Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My time at the RT Convention

Have you ever heard of the RT Booklovers Convention? RT stand for Romantic Times. This was their 29th anniversary of this convention for the international book lovers community. A huge ordeal to say the least. Readers, authors, librarians, booksellers, aspiring authors, publishers, editors, and literary agents come from as far away as Canada, Australia, Europe, Asia, and Russia.

I attended this year; my first time and I have to tell you that I have never witnessed anything like it. I had sooo much fun, met new authors, had "fan" moments with my idols such as Veronica Wolff and Charlaine Harris, and I attended wonderful workshops and parties.

This year, they did something new called, "Pitch-A-Palooza" where they put all of the agents and editors. They gave us three minutes to pitch, then announced that it was time to move to the next person and we did. I pitched to six different people and had a great time doing it, though I will admit that I was nervous.

Here are just a few of the things I did while I was there. Too many to list them all, sorry or you would have to read for a long time.

Historical- Lessons from our past
Specialty- Love, Monsters, and Mythology
Specialty- Kiss Me, Kill Me, Writing Action scenes with Heart
Craft- Holding out for a Hero- How to write convincing heroes

FOR THE READERS-  These were workshops specially made for the readers to interact with their favorite authors.

*Under the Kilt- discussion about all things Scottish

A Magical Scottish Fling
Heather Graham's Night of the Stars Gangster Cafe Talent Show
Ellora's Cave Step up and Stomp

**During all parties, people dressed up in costumes, prizes were given away, food was passed out and dancing went until midnight!

Here are some photos from my time there. Again, I can only post so many because I took 143 over the week.  ENJOY!!!!

Veronica Wolff and I

The cast for The Magical Scottish Fling
Author Elizabeth Hoyt and I
My critique partner Melissa Stark and I.

Author, Heather Graham in costume.

Crew acting out the wedding scene from Jade Lee's book, "Wedded in Scandal." Kim Killion in red corset, Cover Model Brooks Johnson kneeling, and the two men in the purple shirts are Mr. Romance 2011 Len Gunn and Cover Model CJ Hollenbeck.

I hope you all had fun reading about the RT Convention. I also hope that you can attend next year. It will be in Kansas City next year.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Enter Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Chapter contest The Golden Claddagh! Don’t let our chapter name dissuade you, your entry does not have to be Celtic based to enter, unless you enter our Celtic Category. We have six categories for unpublished authors (Historical, Fantasy-Futuristic-Paranormal), Romantic Suspense, Celtic, Contemporary, and Erotic Romance) and one category for all published authors (Published).

Our contest due date is May 5th, 2012. Finalists will be notified by June 15, 2012 and winners notified by September 1, 2012.


The competition is open to RWA members and non-members. With the exception of the Published Category, the Golden Claddagh Contest is open to those who have not accepted a publishing offer from a non-Subsidy, non-Vanity Publisher, or who are self-published for fiction in the past five years, of 20,000 words or more. The GC entry must be a full-length novel; no novellas or short stories. Manuscripts must be completed by the time results are returned. If a final judge asks for a full, you’ll want to be able to send it out immediately. Entrant must retain all rights to the entry and not have granted any of them to a publisher or any other party by the contest entry deadline. If your manuscript is accepted for publication during the time of our contest (dates will be specified) you must notify the contest coordinator; your submission(s) will be withdrawn from consideration and your entry fee(s) returned.

Any entrant published over 20,000 words (self-published or otherwise) must enter his/her UNPUBLISHED manuscript in the Published category, regardless of the genre of the work in question. Published entries must be for full-length novels (no novellas or short stories) and must be in the romance genre.

Please Note:

  • Previously entered manuscripts may be entered again, but no previous winning manuscript shall be re-entered, even if revised.
  • You may submit multiple entries so long as you pay an entry fee and submit a completed entry form for each submission.
  • You may not enter the same manuscript in more than one category.
  • *Entry fee per entry: $15.00 CHRW member and $20.00 non-member.

Entries are 30 pages maximum with a synopsis no longer than 5 pages, for a total of 35 pages maximum. All entries are electronic. Entry fee is $15 for CHRW members and $20 for non-members.

