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Buy: Sloane Wolf by Margay; Nora's Soul by Margay; Pandora's Box by Gracen; Hell's Phoenix by Gracen

Video of the Day

We Are Young - Fun

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Twilight Thursday

Fireworks

No matter where you are or how you celebrate it,
have fun ringing in the new year!
While many of you will be
cracking open champagne,
sparkling cider, or sparkling grape juice,
I will be sharing some tasty Unibroue Quelque Chose
and some other tasty craft beer at home with my husband. 
Now matter who you're with, where you are or what you drink tonight,
Please be safe and think before you leave - Take a bus, a cab or have a
designated driver who stays sober.
Remember, it's not just you on the road,
but someone else's parent, child or sibling too.
Thank you, have fun and be safe!!!

I've told you my plans, so what are yours???

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Resolutions

It's that time of year again! The time of year when we make impossible to keep promises to ourselves with the happily optimistic belief that we are actually going to follow through with them. You guessed it. New Year's Resolutions!


Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we reach for the impossible when the possible is just around the corner? Why do we make it so hard for ourselves and then rail at ourselves when we can't keep the promises made?

These are but some of the questions I have contemplated over the years in regards to resolutions and I have never found satisfactory answers. So I came up with a solution instead. I stopped making resolutions. Or you could say that my New Year's resolution is not to make a resolution. And let me tell you, it is the best one I have ever made. Why? Because it is the easiest one to keep. When you set out not to make an impossible promise to yourself, it takes no effort to complete. Each year is a success. What better way to start a new year than with something that is so easily achieved?

What about you? How do you feel about New Year's resolutions? And what promises will you make to yourself this year?

Go easy on yourselves this year. Let's start out the new decade on a positive, easy note!

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

TANTALIZING TUESDAY COCKED AND FULLY LOADED


Cocked & Fully Loaded is a transgender ménage anthology, which was recently released by Noble Romance Publishing.

Buy link: https://www.nobleromance.com/ItemDisplay.aspx?i=81

Please welcome each author as they each discuss their journey with this anthology…

~~~~~

From GR Bretz:

This anthology started as a brainstorming session in the NRP Authors group. Originally there were seven or eight authors who were planning on contributing. By the time the book made it to press (so to speak) the field had narrowed to the three whose names are featured on the wanted poster on the cover.

My story, Gunmetal Blue was inspired by a Jerry Jeff Walker song, Desperados Waiting on the Train. I liked the images that the song brought to mind and it was very appropriate for a western anthology.

G.R. Bretz’s blog: http://delightfullydisturbing.wordpress.com/

Buy Link: http://www.nobleromance.com/BrowseListing.aspx?author=54


~~~~~

From Rie McGaha:

When I received an email about this anthology from Bryl, I thought it would be a lot of fun since I’ve never contributed to an anthology before. I’ve always loved cowboys and this offered the chance to work with some authors I know and admire. However, writing for an anthology wasn’t as easy as I thought it’d be. First, there was a word count limit and I’ve never had to watch my words before, so to speak. Secondly, there was a specific theme, and I’m not much on themes since I usually let my muse wander hither and yon! I was actually stumped with the deadline drawing near and I thought I might have to withdraw.

I had written several beginnings to stories for this anthology, but they just didn’t seem to go in the right direction. Then I remembered something from many years ago that actually happened and it seemed to fit the guidelines for the anthology. I began writing Outlaw and the story flowed so well, I finished the first draft in just a few hours. After the story went through edits with the publisher, I read it all the way through and I almost cried because it brought to mind a very nice time in my life that didn’t last long enough, and it brought “his” face to mind and I haven’t seen him in many years. Heavy sigh!
I hope you enjoy this anthology as much as the three of us did writing it. Happy Holidays.

