31 March 2014

Almost Time to Get DOWN AND DIRTY

Since I have already posted about the March theme, I decide to give you a few sneak peaks of my new books coming out in April.

DOWN AND DIRTY--SEAL EXtreme Team Short Story
Available April 10th.

Final request… SEAL Lieutenant Commander Nick Talley keeps promises, but taking care of a teammate’s sister is a vow he should’ve made. How can a man tortured by the past, help a woman fight her tough future?

Broken dreams…Ironman qualifier, Jill Connors, is counting the days until her brother brings handsome Nick home with him. But a buried IED takes her brother’s life and a drunk driver steals her competition hopes. Will Nick want a woman with only one foot?  Love has a way of healing the wounded…one muddy step at a time.  

SEALs Of Summer: Military Romance Superbundle 
Available April 21.

Ten novellas and novels by New York Times, USA Today and award-winning bestselling authors: Delilah Devlin, Sharon Hamilton, Anne Marsh, Cora Seton, Zoe York, Roxie Riviera, S.M. Butler, Kimberley Troutte, Jennifer Lowery, Elle James.

COMING IN HOT--SEAL EXtreme Team (# 1)
eBook included in the SEALS of Summer boxed set. Print book available now.

For Navy SEAL Mack Riley, rescuing a family in Colombian jungles isn’t as hard as seeing the admiral’s daughter again, but since Jenna is joining the hostage rescue team, his orders are to protect her. In the heat of battle, love breaches their defenses just as missiles lock onto their coordinates …can they save the family and get out alive?

Happy reading!

Kimberley Troutte

25 March 2014

Monkeying Around in a Good Cause...with Benefits

See this monkey here?  (No, it’s not me. I didn't grow a beard overnight. Hush!) This monkey marks the start of a new Silence in the Library project: Monkeying Around fora Good Cause: The CJ Henderson Benefit Anthology.

If it were just an anthology, Dance Like A Monkey would be awesome.  The list of contributors at the basic funding level includes some of the biggest names in the industry: Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, Maggie Allen, Jack Dann, Ed Greenwood, Joe Haldeman, Nancy and Belle Holder, Tanya Huff (insert fan girl squee here—I’m in a book with Tanya Huff and Jack Dann!), Gail Z. Martin, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jean Rabe, Mike Resnik, Hildy Silverman, Janine Spendlove, Michael A. Stackpole, Anton Strout, Kelly Swails, Robert E. Vardeman, Elizabeth A. Vaughan, Bryan Young, Jean Marie Ward, Gene Wolfe, and Timothy Zahn. And, of course, CJ Henderson. 

The artists contributing to the project include Christina Yoder (who drew the wonderful dancing monkey topping this article), Alan M. Clark (who contributed the beautiful cover shown below), Mark Dos Santos, Ben Fogletto, Thomas Nackid and Matt Slay.

But wait!  Like the classic TV commercial says, there’s more!  Beyond the Veil’s own Sheryl Nantus is one of the stretch goal authors for the project. Yes! If you contribute now—and we make our stretch goals—you’ll receive another book’s worth of wonderful stories, including Sheryl’s!  And you know she writes wonderful short stories.  If you don’t believe me, check out the selection on her website.

The other stretch goal authors ain’t exactly shabby, either: Aaron Rosenberg, Alan M. Clark, Allan Gilbreath, Alma Alexander, Tera Fulbright, Cynthia Ward, Davey Beauchamp, Dylan Birtolo, James Chambers, Jeff Young, Jennifer Brozek, John Hartness, Maxwell Alexander Drake, John L. French, Jonathan Maberry, Keith R.A. DeCandido, KT Pinto, Michael Ventrella, Misty Massey, Patrick Thomas, Pete Prellwitz, Stuart Jaffe, David B. Coe (aka D.B. Jackson), Vicki Steger, and Mike McPhail. 

And every single story by every single author will feature a monkey.  Even I got in the act, as you can see from the excerpt of my story "Burning Down the House" here.

Why? One of CJ's favorite sayings is "I'll dance like a monkey for a nickel."

But why CJ? Why now? And what makes this project any different than any of the other crowdsourcing projects I've been involved with recently? I think Silence in the Library publisher Ron Garner said it best:

“The purpose of this anthology is to provide...support to author CJ Henderson. Let me start off though, by saying that this is not charity. We are not simply collecting money and handing it off to a needy individual to help pay medical expenses. No, what we are doing here is endowing a grant. A grant that will allow CJ to continue to produce the kinds of stories that CJ writes. Stories with the power to entertain and captivate us all. We are making an investment in CJ."

