Whatcha going to give a cowboy?

In the spirit of holiday giving we -- some of the Crimson Romance authors -- have concocted another giveaway for our dearest readers, and by dearest I mean you.

We're celebrating the six month anniversary of our releases. That's when most of us became authors. Oh, that sweet word just roll of my tongue like warm fudge! We appreciate every and each one of you that gave us a chance by picking up one of our books. You complete us!

Oh, yeah, about that giveaway. To make things a little more complicated fun, we're blogging and posting on each other's blog. Just hop around and say hello for more chances to win.

So, without further ado, here's Lynn Cahoon, an expert on sexy and adorable cowboys.

The holidays are upon us. Where did 2012 go? Six months have passed since The Bull Rider’s Brother was released by Crimson Romance June 4th.  I have author copies sitting in a box in my office.  (Love saying that…) and I’ve done several signings with one more coming up this weekend.  

The glamorous life of an author, right?  
Wrong.  Don’t misunderstand me, I love my new role.  And I have a new story in the bull rider’s saga that just released in November, The Bull Rider’s Manager.  I love this Vegas wedding/Idaho setting story that really pushes my heroine to figure out what she wants for herself.  A question we as women don’t ask ourselves enough, in my opinion. 
But with the release of The Bull Rider’s Manager, Jesse, my supportive bull rider, is feeling a little left out.  He’s always the supporting friend/brother and never the star of his own life.  Well, that’s going to change in my next release, so he better be ready to take the wildest ride of his life.  The one where he finds his soul mate.

 So, whatcha going to give a cowboy for Christmas?  Here’s Jesse’s wish list…

Wranglers.  Plain, comfortable jeans that make my butt look amazing. 

A new felt cowboy hat – Stetson Corral in black, specifically.

While you’re at the Stetson store, I need a new belt –Denali with my name on the back

A duster. Think Billy the kid, riding the range, and I want that coat.

I think I lost my last silver flask at the Wyoming Stomp, so I could use a new one, filled with Patron, please.

Road trips get pretty boring, so, I’d love an e-reader. Probably better get me Lynn Cahoon’s books too, so I can keep track of what she’s writing about me. 

 So, now that you know what Jesse wants, you can score one of the items off his wish list.  

December is filled with wonderful things - from the delicious goodies taking up our counter space to time spent with friends and family. What is your favorite thing about the holiday season? 

Leave a comment - and don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter below to be entered to win a new Kindle and 10 of our titles! Keep hopping!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's a handy dandy list of the participating authors, just click on and hop away. Good Luck!

Lynn Cahoon
D'Ann Lindun
Moriah Densley
Kristina Knight
Peggy Bird
Diane Jewkes
Micah Persell
Irene Preston
Nancy Schuman 


Prizes, prizes, prizes!

Click on the image to see the list of participating authors. 

The authors at Crimson Romance offer a wonderland of romantic worlds, and we’d love you to visit!
From Nov. 17th to Nov. 21st we’re celebrating our wide spectrum of romances with the first Crimson Wonderland Blog Hop! Forty-five authors will entice you to their worlds and offer prizes to lucky visitors.

 A wonderland of worlds and prizes too!

But that’s not all. As well as dozens of giveaways, there will also be 3 grand prizes - one Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift certificate for $100, and two gift certificates for $50 each!

 So, how do I get a crack at these fantastic prizes?

Easy peasy, just follow the steps below.

1- Enter the rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win an e-copy of Witch's Soulmate.

2- Answer the question on the comments field: "Do you believe in soulmates?" to be entered to win one of the fabulous grand prizes.

2- Click here to be redirected to the list of authors/blog for more chances to win. More blogs you visit, more chances to win.

Good luck! 



A curse named love.

Do you know the feeling when you see a person who inexplicably makes the butterflies in your stomach fly like it’s the first day of spring? Then after gravity has returned and you managed to gather what is left of your melting brain, the only coherent word you can mutter is “wow.”

Add to this amazing feeling the fear that comes from the certainty he will suffer a horrible death just because he’s bound to love you. All the while the painful memories of having your parents ripped away from you for that very reason closes around your throat like a beast’s claw.

This is what I felt when I met Peter, my soulmate...

To read the rest of Jade's impressions on love, here.


Celebrating Halloween

 This year since I am in Brazil my Halloween celebration will be mellow: no costumes and no trick-or-treating, but I already got my treat for the day, a ☆☆☆☆☆ review for my paranormal romance, Witch's Soulmate, wich will be released next Monday.

I received this book as an ARC for an honest review. I have to say I'm very glad I did. It was a thoroughly engaging read that has really put me in the Halloween mood since the main theme is witches. But, not they're not your cackling, ride on a broomstick sort. They're actually human beings with direct energy links to the earth. The author wove a interesting tale about mythical witches and their soul mates...
Read the complete review on Melissa's blog, [Insert clever quip her], and leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a digital copy of Witch's Soulmate and a $5 gift card.

Is this a sweet treat or not? 

Happy Halloween!


Little Wonders

Isn't amazing how music have such a strong hold on our emotions?

Those "little wonders" about three to five minutes long can transport you to a time in the past and rekindle emotions you have long thought lost.

Joyce Lamb on the USA Today blog knows exactly what I'm talking about. Read here her post about One Hit Wonder and music.

PS: Just like Joyce, I was inspired to name the headline of this post after Rob Thomas' Little Wonders, a song that helped me through some rough times.


Gotta love ARCs.

Yesterday I received the ARC (advance reading copy) for my upcoming urban fantasy romance Witch's Soulmate (formally known as Soulmate's Curse). For me, that generally means intermittent adrenaline spikes and plenty of nail biting.

What's the big deal? One should ask.

Well, when you have an ARC it means you can start sharing your work with the world. Thus, you start getting feedback, reviews, love letters, and hate mail. So, yes, it's a bit exciting.

Witch's Soulmate is my first attempt at fantasy. I was am nervous about all the world building expectations/requirements of fantasy. That's probably why my book is urban fantasy, which means it happens in this world—and at present time. Dodged that fireball! 

