Posted by Donna MacMeans Mar 22 2016, 11:40 pm in Anna Sugden, Charming the Professor, Death Under Glass, Jeanne Adams, Joan Kayse, RITA contest, Susan Sey, Suzanne Ferrell, Trish Milburn
Can you feel the anticipation?
This Friday, March 25th, Romance Writers of America will announce the finalists for the various RITA and Golden Heart categories. Every author on this blog knows how it feels to be a Golden Heart finalist (Ahhh…those were the days!) as it was through the Golden Heart contest that we all met. However, the RITAs, the peer-judged contest for published Romance, is a step above as the entire book is judged and the competition is fierce.
So that’s what I’d like to talk about today. The RITA contest and the quest for the golden statue on the left. How it all works and which of us are in the running this year. I’m scattering the bandita books entered throughout the post. Be sure to look for your favorites. If you click on the title, it should take you straight to Amazon for purchase .
Everything starts in October of the preceding year. That’s when the entry process begins. Registration opens promptly at 9:00 am central time and there’s a mad crush to get one’s book entered. You see, the contest can only accomodate 2,000 entries. Everyone with a book that has a copyright date of 2015 is eligible to enter. This is the only opportunity to enter the RITA contest, as a 2015 book can’t be entered in a later year. Self-published titles as well as traditionally published titles are eligible to enter one of 11 different categories. Those are Short Contemporary Romance, Mid-length Contemporary Romance, Long Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Historical Romance Long, Historical Romance Short, Inspirational Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romance novella, Romantic Suspense, and Young Adult Romance
This year, I’ve entered my New Orleans time-travel, Charming the Professor, in the Paranormal category. In the past, I’ve had books in the historical categories so this is a bit of a first for me.
The next step is to turn in five printed books (no ebooks are accepted) so that five published author judges can read the work. An author can not judge a book entered into a category they’ve entered themselves, so it’s possible that one is assigned a judge that is not a fan of your particular genre. Hopefully, the book is strong enough to win them over. A cone of silence surrounds the books one is assigned to read. A judge can’t divulge the titles or the authors so no one knows who is reading what.
Jeanne Adams entered her novella Death Under Glass in Capitol Danger. A connected series of novellas by banditas Suzanne Ferrell, Nancy Northcott and bandita friend JD Tyler.
Each of the five judges is allowed to give a score from 1.0 to 10.0 (with 10.0 being the highest). Currently, no guidelines are given on how to judge the works. Each judge makes up their own system, but, in general, if the book is excellent, it will receive all high scores. Currently, the top score and the lowest score are dropped, so only the three median scores count. In 2014, I about cried when my one 10.0 score was tossed out for The Whisky Laird’s Bed but as the top scores are tossed out on all books, the work must be excellant to more than one judge. In addition, each judge must answer two questions: Does the story contain a central love story? Is the resolution of the romance emotionally satisfying and optomistic? if the story receives three negatives responses to either question, the book is disqualified.
Taking a turn from her normal thrilling romantic suspense books, Suzanne Ferrell has entered Turner’s Vision in Long Historical.
The scores must be turned into RWA by Early March where they tabulate the scores. The top 4% become finalists. However, no category can have fewer than four finalists, and no category can have more than 10 finalists. That means that in the popular categories, those scores have to be super high, while there’s some leeway in the less popular categories. This pool of the top 4% make up the finalists that will be announced this Friday. Truly being a finalist is a distinct honor as being the best of the best, but this is not the end of the contest.
Trish Milburn has three books in this year’s RITAs. All are entered in Contemporary Romance- Short The Doctor’s Cowboy, Her Cowboy Groom, and The Heart of a Cowboy Those are some great looking cowboys!
Which is a good thing as a great cover is important in winning a judge’s favor.
After the finalists are announced, a panel of judges takes over. All the finalists books in a category are read and scored in ordinal order: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The books winning the 1st designation are a highly guarded secret and isn’t unveiled until the big ceremony in July.
Susan Sey has entered Time for Trouble in Long Contemporary. Love this cover as well
I’ll tell you all right here that my dream is to win the golden statue, but I’d really be content with the finalist’s flag. You see, at the Literacy Signing on the Wednesday before the official start of the July convention, this year in San Diego, all the finalist get a red flag. I’ve been lucky enough to sit by RITA finalist during the signing (Sarah MacLean, and Sally MacKenzie – lovely, lovely ladies) and the line of people wanting to purchase their books is always long. Being a RITA finalist is truly a distinct honor that follows you everywhere in your writing career.
Joan Kayse has entered her Irish Fantasy, Ruarc: Bound by Stone in the Paranormal category.
Finally, the Saturday night award ceremony arrives. There’s numerous parties before the actual ceremony. The ceremony offers the chance to dress up in sequins and glitter. The award presenters are often the winners from the previous year. Nora Roberts always presents the RITA statue to the winner of the Best First Book category. We’re talking major drum rolls while the presenter opens the envelope and announces THE WINNER IS…
Man, I hope it’s one of us. One really cool thing, as a member of the RWA board, I get to call the finalists and let them know that their book was chosen as one of top 4% of all the books entered in their category. Not a small feat, but an excellent feeling. Cross your fingers for us. Let’s not forget:
Anna Sugden has entered A Perfect Catch in Contemporary…but I’m not sure what length. Anna?
