Claimed By Dragons by Amber Skyze & Katalina Leon

Claimed By Dragons

By Amber Skyze & Katalina Leon

Book two of the Bag Of Tricks series

Genre: Paranormal erotic-romance, vampire, historical, parallel worlds.
Publisher: Loose Id LLC
Date of Publication: September 25, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-61118-903-2
Number of pages: 286

Series at Loose Id

I have not one but two authors for you today and they’re here talking about the music that inspired them to write Claimed By Dragons. As always, you can click on the pretty cover to see the book, Claimed By Dragons, on Goodreads. Don’t miss the Book Trailer and Excerpt below and at the very bottom you’ll find a bunch of buy links. Enjoy!


In an odd Wiccan shop in Salem, Jael pulls an unusual stone from a witch’s wish bag. Little does she know her wildest dreams of adventure and a torrid affair with two gorgeous co-workers are about to come true—in spades.

Jael’s dreamy boss, Roarke offers her the assignment of a lifetime: a photo safari to Mount Kilimanjaro. The African scenery is stunning but the unexpected arrival of her two office crushes, Roarke and Kypton ignites her passion. Just as the trio is getting steamy at a beautiful waterfall, danger intervenes forcing the men to reveal their secret. They’re dragons. And now, to save her life, they have no choice but to abduct a startled Jael to their mountain lair on Kilimanjaro.

In the dragons’ love nest, Jael learns the truth about their origins and explores all the erotic possibilities two eager lovers can offer. Love awakens, but the guys are being stalked by a covert group of dragon hunters and withholding a life or death secret that will push Jael’s courageous heart and commitment to the limits.

  • Note:This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: anal play/intercourse, male/male sexual practices, menage (m/m/f).


When we were writing Claimed By Dragons music played a big part and we want to share a few of favorites with you today.

Amber Skyze: Music and Writing Are One Since a child I’ve connected to music on many different levels. I love all different types, but lean more towards Rock/Heavy Metal. I listen to music more than I watch television. My CD collection is large and my iPod diverse.

Music plays a huge part in my writing too. I hear a song and picture a story. Not the full story, but a general theme. Sometimes it’s only the title that strikes an idea for a story, but normally it’s the lyrics.

Take for instance Dante’s Desire, published with Ellora’s Cave. I wrote this story after hearing the song I Get Off, by Halestorm.  It’s about someone getting off watching another get off. I knew I had to write Dante’s Desire. The book starts with Addison, the heroine, performing sexual acts in her window for her sexy neighbor across the street.

Another Ellora’s Cave book – Spend The Night With Me, is loosely attached to a song. The song Need You Now, by Lady Antebellum starts off talking about scattered pictures. The image struck a chord with me (no pun intended). This book starts with my heroine Brooke looking at pictures of her now deceased fiancé. After hearing this song, I changed part of the scene to her sitting on the floor with pictures scattered around her. She’s packing them away to move forward with her life.

Sometimes my heroes are musicians like Reed Walker in Body Shots, available from Ellora’s Cave. He’s a singer and guitar player. His band plays at the heroines bar. Reed signs a song he’d written for the heroine many years prior, weakening her defenses.

Those are just a few examples of how I weave my love for music into my writing life. Is there anything that plays a big role in your life?

Katalina Leon: I have to listen to music when I write, it’ not an option, it’s a must! I prefer moody instrumental soundtracks when I’m actually writing, but I listen to and love all this stuff too, whenever I need a little break.

Best song to get into the mood with:
U2 “If You Wear that Velvet Dress”

Best song to do a private Striptease to:
Nine Inch Nails “Sunspots”
(You’ll swear you were wearing clothes before the music started)

Best song to feel empowered by:
Kelly Clarkson “Stronger” (What Doesn’t Kill You)

Best song to remember your “Ex” by:
Gun N’ Roses “Sweet Child Of Mine”

Best song to shape shift to:
TV On The Radio “Wolf Like Me”

Best song to drive too fast to:
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds aka “What A Life”

Best Music to enjoy a sweet cry:
Ludovico Einaudi Doctor Zhivago BBC soundtrack  “Writing Poems”

Best song to feel fully alive to:
One Giant Leap “Daphne”
(Give this gorgeous piece of music a chance it unfolds slowly and travels through several soaring transitions.)

