Candy’s Inside Books | Beach Books for June…

It can’t possibly be June already. Wasn’t it just February? I should be grateful for the warmer weather and the lazy days of summer, but unfortunately there isn’t much time to laze these days. (Smile) I did make myself a promise, and that is reading at least one book a weekend. So far I’m averaging two, and I have to say it’s the one way I can get my brain off of my crazy life and send it into a lovely new world someone else has created.

There are tons of fun books and here are a few for you to check out:

BLOOD SONGBLOOD SONG is the first of a new series by Cat Adams (formerly C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp). This is the story of Celia Graves, a vanilla human trying to get by in a paranormal world. “But Celia’s life is rocked when she’s bitten by a master vampire and becomes half human and half vampire,” says Clamp. “Celia’s world was first developed in an unusual fashion. There’s a saying: ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’ Well, in the case of this book, a picture was worth a hundred thousand words. Cie Adams and Cathy Clamp were attending FenCon, a SF/F convention near Dallas, Texas, several years ago. One of the big hooks of this particular convention is the art auction for charity. Science fiction and fantasy artists from all over the world donate paintings, photos and other creative works and one in particular caught Cie’s eye. It was one of those works that you can’t tell at first whether it’s a photo or a painting. It was entitled ‘Sweet but Deadly’ and showed a blonde female vampire holding a black daisy between her fangs. The picture was the inspiration for the heroine and even though it took us months to find the artist (actually, a photographer—it’s a manipulated self-portrait) our editor agreed it was just perfect for the cover. The artist became our cover artist and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

If you want to see the inspiration for the cover of ‘BLOOD SONG,’ here’s a link to the photographer’s works. The original photo is on the second row, third from the right side (look for the black daisy). And feel free to wander around her other works. We’d love for the artist to get more recognition for her amazing talent.”

NIGHT MYSTYasmine Galenorn is excited for readers to see her latest project. NIGHT MYST, the first in my new Indigo Court Series, begins the saga of Cicely Waters—a witch who can control the wind,” Galenorn says. “Cicely returns to New Forest, Wa. to protect her aunt and cousin, and to find her long-lost love—Grieve, a Fae Prince now captured by Myst, queen of the Indigo Court. In fact, the entire town of New Forest, Wa. is being held hostage by the growing evil of Myst and her sadistic people. The true vampires—who were responsible for creating the demonic hybrid of Fae and Vampire, enlist Cicely to help them in the long prophesized war between the two races. One of the serendipitous moments for me is that owls play a huge part in the book (and the upcoming books), barred owls in particular. A couple of months ago, I joined the millions on the Net following the saga of Molly the Owl. A couple in southern California set up an owl box in their backyard, and an owl came to lay her eggs there. They called her Molly, and had set up a cameras in and out of the box. The second day I clicked over to see what Molly was up to, I was just in time to watch two of the eggs hatch! Within a week, all four were hatched. So began my captivation with Molly and her four owlets. Now, two months later, two of the owlets have taken wing and sped to their own lives, and the other two are close to doing so. Watching Molly has been a double blessing—a living meditation and delight, but also book fodder because Molly is a barred owl, and what better research could I find than to just watch her babies grow and learn to fly and eat and spit up owl pellets?”

SEX AND THE SINGLE EARLVanessa Kelly has a new one out, SEX AND THE SINGLE EARL. “I had just turned in my Regency-set historical manuscript to my editor,” Kelly says. “The title at the time of submission was ‘AN ANGEL FOR THE EARL,’ which I loved. My heroine, Sophie, is a sweet but strong-willed character, with a very kind heart. In fact, she’s a bit of a do-gooder, so the title seemed perfect to me. But not to my editor. ‘Not sexy enough,’ was his response. He definitely wanted sexy. Muttering curses under my breath, I went to consult with my husband, who has a knack for these kinds of things. As it was cocktail hour, we cracked open a bottle of wine and went to work. An hour later, the muse had still not struck. Finally, as a joke, my husband said, “what about Sex And The Single Earl?” After we stopped laughing, I sent it to my editor – as a joke. He answered immediately, also laughing. But then we both said, hey, wait a minute. We kind of like it. So we stuck with it and you know what? People love this title.”

DANE, THE LORDS OF SATYRElizabeth Amber says, “I’m enthralled by the stories of how partners in a couple first met – even if I don’t know them well – or at all. It’s the romantic in me. And it’s why I so enjoy the Bravo reality series ‘Millionaire Matchmaker.’ In my June release, DANE, THE LORDS OF SATYR, I get to play matchmaker myself, through the character of my heroine, Eva. Dane and his brothers are half-satyr men living in Rome circa 1880s, where they are in danger of discovery by humankind at any moment. To further entrench themselves in Roman society, they must choose human wives. A matchmaker is dispatched from their world to assist in this. But when Dane meets his matchmaker—Eva—he also meets his match. Both are troubled by mysterious secrets in their pasts that make them perfect for one another. I loved having a part in bringing these two together.”

