Friday, August 31, 2007


WICKED MAGIC by Cheyenne McCray
St. Martin’s, August 28, 2007
ISBN-10: 031294957X
ISBN-13: 978-0312949570

USA Today bestselling author Cheyenne McCray continues her sizzling series with an erotic tale about a gifted witch and a powerful warrior who together create WICKED MAGIC.

Rhiannon Castle is a D'Anu witch whose Coven sisters know nothing of the Shadows that lurk within her. Rhiannon can't reveal the truth to anyone-least of all Keir, a rugged soldier who walks into Rhiannon's life and awakens her to a reckless desire.

Keir's Tuatha D'Danann brethren are the only real family he has ever known. He trusts no one-until he is sent to San Francisco and meets Rhiannon, the one woman with enough fire to tame him. Every seductive encounter convinces Keir that she belongs with him-even though Rhiannon knows her powers could put him in peril.

A new threat rises from the depths of Underworld. When a demon goddess unleashes her evil upon our world, Rhiannon's secret could prove the ultimate weapon in this epic battle-or forge a pathway to destruction for the only man she's ever loved.




USA Today bestselling author Cheyenne McCray has a passion for hot romance and a happily-ever-after, but always with a twist. Among other accolades, Chey has won the prestigious Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for “Best Erotic Romance of the Year.”Chey penned her first poem in kindergarten, and has been writing ever since she can remember. She always knew one day she would write novels, hoping her readers would get lost in the worlds she created, as she did in her favorites.Now, she gets to write full time and loves what she does. She’s married to her college sweetheart, has three sons, three dogs, a messy house, and she will do anything to get out of cleaning, which may be why she writes so much.


4 Stars! “Blistering sex and riveting battles…” Romantic Times BOOKreviews Magazine

“…all the ingredients for a fiery dish -- stirred up with a big old bundle of lust… the most fun I've had in awhile.” Fresh Fiction


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On My Way!

Oh, the next couple of months--what a challenge they'll be.

I have a feeling that the next manuscript I'm writing--the second Suds Club book for Special Edition--is going to be a bear. So far, I've had to adjust the characterization and conflict for several reasons, but this is going to be a tougher book to write, so I'm not surprised. See, the plot revolves around a married couple who's piecing their marriage back together, and those stories aren't always easy. I've "done" a marriage-repair novel before, way back in THE STRANGER SHE MARRIED for the Kane's Crossing series, but it's been a long time. And in that book, the hero had amnesia, so he had all kinds of opportunities for redemption. This hero, a firefighter who has become too involved with his job, is going to have to do major sucking up to the heroine. But I do love a redemption story, and that should inspire me....

Right on the heels of that book (tentatively entitled SECOND CHANCE GROOM for now), I'm going to go right into the BOUND AND BITTEN vampire Blaze, which features Edward and Gisele from THE ULTIMATE BITE. That should be a fun one though.

And after that? Vampire Babylon, Book Four. Lots of research, lots of stuff happening that I can't mention because books two and three aren't even out yet. But I'm already getting excited about it, jotting down ideas and details about this new trilogy day by day.

So here I go!

Monday, August 27, 2007


I'll admit it: when BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ended its seven season run on TV, I felt somewhat bereft. Where would I now get my weekly dose of slayer snark? Was there another character out there who would intrigue me so much with her smarts, her troubles, her so-downright-stubborn-she-frustrates-the-tar-out-of-me attitude?

Luckily, after BUFFY's televised demise, a lot of shows seemed to take the Girl Power thing and run with it. They took BUFFY's meta-culture vibe, too, and used it to some great effect. Heck, even GREY'S ANATOMY sounds like a trio of Buffys are interning in Seattle. The dialogue has had that much of an impact. (And it doesn't hurt that the staff writers have branched out to shows all over the tube. This is a great thing.)

Still, I missed the Buffster. I wondered what became of her after that last, explosive episode. What happened with the Scoobs? How did all the deaths affect them? And in the big picture, how did the emergence of all those other slayers color the world (and more importantly, how did they tip the scales of good versus evil?)

Well, Joss Whedon evidently knew, and via the BUFFY SEASON EIGHT comic books, we get to see how everything would've played out on the small screen.

