Tag Archive | paranormal romance

Raising Money for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. As many of you know, when I’m not writing fiction, I spend my days in a laboratory looking for new therapeutic targets for breast cancer treatment. After twenty years in the field. I thought I knew cancer.

Then, on April 19, 2018, I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

I had a lot to learn.

As a survivor, caregiver, and researcher, I am passionate about fighting this disease. My fellow investigators, clinicians, advocates, survivors, and loved ones affected by breast cancer work tirelessly to fight this disease and to help those diagnosed with breast cancer. But we can’t do it alone.

This year, I am a Team Leader for The American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Event in Nashville. Team Lab Rats has already raised over $500 with a goal of raising at least $1,000.

I want to do more. So I pledge to donate 100% of my October Book Royalties to American Cancer Society and Making Strides. Not only do they support research, they provide support and resources to patients, survivors, and their loved ones. This is a great organization doing amazing things.

Want to help? Purchase any D.B. Sieders book from now until October 31 to support this wonderful organization.  Here are universal links to all of my books that will take you to a site that will allow you to choose your preferred format – eBook or print book. For Southern Elemental Guardians audiobooks, click here.

I will be posting updates on how much we raise. Together, we can all make a difference!

Thank you for you support!

Southern Elemental Guardians: Making Waves, Lorelei’s Lyric, Crosscurrents, Firestorm, Three Wishes, River Spell, Forest Charmed

Soul Broker: Chasing the Dead, Waking the Dead, Raising the Dead

Dragons of Tarakona: Silver Unleashed, Red in the Morning, Gold Fever, Blue Streak

 

Cover Reveal for Three Wishes (Southern Elemental Guardians Novella 2.5)

Woo Hoo! Gorgeous New Cover for my upcoming release! Had to share. Stay tuned for release date, links, and giveaways to celebrate Three Wishes (Southern Elemental Guardians Novella 2.5).

 

Three Wishes_ A Southern Elemental Guardians Novella - D.B. SiedersA Sylph, a Merman, and a Rock Star get into a car…

 

It was the Sylph’s idea—a guys trip to Las Vegas before Paul Pulaski and Vance Idol say goodbye to
bachelorhood forever. Bruce has big plans to show his buddies a great time while having a little fun of his own in Sin City.

 

Mischief and mayhem ensue when the trio hit the tables, the strip, and get roped into a surprise performance at the Bellagio that gives Cirque Du Soleil a run for its money. But when Bruce gets them an audience with a bona fide Genie, will their wishes come true, or will demons past derail their
happily ever afters permanently?

Teaser Tuesday – Crosscurrents!

SEG2_Comp_FinalRGB_125dpi_ThumbRelease day for Crosscurrents (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 2) is coming soon from Amazon and iBooks! Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store when Rhinemaiden Ilsa meets Paul Pulaski, her hot geek rescuer, ally, and soon-to-be hero.

 

They don’t hit it off right away, and their first (but not last) sparring session is highly entertaining. Enjoy! Also, click here for information about my launch day celebration giveaway. Plenty of mermaid-themed jewelry and other prizes up for grabs!

 

Lorelei’s Lyric (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 1) is also available from Amazon and iBooks!

 

Excerpt:

 

Returning her focus to the screen, Ilsa caught the blurry image of a boat coming toward the camera in spite of the desperate cries of warning she’d heard from its operator. She sat down in the desk chair and scooted close to get a better view. Horrified but unable to look away, she heard a sickening crack that must have come from her skull hitting the hull of the boat, followed by more shouts. At least two men were yelling. One denied culpability while the other seemed focused on…rescuing someone.

 

Her.

 

One of the two men rescued her?

 

Well, perhaps it had started as a rescue mission, but once the men spotted her fins it had no doubt turned into an entirely different scenario. After all, mortals were greedy, selfish beings who couldn’t be trusted. Oh the males had their uses, ones she’d particularly enjoyed during the course of her long life, but it didn’t change their nature. Ilsa’s human father had betrayed her mother because of her nixie nature, so what else could be expected of mortal men?

 

And yet, the jumbled audio feed suggested her rescuer’s outrage at the boat driver, especially as he fled the scene. The remaining man had apparently pulled her from the water and transported her here, wherever “here” might be. Confused and still a bit achy, she struggled to reconcile the evidence in front of her with history and experience.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

She yelped when the deep, familiar male voice came from behind her.

 

Ilsa jumped up from the computer chair, nearly knocking it over. She whirled around and held her arms out in front of her. Channeling her remaining power, she prepared to hit him with a blast of nixie energy that would make an electric eel jolt seem like a tickle. And if that didn’t work, she’d put him into a stupor with her Siren call.

 

Instead of attacking or running away, however, he simply stood and stared at her.

