for reviewers. They should have steady and strong opinions and be willing to stand behind them. I respect that and it makes for good radio, um, podcasts.

Despite my immense awe of these reviewers, I find myself disagreeing with them on one thing you find often in romance, they don’t seem to like books where the love hits hard and fast. Insta-love.

two hearts w/  ribbonIt used to be called love at first sight. And these aren’t the only reviewers I’ve heard who don’t like it. But me? I’m kind of partial to it. At least when it’s done well and the author sweeps you up in their story and doesn’t put you down for a second.

Why? Why am I a believer?

Because I’ve experienced it. Yep, I’ll admit it. I have had insta-love.

It hits hard and it comes from nowhere. For me it was a kind of recognition. I looked up and said to myself, “That one.” And underlying it was a strange sense of déja-vu, of knowing that I knew him- that I’d always known him.

Even though I didn’t think I’d ever seen him before.

I think it may be genetic because it is rampant in my family. My parents were engaged to be married after only knowing each other a few weeks. They were married after one month. And in case you are doing the “wink-wink” there must be a baby involved, my sister wasn’t born until two years later, so that wasn’t it. No, if you listen to them, love was instantaneous.

There are stories from my family’s history of couples that fell madly, passionately in love and, despite their parents opinions, ran off and got married. And were disowned. (Play the dark music here) Thankfully my grandparents didn’t do that, but I think it was a near thing. My grandmother always thought my mother could have done better, even though my mother has always been strong in her opinion that it was love right from the very first moment and my dad is a terrific guy.

I believe in love at first sight. I believe it’is real. I have first-hand knowledge, and second-hand knowledge. If what we romance authors write are romances, and love at first sight is very romantic, why do so many reviewers (and readers) not accept it?

I think there are a few reasons. Keep in mind none of this is scientific, it’s just my brain wondering how I know it exists while so many people deny it.

Number one: for some of them, possibly they haven’t experienced it. Whether through fate, or genetics, or never allowing themselves to believe, it hasn’t happened for them and (like having a karmic or supernatural experience) I don’t think you can be a true-believer without experiencing it. Just as I believe-because it happened to me, they don’t believe- because it didn’t happen to them. Many people have true love without the instant falling. It takes a few dates, or it might be with someone who was a friend, or it might even take years of off and on to realize this person is the one. Not everyone falls in love the same way. That’s why we read romances. Everyone’s story should be different.

Then there is reason number two, it’s hard to write love at first sight. It’s terribly difficult to write of someone who falls in love the second they see someone and have it be believable. I don’t think many authors pull it off, so the reviews are justified. Maybe the reviewers would give some of these stories A++ if the authors pull it off. We believe it in the movies. We canhear the change in the voices, see the pupils widen and the lips part. And, since we are very visual, we go with it. Even if afterwards we might say, “I loved it, but they fell in love too fast.”

And reason number three, if the goal of a love story is to fall in love, and that happens right away, then how can there be a story? This is a very valid point. And the answer is the story cannot be about the act of falling in love, it must be about something else.

Either the distrust of the emotion: I can’t believe I love them, it was too fast.

Or the obstacles between them: Romeo and Juliet fall in insta-love, but the obstacles between them are insurmountable.

I think the author’s job is not to avoid writing about immediate love, but to make it work. We believe Romeo and Juliet. We feel their intensity and their passion. That’s not to say that all modern romances are written with Shakespearean skill, but that the opportunity is there. We know it can work. It has happened. Authors make less believable ideas work every day.

All of my books so far are fast relationships. Sometimes they’ve known each other before, but typically they move fast. All I can say is that I like fast moving plots and fast moving relationships. In some books, you either skip whole periods of time. “Later that week” or “It had been three months of lovely dinners and shopping” in order to accomplish the avoidance of fast-love. Is that any more believable than a relationship that flares up and burns hot?

I don’t think so.

If you are interested in reading an author who has not just done well with falling in love fast, but has made a career out of it, try Tara Janzen. Her Steele Street books feature romances that occur in twenty-four hours. She sells like hot-cakes and the relationships are sizzling, fast, and sexy.

