Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Winter Kisses will release on Monday, December 21, 2009 from Noble Romance Publishing. Judging by the blurbs and excerpts, these sound like exciting and fun reads.
GRACEN: Do you have a movie that you must watch every Christmas? What's your favorite Christmas movie? Do you have a favorite Christmas character or character type?
NICHELLE: I look forward to seeing The Wizard of Oz, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! I grew up with these childhood favorites and I love watching them every year!
G.R.: I’m very fond of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas.
GRACEN: Do you have any Christmas traditions like decorating your house, having house parties, making cookies etc.?
NICHELLE: We always decorate the Christmas tree after Thanksgiving dinner. Keeps everyone awake and helps work off the turkey, rolls, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoe pie...and well you get the idea! ;-)
GRACEN: If you do make Christmas Cookies, what kinds will you be making this year? What was your all-time most favorite Christmas Cookie that you ever made? Why? Care to share the recipe?
NICHELLE: I love making Christmas Cookies! It’s taken me a couple of years to select the keeper recipes and tweak them to my own liking. I usually bake my all my Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Walnut and Raspberry shortbread cookies on one night, so that I can package them and ship ‘em off the next morning. I’d like to share the recipes, but one of Santa’s elves ran off with my recipe box!
GRACEN: Do you send out greeting cards to your friends and family? Why or why not? What greeting do you like to see on the greeting cards you send? On the ones you receive? (For example, “Merry Christmas”, “Season’s Greetings”, etc.)
NICHELLE: I do send out greeting cards to friends and family. I like to put on the Christmas music, fill up my mug with hot cocoa and er... um rum and pen festive messages until my hand cramps. And it doesn’t matter what the cards we receive say because it’s the thought and stamp that counts!
GRACEN: If you could be any Christmas Character, who would it be and why?
NICHELLE: Why, Mrs. Claus of course! She can eat whatever, whenever because jolly is sexy at the North Pole and she has all those little elves doing whatever she needs.
G.R.: I suppose it would be Scrooge. He’s a tortured soul, but, in the end, he’s not quite beyond redemption.
GRACEN: Other than money (because who doesn’t want more of that), what would your ultimate gift be?
NICHELLE: Free babysitting with a CPR/First Aid Safety trained professional for a year!
G.R. BRETZ ANTHOLOGY BLURB:
Andrew has a serious problem. He’s in love with a woman who lives only in his dreams. It could be his downfall. It could be his salvation.
Now, let’s get to the exciting part, their writing:
GRACEN: Why the paranormal romance genre? What was the draw for you?
NICHELLE: I enjoy writing passionate love stories that involves some type of magical, supernatural or other worldly phenomenon. Finding and falling in love is magic in itself, but when those other elements are weaved into the tale I think it’s easier to get swept away in another world ...where anything is possible!
GRACEN: Why the speculative fiction genre? What was the draw for you?
G.R.: I suppose I’m drawn to that genre because it’s what I most enjoy reading. I’ve always enjoyed stories that pose the question, What if?
GRACEN: If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.
NICHELLE: My tagline is: Romance that touches your heart and each story I write is geared towards that goal, but I’m also hoping my characters inspire hope in the infinite possibilities of life and love.
G.R.: A single word? Disturbing.
I try to write stories that allow different readers to take different things from them. Some people will read the story and see a HEA ending. Others will think it’s very tragic. If I do my job right, most readers will see a bit of both. I’ve always believed that life isn’t black and white. There’s a little bit of black on one side, a little bit of white or the other, and a whole lot of gray in the middle. As a writer, I try to stick to the gray area.
GRACEN: With the current movement to encourage people to give books as gifts, what, in your opinion, makes your story unique? What makes it stand out among all the others?
NICHELLE: A Christmas for Carol embraces the spirit of this holiday season. It’s a wonderful tale of forgiveness, second chances, and love. Heartfelt issues that just about everyone has wanted or is hoping for as we head into the New Year. You’ll finish reading this story with a smile and the intense need to hug a loved one!