Still, the paranormal elements of the story needed to be plausible. At least for me, even the craziest things have to have a good explanation about how they came to be. And I know there's a lot of very smart and very demanding readers that won't swallow any kind of bull!@#%. Neither, would I ever give it to them. So, yes, it's a bit exciting.

This book is also the first of a trilogy, so I'm hoping to have a lot of feedback that will make writing the second and third books very, very exciting. Yes, they're not written yet. A lot can still happen with the story. (Hope my editor is not reading this. If you are Jennifer, don't worry I'll try to stick to the synopsis.)

So, what's next?

Give out ARCs to people wanting to read Witch's Soulmate at first hand and, hopefully, review it on the major book retailers websites, wait for the cover (intermittent adrenaline spikes and plenty of nail biting), and promote the heck out of it.

Meanwhile, here a little blurb of Witch's Soulmate for you enjoyment:

 Through mythology and South American indigenous traditions they’d be known throughout history by several names: goddesses, fairies, mermaids, alchemists, but they prefer to call themselves: witches.The guardians of Earth's living energy. Jade is a young witch scarred by the murder of her parents and determined to evade her soulmate and never fall in love. Unfortunately, falling in love is not up to her or Peter—the human whose life-energy is identical to hers. The soulmate is the missing key to unlock the witch’s power and Arrow, a powerful organization whose only intent is to kill the soul-mates and keep the witches in check, is ready to do whatever it takes to destroy their connection, that means hunting down and murdering the soulmate through an ancient ritual. After a chance encounter, Jade and Peter are swept in a battle that takes them to Europe and South America in hopes to uncover a secret that will decide the very fate of their love—and their lives.

Also, click here for a dialogue nugget.


Keep calm and carry on

I've seen the catchphrase many times, but never really stopped to find out what it's all about. Not only until I've read an article on cnn.com titled William and Kate: Keeping calm and carrying on, I learned the motto was "a propaganda poster produced by the Government of the United Kingdom in 1939 during the beginning of the Second World War, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the event of a Nazi invasion of Britain."

Here's a great video made by Barter Books that tells us more about the origin of the poster:

I, too, like millions of people love the phrase and hope to introduce more and more "keep calm and carry on" to my daily life.


Dialogue Nugget Sunday - Through the Lens

“Are you taking pictures of me?”
“Well, are you?” Mika asked accusingly.
“It’s only fair. I saw you getting shots of me earlier. I see everything, Mika.”
She sucked in deep breath of air, causing her breasts to rise and his own most intimate parts rose along with them. “I won’t have you making fun of me.”
“I’m not making fun of you. You know I never would. Besides, what was all that with you photographing me?”
She let out a huff. “You were in my shot. That was all.”
Ale started to walk toward her. “Really, Mika, you can do better than that. What’s with the pictures?”
She nervously nibbled at her bottom lip, then stopped and tilted her chin up at him. “Maybe I wanted to take your picture,” she challenged. “Put you on the other side of the camera for a change.”
He looked at her long and hard; her biting her lips made him want to bend down and do the same. He had to get a grip. “That sounds fair. But if you’re putting me on the other side of the camera, then I’m doing the same to you.”
Her eyes sparked for just a moment, and she looked away. He could practically see the wheels turning. Would she allow him to photograph her? Mika loved to hide in the background. She’d never agree. Unless …
“So, game over. You concede I guess you’re too scared to live up to your own challenge,” Ale teased.
She instantly fired her gaze back to his. “Of course not. I only suggest we start with you.”

Available for pre-order on Amazon


Dialogue Nugget Sunday - Johnnie Blue

“Let me buy you a drink.” 
I cocked my head and lifted an eyebrow. “It’s an open bar.”
“Not for the good stuff.” He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled a money clip, then removed a fifty dollar bill. “Bartender, another one for me and one for the lady.” The bartender nodded, opened a cabinet behind the bar, and pulled a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue.
“Whoa.” I whispered at the sight of Johnnie Blue and looked at grey eyes who smirked triumphantly at me. “This is not going to get you inside my pants.”


Dialogue Nugget Sunday - Love of her lives

Our dialogue nugget today is a little different, Sharon Clare the author of Love of Her Lives interviews her hero Calum.

SC: There’s a rumour here in the Upper World, Calum, that you’ve been dappling in magic, scrying Beth’s future, perhaps even looking for a way back to Beth?
CC: Hmmph. I wouldn’t be searching through tomes, if the Old Ones would share their wisdom. Beth needs my protection. That’s all that matters.
SC: Let’s hypothesize that you have found a way to return to Earth. Beth is a grown woman. She won’t know you. She didn’t want your intervention in your last life together, why would she welcome it now? Not to mention, you haven’t walked the earth in a hundred years. Things have changed, you know.
CC: Tis a challenge to be sure, but Beth should have a battalion protecting her when she walks the earth. I’ve a quick wit. I’m adaptable. I’ll decipher the ways of the 21st century.
Calum takes a step forward, his hand presses the small of my back. I feel the heat from that light touch as he nudges me toward the door. All power and grace, but there’s dominance in that touch too. A feminine strand in me envies Beth, to be loved so fiercely, and a part of me knows she better brace for the warrior’s intrusion.
SC: Good luck, Calum. I know you have Beth’s well-being in mind, but she is resourceful. Perhaps you should give her a chance to solve her own problems before you intrude on her life?
CC: Perhaps you should be on your way before The Old Ones find you in the library. They wouldn’t want a mere mortal leafing through their sacred tomes.

Sharon Clare
Romance and Beyond 
Love of Her Lives - available at Crimson Romance and many places ebooks are sold.


Dialogue Nugget Sunday - Soulmate's Curse

  “Why do you hook up with this type of guys?” Melanie once asked me when I’d brought to our table a very attractive self proclaimed “artist” who thought his best work was a series of nude self-portraits.
“What’s wrong with his type?” I said, staring into his tush.
“They’re so shallow and stupid, among other things.”
“Come on, Mel, he’s hot.”
“Would you really have a relationship with a guy like him? He’s dumb as a rock.”
“Maybe…” I said without taking my eyes from him. “I’m sure he has many other qualities.” He propped his foot on a stool’s footrest as he waited for our drinks and his round and firm buttocks stretched his jeans. “Look at that ass. Don’t you just want to take a bite?”
Melanie giggled. “You’re impossible.”
“Mel, relax. I’m not looking for my soulmate or anything I just want to have fun.” I said laughing inwardly at the truthfulness of my statement, which she would never know. For her, going out was all about finding the right guy; for me, it was all about not. Humans were unable to be happy on their own. Everything had to be about love, and family, and connection. I was inherently connected to Earth, its energy traveled through me, filling me with power and life. I didn’t need anything else.

