Friday, October 11, 2013


I honestly believe that if you want something enough, you’ll make the time for it. It all comes down to choice.

My guest, Paul Anthony Shortt, is an Irish storyteller and urban fantasy author.
Paul's topic is one we hear from many writers todayfinding time to do all the things we love to do. Especially writing. It's not an easy juggling act for most of us and yet, somehow we have to find the time to release all the players and worlds in our head to printed page. But, I'll let Paul tell you about his struggle to find time. 

Like many authors, I’m a proud parent. Our twin girls were born on December 13th, last year, and we got a surprise a few months ago when we learned that we’re going to have another little one arriving in January.

As many people know, the twins were actually our second and third children. We lost our first, Conor, when he was three days old.

I believe having Conor prepared us for being parents to twins. His brief life showed us how loved we are by friends and family, and left us stronger for the decisions we were forced to make at the time. It also made us more determined than ever to be the best parents possible.

As you can imagine, twins are a drain on your time and energy. Their needs have to come first, and when you have a pregnant wife with mobility issues due to disability, you have to make some tough decisions when it comes to your free time.

I learned to prioritise very quickly. Writing became relegated to my lunch hour in work, or after the girls were asleep in the evenings, and it had to stop if one of them needed to be fed or changed. I became more selfish, I feel, with my time. Where before I would have been happy to lose an evening to lazing on the couch watching random television, I started only wanting to watch something if I was specifically interested in it. Or else, I’d leave my wife to channel-hop (she loves finding random things to watch) while I would sit on the couch with a netbook getting some extra work done.

Once any activity stopped being fulfilling, I set it aside and moved on to something else. Whether it was gaming, or a book, or even a particular meal, if I was no longer enjoying it, I stopped. It required developing a bit of a ruthless streak, but I now had too many responsibilities to give time to things that weren’t truly rewarding.

I decided early on that my two highest priorities had to be my children and my writing. The first was a given, but the second, while being a very personal choice and geared towards my own goals and success, would also help provide a better life for my children. Once I had the time set aside for both those things, I decided, then I could look at other activities. And, as it happens, I’ve managed to deal with the workload quite well. I’m seeing my friends regularly, and still gaming every week, even though I have taken a step back from running games while getting ready for Silent Oath to come out.

I often see people comment about not having enough time to write. I agree, making the time is hard. But it has to be done. I honestly believe that if you want something enough, you’ll make the time for it. It all comes down to choice. Maybe taking care of your children or putting in overtime at work leaves you exhausted and you don’t want to be near a computer in the evening. That’s okay. The thing is, you have to accept that its your choice to spend what free time you have the way you like. There’s nothing wrong with choosing to unwind instead of write, I do it myself, but we must always make our decisions in the knowledge that prioritising one thing means letting another fall to the side. We choose for ourselves what things have priority, and what things to let go of.

For some, that means letting go of writing, if only temporarily. For others, it means cutting back on work, or getting up an hour early at weekends to play with your kids, or giving up your lunch break to write. All choices in life come down to priorities like these. Make sure you pick the ones that are right for you, and you will lead a happy, fulfilling life, whatever you do.


SILENT OATH  (#2 in the Locked Within Trilogy)

Hope has returned to New York City. Nathan Shepherd leads a small band of dedicated fighters against the Council of Chains and the city's supernatural masters. But it's not enough. Because from the shadows of Nathan's former lives comes an old enemy, one who knows terrible secrets that Nathan has not yet remembered, secrets that could undo everything he has fought for.

Nathan's only chance to uncover the memories of his previous existence, and to conquer these new forces of evil, lies in Elena DeSantis. A woman he has fought beside in past lifetimes. A woman he has loved.
Together, Nathan and Elena are the only future the city has. Excerpt (First Chapter Amazon)


A child at heart who turned to writing and roleplaying games when there simply weren't enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life. Growing up surrounded by music, film and theatre gave him a deep love of all forms of storytelling, each teaching him something new he could use. When not playing with the people in his head, he enjoys cooking and regular meet-ups with his gaming group.

Paul lives in Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper. Their first child, Conor William Henry Shortt, was born on July 11th, 2011. He passed away three days later, but brought love and joy into their lives and those of their friends. The following year, Jen gave birth to twins, Amy and Erica, and is now expecting their fourth child.
Paul's first novel, Locked Within, was released on November 6th, 2012, by WiDo Publishing. Silent Oath is the second book in this urban fantasy trilogy.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I'm happy to welcome a favorite paranormal romance author to my blog, Dani Harper. 
Dani says, "Quite simply, I adore the paranormal."  Her stories show her love of the genre and are fresh and well written and I like her twist on shifters--Changlings.
Her topic is writing life, deadlines, dustbunnies, environmental hazards, and love. Not necessarily in that order. J

It isn't easy living with a writer who’s working to a deadline. Impending deadlines cause vacuuming to fall by the wayside, and roving herds of dustbunnies to collect along the baseboards. (The ones under the bed may be close to achieving sentience.) The linen closet holds all the items I swept off the coffee table when unexpected company pulled into the driveway last week. Clean towels are currently kept in the dryer (assuming they made it that far), and may or may not be dry. The pots are in the oven? Don’t ask, don’t tell.

