Tag Archives: paranormal romance

Introducing Elizabeth Belyeu

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I met Elizabeth (via Facebook) through the daughter of a very dear friend. I’m delighted to know this lovely young woman and I hope you will be too. Sit back, enjoy the excerpt from her novel, Secondhand Shadow, and read a bit about her at the end.

secondhand shadowCHAPTER ONE

Elevator Ghosts

NAOMI

…hardly the Dread Pirate Roberts, Dad. Can you really see him ripping someone’s throat out with his teeth?”

I froze outside my English professor’s office door, and decided I did not want to interrupt that conversation. My hand didn’t get the memo and knocked anyway. I snatched it back and bit it, but it was too late.

From inside came silence, then Dr. DiNovi’s voice. “Come in.”

I debated running away instead. Or waddling away, since the U.S.S. Third Trimester wasn’t achieving warp speed anytime soon. But I opened the door.

We all do dumb things.

Dr. DiNovi was sitting at his desk in a perfectly normal way, which was all wrong. Dr. DiNovi was a feet-on-the-desk, head-in-the-clouds kind of guy, not a feet-on-the-floor, head-in-his-hands kind of guy. I’d never seen his bald spot before, peeking out of dark hair like a moon on a cloudy night. Maybe he grew the beard to compensate for the bald spot. He looks good with the beard, in a professorial kind of way.

The other guy in the room did not look professorial. He looked grim and dark and scruffy and altogether Strider-like. All he needed was a cloak. The leather jacket, I decided, was a satisfactory modernization.

Of course, if he was Strider, I was apparently a Ringwraith, because he was looking at me like he couldn’t decide whether to run away or run me through. I fully expected him to snarl.

Ah, Naomi,” Dr. DiNovi said. “Come to throw your term paper on my tender mercies?” His voice was casual and cheerful and did not match the way he kept glancing from me to Strider.

Yes, sir.” It was hard to look away from Strider, but easier than continuing to look at him. He reminded me of a firework my grandfather lit once, that sizzled and smoked and then went quiet — just before blowing up in his face and burning his beard off. So talk quick and get out of here before he explodes. “I need an extension, sir. Please.” Dr. DiNovi was not famous for cutting anyone a break on deadlines. I had marshalled all kinds of arguments to cover the fact that I flat forgot about my term paper. I could not remember any of them now. Please, sir, I’m very pregnant. I cry easily, and if you make pregnant women cry you go to hell. I’d hate to see that happen to you, sir.

Dr. DiNovi gestured at Strider. “I don’t know if you’ve met my son, Ga—”

Damon.” His voice was rough, as if he’d been screaming. Without meaning to, I looked back toward him, and he flinched. So did I. He seemed to burn my retinas.

Damon,” Dr. DiNovi continued, “this is one of my Brit Lit students, Naomi Winters.”

Naomi,” he repeated, his voice even more choked, as if my name were razors in his mouth. He glanced at his father. “I have to go.”

I was still standing more or less in the doorway. I tried to dodge him, and he tried to dodge me, and my shoulder bounced off his. He hissed — seriously, hissed, a sort of gasp between clenched teeth — and was out the door and gone.

I bit my lip and glanced at Dr. DiNovi, my cheeks going hot even though I hadn’t done anything. That’s why I always got in trouble when my little brother broke something. “Guilty” is my default expression.

Dr. DiNovi was not looking at me, but at the doorway his son had disappeared through. He looked happy as a clam, by which I mean confused and worried. That’s how I’d feel if I was a wad of snot living in a seashell.

Sorry,” he said after a second. “About Damon. He’s had a rough…” He looked at me as if I’d turned to blinking neon. “Oh. Oh. I guess that might explain it. Red hair, blue eyes… hmm.”

Sir?” I must have sounded as confused as I felt, because he went back to using full sentences.

I’m sorry to cut our conversation short, Naomi, but I need to talk to my son.”

But — my paper—”

Yes, of course. I understand your situation. Just try to have it by Monday.” He stepped out the door, hardly waiting to see if I followed, locked it behind us, and headed for the stairs. “Have a nice afternoon, Naomi!”

So, aside from Weirdos from Middle Earth, I guess my day is looking up. I had gotten an extension out of King Deadline, meaning I had five nights, rather than two, to cook up a twelve-page term paper. I squinched my eyes and tried to remember what topic I had decided on, after my initial proposal — the role of dogs in Rebecca and Pride and Prejudice — was rejected on the basis of there being no dogs in Pride and Prejudice, though I distinctly remember a Harlequin Great Dane in the movie version. Beautiful dog. My second proposal was something else with Rebecca and Jane Austen…

I unsquinched my eyes as it dawned on me that I was not alone in the corridor.

