Anise Eden. All The Wounds in Shadow.

Some time ago, I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of author Anise Eden and am honored to call her a friend. Since her recent debut with All The Broken Places, book 1 of her series The Healing Edge, I have also become a fan. I was so excited to read book 2, All The Wounds in Shadow, which just released this week.

ATWIS cover MED

I have posted reviews of both books online but please read on for my review of All The Wounds in Shadow. In the meantime, Anise is going to tell us a little  bit about the book and share the book’s music playlist.

Congrats, Anise!

*****

Here’s a bit about my new release, ALL THE WOUNDS IN SHADOW (The Healing Edge, #2). You may recall that in the first book of The Healing Edge paranormal romance series, ALL THE BROKEN PLACES, Cate Duncan is a therapist who is struggling to cope after her mother’s death. Cate’s world is forever transformed when she learns that she is an empath and is recruited to work for the MacGregor Group, a clinic staffed by a unique group of paranormally gifted individuals. ALL THE WOUNDS IN SHADOW picks up right where the first book left off. Here is the description:

For fans of Karen Robards and Shiloh Walker, Anise Eden brings us the mesmerizing sequel to her paranormal romantic suspense novel All the Broken Places.

Cate’s enemies aren’t just surrounding her―they’re inside her head.

Therapist Cate Duncan has just accepted a job with the MacGregor Group, a unique collective of alternative healers. She’s excited by the prospect of honing her empathic healing techniques among others like herself―aura readers, telepaths, crystal healers, and more. The fact that Cate just started dating Ben, her magnetic new boss, is an added bonus.

Before Cate can settle into her new routine, the poisoning of a prominent neuroscientist draws the entire MacGregor Group into both a federal investigation and an even more insidious threat. Protected by Ben’s former Marine Corps unit, Cate and her colleagues must use their alternative healing methods to solve the crime as their patient clings to life.

The responsibility of discovering crucial information falls to Cate and her parapsychological powers. But for Cate, unraveling the mystery means reopening wounds that had just begun to heal―and in the environment of the Marine Corps unit, differences between Cate and Ben become clearer, straining their budding romance. When a new crisis looms, Cate must trust in her colleagues’ gifts and the strength of Ben’s love, finding the courage to confront her deepest and most terrifying demons―or her own life will be at risk.

I’m so excited to share this new installment in The Healing Edge Series with readers! The third book, ALL THE LIGHT THERE IS, will be coming out in Spring/Summer 2017. Readers can always find the latest information about my work on my website, AniseEden.com, which also has all of my social media links. Thank you again for hosting me on your blog today; it has been an honor and a pleasure, as always!

Playlist for ALL THE WOUNDS IN SHADOW (The Healing Edge, #2):

“One And Only” – Adele
“Dindi” – Joseh Garcia
“I’ll Be Seeing You” – Billie Holiday
“Fight Song” – Rachel Platten
“My Baby Just Cares for Me” – Nina Simone
“I’m Kissing You” – Des’ree
“Sabotage” – Beastie Boys
“It Had to Be You” – Frank Sinatra

EXCERPT FROM ALL THE WOUNDS IN SHADOW:

His features grew soft with affection. “You never stop surprising me, Cate.”

I felt my cheeks redden again. It was time to change the subject. “Let’s talk about something nonserious for a change. It sounds like it’s going to be all serious all the time once we get where we’re going.”

“Good point. Let’s shorten the road. What would you like to talk about?”

Suddenly, I couldn’t think of anything but the mission, which I knew we couldn’t discuss further until we arrived. I racked my brain. “Twenty Questions is kind of a road-trip game, isn’t it?”

“Hmm.” For the first time that morning, he appeared upbeat. “I should warn you, I’m really good at that game.”

At the prospect of playing a normal, lighthearted game with Ben, happiness flitted through me like a tiny fish. Still, I shook my head at his overconfidence. “Is there anything you aren’t good at?”

“Plenty of things,” he said, “but absolutely no advantage will accrue to me if I tell you what they are.” A smile played across his lips. “Ladies first.”

