DC Area Storytellers

The DC Area Storytellers are a group of authors of multiple genres residing in or near the Washington, DC area. Published within the fields of romance, science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, fiction and non-fiction, this diverse group of authors offers a wide range of works for readers to savor.

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Another Step In the Slow Process

Thursday, April 30, 2009
A couple of weeks ago, I worked with my editor on back cover blurbs for my book, Kismet. The book is due out January 2010, but it surprised me a little to see the blurbs developed so far in advance. The cover is in development still, and I’m hopeful that it won’t be too long now.

But yesterday I got the blurbs and I’ve posted them on my website (here) along with an unedited excerpt. Now I can prepare some promo CDs for distribution at a few conferences. YEAH!!

In the meantime, I’m struggling with the character development for the new book. I know what I want to have happen, but I’m not having much luck getting the hero to talk. He’s pretty tightlipped at this point. Need to loosen him up some, but how?? No idea, but I’ll figure it out!
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Process & Delays

Thursday, April 23, 2009
Well, I missed my deadline TWICE. Ok, so the first one was my own, but I was furious with myself. I mean how hard can it be to write a frigging book? Umm, wait DO NOT answer that. Ok wet noodle to the head.

Second deadline was last Wednesday (not yesterday, but the 15th – dreaded tax day). I knew the week before that it wasn’t going to be in pristine condition. The book was done, but there were two scenes that needed work and I’d not done ANY copy editing. I think copy editing is important as it makes me clean up the manuscript, while at the same time I’ll catch loose ends. Things like oops, the hero is no longer dress in black leather, he’s wearing jeans. Oops, I forgot to take that line out because I shifted it to another scene. Stuff like that.

Anyway, I kept putting off emailing my editor that I was done, but had tweaking to do. I kept thinking—I can do this, I can do this. Then it was the Sunday before the deadline and that “I can do this” chant had become mantras like, “OMG I’m screwed,” “Get the F out of my office now I’m on DEADLINE,” “What the hell was I thinking. Why didn’t ask for that May deadline Deidre told me shoot for???”

So I broke. I emailed my editor and said hey, the book is done, but I have these two scenes that I think you’re going to want edited, do you want me to send the book anyway or may I have a couple more business days to turn in the manuscript (literally only three)? Her response was in the affirmative and she didn’t seem worried at all that I was going to be late with the book. I’ve NO idea if my situation is the norm or not, but I hate not meeting a commitment. It just goes against my work ethic. When I tell someone I’m going to do something, I want them to know I’m going to do it. Problem was, I wound up not turning the book in until Monday evening at 5:30pm.Technically not meeting the deadline, but I got it in on MONDAY.

Now I wait, and that’s excruciating because the book I turned in is SOOOO different from the one I contracted by the proposal. I’ve had two people tell me Cindy’s going to love the book, but until I have Cindy’s blessing, I’m running a little frantic. I sort of need to know that she’s happy with the Book 1 as the deadline for Book 2 is June 15. I know my hero for Book 2, but it’s the plotting piece that worries me. So I’m planning on just moving forward as though Cindy loves it and pray that I’m making the right decisions in terms of plot.

Cindy’s assistant editor emailed me earlier in the week and asked if I wanted a bio and a picture. I thought, hmm, do I want to do this? Yes and no. I take terrible pictures, but I’ve been wanting to get rid of that damn photo on my site for ages now. So I said yes, and I contacted a photographer and we’re in the process of setting things up. The place where I’d really like to have my picture taken is a Maymont Park in Richmond.
Italian Garden - BrideSight.com

Japanese Garden - BrideSight.com

Italian Garden - BrideSight.com

The park has a beautiful Victorian house, and the gardens (as you can see from the photos above) are spectacular. The Italian Garden in particular with its Roman type of column structures would be perfect given my paranormal series features Roman/Italian heroes. *grin* These three photos are the some possibilities of where I’d like to have my photo done. It's perfectly romantic and well-suited for a romance author I think. *grin* I need to wait on the photographer’s date confirmation because Maymont might be booked when I want to go. As you can see by the photos, it’s a popular site for weddings.