Except I was. Nobody in sight.

Well,” I murmured as I rubbed the top of my Wonder Tummy, “one advantage of pregnancy is that you’re never quite alone. Not that you’re much of a conversationalist.” He turned under my hand. Or she, who knew?

Could it be the baby that Strider — Damon — had reacted to so strongly? Plenty of people still disapproved of unwed pregnancy here in Ilium, Alabama, never mind that I was wed when Wonder Tummy began. But I was twenty-two, for crying out loud, not exactly a teenybopper; there was no reason to assume I was unwed. Besides, such disapprovers were usually fifty or above. Seemed odd that a guy my own age, whose father had no problem with me, would treat the tummy like a Black Plague pustule. But if it wasn’t the baby, then what? Dr. DiNovi had said something about my hair and eyes. I turned around to look at myself in the window of Dr. DiNovi’s door. He had it covered over with clipped-out comic strips, and my reflection was a thin layer over Garfield, Snoopy, and Hobbes. Red hair, long and windblown, hanging in my face. Blue eyes. No make-up. Baggy gray sweater flopping down over my hands. Third Trimester had killed my wardrobe, but I couldn’t believe that would make anyone hiss at me.

Whatever. I had to walk home and change into my uniform before work. If I left now, I could take my time and get there late enough that I’d have to hurry to work. If I put it off, I’d walk fast and get home early, which meant facing the mountain of dishes in the sink. Dawdle, dawdle, like a mouse, dawdle or you’ll have to clean the house…

I started down the hallway toward the elevator. Dr. DiNovi’s office was on the third floor, and I’d taken the stairs to avoid the English building elevator, known affectionately as the Tomb of the Unknown Student. My first day at Ilium U, I’d heard the story of the murdered student in the elevator shaft whose vengeful ghost liked to trap people in the elevator. I had a nightmare about it that night, and had avoided the blasted elevator for weeks afterward, before… Tyler convinced me to get on it with him.

Ow. The only thing worse than reminding myself of bad times with Tyler was reminding myself of good times with Tyler. The elevator had been a good time. We rode up, we rode down, we rode up, we rode down. We heard later that it got stuck minutes after we left.

All right, Elevator Ghosts of Various Metaphorical Layers. Me and Wonder Tummy have had enough stairs for today. Make way. I marched — waddle-marched — down the hall, pushed the Down button, and stepped into the Tomb.

I jumped when a hand shot between the silver doors just as they slid closed. They popped back open, and Dr. DiNovi’s son stepped through.

GodpleaseforgivemeformysinsIthinkI’mabouttobemurdered.

He didn’t jump at me with a knife. He didn’t even snarl. He just stared at me as the doors closed again. I felt my face heating up, but I set my teeth and stared back. I was in the stupid elevator first. This was my turf.

He didn’t look so very Strider-like after all, I decided. No stubble, and his face was too narrow. He had the hair, dark and tangled and hanging past his chin. But his eyes were green as a cat’s and sharp as claws. Again I had the sensation that they might burn me.

So, who do I look like?” I said.

He jumped, as if he hadn’t expected me to have the power of speech. “What?”

Either I look like someone you never wanted to see again, or I smell bad. Since you got in an elevator with me, I’m going with Option A.”

He continued staring a moment, then opened his mouth to speak.

And the elevator shuddered to a halt.

 

author photoAuthor Bio:

Elizabeth Belyeu is 30 years old and lives in Texas, where she supports herself, her wifi bill, and her steadily growing TBR pile as a library assistant. She graduated from Troy University in 2008 with a bachelorʹs in English (Creative Writing minor). This is her first novel, but she has been writing since she could hold a pencil, and plans to continue until she is too senile to type.

Fans can find me at elizabethbelyeu.wordpress.com!

 

 

 

What is your book about?

Damon is a Shadow; he has to bond with a human to survive, but he sure doesn’t have to be happy about it. Naomi is a broke, pregnant college student with quite enough on her plate already, without adding a grouchy Shadow. Can this marriage bond be saved? More importantly, can Naomi be saved from the serial killer whose attention Damon’s managed to attract?

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

I started it immediately, actually! I was trapped at my sister’s house with nothing to do, so once I had the basics of the story blocked out, I wrote my first attempt at the first scene that very day.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

The idea for Shadows arose from thoughts about Anne McCaffrey’s dragons and dragonriders, and other such “bonded creature” stories, and wondering… what if the bonded creature was human in appearance? Wouldn’t that be a gamechanger? And then as I sketched out how that universe might work, I also started the see all the ways it could go horribly wrong, if a Shadow ended up with a bad bondmate… and poof, Damon came into being!

