Monica Burns | What’s in a Title?

AUTHORPLEASURE METhanks to Fresh Fiction for inviting me back to talk about my upcoming release, PLEASURE ME. It’s a story about an older woman/younger man story where the hero happens to be a virgin. When trying to come up with a title for the book, my editor and I bounced several ideas back and forth until we settled on PLEASURE ME.

One of the really interesting things about my books and titles is that they often prove to have meanings that I don’t see at the time of their creation. I’ll be three-quarters through a book when I’ll write a scene which capitalizes on a minor plot point I’d written at the beginning of the book. It can be something as insignificant as a ring someone wears, something someone says or the actions of a minor character. Then later in the book that insignificant piece of information proves to be a critical component in the storyline. It’s not something that’s planned on my part. It just happens, and I love when it does that.

I love how my characters or plots put twists in front of me that enrich the book through character development or surprise plot directions. It’s such a cool surprise to come to a fork in the road and suddenly realize which fork to take is an easy choice. That happened to me in PLEASURE ME with a very minor character. I hadn’t even seen their value until they popped up at a critical moment without my planning for it. It was perfect timing that I didn’t even see coming when the character was briefly introduced in the first quarter of the book. This person was simply a way for me to bring two pivotal characters together. Imagine my surprise when this minor character is witness to an important moment in the story. I had one of those, oh my god, I love how my subconscious can see something coming from a ten miles away.

The same thing happens with titles for me as well. When my editor and I finally settled on PLEASURE ME, I didn’t realize how important a title it was. When I write a book, my goal is to give my readers an enjoyable read. With PLEASURE ME, I had the same goal, I just didn’t realize that the title had double meaning. It wasn’t just about Garrick and Ruth silently telling each other that they wanted to be pleasured. It was about readers asking for a book that would pleasure them as well.

I’ve played up that theme with my upcoming blog event where I’ve invited 35+ NYT and USAToday bestselling authors along with many others  to join me in chatting about of historical romance, aptly named PLEASURE ME With Romance. The entire event is about pleasuring readers with posts from their favorite historical authors. Spotlighting why writers write, the types of heroes everyone likes to read, the writing life and a slew of other topics. I even managed to land a coveted two-part Q/A interview with the amazing Jayne Ann Krentz, who writes historicals as Amanda Quick.

I hope the event and the book truly live up to the name, PLEASURE ME, because I’m first and foremost all about pleasing my readers.

What do you find the most pleasurable aspect of reading a romance?

Monica Burns

To comment on Monica Burns’s blog please click here.

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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Monica Burns |Past Life Regressions

AUTHORMonica BurnsHi everyone, I’m so happy to be here today, and a huge thank you to the Fresh Fiction staff for having me. It’s a real honor to be visiting here at their blog and chatting a little bit about my upcoming release Assassin’s Heart, which comes out September 7. I’m excited about the book for a number of reasons, one it’s Lysander’s story and he’s one of my favorite heroes of all that I’ve written to date. I love his and Phaedra’s story as well as the story of Maximus and Cassiopeia the ancient Roman couple in the book. There are a lot of reasons why I love Assassin’s Heart, but one of the biggest reasons, aside from Lysander, is the past lives aspect of the story. You see, I’m a firm believer in past lives. Why?

Well, I guess it’s because I’ve lived many times before myself. Did your eyebrows just go up? A lot people do arch their eyebrows at me when I say that. I’ve even had people snort with contempt, with laughter and even tell me I need to seek mental health services. It’s okay, I don’t mind because belief structures are personal and rooted in experience. For me, personal experience plays a large role in my belief structures. I’ve experienced things that make some people scoff and others go Wow! So what are some of those things, Monica?

The first thing I have tell you is that I can’t wear anything around my neck. When I was a kid, those Georgian velvet bands with the brooch in the middle were all the rage. I wanted one really bad. So I spent the dollar or two I’d saved and bought one. Problem was, I couldn’t wear it. The minute I put it on, it was like I couldn’t breathe. Same thing goes for turtlenecks. I LOVE them. I love how they look on people. Turtlenecks highlight the face, and are totally awesome, but the minute I put one on, I’m tearing at it to get it off. So what does all that have to do with past lives? Read on.

I’ve experienced three different lives via past life regression. One I was a big burly landowner, possibly a knight of some sort. I knew I was a man because in the regression, when I looked down I saw I had these big, hairy arms (NOT exactly what I expected from a past life regression!). In this particular past life regression, I was sitting in front of a large fireplace (the kind you can walk into), and a boy was playing on an animal skin rug in front of me. A few minutes later a woman came down a set of stone steps that had no railing. She greeted me, and when I turned my back on her, she stabbed me to death. Pretty gruesome way to go, right? I’ve no idea if I lived a good life, hurt her, killed others, or did whatever? I just know it wasn’t a pleasant way to die.

