When people ask what kind of romance I write, I get a little nervous. And when I tell them I write paranormal romance, they always get that look on their face. You know, like I said I sacrifice kittens under the moonlight or something. I then proceed to explain what paranormal romance is all about. I know the next question that will follow. Why do you write paranormal romance?
There are a lot of reasons. I love reading it. I love how I can be transported to a different world where my imagination runs free. I also love how my paranormal characters feel so deeply and will go through hell (sometimes literally) for the one they love. Humans aren’t like. But more importantly, I love how my characters are given these super human strengths and powers that make them on a level playing field for all things evil. The world we live in isn’t always fair, but in my world of paranormal, I can even the odds and the hero always comes out on top in a very big and dramatic way. Plus I like kick-ass heroes/heroines. 🙂
This time of year has always been my favorite, so it is no wonder that I set a story during the Halloween season, especially since that story is called The Passion of Sleepy Hollow.
The hero, Braden Van Brunt, is the headless horseman, or rather plays that part for the annual Washington Irving Festival in October in present day Sleepy Hollow New York. However, the heroine is Katrina Van Tassel, the 1790’s innkeeper of the Sleepy Hollow Inn. One of the external issues for this couple is that the 18th century village of Sleepy Hollow where the festival takes place, only appears one weekend a year.
Of course once Braeden has met Katrina, he wants to spend more time with her, but the village disappears. So he does what any self-respecting hero would do who wants to find his heroine, he investigates her but nothing works, including private detectives. His only option is to return to the festival a year later, but that makes it difficult to build a relationship.
Lucky for them, having mutually satisfying sex keeps the village in present day for another day. Talk about pressure! It works fine for this new couple, at least until they get into a fight. Then it becomes a matter of whether they will ever see each other again or not (see excerpt)
The is story’s plot gave me an idea. I have started the annual Venetian Mask Giveaway. Every year around this time, I give away hand-decorated masks made in Italy like this one. For a chance to win this beautiful mask, be sure to enter the rafflcopter below. Good luck!
Recluse Braeden Van Brunt is not happy to be the Headless Horseman…until he meets Katrina Van Tassel, owner of the Sleepy Hollow Inn, whose allure bewitches him from the front desk into the bedroom. When he discovers Kat and the village of Sleepy Hollow are cursed to exist in the present day for only one weekend a year, he realizes the sacrifice he must make if he wants to keep her.
Katrina Van Tassel lives between slivers of time. She thought she was through grieving her betrothed’s death, but her dreams flare to life when his mirror image arrives, requesting a room. Drawn to Braeden, she is taken to more erotic heights of intimacy than she ever imagined, but she can’t be sure if her heart is with him or the love from her past.
Knowing he has to conquer both time and ghosts to keep the only woman he’s ever loved, Braeden must put the past to rest. But the dead may not rest in Sleepy Hollow.
Excerpt from Passion of Sleepy Hollow
He didn’t look at her, but kept them moving. “I had an enlightening conversation with Jurgen.”
“Jurgen? What did he say?”
“He said you were planning to marry Brom. He said Brom disappeared the very day of your wedding. He said you’re with me because you’re still in love with Brom and think I’m him.”
Her gasp gave him a small amount of satisfaction, but then she tried to pull away. “Braeden, I think I can tell the difference between my dead betrothed and you.”
He stopped and looked at her. “Can you? Then why didn’t you tell me you were engaged to Brom?”
He started to pull her toward the inn again before she could form a word. He had one goal in mind to confirm everything.
“I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to think what you’re thinking, especially when I hadn’t decided what my feelings were yet.”
They were at the back door of the inn, and he let her go. “And what exactly are your feelings, Katrina Van Tassel, fiancée of Brom Van Brunt?”
Kat put her hands on her hips, her eyes flashing. “And what are your feelings, Braden? I have yet to hear how you feel about me.”
“How I feel about you right now is that you betrayed me. You led me on. Let me think you enjoyed my company when all the while you were pretending I was your ex-lover!” He yanked open the door and stomped inside, making a beeline for her bedroom.
He ignored her and entered her room. Reaching her armoire in three strides, he threw both doors open, hard. One cracked.
“Braeden, what are you doing?”