Rie McGaha…fantasy that keeps you up www.riemcgaha.com
Buy Link: http://www.nobleromance.com/BrowseListing.aspx?author=8

~~~~~

From Bryl R. Tyne:

Always wanted to try writing a Western. A couple of my readers have encouraged it, saying they think I'd be good at it. Well, in our authors group, we were tinkerin' around with titles and COCKED & FULLY LOADED was presented. I think it was suggested for one individual's title, but then a Western anthology by the name. The idea took off! How'd I come up with the title to my story, Tengo una Pistola? Considering the first cowboy that popped into my head was Festus Haggen (Ken Curtis) from the legendary TV series, Gunsmoke--the second, Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness)...and Kitty Russell (Amanda Blake) made three, well I just couldn't see writing a Het sex scene, but on the other hand, neither could I rightly break up the threesome inside my head. So, my female character admits in the story,"Tengo una Pistola!" (That's "I have a pistol!" in Spanish, if you're wonderin'.) Guess, the rest is history.

Considering this is a far cry from my last release, which is my Sci-Fi - Coin Operated Boy, I'm anxious to hear from my readers on my first Western.

Blurbs for Cocked and Fully Loaded

Gunmetal Blue by G. R. Bretz
:

Meet Blue—an ex-Confederate cavalry officer living off his wits and his guns in Reconstruction era Texas—and Sally—a young woman stuck in a loveless marriage to a man who only married her for her family name. When Sally's stage is attacked by robbers, Blue comes to her rescue. Together, they make their way across the Lone Star state. But when they reach a crossroads, the direction they choose will change the course of their lives forever.


Outlaw by Rie McGaha:

Colt has a bullet in his thigh and his face on a wanted poster, but when he rode into the mountains to lay low for a while, he never expected to see a lone woman swimming naked in the river. Hidden in the tree line, he watches her and as desire grows, he takes matters into his own hands, but even that doesn't assuage his need to touch her.

Cynthia hasn't seen her husband in several months since he left her alone to go into town for supplies, but the man she wakes up to find lying on top of her with his hand over her mouth isn't the man she married. He demands she feed him and suggests if she doesn't, he won't have a problem taking what he really wants whether she consents or not.

As Colt watches her make biscuits and gravy, he finds he isn't just enticed by her body, something about her appeals to him on a deeper level and as the two come to know one another, it's apparent the attraction isn't one-sided.


Tengo Una Pistola by Bryl R. Tyne:

After ten days in the saddle, Chuck just wants a hot meal and hotter bath water. He knows exactly where to find both too -- at home, with his lover, Mitch. But what Chuck finds instead is that Mitch has taken in Carmen, one of the town whores . . . and not only is she sharing Mitch's bed, she's using Chuck's tub. The situation irks Chuck to no end, but not as badly as the images of those wet and soapy feminine thighs that are stuck in his craw and driving him crazy. What the hell is going on? As far as Chuck's concerned, somebody had better start talking and talking soon!


Buy link: https://www.nobleromance.com/ItemDisplay.aspx?i=81

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mystic Monday

Cabin Fever


Squad 6,Carrie from Wisconsin,Carrie Hinkel-GillEver since I decided to play disc golf out of a desire to become less sedentary in hopes of losing weight and reducing the feelings of restlessness, I have more and more periods where I feel less like sitting in front of the TV and being outside and being active.  Joining Andrew Bogut's Squad 6 hasn't helped the situation either.  I have been going to games every Wednesday and Saturday for the last month.  It's been grueling for my voice, but a very fun experience I wouldn't change for the world.  It's kept me active for about an hour each of those days, and now I find that I need that exercise to feel relaxed.  I also find that I can't sleep unless I have had some exercise.  This need for activity also reduces my desire to read anything, so I haven't been reading much.  I thought it was just because my mind wanted a break, but that's not the real problem.   

The real problem behind my lack of desire to read has been increased cabin fever and restlessness.  Last night, I had zero desire to sit in front of the TV and even less of a desire to sit in front of a book.  Now that it's getting cold (temps in the 20s) and snowy (layer of ice under the snow), disc golfing won't be easy, but I found I had to disc golf.  I thought about a walk, but that just wasn't enough.  I wanted to feel the disc in my hand and throw it.  I didn't even care how well I did, I just needed to get out and play.  It was cold, but I had enough layers and some really good thermal underwear, so I wasn't cold.  There was an eye-shaped moon in the sky and the snow reflected the light enough to help us see the baskets so we could play a full round.  We finished at 6:30pm.  It took us an hour to play a round.   



I finally realized, I needed to exercise my muscles, that's what it was all about.  So it's more important now for me to clean up my weight bench and get it set up so I can use it on those days when it's too cold, too wet or too icy to play disc golf, especially if walking won't be enough.    

I'm hoping that this type of energy expenditures will bring back my desire to read because I have so many books I want to read before the end of the year!  


What about you?  Are you hit with cabin fever yet?  What do you do to relieve the restlessness? 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Supernatural Sunday with Reese Johnson

Please help me welcome author, Reese Johnson! Reese is the author of Soul Searchers, Sex & Chocolate, and his newest release, GRRR, all released by Noble Romance Publishing! His tagline on his website is “Chocolate never tasted so good”. Yum! Sheesh! That tagline elicits multiple provocative thoughts for me! :D

~~~~~

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?

