Do you like paranormals? Vampire hunters? Macabre humor? Then pick up Power in the Blood, by Angelia Sparrow.
This is the first novel I’ve edited for Storm Moon Press, and it’s the most outright fun I’ve had with an edit in quite a while. Full of quirky characters, from the insatiable Oren Stolt and the six kids who’ve grown up in his shadow to assorted lunatic immortals, nothing about Power in the Blood is bland, stock, or repetitive. It’s composed of equal parts horrifying ideas and inappropriate giggles.
It won’t be for everyone–the violence level goes past “high” all the way to “gruesome” and two pagan readers have suggested that it really ought to carry a blasphemy warning for the Christian portion of the audience. But if you think you can handle that, it’s a hoot. The eBook is priced under $6, and the dead tree version should be available within the next month or so.
Here’s the official blurb:
Oren Stolt understands the natural order better than most people. Vampires prey on humans and Undying keep the vampires’ numbers in check.
Now, across the United States, vampire numbers are exploding, thanks to a new church. The Tabernacle of the Firstfruits preaches a Risen Lord and invites believers to follow Him in death and resurrection… quite literally.
In Memphis, the church is about to host its first conference, with an eye to converting the whole world to the vampiric gospel.
And all that stands between humanity and eternal night is Oren, his kids, and a thin line of insane immortals.
Power in the Blood, by Angelia Sparrow, now available from Storm Moon Press
Rebound!, by Kellie Kamryn, just released from Secret Cravings Publishing. This one is a contemporary romance I found interesting for me to edit, because I got to do some fun research on the world of competitive and professional gymnastics during the process.
This time, I think the book blurb tells you about it better than I could. Have a look:
Claire LeMay is at the top of her game – she’s head of a prominent gymnastics facility with her gymnasts winning awards for her outstanding choreography. Now her biggest challenge is to coach alongside the man she’s avoided for three years after he demanded she live in his shadow instead of forging her own path.
After sinking every penny of his inheritance into his state-of-the-art gymnastics facility, Justin Black has achieved his dream. But even with hundreds of members and well-trained coaches, when Claire’s presence invades his space, he reluctantly admits she’s the one thing missing in his life. Oblivious as to why she walked out on him three years ago, he attempts to call a truce.
As their old passion tumbles out faster than a gymnast sprinting down the vault runway, they realize they are in the same impossible position as they were three years ago. Are they destined to repeat the same old routine or will they be able to choreograph a new one?
Yikes, I’m running behind. You’d think I was editing or something.
Two for the Price of One, an erotic romance by Sandy Sullivan, is the latest installment in the Montana Cowboys series.
Red Rock, Montana is one of those little towns where everybody knows everybody else’s business and nothing ever happens . . . until the day Brandon Tucker, country music’s hottest new star, is on his way through town, and his bus hits Emma Weston’s pickup. Suddenly, the bus isn’t going anywhere and Emma discovers the dead-hot country crooner is a jerk. Which doesn’t stop her from reacting to his kiss.
The only thing more complicated than one hot guy you shouldn’t fall in love with his two, and Beau Tucker isn’t just Brandon’s identical twin, he’s a genuinely nice guy. The twins are nothing if not competitive, but they’re both falling for Emma, who won’t be the prize in some game. If they can’t compete for her, they may just have to share.
Two for the Price of One is available from Secret Cravings Publishing.
Congratulations to Catherine Wells, who is a finalist for an EPIC Award in Science Fiction for the second year running! This year’s nomination is for The Crystal Desert, which kind of fell through the cracks in the collapse of one publishing house and has not yet been released through the auspices of the new publishing house picking up the series. The original publisher made the eBook version available through Lulu to maintain availability.
I have read the book that comes before this, the Aztec Eagle, presently unavailable but soon to be re-released by Echelon Press, and I was the freelance editor of the book that will follow, and they’re all good–entertaining and funny, sure to keep you thinking, laughing, and engrossed from beginning to end. I highly recommend the series, which stars Enrique, who is a bit like Lois Mcmaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan and a bit like Joan D. Vinge’s Cat.
Murder Most Dreadful, by Jacqueline Stirrup, is one of those delightful little gems I get to read occasionally that’s written for a romance market, but which has a stand-alone plot separate from the romance which is engaging and entertaining at the same time.
Wren Coatsmith has no recourse against her husband’s abuse in 1880s London, but she never meant to kill him. She means to hide the body, though, and isn’t at all pleased when it turns up and she has to go identify it. When a bruised and battered woman in the morgue catches Wren’s attention, Detective Sergeant Alfie Beckett can’t understand why she doesn’t dismiss the woman as a dead prostitute like everyone else.
Alfie pursues the woman’s death, first out of obligation, and then to keep Wren from investigating on her own–for as well as that works! As their paths cross more and more often, he finds himself increasingly and unfortunately suspicious of her husband’s death. He likes Wren too well to want to see her hanged as a murderess, but no one is above the law . . . is she?
Murder Most Dreadful reminds me of the mysteries that were my guilty pleasure reading until I was somewhere in my teens, only with more humor and set against a historical backdrop. And what a historical backdrop! I cringe every time I get a historical romance to edit, because I spend half my time cross-checking facts and turns of phrase to be sure they are correct for the time period. This manuscript was a joy: the writer knows exactly what she’s doing, and I didn’t catch her in anything historically inappropriate throughout the course of the novel–not once! London in the 1880s jumps off the page and invites the reader to come along for joyride in a time long gone.
An engaging and entertaining read, I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys sweet romances, mysteries, or both.
Okay, enough bad news for the week. Let the bragging commence.
I’m going to do something I rarely do, which is talk about a book I’ve edited which has not yet been placed with a publisher, because this one is so good, I have no doubts it will be. The Hollow Hill is the first effort of Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane, and it is amazing. This pair set out to write a 50,000 word M/M romance, mostly to see if they could. They ended up with 120,000 words of something that reads more like utterly gripping fantasy, despite the fact that it remains a romance.
This is an example of how you do it, boys and girls. I may do a short interview with one or both of them once the book has a publisher and a publication date, but for now let me just say that they obeyed all the rules you follow for novels in general, plus all the rules you follow for romances in particular, and they did it with skill, flair, and great originality. Yes it’s a fantasy set in the modern day, but it’s not just “one more urban fantasy/paranormal novel.” These two did their research, and the fantasy is grounded in a ton of Irish history and includes, as one of the writers said to me, pretty much every major enemy Ireland has ever had.
The pacing is incredibly well done. Heidi and Violetta tell me they wrote out a spreadsheet of all their major plot points and broke everything down chapter by chapter to make sure that every scene moved the plot forward, and every plot point moved the romance forward. The main characters are distinctive and well-rounded, with their own voices, strengths, and foibles. The writers have avoided most of the pitfalls common to the “M/M romance” paradigm, writing the romance itself as an unlikely but somehow unavoidable love story, rather than according to any formula.
I don’t know if the name will still be The Hollow Hill when it’s published, but I know it will be fantastic. Read it for the history. Read it for the love story. Read it for Sean and Cormac. Read it for a powerful Sidhe lord listening to Thin Lizzy and a thousand-year-old Irishwoman, hungover and wearing sunglasses.
Better off Without Her, by Rita Hestand, will be marketed as a Western Romance, but I would characterize it more as a Western with a strong romance subplot. The characters are engaging and the plot takes twists and turns neither a Western nor a romance usually would as our heroes chase a serial killer across Texas in the late 1800s.
forthcoming from Secret Cravings Publishing, autumn 2011