Candy’s Inside Books | September = Fall Season Preview and Great Reads

It’s September. I can’t believe we are already into fall. Not only is school starting, it’s also time for the new television season. In October Discovery ID is doing a whole series, Hardcover Mysteries with authors Harlan Coben, Sandra Brown, David Baldacci, Kathy Reichs, Lisa Scottoline, Joseph Wambaugh and Sara Paretsky and others. They’ll be sharing stories about mysteries that have confounded investigators..

The new CW drama Hellcats is based on the book CHEER by Kate Torgovnick, and the show stars Ashley Tisdale and Alyson Michalka. This is one of those series that surprised me by how good it is. The cheer and dance sequences are fun to watch, and there’s a great deal drama and college-aged angst. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Overall, this is a pretty good season. Maybe not as strong as last year, but there is definitely a wide variety of shows from which to choose, and some great ones in the mix.

That’s enough about television. I have a ton of books to tell you about this month, so let’s get to it.

SINS OF SOULI love me some Eve Silver and she doesn’t disappoint with SINS OF THE SOULS, the second book in the Otherkin trilogy. “I loved writing this gritty, dark story because it gave me the opportunity to delve into the mythology of ancient civilizations including Egyptian, Japanese, Norse and Greek. I spent many happy hours at the museum checking out the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Writing this story also gave me the chance to skirt the definitions of good and evil. Alastor Krayl is a soul reaper. Naphre Kurata is an unwilling assassin. It was great fun watching two beings who believe themselves to be purely evil find out that maybe there’s just a little bit of good inside after all.”

IMMORTAL SEA“Did you ever look at your teenager and wonder what the heck happened to your formerly cooperative, loving child?” Asks Virginia Kantra. “Their bodies are changing in ways they don’t understand. Their attitudes are changing in ways we have a tough time accepting. My experience with my own boys was the inspiration for IMMORTAL SEA, where doctor/mom Liz Rodriguez must cope with a teenage son who is coming of age in ways neither of them could imagine.”

Captured by desireKira Morgan’s CAPTURED BY DESIRE is one I can’t wait to check out. “I like romantic challenges,” Morgan says, “and star crossed lovers. What could be more challenging than getting a woman to fall in love with a man who just shot her? In CAPTURED BY DESIRE, when the queen’s jeweler, Florie Gilder, accidentally ends up on the receiving end of huntsman Rane MacAllister’s arrow, it’s an uphill battle for him to earn her trust and for her to win his heart.”

Dedeviled AngelHave you had a chance to check out Annette Blair’s new A Works Like Magick series? BEDEVILED ANGEL is definitely worth a look-see. “I set out to describe Everlasting (my word for heaven) in such a way as to console readers who have lost someone, giving our departed a purpose, and love, even in death,” Blair says. “I also included a cherub nursery for babies who passed and made sure that the rainbow bridge was nearby so our lost pets had plenty of playtime. Also, in BEDEVILED ANGEL, God is a woman.”

Size MattersIf you’re looking for a sexy read check out Stephanie Julian’s novella in SIZE MATTERS. “Remember that tabloid you used to see while waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store with Big Foot Swimming at the Jersey Shore or Dinosaurs Rampaging through Central Park?” asks Julian. “As a journalist, I got the biggest kick out of that so-called newspaper. I knew it was for entertainment purposes only. But someone, somewhere, got to write stories about trolls invading suburban malls and housewives having Elvis to dinner. That’s how my novella was born. Carrie Benton is a writer who thinks she has the best job in the world making up stories about El Chupacabra and Bigfoot. She just never expected them to be real.”

