New interview and our first November 2008 reviews!

Posted by: Jennifer A. Ray

Kiki Howell is our very first interview for November 2008!  Watch for some more exciting interviews coming soon, and don’t forget to check the interviews page for our past interviews.

We kick off November with four new reviews this weekend:

Also, we are extending our Forum Party to last through November!  Join our forum and start chatting to win prizes!

Hunting the Elusive Satyr Male

Posted by: Elizabeth Amber
One of the inspirations for The Lords of Satyr.

One of the inspirations for The Lords of Satyr. (High relief sculpture; Louvre)

“Satyrs? What are they anyway?”

Since I began writing my erotic historical paranormal romance series, The Lords of Satyr, I’ve heard this question more than any other.  The short answer is that satyrs are the carnal followers of the Roman wine god, Bacchus (Dionysus in Greek mythology.)  They’re roguish lovers of women and wine, and are associated with fertility rites and woodlands.

In short, they’re the perfect creatures on which to base my three half-satyr half-human lords, Nicholas, Raine, and Lyon.

Wine? Woodlands? Check. Check. These brothers own a large estate in Tuscany, Italy, on which they grow wine grapes.  They also guard an ancient gate leading to an alternate world.

Lovers? Fertility rites? Check. Check. They’re alpha males, who are sent on a quest to find and wed three half-fairie half-human females who are in danger. And they engage in a carnal ritual every month, which not only engenders them with unusual physical qualities, but also helps enrich the vines, which in turn insure their ongoing health.

Like Lyon, this satyr has an affinity for animals.

Like Lyon, this satyr has an affinity for animals. (Royal Palace, Caserta, Italy)

“How do you say “satyr”?

The word “satyr” can be pronounced with a long or short “a”.  I opt for the long “a”.

“Where can I find a satyr guy?”

Okay, no one has actually asked me this, but once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll find satyrs throughout Europe—especially in Italy and France. If you’re lucky enough to visit these beautiful countries, keep an eye out for satyrs in the statuary, mosaics, high relief carvings, and frescoes found decorating public fountains, gardens, museums and other buildings, and on urns and other artifacts.  Here’s how you’ll know if you’ve found a satyr:

1. He’s holding a wine goblet or grapes.
2. He’s chasing a nymph or maenad, and sex is obviously on his mind.
3. He has sprouted a tail and has furred haunches.

A lusty satyr carrying off a maenad.

A lusty satyr carrying off a maenad. (Louvre, Paris)

My interest and studies in Greco-Roman art history lead me on a satyr hunt last time I was in Europe. Since pictures speak louder than words, I wanted to share some photos from my trip in hopes that they’ll inspire you to go on your own satyr hunt.  I hope you’ve enjoyed them.

Lyon giveaway

Wild On Books will give away a copy of my newest release, LYON, THE LORDS OF SATYR, to one person who leaves a comment between October 19-25th. Good luck, and thanks for visiting the blog!

Elizabeth Amber
NICHOLAS, THE LORDS OF SATYR
RAINE, THE LORDS OF SATYR
LYON, THE LORDS OF SATYR (Aug 2008)
DOMINIC, THE LORDS OF SATYR (March 2009)
erotic historical paranormal romance
Kensington Aphrodisia
erotic excerpts at www.elizabethamber.com

Prizes, Interviews and New Reviews!

Posted by: Jennifer A. Ray

We have lots of new reviews for you this week – including the very first Wild on Book reviews for reviewers Kenzi and Kimberly!

We’ve also posted three brand new interviews for October:

Don’t forget to join our newsletter to enter the giveaway for a hardcover copy of RESCUE ME by Cindy Gerard, Lora Leigh, and Cherry Adair.  Did we mention that it is autographed by Lora Leigh?

Of course, there is more than one chance to win this month with Wild on Books Forum Party!  Check out the details here, as well as the list of prizes!  As we receive new prizes from our author and publisher friends, we will be adding to this page…

Party at Wild on Books – with PRIZES!!!

Posted by: Jennifer A. Ray

Come join the fun in the Wild on Books forum as we get things hopping over there with a month full of contests and prizes!

Forum Address:  http://messageboard.wildonbooks.com

Details:  http://www.wildonbooks.com/contests.htm#CONTEST_2

Prize List:  http://www.wildonbooks.com/forum_prizes.htm

Thanks to Everyone!