Best Music to give yourself the creeps:
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross “She Reminds Me of You”

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo soundtrack:

Best song to make me wish I’d taken guitar lessons seriously:
Led Zeppelin’s ”Ten Years Gone”


(In this scene Jael has pulled a stone from Witch Casey’s wish bag and had her fortune told by a wriggly snake, now she has to sit still for a moment and reflect on her love life.)

Jael closed her fingers around the stone and thought of another man who worked with her—Kypton. Kypton was quiet and aloof with most everyone in the department, but his gaze followed her longingly every time she walked past.

When she told her friends she liked the manager of the IT department, they teased her relentlessly. They couldn’t picture her with a computer geek. Thing was, Kypton was the furthest thing from a computer geek. She understood why they immediately thought of someone with glasses, a shirt buttoned up tight to the neck, and a pocket protector sticking out of his shirt pocket. That wasn’t Kypton.

What her friends and others in her office seemed to miss was that beneath the subdued exterior, Kypton was smoking hot with pale blond hair and baby blue eyes. His voice carried the softest hint of northern Europe. He pronounced e’s as a’s, and she wondered if Kypton had gone to school in Switzerland or lived near there as a child.

Occasionally she was fortunate enough to peek down his collar and glimpse the silky blond hair on his chest. His broad shoulders and well-defined chest stood out in anything he wore. His arms looked like he frequented the gym, and those fitted khakis he favored as office wear gave her a view of a sexy, tight ass. A hint of smoldering physicality simmered just below the surface as if he were completely capable of picking her up, carrying her into a quiet storage room, and banging her senseless. At least that was what she hoped. She concluded the other women in her office must be blind or foolish not to notice Kypton’s potential. Kypton seemed thoughtful and sensitive too, which was a huge plus. He’d jumped in to help her on numerous occasions, often staying late at work to do so. He also avoided all office gossip or conflicts and went out of his way to help others before he was even asked, which she found pretty damn attractive.

All in all Kypton was a dreamy guy, even if he might appear a bit sedate.

Only problem was Roarke attracted her too.

Roarke was Kypton’s opposite. Roarke was outgoing and authoritative. When he entered the room, others stopped what they were doing to listen. Though he was a manager, he had an artistic, wild vibe about him that was exciting to be near. He dressed well in bold colors like earthy orange or rich purple. It was a treat to watch him walk past her desk and catch a whiff of his subtle citrusy aftershave—that was, if he ever really shaved. His square jaw seemed perpetually stubbled in a grainy, sexy sort of way.

Roarke had coppery skin and the swarthy good looks of a Barbary pirate chief. She half fantasized he was the son of some powerful khan and his mother was some delicate-boned beauty. Roarke was both puzzling and stunning to look at. His sleek nose and chiseled bone structure made his origins difficult to guess. She wondered if there was a tribe of exotically perfect people hiding somewhere on a long-forgotten island, who sneaked away from their hidden paradise now and then to work as office managers.

As a natural leader, Roarke drew people to his side with ease. He spoke passionately with his expressive hands and cognac-brown eyes as much as he did with words. Anything earthy and creative interested him—nature, movies, paintings, or books, he loved them all. His apartment contained a dazzling array of fine books and an impressive collection of beautiful artifacts displayed in lit niches.

A visit to his apartment was not only a physical thrill; it was mentally stimulating to the artist in her to look at the many things he’d collected over the years. Roarke seemed to live in such a different world from the average person, and she longed be to invited in.

Roarke worked as a manager in the human resource department of International Explorer magazine and network. He was well respected and very much in demand.

She’d foolishly told Roarke on the first date she had no intention of getting involved with a coworker, so maybe some of the distance between them was her fault. She wanted to take it back. What a dummy she was for saying that.

That wasn’t to say nothing had happened between them. It had. Twice after a dreamy museum date or trip to the movies on Roarke’s birthday, the date had ended with both of them unable to keep their hands off each other.