Assassin's heart“I have a love of ancient eras, particularly Egypt and Rome,” says author Monica Burns. “When my agent suggested I write a paranormal I had no idea of what to write. So I decided to just sit down and write. I came up with five pages of an erotic scene between an ancient Roman general and his wife. Talk about a head banging moment. I was supposed to write a paranormal not an ancient historical. I put those five pages aside until I began writing ASSASSIN’S HEART. I really wanted to write the back-story of how my Sicari assassins had evolved over the centuries, but wasn’t sure how. I’d already written about ten chapters of the book, which my wonderful beta reader sent back and said, love you, but the book sucks. I adore her! Suddenly, I remembered my ancient Roman couple, and how I could have my cake and eat it too. With those five pages I’d been clinging to since 2005, I was able to “fix” the book AND show the origins of the Sicari all in one fell swoop. To meld a small piece of writing one loves into a book as an integral piece of the story doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s truly a satisfying experience. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I’m a writer. It makes me happy.”

You should also check out books by Melanie Dickerson (THE HEALER’S APPRENTICE), Sandrine O’Shea (THE COURTESAN’S BED), J. L. Wilson (LIVING PROOF) and Marie-Nicole Ryan (LOVE ME IF YOU CAN)

So, try these and I’ll be back with more in October…Candy

Candace Havens is a columnist for FYI Television, an online news and media service, where she writes five weekly columns for an overall audience of 44 million readers. She is also an entertainment reporter for 96.3 KSCS in Fort Worth. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas. She is the author of the Charmed & Dangerous series including CHARMED & READY, CHARMED & DANGEROUS, CHARMED & DEADLY, and LIKE A CHARM as well as the Caruthers sisters: DRAGONS PREFER BLONDES and THE DEMON KING AND I. Her latest book, TAKE ME IF YOU DARE is in stores in February 2010.


You can visit Candy daily at her blog or her website

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Sandi Shilhanek | A Perfect Day

What a week it’s been! Tuesday I got together with a small group of people from the DFW Tea Readers group, and had a wonderful dinner of barbecued chicken, baked beans, deviled eggs, pasta salad, green salad, and not only one cake, but two! We also had a lively conversation with author Annette Blair, who writes, not only romance, but also mysteries. I didn’t realize that, so Wednesday sent me to Barnes and Nobel in an effort to attain one or two of her mysteries by using my gift card I won from author Michele Bardsley (who can be seen in November at Readers ‘n’ Ritas.)

Saturday had me again meeting the DFW TeaReaders group for a fun and lively tea. Unfortunately we were not the only people in the tea room, and when I went to the restroom I got the impression that one of the elderly ladies from the other group wasn’t really happy about how much fun we were having. See when we start having fun we tend to forget that there are others around, and we tend to get a bit loud. We’re not rude loud, just fun loving loud, and if you’re ever in the DFW area we’d love to have you!

Tea was followed by a lively productive meeting of the Readers ‘n’ Ritas committee. We welcomed a new member to the committee, and are very excited about the upcoming conference. If you haven’t yet bought your ticket it’s not too late, and the price is still reasonable…only $65 until July 15, 2010, and then goes up just a bit, so you might want to hurry and buy yours now so you can meet Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love, and Candace Havens among others in person!

By the end of the meeting we decided we were hungry once again, and needed a girls night out. Where to go? A lively discussion ended up resulting in a place that had delicious deep-dish pizza, even if the girly drinks were a tad disappointing.

It was a perfect day, of fun, work, friends, and food. How did you spend your Saturday? Did you have a perfect day? I sure hope you did!

Until next week happy page turning.

sandi shilhanek

Sandi Shilhanek

DFW Tea Readers
Readers ‘n ‘ritas… celebrating literary obsessions

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Summer Blockbusters…Books, Films and more in July

candace havensWhat are you guys thinking about the new season of “True Blood?” I like that executive producer and creator Alan Ball takes liberties with the story. And what did you think of “Eclipse?” I’m a fan of the film franchise and the series of books. I feel like director David Slade did a great job with pacing in the film. There’s angsty romance, but it’s mixed with some stellar action. He took the best elements of the books made some twists here and there, and created what may be my favorite of three films. In fact, I liked the film better than the book.

