13 December 2014

Hello, I must be going...

(Photo by Jean Marie Ward)

The holiday season has landed, even in parts of the world without any snow. With it comes the last blogs here at Beyond the Veil.
We're not going away. Not exactly. Beyond the Veil is reinventing itself into Romance Nerds, a place where writers can talk about all the things that inspire us, from our stories to our favorite guilty pleasure TV shows.
We didn't plan it this way, but what we're doing is a lot like what's going on with The Colbert Report. Although his Comedy Channel show is going away next week, Stephen Colbert will be back in 2015 bigger and better than ever as the host of The Tonight Show.
While the writers of Beyond the Veil/Romance Nerds can't claim to be stepping up to a stage that big, the new site will boast a host of new features. It will also maintain an archive of all the posts you love, including "A Turkey to Remember".
Which reminds me, I have cookies to bake and lots of embarrassing pictures to take (gotta get my blackmail--er, I mean, material from somewhere). So I'm cutting this short.
Here's to you and yours in this merry time of the year. Wishing you all the health, happiness and prosperity the holidays have to offer, and a New Year that's the best one yet!

08 December 2014

It's Been Wonderful...

This is my last blog post at Beyond the Veil. ~Sniffles.~

There's a wind of change coming. The blog is going through a metamorphosis and will reemerge next year as a beautiful new butterfly. The authors are excited about the changes and it will be great to see all the surprises in store for our readers.

As for me, I am going to step away from blogging for a bit. I have a lot of book writing to get done and will be stealing every minute I can to get 'er done. 

In 2015, there will be more Navy SEALs. My SEAL EXtreme team still has lots of world-saving to do. I love those boys and am so happy when readers tell me they love them too. There is talk of a SEALS of Summer II boxed set for next Spring/Summer.

The SEALs of Winter Military Romance Superbundle is still available if you'd like to snatch up a great boxed set while it lasts.

I am also working on the first book in a new series, called Alaskan Guardsmen--the air crewmen (Search and Rescue) stationed in Sitka, Alaska. My father grew up in Sitka, so I am anxious to learn more about the place that helped to create my amazing role model.

Book one is SURVIVOR LOST. I've never worked on more than one series at a time, so this ought to be interesting. :-)

I will be around, though. Popping in and commenting/razzing/tickling my dear friends. Hehehe, this is going to be fun.

Happy holidays!
Much love,
Kimberley Troutte

28 November 2014

Chaos killed ... and resurrected ... the muse

For the past three months -- or maybe longer -- I've felt as though my head is spinning. Chaos tends to be a great mental-wall builder; not such a good story builder.

That is, until after the chaos subsides. Just a bit. Just enough for me to string more than one thought together at a time. At that point, chaos can help me build characters...even worlds...and everything that happens within. Life inspires me with all its little twists and turns; highs and lows. Putting those emotions evoked and experiences lived into words is what makes me a writer. Practice, as in anything, is what makes me better and better.

Sometimes the chaos also breathes new life into my imagination and my stable of characters. For instance, I am probably the furthest thing from my heroine in One Little Slip. I do not wear sky-high heels and I rarely have the confidence to be bitchy to anyone ... well, except my family. ;) But I learn from frustration. I feel the same sort of pent-up rage at unfairness. I've worn three-inch heels in the past and watch other women as they deftly walk in the amazing shoes so popular today. And then, I manage to create a character so unlike myself that I previously would have thought it impossible. But hopefully she's one to whom others can relate. Throw in a ghost or two and a sexy hero, then you have yourself a nice little novella with a paranormal twist.

Chaos, then, is a good thing. It makes you feel alive. It makes you appreciate the mundane. And it can make you a better human being -- even a better artist.

Need a break from your own holiday chaos? Then join us on a small, secluded island for a little bit of weirdness and a lot of romance.

My contribution to this lovely anthology was both fun and difficult to write. But I really enjoyed the challenge. :)

One Little Slip
(c)2014 Meg Allison
It’s a recipe for disaster…
Combine a haunted house in paradise, one injured warrior, and a woman hell-bent on standing on her own four-inch heels.
Fiona Reid expected to spend her free vacation at a five-star resort, not in a dilapidated plantation house straight out of the nineteenth century. She certainly didn’t expect the forced close company of one handsome and slightly infuriating security agent.
Julio Alvarez needs to let his wounds heal, and get back to his familiar life. The last thing he needs is a prickly brunette in killer shoes and ghosts that do his bidding.
Meg Allison

24 November 2014

Alpha World Building?

It's no secret that I enjoy sharing what I've learned in the past decade and more of being a published author. I speak a few times a year at various conferences and to writers groups about different things. My local chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America) asked me to talk again this year, and I happily agreed. I asked what topic they preferred and was hit immediately by one enthusiastic member's response: "World building!"

Okay. I can do that. I've built enough complicated worlds between my different sci fi series and my medieval-ish Dragon Knights epic fantasy world. I'm cool with that. But then the person who puts the programs together seemed to think that topic had too narrow an appeal. It seems the idea was floated that most of the membership isn't writing sci fi or fantasy. (Although world building can apply to EVERY setting, the misconception is that it only applies to SF&F.)