G.R.: The most unique thing about my story is the POV. The story is told in first person present tense. I call it shotgun POV. The reader experiences the story straight through the eyes of the character as the character is living it. To spice things up, the character is stark raving mad.
GRACEN: Do you prefer throwing snowballs or serving hot cocoa? Does that show through in your writing? If so, how?
NICHELLE: Definitely hot cocoa...refer to question 9 (greeting cards question)! ;0) Seriously, I love cooking and I find most of my work somehow involves food. I believe good food brings forth good loving (within a loving relationship) and good loving makes you crave good food. Lol
G.R.: Definitely hot cocoa. Hot cocoa is slow down, lay back and take a while to think about things. My stories have a lot of introspection. The characters weigh their options, make their choices and reflect on the consequences of those choices.
GRACEN: Who decides what your characters do, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over your story, or is the muse always the one stuffing the stocking?
G.R.: My muse lays out the scenario and introduces me to the characters. She expects me to bond with those characters, to become so deeply invested in them that the story becomes compelling.
GRACEN: What character did you have the most fun creating and why?
G.R.: Definitely Dahlia from Absinthe Eyes and Other Lies. Dahlia is my muse. She made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. “I’ll provide you with an endless stream of stories to tell, but there is a caveat. The first one has to be about me.”
GRACEN: If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters in real life, who would it be and why?
G.R.: That would have to be Holly. She’s the heroine from A Schrödinger Christmas, my entry in this Christmas anthology. I think Holly represents the innocence of my youth. She’s a very dynamic, very wholesome character. She’s the sort of woman who could have made me a better man than I turned out to be.
GRACEN: Which of your characters would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?
G.R.: Scar face, the would-be rapist from Gunmetal Blue. He’s a callous and brutal man with no regard for human life. I’ve never been able to abide people like that.
NICHELLE GREGORY ANTHOLOGY BLURB:
Imagine losing the love of your life right before Christmas. It's a nightmare Carol Christine Moore had to face two years ago. Unable to cope with the pain of losing her fiancé so unexpectedly, Carol closes off her heart entirely. She puts all of her time and energy into making the coffee shop she owns with her best friend a success. Consumed with customers and the daily grind, Carol has convinced herself that she doesn't need anything or anyone else in her life.
All that changes the day Grant walks into Cafe Bean. Carol squashes the instantaneous attraction she feels for this sexy, funny, and easy-going patron. After sipping coffee and chatting casually together for months, Grant finally asks Carol out on a lunch date. Both of them realize the sparks they feel are real, but Carol isn't sure she can let go of the past.
The night before Christmas Eve, Grant gives Carol a ride home from work. When he confronts her about his feelings, Carol is forced to face her own. What happens next will delight and surprise you. A Christmas for Carol is a heart-warming tale about forgiveness, love, and second chances.
NICHELLE GREGORY ANTHOLOGY EXCERPT:
Her heart hammered in her chest as she yanked the red ribbon, opening the box to reveal an exquisite gold chain with a delicate coffee cup charm. The little charm sparkled with tiny diamonds along the cup. “It’s beautiful!” Carol gasped. “I can’t believe you got me a gift…and I love it!” On impulse she leaned over to give him a quick kiss, but Grant pulled her in closer. He tasted like cinnamon as he deepened the kiss, brushing his lips slowly across hers. Pulling off her hat, he laced his fingers through her hair, holding her in place as he teased and tasted every inch of her mouth. Carol whimpered, overwhelmed by her need for him. Desire ignited and raged through her body as he caressed her tongue with his own in deliciously, deliberate strokes. She raised her hand to touch his beard, loving the way the short hairs tickled her fingers. Her craving for him was undeniable.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I'm still waiting for the third book of the series to come out!