REESE: We like to watch It’s A Wonderful Life, the b&w version only.



GRACEN: Do you have any Christmas traditions like decorating your house, having house parties, making cookies etc.?

REESE: We live in the mountains and have a very simple life, where the decorations are simple and old fashioned. We hunt, we fish, we ride 4-wheelers, grow our own food…and everyone in the family has at least one weapon, usually more, so it was only natural that my niece would give our angels their own weapons! (See Christmas tree pic) Mostly, my tradition involves watching others decorate while I eat all the goodies!



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?

REESE: I love oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and I get a batch every year, but believe me, you wouldn’t want a recipe from me unless you want to know how to make eggnog!



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.)

REESE: I don’t send out Christmas cards, I’m not much on keeping up with people that way. I have a phone if I want to tell someone something. I think everyone makes a big deal out of whether to say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings. I think everyone should be free to say whatever they want, according to their own beliefs. This whole country has gotten so caught up in being politically correct, all anyone does is complain about someone else. Say what you gotta say and be done with it, if someone else gets offended, that’s on them not you. I think it’s the spirit of the season that counts.



GRACEN: If you could be any Christmas Character, who would it be and why?

REESE: Santa-my lady’s favorite character. My beard’s all ready white and by Christmas, my belly’s pretty round too!



GRACEN: Other than money (because who doesn’t want more of that), what would your ultimate gift be?

REESE: I’m pretty content with my life and really don’t want for anything. But I guess I would want to be able to give my loved ones their ultimate gift.

~~~~~
Reese’s Christmas Tree


Thanks so much for sharing it with us, Reese. It’s lovely!

~~~~~

GRACEN: Now, let’s get to your writing. Why the paranormal romance genre? What was the draw for you?

REESE: I really don’t know. I tend to lean more toward sci-fi when I read for pleasure, but I let my writing kind of go wherever it wants to.



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.

REESE: My tagline is chocolate never tasted so good…I think that line intrigues readers and makes them want to find out what I’m talking about. When they see I’m a black man who writes erotic romance, it becomes a double entendre.



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?

REESE: I write for fun in every sense of the word. Although sometimes my stories come out with a deeper meaning, I think people like to read for the fun of it, especially when it comes to erotica. The whole point is to titillate and tease, so hopefully, I accomplish that.



GRACEN: Do you prefer throwing snowballs or serving hot cocoa? Does that show through in your writing? If so, how?

REESE: I’m a snowball thrower, but I want my cocoa too! So yeah, I guess that would show through in my writing. I like characters who are strong, sure, go after what they want and don’t care what they have to do to get it. That’s my wild side, but conversely, while the characters might be aggressive, after they get what they want, they are loyal, caring and fiercely protective.



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?

REESE: Sometimes I’m the windshield and sometimes I’m the bug! LOL So it goes with my muse. Sometimes I’m the fingers on the keyboard and sometimes I’m actually directing the entire scene too. As for stuffing the stocking, ahem, that takes my mind to a completely different place!



GRACEN: Which of your characters would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?

REESE: I don’t think there’s any I wouldn’t want to meet. Not that they’re all good guys, but none are more than I could handle.



Where Reese can be found on the web:

Website http://reesejohnson.webs.com/
(there’s a links page on my website)





BLURB:

Do you like it rough? Rico and Katia are drawn to one another and share a night of passion, then go their separate ways but can’t stop thinking about each other. After a string of one nighters, they meet again, and this time the fur is gonna fly!

Excerpt:

As the music played, Rico danced with the grace of a panther and tossed his partner about as if she weighed nothing. When the music ended, the crowd applauded and the redhead clung to Rico as if she was his Siamese twin.

“Thank you for the pleasure of your company,” he said smoothly as he returned to his seat.

“No, thank you. That was amazing! You’re the best dancer I’ve ever met,” she said, gushing over him.

“May I buy you a drink?”

“Cosmopolitan.” She actually batted her lashes.

“Of course,” he said with an amused smile and waved a waitress over.

“I’m Kim,” the redhead said.

“Rico,” he replied.