 

She’d been right in calling him a giant. The man stood at least six-three. With disheveled auburn hair and an even more outrageous goatee flanked by shorter stubble, he reminded Ilsa of the homeless vagabonds she’d encountered throughout her tour of the Americas. His worn T-shirt and ragged jeans solidified the look, though his sharp gaze and firm stance made Ilsa think twice about dismissing him as a fool.

 

The man slowly raised his hands, palms facing her. Though he regarded her with apparent caution, his actions didn’t seem threatening. Instead, he looked concerned.

 

“I don’t know if you can understand me, but I want you to know that I won’t hurt you. You were injured and I brought you here to help you…”

 

He stopped speaking when he looked down the length of her body. Her naked body. Well, what with one thing and another she hadn’t had time to conjure clothing to cover her—

 

Oh dear. Now there was another complication she didn’t need.

 

“My God,” he whispered, eyes wide with shock and apparent disbelief. “What happened to your fins?”

 

* * * * *

 

When the mermaid jumped up from Paul’s computer chair, whirled around, and held up her arms as if prepared to attack, he was first struck by her strength and apparent lack of fear. She seemed pretty nimble for someone sporting a major head injury. Or maybe she was simply running on adrenaline, given that she’d woken up in a strange place with a big guy crashed out beside her on the bathroom floor.

 

Nice going, Pulaski. Real smooth, scaring the poor thing.

 

As he tried to reassure her, wondering if she could speak at all or understand English, his gaze fell on her lower body. Her fins were gone. Instead, she sported a pair of legs. What the hell? Between struggling to find a rational explanation for the sudden change in anatomy, and the fact that a bare-assed naked female of perfect proportions now stood in his apartment, Paul figured both of his heads might explode.

 

“Perhaps you should sit down before you fall,” she suggested.

 

She spoke.

 

Not only that, she spoke flawless English with a beautiful accent he couldn’t quite place. Then again, the traffic jam tying up his neural pathways left little room for linguistic analysis. How was this possible? He’d examined her. Those fins hadn’t been fakes, they absolutely could not have been fakes, nor could those gill slits. And yet, the creature now stood before him on human legs that couldn’t be fakes either could they?

 

“Um, yeah, sitting might be good,” he said, shaking his head. “But you sit, too.”

 

She arched a slender brow, but then lowered herself back into the computer chair and waved her hand at his beater of a sofa in an elegant gesture of invitation. Her deep sigh made him curious about her lung capacity relative to gill function. It also made him itch to find out if that delicate skin around her pert nipples was as soft as it looked.

 

Not that he was looking.

 

Oh shit, he was really trying not to look.

 

“You have many questions, no doubt,” she began. “And I wish to know how I came to be here in your home. So let’s—”

 

“Here,” he said, trying not to groan as he grabbed the blanket draped over the back of his sofa and tossed it to her. “You must be cold.”

 

“Not particularly.”

 

“Just put it on. Please.”

 

He closed his eyes and tried to think of something, anything, other than those gorgeous breasts. Baseball stats, the Krebs cycle, his aunt Ethel…nope, the image of those high, firm peaks had been burned in his brain and his body seemed hell bent on responding. Man, of all times to throw wood, why now? She wasn’t even human.

 

Was she?

 

“What are you?” Paul blurted out, opening his eyes as much as he dared. Relief flooded his addled brain when he saw she’d wrapped herself up in the blanket. Her golden curls spilled over bare shoulders, and sharp blue eyes filled with intelligence and power gazed into his.

 

“Wait, let me rephrase that. Who are you?”

 

She appeared momentarily surprised, but recovered quickly. “I’m called Ilsa. And you are?”

 

“Paul, Paul Pulaski. Listen, are you feeling okay? You were hit pretty hard on the head. I can’t believe you’re up and about, especially—”

 

“I heal quickly. It is the nature of my kind, as is coming and going between the water and land,” she interrupted, gesturing to her lower body.

 

“But how? The bone structure of fin versus leg is so different, and it isn’t possible to shed scales and magically sprout skin.”

 

“Of course it’s possible,” she replied, flicking her wrist in dismissal and looking annoyed.

 

He crossed his arms over his chest, her tone hitting him like a slap in the ass. “I don’t believe it.”

 

“The evidence in front of you should be proof enough.”

 

“Doesn’t explain the mechanism.”

 

“Then I’ll have to show you sometime,” Ilsa said, rolling her eyes. “That was a joke, by the way. We may walk among mortals still, but we take great pains to remain concealed. By rights, you shouldn’t have seen me in the water at all. My injuries must have caused my concealment charm to fail. Strange, since it takes so little energy to fool you mortals.”

 

He probably should’ve said something, but if he opened his mouth, ugly was likely to fall out. Probably more than a few four letter words, too. His mama did raise him to have good manners where ladies were concerned, but her brusqueness and flippant attitude pissed him off.

 

As if sensing his irritation, she dialed down the attitude and said, “I’m guessing you’re a bit overwhelmed at the moment, so let’s move on. What happened to me? How did I get here?”