An investment with dividends for you.  Are you an aspiring writer, or do you know one?  Bestselling author Gail Z. Martin and writer/publisher Janine Spendlove are offering mentoring programs.  Both programs include an in-depth review of the first 200 pages of your novel-length manuscript.

Or how about a short cut to immortality?  You can be Tuckerized--have your name and characteristics assigned to a character in a published story.  Monkeying Around offers three Tuckerization options.  You can get written into anthology editor Jean Rabe's next novel, The Cauldron, or Danielle Ackley-McPhail's upcoming novel, Daire's Devils.

You want more?  How about a certain author and her equally demented spouse doing their best to live up to the anthology's title?

How about making them stop?  

I thought that would do the trick. J Just so you don’t have to scroll back, the URL is: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/monkeying-around-for-a-good-cause .  

Click it.  Share it.  Help out.  I guarantee you won't be sorry.

17 March 2014

Awesome Weekend with a Bunch of Awesome Sci Fi/Fantasy Folks!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope you all had as great a weekend as I did! I spent Saturday and Sunday at LunaCon in Rye, NY. It's a sci fi/fantasy con on the smaller side, but filled with great people, interesting topics of conversation, cool costumes and lots of fun. Sadly, I didn't get any photos. A week or two ago, I dropped my phone in goo and it hasn't worked quite right since. :(

I had a great time discussing the state of publishing with authors like Marc L. Abbott, David Walton and Sarah Avery. I got to hear about anthologies and magazine publishing from the creator of Clarkesworld, and the folks from BlackGate. And I got to get out and play with writers in other genres.

Having spent the past few years mostly associating with romance writers, I sometimes forget my roots. Though I write sf/fantasy romance, I've always found more acceptance among romance readers/writers than among more traditional sf/f readers/writers. I'm happy to see this is changing. While a lot of the folks at the con have never, and will never read one of my books - much less ANY romance novel of any kind - they were a lot more accepting when I admitted I wrote sf/f romance.

I was able to talk about my newest book, Harry's Sacrifice, which is straight-up sci fi mixed with erotic romance. And I also got to promote my upcoming paranormal romance, King's Throne, which is now available for pre-order and releases in ebook and print on May 5, 2014.

I think the main reason I have shied away from sf/f cons in recent years, is that I have had bad experiences in the past. A few years ago I was made the laughing stock of a few different panels I was put on with some very intolerant male sf writers. My experience is nothing new. There is a well-known connection between the sf/f world and misogyny. There has been decided resistance to females writing sf/f, which is why I found a lot more acceptance among the more female-friendly romance world.

This was sort of brought home to me in a eureka moment when we were discussing different kinds of conventions on one of the panels offering advice to novice writers. I was asked to describe what a romance con is like to some of the men in the audience and I was able to say that the mostly-female romance community is very welcoming to male writers who come to the conventions. As I said it, I was thinking to myself, the opposite is not always true - female writers aren't always that welcome at the male-dominated sf/f cons. I know, because I've experienced it.

Nowadays, I only go to nearby sf/f cons. LunaCon is the only one I plan to attend this year. It's relatively close for me - about 30 miles away - and I can commute. But most importantly - LunaCon is welcoming. Accepting. I've never been dissed there. I don't feel too terribly out of place. They're a good bunch of people.

If you want to see some photos of this year's con from an author who was a lot better prepared than I (as far as his phone actually working), go look at Michael Ventrella's facebook page. He was clicking away all weekend! :)

This weekend's experience has made me re-think my position on sf/f cons in general. I just might try to go back to a few northeast cons that I remember enjoying as a plain ol' fan. Wacky as they are, sf cons are a lot of fun!

16 March 2014

Luck of the Irish—or Lack Thereof

father and sonI don't believe much in Saints and such, but Irish blood runs through me—as evidenced by the red hair in my family. My great-great grandfather's name was Francis Marion Capps.. He came here from Ireland. Not a lot of talk in our family about our Irish (or any other) roots, but I have Irish blood from both my mother's parents. Because of that, St. Patrick's Day stirs pride in my heritage.

Was my Irish luck the reason I'm published? If it is, it is the slowest luck in the world. I've written off and on most of my life, and it's only been in the last few years I've achieved any success.Is it because my writing skill is horrible? I refuse to think that. My problem was me, but that's another blog.

So, luck or skill? Both. You can be as lucky as a leprechaun sitting at the end of the rainbow, but if you have no skill as a writer you'll never get anywhere. And if you have good solid ability it still takes a bit o' luck to get ya where ya want to be.

