Welcome to my blog!

I'm so excited that my lifelong dream of becoming a published author has come true. If you'd like to go straight to excerpts, descriptions, and buy links for my books, click on the covers below on the right.

I love to hear from my readers! If you have a comment for me or if you'd like to submit a character for published character interview or unpublished character analysis, please use the form below or email me at cecilia (at) ceciliadominic (dot) com.

If you're not getting enough randomness from me here, please feel free to follow me on Twitter and/or like my Facebook page. I've also taken the Pinterest plunge. You can also sign up for my monthly newsletter for news on books, sleep tips, and wine notes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Eros Element release day!

Since I've got my Facebook ad and tweets coming straight to this page, I'll go ahead and give y'all the cover, blurb, and buy links:


If love is the ivy, secrets are the poison.

Aether Psychics, Book 1

After enduring heartbreak at the hands of a dishonest woman, Edward Bailey lives according to scientific principles of structure and predictability. Just the thought of stepping outside his strict routine raises his anxiety.

Adding to his discomfort is Iris McTavish, who appears at his school’s faculty meeting in place of her world-famous archeologist father. Worse, the two of them are to pose as Grand Tourists while they search for an element that will help harness the power of aether. 

Iris jumps at the opportunity to prove her worth as a scholar—and avoid an unwanted marriage proposal—while hiding the truth of her father’s whereabouts. If her secret gets out, the house of McTavish will fall into ruin.

Quite unexpectedly, Edward and Iris discover a growing attraction as their journey takes them to Paris and Rome, where betrayal, blackmail and outright theft threaten to destroy what could be a revolutionary discovery—and break their hearts.

Warning: Allergen alert! This book was produced in a facility that handles copious amounts of wine, tea and baked goods. May contain one or more of the following: a spirited heroine, a quirky hero, clever banter, interesting facts both made-up and historical, and lots of secrets. It is, however, gluten free.

Click here for a post with an excerpt and the story of how I started writing steampunk.

If you stop reading here and go buy and enjoy the book, I'm perfectly cool with that. However, I've had a sort of blog post bouncing around in my head for the past few weeks. Waking to an email titled, "Should you quit your day job?" pushed me to think about it some more.

I'm taking the day off from work today to do release day promotion including a couple of online events, a Twitter chat at 12:30 EDT (11:30 central) and then a Facebook release party from 5:30 to 9:30 (link here). I might be sneaking in a massage at some point, too, and hopefully some writing. I had to argue with myself about taking the day to just be a writer, whereas it was a no brainer to take Friday off to go to a continuing education seminar on the DSM-V and ICD-10. Trust me, this is much more fun than that will be.

Why do I feel guilty, or at least indulgent, for taking the time to be a writer?

Mostly, there's the money. My mind tells me I'm losing several hundred dollars by not being at my practice today. This is where I fall into the comparison trap. It often seems like everyone is more successful at this than I am, so why bother? Perhaps I should just put my energy into seeing more patients and building my practice even though busy weeks sap the emotional energy I need for writing.

Then there are all the messages we writers get about the state of publishing, how it's so hard to get noticed because there are so many books out there. That feeds into the "what's the point?" attitude that sneaks around the corner and tries to pounce on me in my low moments.

So why do I bother, and why did I ignore the negative voices in my head to take the day off and fully embrace being a published author?

Eros Element is my fifth published book (seventh completed). As with many people, multiples of five are meaningful for me, so I wanted to honor this accomplishment by giving it the attention it deserves. Plus, I'm passionate about this book - it's my favorite of all of them so far - and with it being the first in the series, I want it to have a strong release.

Most of all, I want to honor this part of myself that wants to create and tell stories. I realized that I haven't been embracing this writing career fully, which has included not getting author photos done. I finally did that last week (thank you, Lorikay Photography!).

As a psychologist, I hear a lot about the things that make people's days difficult. I'm glad I have the opportunity to put something out there that will help someone deal with the crap in their own life. Plus, writing helps me to deal with my own difficulties. It's a win-win, no matter what happens with sales rankings or reviews.

And that, my friends, is why I'm happy to be an author, whether it's a quarter of an hour or a day at a time. Thank you so much for reading!