 

She was probably right. Assuming she could manage to sprout fins again right in front of him, he’d probably pussy out and faint right in front of her. In fact, he was more than a little light-headed already. Best to file that holy shit discussion under to-be-continued-later.

 

“Like I said, you were hit by a boat, so I pulled you out of the water. Got the surprise of my life when I saw the fins, but you were unconscious and we couldn’t just leave you there at the river. Kinda figured the hospital was out of the question, too, so I brought you back home.”

 

Ilsa gave him another eye roll, which coupled with the blond and buxom really chapped his ass. This new source of irritation bothered him more than the sore arms and aching back he suffered thanks to hauling her around, not to mention his assortment of scrapes and bruises. Yeah, she was little too much like those high school cheerleaders who used to give him the cold shoulder for being a working class geek.

 

“Hey, I could have left you there for the snapping turtles, or maybe Lance Ross, assuming he had the balls to come back after hitting you.”

 

“And what were you planning to do with me?” she asked, squaring her shoulders and giving him a look of pure defiance.

 

Fair question, but still—would it kill her to show a little gratitude? Given her commanding aura and haughty attitude, he had the feeling that “thank you” was not a phrase often uttered by Ilsa.

 

Damned supernatural ingrate.

 

“I was planning to get your back on your feet, um, fins, or…hell, I was going to try and get you well.”

 

“And after that?” she challenged.

 

“Take you back to where you came from. In fact,” Paul said as he stood up and ran a hand over his face and goatee, towering over her at his full height and challenging her right back with his stance and glare, “I’d be happy to drive you right back to the river now if you’re ready to go.”

 

 

Excerpt From: D.B. Sieders. “Crosscurrents: Southern Elemental Guardians 2.” iBooks.

 

New Teaser Tuesday!

December, December, December! Happy Holidays and Almost 2016! Here’s a Teaser Tuesday to tug at your heartstrings. Vance Idol (a.k.a. Jersey Boy Vincent Violetti) and Lorelei make some deep emotional confessions in the calm before the storm.

 

Want to know what happens next? Grab a copy of Lorelei’s Lyric today!

 

***Excerpt***

 

“You okay, sugar?”
“Sure. I’m great. Why do you ask?”
“You should cut the bullshit, Lorelei. It’s not your style. Tell me what’s on your mind.” He hated to kill the mood, since they were having a really nice, really normal, low-key evening out. He’d asked her if she wanted to walk down to the bar at the local marina for some food and music. Sometime during their third tango between the sheets last night, he’d gotten the itch to see those long legs move across a dance floor with him.

 

The marina bar and restaurant was bigger than some of the hole-in-the-wall joints he’d played in the past, but not by much. It looked as though someone had stacked a few ramshackle kid clubhouses side by side over some wooden dock planks and called it an eatery. For what it lacked in size and amenities, it more than compensated for with some out- of-this-world steaks and a killer view of the lake at sunset. Most of the boat owners had docked their expensive toys and abandoned the marina for other watering holes, so he and Lorelei pretty much had the run of the place.

 

They’d enjoyed dinner and drinks, though naturally he’d opted for soda instead of alcohol and earned a smile full of pride and affection from his lady. Still, between her fidgeting and lowered gaze, he knew something was up. Whatever it was, it made his heart race and the hairs on the back of neck stand on end.

 

Maybe now that she’d had time to think about what he’d told her the day before, about Maggie, maybe she was having second thoughts. Not that he blamed her. His baggage wasn’t pretty, and even he knew it would be a hell of a lot for anyone to take on. But she had seemed so sincere in her acceptance and desire. He hoped she’d be willing to give him a chance. Though he tried to stay calm and wait for her to open up, he couldn’t help but worry that she was preparing herself to tell him goodbye.

 

It would kill him if she did.

 

She looked up at him, her blue eyes blazing, and said, “We need to talk.”

 

Ah, hell. Here it comes.

 

Vance Idol had never begged for anything in his life, not even when he’d just been Vincent Violetti. Now he was prepared to say absolutely anything to keep Lorelei from walking out on him.

 

“Look, I know what you’re going to say, but before you do, let me tell you this. I know I’ve got a ways to go, but I’m committed to seeing this thing through. I can be a better man. I want to be a better man, Lorelei. For you.”

 

He hated the desperation in his voice, but he couldn’t help it. He was a man in love. He hated the glassiness in her eyes and the way her shoulders slumped even more. He didn’t want to guilt her into staying, but he couldn’t stand to let her go, either. Not without a fight.

 

“I, look, I know we haven’t known each other that long, and maybe you’re worried about that whole counselor- patient line we crossed, but if you could just trust me enough to give this thing we’ve got between us a chance, to give me a chance—”

 

“Vincent, I’m not really a counselor,” she blurted out.

 

“Lorelei, please—”

 

“Wait a minute,” she said, looking like a light bulb suddenly went off in her head. “You think I’m…you think I’m leaving you? You think I don’t want you?”

