Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Release - Cat O'Nine Tails

We have another new release to talk about! Patricia Leever’s debut novel, Cat O’Nine Tails, will be available from Omnific Publishing on August 31, 2011!

When pirate hunter Orrin and his brother Kale are hired by Queen Winifred to hunt down Aeron and her band of miscreants, Orrin never dreamed he’d fall in love with the beautiful she-pirate nor the kind, accepting people of her island hideaway. As Orrin learns of Aeron’s jaded past with the Queen, he allies himself with the pirate captain and her crew. Joining forces on the high seas to bring Winifred’s evil reign to an end, Aeron and Orrin soon discover that the strongest weapon in their combined arsenal is the love they have for each other.  
We were able to talk to Patricia and ask her some of my favorite questions.

Omnific:      Cat O’Nine Tails is about pirates - which just as a side note…yum! – what drew you to this for your first novel?

Patricia:       Let’s see, well, I think you said it pretty well, YUM! Seriously though, I have always been enamored with pirates and wanted to give it my own little spin. Not to mention, Aeron would not get out of my head so I had to give her life somehow.

Omnific:      If you could live at this time, would you have been on the pirate side or on the hunter side? (And if you pick pirate, would you have been the stay on the island and make a home kind or would you have been more like Aeron and out on the ship commanding the men?)

Patricia:       Pirate side, definitely and I think I probably would have been the stay on the island and make a home.

Omnific:      What is your writing process like? Do you write when it hits you or do you make time to write?

Patricia:       A little of both I think, I try to make time when the kids are at school to write but I also jot down ideas and whatnot as they hit, I have to. If I don’t write it down in the moment it will get lost in the chaos that is my brain.

Omnific:      Now, we are all about romance here at Omnific, so what is your favorite romantic scene from a book?

Patricia:       Oh holy crap, just one?  I’d have to say it is from Paula Quinn’s Seduced by a Highlander. I don’t know what it is about those Highland men in their kilts, but Lord have mercy, give me a giant dude in a kilt and I will be dissolved into a puddle of goo. There is one scene in Seduced that I must have read (and by read I mean listened to because I’m a habitual audiobooker) a million times over. This particular scene takes place in one of the upper rooms of a tavern, when the two main characters are finally giving into temptation and this guy, Tristan MacGregor, is quite the smooth talker, telling Isobel Ferguson just what scandalous things he’d like to do to her. *swoon*
Omnific:      If they made your book into a movie, who would play the hero?

Patricia:       Oh, I’ve totally cast my little imaginary movie already LOL! If I could cast Cat O’ Nine Tails, Rachelle Lefevre would have to play Aeron, no doubt about it. And for Orrin, I would have to cast male model Ben Hill. Now, can he act? I haven’t the foggiest clue but he is super duper pretty but if he’s busy, I think Bradley Cooper would slide into the role quite nicely.

Omnific:      Are you working on anything new that you want to share with us? I personally would love a prequel to Cat O’Nine Tails, dealing with Aeron’s life in more detail before she became a pirate…but no pressure!

Patricia:       LOL! Well, I am working on a second book, tentatively called Iron Maiden. This one is taking up a few years after Cat O’ Nine Tails ends, picking up William’s story. I’m also working on another piece in a different genre, because I’m a genre jumper. This one is urban fantasy/paranormal romance staring a kick ass, 134 year old demon hunter, Evelyn Write!

Patricia also picked a great excerpt for us to share with you.  Three words: HOT PIRATE HUNTER!

          Aeron heard someone dive into the lagoon behind her as she emerged from underneath the rushing water of the fall. She quickly submerged herself up to her shoulders and scanned the waters around her for the miscreant invading her bath. Her heart stopped when she saw Orrin’s hard, wet body crest the water, breaking the surface like a magnificent dolphin. “What are you doing in here?” she called across the water. An odd sense of modesty got the better of her, and she crossed her arms in front of herself.

“I believe I owe you a bath,” Orrin said, smiling as he slowly swam toward her, the rich baritone of his voice resonating off the water and into her body.

Aeron started to back up toward the rocks behind her as he moved closer and looked for a means of escape. “Where are your trousers?” she asked nervously as her back hit the rock behind her. She had nowhere else to go, and he was headed right for her.

“Over there, with your night dress,” he said, glancing over to the large pile of clothing lying on the rocks along the shore.

Before Aeron could even think of what she could do, Orrin was there, rising to his full height right in front of her, crystal beads of water glistening off his chest.