- Cecilia


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Procrastination talk references

Thank you so much, those of you came to see me talk about procrastination at the Southern Magic meeting! As promised, here are the links to the articles and books I used for the talk:


New York Times article: This Was Supposed to Be My Column for New Year's Day by Michael Tierney 1/14/2013

Psychology today articles: Get Unbored by Tania Luna, 4/10/2014 (has a couple of strategies I didn't mention)
What Is Boredom? by Art Markman, Ph.D., 9/25/2012

Wall Street Journal article:  To Stop Procrastinating, Look to the Science of Mood Repair by Sue Shellenbarger 1/7/2014

To those who care about such things, I apologize for these references not being in proper reference format. Putting things in reference format holds no elements of interest for me. If you've forgotten what I'm referring to, check out Letitia Sweitzer's book:


If you'd like to try out structured procrastination, the web site with the original essay is here, and the link to buy the book is here.


If you've just happened by and would like me to come talk to your group about procrastination, please email me at cecilia (at) ceciliadominic (dot) com



Don't forget! Eros Element releases on Tuesday! Here's the release festivities schedule. There will be online and real-life fun including a Twitter chat from 12:30 to 1:30 EDT and a Facebook party on Tuesday from 5:30 to 9:30 EDT.


Preorder/buy links:




Monday, August 17, 2015

Countdown to Eros Element release

How excited am I about the impending release of Eros Element next week?



I'm Sheldon getting a cardboard standup of Spock excited! Which is appropriate considering Edward, the hero of Eros Element, lives his live according to scientific principles, and, well, here's the blurb:

If love is the ivy, secrets are the poison.

Aether Psychics, Book 1

After enduring heartbreak at the hands of a dishonest woman, Edward Bailey lives according to scientific principles of structure and predictability. Just the thought of stepping outside his strict routine raises his anxiety.

Adding to his discomfort is Iris McTavish, who appears at his school’s faculty meeting in place of her world-famous archeologist father. Worse, the two of them are to pose as Grand Tourists while they search for an element that will help harness the power of aether. 

Iris jumps at the opportunity to prove her worth as a scholar—and avoid an unwanted marriage proposal—while hiding the truth of her father’s whereabouts. If her secret gets out, the house of McTavish will fall into ruin.

Quite unexpectedly, Edward and Iris discover a growing attraction as their journey takes them to Paris and Rome, where betrayal, blackmail and outright theft threaten to destroy what could be a revolutionary discovery—and break their hearts.

Warning: Allergen alert! This book was produced in a facility that handles copious amounts of wine, tea and baked goods. May contain one or more of the following: a spirited heroine, a quirky hero, clever banter, interesting facts both made-up and historical, and lots of secrets. It is, however, gluten free.

Yep, no threat of gluten in the physical or ebook, but the characters are mostly English, which means that plenty of tea and teatime goodies are consumed throughout the story. It wouldn't be a Cecilia Dominic book without food descriptions, would it? There's a little wine, too.

So, to celebrate and count down to the release and beyond, here's what I'm doing where:

Monday, August 17:
Here's something a little different - a podcast. Thank you so much to Kim Smith of Writer Groupie for the fun interview! Click here to see what we talked about (hint - it's not just writing, and there might be garlic involved).

Spotlight at Linda Joyce's blog with excerpt from Chapter Two.

Tuesday, August 18:
I talk about my favorite steampunk books at fellow steampunk author Laurel Wanrow's blog.

Wednesday, August 19:
Spotlight at the blog of C.D. Hersh.

Thursday, August 20:
Characters on the Couch hosted by Megan Morgan. See what happens when Edward and Iris come in for a session.

Review at Smart Girls read Sci Fi blog - first review!

Friday, August 21:
Author interview at Nancy Lee Badger's blog. She asked some really interesting questions.

Saturday, August 22:
I'm not going to be online because it's my [mumble, mumble]th high school reunion, and I'm also talking about procrastination to the Southern Magic Chapter of the Romance Writers of America in Birmingham. Meeting info.

Sunday, August 23:
Review at fellow author Frank Tuttle's blog.

Monday, August 24:
What were they thinking? Historical research from a psychological perspective.
Craft article at the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal chapter of RWA website.

Tuesday, August 25:
RELEASE DAY!!!!
Believe it or not, it's been several hours since I've had caffeine. I'm just seriously excited about this.

There are a couple of virtual events. First, I'll be doing a Twitter chat/Q&A from 11:30 to noon CDT (that's 12:30 to 1:00 for those of us here in the Eastern slice of the U.S.) through Fresh Fiction. Follow the #FFbchat hashtag and come say hi!


Then on Tuesday evening from 5:30 to 9:30 EDT, I'm hosting a party at my Facebook page. There will be takeovers by authors who write steampunk and other genres such as urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance, and prizes. You can see their books below and RSVP for the party and check out the author schedule here. It's okay if you can only come to part of it - that's the beauty of virtual parties. There's also no such thing as an awkward goodbye.


