Anyone dressing up as a djinn/genie for Halloween?

Happy Halloween! I'm all about djinns & genies right now...because tomorrow my debut paranormal romance, THE DJINN'S DILEMMA, is coming out. Thank you Harlequin Nocturne! So thrilled to be part of the new Cravings line :D And, I just turned in my second djinn story to my agent. Woot!

So, I thought I'd dress the DH & myself up as genies and looked up some costumes.

(These first two costumes are available at Fantasia Wear)

Erm, a bit too daring for me...though the DH was game. What can I say, the Joan Wilder character in Romancing the Stone comes pretty close to me -- bold on paper, but not always in day-to-day life.

Then I found some tasteful possibilities that I could go for:

(These next two costumes available from Mr. Costumes)

Then I saw the prices tags...and we decided to fall back on the tried & true. The DH is dressing up as Indiana Jones & I get to be buxom Earth Witch babe :)

Hope y'all have fun & festive plans for today :) So what's everyone else dressing up as?

Six Sentence Sunday - 10/30

Six sentences from my new novella The Djinn's Dilemma available Nov 1, a conversation between the heroine, Sarah, & the hero, Rukh.

“You’re just a figment of my imagination. A fantasy?”
“Yes.” He didn’t dare move.
“Then why are you still wearing clothes?”
He made the clothes disappear and stood there as naked as her.

Check out other tasty excerpts by visiting SixSunday.

If you really want to help an author, pre-order his/her books!

Preordering books, or buying them on release day, doesn't mean more money for the author. But it sends an important message to people who can make a difference to the author's career. With an eBook and online retailers, preorders can improve the ranking of the book and lead to better visibility on their website. Preorders can impress the publishers and lead to more contracts. In other words, you help the author stay employed. Numbers from preorder and first-week sales count toward rankings for the bestsellers' lists (hey, a girl can dream).

And here's the best part, when you preorder an magically pops into your eReader on release day without you having to spend gas & time getting to a store.

So if you're going to buy THE DJINN'S DILEMMA, I'd really appreciate it if you'd buy it between NOW and the first week of November, or on my release day ~Tuesday, Nov. 1

Now available for preorder at retailers like, Barnes & Noble, or Harlequin. :)

Author Christie Craig Uses Fear As a Motivator

I'm honored to present award-winning author Christie Craig aka C.C. Hunger, one of my personal favorite wordsmith, today. Her contemporary romances are laught-out-loud funny and I always re-read one of them when I need a pick-me-up. She recently forayed into YA & Paranormal...Oooh delish!

Christie has triumphed over dyslexia and rejection to keep writing the stories of her heart and is an amazing & inspiring person, but when I asked her what inspired her...I was totally suprised by her answer. I'll let you read her words for yourself:

What Inspires me?

I love sunsets and I can sit and stare at one for as long it lingers—until that last little glimmer of color fades from the sky.  I love to spend time on a beach.  I love the soothing sound of the waves washing up over the sand.  And if I have a glass of red wine and a book in my hand, and some friend or family member close by, I’m a happy camper.  But if there is one thing that has encouraged and driven me to accomplish more in my life, it’s not a sunset, the beach or a glass of wine.   And as much as I love my family and friends, it’s not even them.  It’s fear. 

I know that’s strange, but let me explain.  I’ve always been a bit of a scaredy cat, a play-it-safe kind of gal.  Even as a kid, I didn’t push the envelope. Mom said, “Hold my hand and look both ways before you cross the street,” and I did.  And as an adult, my need for security, a sense of safety and certainty, still lingers.  If mom lived here, I’d probably still be holding her hand as I cross a street.  And it’s the biggest thing that I don’t like about myself.  

Not because I want to break rules, live on the edge, or that I have a need to live some dangerous lifestyle.  Heck, I don’t believe there’s a good reason to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, I’ve met very few roller coasters I liked, and when the mad cow disease was out, chicken became my best friend.  I simply don’t like risks.