My question to you: If you were a RITA judge, what quality would you look for in a finalist?
Posted by Donna MacMeans Nov 11 2015, 12:15 am in Anna Campell, Anna Sugden, Caren Crane, Christmas novellas, Donna MacMeans, Nancy Northcott, Saralee Etter, Short Stories, Susan Gee Heino, Suzanne Ferrell, Tawny Weber, Trish Milburn
Snow may not be falling where you live, but Christmas is just around the corner, as they say. Whether you’re buying books as gifts, or just looking for something seasonal to read curled up on the couch, here’s a number of fantastic Christmas books, novellas, and short stories to put you in the holiday spirit. I hope you can find something to your liking.
Widow Edith MacPherson faces a lonely Christmas in isolated Scotland at a time when the holiday wasn’t celebrated with glitz and glamour. She misses the comaraderie of her friends and festivities in London. However, when an acquaintance from her youth lands on her son’s doorstep, he awakens feelings that she thought she’d buried long in the past. A copy of Scotland Christmas Reunion will go to someone leaving a comment!
(Short story) Scotland Christmas Reunion
A Day of Thanksgiving? (note: This short story will only be available in November. Don’t miss this opportunity!)
When Ice Cats’ defenseman, Troy Davidson, sees his ex-fiancé at his parents’ Thanksgiving party, he’s determined to make things right. He screwed up five years ago, when he ditched their engagement party to elope with a movie star. Now divorced, he realises he’s only ever loved one woman. Charlotte Daniels claims she’s forgiven Troy. But can she trust him enough to take another chance on him and love?
(Short story) http://www.annasugden.com/extras/readers/
Snowbound! (This short story will not be available until December, but watch Anna’s website (above) for details )
When Ice Cats’ forward, Vladimir ‘Vlad’ Ralinkov, gets caught in a snowstorm, on his way back from a game, he seeks refuge in his favourite diner. Could this be the opportunity he’s been waiting for to heat things up with lovely diner owner, Poppy Lambert, or will she leave him out in the cold?
A signed, limited edition of the first two short stories, A Perfect Party and A Perfect Lucky Charm will go to someone leaving a comment!
From Bandita friend Saralee Etter: Dutiful, practical Lydia Potts knew that her father, a wealthy commoner, planned to announce her engagement to a nobleman at their Christmas house party. But she didn’t expect her prospective fiancé to be in love with another woman!
Anthony wasn’t usually so reckless but something about the unknown lady’s sweet manner and big pansy-brown eyes made him want to share a bit of juicy gossip with her. Everybody knew Lord Danville needed to marry an heiress to save his family from financial ruin, but nobody but Anthony would mention it to the heiress herself.
To fix the mess he’s created, Anthony must woo Lydia on his noble friend’s behalf—and Lydia will have to decide between duty and desire.
This story features some characters also seen in A Limited Engagement, another Regency romance by Saralee Etter. This is a sweet romance (kisses only, no sexual content).
(Novella) Lydia’s Christmas Charade
Pursued by the pirate…
Bess Farrar might be an innocent village miss, but she knows enough about the world to doubt Lord Channing’s motives when he kisses her the very day they meet. After all, local gossip insists that before this dashing rake became an earl, he sailed the Seven Seas as a ruthless pirate.
Bewitched by the vicar’s daughter…
Until he unexpectedly inherits a title, staunchly honorable Scotsman Rory Beaton has devoted his adventurous life to the Royal Navy. But he sets his course for tempestuous new waters when he meets lovely, sparkling Bess Farrar. Now this daring mariner will do whatever it takes to convince the spirited lassie to launch herself into his arms and set sail into the sunset.
A Christmas marked by mayhem.
Wooing his vivacious lady, the new Earl of Channing finds himself embroiled with matchmaking villagers, an eccentric vicar, mistaken identities, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. Life at sea was never this exciting. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises hijinks, danger, and passion – and a breathtaking chance to win the love of a lifetime.
Anna is offering a kindle copy of A Pirate for Christmas to someone leaving a comment!
(Novella) A Pirate For Christmas
When Aimee Brandon flees from a cult’s compound into a freezing Wyoming winter, she knows she has to survive and find help in order to save her mother and protect innocents from the cult’s plans. When she collapses on the cabin steps of former CIA agent Gideon Oakes, her plans are put on hold as Gideon nurses her back to health and they wait out a wave of snowstorms. The last thing Gideon wants is to return to the outside world, the one in which his mistakes cost lives. But if he doesn’t get Aimee to the authorities, he might be responsible for even more deaths. What neither of them expects is to fall for each other in such a short amount of time, but there’s no arguing with the truth. This man who wants to hide from the world and the woman who has to return to it, find love in the least-expected place at the least-expected time.
(Novella) Safe In His Arms
Close To The Mistletoe is part of a 19 e-book bundle releasing on November 17th for $0.99. It’s the fifth installment in Suzanne Ferrell‘s popular small town Westen series and will be published as a stand-alone title in December.
When teacher Holly Murphy walks into Westen’s only bar to help her friend celebrate a divorce, she doesn’t expect hot carpenter Nick Fisher to save her from an embarrassing situation. His heated kisses awaken something deep inside her, but when someone sets his sights on Holly, will Nick be the one to protect her close to the mistletoe?