So now the process is moving forward and I’m doing a little promo setup before I dive in head first next week to the new book. I just need to get graduation items taken care of for BOTH girls. Oldest is high school and Baby elementary graduation. Plus visiting Longwood where Oldest was accepted and will earn her degree in teaching. She’s going to be a great teacher too! Baby is going to be an engineer. I can feel it in my bones. Me, I’ll just keep on writing, and trying to keep up with the process. LOL
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Going to RavenCon

Monday, April 20, 2009
My 2009 conference season starts off with a bang this Friday at Richmond’s RavenCon. If you’re in the neighborhood of the Crowne Plaza West, drop by and say hello--and hang around for the festivities. Mary Shelley’s going to be making a return engagement, and this time I think I can get the hair right. As for the rest, I think they’re going to get their money’s worth...


5 p.m.: Twice-Told Tales

Some of the most popular adult and young adult fantasy in today’s market are retellings of classic fairy tales and myths. What’s the allure? How do writers find something new to say about the stories we all know?
Panelists: Marcia Collette, Edmund Schubert (moderator), Jean Marie Ward, John C. Wright

7 p.m.: Writing 411: (Not Necessarily) The Usual Suspects (90-minute literary workshop) Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Jack Bauer, Reno—chances are the thing you like best and remember longest about your favorite stories are the characters. This session will discuss the importance of characters in the creation of plot.
Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jean Marie Ward, Allen Wold (moderator), John C. Wright

10 p.m.: Urban Fantasy 101
Werewolves, vampires, shapeshifters—these used to be classic “horror” elements. What defines Urban Fantasy and how does it differ from classic horror?
Panelists: Danny Birt, Marcia Colette, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Hildy Silverman, Jean Marie Ward (moderator)


3 p.m.: Dead Authors Society
Four authors channel the spirits of their favorite dead authors for the duration. Talk to William Morris, David Gemmel, Louie L’Amour and Mary Shelley live…sort of.
Panelists: Lyn Gardner, Laurel Anne Hill, Peter Prellwitz, Tony Ruggiero (moderator), Jean Marie Ward

6 p.m.: Books on TV
Several new series are popping up on TV based on popular novels--TrueBlood and Legend of the Seeker, for example. How closely do these TV shows follow their inspiration and will book fans follow them to television?
Panelists: James Fulbright, Jean Marie Ward

10 p.m.: Love at First Bite
What is it about vampires? From TrueBlood to Twilight, vampires seem to be taking over. What makes them fun to read and watch? Oh… and do they deserve “human rights” or are they “monsters”?
Panelists: Paul Bibeau, Marcia Collette, Tony Ruggiero (moderator), Jean Marie Ward


Noon: Does Blood Smell?
A panel about some of the more “icky” aspects of writing and research.
Panelists: Laurel Anne Hill, Gail Martin, Tony Ruggiero (moderator), Maggie Stiefvater, Jean Marie
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RRP New Release: Cherry Crush

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Red Rose™ Publishing

~ April 16, 2009 ~

New Releases (eBook)

Silk Feathers: Book 1
Stephanie Burke

Erotic Romance: Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 978-1-60435-327-3
Price: 1.99

Buy Now
Read Excerpt

"I want you to take my virginity..."

Those were the last words that Swordmaster Chan expected to hear from his best friend and tenant. And it was the question awakened desires he had carefully hidden from Marlena.

But the fates conspired to bring them together and they will have their way amidst an explosion of terror that could not be believed, and passion only imagined.

In the face of danger, angst, and a paranormal passion, Chan will prove himself to be the perfect man (kind of) her dark defender, and the only male to ensure that her cherry is well and truly crushed.

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Now in Print: Acknowledging Meirion

Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Acknowledging Meirion is now available in print format with an all new cover by Elizabeth Chesterman!!

Acknowledging Meirion by Zenobia Renquist

ISBN: 978-1-60435-918-3
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Price: $8.99

No acknowledgment—but is true love the exception?

Meirion Flatt is one of a handful of people participating in the human version of a nature show for an alien race known as the Fey. Kiar, one of the three men chosen to film her, has awakened emotions in her she hasn’t felt since her husband died. She can’t tell if the feelings are mutual or one-sided, but she’s willing to find out.

