Releases 10/7/2014 Now available for pre-order. Click on cover.

The cure they desperately need just rose from the ashes of evil…

Ghost Phoenix: The Phoenix Institute, Book 3

Richard Plantagenet, self-exiled prince of an immortal court, is content living the uncomplicated life of a California surfer. Until his brother’s sudden death and his Queen’s wasting illness wrest him from his ocean-side solitude for one last quest.

The Queen needs a cure. To get it, Richard needs assistance from someone with a singular—and slightly illegal—talent.

As the latest of a long line of ghost-walkers, Marian Doyle can, literally, walk through walls—bringing objects with her. Her gift comes in handy for her family’s shady antiquities business, but Marian’s had it with breaking the law. She wants a life of her own choosing.

Instead, she gets Richard.

Their mission seems simple: Find the body of Gregori Rasputin and procure a small sample of his DNA. But when they discover the Mad Monk of Russia is very much alive, the prince and the phantom must form a bond to battle a man who desires to remake the world in fire.

It’s almost here! Over the next month, I’ll be sharing some snippets from the book and perhaps even give away a copy or two. In the meantime, it’s up for pre-order on Amazon, B&N, and my publisher, Samhain Publishing.

And it would be a huge help if anyone interested clicks “want to read” on Goodreads. Thanks!

Looking forward to this one coming it. It’s full of all the kinds of stuff I love: immortals, superpowers, hot sex, ninja monks, tunnels, travel and one really hot surfer dude.


August is the annual Read-A-Romance Month and all through next month, Celebrate Romance will have essays by some of the greats of romance talking about how they got started and why they love the genre.

How did I get started? It took a village.  As part of this celebration, I wanted to honor those who helped me on my journey to becoming a writer.

I’ve met all but one of these woman  and all of them before I read any of their books. All were inspirations and all of them offered help and advice. I’m forever grateful.

And then I picked up their stories, terrified that I wouldn’t enjoy them. No worries. I’ve become a lifelong fan of these writers not only as people but as storytellers.

1. Dallas Schulze.

Dallas was the first romance novelist I interacted with online. We ‘met’ on the old Laurel K. Hamilton yahoo loop, an active and lively place in the early 2000s that also included a brand new novelist influenced by LKH: one Jim Butcher of Harry Dresden fame. (Yes, it was an awesome loop.)

Jim and Dallas often had good-natured debates about writing and about the merits of the various characters in LKH’s Anita Blake series. Those discussions were so much fun to read that, for the first time since reading Victoria Holt as a teenager, I was inspired to read a romance.

Dallas’ books hooked me. Her characters were so real, the stories so believable, and the emotions….Tumblr would now call them “the feels.” My favorite was Donovan’s Promise, the story of a married couple who had separated and were seemingly headed for divorce. It was told with a mix of flashbacks from the past and their interactions in the presence, and it stuck in my memory so much that when it came to write my own reunion romance, (the upcoming Phoenix Inheritance), I stole, er, borrowed her story structure.

2. Maureen O. Betita

One word: Pirates!

I call Maureen the pirate lady. Her stories have hunky pirates, heroines who are allowed to be over 30 and high seas adventures. All things fun. I met Maureen at a Romantic Times Booklover’s Convention one year and loved talking with her so much, and her take on romance so much, that I read her stories.  You should too. She’s recently hit the bestseller list with her self-published books and her audience is growing.

3. Karen Harbaugh

Karen is known as Yoda among my internet circle of friends. I had a long talk with her at the Romance Writers of America convention in 2004, where she was up for a Rita and I was up for a Golden Heart. She wanted to know why there weren’t more Asian-Americans in romance novels, a subject near and dear to her heart as she’s Japanese-American. I didn’t have a good answer, so when I wrote my first superhero romance, Phoenix Rising, I remembered the conversation, and that’s how my heroine became Japanese-American.

Why should you read Karen’s books? Because they’re richly layered, descriptive, full of intrigue and mystery, and set in one of my favorite periods, the Regency era. Dark Enchantment, set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, was my first Harbaugh, full of swordfights and court politics and it remains my favorite.

4. Jayne Ann Krentz.

I think they sprinkle JAK’s books with crack because I cannot put them down, whether she writes as Krentz, Amanda Quick or Jayne Castle. If pressed, I will admit to preferring her historicals, as I love the dark and dangerous streets of London and her independent heroines.

Ms. Krentz is the one writer I haven’t spoken to via the ‘net or in-person. I have, however, attended her Q&A sessions with Susan Elizabeth Phillips at ever RWA National conference I’ve attended. Not only because they were an entertaining act but because Ms. Krentz answered one of the questions with one of the best pieces of advice about writing I’d ever heard:

Know your core story.