How to Enter

Entries should be submitted to:
Celtic Category – Donna Goode -
Historical Category
– Kimmy Wooten -
Contemporary Category
– Sarah Hoss -
Romantic Suspense
– Derek Dodson -
FFP Category
– Alisa Walker -
Erotic Category
– Rebecca Lynn -
Published Category
– Christina Rich -

Pay by Check
Please copy or print this form and include with your payment: Contest Entry Form

Mail to:
Rebecca Lynn
PO Box 445
Bozeman, MT 59771

Pay by Paypal
If paying via Paypal, please click here: Contest Entry Form
You will have the option at the end of the form
to choose Paypal

Paypal address:
All entries will be read and scored for the first round by two trained judges and one published author, and the lowest score dropped. The three entries with the highest total scores in each category will move to the final round. An editor/agent will judge the final round and select a winner from the finalists in each category.


Future, Fantasy & Paranormal: Romance novel where the mains focus is on the romantic relationship, but the future, fantasy or paranormal elements are integral to the story (includes time-travel).

Contemporary: Includes single title, long and short romantic fiction with a contemporary setting set after 1945. Main focus is the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine.

Romantic Suspense: Romance novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot. Main focus is still on the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine.

Historical: Romance novel set primarily before 1945 -- any location. Please specify your time period and setting in your entry.

Celtic: Romantic fiction set in any time period and in any location, but MUST have a Celtic theme (Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish, Bretons, Isle of Man). Please specify your time period and setting in your entry.

Erotic Romance: Any genre or time period, erotic romance submission only - no straight erotica - this means there must be a HEA ending or at least a Happy For Now.

Published Romance: Unpublished works by published authors in any genre and set in any time period and in any location will be accepted. The same rules apply as those for Erotic Romance submissions.


Final Round Judges

FF&P – Angela James – Carina Press

Celtic – Laurie McLean – Larsen-Pomada Agency

Erotic - Katherine Pelz - Berkley

Historical – Laura Bradford – Laura Bradford Agency

Romantic Suspense – Suzie Townsend – Nancy Coffey Agency

Contemporary – Aubrey Poole – Sourcebooks

Published – Amy Pierpont – Grand Central

Becky Vinter – FinePrint Agency

***Gold Claddagh – Liz Pelletier – Entangled Publishing

Kevan Lyon—Marsal-Lyon Agency

Entry Composition

Your entry must have the following:

  1. A separate cover page which includes the author's real name, address, telephone number(s), e-mail address, submission title, category and manuscript word count should be submitted in text of the e-mail. Do not include the cover page in the same attachment as your manuscript and synopsis. The manuscript and synopsis will be sent together as one document as an attachment.
  2. The beginning of your manuscript, including prologue, cannot exceed thirty (30) pages. Standard manuscript format must be followed: 1 inch margins, double spaced in a standard font and size that gives 24-26 lines per page. We will not accept entries that have colored, or designer fonts. DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME ON THE MANUSCRIPT. See ENTRY FORMAT.

The synopsis must be included with the same file attachment as the manuscript, must be double spaced and is not to exceed five (5) pages. Do not send the synopsis in a separate attachment. Whether the synopsis is at the beginning or the end of your entry, it should start and end as though it were separate from your manuscript. Any entry that contains a single spaced synopsis and/or begins or ends on the same page as the manuscript will be refused and sent back for correction. The synopsis will be scored in the first round but not in the final round.

NOTE: Your entry, which includes the synopsis must not exceed thirty- five (35) pages total. ANY MANUSCRIPT, OR SYNOPSIS THAT DOES NOT FOLLOW THE RULES SET DOWN HERE WILL BE REFUSED AND YOUR ENTRY WILL BE RETURNED SO THAT YOU CAN CORRECT IT. However, our deadline still stands; corrected manuscripts will need to be returned by the midnight deadline on May 5, 2012 to be valid. (Should the contest deadline be extended, you will have until that extended date to return your manuscript, but only if the contest deadline for entries is extended)

However, our deadline still stands; corrected manuscripts will need to be returned by the midnight deadline on May 1, 2012 to be valid. (should the contest deadline be extended, you will have until that extended date to return your ms, but only if the contest deadline for entries is extended)

ENTRY FORMAT: Standard manuscript and synopsis format, double-spaced, 12-point readable font, twenty-six (26) lines maximum per page, minimum 1" margins all around. Only the TITLE of the manuscript, the category, and any subcategory should be placed on the top left hand side of the entry. The PAGE NUMBER should be on the top right hand side. IF THE NAME OF THE AUTHOR(S) APPEARS ANYWHERE ON THE MANUSCRIPT OR SYNOPSIS, THE ENTRY WILL BE DISQUALIFIED AND THE ENTRY FEE WILL NOT BE RETURNED.