I have to tell you: every time a new issue comes out, I put it aside, wanting so badly to read it, yet fearing the moment the installment ends. Each publication is that much of a gem, filled with the usual snappy dialogue and action. (In fact, oftentimes, I'll put the issue down right in the middle of a panel because I'm reveling in, say, one of Xander's quips or one of Buffy's "sidebars.") And an unexpected bonus? The comic goes off on little paths that stray from the main Buffy action. For instance, the last issue concerned a Buffy decoy who risks her life so that our head slayer can take care of business elsewhere. The story was a powerful one, filled with deeper meaning and emotion--but what else would you expect from this production team?

Oh, and another bonus? Faith is going to be featured in the next story arc. AWESOME.

Even if you're "not into comic books," you should go for this. I promise--it won't mark you as a geek forever. :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Where Was I All Week?

I was a bad blogger last week, but I had good reason. See, my friend--historical romance author Cheryl Howe (pictured above in front of the reception building to the right)--and I jaunted off to Red Mountain Spa. I am a pampered wench.

It all started a few months ago when our Karmela Johnson posted about the adventure spa on her blog. (She has a great list of reasons to go, and she swayed me. ) I hadn't planned any non-research, non-business, or non-family related trips this year, so Cheryl and I started talking about going, too, especially after seeing the resort's Web site. Beware--if you click over to it, you'll be compelled to book at least a few days there. No joke.

So, luckily, I've been between projects, and the timing turned out to be fortuitous. I talked myself into a spa-mood--no heavy thinking about work!--and met Cheryl at the airport so we could take a shuttle up to St. George, Utah, where the spa is located. We were greeted with warmth and efficiency (Yay for great customer service!), and Cheryl headed off to a Tai Chi class while I strolled to the domed spa itself for my first booked massage. I am not ashamed to admit that I reserved four treatments, even though they cost a pretty penny. But I'm worth it, dammit, and if you download the spa menu from the Web site, you'll see just how impossible it is not to book anything.

This particular massage was their basic "Sagestone Spa" routine, and it was vunderful. Then we ate at the restaurant, and I was stunned that healthy food could be so incredible. I had halibut with a citrus sauce. Yum. That's all I need to say. In fact, throughout our stay, my tummy was very happy.

Generally, Cheryl and I decided to do our physical adventures during the morning then our pampering during the afternoon, with a slow activity before sleeping (such as the Spirit Walk on our first night, where we meditated our way through a labyrinth). Then we would retire early in order to be ready for a morning hike--and I mean early, because we met at 6:50 am and returned by 10:00 am. You can see some of the sights below.

Does it get any better than this? Watching the sun rise over red rocks? Seeing shadows lift over the craggy, windswept textures? Truly inspiring and good for the soul. We took the level two hike--level one is slower and level three is hardcore, designed for people who are very, very in shape and don't mind a blazing pace--but the level two adventures weren't cakewalks. Not by a longshot. We marched through sand (a lot of it uphill, too), traveled at a brisk clip, and even scrambled over rocks on the way to peaks. It was at this point that my newly discovered fear of heights reared its ugly head. (Read this old blog entry entitled "Heights" for a better explanation. Needless to say, I won't be scrambling over any exposed peaks for a while.)

After the hikes, we were still charged up enough to attend yoga classes. Then it was time for the pampering. (Whoo!) Besides the first basic massage I mentioned earlier, I had something called a Desert Rain Massage. OMG. With water drizzling down on me from hovering showerheads, it really did feel as if I were taking a nap during a quiet storm. I also experienced a hot stone massage (ahhhhhhh) and my first Thai yoga massage. That was awesome, and I think I got a slight workout at the same time.

Yet, alas, the vacation ended and I came home to a line edit for one of next year's book releases. But I'm already planning to go back to Red Mountain. Sigh.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Just a Few Releases in 2008

Scheduling is everything: a writer can have a year in which she writes five books but has only three releases. Or she can have a slow writing year with five releases. For me, 2007 was good: five releases. 2006 saw three releases, even though I worked my tail off. But this kind of scheduling feast-or-famine isn't an oddity: sometimes publishers push back releases to fit their booklists, making sure that they don't have too many similiar stories out in a certain span of time, etc.