Kiar takes great pride in doing his job correctly and that pride means everything to him. The network he works for has a strict rule of no acknowledgment. He’s meant to observe, not interact—no matter what. When Meirion sets out to seduce him, his job becomes that much harder.

Two of the universe's most stubborn people are about to clash in a new battle of the sexes. This competition has no rules and neither Meirion nor Kiar is willing to lose. It's her heart versus his pride. Will victory lead to joint happiness or both their defeats as Kiar struggles against... Acknowledging Meirion

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The Journey Continues

Thursday, April 9, 2009
Natalie was describing how some things can throw a monkey wrench in the whole scheme of themes. I had that happen last week. I was doing well with the book, it was marching on toward the end. Then it happened.

I got sick. Not just a little cold sick. I got some flu bug, and for four days I didn't get a word written. I couldn't even think about the book, except for the fact that my deadline was looming and I didn’t know how to finish the book or if I could make the deadline, so I wasn’t just physically ill, I was emotionally sick as well. My brain hasn’t been that cloudy in years!

So essentially I was an entire week behind. Now remember when I said your advance is tied to your deadlines. It’s a good thing I’m on BP meds because otherwise my BP would be sky high due to stress. I worked almost non-stop last weekend without any break trying to make up for lost time. Probably not a good thing to do because by the time I returned to work on Monday, I wasn’t feeling that much better. But hey, you do what you have to do.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the book was finally complete. Not edited mind you, but it was finished, sort of. When I say a book’s complete, I mean it’s been written and copy edited by me at least TWICE. So that when I turn the book over to the editor, the least I have are line edits. I’m not so sure that’s going to happen with this book. I still haven’t even had a chance to do copy editing and the book is due NEXT WEEK.

On top of that, I still don’t have a title yet. The theme of the book is Honor. The hero’s internal conflict revolves around his honor and how he operates in life. This book belongs to the hero, so the title has to have the word honor in.

The second part of the equation is that the hero belongs to an ancient Order of assassins called the Sicari. Now how does an assassin have honor you might ask, well you’ll have to read the book to find out. *grin* Additionally, the hero has this habit of coming to the heroine’s rescue, even if she doesn’t need rescuing. And she tends to tease him about being a knight in shining armor. It’s not a prevailing theme, but it’s there. The hero and his people also use swords for assassinating people and for protecting themselves. Trust me—it works. *grin*

When I turn this book in next week, I want to include a list of titles for Cindy to select from. Now I can’t use Knight in Shining Armor, we all know that’s McNaught’s title. Besides, he’s a great hero, but the title just doesn’t suit. Here some ideas I have and pros/cons. Help a writer out and offer up your own suggestions in the comments. Who knows, maybe your title will make the grade with my editor!

A Sicari’s Honor – this is a strong contender for me. It speaks to the hero’s honor, it mentions his heritage and it suits the book. Drawback is, it doesn’t sound like a romance, and this book is DEFINITELY a romance. This could become the Sicari series I think.

A Sicari Knight – It’s okay

A Sicari’s Love – Maybe

A Sicari’s Passion – THIS would be great for Book 2

Holding Out for a Hero – It’s been used, but I love the title. Problem is, it doesn’t reference honor.

A Knight’s Honor – again it’s been used, and while it speaks to the hero’s honor, it makes it sound like a historical, and I have no desire to tick off one subgenre crowd over another.

Love and Honor – This seems weak to me for some reason, and this hero is a strong alpha, he deserves a strong title for his story.

A Hero’s Honor – this seem weak to me too.

Then there are others I’ve toyed with below:

Love’s Dark Shadow
Love’s Honor
Heart of A Sicari
A Sinner’s Heart
Love’s Sin
A Sicari’s Sin
The Sicari Master
A Knight’s Honor
A Sicari’s Honor
Sin’s Wicked Honor
Honor The Sinner
A Wicked Sin
A Sin of Honor
Honor and Sin
The Sinner
Love’s Prize
A Sicari Sinner
The Wickedness of Being
Sin and Vice
Sins for the Wicked
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New In Print: Hunting Love Anthology!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
My first book is now in print!