***PLEASE NOTE: The Gold Claddagh Category is not open to submissions.This category is strictly limited to the top-scoring unpublished finalists in each category, and will establish a single overall unpublished Contest winner.

Important: Manuscript and synopsis must be in a .doc or .rtf file.


The GOLD CLADDAGH WINNER will be chosen by the final judges and will receive a Gold Claddagh pin.
The FIRST, SECOND, and THIRD PLACE winners in each category will receive a commemorative pin.
The FOURTH, FIFTH, and SIXTH PLACE winners in each category will receive a full critique of their entry by a multi-published author. All authors will be members of Celtic Hearts with multiple current publications.

All finalists and winners will receive icons and/or banners to place on their websites.

For questions please contact the contest chair, Rebecca Lynn or Donna Goode

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Today I’m interviewing Sascha Illyvich. His book, Surrender to Love is BDSM erotica and was released on February 7th, 2012.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book. 

Sure! In order to cure the dreaded creative rut she’s in, Livia ends up in Las Vegas by suggestion from her therapist. Oh and there’s a catch. Livia ‘s been set up to have a one night stand with a very handsome man who promises her freedom through submission. Can she surrender to more than just passion?

I wrote this book for a loved one, because she needed a reminder that I do love her.

Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?  
Erotic BDSM is a huge genre on its own that encompasses many sub genres. Erotica itself has a loyal niche following comprised of folks who like a little mild sex to those who like it rough and raw and dirty ;) No, I've written in and prefer to stay in erotic romance, where I can work through deeper issues for my characters other than just who is getting in bed with whom.

When did you start writing toward publication? 

13 years ago.

Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?
Nope, I pretty much sold off the bat. I was lucky to be pretty skilled at the time, but the markets I targeted weren't big enough and I knew I'd need to grow as a writer if I wanted more money.

What’s it like to be a man writing romance in a genre dominated by women?    
It's a LOT of fun ;) I think the best part about it is the flirting LOL!

What is your writing routine like? 

Brutal - I wake up around 9:30 and am in the office around 10, checking email and such while eating breakfast and drinking a few cups of tea while managing social media. Around noon I determine if I'm writing or editing. If I'm writing a new project I go for a word count, usually around 2,500 words a day at LEAST. If editing, I try to edit (my work) around 10,000 words a day. Then there are my duties as an editor at Sizzler Editions, managing the Intoxication (Erotic Romance) line. Around 4 or 5 PM, I go outside with a cigar or my pipe and veg for two hours, while answering email on my phone. If it's a long day I don't stop until 9 or later. I'm not physically supposed to have too many of those due to a bad heart but books don't (sadly) edit themselves. Weekends, pretty much the same routine, though I try to alternate doing blog posts and website updates on Sundays to break up the monotony.

What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?    
Facebook, twitter, I speak at conventions, I teach, I have a radio show (currently on hiatus) on Radio Dentata where I talk industry smack along with promoting my books. I had an assistant but since the economy took a turn for the worse, she had to get a second job in addition to what she did for a living. My two agents and publicist will retweet things and share stuff as needed.

Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?
Nope. But I teach often to RWA and I believe the local chapters are probably the best thing out for authors, because this is a VERY lonely job.

What’s next for you? 
One last round of edits on my paranormal romance "Stalker" for agent Marisa Corvisiero. I need to up the romance, remove some of the more edgy material for a larger market appeal. That's 100k, 20k of which I need to redo. I have one chapter of a story I need to finish for the fine folks at Sizzler Editions, a paranormal ménage, and I am starting a vampire erotic romance for them sometime this year. Plus Decadent Publishing has one more story of mine that's currently in edits. After that, I'll start the follow up to Stalker, and the follow up to Burning for Derrick, called Saint in Sinner's Eyes (also a paranormal romance)


In order to cure the dreaded creative rut she’s in, Livia ends up in Las Vegas by suggestion from her therapist. Oh and there’s a catch. Livia’s been set up to have a one night stand with a very handsome man who promises her freedom through submission. Can she surrender to more than just passion?

A little bit about the author
Proclaimed by the Publishing industry as the Bad Boy of Romance, I started writing thirteen years ago. My erotic romances have been listed under the Night Owl Romance and Road to Romance’s Recommended read list, as well nominated for a CAPA by The Romance Studio.