Soulmate's Curse* by Denyse Cohen coming in November 2012
*Advance Excerpt from Soulmate's Curse. Because this is such an early excerpt, there are likely to be changes in the final text or title.

Meanwhile check out my contemporary romance: One Hit Wonder,
or sexy short story: Johnnie Blue.


Dialogue Nugget Sunday - A place to rest my heart

 Strong, warm hands grabbed my arms to steady me, “You always so jumpy?” That smirk that had been on his face in the bar was still there. He released my arms, stepped back, and I watched his eyes darken with heat as he slowly looked me over head to toe. I realized at that point I was only wearing a pair of well-worn sweat pants and a thin tank top.

            “Some people, myself included, think it’s rude to stare.”

            “I don’t give a damn what some people think.” He moved a step closer to me, his eyes boring into mine, and I caught a whiff of some knee-melting cologne. I got the feeling he had something to say, his manner shifting from leering to threatening. But I held fast and stared right back at him. I turned the tables and gave Sean an appraising look, taking in how his worn jeans fit nicely over his long legs, and that his t-shirt fit snugly across his chest. I moved forward to stand toe to toe with him. His grin turned cocky, but his eyes still had some heat to them and his voice was soft and direct, “I’m sure you want to hit the road as soon as possible but if you’re hungry, breakfast is this way.” I got the message loud and clear.

“Where the hell am I?”

            “Is this twenty questions?”

            “Am I going to need to ask that many before you tell me where the hell I am and where my clothes are?”

Available July 30th





Life in Death by Harlow Drake

Today I am hosting Harlow Drake, author of Life in Death.  At the end of the post there is a giveaway where Harlow is giving away 3 autographed paperbacks and a $15 Amazon Gift Card.  Check out this great novella and enter to win!

When a girl that social worker Kari Marchant places in foster care is brutally murdered, she’s compelled to learn why. Her quest for the truth pits her against friends and coworkers. As Kari works to solve the horrific plot, more people die. How far should she go to learn the truth—even if it threatens her life?


Author Harlow Drake was born in Kansas City, MO, but grew up in Denver, CO. She relocated to North Carolina five years ago with her husband, two dogs, and 16-year old twins. 

She shares a birthday with the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte. In keeping with his legacy, she is currently working on taking over the world. Harlow's positive attitude and fresh take on life are her tools and conquest is certain.  She spends her free time writing, dancing, traveling and defending mailboxes from her 16-year-old twins’ driving. 

Her debut novel, LIFE IN DEATH, is a murder mystery which pulls from real-life situations from her own family history. She felt compelled to share her story with the world while offering a thrilling, entertaining, and amusing escape for readers. 

In keeping with her commitment to improving the lives of children, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of her book will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club in her home state of North Carolina. 

She loves to connect with her readers and can be found on Twitter, her blog, or on Facebook

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Dialogue Nugget Sunday - One Hit Wonder

“John?” She approached him gingerly. “Is everything okay?”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh, it’s fine. He was just asking about some of the things we’ve been doing.”
“Does he think I’m meddling?
“Nothing he can do about it from hundreds of miles away.” John snorted.
“I don’t want to cause any trouble”—Audrey smiled sheepishly—“for you.”
John held her gaze and her heart skipped a beat. She felt the charged energy between them, and when he took a step in her direction it multiplied by a tenfold.
“Hey kids.” Tyler said coming out of freaking nowhere and grabbing a Dr. Pepper from the refrigerator. “What’s happening?”
John tweaked his lips at her, then turning to an expectant Tyler, said “I was telling Audrey about Bill’s management style.”
“Stand back and watch?” Tyler shook his head in disapproval. “He never leaves his office.”
“Why do you work with him?” Audrey asked disappointed by the interruption because she thought she saw something very peculiar in John’s eyes when he said her name, and she desperately wanted to know what it was.


Dialogue Nugget Sunday - The Wanting Heart

“It’s late, Blake.  I’m tired.”
“Not too tired to be kissing that city feller.”  Blake could’ve kicked himself.  He wanted to talk to her not fight.
“That’s none of your business.  You have no right to be spying on me.”
“I wasn’t spying.  I was watching Cathy.”
Kate stepped into the full light.  “Well, you should have taken her and been on your way!”
Seeing dark circles beneath Kate’s eyes, Blake studied her.  He saw sadness and fatigue.  “Jesus, Kate.  Did you drive home last night?  Have you even been home?”
“What do you care?”
Blake grabbed her arms.  “Are you trying to kill yourself?”
“No.  I’m living my life.”
“I’ll tell you what you’re doing.  You’re going home and going to bed.”
“Don’t use that range boss voice on me.  You have no right.”
Blake couldn’t listen to another word.  Holding her body, even in anger, was too much for him.  Her words were crushed against her mouth as his lips covered hers.  He lifted her off her feet, molding her body to his.  She’d been nineteen the last time he kissed her.  Her body had grown and filled out since then.  But, he wasn’t thinking of that.  He wasn’t thinking of anything, but how damn good it felt to just hold her, kiss her.  Begging for her surrender, he stroked his hands over her hips, up her back and fisted them in her hair.

…Romantic Suspense as Big as Montana!  
Coming on July 9th from Crimson Romance.



Gone missing

I read an informative article on Writer's Digest about "grammar hang-ups," and as a non-native English speaker I must say "hang-ups" are a constant in my writing, especially because I'm not the best at memorizing rules. I usually have to edit the heck out of my manuscript and my editor would still find little mishaps that she probably wouldn't in a native's manuscript.