Posted by: Todd Hunter

Thanks again to everyone who showed up to discuss “Grabbing the Reader’s Attention” and HEROES DIE YOUNG yesterday. I had a great time, and hope everyone else did as well.

I can already hear everyone out there saying “I wish he’d just get to listing out the winners!”

We had several entries for the e-book and print copies both, and since I hate disappointing such fine, upstanding ladies…I’ve decided to pick multiple winners and give them their choice between an e-book and a print copy.

So, Cathy M (comment 17), Susan Lee Wiener (comment 26), lestopath (comment 28) and OFG (comment 30)…send me an e-mail at engrboy@msn.com (make sure the subject is obvious, so I don’t accidentally delete it as spam!) and we’ll arrange for delivery of your prize.

For those who didn’t win this time around, you can visit AstonWest.com to find out more about HEROES DIE YOUNG, or head over to Champagne Books and order your copy today.

Grabbing the Reader’s Attention

Posted by: Todd Hunter

What causes a reader to pick up a book and not want to put it down?

The best way for a writer to know the answer to any writing question is to ask it of themselves, as a reader. This situation is no different. So, what makes a book so riveting that you don’t want to stop reading?

Personally, I’m a fan of any book which keeps the action moving, and I’d venture to guess this is the case for most readers, regardless of genre. As soon as things begin slowing down, I start losing interest. If things drag on for very long, I put the book down more often, and in some cases will put it aside for weeks or months at a time. So, if we assume most readers want action to keep moving, how do we (now back to being writers) do so and keep the reader’s attention on turning those pages.

  1. Start off on the right foot (or maybe the left) – In every footrace, there’s a starting gun. In your writing, you have to capture your reader’s attention immediately if you expect to keep it for the rest of the piece. There are multiple ways to do this, but some things NOT to do would be to describe every unnecessary detail of the scene, give every piece of back story you developed the story with, or have your main character wax nostalgic about their personal struggles. Action helps, but if you toss the reader right into an action scene without some setup, they’re likely going to be confused or worse, unwilling to buy your book (many readers will check out the first few paragraphs of a book before buying).
  2. Keep things moving (downhill doesn’t count) – The death bell for any novel is when the story stalls out. Interesting characters and situations have to stay interesting. Conflict helps. Anytime your characters look like they’ll reach their goals, put an obstacle in the way. Continue this pattern, making the stakes higher and the obstacles harder to overcome throughout the story, and you’ll have your reader’s attention. Life (and fiction) is more exciting when there’s more at risk and everything to gain.
  3. Don’t distract the reader (ooooh, shiny!) – Side plots can be interesting, but if they distract the reader, your pages might as well be a flashing neon sign, hard to look at and something to pass by completely. Readers read to relax, to get away from their every day lives. As such, keep things simple and uncomplicated (note: do not “dumb down” your writing). Plots should NOT have ever-overlapping threads which a reader has to stop and diagram out on a white board to comprehend. The same holds true for the number of characters a writer puts in a story. If the reader has to constantly stop and look back through material they’ve already read to remember a character (out of the twenty in the story), they’ll get frustrated and will most likely set your book down. If they do happen to pick it back up later, they’ll need to refresh their memory on your characters and will probably put the book away again during the attempt.
  4. Start funneling the reader toward the end (clean out the motor oil first) – Readers like to relax, as mentioned. They also like to believe they’re going to reach the end of a book eventually (they have their own lives after all). An author needs to be able to give readers the sense that closure is coming if they just read a little farther. Granted, some books (usually based on genre) can pull this off easier than others. A mystery can’t make it obvious who the killer is too soon, for example. But overall, the closer the reader gets to the end, the more the action should pick up in anticipation of the climax of the story.
  5. A satisfying ending (try not to read too much into this following “the climax”) – Notice I didn’t say “a happy ending.” Not all stories need to have a happy ending (a few of mine don’t), because life isn’t predictable. There will obviously be those who disagree with this, based on the fact that readers want to escape their own lives (real life doesn’t always have happy endings either). But regardless of whether your have a happy ending or not, the reader must feel like the main character achieved their main goal. Otherwise, the reader is going to feel cheated. Although they’ve made it all the way through the book (which was our main goal through all of this), they’re likely not going to bother reading your next one. People like closure, and a satisfying ending is the best way in which to give one to your reader.