(Boxed set) Mischief Under the Mistletoe
From NYT Bestseller Tawny Weber, A SEAL’s Proposal
Being the best means making sacrifices, but do vows made at 16 hold true at 24?
Duty First, Duty Only…
As a teenaged Sea Cadet, Sam Morelli joined the elite club his brother formed with other teens, focused on a single goal: to become Navy SEALs. Membership required a vow that once he became a SEAL, the team would be his only commitment. Distractions like relationships or dependents would be forbidden. Eight years later, on the cusp of achieving his goal, Sam has forgotten that vow. But Bryanna Spencer hasn’t.
Sugar, shoes, and a sexy SEAL…
Numbers whiz Bryanna Spencer loves chocolate, designer shoes, and Sam Morelli. She’s always dreamed of one thing: being Sam’s wife. Raised in a Navy family, she knows the rules: to be a great SEAL, a man can’t have a woman weighing down his thoughts. Bryanna’s been nibbling on sweet, sexy, better-than-chocolate-covered-caramel Sam for four years, but Sam’s dream of being a SEAL has been with him longer. His dream is her nightmare.
Some vows are made to be broken…
With Sam home on leave for Christmas, Bryanna has one last chance to prove to Sam that he wants her more than he wants his SEAL Trident. But time is running out. Once he finishes the last phase of his training, she may lose him forever. But Sam may have different kind of vow in mind…
(Novel) A SEAL’s Proposal
From Bandita Buddy Susan Gee Heino: Yuletide Lies–A Regency Christmas Novel
Amid mistletoe, mystery, and a motley menagerie, the greatest gift this Christmas is love.
Cassandra Loring awakes from a nightmare to find herself in a mysterious castle, tended by a host who thinks she’s someone she’s not. Lord Braden has secrets to hide and is willing to do just about anything to save his crumbling estate—including marry an heiress he’s only just met. As their Christmas Eve wedding approaches, will deception bring ruin, or will truth rescue them both?
(Novel) Yuletide Lies
Susan will give one person leaving a comment a copy of Yuletide Lies!
Another boxed set! This is from the Bluestocking Belles. You may recall their blog on Monday. All proceeds go to The Malala Fund to ensure every girl has access to 12 years of free, safe, quality primary and secondary education.
(Boxed set) Mistletoe, Marriage & Mayhem
Here’s a boxed set that, while not Christmas themed, is inspired by the Christmas spirit of giving in that the proceeds go to prevent Alzheimer’s and support brain health research!
Caren Crane is participating in an anthology of ten short stories by ten different authors, all set in the world of Tammy Falkner’s Reed Brothers’ tattoo shop. The authors are donating 100% of the proceeds to benefit Alzheimer’s and brain health. Join Tammy Falkner, Jane Charles, Ava Stone, Marquita Valentine, Lexi Eddings, Lj Charles, Andris Bear, Caren Crane, Jerrica Knight-Catania and Diane Franks to help combat this terrible disease!
Caren’s story in the anthology is Lakewood Confidential: Tondra is struggling for attention on the New York art scene when a chance to ink notorious hip-hop legend Lakewood lands in her desperate hands. The reclusive rapper shares a part of his history he’s never told anyone, forcing Tondra to choose between ensuring her own success and safeguarding Lakewood’s secrets. This story is a prequel to Caren’s fourth, as-yet-untitled Cross Springs novel.
Available for pre-sale now and live on Thanksgiving Day!
(Anthology) Forget Me Not
Magic & Mistletoe, Nancy Northcott‘s Light Mage Wars holiday story, asks whether a bookworm and a badass can find love. It will be out in late November.
Peri Lee grew up in a dangerous neighborhood, worrying each day that her loved ones might not make it home. Now a mage teacher, she loves her quiet, bookish life. Deputy Shire Reeve Roland Wade is a good guy but not much of a reader, not the type he figures Peri needs. Especially since his linebacker build, broken nose, and badass attitude remind her of the thugs who haunted her childhood. As though that weren’t enough, his job puts his life on the line daily. Will Peri’s fears doom their chance for a relationship, or will they find their own special magic under the mistletoe?
And just in case you missed it last year…Tiny Treats!
Extremely short vignettes from several of the Romance Bandits and others – all for the affordable price of FREE!
(Anthology) Tiny Treats
So there you have it. Holiday stories to take you through Thanksgiving, Christmas, the holiday season and well beyond!
Which one of the above would you like to find under your tree (or in your Kindle ) The prizes noted above will go to someone leaving a comment!
Posted by Nancy Northcott Aug 8 2015, 1:13 pm in anthology, Capitol Danger, JD Tyler, Jeanne Adams, Nancy Northcott, Romantic suspense, series, Suzanne Ferrell
Hello everyone! First of all, thank you for being here! The Romance Bandits blog got hacked and we’ve had no way to let you know and no way to answer comments or post blogs.(Jeanne actually wrote this post but couldn’t get in to put it up, so Nancy did that for her.)You may get lighter responses today because of that, but nevertheless, please know that we’re here and reading!
As you may have seen from the newsletter, Banditas Nancy Northcott, Suz Ferrell and our fabulous frequent guess, J.D. Tyler got together for a very cool anthology!
The world is changing and new things are happening – the idea of a woman president is on our doorstep, right? So we thought that we’d cook up some danger for that historic figure before she even is a twinkle in the eye of the voters. Grins.