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

There’s quite a bit of me in Naomi; she’s definitely the most like-me character I’ve ever written, though we still have a lot of differences. I would say a lot of my “cute” traits got put into Naomi, while my snarkier side came out a lot in Paris!

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

I hate the word ‘favorite’ because it implies that everyone else is not my favorite… I feel like all my characters are my favorite in different ways. In this book, the main characters are Damon and Naomi. Naomi is my favorite because she’s just cute and silly and so much stronger than she thinks she is. She’s fun and easy to write. Damon is my favorite because he’s had so much pain and struggle and come through it with a determination to help other people deal with what he had to deal with alone. He’s tough and practical but he feels things very deeply and there’s a sort of poetry to his soul that I love. So they’re both my favorites!

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

Paris seems to be a lot of readers’ favorite because he’s so sarcastic, the sort who says outright what everyone else is thinking but too polite to say. He’s probably the most unusual as well, since he’s a grown man trapped in a body that looks to be about ten and of uncertain gender. He’s had a lot to deal with in life.

How long did it take you to write your book?

I started it in 2007 and finished the final edits in 2014; however, I wasn’t working steadily and unceasingly on it during that time, not by any means. For instance there was a good two years in there devoted to finding an agent and waiting for the agent to find a publisher. The complete first draft took… maybe a year? Of course that was only the beginning!

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

I’m an outliner to the max. I always have at least a basic map of the plot, start to finish, before I begin. I’ve tried to just “wing it” and it doesn’t work for me at all – I can’t get started unless I know where I’m going! That said, it’s not unusual for the plan to change a lot along the way… but there is, at least, a plan.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

Oh, tons! Naomi is pregnant in the story so I did a lot of research into pregnancy and childbirth for her. Also, let’s see, Las Vegas divorce regulations, neonatal hospital care, red blood cell lifespans… there’s a lot of odd things that come up along the way! Setting research mostly involved wracking my own memory, since the college town where it takes place is based on where I myself went to college (Troy, Alabama). Most of my research was via Internet ’cause that’s easiest and quickest, but I also looked at a few pregnancy books.

Where are your books available?

Secondhand Shadow is available in paper and ebook forms through Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

 

 

Diana Duncan Does it Again!

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Diana Duncan is one of my favorite authors. Why? Because she writes so very well! Her work is consistently amazing and delightful to read.  I’ve read several of her books and look forward to reading many more. After waiting a long time for her busy life to slow a little, I have a wonderful interview to share with you. 

Diana, thank you for taking time out from your fast paced life to answer my questions. Welcome to Dellani’s Choice!

When did you start writing?

My grandmother was a librarian, and she was my primary caregiver for the first three years of my life. She took me to work with her, and I developed a love affair with books practically from birth. *G* I wrote my first “book” at age four… “Perky the Kitten” was crafted in orange crayon, and illustrated with pictures cut from a magazine. I think my mom still has it somewhere. *G*

I’ve been writing all my life, mostly essays, short stories, poetry, and plenty of highly opinionated letters to everyone from the local newspaper to various Presidents. *G* Around 1996, I began writing Fan-Fic for the TV series “Highlander,” because Duncan MacLeod stole my heart and spoke to me as everything a hero should be! However, I was way too chicken to show my writing to anyone.

Then I made a good friend online in a Scottish interest chat room who also shared my massive Duncan love, and eventually she convinced me to let her read my work. As soon as she was done, she emailed me with a photo of her home library, standing in front of shelves filled with hundreds of romances, and said, “Your stories are better than all of these. You HAVE to write a romance!”

I’d been a romance reader since the age of 14, so it really wasn’t that much of a stretch to at least give it a try. In 1998, the two of us eventually met up in St. Louis and flew to Scotland together for the research trip of a lifetime (that fun true story—complete with pictures—is on my website under “Di & Berny’s Excellent Scottish Adventure.”) After I got back, I began my first novel.

What gave you the idea for your first book?

Years ago, before I started writing fictional stories, I kept dreaming the same dream. Over and over. For five years. Always the same dark-haired kilted warrior. Always the same ending (which I can’t tell you, lest I spoil it.) *G* But that dream haunted me until I wrote out that ending scene. Way back then, I didn’t have the knowledge or skills to write the rest of the story and do it justice. So I put it away for the right time. When I returned from Scotland, I spent 18 months writing a 450 page book, inspired by that dream, (with Berny reading my efforts and bullying me all the way thru it to keep going *G*).