The scent of brownies flooded his senses and he paused for a moment. Her scent. The woman he had thought he—the woman who couldn’t see beyond a ghost. With anger spurring him on, he pulled clothes out and threw them to the floor.
“Braeden!” Kat grabbed at his arm and he shook her off, but even in his anger he was careful not to hurt her. With her it was instinct.
He growled, “Don’t touch me.” He continued to pull material and clothes, cloaks, shawls, even blankets out of the armoire.
There it was. White material with delicate embroidery along the neckline and shoulders that declared it a wedding dress. He pulled it from its home and held it before her.
Her eyes grew round.
“Were you hoping to wear this again?” His fingers dug into the material. “Perhaps you wanted to wear it for me so we could recreate your long-lost love story?”
Kat stepped back and shook her head. “No. I kept it as a memory, nothing more. It was all I had left of the happiest time of my life…until I met you.”
He stepped toward her. “You mean until you met the man who could be Brom for you. I thought you were different. I thought you liked me for me.” He gave a hopeless chuckle. “You were different. You liked me for the ghost I could be.”
Emotions played across her face like a movie, so when her brows furrowed and her hands found her hips again, he had fair warning.
Every writer I know has their own store of favorite quotes or words of wisdom. Here’s one of mine.
“For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”
I first encountered those words in an illustrated anthology of verse whose title I can no longer remember. Books seem to sprout like mushrooms anywhere my family congregates, and by the time I was ten my parents were doing regular annual culls of the collection, so the book itself is probably long gone. But one phrase from that one book stuck in my mind, and it’s been rattling around there ever since.
John Greenleaf Whittier knew what he was talking about when he wrote it, of course, but it started me wondering. I write dark stories sometimes, but I like happy endings, and I prefer not to contemplate the saddest anything. So if “it might have been” are the saddest words, what are the happiest? What’s the best possible thing you could write or say?
In my opinion, the answer is simple. “What if?”
“What if” is the basis of all stories. Urban fantasy loves it: what if magic was real? What if the dead could walk? Romance takes it in a different direction (what if these two people met? What if there was something keeping them apart? Holy &%$#, what if a Highlander traveled in time?) but it’s still the same question. And history too—what if Anne Boleyn hadn’t been executed? What if Spartacus had won? To ask yourself “what if?” is to imagine a world beyond the one that you currently inhabit. It’s the place where storytelling begins. And with stories, there’s nothing you can’t do.
I recently took my first tentative steps into the world of romance fiction because I had a “what if” or two to answer. What if an ancient Egyptian knew his mummy was in a museum case? What if magic and art were the same thing? What if you really could live four thousand years, and what would it do to you? I had a lot of fun answering those questions, and I learned a lot too. I picked up information and read books that I would never have touched if I hadn’t started asking that question. And if I’ve done my job correctly, maybe people will pick up a nugget or two of information from my work as well.
“I love you” is a good phrase. One of the best. But for my money, “what if?” are the two most beautiful words in the English language. They’re always the start of something extraordinary.
Catherine Butzen is the author of Thief of Midnight (http://starkhousepress.com/butzen.php) and, coming in 2015 from Samhain, The God Collector. She lives and works in Cedar Rapids, IA, and can be found online at A Murder of Prose (catherinebutzen.wordpress.com).
Hey there! I’m back from the NINC conference in Florida—learned lots, hung with old friends, and made a few new ones! *Waving at them now!*
I’m back at my desk and ready to get stuck into writing a book I have due in just a couple of weeks (yikes!). It’s tough getting ahead of schedule, but I am writing a big ole note to self to make room on next year’s calendar for down time. I never figure on needing it, but this year too many surprises crept into my schedule and made it impossible for me to keep up with the hectic pace of my writing life.
Not what you want to hear about, I know. I’ll be sending a newsletter out sometime this week to let you know about releases that are coming SOON. If you aren’t signed up for my newsletter, you need to be. I’ll be giving away a free read to my subscribers. If you don’t subscribe to my newsletter, you won’t get the gift!
For you writers out there, I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I’d love to be your “buddy” for the month. I know I’ll need tons of support to hit that golden 50,000 words. If you need a kick in the pants too, I’ll nag you right back.