“It’s great meeting you. I’m a student over at Howard,” Kim continued talking. “Junior year and I still don’t have a major, can you believe it? But my dad’s been raggin’ me to do something or he’s gonna cut me off, can you believe it? I can’t. What a pain he is sometimes. If it wasn’t for my mom, he’d probably not even pay my rent or electricity or food or anything, can you believe it? I just don’t . . . .”

Yeah, he could believe it. Kim's Daddy was becoming easier to understand with each word from his little girl’s mouth. “Well, you know how parents can be,” he said just to get her to stop talking. She was beautiful and built like a sailor’s dream, unfortunately, someone had taught her how to talk, and not about anything important. He could deal with a lot of things, but stupidity wasn’t one of them.



~~~~~


Website http://reesejohnson.webs.com/
(there’s a links page on my website)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

TWILIGHT THURSDAY WITH NICHELLE GREGORY

Ahhh! There’s nothing like the smell of baking cookies during the holidays! I’ve always enjoyed this time of year with the sights, sounds and tastes of the season to warm the spirit as the bitter cold wind blows. Just the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and ginger wafting in the air puts you in the festive mood! Whether you celebrate within a large family or as a couple, there’s just something magical that happens to our hearts as the holidays draw near.

Suddenly, you’re smiling at complete strangers, letting in that car you’d have ignored any other day of the year. You patiently wait in long lines and even tell another shopper where you found the perfect toy. Yep, this month for many marks the space of time most people try to focus on all of the joys in their life and the promise of starting fresh in the upcoming New Year.

I hope this holiday season finds you and your family healthy, happy, and joyful for all the little things often forgotten. And if you haven’t quite gotten into the festive spirit yet, try smiling at the stranger next to you. Be gracious to the frazzled shopper behind you and the grouchy cashier that’s probably checked out a hundred customers before you ask “is this item on sale?”

Try to share and spread the season’s joy with the smallest acts of kinds and love. I believe that’s truly the greatest gift to give. And after you’ve written the last card and wrapped the final present don’t forget to bake cookies and take some time for you . . . perhaps with a naughty but nice treat like The Gingerbread Tryst! ;0)

Seasons Greetings!

~NG

Blurb:

Meet Marisa, a restless homemaker who spends her time baking, masturbating and dabbling in magic. Happily married, Marisa only wishes her husband Don could keep up with her insatiable need for sex. She craves orgasms daily and her sex drive has become a sore spot in an otherwise happy marriage.

Determined to find a solution to ramp up Don’s libido, Marisa has turned to magic. After trying magical amulets and oils, Marisa discovers a book that contains wish spells. Throwing caution to the wind, Marisa experiments with a magical spell with the intention of making her naughty gingerbread cookie a real flesh and blood man!

Taken by surprise…literally, Marisa indulges in a delicious sexual rendezvous that ends up going further than she could have ever imagined. A Gingerbread Tryst is a delightfully sexy tale that will thrill readers with surprises and laughs!

PG-13 Excerpt:

She stared at the fragrant brown dough in front of her again, taking in a deep breath. What was she waiting for? The spell couldn’t possibly work. Exhaling, she quickly spoke the words of the wish spell in slow deliberate tones before she could change her mind.

For a few seconds nothing happened as Marisa studied the dough and then there was a twitch! Screaming, she backed away from the island until her bottom hit the wood cabinets behind her. She watched the cookie dough flutter and shake as it rolled back into a ball, falling off the island and onto the floor.

Breathing heavily, Marie stared in shock as a figure began to rise from behind the marble island. Her gingerbread man continued growing in height and thickness as she gripped the counter behind her transfixed by the magical sight in front of her. She couldn’t take her eyes off the flesh and blood man now standing before her. He was beautiful with sexy brown skin the color of molasses. Soft black curls on the crown of his head, warm brown eyes and a full mouth turned up into the teasing smile she had designed. His muscles looked huge beneath the thin blue shirt she had piped on just moments ago.

~~~~~

Where you can find Nichelle on the web:

Website: http://www.nichellegregory.com
Blog: http://www.simplysexystories.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

}Wistful Wednesday{
Christmas Presents

Hello, all of my fellow Moonlighters, Mayhem makers (you know who you are), and Lace weavers! Seasons Greetings!