Next came Brian S. Pratt and his adventure eBooks. While some of the covers aren't necessarily all that creative, the stories on the inside are pretty creative and adventurous. He has lots of books and series, so rather than show you all of his books, I'll just show you two of his most recent works:
Both of these are the start of new series. Adventurer's Guild is the start of the Adventurer's Guild series and Underground is the first book in his Dungeon Crawler Series. For more info on his other books and how to purchase them, see his website: www.briansprattbooks.com.
Then came Sara Zarr with Story of a Girl and Sweethearts. Her newest book, Once Was Lost, came out in October and is now available! If this book is anything like the others, it will be a fantastic read!
For more information on these books and the author herself, please check out her website: www.sarazarr.com.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
COME JOIN ME AT DAWN'S READING NOOK AND ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN ELFIN BLOOD.
Thirteen years ago today I found out that I was pregnant with my first son. He’s 12 now, sassy, knows more than me (or so he thinks) and has an attitude that would swallow our state. It’s hard to believe 13 years have since lapsed. My husband was in Michigan when I found out I was pregnant. It snowed in Alabama while he was out of town and it was warm in Michigan. Strange turn of events since it rarely snows in Alabama. That Christmas was one of the best Christmases of my life. Oddly enough four years later I would discover I was pregnant and, once again, my husband would be out of town.
When I think of all the things that have changed in 13 years, it is startling. My entire life changed, for the better, but boy was I unprepared for how drastic a change having a baby would be. There would be little to no sleep and the focus suddenly shifted radically to this new life we’d created. I suddenly found I had no time for myself, but our son also drew my husband and me closer to one another as well. No one prepared me for the depth of love I'd feel either. Who knew one person could love another person so much. Those first few weeks after our first son was born, I’d sit and stare at him for hours marveling that this child was really mine. Sometimes I still marvel that he’s mine, especially when I hear the radical things that come out of his mouth. LOL Oh, how times have changed.
Then four years later another son joined our family a month before Christmas and my life changed again, became busier, more hectic, clothes washing increased, sleep departed our household once again and the number of little people vying for my attention ramped up exponentially. But again, it was instant love. The only difference between my first and second sons, I knew what I was doing with the second one and wasn't afraid I'd break him like I was with my first son.
Watching my boys interact has been a joy as well. From the moment I brought my youngest home, my oldest was interested in being a part of his life. He would ask to hold his little brother and feed him his bottle. And when my youngest son was just a few months old, my oldest son could make a funny face or act silly and my youngest would cackle at his brother as if nothing in life could possibly be funnier. My youngest still idolizes his big brother. Watching them grow and bond has been a blessing and they still guard one another’s back.
Over the course of 13 years, we’ve watched loved ones fight diseases, some won, some lost, and some still suffering. We’ve lost friends and gained new ones, lost animals and gained new ones, and lost pieces of ourselves and added new pieces to recreate ourselves. We’ve left jobs and began new careers, moved three times, each time to a new city further away from our parents, and we went to school and received different degrees. But the biggest most important change in those 13 years was that I became a mother. That out of everything in my life has changed me more than any other event. Without them, I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today. Without them, I wouldn't "care" for others the way I do now because they taught me what it really means to "love" and "care for" another person.
What event has changed your life, shaped you and molded you into the person you are today?
We'll get to the interview in a moment, but first I want to talk about her newest book, Reese's Bride. It's the second book in her Intoxicating Bride's Trilogy. It began with Royal's Bride, which I will definitely have to read, continues with Reese's Bride, and will conclude with Rule's Bride which will be out next May.
From the first word of Reese's Bride, I was hooked, which, as you've discovered if you've read my reviews lately, doesn't happen easily. From the beginning, I felt the anger and loathing Reese felt toward this woman, Elizabeth.
So right away, there's this mystery of what did this woman do to incur such wrath from this man? Then when you find out why he's so mad with her, you then want to find out why she did what she did. That's just the first couple of pages!
This book proves to offer some interesting encounters between Reese and Elizabeth, but before we get to that, let's get to part 2 of my interview with Kat:
KAT: I loved reading romance novels. Still do. I think any story is better when there is an element of romance involved. I write both historical romance and romantic suspense. I love reading those sorts of books, so it was a natural choice for me to make.
