29 March 2010

New Reviews in!


See review here!
Brenna Lyon's story, All I want For Christmas Is You, is a sure win. It is deeply erotic, with enough electric sex scenes to light up the Carson Christmas tree. Lyons has penned a charming short story with more than enough heat to keep you warm on a cold winter's eve, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. 5 Angels, Recommended Read
Reviewed by Lynn For Fallen Angels Reviews

See review here!
All I Want For Christmas Is You is an extremely moving and emotional story that will tug at your heart, heat up your blood, and keep you flipping through the pages from start to finish. Brenna Lyons has combined acceptance and loss, creating a stable place for the protagonists to come together and move forward with their lives. The chemistry between Robin and David is burn-the-tips-of-your-fingers hot, and sex scenes will have you melting in the reading chair. I love Ms. Lyons style of writing, as well as her ability to bring emotion to the page – even as she kicks up the heat. Don’t miss this engaging and thoroughly enjoyable read. 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern for Whipped Cream Reviews

See review here!
I absolutely loved this sweet little story about David and Robin. The confusion among the characters was so exact it led me to wonder what could happen to this couple. Ms. Lyons knows how to draw her audience into a book so they don’t want to put it down. As a reader, you’ll be glad this is a short story so you can find out what happens quickly, but then you want to know what else is going on in the Carson family. The only warning I would give is there is some explicit scenes that some readers may find out of their comfort zone, but the publisher does give warning. Even though this is under 100 pages, the development of the story was exceptional. I hope Ms. Lyons has more planned not only for Robin and David but also the rest of the family.
Reviewed by Jacqueline Stengel for TCM Reviews

See the Review here!
This was a well thought out story and I thought it would be straightforward. I was wrong. While trying to keep their relationship a secret to avoid conflict with the family, both wishes their relationship were real. But a secret like this is just begging to be let out, and since it’s Christmas wishes can come true. 4.5 Stars, Top Pick
Reviewed by Chris for Night Owl Reviews


See the review here!
Although this is a really short read, it answers all of the questions that were left after reading Bride Ball -- unfortunately, it also means that it's not as good of a stand-alone read. Lyons really excels at packing maximum punch into her stories. Be it the characters, their fears, foibles, dreams, and desires to the world itself, the culture and the mores of the time -- every detail is lovingly crafted and no word goes wasted. Lyons remains one of my favorite authors and I will wait with bated breath for her to go back to writing novels. Short stories are all well and good and it's not as if she doesn't shine in them -- but it just doesn't soothe the itch the way a nice, fat novel does. 4.75 Stars, Top Pick
Reviewed by Kyraninse for Night Owl Reviews


Read the review here!
Bride Ball is an interesting take on the old story. It's a modern-day Cinderella, but somehow it doesn't feel modern (despite the comments about plastic surgery), and current slang feels out of place. It was a wonderful story. Amber, Alana, and Kambry are amazing, their lovers are fantastic men, and I loved hearing more about what happened after the prince found his princess. In particular, Alana and Benjamin made me wipe away tears. The idea that the way things have been isn't the way things must be gets explored often, but not often enough in ways that bring middle-aged people happiness. Please, write more and soon! I want more from this world 4.75 Stars, Top Pick
Reviewed by Roza for Night Owl Reviews

Read the review here!
Brenna Lyons once again captures your heart and your attention in this fantastic story. Bride ball is actually three interwoven stories that revolve around the same family. These three stories are fantastically written. As you read you fall into the story and cannot help but keep turning the pages until the very end. The characters are well developed and engaging while you root for the good guy, boo the bad guys and have tears of happiness in your eyes by the end of this great story. Gotta Read
Reviewed by Lupa for You Gotta Read Reviews

