We interrupt our regularly scheduled story…

Hey all!

I was thinking I’d have a new installment of Our Summer Adventure today and start the voting for the dragon name on Friday, but you know what?

I’m taking the week off! I’m going to be in Atlanta seeing creepy old cemeteries, plantations, Margaret Mitchell’s House, the CNN Center, Olympic Park, and a ton of other stuff. Oh, and I’ll be hanging with my WANA Sistas!

I’ll be eating shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, peach cobbler, and whatever else Atlanta has to offer.

In short, I’m going to fully immerse myself in all things Southern. You know I’ll have pictures for you when I get back! And a new installment of Our Summer Adventure. Hannah and Ethan will just have to wait to tell their stories. 😉 Wicked, I know.

I hope you all have a fabulous week and I’ll see you next Tuesday! Until then, be amazing.


Dragon Names! RWA Prep! Movies! It’s all here today…

Hey Everyone!

I’m wicked excited today. Why? Because the website is going to be up and running soon! That means all of you fabulous readers will have to re-subscribe to the blog (boo!), BUT you’re going to love the new place and I’ve got so many fun things to share with you once the site is fully operational. (Did any of you just hear that dude from Star Wars? Good to know I’m not alone in my geekery). 🙂

Laird has been working her sweet tail off to get the new website to look exactly how I want it. Think dragons and diamonds! Sparkles, castles, pink, yeah, it’s going to totally rock. I can’t wait for you all to see it.

Want a little teaser? This is the business card I had made up for Nationals…

2013 Tameri Etherton BIZ2

Awesome, amiright?

teacup-dragon[color]BUT FIRST! We need a name for our little teacup dragon. This will be the LAST week you can submit a name. Voting is going to start next Friday, so make sure you get your name in before then!

So far we have:

Blingaling         Annabelinda          Teodora           Mhegor             Twinkle            Isabela
Iremat              Jezebel                Tipsy            Earlie Grey       Darjeeling            Penelope
Blingling           Teavana               Pekoe
Larkspur          Zatima          Bob (short for Roberta)

What do you think she should be named? Add it to the list!

As most of you know, I’ll be in Atlanta next week for the RWA National Conference. Romance Writers of America puts on the best conference I’ve ever attended and I’m over the moon about going this year. Last year was my first time and, well, let’s just say I was woefully unprepared. This year? I’m on it.

If any of you feel overwhelmed like I did last year, here are some great links that will help ease your mind.

Angela Quarles has a bunch of posts about Nationals, and she has tips about the Marriott hotel, too. Check out this post for newbies and then make sure you read her other posts.

Are you pitching? Here are some great links for making the most of your pitch session. There are two from Angela, and another two from Laura Drake. Read them all. Trust me on this, it’ll ease your nerves!
Angela’s are here and here.
Laura’s posts are at Writers in the Storm here and here.

And lastly… packing. Ugh. That’s the bane of my travel existence. I always pack WAY too much. Well, Erin Knightley is here to save the day! And my back. You won’t believe how much she fits into one carryon, but since there’s a video to prove it, maybe you will. I’m in awe of Erin. Check out her blog here ~ make sure you watch the video. You too will be amazed!

The last bit of the blog today is about movies. Specifically, what’s your ‘Go To’ movie when you’re feeling down, or just want to escape for a bit?

Last weekend I went to see Much Ado About Nothing with my husband. I was psyched. Shakespeare, Joss Whedon, and my sweet Nathan? YES please!

But, well, I was underwhelmed.

So I went on Facebook and asked for recommendations of what I could watch that would erase the bad memories of the movie. As much as I wanted to love the movie, I didn’t, which put me into a funk. Hence, the question on FB.

The day before, I’d watched a super sweet movie called ‘The Magic of Belle Isle‘. My friend Kristy K James wrote a post about it and it intrigued me. Since it was available on Netflix streaming, I decided to give it a gander.

Well, I was smitten. More than smitten. I’m going to buy this movie to have on hand for those times I need a pick-me-up. Read Kristy’s blog here and let me know if you watch the movie if you love it as much as I did. Or, if you saw Much Ado, did you love it? Hate it? Were confused by it? I’d love to know either way.