May you find all the luck and skill you need, and have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

(By the way, the picture is of my red-headed grandson and his dad.)

Twitter: @cheryelhutton

15 March 2014

Is Winter Over Yet?

Yes, I'm am most definitely whining. :)

Our area has smashed all records for total snowfall this year! And I know exactly why - we made plans, and God laughed.

When my daughter picked a wedding date last year, the past several winters had been mild and nearly snow-less. Late February will be perfect, we said. The weather will be cool but starting to warm up, we said.

We had snow up to our arses and sub-zero cold.

Well, she said she wanted a winter wedding!

Everything went well, and I'm trying not to feel old when I say I have a son-in-law! Next thing you know they'll be plopping a grandkid in my lap. Heh.

Between spurts of wedding madness I've been watching historical documentaries on Youtube to get me in the mndset of Victorian/Civil War era characters. I have to say, the Brits really know how to produce an historical documentary. I've learned more about Victorian-era medicine (which is pretty hair-raising) than I ever thought possible. Here are a few of my favorites. Caution, they're NOT for the faint of heart!

Pain, Pus, and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines, Part 1 - Pain
Pain, Pus, and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines, Part 2 - Pus
Pain, Pus, and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines, Part 3 - Poison
The Victorian Pharmacy

I also have been messing around with a new camera, and the result is a couple of new videos of my dachshunds so NOT enjoying the deep, deep snow. The first one is Fidget, the second is Heidi. Both went racing out the door in pursuit of squirrels, only to find themselves facing a long slog back to the house.

Well, time to get out my pub-crawling shoes and start applying shamrock temporary tattoos! Everyone have a safe and fun St. Patrick's Day weekend! I'll leave you with this touching Irish blessing:

"As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction."


Youtube channel:  http://www.youtube.com/user/carolanivey

13 March 2014

Black Widow Movie!

I heart Jeremy Renner, I'll admit it, and I think Scarlett Johannson is a stone fox.

BTW, don't try looking up "stone fox" on Google.  ~shudder~

ANYway, apparently Ms. Johannson is going to have a baby, which I'm sure will be too cool for school and WAY to foxy for his or her own good.  BUT, the OTHER good news is that BLACK WIDOW IS GETTING HER OWN MOVIE!

According to MovieWeb, there's a strong possibility that we will get to see Scarlett reprise her role in her very own movie.  She will be playing a pivotal role in the next Avengers movie, (which shouldn't be a surprise to Avengers fans since she's, like, the Black Widow, man!), as well as the soon-to-be-released Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  I'm so excited about this franchise that I can't sit still.

I do, of course, wish Ms. Johannson well and congratulate her on her expanding family, but am even more excited about the possibility of having a complex female lead in a historically male-dominated genre of action/adventure/hero movies.  I'm not surprised, what with filmmaker, writer and director Joss Whedon involved, but I'm tickled that the Powers That Be are listening to Whedon and taking the franchise in some interesting directions.

What about you?  If you could make any movie you wanted, who would be the hero and who would you have play the hero?  (Using 'hero' in a gender-neutral sense, here, so please, don't forget the womens!)


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

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: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!

My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora
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Team Blogs: Nightlight | Nightlight FB Page | Beyond the Veil | BtV FB Page
Publishers: Samhain Publishing | Torquere Press

09 March 2014

When you lose control... who holds you back?

We've all done it - lost our temper and cursed or yelled or thrown something when we've reached that breaking point, that point of no return.

And we're told or we tell ourselves over and over again that this will be the last time.

Basically we lie to ourselves.

But I don't see that as necessarily a bad thing. There's nothing wrong with trying to be better, aspire to be more in control of one's emotions and feelings especially in a society where, according to the latest headlines, you're likely to be shot for tossing popcorn into someone's face or run off the road and killed for flipping the bird to an angry driver.

When I developed the character of Rebecca Desjardin from "Blood of the Pride" I wanted to give her some sort of problem, something she couldn't control. I went with her being unable to shift on will into her Felis shape, unable to control her ability to become a cat shifter. She discovers, after years of not being able to shift, that she *can* but only under dire circumstances when she needs to do so to save her mate, Brandon. A human who, by the way, definitely can't shift. He provides an anchor in her emotional storm when she shifts in public and needs to get herself back under control before her secret is out.

I have to admit to having to depend on my husband at times to bring me "down" when I get angry - he's the rock I can hold onto when I lose my temper and he knows when to let me rant and when to pull me back. Usually before I start breaking things. *grins*

Reb still doesn't have full control over her shifting by the fourth book in the series, "Battle Scars" and she might never have the control she wishes or that the rest of her Pride wishes she had. But like all of us she'll keep on trying to stay in command of her faculties and keep on trying to be better than what she is presently.