KAT: “I couldn’t put it down.” That is the phrase I love to hear from readers. I think my books are page turners, which is exactly the kind I like to read.
KAT: THE CHRISTMAS CLOCK is kind of like watching one of the Hallmark movies I talked about. When you get to the end, you just feel really good all over. What better gift for Christmas?
KAT: Definitely throwing snowballs. Gets the blood pumping. Afterward, however, I want a delicious cup of hot cocoa to savor the fun we had.
KAT: I mostly call the shots, or at least my characters are smart enough to let me believe I do. Sometimes, however, the muse just has to have its way. I try to run with it when that happens, see where it leads me. It’s harder to write that way, though, because you are never completely certain it will work and you might have to do a rewrite.
KAT: Probably I’d have to say Leif in HEART OF HONOR. He was a Viking out of his time, shipwrecked in England, captured by a circus who eventually took him to London. I loved the fish out of water aspect of the story and how Leif eventually managed to fit in.
KAT: Chance McLain from THE SECRET. He’s a Montana rancher, the sexiest hero I ever wrote. He’s smart and gorgeous, brave and loyal. As you can tell, I fell a little in love with him.
KAT: Mason Holloway, the villain in my upcoming novel, REESE’S BRIDE, would definitely be one of them. He’s a conscienceless man and determined to ruin the heroine’s life.
KAT: I would give little Teddy Sparks, the orphan boy in THE CHRISTMAS CLOCK, a home. But then I think he might be getting one this year.
KAT: I don’t have a favorite. It would NOT be Santa Clause, or Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. If I were still a kid, I’d want to be the little boy in Home Alone.
Wounded in battle, Major Reese Dewar returns to England – but his damaged leg is nothing compared to his shattered heart.
Years before, love-struck Reese departed his home at Briarwood with a promise from raven-haired Elizabeth Clemens: that she would make a life with him upon his return. But mere months later, she married the Earl of Aldridge, attaining wealth and status Reese could never match. Memories of that betrayal make his homecoming far more bitter than sweet.
Elizabeth knows when she appears on Reese's doorstep dressed in widow's garb that she is twisting the knife. But fear for her young son’s safety has overcome guilt and shame: she begs Reese for protection against the forces that would see the boy Earl dead to possess his fortune. The former lovers forge an uneasy alliance, but Elizabeth still harbors some deep secrets—and Reese knows that protecting her means placing himself in danger...of losing his heart all over again.
Reese's Bride, by Kat Martin
TEASER: Their eyes locked, hers troubled, filled with some emotion he could not read. His own gaze held the bitterness and anger he made no effort to hide. He loathed her for what she had done, hated her with every ounce of his being.
The crisp black taffeta skirt of her mourning gown rustled as the woman walked out of the dress shop a few doors in front of him.
Reese Dewar froze where he stood, the silver-headed cane in his hand forgotten, along with the ache in his leg. Rage took its place, dense and heavy, hot and seething.
Sooner or later, he had known he would see her. He had told himself it wouldn’t matter, that seeing her again wouldn’t affect him. She meant nothing to him, not anymore, not for nearly eight years.
But as she stepped off the wooden walkway, a ray of autumn sunlight gleamed against the jet black curls on her shoulders and anger boiled up inside him, fury unlike he had known in years.
He watched her continue toward her sleek black four-horse carriage, the crossed-saber Aldridge crest glinting in gold on the side. She paused for a moment as one of the footmen hurried to open the door and he realized she wasn't alone. A small, dark-haired boy, nearly hidden in the voluminous folds of her skirt, hurried along beside her. She urged him up the iron steps and the child disappeared inside the elegant coach.
Instead of climbing the stairs herself, the woman turned and looked at him over her shoulder, her gray eyes finding him with unerring accuracy, as if she could feel his cold stare stabbing into the back of her neck. She gasped when she realized who it was, though she must have known, in a village as small as Swansdowne, one day their paths would cross.