I’ve given you loads to think about today! But don’t forget ~ I need dragon names and movie suggestions. I’ll be writing a future blog post about movies and need your help. Also, make sure you’re keeping up with the Summer Adventure story! Other than all that, I hope you have an amazing weekend. What will you be doing?

Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Five: The Director

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

Thank you to Kristy, Jansen, Lynn, and Sheri for your comments last week! We’re getting close to meeting the governor, but first ~ a showdown with the director! Keep those comments coming, I love reading your ideas and figuring out what our characters are going to do next. If you’ve missed any of the weeks, just click here, or you can always click on the above page under Our Summer Adventure to get caught up. Thanks for playing along!

Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Five: The Director

This was bad. Ethan kept his calm even though his insides were taut bundles of nerves. In all his research on the director, he’d never uncovered a daughter. Adopted, perhaps? Or, as Rori suggested, a changeling?

“Mr. Carmichael, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”

“You as well.” He didn’t look at Hannah as she stood off to the director’s right. “I wasn’t aware you had a daughter.”

“It isn’t something I make public. Too many enemies in my line of work. I’m sure you understand.”

That Hannah had let Ethan know her relationship with the director could mean she trusted him, or wanted him to know his place. Given the situation he faced, he hoped for the former.

“Of course. As you’re aware, I am always discreet.” Ethan took his seat without being asked and the director followed suit. Hannah stayed standing, which did nothing to assuage his anxiety. With two armed men standing beside the door, he began to think the meeting wasn’t entirely about the governor. “Why have you brought me here, Director? It appears you have men and women perfectly capable of handling the situation.”

“Ah, yes. But you see, they are also known to the governor. Some more than others.” His tone hardened and Hannah’s jaw tightened. “We need someone with a very specific skill set who isn’t recognizable.”

“An assassin?”

The director leaned back and closed his eyes. “Death would be a comfort to this man. I need him living if he is to pay for his crimes.”

Ethan rose from the chair and leaned against the desk. “You need him? What exactly are your plans? I came here under the assumption I was to work out a truce with the governor.”

In the space of a heartbeat the director was standing, his face inches from Ethan’s. “A truce? You know what he’s doing, what he will do, and yet you think words will prevent him from any further atrocities?”

Madness spiraled beneath his cool blue of his eyes. A fervor for revenge, perhaps, or a sycophantic desire to please his sister. Or something else entirely.

Hannah hadn’t moved, but Ethan felt her hot gaze on him. He wondered how much about her father she knew.

“We are in agreement about the governor’s activities, but I take my orders from Queen Narissa. I am here as a consultant only, not as your soldier. You’re looking for an assassin who is disposable. I’m not your guy, Maxim Drake.”

Hannah swallowed hard, her eyes narrowed the slightest bit.

“What did you call me?” The director asked.

Ethan turned his gaze back to the man. “Your name. I know who you are, brother to Queen Darynda, ruler of the Unseelie Court.”

Maxim glared at him, but Ethan kept his body relaxed, ready.

“Have you come here to work out a truce with the governor, or to assassinate me?”

Now it’s your turn. Is Ethan there to kill the director? What atrocities is the governor committing? What happens next? I have no idea!

Genre Blending with Lisa Kessler

Happy Day After Independence Day, everyone! I hope you all had a safe and fun 4th. Now that the barbecue’s have cooled, it’s time to heat up the blog with a little paranormal romance from my friend Lisa Kessler.

Like Melissa Cutler from a few weeks back (you can read her awesome guest post here), I met Lisa at the San Diego RWA meeting. Her vivaciousness and wicked laugh caught my attention and I just knew she was a woman I needed to know.

I’m so excited to have Lisa here chatting about writing books that don’t fit in one particular genre. Want to write a vampire/werewolf/Christian/erotica? Go for it! Or don’t, but never settle for ‘no’. Why don’t I let Lisa tell you her story…

Hi Everyone –

Thanks so much to Tameri for inviting me to visit!

I’m Lisa Kessler and I write dark paranormal romances—with some historical aspects, and a dash of horror, maybe a little urban fantasy too.