Read the review here!
A classic urban fairytale with a sexy twist of this Cinderella story comes to life. With the humor and classic sweetness of Ever After, some very steamy scenes that will light your fires, engaging and addictive characters that will ensnare you, transporting you into their world of urban fantasy only to make you feel as though you are right there experiencing every emotion as they are.The book was broken up into three cohesive parts that are easy to follow thru all the chapters unfolding into wonderful character development on Ms. Lyon's part. Throughout all three stories I never felt as though Brenna jumped around, they were all free flowing but completed one another beautifully never letting the reader down, always capturing my attention and making me want a little bit more. 5 Flowers, Loved it! Couldn't put it down!
Reviewed by Book Junkie

Read the review here!
Brenna Lyons as usual has created a world to fit her brand of writing. In this intriguing and twisted Cinderella tale Ms. Lyons characters come alive with intrigue, mistrust, and choices made that have far reaching consequences. The story is told in three parts, which makes for a richer story. Each story is part of the overall tale being told of one young girl and her eventual happily ever after and how the evil step mother and step sister get theirs. This reviewer was blown away with this story and its cast of memorable characters. Ms. Lyons and her world-building is to not be missed, especially if you’re a fan of fantasy. The sex is hot as well. Do not let this one pass you by. 4 Stars
Reviewed by Acquanetta Ferguson for Erotic and Romance Book Examiner


Read the review here!
Creative and original as well as steamy, this was a thought-provoking read. While I was a little lost in the beginning, the more I read the more became clear. A man’s desire for his line to continue made leaps in science, but took a huge step back in the evolution department. While we are left wondering who the women are and what their purpose truly is, there are clues along the way that point not at an assassin, but something else. You’ll have to read the story to find out. 3 Stars
Reviewed by Chris for Night Owl Reviews

Read the review here!
There is a lot of story packed into a few pages. For this reason and because I didn’t want to miss a thing, I had to read a bit slower. There were a few shaky spots where I wasn’t quite “in” the story, but Ms Lyons quickly amps up the action and brought me right back. The sex is hot but the tease is even hotter. Story- 7 out of 10, Presentation- 9 out of 10
Reviewed by Seriously Reviewed


Read the review here!
This was a short fun read with a simple yet powerful plot. What do you do when the one person you desire also has the power to destroy you? The clash of these two very well-drawn characters, and their interaction, was a pleasure to read. It was exactly the right amount of plot for the length, giving conflict but also the chance for a happy resolution. The world was presented with enough detail to make their dilemmas believable without being overwhelming. I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. 4.5 Hearts
Reviewed by Moe for The Romance Studio

Read the review here!
There is nothing better than a tightly written paranormal tale loaded with fantasy goodness and torrid romance. Nevermore captures the ironic tone of Poe’s raven, complete with two characters so likeable they’re almost human. The tension is tighter than a guitar wire. The romance is brought to boil by sex so hot it would be put a flame thrower out of commission. Well, what did I expect? This is Ms. Lyon’s specialty; an inventive narrative with an engaging solid plot from start to finish. Charismatic, complex protagonists dueling it out until they can find a place to consummate their wicked obsession is at the top of the menu. Her writing skills are the perfect vehicle for execution and delivery. Always.
Reviewed by Patrice F. for Joyfully Reviewed

22 March 2010

Great new word

I thought I'd heard the sweetest words in the world in my life. They included:

I love you.
I do.
Nothing to biopsy... (dealing with myself)
You're pregnant.
It's a... (choose boy or girl...both wonderful)
Came through surgery fine... (when dealing with my husband or one of my kids)
Benign... (when dealing with a dear friend)

I've got a new one, as of today.

Artifact (when dealing with mammograms)

What does artifact mean? It means the computer muffed up in enlarging the image and saw something that wasn't there. As long as it isn't there, I'm fairly happy about it, to tell the truth. I told Tamer I'd even wear a "Save the ta-tas" shirt.

20 March 2010

Short or long

Just today, I had someone ask me my opinion of short stories vs. novel-length. When is it too short? When have you gone too far? How do you find the right balance for a particular work?