An alternative idea was suggested. They wanted to hear about how I create Alpha heroes. I write lots of paranormal, so many of my Alphas actually have animal traits, but I also tend to create non-magical/non-shifter Alphas, so I'm cool with that topic as well.

But perhaps out of perversity, I wanted to do both. I didn't want to disappoint that highly enthusiastic chapter member who wanted to hear about world building and I definitely want this session to appeal to everyone, so I created a mash-up. How does this sound?:

Building a World with Alpha Hero Archetypes - Presentation by Bianca D'Arc

Whether you’re building an epic fantasy world or a contemporary world where suspension of disbelief is essential to reader enjoyment (yes, that billionaire just happens to live next door), certain considerations are essential. We’ll explore the nuts and bolts of how to bring it all together while also looking at some of the popular Alpha hero traits that seem to dominate (no pun intended) romantic fiction today.

That's the blurb for the talk I'm giving in January to the Long Island Chapter of RWA. I think it worked out pretty well judging by my 3-page outline, but I guess we'll see how it goes when I do it live for the first time. Wish me luck! (And please feel free to offer suggestions in the comments.) ;-)

Meanwhile, I'm working on my next book - the last of my Arcana series - King of Stars, which will release in December.

I've been writing up a storm and a number of things have come out recently, including a new paranormal ménage - Her Warriors - and the prequel to that book - Jacob's Ladder. They came out in November and October, respectively. If you haven't seen them yet, take a look!

23 November 2014

Me, She, He, I

Most fiction is written in third person: he, she, they, etc. The other way to go is first person: I, me, we, etc. Most people like third person, some dislike first, and some won’t even read a story in first person. Personally, it’s the story that interests me. The pronouns are just part of the package.

I’d always written fiction in third person. I never really thought about it. That’s just the way it was done. I wrote short stories, novellas, and novels in third person. I never really gave it a second thought. Until I wrote The Ugly Truth. 

When I started writing The Ugly Truth, I used third person as usual. After months of rewrites,  and hair pulling it just wasn’t coming together. Then I realized the best thing I’d written was my heroine’s journal. So, felling I had nothing to lose, I started writing the book from  Stephie’s point of view. Suddenly everything worked. It wasn’t easy writing a romance from only one point of view, but I sure was fun. In fact, it was so much fun that I wrote a sequel, Secrets of Ugly Creek. There might even be another Ugly Creek book or two. What can I say, Ugly Creek is a fun place to visit.

And Stephie agrees.

Do you read stories written in first person? Write stories in first person? What do you like—or dislike—about first person?

Have a great week!

Twitter: @cheryelhutton

20 November 2014


It's November.  That means it's National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo.  This year, I decided to up the ante by volunteering as a Municipal Liaison for my region, Chicago - otherwise known as ChiWriMo.  Here's what I've learned so far:

  1. I have an awesome NaNo ML Mentor (NaNoWriMo Municpal Liaison, in case you don't speak alphabet soup).  Since it's my first year ML-ing, he's my big bruddah and is showing me the ropes.  BIG shout out to Owen!
  2. When speaking to your new NaNo ML, and when deciding off-the-cuff to challenge him and his whole region to a word war, MAKE SURE THAT HIS REGION HASN'T BEEN UNDEFEATED IN EVERY WORD WAR THEY'VE WAGED.  Sun-Tzu would be so disappointed in me.
  3. On the other hand, roundly getting our asses handed to us has helped spur ChiWrimos on to greater and greater heights of wordly prestidigitation.
  4. BTW, Google says prestidigitation means "magic tricks performed as entertainment".
  5. There are a LOT of cats on the internet.  They are cute.  They are distracting.  One must ignore them if one expects to make one's word count.
  6. Facebook is evil and will eat large swaths of your day if you let it.
  7. But, there are cats on Facebook.
  8. And therein lies the problem:  you can have cats, or you can have NaNo.  Making your word count is better than lots of cats but no word count.  So use the cats as a reward for word count.
What about you?  Do you NaNo?  
If so, what are you looking forward to, come December 1st?  
If not, why not?  Jump in, the water's fine!


“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
- E.E. Cummings

**New** SEALED BY FIRE is available from LooseId LLC. An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

The Chicagoland Shifters series:
Book 1 BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.
Book 2 TIGER TIGER, available from Samhain Publishing. An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

The Persis Chronicles:
**Coming Soon!** Watch for EMERALD KEEP from Torquere Books, out April 2015!
Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Books.

Check out COOK LIKE A WRITER , available from Barnes and Noble.

My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora
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Publishers: LooseId | Samhain Publishing | Torquere Press

16 November 2014

Sunday Six: Pictures of World Fantasy Con 2014

It may not look like much, but that little red thumb drive ate my whole summer and much of my fall. My contribution to this year's World Fantasy Con, held November 5-9 at the Hyatt in Crystal City, Virginia, was to format five of the six volumes of Unconventional Fantasy, an anthology celebrating forty years of World Fantasy Conventions contained on that thumb drive. In addition to the catalog of the con's Virgil Finlay art exhibit (which, fortunately, I did NOT have to format) the collection encompassed over two hundred stories and articles by people like Neil Gaiman, Patricia McKillip, Joyce Carol Oates and our writing Guest of Honor Guy Gavriel Kay, plus roughly three hundred paintings and photographs. The complete collection comprised over 900,000 words and 3,200 pages.