We played a few rounds. It was obvious that we were trying to make it easy for one another. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Ben took the same approach to games that I did—that their purpose was fun, not serious competition. Still, after I guessed his Jaguar in eight questions and he guessed Vani in six, it was starting to get a bit ridiculous.

I glanced around for inspiration. It wasn’t hard to find. “Okay, I have something. Go ahead.”

“Animal, vegetable, or mineral?”

“Mineral.”

“Is it your ring?”

My mouth fell open. “You know, being telepathic is the kind of thing you’re supposed to disclose to the person you’re dating!”

“Not telepathic, just observant.” He nodded at my hand. “You looked down at your ring right before you said you had something.”

I gave him a lengthy glare. Then I put some real thought into my next answer. “Okay, ready.”

“Animal, vegetable, or mineral?”

“Animal.”

“Is it bigger than a breadbox?”

“Yes.”

Ben glanced in the rear view mirror, presumably to make sure that Vani was asleep and Asa and Eve still had their headsets on. Then he asked, “Is it the incredibly distracting woman who’s wearing your ring?”

I pressed my lips together. “You know, for someone who’s so fond of following rules, you’re certainly playing fast and loose with Twenty Questions.”

“You’re right, I apologize,” he said, with no sincerity whatsoever. “Give me one more chance. How many questions do I have left?”

As much as I was enjoying Ben’s playful side, I tried to look stern. “Seventeen.”

“All right.” He frowned in exaggerated concentration. “Is it a mammal?”

“Yes.”

“Hmm.” He rubbed his jaw and murmured, “Is it the woman I kissed last night—the one I can’t stop thinking about kissing?”

A fresh blush splashed across my face as I recalled our prolonged session on my couch. “You can’t stop thinking about that either?” I whispered.

His smile was triumphant. “So I guessed right?”

“No, you did not guess right!”

“Oh, too bad.” He arched an amused eyebrow. “And no, I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m thinking about it right now, in fact.”

My breath caught in my throat as Ben’s eyes flashed up and down my body like a sultry searchlight. “You’re not even playing the game at this point.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry. In my defense, though, it’s hard to concentrate on Twenty Questions when you’re sitting this close to me.”

I tried to disguise my stirring arousal with an eye roll. “Says the master of self-control.”

“Only when I’m able to concentrate fully on that task,” he admitted with a crooked grin. “Right now, at least half of my brain is occupied with driving.”

“I see.” It occurred to me that this information might come in handy sometime. “I’ll have to remember that.”

He shot me an inquisitive look. “Tell me what the answer was, at least?”

I only kept him in suspense for a minute. “It was Tank, the dog from your old Marine Corps unit.”

“Tank!” He leaned back, stretched, and tucked his free hand behind his head. “Well, I was in the right neighborhood, anyway.”

I was in the same neighborhood as a Rottweiler? “Meaning what, exactly?”

“Well, Tank used to kiss me all of the time,” Ben said. “Of course, his kisses were more slobbery….”

Choking back a laugh, I warned, “I’d stop talking right now if I were you.”

*****

Buy links (the books are available in paperback or ebook. Ebook links listed below):
Author bio:
 
Author Anise Eden writes The Healing Edge paranormal romantic suspense series for Diversion Books. She spends most of her time tucked away in her writing nook imagining things that aren’t there. On those rare occasions when she emerges from seclusion, Anise may be spotted in coffee shops, staring at her laptop screen and silently moving her lips as she reviews bits of dialogue. Although Anise claims that she’s the one in charge, the characters in her head do sometimes make her laugh out loud at inappropriate moments. Visit her online at AniseEden.com.
Rosanna’s review of All The Wounds in Shadow:
“I had the pleasure of reading an early copy of Anise Eden’s All the Wounds in Shadow and enjoyed this second installment of The Healing Edge series. In book one, the author draws the reader into the story of Cate Duncan, a therapist with issues of her own. Her world changes forever when she learns she is an empath and is recruited to work for the MacGregor Group, an organization filled with psychically-gifted individuals. In book 2, Cate has begun her training. We also see her in the throes of a new romance with Ben MacGregor, a former Marine and leader of their ensemble. The group is called into action when an acclaimed doctor is poisoned and on the brink of death. Cate and her friends must employ their unique talents to delve inside the doctor’s mind and discover who attacked him. However, the case brings to light old wounds for Cate and presents new struggles. Can she come to terms with her feelings for Ben? Can she help a man who can only communicate telepathically? And will her efforts endanger her as well? Ms. Eden takes us on a remarkable journey, one laced with intrigue, romance and hope. I cannot wait for the next book.”