Roarke had picked her up, carried her into his bedroom, tossed her onto his amethyst sheets, and lavished her with the best oral she’d ever had. Roarke was a total sensualist and seemed to know exactly what she needed to come hard. She’d loved every second of writhing in his firm but loving grasp and was eager to reciprocate.

She just wasn’t sure where she stood with him. A date once in a while was for chumps. Maybe he was waiting for her to admit that she did want to get involved with a coworker before pursuing her a little harder.

“Never underestimate the power of love.” Witch Casey winked as she popped the captured snake back into the basket.

Jael turned her attention to the woman standing in front of her. Had she been reading Jael’s mind?

“Your dilemma will not be hard to decide. You already know exactly what you want, and you don’t have to choose.”

Jael’s eyes widened.

Dear God, she can read my mind. I wonder if she saw the naughty thoughts?

“I did, dear.” Witch Casey shrugged. “But your secrets are safe with me. Besides, no one believes me anyway.”

(Jael’s life gets crazy fast, when she returns to work to face Roarke and Kypton with the wish stone in her pocket.)

Thank you so much for having us as your guests!

“Claimed By Dragons” Amber Skyze & Katalina Leon
Book 2 in The Bag Of Tricks book series.
Loose Id Publishing:
Look for Book 1 in The Bag Of Tricks series“ The Strix”.
Also available at ARe and Amazon.
Join Amber Skyze and Katalina Leon on facebook.

Author Bio Katalina Leon:

I’m an artist, an author, mother and wife. I write for Loose Id Publishing and Ellora’s Cave. I try to bring a touch of the mystical and a big sense of adventure to everything I write because I believe there’s a bold, kick-ass heroine inside all of us who wants to take a wild ride with a strong worthy hero.

Night Owl Reviews Author page
Seven Sexy Scribes blog
Katalina’s blog
Ellora’s Cave

Author Bio Amber Skyze:

From a very young age, Amber Skyze began making up stories–the only child syndrome. Telling tall tales to all her friends she never dreamed of putting words on paper. In fact if anyone asked her if she would write when she grew up, she’d have laughed.

It wasn’t until raising children and reading all those romances that she decided–hey, I can write these. HA! Easier said than done.

When not crafting hot, steamy tales, this New York transplant now resides in Rhode Island with her husband, four children (who force her to work a day job), and three dogs.

She currently writes for Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id and is self-published.

Facebook ~ Amazon

Claimed By Dragons Buy Links:

Loose Id | All Romance eBooks | Amazon

Links of the week #31

It’s Saturday and time to review the treats from the week. The hubs is back with a music pick for you to enjoy.

Write Fresh

Maggie Lawson at Stacy Green – Turning the Page : Thriller Thursday: Margie Lawson – Visceral RULES!

Character Descriptions

Megan Ward at Writerland : How to Write Kick-Ass Character Descriptions

Story / Conflict

Roz Morris at Nail Your Novel : If something matters in your story, your characters must earn it

Show/Tell & Editing

Aimee L. Salter at Seeking the Write Life : “Telling” is Another Word for “Let Me Explain”

Corinne Duyvis at The Other Side of the Story : Guest Author Corinne Duyvis: Fast Drafting, Fast Editing


Shannon Donnelly at Writers In The Storm : Tips on Subtext ~ What Is It REALLY?


Mary Keeley at Books & Such Literary Agency : 9 Tips for Writing a Perfect Synopsis


Cassandra Carr at Hot Blogging with Heart : Thursday Thirteen 8/9/12- 13 Reasons an Author Shouldn’t Be an Island

Cara Bristol : More to promoting fellow authors than being nice…

Writer Business

Caitlin Muir at Author Media : 11 Places to Get a Free and Legal Photo for Your Blog

Roni Loren : Want Private Inspiration Boards? Alternatives to Pinterest

Marketing for Romance Writers : MFRW’s Annual “Write-place, Write-time” Submissions 2012 <– How cool is this! AND a pitch camp

John Yeoman at Writers’ Village : How to Use Strategic Guest Posting to Sell Books

Caitlin Muir at Author Media : What Every Author Needs To Know About Alt Text

Writer’s Life

Laurell K. Hamilton : Don’t Let Perfectionism Stop You <– a must read

Julie Glover : Ergonomics for Writers: Tension on the Page, Not on Your Back

Music from Jeffrey

This is ‘Shoofly Pie’ by The Wood Brothers from the album ‘Smoke Ring Halo’

It’s a team of two brothers.  One plays guitar and sings, and writes most of the tunes, and the other plays bass and sings.