I host the Unnamed Romance Show on Radio Dentata and continue to write for Sizzler Editions and Total E-bound. Readers can find my work, plus free reads at

I edit for Sizzler Editions Intoxication Erotic Romance line and I’m also part of the WriteSex Panel, a blog group defining erotica for writers in any genre! Find us at

“How do you fare with change, Livia?”

She shuddered visibly. Who was Dr. Gena kidding? Livia looked down at the beige carpet and blinked, speaking softly. “I don’t like it.”

“Because you can’t control things.”

“Yes.” Livia nodded and looked at her therapist. A cream-colored top stretched over the doctor’s figure while a pair of gray suit pants hugged motherly hips. Her hair was held up by pins, exposing a slender neckline. A little makeup helped take off years and the cool stare Dr. Gena gave her showed more wisdom than the average person. “Because I have no control.”

Dr. Gena looked up from her notes and twirled the pen around her fingers. “Have you considered the idea that maybe you can ride the change, letting it take you to new experiences, while you control how you behave, how you respond to it?”

Was her therapist insane? Livia wrung her hands together. “No.”

“Then maybe it’s time you look into the idea of moving beyond what and who you think you are. If the dead no longer help you, then they only serve to weigh you down.”

It became harder to breath suddenly. Her past wasn’t anything special, it just was. A life of fear of going outside, of being around other people, and not being understood.

Dr. Gena rose and set a hand on Livia’s chin. With a little pressure, she tipped Livia’s eyes to meet hers. “You truly are a strong woman. You’ve survived a lot in your lifetime. I have some friends in Las Vegas I can recommend you to. It will be a shock to your system, but I think you’ll adjust pretty quickly, given what we’ve discussed in your sessions over the last few years.”

She gasped, exhaling the breath she didn’t realize she’d held. The idea was ludicrous! Her? Move out of her sleepy, one-horse town and into a den of iniquity? She began chewing her lower lip. “You’re asking me to uproot my entire life?

How can my readers buy your book? 

Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at

You can find more information about Sascha and his book, Surrender to Love by

visiting his website, or

his blog at

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Interview with Author STEPHEN H. KING                    

Today I’m interviewing Stephen H. King. His book, Ascension: Return of the Gods is a mythic fantasy and will be released on Friday, April 6th, 2012.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book. 
This is the second installment of the Return of the Gods series, in which our world ratchets back into a magic phase from the technology phase we’re in, and the mythical gods come back to arcane power. Crystal, the main character of both, survives the cataclysm in the first book because it turns out she’s married to Mars, the god of war. Unfortunately for Crystal, Venus is Mars’s ex-wife and wants her husband back. The conflict plays out in the first book, coming to a head in a battle between human and immortal, with Mars standing between. Ascension picks up from there; Crystal finds out that her husband married Venus when she was human, and so Ascension follows Crystal along through a quest line to become a goddess herself.

Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in? 
It’s a cross-genre work. Technically it’s mythic fantasy, and I wrote it to be mythic fantasy, but some of my beta readers have taken to calling it mythic romance because of the love (and sex) story I weave through it. Crystal is, after all, married to the god of war, who would be expected to be one of the most virile—and vitriolic—males on the planet. It’s impossible to tell their story without covering plenty of back and forth, both in bed and out. It’s not the only genre I write in; currently I’m also working on a young adult fantasy book about elves and their succession. Still, this has been and continues to be an awfully fun story to write.

How did this story come to be? 
I toured the Biltmore a long time ago and picked up on the mythology stories in the tapestry regarding the romantic triangle of Mars, Venus, and Vulcan. I’ve always been a mythology buff, but those tapestries started me wondering what life might be like for the immortals, moving in and out of relationships. Of course, I’ve also at a couple of points in my life (though certainly not now!) had jobs I hated, and fantasized about different ways I could someday be able to walk in and tell them where to shove their job. Eventually, all of these merged together and switched from a story about Mars emerging from a job into a story about his wife.

Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold?
I had both books written before I started trying to sell them, but the first book was rushed out and I didn’t want to make the same mistake on the second one. I’m entirely self-published after an initial fiasco with a small publisher. When I left that publisher, I decided I wanted to be self-published for the freedom it offers. Yes, I have to pay for editing, and yes, I have to pay for my own artwork (though that’s not precisely true; my daughter did the artwork for Ascension). What I get out of that, though, is a down-to-the-minute accounting of what I’ve sold and where, and I know exactly when my book will be launched.

What is your writing routine like?