There are several other books made into films this summer including BEEZUS AND RAMONA BEASTLY, EAT, PRAY, LOVE, SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD and “The Switch”. It’s always interesting to see how the adaptations work. Out of all the films coming out this summer, I’m most looking forward to “Eat, Pray, Love.” I really hope they don’t screw it up.

0425233138One series I wish they would turn into movies or a television show is Annette Blair’s Vintage Magic. The third installment is DEATH BY DIAMONDS. “I was having a discussion about my second mystery with my Berkley editor,” Blair says. “I had finished the book, but we couldn’t settle on a title we both liked. Finally, she came back from speaking to the publisher and gave me two choices. ‘It’s either LARCENY AND LACE or DEATH BY DIAMONDS,’ she said, and flash! I chose Larceny and Lace for book two, because having heard the words, Death by Diamonds, I had a plot for book three. It was as simple as that. I reserved the title because it told me who the third mystery would be about, how the victim would die, and why. I wish all plots came that easily.

I asked Blair to give us some more details about the series and new books.

Q. Is it true that there is a certain kiss in DEATH BY DIAMONDS that became secondary to the search for Dom’s killer, to everyone except perhaps the man Madeira kissed?

A. There is, and while Madeira has some explaining to do, she turned her mind to solving the mystery of how Dominique DeLong Broadway Star, one of her dearest friends, was murdered on stage, in front of hundreds of people, during the final act of the final performance of Diamond Sands.

Q. Where does the book take place?

A. It takes place both in Mystic Connecticut and in New York City, on and off Broadway.

Q. What did Dominique DeLong call her ‘hangers on,’ a group of people who sucked her dry in every way possible, and lined up for more, like every dime they could get, at the reading of her will?

A: Those would be The Parasites, her ex husband, her catty best friend, her understudy, her sponsor, leading man, hairdresser, and makeup artist. They’re a good-sized group of leeches.

Q. Is it true that you were recently interviewed in Mystic, Connecticut by the official student documentarians for the Library of Congress because you set your Vintage Magic Mystery Series there?

A. Absolutely. We met at Mystic Pizza, across from Madeira Cutler’s vintage dress shop, for an interview that will be aired on public television in the coming months on a date to be announced. It was an exciting adventure for me.

There is a great deal in the mailbag this week, so let’s get to it:

0373176694Next time Susan Meier has to work on a book, I’m inviting her to my house. “I actually scrubbed (or housecleaned) most mornings before I began working on the two books ‘MAID FOR THE MILLIONAIRE and MAID FOR THE SINGLE DAD, says Meier. “I wanted to be able to freshly smell the scents of cleaners and soaps and feel what a maid would feel. Sounds silly, but there’s nothing like bringing reality into a story!”

1420111744Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday, DeWanna Pace and Phyliss Miranda have a new anthology out, GIVE ME A TEXAS RANGER. Who could resist a title like that? I began work on ‘One Woman, One Ranger’ with a duel purpose,” says Miranda. “I didn’t want to write just a romance with a Texas Ranger hero, but about one who found love. I wanted my story to reflect the ideals that brought peace to the untamed frontier; the strengths and traditions that made the famous, respected organization the lawmen they are today.”

“When we decided to write an anthology featuring Texas Ranger heroes,” adds Linda Broday, “I knew my character Ranger Stoney Burke needed a big challenge. So I put a woman in his life that would really get under his tough skin in a huge way. I had so much fun making him squirm.”

Bella Andre has a new one out called LOVE ME. “Five years ago, TAKE ME, my first full-length novel was published,” says Andre. “As Lily and Travis fell in love in, Lily’s sister, Janica, and Travis’s twin brother, Luke, met a couple of times over the course of the story to do some strategizing regarding their siblings relationship. There were, as you might imagine, pretty big sparks between Luke and Janica. Not only have I’ve wanted to write Luke and Janica’s story for five years, but readers have been emailing me about it for five years, asking when it was finally going to be out. Honestly, I enjoyed writing this story so much – especially after thinking about these characters for so long – that I almost didn’t want to have to finally write ‘the end.’”