Aeron had been with many men in her day. Seduced them and taken them to her bed without a second thought. But now she was the one being seduced, and the idea thrilled her, making her heart race like never before. It also frightened the hell out of her, especially with a man she couldn’t resist such as this one.
          Orrin leaned forward and stared down into her eyes as he picked up the soap from the rock. “Turn around,” he said in a husky voice, twirling his finger in the air as she’d done to him the day before.

Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Patricia. I loved this story and I know that readers will as well. Congratulations!

And if you want to find Patricia, check her out here:
On Twitter - @Patricia_Leever

Monday, August 29, 2011

Deb's Date with Irene

One of Omnific authors, Debra Anastasia, sustained some serious damage to her home as a result of Hurricane Irene. We are so thankful that she and her family made it out okay! Deb has been getting a lot of questions from her readers about what happened, and sent us these pictures and this account (via her phone!) of her "date" with Irene...

The night was dark and stormy. No, it really freaking was.

We’d waited all day for the category 1 storm to arrive. I’d spent the last 24 hours amassing all the things that might make our stay inside easier. I’d gone over the lists online and looked at the weather.com feed for ideas. I perused the evacuation lists and thought about where in my house those things might be. We didn’t have a portable radio, and that bothered me. But my biggest concern was the length of time after the storm we’d be without power. I’d filled everything in my recycling bin with water, and I was proud to have stuck some soda bottles in the freezer. I’d even found bread—at the dollar store, of all places.

My husband and I watched Date Night as the wind picked up. The kids watched recorded Disney Channel shows, all of us trying to enjoy the fact that the power was lasting longer than expected. Finally the lights went out, and we all got together in the living room. My husband began lighting candles, and I pulled the last of the huge load of laundry I had drying. I was folding it in my bedroom when I heard a big thump and the ground shook.

We peeked out the front window to see that a huge tree had fallen on the lawn, landing inches from our front door. I called my mom while I herded the kids to the hallway. I marveled at the fact that it had been a silent destruction. There had been no telltale cracks to warn us that the tree was about to fall.

No time to hustle out of the way, so the husband and I tried to decide where the kids would sleep. I wasn’t comfortable with them sleeping by a window, so we decided on a twin mattress in the hallway. 

Just a quick explanation about my house: it’s a small brick rambler on a sweet cul-de-sac. Every room has windows, so the hallway is the only window-free space. We have many large trees, but the largest is what we called the family tree. We name everything in my world, just to make the kids laugh or love things. Like stuffed animals. So the huge oak that umbrella-ed the house got the same treatment. The family tree got plenty of love, as far as a tree goes.

I stood the kids just inside my son’s doorway and told them to sit for a minute while I folded by the light of a flashlight. It was going to be a long night. Now I could hear branches cracking outside like King Kong was swinging from tree to tree. I looked out and spied my neighbor in the road, checking on our tree, making sure we were okay. I waved and she ran back inside. My husband and I were so touched that she checked on us.

Soon after that, it happened. Again we had no way to know it was coming when the family tree landed on the roof. No cracking. Nothing. Just an instantaneous thundering and the amazing crunch and whoosh of thousands of leaves. My husband rushed to the kids, screaming at them to stand up as he gathered them in his arms.

The house groaned. My daughter sobbed, and my son paled.

“It hit. Oh my God, it hit.”

I swallowed because my unflappable guy sounded scared. I left the kids in the hallway to take a peek. The family tree’s root ball eclipsed my bay window. I tracked it with my eyes over the ceiling and followed it to the porch. My kitchen’s new view was the top of the massive tree.

My husband hustled the kids to the front door where my neighbors were peering through a pile of trees to wave us an invitation to their house. I knew I had to pack quickly while my husband got the kids to safety.

“Shoes! You need shoes!” My son slipped on two left sneakers. My husband threw our daughter over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry and they threaded their way out the door and through the tree branches.

I gave myself just minutes to grab what I could from the house. I knew how big that oak was, and I fully expected the house to buckle.

Think, think—what do you need? The lists I’d read earlier flashed in my head. Underwear, medicines, important papers, cell phone. I ran to the bedroom and looked at the piles I’d been folding. It would all come. My husband busted back in the front door.

“Deb?” He sounded panicked. “Grab garbage bags.”

My suitcases were in the shed—no way to get to them—so we opened bags, and I began filling. I tried to concentrate. Maybe five days of clothes? I kept losing count. My brain filled with the static of fear. My husband just stood there with a bag. I forced myself to think. Lord help me—I need my bra! 