Of course, the minute I finished it, paranormals dropped out of popularity with the marketing big-wigs and nobody would touch it.

But I couldn’t forget this deeply emotional Scottish novel that truly was the book of my heart. Fourteen years later, I spent another year extensively revising it, and it became my paranormal Celtic romance, “Sword of the Raven!”

What genre do you write?

I write in three different genres. Contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance. I have series for all three planned out that are going to take me the next 10 years to finish. I plan to keel over at my desk when I’m 99, writing a hot love scene. *G*

What do you do to keep yourself focused?

I’m so blessed to have two wonderful critique partners, authors Susan Gable and Jennifer August, who encourage me, support me, and when necessary, kick my arse to keep me going. *G* The three of us do 30 minute sprints throughout the day. We write for 30 minute stretches, with no email, no Facebook, absolutely no distractions allowed. So if you have to pee, you gotta go before you start. No leaving the chair or stopping writing unless there’s gushing blood or active flames somewhere. *G* Then we report in to each other via email on word count. Take a 10 minute break to run to the bathroom and get re-caffeinated, then go again. Rinse and repeat the entire day.

This method has tripled and in some cases, quadrupled, my output within a month! If you don’t have people to sprint with, you can sprint alone (which is what I do when my pals aren’t available), or you can issue an open challenge in a writing group or Facebook page and have others sprint with you. The spirit of friendly competition truly does help!

Do you stay with one project or do you work on multiple projects?

I used to work on only one at a time, but I’m trying to teach myself to branch out and I’m currently working on four different projects. Not recommended if you want to keep your sanity, BTW, but a writer has to do what a writer has to do. *G*. And I’m motivated by the fact that my husband’s job isn’t exactly stable right now and I have to start bringing in a lot more income if we’re going to stay afloat!

What is your writing process?

I always begin with characters,. They pop into my head and start speaking to me, and then I have to dig and question and search until I figure out what the beginning of their story is about. Then I write…never really knowing where I’m going until I get there. I’m a Pantzer, not a Plotter, which is scary as hell. *G* Sometimes I have no idea what will happen from minute-to-minute until my fingers type it out.

What is the theme of your novel?

My newest release (available May 1st) is “Devil May Care,” the second book in my “Devilish Devlins”contemporary romance series. The theme is that nobody is perfect. And life isn’t perfect. It’s messy, unpredictable, terrifying…and embracing that is what makes life fun and interesting.

Marisa Matheson, my wedding planner heroine, is a total control freak until Irish bad boy Flynn Devlin roars into her life on his Harley and shakes up the status quo. Watching her relinquish control to the freewheeling, fun-loving, sexy Flynn was a blast. I can honestly say I had more fun writing this book than any other I’ve ever done. And it’s my all-time favorite (so far). *G*

Do you consciously use symbolism in your book?

My books contain a lot of symbolism, but I don’t consciously put it there…rather I’d say my subconscious does it. I don’t see the symbolism or recognize it until the book is done and I’m rereading…then I’m always amazed. Wow, where did that come from? Thank you Muse. *G*

What is your latest release?

Devil May Care,”the second in my “Devilish Devlins” contemporary romance series.

Free-wheeling rogue Flynn Devlin roars into Marisa Matheson’s well-ordered life on a Harley, with a devil-may-care attitude, a body made for sin, and an Irish lilt that could charm the panties off a nun. Exactly the kind of bad boy she doesn’t need.

Except Flynn also possesses magic talent with a camera—something she desperately needs to keep her wedding planning business from tanking after her regular photographer is injured.

Flynn Devlin is the only thing standing between Marisa and complete financial ruin. He’s also hiding a damning secret from her. All in the name of love, but still…Flynn knows that when the lass who’s capturing his heart as easily as he captures images finds out he’s not quite what he claims to be, all hell will break loose.

And his devil-may-care attitude doesn’t include his heart. Because this devil doesn’t want just a one-night fling with his stubbornly independent lass…he wants forever.

I also have two new romantic suspenses coming out this summer. 🙂

What other books do you have published?

I published six books—two of which were nominated for RITA awards—with a traditional NY publishing house before going indie.

Current releases: “Deal with the Devil” Book 1 of the “Devilish Devlins.”

Devil May CareBook 2 of the “Devilish Devlins.”

Sword of the Raven,” a Celtic mythology paranormal

Coming soon are:

Laws of Attraction” (a romantic suspense) in June

Big Bad Wolfe,” (the sequel to LOA) in July

Where are your books available?

