Friday, August 5, 2011

Strange Neighbors and The Glitch

My guest is Ashlyn Chase. Ashlyn writes zany romantic comedies of the paranormal persuasion.

Writing a good book isn't always smooth sailing. We face various difficulties and glitches getting the story, so clear in our head, down on paper. Sometimes the transition isn't always smooth.

Ashlyn shares with us some of difficulties she faced transitioning from writing novella sized books to full length novels. Speaking of glitches, Ashlyn's characters face many on their way to Happy Ever After.

Sounds like a Harry Potter title, doesn’t it? Well, I was asked to share any glitches I may have encountered while writing The Vampire Next Door and I can only think of a couple.

First, I didn’t know if I could write it at all! Based on book 1, my editor contracted 2 sequels. The frightening part was writing a book that long. I’m a novella girl. That’s my favorite length to read as well as write. I don’t get into pages of flowery description. I like my writing tight and my pace fast. Loads of detail can really bog down the reader.

Strange Neighbors was a mass-market paperback and had to be about 90,000 words. Do you have any idea how hard it is to come up with a story complex enough to sustain it for over 350 or so pages? Eek! I was so out of my comfort zone, I had to add a note at the end of book 1 to crow about it. (snicker)

So, book 1 felt like a fluke. Then book 2 was my second miracle, but could I do it a third time? Odds were against it. To my sheer delight, my characters were old friends by this time and practically wrote the book for me. Whew! Once it got going…

There was a second almost glitch. I didn’t know which witch would be my vampire’s heroine. They both wanted him. Either one would have been great fun to write, but I had to let the hero decide. It didn’t take long before he made his choice. I knew Sly was a smart cookie and he’d choose well. He did. He looked past the superficial younger, prettier witch and picked the one who was a better match for him intellectually and emotionally. Fortunately, he considered her beautiful and made her realize she was every bit as pretty as her vivacious, flirtatious cousin.

I love men like that. I’m sure a lot of guys start out drooling over the pretty young things, but as they mature other things become important in a real relationship. Perhaps because my husband overlooked a lot of younger prettier women to be with me, I’m partial to this type of hero. He’s 13 years my junior, but we were right for each other when he was a mature 23 year old, fed up with fickle, flighty, giggly girls.

We’re still right for each other many years later. Mine is a very happy marriage, so I believe they can and do happen. What I think is key to a happy relationship is maturity. Age has nothing to do with it. I’ve seen emotionally immature seventy year-olds.

  • So, what do you think is the key to a true and lasting love?   


Room for Rent: Normal need not apply

This old Boston brownstone is not known for quiet living… first the shapeshifter meets his nurse, then the werewolf falls for his sassy lawyer, but now the vampire is looking for love with a witch who’s afraid of the dark… and you thought your neighbors had issues!

Undead Sly is content playing vigilante vampire, keeping the neighborhood safe from human criminals, until Morgaine moves in upstairs. Suddenly he finds himself weak with desire, which isn’t a good place for a vampire to be. And Morgaine isn’t exactly without her own issues—will the two of them be able to get past their deepest fears before their chance at “normal” slips away? Excerpt 

You can see the trailer of her first book, Strange Neighbors here

Multi-published author Ashlyn Chase specializes in characters who reinvent themselves, having reinvented herself numerous times. She has worked as a psychiatric nurse, for the Red Cross, and has a degree in behavioral sciences. The first two books in the Strange Neighbors series are Strange Neighbors and The Werewolf Upstairs, which are both available now! She lives with her true-life hero husband in beautiful New Hampshire. For more information, please visit

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


My guests today are Tammy Falkner and Jodie Pearson and known as Lydia Dare. As a team they write historical paranormal romance. I had the chance to read the latest book for review and it was actually the first of their books I had read. I loved their story. Part of what drew me, aside from a well put together story and sexy hero, was the strong ties between the heroine, Rhiannon, and her sister witches—none of which are actually related. I personally have friends that feel more like family than unrelated friends and so I could relate to this story. It is an engaging page turner. 

You can read my review here.

There are two of us who make up the writing team of Lydia Dare. And we’ve had the pleasure of writing some truly wonderful heroes over the last couple of years. Gentlemen we’ve fallen in love with right alongside our readers. Sometimes we even make ourselves swoon – over different heroes, of course. We agree on very little in real life and our choice in men is no different. 

We’ve spent the best time with the wolfish Brothers Westfield, a tragic lone werewolf, and a trio of vampyres who are more chivalrous than their human counterparts. And while we love each of these gentlemen from their wolfish tails to their vampyric charm – there is something magical about the women who have captured their hearts. And not just because they’re witches. But because of who they are.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”

When we first created the Còig, an ancient coven of Scottish witches whose powers and membership pass from mother to oldest daughter, we knew we were creating more than just five friends. We were creating “sisters” in a sense who were devoted to and would do anything for each other. In a lot of ways, these lasses are closer to each other than they are some members of their own families.

We've written a lot about the members of this revered coven:

Elspeth – the healer (Tall, Dark & Wolfish)
Caitrin – the seer  (The Taming of the Wolf)
Blaire – the warrior (It Happened One Bite)
Rhiannon – the controller of weather (In the Heat of the Bite)
Sorcha – the plant manipulator (Never Been Bit, to be released September 6th)

These five ladies were first introduced in our 2nd book, and since then they’ve dealt with werewolves, vampypres and each other. But through all their ups and downs, their loyalty and bond has held them together and made them stronger than ever.