The bass player, Chris Wood, has been a part of a very successful instrumental group called Medeski, Martin and Wood.  They are definitely an influence on my Jazz trio and on me personally.

Apparently, Chris and his brother never really played music together until later in life.  They’ve added a drummer, who also sings, and it seems they’ve really clicked.  I’ve enjoyed their previous albums but this one really stands apart.  It’s not quite as loose while still feeling greasy and funky.

They have a rootsy sound which allows them to cover a lot of ground.  From blues to gospel to southern soul to funk to folk, they’ve got it all in there in one shape or form.

I’m anxious to hear their albums from here on out.  I really think they’re on to something!

What you might have missed here:

Six Sentence Sunday #28

Flash Fiction #19 – His Brother’s Girl

Links of the week #30

No surprises, I found fabulous stuff this week to share, but the hubs forgot to send me a music clip. I’m not going to leave you hangin with nothing, though. I’ve included a clip of one of the hubs all time favorites. A song writer that has greatly influenced my husbands song writing and double score that the performance was recorded near our own Detroit Rock City.

Act 1 / Opening Lines

Janice Hardy at The Other Side of the Story : In the Beginning: Which Type of Opening Works Best?


Tiffany Reisz at The Other Side of the Story : Guest Author Tiffany Reisz: Forget He Said, She Said – Three Easy Tricks for Better Dialogue

Angela Ackerma at Perpetual Chaos of a Wandering Mind : Guest Post: Showing Emotion In Dialogue-heavy Scenes

Conflict / Stakes

Kara Lennox at Writers In the Storm : Raise the Stakes


Rachel Thompson at Molly Greene Writer : 5 Book Promotion Tactics That Really Work!

Writer’s Life

Kait Nolan : Boing Boing! Increasing Your Resilience And Bouncing Back

Writer Business

Jen Talty at Bob Mayer’s Blog : The difference between lending, borrowing and pirates.

Music I know Jeff loves

Elvis Costello & the Attractions at the Royal Oak Theatre, Detroit on 22nd May 1978

What you might have missed here:

Six Sunday #27

Shelton’s Homecoming by Dianne Hartsock QandA / Giveaway <–comments are still open for the giveaway!!

Flash Fiction #18

Links of the week #27

Thanks for another fabulous week bloggers. I keep learning from you each week and I appreciate all that you do. Hubs is back this week with his second pick (see his 1st pick in last weeks post) in his snazzy theme: Really great drummers who are also really great singer/songwriter/guitarists.


You all know Roni’s and Gene’s weekly mashup, right? Agreed, they rock. Well thanks to Jenny Hansen’s A Plethora of Amazing Links That Rocked My World I found a new mashup to love by Reetta Raitanen : Link Feast For Writers , vol. 15

Plot & Story

Dr. John Yeoman was at The Write Practice : The Secret to Writing Powerful Stories

Angie Dicken at The Writers Alley : The Swell To A Black Moment

Lisa Cron was at The Sharp Angle : How to Grab the Reader’s Brain: The Facts of Fiction <–fabulous

Jami Gold : Blogiversary Winners & a Gift for All <–with a must see downloadable spreadsheet!

