Tag Archives: paranormal

A New Book!

Let me introduce you to Catherine, Reginald, and Yolann … and to Francesca Rose.

Francesca Rose is the name I’m using for my Victorian Secret Romances. They’re set in the Victorian era and are a little sexier than the Frankie Robertson titles. If you’ve read WITH HEART TO HEAR, you’ll enjoy this new release, YETI IN THE MIST.

YETI IN THE MIST: A Victorian Secret Romance


Catherine Denton loves her ailing husband and is taken aback when he  encourages her to take a lover. Reginald, formerly a colonel in the East India Company Army, wants his young wife to have what he cannot give her: children–and his titled brother, Cedric, has offered to oblige. However, her brother-in-law is not the man Catherine desires. The male who makes her pulse race is Reginald’s good friend Yolann, the Yeti who served with him in India, and who sleeps just down the hall.




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The Experiment Continues

Last week I tried using the Kindle Countdown deal for the first time with BBT500x800FORBIDDEN TALENTS. This week, you have the opportunity to get BETRAYED BY TRUST while it’s on sale. Starting today, BBT will be available at the discounted price of .99. But don’t delay, because it will gradually increase back to its normal price over the next five days. BETRAYED BY TRUST  is a paranormal romantic suspense with a “marriage of convenience” theme. It takes place mostly in San Diego in 1979, in the same Celestial Affairs universe as LIGHTBRINGER, but it stands alone.


If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you can be among the first to hear about my new releases and get “behind the scenes” information. I don’t like spam either, so I’ll only be sending newsletters when I have actual news.


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An Accidental Series

I’m guest blogging over at Secrets of 7 Scribes today thanks to an invitation from Casey Wyatt, the author of MYSTIC INK and THE UNDEAD SPACE INITIATIVE. I’m talking about why I’m writing not one, not two, but three different series. Come over and say hello!

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Review: DYING WISH by Shannon K. Butcher

I just finished Shannon K. Butcher’s DYING WISH, the sixth novel in the Sentinel Wars series. I think it may be the best so far. (I can’t say for sure, since I haven’t read Paul and Andra’s story.) Butcher pulled me into the story with the first sentence and didn’t let me go until the last.

Previously, I reviewed the first book in the series, BURNING ALIVE. While I enjoyed that book a lot (obviously, since I’ve since read most of the series), I wasn’t entirely happy with the emotional blackmail that results from the way the world is structured. (Theronai women must siphon off the energy their bonded mates automatically accumulate, or the men will eventually die. They’re faced with a “choice” of bond with the man that is their physical match, or sentence him to an agonizing death.)


This is an amplification of two old, and effective tropes. Romance novels have long featured relationships where the woman must surrender to a more powerful force, whether it’s a dominating man, or economic compulsion. That’s one of the aspects of paranormal romances that is so effective: non-human characters often have biological compulsions that override choice, or raise the stakes on the choice of whom to love and when. The characters are drawn together against their will. It’s a new take on the arranged/forced marriage plot.

The second trope, an essential one, is that of the healing power of love. In the best romances the couple doesn’t just learn to love each other. Their love brings about their transformation and healing. The individuals give up their self-focused perspective, and the whole of their union becomes greater than the sum of their individual desires.

All of this comes together to make DYING WISH a smashing good read. Butcher does a fantastic job of creating characters (both of whom were introduced in previous books) who are broken but unbowed. They’re both strong, but they’ve been holding it together by themselves for so long that they can’t see they need the other to be whole again. They don’t even think it’s possible to be whole again.

Butcher forces her characters to deal with a horrendous dilemma. She did such a great job of writing her protagonists into a corner that despite the genre demands for a “happily ever after” ending, I doubted the outcome. The solution made an interesting kind of sense, and I’m looking forward to the fallout in subsequent books in the series.