Short or long, my mantra is: "A story is as long as it should be to tell what needs told...always." If that can be accomplished in an economy of 800 words, it can. It it takes 214,000, it does.

Now, the caveats...

1) You can almost always cut WORDS from a story without cutting plot and characterization. By that, I mean you can nearly always find meaningless words that are bogging down the reader and can be deleted without affecting the greater work.

2) By comparison, with the right POV, there is almost always a little more characterization or plot or explanation you can add without adding meaningless, padding words. Not always. Sometimes, you've really done it justice, but I find in edits that a good editor will show me where something could be clearer with just ten more words of my choosing.

3) The novel is the journey, the battle/struggle, the war sometimes, the evolution or revolution of the world and characters. The novella is the shorter battle, the change occuring...starting here and ending there, often with a brave new world to tackle in the sunset. The novellette or short story is the moment of change or discovery or what-have-you.

4) The shorter you go, the more focused you must be. But that doesn't mean you have to skimp on backstory and characterization. I once wrote a fully-fleshed short story in 3500 words that had two main POV characters that had known each other for 40 or more years of pertinent backstory moments. However, the shorter the story is, the faster you have to get in, get the punch to the reader, and get out of Dodge. You can do that with an economy of well-chosen words. I once had an editor tell me that she'd read 70K novels that had less going on than the 18K novelette she'd read of mine, but the novelette was fast-paced and depended on that packed telling.

5) Length may mean a story or book is not the right fit for a particular market. There is never only one right market for a book. Even if it's for a licensed world, there is something in that book you can salvage and use in your own world.

6) Not every character has a novel to tell. Sometimes all there is to a character are a few truly remarkable moments in a life that is otherwise unremarkable or that would be gross repition of abuses or neglect to repeat. A hint or smattering is enough to set the stage.

7) When is it too little? When the majority of your readers are saying you skipped X and Y and maybe even Z...when they SEE the places you could have expanded, en masse. When is it too much? When the majority of your readers say you bored them by pacing the book too slowly...or when they say there were so many characters they couldn't keep them straight (which may also mean the characters didn't have distinct voices and personalities). I state it this way because no book is universally loved or hated, and there will always be one person that doesn't like what you've done. It's all based on opinions, and you have to weigh those, as the author.

07 March 2010

EPICon Pics!


CONGRATULATIONS TO EPIC’s 2010 E-Book Competition Winners

Poetry Non Fiction/Fiction - A Dash of Expectation: Poems of the Classroom by Russel J Fee

Children's and Young Adult (Non Fiction/ Fiction) - Cowgirl Dreams by Heidi M. Thomas
Non Fiction - Promises Kept by Leonard and Luanna Rugh
Anthology Fiction - The Meruk Episodes #1-#5 by Michelle Levigne, Author
Anthology Romance - Magical Kisses by Whiskey Creek Press, Publisher
Anthology Erotic Romance/ Erotica - Coming Together Against the Odds by Alessia Brio, editor
Adventure Fiction - Quanty by Darrell Bain
Erotica - Sinful by Raina James
Fantasy and/or Paranormal Fiction - By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson
Historical Fiction - Missing Sticks by J.M. Taylor
Horror Fiction - Out of the Darkness by Lesli Richardson
Mystery and/or Suspense Fiction - The Pot Thief by J. Michael Orendoff
Science Fiction - Starfire by Stuart Vaughn Stockton
Spiritual and/or Metaphysical Fiction and Romance - Preacher Man by Laurie Larsen
Mainstream - When Women Were Warriors by Catherine Wilson
Contemporary Romance - Butterfly Tattoo by Dierdre Knight
Fantasy Romance - Ilfayne's Bane by Julia Knight
Historical Romance - Shadows of a Southern Moon by Meg Hennessy
Mystery, Suspense, and/or Adventure Romance - Cast A Pale Shadow by Barbara Scott
Paranormal Romance - Out of Her Dreams by Dee Lloyd
Science Fiction Romance - Endurance by J L Wilson
Western Romance and Erotic Romance - Intimate Strangers by Gem Sivad
Contemporary Erotic Romance - Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun
Fantasy Erotic Romance - Time Currents by Brenna Lyons
Historical Erotic Romance - Seeking Truth by Francesca Hawley
Horror Erotic Romance - Angels of the Deep by Kirby Crow
Mystery, Suspense, and/or Adventure Erotic Romance - Mexican Heat by Laura Baumbach & Josh Lanyon
Paranormal Erotic Romance - Crave by Vivien Dean
Science Fiction Erotic Romance - Surrender Love by Kayelle Allen
QUASAR- The Chronicles of Kassouk Book One: White Tiger—cover artist Jenifer Ranieri
Friend of e-Publishing- Crazy Tuesday with Rowena Cherry
Patricia Lucas White Award- Debi Sullivan

