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 If you have a comment for me or if you'd like to submit a character for published character interview or unpublished character analysis, please use the form below or email me at cecilia (at) ceciliadominic (dot) com.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

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Secret Worlds blog tour stop

Today I'm excited to be a stop on the Secret Worlds blog tour. Two of my author colleagues from the Georgia Romance Writers, Debbie Herbert and Linsey Hall are included in this set. My review of Debbie's book is below, as is a Character on the Couch interview of her hero Keelan. I'm super excited about this set, and I'm also happy to bring you the opportunity to find out more about it and enter to win a Kindle!

Review of Debbie Herbert's Changeling:

Whenever I get one of Debbie's books, I always make the mistake of saying I'll just take a little peek and then getting sucked in for much longer than I intended. Changeling was no different. Herbert does a great job of tackling the new adult genre with her two characters Skye and Keelan, both of whom are struggling to find their place in the world and are seeking to assume their true identity, whatever that may be. 

Skye is a witch who isn't very good at it. Keelan is a changeling who is trapped working for the fairies, which seems like it would make a good reality show if it wasn't so awful for him. Although I figured out one major twist pretty quickly, I did find the story to be well-paced and extremely entertaining, and I loved the characters. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but let's just say that all those dreams I have about flying? I'd be extra nervous about them now if I wasn't as old as I am. Plus, my feelings about absinthe indicate I have no fairy blood in me whatsoever, so I'm probably safe.

Overall, this is a really fun book, and I enthusiastically give it five stars.

And now, meet Keelan, who is a Changeling and my character on the couch this week:

1. If your character were to go to a psychologist – willingly or unwillingly – what would bring them in? 

It would take a court order for sure! Kheelan knows himself and is very clear on his life's goal: escape from the Fae realm at all costs. He's also clear on what prevents him from achieving this goal: the Fae want to keep him enslaved to assist them in their petty wars with one another and to do menial errands for them. If you asked Kheelan about seeing a psychologist his response would be: "You want to analyze someone? Try talking to one of the sociopath fairies I have to deal with everyday."

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

It's a combination of both. Kheelan meets the heroine Skye and quickly realizes he can use her to gain his coveted escape. The only problem? He's falling in love with the quirky witch. 

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?

Kheelan would walk around the room and take a peek out the window to assess if any nosy fairies were about. 

4. Does your character talk to the therapist? How open/revealing will your character be?

He wouldn't be open a bit unless he thought you could help him in his quest for freedom. If he told you the truth, you would think he was crazy anyway!

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

He wouldn't have more than one Irish whiskey. Irish whiskey because most of his guardian fairies are of Celtic descent and this is their drink of choice when they shape-shift to human form. Kheelan would only drink one because he needs to keep his wits about him or the Fae could trick or punish him for a trangression.

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)?

I probably do less than most writers. I figure out what their life goal is, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and what's the conflict that keeps them from preventing their goal? How will they have to grow or change to reach their goal. And since I write romance, I'll choose a mate that is the exact opposite, one that will challenge him and force him to change and grow.

Thank you so much for bringing Keelan by, Debbie!

21 Books + 21 Bestselling Authors in 1 Boxed Set for $1

+ Giveaway Announcement!

From Twenty-One USA Today and Amazon Bestselling Authors
Secret Worlds - A Steamy Paranormal Romance Boxed Set
Professionally Edited and Formatted for Quality Assurance.
Limited Edition. Sale Ends Soon!

Secret Worlds

Secret Worlds, a best-selling boxed set of spicy paranormal reads, is brought to you by twenty-one USA Today and Amazon Bestselling Authors!† With twenty-one stories and over a million enchanting words of fiction, this paranormal romance boxed set will keep you spellbound.† Dive through Secret Worlds and into the arms of heroes who will steal your heart and leave you hot.

PRE-ORDER NOW for $0.99



Ready to Turn Up the Heat?