I thought "gone missing" was a particularly interesting one, because it reminded me of the many idioms I had to familiarize myself with when I first arrived in the U.S.
Things like "until the cows come home" and "head over heels" don't make sense when we translate literally to Portuguese.

The article explains: Gone missing is a Briticism that has made its way to the U.S., where reporters use it mostly to describe missing persons. Although journalists and newscasters seem to love gone missing, it’s easy to find vocal readers and viewers who hate it.

Haters argue that a person must go to a location, and missing isn’t a place, and that an inanimate object can’t go missing because it can’t take action alone—but English has never been so literal. 

Amen to that!

Even if you hate gone missing, you can’t legitimately criticize it as grammatically incorrect. But on the flip side, if you’re a fan of the phrase, be aware that it annoys enough readers that you should think twice before using it in your writing.

Read the entire article here.


Dialogue Nugget Sunday - Love, Eternally

Gigi stood, frozen with shock. She knew that laugh, that turn of the head, that man. “Magnus!” she cried out, and started running. “Magnus!”
His eyebrows shot up, his emotions raw, exposed––recognition, disbelief, joy.
“Gigi!” he yelled.
And then he, too, was pushing his way free of the group and running.
The shock of his touch, a thunderclap of joy as his strong arms lifted her off her feet, holding her suspended, his face buried in the crook of her neck. He smelled of hard travel, of leather and wood smoke. She breathed deeply.
“Thank the gods. I searched everywhere,” he said with a husky voice.
“Magnus, Mag—” 
His mouth covered hers, his passion laying claim. She’d felt his embrace in a thousand dreams, but now he was here, real, and her body trembled for him.
“I feared I would never find you.” The words strangled in his throat as he kissed her eyes, her lips. “No news ever came. Ah, Gigi, I prayed endlessly to Victoria, but I feared . . . ”

 Love Eternally, Book One of the Roman Time Travel Series, Coming on July 2 from Crimson Romance



What if?

A blog post on Crimson Romance today talked about writers that transform a "what if" into a story.

And "what if" is really how everything starts, isn't it?

The editor asked the readers to share their "what if," here's mine:

art by Svenja Liv
What if all the life in our planet came from within Earth itself; everything connected into a grid of energy invisible to humans. The guardians of this "living energy" are women who call themselves witches.
The witches share a deep connection with all the elements and are mighty powerful, but they have one weakness: a soulmate - few humans in the entire world whose life energy is a perfect match for a witch.
When a witch meet a soulmate their attraction is uncontrollable and because the witch's power will grow exponentially if she's with her soulmate an ancient organization is out to hunt and kill them.

This is the "what if" that resulted in my latest manuscript.

It was such a fun story to write, I finished the first draft in less than eight weeks, now I'm editing and hoping to find a home for it soon.

So, what is your latest "what if" ?


Dialogue Nugget Sunday - The Reluctant Debutant

Ginger‘s blush rose from her toes to her cheeks, which became inflamed with color. She stared up at him again and gasped. “You threatened me on our fateful day in the livery, saying you would like to strip me of my bloomers and have your way with me. Did you ravage me?” She squeaked out the question.
  “You were unconscious, and ill. I would not take advantage of you under such circumstances.”
  “Damn,” she whispered. She pummeled her hands on the covers. Then she smiled up at him. “But I‘m awake and well now.”

Available July 2
Check out more about Becky Lower at her website www.becklowerauthor.com and all of the Crimson Romance Titles at www.crimsonromance.com


Guilt-y Pleasure

The thing about absolutely loving the story you're writing you're in danger of being totally absorbed by it.

Everything becomes secondary: water the plants, feed the dog, tend to the child. What child? {er…totally kidding}

But when the creative juices run low only one thing can help: sugar.

Since my sugary treat today is writing related (as it helps me write) I've decided to share it with you.

Behold Cake-batter cookies

Chocolate Cake mix
2 Tablespoons cream-cheese
1/4 oil
2 eggs
Confectioners sugar

1. Set your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cookie tray by coating it with cooking spray, shortening and flour or parchment paper.
2. Blend the ingredients such as the cake mix describes, except omit one egg and water.
3. Add cream-cheese and mix well with a fork or whisk until batter is smooth.
4. Scoop out 1″ amounts of batter, shape into a ball with your hands and roll the ball in a small plate of Confectioners sugar. {I wasn't able to roll mine, too gooey. I used two spoons and spooned first on the Confectioners sugar, then placed the balls on the baking sheet}
5. Place cake-batter balls 1 1/2″ apart from each other on a cookie sheet.
6. Place in oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Insert a tooth pick to check consistency, the tooth pick should come out clean. Cool for 5-10 minutes.

The original recipe comes from the Strawberry Koi site, which is a visual treat in itself.
I often go there just to pretend I live in a wonderful world of pastels and vintage beauty.

The cookies are truly yum! However, they didn't come out as gooey as I hoped. I was dreaming them more mousse-y or brownie-y like.

-y {suffix forming nouns: denoting a state, condition, or quality : glory | jealousy | orthodoxy.}

See, this was writing related after all.


Dialogue Nugget Sunday - One Hit Wonder

“Are we in the same room?” He’d muttered when Isabel left.
“Does it offend your maidenhood?”
“Your parents are right down the hall.”
“We were in the same room at your dad’s.”
“It’s just…I don’t know.”
“Don’t worry, Dad knows you’re marrying me tomorrow.”
At night, Audrey had tickled him under the covers while he shushed her nervously and pleaded for silence.
“How about a last lay as a single guy?” She’d slid her hands under his undershirt. “You can pretend it’s your bachelor party and I can give you a lap dance.”


Meet Jade

Hey guys did you notice my kick-ass new banner?

My friend, Leah, said "I don't know…this girl's eyes are scary." To which I responded, "Hell, yeah!"

That was the validation I needed.

Now that my contemporary novel, ONE HIT WONDER, has hit the e-shelves. I felt it was time to concentrate on the urban-fantasy story I'm writing and as a visual artist, I needed visual motivation.

I've contacted the artist Svenja Liv to create the portrait of Jade. I found Svenja's site by accident when looking for a word-meter to display my work-in-progress. (the nifty word-meter on the left sidebar was designed by her.)