“Go get meds and underwear for the kids,” I told him. 
I pretended to pack for a vacation, itemizing what I’d usually bring. Kids had clothes—all that was on my bed went in.

He was back. “Grab the bills bag,” I instructed. He was doing great at listening and following through.

I knew next door my girl was panicked, crying for sure. My son would comfort her. But he was so pale when I saw him last…


I ran to the bathroom: toiletries. Back to the bedroom: pillows, blankets. I found a bra and thanked God as I slipped it on.

“Deb, stop,” he said. “We have to get out.”

Think. “Get the kids favorite toys,” I said.

The house groaned as the winds went crazy. Pounding rain. Dogs barking.

Think. Purse, cell phone.

I looked around. That was it. I’d already pressed my luck. I dragged the garbage bags to the front door because we couldn’t get out the back. My husband and I looked at the dogs. They would need another trip. I stuffed his huge shoes on my feet, and we took off. Getting out the door required weaving through the branches of the first tree and ducking under the root ball of the family tree. I slipped in the mud as I maneuvered around the crater that used to hold the large oak.

Getting three dogs and the cat out would be nuts. The rain instantly drenched me. I didn’t look back as we ran the bags next door. It was about 3/4ths of a soccer field away.

I was greeted by hands with towels and water bottles. I shook my head. We had to get the animals. Before we left I said, jokingly, “My parents get the kids.”

As we ran back over I understood my husband’s panic. We could barely make out the small hole in all the branches that led to the door, and the oak was really pressing hard on the roof.

Juggling our flashlights, we made our way back in. He leashed the animals while I hunted for the cat, finally finding him under my bed.

I had nothing to put him in, and he was already clawing to get away. Out in the rain he would get away from me for sure. I met my husband’s eyes, and we were both at a loss as to how to get out and do the brief mountain climbing required. The cocker spaniel pulls with all of her 48 pounds, the blind dog would be more than disoriented, and the poodle was very small. The retractable leashes are even harder to hold.

I stuffed the cat into my lidded ottoman. Soon after I did it I realized it would be impossible to carry across the mud. The cat popped out and took off running. My husband insisted on taking all three dogs.

“We have to get out.”

“You go. I have to grab the cat.”

“I’m not leaving you here.”

“Go. I’ll be right behind you.”

Were we really saying this? This wasn’t a movie. He took off out the door as I searched for the cat.

I checked the dining room, which was now basically a sling for the tree. I couldn’t help myself and swung the light around to see the damage. The ceiling was buckled and pouring water. No cat.

I hustled back to the living room, trying to come up with something to stash him in and coming up blank. The ceiling above the load-bearing wall cracked like an egg shell. The roof protested. I heard one of the dogs yelp in pain from outside.

Think. A backpack!

I ran to the front door, grabbed my son’s new backpack, and went back to looking for the cat. I tried calling him, but my harsh voice scared me too. I got low in my room and saw fur in the flashlight’s beam. I’m sure it will be a few years before the cat forgives me for the way I got him into that bag and fastened it shut. It’s a messenger bag, so his head peeked out. I squeezed him tight.

At the door the poodle looked back at me from the other side. He was the reason for the yelp and must have slipped his leash in the dash. I squeezed the cat harder and locked the door. I ducked, threaded, and slipped while calling the poodle. He followed me but then fell into the crater the tree had created. I watched as he panicked.

I had no idea how deep the hole was. He floundered while I called him. My head raced because if I eased my grip on my cat, he would take off into the night. At least I knew the dog would follow me. I called him again in a sweet voice, as if we weren’t standing outside in a hurricane. The trees bent and limbs fell all around us.

“Here, Spikey. Come here, boy!”

He swam out of the hole and followed. I ran to the neighbors’ and passed someone my angry cat before I turned back outside.

My poodle went back to our house, too afraid to follow. We then played the stupidest and most dangerous game of hide and go seek. I cursed him in my head and smiled like we were totally so happy to see each other out there on the road.

I tried getting low and he inched away. I knew if I chased he would run back to the door. I was really not looking forward to standing under the root ball again. It had been kind enough to not hammer me into a pancake so far, and I didn’t want to test my luck again.

I finally scooped up the poodle in the driveway and felt him go boneless with relief. That made one of us.