We started with “What if…” my two favorite words. What if a woman was elected president and a whooooole group of people didn’t like it? We all have met those Neanderthals who think women should stay “in their place,” right? So, what if those people were organized?
They would be the Red Mantle. A home grown terrorist organization who doesn’t want women in power. Oh, boy….(so to speak!)
So what if they wanted to cause the most havoc, the most disruption possible? What would be more havoc-inducing than to take over an inaugural ball?
Voila! Capitol Danger!
I wrote the prologue, introducing both the plot and the plotters, the Red Mantle. Suz wrote the opening of the ball and the first signs of trouble. Then it switched back to me for the next phase, then to Nancy, then to J.D. who also wrote the wrap-up. So here’s the blurb:
A romantic suspense anthology like no other! Four stories, one event and four dangerous missions on the same night.
It’s Inauguration Night. Glamorous balls throughout the nation’s capital celebrate a landmark event. The town and nation are in the mood to celebrate. But not everyone is so pleased.
A home-grown sect known as the Red Mantle plan to make it an event to remember for their reasons. As their assault succeeds it will be up to those attending the ball to step up and face the fanatics, or die trying.
UNMASKED: An Edgars Family Novella by Suzanne Ferrell
Abigail Whitson and Luke Edgars are working an undercover operation during the inaugural ball in an attempt to discover who has stolen land to air missiles before they can be sold to a broker—their target for the night. When the playboy arms dealer arrives at the ball, his bodyguard turns out to be someone from Luke’s past.
That isn’t the only surprise of the night. When the ball is invaded by terrorists, Abby and Luke find themselves trying to extract the arms dealer from the fray to protect their mission, while they also risk their lives to protect innocents from the carnage.
DEATH UNDER GLASS: a Deadly Charms Novella by Jeanne Adams
Edward Millner and his girlfriend Retta Geminous, are celebrating a glittering inaugural. When Red Mantle terrorists take the ballroom, both bullets and glass start flying. Edward and Retta help the agents still standing retake the ballroom, but casualties are high. Can Edward face his demons and use his former Special Forces medical skills to save the night? Can Retta and Edward overcome their troubled hearts in the face of certain death?
DANGER’S EDGE: An Arachnid Files Novella by Nancy Northcott
When terrorists disrupt the inaugural ball, new Arachnid Agency operative Kelsey Mitchell tables her planned undercover operation and works to bring help into the hotel. Her only ally is Greg Reed, an FBI agent on medical leave after being shot during a robbery. Kelsey dreads making a novice mistake, and Greg is afraid he’s lost his edge.
Attraction flares between them though Kelsey knows the Feds disapprove of people who work for her freewheeling agency. Together, she and Greg must fight their demons and the terrorists to gather intel for the FBI and create a safe landing zone for a rescue force. Can they succeed against overwhelming odds, or will the battle cost one or both their lives—or their hearts?
LETHAL TARGET: An Armed & Deadly Novella by J.D. Tyler
FBI Special Agent Dalton McCoy is playing a deadly game, working undercover for Methan, leader of the extremist terrorist group, the Red Mantle. He’ll stop at nothing to keep Methan and his men from achieving their goal of bringing down key members of the government. When Dalton’s plans come to an unexpected head at the glittering inaugural ball, he doesn’t count on tenacious reporter Jolie Montfort placing herself in Methan’s line of fire as well. Now the agent must take out the terrorist leader and get them both to safety before it’s too late…
It was a blast! (And fun too, because we blew a lot of things up!)
Writing together like this was an amazing new adventure as well. Each of us used characters from our own works, although this is the first readers and fans will have seen of Nancy’s spies. You are SO going to love all the characters from the Arachnid Files, folks. Such fabulously sneaky people!
Meanwhile, she’s about to bring out the next mage book.
Suz’s Edgars are all family, by now, for most of us who read Romantic Suspense. I’m sure many of you Bandita Buddies will have read those Edgars men and their trials and tribulations.
My characters are from forthcoming books. If you read Dead Run (or its original incarnation, Dark and Dangerous), one of the secondary characters of this story, Burke Chapman, is the hero of the forthcoming Dead Reckoning. That is part of the Faithful Defenders series. (Dead Wrong, the third book, will be out in late fall) And Edward, Retta and many of the other characters will reappear in my “yes, it’s finally coming out” Deadly Charms series, again, later this fall.
J.D.’s characters are from her fabulous new Armed and Deadly series. The first book of that series, One Last Kiss, will be out soon. If you’ve not read J.D.’s Alpha Pack series, you’re missing something hot, dark and gripping, so check that out if you haven’t already. Her latest Alpha Pack novel, Chase the Darkness is just now out!
So that’s the dangerous news from the Bandit Lair! So good to see all of you! Sven and the boys have been enjoying their much-needed and various vacations, but they’re back to serve your every whim! Champagne, morning, afternoon and evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Have some icicle and snowflake cookies, some capitol shaped cookies (watch out for the ones shaped like the Washington Monument…). There’s food and drink a-plenty, so let’s have some LAUNCH IN THE LAIR fun!!
Have you ever been to an inaugural or swearing in for a politician?
What about a big Gala? Don’t you just love black-tie-events?
If you COULD go, either for the first time, or again, would you want to?