Other books to check out in July include Gena Showalter’s THE DARKEST LIE, Juniper Bell’s My Three Lords, Lex Valentine’s TALES OF THE DARKWORLD, and Yasmine Galenorn’s NIGHT MYST.

Until next month…

Candace Havens is a columnist for FYI Television, an online news and media service, where she writes five weekly columns for an overall audience of 44 million readers. She is also an entertainment reporter for 96.3 KSCS in Fort Worth. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas. She is the author of the Charmed & Dangerous series including CHARMED & READY, CHARMED & DANGEROUS, CHARMED & DEADLY, and LIKE A CHARM as well as the Caruthers sisters: DRAGONS PREFER BLONDES and THE DEMON KING AND I. Her latest book, TAKE ME IF YOU DARE is in stores in February 2010.


You can visit Candy daily at her blog or her website

Annette Blair | Living the Impossible Dream

To Live the Impossible Dream


How I’m adapting to becoming a Full Time Writer

It’s been a little over a year since I left my 21 year job as a Prep School Development Director to become a full time writer. You wouldn’t think adapting would be necessary when reaching your dream, but dreams don’t always match reality. No more twice-monthly paychecks. They come twice yearly, now. Then there’s medical insurance. I have to pay it myself. Yikes! I didn’t expect to miss the school as much as I do, nor the creative energy spinning around me there, but the Witchy Chicks have topped off the well of creative energy beautifully.

Really, who wouldn’t want to leave their job for lots of great sex, psychic witches, scary ghosts, hunks who seduce, and kidnapping heroines with fuzzy purple handcuffs? I mean, the best part of a great story is living it, whether you’re writing or reading it.

I don’t set my alarm clock anymore. Gee, somebody’s got to make the sacrifice. I often go from my bed to my computer, because I plot in my dreams, and I don’t stop writing, until I run out of creativity. Sometimes, my pesky muse can keep me going for sixteen to eighteen hours. I’m thinking this muse is female and likes my heroes way to much to let go. The problem is, I might not shower until I’m finished. Yeah. It can get ugly in here. I wear these soft old, but clean, though, let’s call them ratty, L.L. Bean full length t-shirt nightgowns, which hubby calls either my “writing uniforms” or my “anti-Bob devices.” He also tells our neighbors that the porch roof beneath our bedroom window is where I take off and land on my broom.

Creating my own schedule feels decadent. I like decadent. I can now accept speaking engagements all over the country, which I love. And on the days, I don’t feel like writing, which doesn’t happen often, but occasionally, I can meet my sister for lunch or shopping or antiquing. We even went to a gem show, which is her specialty, not mine, but oooh, nice. One thing I can’t shake, though, when I’m out gallivanting in the middle of a weekday: I feel as if I’m playing hooky. What an awesome high.

What did I create during my first year? Well, SEX AND THE PSYCHIC WITCH, the first in my Triplet Witch Trilogy, another National Bestseller and my latest little bundle of joy—yes they’re my babies, except that labor lasts four months. SEX was the #1 bestselling “contemporary romance-humorous” on Barnes & Noble for a few days—fun. And it hit the B&N bestseller lists at #36 for overall mass market sales; #34 for overall fiction mass market sales; and TA DA! #7 for romance mass market sales. On Nielsen Bookscan, it hit #20 for romance mass market, and at Borders: #13 for romance mass market.

I also gave birth to GONE WITH THE WITCH, second in my Triplet Witch trilogy, Storm, the Goth rebel’s story. And I signed a contract to write a series of comedic mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. Details will begin to appear on my website and MySpace soon.

And since I’m living my dream, I’d like to know what your dream is. What would you like to do for a living—your ultimate day job—if all systems were finally go?

Please accept my huge THANK YOU—picture me riding around the country on my broom shouting this—to all of you who bought SEX AND THE PSYCHIC WITCH and help me hit the overall bestseller lists for the first time in my writing career. Yay you!

Visit my website: and friend me at MySpace: Hugs and happy Reading!

Annette Blair