The next past life regression was in a similar time period. I was a healer of sorts. I tended to animals and people with herbs, and other natural remedies. That is until someone accused me of being a witch, and a judged sentenced me to hanging. Not a pleasant way to die. Have you noticed that so far my lives ended violently, and that I wasn’t too well off? Forget what famous people say about having been princesses and queens in a past life! *smile*

Perhaps the most frightening of all my past life regressions was the one where I was in a tumbrel with my hands tied to the side of the cart to prevent escape. I remember being terrified. I was a young servant girl during the French Revolution who got caught up in the politics of the whole event (there were numerous people of the working class who were executed when neighbors turned them in on a whim.). I can still remember the crowd pressing into the cart as it rolled toward the guillotine. There was this overwhelming terror as I tried to tug free of the ropes tying me to the side of the tumbrel. In my hypnotic state, my body apparently began to twitch and jerk. The agitation became so great that the individual doing the regression had to bring me out of the hypnosis quickly.

Now remember early when I said that I can’t wear anything around my neck? Can you understand WHY now? There have been many stories of people with past lives who have problems in this life resolved by addressing problems left unresolved in a past life. I still can’t wear turtlenecks or collars, but I think two of the lives above make for a pretty good case for why I’m really uncomfortable wearing something on my neck. *grin*

With my strong belief in past lives, it just seemed natural to use that theme in Assassin’s Heart. When I sat down to write the book, one of my goals was to show the origins of the Sicari. I knew the back-story in all its tragic detail so well, I didn’t even have notes on it because it was so vivid in my head. But I was stumped as to how I was going to show the Sicari’s birth without writing a historical paranormal. It wasn’t until Lysander showed up in Assassin’s Honor that I knew how to do it. His story and the ancient Roman general Maximus were tied together, just as Phaedra and Cassiopeia were connected. Suddenly, it all fell into place, and I knew that dreams of a past life would make the story come full circle.

I enjoyed writing Assassin’s Heart enormously. It was one of those books that sort of writes itself, although there were moments when I was banging my head against the wall. But I got through it, and now that it’s finished, I’m on to the next book into the series, however, I’m left wondering…was I a writer in another past life? Maybe. You never know.

So tell me, what do you think about past lives? Had any experience with regression therapy? Tell me your story.

To comment on Monica’s blog please click here.

Fresh Pick | ASSASSIN’S HONOR by Monica Burns

Assassin's Honor

Order of the Sicari #1
June 2010
On Sale: June 1, 2010
Featuring: Emma Zale; Ares DeLuca
352 pages
ISBN: 0425234169
EAN: 9780425234167

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Monica BurnsAssassin’s Honor
by Monica Burns

Bound by honor. Redeemed by passion.

A sexy new adventure-packed romance with a paranormal twist-from the award-winning author. Archeologist Emma Zale sees the past when she touches ancient relics. It’s how she uncovered evidence of an ancient order of assassins-the Sicari. When a sinfully dark stranger shows up on her Chicago doorstep demanding an ancient artifact she doesn’t have, he drags her into a world where telekinesis and empaths are the norm. Now someone wants her dead, and her only hope of survival is an assassin who’s every bit as dangerous to her body as he is to her heart.

Ares DeLuca comes from an ancient Roman bloodline of telekinetic assassins.
A Sicari, he’s honor bound to kill only in the name of justice. But when the woman he loved was murdered, Ares broke the Sicari code and used his sword for revenge. Love cost him dearly once before, and he’s not willing to pay the price again. At least not until hot, sweet, delectable Emma walked into his life. Not only does she hold the key to a valuable Sicari relic, she might just hold the key to his heart.


Explicit Content

Taking her with him was the last thing he wanted to do. Emma Zale meant trouble. And problems he could do without. She’d only complicate matters for him.

“I’m not going anywhere with you.” Her mouth tightened in a rebellious pout.

“Unfortunately, you don’t have a choice.”

“That’s what you think,” Emma snapped. With a vicious shove, she knocked him off balance and leaped toward the door.

“Deus id damno, woman.”

He quickly recovered his equilibrium then reached out with his mind to stop her. She stumbled as he forced her to face him. Gritting his teeth, Ares narrowed his eyes at her. It was time Emma Zale realized exactly what she was up against. Slowly, he pulled her toward him.

She fought every step of Read More…

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