The con only produced enough thumb drives to supply one ach to con members. But if the project is nominated for any Major Awards (hint, hint) they plan to make it available to eligible Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Award voters. (Buy those memberships now, folks. :-) )

Fortunately, there was alcohol at the end of the formatting tunnel. Lots of it. They don't call it "Bar Con" for nothing. The good times started November 5 with a scotch tasting hosted by WFC 2014 Writer Guest of Honor Guy Gavriel Kay (left) and Toastmaster Mary Robinette Kowal (right). I knew the scotch would be grand. What surprised me was I found an Islay scotch I really liked: Highland Park. It doesn't smell anything like moldy bandages! (User dodges rotten fruit hurled by the scotch fans on the blog.) Well, it's true!

There were also workshops led by some of the most honored names in the business. Jack Dann (right), author of The Memory Cathedral (about DaVinci) and The Rebel (which imagines the life of a James Dean who didn't die on Highway 1), led a November 6 workshop on alternate history featuring (from left to right) Joe Haldeman, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., and Janeen Webb.

Opening ceremonies November 6 featured World War I re-enactors reading "In Flanders Field" in honor of the centenary of "The War to End All Wars" and mini movie describing the wonders of that little red thumb drive. (I'm trying to persuade the con chairs to put it on You Tube. I'm proud of that blasted drive.)  Mary Robinette Kowal (seen at left dressed in a 1911-style gown) performed with her usual style. Afterwards, the con's honorees gathered for photos. Of the ones I took, I like this one best. From left to right: Mary (Toastmaster), 2014 World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Winners Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Ellen Datlow, and Writer Guest of Honor Guy Gavriel Kay.

What would a con be without panels? Here Michelle Markey Butler (left), Scott H. Andrews, (center) and Elaine Isaak (who also writes as E.C. Ambrose) discuss "Guns, Gears and Wheels: Medieval Technology in Fantasy". I chose this picture to give you an idea of how well the panels were attended. Look at the crowd in that mirror!

For my sixth shot, I decided to give a shout-out to one of my favorite editors, Joshua Palmatier, seen here second from the right. In addition to being a talented writer under his own name and his pseudonym Benjamin Tate, Joshua has co-edited both The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity and Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens. Here he finds himself on a panel entitled "Place Matters: Geography and Fantasy". His fellow panelists are (from left to right): Max Gladstone, Robert V.S. Redick, Marie Brennan, Gregory A. Wilson and Siobhan Carroll.

All told, I had a grand time at the con. I saw good friends. I participated on and attended great panels. I ate well. I drank really well. The only fly in the ointment: guess who lost her thumb drive. Don't it figure. LOL

13 November 2014

Making Believable Fiction Out of Reality

My yard after the freak October snowstorm. That's our swingset under there.
One of the final copy edit notes I received back this month for the upcoming Phoenix Inheritance was that the near-deadly snowstorm that opens the book is wrong.

The copy editor, bless her, thought more snow should be present, especially in the aftermath.

Here's the problem: the snowstorm in the book is an exact replica of one I'd suffered through three years ago, a rare Halloween storm that hit when all the leaves were still on the trees. This led to trees coming down all over the place in New England, including four around my house. Luckily, none on my house but I was awake that whole night listening to cracking and falling branches.

The aftermath was worse. My yard looked like a disaster area. So many branches littered my half-acre lot that we couldn't walk around. Four trees had completely fallen and the top of one was just six inches from the back of my house.

We lost power for eleven days. In New England. In November. It was nightmarish, as the damage was all around.

In Phoenix Inheritance, I'd taken care to point out the problem wasn't the snow. Six inches is not that big a deal. Even in New Jersey, it'll only halt life for half a day. No, the problem was that the weight of the snow brought down the trees.

But, still, the copy editor was right: just because I put something real into my story, it didn't make it believable. As the saying goes, fiction isn't real life. Fiction has to make sense.

Readers can accept all sorts of crazy premises so long as they're believable. The last Phoenix Institute novel, Ghost Phoenix,  contains a Court of Immortals and a woman who can walk through walls.
Not to mention that the hero, Richard Genet, is one of the Lost Princes in the Tower thought killed by Richard III, as in the famous "my kingdom for a horse" Shakespeare play.

I've never had a complaint from a reader or a copy editor about these impossible elements. That's because all readers (myself included) will buy into a premise, just so long as its fictionally supported. My immortals, including Prince Richard, have lived so long because they use an inner telekinetic power to heal their bodies. My heroine, Marian Doyle, walks through walls using a telekinetic ability to confront the molecules of her own body. It's fiction but it makes sense in the story context.

A snowstorm where only six inches of snow caused the damage I described in the book? Not so much.

That's because even in real life, it was a freak storm. I probably wouldn't have believed that amount of snow could have caused that amount of destruction if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

I went back and tweaked those chapters about the snowstorm for those who hadn't been through my experience.

To make sure it made sense. :)

Corrina Lawson (www.corrina-lawson.com) is the author of the Phoenix Institute superhero romance series and the steampunk romantic mystery, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract. She lives in New England. :)

10 November 2014

SEALs of Winter Count Down

Holy hot tamales!

Eight days until the SEALs of Winter Military Superbundle hits the digital stores. I am soooo excited. This is the follow up to the NY Times Bestselling SEALs of Summer.