I do have a blog blitz scheduled for a few days after the release. Here's the schedule. Follow along for more excerpts and the chance to win a $25 Amazon gift certificate or a signed paperback copy of Eros Element.

Finally, if you're in the Atlanta area on August 29, I'm having a tea party to celebrate Eros Element's release. I will also of course have books for sale and signing. Click here for details and to RSVP to the Facebook event.


Yes, I've been enjoying making graphics lately.

Thank you so much for reading and following along, and I hope you will consider purchasing and reviewing Eros Element! Click here for an excerpt. Oh, and if you want to follow along for news of releases, sales, and wine and sleep tips, please consider signing up for my newsletter.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Blood's Shadow on sale for 99 cents through August 21!

Encountering werewolves can be deadly.
Trying to cure them? Murder.
I'm pleased to announce that the third Lycanthropy Files book Blood's Shadow is on sale now through Friday, August 21 for 99 cents. Here are the buy links:

Samhain Publishing (all ebook formats)

Although this is the third in the Lycanthropy Files series, it was written to be read alone if necessary. Here's what Paranormal Romance Authors that Rock had to say about it:From the Paranormal Romance Authors that Rock review:

This is my first time reading any of Cecilia Dominic’s books.  It won’t be the last. I enjoyed her  spin on the werewolf tales.

This book was more of a Werewolf mystery with a dash of romance.  The characters were well thought out and complex.
Strong writing, hooked me from the start to the end...

(click here for the full five-fang review)

As the Investigator for the Lycanthrope Council, Gabriel McCord encountered his share of sticky situations in order to keep werewolf kind under the radar of discovery. Now, as the Council's liaison to the Institute for Lycanthropic Reversal, he advocates for those who were turned werewolf against their will. 

Everyone seems to be on board with the Institute’s controversial experimental process—until one of its geneticists is found lying on his desk in a pool of blood.

Gabriel races to single out a killer from a long list of suspects: Purists, who believe lycanthropy is a gift that shouldn’t be returned. Young Bloods, who want the cure for born lycanthropes as well as made. The Institute's own very attractive psychologist, whose most precious possession has fallen into the hands of an ancient secret society bent on the destruction of werewolves. 

Failure means he’ll lose his place on the Council and endanger the tenuous truce between wizard and lycanthrope. Even if he wins, he could lose his heart to a woman with deadly secrets of her own.

Warning: Some bloody scenes, adult language, and consensual sex between adults. Also alcohol consumption at Scottish levels and tempting portrayals of unhealthy Scottish food.

From Chapter Eight:

I checked through the peephole and saw the last person I expected: Selene.

I opened the door and pulled Selene inside. “Are you crazy? You don’t know who might be out there!”

“What is your problem?” She detached her arm from my grip and narrowed her eyes at the Scotch in my hand. “Are you drinking that straight from the bottle?”

“No, I’m drinking it from a glass like a gentleman,” I said and motioned for her to follow me into the kitchen, thinking it would be best to introduce her to David before he surprised us. But when I got in there, I saw he’d left through the side door. His empty glass sat on the counter beside the letter from my father, and the sound of his car’s engine started and moved away.

“What’s that?” she asked and reached for it.

“Official business,” I told her and picked it up. It barely had any weight to it, and I handled it carefully.

“From when, nineteen hundred?”

“Nineteen forty-three,” I murmured.

She shook her head. “Look, I’m sorry if I’m interrupting something,” she said. “I was driving by and…” She squeezed her eyes shut. “That’s a lie. I looked you up and found you.”

I bit my tongue so I wouldn't ask if she’d consulted her scarfaced concussion-dealing friend before showing up for a visit. “What can I fix you to drink?”

She opened her eyes, and her open face betrayed her surprise. How had she gotten mixed up with that bloke at the pub? She reeked of innocence, but she was no dummy. “To drink?” she asked.

“The rules of hospitality dictate that if a guest shows up at one’s residence, one should offer some sort of refreshment. Thus, would you like a drink?”

She nodded. “Do you have any wine?”

I gestured to my dual zone wine fridge. “Red or white?”

“White, please.”

Soon I had her settled with a glass of Chenin Blanc on the opposite end of the sofa. The similarity to David’s visit from earlier didn’t escape me, but she was nicer to look at.

“So what brings you to Shady Acres?” I asked. “I’m afraid it’s not the Scotland in coffee table books.”
“It’s fine,” she said. “It’s not so different from home except our historical houses are a couple, not several, hundred years old. As for what brings me…” She looked into her glass. “I wanted to know how the investigation into Otis’s death is going.”