Write Fresh

Marcy Kennedy : How to Use Sound to Make Your Novel Stand Out In A Sea of Noise <–includes links to posts on smell, taste, and touch


Moody Writing : Give Characters Interesting Anecdotes

World Building – Setting

Cindy R. Wilson at The Writers Alley : Making Your Setting Come to Life


Juliana Haygert at the NA Alley : On Pitches <–she filled the post with links & a craft book

From Reeta’s link above I found Elena Johnson : Query Letters <–a full list of posts for all the parts of the query & a free ebook titled From the Query to the Call


Lisa Hall-Wilson : 8 TIPS FOR SELF-EDITING

Janice Hardy at The Other Side of the Story : You’ll Have to Go Through Me: Eliminating Filter Words

Writer Business

Toni Kelly over at Nights of Passion : Website Revamping <–1st in a series of posts 🙂

Molly Greene : Amazon Book Tags: What, Where, Why & How To Use Them

Music from Jeff

He’s back this week giving you insight on another drum he admires

“Her Song” by Brian Blade, from the album “Mama Rosa”.

You should also look for the song “After the Revival”  I couldn’t find a video link for that one, but it’s my favorite song on that record.

Brian Blade is one of my favorite drummers.  I first heard of him as a jazz player in the early 90’s.  I’ve seen him play jazz and was absolutely blown away.  He’s such a passionate player – paying tribute to the legacy of music while still having his own voice.  That’s VERY difficult to do in jazz music because the legacy is so rich.

BUT THEN, I heard him playing with Seal.  I didn’t know how versatile. Again, blown away.

AND THEN, I heard him on an Emmylou Harris (folk singer) album.

AND THEN, I heard him with Joni Mitchell.


This guy can do anything and still sound like himself.  That is incredibly rare and very special when you come across it.

THEN, he decides to make an album as a singer/songwriter.  Of course, I immediately bought it and again, I am blown away. Great songs, great guitar playing, great singing (very cool sounding voice) and, of course, great drumming. I think Brian was blessed with severe talent and a wonderful soul. He is also a part of the Black Dub group I’ve sent previously. Enjoy.

What you might have missed here:

Flash Friday #15
Six Sunday #25

Links of the week #26

Wow, did that week go fast or what. Hot and fast. The only way to recover from that kind of week: relax with a good book.  So, now that you know what I’m doing today, well, for as long as I can anyways 🙂 below I have as many fabulous blogs as I was able to read this week. And Jeff is finally back this week. His music pick this week even has a follow-up pick for next week.

Act 1

The Writers Alley : Showing C.A.R.E. in Your First Chapter

Margo Berendsen : 17 tips for starting a story

Characters Development

Adrienne de Wolfe was at The Creative Penn : 20 Tips for Writing Lovable Romance Novel Heroes


At Joan Swan’s : Martina Boone: Using GMC to Add Romantic Tension

Kara Lennox, a.k.a. Karen Leabo was at Writers In The Storm blog! : Is Your Conflict Strong Enough?

The Other Side of the Story : Going Both Ways: Outlines for Plot, Pantser for Character


From @smoulderingsea #editortips on 7/3/12 : Using “S/he could tell that…” to interpret another character’s actions is a cheap way to avoid breaking POV.


From @smoulderingsea #editortips on 7/2/12: Challenge yourself to write a query pitch/blurb in only 150 words. It’ll force you to cut out anything extraneous and focus.


Seeing Creative posted about her experience with SmartEdit!! 🙂 : Edit Smartly

The Other Side of the Story : The Spit Shine: Things to Check Before You Submit

Music from Jeff

My hubs is a drummer, you knew that right? Okay, so his theme this week and next is…

Really great drummers who are also really great singer/songwriter/guitarists.

The first one is obvious:

“Rope” by Foo Fighters, from the album “Wasting Light”

After having seen them live together, we both know just HOW MUCH they rock.

What I really like about Dave Grohl’s approach is that he released the first album under the band name with no attention to himself.  He could have easily used his post Nirvana fame to push the project through, so to speak.  Instead, he decided to let the music do the talking.  I think that’s admirable, but I also think it was a smart move.  It gave people the chance to judge the music purely on…the music.  What a concept!  No preconceived notions or other celebrity crap – just music.

Over the years, the band has been extremely successful at taking Dave’s songs and making them their own.  I think this album is one of the best examples of this.  They all play their roles to a perfection and sound like a BAND.

That freakin’ rocked!