So what do you do when your book doesn’t fit neatly into a genre? I’m not going to sugar coat it, finding a publisher for Night Walker was a huge struggle. I had agents and publishers alike who told me they loved the story, the plot, the characters, but sadly they still had to pass. Some weren’t sure how they would market it because Night Walker was contemporary paranormal romance, with historical flashbacks and a dark underbelly that shows my roots in Horror.

Eventually, with Night Walker and Night Demon already written, I set the Night Series aside and started working on my Moon Series.

This series is all contemporary, but sadly for me, the book didn’t pop until it was in alternating first person! LOL I remember one night in frustration staring at my poor husband and saying, “Can’t I ever write something that just fits?”

But the Moon Series buoyed my hopes. All three books were finalists in contests and it raised my spirits that maybe alternating first person point of views would be embraced in paranormal romance. But rejections kept mounting and a few agents even mentioned I could make it more marketable if I changed it to third person POV.

In the meantime, Night Walker finally found a home and a readership! YAY! And I’ve learned so much about readers. You see readers are much smarter than a genre label. They don’t seem to mind that genres might blend together. Some readers even prefer them!

Moonlight, Book 1 in the Moon Series, releases on July 15th, and I’m holding my breath that readers will embrace the urban fantasy feel of this paranormal romance series. Okay I have my fingers crossed too! LOL

And to the writers out there that might be concerned about writing a “marketable” book, I think we’ve never been in a more reader-driven marketplace. Self-published books break out because readers enjoy something that publishers never imagined they would.

So don’t box yourself into a label. In fact, blending genres might turn out to be the one thing that makes your book stand out!

For all the readers out there, what are some genres you love to see blended together?

Don’t be a stranger…
Lisa’s Blog
Lisa’s Lair website

Rancher Adam Sloan is more than meets the eye. As the heir to his Pack, the sexy werewolf’s biggest challenge is keeping his kin’s true nature under wraps. But a group of jaguar shifters threatens to reveal the pack, blasting into town killing humans in plain sight. And when he smells one at the local diner, his standing orders are to take her out.

Lana Turpin doesn’t realize she’s a moving target. Raised in the foster system, she only knows that she blacks out during the new moon and wakes up without remembering a thing. But now she’s being tracked by some strange organization that wants her back–even though she’s never stepped foot inside their compound. And the stranger across the diner is watching her like an enemy.

It should be a simple mission for Adam, but when he touches the frustratingly beautiful Lana, his inner wolf howls…mate. Now, the two must find and stop the people who hunt her…and Adam must keep his own family from killing the only woman he will ever love.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Moonlight-Moon-Entangled-Edge-ebook/dp/B00CGFGS3A/
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moonlight-lisa-kessler/1115161574?ean=9781622661084


Thanks so much for being here, Lisa!

Does Lisa’s advice resonate with you like it does me? Never give up! Damn the rejections, write the books that you love. What twisty genre bending do you do in  your writing? Readers, what’s your favorite genre to read?

Our Summer Adventure: Week Four ~ The Company

Thank you to everyone who commented last week and for those of you who sent me private emails or messages on Facebook, thank you as well! Be sure to leave your suggestions in the comments so everyone can get in on the fun. I had a few suggestions to have Rori kill Hannah, but I think we need to see a bit more of Hannah in the story. We don’t know yet if Hannah is good or bad, or if even Rori is good like she’s making us believe she is. I’ll be interested to find out what you make of our two badass ladies.

If you need to catch up, you can find all the previous installments here. Happy reading!

Our Summer Adventure: Week Four ~ The Company

Hannah’s fist stopped mid-punch. Ethan crushed her against the car, his lips burning against hers, igniting a feeling deep within. A feeling she’d not had for far too long, not since . . . well, that was ancient history and better forgotten.

She flexed her hand, releasing the tension before she pushed against Ethan’s chest. The solid mass of muscle didn’t move with the pressure. If she wanted to, she could be free from his grasp in three simple moves. Yet she hesitated.

Ethan’s kiss softened. A subtle invitation to which her traitorous body responded, opening to him. A small moan escaped her, or it could’ve been him. She wasn’t sure. Nor did she care. For several long moments she was lost to all sensation except his touch.

Ethan pulled away, taking her senses with him. A smiled played at the corners of his lips, taunting her. She thought of all the places she’d like to feel the sensually hardness of those lips on her body.