I can hardly believe that it is already December 23rd and that tomorrow is Christmas Eve! As I know that many of you are busy with last minute details - as am I - and in light of the fact that I am off soon to get my daughter from college - I have her for the next month, Merry Christmas to me! - I am going to keep this brief.

Last week, I reminisced about Christmas past, so I thought it only appropriate to talk about Christmas present - or in this case, presents. As in the kind that you give. I am curious to know how the recession has changed the way you view Christmas this year. Do you find yourself having to scrimp and save to get the things your kids really want? Have you had to make the difficult decision of leaving some people off your list this year? How are you handling demand in light of the bad economy?

For me, it's with homemade gifts. In my spare time, when I'm not writing, I love to knit and crochet, so I always have a multitude of supplies hanging around the house - and if I don't have it, my mother does. So this year, I'm making more things for gifts than I ever have before. Luckily for me, my daughters love getting handmade things (I will give them some store bought things, too. Since they're my daughters, they get more than the others.), so there wasn't a lot of argument there when I told them it was going to a handmade Christmas this year.

What about you? Anybody venturing to make gifts this year in lieu of the store bought variety?

Until next time, have a wonderful, happy and safe holiday. ~ Margay

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

TANTALIZING TUESDAY AND WINTER KISSES

As promised today is part two of the interview of anthology authors, Winter Kisses, released yesterday, December 21, 2009, from Noble Romance Publishing. Winter Kisses is five sweet stories about love blossoming over the holidays.

Buy link: https://www.nobleromance.com/ItemDisplay.aspx?i=86

~~~~~



GRACEN: Do you have any holiday traditions like decorating your house, having house parties, making cookies etc.?

DENA: I get my menorah set up and buy my candles. I’m learning how to make potato latkes (potato pancakes), and I also make a mean brisket. I like to be surrounded with my friends and family at this time of year. It’s a good time to be together and share the warmth and love between us.

KELLY: Yes, Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase. It's hilarious, especially cousin Eddie with his black dickey showing through his white shirt and his super tight pants. My favorite Christmas character is Yukon Cornelius from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.



GRACEN: Do you have any Christmas traditions like decorating your house, having house parties, making cookies etc.?

KELLY: We put up a fiber optic Christmas tree and lights around the outside of the house. I put up stockings for everyone, including the dogs. We don't get too crazy with the decorating though. It's too much to unpack and then put away. I do love to unpack the ornaments and enjoy the memories attached to each one. And it's not officially Christmas until I get out my singing Yukon Cornelius. It freaks the dogs out every year. LOL



GRACEN Even if you don’t put one up, do prefer real or artificial trees? Why? Have you ever made your own presents or decorations? If so, what were they? Were they successes or failures? Did you have fun while making them?

DENA: I have to admit that I adore the smell of pine trees. It’s sharp and pungent and has a relaxing effect on me. I’ve made gifts for the people I love before, mostly handmade cards. Unfortunately for the last year or so I haven’t had the time and energy necessary to make them. Still, my favorite decoration that I made myself was a Star of David when I was about twelve with one of those kits with the tiny plastic rings that you set in a design and then iron to melt them together.

KELLY: I would love to have a real tree, but they can be a pain to deal with so I prefer an artificial one. The new fiber optic trees are beautiful. I did make gifts one year for the family. The duct tape wallets I made for the guys were a huge hit. My brother wanted another one when that one wore out. It was kind of hard to make them. The duct tape kept getting stuck to me in various places, but I still had fun doing it.



GRACEN: What foods will be at your holiday celebration this year? What is the most unusual food that you saw at a feast? Would you eat the fruitcake or use it as a doorstop?

DENA: Chanukah is all about the oil, since God made the oil for one night last for eight instead! So fried foods, saturated foods, all work really well. I love potatoes, so the potato pancakes are one of my favorite things. I can’t say that I’ve ever tried fruitcake…but from what I’ve heard it’s an experience!




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.)

DENA: I send cards out to the people I know and care about, yes. I try to pick a card that will fit the person I’m sending it to, so a Christmas card for those who celebrate it, a Season’s Greetings card for my Pagan friends (it’s hard to find a Yule card!), and in general something that reflects that I care and think about them. I appreciate any card I get! Yes, I’m Jewish, but not everyone may know that, so I take things with the intention they were given in.



GRACEN: Do you celebrate Christmas on the Eve or Day? Who, if anyone, in your family plays Santa Claus? Does he hand out the presents or do they just “magically” appear under the tree? How do you handle presents that just don’t fit under the tree?

KELLY: We celebrate Christmas Eve with my family—parents, siblings, etc., but my husband and I have our own special Christmas on Christmas morning. The dogs always get so excited because they know there are presents in the stockings for them. In our house, I am Santa and the gifts magically appear under the tree to the amazement of my husband. LOL He does surprise me sometimes though with a really cool gift. A couple of years ago he bought me the DVD set of all the seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was so happy.





GRACEN: Other than money (because who doesn’t want more of that), what would your ultimate gift be?

DENA: My ultimate gift? Wow. Probably a Nook! I saw (thanks to my boyfriend) the Nook almost the first day BN had a page for it, and I’ve been drooling for one ever since. That would be the best!

KELLY: I could really use about a million dollars, but my ultimate gift is a horse. I always wanted a horse. I will settle for a laptop this year though. Did you hear that Santa? LOL