 

He cleared his throat and said, “Well, the thought had crossed my mind.”

 

“Oh, Vincent! It’s not that at all. I just….”

 

He breathed a huge sigh of relief, but decided to press on. Her confession gave him pause, though it wasn’t all that surprising in retrospect. Still, whatever she was, therapist or healer or even some New Age guru, she’d managed to reach into the very core of his heart and soul to find something of the man he used to be—the man he wanted to be again, because of her. And he wanted her to tell him all of her troubles and let him share the load, to show that he could give as well as take.

 

“Just what, Lorelei?”

 

“I have to tell you some things that you might not like. Some things about me.”

 

He didn’t know what shocked him more, the notion that he could not like anything about her, or the quiver in her voice. He wondered if he should let her know that he and Jack had talked a little about her family, assuming that’s what was bothering her. A man-hating mother he could handle. Hell, he could just turn on the rock star charm.

 

Of course, Mama might not find the details of his past problems all that charming, especially considering how he was still struggling with them, but he’d own up to it and work to earn her family’s trust.

 

He reached across the table and took her hand, rubbing his thumb over her knuckles. “Nothing you say will change how I feel about you.”

 

“How can you be so sure? You don’t even know what it is yet.”

 

He frowned, but didn’t let go of her hand. “Well, why don’t you just tell me now and we’ll start dealing with it.”

 

She looked back at him and her expression stabbed him through the heart. Sorrow, longing, and something akin to pleading painted her lovely features. He wanted to pull her into his arms, kiss and hold her and erase the uncertainty he read in her gaze.

 

“I’m done running, Lorelei, and I won’t run from you, no matter what you tell me. You’ve seen the worst of me, and you’re still here. You’ve brought out the best in me, too. I’m asking you to trust me enough to do the same for you.”

 

She drew in a gasping breath and exhaled with a shudder. Nodding, she said, “I’ll tell you everything tonight when we get back the lake house, I promise. But right now, I want to spend time just being with you. Please.”

 

“I have an idea,” Vance said. “Hold that thought.”

 

Strolling over to the classic jukebox in the corner, he fiddled with the machine until it allowed him to select a song. He made it back to the table by the time the first haunting notes of “Sleep Walk” floated out around them. The steel guitar chords thundered almost as loud as his heart.

 

He held out a hand to Lorelei and asked, “May I have this dance?”

 

Her blue eyes widened and she smiled. When she gave him her hand, some of the tension bled out of him and he was glad for it. He led her to the small dance floor next to the open windows that faced the water. Someone had turned on the string of white Christmas lights adorning the rail of the dock.

 

They were almost as bright as the light in her eyes.

 

He pulled her close as they slowly swayed to the bittersweet tune. Feeling her warmth, the slow cadence of her heart beating in time with his, surrounded by the cool air and lapping waves in the background, he experienced something he hadn’t in a long, long time.

 

He was at peace.

 

Pressing soft kisses along her temple, over her forehead, in her hair, he took a leap of faith and whispered, “I love you.”

 

A minute stretched out into eternity as his heart started racing. God, he didn’t want to push her, didn’t want to force a confession of love out of her by pressuring her, or worse. He couldn’t abide her pity. He came close to pulling away.

 

No, I promised I wouldn’t run. I’m not that man anymore.

 

Instead, he forced his breathing to slow and bid his body relax. When she leaned into him and rested her head on his shoulder, he sighed and let a wave of relief wash over him. At least he hadn’t scared her off. She moved her hands to his shoulders as she pulled back, her head lowered, not meeting his eyes.

 

Jesus, here it comes.

 

She looked up into his eyes. Hers were full of tears. Slowly, she slid her hands up to cup his face and said, “I love you, too, Vincent Violetti.”

 

*****

 

As she leaned in to kiss him, Lorelei wondered if this was how the sky people felt when they spoke of soaring.

 

No, it couldn’t be. Nothing compares to this.

 

This man loved her, and she loved him back. That was a miracle. He’d heard her song and survived. That was a miracle. No other obstacles they faced would prove insurmountable.

 

When she pulled away from the kiss, she smiled at him and then steeled herself to face their next obstacle. “I’m ready to talk now, to tell you those things about me that you might not like.”

 

“I’m listening.”

 

She glanced around the restaurant to make sure they had enough privacy for the conversation they needed to have, and for Vincent’s likely reaction. Just as she turned back to face him, she sensed a change in the atmosphere around them, an energy surge that could only come from an elemental. Worse, it was an emotionally charged elemental, too, if the drop in air pressure, temperature, and choppy waves breaking in the roiling lake around them were any indication.

 

Oh no!

 

She pulled away from Vincent and rushed to the window so she could look out over the expanse of water. Seized by panic, her first thought was getting her mortal out of there. They had no car, so she’d have to convince him to take off on foot.