She forced the wicked thoughts from her mind and pressed against his chest to free herself from his embrace. He’d drugged her. That was the only reason she could think of for her reaction. “What the hell did you do to me?”

“You’re asking the wrong question.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” She pushed harder against his chest and turned away from him. A pink rash bloomed on her forearm, then dissipated. “What the…?” Another rash, on the inside of her palm, blossomed and then disappeared. “Seriously, what did you do to me?”

“I freed you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

He traced a finger down her arm to her fingertips. A thin line of shimmering sparkles followed in the wake of his touch. “Faerie glamour. Humans don’t have this.”

“You did that. It’s not from me.”

“We’ll see.” He ran his fingers along her jaw, his thumb pulling at her bottom lip. “We should go. They’re waiting for us.”

She hated the way he made her feel. All soft and mushy inside like some god damned spastic cupcake with marshmallow fluff. She was a warrior. Trained to ignore emotions. “You’re right. You get the princess and I’ll take the prisoner.”

She went around the other side of the car only to find an open door and no passengers. The bastard had used her to allow them time to flee. Anger simmered in her belly, “Where are they?”

“Who?” Ethan’s look and tone were perfect innocence.

“You intentionally distracted me so they could escape.”

“Guilty. But it was a lovely distraction. One I wouldn’t mind repeating.”

Hannah stomped around the car, her anger reaching a fast boil. “You have thirty seconds to explain why you’d do something so asinine. If I don’t like your answer, you’ll be attending the meeting on your knees, if you’re lucky.”

“Think about it Hannah. If we took Lilliana and Rori in there, what do you think their chances would be? I know you’re loyal to The Company, but I know things about them you don’t. Rori would’ve been tortured, if she was lucky, and Lilliana? The High Princess of the Seelie Court? Think woman!”

Hannah held firm, her anger lessening with each word, her face a mask of indifference. He was right. Damn him, but he was right. If the director had access to Lilliana and Rori, he wouldn’t hesitate to extract everything they knew. With or without their permission.

“Why did you bring her here? If you knew she would be a liability, why risk it?”

Ethan hesitated a moment before answering. When he did, his voice held a note of sadness that tugged at her. “The governor is not who everyone thinks he is. He’s a manipulative, egotistical braggart with a dark side to him that can destroy not only the fae world, but will endanger the human world as well. The Queen sent Lilliana to speak with him, to plead the fae’s case in the hope he’ll have some compassion left inside his corrupt soul. I doubt it will work, but it isn’t my job to question my Queen.”

There was more to it, she was certain, but Ethan didn’t fully trust her yet. She glanced at her watch, “We’re late. Your lame reason will have to suffice for now.” His smile lit the flame she’d felt earlier with his kiss. A surge of desire swept over her before she could tamp it out. Damn him.

She led him through hallways and past several security stations, each time stopping to verify her identity and that of her guest. When they reached the final station, she paused, gathering her wits and strength. Ethan gave her a sideways look, concern etched on his face. She ignored him.

Together they entered the director’s office and made their way to a huge walnut desk. Sitting behind the desk was a man who appeared to be in his early fifties, dark hair greying at the temples, a chic goatee covering his chin. His hands steepled in front of his face, his deep blue eyes regarded them as they entered the room

“Hello Daddy.” Hannah said before greeting her father with a kiss to each cheek.

What’s going to happen to Ethan now that he’s in the clutches of The Company’s director? Do you think the governor used Ethan to lure Lilliana to the States? What about Hannah? Was Ethan’s kiss enough to make her challenge her father? Shear your ideas!

Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Three: The Unseen

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

Last week Hannah kicked some assassin booty and left us wondering who the unseen passenger was. If you missed any of the previous weeks, you can catch up by clicking here. All of Our Summer Adventure excerpts will be on their own page from now on! Keep the ideas coming, I’m loving they way you all think!

Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Three: The Unseen

Ethan leaned his head against the soft leather while Hannah drove in silence, waiting for his answer. He thought of a dozen lies he could tell, but he suspected she would see through them all. Telling her the truth was dangerous. Trust was not something he gave freely and there was the motorcyclist to consider.