~~~~~



~~~~~

KELLY HECKART ANTHOLOGY BLURB:

When Brianna decides to attend the Winter Solstice masquerade ball, she never thought she would end up kissing a handsome knight beneath the mistletoe, but they part without exchanging names and phone numbers—how will they find each other again?

KELLY HECKART ANTHOLOGY EXCERPT:


She couldn't move her mouth at first, allowing his lips to capture her mouth in a thrilling crush. His forceful yet tender kiss awakened something inside her. She forgot who she was or that she was kissing a stranger. Her head spinning, she surrendered to the kiss.

His hand cradled the back of her head and she was aware of the slight scratch of stubble tickling her face. The kiss between them grew more passionate and she almost dropped her cup, the only thing keeping their bodies from touching.

The heat from his body still reached her, sending a flush to every part of her body. His sword sheath stabbing into her hip excited her, quickening her pulse. The rest of her body responded to his fiery kiss, her breasts tingling and heaving. She wanted to stay like that, to feel a man's lips giving her so much pleasure again.

"Okay guys, get a room already." A reveler laughed and ducked into the bathroom.

She stepped away from him, the magical moment broken. Blushing, she avoided eye contact with him.

Places Kelly Heckart can be found on the internet:

http://www.kelleyheckart.com/
http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/
http://twitter.com/CelticChick
http://www.goodreads.com/kheckart
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604
http://www.myspace.com/phantomqueen3


~~~~~

GRACEN: Now, let’s get to their writing. Why the holiday genre? What was the draw for you?

DENA: I wanted to explore my faith on a different level. This gave me a good reason to delve deep about my own feelings and wishes for the pinnacle of what Chanukah can be.



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.

DENA: Sensual. Even though Love in the Lights is a sweet story, I try to engage the senses, where every touch is intense, and every smell is something delicious.

KELLY: My stories center on a romance, but they aren't the gushy kind of romances. I am fascinated with the ancient Celts and their myths so these find their way into my stories. I draw on some of the Celtic myths like the Tuatha de Danaan or the Irish Fianna (fierce warriors with hearts of poets) and add my own spin. My stories are filled with conflict, sometimes betrayal and there is also a magical element in my tales. My heroines are bold, my heroes always have long hair. Like real life, there is laughter, but sometimes they can go to a dark place, but I always have at least a HFN ending. My catchphrase is 'Timeless tales of romance, conflict and magic. Meet her bold women, fierce warriors and otherworldly creatures.'



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?

DENA: Well, I haven’t seen many Chanukah stories, and that I think is something that sets it apart right from the beginning. But I try to meld information about the holiday with a sense of love and family that goes beyond just romance. It’s about tradition and connection and coming home as much as it’s about the romance of the two main characters.

KELLY: I think I write unusual romances because my stories involve deeper issues like religion, the difficulty of maintaining a long-term relationship and difficult choices, sacrifice. My stories don't follow a certain formula for romance. I like to write stories that help readers escape from reality and take them on new adventures into mysterious time periods.



GRACEN: Do you prefer throwing snowballs or serving hot cocoa? Does that show through in your writing? If so, how?

DENA: I prefer hot cocoa! I think it does show in that most of my writing tends to take place indoors, and there’s a lot of emotional growth for my characters. It’s not all about the action, but it’s also not dull. And there are lots of marshmallows!