“I had official business today, so I wasn’t able to do any investigating, but I will give it my full attention tomorrow. I’m hoping Garou will have his reports ready by then.”

“Are you going to question us? He already did.”

“That depends. Can you add to your statement?”

“Garou implied we were dating,” she said. “But we weren’t. But still, it’s my fault that Otis died.”

That drew my attention away from the curve of her neck and the way one button on her blouse seemed to hang on for dear life over her breasts. “Fill me in here. How does Garou’s implication cause you to be a murderer?”

She blinked, and two fat tears trailed down her cheeks. “Other people thought we were dating, or at least that we were more than friends. Because we were the same age and American, maybe. Lonna even hinted that it wouldn’t be a good idea to cross personal and professional relationships.” She snorted. “Like she’s not married to her co-director.”

“Right. Believe me, we did consider that, but we need both of them. Go on. I’m still not convinced LeConte’s death is your fault.”

“That morning after staffing, he asked me to walk with him to his office. He said he had something to ask me. I was afraid of what he’d say, he looked so hopeful and afraid all at the same time. I said no, I had things I needed to do before your visit. The next time I saw him, he was dead.”

“What do you think he was going to ask you?”

“To go out with him, I guess. I don’t know what else it could have been. But don’t you see? If I’d gone to his office with him, he might not have been killed or he would have had warning that something wasn’t right. You know we hear and smell better than humans do.”

“Or they might have gotten you too,” I reminded her. “Did you go to his office between his request to you that morning and when we found him?”

“I…” She looked down at her now empty wine glass. “I didn’t.”

I knew she was lying, but I didn’t want to confront her and spook my only link to the murder’s witness into running for the States. That she opened up to me even minimally gave me hope she would continue to do so as she came to trust me. “Do you remember anything else unusual about him or his behavior that day?”

“No, only that he was excited about getting the applications. He had a project on the side tracing the family records of known lycanthrope lines, and he was looking forward to putting it all together to see how the subjects’ lines intersected with the ones we know about and to isolate another genetic marker to maybe figure out why Chronic Lycanthropy Syndrome fully expresses in some people but not in others.” She shrugged. “That’s all I can remember.”

“I appreciate your coming to visit me today, but was it really necessary?”

“I needed to talk to you outside the Institute. I don’t feel comfortable there anymore.” She shuddered.
“It’s like I’m being watched.”

I thought about the letter in the kitchen. “I know the feeling.”

She stood, and I did as well. “Thank you for the wine,” she said and held out her glass to me.

“My pleasure.” Our fingertips brushed when she handed the crystal over, and again, I got the image of her as a wolf looking into a pool of water, not unlike where David and I had stopped and been shot at that afternoon.

She looked up at me with a smile she tucked away, and again, I wondered what she’d seen. It was unusual enough for such strong visual images to come through with scent, and for them to do so with touch puzzled me. Was it part of me coming into my full power?

“I should be going,” she said.

I followed her to the front door. “Be careful,” I told her. “You don’t know who or what is out there watching.”

With a quick nod, she walked to her car and went to the passenger side before sighing and going to the driver’s side. She must not have been in the country that long if she was still trying to drive from the wrong side of the car. I hoped she would remember what side of the road to use.

Don't forget! Eros Element will be released on August 25. Stay tuned for blog tour schedule. If you'd like to join in the release day fun, I will be participating in a chat with Fresh Fiction at 11:30 CT (12:30 EDT) on Twitter. Here's the link.



From 5:30 to 9:30, I'll be doing a Facebook party with guest authors. RSVP to join the event here. There will be book giveaways and prizes!


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Characters on the Couch: Lia and Lucas from Linda Joyce's Her Heart's Desire - Updated 8/18

Today I'm excited to welcome fellow author and Georgia Romance Writers member Linda Joyce. She writes great fiction with Southern flair no matter where it's set. I've already preordered my copy of this one.

Update - happy book birthday to Linda and Her Heart's Desire! You can get it here.


Artist Amelia Britton battles her older brother for the right to remain on the family farm—their inheritance after their parents’ tragic deaths—she faces a looming mortgage, weather threatens to destroy her crops, and the man she secretly loves only sees her as Craig’s little sister. 

After serving his country in Afghanistan, Lucas Dwyer expected to return home to his family’s farm, but the bank foreclosed. Undeterred, he begins combining-for-hire to support his younger sister in college. His best friend convinces him to discourage local guys from dating Amelia. Craig wants her back in the city, farming is too hard for a woman alone. Only one problem—Lucas has fallen in love with Amelia. 

