Monday, June 19, 2006

REVIEWBALL: Jewel Of Atlantis by Gena Showalter

Jewel of Atlantis by Gena Showalter

HQN Books (February 1, 2006)
ISBN: 0373770960

Cai: The Jewel of Dunamis is priceless to whoever owns it. The Jewel can defeat any army, tell friend from foe, and make its possessor the ruler of Atlantis. Because of these properties, those in charge of the Otherworld Bureau of Investigations send one of their top agents into the secret world of Atlantis on a mission to either retrieve or destroy the Jewel.

Agent Grayson James finds himself in the midst of a nightmare from his first step into Atlantis. On the run from demons, vampires and dragons, Gray receives help from an unexpected source: a sexy female voice in his head. The voice helps him escape from his pursuers in return for his help in escaping from those holding her prisoner.
Gray battles a horde of demons and vampires to help the woman he alternately calls Prudence or Blaze, depending on what she says and how she says it, escape.

Stephanie: The woman calls herself Jewel, which makes Gray suspicious but not suspicious enough in my book. The man’s an agent for goodness sake. Doesn’t he care why her name correlates to the very thing he is looking for? He does cogitate on it for a bit, but then he gets sidetracked by a few things. Like a demon biting him and a vampire sucking his blood. Ok, so maybe that is a good reason to forget a very important fact. This story moves quickly and has some great dialogue that reminds me of the witty repartee of the old 40’s & 50’s swordfighting movies.

Cai: Together they evade the demons and vampires who have joined forces. Along the way, Gray discovers that Jewel knows many facets of his life, including his many dalliances with women, and that she desires him almost as much as he desires her. What Gray doesn’t know but begins to suspect is that Jewel is what he was sent to retrieve.

For her part, Jewel is thrilled to finally meet Gray in the flesh. She’s followed his life from childhood to his current age, worrying over him when he was on dangerous missions, lusting after him, loving him.

Stephanie: One of the best moments in this book is when Gray realizes that Jewel not only can read his mind, but that she’s been doing this for years! So her knowledge of his rakish ways are in-depth but he doesn’t know her at all. When their psychic connection is broken is when the real fun begins.

Cai: The connection between Jewel and Gray is undeniable. The reality of their situation is that Gray has never failed a mission, and he won’t fail this one. He’ll take something back to his superiors and keep Jewel safe at the same time. Somehow, he’ll ensure she gets the one thing she really wants. Freedom.

Stephanie: But the conflict is that Jewel can’t leave Atlantis. Those who do sicken and die within days. And Gray can’t stay in Atlantis. He has to finish his mission and that means he has to destroy Jewel or take her to his superiors. But both would mean her death. How he resolves this dilemma is classic.

Cai: Gena Showalter’s latest venture into the world of Atlantis has it all. Humor, danger, adventure, mystery, lust, hot sex, and an extremely satisfying ending. I give this one a rousing cheer!

Stephanie: I agree with Cai. Gena Showalter’s Atlantis world has a lot to offer. I dare you to pick up Heart of Atlantis and try to put it back down. My bet is you will be like me and stay up all night just to find out how Gray and Jewel can have a happily ever after despite the odds. Stand up, pom-pom waving cheer from me!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The BUSINESS of writing...

For most writers, the writing is the easy part. Even if we hit a stumbling block, we just can’t seem to not write. If we’re blocked with one story, we might move on to another one or skip a scene and keep going or dump everything and start over. Then comes the “scary” part – the BUSINESS of writing.

Getting an agent, signing a contract, getting edits, being under a deadline…those things terrify some of us! What IS the business of writing? Well, IMO (as an unpublished writer), the Business of writing is just that – business. It’s looking at the bottom line (meeting editor/publisher needs), meeting (or exceeding) expectations (having the editor be thrilled about YOUR story), conferring with others to make sure you’re all on the same page (getting your line edits), turning in a prospectus or action item list (returning the edited pages), following through to make sure everyone has done what they said they’d do in order to get to the finished product (keeping yourself on track with edits in order to meet the editor’s deadline, getting the proofs and the cover flats and finally the ARCS)…in this case, a book.

A real live, in your hand, on the shelf, printed book. A copy of your work there in the hands of Suzy Somebody in Somewhere USA – and if you’re really lucky – Somewhere Europe or Asia or elsewhere in the world.

The “business” of writing goes deeper than that, though. It also includes promotion…as a first-time author, you’re usually responsible for a lot of your own promotion. Given the fact that most authors are introverts, sometimes this is the hard part for us. BUT…there are ways around that introversion. *ahem* Having a blog or a website (inserting shameless plug here - ) are two ways around that.

Getting involved in writing groups where you can share your successes and promote your work is another way to get that going. Bookmarks – most authors have bookmarks with either their current or “upcoming” releases on them. Postcards – sending out a postcard to everyone you’ve ever met to ask them to buy your book. Word of mouth – having someone who “loves, loves, loves” your book tell everyone they know to buy it is a good way around that introversion as well.

If your books really take off, and you become a household name (Nora Roberts, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Mary Balogh, Jo Beverly, Connie Brockway), then you can sit back and know that people who have purchased one or more of your past works will always pick up a copy of your new book – even if it’s a departure for you – a foray into something they didn’t know you were thinking of doing, they’ll give you a shot just because they KNOW your name and they LIKE the way you tell a story. That’s when the business of writing becomes more of a pleasure. When you can sit back and know that someone is going to buy your book just because it has your name on it.

I can’t wait for that day…