So, where does that leave us, the readers and writers of romance? Do you like stories where the couple falls hard and fast? Do you believe in love at first sight, or can you suspend your disbelief when an author is able to make it work? What other authors write steamy relationships that defy our standards of relationships and have fast pacing?


Filed under romance, Thursdays Bite

Five Things to Remember When Reading Your Book Aloud

Moonday Mania

just a random blog

Hi all! I’ve had some questions on Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court and yes, it is nearly ready! I’m so excited to tell you that I think I should be in possession of a cover any day now. Really, very soon. Okay, maybe by next week. It’s been like pulling teeth to get this book to market. The cover has been a challenge and I’ve learned a lot of dos and don’ts in how-to do a series of covers. The next one I’ll get all my covers done at the same time, so I’ll have them ready on time and they will go together. Finding images to compete with the amazing cover for The Dark Huntsman is a challenge!

Speaking of The Dark Huntsman, thank you to everyone who voted for it in the JABBIC contest. I’m pretty excited to see how it does. I think the cover competes very well but it’s tough being so far down on the list. I nearly gave up with all the scrolling through 80+ entries. Thank you to everyone who persevered and got through the whole list of paranormal entries. Whew!

I do have a blog topic today. Of course. So let’s get to it!

Have you ever sat in front of twenty, thirty, fifty people and read your work out loud? I think every author should try it, at least once or twice. Last month I had the pleasure (um, gulp!) of reading a section of my book out loud to my chapter members. I’ve done this before, but I have to tell you it never gets easy. And each time I’ve learned something different, so I thought I would share my thoughts on how to read-aloud.

1. Don’t necessarily choose the first chapter of your book.

I did this both times, and while I feel like the first chapter is good for an introduction, it may not be the best section to read aloud. Don’t get me wrong, it might be the best section, but it might have a bit of introduction that the book needs, but isn’t the best for a read aloud. Pick a section that is very intense and will catch the audience. Hopefully this is the first chapter, but first chapters sometimes have a lot of scene building, and that isn’t as exciting for a read-aloud, especially if you have less than ten minutes. Choose a very exciting passage, one that might take a little verbal explanation for the audience, but has them hopping out of their chairs.

And target your section to your audience. I read aloud the first section of Prince by Blood and Bone, which is very exciting, but it is full of fantasy elements. This was a group of romance readers and writers and some of them are focused only on the contemporary genre. They get speed-bumped by magic and attacking ogres. I would have been better off choosing a love scene with heat and tension between the couple. Different audience, different choices.

2. Do chose your section ahead of time and practice

The other times I’ve read aloud I had the time to sit down and go through the pages, figure out what I wanted to read, and practice reading it out loud. Last month I didn’t. I had to grab my book, sit down and read cold. It made a huge difference. I found myself self-editing as I read and that didn’t make for as smooth a transition as it could have. I wanted to cut things, and re-arrange them, and it made me stumble as I read. If I’d taken the time to choose the section first, I might have chosen a different one. One that read aloud a little more smoothly.

Choose a passage that has action and dialogue, and isn’t packed with internalization, back story, or scene description. Unless one of those is incredibly compelling and packed with tension, you will lose your audience fast.

One note: some of the words in your passage you might be comfortable with using, you know what they mean and you use them correctly in a sentence, but when reading them out loud, you might not be able to pronounce them! Tripping over words or passages is better discovered in the privacy of your own bathroom, um living room. (Okay, you read out loud where you want to, and I’ll read out loud where I want to.)

3. Practice

This one is so important, I am putting it in twice. You need to know how you read and how long it will take you to read what you’ve chosen out loud. Practice slowing down. Most of us read twice as fast in a real read-aloud situation, so be sure to account for that in your timing.You need to make sure you can pronounce all the words, and you need to make sure nothing in the passage is a speedbump. In other words, if you have some illicit words that you can type with impunity, but you can’t read out loud in front of a group without stumbling and blushing, you’d best figure that out at home!

Practice your cadence. Figure out where you want to add emphasis to words and what spots might be good for pausing and looking up. Try out voices for dialogue. That may not work for you, but it could be the thing that makes your reading stand out.

(If you have time, it’s good to video yourself reading out loud. You will learn a lot about habits you have, such as coughing, pausing, or reading too fast. Do it live, because we read very differently in front of an audience than at home in front of the mirror.)