With family, the bank, and the weather conspiring against them, can Amelia and Lucas ever hope to grow the love blooming between them? 

1. If your character were to go to a psychologist – willingly or unwillingly – what would bring them in? Yes, a court order is a valid answer.

Lucas: Hello, Doc. I’ll take this question. On the serious side, I’ve seen what combat does to a man in Afghanistan, so if I thought I needed to go, I would, but that’s not why I’m here now. *grins* Besides, I’m sure if Lia thought I needed a shrink, she’d lasso me and drag me. She can rope—stationary objects. She’ll never make it in a calf-roping event at the American Royal in Kansas City. Just to clarify, I’m here at Linda’s invitation.
2. Is the presenting problem one of the main internal or external conflicts in your book? If so, how does it present itself?

Lia: The “presenting problem” is Craig—my brother. Everything can be linked back to him--over achieving, over cautious, over bearing, and stepping way over the line when he recruited Lucas to “talk” to guys who wanted to date me. Talk in this case is a synonym for dissuading. I’m not sure I can forgive him for interfering with my life in such an intrusive way. Brothers! Can’t live with them. Can’t shoot them, or at least there’s no official hunting season on them in Kansas. So Doctor, by talking with you today, there’s a remote chance you’ve saved his life…maybe.

Lucas: Woman, you need to be fair. He’s got his faults, but his heart was in the right place—until he pulled a gun on me. Even if Craig were to back off—Mother Nature is unpredictable—some time friend, sometimes foe. Way worse than Craig could hope to be. 
3. It's always interesting to see how people act when they first enter my office. Do they immediately go for my chair, hesitate before sitting anywhere, flop on the couch, etc.? What would your character do?

Linda: Excuse me, Lia and Lucas, I’ll take this question, after all, who’s in charge here? So…Lia would scan the room looking for something interesting about it to paint. Maybe the way light slants across your desk and makes water in your glass sparkle. Lucas, on the other hand, would sit down in the chair, pull it closer to your desk and want to get down to business—do and be done—as quickly as possible. He’s got work on his brain. Did I get that right? *Lia and Lucas nod.* 
4. Does your character talk to the therapist? How open/revealing will your character be? What will he or she say first?

Lia: I’m here because Linda said it might be good for me…to deal with the guilt I have about my mother. When Craig and I found the secret room in the barn, packed floor to ceiling with unopened boxes, it threw me. My mother turned to hording before she died, and I’m not sure why…but I fear it’s my fault. However, if she hadn’t squirreled away all those boxes with all that stuff, I would’ve had to leave the farm, which would’ve been disastrous because the separation would have ruined any chance for a relationship with Lucas.
5. Your character walks into the bar down the street after his/her first therapy session. What does he/she order? What happens next?

Linda: *chuckles* There’s actually a scene in Her Heart’s Desire where Lia goes into a bar alone in the middle of the day, alone—a no-no in the Britton moral family code. Today, if she were to leave your office and head to Rockets—the bar in Harvest, Kansas, I believe she’d order a  shot of tequila—something she’s never done before, then wait for Zoe to get off work—together they’d polish off a pitcher of margaritas. Beats shooting Craig. 
6. When you're building characters, do you have any tricks you use to really get into their psyches, like a character interview or personality system (e.g., Myers-Briggs types)?

Linda: When I first started writing, I used character interviews, a fill-in-the-blank method, sort of like putting lemon juice on invisible ink to make it appear—to make a character visible. If you’re familiar with yoga, it’s best to move into a pose instead of forcing a pose. For me, the interview method was like forcing, and now I prefer to move into learning about a character by listening. They’ll tell me what I need to know. I’ve not used Myers-Briggs, however, I can usually type a character after we’ve been well introduced. One tool I do use—an astrological chart. I studied astrology for two years, a class a week, and I barely know a thimble full.  There’s one other way I learn about characters—they invite me in. One book I’m working on about three women, they came to me fully formed. It was as though I took an empty seat at a four-top, and they just talked as if I was there to take dictation. It was a bit eerie because when I pulled the chair up, it was the same as downloading the backstory. I knew them. And, no, they’re not people from my other life—the one where I feed dogs, pay bills, and take a care of family.

Linda Joyce is an award-winning contemporary romance author. She writes about assertive females pursuing goals and the men who can’t resist them. She’s a self-professed foodie with Beauregard, Jack, and Renoir as her kitchen canine companions. Linda’s a big fan of jazz and blues and attributes her love of those musical genres to her southern roots. She penned her first manuscript while living in Japan, the country where her mother was born and raised. She spent twelve wonderful years in Kansas. Now she lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and four-legged boys and writes novels.