I visited her gallery on devianart and voilá, she was open to take commissions!

It was a leap of faith, but it certainly paid off. After only a few emails, I've sensed Svenja was a serious artist and when the time came to close the deal I've sent full advance payment for the drawing.

Svenja then send me several work-in-progress sketches and was incredibly open to all my requests. AND she designed the banner above--for free!

Moral of the story: Take chances!

I now have a great illustration to go with my work (perhaps even a book cover) and I got to know better this amazing artist that lives halfway across the world who guess what? Is also a writer.

Here's a little about Svenja in her own words:

I started drawing when my mother put a crayon in my hand, when I was a year old. I haven't really stopped since, but I did exchange the crayon for some slightly better tools! Now I'm a freelance artist and designer. I do game art, character portraits, and a lot of book covers and illustrations. I'm originally from Germany, but I've lived in Ireland for more than half my life and call it home. And yes, I am a writer, although not a published one, unless you count academic stuff. I'm still working on finishing my first novel so I can send it out into the world.

You can see Svenja's work at: http://svenjaliv.deviantart.com and http://facebook.com/svenjaliv


Hello World.

The sky looking out of my window may be gray, but today is all sunshine for me. 
It's JUNE 4TH and I'm officially a published author. 
But what is a writer without a reader? I'll tell you: a lonely and bitter creature bond to wither in her own sorrow.
So, don't leave me alone. Check out One Hit Wonder on Amazon, B&N, Itunes, and pretty much everywhere ebooks are sold.
Pick up your copy, I guarantee you'll be entertained.


One Hit Wonder Giveaway

That's it! My book release is less than one week away!!!! (highly annoying multiple exclamation marks to show you how I can't contain myself)

To celebrate I want to give two lucky people e.copies of One Hit Wonder.

Just follow the prompts below for your chance to win. I'll contact you the day after the contest is over to send your brand spanking new e.copy of One Hit Wonder (Don't you love that? E.copy. Aw, the wonders of the digital world)

Meanwhile, you can read an excerpt here.

Good Luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Company

Crimson Romance officially launches June 4th and with it 25 titles (Including One Hit Wonder—high fives everyone!) sure to make summer reading nothing short of interesting.
Becoming a Crimson Romance author has not come short of great perks, one of the best is being in such good company.
The ladies in red (the title of our collaborative blog) are a group of well-rounded, sassy, smart, and strong women who write well-rounded, sassy, smart, and strong stories for all tastes.
I've been lucky enough to be able to read ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) of some of our wonderful authors:
 Irene Preston's Infamous, 
What happens when a Hollywood socialite falls for a conservative soccer dad?
Kristina Knight's What a Texas Girl Wants
Sometimes what happens in Mexico doesn't stay there...

and Peggy Bird's Beginning Again 
A story about starting over in love and life, finding happiness and fulfillment along the way.

While my reading list is continually growing, I've already learned so much from these ladies. One thing that I particularly love to hear about is how their muses have chosen to manifest themselves.

Kristina's love for music and the song 'stays in Mexico' by Toby Keith was the spark that set Kathleen and Jackson's story in motion. At that point, Kristina knew they'd done something very bad on vacation and "the story sprang to life from there."

I, too, find music very inspirational. (e.g. One Hit Wonder.)

But some people live with their characters in their head, so much so that they become split personalities or, as Peggy says "imaginary friends." And they even can influence our own lives as convincing Peggy a BlackBerry is better than an iPhone.

My character, Audrey, has an Iphone. I'm totally bias, but I'd just put this way—Iphone rocks!

Irene always has themes that inspire her. For Infamous it was masks - "it's about knowing what's real and what's not, especially in your own life."

So, as you see, I'm in good company. These ladies (and I mean ALL of them) are so interesting that, maybe, my third book will be about a group of romance authors that go to a writing retreat somewhere unexpected. (Um, this sounds promising.)

I hope you'll have the chance to check out Crimson Romance's titles this summer. I can assure you it'll be quite a ride.



Audrey and John's Falling In love song

While I've always loved the band Lifehouse, it was only yesterday I really paid attention to the lyrics of "Falling In," and my goodness! They are perfect for Audrey and John.

No surprise songs are huge inspirations for writers. Wasn't Stephanie Meyer who dedicate one of her Twilight books to the band Muse? (Muse rocks! btw.)

I honestly can't name one single title (or band) that influenced "One Hit Wonder" but there were many I listened to get in the romance groove, the more "acky breaky" the better.

You can sample some of them in One Hit Wonder's playlist I've created, here.

I've tried to make Audrey and John's love real, even as it swept them off their feet shattering any skepticism or doubt. Still, when something feels so absolute, it tends to cause fear.

The lines below paint the perfect picture of what they felt and I can't get the song out of my mind, neither I want to.

"Falling In" by Lifehouse
As I treat, make a comment below—perhaps sharing your favorite love song? or tweet this blog post (or RT @denysecohen) and you'll be entered for a chance to win the song via Itunes. I'll pick the winner randomly tomorrow around 6p.m eastern and contact you, so I can send "Fallin In" your way.

And don't forget ONE HIT WONDER comes out June 4th at most e-books outlets or you can pre-order it on Amazon.



Dialogue Nugget Sunday #3

“Matt, have you ever been afraid?” Audrey said, without looking at him.
“How much have you been drinking?” Matt reached for her glass and sniffed the liquid inside it.
“When you started the band. How did you know you were going to get along?”
“Well, I didn’t start the band. John did. I just joined in. I didn’t know if we were going to get along and we didn’t—all the time, he kept us together.”
“Hmm,” Audrey took a sip of her whiskey and pondered. “Weren’t you worried John wasn’t going to reciprocate your…efforts?” Audrey bit her lower lip, wishing she could stuff those words back into her mouth, because Matt’s expression was torn between amusement and incredulity.
There was a moment of silence, long enough for Audrey to knock back her drink and wish to burst in flames.
Matt’s expression turned contemplative, then he said, “I suppose we never know what other people will do, that’s why we can’t worry about it. What we can do is not let fear keep us from living the best life we can.” He paid for the beer the bartender had placed in front of him, then intertwined his long fingers on the bottles, two in each hand. “I can tell you one thing for sure, John is the best person to share your efforts with, because he always does what’s in his power to not let anyone down.”

