February 27, 2014

The Orphan's Tale by Diana Wilder

Title: The Orphan’s Tale
Trilogy: Book One (Malet’s Story)
Author: Diana Wilder
Genre: Historical
Sub Genres: Mystery, Romance
Publisher: Createspace


Autumn is beautiful in 1834 Paris. But to Chief Inspector Paul Malet, raised in a prison by the greatest master criminal in French history the season's splendor is overlaid by a sense of gathering danger: something is afoot.

When Malet learns that Victoria, England's young Heiress Apparent, will be traveling to Paris at Christmas for a state visit, all becomes clear. Her assassination on French soil would shatter the accord between France and England. And war can be a profitable business for those daring enough to mold events to suit their own purposes.

Malet, familiar with the workings of evil, embarks on a hunt. The safety of everything he loves is at stake, and he intends to fight this battle on ground of his own choosing.

Intentions are not necessarily accomplishments. The foes Malet is fighting are formidable. Adding to his problems is the fact that he has succeeded in angering an urchin named Larouche, who is determined to bring him down or, at least, ruin his hat.

And he has fallen in love.

It is proving to be a busy season.



The hero, Chief Inspector Malet, is preparing to pursue a master criminal.  His campaign will involve his taking rooms at an inn under an assumed name.  In this scene, he has met the proprietress of the inn, engaged a suite of rooms, and is heading back to Police headquarters, where he is filling in for the Prefect of Police for Paris.  He does not know that a little boy named Larouche, whom he  succeeded in offending the day before, is laying in wait for him with a rock in his hand…

Malet paused in the stableyard and looked around at the Rose d'Or as he pulled on his gloves. He nodded to himself.  The inn was a fine establishment, and the two owners certainly appeared to be ladies of character and quality.  He would enjoy his stay there.

He looked around at the neat, well-tended houses with flowerboxes at the windows. Very nice, indeed! His eyes moved from the faces of the passers-by to the beds of late roses along the street and the window-boxes of the inn.

He donned his hat and set off at a brisk walk, intending to head northwest, back toward the Prefecture.  He considered twirling his walking stick. It was a magnificent fall day, he was in his usual splendid health, they were closing in on that group of vicious killers and, best of all, he had miraculously been given another chance to nail Constant Dracquet.

He decided against it, finally. Cane-twirling was appropriate for the Champs Elysees, but not a street in middle-class Paris. Besides, it was not dignified–On the heels of that thought, like a defiant jeer, came a dark blur from the left, a blow, the sudden feel of wind in his hair, and the clatter of his hat against the pavement.

Someone had thrown a stone and knocked his hat off.

It took him a moment to understand what had happened. He stared at the hat, bent and picked it up, and stared at it again.

Someone had thrown a stone and knocked his hat off!

No one had ever done anything like that to him before! People had stopped and were laughing at him. It was worse than being shot at!

"Damnation!" he hissed, looking intently toward the left as he set the hat back on his head.

It was on the pavement again a moment later. This time the stone had come from the right.

He waited some minutes before replacing it. Nothing happened. He took a deep breath, released it, and started walking again. A second later the hat was on the ground again.

"Best give it up, Captain!" someone called as Malet retrieved the hat for the third time.

"You're right," Malet growled, and set off toward the Prefecture, feeling an unaccustomed itch between his shoulder-blades at the thought that the next stone might hit him on the back of the head. It was almost infuriating when no more came.

After another block he hailed a cab and gave directions to the Prefecture. Once inside, he replaced his hat.
**   **   **

Larouche watched him, grinning, and then turned away toward the Rose d'Or. They gave generous hand-outs there, as he recalled.


Diana Wilder grew up all over the United States courtesy of the United States Navy (which stationed her father in landlocked New Mexico!).  This gave her quite an opportunity to watch people and weave stories about them.  She has been telling stories as long as she can remember, and writing them down since she was fourteen years old.  She still likes to watch people.  When she isn't busy with her storytelling, she enjoys riding horses, especially now that she is able to stay in the saddle, clerking at cat shows, traveling and trying to knit.


