As a member of the CIA’s elite, Black Opals, Natalya Trubachev must live a lie, working undercover as the lover of Dmitri, a Russian mob boss...


After helping to break up a Russian human trafficking ring as part of the CIA’s elite Black Opal team, Alexei Nikanova’s newest assignment is to rescue...

18 August, 2011

When Ideas Overflow...

It's Thursday and keeping with publication process, I've been mulling over proposals for my Black Opal series.  Today I was hit with a dozen ideas, all while thinking about the same hero, and it's made me wonder just how far can I take him?  How... unheroic, can he be, while being a hero at the same time?

Let me back up.  I like dark heroes.  I like men that are so flawed, how they can be heroic, is a bit hard to grasp.  And given my heroine in Stripped falls into this, I guess that extends to characters all the way around.  I find it incredibly challenging to not just redeem this person, but dig in and draw out the things that make them worthwhile.  To see if I can make that person hold onto a heart, no matter how unlikely it might seem.

I asked an editor once how dark a character could be, and she pretty much gave a green light on any level as long as it is well-justified.   That conversation completely blew my mind, because all along I'd been preached at "You can't do that, he's unheroic.  You can't redeem him."  Well... evidently not so.  And this delights me to no end.

Anyway, going back to the proposal.  I'm torn now, because what I would like to do makes the character real.  It gives him mountains to overcome, and really brings out a viable haunted past.  But that one aspect, might push it over the top and make it hard for him to fullfill a story.  I already piled on the shit once.  He's got a huge mountain facing him as it is.  But wow... it would... yes, it would be a great way to twist him in the wind.

I'll have to mull this over.  Meanwhile, I had two other stories hit me at once, and I sure wish they'd develop androids that could plug into my brain, use my words, my approach, and everything me, and write side-by-side with me.  Yeesh. I wrote the ideas down, filed them away, and will make outlines as I get past some more pressing things.

So what do you all do when you have idea overflow?


11 August, 2011

And the Saga Continues - Publishing Journeys

Well, it's Thursday again, and today I made some progress on Publishing in general. 

I decided with two books coming out in January (See Claire Ashgrove for the second one) that I should do a book signing locally.  Now, I'd done one previously, gosh... two years ago?  With fellow author, Alicia Dean.  We didn't put too much into promoting it, but neither did the bookstore.  It was one of those days where we each sold a copy, then bought each other's books.  Lessons learned though -- a) book signings can go well, or they can be a non-event.  b) The next time put a little more effort and planning in.

Taking that last lesson, the most important one, I phoned Barnes and Noble to get in well in advance and met with them today.  However, I want to point out one thing that occured during the phone conversation.  He asked me about my promotions packet and told me to bring it in.  Now, I covered my dumbstruck, momentary jaw on floor moment, rather well, but for a moment I about had heart failure.  I didn't have a promotions packet, and my ARCs weren't here.  And I was on my way to work with no way to send off emails requesting them.

I happened to have my Tor editor's number programmed into my phone, and left a message, and ended up with an ARC overnighted.  Shew!  At least I wasn't going into the meeting today totally empty-handed.  And I'm certain that if I'd had the means of reaching my Berkley editor, the same would have happened, but it was a time-crunch thing and that's how it played out.

So last night I did a little investigating on what I should take along and stumbled onto a "Bookseller's Flyer"... Ah-Ha!

And I made one today for each book.

And I went to this meeting with one ARC, 2 flyers, and a business card.

It went WONDERFULLY!  I'm sharing this story because, for those of you authors who will face this situation, he said one thing to me that I want to share:  "You're more prepared than the vast majority of authors who meet with me."

(Little did he know.  Haha.)

What I learned is that we'll be signing late January, and he volunteered to craft a press release for me, put it in the local papers, contact readers groups, romance book clubs, and all that totally blew my socks away.  I'd been schooled that those were things I would have to do.  When he mentioned this I seriously wanted to kiss his feet.

I also learned another important fact for those of you interested in the "New" publishing world trends:  When I told him that I had digital short stories available through the B & N bookstore (will have by January, but have full length books available), he was very excited to hear this.  He told me it gave him an additional angle to promo the event with -- "Bring your Nook."

So, reading between the lines - if you can play up your digital stuff, do so.  Booksellers like this!

On another note, I finished the second book in the Black Opal series.  It's now in my editor's hands, and I am gearing up for the proposal for the next books in line.  I have characters screaming at me -- they better hope they all play nice in my head, because I get to choose who goes first.

I'd be interested to hear any of your promotions stories, or things you've learned along the way!


09 August, 2011

Much Ado About... A Cover!

I've been gnawing on my fingernails, squirming in my seat, totally anxious about what my cover for Stripped would look like. 

Don't get me wrong, at no time was I worried about receiving a bad cover.  I had every faith that Berkley would deliver something that held my vision.

They delivered above and beyond what I had expected!

And now I get to share it with all of you.  So... here she is!

I want to just frame it and hang it on my wall...  Oh wait!  It will be on my bookshelf (yours too!) in January!

And just to add a little more bonus to that beautiful cover, how about a bit of the official back cover copy?

Body of secrets...

As a member of the CIA's elite, Black Opals, Natalya Trubachev must live a lie, working undercover as the lover of Dmitri, a Russian mob boss.  His business is trafficking vulnerable Las Vegas strippers overseas for twisted sex games.  Natalya's business is to blow the ring wide open and bring down Dmitri and his American contacts.  But the stakes are raised when she learns that the next target is her own sister, Kate, a dancer in the famed club Fantasia.  Only now does Natalya realize how personal her mission has become, and how far she's willing to go to complete it.

Body of lies...

The manager of Fantasia is Brandon Moretti, an undercover detective who keeps a close eye on his girls, and an even closer one on his sinfully sensual hire.  For Natalya, working the club could be the break she's been waiting for.  But for Moretti, Natalya is a possible link to a killer.  Only he never counted on her being so lethally seductive or so dangerous to get close to.  As every forbidden pleasure between them is stripped away, his own secrets threaten their security, but its Natalya's that could destroy them both.