KELLY: Well, I like both. I used to love getting into snowball fights and I still love serving and drinking a cup of hot cocoa. I think they both show through in my writing. I can write gritty battle scenes, but I can also write a tender scene. I can think of one in an upcoming release. Both my hero and heroine are warriors. As they prepare for battle, she serves him a mint tonic to settle his stomach. It's a touching moment between the two, but then they are heading out to kill people. LOL



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?

DENA: It depends on the story and where I am in it, but in this one I had a lot of control. I was experiencing the story on a very deep level, and yet the inspiration just kept coming, so I assume my muse was just in agreement with where I was going. Still, there were a few surprises that came my way!



GRACEN: What character did you have the most fun creating and why?

DENA: Probably Rosie Bloch. She’s a quintessential Jewish mother, with an eye for what’s happening, but with a lot of love for her kids. She’s warm, a good hostess and an awesome cook. When you’re in her house, you’re family.

KELLY: I had the most fun creating Morgaine in White Rose of Avalon. It was a challenge because she is kind of the villain in the story because she will do anything to save Avalon even sacrifice the man she loves. She is a strong woman (otherworldly being), but I still wanted to give her some compassion. I like to write my villains in shades of gray because I believe there are two sides to every story. Most readers will see her as the villain, but she loved Avalon. So, is she evil for wanting to save the place she loves?



GRACEN: If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters in real life, who would it be and why?

DENA: That’s a tough one. I’d like to meet Danielle, I think, Abigail’s niece. She was a pistol every time she came through in the story, and I had a lot of fun when she was in the room!



GRACEN: Which of your characters would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?

DENA: In this story? I don’t think there’s one I wouldn’t ever want to meet. While some were a bit more challenging in the beginning of the tale, they are all interesting, unique and people I would love to be around.


DENA CELESTE ANTHOLOGY BLURB:

Abigail Bloch has been away at school for the last few years. Returning to her mother’s home renews her interest and need for the Jewish traditions. Unfortunately, the man who had been her best friend growing up, Joshua Cohen, gives her a chilly reception. Over the course of Chanukah, a time filled with food and family and friendship, the growing number of flames must melt away hostility and illuminate the love that can grow between them.


DENA CELESTE ANTHOLOGY EXCERPT:

Chapter One – Night One

“Baby! You’re home!” Abigail Bloch’s mother grabbed her in a warm, tight hug. She dropped her gym bag onto the porch swing and returned her mother’s hug. The familiar scent of home, cinnamon-sugar and matzo ball soup, surrounded her.

“Hey Mama. Yeah, I’m home. I’d like to breathe sometime soon though.” Tugged inside by her firecracker of a mother, her ears rang at the blast of noise coming from the kitchen. “Sorry I’m late, but the bus had a breakdown. I was stuck in Atlanta for a couple hours before they switched to a different one to get down here.”

“That’s okay. Everyone’s here already and I made all your favorites! It’s not every mother who can say her daughter made the President’s List!” Rosie Bloch raved as she led Abi through the house. She tossed her bag into the open entrance of her room.

“It’s no big deal Mama. Really. Are the latkes all ready?” Warm, flaky, perfectly fried. No one made those potato pancakes like her Mama.

“Of course! And I made extra since we’re hosting the dinners this year.”

Abi groaned. That meant all their close friends and any family in the area would be there.

“Great. That’s just…lovely Mama.” Somehow she’d endure the crowd, and there was nothing her mother liked more than showing off her skills in the kitchen.

“Oh, Joshua took off of work for the holiday too! He’s such a good boy. Have you kept in touch with him like I asked you to?”

Abi winced.

“Sorry Mama, there just really hasn’t been time. You know how crazy school has been for me. Sleep and studying were more of a priority.”

“Oh well, it doesn’t matter now. He’s in the kitchen. Go set the extra tables up, would you?” With that said, her mother rushed off to deal with some vaguely familiar-looking people across the room she assumed were neighbors she hadn’t seen in a long time.

Abi walked to the kitchen, automatically stepping over toys she figured her sister’s kids had left strewn over the floor. The intense scents of potato pancakes, soup and kugel were insanely good. She couldn’t wait to get some food in her system. It had been hours since her last meal.

“Oomph!” Abi caught herself against the wall as a large male body backed out of the kitchen and turned straight into her. “You got that okay?” She reached out and grabbed the arms balancing the platter

She looked up to see the boy she’d known best growing up, the one who she thought had known her inside-out. “I’m so sorry Joshua. Wow, you’ve grown…taller.”