Insta-love in romance novels.

If you read the romance blogs, you may have run into a term called “insta-love.”  In other words, instant love. The characters meet and somehow know they are destined for each other. As a device, it does crop up in romance books a lot. I confess to using it myself in my paranormals (although I prefer to throw in a healthy dose of struggle). Some readers dislike it. Others have no issue.

Does it actually exist? I know many people who say they fell in love at first sight. Many of them are people who have now been married for years. I do understand “lust at first sight” (I may even have experienced it once or twice), but real love? Can we actually develop such a bond within a short period of time?

That’s the great thing about romance stories. We can suspend our disbelief for a time. It’s all about the fantasy. However, insta-love doesn’t always work. I’ve read some books that employ this device and they rang untrue for me.

When does it work? I do believe it works better in paranormal romance. After all, in this genre, we are often dealing with characters who are magical or inhuman. For many of these sorts of characters (my selkies and shapeshifters, for example), emotions run deep and they happen on a level a human might not understand. There is an instant kinship, a “mate bond” that seals the fate of the main characters. In this incredible world, the implausible becomes plausible. Not only do we buy it, we slap our money down on the counter and say “Give it to me.”

Added to this, in paranormal romance, we often have life-or-death situations. Characters are thrown together and must often fight, not only for their goals, but for their survival. In these tense situations, people bond quickly.

I find insta-love less easy to accept in contemporary romance. This genre is supposed to be more reflective of real life (unless you happen to live with a werewolf, that is). In contemporary romance, I like to see the characters struggle with their feelings a bit more. I relish the uncertainty because I have felt that uncertainty in my life.

What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy insta-love romances or do you appreciate the long fight and ultimate surrender?

Learning stuff.

Those who follow me on Facebook may have noticed I celebrated a birthday yesterday. 46, baby. 46.

Although if you tell people I’m 27, I will pay you. I’m not kidding.😉

Every year when my birthday rolls around, I start to groan. I know, I know. Aging gracefully and all that crap. I’m supposed to embrace my age. Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. This year, I noticed a difference in my body and I couldn’t help reacting with mild horror.

I got these spots on my forehead. They’d better not be age spots. I’m way too young for age spots so I’m calling them sun spots. Yeah, sun spots.

Oh, then there were the arm/shoulder/neck issues. I’m still doing physio for that every couple of weeks. It’s getting better but I’m stiffer overall.

Don’t even get me started on walking into a room and forgetting why I went there.

Bodies change. Minds change. We get older. Things begin to sag. So I hear.😉

But here’s the good part. Aging means we are given new opportunities to learn. I’m appreciative every day of the increased awareness I’ve achieved in my later years. I know I still have more to learn. I certainly haven’t figured it all out, but every year, I feel as if I absorb a little more. The things that used to bother me at 20 don’t bother me anymore. I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff and I try very hard to concentrate on the grand scheme of things.

So what have I learned this year in particular?

I’ve learned children become very pompous when they outgrow you.

I’ve learned to be really scared when my eldest talks about getting his driver’s license.

I’ve learned not to go searching for good reviews. That’s when you find the bad ones. Reviews are awesome in any form, and I appreciate anyone who writes one, but I can’t let them define me or my work.

I’ve learned not to disregard any form of friendship. Friends are awesome. We always need more of them in our lives.

I’ve learned happiness comes from many sources but having a job you love has a huge impact on your well being. Find a way to do what you love.