Available for pre-order on Amazon and everywhere else on June 4th.


10 Things I've learned about writing a novel

My novel "One Hit Wonder" will hit the ebook world in less than three weeks and I STILL can hardly believe it. I've been trying to tone down my excitement so I can keep my feet on the ground and focus on writing my next book. For me, writing is a craft/art that one can only improve upon doing it and, while "One Hit Wonder" happened organically (and you can read about my motivation here ) , I decided to list the things I've learned in the process of writing it so my next project will, uh, be easier more streamlined. (The word easy don't really mix with me and writing)

1- Writing a novel is not just writing a story - For me, writing a story meant writing what I wanted to tell without thinking too much about it, but to write a novel you have to worry about your readers. Is it engaging? Is it clear? Is there enough conflict?
2- Create a strong vocabulary - The vocabulary we use in our daily lives might be enough to communicate with our colleagues, children, friends, husband (barely), but is it enough to write a 80K-plus-word novel? is it? IS IT? IS IT? (P.S: DO. NOT. rely on Thesaurus only, see #4)
3- Develop a director's eye - I could say that since becoming a writer (can I say I am a writer before my book is actually released?) I have watched movies (and life) with new eyes. But honestly, I have always seen stuff with an aesthetic curiosity that is a few notches above the masses (Oh, goodness I feel like wonder woman) I'm not really special (in that sense, anyways *smile sheepishly*) but I'm a trained visual artist, that gives me special powers. Study the scenes of movies as if you're going to write them down (or have pen and paper and write them down). How the camera moves, the actors expressions, body language, etc. are things that can help you set up your own scenes.
4- Read, read, read - This is a no brainer, right? Most writers have become writers because they love to read. Stephen King says on his memoir, On Writing: "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot." Who am I to argue with the King? P.S: He also says a writer learns a lot from both good and bad books: with good writing you learn about style, plot developments, and graceful narration; with bad writing you learn not to do the same.
5- Set a schedule/Write everyday - Creating a schedule to write everyday helps you fall into a routine. My dog goes out in the backyard everyday at 5:30 p.m. It's his routine. When it gets close to that time he gets up from his favorite resting place (my husband's leather chair) and no matter what else is going on in the house, he's at the door restless waiting to do what he's supposed to do. If we write everyday at the same time with the same props (cup of coffee and/or shot of tequila) our brain will be conditioned to get to work. (Disclosure: I have no scientific data to back this up, but I'm pretty sure I've read it somewhere, AND it has worked for me.)
6- Don't revise it until you have finished the entire manuscript  - Revising before you finish the story is like being sucked into a black hole of self-doubt and loathing. Don't do that to yourself. The King has also said "first drafts are excrement," don't worry about the mess, don't flush. Keep on going, hold your nose if you have to, but leave clean up for later.
by MarsDorian
7- Action! - This was a huge one for me! I had to demolish everything I thought I knew about storytelling and start from ground zero. Keyword: telling. Readers don't want you to tell them a story, they want you to show them. Forget about "this happened" then "that happened" bullshit, throw the reader in the middle of the battleground. They'll survive.
8- Beware of the power of stories - Chuck Wendig said it better in his book 250 Things You Should Know About Writing: "Outside the air we breathe and the blood in our bodies, the one thing that connects us modern humans today with the shamans and emperors and serfs and alien astronauts of our past is a heritage -- a lineage -- of stories. Stories move the world at the same time they explain our place in it. They help us understand ourselves and those near to us. Never treat a story as a shallow, wan little thing. A good story is as powerful as the bullet fired from an assassin's gun."
9- Don't be in a hurry to publish - Take your time crafting your story to be the best story it can be. Nurture it and cherish it like a little seed, full of life and possibilities. Don't poison it with miracle grow because you can't wait to taste its fruits. They won't taste good.
10 - Have fun - If you're sitting in front of your computer regurgitating word after word because you heard of the 20-something-year-old new author who's just sold his book to a movie studio for a seven-figure price tag and thought: "Heck I can do that." Sorry to break it to you, but your probably can't. While there is a very high degree of luck permeating through some of the stories of "instant success" we hear about, don't judge anyone's talent just because it was (seemingly) recognized overnight. Most likely, they have worked on it for years and years. Can you really slay over something if you're not having fun, if you don't love it? I'm the farthest thing from success, but when I told some of the people I know about my book being picked up by Crimson Romance, I heard countless "OMG. How did it happen? How lucky!" And, while I agree I've been very lucky, I worked very hard for fifteen months, spending so many hours writing, researching, reading, rewriting, that often I had to take ibuprofen to easy the pain on my neck and back. Fortunately, I had so much fun doing it I had to remind (and force) myself to get up and stretch. Could I have done it otherwise? I don't think so.


Dialogue Nugget Sunday #2

“You know…Matt asked me to go with them.” Megan gave her a witty grin.
“Really? Are you guys…why didn’t you tell me?”
Megan shrugged.

“How? When? It was at John’s party, wasn’t it?”
“We didn’t sleep together that night, so you know,” Megan said.
Audrey giggled at Megan’s newfound self-righteousness.
“We just talked and danced. He is so funny.” Megan’s eyes sparkled. “He asked if I wanted to go to the movies the next day. I said yes. We made out in his car when he dropped me off.”
“Oh, how sweet.”
“It really was.” Megan mused. “It had been a while since I had a proper date. Usually, you sleep with a guy and, if you like him, hope he’ll call the next day. If you don’t, just try to forget it ever happened.”
“You said a mouthful there, sister.” The waitress, bringing the dessert menu, winked at Megan.

Available for pre-order at Amazon and everywhere else June 4th.

Audrey was lucky to meet Megan in L.A. 
Nothing beats girlfriends.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Mother's Day.


