world building in paranormal romance

Sharon Ashwood: Christmas Stories in a Dark Paranormal World_BSW013 181127


Sharon Ashwood is one of my favorite paranormal authors, so I’m over the moon  excited about this interview. She’s written for Penguin’s Signet Eclipse (before the line was closed), Harlequin Nocturne (which recently closed), and Del Rey, publishing18 trad novels, plus novellas, essays and shorter pieces. She began her professional writing career as a freelance art critic for several publications, including Monday Magazine and occasionally for the Globe and Mail. As a result of a cover article she wrote for the local RWA conference, she joined the chapter and began learning the crucial step of moving from under the bed manuscript to professional submission. In 2005 she got her first traditional contract with Penguin by winning the local chapter contest for unpubbed writers.

She’s tremendously talented and successful, but she claims,: “I still don’t know anything about this business!”

Show Notes

  • the paranormal world  has the same excitement and angst about Christmas
  • humor is a really valuable tool when you write dark stories
  • paranormal stories offer a terrific canvas for comedy and social commentary
  • she’s always been drawn to stories with magic, swords and unicorns
  • paranormal stories allow you to be super creative
  • plays on the contrast between everyday life and the otherworldly – the friction between the fantastic and the mundane
  • she describes the honor of accepting the Rita (the biggest award in the Romance world)
  • in the writing/publishing world you can be on top of everything one second and in  the basement the next, and then on top again
  • recently became a hybrid author and is learning the world of Indie publishing
  • she started in the Indie Publishing world with the Corsaire’s Cove Series, a shared universe she writes with friends
  • she has a demanding full-time job, so she manages her writing by planning in a paper notebook with lots of lists in it
  • considers herself a “plotter” as opposed to a “pantser,” but she’s a plotter who let’s herself lie
  • using her Nanowrimo time to create a new Urban Fantasy series

Tip: Prepare to constantly be learning.

Last Comment: The real secret to success is persistence.


Who says the holiday season is just for humans?

For all the holly-jolly times, family gatherings are complex no matter who—or what—you are. When you’re hunting for the latest “it” toy to stuff a stocking, it doesn’t matter if you’re alive or Undead, fanged or furry—you’re just as desperate to be the cool dad. And then there are the family grumps who never send cards, the ones who eat all the good candy, and those who drool and dig up the neighbor’s yard.

No, the Yuletide Season isn’t for the faint of heart—and sometimes it’s downright demonic—but holiday miracles make it all worthwhile. Chance encounters and unexpected forgiveness remind us that joy doesn’t come in a gift-wrapped box.

This novella from the Dark Forgotten world catches up with favorite characters for a fresh take on the holidays. Those visiting the world for the first time will understand why Chicago Tribune called it “simply superb.”

Grab this book and return to the world of the Dark Forgotten. Santa Claws is waiting!

Who is Sharon Ashwood?

Sharon Ashwood is a novelist, desk jockey and enthusiast for the weird and spooky. She has an English literature degree but works as a finance geek. Interests include growing her to-be-read pile and playing with the toy graveyard on her desk. As a vegetarian, she freely admits the whole vampire/werewolf lifestyle would never work out, so she writes her adventures instead.

Sharon is a winner of the RITA® Award for Paranormal Romance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is owned by the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness.

Contact Info:

WebsiteEmailFacebook / Twitter /

Instagram / Pinterest / Goodreads

Bookbub / Newsletter


A Drink She Invented for a Series

The Cat’s Purr 
Put in a largish mug:
3 TB of Calvados or other apple brandy
1 TB Frangelico
Fill with hot chocolate
Top with dash of cinnamon and a generous splash of cream.
Note: for The Corsair’s Cove series


As always, Canva

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J.C. McKenzie: Science Geek Turns Author BSW003_180918

“Do you ever wonder where writers get their ideas?

Today I’m talking with J.C. McKenzie, who is a High school, math and science teacher by day and an urban fantasy and paranormal romance author by night. She’s the creator of the Amazon, best-selling dark fantasy, saga, The Carus Series, set in post apolcalyptic Vancouver. She’s the author of 9 books, soon to be 10 and is an unapologetic science geek.

Which brings me to today’s topic: Science Geek to Author.

Show Highlights

  • the life of an unapologetic, science geek
  • her fascination with the “weird stuff” in the world
  • how her love of science transfers into her writing; into world building and creating dynamic characters
  • how all life experiences translate onto the page (with a touch of espresso)
  • form rejections and how not to be crippled by them

Book Mentioned:    The Hot Zone by Richard Preston

J. C. McKenzie

JC. McKenzie is a book-loving, gumboot-wearing, unapologetic science geek. She’s the author of the Carus Series, an urban fantasy five-book saga published by the Wild Rose Press. Born and raised on the West Coast, J. C. sets the majority of her books in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with sassy heroines and brutish, alpha-type men.


J.C.’s Latest Release – The Good Griffin

  •                It’s more than hex appeal

He’s a good griffin, with a bad temper…
Detective Damian Charming yearns to sweep a certain feisty lynx shifter off her feet. Every time he tries to talk to her, however, he sticks his foot in his mouth. He doesn’t mean to sound condescending. Life would be easier if Lucy admitted he knows best, especially now that someone in town has threatened her. He’s a good griffin (mostly) until someone messes with what is his.

She’s an unlucky lynx with no time for trouble…
Lucy May hates Stillwater detective Damian Charming. Sure, he helped her with a horrible situation and has looks to rival the gods, but he also views lynx shifters as inferior supernatural beings. When someone targets the business she worked hard to create, though, Lucy turns to the one man she knows will mercilessly unearth the culprit.

It’s more than just hex appeal…
When a hex sends the town in a storm of sexual shenanigans in the middle of the investigation, Lucy realizes just how bad she has it for the griffin. Now she needs to convince Damian her feelings are true and reel him in before his need for vengeance destroys the entire town.

The books in That Old Black Magic world and Heart’s Desired Mate Series can be read as stand-alone stories and in any order.

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Next Week

Next week’s podcast is an interview with Abigail Owen, An Author Helping Other Authors.

J.C.’s Favorite Cocktail:

– white rum
– fresh mint
– lime juice
– sugar
– soda water
– ice
smush the sugar, mint and lime together, add a shot (or two) of rum, add ice, top off with soda water. You can replace the lime with any smushable fruit, like raspberries or blueberries, and taste the yum.
great and refreshing for hot summer days

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Photo Sources

Feature Picture – Pixabay

Feature Image – Canva