I’ve learned it’s important to move. Writer’s ass sounds like a funny concept but in real life, it ain’t so funny.

I’ve learned I’d rather go through my day with a smile on my face than with a frown. And I will continue to find ways to bring you as many smiles as I can through my writing.

Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes this week. I love you guys. Be happy and be well.

 

 

“How do you do it?” An author juggles careers.

Authors hear a lot of questions from their friends. The one question I receive most is “How do you do it all?” I’ve always worked outside the home and didn’t stop after I got published. I like having something to fall back on but it’s also important for me to get out in the world and experience different situations. I’ve gotten a lot of story inspiration from my various jobs. Even if my royalties increased to a startling degree, I don’t think I would stop working.

That doesn’t mean I don’t get tired. After all, I’m juggling two careers. I’m sure there are those of us out there who are juggling more. Add to that my family and friends and general commitments and it can feel like a lot some days, especially because writing takes time. I don’t like doing it in fits and starts, but sometimes that’s all I can do.

How do I manage my two jobs? First of all, and most important of all in my mind, is I don’t beat myself up when I can’t do everything. There will be days or weeks when my library job has to be the priority. Yes, I can get stressed if I have to go a couple of days without writing, but I try not to dwell on it. Life happens. Regular pay cheques are important. Without them, I couldn’t write. And I love my job. That helps. I couldn’t do this if I had a job I hated.

Secondly, even if I can only write in fits and starts, I do it. Take this morning, for example. I had half an hour before I had to head to work so I wrote this blog post. You grab it when you can.

I will admit I’ve made sacrifices to accommodate my writing time but they have been sacrifices I’m willing to make. I don’t go out for coffee with friends during the day. I never did sign up for those yoga classes I wanted to try. I don’t shop for hours. I’m targeted with my errands and make the most of my time.

The only thing I don’t sacrifice is family time. I don’t tend to write at night when my husband and kids are home and I rarely write on weekends. However, because I have a part-time job, I can do this. Nevertheless, family time is crucial. I can write that page tomorrow but I can’t rearrange my kid’s music recital.

Lately I’ve been accepting a lot of hours at my library job. Because it’s summer, a lot of people are on vacation and I’ve been jumping into the fray for a lot of shifts. I’m starting to feel that little tingle of unease between my shoulders because I want to finish my latest manuscript. But then I remind myself it’s all okay. It’ll all get done. The book will be there tomorrow. When I have a deadline, I limit extra shifts, but right now I can do them. It gets me out and into the sun, something a lot of writers could use on a more regular basis.

So how do I do it? Minute by minute, day by day. I make time. I respect my time. And I just do it. If it’s important to me, it just has to get done.

Why I write what I write. #amwriting

I’ve always had voices in my head. The benign kind who just want their stories told, thankfully. It was probably inevitable I became a writer of some kind. As so many of my peers know, writing is an outlet for those voices.

I’ve had opportunity recently to look back at a couple of my earliest books. When someone asked about them, I reread a few passages here and there. I have to admit, I had a couple of “Did I really do that?” moments. A part of me wishes I could go back and rewrite a few sections to polish them up. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m not proud of my early work, but I find I learn something new every day in this business and I suppose I wish I knew it all right from the start.

If given the chance, however, would I really change anything significant in any of my books, even if it meant greater sales and  bestseller lists? Probably not. And there is one reason why.

Ultimately I have written the books I wanted to read.

At times I needed fanciful romances, full of mysterious figures. At other times, I craved stories full of human frailties and mistakes. Either way, I wrote my books because something inside me needed to hear and share those narratives.

This is one lesson that serves as a constant reminder. If the story doesn’t speak to me, it will never speak to anyone else.

I’ve been reading a lot of submission calls from publishers lately. Some look interesting and others don’t. If they don’t get me jazzed, I don’t submit. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I can’t force a story to come. If it doesn’t spring from my heart, it will never leap into another person’s heart.  At the end of the day, I need to dictate from those voices in my head and I need to trust their tales will find an audience. Luckily I have a great audience and I think they appreciate those wacky personalities dwelling inside me, the ones who end up spilling onto the page.