Also by Diana Wilder:
(Coming out just under a year)


Autumn and winter are seasons for looking back to the past and forward to the future.  For Malet, the shadows of the past have parted to reveal the truth of the present.  But while the present holds the promise of happiness, it also holds a threat as revolutionaries target the police.

Winter's onset holds no fears for Larouche, who has found a safe, comfortable place to pass the cold months.  Now he can think about meeting Monseigneur again and, who knows? perhaps become his friend?  One can dream.

Malet slips disastrously for the first time in his career and is sent into exile - or is it?

Wait and see.

(Will come out after Book Two)


Paul Malet, recalled from the provinces, is now serving as Deputy Prefect of Police.  Winter and spring have passed, summer brings the threat of unrest.  The southern districts of Paris are alive with whispers and the rattle of weapons.

Larouche listens to the whispers as they become rumbles of defiance.

The storm is about to break.

QUESTION: What do you think of Diana's Historical Fiction trilogy?

February 25, 2014

How to Write a Synopsis

Not only do you have to write your book and a query letter, you also have to write a synopsis. I think this word is slightly more dreaded than the “E” word . . . edit. Whenever I think about writing a synopsis I feel my soul darken. Okay, that is a little dramatic, but it gives you an idea of my dislike for the big, bad synopsis.

A synopsis is a 1-2 page summary of your book including the conflict your character(s) face and all the events that build to the climax. Every main event, character, and plot twist has to be revealed. No surprises can be left out of the synopsis!

Here are 10 steps you can follow to help you get through the task:

1. Put your name, address, phone number, and email in the upper left-hand corner of the document. In the upper right-hand corner indicate the genre and rounded word count.

2. Several lines down, put your byline just as you would with your manuscript’s cover page. Then several more lines down begin the synopsis.

3. Single space, no tabs, Arial or Times New Roman size-12 font.

4. Write in the present tense and third person point of view, even if your story is written in past tense, first person point of view.

5. Whenever you introduce a character for the first time, type their name in all CAPS.

6. The first paragraph needs to introduce the main character, setting, and the beginning of the story.

7. A simple format to help you figure out what events to highlight is this:

Inciting Incident
Plot Point #1
Pinch Point #1 (smaller, linking event)
Plot Point #2 (midpoint)
Pinch Point #2
Plot Point #3
Black Moment

8. Just as you write about every event that leads to the climax, you also have to give away the ending. Yup, however the story ends you need to reveal it at the end of the synopsis.

9. Write “THE END” at the bottom of the synopsis like you would at the bottom of a manuscript.

10. When you send your synopsis to an agent/editor, follow their guidelines. They may want you to mail it, which you’ll need an SASE for (self-addressed, stamped envelope), or email it by either attaching a .DOC file or pasting it below your query letter.

Don’t let the S-word scare you. Face the big, bad synopsis head on.

See also:

How to Write a Query Letter
Formatting Your Manuscript

QUESTION: Do you hate or enjoy writing synopses?

SHARE: Your tips for writing a synopsis. 

February 21, 2014

Darlene by David Russell / Book Blast + Excerpt

Title: Darlene
Author: David Russell
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Level: 2
Page Count: 20 (estimated)
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Release Date: July 15th 2013


The hero, Percival arranges a date through a contact mag. He and Darlene have a rapturous scenario, handled with superb finesse and supreme command of the wardrobe. He finds some hints of her complicated past. Before and after the encounter, he is eyed up and accosted by malicious-seeming men. The sense of an underlying hornet’s nest is scary, and immediately detracts from the euphoria, which does finally prevail.



At last, the sun peeped through the cloud-blankets after all those overcast days. I needed to be refreshed again. It had now been quite a while since that last fabulous foray, which had so beautifully realized my dreams, and convinced me unreservedly that I had overcome that fumbling clumsiness to attain tactile fulfillment. It had flushed me with a surge of my unrealized teenage —all those things I’d missed in those formative years, now the gaps and fissures filled in— made me feel I’d both frozen the body and mind in their freshness, and kept them pulsing, too. The intervening daily routines had leveled comfortably down, then dullness loomed again. So, it came to me in a flash, with light shards shimmering from my stepping into a puddle—I desperately needed a replay, a recharge—activate the spark plug.

