Writing paranormal romance: Harlequin Nocturne author Debbie Herbert

177_authorphotoToday we’re lucky enough to have Harlequin Nocturne author, Debbie Herbert visit our blog, talking about why she writes paranormal romance. Debbie’s also giving away two Kindle copies of her fabulous otherworldly romance Siren’s Secret.

Why I write Paranormal Romance

Upon learning I write paranormal romance, people often look perplexed and one of the first questions they ask is – ‘Why’?

My short answer is a shrug and a cryptic remark that ‘it’s fun.’ The longer answer can be found in my tagline that describes the kind of books I write:  “Where love, like magic, casts its own spell of enchantment.”

I’ve never outgrown my love of fairy tales and mythology. One of my fondest memories in Girl Scouts was reading about the housekeeping elves in the official Brownie’s Handbook.

It’s the possibility of magic that tingles my creative drive and curiosity, the speculation that there is more to reality than we can perceive through our senses.

My debut novel, Siren’s Secret, is the first book in a trilogy about a secret clan of shapeshifting mermaids living in a Southern Bayou. Do I really believe that half-fish, half-human creatures populate deep waters that no man has yet traveled down? No. But who knows what really exists in the depths of the oceans or beyond our galaxies where humans have yet to explore. The human brain is a marvelous organism that by its very nature loves to seek answers and pioneer new ideas and concepts.My debut novel, Siren’s Secret, is the first book in a trilogy about a secret clan of shapeshifting mermaids living in a Southern Bayou. Do I really believe that half-fish, half-human creatures populate deep waters that no man has yet traveled down? No. But who knows what really exists in the depths of the oceans or beyond our galaxies where humans have yet to explore. The human brain is a marvelous organism that by its very nature loves to seek answers and pioneer new ideas and concepts.

And as far as the romance part of the writing equation – I’ve always been a sucker for love stories. As a teenager, Harlequin books lined my bookshelves and I devoured them like candy. The very first book I ever wrote, at age twenty, was a Harlequin romance. I was newly married and we lived pretty much paycheck-to-paycheck so there was no money in the budget for a typewriter. (Yes, I am dating myself here!) My husband promised that if I actually wrote a book, we could purchase a manual typewriter. I wrote that romance longhand on legal pads and he held up his end of the bargain.  (I don’t think he believed that I’d really finish it.) With a bottle of white-out by my side, I laboriously typed up the manuscript and submitted it to Harlequin, sure of a brilliant success.

Weeks later, my manuscript was returned with an editorial comment that blasted my book’s premise that a thirty year-old man would really fall for a teen-aged girl. Yeah, looking back now I realize that was more than a little creepy!  I still have that truly awful manuscript in a desk drawer.  Every now and then I pull it out and read the first page which poetically describes the changing color of leaves in autumn. Hardly mesmerizing material. So often I’ve vowed to throw it away, yet my hands pull back from the trashcan and back it goes into the bottom desk drawer.

Fast forward to the present . . .  after retirement, I took up my old dream of writing. How fitting that my first publishing contract is with Harlequin. Life can be mysteriously circular at times.

I would love to hear why you read romances or paranormal romances.  What draws you to them as a reader? Have you ever had something mysterious or eerily coincidental happen to you? Let me know, I’m always hunting new stories and you may end up in one of my books!

You can find Debbie and her books in the following places:

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Website


WIN A KINDLE COPY OF SIREN’S SECRET! Just leave us a comment below saying why you like to read paranormal romance, or tell us of an eerie or mysterious event that’s happened to you.

Good luck!

Top Five Romance Novels

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Five on Friday is showcasing love stories. From historical and suspenseful, to contemporary and young adult, here are five stunning romances to get your heart aflutter . . .

1. SHE BELONGS TO ME by Carmen DeSousa: This international bestseller is a tightly woven tale of love, possession, and concealed histories.  Read more


2. THE SWEETEST THING by Lilian Darcy: Love isn’t always sweet and easy . . . Family secrets and second chances in this inspirational romanceRead more


3. JACOB’S RETURN by Annette Blair : Uplifting and unforgettable, this USA Today bestseller is about love and faith in impossible circumstancesRead more


4. ETERNAL STARLING by Angela Corbett: Swoonworthy young adult urban fantasy . . . A love so strong, even eternity can’t separate them.   Read more


5. HOPELESS FOR YOU by Hayden Hill: One man afraid of commitment. One woman afraid to love again. One life-changing journey. Read more


Hope you found a suitable novel to get you in the Valentine’s mood. Any suggestions for next week’s Five on Friday? We were thinking Epic Fantasies . . .