Hunting Love by JB McDonald and Dana Marie Bell

"The alphas are hot, the sex is hotter and you get two spicy, entertaining reads." 4 Stars,
Romantic Times Book Reviews

Read An Excerpt Online

ISBN: 978-1-60504-106-3
Length: 208 Pages
Price: 12.00
Publication Date: March 31, 2009
Cover art by Anne Cain

On the trail of something wild…

The Wallflower by Dana Marie Bell

Emma Carter has been in love with Max Cannon forever, but he barely knew she existed. Now she runs her own unique curio shop, and she’s finally come out her shell.

When Max returns home take up his duties as the Halle Pride’s Alpha, he finds that Emma has blossomed into something more—his mate! Taking her “out for a bite” ensures she’ll be permanently his.

But first Emma must prove to the Pride that she has what it takes keep her Alpha.

Treasure Hunting by J.B. McDonald

A good tromp through the jungle in South America is exactly Meg’s idea of a great vacation. At first she thinks the sudden appearance of a wounded jaguar will make an interesting story. Then she wakes up to find a man in place of a cat, she wonders who’d believe it!

Santiago has learned the hard way that when you can change into an animal at will, it tends to put human women off. But despite his best intentions, he finds himself falling hard for the little blonde who saved his life.

Forever will take a leap of faith…or this treasure will slip through his fingers.

Warning: This title contains explicit sex, bad language, loads of giggles, a hot, blond Alpha male and bad humor.

The Wallflower
by Dana Marie Bell

He sighed. “Actually, Puma’s can’t roar, we’re missing the necessary parts. Specialized larynx and hyoid apparatus, to be precise. And we can change at will, we aren’t ruled by the moon.”

“Oh.” Emma’s head was reeling. “Can you show me?”

Max frowned. “Show you?”

“Yeah.” Emma straightened up, half terrified and half excited at the prospect of seeing him change. She waved her hand at him commandingly. “Change. Become a cat.”


“Yeah, now! What, you need to wait for the full moon? I thought you said you could change at will?”


“I mean, why tell me this at all if you weren’t willing to, I dunno, prove it or something?”


He was starting to sound all snarly again. “So c’mon, Lion-O, hop to it.” She clapped, loud and sharp. “Chop-chop!”



“Have you ever seen a cougar in Levi’s?”


“Neither have I.” He looked like he couldn’t decide if he wanted to laugh or yowl.

“You mean you’d have to…” Emma eyed his jeans speculatively.



“And if my ass is naked, baby, you’d better believe yours will be too.”

Emma put her hands on her hips and glared at him. “Isn’t this why you brought me all the way out here, to show me your Incredible Cougar Act?”




“Then why?”

“I figured if you screamed no one would hear you.”

Emma blinked. “Gee, Max, you’re all heart.” He had the grace to blush.

Treasure Hunting
by J.B. McDonald

Santiago sighed, a hand over his bare chest as he looked skyward. “Ah, teasing me and then admitting it’s untrue. You break my heart.”

“It’s a woman thing.” She nodded cheerfully. “We promise dirty songs and then yank them away when you get hopeful.”

He chuckled, the sound rumbling through the forest. “Yes, because every woman I’ve met can outdo me in bawdy songs.”

When she glanced over, his smile was warm and dry. She wasn’t sure if she should be embarrassed and stop now, or just go with it. She decided to go with it. “You’re obviously not hanging around with the right women!”

Santiago’s dark eyes were warm, black in the starlit night. “Obviously,” he agreed, his voice nearly purring with amusement.

Heat curled through Meg at his steady gaze. He didn’t blink often, and when he did it was slow, thoughtful. Cat-like.

Insects hummed, rubbing together wings and legs to make music. Night birds fluttered and called for each other, while small mammals rustled through the trees. The fire crackled, spreading light and warmth, soothing and lending the night a sense of safety.

Or maybe that was Santiago and his easy laughter, bronze skin golden in the whispering firelight. It could have been him soothing Meg, setting her nerves at ease, tugging free humor and warmth with gentle smiles and graceful movements. Him providing the sense of safety, an unspoken promise not to turn away because she was too wild.

There wasn’t anything wilder than him.

Hunting Love is available through
Borders, Barnes and Noble, My Bookstore and More, Powell's, Books A Million, Amazon and Target.
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