Saturday, September 29, 2012

Darkness on the Edge of Town by Jenna Byrnes

I'm especially pleased for this collection to come to Books We Love. It's one of my favorite series (Originally titled Streets of Fire ~ if you're a Bruce Springsteen fan you might notice a theme, here...)

I love sexy cops and these three couldn't get any hotter IMHO. (I know, they're gay, so hands off! *grin*)

Michelle Lee made my day when she took the three models from the original ebooks and worked them all into the cover for this new trilogy. I LOVE the cover almost as much as I love my guys. If you enjoy gay romantic suspense, I hope you'll give this collection a try! ~ Jenna

Darkness on the Edge of Town
The Best Selling Series is now available in one novel-length ebook!

Dancing in the Dark
Detective Nick D'Amato has always been content with his lack-of-commitment love life. For a gay cop in the don't ask-don't tell N.Y.P.D., free and easy always seemed the least complicated route. William, the new man in his life, has Nick rethinking his priorities. Both men are stubborn, neither willing to compromise, until a serial slasher enters their lives. A growing stack of dead bodies has the police running in circles, sending Nick and Will into a nightmare that could change their lives forever. 

Born To Run 
Detective Sam Nielson has always been a casual, no strings type of guy. He loves New York City and the diversity of men it offers him. He also loves his job in South Bronx's forty-first precinct, affectionately nicknamed 'Fort Apache' for its violent history. Sam's caught off guard when handsome detective Bobby Rodriguez transfers to Fort Apache. The two are immediately thrown together on a high profile murder investigation. Their fast brewing passion makes concentrating on work difficult. But first they have to survive the murderer they're been tracking, who's now after them. 

Hungry Heart 
Captain Gil Gates is a proud member of the N.Y.P.D. and enjoys his position running a North Bronx precinct. When an incident with grave repercussions rocks the department and the whole community, Gil’s otherwise spotless record is suddenly in jeopardy. Brian Knight is Channel Nine’s star news reporter, following the most exciting story the Bronx has seen in quite some time. In his line of work as in Gil’s, being gay no big deal unless someone finds out about it. Brian offers something the department can’t—something that’s been missing from Gil’s life for too long. If only he can clear his name, and solve a double homicide while he’s at it.

(Note: Contains graphic M/M erotic romance and some mild BDSM)

"Ms. Byrnes builds the suspense in the story masterfully, and by the climax the tension is so tight that it might just snap. This reader was glued until the very end, which is most definitely a good thing." ~ Whitney, Fallen Angel Reviews 

"The talented Jenna Byrnes creates a story of romance and suspense that is both sensual and realistic. I thoroughly enjoyed this exciting dark tale." ~ Chocolate Minx, Literary Nymphs Reviews 

"The writing is very good, the plot is interesting and the sex is hot. The characters feel like real people, and the plot is nicely paced." ~ Ivy, Manic Readers Reviews 

"Jenna Byrnes gives us a well-crafted tale of friendship, suspense, and romance for three fortyish policemen. This is a well done, easily read tale of male bonding." ~ Dee, The Romance Studio 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Behind the Cover: Cover Elements

By Michelle Lee
BWL Art Director

I know it’s been a while since my last post, and for that all I can say is – GRAD SCHOOL.  What, you thought I was going to say I’m sorry?  LOL  Did we miss the last post – I am a Goddess.  Goddesses do not apologize.

Wait a minute.  The hubby is trying to get my attention.

* Five minutes later *

Ok, so I have been informed that while I am a Cover Goddess, and the love and adoration of my husband’s life, (yeah, I added that in, sue me), that I am still, in fact, a mere mortal. Whatever!   

As such, I guess I can apologize for taking so long to get to the next topic in my Behind the Cover series of posts.  I know there are some readers eagerly awaiting the X-Factor post that is quickly coming up.  I believe slacker it a term I have heard muttered under someone’s breath a time or two.  No, wait, that’s at my day job.  Never mind.

Anyways ...

Back to the topic at hand … just what else goes into creating a cover.

So … After I put the images together to see how different elements look together, I place the title and author name on the cover (often not in the color or font that I will ultimately use, but rather just a generic placeholder to start to formulate placement).  Then I start to play around with all the elements – the images, the font (style, placement, color, and effects), shifting them around until I get something that I am happy with. 

Part of an effective cover is making sure the font matches the theme.

Let’s look at Destiny’s Shadow by Rita Karnopp.  Here, the font is of a western style, which is appropriate for a historical set during the time of western expansion.  Now what about a story set in the orient?  The font needs to have an asian feel.

But what if it is a chilling story?  Something a little dark …  Then you have something like the font for Into A Dangerous Mind.  It kind of has a surreal quality to it, which fits the theme of the story.