Nine brand new Navy SEAL romance heroes from NYT and USA Today bestselling authors: Cora Seton, Elle Kennedy, Jennifer Lowery, Elle James, Anne Marsh, S.M. Butler, Delilah Devlin, Zoe York, and ME--Kimberley Troutte. I am so honored to be a part of this amazing group.

For you lovely readers, I am going to give you a sneak peak at my book in the set, UNDER THE RADAR.

First, here's the cover:

Ahh, that Ty Whitehorse is a looker, isn't he?

Here's an excerpt:

A deep rumble started inside Ty’s impossibly muscled chest. The sound made Holly weak and strong at the same time. As if she was the one in charge for the first time in her life. Who knew a kiss could be like this? She pulled back and ran her hands over his stubbled cheeks to his square jaw. He watched her, not moving, letting her experiment, feel him. Goodness, she wished she could take his shirt off. Did she dare? Slowly, she dragged her fingers over his sinewy neck, across his collarbones, around the largest pecs she’d ever seen, and skimmed the best abs on the planet. Oh yeah, she dared.

Taking hold of the edge of his shirt, she lifted. He was far too tall to get the tee over his head. He ducked down so she could get the task done. Then she gaped.

He was beautiful. Rugged. Chiseled. Each muscle was defined as if he was a sculpture of a Native American god. He was not soft anywhere—she looked down. Yep, he was super hard there, too. Ohhh, she wanted to touch. She didn’t dare reach down and take him in her hand, well, by the swell in his camouflage pants, she’d need two hands. The idea thrilled her. She traced a scar beneath his sternum. What caused it? There was another scar near his perfect innie belly button. She pressed her middle finger to it. It reminded her of a bullet wound. It was probably something silly, like a pebble stuck there when he was a kid and fell off his bike.

“Lots of scars.”

“Hazards of the job,” he said.

“Yes, I hear being a SEAL is dangerous,” she joked.


Whatever. She didn’t really care what sort of work he did in real life. It bothered her, though, that he wouldn’t tell her the truth after she’d told him about her scary past. Well, at least some of the details. She couldn’t tell him everything. Ronald was dangerous.

“Your Navy SEAL job. In Alaska?” She prodded, giving him the opportunity to come clean.


Really. How stupid did he think she was? Where was his ship? His team? She trusted him, why didn’t he trust her? What could be so bad about his job he needed to lie about it?

He cared for her, treated her with respect and with kindness. He actually listened to her pitiful history and didn’t judge. He was perfect, except for that tiny flaw. Unfortunately, lying was a deal breaker.

She patted Ty’s exquisite stomach. “Well. I guess that’s that.” She sighed and stepped away from the way too beautiful man. “I want you, Ty. Everything on me, in me, is screaming for you. If things were different, I’d unzip those camo pants and have my way with you. Right here, right now.” She smiled. “Wow, I’ve never said anything like that out loud.”

Why was he staring at her like that? He could say…something.

“You make me feel sexy. Brave. And so free. It’s like I am coming alive.” She squeezed his bicep and felt another zing of arousal. Mistake. No touching. She dropped her hand to her side.

“But…?” he growled.

“But you have to see this will never work. I can’t be with a man like you.” She turned her back on him.

He cupped her elbow and gently pulled her back. That was just another thing she liked about him—he didn’t yank her around.

“A man like me?” His blue eyes were swirling with green and golden confusion.

“Right. You must have your reasons, but I can’t sleep with anyone who isn’t honest with me. I’ve come too far to go right back—”

Static came through his radio followed by a loud voice filled the cabin. “Are you a**holes there? Pick up.”

Ty held perfectly still. There was no answer, only more static on the radio.

The voice boomed, “You SOBs were supposed to radio in. Did you find anything at the crash site, or not? Over.”

Ty released her arm and ran to pick up the radio.

She followed him, walking carefully on her sore toes. “Crash site! I was there. I saw the helicopter go down, Ty. It scared the moose out of the bushes. Do you want me to talk to that guy?”

He gave her a short shake of his head, but his attention was riveted to the radio. He turned the volume up. His nostrils flared and his body seemed to be on full alert. What was going on?

“If I don’t hear from you pronto, I’ll personally hunt you down after the blizzard and put a bullet in your heads. Over.”

One more ripple of static went through the radio, and then it went dead.

Ty was breathing heavily, like a man trying not to hit something. Holly gripped his arm. “Who was that?”

He faced her. The muscles in his jaw were flexing. His nostrils still flared. Wow, he looked p.o.’d. But she didn’t take a step back or go lock herself in the bathroom. Ronald would’ve taken his issues—whatever they were—out on her. Ty was not Ronald.

As if to prove her point, he reached out and touched her hair, letting the long strands run through his fingers. “That was Milton Crow. A terrorist wanted by the Navy. He’s the reason I’m here.”

“A terrorist? That means…” She covered her mouth. “You really are a SEAL?”
Thanks for reading!
Kimberley Troutte
Website: www.kimberleytroutte.com

30 October 2014

13 Reasons to Read Earthbound Passion: The Adventures of Mari Shu book 1

1) It's only 99 cents at all vendors.

2) It's tongue in cheek. I mean, how sexy is a tongue in a cheek? Nevermind that when you see a person probing his cheek with his tongue, it usually that means he's trying to get food out of his teeth. Just ignore that.

