Healer’s Garden

Welcome to the fourth Six Sentence Sunday featuring an excerpt from my futuristic erotic romance HEALER’S GARDEN. Here’s another scene where the hurt and confusion of Brenimyn and Jahara’s circumstances come charging back in full reality:

Brenimyn shot to his feet and stood over her, his eyes turning to hard shards of ice. “Me lie to you, Jahara? You speak of my deceit, yet all that has occupied your thoughts today is your precious lover back home and the commitment you made to her before being forced to conceive my child. You speak of loving me only in the confines of our bedroom and you’ve made it quite clear that I am nothing more than a breeder to you.” Charged air vibrated through his lips as he shook his head in denial. “The vision must be wrong.”

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Thank you as always for stopping by and commenting. I really appreciate it. Click HERE to check out other authors participating this week.

This weeks Six Sentence Sunday is a third selection from Healer’s Garden. Click HERE for Brenimyn’s scene and HERE for Jahara’s scene.

Brenimyn looked down at Jahara and watched her transformation in rapt fascination.

Stepping away from him, she stood with her feet planted, pulling herself up tall. She filled her lungs, her bare breasts held high. The dark triangle of her womanhood was visible through the gossamer fabric of her breeches billowing in the breeze. She looked so feminine. Yet, under the lifted chin and unpretentious set of her mouth, he could see the fierce warrior the visionaries had promised.

Also available on Amazon

Thank you so much for stopping by. And as always, I appreciate your comments. Click HERE to check out other authors participating this week.

Welcome to Six Sentence Sunday! Click HERE to check out other authors participating this week.

Six years ago this month, my first book was published. Healer’s Garden is a futuristic suspense story available from Ellora’s Cave.

In this scene, Jahara is trying to figure out exactly what makes Brenimyn different from all other men she’s met…

“There’s got to be a logical explanation for what I’m experiencing,” Jahara said.

Brenimyn crossed his arms over his chest, humor sparking in his eyes. “Are you finished speculating? Because I can tell you the facts if you’re interested, or I can just wait here while you try to attempt to put together a puzzle with missing pieces.” He lifted a shoulder. “Either way, I’m good.”

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As always, thank you so much for stopping by. I always enjoy your comments. They mean a lot.
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It seems hard to believe that four years have passed since I began this blog. I remember the nervousness and excitement as I started the blog in anticipation of the publication of my first book. Now I have 10 books available and another that has been published, but which is going through a total re-write.

The learning curve has been steep. I jumped from the world of education into the world of publishing. I remember the joy of waking every day with nothing ahead of me but a blank page. There were no obligations to market. No Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or Yahoo Loops begging for my attention. Now, with the world of publishing changing at lightning speed, I often feel like I can’t keep up with all that I think I should do. But I’m working very hard to find that balance between marketing, writing and real life. As a matter of fact, I’ve been kind of having a crisis of identity. But the other day when I was lamenting and questioning my decision to become an author, I was reminded … not everyone can tell a story. That’s a gift.

And that statement made me sit back and really think about what I want to do with that gift. I certainly don’t want to squander it or bury it. Instead of whining that I can’t teach anymore, I need to be grateful that I have found another vocation. I’m working to change my frame of mind to accept what I have instead of pining for what I’ve lost. So in celebration of my new found career path, I thought I’d share one of my first ever posts. I’m working to reconnect with that joy …

I’m a visual person. I love pictures. It’s how I remember things. I don’t have that flat out photographic memory thing going on as I can’t read words off a notebook page of notes in my head. But I can picture the page and know exactly where the information is among my notes. (It’s how I got all those A’s in college!)

That being said, it’s interesting that I don’t do it so much when I’m reading for pleasure. Okay, so that’s not completely true. When I read, I “see” the scene… people moving, action happening. What I don’t see are the details, the copper curl of her hair or his long fingers tucking it behind her ear.

See, right there, I visualize the action, but not the color of her hair or the description of his fingers. Which makes it odd for me to write those details. They seem so unimportant. But one of my critique partners often asks for more description when one of my characters first walks onto the page. And since I don’t write for me, I write for my readers who are clamoring to know who my heroine is and whether her hair is black or blond, I’ve learned to include the details.

This is the heroine of Healer’s Garden, Jahara Hriznek. I hesitate to post this picture even though it’s how I saw her when I was writing. I fear it may not fit your idea of who she is. But that’s her.

As a reader do you look for a detailed description of a character or is it something you gloss over? Do you take your visual cue from the pictures on the cover or do you let your imagination run wild?

Curious authors want to know.

I’ve been thinking a lot about promotion lately. (But really, if you ask most authors, their marketing concerns rank right up there with their looming deadline and the next line edits.) Because, let’s face it, our books might as well just be sitting on our computers if they’re not out their finding readers.