I eyed the trees. They were all acting like wet spaghetti. And the wind wouldn’t choose a direction. The gusts picked up. I watched the trees as I sprinted back. The door flung open and there were my neighbors with towels. Someone whisked the dog away. Someone in the room said, “Good job, Momma!”

My daughter came up from the basement to hug me, followed by my son. I hugged them back, but it took me a while to catch my breath, then some more time to slow my heart. I saw my husband, and then there was relief. All the faces are safe.

My neighbors are sweet and understanding. They already had a full house, and yet they made room for all of us and offered ice cold water bottles.

I went upstairs to change into something dry. My husband followed and we stood together and hugged.

“We just lost our house.”

There were no tears, because how could there be? Safe. We were safe with our neighbors—their basement the perfect place to wait out a long storm. I sat watching my kids sleep for hours until I finally just laid between them.

I waited for the sun to come up, and when it did there was still the scary wind. When it finally died down I went outside to see. And I did.

I saw that we were lucky beyond reason. I saw that my house was still struggling under the weight of the oak. My sweet brick home was still trying to protect us, and even though we left, it did a damn good job. Yet another tree had fallen on our house, blocking the front door even more. Thank heavens it wasn’t there when we were getting out.

From my brief trip inside to grab my computer and pictures of the kids, I know the house is lost. The big load-bearing wall is buckling more each hour, the brick seeming to crumble around it.

My town was just beat to hell by Irene. Our roads were blocked completely by trees, and fire and police stopped responding to calls soon after my first tree fell. Had any of my people been injured, no one would have been able to help. That’s chilling—understandable, but very chilling.

I’m writing this on my phone in a cool hotel room. My dogs are here, and my cat is at the neighbors’.

The word safe floors me now. I never thought I’d stuff so many grateful blessings into one small word. Kindness has poured in from everywhere as my house has turned into a must-see destruction zone.

People have been asking me what we need, and I honestly cannot think of a single thing. I had everything that mattered when I stood soaking wet on my neighbors’ doormat.

I have no idea what’s next. We’re meeting with the tree removal and insurance guy today, I hope. I know we cannot live in the house, so we will live somewhere.

I haven’t cried, and I’m surprised to find no need for that at the moment. Grateful, lucky, stupid and loved. I’m feeling all of that this morning.

Deb, your Omnific family is here to support you during this scary and difficult time--sending lots of love your way!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Editor's Corner - You're Stifling My Voice

A few weeks ago, we introduced "Ask an Editor" for anyone who always wanted to know...

Well, one of our Managing Editors, Kathy Teel, was nice enough to let us know about a question that she often gets from authors - "Why are you trying to stifle my voice?"  We thought that this was a great topic for our first "Editor's Corner".

So, thank you Kathy for being a great guest poster for today!

You’re Stifling My Voice!

I had an author once who had a quirky style of writing. She liked to stick in asides, little informative comments about the characters, that were her way of connecting directly to the reader as an author. So, she’d write things like, “Fred saw her walking down the lane toward him.  Now, Fred was no idiot. Everyone who knew Fred constantly talked about how smart Fred was.  He was really smart, and being so smart, he wasn’t about to let her walk past him without taking the opportunity to speak to her, as any intelligent man would.”
I would edit that to something like this. “Fred considered himself an intelligent man, and when he saw her walking down the lane, he knew he couldn’t let her pass without speaking to her.”

My author would always object, “You’re stifling my Voice!”

Voice is a funny thing.  Authors, especially new authors, see it as the little bit of themselves that they are allowed to insert into their story. And even big time, best-selling authors get comments on their voice in national book reviews. It’s not surprising that other authors want to insert the piece of themselves that will get some recognition, as well.

The author’s voice is the way they phrase things, their unique way of seeing and describing the world that sets their stories apart from others. Believe me, no editor wants to stifle that. At Omnific we have voices that are cynical, romantic, rebellious, irreverent, epic, amusing, innocent and sophisticated, to name a few.  Editors love that sort of thing. We do have to read these books, so it’s nice if they’re enjoyable for us.

But voice can’t be inserted. Voice isn’t the little asides you stick in so you can talk directly to your reader.  In fact, doing that obliterates point of view and takes us out of the story.  It does violence to the characters, plot, and world, and that’s why we editors cut it so ruthlessly. If a story is a big cake, many new authors see voice as the icing, the one piece that’s added on so that it can be identified as theirs.   But it’s not.  Voice is the eggs, flour, milk, sugar and chocolate. Someone else’s cake might be the eggs, flour, milk and carrots, or strawberries.  It’s not something inserted, like writing in frosting, “This is a chocolate cake.” The reader has to get into it to discover the flavor for herself.