Shannon K. Butcher was a guest of honor two years ago at TusCon Science-Fiction Convention in Tucson, AZ. This year’s guest of honor is S.M. Stirling.


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What’s In the Works?

First, a couple of announcements:

I’ll be speaking this Saturday after lunch at Tucson’s Saguaro RWA chapter meeting. I’ll be talking about Paranormal Investigation, drawing upon my experience with the Western Society for Paranormal Research. The meeting begins at 10:00 at El Parador Restaurant. Check the link for more info.

I’ve made my first foray into getting my books into stores. Mysterious Galaxy and Dog Eared Pages have sold my books at special events in the past. Now The Bookworm on White Mountain Blvd. in Pinetop, AZ will be selling my books in their store. Stop by if you’re in the neighborhood!


I thought I’d share a little bit about what I’m working on at the moment.

In mid-May I finished the first draft of Firstborn, which will be retitled BETRAYED BY TRUST when it’s released. This book takes place in 1979, and fits into the Celestial Affairs universe. If you’ve read LIGHTBRINGER, you’ve already met one of the characters: Gideon. (This isn’t his story, though. I promise I’ll be writing that soon. Gideon’s book will be titled GUARDIAN)

Right now I’m putting a final polish on FORBIDDEN TALENTS  before sending it to the editor. I already have the cover for this sequel to DANGEROUS TALENTS, and I love it! This book tells Ragni’s and Saeun’s story, but Dahleven and Celia are important actors in this book, too. If all goes as planned, FORBIDDEN TALENTS will be coming out in late August or early September.

One of the projects I’m considering after all of that is pulling some of my meatier posts on self-publishing together into a book. I’d love to hear from all of you on whether you like that idea, and if so, which topics have helped you the most. (Also if there is a topic you’d like me to expound upon.) I’ll draw randomly next week from those who comment on this post for either a free Kindle copy of DANGEROUS TALENTS or a signed copy of the paper edition. Your choice.


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I had to share this:  LIGHTBRINGER is now available from Amazon for Kindle. (And so is VEILED MIRROR — finally!) In the next day or so LIGHTBRINGER will become available on B&N and Smashwords. I don’t yet have a release date for the paper book, but I will let you know as soon as I do. 🙂  UPDATE: LIGHTBRINGER is now available for the Nook.

Here’s a little about it:

Jared Price is a Celestial, one of a race of beings often taken for angels. Exiled on earth, he’s offered a chance to return to the Celestial Realm. All he has to do is protect Cassie Lewis from a demonic assassin.

A genuine psychic, Cassie can’t resist Jared’s Celestial aura, but she doesn’t trust him. He’s hiding something behind his strong mental barriers and she’s learned the hard way that what you don’t know can hurt you. But when a demon tries to kill her, Cassie has no one else to turn to.

Then the stakes are raised even higher, and Jared must decide if Cassie’s love is worth sacrificing a dream he’s held on to for 150 years.

Read an excerpt at the LIGHTBRINGER tab.

Those of you with Kindles or Kindle apps you can get it here.


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My Self-Publishing Journey: I am the Decider!

I just got the 2nd pass edits on LIGHTBRINGER back from Edits that Rock. One of the questions Rochelle raised after the first round was whether I wanted  to discuss religion quite as much as I did. In much of today’s paranormal romance, the big questions of religion are carefully skirted so as to not offend and lose readers. This isn’t as true in science-fiction and fantasy. A significant number of authors in those genres have tackled religion head-on, but not so much in romance.

I had what I think is a fairly average Christian upbringing, colored by an early love of science-fiction and fantasy.  In SF and fantasy it’s often acknowledged that in building a new world, religion is an integral part of  what motivates people. So for me, if characters have a conversation about life after death (VEILED MIRROR)  or angels (LIGHTBRINGER) it doesn’t make sense to pretend religion doesn’t exist.