Surely she had heard the gossip, heard of his return to Briarwood, the estate he had inherited from his maternal grandfather.
The estate he had meant to share with her.
Their eyes locked, hers troubled, filled with some emotion he could not read. His own gaze held the bitterness and anger he made no effort to hide. He loathed her for what she had done, hated her with every ounce of his being.
It shocked him.
He had thought those feelings long past. For most of the last eight years, he had been away from England, a major in the British cavalry. He had fought in foreign wars, commanded men, sent some of them to their deaths. He had been wounded and nearly died himself.
He was home now, his injured leg making him no longer fit to serve. That and the vow he had made to his dying father. One day he would come back to Briarwood, he had been forced to concede. He would make the estate his home as he had once intended.
Reese would rather have stayed in the army. He didn't belong in the country. He wasn't sure where he belonged anymore and he loathed his feelings of uncertainty nearly as much as he loathed Elizabeth.
She swallowed, seemed to sway a little on her feet as she turned away, climbed the steps and settled herself inside the carriage. She hadn’t changed. With her raven hair, fine pale features, and petite, voluptuous figure, Elizabeth Clemens Holloway, Countess of Aldridge, was as beautiful at six-and-twenty as she had been at eighteen.
As she had been when she had declared her love and accepted his proposal of marriage.
His gaze followed the coach as it rolled off toward Aldridge Park, the palatial estate that had belonged to her late husband, Edmund Holloway, Earl of Aldridge. Aldridge had died last year at the age of thirty three, leaving his wife a widow, leaving her with his son.
Reese spat into the dirt at his feet. Just the thought of Aldridge in Elizabeth's bed made him sick to his stomach.
Five years his senior, Edmund was already an earl when he had competed with Reese for Elizabeth's affections. She had been amused by his attentions, a handsome sophisticated aristocrat, but she had been in love with Reese.
Or so she had said.
The carriage disappeared round a bend in the road and Reese's racing pulse began to slow. He was amazed at the enmity he still felt toward her. He was a man who had taught himself control and that control rarely abandoned him. He would not allow it to happen again.
Leaning heavily on his cane, the ache in his leg beginning to reach through the fury that had momentarily consumed him, he made his way to his own conveyance and slowly climbed aboard. Aldridge's widow and her son had no place in his life. Elizabeth was dead to him and had been for nearly eight years.
As dead as her husband, the man she had betrayed Reese to marry.
And he would never forgive her.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
In honor of the holiday season, I thought I would pay a little homage to Dickens by sharing a memory from a Christmas past. When I was a girl, there was a local television show that we used to watch called Boomtown. Well, one year, one of the characters from the show talked about how he would tear the corners off the wrapping on his presents to try and figure out what was inside. And from this my older brother and older sister got the bright idea to try it themselves. And of course they roped me into it, too, because they figured they wouldn't get into as much trouble if they had the "good" child doing it with them.
Well, unable to resist the temptation, I allowed them to convince me to go along with them and we invaded my parents' closet to peek at our gifts. You know what happened, don't you? Oh, yes, we got caught. My mother was so livid, she threatened not to give us presents that year. I don't know about my siblings, but I was devastated by the possibility because I just knew that I was going to get what I wanted that year, which was painting supplies from Artex (the paint came in tubes with special tips to paint right onto the canvas, which was made of pellon). I spent hours in my room after that, crying because I wasn't going to get Christmas and mad at myself for going along with my siblings.
I don't know what calmed my mother down and made her decide to give us the gifts anyway, but I'm glad she did because I was right. I got the present I had wished for and I treasured it.
What are your fondest memories from past holidays?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Be sure to return on Thursday for the second half of my interview with Kat and a sneak peek into her newest release in her Intoxicating Bride Trilogy this month, Reese's Bride!