Tell us what you’d wear and what hero or Hollywood star you’d take as your hunky date for the night!
Posted by Jeanne Adams Aug 1 2015, 12:20 am in Capitol Danger, J.D. Tyler, Jeanne Adams, Nancy Northcott, political thrillers, Romantic suspense, suspense, Suzanne Ferrell, Thriller
Hey everyone! How’s your summer going?? How can it possibly be AUGUST already???
I hope you’ll join me and Banditas Suz and Nancy as we have a LAUNCH in the LAIR on August 8! We’ll be joined by the always awesome J.D. Tyler because the four of us collaborated on a really cool anthology.
In the meantime, the book is up on all the platforms, so if you’re interested, take a look! We’ll see you on the 8th!
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell May 28 2015, 12:18 am in Action adventure romance, Alpha heroes, anthology, J.D. Tyler, Jeanne Adams, Nancy Northcott, Romantic suspense, Suzanne Ferrell
Hey everyone! Thought I’d pop in and share some news with y’all. But first, I have to ask you a question.
Do you know what happens when authors get together? Quite often the conversation turns to books and stories. Sometimes that leads to the “what if?” game. You’ve heard us address that in the Lair a few times over the years. What if…hero meets heroine, but she’s the one woman in the world he can’t have? What if…vampires met wolf shifters and they had to join forces to defeat evil succubi? What if…bad boy turned millionaire returns to his hometown and the girl he’s left behind only to find out he left three sons too?
Yep, that’s how some of those stories come out, usually accompanied by some wine.
Well, a while back Jeanne Adams and I got together and were talking about doing a Romantic Suspense anthology. We both like to write fast-paced, action romances. Somehow the conversation took a left turn and we got on the subject of the movie Viewpoint. If you haven’t seen it, there’s an icident in another country, and you get to see the same incident before, during and after from various characters’ viewpoints.
Of course this led to a spark of an idea. What if…all the stories in the RS anthology took place at the same time at the same event…with the same bad guys involved? Jeanne suggested an inaugural ball? The juices started turning. Then we approached two other authors we thought would get excited about this project. Next thing we knew, Bandita Nancy Northcott and National Best Selling author J.D. Tyler were on board.
While I’m not going to give y’all intimate details…the book is in the editing phase and will be available late June, so look for a release party in the Lair…I can tell you one thing. The whole book, while written in four parts by four authors, is meant to be read from beginning to ending as one long book.
Yeah, I’m a tease like that.
So, for another tease, want to see the cover?
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Feb 28 2015, 12:12 am in A Field of Dreams, farewell, friends, M*A*S*H, romance bandits, Suzanne Ferrell
“Build it…and they will come”, this quote from one of my favorite movies, A Field of Dreams, always makes me think of the Romance Bandits.
May, 2007 … a group of very nervous new authors stepped onto the web. We’d banded together to try and make our mark on the world. We were going to start a blog.
What if no one read us? What if they did? What if no one wanted to hear what we had to say? What if they did? Would it be a waste of time? Or would it be that safe place to launch our careers?
We had a few rules:
1. Be positive. We’d see blogs where people were snarky to the point of rudeness. We wanted the Lair to be a fun, positive place for readers to come and chat with us.
2. Answer each person’s comment on your day to blog. We figured if you took the time to respond, we should do the same.
3. Be real. We could talk about books, men, food, men, tuck nuts, men, embarassing moments, men…uhm…you get the idea, but we had to be open, honest…ourselves.
Then the coolest thing happened…
Who knew that opening ourselves, our writing journeys, our lives to readers such as you would garner us such wonderful friends! I feel like I know so many of you like we’ve been friends for such a long time. You’ve supported us through those tenuous first days, through our first book releases, debuts for each and everyone of us…and become people we talk to daily…even if you’re half way around the world! We’ve bonded through stories about truck nuts, the Golden Rooster’s secret revealing blog, various parties, food wars, holidays, language barriers (okay, just the oddities in the English–British/American/Australian variations of it). Some of us have shared having new grandbabies together. Some of us have shared the heartbreak of losing a loved one. You’ve been the first people we share exciting new covers and wonderful news with. Changes in our lives as we’ve gone through the journey to publication.
Laughter. Tears. Hearts.
And now, it’s like the last episode of one of my favorite shows. M*A*S*H. Everyone has left the camp. BJ has driven Hawkeye to the helicopter pad on his motorcycle. Hawkeye climbs on board and BJ speeds off down the hill. And there is this:
But it really isn’t goodbye. In fact, I’ll be back next month to do a release party for Turner’s Vision. Others will pop in to let you know when they have new books out.
Some of you already follow me on FB and Twitter, but in case you don’t, but want to catch up with me, the Jazzman and Rusty Puppy, here’s some links:
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Feb 6 2015, 12:40 am in demons, deomon huntress, Karilyn Bentley, paranormal romance, Suzanne Ferrell, urban fantasy
Bandit Buddies, please help me welcome back one of my favorite authors, Karilyn Bentley. In the past Karilyn has stopped by to chat with us about her dragon shifters. This time, she’s here to give us the scoop about her new Urban Fantasy, Demon Lore, A Demon Huntress novel.
Suz: Karilyn, welcome back to the Bandit Lair. Pull up a barstool and we’ll have Sven mix up your favorite drink.