What you might have missed here:

Six Sentence Sunday #24

Flash Fiction #14

Links of the week #24

It’s a week of transitions for me, but one thing that doesn’t change: I’m still learning tons from my blog reads. Good stuff this we folks. Hubs is getting another week off, but I’ve picked something for you.

Social Media

Thank you for this smart advice Rachelle Gardner : Should Unpublished Novelists Be Platform-Building it will most certainly help me to keep my priorities in order

Meghan Ward’s Writerland : Where to Get Photos For Your Blog

Janice Hardy on The Other Side of the Story : The Great Twitter Experiment: What Does “More Tweets” Really Get You?


The totally awesome Savannah Chase was at Chris Redding’s : MFRW Summer Camp: Savannah Chase


I found this site from QueryTracker’s post Question: is anyone familiar with SmartEdit? It’s currently a free product.


Lynnette Labelle : The Secrets Behind Buried Dialogue Part 1

Fight Scenes

my fav Jenny Hansen posted twice at Writes In The Storm : Do Your Characters Fight in a Way That Advances Your Story? & Ramp Up The Fight To Amp Up The Tension

Music to inspire

The hubs was given another pass this week, another crazy gigging week for him. Don’t feel bad for him, he had a ton of fun, we just didn’t get to see a lot him, bummer.

I’ve picked “If You Want Me” by The Swell Season. Marketa Irglova’s voice is hauntingly beautiful, enjoy

Links of the week #22

Back to my regular patterns this week. I have writing links for you and a music pick from Jeff. The video is a funny clip from Fred Armisen’s show “Portlandia”

The coolest thing: Kristen Lamb you are awesome! She has created a place for writers to not be alone 😉 you can chat with other writers in your genre and it’s a place to learn from WRITERS. Hurry, click away, come back to my list later I Bring You…A Gift–A New Era for the Digital Age Artist

Cassandra Carr : Thursday Thirteen 6/7/12- 13 cool phone apps for authors be sure to check the comments too

Aimee L. Salter at Seeking the Write Life : The Three Things You Need to Make Your Book GREAT

Roni Loren : How To Write Love Scenes That Don’t Suck – A Free Class!


M J Wright : Worldbuilding: top tips for tantalising titles


Shannon Donnelly was at Writers In The Storm this week : When to TELL the Story


Sharla Rae at Writers In the Storm : Does Your Story Lack A Heartbeat?

Scene Breaks & Transitions

Janice Hardy from The Other Side of the Story : Moving Forward: Writing Smooth Transitions


This week via Stina Lindenblatt and her cool links FridayI found Margo Berendsen : 21 ways to make your plot more compelling

Book Trailers

Lynnette Labelle : Do Book Trailers Sell Books?


Jami Gold had a fabulous post this week with a big collection of ideas: The Ultimate Guide to Pitch Writing

Social Media

Kristen Lamb : Can Facebook Hold Your Fan Page Hostage? Fallout from the IPO Debacle & How It Affects YOU

Music from Jeff

“Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood” by St. Vincent, from the album “Actor”

St. Vincent is actually Annie Clark.  I think she got her break playing with the Polyphonic Spree.  She’s a wonderful singer/songwriter/guitarist.

Her music is so interesting to me.  I can hear the influences, but the way in which she stirs them up and spits them out is very unique to her.  I think it starts with her guitar style and musical knowledge.  She’s not the average singer/songwriter nor is she the average guitarist.

I’ve heard that she writes the tunes on the guitar and then deconstructs them in the studio.  I really like that idea and the end result.  Sometimes it can be a little too out there for me but then, after a few listens, I’m back in again.  That’s the point, it seems – draw the listener in right away but also give us something to discover over time.  I think all truly great music does this.

I’ve also seen some clips of her playing her songs stripped down to just voice and acoustic guitar.  It’s clear that all the studio production is merely a means to create interesting layers to already great tunes.

Plus, she has Matt Johnson (Jeff Buckley’s drummer) on drums.  Musically, you can’t go wrong with that guy in your band!