To be honest, new writers often confuse their voice with their writing, and a lot of their writing is raw and needs polish. All authors need to be edited, period, no exceptions.  And what we editors are often trying to do is to sift through what an author thinks is his voice to get to the real voice beneath. I hate to say it, but authors aren’t always the best judge of their own voice. Again, that’s why they need editors.

Editors do all they can to respect their author’s true voice, but there’s a lot of stuff in any manuscript that just has to go. In the end, authors have to trust that their editors have the best interests of their books at heart, and we’d never do anything to detract from them. We want your voice to come through.

Friday, August 19, 2011

We've Been Busy!!

We have a WINNER!!!

      We did a random drawing of all of our followers after the contest ended on August 15th, and the winner of our signed Summer Lovin’ Anthology giveaway was Amanda. Make sure to get in contact with us, Amanda and give us all of your information so we can get those books out to you.


It has been a CRAZY couple of weeks at Omnific as we get ready for our new release in just over a week. And you all know what that means…INTERVIEW!! We will be posting an interview and excerpt from Patricia Leever’s Cat o’Nine Tails on August 29th.

Also, we were at RomCon in Denver over the weekend of August 5th and had such a great time! We met so many readers, bloggers, and authors. If you haven’t been to RomCon, make sure to put it on your “TO DO” list for next year.

RomCon is a fun conference geared toward the readers of all kinds of romance. The activities vary from informational panels where authors talk about their books to one-on-one teas with some wonderful romance authors.

And no need to worry about what to do at night either! This year’s big event was the Chocolate Mangasm…I’ll let you all think about that for a minute... I wasn’t fortunate enough to attend this event, but the halls were abuzz the next day about the superb quality of…chocolate (you thought I was going in a different direction, didn’t you?). Oh, and of men!

Our table was gorgeous, and I’m very sure that our stunning covers drew all the readers to us (though we did use chocolate and two great book giveaways as conversation starters). It was fun to find this year that people knew the Omnific name, and many had either already read several of our books, or they had them on their “to be read” list.

One of Omnific’s authors was lucky enough to attend the conference and be on several panels. Becoming sage author Kasi Alexander had a great time talking about the lifestyle that has influenced her writing. We talked with so many readers who loved hearing about Kasi’s inspirations and how her book came about. (And on a side note, we were so happy to get to spend time with Kasi and her family!).

If you aren’t following us already, make sure you do! We will be doing giveaways and special announcements from time to time and you don’t want to miss those!

Don’t forget about our Summer Lovin’ Anthologies, benefiting the Save the Tatas Foundation, are on sale through the end of September! All the proceeds go directly to help the Tatas!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Omnific at Rom Con!

Rom Con is this weekend in Denver and Omnific is going to be there!

If you are going to be at this super fun convention make sure to stop by and say hi to us at the Omnific booth in the vendor hall. We will have all of the Summer Lovin’ Anthologies for sale (and I happen to know that at least two of the authors from the Heat Wave edition are going to be there  so you can get them signed!). In addition we’ll have coupons for ebooks, Omnific pens to giveaway and many of our titles for sale…oh, and chocolate!

Kasi Alexander, author of Becoming sage, will also be there (she’s one of those authors from Heat Wave!) so you can get your copy signed – I plan to have her sign mine when I meet up with her!
We are so excited to be part of this great convention and can’t wait to meet some of our readers!

I keep forgetting to tell you all that Omnific is being simultaneously broadcast over on Live Journal! So if that’s where you hang out, make sure to check us out over there!

And don’t forget to follow us if you haven’t already to get in on the chance to win a copy of each anthology signed by ALL the authors!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ask an Editor

Hi everyone!

We wanted to announce a new feature here on our Omnific Blog. Once a month we will be asking for questions from you; readers, authors, bloggers... for our editors.

Do you want to know how to submit your query and synopsis?

Do you want to know how long the process takes from acceptance to publication?

Do you want to know how we get our beautiful covers done?

This is your chance to ask! Just leave a comment with your question below during the week (we'll take questions the first seven days of the month) and then check back with us the next week for some answers from our editing and production staff!

And don't forget to become a follower here to get in on the ONE OF A KIND giveaway of both Summer Lovin' Anthologies signed by all the authors (one of them is somewhere between me and Australia right now). The giveaway will end on August 15th, so make sure you get in on this one!!