So, as you can see, it takes a lot of work to keep a reader’s attention throughout the entire novel. But through time and practice, it will become second nature to you as a writer. Hopefully these suggestions for grabbing a reader’s attention are helpful to you.

***

Excerpt from the first chapter of HEROES DIE YOUNG (and no, this isn’t the beginning of the chapter…did you really think I’d violate my own guidelines above?):

I turned my gaze down the entry corridor and saw carnage I wouldn’t soon forget. Rulusian bodies lay on either side of the hallway, burn marks from energy weapons as black patches on a background of dark green skin. The putrid scent of scorched flesh was in the air. I passed an open doorway on my left, and looked inside at crew quarters. More Rulusian corpses lay amidst sparks and clouds of smoke.

I lifted the transmitter again. “You’re sure there isn’t anyone on this ship?”

“Affirmative. All scans show nothing but yourself.”

“This damage is far too recent for my liking.”

“Did the crew abandon ship as we had thought?”

I grimaced. “Doesn’t look like it.”

I continued down the corridor toward the bridge. Dark blast marks lined the doorframe and floor, where an access hatch had been blown open. Smoke particles lingered in the air and I detected a faint chemical odor while my eyes watered. I took slow, cautious steps through the opening and became witness to even more carnage. Ten more Rulusians were collapsed against the wall or slumped over consoles, all roasted by weapons fire. I definitely didn’t need to meet up with the people who had done this. I didn’t get into the scavenging business to be a hero. Everyone loves heroes, but heroes have a tendency to die young.

I glanced at the console screens as I stepped around the short end of an oval-shaped outer wall. All of the displays flickered with minimal power from backup systems, while I stepped over a pair of corpses. I stopped at one and attempted to bypass the lockout. The sweat fell off my face onto the screens and formed little pools which slowly worked up enough courage to slide down the panel. I realized my attempts were useless and walked to a single access hatch at the back of the bridge.

“Jeanie, which bays contain contraband?”

“All of them.”

A huge smile spanned my face. This was a dream come true.

Unfortunately, I only had three bays open and there was no way I was dumping the crystals. Perfect opportunities like this were the exception and after these weapons were sold, I’d likely have run some more regular cargo. Even in such a huge universe, it wouldn’t take long for word to spread that I couldn’t be trusted to complete a delivery.

“Get ready to pull three containers in. The winches should be adequate.” I had a loading arm installed, and even though it was a lot more accurate, it was slow and cumbersome. There was still a bonus to keep in mind.

“Acknowledged.”

The door into the cargo hold opened easily, which I found odd as I walked inside. The air was stale and dry in my lungs as the floor panels clanged and echoed with each step. The door closed behind me and I glanced down the corridor at six bays on either side. The best thing would be for me to drop the first three bays and ignore the possibility of a better catch in the others.

A computer console beside the bay door monitored the ambient conditions inside, while a marked service panel underneath drew my attention. I shoved my Mark II into its holster inside my jacket and knelt down next to the panel. The cover came off in no time and I set it aside. A lever on the right, and two dimmed lights next to it looked like what I needed. Even though I’d never jettisoned cargo manually from a Rulusian freighter before, there were plenty of bays to find the proper technique. After I pulled the lever, the lights flashed in sequence a few moments. Then a miniature explosion sounded off inside the bay.

Just to make sure I hadn’t destroyed a perfectly good cargo container, I lifted my transmitter again. “Do you see it, Jeanie?”

“Pulling in the cargo now.”

“Two more on the way.”

I moved on to two more bays, going through the same process. As the third bay jettisoned, I heard another floor panel echo farther down the hold.

I pulled out my Mark II and stood, just as a floor panel at the very end of the hold flew up. A woman with bronze skin and black hair jumped up out from the crawlspace underneath, a disintegrator cannon in her hands pointed right at me. I fell to the floor just before her first shot hit the bridge door behind me and showered sparks down onto the grill. I fired a three-shot burst and she dove down in the crawlspace again, while minimal damage was done to the aft bulkhead. It also gave me the opportunity to run toward the bridge door, where the impact mark from her first shot still glowed. Eager for cover, I ducked around the corner into a small alcove as another shot hit nearby. Sparks fell at my feet while I pressed my back firm against the cold hard metal. My heart beat faster than it had in quite a while.