Forsaken Lives

It's so wonderful to be out and about in town, partying for a good cause. I don't know why I don't do it more often. Hmm…I wonder if it's because every free moment I have is to write my new book. Well, yesterday was different.
MIRCI's 52 Windows gala was fantastic. It was lovely to see what the artists did with each of the antique windows donated for the project. You can check some out on their facebook page and mine is below.
I commend MIRCI for giving local artists the chance to show their work, raising money for a great cause, and saving the vintage windows from a landfill.
Forsaken Lives, Mixed Media 33"x33" 2012
I used xerox transfer from a photograph I've taken in Brazil in 2002, a short story I've written around the same time, and acrylic painting to create my window.

Here's the unabridged—and edited (Imagine my fluency in English ten years ago, not good) version of Forsaken Lives (originally named Forgotten lives)

Dear Joana,
It has been many years since you left for the city looking for hope. I still remember when you used to tell me what you would do and how your life would be. And you did it. I want you to know I am very proud of you, my friend.
Here everything is the same, life in our arid area has never been easy; lately, it has been unbearable. Even for us, who have lived here since birth, each day is a test of fortitude and faith. I think these are the only things that keep us going. I pray God will have mercy, and I ask HIM why life has to be like this. Then, I stop, not wanting to be punished for my lack of conviction; but deep in my heart, I still hope to find an answer.
As you know, in this part of the country there are no seasons: only drought or rain. This year the drought has been harder than usual. It is depressing to look at the fields and see the soil cracking. You can’t see a green leaf anywhere, if any at all.
Sebastião, my husband, doesn't know what to do anymore. It hurts me to see so much anguish in his eyes, those for sure are not the eyes I met years ago. They used to have joy and hope, even dreams. He has always liked the life in the country and used to talk with joy about growing our own food and taking care of the soil.
He used to say, “Someday I will have my own land, and it will have a lot of banana trees.” It’s his favorite fruit. With time, he talked about it less often. Today, not a word.
When his parents died, they left us the house we live in today. It has a small backyard where we've tried to grow banana trees, but they died every year because of the drought. Sebastião used to replant them every time it started raining again. It has been two years since he has done that. It worries me.
Everyday he goes out looking for food; sometimes he comes back with nothing. When he brings back lizards the children get all excited and even want to help me with dinner. He will only have work when it starts raining again; so, we get excited about the lizards, too. Especially, because the sun still rises every morning brighter than the day before burning our skin and breaking our hearts.
 I wonder how many people in the world have to go through this? How many parents watch day after day their children faces getting skinnier and their little bodies emaciated? Sometimes, I think Brazil is a forsaken country. But then someone tells me about the politicians, soccer, and Carnival, I realize Brazil is not forsaken: we are. The government sends us a basket of food once a month, but they never send enough for everybody. We share the food among the village and it is over in a couple of weeks. And we have to spend the rest of the month praying and hunting lizards.

At the end of the day, I cook beans. The jug is almost empty and we still have two more months before the rainy season. Sebastião and I don't eat at every meal, we watch the kids eat and we feel relieved but worried about the next day. Our children are nine and six years old, they have never been to a school. It's too far from here. Besides, they have to help us in the fields because if we do not work hard while is raining, we will not have enough food or money to make it through the drought.
 I still want them to go to school someday, I wish they could have a better life—perhaps become teachers like I wanted to be. Then again, I had to help my parents, too, then my husband, and now I have to take care of my children. Being a woman never helped any. You know that, too, don’t you? My father always said: “You’re not leaving this house until you are married.” He always thought  women had to be under the supervision of their parents or their husbands.
 When you left, I was thirteen. You've told me when you arrive in the city, you would start studying again and work as a live-in maid. When you graduated, you would become a teacher and someday have your own home. My father never let me read the letters you wrote me. He tore them up and told me to forget you.
“If you ever think about doing something like that, I swear to God I will beat you to death.” He had hit me before and hearing him say it with so much anger stifled any thoughts I had about leaving.
When he died, I found one of your letters opened in his trunk. Maybe he had forgotten to throw it away, or perhaps he found himself not so sure anymore about having kept me here. The letter I found was the one you wrote me when you started your first job as a teacher.
I am sorry I read it almost ten years later.
My children always ask me things about the cities, the sea, and other things they hear other kids talking about in the fields. I make up stories to explain those things, telling them someday they will see everything for themselves because the rain will come every year and we will have money to go visit the city.
 “I don’t want them to dream about things we will never have.” Sebastião always interrupts me and sends them to bed.
  Maybe next year, if the rain comes early and the harvest is good, our dreams will start becoming true and my children can start school. To be honest, I fear that day. They will discover new things, learn new things, and they will be upset about our life. They still don’t know not everyone eat lizards.

God bless,


One Hit Wonder's Playlist

Only 27 more days to the release of "One Hit Wonder!"  Yippee!

As you may have guessed, music plays a part in the book.

John is the guitarist of the band and the one who composes most of their songs; essentially, it's his band. But he doesn't care for titles or recognition, he only cares about doing what he loves.

Here's ten random songs from his playlist, I hope you'll enjoy them.

Leave a comment if you have a special attachment to any of these songs or to share your own favorites.
It's always interesting to learn what other people are listening to.


MusicPlaylistView Profile
Create a playlist at MixPod.com


Dialogue Nugget Sunday

“Los Angeles will dismiss you as quickly as you do the poor girls you trick into sleeping with you.”
“God, I’ve missed you.”
“Seriously Kevin, get a grip, will you? Who do you think you are, Mick Jagger?”
“I could be.”
“Remember your career has just started. You have one CD, a couple hits, and a drinking problem. Hardly enough for one hour of True Hollywood Stories.”

Thanks for stopping by and come back for more as I continue the countdown for One Hit Wonder's release on June 4th.

Happy Sunday!


Audrey's "pudim"

As I keep my month-long countdown to the release day of "One Hit Wonder", I thought it would be fun to share some fun-facts about my characters, and no better person to start than Audrey.

Audrey's mother is Brazilian (and so am I, what a coincidence!)

She has been to Brazil countless times while growing up and she loves Brazilian food, especially "farofa" (coarse yucca flour seasoned with bacon and herbs) and "pudim" (Brazilian version of flan)

Pudim is super easy to make and if you like custard, you must try it.