4. Lay out your clothes ahead of time

20140210-074140.jpgThis is good advice for anything you are doing that might make you nervous. Interviews, read-alouds, dates. Take the time to vet your outfit. Try it in different positions and make sure it is comfortable as well as stylish. The very first time I read aloud I chose a lovely modest, cover your knees, pink skirt. At least I thought it was modest. Imagine my surprise when I went to sit down and cross my legs and felt a small draft. It was modest standing up, but sitting down slightly above my audience made it a little more risqué than I truly appreciated. I spent a lot of time worrying about that(tugging it down, shifting positions) when I should have been focusing on my reading!

(At least the shoes look good!)

5. Seed the audience

If you can, make sure you have some friendly faces to look at. Part of your practicing reading should be to look up every so often and make eye contact with your audience. This is much easier if you have made sure you have someone you know at each triangular point. In other words, if the room is like a clock face and you are at 12 o’clock, place a friendly face at 3, 6, and 9. This way you have a target face to glance up at. They will be smiling at you, and nodding encouragement, instead of those horrible blank expressions it’s likely the rest of the audience has plastered on their faces.

Reading your own work can be a challenge. I think it’s important, as an author, to try it out. For your first read-aloud experience you might try reading someone else’s work out loud, that way you will only be nervous about the reading part, and not the actual “OMG, I’m presenting my baby on a plate to wolves!” Because that’s what it feels like. For me, I think it’s worse than sending books out on submission, because you can see in their faces if they are bored or intrigued.

What if it doesn’t go right? What if it’s a bomb?

The odds of your first read aloud going the way you want it to are slim. Do it anyway. Do it because you might garner a few fans. Do it because it’s a challenge. Do it because it’s good to get to know your work in a different way. Just do it.

What challenges have you faced in front of an audience? Have you ever read your own work out loud? Had a wardrobe malfunction? Been reading and realized mid-stream that you’d failed to target your audience? Share with me in the comments, I love to hear from you!


Filed under About the Author, channeling success, facing failure, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

Long Island Medium

Thursdays Bite

a glimpse into the supernatural

If you’ve missed my romance author news lately, check out Monday’s blog to see all the new venues The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court is now available on. It’s not just on Amazon, baby! And now that I’ve managed to load everywhere, I’m super excited to release Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, book two in the series. Just waiting on the cover. It’s been a few months coming, but I can’t wait to have it done. I’m thinking that February will be a good release month, but at this point I’m afraid to set the goal. Every time I do someone has a catastrophe and the book is delayed. I’m not sending anyone any more catastrophes, so no dates yet! I’ll wait until I have the cover in my hot little hands. 

Now on to the blog!

Last week I mentioned how excited I am to have Vikings on the history channel in February. I love the show and I find it a refreshing change from all the reality tv slush out there. But, I do have to say I have one reality tv weakness. My guilty pleasure is the show, Long Island Medium. I don’t know why I love watching Theresa Caputo go through her supernatural life on Long Island so much, but I do. There is something reassuring about her. She’s not a flashy medium with purple hair and woo-woo robes.

Okay, she is a little flashy, I’ll admit it. She has an amazing hair-do that must take hours and cans of hairspray to maintain, and her long white nails are a little intimidating for someone like me with the ability to tear a nail in seconds, but overall she’s just what she says she is, “A typical Long Island mom.”

Speaking of Theresa’s nails, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve watched a city girl with a NYT manicure milk a cow. It’s crazy! And she’s pretty good at it too. I think that’s why I like the show. Only Theresa could milk a cow with those nine-inch nails and give a psychic reading to a skeptical farmer at the same time. She’s amazing! (On a super cheapskate alert I can’t post this Youtube video because TLC charges you $1.99 to watch the episode. Yes, they want to make money every which way possible, but take my word for it, those nails can milk!)

And she even has a book! WOOT! I haven’t read the book, I just love watching the show. If you’ve read the book let me know what you thought. Some of my friends watch the ghost hunter guys shine black lights around basements and talk to themselves. I like watching Theresa bump into strangers in ice cream shops and tell them their moms are still looking out for them. What can I say? I’m a softie!