If I write a story about a museum conservator who fawns over a statue of a Greek god in a Toronto museum, it’s because I’ve walked those same museum corridors, dreaming about what it would be like to love a god. If I write a book about a lonely woman who cries seven tears into the cold North Sea, it’s because I have also known loneliness and wondered what would happen if I was thrust into a strange, new world. If I write about a modern woman who decides to picket a Las Vegas casino because her life has been destroyed by gambling, it’s because I understand the basis of those sentiments all too well.

When all is said and done, any story I give you is one I also need to give myself. It’s an exploration, a journey of self-discovery. Sometimes it’s a poultice, nurturing old wounds. It could be a bit of whimsy, penned by a woman who needs frivolity and laughter. And if I tell a story that has love at its core, it’s because I still believe in a world where love can conquer hatred.

I have given you the stories I need to read. Knowing others might need to read them too is the most wonderful validation.

Vice on sale at Google Play!

I don’t generally share sale info on my blog but this one was too good to pass up. Right now until July 21, my contemporary romance Vice is on sale at Google Play.

Vice_EPUB

This is the perfect time to grab this hot romance at a huge discount. Tell your friends! Call your bestie! Don’t you need a little vice in your life?

Sale link: Vice at Google Play

Need a teaser to whet your whistle?

Blurb:

He’s much more than a bad habit.

As a Vegas singer and volunteer counselor, Kate Callender has experienced life on both sides of Sin City’s bright lights. The thrill of performing, and gambling’s devastating effect on the addicts’ families.

Liam Doyle is just the kind of man she despises—a handsome, enigmatic businessman with a knack for seducing customers into his casino hotels. Determined to put a lid on his growing influence, she prepares to picket the opening of his newest casino, Vice.

When Liam spots the lone protestor hassling his customers, annoyance wars with instant attraction. And he quickly discovers the leggy redhead not only can’t be bought, she tempts him the way the sound of a roulette wheel lures a gambler.

They are natural enemies, but when a vile attack sparks Liam’s protective instincts, they begin a sexual odyssey that dances on the edge of addiction. Dangerously close to losing control…and losing themselves.

Warning: Contains a sexy, damaged hero who’d really rather just be having sex, and a no-nonsense redhead who makes him want to roll the dice on love just one more time.

Vice coupling teaser

Excerpt:

He meandered toward her and forced a smile. “You seem to have had a busy day.”

She whipped around and her eyes widened. He saw her give him a quick once-over. Did she like what she saw? Interesting. There was some perverse satisfaction in that.

“It has been busy.” She narrowed her hazel eyes at him. “Do you work here?”

So, she didn’t recognize him. Good. “Yes, ma’am, I do.” He crossed his arms over his chest and nodded, noting how her gaze dropped to his exposed forearms. Her lips parted. Clearly, working out had its merits. “And word inside is you’ve upset the big boss.”

Her nostrils flared as she dragged her gaze away from his arms. “About time.” She put her sign down and picked up her purse. “Do you know Liam Doyle?”

“I’ve heard one or two things about him.”

She stepped closer and her lips did the most amazing thing, curling into a flirtatious semi-smile. “I don’t suppose you’d be willing to share them with me? The other guy kept on sucking up about him as if he was wearing a wire.” She paused. “You’re not wearing a wire, are you?”

He laughed out loud. He couldn’t help it. This was way too much fun. He sidled close to her, leaned in conspiratorially, and put a hand on her elbow. Her very soft elbow. “I’m not wearing a wire. But are you sure you want to know the truth about Doyle? I don’t know if you can handle it.”

She gawked at him and then at his lips. Her voice came out in a whisper. “Try me.”

He murmured in her ear, taking note of her lilac scent. “Well, I hear at midnight he sprouts black wings and horns. And he’s always searching for innocent maidens to add to his coven.” He bit on his bottom lip, suddenly wishing he was gnawing on hers.