I love writing; it’s my escape. My day job, which I love also, keeps me at work from somewhere around 9 am to 9 or 10 at night. Thus, I get up early in the morning and try to put 500 words on the paper in addition to a blog post for the day (though I’ve been failing with the blog post recently) and when I come home I’ll sit and write for another couple of hours, which can mean 500 or 1000 words. Some weekends I’ve been known to put out 10,000 words, but I find that happens less and less now that I have books out there and need to keep up with social media as well as the demands of publishing other works.

What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?
Well, yes, I have help. Sort of. I’m in a group called Alexandria Group Publishing, and through their web site I will get some promo once it gets up and running. I also have some great fans already out there thanks to Book 1, and they’re helping me get the word out about the second book. I do some work on Twitter and a lot on Facebook, and I’m experimenting a lot with KDP Select. I’m still trying to figure out how to work with Goodreads and Booktown and other sites; frankly, there’s as much noise out there as real promo, and I’m finding more success just having friends tell friends.

Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?   

The absolute most rewarding moments I’ve had have been seeing my fans post quotes from my book to Facebook. Nothing makes me prouder than to sit there and know, “Hey, I wrote that.” I’ve been told I have an infectious sense of humor, and I’ve tried to make it come out in both books. I’d have to say I was pretty successful with the first one; hopefully my readers find the second book as entertaining.

Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?

Oh, absolutely. I’m a member of James River Writers ( and they’re the epitome of a great support organization. They run an annual conference that’s really affordable, and I walked out of last year’s conference with some amazing ideas that improved both my writing in general and my storytelling in Return of the Gods. There’s also a monthly seminar that, again, is really inexpensive. Finally, there’s a monthly get-together that’s free where I always run into people who are positive about writing; these contacts never fail to recharge my own batteries. If you’re in the Richmond, VA, area and you’re not a member, I’d have to ask why.

What’s next for you?
Well, I’m writing the next Harry Potter. Okay, in reality, I’m writing a really fun series where a human girl from Mississippi (where I am from, originally) finds out that she’s next in line for the elf throne. It *might* become the next Harry Potter; who knows? Regardless, I’m having an absolute blast writing it. I’m also working on the third and fourth books of the Return of the Gods series. I won’t give too much away, but the title of Book 3 is Atlantis. It’s going to be a little bit different from the first two in that it won’t have the strong romantic undercurrent, but instead it’s a mystery in the guise of mythic fiction. The fourth book of Return of the Gods is still in concept stage, but I will admit that I foreshadowed it greatly at the end of Ascension.


Eternal life with her husband.

That’s all Crystal wants. Having survived the epic battle between her husband, the God of War, and his ex-wife, the Goddess of Love, Crystal sets her sights on achieving the impossible: she wants to be a goddess. 

It’s not really impossible, though. Matt’s ex-wife did it, after all. If it’s been done once, Crystal knows that she can do it again, whatever it takes. 

What it takes, she learns, is assistance from some unlikely teachers, including Thor, who breaks Crystal’s body several times while rebuilding her as a barbarian queen. Also including Hephaestus, who teaches her the magic of the forge and bestows upon her a priceless gift at the end of her visit. The list of guides even includes Apollo, her husband’s most ascerbic rival. Through it all, Gaia, the mother goddess, serves as Crystal’s primary guide while treating the quest as a grand source of amusement. 

Follow Crystal as she faces the impossible in an adventure that will bring her either everlasting life or quick death.

A little bit about the author

A Mississippi native, Stephen H. King was moved in high school entirely against his will from the small town of Corinth to a large city he ended up loving in southern California. After, a series of mostly unexplainable decisions led him through a strange sequence of events beginning at the United States Military Academy, where he double-majored in physics and electrical engineering, through a fairly short career as an Infantry officer and then an electronics technician, a product engineer, a carpenter’s helper, and an elementary school janitor, to ultimately finding himself on the faculty of a small college in Anchorage, Alaska.

During those years, he learned that reading science fiction and fantasy allowed him to escape the strangeness into the more understandable worlds crafted by Isaac Asimov, Piers Anthony, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and many other great writers. As time went on he began to mold his own worlds.

Stephen now lives in Midlothian, Virginia, with his wife, daughter, and two white Chihuahuas that enjoy morphing from Therapuppies into miniature dragons at the sound of food being opened. Stephen is currently working on the next book in the Goddess series when he’s not serving the students of a small college in Richmond, Virginia, as their Dean.

