We've Moved!

The authors of FaE have relocated to the Beyond the Veil castle keep. BtV is now your one-stop blog for Samhain Publishing's paranormal and fantasy romance authors!

Come on over! Just be careful when you cross the moat. The mermaids are still getting settled in with the Cracken. The drawbridge might be a little slippery.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween contest!

I'm taking part in a Halloween contest hosted by my pal Sam Cheever. We're giving away a great "trick or treat" gift bag! Take a look!


Good luck to all those who enter!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Thinning Veil

I adore shows like Ghosthunters. It's got its cheesy moments, but I can't seem to get enough of it.

But I've discovered that I can't watch it when I'm alone in the house late at night! Now, my people are from North Carolina, a species that lives comfortably cheek by jowl with some of the the scariest legends and folklore on earth, so it's hard for me to admit that certain things about Ghosthunters (which is like cotton candy compared to some of stories I grew up with) still gives me the heebies.

It's not the sightings, it's not the dark rooms. It's the EVP recordings - Electronic Voice Phenomena. Voices that live far below the range of human hearing, but when played back on a special machine, you hear what sounds like spirits trying to communicate with the living.

I'm not sure if these things are staged or not, but it's still creepy creepy creepy to hear a whisper, a sigh, a cry. I have to turn on all the lights in the house, and only turn them off as I retreat to my bedroom for the night.

I'm even afraid to glance in a mirror!

This time of year it seems to be worse, this sense that the veil is thin and anything could pop out at me when I least expect it. The dogs bark more when they're outside at night. The sound of a squirrel skittering around in my attic brings me bolt up right in bed. I leave the radio on so I won't hear the tree branches tapping the upstairs windows in the wind.

I make up stories in my head to distract me. This year I'm lucky to have an outlet for these stories - the Halloween round robin story on my other group blog, Beyond the Veil! We'll be giving away a collection of free short stories on Halloween.

I've also been immersed in final edits for - of all things - a ghost romance coming Jan. 4, 2008 from Samhain Publishing, "Beaudry's Ghost".

AND ramping up for the Nov. 1 release of Wildish Things, part of the Love & Lore anthology from Samhain Publishing. Gia Dawn, Sela Carsen and I will be list moms on Nov. 1 at the Samhain Cafe. Much fun will be had, a full day of excerpts, contests and general mayhem. Faeries be afoot, so you never know what's going to pop out at you! Hope to see you there!

(Image from http://shisa.ukzn.ac.za/)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Comedy? Tonight.

Twenty years ago, my dad developed an aortic aneurism. Hopelessly devoted to Mom, he ignored the symptoms while he nursed her through pneumonia. By the time he went into surgery, it was a life or death situation.

From the moment my dad was diagnosed until he was back on his feet, my reading habits underwent a radical shift. Suddenly, I couldn't handle the cutting edge literary fiction or nervy thrillers. I read one writer and one writer only: Georgette Heyer. For weeks, I read nothing but books I'd read in high school--Faro's Daughter, False Colours, Sylvester, Behold Here's Poison, Footsteps in the Dark...

Fast forward to the last two weeks, when I was tending Mom during what proved to be her final illness. What was I reading as I rubbed her hand, pretending not to cry as she struggled for breath? Smoke and Ashes by Tanya Huff.

The two writers might seem miles apart, but the differences are all external. The same things that drew me to Heyer--snappy dialogue, solid worldbuilding, big-hearted humor, romance and the all-important happy ending--also shine in Huff's writing. The characters face challenges, danger and intrigue, but you know the people you care about most will come out okay. It's a series, after all. They have to!

Life doesn't give you those kind of assurances. In fact, it's a terminal condition. Unless there's more to the fantasies I write than I realize, none of us get out of here alive.

The deeper my understanding of that truth grows, the more I crave the magic of fantasy and romance. I remember how embarrassed I was when Dad got sick. I felt like such a fraud--a pretend grown-up hiding behind a kid's books. Real grown-ups read epics and important fiction where everybody dies.

I know better now.

With that in mind, I want to share my own version of a Samhain blessing to all our readers--and to my fellow bloggers slogging through all the muck real life throws at us. It's not a prayer, exactly. It's a quote from one of my all-time favorite characters, Pseudolus, the lying-est, sloppiest, cheating-est slave in all Rome. Hey, who better to know what's important as we race to another shiny new year?

No royal curse.

No Trojan Horse.

And there's a happy ending, of course.

Goodness and badness,

Man in his madness.

This time it all turns out all right.

Tragedy tomorrow.



Comedy tonight.*

*From "Comedy Tonight", A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, music and book by Stephen Sondheim

Fantasy with your Romance? or Romance with your fantasy?

I've been wondering about this lately. In my own reading preferences, I have to say, I prefer a little romance with my fantasy, instead of the other way around. The more sumptuous the worldbuilding, the more intricate the plot...the less demand I'm going to put on the writer to flesh out the romance. I can catch on from subtle nuances when two characters are going to get together. In fact, I can remember reading a few books where there was no real reason to think the characters would get together...but it seemed only right that they would.