You can find her at:
Website: Linda-Joyce
Facebook Author Page: LindaJoyceAuthor
Twitter: @LJWriter 

You can preorder Her Heart's Desire on Amazon.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Character on the Couch & Guest Post - Cecilia Tan's Ziggy

I'm excited to welcome bestselling and award-winning author Cecilia Tan back to the blog today with her character Ziggy of the Daron's Rock Chronicles series. Volume 7 dropped, er, launched on Tuesday.




First, let's hear from Cecilia why she decided on the fascinating setting of the 1980's rock scene:

Why Rock Fiction?

I've been writing Daron's Guitar Chronicles since the 1980s, when I was a teenager living in the suburbs of New Jersey. MTV was new then, and nonstop music videos brought visions of David Bowie, Prince, and Siouxsie Sioux right into my suburban den. These are the visions that saved my life, the guardian angels who told me through their songs and their mere existence that there was something else besides the crushing conformity of suburban life. Rock and roll called to me as a lifeline.

I was always the "weird kid." Even when other kids didn't know WHAT was weird about me, they knew I was different. I just couldn't conform enough to their idea of normal. Teachers called me "creative," but didn't really know how to support my overactive imagination: no one lets you write fiction instead of a book report. (I confess: Mr. Mantegna, that book I said I read about the silver condor in fifth grade? I totally made that up.) To protest the tyranny of the "fashionable girls" I started wearing a Han Solo costume to school, complete with blaster strapped to my leg. To me the idea of being a rock star would mean I could wear whatever the heck I wanted--spandex? a unicorn horn? a tuxedo?--and people would love me for it instead of bullying me. Rock and roll, to me, has always been about the outsider becoming loved instead of reviled.

In Daron's Guitar Chronicles, our hero is a talented guitar player who dreams of escaping suburban hell in New Jersey and making it big (sound familiar?). When his story starts he has made it as far as music school in Rhode Island. Daron has a lot of challenges in his way, not the least of which is he's scared to death people will find out he's gay. Heck, Daron is scared to death of BEING gay. He fears not only that if his sexuality is exposed it will prevent him from having a successful career, but on a deeper level he fears intimacy.

Enter Ziggy, the lead singer Daron's band needs to succeed, but what relationship is more intimate than being a partner in creative pursuits? Writing music together, performing it live, and bonding as bandmates gives Ziggy far more access to Daron's head and heart than Daron realizes. 

Some see Daron as having two quests, one for artistic success, one for romantic love. But really it's all one big quest for love: from the fans, from the men in his life, and from himself. 

So why rock fiction? It's the perfect vehicle for me to explore the inner workings of my poor angst-ridden heroes and the ways they push against conformity. These boys aren't going to live in a suburban box. They can't. They'd die, creatively and spiritually if not actually, if they were forced to be "normal." And I get to explore all the issues about love and acceptance in a giant metaphor (the music business) for how damaging love can be. Like the Bowie song says, "And when the kids had killed the man, I had to break up the band."

Oh, and did I mention the story is set in the 1980s? I started writing it then and when I started publishing it in 2009, instead of updating it to the present, I kept it in the era of AIDS, Just Say No, and Silence=Death. In 1986 the "alternative rock" revolution hasn't happened yet. And neither has the gay "coming out" movement. So that's yet another way I get to equate rock music and love outside the mainstream.

It's all one giant addictive tapestry of garage rock, arena shows, basement rehearsals, tour mishaps, friendship, love, and art, told through the eyes of a musician who has as much to learn about life as he has to learn about himself. 


Daron's story is now seven books long--volume seven in the series releases today [CD note - er, Tuesday]!--and the web serial continues over at http://daron.ceciliatan.com. Readers have told me they find the series deeply entrancing. Daron becomes like a best friend to many, so talented and beautiful and flawed, you want to root for him to succeed day after day. 

If you want to cheer him on, too, book one of the series is free right now on Amazon and Smashwords, and the full chapters of the entire serial can be read at any time on Wattpad or on the Daron's Guitar Chronicles home site. 

Thank you so much, Cecilia! This sounds like a fascinating series, and I can't wait to meet the characters in depth. Let's start with Ziggy, who's this week's Character on the Couch: 

1. If your character were to go to a psychologist – willingly or unwillingly – what would bring them in? Yes, a court order is a valid answer.

