Blog Archives

Point of View—What IS It? How to Find the Perfect Voice for YOUR Story


If you’re a writer, start taking notice of who’s telling the story in the books you read. It’ll help you establish the voice in your own writing. Read Kristen Lamb’s explanation of Point of View…

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Geiko Caveman.

Geiko Caveman.

Monday, we talked about the Three Acts of a Writer’s Journey. The first hint we might be tipping into The Apprentice Phase is we hear the word P.O.V. and panic. What is THAT? Prisoners of Vietnam? Pets of Vegans? Pals of Viagra?

We ALL know writing a novel is FAR from easy. We just make it look that way ;) .

Today, I’m putting on my editor’s hat. Many of you decided to become writers because you love to write. Duh. I’ll even bet most of you, back when you were in school, also made very good grades in English. Thus, you might assume that you naturally know how to write a novel that is fit for successful publication.

Maybe you do. But, if you are anything like me when I started out? You might not know as much as you think you do.


Our high…

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Blog Tour: The Genie Smolders

The book tour continues! Yesterday, I was “in” Romania at Mythical Books and today I’m at Book Bliss and happy to be here! One more day left on the tour. Join in to win books!

Blog Tour: The Genie Smolders.

Best Wishes,

When You’re Crazy For Books…

I am! I love writing them and reading them. My blog tour continues, which is a great chance to meet readers as well as to pick up some new titles to read. Today, I’m at ‘Crazy Four Books‘. Please join me. But before you go, let me know you’ve been by. Anyone who leaves a comment here at my blog will get a free copy of To Have and To Hold, a romantic suspense that is like an edgier I Dream of Jeannie. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it.

~Best Wishes,


Come Tour With Me…Win Books!

I’m in the middle of a blog tour for my romance suspense novel, The Genie Smolders. Check it out to sign up for the chance to win free books! Plus, you’ll get lots of free information about the real life of the jinn…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best Wishes,

A Most Unusual Woman by Ciar Cullen

Originally posted on STEAMED!:

Today we welcome author Ciar Cullen, as we celebrate the release of Lillian Holmes & the Leaping Man.


A Most Unusual Woman

by Ciar Cullen

My heroine, Lillian Holmes, was 24 in 1899. Certainly there were worse times to be a woman, and worse circumstances to being an heiress. It was a time of significant change for women, as some of means were going to college, becoming physicians, leading more independent lives. Still, the Victorian claws didn’t unclench easily. One magazine, The Ladies’ World, advised how easily it was for a woman to appear vulgar. Shaking hands with men, unless as a hostess at a party, was verboten. A woman’s voice was not to be high-pitched or shrill, her jewelry was to be modest, and she was not to dress above her means.

This would have been an issue for my Lillian, who liked to dress in boys’ clothing…

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KellyAnn Zuzulo’s Book Spotlight

I’m cruising through the atmosphere on a blog tour with my genie, Zubis. I hope you all will hop on. xo

A House of Jinn in Syria

A massive avenue in Palmyra, Syria

A massive avenue in Palmyra, Syria

As I do my research into what is known about the realm of the jinn, I’m always on the lookout for archaeolgical links to places that may have a mysterious history; locations whose lore or legends lend themselves to jinn occupation. Mazraat Beit Jinn in the foothills of Mount Hermon is such a place. Translated from Arabic, Mazraat Beit Jinn means Farm in the Jinn House. There is a nearby town simply called Beit Jinn, which means House of the Jinn. Why? Why would residents of long ago give such a name to this windswept, sparsely populated desert outpost? Were the jinn here? There’s no answer now. Beit Jinn is a small village among a cluster of small villages southwest of Damascus having a total population of just over 2,000 souls. At one time, however, it sat along the route of the Silk Road. Once it was vibrant. Once, it might have hosted the jinn.

Beit Jinn translates as House of Jinn

Beit Jinn translates as House of Jinn

Not far from Beit Jinn, northeast of Damascus, lies Palmyra. And here, there are more remnants that lore credits to the handiwork of the jinn. Although located in the arid center of a desert, Palmyra employed a system of elaborate dams and cisterns 2,000 years ago to bring water to more than 100,00 inhabitants. A pretty big feat. Unless you have some jinn working for you. And here’s some literary evidence to support that theory:

“Rise up and go into the world to release it from error and send word to the Jinn and I will give them leave to build Tadmur with hewn stones and columns.” ~God said to Solomon according to the pre-Islamic Arab poet Nabigha al Dhubyain.