The kitchen table does double duty as my desk. I have a desk, but I can’t get to it for all the stuff that’s been thrown into my office in hopes of being organized later. I may have to find a third option soon since the table is almost completely buried in papers, books, notes, and oh look – there’s the mail from yesterday. Or maybe last Friday. Eating, of course, takes place in the living room or over the kitchen sink.

And those are just the environmental hazards of living with a writer on deadline….

Nutritional hazards abound as well. Don’t get me wrong, there is food in the house – honest, decent food. The problem is that I've forgotten what to do with it because I literally can’t write to deadline and chew gum at the same time. Take a brain already preoccupied with characters and plot, add the pressure of a ticking countdown, and suddenly I can’t rely on it to do anything else. Of course I still try to force my brain into preparing meals – and that’s when the smoke alarm goes off, or Splenda gets poured into the coffeemaker, or the brussel sprouts go bouncing amongst the dust bunnies, or I forget something important. Like turning on the oven two hours ago for the chicken. We won’t talk about what happened to the food processor during my last deadline…

Emotional hazards are rampant and unpredictable for a writer on deadline. Turning green (“HULK SMASH!”) when I can’t get a scene to work is not unusual. So is feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by the pressure, accompanied by considerable weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. The neighbors have all heard “I’LL NEVER GET THIS DONE!” through the open windows dozens of times. They’ve also heard such favorites as “I CAN’T THINK OF AN IDEA!”, “MY WHOLE STORY SUCKS!” and “WHY CAN’T MY CHARACTERS DO WHAT THEY’RE TOLD FOR ONCE?”  Most of the neighbors just ignore it now as normal background noise, right up there with lawnmowers and cicadas, but a couple did stop in the street to look when I ranted “HOW THE HELL AM I GOING TO GET THESE PEOPLE TO HAVE SEX?”

We’re so not going to talk about the visual hazards of me still at the computer in my pajamas at 2 in the afternoon …

So there you have the ruins. And that’s where the love comes in. My Alaskan mountain-man husband is already my hero in every possible way, but even more so when I’m writing to a deadline. Hugs or coffee or help – he’s generous with all three, and never complains. He’s used to waking up to an empty bed in the middle of the night because I've gotten an idea on how to fix a scene. He’s patient when I’m cranky as a crocodile with a toothache because I’m stressed. He holds my hand and says I look perfect even I've been too busy to shower and my hair looks like a raccoon was electrocuted on my head. He empties the dishwasher, rescues the towels from the dryer and does battle with the dustbunnies. Cheers me on, calms me and consoles me, and would still be button-popping proud of me if I never sold a single book.

And he even reads my stories. Every. Last. Word.

It’s not easy living with a writer on deadline, but my husband does it well. My real-life hero may never know how much he inspires the heroes in my books simply by being who he is. He definitely inspires ME to keep trying, keep working, keep writing. Without his unfailing support and his belief in me, there are days that the pressure would simply flatten me and I would hide under my desk (if I could find it) and suck my thumb.

  • YOUR TURN – Who or what inspires you to get back in the ring and keep swinging?


FIRST BITE, Book 1 of the Dark Wolf Series

Geneva “Neva” Ross doesn't want to die. But now that she’s been turned into a werewolf against her will, she’ll do anything to protect her family and friends…even if that means taking her own life.

After witnessing Neva’s leap from a high ledge, Travis Williamson—a Changeling with a dark past—uses his powers to save her life. He feels a connection to the strong-willed woman whose eyes flash that familiar Changeling green. While Neva is hospitalized, Travis risks everything to kidnap her, knowing the approaching full moon will put everyone in jeopardy.

Bickering constantly to hide their growing attraction, Travis and Neva run from the authorities…and from Neva’s sinister sire, Meredith de la Ronde. Meredith delights in creating new shape-shifters and compelling them to do her dark bidding; now Neva must join Meredith’s murderous wolf pack…or die. Excerpt

~A Night Owl Top Pick ~


Dani Harper is a newspaper editor turned paranormal author. There isn't anything she likes better than exploring the supernatural - unless it's writing sizzling and suspenseful romance. Of course, all of her stories have at least one foot in the netherworld!

Website - (where you’ll find lots more ways to connect with Dani)
Twitter -  @Dani_Harper or

Monday, October 7, 2013

Haunting Houses, Haunted Hearts

My guest is historical romance author, Kat Sheridan. She is addicted to historical Gothic novels and feels the best romance novels include storms, castles, bat-shit-crazy villains, and a high body count. Oh yes, and larger than life heroes and heroines. Today she talks about a character present in all Gothic romances that we often forget.