3) It's like getting 6 books for the price of one because it's a branching fiction structure with several different endings. So if you hate the way it ends, you'll get another choice!

4) The book -- this volume, anyway -- does not contain any unicorns.

5) The book has a lot of sexy sexxoring and BDSM in it, if you like that king of thing. If you don't, there's also violence.

6) This is the beginning of a series but there are no cliffhangers. Again...in this volume.

7) The second book in the series is already available -- no waiting!

8) The book contains the phrase "loaner boner." Don't you want to know what THAT is all about?

9) The heroine's sainted grandmother is very revered and respected, so the book is, like, respectful of our elders.

10) The heroine is devoted to her younger siblings, so the book is, like, tight with family values.

11) There's a character named Pagan Taupe, and if you can guess what that's spoofing, I'll email you a really nice photo of a cat.

12) I have promised to publish all my hate mail in a book entitled "The Hate Mails to Mari Shu" but I haven't gotten any hate mail yet. This might mean there's nothing to hate about the book, which is a huge recommendation!

13) There are nearly two pages of quotes and comments from other people and authors about this book, another huge recommendation. Gems like:

“That’s hysterical.” — Author Misa Buckley, when commenting on another author’s blurb for MARI SHU

What are you waiting for?

Jody Wallace

Author, Cat Person, Amigurumist of the Apocalypse

http://www.jodywallace.com * http://www.meankitty.com

27 October 2014

Hot New Paranormal Romance from Bianca D'Arc

I had a new book release earlier this month and the follow-up book will be out on 11/11/14. Here's a little bit about them. First, JACOB'S LADDER, the next book in the String of Fate series that started with CAT'S CRADLE and KING'S THRONE.

A man on a mission...

Jake can see the future and there's a special woman on his mind. She needs his help and he's just the man to help when danger stalks her every step.

A woman with responsibilities...

For Ria, being the Nyx - the leader of her people - comes with burdens that few can understand. Her special abilities make her a target of the Venifucus, an ancient faction that hopes to pervert Ria's hereditary power to their own evil purposes. She's lived her life on the run, but the time has come to turn and confront the bad guys on her trail.

Can they stop the Venifucus from using the ancient power of the Nyx to return evil to this world? Whatever the cost, they must stop it, before it's too late.

Buy Now From Amazon - Barnes & Noble - iBooks - Kobo - Smashwords

And the follow-up book is called HER WARRIORS...

Love triangles are always more interesting when they come equipped with claws...and flippers?

Beau has anger issues, but not when he's around Jacki. The fierce tiger shifter has been following her around like a puppy, but she hasn't taken notice of him...until now.

No matter how long Geir has lived in the States, he's still the odd man out. A tiger shifter native of Iceland, he is a Master of his craft, training other warriors the skills he has perfected. When he sees Jacki for the first time, he knows she is the one for him.

Jacki is the privileged daughter of a prominent shifter Clan. Most of her relatives are lion shifters, so she knows how to handle cats on the prowl, but she is a much rarer selkie-a seal shifter-imbued with magic and surrounded by mystery. When an opportunity arises to step into a key role in shifter society, she is uncertain, but willing to try. And when she's told she doesn't have to choose between the two tigers, but rather, can have them both, she is more than intrigued. But someone is stalking their path and they must work together to nullify the danger, all while trying to figure out a complicated relationship that has all three of them questioning fate.

Warning: This story contains graphic language and menage a trois between two tiger shifters and one very special selkie woman. Rawr.

Pre-Order Now From Amazon - iBooksSmashwords.
More sites coming soon. Available everywhere after release.

This series is related to all my other paranormal series, but follows a group of big-cat shifters on the East Coast of the US and Iceland. The events in the String of Fate series are related to the events in my Redstone Clan series and some characters and situations are shared between these two series as well as my Tales of the Were as a whole. And readers of my Brotherhood of Blood series will recognize the themes and a few of the supporting characters as well. It's all one big happy, complicated family! ;-)

For more information on all the related books in these various series, check out my website at WWW.BIANCADARC.COM. Happy reading!

24 October 2014

Double NANO rainbows!!!

Ok, I just read Noony's last post and naturally, I clicked where she told me to click because...baaa, right?

It's a good thing I just went to the bathroom, otherwise, I'd have moistened myself. Hyperbole and a Half is worth all the awesome in the internet.

Well, maybe not all of it because that would leave no room for NaNo (or YouTube videos of cats).

We all know that the idea is to cram 50K words into 30 days of writing. There are people who can do this. They're like...double rainbows. You know they're real because you see videos of them on the internet. They're not like unicorns because the internet pictures of unicorns look like this.

I'm so not going to win NaNo. I write slower than a bear with its tail stuck in the ice. No worries, though. I always end November with more words than I thought I would and I'll tell you why.

I love Write Ins.

Writers tend to be solitary by nature. When you're writing a story, it's really just about you and your computer, getting the words out of your brain before they start stinging like wasps. There's no room for anyone else in there because 3rd parties get in the way of the process.

But I'll tell you this. Hermits get weird. All the worlds in your brain start to take over and pretty soon, you're seeing cats riding fire-breathing unicorns through double rainbows all the time.