 

Spinning around, she took three quick steps and grabbed Vincent’s hand, pulling him with her toward the door.

 

“Lorelei, what the—”
“We have to go. Right now!”

 

“But I haven’t paid—”

 

She conjured some money and plopped it on the hostess stand on the way out. She registered his hesitation. He stiffened when she conjured the money, though she continued to pull him. She imagined his eyebrows were probably stuck somewhere in the vicinity of his hairline, but explanations would have to wait.

 

After they’d made it out of the restaurant and stood dockside, Vincent tugged hard on her hand and brought them to a stop.

 

“We have to go,” she urged. The hairs on her arm were standing straight up. Something major was about to happen.

 

He crossed his arms in front of his chest, nostrils flaring. “Not until you tell me what’s going on. You’re freaking my shit out right now, you know that right?”

 

“I’m sorry, I—”

 

“Gal, we’re in trouble,” said a familiar disembodied voice.

 

Lorelei spun around as Jack appeared. Vincent was about to get even more freaked out. Then again, she was having a hard time holding it together herself.

 

Vincent paled and his eyes widened when Ondine materialized beside Jack in a shimmering series of waves that coalesced into her human form. Well, almost human—her eyes flashed silver and her skin rippled with scales that hovered just beneath the surface. She was either agitated or influenced by the water energy surging around them. Lorelei’s own flesh itched to morph into her true form.

 

“Where the hell did you two come from?” Vincent asked, taking a step back and nearly tumbling over the side of the dock.

 

“Son, I ain’t got time to explain,” Jack said in a lazy drawl that belied the urgency of his request, “but y’all need to either high-tail it outta here or get ready to face the wrath of Lorelei’s Ma.”

 

Mother? Here?

 

“I didn’t tell her, my darling,” Ondine said. Her face was tight and she seemed almost… apologetic.

 

“Where do we go?” Lorelei asked.

 

Jack looked back and forth between her and Vincent. “It’d be faster if y’all hit the water. We can stall her for a little while.” He shrugged. “Maybe even talk her down.”

 

Fresh panic coursed through Lorelei. “But I haven’t told him yet. How’s this going to work?” she asked, nodding toward Vincent.

 

Jack took Vincent by the shoulders and gave him a serious stare down. “Vincent, you’re just gonna have to trust our gal here to see you safely home.”

 

Vincent’s eyes went wide with panic. “Can you just please tell me what’s going on? What are we running from?”

 

“You ain’t running, son. You’re swimming.”

 

Lorelei took Jack’s cue, grabbed hold of Vincent and said, “I love you. And I’m sorry.”

 

“Sorry for—”
She leapt and pulled him with her. Once airborne, she willed her fins to replace legs and summoned a protective bubble of air around Vincent’s body.

 

Then together they plunged into the depths of the lake’s dark water.

Teaser Tuesday!

I’m sharing a new excerpt of Lorelei’s Lyric! This one features Lorelei’s first encounter with Vance Idol during his performance in Nashville. She’s captivated with his voice, his stage presence, and the soul-deep yearning she feels in his music. She also envies his ability to share the gift of song – something her Siren calls prevents her from doing.

Like what you’ve read? You can read the rest in eBook and Paperback!

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Teaser Tuesday Excerpt:

 

Her thoughts stopped cold as soon as a tall man dressed in black strode across the stage.

 
Ignoring his bandmate, the man, presumably Vance, slung his guitar strap over a broad shoulder, nodded to the drummer, and then played a series of powerful chords that kick started the band into what promised to be a fast-paced rock-and-roll ride straight to ecstasy. Lorelei grabbed Ilsa’s hand and squeezed it in gratitude. They’d sampled jazz, blues, and a fair bit of rockabilly country on their travels, but the music filling her ears and quickening her pulse—this was pure rock.

 
Then the man in black started to sing.

 
His powerful voice reached out through the microphone and wrapped her body in a commanding grip she felt all the way to her toes. His rugged, masculine features alive with passion, he sang with a tightly leashed fury that held the audience in a state of awe. And the way he played? His guitar strokes seemed to trail over her skin.

 
“Wow!” Ilsa shouted over the music.

 
Lorelei, still captivated by the man and his music, could only manage a small nod in response.

 
“Hello? Lorelei? Better close your mouth before you start drooling.”

 
“He’s amazing! He could be part Nix!”

 
“Well he sure seems to have cast a siren spell on you! You can thank me later when you’re done gawking.”

 
That may take a while, ‘cause I think I could stare at him all night.

 
The band transitioned seamlessly from fast and furious to a slower, more sensual ballad that showcased the lead singer’s sexy voice and sexier stage presence.

 
There’s this place I go
When I’m feeling low
And the world’s closing in around me
The place where we first met,
Oh, just one sweet sunset
And I can breathe so free and easy

 

When she managed to tear her gaze away from him and glance around the room, she realized she wasn’t the only one affected. Almost every woman looked on with admiration, hunger, or outright lust. The men in the audience didn’t seem to mind, since the music also made their ladies sway, shimmy, and gyrate to the seductive beat while they got to enjoy the view. Plus, they were all enraptured by the music.