And yet . . . I am paying Rochelle for her expertise, and I do want to actually sell my books, not just decorate Amazon’s website with my listings. So I thought pretty hard about her advice. I was free to take it or leave it. As I mentioned in a previous post, unlike an editor at a traditional publisher, Rochell has no leverage — the decision was all up to me.

I’m pretty good at catastrophizing. I can worry that a minor misstep can doom me to utter darkness and failure with the best of them. Interestingly, as I’ve progressed on my self-publishing journey, I’ve felt less of that. Where I used to worry that if I didn’t write the perfect synopsis I would be exiled to the outer reaches of writer purgatory, now a decision about editing is just that, a business decision.

In the end I decided to trim a few sentences from LIGHTBRINGER for the sake of the larger story arc of the Celestial Affairs series. And that’s the point of this post: It’s all about the story you want to tell. Every story has its audience. Don’t worry about that. In my opinion, the priority should be what works best for the story, not protecting the author’s ego and not potential sales.


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Chapter Two

“Hello?”  Beth said into the telephone, then sighed as the perky soft rock resumed.  She was on hold again.

When Ell had collapsed two days ago, the ambulance crew had taken her forty-five minutes away, to the emergency room at the nearest hospital.  The doctor said Ell and the baby were fine, but she should take it easy for a while.  So while Ellie sequestered herself in her room, Beth worked off the invitation list for the wedding reception, calling everyone to let them know about Chris’s death.  It was an awful job, breaking the news to old friends, but it would be even worse for her sister to do it.

More. . . .

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Beth jolted out of a restless sleep, reaching for the phone just before it rang.  “Ellie, what is it?  What’s wrong?”  She didn’t need to check caller I.D. to know her identical twin was on the line, and at just after two in the morning it couldn’t be good news.

Ellie showed no surprise at either the quick pick-up or that her sister knew who was calling.  She wouldn’t.  They’d done this sort of thing all their lives.  “It’s Chris.  He’s missing.”

This must have been what Beth’s confused, foreboding dreams had been about.  “Missing!  What happened?”

“He didn’t come in for lunch like he usually does, or for dinner.  Ell’s voice trembled.  “He’s still not back.”

“Have you called the sheriff?”

Ellie’s laugh held a sharp edge.  “Oh yeah.  I called.  He thinks Chris is just out blowing off some steam.”

“He said that?”  Chris and Ellie had just returned from their world-tour honeymoon to their southern Arizona ranch.  Beth had met her brother-in-law only a few times, but he didn’t seem like the kind who would step out on his wife seven months after the wedding.

“Not in so many words, but the meaning was clear.  He said to call him if Chris doesn’t make it home by morning.”

“What a jerk!”

“I wish he were out with the guys.  I felt like a nagging wife, but I even called Jack’s.  Nobody at the bar has seen him.”

“What about the foreman?  Maybe one of the hands knows something.”

“I phoned Mack before I called the sheriff.  He said Chris planned to check fences on the south forty today.  No one saw him after that.”  Ell drew a shaky breath.  “Mack got a couple of the guys and went out looking for him, but it’s a big ranch.  We looked until after dark, but then it started to pour so we came in.”

Beth understood what her sister had left unsaid.  The summer monsoons could be violent.  Visibility dropped to nothing and the normally dry arroyos flooded quickly.  Every year someone tried to cross one, and every year someone drowned.

“Chris is smart enough not to drive through a flooded wash, and he wouldn’t stay in his truck if it got stuck in a dry one, either.  Not this time of year.”

“I know.  But what if he got bitten by a rattler?  What if he broke his leg?”

Beth spoke in the voice she used at the Humane Society to sooth the worried owners of lost dogs.  It felt weird to be the one reassuring her normally unflappable sister.  “Don’t borrow trouble.  The sheriff will find him tomorrow.  He probably just ran out of gas or something.”

“Then why hasn’t he called?”

“You told me yourself there’s places on the ranch that don’t get a signal.  Or maybe his phone is dead.”