But then again … there is such a thing as TOO much. And I wonder when an author knows when they’ve crossed that line. I mean, I think everyone else knows when a promotion, whether it’s blog/contest announcements or a promotional excerpt that’s blasted everywhere, is driving them insane. Eventually, that cool promo the author was so excited about, becomes the spam that every receiver just deletes with an eyeroll.

And you know, I’ve begun to wonder if I am that author. I know there’s a balance between letting people know my new book is out and becoming a nuisance in the inbox. The fact is, when you hit that point, people no longer see you anyway.

Yet there is that 10 exposure thing before a person consciously recognizes your name. That’s right. We need to see something an average of 10 times before it works its way into our psyche. And of course the same 10 things aren’t going to be seen by the same 10 people so that means a smattering of promo across different avenues to be sure you’ve hit everyone more than once…or does it?

There are so many ways to market that a gal can go crazy trying to keep up with it all. And the old addage, do what you enjoy doesn’t always apply, because quite frankly, I enjoy more than I should. Sometimes to the detriment of my writing. LOL! There are times when I’d be just as happy sitting around chatting on twitter or making a book trailer as writing my next book. Heck, that other stuff is easy, which meant I did it A LOT.

Well no more. I’ve dropped out of Yahoo loops I wasn’t really using. I’ve stopped blog surfing (which is rather ironic since I blog) and I’ve limited my twitter to a couple days a week. You see, I’ve been watching some really successful authors and they don’t market. They write. Now isn’t that a novel idea?

Anyway, I just thought I’d share with you the newest in my “paper” marketing…romance trading cards. They came out beautiful. I’m so pleased. Frauke at Croco Designs took my vision and turned it into these …

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Aren’t they gorgeous? I’ve just started sending them out. (And yes, Zane is noticeably missing from the “Bonded” set … there was a glitch that’s been fixed and he should be arriving soon.) They’ll be making their debut appearance in some goodie bags at RWA National Convention in a couple of weeks.

So what do you think? When does an author’s promotion become an annoying buzzing in your ears. Because you know me … I just gotta know!

I’ve only been in the publishing world for six years this month (oh, happy anniversary to me!). Though it’s a relatively short time in the grand scheme of things, I think the past five years, heck, the last two even, have seen the publishing world change exponentially.

One of the things I find interesting is the discussions of genre. I’m not sure if it’s because more genres are popping up or if authors, looking to break into a highly competitive market, are mashing genres together and therefore defying a genre definition.

Let me first start by saying. I read romance. I write romance. I didn’t know that books (other than non-fiction) didn’t fall into that category. I know some readers who are surprised to find the book they’re reading is considered romance when it was shelved in the science fiction section. The fact is, romance is no longer just sweet contemporary and historical love stories. And there in lies the confusion.

This blog post was sparked by a discussion of what constitutes science fiction. In my opinion (which is what this blog is all about), science fiction stories deal with some imagined technology and its impact on the characters. These stories often, but not always, take place in the future, which means they can also be considered futuristic romances. Though for me, when defining my books, I tend to think of futuristic as specific to an alternate future, like Healer’s Garden. Whereas A Touch of Lilly, which also takes place in the future, but in another galaxy, I would consider science fiction.

Steampunk is a specific type of science fiction that is an alternate history rather than future. The stories involve a period in time when steampower was used. The science fiction is the fantastical weapons and machines powered by steam that the author creates. Think Wild, Wild West with Will Smith (*sigh*) and Kevin Kline.

Another umbrella term for genre especially popular today is the Paranormal category. Stories in this genre often blend and can easily be defined as one sub-genre or another. For me, the easily defined paranormal stories are those that involve vampires, zombies or shifters. My Shifting Bonds series falls into this category.

But … if a story includes faeries, gnomes or magic, then it’s defined as Fantasy romance. This sub-genre is further delineated by the term Urban Fantasy. These stories often are written in first person and take place in an urban setting, though it can be contemporary, historical or future time setting, the defining factor is the world created has magic and mysticism as part of the every day landscape. Urban fantasies however involve human characters with the powers rather than mystical creatures, though shifters, vampires and angels also play a role.

Of course once authors start blurring the lines between genres, mixing and matching as plots, settings and characters develop, more and more authors are having a hard time pigeon-holing their stories. This of course leaves the marketing departments of publishing houses with the difficulty of figuring out how best to market a book and where to shelve it in the bookstores. Which in turn, sometimes leaves readers stumbling around the bookstore trying to figure out how exactly to find their favorite author’s new book.

So, what do you think, did I hit the nail on the head or am I completely off the mark with my definitions? Leave me a comment. I’d like to know how you see this new genre confusion.