 
It was pure magic.

 
She turned her focus back to Vance. He’d slowed his movements to match the pace of the music, which allowed her to get a really good look at him. Like the lead guitarist, his arms were well-muscled. His strong left hand held the guitar’s neck in a powerful grip while the long fingers of his right stroked and caressed the strings. The tight black shirt he wore, now damp with sweat, accentuated a muscular chest and torso that tapered down to a trim waist. In truth, he looked a bit too thin, but that only added to the hungry and impassioned look that made his performance all the more compelling. A mop of jet-black hair framed his handsome face. Looks, charisma, and that amazing voice—the man had it all. And his words resonated with the deep longing within her.

 
The road’s been long and lonely
I yearn to rest my weary head
The only peace I’ll find,
Outside a box of pine
Is where we once shared a bed

 

The bittersweet twinge of envy she always felt in the presence of human musicians tugged at her just then. Mortal man Vance, you don’t know how lucky you are. Your songs are a gift of pure pleasure and joy. Like all her Nixie kin, Lorelei possessed a stunning voice. She loved singing more than anything else in the world. She knew and could sing thousands upon thousands of songs in at least two-dozen languages.

 
And if she sang any of them long enough, someone would die.

 

“Wanna stay for the rest of the show? I’ll just bet we could wrangle an invitation backstage if we work our way up front and center.”

 
“Huh?”

 
Ilsa laughed. “I asked if you want to hang around and see about hooking up with Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Musical.”

 
Probably not a good idea. This guy could definitely get me in trouble.

 

“Nah, that’s okay. How about we hit the Wildhorse next and see if we can snag a couple of cute dance partners?”

 
“You sure? He’s checking you out.”

 
She looked back toward the stage and locked her gaze with Vance’s. For all the joy and passion he poured into his performance, the look in his eyes was…haunted. That soul-deep longing she’d heard in his first song shone through his blazing green eyes, calling to her and begging her to make it right.

 
Oh, this is home to me,
And you’re the only thing I see
You may be long gone
But I still feel you there
Ever young and strong
And I’ll find a way to go on and on
In the love we used to share

 

This is home.

 

While she still had the will to walk away, Lorelei tore her eyes away from him and turned back to Ilsa. “I’m sure. It’s definitely time to go.”

Excerpt From: D.B. Sieders. “Lorelei’s Lyric.” 

Welcome Debbie Herbert!

2013-11-02 13.08.28I am delighted to welcome fabulous author Debbie Herbert to my blog. Debbie is a fellow member of team Aponte Literary, represented by our wonderful agent Victoria Lea, and I had the great pleasure of meeting her and M.V. Freeman at the 2013 Southern Magic Reader Luncheon. After reading and loving Siren’s Secret, I just HAD to have her on my blog.

It’s no secret that I love mermaids and the mythology surrounding them, so imagine my delight to find another aficionado in my circle of writer pals!

 

 

9780373885824(3)Shelly Connors is good at keeping secrets. The safety of her family and of her species depends upon quiet co-existence with humanity. It may be a lonely co-existence for Shelly as a half-breed, but she’s accepts her lot in life between land and water as best she can.

 

When she catches a serial killer in the act, though, guarding her fins takes a backseat to fighting for her life. Pursued by the monster, Shelly must decide whether to take matters in her own hands and have the killer face seaborne justice, or trust the attractive and engaging local sheriff. Sure Tillman Angier is easy on the eyes and damn good at his job, but Shelly’s been burned by human men before. Can she trust him with her secret and her heart as they work together to stop a deranged and deadly madman?

 

 

Thanks for being here with me today, Debbie! I’m a bit of a mythology nerd, and as such I very much enjoyed the bits of mermaid lore you wove into your story, as well as your unique spin on how these supernatural beings integrate into the human world. What drew you to mermaids as a subject (aside from the fact that they’re absolutely fascinating)?

 

I appreciate the opportunity, Dana!

 

I see mermaids as symbols of feminine beauty and strength. My theory is that even (or especially) young girls are drawn to the whole idea of mermaids because archetypically they represent power balanced with maidenly grace. Besides, who wouldn’t want to be a beautiful mermaid playing with dolphins all day long? I’ve always loved the ocean and beaches and as a child fantasized about what magic might lay deep beneath the water.

 

Your mermaid heroine is such a wonderful blend of toughness and vulnerability, with a dash of down home Southern charm to go along with her exotic nature. She literally has a toe (or tailfin) in two different worlds, not really belonging to either, but she’s forced to put herself and her kind in danger in order to bring a killer to justice. We readers experience her heartbreaking struggle to find acceptance, not just from her love interest Sherriff Tillman Angier, but from within. What inspired Shelly?