After I get everything placed, I start in on effects of the font.

That could by anything from a beveling, back-shadowing, to another layer of the same text in a different color.  Whatever it takes to make the text stand out from the images.  Because you want readers to be able to read what the cover says – and not just in a massive size, but also the tiny sizes a lot of websites use.  It has to stand out.

Once I get everything laid out so that it looks good, I start adding in the extras – little things that just make the cover pop.

 What do I mean?

Well … in some cases, it could be a border.  You can see a hint of a border on Into A Dangerous Mind (above).  But it blends in, adding a subtle effect to the cover rather than standing out.  So how about some that stand out.

See how the pearls in Ann Cory’s cover make the pearls the ladies are wearing kind of pop?  How about the rope around the edge of Ginger Simpson’s cover?

In others cases, it might be elements from the story; for example the cover for Impulsive.  This is a collection of stories by Jamie Hill, and I wanted to bring something from each into the cover.  So there is a bottle for the genie, a trumpet for another story, and snow for yet another.  

 We can also see elements of the story in Lee’s Killough’s cover.  This story involves a wolf, and a gun in some form or another – that much is evident from the cover.

 Its little things like that that assists a reader in knowing a little more about the story at first glance.  Obviously, the book’s blurb is a major information source.  But a lot of the times, a reader will see a cover long before the blurb (especially if they are skimming websites for something to read), so I have to make sure that I assist the author any way I can in drawing the reader in.  They’ve worked hard on their story, put together a blurb, made sure the title fits the books and is something that will catch attention, and then it falls on me to wrap their hard work in a pretty package.

At the same time, I have to be true to the reader – creating a cover that actually fits the book.  I know I would be very disappointed if I picked up a book with a smoking hot embrace between a couple, only to find out that all the intimate scenes are ‘fade to black/closed door’.  I would feel like the cover did not depict the book in a true light.  However, something with a soft fully-clothed embrace in a park or something would fit.

Well, I guess that’s it for this issue of Behind the Cover.  I believe the next topic up will be series.  And after that, the X-factor.  So stay tuned.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Siren of Luxembourg

I'm actively working on Book 4 in the CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE series, LADY OF LUXEMBOURG. I am sharing my ups and downs. Ups, mainly, and a few downs. As I write, I realize how challenging is the task I set for myself. Making the reader believe in an immortal afflicted by a curse that makes her an ondine (siren, mermaid) from the waist down one day each month, is no small feat.

Of course, this is a medieval novel, and in the context of the time, it makes more sense. Also, this story was inspired by authentic legends from my native country, France. Legends resonate in our hearts, and even the staunchest scientists now admit that at the origin of these legends resides a kernel of truth. That's the kernel I've been chasing.

Then I discovered that if I believe in my immortal heroine, she breathes life on the page. Melusine is a woman, an immortal, a Fae, descended from angels predating Christianity. After a disastrous mistake, she now follows the righteous path. But for abusing her powers in childhood she is cursed. She seeks redemption, but if the Church ever discovers her true nature, she will burn at the stake....

From history shrouded in myths, emerges a family of immortal Celtic Ladies, who roam the medieval world in search of salvation from a curse. For centuries, imbued with hereditary gifts, they hide their deadly secret... but if the Church ever suspects what they really are, they will be hunted, tortured, and burned at the stake.

If you missed this series, you can find the first three novels in one volume: PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE, PAGAN QUEEN, SEDUCING SIGEFROI, in kindle for a friendly price HERE

Here are athe blurbs for each novel:


806 AD - Alba (Ancient Scotland) -
As the Vikings raid the coast of Alba, Pressine of Bretagne sets out to seduce King Elinas of Dumfries, chosen by the Goddess to unite the tribes against the foreign invader. Elinas, still mourning his departed queen, has no intention to remarry. Head-strong and independent, Pressine does not expect to fall for the very attractive, wise and noble ruler... Furthermore, her Pagan nature clashes with the religious fanaticism of the king’s Christian heir, who suspects her unholy ancestry and will stop at nothing to get rid of her.

"I really enjoyed Princess of Bretagne. Kind of reminded me of The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley, with its subtle references to Arthurian legend (I'm a sucker for anything Arthurian). Like Mists, you captured the historical period while weaving in the mystical elements. Since I now have my new kindle, I've added Pagan Queen to my TBR list. After the one I'm reading now, I might just bump it up a notch or two." Kathy Fisher-Brown, author


810 AD - Alba (Ancient Scotland) - Queen at last, Pressine brings victory to her beloved Elinas and prosperity to their growing kingdom. But she has to contend with the intrigues of Charlemagne's bishops, spurred by her Christian stepson. While Elinas, on the battlefield, remains unaware of his son’s machinations, Pressine fends off repeated assaults against her life. She also fears the curse that could bring her downfall. For the love of Elinas, she will tempt fate and become with child. But when her indomitable passion challenges the wrath of the Goddess Herself... can she win that battle?