What is your guilty tv pleasure? Do you have one? Do you watch some of those reality shows or reruns of I Love Lucy? What about old black and white movies or late night horror? There must be a lot of horror fans because when I search for a movie on Demand there is almost nothing to watch that isn’t scary. Tell me your secret vice, shh, it’s just between us and the spirits!


Filed under About the Author, ghosts, paranormal inspiration, Thursdays Bite

Jessica Aspen’s 2014 Goals

Moonday Mania

a blog for the future!

It’s January, and usually I start talking about my goals for my romance books in December, but December 2013 was all about getting The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, out to readers. During December I had blog tours, sales, even a Facebook Round Robin, all in the name of promoting fantasy romance to the masses. Such is the job of a romance author during the holidays. 🙂

Now it’s January and I’m posting my goals.

First of all, I should check in with last year’s goals. They were massive, my goal was to dream big. I knew even when I set them that I wasn’t likely to achieve them all, but I did pretty well. Here they are!

Jessica Aspen Goals for 2013

Overall Organizational Goals: 

  1. Continue to set and review monthly goals, set daily goals based on monthly goals DONE
  2. Write five days per week, 3 hours per day DONE to my satisfaction for the first part of the year(when I wasn’t working the day job and when I was focused on writing)
  3. Goal is 3k/day didn’t always hit this one
  4. and edit 15-20 pages per day fell off at the end of the year due to floods, jury duty, and misc OPPs!
  5. Keep up with personal site, blog 2 days a week DONE
  6. Self-publishing class in January (taking a fabulous class on Author EMS with  Amy Atwell and Kelli Finger!) DONE
  7. Tax class in February from Colorado Romance WritersDONE
  8. Market 1-2 hours per day DONE
  9. Attend CRW Writing Retreat in September Changed my mind and attended Hot Mojave Knights instead!

goldi and the bear by jessica aspenWriting Goals

  1. Finish editing Goldi and the Bear by January 18th DONE
  2. Polish Goldi and the Bear  by January 30th DONE, A few days later, but done!
  3. Write rough draft of B&B (second book in TQH series) DONE
  4. Edit rough draft of B&B DONE
  5. Start thinking about 3rd book in  TQH series started, but really pushed off until 2014
  6. Outline 3rd book in TQH series NOT DONE
  7. Superhero goals: Edit BW and outline first book in that series pushed off until 2014 or 2015

Marketing Goals 

  1. Submit Goldi and the Bear to PIP by January 30 DONE
  2. Decide what to do with HH Novellas Oh, this is so sad, but I did write one and it is so close to publishing it almost hurts! It will get out in 2014!
  3. Continue to submit TQH DONE This one is very interesting. It was nearly under contract, but I decided to publish it myself instead and it is now The Dark Huntsman and is doing great!the dark huntsman by jessica aspen
  4. Market all books (Little Red. S&S. GoldiDONE
  5. Enter Little Red in  contests DONE And Red finaled in the Golden Quill and received an Honorable Mention in the Holt Medallion contest. WOOT!
  6. Enter TQH into contests ENTERED IN 2014 SEVERAL CONTESTS.
  7. Increase presence on Goodreads Didn’t do much for this. Did have a Goodreads Giveaway!
  8. Work on All Romance Exposure nope
  9. Figure out how to increase presence on reader sites/loops ???

Now on to this year!

I’ve decided to simplify my goals. Write down some big goals and then every month see how I can achieve them by splitting them into steps. So here goes!

Overall Goals for 2014

  1. Publish two books in Tales of the Black Court Series (Prince by Blood and Bone-end of Jan, Mirror-summer 2014)
  2. Publish Christmas story (First of Haunted Holiday Novellas)  (goal is Christmas in July)
  3. Publish on more formats
  4. Be making enough money by the end of 2014 to cover my writing expenses
  5. Continue to hone marketing techniques.
  6. Remember balance
  7. Work on writing on a schedule
  8. Come up with a plan for other books/series: What is my next step? Either start writing Tales of the Winter Court, focus on Haunted Holiday novellas, or write other Shifter books
  9. Work on writing/spending time more efficiently

That’s it! Last year was all about DREAM BIG! I set a lot of goals and worked hard to achieve them. I knew when I set them that I wouldn’t hit them all, but I actually did quite a bit. Last year I had two novellas from Passion in Print published Snow and the Seventh Wolf and Goldi and the Bear…and I published The Dark Huntsman on my own.Snow and the Seventh Wolf by Jessica Aspen

This year is all about EFFICIENCY. How do I set a few big goals and achieve them by achieving little goals. Be flexible and re-evaluate frequently. Be light on my feet. Be a butterfly stinging!