At first, her eyelids did this fluttery thing that made his imported pants spring to life. But then she blinked and began to laugh. “And here I thought I was dealing with a mere businessman. I didn’t realize Doyle was cousins with Lucifer.”

“What’s your name?”

She regarded him from out of the side of her eye, her mouth still bearing the same flirty grin. “What’s yours?”

“Consider me a friend who wants to give you some advice.”

The smile disappeared from her face. “And what would that be?”

“Don’t mess with Liam Doyle. He doesn’t take to it kindly.”

The coquettish shine in her eyes hardened. “Is that a threat?”

“No, sugar. That’s not my style.”

“What exactly do you do here? Are you in security?”

“Never mind that.” He waved his hand. “Look, you’ve had your fun. Why don’t you run along home now?”

She reached for her sign and tucked it under her arm. “I will go where I damn well please. And you can tell your friend Mr. Doyle to expect me tomorrow. Maybe next time he’ll be brave enough to confront me himself.” She turned on her heel and walked down the manicured pathway leading to the taxi bay.

Liam stared at her ass as she walked away. Brave?

Game on, sugar. He’d show her brave.

 

The writer’s brain, two months into the submission process.

Just over two months ago, I submitted my new contemporary romance to a publisher with whom I’ve never worked. It has potential for a three-part series and I believe it’s a fun and emotional ride of a novel. I have faith in this book. My beta readers told me they have faith in it as well.

However, submission is typically a long process. In general, one can expect a response from most romance publishers anywhere up to three months down the line and one wouldn’t send a query letter before that time is up.

We writers are insecure creatures though. Upon approaching the three month mark, my mind starts to play vicious little games with me. I thought it might be illuminating to share what occurs in a writer’s brain two months into the submission process.

Firstly, of course every writer thinks their book is a work of art. We dream of getting a response within the first week, saying, “This book is incredible! We must publish you now!” This is especially true if one has been published elsewhere before. When that doesn’t happen, the deflation begins. Deflation is a terrible monster with a soft footfall. You don’t hear it coming. All you know is you somehow feel off. Before you know it, you are standing in the pile of skin that used to house your confidence.

Self-doubt creeps in and is amplified with each week of no response. “Did I polish my manuscript enough?” “Did I miss any typos?” “Is my story of the tender love between an elephant shifter and a squirrel shifter just not compelling enough?”

I remind myself the publishers are busy. Not only do they have their in-house authors to support, they are constantly reading and acquiring new authors. But I’m supposed to be one of those new authors, right? RIGHT??

Sometimes one gets angry during this process. “So-and-so published fifty-seven of my previous books. Am I still not good enough for Publisher #2? Don’t they know who I am??”

(This is where I remind myself I’m not really all that well known and to stop using double question marks.)

I often enter a zen state around this point. All will be well. Things happen for a reason. Stop checking your emails. This builds character. Count your blessings and all that shit. The zen state lasts for about ten minutes.

Somehow I force myself not to dwell on my submission for a couple of weeks. I write something new. Onward and upward, right? Things are good. I am the epitome of patience.

I hear about someone else who just got accepted by Publisher #2.  I bite my nails down to the quick.

I start to play the “I love you, I hate you” game. Maybe I don’t WANT to be published by these guys. Maybe they don’t understand my work. Of course, I only indulge in this train of thought for a short time. I really do want to be published by them.

A friend reminds me the editors are probably busy with such-and-such. I get it. My logical brain understands. My heart, not so much. I begin to wonder if the editors have even seen my manuscript yet. What if it’s still sitting in the slush pile? What if my email somehow got lost? A whole other set of worries set in.

It’s all rather ridiculous, isn’t it? However, for many of us, I have no doubt we play at least a few of these mind games. Why would anyone willingly put themselves through this mental chaos? Because that is how it’s done. Because when that book is accepted, our jubilation is all-encompassing. “Finally, a publisher who understands me! I have been validated. I love these guys! They rock.”

The game begins again.

I will be sure to let you know how things go.