Karilyn: Yummy! I love visiting the lair. The company is great and who doesn’t love the sexy Sven? <waves at Sven> I’ll get the party started by ordering a margarita. Can’t beat those! Oh, and please apologize to Ermengarde for me, no dragon shifters this time. She’ll have to wait for my next release.
Suz: Tell us what made you decide to add another genre to your stories and how you came up with the idea for the Demon Huntress series?
Karilyn: Like so much in my life, it wasn’t planned, I kind of fell into it. It’s not like I sat down one day and decided to write a UF. I started writing this funny scene (or what I thought was a funny scene, it’s been cut from the book so maybe it wasn’t as hilarious as I thought) with an ER nurse. She was snarky and messed up and popped into my mind and wouldn’t let go. But I needed a story. I also had an opening scene from the very first book I wrote (the one hiding in the closet) that I wanted to put in one of my books. I loved the scene and the tension it built, it was the only scene in that first book worth saving. Ever since I wrote it years ago I wished it would belong in some book. The scene was of a doctor being shot while at work in the ER. One day it clicked in my mind to combine the two and voila, Demon Lore was born.
Suz: Tell us about your new book, Demon Lore.
Karilyn: Demon Lore is the story of Gin Crawford, empath and ER nurse, who finds a mysterious bracelet that gives her demon hunting powers. Needless to say, she’s not too excited about her new gig. Here’s the blurb:
Gin Crawford has enough problems dealing with her empath abilities. Finding out she’s the world’s newest demon-slayer is the last thing she needs. Unfortunately, when she slips on a mysterious bracelet she is given no other choice. On the plus side, her new gig comes with Tall, Dark and Handsome, a mage who may or may not have her best interests at heart. Thrust into a power-play between good and evil, Gin must choose a side before she becomes the next victim in the ongoing battle.
Suz: When creating an alternate world, did you find it hard or easy to do? How did you decide which powers to give your heroine?
Karilyn: I’ve always written in an alternative world (doesn’t everyone to some extent?) so building another one wasn’t difficult. Remembering what I wrote is the problem. I have to use a series bible to keep my place. Or hopefully keep my place. When I started writing the story, I wanted Gin to be a demon huntress, to fight the nasties in the world. But I’m a pantser so my unconscious gave her an extra ability (empath) along with a host of problems. And a hot guardian mage.
Here’s an excerpt:
The evil man-thing stands on my porch, his lips turning in a menacing smile of death. I don’t need to touch him to know he wants me dead. Muscles freeze, trapping my breath in my lungs. Like a rabbit in view of a wolf, I’m immobilized, waiting for death’s blow. Time slows, his gaze locks on mine, trapping me in place. Move, move, move! My mind screams as the man’s fingers twitch.
But the spike of adrenaline explodes into my limbs too late to stop the backhand blow slamming across my jaw.
I superman it halfway across the living room. Land on the hardwood floor in a thud of pain-ridden limbs. My jaw morphs into a screaming ball of nerves. My head no sooner hits the floor than I hear the bracelet scream, a high-pitched wail quivering through my skin like vibrations from a tuning fork. The bracelet tightens around my wrist, cutting off the circulation, and then it loosens with a pop at the same time I hear the door click closed.
Ohgodohgodohgod, I’m going to die. I don’t want to die. No, no, no, no, no. Pain and terror hold me crumpled on the floor as my mind crawls backward in time.
But I’m no longer a child, fearful of fists and words, cowering on the ground.I’m a fighter.
My head spins, but I refuse to lie on the floor waiting to be killed, so I attempt to stand. Evil Guy laughs as I ass-plant it. Laughs as a moan escapes my lips. He takes a step toward me, right arm drawn back for a hit. His fist hurls toward my face, but I manage to block it with my left arm. My right arm, the one with the bracelet, shoves forward, slamming into his chest.
His black eyes widen, mouth open in surprise, his hands fluttering to his chest before dropping. I stare at my hand, stare hard, for I’m as surprised as Evil Guy. The bracelet had become a sword, a long, thin spike of metal extending from the silver links, straight into Evil Guy’s heart.
Definitely a sword. The flat of the blade rests against the back of my hand, cool metal heating from the warmth of my skin. Small silver links circle around my palm, lending stability to the two-foot long sword.
I’m not sure which scares me more, Evil Guy paying me a visit or the fact the bracelet performed a morphing trick.
Suz: Being an urban fantasy, you’re writing in 1st person. Did you find this any problem?
Karilyn: Nope. I find it easiest to write in 1st person. I had to teach myself to write in 3rd.
Suz: Okay, it’s late, you’re writing…what snack do you reach for? Salty or Sweet? And what beverage do you wash it down with?
Karilyn: I have a sweet tooth the size of the Pacific. That said, I try not to eat when writing. But I do drink. My beverage of choice is tea, caffeinated, decaf or herbal. Sometimes in the evening I’m known to have a glass of wine with my writing.
Suz: Are there going to be more in the Demon Huntress series?
Karilyn: Yes! I’m glad you asked. As of now, there are a total of five books in the series. I have a lot of fun writing them and hope the reader enjoys them as much as I do!
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Jan 28 2015, 12:12 am in American historical romances, American History, Cantrell's Bride, Suzanne Ferrell, Turner's Vision
My name is Suzanne Ferrell and I’m a history geek.