What you might have missed here:

Six Sentence Sunday #20

Spotlight: Sara’s Smile by Sandra Bunino ~ Q&A and Giveaway

Flash Fiction #10

Links of the week #20

Happy Saturday! What? It’s Memorial weekend? OMG, what am I doing inside. I have weeding to do, plants to put in the garden, roses to train, books to read, a MS to edit…and more blogs to read 🙂 I have a pretty collection for you today and don’t forget to listen to Jeff’s music selection today. You won’t regret this listen, it’s powerful.

Writer Business

Suzanne Rock at Romance on a Budget shares a tip Do you have Business Cards?


Darcy Pattison at Fiction Notes had some great reminders 5 Plot Fixes for Peace Makers

Alan Chin posted this week Writing Tip #36 Story Starter Questions. Very interesting collection of 12-questions. A quick test to see if your plot is missing something.

Janice Hardy at The Other Side of the Story had a brilliant line at the beginning of her post on plots this week: “The house is story. Decorating is plot.” Loved the rest of the post too Author, We Have a Problem: 4 Tips on Plotting Your Novel


Writers It The Storm had Tiffany Lawson Inman yesterday!! Dialogue is King


Janice Hardy is talking my kind of talk. She uses some simple math and cut and paste to help her in trimming her MS. Interesting read even if you don’t need to trim Break it Down: Trimming Words From a Too-Long Manuscript

Query & 1st Pages

Roni Loren answered What Will Make An Agent Gong Your Pages, tips from the DFW Writer’s Conference


DIY MFA spelled out the different ways to punctuate dialog. It’s easy to see the differences in this post: Demystifying Dialogue: Perfect Your Punctuation and went on to the Nine NO’s of Dialogue


Vickie Motter from Navigating the Slush Pile described the points of the pitch and how it’s different from your query: May Conferences: The Verbal Pitch. Don’t miss her next post either for help with the twitter pitch Speaking of pitching…

Social Media

Ashley Barron added another post in a series and this one includes hashtag strategy #helpful 🙂 Blogging: Twitter & The Hashtag

Roz Morris was over at Author’s Electric this week with some good reminders: How to get on well with Twitter – by Roz Morris

Music from Jeff

This is a tune called “Surely” from the group Black Dub. It’s Daniel Lanois’ passion project.  He’s a super famous producer (U2, Bob Dylan, the list goes on and on) known for his warm and unique sounds.  He’s also a great guitarist, songwriter, and singer.

He formed this group after he heard the singer, Trixie Whitley, during a recording session.  Her father was a famous singer/guitarist/songwriter named Chris Whitley who, sadly, passed away several years ago.  It’s clear that she has music in her blood – an incredible talent.

The drummer is one of my absolute faves, Brian Blade.  He became known as a jazz player but has since played with quite a vast array of artists (Seal, Joni Mitchell, etc…).  He has his own groups – a jazz group where he plays drums and a solo outfit where he sings, writes the tunes and plays guitar.  He’s an unbelievable musician!

So, you can see that with this sort of line up the music is going to be amazing, and it really is! With all of these unique voices they still have such a great group sound.  I think they record live together most of time which is very cool and a bit of a lost art.  I think it really comes through on the record – a live vibe, real musicians reacting and playing together in the moment.

Hope you enjoy it!

What you might have missed here:

Six Sunday #18

Flash Friday #9

Links of the week #19

It’s Saturday, so again I have collected a bunch of wonderful posts from this past week. Enjoy and don’t forget to see, at the bottom, what Jeff has selected for us to listen to this week.

Write Fresh

Marcy Kennedy made it easy to understand where to put descriptions and where to cut in How to Use Taste to Make Your Readers Hungry for More

Janice Hardy at The Other Side of the Story made me smile with this post title Did I Just Say That? When Characters Say Dumb Things. My characters can say some pretty dumb things and I love it. Do you?