She said if you know the core story you’re trying to tell, then you know what’s flexible and subject to change and what’s not. She started writing futuristics and couldn’t sell them but realized that they could be modified to historicals and still maintain their core story. As a writer who loves to jump genres, this was an invaluable way to look at my work.

5. Jennifer Crusie

When I think of smart, funny romance, I think of Jennifer Crusie. Tell Me Lies and Bet Me are my favorites but I recommend all her books because they’re always so sharply written and yet always have such a sentimental heart.

I know Jenny and I owe her a great deal for her mentorship and support . She was the first professional writer who ever critiqued a scene for me. It went as well as can be expected when your scene has characters but no plot and no conflict. Jenny was afraid I’d be horrified. Instead, I thought “whoa, wait, this is what’s wrong! But, wait, I can learn to fix it. There is someone who can teach me that stuff.”

And she did.

I can only hope to pay it forward and help someone in the same way she’s helped me.

And my recommendation has nothing to do with that Krispy Kreme donut sex scene in Bet Me. No, nothing at all. :)

As for those cherries on the cover? They’re partially in honor of the most wonderful group of women, the Cherries, who formed on Jenny’s yahoo loop all those years ago. Many of us have gone onto be published writers, and I’m proud to call some of them my close friends, like Christine Merrill, Katy Cooper, and Robin LaFevers.

It took a village to get me started and it still takes a village to keep me going.

Thank you, ladies.

Humans have always looked to the stars for inspiration. Once flight became possible, men and women risked their lives to push “higher, further, faster, more,” in the words of Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, and her current writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick.

The first arc of  DeConnick’s Captain Marvel series was all about the women who were the inspirations for her desire to fly and touch the stars: the female pilots of World War II.

So it seemed appropriate for my post for the “Starry Nights” theme of the annual Science Fiction Romance Brigade Midsummer Blog Hop to focus on those women, real and fictional, who looked at the sky and dreamed big, impossible dreams. Note: if you’re dreaming of some swag, please check out the rafflecopter entry form below. Some seriously good stuff there, including Amazon/B&N gift cards of up to $100.

There were, of course, the early female pioneers of aviation, like Jackie Cochran, Amelia Earhart and Bessie Coleman, the first African-American women to gain a pilot’s license, even if she had to go to France to do it. In a terrific book, Amelia Earhart’s Daughters, the history of the second generation of female flyers is detailed, including many who tried out for the Mercury astronaut program, even though they never really had a chance to be accepted.

And there are my favorite fictional women who dream big, like my Joan Krieger, the heroine of my Curse of the Brimstone Contract, who never liked going in the side door and is so determined to rule her own fate that she’ll end up changing society, rather than let society change her.

Cordelia Naismith of Lois McMaster Bujold’s interstellar Vorkosigan series is one of my favorite characters ever, a force of nature with compassion that knows no bounds.  Cordelia frequently expects those around her to search for solutions that seem impossible.

“You trust beyond reason!”
“Yes. It’s how I get results beyond hope.”

To me, the stars and the sky above represent our dreams, the ones where we hope beyond reason. They represent the heroines of science fiction romance who take a leap of faith in themselves and the person they love and are rewarded with happy endings that are all the more joyful because of that.

And now, the goodies!

As part of the Starry Night Blog Hop, we’re giving away STUFF. MUCH STUFF.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For my entry, please like my Facebook page and I’ll pick a random winner to receive my first steampunk romantic detective novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract (ecopy only) plus Captain Marvel: Volume One: In Pursuit of Flight. (U.S. Shipping only but I can send out a digital edition.)

7/7 NOTE; Winner has been notified.

And click on the Starry Nights button above to go to the other blog hop posts that each have their OWN prizes. :)

Note: I’m having trouble with wordpress accepting comments. :( If you’ve tried to log on and enter previously, I apologize. I’ve kept track of two entries sent via the newsletter and we’re switching over to Facebook likes. If that’s a problem, just hit the newsletter button to enter the contest. And thanks for your patience.

All quite positive! Thank you all for reading and buying!

From CriminalElement.com:

What at first seems like a fun, magic infused mystery, turned out to be quite a bit more.  Joan is seemingly bound by not only her social status, but also her family obligations, and not only does magic mean a way out, it helps to gives her the courage to assert herself and take control of her destiny. There is a bit of light romance, but this is Joan’s journey, and the steampunk-tinged setting of Victorian London (and the clothes, oh, the clothes!) is icing on the cake.