Yes, yes, I am. But not just all history. While I find world history and history of other countries fascinating, I’m a real geek for American history. The good, the bad, the questionable. Yep, love it all.
So imagine how happy I was this week when I discovered the History Channel was going to do a 3-day historical movie event about the Sons Of Liberty!! Be still my heart. I’m taping it, but have been watching it with great joy! Not to mention the actors are very easy to watch. And there’s things going BOOM and lots of passion. Here’s the link if you want to take a look or want to watch the episodes: http://www.history.com/shows/sons-of-liberty?cmpid=VAN_HIS:Sons
(Image courtesy of the History Channel.)
I suspect this passion of mine comes from visiting my great aunt Addie when I was a kid. See, Aunt Addie was my Grandpa Sherm’s spinster sister. She was tall for a woman and lived by herself in a cabin, circa late 1800’s on the top of Spivey mountain in Tennessee. You drove up the winding highway, past the turn-off to my daddy’s family on Coffee Ridge; up past Spivey mountain, which my mother’s family settled in the early 1800’s; past the Mountain Dale Free Will Baptist church onto the gravel road…and a few more hair-raising turns there was Aunt Addie’s cabin.
You parked on the edge of her property and walked up the mowed path, careful not to step too far off the path. Why? Because copperhead snakes liked to hide in there and they’re poisonous. The house was greying, weathered wood with a huge front porch and the house was shaped like an L. I don’t have a picture of that old house but it sort of looked like this.
(Image found on Google images.)
Inside was a huge kitchen area with a fireplace and a coal burning furnace, as well as a stove that was from probably the 1920’s. In the L part of the house was an old brass bed with a feather-tic mattress. A hand-cranked record player was there and Aunt Addie had a collection of 78 albums, (you know, the really thick ones) of old gospel music. We would sit on the porch or lie in that bed and listen to my great aunt, Grandma CindyJane and my mom and her sisters reminisce about growing up in the mountains. Since Aunt Addie and Grandma were born before the 1900’s we heard a lot about older family members who even fought in the Civil War.
So, naturally, when I decided to write my first romance novel, I picked an American historical. That’s Cantrell’s Bride. Back then, when I wasn’t published, I went ahead and wrote the sequel. But because it took me so long to publish, and I grew as a writer, both books needed major rewriting. Ellora’s Cave kindly published Cantrell’s Bride a little over 2 years ago. Now I’m finally ready to publish the sequel, TURNER’S VISION.
And this is the fabulous cover Lyndsey came up with:
Here’s the blurb:
His visions of the future brought them together…
Micah Turner’s visions have driven him down from his Colorado mountain refuge to the nation’s capital in search of his lost sister. Her disappearance may have something to do with the murder of a senator and a beautiful woman who is also haunting his visions.
Claudia Davis spent most of her life in fear. Now she has the chance to put her past behind her and help discover who is behind the senator’s murder. When a giant man approaches her one night with a letter from her friend who’d witnessed the murder she must decide if she can put her fears aside and trust the stranger.
As the pair work together to solve the murder they discover a deeper plot, one that has its roots buried in Micah’s past. Can they fight for justice and their love? Or will Micah’s visions of blood and death be fulfilled?
So, next month I will be publishing my second American historical romance.
What about you readers? Do you like history? Any particular era or country? Have you watched the Sons of Liberty?
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Dec 28 2014, 12:05 am in Christmas, snippets, Suzanne Ferrell, Traditions
Amid the chaos that happens in a house with five kids under the age of seven, twin babies and a puppy just over a year old on Christmas Day, I found time to enjoy and observe the family (sometimes known as the thundering horde that invades my peaceful domain–said with great love and affection). So I thought I’d share some of that evening with you.
The meal was lovely and we noted more eating was taking place at the adult table and lots of giggling was happening over at the kids’ table. This could be that the kids were having more fun or perhaps the adults were realizing this is the “Only happens on Christmas” meal and were devouring it with great intent? (Menu: Grilled flank steak, grilled Atlantic Salmon, Shrimp cocktail platter–made by me and not prefrozen, Augratin potatoes, crab stuffed mushrooms and bacon and broccoli salad.)
Then we dug into the Christmas stockings.
Oh, wait. FIRST we neutralized the investigative nose of one very curious and energetic boxer/redhealer mix puppy. Yes, Rusty Puppy got a BIG beef ribeye bone to keep him out of the chaos. Of course that didn’t stop him from lying right in the middle of the family room while he gnawed happily on his gift!
Tradition continued. So, stockings…Lots of candy, do-dads, guitar/bass/mandolin strings (we have three guitarists in the family), ornaments, and toys for the kiddos. But the biggest hit, heard said by at least four adults, “We got toothbrushes. Yea! Mom forgot those last year.” Seriously people, traditions are strong with this bunch. Forget the toothbrushes once and you hear about it for years!
Almost all the presents were given out and opened, when the Jazzman got one from me to him and all the grandkids. It’s a book titled, The Book Without Any Pictures. They all gathered round and he read it to them, complete with crazy expressions and funny voices. It was a hit. Lots of giggling going on. (I couldn’t video tape it as I had my hands full of one baby and a bottle, but here is a Youtube of a teacher reading it so you can imagine the story at our house! http://youtu.be/0JXc2K0sVE8)
Funniest thing. At one point I notice my oldest grandson walking around with a paperbag, with handles, carrying everything he got inside. No matter where he went in the house, that bag went with him. Cracked me up, but I had to know why? His answer: Because Grandma Suzie, when I was at Nanny’s house (his other grandmother) I forgot a present and it made me cry. I don’t want to forget anything this time.” I’m still laughing over it!