A slight scent of cloves mingled with Hannah’s honeysuckle essence. What the hell was Rori doing there? She was supposed to be in Ireland dealing with that mess. His sister sat slumped in the passenger seat, her red hair brushing against the window. The last time he saw her, she’d had black hair and was dressed as a teenage boy. Being able to alter her appearance and fit into any social group was what made her invaluable to the Queen.

The bundle beside him shifted and the garment bag slid to the floor. Lilliana slipped from the seatbelt and stood behind Hannah, her slight frame barely rising above Hannah’s shoulder. She was a mass of shifting glamour, unseen to the human eye.

A ghosting of irritation crossed Hannah’s face, leaving in its wake tight lips and pinched brows. “Aren’t you going to answer me?” She flicked a glance to the broken mirror. Ethan studied her features, noted the rise of her heartbeat, the catch of her breath when she saw Lilliana. “What in the world? Are you an alien or something? What is that?”

Rori moaned and shifted in her seat. She pulled at her bindings and swung around to glare at him. “You let her restrain me? I was trying to warn you. Freaking idiot.” It was then she caught sight of Lilliana. “Your Highness. Forgive me, but I have an urgent message for you from your mother.”

“Your Highness?” Hannah’s eyes widened, her mouth opened as if to say more, then snapped shut. Several emotions played across her face. The one Ethan sensed the most was apprehension.

Rori turned on Hannah. “Don’t play innocent, James. You knew exactly who you were transporting. What you don’t know is that The Company is using you.”

Hannah glared at Rori. “No one uses me. Least of all The Company. I thought I was picking up one passenger. Him. I didn’t know he was smuggling someone or something into the country.”

Ethan listened in silence as the women argued. If Hannah knew about Lilliana, she was a good actress. He sensed no deception from her.

Lilliana let her glamour fade, revealing herself. Dark brown curls cascaded down her back. A simple dress covered her ivory skin. To humans she looked like a child, but she was close to a century old. She placed a hand on each of their shoulders. “No one knew of my arrival here, Rori. We must keep my presence secret until the meeting with the governor. If The Company knows I’m here, everything will be put into jeopardy.” Her lilting voice filled the car. “Hannah James, I can’t command you to obey my wishes, but I will ask you as a Princess of the Seelie Court to please do me this favor and not speak of me to anyone.”

Ethan sat up, his curiosity piqued. Hannah thrummed the steering wheel with her fingertips, her bottom lip caught between her teeth. Finally she said, “Look, I’m just a human who works for The Company. I don’t get involved in your affairs or particularly care who’s in power this week or the next. I do what I’m told and keep my mouth shut. I’ll keep your secret for now, but if you do anything to harm those I care about, I’ll kill you. Unless you want the world to know you’re here, I suggest you make yourself invisible. We’re pulling into The Company’s parking structure.”

Lilliana’s smile lit up her small face. “Hannah James, you are anything but human.”

As Lilliana faded to nothingness, Hannah met Ethan’s look in the mirror. “What the hell does that mean?”

Rori glanced back at Ethan and laughed. “A Changeling? What are the odds?”

What were the odds indeed. The Company had to know of Hannah’s fae lineage, but had never told her. They pulled into the underground parking lot and his stomach tightened. If Hannah was lying and knew of his mission she could endanger everything.

Hannah pulled into a space in the corner, far from other cars. Before the engine stopped, he was out of the car, motioning to Rori and Lilliana to stay where they were. He reached Hannah’s door just as she was opening it to exit. Without warning he grabbed her wrist and heaved her out of the car, slamming her door with his foot.

She pushed against his chest, her free hand fisted for a punch. Before she could attack, Ethan crushed his mouth to hers.

Now we know who the mysterious passenger and assassin are! What’s going on with The Company? What’s the message Rori needs to tell Lilliana? Do you think Hannah knows she’s faerie, but is lying? Would she really kill Lilliana if need be? What happens next week? Share your thoughts!

Do Romance Novels set Unrealistic Expectations? By Melissa Cutler

I’m super excited to have my friend Melissa Cutler on the blog today! I first met Melissa about a year ago at the San Diego RWA meeting. I was new to the chapter and Melissa was one of the first people to greet me and make sure I felt welcome. I’ve been smitten with her ever since.