***

Questions on the HEROES DIE YOUNG Excerpt:

  1. What line (from this excerpt) spawned the title?
  2. Who’s the real bad boy (or girl) in this excerpt? Aston or the mystery woman? Why?

A free e-book of HEROES DIE YOUNG will be given to the blog commenter who gives the best answer to the second question above (as decided by me tomorrow morning).

And as a special bonus, I will choose one blog commenter to win a free print copy of HEROES DIE YOUNG. Just tell me why you deserve to win it more than anyone else (again, winner decided by me tomorrow morning).

***

T. M. Hunter is the author of HEROES DIE YOUNG, the latest science-fiction sensation from Champagne Books. His Aston West short stories have been featured in the e-mag Ray Gun Revival with his short story “Little White Truths” a top ten finisher in the 2007 Preditors and Editors Readers’ Poll. He (and Aston) can often be found over at AstonWest.com.

Thanks to Jennifer and the entire Wild on Books crew for having me!

If you enjoyed this blog, make sure to check out my regular Monday blog posts on writing over at Aston’s MySpace page.

I live for comments (and love to give books away)! So, please stop in and say hi. Be sure to enter yourself to win a free copy of HEROES DIE YOUNG, and I’ll be around at various times throughout the day to respond…

We have a winner!

Posted by: Jamie Leigh Hansen

A big thank you to everyone for the warm welcome here at Wild on Books. :) Jennifer is a one-of-a-kind hostess. :)

The winner for this week’s prize is ING! Ing, please email me at JLH@JamieLeighHansen.com with your address so I can send you an autographed copy of Cursed! :)

For anyone else, stay tuned at www.MySpace.com/JamieLeighHansen. I’ll be giving away another copy to one lucky winner. :)

Have a great week,

Jamie

New Reviews, Contest Reminder, and Guest Blogger Tomorrow

Posted by: Jennifer A. Ray

Hi everyone!

We posted a few new reviews this weekend, including a second review for Madison Hayes’ new book, MISS JANUARY!  Seems this talented author has a couple of fans at Wild on Books!

Don’t forget to enter our contest for a print copy of Anna Campbell’s book CLAIMING THE COURTESAN.  If you are already subscribed to the Wild on Books newsletter, then you are already entered.  Go to our contest page for details.

We are excited to have author Jamie Leigh Hansen blogging with us tomorrow!  Jamie is the author of the great paranormal romance published by Tor, BETRAYED and is following up that book with a new release this fall titled CURSED!

New reviews – Sophie Jordan, Barbara Dunlop, & Cameron Dane

Posted by: Jennifer A. Ray

We’ve got a few new reviews for you this weekend!

Don’t forget to enter our contest for an autographed copy of LYON: LORDS OF SATYR by Elizabeth Amber!

Introducing TJ Michaels (woohoo!)

Posted by: TJ Michaels

Hi all! Totally thrilled to be here at Wild On Books. It’s my first of many visits, I’m sure. I hope you all don’t mind, but when I blog I don’t typically stay glued to the topic of books. Yep, I’m one of those folks who just kind of goes with whatever is floating my boat at the moment.

And right now, everyone is talking about the Olympics. My favorite events are gymnastics because I used to be a gymnast. But I also like platform diving and swimming. And speaking of swimming, did you all get a good look at Mr. Michael Phelps? Oh. My. Freaking. God! Many a romance author (myself included) were wishing the suit would slip just a little bit.

CAUTION: Click here for Totally Yummy, Michael Phelps Just After Winning The Gold

Then there’s beach vollyball. I enjoy that sport, too. But someone made a very valid point the other day – why are the women’s suits whittled down to almost-bikini’s while the men are wearing big baggy beach shorts and ugly, flappy muscle shirts?

Heck, I wanna see the hotties! So if the women are almost naked, let’s be fair and make the men be pseudo-naked, too? All’s fair in sports, right?

And all that talk about naked men on the beach brings to mind (yes, I have to throw a book plug in there *cheese*) a scene I wrote for a new book recently sold to Ellora’s Cave. It’s called Caramel Kisses and is a Older woman/younger man contemporary. Now, I usually write paranormal erotic complete with vampires, shifters, spirit guides, the whole works. My favorite series that I’ve written is the Vampire Council of Ethics in both eBook and print from Samhain. I also enjoyed penning the spirit guide and shifter books out with Ellora’s Cave (all this stuff can be found on my website at www.tjmichaels.com).  But Caramel Kisses is my first contemporary, and I must admit, I kinda like the genre.