So when I tell you that I'm scheduled to have eight releases out next year, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise. (Right?)

Here's the list:

Feb - MIDNIGHT REIGN (Ace Trade Vampire Bablylon series)
March - MOMMY AND THE MILLIONAIRE (Suds Club 1, Special Edition)
May - ONE FOR THE ROAD (Blaze)
June - SECOND CHANCE GROOM (tentative title, Suds Club 2, Special Edition)
September - BREAK OF DAWN (Ace Trade Vampire Babylon series)
September - FIRST BLOOD anthology (Berkley Sensation)
Oct - JENNY'S SECRET (tentative title, Suds Club 3, Special Edition)
Nov - BOUND AND BITTEN (tentative title, Blaze)

I'll let you know if there are changes, but it looks like a busy year...!

Friday, August 17, 2007

iPod Shelf: BLONDE, A Novel About Marilyn Monroe

She is the image of carnality incarnate: a woman with tousled blond hair, heavy-lidded eyes, and parted lips that seem to invite every man within whispering distance to come hither. Norma Jeane Baker. Marilyn Monroe. A misunderstood thespian who was smart enough to play dumb...then sufferthe consequences of that act.

BLONDE is Joyce Carol Oates's fictional account of MM's life, before the birth of Marilyn and after. And I emphasize the word "fictional," because there's quite a bit of license taken--it's not a straight biography. In an interview that comes after the audio book itself, the author admits that she condensed several lovers into one, and she took educated guesses about MM's motivations. She even provided a theory as to how MM died, even though the circumstances have always been shrouded in mystery.

This book delves beneath the surface of an image, and it turns out to be a tragic American tale. It's an addictive telling, too, and if you're lucky enough to listen to the audio version, the narrator brings such life to MM's husky whisper that you almost believe you're listening to the superstar herself.

Definitely recommended if you're looking for entertainment with substance.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What Am I Doing Watching HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL???

I went to a wedding a week or so ago, and I had the chance to hang out with a good friend's kids: Elena is 10 and Ryan is 8. We explored San Francisco's Chinatown and North Beach, went to a great farmer's market where I bought fruit and Afghan food (and, what do you know--I just used this market for a scene in one of my books), and generally had a great time. During all the fun, Elena kept talking about HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL.

I'd heard about this phenom--how can you stick your head out of the door and not be aware of it? But in case you don't know, HSM was an original production from The Disney Channel, and Kenny Ortega (DIRTY DANCING--whoo!) directed and did some choreography. The plot had something to do with a basketball jock who really, really wants to try out for his high school musical, but he doesn't want to be made fun of by his friends and disappoint his basketball-coach dad. But his new pal--a darling female brainiac--gets him to gather his guts and try out.

It didn't sound like my thing, so while Elena talked about it, I was like, "Mm-hmm, mm-hmm..." But then Elena's mom said it was real cute--like a clean-cut GREASE, and I got curious.

Because...well, do you remember GREASE? I'm talking from the point of view of "my generation"--a girl just out of grade school who went to the movie theater because she had a crush on young, sleek, dancing-machine John Travolta. I looooooved GREASE, and I was too naive to be offended by the become-a-slut-and-win-your-man message. I also didn't get the dirty dialogue and constant, hardly subtle sexual innuendos. I just knew that it was a story about a hot (and kinda swishy?) greaser who wants to deviate from his "place" in school society to be with the gal he adores--sort of like the jock in HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL.

So I watched, and I thought HSM was pretty adorable. In fact, I was sort of awestruck by how such a sweet, seemingly genuine production had made it so big in this day and age. GREASE --my generation's HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL--was rated X in comparison, and we all know that we were so much more innocent in those days, because we weren't like those morons we see on THE REAL WORLD.

You know, we tend to think that the "younguns" of today are so depraved, watching their MTV, wearing their underpants outside of their jeans, etc. But we forget that most of them really do have true hearts. That's why HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL is so popular--the movie isn't so much a reflection of what high school is like today as much as a materialization of a pre-teen wish that high school will be like this: filled with cute, stand-up guys and eventually accepting of the people we want to become someday.

It was good to see that and, golly gee wilikers, I'm glad I watched.