Odd moment. I was listening to my oldest granddaughter read to me from her new read alone books, when I noticed the grownup kids in a circle on the far side of the room. Focusing my attention a moment, I realized they were discussing the flaws in the newest Superman movie to the actual comic story. Uhm, who knows the cannons of comic books so well that they can have a heated discussion on the merits of the new movie vs the actual original story? My kids/in-laws!
Quiet moment. My second grandson, who sort of does his own thing, brought me his new Planes book and asked me to read it to him. He crawled up beside me with a sugar cookie in his hand. He told me the name of each plane as we went and listened to the story of Dusty Crophopper. When I finished, he said, “I’ll be right back.” He returned with another cookie, cuddled up close and said, “Read it again, Grandma.” Which, of course, I did.
Peaceful scene. My son’s girlfriend got the girls big poster size coloring pages from the Frozen movie. Well, the crayons in the stockings were all spanking new, so the youngest granddaughter and the girlfriend’s little boy hunkered down in a spot and colored quietly and with great purpose.
Finally, the Jazzman was starting to doze off and the last family was packing up to leave. As soon as they went out the door…silence. No seriously, the entire house seemed to settle down into peace, quiet and ready for a long nap.
What your favorite moment from your holiday celebration? Any traditions started? Any you forgot and will now here about for an entire year?
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Dec 20 2014, 12:19 am in anniversaries, Christmas, Close To Christmas, New Release, Suzanne Ferrell, weddings, Westen Series
When I was a teenager, my older cousin Cindy got married.
It was in Ohio.
In the cold and snow.
I was all of 13, but fit in well with two of her sisters who were a year older and younger than me, so I was quickly enlisted in the bridesmaid corp. It was my first winter wedding. It was my first wedding as part of the wedding party.
We wore burgundy velvet, floor length gowns. Our hair pieces were head bands with silk poinsettias glued to them and instead of bouquets of flowers, we carried white furry muffs with another poinsettia pinned to the front of them. It was an afternoon wedding, but the grey winter sky that threatened more snow made it feel like late evening, almost dusk.
I remember little about the ceremony itself. My cousin married the man who is still her husband nearly 40 years later. My cousins and I had fun getting ready, doing our hair, walking down the aisle and partying with everyone later.
That was a much different wedding than the other important December wedding in my life, the one that took place between my mother and father.
They decided to get married 3 days before Christmas. They had very little money, so they just went to the Justice of the Peace in their little hometown to elope. No months of pre-wedding planning. No bridesmaids, no bestmen/ushers, no flowers, no cake. Just two people deciding they wanted to spend their lives together.
And they did.
For the next 61 and 1/2 years they stayed together. Through thin times (and there were many of those in the beginning) and through thick. Through rich and poor. Through sickness and health. Through three kids, three in-laws, eight grandchildren, and a bunch of great-grandkids. Through ups and downs. They stuck it out.
The last fall I was home before my daddy passed away, I noticed something. They touched each other often. Daddy would walk by Mom as she sat at the table talking to me. He’d just pat her shoulder and she’d reach up and pat his hand. Then he’d head to the family room. This happened several times a day. It seemed the older they got, the more the need to touch each other became. When I asked Mom about it, she said, “We just like to remind each other we’re glad we’re here.”
When I moved away from home many, many years ago, I decided it would be fun to send my parents a flower arrangement for their anniversary. It was usually a centerpiece of holly and evergreen and red candles for their dining room table or poinsettias for their fireplace. Sending it on the twenty-second let me surprise them on their anniversary and know they could enjoy them through the holiday season.
The last two years, since Daddy died, I’ve made sure there were red roses in the arrangement. See, he grew roses, Mom’s favorite flower, and every day during rose season, (May-Sept in Ohio), he’d cut fresh roses for her vases in the kitchen and family rooms.
So, when I decided to write a Christmas novella for the Westen series, I naturally titled it CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS. And when I think of the phrase close to Christmas, it reminds me of my parents anniversary which was always…close to Christmas. And winter weddings can be such fun.
Here’s the blurb for the novella:
It’s been a long dangerous year for the town folks of Westen. A celebration is just what they need. It’s four days before Christmas and the town is not only decked out in their holiday best, but looking forward to the wedding of Sheriff Gage Justice and his love, Deputy Bobby Roberts.
First Bobby’s lawyer sister, Chloe comes to town looking over her shoulder, which has the quiet deputy, Wes Strong wondering what has her running scared. Then problems start to happen with the wedding plans.
Has Chloe brought trouble to Westen?
Or does someone in town want to ruin the wedding this close to Christmas?
And I even borrowed my parents wedding anniversary for the date Gage and Bobby are getting married. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
So, do you know anyone who was married close to Christmas? Have you ever been in a winter wedding? Do you think they’re romantic? Have you been a bridesmaid? How many times? (I was 6 and a matron of honor once.)
Since this is a little launch party and I’m celbrating my parents anniversary in two days, how about I give out 2 print copies for CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS as part of the Bandita 12 Days of Christmas?