 

Shelly has a mermaid mother and human father and struggles to find acceptance on land and at sea. Except for her maternal aunts and cousins, the merfolk shun her and she is not allowed to tell her secret to humans for fear of rejection and putting her kind at risk of exposure. To top it off, her parent’s marriage was a failure and she’s determined not to repeat her mother’s mistake by denying her mermaid nature and moving away from the sea. If she falls in love, the man will have to accept her as she is because anything less is bound for failure.

 

Sherriff Tillman Angier is such a complex and relatable character. So many of us struggle quietly with caregiver fatigue – be it looking after a terminally or chronically ill relatives, aging parents, or in Tillman’s case, someone disabled. So many caregivers are idealized as stalwart and stoic, which is unrealistic and, I would argue, potentially damaging to those who actually live these situations day in and day out. You show us the good, the bad, and the ugly, complete with resentment, anger, and a longing to escape that are natural, human reactions to the stress involved. At the same time, you show us the honorable, caring man struggling to do the right thing, and I loved that. How did you balance these two aspects of Tillman’s character?

 

Thanks, Dana. I don’t mind sharing that I have an adult son with severe autism so I’m quite familiar with the struggles of caring for someone with special needs and trying to maintain balance in my life with other family relationships, a job and everything else that goes along with being a well-rounded person. With Tillman, I tried to show that despite the less-than-saintly feelings that come with caretaking, what matters is the actions we take and the lessons we learn.

To me, every character – like every person – has flaws that they work to overcome.

 

My son was recently diagnosed, so I was definitely able to relate to the struggles of a caregiver. Every complex, relatable hero/heroine needs an equally complex antagonist. You aren’t afraid to go dark (another aspect of your writing that I really admire!). How hard was it to get into serial killer Melkie Pellerin’s head?

 

I don’t know what it says about me, but it was immensely interesting to try and get in the head of a character with a value system so opposite my own. At every step of the way, I tried to imagine what would motivate a killer to commit such crimes and what happened in his life that made him so amoral. I also tried to show him as a real person with problems and one that could occasionally demonstrate glimmers of kindness in his dark world. I believe human nature is a continuum between absolute goodness and absolute evil.

 

So… two other mermaids plus a few surprise supernatural residents of Bayou La Siryna equals many more adventures in the series… Hooray! Can you give us any hints about what is to come?

 

Absolutely! Book Two of the Dark Seas series, Siren’s Treasure, will take up the story of Shelly’s cousin Jet, and is scheduled to be released this fall by Harlequin Nocturne. In many ways, Jet is the opposite of Shelly. She’s physically strong and mentally tough but nevertheless, has a hidden vulnerability that’s exposed when her ex-boyfriend pirate is released from prison and returns to the bayou.

It’s The Hunt for Red October meets Southern Gothic.

Book Three of the series, Siren’s Call, will be Lily’s story. Lily is the mysterious siren who enchants men with her voice . . . until she meets the one man impervious to her charms. This book will be released in 2015.

 

Mermaids, pirates, and hidden treasures, hooray! Just pre-ordered my copy of Siren’s Treasure. Random question just for fun – dark chocolate or milk?

 

Dark chocolate flavored with chili and sea salt. And it’s good for you! Well, probably not in the quantity I eat, but there are worse vices.

 

Hmm, a bit of spice and salt to balance the sweet. I dig it! Top three absolute favorite romance books?

 

authorphotoOh, that is so hard! Okay, I have to go with Pride and Prejudice as Number One. Mr. Darcy is the ultimate romantic hero. Second, I adore Amanda Quick historicals and my favorite is Ravished which plays upon a Beauty and the Beast theme. And third, I’ll go with Ransom by Julie Garwood for its humor and the manly highlander hero. Who doesn’t love men in kilts? Since I’ve chosen all historicals, I’ll add a contemporary book for honorable mention even if it isn’t strictly a romance: Alice at Heart by Deborah Smith which is about a mermaid from North Georgia seeking love and acceptance.

Thanks for letting me visit, Dana!

Thank you so much for the wonderful interview. To learn more about Debbie, you can visit her website, follow her on Twitter, find her on Goodreads, and check out her Facebook Fanpage. Siren’s Secret is available now from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and Harlequin. Siren’s Treasure is available for pre-order, too, and will be released November 1, 2014.

 

Happy 2014!

Since I did a wrapping-up-the-old-year-building-goals-for-the-new-year blog post around this time last year, I thought it would be fun to look at my goals from last year and see what kind of progress I made on them.

1. Finish and Edit Works in Progress

So at the beginning of 2013, I had wrapped up revisions on Waking the Dead and it was on its way to submission by my fabulous agent, Natalia Aponte. That left me with another novel (first in a paranormal romance series) that needed an extra 20K words added to bring it to a commercially viable length. I also had a stand alone contemporary romantic comedy novel half written, and the the second book in a series half written.