That's when it's time (ok, a little past time) for you to pack up your laptop and your power cord and haul yourself out to wherever your local NaNo Write In is being hosted. It'll be in a library, or a bookstore, or in a church basement, or at the student union of a local college. There will be coffee.

Most importantly, there will be people. (You should shower before you go. Hermits frequently begin to smell a little...funky.) People who are blinking at the bright lights the same way you are. People who, when you meet them, the first question they ask isn't "What do you do?" but "What are you writing?"

These are your people. Some of them have never done this before and they're afraid. Be nice to them. Some of them think they have all the answers. Obviously not, or they would be 'Hyperbole and a Half' - and they're not. But most of them are a lot like you. They write because it's what they do. NaNo may be the only time some of them give themselves permission to dig deeper into their writing.

But mostly, being around other people as they write sends this buzzing sort of energy into the air around them, and around you. And it starts humming and whirring and leaking into pores and crevices and the combined power of awesomeness in the room somehow ends up leaving folks with more energy than they came in with. Creativity is greater than the sum of its parts.

For more information on finding Write Ins in your area, register at the NaNo website (free!) and find your region by clicking on "My Region," then "Find a Region." That group should have lots of information on where to find official NaNo Write Ins, as well as a few informal ones.

Double rainbows, dude!

23 October 2014


Okay. It's no secret that I use lolcats and other copyright-free images when I do blog posts, out of respect for the artists of the image.  It's also no secret, through maybe less well known, that I adore Allie of Hyperbole and a Half.  If you haven't read "This Is Why I'll Never Be An Adult," you are truly missing out.  Go read it and come back to finish.

NaNoWriMo is next month, which is National Novel Writing Month.  For those of you that aren't familiar with it, the objective is to write 50,000 words or more during the month and end November with a completed novel draft.  It's described as "30 days and nights of literary abandon."  Hoo-rah, baby.  I adore it.

So this brings me to today.  It's the 23rd of October (!) and it's my day to post.  So I go looking around for an image to use, maybe "Write all the words" or something from Allie's, now viral, meme.

Instead, I find the image above and died of teh funneez.

End of post.

I mean, srsly.  How do you top that?

If you're doing NaNo this year, look me up; I'm a.catherine.noon there and I'm volunteering as a Municipal Liaison for Chicago Region.  Hope to see you online or in person!

Write on!

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
- E.E. Cummings

**New** SEALED BY FIRE is available from LooseId LLC. An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

The Chicagoland Shifters series:
Book 1 BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.
Book 2 TIGER TIGER, available from Samhain Publishing. An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

The Persis Chronicles:**Coming Soon!** Watch for EMERALD KEEP from Torquere Books, out April 2015!
Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Books.Check out "Seeking Hearts", available from Torquere Books.

Check out COOK LIKE A WRITER , available from Barnes and Noble.
Check out "Taking a Chance", available from Torquere Books! An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora
Knoontime Knitting: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Taurus and Taurus (NSFW) | Website | Facebook
The Writer Zen Garden: The Writers Retreat Blog | Forum | Facebook | Twitter | Meetup
National Novel Writing Month: NaNoWriMo | ChiWriMo | Blog | Facebook | Twitter
Team Blogs: Nightlight | Nightlight FB Page | Beyond the Veil | BtV FB Page | Nice Girls Writing Naughty | NGW FB | NGW Twitter
Publishers: LooseId | Samhain Publishing | Torquere Press

25 September 2014

Autumn Is Here!

Wait, what?  What do you mean, Autumn is here!?  We were just having Spring, weren't we?

I found that this year zoomed by, particularly because the weather didn't really turn into Summer here in the Chicagoland.  Sure, we had heat, and we had humidity; but we also had an unseasonable amount of rain and weird days, so much so that my garden shows the results by having lots of greenery and not much fruit.  Tomatoes need sun to produce tomatoes, otherwise it's just a mediocre crop with lots of leaves.

I'm excited about Autumn, though I have a hard time believing it's already upon us.  The biggest news in my world is that I am one of four Municipal Liaisons for the Chicago Region of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.  As part of that team, I will help to plan the Kick Off Party, the Wrap-Up Party (called TGIO, or Thank Goodness It's Over!).  I'll also be helping to host write-ins during the month of November.

What has you excited this Autumn?

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
- E.E. Cummings

**New** SEALED BY FIRE is available from LooseId LLC. An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

The Chicagoland Shifters series:
Book 1 BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.
Book 2 TIGER TIGER, available from Samhain Publishing. An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

The Persis Chronicles:**Coming Soon!** Watch for EMERALD KEEP from Torquere Books, out April 2015!
Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Books.Check out "Seeking Hearts", available from Torquere Books.

Check out COOK LIKE A WRITER , available from Barnes and Noble.

Check out "Taking a Chance", available from Torquere Books! An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!
My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora
Knoontime Knitting: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Taurus and Taurus (NSFW) | Website | Facebook
The Writer Zen Garden: The Writers Retreat Blog | Forum | Facebook | Twitter | Meetup
Team Blogs: Nightlight | Nightlight FB Page | Beyond the Veil | BtV FB Page | Nice Girls Writing Naughty | NGW FB | NGW Twitter
Publishers: LooseId | Samhain Publishing | Torquere Press

22 September 2014

Autumn Equinox, Changing Seasons, Fall Television

Greetings, Kittens!