You can visit my website to read free excerpts and find clickable links to buy all my books. They’re available for purchase in most e-formats at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. Also please friend me on Facebook and sign up for my newsletter to stay current–links are on my website. Thank you so much for having me, Dellani. 🙂

Bulletproof Bride

Tessa Beaumont thinks she’s happy. She’s got a great job and she’s engaged to a wonderful man. She should be happy, right? So why isn’t she smiling? Her life changes dramatically when the mysterious bank robber takes her hostage, spiriting her away to a creepy warehouse.

Posing as the robber, Special Agent Gabriel Colton finds himself strongly attracted to the spunky redhead. She stands up to him, even manages to escape—twice! Not only that, she’s determined to get married as planned, making it impossible for him to protect her.

Tessa finds out that she’s stumbled upon a multimillion dollar scam involving the bank. She and Gabe work together to uncover the truth, not the least of which is their love for one another.

Duncan’s plot, inspired by an actual bank robbery, grabs readers and takes them on a thrill ride. The characters are funny, spirited and playful. The dialog is great! The plot well paced.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes a blend of mystery and romance.  

Five Golden Acorns

Lethal Attraction

Sabrina Matthews is in the middle of something she doesn’t understand. Someone wants her dead! If not for long time friend, Grady O’Rourke, they’d have been successful. Like always, Grady’s there to protect her.

The mysterious package from her late grandfather seems to be the key to the mystery involving Sabrina. Together, she and Grady put the pieces together and discover their love is something neither of them can deny.

“Lethal Attraction” is a fast paced thrill ride. Duncan’s characters are well rounded, interesting and fun. The dialog, particularly between the two main characters is snappy and playful. Their verbal sparring establishes their long time relationship, as well as their attraction to one another.

Duncan’s plot is exciting and keeps the reader guessing from beginning to end. “Lethal Attraction” is a great read for anyone who likes action, adventure and a little romance!

Five Golden Acorns

 Deal With the Devil

 Cynthia Wagner has a deadline to meet. She has 19 days to be brilliant or she’ll lose her job as a software developer. Taking a leave of absence, she rents a friend’s house, hoping for solitude.

Enter Rory Devlin – and his niece – and twin nephews and the dog…. The saucy Irishman is babysitting for the summer and his life is anything but quiet. Problematic, since the chaos lives next door to Cynthia.

When the twins’ actions cause a catastrophe in her home, damaging her computer, Rory makes Cynthia a deal she can’t afford to refuse. She can stay at his house, use his computer to complete her work and he will fix up her house and replace her computer.

Despite her overt displeasure with the sexy Irishman, Cynthia can’t help but find him devilishly attractive. Maybe dealing with the Devlin isn’t as bad as she thought?

Once again, Diana Duncan finds the two people least likely to fall in love and shows them the error of their ways. Her characters are engaging, her plot compelling. I love the lighthearted humor and sexy bantering between Rory and Cynthia. Duncan’s dialog zings off the page, moving the plot forward with each well chosen word. The teasing and wordplay are so true to life, it fleshes out her characters well.

“Deal With the Devil” is a charming romance and I highly recommend it for all those who love a great romance with a few sparks flying between the main characters. Risking a spoiler, let me add that I loved the closet scene! Steamy, sexy, satisfying. 

Five Golden Acorns!

Sword of the Raven

 Delaney Morgan has a problem. He’s about six foot five, muscular, half drowned – and naked. Washed up on the beach, the unconscious man presents a problem. Of course, his being there is no worse than anything else that’s happened to Delaney in the past year. Her fiance, Zack, dumped her. He was her brother’s partner on the police force and he betrayed him. Connor’s in prison and in constant danger from other inmates. If that weren’t bad enough, the judge who put Connor away is corrupt. Now, she has a huge, muscular, handsome, sexy…. half drowned, unconscious man to deal with. Damn!

Little does Delaney know that her life had changed forever. By finding the man, Rowan MacLachlan, on the beach, she’s opened a door to a realm that only seemed real in her nightmares.

Once again, Diana Duncan nails it. Sword of the Raven is an amazing paranormal thrill ride from beginning to end. I always love Duncan’s snappy dialog, her character’s snarky comments to one another make the novel come alive. I love dialog that zings. Duncan’s verbal sparing is spectacular.

The characters in Sword of the Raven are well rounded, complex and haunted by their past. Duncan takes their vulnerabilities and makes them strengths as the characters grow closer to one another. She takes two very independent people and watches as they, reluctantly, fall in love.

I strongly recommend Sword of the Raven for anyone who enjoys sword fights, steamy love scenes and the triumph of light over darkness. Of course, the hot, jacked, six foot five Scotsman always makes a girl feel better. 

Five Golden Acorns.