(of course, then she writes Don't Mess With Texas & stirs up all kinds of trouble *grin*)

So you see, it’s not that I want to embrace fear.  It’s my unwillingness to let fear stand in my way that has driven me to take chances, and forced me to step out of my comfort zone.   Whenever I’m faced with a new opportunity, if I feel that tribulation in my gut, that wiggle in my stomach—and if I didn’t have broccoli the night before—I always have a come to Jesus talk with myself.  So I guess you could say, it’s not so much fear that inspires me, but my apprehension of letting fear hold me back.

For example, when my agent told me it was time to shop around a proposal to other houses, and oh lordy, when she phoned me and said that an editor from St. Martin’s Press had called her and asked if I would write a young adult series for them, the fear kicked in big time.  Both of those instances gave me a major case of stomach flutters and I’d had no broccoli the night before.  I’d worked hard to finally be in a good place with one publisher, I liked my editor and he liked me.  I was in a place where I kind of knew how to write a humorous romantic suspense.  I’d built a nice little comfort zone, thank you very much.  But I didn’t know Jack about working with other publishing companies or about writing young adult books. 

 (The first book of her new YA paranormal series, Shadow Falls)

What if I tried to write YA and failed?   What if my new publisher didn’t think I was funny?  That wiggle in my stomach, that uneasiness I felt at putting my big toe outside the comfort zone, had me breaking out in hives and hyperventilating.  But ultimately, that fear forced me to say yes to both things.  The venture into YA turned out to be one of the best career moves I’ve ever made.  Not only has it opened up a new avenue for my work, but I’ve grown as a writer all around.   And working with a new publisher is opening new doors in my career as a romance novelist.

 (Here's book 2 of her Shadow Fall series, already out!)

As writers I think we are constantly being faced with challenges, be it the choices of self-publishing or not self publishing, of writing in a new genre, sending out queries, or handing our work to a new critique partner.  Considering my experiences, I encourage everyone to look both ways before you cross a street, don’t jump out of airplanes, be leery of roller coasters, and eat more chicken. (Broccoli is questionable.) But don’t hesitate to step out of your comfort zone.  And if fear tries to hold you back, grab it by the throat and knock it out of your way.  Never let it stop you from growing as a writer or as a person.

Christie Craig AKA C.C. Hunter

Woot! Thanks Christie for sharing a part of your journey & for your sage insight. I will definitely NOT jump out of airplanes...and keep your words in mind when dealing with fear. :)

If you want to know more about Christie, check out:

If you have any questions for Christie, post in the comments. She has graciously agreed to visit from time to time today. :) Happy reading & writing!

Writing Tips & Fun Giveaways!

On the second day of my debut week, I'm in two places.

If you're interested in a quick writing lesson, then check out my friend Roni Loren's blog where I'm sharing 3 Tips for Writing Paranormals.

Now, if you just want sweet giveaways and a read a fun interview -- Check out Avery's blog.

Either way, happy reading!

Why I Write Romance & A Big Thank You!

My book is just a week from being released into this world, and there are so many I have to thank for my writer's dream come true.

You always hear about the solitary writer's life, but it's equally true that the road to publication isn't possible without a good support system. Along the way, many people have helped. And I owe many thanks.

Some without even realizing it, by simply inspiring me, and some with their encouraging words and guidance.

My writing community friends have offered me comfort when the rejections came, cheered my successes, and helped me keep my dreams alive. Southern Magic, Kiss of Death, FFnP,  Authors of Asian Novels and FTHRW -- you've been lifelines.

My beta readers and crit partner have shared honest feed back and kicked me in the behind when I needed it. You all have made me a better writer.

My family & friends have loved and supported me even when they didn't understand my dreams. That's is priceless.

One man, my darling husband, has stood by me through it all. We came from different world -- a quiet, hardworking cotton farmer from West Texas and a spit-fire Asian feminist and writer.

He's been next to me when I almost died giving birth, he's been there when the book of my heart got rejected over and over, and he's been there every step of my writing journey. He's picked me up from my lowest point, and he's celebrated every little success in my life since we met.