And lately...I've read a few books where the romance is so obvious, so..."beat me over the head with it" that I wonder if I'm just a big ole cynic. I mean...bodyparts are moistening, and hearts are thumping...on page three.

So I have to say I like me some romance with my fantasy, but gimme the plot, the good v. evil, the magic, mayhem, and decadence of it all (and my all important happily ever after) and it's all good.

But what about you, dear readers? Do you want Romance-Fantasy, or Fantasy-Romance?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

All Fantasy is not Romance, But All Romance is Fantasy

My DH thinks I'm crazy for writing romance. Often he makes fun of me because I don't touch any other genres when I want to read. "How can you read that stuff?" he asks me. Well, because I love the fantasy. This doesn't mean every romance is filled with dragons and unicorns, but that it's women's fiction, or rather, women's fantasy.

We might not actually want to have an Alpha male in our lives, but we sure do love to fantasize about it, about the take-charge, annoying man who can make us pull our hair out while crying out in ecstasy at the same time. :P We love being taken away to a different place, or a different time, to read about the trials and tribulations of two people falling in love.

What my DH doesn't understand is the draw of romance. He's called it everything from uber cheesefest to woman porn. Perhaps it is. But that doesn't deter me from wanting to read it. I don't read romance for the sex scenes. They're definately a bonus, but I love the aw factor, the stirring emotions, the excitement of "new love". It's a welcome change from the humdrum world of my boring, every day life.

So in that way, I get to go on fantastic journeys and be swept off my feet by billionaire Greek tycoons. :P How often does that happen to a housewife from Hillsboro, Oregon?

Sexy. Sensual. Seductive, without an ounce of cheese (DH's tagline edit lol)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Spooks, Magic & Writing Goals

Ah, Autumn... my favorite time of year! The harvest is on, crisp apples, yummy veggies and the air is growing colder, but not quite frigid yet. It's snuggle time and time to find my Winter clothes and warm blankets. And for some of us, time to think about the year past and make plans for the new cycle to come.

I've been clearing away a lot of my old projects in preparation for starting fresh in November. I'm finishing up some things that need finishing and plotting out plans for new directions come next month. One of the tools I'm using to help with this is the 70 Days of Sweat writing challenge. The idea is to write between 750-1200 words each day for the next 70 days. I write very fast, but not every day and sometimes I go weeks without writing a thing. Not a good habit for a professional writer.

The challenge started yesterday and already I'm ahead of the goal, which is just great. There's a certain accountability that spurs one on when competing against yourself. If you want to keep up with my progress, I've put a tracking meter on my blog and will be posting little tidbits from my WIPs there as I go along.

I'll be working on multiple manuscripts (as I always do) from fantasy, to sci fi, and back again. Some contracted, some just in their beginning stages of development. But here's a little about two of the contracted projects waiting for me to finish working on them (because they release this December!):

- My holiday short story "Solstice Dreams" from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid -
Two elves searching the northern wilderness. One light. One dark. Forbidden to each other, yet drawn by the same yearning for... something. They seek the Jolly Old Elf, to learn his secrets, but neither can find him, until they find each other.

- My vamp/were menage paranormal novel, "Sweeter Than Wine" from Samhain -
An abused woman has the power to unite werefolk, fey and vampire against an evil that would see them all dead—if she can learn to love again.

So spooks and magic are in the air for me... how about you?

Website: http://biancadarc.com/
NEW Blog: http://biancadarc.com/blog/

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall...

October. The temperature is dropping, along with the leaves, the hemlines of pants, and the humidity. Thank god, the humidity. I am, after all, a fragile flower and I melt in heat and humidity.

But the falling humidity means my skin starts to look like the Wicked Witch of the Northwest (Ohio). Which means it's time to dip into my arsenal of cold weather skin care products - oils, body butters, the white cotton gloves. Yes friends, I am turning into my grandmother. Hand cream and gloves - an over-40s gal's best friends. But did you ever read the label on one of those tubs? Can you pronounce half the names? Not me.

So here lately I've gone in search of my inner Kitchen Witch, looking for ways to incorporate more organic foods and other products into my life. And that includes skin care I can whip up in my home cauldron. Er, mixing bowl.

Here's a recipe for an organic pumpkin mask I've found that purportedly eases dry skin, shrinks your pores, and leaves skin soft. And at my age I'm not above throwing in a spell or two to make me look a few years younger!

Organic Pumpkin Mask
About 1 cup diced organic pumpkin, peeled (use the leftover pieces from carving your jack-o-lantern)
1/2 medium organic apple, peeled and cored
1 Tb. honey
1 or 2 Tb. organic goat's milk
2 drops lemon essential oil

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until thick and smooth, adding more pumpkin if the consistency is too thin. Spread a generous layer on freshly cleansed face, avoiding eye area. Fend off the cat, dog and/or your significant other from licking your face for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and apply your favorite moisturizer. Repeat once or twice a week. Store leftover mask in refrigerator for up to one week.