When I asked her to do a guest post for the blog, I had no idea what she’d write about, but since I have loved every book she’s written, I knew it would be fabulous ~ and it is! She’s talking about love, conflict, and, well why don’t you read what she wrote…

Do Romance Novels set Unrealistic Expectations? By Melissa Cutler

After my mom read my debut release, The Trouble with Cowboys, she called me. One of her comments was:

“who would’ve guessed you knew so much about resolving conflicts?”

I’d never considered that angle before, and it got me thinking about writers and how conflict resolution is a huge part of storytelling. We create characters who are often so at odds with each other that the reader wonders if resolving their differences is even possible, then make them do exactly that by the end of the book.

The trick is making the resolution feel realistic. If a historical heroine has decided she can’t marry the hero because it will leave her younger siblings at the mercy of their evil step-mother, you can’t just insert a random grizzly bear into the story to take out the step-mother while she takes her morning constitutional stroll through the gardens. That’s an extreme example, of course, but my point is that making conflict resolution in a story too easy or fast or unnatural isn’t satisfying to readers.

The irony is that while an author’s job is to make conflict resolution believable and realistic, often times in real life, conflicts don’t get resolved. Last week, one of my editors commented on Twitter:

“I have a feeling most dating complications are misunderstandings, so why can’t they be more like novels and talked through?”

I agree with him to a certain extent about real world complications stemming from a lack of communication, but I would add lack of effort to the list of causes. I see that all the time with people I know—one or both parties don’t fight for the relationship, for whatever reason, so it fizzles (or flames) out.

This would never happen in a romance novel, would it?

In romance, both the hero and heroine, or at least one of them at first, has to care enough to fight. Otherwise we wouldn’t have a book, right? The characters must overcome their conflicts. They must endeavor to talk things through. To make it work in the name of love, come hell or high water. One of the reasons I love reading and writing romance is the pleasure I get from experiencing people fighting passionately for who they want in their lives, what they believe in, and what they want their future to look like. By “fighting”, I mean doing whatever it takes—talking, changing their beliefs or habits, overcoming external obstacles, and evolving into better people.

Does fiction—particularly romance fiction with its happy endings—give us unrealistic expectations in our real life relationships?

No way, at least not for this optimist. In great books, the conflict resolution isn’t easy or pain free; it’s messy and hard won and full of lessons on how to handle relationships in our real lives. Experiencing how fictional characters resolve their conflicts empowers us and encourages us to fight for what and who we want, to evolve into better, more authentic versions of ourselves, and give our all in the name of love. Books remind us to talk to each other and resolve our differences because relationships are worth it—we’re worth it.

Rather than setting up unrealistic expectations, the relationships in romance novels inspire us to overcome our insecurities, be bold in the pursuit of love and happiness, and to not settle for anything less than our best, authentic selves and the best, authentic selves of the people in our lives. Does everyone in the world subscribe to this way of thinking? Not even close. But here’s my advice:

don’t waste your precious time with people who are less than authentic, who don’t try to communicate, or who aren’t bold. Life’s too short to settle.

My thanks to Tameri for having me on her blog today and thanks to you for indulging in my rambling meditation. I wish you an unending well of love, passion, and happiness—both in your real life and in the books you read. You deserve nothing less.

Melissa Cutler Author PhotoBio: Melissa Cutler knows she has the best job in the world, dividing her time between her dual passions for writing sexy contemporary romances for Kensington Books and edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense for Harlequin. She was struck at an early age by an unrelenting travel bug and is probably planning her next vacation as you read this. When she’s not globetrotting, she’s enjoying Southern California’s flip-flop wearing weather and wrangling two rambunctious kids.

Tempted into Danger coverHer current release, Tempted into Danger, is in stores now.


iTunes:  http://bit.ly/10zY4k9

B&N: http://bit.ly/16edknt

Kobo: http://bit.ly/YGpvDg


Thank YOU Melissa for stopping by the blog! I love, absolutely love your advice. Don’t settle. Ever. Being a fan of happily-ever-afters I share your enthusiasm for people fighting for what they believe in and love.

What do you readers think? Do romance novels set unrealistic expectations? Do you prefer happy-ever-afters or are you more into gritty endings?