Day two at EPICon!

I'm not sure several days didn't hit at once. Grinning...

As you saw, I was up posting an update for you early yesterday morning. Probably awake at about 5 am and doing e-mail. Several people sent me information I needed for the GM the night before, so I still had printing to do in the morning. Since the business center doesn't open until 7, and the GM was at 8, I was on a tight schedule to get everything I needed for it, but I did.

The hotel threw us a couple of curve balls. For one thing, they scheduled the breakfast and the GM at the SAME TIME, thankfully in adjoining rooms. So, we all got breakfast and then noshed while we did the meeting, which went very well.

The other changes were room changes, because they didn't have one of our scheduled rooms available.

The hotel has been a peach about answering questions. Jeanna and Lisa (not our Lisa...theirs) are available at all times, and the hotel does one thing I DEARLY love. People enabled to make changes to the master account (the convention proper and not just their own rooms) are given a little gold pin to wear. If I look at any hotel employee and say, "I need X for EPIC.", I get an immediate "Yes, ma'am." That settles the problems we had in Portland, where I signed the contract for the conference but the hotel would let no one but Jude make changes. If hotels in the future don't offer it, I think we should have some marker of our own that will let them know who is on the master account and possibly copies of the contract in hand to show empowered account members.

I took Pauline's class on Managing Your Writing Business and am seriously considering buying her book on the subject. And, I took Jim's class on Improving Communications in an Impersonal World, and I think that would make a great panel or class for the NV track next year. I'll post a recap of some of the classes later. But we had a great line-up this year.

Jolie and I signed copies of our books for sale in the bookstore, which has lovely signage everywhere, BTW. Lisa, Jim, and I spent some time talking to the B&N folks running it for us.

Holly Jacobs was a dream keynote. She is funny, but her speech on How to Sell a Million Copies had serious lessons to teach. Actually, some of what she said overlapped with what Pauline did, which gave a feeling of continuity for me.

Of course, Holly was using me as her straight man (I wish someone had been filming that one), and she texted that the empty soda bottle that I knocked over during her speech was thrown at her. Grinning... I was going for the gimp angle, since my left arm is back in the sling, but she thought the thrown thing was more dramatic. If she's watching... "I threw it. Honest I did. Holly told me to." Nah. All of you that know me know I'm a klutz, and I really did knock it over by accident.

I started out in Nick's class on Writers and Taxes, but I got pulled out of that with questions about the Arianas. Since we had been so overloaded at the GM, we didn't do the usual Arainas there. So, I worked out with Debi to do them at the afternoon food break. The break was delightful. They had sodas and iced tea and water, as well as sandwiches, chips, pralines, and so forth. It turned out none of the winning artists were there, but Dan took his company's awards home, and we got some great pictures of the new awards. Let me just say "Pretty...pretty."

I caught the end of the Publishers Forum (Erotica version), and it was a blast. They were covering everything from POV to purple prose, present tense and tense problems, to dialog tags. It was high energy and very informative. I ducked into Carol's class on Writing 1,000 Words an Hour a little late...putting out a few more fires and answering questions on the way. Nothing remotely approaching problems we've had other years. Char did a great job organizing in advance, so there are few problems to handle.