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. Driving through the Midwest watching the leaves change, bundling up in sweaters and snuggling down in blankets with mugs of cider. Everyone thinking about the holidays, and the world stretching before its nap through the winter.

There's simply something magical about this in-between time, where summer has not yet left us, and winter's grip is not yet here. This time of harvest and feast, of gathering and family. And of course, Halloween is around the corner which is its own sauce of awesomeness.

This year, the equinox starts around 10:30pm EST in my part of the world. As the day grows dim the new season will creep up, and then be upon us come morning in it's full glory.

Appropriately enough, it brings new television shows to sit down and settle in with over the cold months. Sleepy Hollow carries the theme of the turning season best. The sophomore drama returns to answer the cliff-hanger it left us with and to keep us guessing about the two Witnesses and the rise of the Horseman of War.

I'll be tuning in, bundled up in my sweater, snuggled down in my blanket, a mug of tea in hand, and welcoming the Harvest Time.

How will you be spending the Equinox?


21 September 2014

Let's get ready to go IN THE VOID with a free short story!

With only a few weeks before IN THE VOID comes out it's time to look in on the Bonnie Belle and see what our favorite courtesans have been up to since the amazing events of IN THE BLACK!

“This is insane. And I love it.” Sam put her hands on her hips and shook her head. “You should write this up for one of those engineering ‘zines, Jen.”

They were floating in the corridor in front of the door leading to the landing bay, all of them crammed into the hallway.

The mechanic beamed. “Don’t give me all the credit. It took Belle only a few seconds to calculate how to fire the thrusters to back us up into position after venting our atmosphere. No more difficult than trying to maneuver into some of those little docking bays on the smaller mining bases.”

Sean clutched his medical bag tightly, straining to hear the smallest whisper of air escaping. Of all the deaths he’d seen and imagined, dying by suffocation or explosive decompression ranked up at the top.

“Sort of threading a needle, isn’t it?” Kendra had changed into a dark red track suit and leaned against the wall, floating with her arms crossed. “How are you going to get the pod through the hatch? It’s barely enough for us to get through, and the life pod’s got to be larger than the person it’s carrying, right?”

Jenny laughed. “Not through the hatch, silly.” She flapped her arms, reminding Sean of a flightless bird attempting takeoff. “There’re larger doors on each side we pop open for delivery of supplies. Bring the skids in piled with whatever you want or need—furniture, mattresses, the bigger items that can’t be broken down. If we had to bring everything through the single door we’d never get loaded in time.” She rapped on the door with her knuckles. “How we doing, Belle?”

“We have successfully backed up and captured the life pod,” the AI announced. “I am now preparing to seal the bay and restore atmosphere.”

“Any problems?” Sam swam up and down the short hallway, brushing by the gathered crew with each pass. “Life signs still good?”

“All is well with the survivor.” A roaring came from beyond the closed hatch, reminding Sean of a vacuum cleaner. “I estimate two minutes before you may retrieve the pod.”

Sean watched Sam make another circuit before speaking. “She’s got enough oxygen until then, right?” The last thing they needed was to go to all this work and lose the survivor at the last second.

“Affirmative. The pod is undamaged from the debris field. We have also captured other bits and pieces in the bay from the ship.”

Jenny rubbed her hands together. “Salvage. I doubt there’ll be much I can use on the Belle but who knows?”

Sam nodded. “About the debris...Were you able to avoid any biological, Belle?”

Translation—were they going to open the door to a horror of broken bodies and shredded arms and legs?

Sean saw April look down and mutter a soft prayer.

“Yes, Captain. By the time we were able to approach any and all biologicals were at a goodly distance, scattered among the ship’s remains. We captured only the life pod.” A loud pop came from behind the hatch. “Full atmosphere returned. You may enter at your convenience.”

Jenny twisted the handle and shoved hard on the hatch. It swung open with a whoosh of fresh, cool air, allowing them into the landing bay. She stepped back to give them all a clear view.

The sixty square feet of empty space in the back of the Belle wasn’t made to do much else than store equipment and serve as a holding pen for waiting customers. Sean used the open area as a jogging track, cycling past the tables and chairs strapped to the walls.

“Why aren’t we watching via the cameras?” Bianca whispered to him, a tremor underlying her words. “There’s a feed coming through, right? We could be in the galley and far away from this.” She gestured toward Jenny and Sam.
“Let them take the risk. They can call you in later.”

He couldn’t blame Bianca for her caution. She’d lost Halley not so long ago. The last thing she needed was to see more death.

He had seen enough for both of them.

“This sort of thing you need to see up close and personal,” Sean replied. “Can’t judge anything through a lens.”

Sam went through first with Jenny close behind. Sean swam through with the other four courtesans following.

“Be careful,” Sam warned. “Don’t smack your head on something.”

Debris floated around them, the largest no more than a fistful. Most of it seemed to be pieces of the hull with the occasional engine piece here and there.

It smelt too fresh. Belle had overdone the air freshener. There was something wrong about swimming through the remains of someone’s life with the laundry-fresh scent clogging up your lungs.

The life pod spun end over end in the landing bay. Sean swam over to the cylinder and grabbed one of the handles, steadying the pod. He looked in the viewport.