How are your goals looking? Did you achieve the important things this year? What changes will you be making for 2014? What goals are you setting? Personal and professional? I’d love to hear! Leave me a comment and tell me your goals.


Filed under About the Author, channeling success, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

A Voodoo Dream—Is It a Nightmare?

Welcome to Whimisical Wednesday

a blog for fabulous writers

It’s Whimsical Wednesday, the day I may or may not blog and you never know what to expect. Today, on Jessica Aspen Writes, I’m lucky to showcase romantic suspense author, Alana Lorens. I met, Alana, at Margie Lawson’s Deep Immersion workshop. Up on Margie’s Mountain there is magic and mystery in the air. Why else would so many of the women I met up there have become such terrific authors? Including, Alana. You may remember my showcasing her previous romantic suspense books in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer series, Conviction of the Heart, and Second Chances. (Click HERE for the post) And I know you’ll want to check out her other books (written as Lyndi Alexander) as well (see her bio below for more info.) Without further delay…here’s Alana!

A voodoo dream—is it a nightmare?

New Orleans is a fabulous old city of the South, a culturally-rich city that draws from roots in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. The French Quarter, in particular, is often recognizable by its cast-iron balconies the french quarterand its colorful streets full of delightful little shops where one can find objets d’art and many other interesting things.  new orleans blue doors

But New Orleans has a darker side, also long set in its history. As anyone who’s been following the current season of American Horror Story: Coven knows, voodoo has been practiced in the city and surrounding areas for many years, and the name most associated with voodoo in New Orleans is that of Marie Laveau.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines voodoo as: A religion practiced chiefly in Caribbean countries, especially Haiti, syncretized from Roman Catholic ritual elements and the animism and magic of slaves from West Africa, in which a supreme God rules a large pantheon of local and tutelary deities, deified ancestors, and saints, who communicate with believers in dreams, trances, and ritual possessions. Also called vodoun.

voodoo alter museum  As in most practices, the majority of those who practice this religion use it for purposes of good—to heal the sick, to help the hungry, or those addicted to alcohol or drugs through direction of spiritual energy and protective amulets called gris-gris. But there are those who use its arts for evil, to gain personal power, to mete out revenge, and to harm others. This is the picture many Hollywood films have used to demonstrate voodoo and its practitioners, often with dolls stuck full of pins or blood-soaked curses.

voodoo dreams by alana lorensVOODOO DREAMS is the story of two separate lawyers from Pittsburgh, who innocently jet off to the city of New Orleans at Mardi Gras to escape their worries and troubles, only to find a whole lot more waiting for them there—as well as the possibility of love.

When her big trial goes bad, corporate attorney Brianna Ward can’t wait to get out of Pittsburgh. The Big Easy seems like the perfect place to rest, relax, and forget about the legal business. Too bad an obnoxious—but handsome—lawyer from a rival firm is checking into the same bed and breakfast.

 Attorney Evan Farrell has Mardi Gras vacation plans too. When he encounters fiery and attractive Brianna, however, he puts the Bourbon Street party on hold. He’d much rather devote himself to her—especially when a mysterious riddle appears in her bag, seeming to threaten danger.

Strangely compelled to follow the riddle’s clues, Brianna is pulled deeper into the twisted schemes of a voodoo priest bent on revenge. To escape his poisonous web, she must work with Evan to solve the curse. But is the growing love they feel for each other real? Or just a voodoo dream?


The voodoo priest Copper placed the boat in the fire, and it vanished in a burst of white flame.

“Damballah has received your petitions!” he proclaimed. “We shall now glorify him!”

He bent before the altar and reached into a screened box. A flourish of drums preceded a moment of reverent silence as Copper drew out a huge gold-flecked python. He held the undulating snake up in the firelight. The monster had to be at least ten feet long.