Monday, August 13, 2007

"Behind the Book"

Last month, THE ULTIMATE BITE was featured in the Orange County Chapter of RWA's newsletter. Now that it's been published, I can share the contents with you here. It's just a bit of background about the the book, but at press time I didn't know that I'd be writing the sequel (which is called BOUND AND BITTEN for now). Enjoy!

As some of you know, I’m a vampire gal.

Strange, because I was first published by Silhouette Special Edition, which doesn’t exactly feature those creatures of the night. In fact, the “home-and-hearth” stories aren’t anywhere near what I also write today—urban fantasy for Ace Books and “steamy” romance within the Harlequin Blaze line.

So how did I get from Special Edition to vampires? To make a long story short, I’d always loved horror, and my writing evolved along those lines. So when it came time to pitch a new project to Brenda Chin, Blaze editor supreme, I decided to “go vampire” with a bloodthirsty hero named Stephen and a feisty would-be Van Helsing heroine named Kimberly.

But there’s a slight twist to the hunter/prey scenario: Kimberly has already been bitten by this particular vampire, and it was the freakiest, sexiest, hottest thing that ever happened to her. She just can’t get over it. And, one grand night, he comes to her again for another bite. Of course, she welcomes him back into her arms…or neck, actually. And then? Whoops. She realizes that Stephen doesn't remember biting her. At all. You see, he’s a vampire of great experience, so all his seductions sort of meld together. Still, the heroine can’t believe he has forgotten, since that bite pumped up her carnal confidence and turned her from an unfulfilled, rather mousy girl into a woman who turns heads when she enters a room. Being such an unforgettable bite offends her and makes her question the sexuality she thought she possessed.

Hence, our heroine sets out to seduce Stephen into believing that she’s the "ultimate bite," while at the same time proving to herself that she’s truly the sex kitten she’d come to perceive herself as. This book belongs in Blaze because it centers on the romance, the hot stuff, and the growth of the characters. The hero is more traditional than my usual vampires, but there’s a touch of LOST BOYS and highwayman in his world. My heroine was just as exciting to create, because she works with an Internet-based amateur “vampire hunting” group. She’s a fangirl geek, too—into comic books and pop culture, and that made for an amusing slant to her character.

THE ULTIMATE BITE is the first published vampire-centric Blaze, and that’s the reason it’s under the “Extreme” flash. (“Extreme” tells the readers that this is a Blaze story that isn’t quite the same as most others. Past plots have featured a superheroine who has lost her powers as well as a female assassin who might have to kill her lover.) There have been paranormal stories within the line before, but no major vamps.

In the end, I had lots of fun writing this one, and there are many more stories in this world to tell….

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Tad More About HEROES...

Did you all hear about David Anders being promoted to "regular" status on HEROES? (Snoopy endzone dance) You can check here for the TV Guide reportage (scroll down to the picture of the goofy smiling blond), but basically, Anders, my deliciously naughty Sark from ALIAS, was hired as a "recurring player" at first. I guess his new role on HEROES has gone so well that they want to keep him. Smart decision, Suits.

Also, I don't think I mentioned that the HEROES panel at Comic-Con provided us with a few freebies. My favorite is a comic book that contains some of those "background episodes" from the Web site. The issue we were given (#2) is a Comic-Con exclusive, and it contains stories about HRG, Hiro, and the Haitian; the tales tell us more information about the characters than we saw on the TV series itself. Some of you have already read these online, but I never got around to it. They're pretty good.

However, in the middle of this comic, there's an interview with Tim Kring, and he had some interesting things to say when he was asked about the upcoming Volume II. I'm going to share what he said here, so if you want to be unteased (there aren't really any true spoilers), please skip to the very last paragraph of this entry....
"...Let's start with how we left Hiro last season (which was really the beginning of Season Two). He's in Feudal Japan in 1671! If that doesn't mess up time, nothing will! Claire and HRG have relocated to...I'm not sure I should say...just that Claire will have the challenge of having what is essentially a secret identity. She'll also get a new love interest! I can't really get into anybody else since we won't say until our premiere in September who survived last season. After all, Peter and Nathan went up in the sky and go boom! Matt Parkman took four shots to the chest. It's very messy. I can only add that the villain for the season is such a badass he'll make Sylar crap his pants. That is, if Sylar were still alive."