Top Five Suspense-Filled Mysteries

Five on Friday this week is highlighting some tense and twisty page-turning mysteries to die for . . .

1. MURDER IN MIND by Cheryl Bradshaw: Thrilling page-turner from a USA Today bestselling authorClick here to read more



2. STEAL AWAY by Linda Hall: In this suspenseful novel, PI Teri Blake-Addison pieces together the life of an unhappy minister’s wife.  Click here to read more

steal away


3. THE GAUGIN CONNECTION by Estelle Ryan: An intriguing and unique mystery with over 120 five-star reviews. Click here to read more



4. GREENWOOD TREE by B. Lloyd: Don’t miss this complex, multi-layered story full of whimsy, horror, and mystery.  Click here to read more



5. THE PHILANTHROPIST’S DANSE by Paul Wornham: Twelve people. Five days. One fortune. A desperate family will do anything to save their inheritance. Except share it.  Click here to read more


Next Friday, as it’s Valentine’s Day, we’ll be featuring some swoonworthy love stories . . .

Top Five Contemporary Romance Novels for your ereader

Today’s Five on Friday are our top five steamy contemporary romances – and by that we mean the hot ones …

1. HARM’S HUNGER by P.T. Michelle: The first in the hot and steamy Bad in Boots series, with over 60 five-star reviews. Click here to read more


2. AFTER MIDNIGHT by Sarah Grimm: Award-winning romance that will grab hold of your heart and never let go. Click here to read more



3. FEARSOME by S.A. Wolfe: Heavy on the romance, this sexy, laugh-out-loud novel has just the right amount of angst and drama. Click here to read more



4. ECLIPSE OF THE HEART by Carly Carson: A sexy, witty and engaging romance, rated 4.5 by Romance Junkies. Click here to read more



5. SEX IN THE TITLE by Zack Love:  This story follows five guys on their paths to trouble, self-discovery . . . and love. Brilliantly funny and oh-so-HOT!  Click here to read more


Next week’s Five on Friday will be suspense-filled mysteries. Get your magnifying glasses out ready . . .

Winner of the Costa Book Award 2014 is Nurse Nathan Filer

32-year-old Nathan Filer from Bristol, wins the £30,000 prize for The Shock of the Fall, beating 616 other entries, including bookies’ favourite, Kate Atkinson.


Inspired by the author’s work in the mental health industry, this debut novel tells the story of a brother’s battle against mental illness after losing his sibling in a childhood accident.

Filer worked on the book for ten years before it became the subject of an eleven-way publishers’ bidding war, finally going to Harper Collins for a six figure sum.

The last time a debut novel won the Costa was when Stef Penney’s The Tenderness of Wolves took the prize back in 2006.

Now in its 42nd year, the Costa Prize is known for rewarding novels which are enjoyable to read, rather than focusing on their deeper literary merits. This year’s judging panel of nine included author Rose Tremaine and singer Sharleen Spiteri.

BookCrossing – how to discover and promote books


If you love your book … let it go.

If you’ve never heard of the site before, it’s a fantastic way of connecting people through their love of books, by releasing your favourite novels into the wild.

How it works:

1. Label:                  2. Share:                 3. Followbookcrossing

First, you add a BookCrossing label to a book you love and then you leave that book in a prominent place, such as a train or a park bench, where someone can pick it up. The label has a unique ID so the recipient can go online and let you know they have the book. It can be passed on forever like this.

What do you think of this idea? If you found a BookCrossing book, would you keep it? Or pass it on? Would you take the time to go onto the site and record it? I know I would.


eBook statistics that may surprise you

Reading is alive and well, and we’ve got the stats to prove it. Turns out ereaders are encouraging people to rekindle (scuse the pun) their love of reading.

Kaitlyn is part of the design and research team at OnlineTeachingDegree.com. A while back she contacted me with some interesting statistics. The team over there have created an infographic illustrating how ereaders have taught us to start reading again.

The following statistics relate mainly to Americans but, as a Brit, I found it really interesting nonetheless. Maybe you will too:

Teaching to Read Again

Created by: www.OnlineTeachingDegree.com

eBookSoda.com Launching soon!

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Once we go live, authors and publishers are welcome to submit their books to eBookSoda for inclusion in their listings. The site is a fantastic platform for authors to showcase their books and for readers to get their hands on various genres of books at low prices and for free.

Subscribe for free here to start discovering free and bargain books

ebooksoda.com Launching soon!