Indeed, there was a twinge of regret coursing through me about having mislaid Sandra’s number. It was so stupid of me to throw out that precious piece of paper in that fit of impulsive spring-cleaning, which often has the effect of unearthing old snippets of sentimental value, and reconnecting with submerged, valid threads which are then slotted into reflective order. Not all was lost, though. No one is finally unique, no matter how exceptional she appears. There are always others. Just cast an eye on those other fish in the sea, those beautiful swathes milling through the shopping precincts, that visual, tactile kaleidoscope, brushing off on me, making me feel rejuvenated.

For some time now, I kept that next in preference, special, alluring phone number lying alluringly in the top of my desk drawer, together with its seductive picture, throbbing in that electric corset, with a bit of plastic sheen, but not too much. The photo was in the back number of Rendezvous magazine. It was Darlene, her firm breasts feeling like power switches throwing out energy to my delicate touch. Some evenings, I alternated between looking at her picture, watching Madonna’s Eroticavideo and looking online at the catalogues of retro lingerie. It was a turn-on flashback to those relics of a repressive era relating in some way to current tastes for bondage and corporal punishment— probably now that the horrid past is now at a safe distance, for some of the people, some of the time.

Everybody is constrained a bit by workaday routines, but the right amount of delay never fails to add relish to any quest.. Contrast is essential to any definition. Going too fast always detracts from the final effect. So there was a happy, breathy anticipatory gap of a few days, which honed the expected savour to perfection, the oven simmering at a low heat to prepare the exotic dish. All through it, I was flooded with a rapturous cocktail of reminiscence and anticipation. It started with the exquisite euphoria of my first, unpremeditated, off-balance one-night stand. This included an opening, long drawn-out kiss, tiptoeing back to the flat, the body revelation, the love, the bath, the idyllic park walk, and the farewell. It was the perfect memory, frozen expressions of affection and always there for replay in my mind in times of stress and depression Now, with the extra bonus of all those breathy film and video scenes to spice it up further, every thought was a metaphorical caress. Cameramen have a good time, which must be great to touch with the eyes, and great to have the senses melt into each other.


David’s newest release is “An Ecstatic Rendezvous”. 
Here are the links: Amazon US / Amazon UK

QUESTION: What do you think of the sensual cover for "Darlene?"

Thank you for your interest in my blog, David! :)

February 18, 2014

How to Write a Query Letter

As a writer, you may write many queries and send them out to many different agents and/or editors. It is highly important for new writers to understand how to set up a query letter and what should go in one.

1. Use Times New Roman or Arial at a 12-point font.

2. Keep the margins at 1-inch and do not indent.

3. Single space between lines with one space between paragraphs.

4. For snail mail, in the top left-hand corner include the agent’s name, the agency’s name, and the address. In the top right-hand corner include the date.

5. Always address a specific agent/editor and make sure their name is spelled correctly.

6. Either the first paragraph or the paragraph before the bio: Give all the information about your manuscript: the title, which should be in CAPS, the genre (sub-genre), and the rounded word count. But this is not set in stone. I actually put this info, which is just one sentence, after the story/plot paragraphs, which I discuss next.

7. The second paragraph (or first) is dedicated to the story and can be stretched into three short paragraphs. Introduce the main character, the main conflict, and summarize the main points of the plot. Don’t tell everything, though. This is just meant to entice.

8. Writing these paragraphs is the hardest part. You can go about it in many different ways, and there’s no one right way to do it. But there is a format that can help you to figure out what to include.