Night Owl Reviews Top Pick!:

This is a fun introduction to what promises to be a very entertaining steampunk series featuring atypical main characters. I greatly enjoyed the focus on different cultures as it contrasts with the challenge of dealing with a society that is stratified by magic. This gives a very different view of historical England as it deals with both the complications and progress made as industrialization progresses plus the struggle to gain equality for women.

4 and 4 1/2 Star Reviews on Amazon.com:

“illustrates the author’s wondrous facility at creating a compelling and imaginative story.”

“Joan is a strong heroine and Sherringford is a man of mystery. The plot sucks you in deeply and quickly. Be prepared to read the book in one sitting!”

“Lawson has managed to incorporate both genres into a multi-layered world uniquely her own. After the midpoint I couldn’t put it down.”

And some blogs with exclusive excerpts from the last two weeks:

Revelry: Curse of the Brimstone Contract at Coffee Time Romance

World Building: Setting is Character at the Science Fiction Romance Brigade

Reader’s Day: Superhero Celebration at Samhain Publishing

Release Day Excerpts at Samhain Publishin

Happy Reading!

steampunk, steampunk detective, steampunk romance, Sherlock Holmes, female WatsonRelease Day is here! ::Takes a moment to Snoopy Dance::

The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, a romantic steampunk history, is the culmination of a dream I had as a teenager when first read Hound of the Baskervilles and hoped I could write characters as fascinating as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

You can buy it at Samhain Publishing, Amazon, B&N, and any of your electronic bookstores.

Not being Arthur Conan Doyle, my idea for a Victorian mystery ended up quite differently, with a dash of magic, technology and an strong element of romance.

Here’s one of my favorite scenes form the book, a classic “detective meets client” scene with a little dash of sexual tension.

Bookshelves covered the walls, their dark color matched by the huge throw rug on the floor that was decorated with swirling Oriental-style designs against a black background. In the center sat a comfortable sitting couch with matching chairs on either side.

Gregor Sherringford was not as indifferent to his surroundings as he had first appeared. She could certainly picture him here, curled up with a book, his dark hair falling in front of his eyes. A pleasing image.

She heard the door close behind her. She turned, her face full of color. She had no reason to be embarrassed, but she was.

“Why did you not tell me to wait here at the beginning, sir?” she asked.

“It is interesting to see how people react to the workroom. If they are appalled or otherwise react badly, then they’re not people worthy of my time.” He hung his leather apron on a coatrack and rolled down his sleeves. “And I was in the middle of an experiment.”

“I do not much like trusting my future to someone who tests me like that.”

“And I don’t like being interrupted by someone ill-mannered enough to snap at me. If you wish to leave, you know where the door is located.”

She reluctantly shook her head and kept a firm grip on her tongue. If she could keep her temper with her father, she could keep it now. “What I wish is to have had no need to come to you, sir, but that is sadly not the case.”

“I’m clearly your choice of last resort. That would not be unusual among my clients.” He smiled thinly, as he had a moment ago in his workroom. “Please, stop glaring at me, Miss Krieger, and have a seat. We will both be more comfortable. Also, no more calling me sir. Mr. Sherringford will do.”

“I was not…” She cleared her throat. She had not been glaring. She had been studying him. In this setting, he belonged. The softer light burnished his hair and skin, as some silks glowed in certain candlelight. Now, she could well imagine him a gallant romantic hero as well as a champion. “I suppose I was glaring. My apologies. I have never done anything like this before. It has me off-balance.” She clutched her pendant tight as she sat down. “How much do you charge, sir?”

“That depends,” he said. “On how much I can afford to pay?” she asked. He drew his eyebrows together. She had angered him somehow. Again. “It depends on your problem. I have valuable work, as you saw. I dislike interrupting

it.” was like trying to get a proper measurement off a squirming customer.

“So it must be a problem that can be solved quickly?” Trying to sort out what he meant was like trying to get a proper measurement off a squirming customer.

“On the contrary, only a complicated problem would be worth setting aside my other matters. As to the fee, if it presents a proper challenge, I will waive it.”

“Excuse me? Usually, more work means a higher fee, not a lower one.”

“So I have been told. But those are my terms.” He looked at her and opened his palm, clearly signaling the next move was hers. “You definitely seem like a person who might have a worthy case. Thus my interest in hearing you out.”

She had an unsettling feeling that he was as interested in her and why she had come to him for help as he was in the problem itself. To him, she might be like one of his experiments, something to be examined and studied. Did he have feelings underneath his cool demeanor?

“I am not certain if my problem is complicated. My mother believes I could be imagining it. Or even losing my mind. Yet there is still a woman dead, and I want to know how she died.”