"Schartz is an accomplished writer, whose pacing, conflicts, and goals are always complex and whose good characters are always likeable, and whose villains are evil incarnate. You have to like her villains as much as the good guys! Mattacks is a magnificent example of this!" - 5 stars - Manic Readers
"...details of the period making that long ago era of history feel alive and vibrant. She’s able to weave in the mystical in a manner that appears natural... Mattacks and his diabolical plans play an important role... he’s a creepy guy... unexpected happenings totally caught me off guard... great plot ploy that I can only assume will pull the series forward... I want to know more..." - Romance Junkies - 4 ribbons


Luxembourg - 963 AD - To offset the curse that makes her a serpent from the waist down one day each month, Melusine, exiled Princess of Strathclyde, must seduce and wed a mortal knight, the shrewd and ambitious Sigefroi of Ardennes.
Sigefroi, son of the Duke of Lorraine, suspects Melusine is not what she appears, but her beauty, her rich dowry, and her sharp political skills serve his ambitions. He never expected her to soften his stone-cold warrior heart.
So close to the Imperial court, dangers and intrigue threaten Melusine. War looms on the horizon, a Mermaid was sighted around Luxembourg, and Sigefroi’s bishop brother questions her ancestry. If anyone ever suspects Melusine’s true nature, she will burn at the stake...

"As always, Schartz spins a great story. It’s a bit bloody and bloodthirsty in places... But that's part of the drama, and Schartz certainly knows drama." Manic Readers 4.5 stars

Happy Reading!

Find out more about me and all my books on my website at:
Find all my books on Amazon

Friday, September 7, 2012


Make love, not war was the catch cry of the 1960’s. Against a background of anti-war demonstrations, hippies and free love, Caroline’s life is in turmoil. Her soldier brother is on his way to the jungles of Vietnam. She discovers she is pregnant with her wealthy boss’ baby, and her draft dodger friend is on the run and needs her help. 

At the risk of revealing my age, I have to say the 1960’s was my time. Mini skirts, stilettos (I’ve bunions to prove it), beehive hair dos, I couldn’t quite manage that, although I did tease the life out of my hair and regularly put in coloured rinses, French Plum or Rich Burgundy, were the colours I favoured. I can remember when the Beatles made their first visit out to Australia. A couple of girls I worked with were lucky enough to get tickets to their concerts, (we hated them, of course), they came to work the next days minus their voices, and stayed that way for about a week, because they had screamed so much.
We used manual typewriters in those days. One original and four copies of everything we typed. I don’t know how many blouses I ruined because I got ink on the sleeves from changing the typewriter ribbon or the black stuff off the carbon paper.
During this time the Vietnam War loomed in the background. The Australian government introduced conscription. It was in the form of a ballot, or the death lottery as many called it. All twenty year old males had to register, their birth dates were put into a barrel and a certain number were drawn out, and those young men had to report to the army and subsequently many of them were sent to Vietnam. This of course caused severe bitterness and division in the community, and even though the government denied it, was subject to abuse and unfairness. Rich men kept their sons at university so they didn’t have to go.  Conscientious objectors were thrown into prison. Only sons were called up, yet families with two or three eligible males didn’t have any of their boys called up.
I only had one brother, and I can clearly remember my father (a World War 2 veteran) vowing, that if his son got called up, he would protest on the steps of the parliament with a placard on his back.
There were protests marches, anti-war demonstrations, and things often turned violent. Not that I went to any of the protest marches, but a cousin of mine did and got trampled by a police horse. A very turbulent time in our history and I was right in the middle of it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Howling Halloween Contest

Welcome to Books We Love's Howling Halloween Contest, running now through October 31.

Treat yourself to a feast of Halloween Indulgence
Drawing for Bon Appetite Basket on October 15.


Treat yourself to a chocolate indulgence day.  Drawing for Chocolate Indulgence Basket on September 15.




Persephone Cole and the Halloween Curse
Listen to the Shadows
War N Wit Inc.: The Witch
Jude Pittman Triple Threat
Jamie Hill Triple Threat


We notify winners by posting in our newsletter and posting on our BLOG, if you don't  subscribe and/or visit the Blog you won't know if you win, we do not send an email to notify winners and we do not award prizes to non-subscribers.  If prizes are unclaimed 30 days after posting, they are returned to the prize pool and awarded in a subsequent drawing.  

All contestants must be newsletter subscribers.  It's easy. Our newsletter list is private and only used to announce new contests, new releases, winners of our prizes and new prizes available to be won!

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