Intro: Who is your main character?  
Inciting Incident: What happens to kick off the story?  
Goal: What is the main goal as a result of that incident? 
Conflict: What prevents your character from reaching that goal? 
Stakes: What could happen if your character fails?  
Choice: What choices does your character have (if any)?
9. The last paragraph is your bio. If you don’t have publishing credentials, do not stress about it. Talk about your book. Will it be part of a series? Are you working on or have the sequel finished? Mention any writing awards or contests you’ve won, classes you’ve taken, if you have your degree in English Literature, and any writing groups or associations you belong to. If you have publishing credentials list a few places that have published your work. This is also where you can mention your pen name if you use one.

10. Finally, close the letter by thanking the agent/editor for considering your novel.

11. At the very bottom, always include “Sincerely” with your name, address, email, and phone number; all the possible ways they can get in contact with you.

12. Keep the query letter to one page.

13. Spell check and read your query several times, even out loud to make sure it sounds good. Or let others read it and offer their opinion.

14. Include an SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) so the agent/editor can send you a reply. Then mail that sucker out!

15. If you are emailing a query everything above still applies, but you will have to copy and paste the query into the body of your email, as most publishers/agents will delete queries with email attachments.

16. For an e-query, make sure the subject line says, “Submission: The Title of Your Story” or “Query: The title of Your Story.”

17. Always read the submission guidelines on an agent’s  or publisher’s website for specifics. They may only accept e-queries or snail mail. Or they may tell you something specific to put in the subject line. Always follow their rules! And make sure the agent /editor you are sending to accepts your genre.
TIP: Create a professional email address.
Example: YourAuthorName@whatever.com 
You don’t want to send a business letter from SexyMama4eva@BadIdea.com

If you receive several rejections, rewrite your query letter and try a different approach. There are even people out there who critique and help to write query letters. If you need to, work with them.


February 14, 2014

Viking Fire by Andrea Cooper / Character Interview + Excerpt

Character Interview with Bram from Viking Fire

Please welcome, Bram. He is a Viking and recently married to Kaireen, a feisty Irish lass, who did not yield to his charms without a fight.

1.    What made you fall in love with Kaireen? It couldn’t have been her sweet words to you since she spent much of the book shoving you away.

Bram: It was seeing her in action before she knew I existed. I watched her playing with her niece. Even saw her concern of a bird, which had flown into one of the keep’s walls and knocked itself out. She had compassion and grace. I knew when she started resisting me (Bram puts hands behind his head and leans back) she was fighting herself in truth.

2.    What flaw (if any) did you have to overcome in yourself to win Kaireen?

Bram: I don’t have any flaws. (Grins). Well, at the advice of Elva, I had to stop trying to force Kaireen and let her make her decision. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’d rather fight J√∂rmungandr, the midgard serpent.

3.    Are you and Kaireen better together? Why?

Bram: We are better together, because she is my love, my world. It would be like telling the trees that they can live without the sun – it is impossible.
Why? Because I soften her rough edges. (Laughs) Truly, she is a better person after she admitted her love for me. And her words went from being full of venom to the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard.

4.    What do you like to do for fun?

Bram: Besides, kiss Kaireen? I still tease her. And she gives it right back.

5.    What is a fantasy of yours? Keep it PG please.

Bram: What does this PG mean?

Interviewer: It means keep it clean – no sex.

Bram: But those are my top ten fantasies (winks). My dream would be for a long life with Kaireen by my side and dozens of children.

6.    What is your greatest fear?

Bram: Losing Kaireen. Or her not remembering me and having to woo her all over again. I would, and hopefully easier, but I wouldn’t wish that on my greatest enemy. Give me a sword and a hundred battles, and I’m happy as long as she loves me.

7.    What do you wish there was more of in your book, Viking Fire?

Bram: Me. I’ve heard from the female readers and many of them say they want more of me. I can’t blame them. (He leans forward). Kaireen can’t get enough of me now, so why not others?                                                                                                                                                                                                     But I am a one woman man. Therefore, I wish you ladies good luck in finding a man who makes you swoon. And if you already have a loved one, you are fortunate.

Title: Viking Fire
Author: Andrea Cooper
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Published: July 29th 2013


856 CE, Ireland is a land of myth, magic, and blood. Viking raiders have fought the Irish for over half a century. Rival Irish clans promise only betrayal and carnage.