I was a journalist when I met him, but thanks to my husband's encouragement I was able to reach for cotton-candy dreams and make them come true. Not only did he keep the kids and gave me writing time, but his steady support gave me the courage to pour my heart out on paper, uncensor my mind and share my deepest thoughts.

None of my stories would be written without him. And here's his latest gift to me:

Yes, my farmer has many talents & a true heart.

Why do I write romance? Because I found out true love is real and I want others to believe in it too.

Books as Inspiration. What's on your keeper shelf?

Hi there! Check out the books on my Keeper Shelf...all the books I put there are dear friends.

We all have favorite books, the ones we read over and over again. Look closely at the picture and you'll notice many of the books have worn and weary spines...well, they've been with me a long time.

You will also notice a few shiny, new ones: I had to replace Naked In Death, because the original copy was held together by generous amounts of tape. Cynthia Eden is a relatively new discovery, but now she's on my Autobuy list. And Lifethread is a story close to my heart and the first published book written by my talented Critique Partner L.J. Charles.

Whatever the age of the book, they all have one thing in common -- they are keepers. I know these stories by heart, but I never grow bored. I know all the twists and turns, but they can still make me laugh and cry, my heart pound and my soul cheer. In other words, the stories are so good, they are timeless.

To find out what makes a good story(in my humble opinion), check out the post I did for my friend Rebecca Zanetti.

Where in the World is Mina Khan?

I am one busy girl today and sort of in two places...yes, my split personality finally split =D

I'm attending Lone Star Writers' Conference in Houston. WooHoo!

And I'm also on the Romance Magicians blog seeking advice to help me manage my debut author journey. Come visit & weigh in!

Monster Mash-Up Party!

I'm talking about why I write djinn stories at fellow Cravings author Katie Reus' blog. Come join her Monster Mash Up!

Katie by the way has a fabulous Cravings story, DESTINED MATE, available now. Check out the very nice cover:

Thanks for Inspiring Us Mr. Steve Jobs.

(Image: Equinox/Rex Features)

"Your time is limited. Don't waste it living someone else's life.

Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other peoples' thinking.

Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your inner voice.

And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

They somehow already know what you truly want to become.

Everything else is secondary."

(Words of wisdom from Steve Job's 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University)

What Inspires Bestselling Urban Fantasy Author Jeanne Stein?

I'm honored to feature urban fantasy author Jeanne Stein and her take on inspiration. Jeanne's popular series, The Anna Strong Chronicles, features a tough-as-nails bounty hunter turned vampire. The first book is THE BECOMING and the most recent --7th book-- is CROSSROADS, released in August.

I met Jeanne earlier this year at RMFW's Colorado Gold Conference. Given my interest in urban fantasy & paranormal romance, I attended her panels and was fortunate enough to hang out with her at the hospitality suite (HS are must do's for conference goers ~ too fun!). Her words taught me a lot about writing & life, so I'm glad she agreed to share here. Thanks Jeanne!

When Mina asked me to blog about what inspires me as a writer and a person, my first response was everything. But then I realized I was confusing inspiration with the process of taking an idea and developing it into a story.

Two different things.

The muse that sparks an idea can be anything. I get ideas for my books from newspapers, television shows, eavesdropping on strangers' conversations, other books. Ideas float on the air like dandelion snow. You only have to hold out your hand to grab one.

Inspiration is something else. Inspiration is what makes me sit down at the computer everyday. It's what helps me through the dark days when it seems I'm fighting a losing battle against the indifference of critics and sometimes even my agent and editor. It's fighting the urge to give up when a brand new writer comes out of nowhere and wins that huge contract complete with movie and TV rights and a six-figure advance. And then reading the book and realizing, it is that good.

Inspiration is that voice inside you that says keep going. It's the message of a character like Anna Strong that I want women to hear. It's the voice that says women are strong and clever and capable of great bravery-with or without super powers.

So the short answer to Mina's question is a writer needs to be her own inspiration. She needs to have faith in her abilities and the determination to persevere. She can take strength from those around her, but ultimately, she is responsible for herself.

We are all our own inspiration.

So what do you all think? How do you inspire yourself? To learn more about Jeanne and her books, check out her website.