Tadmur is the Arabic name for Palmyra.

Here’s my theory. The jinn were active in the desert thousands of years ago. They claimed it as their own. They helped humans to build magnificent cities to provide respite from the heat. They didn’t care that conditions could be harsh and inhospitable. They were the jinn: great engineers. They tapped into the wadi, reservoirs of water beneath the sand; they erected cool marble halls; they brought elegance and civility to the desert. They worked with humans, but humans became more numerous. When Solomon was given control of the jinn nearly three thousand years ago, the game changed. They built his temple (there are allusions to this in the Christian Bible) and some other cities (Petra and Meda’in Salah among them). Here, we get back to Beit Jinn. While the jinn moved about from such locations as Palmyra in the north to Petra in the south, they would have resided at towns along the way. Towns that would forever bear the memory with such names as Beit Jinn and Mazraat Beit Jinn. But the jinn were seen increasingly as a threat. They were no longer needed. They withdrew. Where are they now?

You can certainly find them in my novels. Check out The Genie Ignites and 101 Nights for some fictional insight on what the realm of the jinn might be like. Sadly, to travel to Syria now is to risk getting caught in the civil strife there. News accounts report that the ancient citadel of Palmyra and those in Aleppo have been damaged by mortar fire. Hopefully, a resolution will soon be found so that this wonderful history isn’t lost forever.

Get The Genie Ignites on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Kobo. Smashwords. Diesel. Apple iBooks.

Get To Have and To Hold of the 101 Nights series on Amazon. Barnes & Noble. Kobo. Smashwords. Diesel. Apple iBooks.

Best Wishes,


You Don’t Need Five Stars to Shine


Word of mouth is the best way to sell books.

Authors need reviews. Am I right? You want a potential reader to know what other readers think about your book. More and more statistics in this insta-pubbed crowded world tell us that “word of mouth” is still the best way to promote your book. [Read Jane Friedman’s blog on “Using Word-of-Mouth (Not Media Attention) to Sell Books.“] And here’s a piece from NPR about using word-of-mouth. Essentially, the publisher gives out lots of free copies and hopes people like it enough to spread the word.

And how do you get that word of mouth? Simple. You get people talking about your book. Not so simple. Well, reviews are one way to do that. Even non-professional reader reviews posted on Amazon send Amazon analytics into overdrive. Get a certain number of reviews within a certain number of days from the book’s release (I think it’s something like 30 reviews in three days) and your book may rise to the top of a recommended page. Supposedly, you don’t even need good reviews for that to happen. But another source I read indicated that the reviews really need to be three stars or above. (I could get the source attribution for you, but I’m on deadline with another book…just go with it.) The inclination might be to rustle up a couple of dozen relatives and ask them to quickly post a two-liner on Amazon (20-word minimum) saying:

“I loved this book. You should get this book today! You won’t be sorry. I don’t even know what genre this is but I loved it anyway because my second cousin told me I do. Five Stars!!”

Those types of write-ups may populate your Amazon page, but they’re really not going to do anything for your sales. And you know it. You probably gave your relatives copies of the book and that’s as far as it’s going to go. So, ultimately, you’re not helping your sales and you may detract from the credibility of your buy page. Bottom line, get legitimate reviews. It’ll take some time to identify the reviewers who might like your book. Much like word-of-mouth, this takes another old-fashioned effort….good ol’ legwork. Check out other books on Amazon that might be similar to yours; read the reviews and see who the reviewers are. Email addresses aren’t always included, but you will get a snapshot of many blogs that review your genre. Contact the blog, send a copy of your book, and hope for the best.