What you'll need:
-3 eggs
-1 can of condensed milk
-1 can of milk
-1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
-1 cup of sugar
-1/4 cup of water

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Melt the sugar in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Once the sugar becomes a golden brown syrup after about 10 minutes, add a 1/4 cup of water and mix until blended. (careful because it'll produce a lot of steam when you pour the water into the syrup.) Pour it  into a round baking dish, swirling so that the syrup coats all sides of the dish. Set aside to cool. 
  3. Place the eggs, the condensed milk, milk, and vanilla extract into a blender. Blend until all ingredients are well combined. Gently pour egg mixture into the baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. (Audrey knows a neat little trick to avoid the egg mixture from blending with the syrup: place a spoon just above the syrup line and pour the egg mixture over the spoon).
  4.  Place baking dish inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until a knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. The center of the pudim  will still be soft. Allow pudim to cool before unmolding onto a plate. Refrigerate before serving. 
 Although Audrey had been busy trying to protect her relationship and find her own professional success in L.A., she made time to prepare this easy recipe that brought back so many sweet memories from her childhood.




Yes! Yes! Yes!
My book's release it's only one ( 1, um, uno) month away. I can hardly believe it! I feel more nervous than when I gave birth to my child. Giving birth to a book is so much harder! For one, it took way more than nine months to bake this bun. Two, I didn't care what anyone thought of my son. I knew he was perfect and nothing in the world could change the immensity of my love for him. Well, now a book…

As a visual artist, I should be used of having my work scrutinized. But I'm not. I don't think any artist really becomes used to that; at least, not artists that are compelled to create out of sheer love for an idea. For these artists, their work is a product of love as much as a child.

I've always been a story teller and this book is a product of lots of love and twice hard work. It all started with a dream (as many other stories do), the following morning I sat down to write it, two days later I had 20000 words.

From there, I thought the story could become a novel, and that was the moment the twice-hard-work began. Let me tell you, writing a book is not a serendipitous process (for most writers, I can assure you.)  The amount of research that goes into every aspect of the process: style, setting, structure, pacing, etc, is ginormous.

Do you think I worried about P.O.V (point of view) before? Heck, I didn't even know what was P.O.V.

But I believed the story of this girl, who is so similar to all of us (male and female) in the way that she feels lost and drained of dreams and will; exhausted and trapped by demands of society; and stumbling through her own life, was a story worth telling. Because I believe we often feel lost and trapped and, deep in my bones,  I believe it's okay to feel that way, as long as we don't lose sight of who we are.

And if you don't know who you are yet, then take the journey (as my character did) to find out, maybe you'll even come across a few surprises along the way. Such as someone who can see through you, within you, and will love you for the person you are without asking a thing in return.

Writing "One Hit Wonder" was a journey I didn't anticipate, but I feel there is no turning back. It's like I've been taken in to become a pupil of this powerful master: language, and everything I'll do in my path of learning will be not to let my master down. I hope I'll be strong enough!

I'll leave you today, the first day of my countdown, with the book trailer I've created for "One Hit Wonder," and I thank you for being here. I feel so privileged to be able to share my work of love with you.


Official Cover

The official cover for my novel  coming out in June. So psyched!


Helping each other

Recently, I went to Facebook to shorten the URL for my page, Denyse Cohen Art and Stuff. There is a way you can choose a "sign in" name and remove those obnoxious numbers from the URL. Unfortunately, Denyse Cohen wasn't available. So, since in June I'll be a published author, and I hope many, many people will buy my book "One Hit Wonder," and will be interested in finding me on Facebook, I've made the decision to use www.facebook.com/DenyseCohenAuthor for my page. It's a "marketing" move, which (fingers crossed) will help my book to get found on Google searches and what not.
However I have to admit, I already feel the burden of the word "author" on my shoulders. Yesterday, I realized I misspelled the title of a video I've sent to all the parents of my son's soccer team. Immediately, the association
author-misspelling-shame-failure-die appeared in my mind like a gigantic tsunami wave about to crush me. I got to say I totally freaked inwardly. Have you ever done that? It usually happens when you don't want to show your emotions either because of where you are or the people around you, or both. So, my cheeks lightly blotched while, inside, I was screaming and pulling my hair out.
Today, after sleeping over it, I've decided not to worry about it too much. I am making my peace with it through this post, and I'll never let myself be shaken by that again. Of course, my main goal is not to make mistakes. It's also my responsibility as a writer. But making mistakes (occasionally, I hope) with spelling and grammar doesn't mean that I'm not a good storyteller, because I know I am.
I mean people make mistakes, right? Athletes, medical doctors (Ugh!), journalists, plumbers all make mistakes. I had a teacher in college who taught a class on critically writing about art. He was engaging, very analytical, expressed himself clearly and eloquently, and had intelligent opinions about art and the art-world. But everytime he moved to the chalkboard, eight of ten words he wrote were misspelled. Heck, maybe he had dyslexia. I don't know. What I know is his spelling didn't change the fact that he knew what he was talking about.
While I'm not asking anyone to overlook my mistakes, I'm asking everyone to be kind about them. I want to know what I've done wrong, so I can learn and not do it again. But I feel this is not just about me. It's about being kind to people in general and helping each other. After all, why anyone would want to hurt someone else's feelings, if there are a million of ways to avoid it? Sometimes, we don't do it on purpose, and, sometimes, we can't help ourselves. But before we start spreading
hate around, let's just take a brief second and ask ourselves: If we are at the other end of the stick, how would we like the person to handle it? I'm sure no one appreciates being poked on the ass.


Dennis Lehane: Patrick and Angie.

I love Dennis Lehane books. I think his writing is smart and hip and his plots are well constructed and engaging.
I stumbled upon this video and thought it was interesting how he says two of his most famous characters (Patrick and Angie) are the two sides of him (Logical and Emotional.)

Usually every character I create have a little bit of myself. Yes, even the bad ones, but it didn't quite click until I've heard what Dennis said.

I suppose pulling out specific traits from the writer's own personality (logical, emotional, etc.) to be the character's foundation help to systematically construct characters that are intrinsically intertwined and potentially opposites. What a recipe for conflict!

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