How can my readers buy your book? 

You can find more information about Stephen H. King and his book, Ascension: Return of the Gods, by visiting his website, or his blog at

Just a few fun questions to answer if you don’t mind. 

1) White chocolate or regular chocolate? – Regular. Wrapped around peanut butter, please. Or dark. When I lived in Anchorage, we drove 140 miles each way once a month in order to visit a special chocolate shop in Talkeetna, AK, that imported the most succulent chocolate bars I’d ever tasted at the time. The best one there was a dark chocolate with bits of dried strawberry and black pepper. Oh. My. God.

2) Coffee or tea? – Coffee. Tea is kind of fun, but I live every day on coffee, pots at a time. Black, too, please. No point diluting the nectar of the gods. I’m sure that if Matt/Mars from my book came to life, he’d tell you the same.

3) Favorite place to vacation? – Someplace with zero signal bars on my cell phone. Preferably a large boat or a beach, so long as there’s sunscreen available (I’m a readhead).

4) Who is your favorite author to read? – So many! Marion Zimmer Bradley, of course, because her world-building is superb. Piers Anthony, for the same reason. R.A. Salvatore, also, because that man knows how to pace conflicts. Jim Butcher is my newest favorite, because though he doesn’t build his world to be consistent, it’s still fun as all hell. Everything Spider Robinson ever put out, or ever will put out, because that man is amazing in his expertise with the English language.

5) What’s your biggest pet peeve? – People who insist that they are right when they are wrong. I see it every day as a Dean, and as a writer.

6) What’s your favorite color? – Blue. Or purple. My wife’s favorite color is purple, and when she’s happy, I’m happy. You know how that is. It’s also why I designed the magic system in Return of the Gods to be color-based as I did. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Interview with Author, Edward McKeown

Today I’m interviewing Edward McKeown. His book, “Was Once a Hero” is a science fiction adventure with a romantic flavor to it and was released in January for Kindle and in print in February.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.  

Hero is the first book of a trilogy under contract with Hellfire publishing that focuses on, reluctant privateer Robert Fenaday’s search for his wife Lisa, a naval intelligence operative who disappears during a war, and the genetically engineered superwoman, Shasti Rainhell’s search for her humanity. The developing relationship between these two as they face adversity, danger and even sheer horror is the focus of the work.

Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in? 

Hero is an adventure but with a love triangle at the heart of it. I think love is a more interesting motivator then glory or money. I write stories with the thought that wherever and whenever they are set, that if you, the reader, were there, you would think, “this is what I would feel, this is what I would try to do if I could.” So though I am primarily a science-fiction and fantasy writer, I’ve written mainstream, literary and other forms. To me they are not different things, but merely different facets of the same gem. People are people, their problems of life and love change mostly in detail and the technology is a background. Was Once a Hero could have been set on a 17th century sailing vessel with only minor alterations. Love and loss are eternal.

When I write at full novel length it tends toward serious characters in dangerous situations. My short fiction tends to be more humorous. I write the Lair of the Lesbian Love Goddess series, shorter mock-noir works set in the 24th century spaceport of New York, with an Irish cop/detective, Brian McManus, his young and sexy partner Regina Delmar and everyone’s favorite transgender informant, Freddie Bouvier. I also do an urban fantasy series set present day in my present hometown of Charlotte NC, with Jeremy Leclerc, Knight Templar and his incarnate guardian angel, Shadowheart, which allows me to have a lot of fun with things like the Renaissance Festival, small southern towns and Mary Kay ladies. These can all be found in anthologies through my Amazon page

When did you start writing toward publication? 

I would say about ten years ago, when I got into a writing group and became serious about both generating work, getting it critiqued and putting it out there mostly in the form of short stories. Starting in the novel, at least in the traditional publishing world is very, very difficult.

Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?

Yes, Hero was the first book I wrote but I had the trilogy completed before I was fortunate enough to run into Dawn Binkley of Hellfire and for us to hit it off. I have continued writing and have a series now started on Maauro, a 50,000 year old android from a lost race and her friend, the disgraced military pilot Wrik Trigardt. That too has an unusual love story at the heart of it though the action is intense. It’s sitting on an agent’s desk now, so wish me luck.

What’s it like to be a man writing romance in a genre dominated by women?    