A dancer moved forward to take it from the priest. It curled around her as Copper oiled his hands from a jar on the altar, then massaged the snake.

“Great God Damballah, we hail your presence among us,” he intoned. “Those who have gathered pray your blessings upon us and the granting of our deepest desires.”

The dancers slowly weaved forward in a line, backs undulating in rhythm, giving the appearance of a snake themselves. In sharp contrast, Brianna now stood still, eyes closed.

Evan wanted to call out to her, but found his voice missing. Again.

What was it with these ooga-booga guys anyway? The next one that shut him up would have his attitude seriously adjusted.

Copper moved toward Brianna, a silver dagger in his hand. Where had that come from?

The dancer with the snake followed close behind him.

Evan tried to jump up but found himself stuck to the bench.

Copper took Brianna’s hand, turning it palm up. A slice of the dagger slit her finger. She didn’t even react.

Red blood collected on her finger, and Copper held it over the snake’s head until it dripped onto its nose. The snake’s tongue flicked out, tasting the blood. Copper pulled gently on Brianna’s arm until it was extended. The snake inched up Brianna’s stiff arm, poking its ugly face around the back of her neck, slithering down her other arm until it graced her like an evening stole. She shifted to bear its weight, standing with her arms out as if crucified.

His own skin crawled, as the snake moved around Brianna’s bewitched body. She’d shared with him how much she’d hated all the snake depictions at the museum. How could she calmly let this happen?
VOODOO DREAMS is FREE!!! December 17-21 at Amazon.com 

Bio:  Alana Lorens dreamed for many years of being a spaceship captain, but settled instead for inspired excursions into fictional places with fascinating companions from her imagination that she likes to share with others. She has been a published writer for over thirty years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at a newspaper in Homestead, Florida, with a list of eclectic publications from horror to tech reporting to television reviews. She writes urban fantasy and science fiction under the name of Lyndi Alexander. The Elf Queen, her first novel, was released by Dragonfly Publishing in July 2010; the series continued with The Elf Child, The Elf Mage and The Elf Guardian. She’s now working on the space opera Horizon Crossover series, and a YA trilogy, The Color of Fear—the first book, WINDMILLS, was published by Zumaya Publications this summer.  Writing as Alana Lorens, she produces romance and romantic suspense, including the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer series, standalone novels of romantic suspense,  CONVICTION OF THE HEART, SECOND CHANCES, and the latest, VOODOO DREAMS, released by The Wild Rose Press in October 2013.

She is a single mother of seven, with two special needs children at home with her in Pennsylvania, and she volunteers at her local shelter for domestic violence victims, believing in every person’s right to be safe.

For more information, see Alana’s website and check out her Facebook page to become a friend!  Happy holidays to you and enjoy!

all photos in this post (with the exception of the cover for Voodoo Dreams) are credited to Alana Lorens


Filed under guest post, Magic, romance, romantic suspense, Suspense, Whimsical Wednesdays

Wrestling with a Round Robin

Moonday Mania

a blog for…flying between the pages

Today, at some point, on Selena Laurence’s facebook page, you will discover a story.

Not just any story.

This one is a Facebook Round Robin written by some fabulous romance authors, and it is going to fly from Selena’s blog on Monday, all the way to Holley Trent’s blog on Friday. I’m Thursday’s Child, so you’ll see my piece then. And, I’ll be posting the sections on my Facebook page as they come up. Oh! And there are prizes, of course, so you get to enter for those as well on my facebook page and all the other authors pages as well.

We decided to write the story in advance, that way none of us had to worry about getting our section on a day when life fell apart. Which seems to be happening to me a lot. I’ll be blogging about that on Thursday when I give my paranormal release update on Prince by Blood and Bone. Writing it ahead of time meant that I still only had one day to get my piece done so I could send it to Holley Trent.

It was a little scary at first, but I had to get my section done, no matter that I wasn’t sure where the story was going. I knew where it had started and I could see the threads twisting through the pages. Time to take three author’s story and make it my own. Then, despite where I thought it should go I had to hand it off to Holley. Oh, the worry! Oh the concern! Would she pick up my threads and take them where they should “ahem” go?