Back to the scene I was talking about – our hero, Drew, takes his lover, Sydni on vacation. And there’s a scene where she’s just relaxing on the beach. She looks up from her novel to see her gorgeous, rugged hunk-of-a-hero come striding out of the ocean toward her:

Wait, wait, wait! Oh lord, I almost forgot. Before you read the excerpt, or after, I would love to know if you’re watching the Olympics right now. If so, share with us what you’re enjoying, or not enjoying about it. And whatabout the whole beach vollyball thing? Or beach anything, for thing matter? And of course, things just wouldn’t be quite right without a contest, so leave a post about the Olympics or your favorite personal beach adventure (the more outrageous, the better) and get your name in the hat for your choice of one eBook from my backlist. I’ll announce the winner on Friday on The Scoop page on my website.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

TJ
www.tjmichaels.com

Enjoy this unedited excerpt from
CARAMEL KISSES

Copyright 2008, TJ Michaels
Coming Soon from Ellora’s Cave
(WARNING: This is a R-Rated explicit excerpt that leaves nothing to the imagination)

So far vacationing with Drew had been a blast. Sydni was having an awesome time exploring the land of The Lord of the Rings. There couldn’t possibly be another place like New Zealand anywhere on Earth. And certainly not another man anywhere like Drew. In addition to arranging the most out-of-the-way accommodations, he’d arranged helicopter tours of some of the locations where the movie had been filmed. The land was wild and untamed in places, bringing to mind certain scenes from her favorite epic film. And she had her own action hero in a rugby player’s body, but with a more stylish haircut.

Sydni leaned back in her chaise and frowned down at the baby powder fine sand underneath her feet, debating whether she wanted to swim and get sand up her ass, or just lay here and watch Drew play. Raising her gaze, she watched her man approach and had to force herself to breathe. As usual.

Rising up out of the waves, Drew dripped sex. After planting his surf board into the sand every step he made toward her sent her stomach rippling up into her throat. The water dripped down his body in sparkling rivulets, leaving wet paths in the downy hair of his bare chest. Packed slabs of muscle bunched and flexed as he wicked the water down and away from his arms. God the man had the most delicious thighs and well-formed calves she’d ever seen on a man. And an ass to simply die for, which happened to be nicely outlined by his soaked swim trunks.

His dark mop of hair was plastered to his head, curling about the ends as he made his way toward her, dripping wet. The dripping made her think of how he made other things…drip.

Yes, he looked great in shorts, and even better in nothing. His chaise groaned as he settled down in it right next to her with a contented sigh.

“Whoever thought sex on the beach was a great idea must have been crazy,” Sydni mumbled watching him try to get the stuff off his legs. It hung on to the fine little hairs for dear life.

“Not crazy, just a fraud.”

“You mean the person who thought of selling it as something sexy had never done it before?”

“Exactly. Who would be stupid enough to fuck on the beach? The last thing a man wants is sand up his cock.”

Sydni laughed, enjoying Drew’s wit. She settled deeper into the cushions of her lounger, more relaxed than she’d been in years. In truth, the man made her feel comfortable. Like an old robe or her favorite pair of slippers, she was becoming so used to his presence, she didn’t want to think of what it would be like without him. Nor did she want to think about breaking in a new pair comfies.

Sigh. Yes, Drew was a keeper.

After a few minutes of trying to read her novel, her attention was caught by a movement from the direction she couldn’t keep her eyes from straying to anyway. Drew had risen and now stood next to her. She looked up and came face to face with a cock pushing against the front of his swim shorts. Oh boy.

Sydni dropped her book, grasped his hand and let him lead her into the house and straight to the shower.

After rinsing the sand from their bodies, Drew snatched Sydni’s favorite massage oil off the dresser and headed for the screened-in private veranda out back.

“Coming?” he tossed over his shoulder. She grabbed a couple of clean towers and scrambled after him. Naked, he lay down on the leveled lounge and held out the bottle to her. “Do me, first?”

No problems there. Touching the man, easing her fingers over those miles of muscles, teasing him with her hands until he went crazy. Yep, she could certainly do him first.