Official blurb:

Magic—and love—balanced on the tip of a needle…

The Steampunk Detectives, Book 1

Magic existed at the fringes until Prince Albert discovered he was a mage. Now he and others like him are leading a revolution in steam technology that’s held tight in the grip of the upper classes.

A man of half-Indian heritage, rejected by his upper-crust, mage-gifted family, Gregor Sherringford lives in working-class London, investigating cases involving magic among the lower classes. But he’s never met a client quite like spirited, stubborn Joan Krieger.

Joan’s dream was to lead a fashion revolution designing women’s clothing suited to the new technology. But when her richest client mysteriously dies outside her shop, it deals a mortal blow to her dreams.

She hopes the handsome, enigmatic detective can prove the death a magical murder. She never expected a dark plot would be woven right into the fabric of her family. Or that cracking the case will mean merging gifts, minds—and hearts—with the one man who could be her partner in every way. If they survive the release of a soul-binding curse.

 

 

steampunk, steampunk detective, steampunk romance, Sherlock Holmes, female Watson

The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, available at Samhain Publishing, Amazon, B&N and other ebook stores!

Magic—and love—balanced on the tip of a needle…

The Steampunk Detectives, Book 1

Magic existed at the fringes until Prince Albert discovered he was a mage. Now he and others like him are leading a revolution in steam technology that’s held tight in the grip of the upper classes.

A man of half-Indian heritage, rejected by his upper-crust, mage-gifted family, Gregor Sherringford lives in working-class London, investigating cases involving magic among the lower classes. But he’s never met a client quite like spirited, stubborn Joan Krieger.

Joan’s dream was to lead a fashion revolution designing women’s clothing suited to the new technology. But when her richest client mysteriously dies outside her shop, it deals a mortal blow to her dreams.

She hopes the handsome, enigmatic detective can prove the death a magical murder. She never expected a dark plot would be woven right into the fabric of her family. Or that cracking the case will mean merging gifts, minds—and hearts—with the one man who could be her partner in every way. If they survive the release of a soul-binding curse.

—Almost here!

Dinah of Seneca by Corrina Lawson, alternate history, Romans, Vikings

I’ve been intently watching Vikings on the History Channel this year. They’ve upped the storytelling a great deal, though it remains a very dense show. There isn’t a clear-cut hero but Ragnor, the lead Viking, is infinitely interesting as are many of the cast.

Plus, I just love the storyworld, not the least because I immersed myself in Viking culture to write Dinah of Seneca. One of the key scenes in my book features an alliance wedding with an exchange of swords, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to see something similar on television last night.

So I thought I’d share my own scene. Note: this is alternate history, where the Vikings and the Romans both ended up in North America.

*****************

“Do we need a priest?” she said, licking her lips.What, she wondered, would it be like to bed this man? Not easy or tender. Intense. Passionate.

Gerhard shook his head. “A marriage among my people consists of vows before at least three witnesses. We have more than enough witnesses.”

She nodded and tried to stare anywhere but at his face. She settled for staring at the laces of his wool tunic. A cruel joke of the gods to give her exactly what she’d prayed for, a husband, in exactly a manner she would fear the most. Gerhard took her hand, his sword calluses rubbing against her raw skin.

She raised her head and made contact with his blue eyes again. Caught.

“Repeat after me.”

She did her best to mimic his words. Their language was rough and sounded angry to her ears, rather than smooth and careful like Latin. In the silence, their voices echoed around the cavern. Gerhard said the oaths first in his language, insisted she do the same, then explained them for her in Latin, so she understood the promises. She agreed to care for him, despite good or bad circumstances, and he agreed to care for any children of her body. That was worded oddly and her tongue stumbled over the  phrase.

Her skin grew warmer, her voice clearer as the ceremony went on. She had never considered what her wedding could be like. She’d pictured her marriage beginning as her new husband and she moved into the same home, an arrangement that would be legally recognized, ceremony or not.

This was more.

It seemed another presence entered the cavern, Freya or one of the other Norse gods that Gerhard had called on to bless their union or perhaps one of he New World spirits who still lived close to this cave. Their presence made the ceremony a sacred  oath-bond, a bond that tightened around her chest, threatening to choke off breath.

Yet if she was bound, would not Gerhard be as well? Mykle said something from his place, a few paces behind Gerhard. Gerhard snapped his head to look at Mykle. They scowled at each other. Mykle said something, his voice lower but more sneering.  Gerhard raised his voice and chopped his hand in front of him. Even she understood the “cease and desist” in that gesture. Mykle shook his head but didn’t talk again. The other warriors lowered their heads or looked away from Mykle.