DARK ORACLEAlayna William’s book DARK ORACLE was inspired by something mystical. “I’d been wanting to write a story about Tarot cards for some time, but was struggling about who the heroine should be,” says Williams. “I knew that she would be a criminal profiler who uses Tarot cards to solve crimes, but I didn’t know anything more about her personality than that. So, I picked up my Tarot deck, shuffled, and drew the Queen of Swords from the top. The Queen of Swords depicts a woman staring into a stormy sky, holding a lifted sword as if she’s cut herself with it. The swords, in general, represent intellect. The Queen of swords traditionally represents sadness and mourning or a particularly clever woman. I always associated her with the Snow Queen from fairy tales. And that interpretation was perfect for the story. The Queen of Swords became my inspiration for Tara Sheridan. Whenever I got stuck in the story, I pulled out the deck and used the cards as prompts. I used the same method for the hero, Agent Harry Li. I picked the Knight of Pentacles, who’s a pragmatic man. Since Pentacles are also referred to as coins in many decks, I gave Harry the nervous habit of jingling change in his suit pocket.”

VEGAS TWO STEPLiz Talley cracks me up with her story of how she came up with the story for her new book. “Ever wear sandals with pantyhose? Well, yeah, maybe in the 80s,” says Talley. “But that’s how I got the idea for my June debut release VEGAS TWO STEP. Crazy, huh? I was attending the 2007 RWA National conference in Candace’s hometown and watched my roommate slip on a pair of sandals with her knee-highs. I remember thinking, “Why’s she doing that? It’s too hot for hose in Texas!” Well, the image stuck in my mind for some reason and later that day when I attended a workshop where the editor allowed attendees to scribble down pitches on a piece of paper, I found myself writing a pitch for a small town Texas librarian who gets made fun of for wearing knee highs with her espadrilles, so she goes to Vegas, gets a sexy makeover, and has a fling with a hot nightclub owner. The workshop editor never called me, but the character just begged to be written. So VEGAS TWO STEP was born – a sort of twisted version of the musical ‘Grease.’ It’s a fun, spirited book just perfect for slipping off your knee-highs and grabbing a pool-side cocktail.”

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

YASMINE GALENORN | The Pros and Cons of Writing Two Different Series at Once


So, I write the Otherworld Series–a popular urban fantasy series. But last year I began a new one, in addition, and the first book–NIGHT MYST–comes out at the end of June. I’m eagerly awaiting reader reaction, and a little bit scared, too. While it’s for the most part, the same genre–the Indigo Court Series is darker and edgier.

You see, there’s an excitement to writing a new series, even when you love the series you’ve been writing for awhile. It’s like taking a new lover–will we click? Will we get along? By the end of the first date (book) will we ever want to see each other again?

And at times, I feel like I’m cheating on my other series. How can I enjoy writing the new books as much as the ones I’m used to writing? Will I do a good job? How can I fall in love with these new characters while still adoring my old characters? All novelists are polyamorous when it comes to our characters because, with very few exceptions, we skip from book to book and each book usually has a different protagonist. Unless we write a series, and then we’ve usually been writing about the same group of people for awhile. But the truth is: I do love writing about new characters, even as I love my old ones. I love alternating because then I don’t get tired writing about any of them.

I thought I’d make a list here of the pros and cons of writing two different series simultaneously, and since I’ve done this twice now (first with two different mystery series, now with two urban fantasy series), I’ve got plenty of experience to draw on.

The Cons (why end with the negative?):

* Some readers get very bent out of shape that I’m not devoting my time solely to their favorite series/characters. They don’t understand the need for diversity in the creative field and they may act out by writing you nasty letters.
* If an idea for Series A strikes you while you’re writing a Series B book, you have to put it on hold till you finish your current obligation.
* If you aren’t organized you can get very confused, very fast.
* If one series does well and the other doesn’t, it can be very disheartening and can affect your enthusiasm for the work.
* Shifting gears as you switch back and forth between worlds can be very odd at times.

The Pros:

Writing two series can keep the characters and worlds fresh for the author and make both series last longer–when you are still doing good work on them, you have less desire to let them go.

Sometimes your series will feed off each other, spurring fans of one to read–and love–the other and then it’s all good for both readers and author.

If one series doesn’t have a good reception and fails, you don’t have all your eggs in one basket and you still can make your career work out.

You can stretch your wings as a writer and in one series, do things you can’t in the other. Especially when you’re writing two paranormal series that have different worlds/creatures/villains.

It’s fun to have two worlds in which to create and play–it’s wonderful to have two different sets of characters whom you love to write. Makes the work so much more delightful.

So, what do you think about your favorite writers who write two (or more) series? Do you have favorites among the competing series? Do you love both offerings your fave authors give you? Will you read one, but not the other?