Which is what brings me to the point of this blog. The best doesn’t have to be five stars. I just received a three-star review from The Vampire Book Club that I really appreciated. It was clear, pointed, and right on about the major elements of the book. She shared what she liked about the book and the strong aspects of it. Basically, she had nothing bad to say other than it wasn’t the type of book she normally reads. The Genie Ignites was more of a thriller or romantic suspense…which is what I intended it to be. So, I’m very pleased with the review. And she leaves the reader with this pithy summation:

“The author knows how to pull a switcheroo that left me wanting to read the next book, just to see what happens.”

That’s a sales pitch right there for the second book in the series, The Genie Smolders…which releases next month from Boroughs Publishing Group.

Best Wishes,


The First Night of 101 Nights

Image101 Nights is my new series, called Romantisodes, from Boroughs Publishing Group.The first book is To Have and To Hold and begins the story of Amani Zarin, an ambassador from Jinnistan, and Jason Masters, the physicist who can help her save her homeland. She doesn’t trust humans, but she’ll have to trust him….or at least tolerate him. Their first meeting is on their wedding day. Irritation soon turns to intrigue.

Here’s an excerpt from that first auspicious encounter:

The conference room echoed with a collective exhalation of relief. Westcott fixed Amani with an arctic glare, tugging at the pressed lapels of his charcoal Gucci suit; then he considered the man beside her with a gaze that was both smug and sympathetic, as though to say, Better you than me. Closing her eyes, Amani steeled herself. She had avoided looking at the man at her side, Jason Masters, her new husband, had avoided looking at him all through the ceremony and before. Now she glanced at him sidelong.

Despite her barb at Westcott and the people who worked with him, Dr. Jason Masters was by no means little. Amani was taller than most human men, yet he was taller than she by a forehead. That irked her. Neither was he bad-looking. For a human. Okay, he was hot. She had come across the term in her cultural research of the human world and liked it. Hot. Forged from fire, her people reveled in flame. This word suggested the comfort of Jinnistan’s scorched mountains, the joy of riding Sinbad into the Bitu Valley so rife with fissures to the center of the earth that the air crackled with fire.

Her new husband’s jaw flexed, and cocking her head Amani assessed him further. The poor guy was agitated. But, who wouldn’t be? It was his wedding day and he was meeting his bride for the first time. Oh, and by the way, she was a genie. And in a bad mood.

His full lips formed a straight line—an attempt to appear stoic or munificent? No. Neither. He appeared raw and somewhat bewildered but resigned to his task. A good scientist with a difficult hypothesis. A hypothesis that was even now standing in front of him.

He turned, and the expression on his face was both wary and…surprisingly playful. “Do I get a kiss?”

His voice was smooth and deep. For an irritating moment he seemed pleased with what he saw, with Amani, then Amani’s gaze whipped back to the Covalink CEO, the main architect of this spectacle, who’d scoffed and turned away. Sudden anger at Westcott’s demeanor, her situation, and humans in general got the better of her. In one graceful flip of her hand, Amani flung back the curtain of hair from her shoulder and flourished three fingers at Westcott’s retreating back, preparing to singe his suit just enough to make her feel better.

“Whoa, there!” Her husband’s grip on her wrist was faster than she would have given him credit for, and Amani was startled to find herself staring into eyes the color of the Topaz Caves on the far side of Jinnistan. A lock of brown hair had fallen across her husband’s broad brow, and he twitched his head as though to shrug it away. The strands clung together as though damp. “Not a good idea.”

“Is any of this a good idea?” she snarled at him, consciously ignoring the tiny coterie of Covalink executives and Jinnistan ambassadors who were now beginning to mingle. With a twist of her arm, she dislodged his grasp. If not for the flower-laden pedestal at her hip, she would have moved entirely away from him.

She barely saw his lips move, but his voice was low and rueful. “Too late now.”

Their faces were close enough for a kiss, she realized. Her husband stared back, not blinking, his black eyelashes as thick as the fringe on a hand-tied carpet. The way they shadowed his amber eyes reminded Amani of a soft feather caressing her naked back, and the thought sent a shiver down her spine. Even more potent, for the second their gazes locked she felt challenged and equal at the same time. Her shiver radiated outward, wrapping around her waist and making her suddenly all too aware of his closeness. Something inside her trembled.

He quirked his lips. “Now, how about that kiss?”