Kaireen, daughter of Laird Liannon, is suddenly forced into an arranged marriage with her sworn enemy, a Viking. She refuses to submit. With no mention of love, only land and the protection of her clan, she endeavors to get her betrothed banished from her country. Will love find its way around her stubborn heart?

Bram, the Viking, finds himself without future or inheritance as a younger son in his family. A marriage to the Laird’s daughter would grant him land if he swears fidelity and if his men will fight along with the Liannons against any foe—Irish or Viking. However, the Laird’s feisty daughter only holds animosity for him and his kind. Is marriage worth the battle scars of such a relentless opponent?

With the blame for a rival laird’s death treacherously set against the Liannons, Kaireen and Bram must find a way to lay aside their differences as an unforeseen darkness sends death snapping at their heels.


Viking Fire : Chapter One

Ireland 856 CE

“I renounce Father for this.” Kaireen threw the elderberry gown. Dressed only in her leine, she glared at the new gown on the stone floor.

“Shame on you and your children for speaking such.” Her handmaid, Elva, gathered the damask and then dusted off the rushes. “It’s a wonder one of the clim has not scolded you from your hearth for such talk.” She wore her white hair twisted in a chignon, underneath a linen head cloth. Strands of white hair poked out the sides of her covering.

“No, curse Father for a fool.” She plopped on her bed and a goose feather floated away. With a huff, she leaned against the oak headboard. Red curtains puffed like a robin’s chest around oak poles supporting her wooden canopy.

Her bare feet brushed against the stone floor. Why was she not born plain like her two older sisters? Already they had married and expected their second bairns by spring. Well, at least so far she had enjoyed twenty years of freedom. Neither of her sisters had had matrimonial dreams of love matches. Both were arranged marriages.

“You know your da arranged a marriage within a season.” Elva smirked.

Kaireen shook her head. “To another land holder,” and waved a hand in disgust, “not t-this heathen. Twice they raided our land in the last month alone. Many a raid has come from them. Now father wants me as wife to one of them?” She clenched her fists. “No, I will not marry this Viking.”

Elva smiled, reminding Kaireen of the rumors of her handmaid’s uncanny foresight. Whispers of Elva making strange things happen and often blamed as the cause of Kaireen’s stubborn refusal to behave as a laird’s daughter should.

“You’ve not seen him yet.” Elva wiggled her brows.

“So?” Kaireen shrugged. “I would like to never see him.”

“Well then, would you not like to know if you have a handsome husband or not?” She waited for her response, but Kaireen scowled at her. Elva chuckled. “I would rather get a good look at him now than the morning after.”

Kaireen’s ears heated. “I am not marrying.” She shook her head for emphasis. “So there will be no morning, nor night, nor wedding.”

“If he is handsome, I may fight you for him.” Elva smiled, deepening the wrinkles around her eyes.

“Welcome to him either way.” Kaireen laughed.


Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrea has always created characters and stories. But it wasn't until she was in her late twenties that she started writing novels.

What happened that ignited the writing flame in her fingers? Divorced, and disillusioned by love songs and stories. They exaggerate. She thought. Love and Romance are not like that in the real world. Then she met her husband and realized, yes love and romance are exactly like the songs and stories say. She is now a happy wife, and a mom to three kids (two boys and a girl).
Andrea writes paranormal and historical romance. When not writing or reading, one may find Andrea dancing in Zumba.

She believes in the power of change and counting each moment as a blessing. But most importantly, she believes in love.

Viking Fire is her second forthcoming novel with Crimson Romance and is a historical romance. Her debut novel, The Garnet Dagger, is a paranormal romance and is now available.

Twitter: @AndreaRCooper

To watch the Viking book trailer go to: http://youtu.be/m1bPZ3nUyzs

Also by Andrea Cooper:

QUESTION: What did you think of Bram?

Thank you for sharing Bram and Viking Fire with us, Andrea! I am delighted to have you on my blog. Please come again. :)