One commenter will receive a $25 gift card.

New York Times bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn writes urban fantasy for Berkley: both the bestselling Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon Series for Berkley and the upcoming Indigo Court urban fantasy series. In the past, she wrote mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and nonfiction metaphysical books. Her books have hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists numerous times.

Yasmine has been in the Craft for over 30 years, is a shamanic witch, and describes her life as a blend of teacups and tattoos. She lives in Bellevue WA with her husband Samwise and their cats. Yasmine can be reached via her website and on Twitter.

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Yasmine Galenorn | Things That Go Bump In The Night & Other Delights

YasmineFrom the time I was a little girl, I was terrified of the house I grew up in because I knew it was haunted—by what I couldn’t say, but a malign energy tainted that house. It didn’t help matters that I’ve always been somewhat psychic. I could always sense whatever was there watching me. To this day, that house shows up in my nightmares and in my nightmares, it’s usually filled with tens of thousands of spiders (I’m arachophobic) and I wake up screaming. Granted, I had a lot of serious baggage to deal with in childhood, but the house stands out in my mind as the ‘haunted house on the hill’ even though it was smack in the middle of a lower-class suburb.

Scared of the house or not, that didn’t detour me from falling in love in love with the paranormal, and from becoming a total fantasy/SF freak. When I was five years old, I stumbled over Dark Shadows and went nuts over it. I’m not certain why my mother let me watch a vampire soap opera but wouldn’t let me watch ‘the man with the funny ears’ (Spock, on Star Trek, which started the same year). I have a feeling she didn’t fully realize that Dark Shadows was about a vampire.

But before ST:TOS was over, I was watching Kirk, Spock, and my favorite—Uhura, take on the denizens of deep space. And every Saturday, I settled down in front of the TV for the Science Fiction Double Creature Feature, immersing myself in Godzilla, The Day the Earth Stood Still, War of the Worlds (and no, we’re not talking Tom Cruise’s version, we’re talking the real thing here!), The Valley of Gwangi, The Creature from the Black Lagoon—all those incredibly riveting old movies that I still love today. In fact, just last night I hauled out the DVD of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was three and had been making up odd little stories from the day I could string sentences together. I learned to read early and my loves ran to volcanoes, dinosaurs, and…would you believe it? Yep! Fantasy and science fiction. The Space Cat series by Ruthven Todd was one of my first discoveries—I just loved that adventuresome astronaut cat. And thanks to a non-restrictive policy allowing children to check out books from any section of the library, I sped through the fantasy and science fiction section. I ploughed through Asimov, Clarke, Pohl, and my favorite to this day—Ray Bradbury. I cut my teeth on The City and the Stars, I fell in love with Something Wicked This Way Comes and The October Country. By the time I was ten I knew that I didn’t care all that much for Heinlein, but I was nuts over Clifford D. Simak.

As time went on and I left home, I discovered Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, JRR Tolkien, Jack Chalker, Joan D. Vinge. And later on—Ben Bova, and Greg Bear, among others. I added them to the growing list of writers I admired, but I also began to branch out in my reading, moving into other areas. But my love for F/SF never diminished, nor did my determination to make it as a writer in that genre.

Fast forward to my first book contract. In 1996, with seven novels hiding in my closet (and trust me, they’re still there), I received my first contract. Not for fantasy—or SF—but for a nonfiction book. Of course, the nonfiction was connected to my love for the paranormal. It was a book of guided meditations. But I didn’t care—I was ecstatic I’d finally gotten my foot in the door. Soon, I thought—soon I’ll find a home for my fantasy.

Eight nonfiction metaphysical books later, I landed an agent and she found a home for my eighth novel—a paranormal mystery, of all things. Now, I’d never planned on writing a mystery but that’s what the book turned out to be. So I wrote two mystery series for awhile, thrilled to be telling stories again instead of writing nonfiction, but still wanting to break into my favorite genre. In specific, urban fantasy.

And then, a few years ago, I sent in a new proposal. My editor loved it and my agent negotiated a contract for me for a third series—this one urban fantasy/paranormal romance. And so my bestselling Otherworld Series (aka Sisters of the Moon Series) was born. And I finally felt like I was ‘home.’

Now, as I’m starting work on the seventh book of that series—Bone Magic—the fourth one is about to hit the shelves. Dragon Wytch will be out on July 1st, and it’s my twentieth published book! Best yet, I’m still head-over-heels in love with writing this series. I’ve finally found an outlet for my wild, over-the-top imagination. And my readers seem to agree: what I knew when I was three years old—that I needed to write fantastical stories—was right on target.

So tell me, what’s your favorite genre? What do you love to write and/or read? Has it changed since you were a child, or have you had a lifelong favorite?

You can contact me through my website, MySpace, or Live Journal.
Keep watching the skies!

Yasmine Galenorn