That was a $^%#-ton of stuff to finish!

So how’d I do?

Well… not to shabby, as it turns out. The paranormal romance (working title Nixies in Dixie) got its extra 20K words, part of which contained a new subplot with a new character who will get his own book in the series. It placed second in MCRW’s 2013 PITCH Contest, and it is currently under submission by my other wonderful agent, Victoria Lea.

My rom com (working title Going Dutch) is finished and under submission as well. I’d like to thank my darling Dutch husband for the 13 years worth of material on which I built the banter in the story and for answering all of my annoying questions about Dutch-isms, aviation, and for the continued exploration of our fascinating cultural differences. I’ll give a shout out to my mother-in-law for reading it and correcting the Dutch language and usage parts.

Yes, you read that right. I sent my risqué novel to my mother-in-law to read. That’s one of the really cool things about the Dutch. They’re probably the least uptight people on the planet, and they have an incomparable sense of humor and the ability to laugh at almost anything, including themselves.

Alas, I didn’t quite finish up the second book in the paranormal romance series, but I did manage an extra 20K. Hey, it’s progress! I also went through three rounds of edits for my debut novella, Red Shoes for Lab Blues, and it was well worth it for the experience and the end product. Lyrical Press published it in May 2013 and as of the end of December, I met the personal sales goal I’d set for myself. I’m looking forward to selling more in 2014 as Lyrical joins forces with Kensington Publishing (see below).

2. Learn All I Can About Marketing and Promotions

Through contacts in my author networks and a few unexpected but VERY welcomed reviews (thanks, Booknatics!) , I was able to get hands-on experience promoting the novella through blog interviews, tours, and conferences. I was fortunate enough to win free admission to the 2013 Killer Nashville Conference through The Killer Nashville 2013 Investigator’s Sweepstakes. HUGE thanks to Logan Masterson for sponsoring the sweepstakes. Look for his debut, Ravencroft Springs, coming from Pro Se Productions 2014! I was lucky enough to catch a preview when we traded work for critiques, and let me tell you, this guy’s writing will give you chills.

I’m very pleased to have a second shot at marketing the novella, this time with the power of Kensington Publishing Corporation. Lyrical Press became an imprint of Kensington in 2014, and I look forward to a re-release and the opportunity to build a broader readership for Red Shoes and future work.

3. Give Back

Probably one of the most rewarding parts of this journey has been encouraging other authors and watching them begin their own journeys. One of my cyberpals made her first sale at the end of the year. To my great delight, she told me that my encouragement was one of the factors that made her decide to write and submit original material. How cool is that? I get to be a mentor, too! And…one of my crit partners is working on her first novel. Look out, world – she’s got a great story in the making and I cannot WAIT to see what she does with it.

I am so pleased to report that my cyberpal, M.Q. Barber, published Playing the Game: Neighborly Affection Book 1 with Lyrical Press (follow the link to read my interview with her) and she’s gearing up for the next installments in the series. Like me, she’s waiting for re-release from Kensington, and I have no doubt she’ll find wild success! After all, she didn’t make the top reads of 2013 Lists at Red Hot Books AND Satin Sheets Romance for nothing!

My critique partner, friend, and all-around fabulous writer Sophia Jones published three great stories this year: The Phantom and the Psychic, The Pharaoh and the Curator, and Desert Dreams (follow the link to read my interview with her). She’s geared up to share more of Shaylene and Derek’s adventures with a follow-up, Desert Desires. She’s promised me (okay, all of her readers, but I know she’s really writing it for me) a pirate story and I’m cashing in on that promise in 2014 – you hear me, lady?

I’ve been able to give back through my MCRW chapter by serving as a Melody of Love Contest judge – this is one of my FAVORITE ways to give back. I got my start with contests, and the valuable and constructive feedback I received have made me a better writer. I hope I’ve been able to do the same as a first round judge. I’ve also had the opportunity to beta and crit for some of my MCRW sisters and I’m hoping to see their work on my Kindle and/or in my hands this year – I’m looking at you, Adventure Girl (and thanks for the feedback on Going Dutch)! Look for Jody Wallace’s Witch Interrupted in February 2014. I got to beta that one and I LOVED it even more than the first in the series, Pack and Coven (and I loved that one a lot)!

I’ll have the opportunity to give back to many of my fellow Aponte Literary authors. Look for Debbie Herbert, Ariel Swan, Brynn Chapman, M.V. Freeman, Tanisha Jones, D.T. Krippene, Eileen Charbonneau, and Juliene Osborne-McKnight on my blog soon. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know these authors and their work and look forward to sharing with my readers!

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I’m counting 2013 as a success, and I think I’ll keep the same goals for 2014. Well, I’ll add a wish for more fangirl dream moments like the one I had meeting Jeaniene Frost at the Southern Magic Romance Readers Luncheon.

Squee!!!

So that’s my year in review and my hopes and aspirations for the coming year.

What are yours?