Interesting question, I feel that I am a writer, who writes of ordinary people, or recognizable people’s lives, in extraordinary settings and circumstances that cast their flaws and characteristics into high relief. Romance, not just sex, is a part of a man’s life as well as a woman’s. The search for being and connection with men may use a different lexicon and may sometimes seem unrecognizable to women, but it is there. 

In Hero we have a husband passionately in love with wife, who has disappeared. He is human, he hurts, and he now has the complication of a burgeoning involvement with another woman, all while the universe seems bound and determined to kill him and his ship. He begins to wonder at what point he stops chasing the dream and restarts a life? When does a living woman trump loyalty to the disappeared?

This may not seem the classic format for a romance, well clearly it isn’t, but each person is moved forward through these books by their loves and their loyalties.

What is your writing routine like? 

I write daily. I have a paper pad with me and anytime I have a lunch on my own, or some downtime I usually pull it out. I tend to do the first draft that way, in paper and pen, with the first rewrite taking the raw work off the paper and into text. I try to write at the computer only when I am energetic and focused, but will sometimes write first draft directly into Word.

I belong to a writing group and it, and my wife Schelly Keefer, are my first defense against bad writing. They see everything before it gets anywhere near a market.

What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?   

Like most folks with a small publisher, I do a lot of it myself. Dawn and Hellfire blog for me and use the company site but I have been active in getting radio and press interviews and using Facebook, Twitter and Google to get the word out. I have been fortunate to meet people like you who help writers get the word out. So I am very thankful for your interest.

These days it is all hands on deck. You do all you can to get noticed. I will be at Concarolinas in June meeting readers and other writers. and Park Road Books in Charlotte carries me so I plan to do a signing there sometime soon

Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?

I have been an occasional member of some but honestly I do not feel that beyond the social component that they do much for you. The best thing you can belong to is good writing group.

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract? 

I love what an author on NPR said in response to the question what do you tell aspiring writers? “Stop if you can.” I think that there is a lot a truth to that. If you CAN stop then at some point, overwhelmed by difficulty and rejection, you WILL stop. This is not an easy trade. You have to be able to plow forward, overcoming things like bad reviews that are correct, and worse bad reviews that are not correct or helpful. You need to want to do this for yourself. I do feel that you don’t need to be published to call yourself a writer, but you do need to be willing to put work out there to be seen and read. If you do it and don’t show it to anyone, well that eludes me. It may be useful to you to work out issues in your life but I am not sure it is really writing.

What’s next for you?

Right now we are working on a free Kindle download of a Fenaday short story so we can offer a freebie to drum up interest in the trilogy. It does seem to prime the pump for cash sales if you lead with a freebie. My friend Michael Church is doing all the covers so we have a unified look and feel to the series. 

Your other books?
Regret and Requiems, is a story from not long after Fenaday and Shasti Rainhell meet, before they become what they are in Was Once a Hero. That should be out soon. The Second Book in the Fenaday series, “Fearful Symmetry which focuses more on Shasti Rainhell should be out later this year. Then comes the finale for the trilogy, Points of Departure, likely the next year.


Reluctant privateer Robert Fenaday searches the stars for his lost love, Lisa, a naval intelligence officer whose ship disappeared near the end of the Conchirri War. He’s joined by the genetically engineered assassin, Shasti Rainhell, whose cold perfection masks her dark past. Both are blackmailed by government spymaster, Mandela, into a suicidal mission to the doomed planet Enshar. Leading a team of scientists and soldiers, they must unravel the mystery of that planet’s death before an ancient force reaches out to claim their lives.

A little bit about the author.

Here is my bio: Edward McKeown is a writer and editor specializing in science fiction and fantasy with occasional forays into literary and nonfiction. Ed escaped from NY, but his old hometown supplies much of the background to his humorous “Lair of the Lesbian Love Goddess” shorts, as his new hometown in Charlotte, North Carolina does for his “Templar” fantasy series. He enjoys a wide variety of interests from ballroom dance to the martial arts and has the good fortune to be married to the talented artist, Schelly Keefer. He has also edited the Sha’Daa anthologies of wry tales of the apocalypse. His first novel “Was Once a Hero” has been released e-version and print to follow by Hellfire Publishing or find him on Facebook and


This excerpt comes from after Fenaday and Shasti have been sent to the doomed world of Enshar where every other expedition has perished on landing. The two are in one small craft while their new friend the ace-pilot Telisan is in the other. The crew of the Sidhe watches from orbit as they close in on the world below:

“There’s Gigor,” Fenaday said. The sun cleared the horizon and its rays lit the tops of trees and buildings, leaving the field still cloaked in purple shadow. He heard Shasti’s seat creak as she leaned forward to look beyond the backrest of his seat. Fenaday put the Wildcat in a slow circle at a height of four hundred meters. Shasti and he looked out at the devastated base. Gigor base extended for tens of kilometers. The beige and yellow Enshari buildings in the distance had the squat and unlovely utilitarian look favored by governments. Beyond them, toward the city proper lay the domes and half-domes preferred by the Enshari. Shattered glass in those buildings splintered and threw back the sunlight. 