Source: Caroline Bourke, beautysecretsworld.com

Wildish Things, available Nov. 1 from samhainpublishing.com.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Magic Math by Dayna

My husband and I recently added a puppy to the mix of things at our already insane house. A week later, I found out I was (am) pregnant with our fourth child. It's been a rollercoaster.

I have a manuscript I've been sending to agents, and I hit a wall one morning. "I can't send this. I'm going to have a baby...how on earth can I get an agent NOW? I don't know if I'll ever be able to write again once little4 gets here." Of course, all this angst finds its way into my writing, which I'm hoping is a good thing.

So, instead of worrying about it too much, I decided to break my life down into some Magic Math:

A heightened sense of smell + a beagle = nausea.
Nausea + morning = no coffee
No coffee + Dayna = problems.

Three kids + beagle + one more coming = fear.
Fear + writing = dark stories
Dark stories + faeries = twisted fun.

If pregnancy = cravings, and cravings = irrational yet acceptable...
Dayna's cravings = Pringles for breakfast.

So, do some magic math of your own and give us a rundown on your life today.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


You know what I want? I want fantasy of the "Legend" kind. When I was a kid, I ADORED pegasus' and unicorns. I had many fantasia-esque pictures like the one above on my walls. One of my favorite movies as a kid was "The Last Unicorn" with the Red Bull (before it became an energy drink), and I even have that movie on DVD. :P It was on the cheapo rack.

But in our romance nowadays, we see fantasy elves, fairies, dragons... Where are the unicorns? Where are the pegasus...es? (Seriously, what IS the plural of "pegasus?")

There is an author (can't think of her name right now) who wrote a series about winged centaurs. I haven't read it, but I seriously want to. That looks awesome.

I guess I just want something different. And no, right now, I'm not going to write it myself. I have WAAY too many projects going on to fit something like this in. Perhaps "someday", I might try my hand, but the point of this post is to challenge all you writers and hopefuls to think outside the fantasy box. What is something that NO ONE ELSE is doing?

Seriously, I think perhaps unicorns and pegasus' are it. Imagine a Narnia-esque world, where animals talk and glitter abounds (because I love glitter, just go with it lol) and magical creatures appear to save the world... Whatever it is, they don't have to be a "shifter". Can't we just have a unicorn be a unicorn?

This is why I love rich, new fantasy worlds, because they challenge us to think outside the "norm" of castles, dragons, wizards. Even I myself am "guilty" of this kind of fantasy world. But I want to see someone shake things up a bit. Because seriously, who wouldn't want to read a fantasy story about perhaps an army of unicorn or pegasus' warriors kicking the ass of some Big Bad? :)



Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Update on the Magical Worlds of Bianca D'Arc

I've been very busy since my trip South. First, I caught a nasty flu bug and have been sick for about two weeks, but getting better every day. Second, I've been writing some new stuff in a couple of different worlds - my contemporary paranormal world and a new contemporary urban fantasy setting that I hope to pitch to one of the larger "New York" publishers this Fall.

I've also been dabbling with fairies. Well, editing in the fey realm at least. I'm happy to report that everything's on track for a pre-Christmas release of a short story I wrote last year about this time called Solstice Dreams. It's the tale of a High Court Sidhe Knight and his forbidden love for a Dark Fey Sorceress. They're both on a quest to find the jolly old elf who lives near the North Pole, but neither can find him until they find love.

It's a short, sweet, hot tale about forbidden fey love and a shared quest that becomes not-so-important in the face of passion. It will be coming out from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid - my first publication with them - in December. We're editing it now. It'll be Volume 7 of their Celtic Love Knots series and my story will be in with one by Barri Bryan.

Aside from my fey folk, my dragons are doing very well indeed. I came back from my trip to find that Prince of Spies had been released in paperback and was bopping around the Fantasy, Futuristic and Ghost Top 100 Best Seller List on Amazon.com. Yay! For some odd reason, it's also listed on the Contemporary Top 100 Best Seller List, which is great, but kinda weird too, since this book is set in a medieval-ish fantasy world. LOL.

In other dragon news, Wings of Change tops the MBAM Best Seller List and I couldn't be happier! Thanks to everyone who's already bought the novella and especially to those who've let me know how they liked it! I'm working feverishly on FireDrake, the next Dragon Knights novel, which should be out in ebook formats next May.
So I've been kept really busy with dragons, fey and other magical creatures. I hope some of you will come see me at the booksignings I have lined up for every weekend this month. I'll be signing at the New Jersey Romance Writers Conference book fair on October 6th at the Woodbridge Sheraton. The following weekend, I'll be signging at the Borders in Middletown, NY, and the weekend after that, I'll be at the Borders in Marlborough, MA. Details are on my website, so please come out and see me if you're in the area!