Whether you love paranormal romance that warms you up or sets you on fire, this boxed set will have something to entice your preternatural sensibilities. Supernaturally thrilling and engaging, this boxed set has it all: ghosts, vampires, mind-readers, shapeshifters, demons, faeries, werewolves, and more. For a limited, you can enjoy books from today's USA Today and Amazon Bestselling, including titles that are slated for the big screen! When purchased separately, these books cost over $50! But they are yours today for less than $1. Every selection in this rare, limited edition paranormal romance boxed set are full-length novels and novellas!

Save over $50! This set is only available at this price for a limited time, so order your copy before it's gone!

Secret Worlds Boxed Set

Giveaway Announcement!

We have 70 Prizes up for grabs at our Facebook Party, including multiple gift cards ranging from $5-$100 or a Kindle Fire! And the prizes just keep coming! Be sure to Join the Party for your chance to win and learn more about the additional prizes we have coming down the pipeline!

Join the scavenger hunt in our Facebook Party for a chance to win free ebooks!

Find the link to the entry form for today's scavenger hunt secrets in our Facebook Party and enter the following author secrets. Each day two people will be selected to win a free ebook! Follow our blog tour in the party and enter each day's secrets for more chances to win. At the end of the blog tour, three grand prize winners will receive a collection of 6 ebooks!

Today's author secrets:

— Susan Stec’s Author Secret —
I made G-strings and fancy outfits for strippers at a bar called the Booby Trap in Winter Park, Florida. Going inside, stepping into the bowels of the dressing rooms was exhilarating and I secretly wished I had the guts to claim a pole, join the girls, tease and titillate. I loved the seedy environment, and smoky atmosphere, laced with seduction and desire.

– Catherine Stine's Author Secret –
One thing I don’t tell a lot of people is that I’m a bit of a music groupie. It’s embarrassing somehow. I mean, I’m no stalker... I just truly admire musicians, and feel, as a writer, a keen artistic kinship with them. Okay, the confession: I’ve gone backstage and partied with Buddy Guy (the great blues man), John McLaughlin (fusion rock), John Mellencamp, The Hooters, Jamar Rogers (on the Voice), and most recently, the entire troupe from American Idol 2014. Don’t believe me? I have photos!

Promo Image 19

Pre-Order Our Limited Edition Boxed Set for $0.99

Scroll down to win your choice of Kindle Fire or $100!

Secret Worlds Boxed Set
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Character on the Couch: Markhat, Steampunk Detective

Happy Thursday! Today I'm happy to welcome Markhat, who is the creation of Frank Tuttle, who would probably be an interesting character himself. He has a steampunk series with my publisher and even shares my editor.

Here's the blurb for the latest book in the Markhat series, The Darker Carnival:

When Dark’s Diverse Delights arrives by night to set up shows and rides that promise fun and excitement for one and all, the outskirts of Rannit begin to look disturbingly like the nightmares that plague Markhat’s sleep.

Mama Hog has sent him a new client, a cattle rancher with a missing daughter. Markhat’s search reveals genuine terrors lurking amidst the carnival’s tawdry sideshows, where Death itself takes the main stage every evening, just past midnight.

The orchestrator of the murderous, monstrous mayhem is the mysterious carnival master, Ubel Thorkel. And after Buttercup the Banshee is threatened, Markhat is in a race against time to find the carnival’s dark heart and strike it down once and for all—or die trying.

And now I present Markhat and his creator, Frank Tuttle:

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.

I can think of two instances which might prompt Markhat to seek out the services of a psychologist. One would be gentle prompting from his wife Darla; if she expressed genuine concern over his mental state and asked him to seek help, he would. The only other coercion Markhat would likely respond to would be Mama Hog's incessant nagging. Mama Hog, for all her feigned ignorance and backcountry speech, is a brilliant and perceptive woman who knows exactly which of Markhat's buttons to push.

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

Markhat is a war vet. He spent his hitch in the Army as a dog handler, working to locate and root out hidden pockets of Troll troops deep underground. He survived, but suffers from what his people call 'war madness' and we call PTSD. Through the books, he's drifted deeper and deeper into the darkness, and his actions are sometimes influenced by the trauma of the war.

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?

I know precisely what Markhat would do. He's a smart-ass, with a deep distrust for authority figures.