“Looks worse than it did from orbit,” she said.

“Yeah,” Fenaday said. “No question that the base was attacked. By what I can’t imagine, the pattern of destruction doesn’t resemble that from an airburst nuclear weapon. Nothing else I know of—not even a mass driver—creates destruction like this.”

“Only a few military spaceships were based at Gigor,” Shasti said. “Most Navy traffic used the port at the capital city of Barjan.”

Fenaday pointed. “There’s the Navy area. It’s completely destroyed.” They had seen all this from orbit, but it lacked the effect of viewing it with their own eyes.

“Notice something?” asked Shasti.

“Yeah,” Fenaday replied. “Those shuttles on the apron look like they were cut down by a laser fired from ground level. See that neat slice on the metal of that green and white hospital shuttle? It’s cut almost in half. Whatever it was started striking the ground at a low angle, bubbling the apron.”

“Energy weapons don’t work that way,” Shasti said. “Why use massive quantities of power to cut metal when a kinetic weapon does it cheaper and faster? Lasers are for burning flesh, starting fires and damaging sensitive instruments—-”

“These are a few of your favorite things,” Fenaday murmured.

Shasti ignored the comment, “Well, this isn’t Conchirri work. If they had energy weapons like this, we would all be dinner.”

Fenaday brought the Wildcat to a hover near the edge of the apron close to the barracks. The sun had risen enough to light the field. A brilliant, dark-blue ground cover, reminiscent of pansies, dotted some of the nearby tarmac.

“Let’s get this over with,” he said tightly. “Are you ready, Shasti?”

“Locked and loaded,” she said, putting her tri-auto in her lap.

“Telisan, this is Fenaday. I’m going in. Keep circling. If anything happens, run for it. That is an order.”

“Of course,” replied Telisan. The Denlenn’s easy answer made Fenaday suspect Telisan was simply humoring him.

“Fenaday to Sidhe, we are landing.”

The fighter landed smoothly, blowing dust and debris away from the Wildcat. Fenaday throttled back the engines, but didn’t cut them off. He kept the HOTAS stick, which controlled thrust and weapons, in his right hand. Fenaday looked to starboard, Shasti to port. The fighter’s swivel-mounted guns followed the motion of his eyes. The Confed shuttles from the first expedition landed only sixty-three seconds before being overwhelmed by whatever killed their crews. Fenaday didn’t look at the clock. He scanned every shadow, dreading the sight of a dust cloud similar to the one that enveloped the Confederate shuttles three years ago. Telisan circled above, equally vigilant.

From Perez’ station aboard Sidhe, the engineer announced, “Thirty seconds.”

Fenaday kept his eyes on the ground. His heart pounded and his mouth felt dry. “Nothing in sight,” he reported. To his own surprise, his voice sounded calm.

“All clear here,” Shasti said. She didn’t even have the grace to sound concerned.

“Same,” Telisan reported. “Nothing on motion sensors.”

“Forty-five seconds.”

For an instant, Fenaday thought about saying something to Shasti, something about the night before. He snapped a quick glance into the one of the mirrors. She stared out the canopy, catlike, intent, totally focused on here and now.

He returned his attention to the field.

“Sixty seconds.”

Fenaday held his breath, his finger on the trigger.

“Seventy seconds, Captain. Congratulations on a new world record.”

The breath left his body in a whoosh.

“Okay,” he said, voice shaking slightly. “I’m heading into overheat, initiating engine shutdown.

“Telisan, keep circling. Perez, start the shuttles down. Tell Karass he is to abort if at any time we lose contact before landing.”

How can my readers buy your book? 

Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at Kindle and Print. We are also available on Smashwords

Please find me at Facebook where I have an author page with many links to free work of mine that you can enjoy.!/pages/Edward-McKeown-Author/128235997209701

You can find more information about Edward McKeown and his book, Was Once a Hero by visiting his website, or his blog at