As we move into Lent (yeah, even this really lapsed-Catholic) I'm going to try and keep better control over my emotions and my temper. Especially when knives are within reach. And I know I'll fail but darn it, I'll keep on trying.

Because it's part of being human. And no matter who or what you are there's always room for improvement. *winks*

08 March 2014

Luck or Talent? Sweet or Sour? Can I Have an And?

Is there such a thing as a true binary--a real yes/no, on/off situation--in nature or society?  Probably, but the publishing industry isn't it.

Sure, creators everywhere want to believe we'll succeed on our astounding merits.  Why keep polishing your craft if it doesn't matter?

But I only discovered my first publication thirty years after the fact.  If that isn't luck, I don't know what is.  It's not great luck, but hey, I didn't lose any money on the deal.  The publication in question was only a short poem.

My situation wasn't nearly as bad as other writers of my acquaintance--undermined by their agents, orphaned when their editors change jobs, subject to market pressures beyond their control...  Back in the days when Forthcoming Books in Print was the distribution bible for every book retailer in the country, one romance writer of my acquaintance found her first romance novel listed as a horror title.  The sales never recovered.

On the flip side, you have tales of accidental pitches in elevators resulting in fat book contracts, or manuscripts submitted "over the transom" (unrequested, unagented submissions mailed to an old school New York publisher) becoming runaway bestsellers.  My personal favorite is the tale of J.K. Rowling's first break.

Her first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the U.S.) was rejected by a dozen publishers, and was in line for another rejection at Bloomsbury.  But as a lark, the company chairman gave the first chapter to his eight-year-old daughter.  She read it in one sitting and demanded more.

Luck.  That little girl's response could've just as easily gone the other way.  What if she'd been coming down with a cold, or had an argument with a boy who wore glasses the day before?  What if her father hadn't asked her to read at all?

Even so, Ms. Rowling's future was hardly secure.  The contract was for less than $15,000, and the print run was modest.  The publisher even advised Ms. Rowling to get a day job.  It was the work itself, its quality and the resonance of her seven-volume epic that cemented her place in modern literature.

That pattern is repeated over and over again.  A writer gets that all important lucky break--a first reader who loves the work, or an editor with a hole in his or her schedule that a manuscript on hand just happens to fill.  But staying power depends on the quality of the story.  We're not necessarily talking literary quality here.  The language may be simple, or the plot clich├ęd.  But something about the concept, the situation, the characters or the moment resonates with readers.

You can do it once by accident.  You can't sustain it without hard work and talent.  That's why we work so hard to hone our craft.

But it still doesn't hurt to have Lady Luck on your side.

Jean Marie Ward

03 March 2014

Getting Published: Is it Luck or Skill?

It's March and time for a new topic. Getting Published. Luck or skill?

Would you laugh at me if I said both?
In my experience, getting editors to say YES! is extremely difficult, except when it's amazingly easy. :-)

Before you throw something at me, let me explain.

I like to tell people that I heard the party going on at Samhain Publishing and when no one was looking I crawled through the dog door and joined in. My first book wasn't supposed to be a stand-alone story at all. In fact, it started out as a short that I wrote for a contest.

I read about the contest in the newspaper. The winner would receive a free pass to the writer's conference and I was itching to go to. The contestants were given a writing prompt about a man who sees a beautiful woman he is attracted to her and then kills her. Ugh. I write romance. How in the world could I write a story with such a beginning?


Unlesss the man, is really Death come to kill the only woman he can't live without. The two make a pact, turn the Natural Order on it's head, batta-boom-batta-bing...SOUL STEALER was born.

But it was just a short story. Samhain had released a call for humorous stories they wanted to publish in an anthology. I thought to myself, "Yeah, this story is sort of quirky, not hysterically funny, but maybe they'll like it."

I received a note from one of the editors that my story wasn't chosen for the anthology but had been forwarded on to another editor for review. Yes! I liked the sound of that. Even better, the editor wanted my story to become a stand-alone novella if only I could make it longer. How could I say no? I made it longer and also pitched the novel I was working on. Both books were published.

So, I might have crawled through the dog door, but I was ready to party. I'd taken classes, gone to conferences, and honed my skills to be ready for the moment. I wrote, wrote, wrote. And I read like a madwoman. I joined writer's forums, chapters, and asked questions to stay educated about what the publishing houses were looking for. When an editor announced a craving, or need, I sent what I thought could satisfy her.

Batta-boom, batta-bing.