So, I swear I do have a question. It’s a simple one. I am fascinated with things that happen in the sky—eclipses, meteor showers, etc. When I know something’s coming, I set alarms to wake up at just the right time, trudge down the driveway in my night-gown, and wait for it. I watched the recent blood moon at 5:30 AM. I caught the partial solar eclipse at sunset when I was in Florida. Are you as big a nerd as I am? Or could you care less?
Thanks to Delilah for hosting me today and Hello to all the readers out there!
Belize Nights is my new, erotic contemporary romance (novelette) set on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize. Yes, I’ve been there. No, it’s not a retelling of my vacation. It’s fiction. (Just in case you were wondering. :-)) However, one of the scenes is not total fiction. There is a scene where the heroine snorkels with sharks. I did that! Still can’t believe I did that. Talk about scary! For legal purposes, I’d put the “Don’t try this at home, kids” warning on it, but secretly, I’d tell you to totally do it if you have the chance.
What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Tell me in the comments
and I’ll select one person to win a copy of one of my backlist books.
Belize Nights Evernight Publishing
Erotic Contemporary Romance
Novelette 13,000 words
Belize Nights Blurb
Lana’s traveling to her dream vacation in Ambergris Caye, Belize expecting sun, sand, clear water and relaxation. When she assaults a stranger with her carry-on bag at the airport, she’s overwhelmed by her all-consuming attraction to him.
Dean can’t get the clumsy brunette from the airport out of his mind. The way her chocolate eyes had devoured him left him yearning for more, so when he runs into her on the island, he makes the most of the opportunity.
When a dizzying heat engulfs them both, they realize Lana’s short vacation isn’t enough time to tame their burning desires.
Belize Nights Quickie Excerpt
His expression instantly turned seductive. An electric current buzzed between them, sizzling the air, making her flush. She gulped her beer hoping the cool liquid would ease the flame burning her insides.
“Ya know,” Dean leaned toward her, his eyes boring into hers, “the real reason I hesitated when you asked me in?”
Her throat constricted at the heat in his eyes. “Not because of my klutziness?”
He slowly shook his head. “It was because I didn’t know if I could resist the urge I’ve had since you fell into my lap on the plane.”
He looked so serious, voice so low and husky. Her stomach quivered. “What urge?” she asked, breathless.
“To kiss your pretty lips.”
Oh god, she wanted him. Irresponsible or not, she wanted him baaad. She’d wanted his mouth on her since first laying eyes on him. “Then don’t resist.” Her bold words surprised her, but she wouldn’t take them back. Couldn’t take them back. If he didn’t kiss her soon, she swore she’d die.
Jocelyn was born in Iowa and currently resides in hot-as-hell Texas. She shares her home with her very own 6’4″ alpha male and varying numbers of spoiled cats and dogs. Teaching one of her dogs to file his nails is one of her all-time favorite accomplishments.
She thinks dragonflies are awesome, spiders are creepy and it’s rumored that she sleeps with a machete by her bed in case zombies attack in the middle of the night. Jocelyn loves to paint, loves to read, and loves to write sizzling erotic romance about yummy demons that would make your momma blush.
I’m not one to offer advice unless it’s solicited but I find in the writing world, one of the most common questions I get asked in interviews is what advice I can give aspiring writers on their journey to and through publication. I thought I’d compile a list of top five pieces of advice I’ve collected over the years of my journey and share them with you.
If you’re going to give up, give up –make room for the rest of us.
Harsh advice, I know, but it was given to me early on in my writing career when I was whining to an author about the difficulty of rejection. I was maybe expecting a pat on the back and a little tlc, but what I got was a reality check. There are thousands of writers out there who would gladly trade places with you. If you leave the game, someone else will step up. So you have to make the decision, how badly do you want this?
Everyone’s path is different.
Vastly different. So you should try to avoid comparing yourself to other writers (even those super successful after one book writers) and you should also go with your gut in a lot of cases. Lots of people “know” what you need to do but only you “know” what you want to do. If your goal is to get an agent, go for it, stick at it, no matter what others say. If your goal is to go indi, same thing, commit to it and do it. But don’t look at someone else and think that things are going to go the same way for you. They rarely do.
Treat this like a job or a business even when it’s not.