Ellie sniffed.

“Why don’t I come over and keep you company?”

“It’s a four hour drive, Beth.”

“It’s not that long.  Besides, I could use a vacation.”

Ellie paused a moment.  When she spoke again her voice caught.  “Thank you.”

“Chris will probably show up before I do.  We can all go out to breakfast together.”

Beth hoped she was telling the truth.

MORE . . . (18 years old and older only, please)

copyright 2011 by Frances R. Gross

VEILED MIRROR IS NOW AVAILABLE  HERE IN PAPER FORMAT! Digital release will be September 21, 2011.


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Self-Publishing — How I Began

In the beginning. . . .

I started thinking about self-publishing a little over a year and a half ago. Friends like Liz Danforth and Mike Stackpole were fervent about the inevitability of digital change. Mike, one of the first authors to leap into the digital pool, advised a riveted audience at the 2009 TusCon Science-Fiction Convention to start learning about digital publishing and social media.

A little later, J.A. Konrath changed his mind about self-publishing. Prior to that, he’d been against SP for a variety of reasons, but that changed. I hadn’t heard about Konrath then, but I soon would. I devoured books, and later blogs, soaking up information and letting it swirl around in my head until it gelled into a decision.

At the same time I had a couple of former critique partners urging me away from the SP path. They felt strongly that my work was “too good” to waste on self-publishing, that I hadn’t sent my work out enough (I’d only collected a little over 100 rejections) and I hadn’t tried enough of the smaller publishers. So I did more research, decided that The Wild Rose Press would be a good fit for my paranormal suspense Veiled Mirror (in part because they would bring it out in print as well as digital), sent in my query, and settled back to wait – again. Wonderfully, TWRP didn’t leave me in limbo for weeks as other publishers had done. (That’s one of their strengths:  quick, friendly communication.) They asked for the partial, then the full, and then they were saying they wanted to offer me a contract!

My author ticket had been validated!  I was a REAL bunny – er, writer.

And all this time I continued thinking and reading and talking and blogging about self-publishing. I’d discovered Konrath by this time, and Smith and Rusch. Predictions were being made by Stackpole and Shatzkin about when the tipping point would come for paper books and the consequences to bookstores and publishers, and it wasn’t that far off. The voices were combining into a choir singing the same song: Digital Is The Future. It was while I was combing through the galleys for Veiled Mirror that I decided to self-publish my next book, Lightbringer.

But where to start?

As it happened, I read a post on that very subject by Dean Wesley Smith, and so I began, moving in slow motion.

I bought the domain name, Castle Rock Publishing.

Months later, I opened a business account so my sales could be direct deposited.

I researched, and decided not to incorporate.

I registered a Trade name.

I found a cover artist I liked , recommended her to Roxy Rogers, but didn’t contact her myself.

I stalled.

Somehow, the next step, the step of actually contacting the cover artist, of contacting an editor, would make it all real. I knew that once I did that, the rest would be inevitable, I would be a self-publishing author, with all that meant, good and bad. Those “what-if’s” I wrote about in an earlier post arose like a wall of thorns in a fairy tale. It seems silly now, looking back just a few months, but at the time I gave those “what if’s” the power to hold me still.

And then Roxy told me she had contacted the artist I’d recommended, and a freelance editor, and was self-pubbing two of her short stories in August. It was the last little push I needed. If she could do it, I could! I couldn’t let her have all the fun!  I contacted Kim Killion, Edits that Rock, and a formatter.

And so here I am, moving forward again, sharing my journey with you.  I wish I could say that I simply looked at the facts, made a rational decision, and then acted, full steam ahead. If I had, I’d probably already have a self-pubbed book out there. But that’s not how it happened.

I plan to write more about my decision to not incorporate, the importance of covers, how to measure success, and how to make sure your manuscript is the best it can be, with and without professional editing. Let me know what questions you have, and what parts you most want to know about.


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