A wide-eyed woman stared at him, her mouth open as she screamed something unintelligible.

Welcome to the Bonnie Belle.


It's going to be another rocky ride for the men and the women on board the Bonnie Belle again as they find themselves the target of space pirates determined to relieve them of their cargo and possibly their lives.

Pre-order this new voyage on the Bonnie Belle at Amazon, B&N, iBooks and Carina Press!

And while you're waiting to board check out this FREE short story! Interlude 1.1 is available at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and many other ebook retailers including Overdrive and ebook lending services.

Out on the edge of civilization anything and everything can happen - especially when you're not ready for it.

When Jenny, the chief mechanic for the Bonnie Belle hops off to work a deal with the local black market she ends up bargaining for more than just fresh fruit.

It's a good time to come on board the Belle - why not see what the fuss is all about?

20 September 2014

The State of the Ward

In a word: Busy.

Every since Memorial Day, I've been up to my eyebrows organizing and formatting the collection of stories, art, nonfiction and historical photographs which will make up Unconventional Fantasy--the huge, five-volume ebook anthology celebration of forty years of World Fantasy Con. The first four volumes are with the proofers, and I'm finishing up the fifth.

Note: I said "finishing". I ain't done yet, and all the final files have to be with the company making the thumb drives by October 1 to be ready for distribution at this year's World Fantasy Con.

Nervous?  Me?

I'm practically vibrating. On the other hand, that could just be the caffeine.

But I had to take time out to let everyone know that two of the books I've been waiting for all summer have finally arrived at real and virtual bookstores near you.

First out of the gate, the paper version of Athena's Daughters, the 22-story anthology of stories about strong women by strong women, is now available for sale by all the usual suspects: Indiebound, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. In addition to my story "The Gap in the Fence" which holds the coveted last story spot (user buffs nails and hums with pride), Athena's Daughters features stories by Mary Robinette Kowal, Sherwood Smith, Gail Z. Martin and Diana Peterfreund AND an introduction by astronaut and space shuttle commander Pam Melroy. Can't beat that.

But I'm going to give it a shot--a photograph, to be precise of The Management inspecting copies of that other book I've been waiting for: Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens. It's got Steampunk. It's got aliens. It's got my story, "The Wizard of Woodrow Park", starring a chicken secret agent in a human suit, academic politics and Chihuahas. What more could you ask?
Excerpts?  Well we've got them right here:

"The Gap in the Fence"

"The Wizard of Woodrow Park"

But obviously new releases and encyclopedic anthologies weren't enough to maintain my full operating level of madness. I had to get involved in another Kickstarter, run by Zombies Need Brains, the same folks who produced Clockwork Universe

Temporally Out of Order features gadgets, timey-wimey and seven amazing anchor authors--David B. Coe, Laura Anne Gilman, Faith Hunter, Stephen Leigh, Gini Koch, Seanan McGuire, and Laura Resnick--authors I pre-order, which is a very small number indeed. The stretch goal authors ain't too shabby, either--Juliet E. McKenna, Jack Campbell, and me!

To say nothing of all the wonderful swag you get on top of the perks of pledging. For example, the first 400 backers will receive A Rain of Pebbles, an ebook containing all the short stories in Stephen Leigh's Alliance Universe. And there will be more special incentives as the Kickstarter continues. To say nothing of its awesome cover painting by Justin Adams of Varia Studios.

Check it all out here.
But that still wasn't enough for me. The weekend of September 26-28 I'll be at the Baltimore Book Festival. When I'm not participating in the SFWA programming track, you can find me at the Silence in the Library Publishing and Dark Quest Books tables doing my best to shill books. 

Come and check it out...and bring more caffeine!

Jean Marie Ward

28 August 2014


So.  As some of my readers know, I take public transit a lot, though less often now than in previous years.  But I still do take the train weekly and the bus several times a week.

Near my office is a Veterans Center, where veterans of the United States Armed Services can go.  There's a bus stop right in front of it, which just so happens to be the bus I take home in the evening.

One day, I walk over there and...

Well, you have to see it first:

Someone forgot their hair.


Yup, you heard me.  Click on the picture to enlarge it, if you don't believe me.  There, on the sidewalk, nestled up next to the building, lay someone's... hair.


Yeah, it didn't make any more sense the second time I typed it, either.


Who knew?


“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
- E.E. Cummings

**New** SEALED BY FIRE is available from LooseId LLC. An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

The Chicagoland Shifters series:
Book 1 BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.
Book 2 TIGER TIGER, available from Samhain Publishing. An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

The Persis Chronicles:**Coming Soon!** Watch for EMERALD KEEP from Torquere Books, out April 2015!
Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Books.
Check out "Seeking Hearts", available from Torquere Books.

Check out COOK LIKE A WRITER , available from Barnes and Noble.

Check out "Taking a Chance", available from Torquere Books! An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora
Knoontime Knitting: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Taurus and Taurus (NSFW) | Website | Facebook
The Writer Zen Garden: The Writers Retreat Blog | Forum | Facebook | Twitter | Meetup
Team Blogs: Nightlight | Nightlight FB Page | Beyond the Veil | BtV FB Page | Nice Girls Writing Naughty | NGW FB | NGW Twitter
Publishers: LooseId | Samhain Publishing | Torquere Press