Give yourself deadlines and word count quotas and don’t let yourself make excuses to put something off. Always have something in play whether it be working on a new project, editing, submitting, whatever it is, keep the ball rolling and hold yourself accountable. If you’re serious about pursuing publication then you must be disciplined in your approach.
Always ask, even if you think the answer will be no.
A lot of trading happens in the writing world as well as a lot of paying it forward. In the writing community, there are many people who are more than willing to help you. Whenever an opportunity presents itself you should always ask…for help, for a favor, whatever it is. Of course no one owes you anything and you shouldn’t approach a request as a demand but if you don’t ask (even those things that seem too far out of your reach) then the answer is always a big no.
Don’t throw stones.
I see this happening a lot. We as writers are not infallible. Our manuscripts are not flawless (even after they’ve been professionally edited). We are always learning…or we should be. If you get the urge to publically call out another author about their writing, editing, or anything related to their work in a negative way…DON’T. Be humble, be gratuitous, and don’t give anyone a reason to return a negative favor.
My newest release from Samhain is Wolf Slayer, book 2 in The Order of the Wolf series.
I have a contest running for you to win an e-copy prize pack of Cursed (book 1) and Wolf Slayer! All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter: a Rafflecopter giveaway
Every day is Halloween for author Angela Addams. Enthralled by the paranormal at an early age, Angela spends most of her time thinking up new story ideas that involve supernatural creatures in everyday situations. She believes that the written word is an amazing tool for crafting the most erotic of scenarios.
She is an avid tattoo collector, a total book hoarder and loves anything covered in chocolate…except for bugs.
She lives in Ontario, Canada in an old, creaky house, with her husband and children.
She would have made his next breath his last, if he hadn’t stolen hers.
Order of the Wolf, Book 2
Aubrey Devlin thought she had a destiny—to become a Huntress, be mated to a Hunter, and spend her life in everlasting, werewolf ass-kicking bliss. But after years of honing her wolf-slaying skills, it’s her twin sister who’s chosen for the coveted honor.
Swallowing her disappointment, she takes a job as head of security for the band Riot. Staying professional is tough when it comes to the band’s sex-god bassist, an alpha bad-boy to the extreme. She will keep her mind on her work—as soon as she figures out how to stop drooling over the man.
Jaylon isn’t good with women—especially those with the ability to kill him—yet he knows without a doubt Aubrey is his mate. Now if only he can get the stubborn woman to fall for him.
One argument too many, and instead of clawing each other’s eyes out, they wind up clawing each other’s clothes off. It’s then that Jaylon realizes the truth: Aubrey is a true Huntress. He’d better find a way to claim his mate before a Hunter claims her first…
Sexually explicit (like ripping-clothes-off, sex-in-public-places explicit) language. Rock-star bad-ass with long hair and a wicked bite. A take-no-crap huntress who bites back. You are encouraged to lick, suck, and devour your way through this tasty treat in one sitting—just be aware you might be hungry for more.
It’s hard to think winter when fall is so slow to come in central California. We’re still having hot days and the air conditioner going. I’m doing little things to make it feel more like fall is supposed to feel, like buying one of those cinnamon scented brooms the stores put out prominently at the front of the store so you have to buy one to make your house smell like that. and it works, almost overwhelmingly so! It makes me want soup, but it’s still too hot.
The Wedding Date takes place in winter at a ski lodge. It took a lot of imagination to remember freezing my toes off running to the car in dressy shoes when I lived in Missouri. Winter here, for me, means wearing clogs instead of flip-flops, and usually without socks. When I started knitting socks one year, my daughter asked why, when I don’t wear them? It’s all about pretending…pretending I have a glamorous life with trips to a ski lodge, and a body a roomful of men might desire.
That’s why I write, right?
A free weekend at a ski lodge, and all she has to do is attend a wedding and reception on the arm of her sexy coworker? Heck, yeah! Bree is all over it. She’s been crushing on him for some time, but even if he’s not interested in anything long term, she’ll get a long weekend in the snow.
Ash doesn’t mind attending his college buddy’s wedding at a ski lodge, except for the fact Greg’s sister is Ash’s ex-wife. All the things she’d said were wrong with him are still true, but the only one that bothers him is his inability to maintain a relationship. At least with Bree at his side, he can hold his head up around his friends. Too bad she’d never go for a guy like him…