Hmmm... First, when Kring says, "If that doesn't mess up time, nothing will," is he hinting that we're going to see some major timeline-screwage when Hiro returns to the future? I hope to heaven this will introduce a big, featured storyline for David Anders. Also, is Claire's "secret identity" storyline going to be a take off on the more traditional Clark Kent/Bruce Wayne hero lifestyle? Last, when we saw that package of quick clips during the Comic-Con panel, I wondered if any of the shots were planted. Did Kring insert flashes of characters who died in order to surprise us? We'll see.

P.S. The main Web sites are in the process of going up, so it won't be long! Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Suzanne Brockmann: Studette

Before we get started, I apologize for the delay in getting the sites updated. It's being worked on, and I really appreciate your patience....

Now, I want to dedicate this blog to one of the coolest, most proficient romance authors out there: Suzanne Brockmann. I was only reminded about how great she is this morning, when I saw a link to her Web site, where she has posted details about her Comic-Con dinner with Joss Whedon.

Whaaaaaat? you say? Um, yeah, Studette was one of the lucky few who bid on an auctioned dinner with Joss Whedon and won. SB is a huge FIREFLY and BUFFY/ANGEL fan, and if you'd like to see the details, click here. It's a very interesting account of how dang nervous she was to meet The Man and how amazing their dinner was. (I mean, can you imagine sitting with Joss Whedon and collecting all the gems of awesomeness he tends to spill forth? Can you? And just imagine if you were one of the other winners who found out that not only would you be with Joss Whedon for the evening--you'd get SB with the package, too!)

At any rate, SB has affected me greatly on a few different occasions. The first came after I sold my first book and I was struggling with the second (for Special Edition). When I say it was a struggle, I'm not lying: I wasn't hitting the right idea, and my chances of selling again seemed bleak at the time. Then I went to a small retreat with the San Diego chapter of RWA, and SB was one of the speakers.

She rocked my world, much as Joss Whedon has rocked hers (and mine, actually).

SB talked about developing a hero and heroine as well as their relationship, and one thing she said that I've never forgotten--one thing I took to heart--was that you should torture your hero, and that the hero and heroine are each others' worst nightmares. After hearing her speak, my second story gelled. I loved my tortured hero and his impossible heroine. That book came to be called THE PREGNANT BRIDE (Hey, the title made it sell!), and it spawned a miniseries called Kane's Crossing. Readers still ask me if there'll be more books, and my editor loved that story. It solidified my Special Edition career and eventually allowed me to go into dark places that have led to urban fantasy and action-adventure writing.

All with tortured characters, of course, and all due to SB.

Another moment that stands out was during the New Orleans conference at the Harlequin Silhouette party. I found myself looking out over the French Quarter from the party's balcony, and who was standing next to me but SB herself! Ack! What should I say? Should I stop breathing? Should I just disappear? We ended up chatting about the WWII museum and I told her about how she'd affected my career. Naturally, she was gracious, as she is whenever you meet her at booksignings and appearances; in fact, SB has a way of making you think she'll always remember you (I don't flatter myself into thinking she has any idea who I am, LOL.). More imporantly, when I had her sign a book at a following National conference, she made me believe that I was going to ascend to great heights and, who knows? Maybe she's part of the reason I've kept selling, even to this day.

The last big moment was something many other authors will agree with and many will probably remember keenly. It was at the same National conference, I believe--the one after 9/11. SB got up in front of the entire lunch crowd (thousands, THOUSANDS) and delivered the most shattering speech I've ever heard. Truly, it ranks up there with anything Martin Luther King, Jr., or JFK gave us. I'm not kidding.

She talked about how to cope with our shared wounds. She reminded us about the power of love in a dark time of hatred. The room was almost silent with people holding back their tears or even giving in to their soft weeping. I'm not a person who cries much, but I even had to stare at the table while I sobbed.

Even now, when I think about 9/11--and, God, I still think about it and I'm just as prone to rage--I call up SB's words, and they calm me. They really do.