Markhat's world is one in which magic is rapidly being overshadowed by gunpowder and steam. Whereas magic is expensive and notoriously unreliable, the emerging technologies are proving deadly and efficient. Markhat carries a vampire-built revolver. Gas-lamps light Rannit's streets. Gangsters use repeating rifles. Iron bridges and tall buildings are going up all over. There are newspapers and restaurants.

So I'll just assume he knows what a psychologist is, and he is also aware of the familiar cliches -- the couch, the notebooks, all that.

He would walk in smiling, hat in hand. If you offered to shake his hand, he would do so, neither too hard or too soft. He'd be cordial and direct.

Then he would walk right to the couch, lie down upon it, lay his hat on his chest, and say "It all started with my mother. Better get two pencils. I had a long childhood."

CD: LOL. I actually find it to be somewhat diagnostic when someone flops on the couch rather than sitting.

4. Does your character talk to the therapist? How open/revealing will your character be?

Getting Markhat to talk wouldn't be the problem.

Getting him to talk about what's really bothering him would. He would evade. Deflect with humor or sarcasm. Change the subject. Intentionally misdirect.

Markhat's way of handling his issues is to ignore them. To redirect his energies. To dive into someone else's problem. Deep down, he doesn't believe he can be fixed, and that the best he can do is make sure Darla never finds out just how deep the damage runs.

Also, there are things he can't tell anyone without placing them in danger. Markhat's activities have left him tainted with a dark form of sorcery, and if Rannit's rabidly insane sorcerers ever learn his secret, it will doom him and anyone else who knows what he knows.

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

That's easy. There's a bar called One-Eyed Eddie's. Markhat would find his usual stool. Eddie would, without a word, bring Markhat a tall glass of dark beer (Upland Dark). Markhat would slide a coin across the stained bartop and it would vanish into Eddie's apron and that would the extent of the conversation.

Eddie is a vet too. Both Markhat and Eddie appreciate the silence. Markhat would drink a beer, maybe two. Maybe have a sandwich, because Eddie doesn't skimp on the ham. There might be a hello or a goodbye exchanged between the regulars as they come and go, but, on the whole, One-Eyed Eddie's is a quiet place in a loud, rude world.

Now, before Markhat met Darla, he might have stayed for a third or a sixth or a ninth beer. But not anymore.

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)?

Nothing so formal. I just picture them, imagine them doing whatever it is they do. I use aspects of real people I've known -- Mama Hog, for instance, is based my paternal grandmother. Markhat is a combination of every film noir tough guy detective I know, with a lot of me mixed in.

CD: I would never have guessed.  ;-)

I do have extensive histories built for all my characters. Most of the details never make it into the books, which is fine, as long as I know and understand how each will likely react to a particular situation. Dark, damp places make Markhat's heart pound. Darla hates the sound of trumpets. Mama Hog loathes priests to the point of outright homicide. It's important to not only give characters a history, but to bring it to life, even in small things.

For me, speech is the most telling aspect of a person's true nature. I'm a shameless eavesdropper. I listen to strangers, watch how they say what they say. Then I usually imagine their motives and inner struggles until the waiter taps me on the shoulder and says the people at Table Six have complained that I am staring.

Thank you so much for stopping by! This was fun. Both you and your character have very entertaining voices.

Frank Tuttle first began writing under the woefully mistaken impression doing so would release him from the burden of ever doing honest work. “It turns out writing is hard,” said Frank as he pulled out great handfuls of hair. “That was never mentioned in Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.” Frank’s first published works appeared in print magazines such as Weird Tales and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine in the late 1990s. Since then, Frank has published nine Markhat novels and a variety of shorter works. Frank rarely resorts to hair-pulling these days, preferring to weep inconsolably while affixing his toupee. Frank invites you to visit his website www.franktuttle.com.

CD: And if you'd like to get first peek at the cover, blurb, and excerpt from my upcoming steampunk, please sign up for my monthly(ish) newsletter. I'll also talk about the best devices for reading at night to minimize impact on sleep and my current favorite summer wine.