So, some among Gerhard’s tribe opposed this marriage. They were probably as displeased about Gerhard marrying a Roman as she was about marrying a barbarian. Again, why had Gerhard done this? He could have just agreed to the alliance or even slaughtered her and the rest of the Romans. Or slaughtered the rest and taken her.Sacred oath-bound or deception? She did not know which was worse.

An odd silence fell as Gerhard turned back to her, his expression now blank. There was so much about this that she didn’t understand. “Dinah.” Gerhard cleared his throat. “Listen.” She blinked her eyes and nodded. Gerhard said a word that sounded like “mother,” which rooted her firmly back in reality. He bowed to her, took out his sword and offered it to her, hilt first.

“It is custom among our people that the wife receive the husband’s sword, to hold in keeping for their eldest son.”

His face filled with a sudden hope, which died so soon Dinah wondered if she’d imagined it. Her hand shook as she closed it over the jeweled hilt. Good workmanship, there, she thought. Someone had set the gems in far enough that they wouldn’t interfere with wielding the sword. And the blade was steel. Gerhard’s people had been wealthy once, to trade with Romans for steel.

After a moment, Gerhard took his hand off the sword, raising his eyebrow to her. She could end this right now if she wanted, she knew enough about handling swords to run him through.But this sword was for a son. A family.

Your sons will be kings.Flee or stand? The choice was now.

Here’s the full episode of the NickMom show, Take Me To Your Mother, in which comedian Andrea Rosen talks to other moms about how to geek out.

You’ll see me, in full geek mode as Lois Lane, about halfway through but the whole episode is a lot of fun, with Andrea taking her son to a museum, meeting us comic geeks, and LARPing!

Take Me To Your Mother

Yes, in my head, the hero of Ghost Phoenix looked liked this in his original time period

He is pretty, isn’t he? For those who don’t recognize him, that’s Tom (Loki) Hiddleston in “The Hollow Crown” Shakespeare series. More specifically, that’s him playing Henry V in Henry V.

Ghost Phoenix‘s hero, Richard Genet (aka Prince Richard, Duke of York), is a close cousin to Henry V of England. So he could totally look like this, right?

Right!

And that’s part of the big sale news I have for everyone. Over the next twelve months, I’m going to release FOUR books.

The already mentioned The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, a romantic steampunk detective story, on April 29th.

And then…

Ghost Phoenix, out on October 7 this year.

Richard Genet is the hero, an immortal prince disgusted with his immortal court and currently mellowing out as a surfer dude. Marian Doyle is the heroine, the latest in a long line of Doyles blessed with the ability to walk through walls. Together, they go on a quest to heal Richard’s dying Queen and instead become embroiled in the clash between the Phoenix Institute and an unknown and very dangerous enemy.

Ghosts of Christmas Past, due out November 25th this year.

Charlton City Police Detective. Aloysius James and Noir are back fighting crime. After meeting and defeating the mad scientist who tortured Noir aka Lucy in Luminous, the couple finds their relationship at a crossroads during the Christmas season. A murder at a local museum doesn’t help, nor does the fact that one of Lucy’s new friends is the main suspect. It’s going to take a little inspiration by Charles Dickens to solve the crime and keep them together. Oh, and some pie.

Phoenix Inheritance  due March 3, 2015.

After taking a trip across half of Europe in Ghost Phoenix, I thought it was time to pull the series back to something more personal. This book’s hero is Daz Montoya, the head of the Phoenix Institute F-team and the man who taught Alec Farley about honor. Daz is determined to get back with the mother of his son but their nasty break-up plus their son’s insistence that he can telepathically talk to animals is causing some serious problems with Daz’s romantic plan. Throw in one nasty snowstorm, an arrogant cat, and two search-and-rescue dogs and…well, this may turn out to be my most personal story yet.

All except Curse are part of the Phoenix Institute superhero romance series, which already includes Phoenix Rising, Phoenix Legacy and Luminous.

And, yes, I did a ton of writing last year. Hope to match that this year and have news of more sales down the line to tell you all about!

 

Yes, I’ve been absent. My youngest son has had a recurrence of a serious chronic illness and we’ve been dealing with multiple doctors and hospitals for the last two months. He’s stable now and hopefully will remain so.

Which brings me to my first item.

That same son has a four-page story in this anti-bullying comic: You Are Not Alone.

This can be purchased at Grayhaven’s website and I believe if you’re a school or non-profit, Grayhaven will be able to supply some free copies. So proud of this kid! :) :)

And, well, if you’re at the Grayhaven site, you might also want to look at this Steampunk comic.

There’s a story in there featuring the hero of the upcoming The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, plus 38 more pages of great steampunk stories.

Be back tomorrow with more news of upcoming books! :)

Next Page »