Ziggy has a rocky history with psychologists. He was sent to one as a teenager and ended up in bed with the guy, because seducing people is the way Ziggy gets the upper hand in any relationship. (CD - Oooh, nightmare patient). Now, though, he's in his mid-twenties and he's a successful pop star. You'd think he'd be happy, but he isn't. The pressures of fame and his mother's recent death have been gnawing at him, as is his broken relationship with his former guitar player/partner, Daron. I think he goes to see a psychologist because he wants an impartial judge, someone who has no investment in whether Ziggy's ego gets bruised or not. (CD: Okay, that's better)

2. Is the presenting problem one of the main internal or external conflicts in your book? If so, how does it present itself?

The weight on Ziggy's back is guilt. Ziggy has always put himself first before other people. He grew up somewhat underprivileged but doted on by his single mother. However, she died while he was out of the country, on a spiritual retreat to India he didn't even tell her he was going on. He has nightmares that she died alone, that she died from worrying about him. He also feels very guilty that the breakup of Moondog Three, the band he and Daron founded, is his fault, and that he screwed Daron's career by going solo. At this point the guilt itself might be so overwhelming it might prevent him from making amends.

CD: This is great multilayered internal conflict! (takes notes)

3. It's always interesting to see how people act when they first enter my office. Do they immediately go for my chair, hesitate before sitting anywhere, flop on the couch, etc.? What would your character do?

Ziggy saunters in like he owns the place, full of self-possession, and even smiles because he wants to seem friendly. He's optimistic as he shakes hands: he wants help, and he loves talking about himself, so this should go swimmingly, right? He kicks off his electric blue boots and sits crosslegged on the couch in a half-lotus.

4. Does your character talk to the therapist? How open/revealing will your character be? What will he or she say first?

Oh yes, he loves to talk, especially about himself. But he guards his heart, too, so I expect he might talk a lot about little things at first, "winnable" battles. But eventually he'll say, "Look, I've read some Freud. I know I've got some kind of Oedipal complex going on. I'm absolutely haunted by my mother right now."

5. Your character walks into the bar down the street after his/her first therapy session. What does he/she order? What happens next?

Ziggy orders a cosmopolitan and stares into it, playing with the cherry on the end of the toothpick but not drinking it. Then over the top of the rim of the glass he makes eye contact with someone. Doesn't matter if they're male, female, married, single, alone, or there with friends, he'll be having sex with them in under two hours, guaranteed.

6. When you're building characters, do you have any tricks you use to really get into their psyches, like a character interview or personality system (e.g., Myers-Briggs types)?

Characters like Ziggy have a lot of layers. I know them very well the moment they pop into my head but it takes time for all their twists and turns to be revealed. That only happens when I "play test" them, i.e. through real writing of the scenes they're in. That's how you find out how they'd really react or what they'd relaly say. Ziggy is full of surprises and yet they all add up. Just for fun I put him through a Myers-Briggs test online and he came up ENFP, same as what Frost, the last character I sent to your couch came up with! I hadn't realized I liked that type so much!

CD: It's funny how we gravitate to certain types like that. I tend to write introverted intuitives. It would be interesting to research whether we tend to write types closer to ours.

So, once again, if you'd like to meet Daron and Ziggy (and I definitely do!), here are the links:

New book: Daron's Guitar Chronicles volume 7, launches August 4, at Amazon: https://amzn.com/B00ZN34BEK

First volume of Daron's Guitar Chronicles is free at:
Amazon 
Smashwords 
The full chapters of the entire serial can be read at any time on Wattpad or on the Daron's Guitar Chronicles home site.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cecilia Tan is the winner of the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in Erotica and the author of over a dozen novels. Her forthcoming January 2016 novel from Hachette/Forever, Taking the Lead, pairs a bad boy rock star and a Hollywood heiress with a secret.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Long Shadows on sale August 1-7!

"People say I'm beautiful, but they don't see the monster inside..."

That's how the second book of the Lycanthropy Files series starts. The feedback I got from readers is that they love the heroine Lonna for her snarky, clever tone. The hero Max is a hot doctor with a Caribbean accent and some unusual talents. Haven't read the first one? That's okay - I wrote them as a series but also to be read as standalones as well. If you'd like to start at the beginning, you can read about the first Lycanthropy Files book The Mountain's Shadow here.

The Long Shadows ebook is available for 99 cents from August 1-7 from:

Samhain Publishing (all formats)
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Anywhere else ebooks are sold.


Being unique isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

By day, Lonna Marconi’s busy career keeps her mind off the fact she was turned werewolf against her will. By night, a dose of wolfsbane lets her inner wolf out to play while her physical body stays safe at home.

When an overheard phone call at work warns her a trap is about to be sprung, she turns from hunter to hunted in the blink of an eye.