Back to Carol... Again, great class, and they linked one to the other very nicely. Some of what Carol was saying harkened back to what Holly had.
After that, I took a break and walked the French Quarter with Lisa. Since she lived in the area a while back, she played tour guide. She did get me to ditch my diet long enough to eat one beignet and I'm hoping I don't pay for that today...Atkins and sugar do not mix. For anyone that is from PA, it's a diamond-shaped funnel cake with a TON of powdered sugar on it...so much that you can dump a bunch off and just eat what sticks to the pastry and use a spoon of the rest in your coffee.

We also went to see Lafitte House and Napoleon House and we found some great little shops. If I was driving, this place would be a nightmare on my pocketbook.

We met back at the hotel and went to the Steamboat Natchez. Half of us walked the 9 blocks and half took the trolly. I haven't seen real trollies since I was a child in Pittsburgh. Strangely, those of us that walked got there at the same time or before those taht took the trolly. Grinning...

The boat was fab. Dinner was excellent. The music was loud and robust. The view was beyond anything I've seen in the last twelve years or so. And anyone with a camera got a bunch of pictures. I'm hoping to get some of me from others. Lisa, Sean, Lorna, Larry, and I walked back to the hotel together along the Riverwalk. It was a chilly night but not too bad for temperature.

And I started typing in the GM report. Unfortunately, my internet timed out, and the Sheraton's system locked up and wouldn't let me back in. Since Lisa and Sean were asleep, I fell into bed at a little after midnight and didn't call IT (which is NOT even in the building) then to get the report posted last night. Instead, I was up at 6 am, taking gorgeous sunrise photos out the window (from a few feet back...you all know I don't do heights, and the 19th floor is extreme for me) and fighting my way through the IT Hades for 45 minutes to get me back online and working again.

Day two... 19 hours on my feet. Day three...back in business again.


I did it! I did it! I did it!

What did I do? After seven years, eleven finalists, and a lot of hoping and praying, I won not just one but TWO of EPIC's e-Book Awards tonight. I won as part of the COMING TOGETHER: AGAINST THE ODDS anthology to benefit Autism Speaks (which includes my "Claim Mate" from Born Investigator series) and for TIME CURRENTS (Kielan book two) from Logical-Lust!

05 March 2010

First day at EPICon 2010

Well, not really a day, but I got here yesterday. I set off at about 5:30 and went the full route of car, train, subway, bus, airplane (with a surprisngly smooth check-in and TSA for me, but that's because the guy in front of me was stupid enough to argue with them...rolling eyes), and another car. I reached the hotel at about 2:20 local time or 3:20 home time, had a surprisingly difficult check-in with them, got settled in the room, and went straight into a meeting and tour of the facilities with our hotel liason.

To the woman's credit, she was horrified that I'd had any problems at check-in, so Carol, Debi, and I decided to horrify her some more by telling her why such little hiccups were nothing to us. Now, she has a whole slew of new things to worry about. Grinning... Yeah, we're fun, when we get together in planning mode.

To Jolie's amazement, I managed to get free, shower, and head into social time with the group instead of being stuck in meetings all afternoon...with a little business discussion mixed in, of course...there are always fires to put out at a convention.

It's so wonderful to be back at EPICon, where Dan teases me that the package I'm picking up that was sent to my pen name isn't my real name, everyone gives me hugs, and discussions range from industry to childbirth and psychotic pets to precocious children. And that was just our pre-social hang-out time and the lovely social they set up for us from 7-10 local time.

I got to meet Holly Jacobs last night, and she is my kind of person. Within minutes of meeting her, she'd figured out that I was a mother of multiple kids, like her. Within a few more minutes, I'd heard the story of how she "nearly killed Nora Roberts." It's a great story...well worth hearing. She kept me laughing for hours, and several others joined the group, including Janet Lane Walters, who has more than a few stories of her own.