Smirking like a child, she leaned into him. “Fine.” She knew her duty. Kissing a human would be no more momentous than stepping on an ant—for her. For him? Well, he would be the ant. The contact would provide a nice electrical shock on those soft, full lips. “Pucker up, pretty boy.”

Her husband settled a tentative hand on her waist and lowered his chin. Those impossibly thick lashes drooped further, and a flutter whisked through Amani’s stomach. Almost of its own accord, her head tilted toward him. Like they were lovers. Like she wanted to be kissed by him. Like she had no control over the desire flushing through—

Alarm spiked through Amani at her body’s betrayal. Needing to be back in control, she squeezed her eyes against her heightened awareness of his broad hand on her hipbone, and when his grip tightened, warm and oddly comforting, she had to resist the urge to wriggle against his palm. Instead, she purposefully stiffened and grasped his forearm as though to immobilize him. The fine woven fabric of his navy suit jacket was smooth and cool to her fingers, and beneath its softness the long cords of his flexor muscles tensed like steel cables. A vein throbbed at the side of his neck just above the starched collar of a sky blue button-down shirt. He hadn’t worn a tie, which she always found to be a strange constrictive garment that merely highlighted human ineptitude, as if they needed to be leashed into place. One point for Dr. Masters.

They moved as though in slow motion, and for an instant Amani’s eyebrows knitted. She could see that his skin was dark, the complexion of someone who labored in the sun and not the soft intellectual she’d expected. He was physically strong, too. She could feel it in the sudden set of his body. And he was alert. She could tell that he was frequently outdoors.

Parting her lips, she eased her head into the space at his shoulder. There, swirling her head in a small arc, she inhaled through her nose.

Her husband lurched back, eyes wide. “Did…did you just sniff me?”

She nodded, considering. “Interesting. You don’t smell like gravel. Most humans smell like gravel. Or dirt.” She felt her lip curl at the thought. “But not you.” There was something fascinating in the air between them. Specifically, something that emanated off him like an aura.

“I beg your pardon.” Pulling back, he shot a glance at her uncle, and from the corner of her eye Amani caught Azon’s exasperated headshake. The other witnesses seemed to realize there would be no romantic clutch to seal the deal and clustered around the tray of drinks, muttering and grinning with self-congratulations. A wheeled cart laden with canapés and shrimp cocktail pushed into the room and was immediately surrounded.

Amani returned her attention to Jason. She’d expected to be accosted by his scent, not enveloped. Lifting a finger to her lips, she closed her eyes for a moment. When she opened them, she wagged a finger at him. There was an honest note of amazement in her voice as she said, “You smell like thyme and wood chips.”

He ignored the comment and tugged her closer. The satin cowl of her midnight blue sheath dress brushed the pearl buttons of his shirt, and the rhythm of his heart seemed to suddenly permeate the slinky fabric of her dress. She imagined that the pounding of her own synced to his. But that was impossible.

Jason glanced down at their connection, at the mutual rising and falling of their chests. The wrinkle of a question returned to his brow, and with a jolt of amazement Amani understood that he had felt what she did.

Her new husband’s words were hushed, but his eyes glinted with a strange gratification. “Is that you or me? I can’t tell.”

Stretching her neck away in a vain attempt at detachment she said, “I’m nothing like you.”

To read the entire story, download it today for your ereader.

Best Wishes,

Kellyann Zuzulo

What Would You Wish For

Hard Bodies, Soft Hearts

Originally posted on Release Parties @ TRS:

If it's muscles you're looking for, look at the jinn.

If it’s muscles you’re looking for, look at the jinn.

Isn’t that what we look for in a good hero…even if he doesn’t show his soft side right away. It should take some coaxing. And that’s half the fun of the journey through a romance. Hard bodies, for sure, are what the jinn have.

Here’s a description you might like from the recent release of 101 Nights. This first installment in a five-part book series is called To Have and To Hold. Amani is checking out old genie boyfriend Sumer Rafsi:


A shadow crossed the stable threshold, and Sumer’s figure reassembled in the pale sunlight that filtered down through the heavy clouds above. None of the jinn could manifest as quickly now as they once did. On a cloudy day like this, without the  the sun’s solar rays, it…

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