I won’t know until Friday because, like you, I haven’t seen Holley’s section.

I think Holley had the toughest portion of the job—making the story gel at the end. I realized this when I got the first three pieces of the story. Each author had added a new twist, and I needed to get them into a place where Holley could pick it up and wrap it up. Especially since our sections aren’t too long. We’re all used to having a lot of time to develop a plot and this was only about a page and a half. No space for deep thinking or long term plots. The action needed to take place now, and with romance that can be tough.

So check out Selena’s Facebook page HERE and read Monday’s post. Tuesday you can read Lisa Swallow’s section, and Wednesday is Rebecca Raisin. Mine is on Thursday and our finale is Friday with Holley Trent. And of course you’ll be able to find them all on my page https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor. Have fun and Happy Holidays!

Rafflecopter link for fab prizes from each of us! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZWY5NTVkZGQ0NjA2NjdlMjRjODY0ZmZjZjNmZGU1OjI=/


Filed under Bloghops, Moonday mania

I Read Fantasy #99cent Fantasy Romance #Sale!

Thursdays Bite

(okay, it’s Wednesday, but this was too good to miss!)

This is the first of TWO 99cent Fantasy promotions this December. If you love fantasy and you love romance, December is your lucky month. Today through December 7th you’ll get the chance to only pay 99cents for some fabulous books and authors, and don’t forget to enter at Rafflecopter for the chance to win a fabulous prizes! Fantasy Romance Sale and Giveaway


 And there is even more. Starting December 1th-14th there will be MORE Fantasy Romance on sale, including The Dark Huntsman and a second Rafflecopter drawing. If you’ve been waiting to buy a copy, now is the time!

Join my mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways. I’ll be sending out a special mailing as a reminder for this sale on the 11th, so sign up today so you don’t miss out!


Filed under book sale, Book Sales, Fantasy Romance, romance, Thursdays Bite

Happy Thanksgiving! Or maybe not…

BBQ'd Turkey, phot by Lynn Kelley Author

Some rights reserved by Lynn Kelley Author

Thursdays Bite

a holiday blog

It’s time to list what you are thankful for, so here goes. I’m thankful that I am NOT having anybody over for turkey-day. Nor am I going anywhere, or required to cook a big dinner for forty-or-so of my closest friends and relatives. I’m thankful that whatever I want to cook this year, I am not driving, so I can open up that bottle of wine and start early, and watch football, and the Macy’s Day Parade. Because no other parade will do.

I’m thankful for my husband, my kids, and my family. Even if I am not planning on seeing any of my extended family and even though sometimes my immediate family drives me crazy. I still love all of them, yes, even you. Despite everything. You know who you are.

I’m thankful that this year it’s all my decisions. Yes, I know that sounds selfish, but for once I get to decide what kind of foods to cook, or not cook. If I want to go out to dinner. And if I want to sleep in and not cook the turkey until late. Yes, I’m still cooking a turkey. It was a last minute decision. I almost decided this was the Thanksgiving without a turkey. I mean, we have one every year, usually two, since we have one on Christmas at my folks’ house. And really, do we need to do that? Well, I guess I do, since I bought one and it’s sitting in the cold drawer of my refrigerator waiting to be cooked.

I’m thankful that if I want potatoes, they’ll be there and that I can choose whatever kind of pie I like and not worry that anyone else will criticize my choices. I like pumpkin for Thanksgiving. Not chocolate cream, or apple, and definitely not mince. Shudder. And I like whipped cream with a little sugar. In fact, I think I’ll have that in my coffee too. Nothing like a little schlag on your coffee!

Does all this sound selfish? Not in the spirit of Thanksgiving? I’m kind of suspicious it does. But this year just kind of happened. No one invited us to Thanksgiving, no one called and asked what we were doing. I was working and editing and dealing with life, so it kind of crept up on me. Last week I was in the store looking at the turkeys and realizing that we had no plans, and instead of feeling left out or lonely… I felt relieved.

I should feel guilty. I should be heaping lots of “shoulds” on my shoulders. But instead I’m choosing to celebrate by not celebrating. Wow, what a concept. And what a relief. No guilt, no repercussions, no over-thinking. Just a cozy Thanksgiving with the people I’m closest too. And isn’t that what a holiday should be?