We all have "mentors" who have guided us either directly or indirectly, and SB is one of mine. I didn't fully realize that until this morning, either....

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Last Day of Comic-Con: BIONIC WOMAN

Last day of Comic-Con stuff!

Saturday morning we waiting in a huge, huge, huge line for Ballroom 20, which would contain the panel for HEROES. Yes, even hours before that panel started, people were camping out in the room. But I, myself, was truly interested in this first presentation: a preview of NBC’s upcoming BIONIC WOMAN. All in all, it looks pretty good—it starts out with a lot of creepy potential, but by the end, I felt that it lost a little momentum. However, the premise is dark and intriguing, veering away from the original show just like the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA veers away from the old series. (And no wonder—David Eick is a driving force behind both shows, and that gives me major hope for this series.) Now, we were told that this presentation was the “first pilot,” which was actually scrapped in favor of the new one that will be shown as a fall premiere. They recast Jamie Sommers’ sister, among other things, I guess. Don’t know why—the sister was pretty good.

Without further ado, here are my impressions as I watched. Spoilers ahead, you all.

* Oooo—a chilling opening with Katee Sackhoff (BATTLESTAR’s Starbuck) covered in blood and hovering over a corpse. What a damned great hook.

* There’s a definite philosophical bent about “being different” and how far a person will go/not go to embrace that. I like how there’s deeper meaning layered below the action.

* The scenes go quickly, the transitions coming fast. In fact, the inciting incident (Jamie’s accident and operation) kicks in before the first commercial break.

* Sackhoff plays a badass with a mysterious agenda and a needy streak. She’s “the last one,” meaning that she was a bionic woman, too. Love that addition to the mythology.

* There’s some mystery to Jamie’s character, too—she has sealed court records that are mentioned briefly, but this adds an interesting level to her character.

* The scene in which Jamie sees her bionic legs for the first time gave me goosebumps, even though I’ve seen it before in promos. Well done, that.

* I really like that they’ve set this in the Pacific Northwest. It gives the tone a noir feel and adds an ominous nature-versus-technology edge.

* Yes! As Jamie runs for the first time, we hear a sound that’s reminiscent of the old show’s “zzz-zzz-zzz-nnnn-ggggg” effect. The audience dug that.

* If you’re a BATTLESTAR fan, you’ll be happy with the cameos. Sackhoff isn’t the only cast member who has loaned her talents.

After the preview, Eick, Sackhoff, and Michelle Ryan (Jamie Sommers), among others, came on stage for the Q&A session. Basically, we heard that Ryan is British and she just does a good American accent for the series (She was on EAST ENDERS in Britain.). Everything else has pretty much already been said above.

I have hope for this show, but we’ll see how the general audience takes to it. It got a good response at the Con though….

Okay. That’s it, you all. Another year, another Con over....

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


And more from Comic-Con….

Just a short blog about the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA panel. As you know, I think this show is absolutely amazing: the writing, the acting, the world-building, and the ruminations about humanity as told through the veiled darkness of a different society…. All of it is so well-thought-out and unsettling, and sometimes even beautiful. This is actually the most emotional show I watch, and I’m sad/happy that this is the last season. Sad because it won't be there for me any more. Happy because they’re going out in peak form.

Mary McDonnell (the most kick-ass president ever, Laura Roslin), Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck), and Tricia Hefler (Number Six), plus Ronald Moore and David Eick, etc., were the featured panel people. The festivities got started with a funny montage featuring the BG women and the word “frak,” which can’t be said enough, in my opinion.

Here’re some tidbits:

* Moore says that he plans to give an ending to each and every character, even though every single plot thread might not be solved.

* Surprise panel guest Lucy Lawless (Yay!) was there to reveal that she’ll be in two or three episodes this season, and her presence will cause quite the s**tstorm.

* On November 24, the RAZOR BG movie will premiere on the Sci-Fi Channel. It won’t be resolving any season 3 cliffhangers, but it’s a bridge between seasons 3 and 4. It’ll jump back and forth between lots of backstory that sets up season 4 and will show the original Cylon centurions and raiders.

I cannot wait for this series to come back....

My next blog is going to cover the preview for the BIONIC WOMAN, and that’ll complete my Con reports. Until then, have a great one!