With the coming of autumn we all tend to draw closer to the hearth. The weather is cooler, the sunny days fewer, and the rain and winds are the harbinger of the coming of winter. The days are darker, and night comes early. Now is the time of year I love to curl up in front of the fire with a hot beverage and a good book. And my favorite choice for this time of year is the old school gothic romance.

What’s a gothic romance? There are certain classic tropes that are usually included—an intrepid heroine, a dark, alpha hero, mysterious goings-on, and danger. But there is always one other character, the thing from which the genre actually gets its name: a house.

The term “gothic” originated from the Gothic architecture of the pseudo-medieval structures that were the setting of early gothics. It might be a mansion, an abbey, a manor, a hall, or a hotel, but it becomes a key “character” in the story. It’s more than just a setting, a framework for events. It takes on a life of its own. Consider these descriptions of the residences in some classic gothics:

“There was Manderley, our Manderley, secretive and silent as it had always been, the gray stone shining in the moonlight of my dream, the mullioned windows reflecting the green lawns and terrace.” ~ from Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.
“It was three stories high, of proportions not vast, though considerable: a gentleman's manor-house, not a nobleman's seat: battlements round the top gave it a picturesque look.” ~ description of Thornfield Hall from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
“Halfway down a by-street of one of our New England towns stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables, facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst.” ~ House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

These haunting—and possibly haunted—houses are representatives of larger themes in the stories. When Manderley or Thornfield burn down, it’s a representation of finally destroying the past to make way for the future. Even the name “Thornfield” is thought to represent the “field of thorns” Jane has to overcome in order to find her happiness.

And so it is with Tremayne Hall, the mansion in my debut Victorian Gothic romance, Echoes in Stone. When Jessa first arrives, on a suitably stormy night, it’s described thusly: “The immense stone mansion loomed over her, perched on the edge of the cliff like a bird of prey. Three stories rose above her, stretching out to both sides from the central portion. Rounded towers punctuated stone wings at either end, topped with crenelations biting like giant’s teeth into the night sky. A light glimmered in a window, high in the eastern tower. An additional glow shone through the colored glass panes framing the massive Gothic arch of the front door. Otherwise, the house stood shrouded in darkness.”

I deliberately described the house as a living thing—a bird of prey—because it plays such a key role. As the story progresses, Tremayne Hall reflects the lives of the inhabitants. In the beginning, Jessa’s explorations reveal this: “But everywhere, there were signs of neglect. Paving stones had shifted, making the walkways treacherous. The dry fountain overflowed with leaves. Weeds all but choked out any blooming plants. It was if the lack of love and care in Dash and Lily’s relationship had spread itself over the house, cloaking everything in a miasma of decay.”

Does it get better? Does Tremayne Hall succumb to the ashes like Manderley or Thornfield, or can it, like the hero, Dash Tremayne, be transformed? Not to be a tease, but there’s only one way to find out!

  • So tell me. Do you have a favorite dark and stormy tale, or do you prefer to keep your reading on the sunny side?


Echoes In Stone~

A Victorian Gothic Romance – Available October 1, 2013
BUY: AmazonB&NKobo
A letter from the grave… 
Lily is dead. But a mysterious letter launches her half-sister, Jessa Palmer, on a harrowing journey into the wilds of Cornwall to rescue Lily’s daughter from a tyrant of a father, a man who confessed to murder. Jessa follows in Lily’s footsteps to a forbidding castle on the cliffs, but discovers the past will not stay dead at Tremayne Hall. Someone—or something—wants to ensure Jessa is no more successful at escaping than was Lily.

A heart locked in stone…
Bitter, brooding, and tragically scarred, Viscount Dashiell Tremayne believes Jessa is just like her manipulative, unfaithful half-sister. He’s not about to let another treacherous woman into his home or into his heart. Particularly not a woman who’s come to steal his daughter. Only one can win in the battle for a child’s life. Then the accidents begin.

A passion that threatens to consume them…
Jessa wants only to take her niece and escape the grim manor. But Dash, fiercely protective of those he loves, gives up nothing that belongs to him. As the danger escalates, so does the heat between Jessa and Dash. Soon she’ll have to make a choice: surrender the child to a man she cannot trust or surrender her heart to the same fires of passion that destroyed Lily. Excerpt


Kat Sheridan is a former project manager and business analyst whose very serious exterior hides a secret romantic. She is fond of books, bourbon, big words, coffee, and shiny things. Kat splits her time between the Midwest in the summer and the South in the winter, sharing her home with the love of her life and an exceedingly dignified Shih Tzu. No matter where her body is, though, Kat’s imagination can most often be found on some storm-wracked coast, plotting historical romances that include forbidding castles, menacing villains, and heartthrob heroes. She loves to hear from readers, and can be contacted at, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.