Our witches are far from perfect. Some are hardheaded. Some are a little spoiled. Some have tempers. We could go on and one. But despite each lass’ flaws, her coven sisters love her like nothing else.

We've both been lucky enough to have had some very good friends over the years, friends we would do anything for and vice versa. And it is those ladies and those friendships that inspired us to create the Còig in the first place.

  • We’d love to hear all about your best friends, the friends who've stood by you through thick and thin, who've been there when others weren’t, and who you love like they were your own family.

In honor of our Scottish witches, we are giving away a set of the first four books that features the coven  - TALL, DARK and WOLFISH; THE TAMING OF THE WOLF; IT HAPPENED ONE BITE; and IN THE HEAT OF THE BITE to (2) lucky US or Canadian commenters who tell us what makes their best friend so special.

In The Heat Of The Bite

Chivalry is far from undead...

Matthew Halkett, Earl of Blodswell, is one of the few men in the ton who can claim to be a knight in shining armor- because that's precisely what he was before being turned into a vampyre. When he spies a damsel in distress in the midst of a storm in Hyde Park, his natural instinct is to rush to her aid...

But not every woman needs to be rescued...

Weather-controlling witch Rhiannon Sinclair isn't caught in a storm-she's the cause of it. She's mortified to have been caught making trouble by the imposing earl, but she doesn't need any man-never has, and is sure she never will...

But when Rhiannon encounters Matthew again, her powers go awry and his supernatural abilities run amok. Between the two of them, the ton is thrown into an uproar. There's never been a more tempestuous scandal... Excerpt on Amazon
BUY: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indibound

As Lydia Dare, like most of us, work outside the home, they will be stopping by as they can today.

Lydia Dare is the writing team of Tammy Falkner and Jodie Pearson. Both Tammy and Jodie are active members of the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers and live near Raleigh, North Carolina. They are working together on their next paranormal historical trilogy as Lydia Dare, which will be released by Sourcebooks Casablanca in Spring 2011! For more information, please visit

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Musings: Enriching Your Writing—Colloquialisms

The Internet has made the world much smaller. This is true especially when it comes to really seeing the differences in the word usage and slang between English speaking countries. To be honest, even within a country there is various regional slang and dialects. We can tell where a person is from by the way they speak. This is truly apparent in a country as large as The United States.

Slang doesn’t bother me so long as it isn’t in professional writing or spoken in a professional setting. Of course I tend to cringe when I hear phrases like, 'he ain't got no business coming down on me'. I tend to correct my son when I hear him use the wrong verb tense or a word in the wrong context.

The use of slang, colloquialismsand clichés can add flavor to your writing, so long as those devices aren’t over used. It can also characterize your setting and add to your characters—without getting into a bunch of backstory. The use of slang and colloquial phrases are usually confined to character speech (or inner thoughts) and not to the whole manuscript.

Not every character will speak in the same manner (and wouldn’t it be boring if they did). The big city girl comes to the country for a job or another purpose. She uses proper English in her speech but hearing the way others speak can add conflict in her perception of the people or another character she comes into contact with. She might perceive them as uneducated and this could cause her to make judgments or underestimate the other character(s). That can work both ways, of course.

There are those who don’t agree with using slang, colloquialisms, or clichés and that’s fine, but even some of the classic literary giants, if you will recall, used them.

A street-smart punk isn’t going to speak in perfect English and if the author, critique partner, or editor tries to force that on the character it will make the character flat and unrealistic. Someone from the Deep South isn’t going to use his or her words or even the same sentence structure as someone from, fill in the blank____ Maine, California, Upper Midwest, Western states, Pennsylvania Dutch country, does. Those differences can be used to give flavor to our characters and settings.

An author who does this well, in my opinion, is Carolyn Brown. She writes about people from Texas and Okalahoma in small town and ranch country. She gives richness to her stories with the use of colloquial phrases and regional slang. Her writing pops with location, setting, and realistic people. I laugh because it captures that area so well. Even if you’re not from or never visited the area it works. She doesn’t waste time defining the phrases or words she uses but the context in which they’re used is self-explanatory.

Judi Fennell is another who uses well-placed slang, colloquial phrases, and clichés. Her stories play on pop culture and so it works. In her Mer series, she doesn't waste time explaining terms like shell fillers. It’s obvious by the way she uses the term what it means. There is quite a bit of humor attached to her plots and characters and her skillful play on words only enhance her writing. Judi makes up slang and colloquial phrases to fit her world and does it well.

Neither of these authors over uses these devices but they both know how and when to use them effectively.

If you write Regencies, you automatically use syntax of the era as well as the slang. It gives the feeling of place and time. Military suspense, thrillers, or romance use slang or jargon because the military has its own terminology as does law enforcement. Someone writing sci-fi or paranormal will create his or her own world jargon and slang.

I think it’s perfectly legitimate to use colloquial speech and clichés in your writing to add texture to your story so long as the terms fit and aren’t use merely as a form of laziness.
·        Do you use, colloquialisms, and clichés in your writing?
·        How do you decide when and how to use them?