I met new friends and old. I finally got to meet Judith Rochelle, Jim and Zetta, and Rick Reed. The first EPIC face I saw on site was Kathy Sullivan.

The hotel is gorgeous, and the staff are amazing and have gone out of their way to correct every little hitch promptly.

I wanted to head out to check out the local restaurants. Did I mention I forgot to take my planned dinner with me yesterday morning, and my husband has it for lunch today? Probably not. But, the best laid plans of mice and men... Lisa and Sean showed up right around the end of the mixer, and we ended up heading back to the room for real EPIC business instead. For the next hour and a half, we looked at the bid for next year until I couldn't see straight. Then I went and checked e-mail for the stuff I knew was coming in from Betty K. All told, I got to bed at almost 1 am home time (midnight local time) for my usual first day at EPICon time of about 19.5 hours on my feet.

Notice that I was awake again and posting this at a little after 6 am home time (5 local). Yep. That's EPICon. Who sleeps?

04 March 2010


In addition to the three weeks BRIDE BALL has spent on the top sellers for erom on Fictionwise, both BRIDE BALL and MARKED are in the top 20 bestsellers at Phaze for the month of February. This is BRIDE BALL's second month running as a bestseller for Phaze!

Bride Ball- Welcome to Lenvia, where the young prince has been given a year to choose a wife or have one chosen for him. Hoping for a desperate family to send an innocent into the fray, Edward arranges a series of Bride Balls--outrageous sexual events--and a willing decoy in his bid to find someone who loves him for himself and not his crown. Enter Amber, daughter of a dead lord on his beloved mistress, a servant in her own household. When her irrepressible grandmother pushes her to find a husband or lover to protect her from the wrath of her step-mother, Amber loses more than her virginity...but it’s not a glass slipper that the prince has to track her with. The race is on. Before these two are through, more than one couple may find their way through the traps of poison, lies, and no-win choices forged at a long ago Bride Ball and left to fester through two generations of the royal family.
HEA-yes, VIOLENCE-mild, LANGUAGE-moderate, SEX-erotic
To purchase Bride Ball from Phaze...in e-book...
Cover Art by Debi Lewis

MARKED- Money clips and microchips...that’s what little boys are made of. Lace and flair and grave malware...that’s what little girls are made of. Who knew a fatal crash could feel so good? Houston Lawton's sons are every woman's dream men: successful, intelligent, rich. There's just one little problem; they can't feel love. A jaded woman might claim that's typical of the breed, but they're not clueless; rather cybernetic inhibitors suppress the emotion to stabilize their neuro-processors. They've never lost control...until now.
HEA-yes, VIOLENCE-mild, LANGUAGE-graphic, SEX-erotic
To purchase MARKED from Phaze...in e-book...
NOTE: This story is available in print as part of the FORBIDDEN LOVE: WICKED WOMEN anthology from Under The Moon.
Cover art by Debi Lewis.

02 March 2010



Bride Ball II: Poison, Lies, and No-Win Choices has just released from Phaze.

Bride Ball II: Poison, Lies, and No-Win Choices- Once upon a time, before Edward met Amber and Darren met Kambry, there was a Bride Ball...the night that started it all. It all began with a prank gone wrong, an aphrodisiac delivered to the wrong person. It escalated into a punishment that caught two innocents in the web of deceit. Before the night is over, one man will be unjustly accused of crimes even he can't be sure he didn't commit, and one woman will be ostracized from society. Can anything make this right again?

HEA-yes, VIOLENCE-moderate, LANGUAGE-moderate, SEX-erotic WARNING: Contains sexual situations that may upset some readers.

Cover Art by Debi Lewis

01 March 2010

ARe's March Contest Days

All Romance e-Book is having a month-long contest. Win free books and gift certificates daily. Find new authors to read with the author of the day spotlights. Enter to win an iPod Touch at the end of the month!

My day is tomorrow (Tues, March 2nd), but don't miss a day. This is a fabulous contest, and it's not to be missed!