I’m having a give away for the WHOLE month of June…a basket FULL of goodies! I can’t take a picture of it because my stuff is still in storage for the next month. (Fingers crossed we’re in a house by July.)

What’s in the basket?
A print copy of Healer’s Garden
Random print books from my conference overflow
Bookmarks, pens and other Nina goodies
A deck of EC playing cards
A $15 Amazon gift card
… probably more random stuff from my prize closet

How do you get your name thrown in the hat?
1) One chance for “LIKING” my Facebook fan page (be sure to leave a comment on the page to tell me you’re new)

2) One chance when someone who has “Liked” my fan page mentions your name as referring them to my FB Fan Page

3) Three chances entered for each review for Blind Love or Love’s Bounty (coming in mid-June) left on Amazon, GoodReads or Barnes and Noble.

And that’s it! One name will be drawn from all entries. The giveaway will run from today to JUNE 30 at noon EDT. (Shipping is for residence of the US or Canada only. An international winner would receive a $20 Amazon gift certificate in addition to the $15 card already included in the basket.)

And just because it’s been awhile since I shared some sexy man flesh, here is some drool worthy awesomeness I hope you come across this weekend …

When readers are asked what first stops them and makes them pick up a book, 95% of them will say the cover. (Okay, so that’s not an actual statistic, but you get the idea that it’s most people.) So it’s no wonder authors are always anxious for the day the art department sends the cover for a new story. I have to say I’ve been really blessed with some awesome covers.

Healer’s Garden was my first ever cover and I cried when the image on the left arrived in my mailbox. (EC redid the cover with the image on the right when it was released through them in 2010.)
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Then came the three Tilling Passions covers (currently not available)…

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The cover artist and I worked for a couple of days to get those covers just right. The feel. The symbols. The couples. All of it came together to create the right mood for those books.

And so it’s gone for each of my stories. You can see all my covers to the right and each one was created to entice the reader to take a closer look. Now, as much as I feel very blessed by the cover Gods, no cover (with the exception of my first) has moved me to tears with the exception of …

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The cover artist, Reese Dante, read every detail of my character and setting descriptions (right down to the scar on Dallas’ face) and totally captured my story. (This cover is an Ariana Cover Award finalist. I’m squeeing happy!) But okay, what’s this got to do with cover models?

Well … the image on the left, of my hero Dallas, is the cover model SAM BOND. I didn’t know this until a few days ago when Renee Vincent posted an interview of this man. (Along with some drool-worthy pictures … go on … check them out … I’ll wait a minute or two or three …)

Sam seems like a wonderful guy. But here’s the interesting thing for me. I’ve had pictures of “Dallas Sawyer” on my computer all during the writing of “A Touch of Lilly”. Every time Dallas did something a romance hero should do, I fell a little more in love with him. So it’s no wonder when I saw Sam’s picture that those feelings all come rushing back.

I know Sam is not Dallas. I’m not daft. (Well, about that anyway.) But the visual creates such a visceral response for me. Sam’s picture immediately throws me back into the story and the feelings his character evokes. And from some of the comments, I suspect I’m not the only one. Sam is really a great guy (and totally in love with his girlfriend, Emily), but I wonder if he really has any idea the impact his image has on readers and authors.

I don’t know, maybe I’m way out there. Perhaps my visual sense has overcome my common sense. So I’m curious … how do you see this whole thing. Book cover and cover model? Am I living in my own little fantasy world? Am I the only one affected by photos? Because you know me … I’m kinda curious that way.

And just in case you needed another stimulus, here’s a picture of Sam I lifted from his website. I hope he doesn’t mind. 😉

Writing is hard. Waiting for the first reviews to come out after your book is published is excruciating. I don’t write books to have them sit at my publisher … I write books to send them out in the world and hope people fall in love with them! Well, that’s the hope anyway. LOL!

So CeCe at Bitten by Books gave Shadows of Fire 4 tombstones and
said this …

“Shadows of Fire” is a page-turner. It is definitely full of action. Ree[s]e and Alex are likable and relatable characters.

Lisa at Night Owl Romance gave Healer’s Garden 4.5 and a TOP PICK and said this …

“Evil forces play into this story, with unexpected twists, turns, and a very pleasing resolution…This wonderful fantasy culture where women are dominant and men disrespected is a very interesting twist and carries a strong plot well. Strong characters, their struggles with ethics, justice, and morality, coupled with excellent dialogue and attention to detail, make this book a fantastic fantasy read!

The sex scenes were very well written – so hot, Hot, HOT!!!! Get the air coolers running!”

So squeeee! It makes me so happy when people like my stories. It makes me warm and smiley. And to top it off Ellora’s Cave offered me a contract this week. Yeeeeah, it’s been a good week so far and it’s only Tuesday!!

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