Susan Bearman at Write it Sideways gave advice to remember Fall Out of Love with Your Main Character


Janice Hardy at The Other Side of the Story talked plot yesterday and I’ve read these ideas before, but this post looks at things from a new angle The Best Advice on Plotting I’ve Ever Heard: Two Tips That Will Make Plotting Easier

Writer Business

Aimee Salter over at Seeking the Write Life provided some levity: Top 10 Reasons You Need An Editor

Rachel Kent at Books & Such gave a refreshing list Qualities Agents Look for in Clients

Sara Megibow was at Romance University this week laying it all out Sara Megibow Sells Romance – Who is a “good” literary agent?

Music from Jeff

Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars.  Even though they are only a duo, they have a collective group sound.You may remember seeing them on the grammy’s this past year.  I think they won a bunch of ‘em.

They’re a great songwriting duo whose voices blend perfectly.  What’s very cool about this group is that, while they have a great vocal blend, their individual voices are fairly distinct.  With a unique voice it can often be difficult to blend with anyone else, let alone another unique voice.  It’s a rare and special thing when this happens and I think they realized it right away. Plus, they seem to write songs well together…another tricky skill.

The whole album is quite a bit more mellow than this tune but I’ve been enjoying.  They also have a really cool version of ‘I want you back’ by the Jackson 5. They contributed a few tunes, including one with Taylor Swift (that certainly adds to her lacking credibility), for the hunger games movie.  Those tunes (even the one with Taylor Swift) are very good as well.

p.s. they are not a couple.  They are each married to other people.  I think they get that question a lot because of how close they seem to be.

Hope you enjoyed the links this week. Did you miss my Flash Fiction from yesterday? And last, don’t forget to come back tomorrow for my six sentences from my WIP.

Links of the week #17

Yeah, yeah, it’s May, hooray. Okay, I get it. I’m working on my sourpuss, do you see it? Oh! I know what will help: some good writing links and some music from Jeff. Say no more…


Thank Janice Hardy for bringing this brilliant idea to my attention Don’t Finish: Ways to be a More Productive Writer, Part 3

Gabrille Bisset was at Niina C’s this week talking about How To Write Hot Sex Scenes

Fae Rowen posted on an interesting topic this week over at Writers in the Storm, captivating: The Vibrational Energy of Crystals ~ for You and Your Characters

Susan Hanniford Crowley posted about What A Writer Needs, Part 13 – Just Breathe at Nights of Passion<– excellent reminder


Lynette Labelle provided some caution with: The Three-Act Structure – Part 2

Roni Loren offered up some great advice in Before Fingers Touch Keyboard: My 6 Pre-Writing Steps

Kara Lennox was back this week at Writers In The Storm, man I’m loving her posts!! Plot Fixer – Part 2: How To Fix A Weak Opening

Music from Jeff

Did you miss Jeff’s first share last week? He’s back again this week…

“Death of Communication” by Company of Thieves  from the album, “Running From a Gamble”.

Company of Thieves is a band from Chicago.  My sound man is pals with them and we went and saw a bit of their set at the metro last month. I also heard one of their tunes during the credits of “Entourage.”  I immediately searched the net to find out the name of the artist and song and have been hooked ever since.

The creative nucleus of the band seems to be the singer and guitarist. The singer has a fairly clear bjork influence  in terms of her sound.  I think her voice may be one of those, you either love or hate it, scenarios.  Sometimes it sounds a bit “put on” for me but the music overall more than makes up for it.  I like her lyrics as well…sometimes a bit melodramatic but I enjoy a little melodrama every now and again. For instance, the chorus of this tune speaks to me as an artist:

Almost fooled me when you said to
Sell your soul for someone’s gold
Maybe then you’ll have a friend
Go on, sell your soul to be controlled
Maybe then you’ll have a friend

The guitarist makes some interesting choices with the types of chords he uses.  This enables the singer more room for interesting melodic ideas. Their songs don’t really have the typical “hooks” of pop/rock outfit but I think that’s why I like it. It’s not too crazy but not too “easy” at the same time…somewhere in the middle. After having seen them live, it’s clear that they can really play.  Seems silly to even have to mention this but, in this day and age, it’s rare.

This is a band who creates an overall “sound”.  As I think of further artists for this little project of ours, I can already see that “sound” is going to be a somewhat constant factor in my picks.

Hope you like ‘em, Jeff