I know my Canadian friends celebrate in October, so they’ll be working like normal on Thursday, but what about you? What are you doing this holiday season? Are you taking time out for yourself? Do you feel guilty when you do? Are you going to relax this Thursday or are you going to be knocking down the doors of those retailers who can’t wait to open until Friday?

Save the date! We’re having a Facebook Party on December 14th, 3-6pm Colorado Time! Join Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Paranormal authors for games and giveaways. Click HERE to sign up and participate, it’s going to be a fun way to spend a cold winter’s afternoon in December!

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Filed under About the Author, Thursdays Bite

Midnight Inspiration

Moonday Mania

a blog about dark inspiration

Happy Veteran’s Day to everyone serving currently, who has served, or who has family serving. Thank you.

How do we discover the dark side of fairy tales? The dark side of romance? Where do the villains come from in fantasy and fantasy romance?

I’ve always been a sleeper. I was the kid who went upstairs at nine o’clock and put herself to bed every night. Even in college, although I really didn’t get to sleep until ten. But now, even though I find myself falling asleep in front of the TV on my husbands shoulder sometimes as early as 8:30, I also find myself waking up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep.

It’s an odd feeling being the only one up, but it’s also a cool time to work. The house is silent, just me, the dog and the cat. I get on the computer and my muse is right there with me. That’s when the darker ideas come. The ones I haven’t really put into a book yet. I have a file of dark meanderings more suitable to horror or suspense than fantasy romance. Or are they?

Maybe I can work in the darker images, maybe I’ll move into darker heroes and more tortured heroines. Suicide, patricide, homicide. While I’ve alluded to these sorts of things in The Dark Huntsman, and the queen has taken out an entire tribe of people, tortured many more, and is increasingly going down the path to insanity, I haven’t delved into the depths of her personality yet. Or what brought her there. I’ve written it. Her past. What fractured her into a woman whose Gift is splintered powerful personalities. She wasn’t always this way. Once she was a little girl. A fairy princess in a corrupt court whose father only wanted power, even at her expense.

Should that story be published? A father’s betrayal, the princess destroyed, and her crawl back to something that could function? Even if her definition of functional is deeply flawed. And what about her right hand man, Haddon? I have a story for him too. A boy whose life started out as the whipping boy for a spoiled princess and what happens to him when she is gone from court and he is at the mercy of the king? What happens to him when she returns, broken and glued back together but with holes and cracks that leak her emotions through onto everyone around her? How could a boy survive that?

Yes, that’s what comes out of my computer when it’s dark outside and no one is around. Torture and depravity and healing that results in broken adults. And that’s what lurks behind the villains in my fairy tales. The ghosts of the witching hour.

Should I write those stories? Should I write about the way my villains formed? Or, more accurately, should I let you see what I’ve already written, the dark side of fantasy?




Filed under About the Author, Moonday mania, paranormal inspiration, The Dark Huntsman

Free on Amazon The Dark Huntsman!

Get The Dark Huntsman FREE today on Kindle http://amzn.com/B00FN2P7A8

So many things happening today. Not only do I have my fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, free on Amazon, but I have the pleasure of announcing that the winner of the Quarterly Release Blog Hop Prize from my site. BN100 has won a copy of one of my spicy, new adult, romances from the Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods series. Check the Rafflecopter link for more details of winners of the Grand Prize drawing.

And everyone is a winner today! Hop on over to AMAZON and download your FREE copy of The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court for your prize. Remember only available free on November 1st and 2nd, 2013.

Halloween is over and the Trick or Treat hop has drawn to a close. Check Sam Cheever’s website in the next few days for details of the grand prize winner and I’ll be sending her the name of the winner from my site for the grand prize drawing. I had a lot of people send me their picks from the treat bag! Great contest and I hope I get to  participate next year.

the dark huntsman free on kindle on halloween

Thanks everyone for a terrific release month for The Dark Huntsman!

And if you would like to know about new releases  Subscribe to my new release only mailing list and I’ll send you announcements of when I have new books out!


Filed under Bloghops, The Dark Huntsman