Monday, December 14, 2009
The backdrop of this book is an old, abandoned amusement park, but that's not why I like and am talking about this story. It's what I can compare it to that has me talking. As I read this, I kept thinking about that Scooby-Doo episode (animated series) where they were in the haunted amusement park chasing the robot, but this story doesn't have a robot, it just happens to be full of ghosts, oh, and a mannequin too!
What really caught my attention about this story was the hauntingly erotic stereoscope. This scene evokes some very strong and powerful emotional responses. It was creepily erotic and enjoyable to read. The characters are very well-defined and the setting was well-built and well-described. The suspense, tension, and mystery are carried out very well too. It keeps you reading because you must know what happened to these wanderers and why. Plus, you really want to know what's keeping Jaz there? Why is Will real, why hasn't he aged and why couldn't he and Alice get together? There are so many questions that need answering.
If I had to describe this story in a word or phrase, it would be this:
a creepily haunting erotic Scooby-Dooish story. Well done!
These reviews to come:
This book is next on my list:
The Dark Desires of the Druids
I saved this one for last:
Land of Falling Stars
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Hello all! I am thrilled to be here at Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem. This is such a wondrous and magical time of year and I was very excited to learn that I would be guest blogging so near the Winter Solstice.
2009 has been a very special year for me as an author. My haunting new release From the Shadows was published in September and is now available in both paperback and Kindle editions. I also began work on two additional collections of dark poetry Shadows of Myth and Legend (dark tales of creatures from folklore, myth and legend) and Gears, Steam & Absinthe Daydreams (a Steampunk collection).
I wanted to create something special for you all today as a gift for visiting me here at Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem. I live in Maine and this week we experienced a ferocious snow and ice storm which helped to inspire this poem, The Winter Queen. The Winter Queen has never before been published and will be featured at a later date in Shadows of Myth and Legend. Enjoy!
In the dark world of Shadow
During Solstice the Longest Night
The Winter Queen stirs
While her dreaded frost minions
In this land of cold and fear
Stands a palace of ice and stone
Where locked deep within
Sits the Winter Queen upon
Awareness returns to her
As she tries to open her eyes
Memory and pain
Erupts, but ice seals away
The only thing not frozen
Are Winter Queen’s immortal tears
Which sparkle as they
Flow down her cheeks mingling with
No one dare enter her realm
No man will ever kiss her lips
For death lingers in
Her embrace, into abyss
So on this dark Solstice night
The Winter Queen sits upon her throne
Knowing she will sit here
Forever frozen and all
I hope you all have a fabulous holiday season. Please stop by my blog (http://www.fromtheshadows.info/) From the Shadows and say hello!
Amazon link paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-E-J-Stevens/dp/0984247505/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255626819&sr=8-1
Amazon kindle edition: http://www.amazon.com/From-the-Shadows-ebook/dp/B002T460JA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1259160828&sr=1-1
Dark poet E.J. Stevens is the author of the haunting new release From the Shadows. E.J. Stevens is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Erica has worked a variety of jobs that demonstrate the human condition including schools, psychiatric hospitals and (*shudder*) shopping malls. She currently resides on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing.
The Boatman Below
Duck my head
As I enter
The ceilings are low
Feel my way as I go
To seek out
The Boatman Below
Pain darkened stairways
My footsteps echo
Wings brush by
In the black
A bat or a crow
The musty smell
Rushes to me
Fitful wind does blow
These effluvium filled waters
Mix with tides
ebb and flow
Creating the murky stage
The boatman will row
He appears with a
Flash of his shark teeth
Laughing demon eyes glow
I stumble to him
Feeling weak and hollow
His hand snakes out
To grab me
There is nowhere to go
He dances with glee
To and fro
While he sups from
Of pain and sorrow.
By E.J. Stevens
Excerpt from Chapter 1 Graveyard Whispers, From the Shadows. 2009.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
The first time we featured Alyson in our spotlight, she was new to me. Now, she's back to promote her newest creation in this series, Shadowland.
Be on the look out for Dark Flame which comes out in Summer 2010! - No cover or tasty tidbits yet, but I'll do my best to post updates in the YA Room!