She finds refuge with the Ozarks pack she never claimed as her own. Upon discovering a family secret that explains why she’s unique among her own kind, Lonna finds heat in the arms of Max, who’s the one thing she cannot trust—a wizard.

Another kidnapping attempt sends her navigating the treacherous metaphysical borders of a centuries-old war, pursued by rogue sorcerers, a band of ghostly wolves, and repressed memories that prevent her from reclaiming her heritage. All the while, trusting her back to a wizard who demands the price of her heart…who may not have the luxury of giving his in return.

Excerpt:

I hadn’t physically changed since the first time six months before. Then, in a trance, I had opened the front door to my apartment, taken off my clothes, and changed into a wolf with the world watching. Okay, not quite the world. It was pretty late, and my apartment complex was quiet. Since then, I had spirit-walked with the aid of the aconite, which caused me to create an astral projection of my wolf self rather than physically change. Somehow I could still eat what I hunted, and I hoped that wouldn’t translate into bad blood work. Who knew how much wild critters would raise one’s cholesterol? A stupid concern, I know, considering everything else. It’s funny what the mind latches on to. 

Now I sat in the living room at Joanie’s and Leo’s house with them, all of us wrapped in sheets, as we waited for the moon to rise and for its light to sing in our blood. We could change without it, but it was easier in its light, which compelled us when it was full. I suppressed the urge to giggle at the sight, like we were at the most boring toga party ever. Joanie caught my eye, and her lips twitched like she thought the same. 

The moon rose, its light spilling through the bank of windows. 

“It’s time,” Joanie murmured. 

My inner wolf stretched and yawned, unfurling to her full spiritual presence. 

“We can change? she asked. Really change?” 

“Yes, just be gentle with me.” Again I stuffed the urge to laugh. I hadn’t said those words in a really long time. 

I gasped when my human spirit shrank. The sensation was that of hurtling down a long hallway, then 
landing in a warm pool and expanding within it to fill a new shape. The inner wolf and I became one. 

I heard tendons snapping and bones cracking in new arrangements and suspected I would be sore the next day.

A light nip to my shoulder brought me back to myself, and I shifted my weight so I stood evenly on all four paws. Leo, a black wolf, sat and looked at me, his tongue lolling in amusement. Joanie, a petite brown wolf who could probably pass for one of the Arkansas red wolves, had nipped me.

“You were quivering like you were ready to explode with the sensations of it all,” she said telepathically. 

“It’s different from when we spirit-walk,” I responded. “I feel heavier but more powerful.” 

“Do you remember anything of the first time? When Iain and I chased after you?” 

“Only that I wanted to get away and be free. And Gabriel…” 

A low growl from Leo halted that line of conversation. Not that I blamed him. Gabriel had tried to claim Joanie first. 

“Moonlight’s wasting, girls,” he said but waited for Joanie to lead us out of the house through a—oh, the shame!—doggie door in the mud room. 

“It was the easiest solution,” Joanie told me once we were through. I heard the wry smile in her voice. 

Once we were fully in the moonlight, the dry brown grass under my paws, I didn’t care that we’d been relegated to the status of mere canis domesticus or whatever the hell regular dogs were. I chased after her, nipping at her flank, and she mock-growled at me. We tumbled and tussled before I drew back.

“When do we hunt?” It came out as a vocal whine. 

“When Matthew arrives.” Leo looked around, his ears perked. “He should have been here by now.” 

“Maybe he got delayed by something? Too much traffic on the road, perhaps, or the cubs wanting to come with him?” The image of the playful pups didn’t dispel the concern in Joanie’s mental voice, and I remembered Matthew saying they never hunted alone anymore. 

Leo paced back and forth on the lawn. “He said he’d be on time.” 

A gunshot rang out, and all of us sat up, ears swiveling back and forth. 

“What the hell was that?” I asked. “Okay, I know what it was, but what was it?” Human logical processes weren’t exactly working well, but they knew what I meant. 

“Danger!” Joanie yelled in her mental voice, and we scrambled for the house, but another gunshot and a puff of wet dirt and grass in front of Leo, who had the lead, sent us toward the woods.


Thanks for reading! If you'd like to grab the ebook for 99 cents from August 1-7, here are the links again:

Samhain Publishing (all formats)
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Anywhere else ebooks are sold.

Also, don't forget that Eros Element, the first in my steampunk Aether Psychics series is now available for preorder. You can learn more about it here.

If you'd like to stay informed about sales and new releases as well as get the first peek at cover reveals and excerpts, please sign up for my e-newsletter. I send them out one to two times per month and include sleep tips and information about wines I've enjoyed lately. You can sign up here.