She knew she was being a bit cheeky, but couldn’t help it.

“Yeah. That happens when you grow up. If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go put this down.” Shivering at his response, Abi looked after him in confusion. Wonder what his problem is.

The clamor of her Nana, sister and sisters-in-law in the kitchen drew her out of her thoughts and back into the action. “Guys, where’s the other table cloth? Mama wants me to set up another table for the food. Holy cow, what’s she making?”

There were pots everywhere, and casserole dishes covered in foil lined the island in the middle.

“Abi!” “Angel face!” “Hey there!” The chorus of greetings spun her head but Abi hugged everyone in turn.

She pushed her sleeves up above her elbows with a smile. “Guess it’s time to put me to work, huh?”

*****

“Aunt Abi! It’s time to light the candles! Come on!”

Abi quickly put her plate down on the nearest flat surface as her niece dragged her to the table in front of the window. She stood there as her mother led the kids in taking out the two candles needed, explaining about the shammas candle, which was always used to light all the other candles, and where to place the first Chanukah candle.

As she said the familiar prayers, the skin on the back of her neck prickled. She turned to the side to find Joshua Cohen staring right at her. She caught his gaze and smiled at him, but once again he stabbed her with an icy glare.

A pang of hurt and lots of confusion ruled her thoughts. What had she done to prompt such a cold response? She hadn’t been the best at keeping in touch, but then, neither had he. She understood how busy he was as a lawyer, even if it was at a small firm. Why was he so mad at her?

She gazed at the lit candles as the crowd around her dissipated. The lights were so beautiful, and the antique silver menorah cast the glow all around the table. The menorah was only for pleasure, to be looked at and not used for anything more useful than that, and Abi let the simple beauty of the flames entrance her.

Rubbing her hands over the knee-length skirt she wore, Abi glanced around the room. It was so good to be home again.

“How’ve you been doing, sweetie?” Her sister Anne slung an arm around her shoulders.

“Oh, I could be worse. Any idea why Joshua is acting like I shot his dog?”

“Well, it could be because you went so far away. He was your best friend, and then you were gone. I don’t know. You could always ask him. Goodness knows you’ll be seeing him often enough since Mama’s hosting.” Abi leaned into her sister.

“Maybe. As it is, it’s hard coming back after so much time away. I mean, three years! I think I’m going to wait until he comes to me. If I can stand it that long.” Abi was determined that he would realize that she could still be a part of her hometown community, and hadn’t given her place away just because she’d gone away to experience school and the world.

“Well, let’s nosh some more. When all else fails, there’s food!” Abi laughed and let Anne drag her back to the table filled with brisket, roasted chicken and all kinds of goodies.


Buy link: https://www.nobleromance.com/ItemDisplay.aspx?i=86

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mystic Monday

Book Reviews!

A few weeks ago, I reviewed one of Ravenous Romance's (RR) HSN Promo Package, Ripping the Bodice by Inara Lavey. Last week I did put up my review of RR's Haunted Seduction, but I never really mentioned it, so I am going to re-show it here, along with my review for another RR romance, Dark Desires of the Druids I: Murder & Magick.

Haunted SeductionOkay, the first of the books I need to review is Haunted Seduction by Morgan James. As far as I am concerned, this story doesn't really get started until Chapter Two. Even though Chapter One introduces the reader to Will, the information offered in this first chapter isn't really necessary to the understanding and enjoyment of the story. In fact, I didn't really get hooked into this story until Chapter Two, which is why I believe this is where the story really begins.

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!

Okay, the first of the books I need to review is Haunted Seduction by Morgan James. As far as I am concerned, this story doesn't really get started until Chapter Two. Even though Chapter One introduces the reader to Will, the information offered in this first chapter isn't really necessary to the understanding and enjoyment of the story. In fact, I didn't really get hooked into this story until Chapter Two, which is why I believe this is where the story really begins.

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!

Dark Desires of the Druids #1 - Murder and MagickThe second book I am reviewing today is Dark Desires of the Druids 1. So far, I've only gotten to page 47 and I haven't been impressed. It's a historical novel set in 1882 England. It is a time of witch trials and purification rituals. Sounds interesting, right? Well, that's what I thought.

However, once I started reading, I never became engaged in the story. As much as I wanted to, I found it increasingly difficult the farther I got into the story. But not for the reason of bad writing, exactly. The reason I had difficulty with this story was bad organization. The way the information was given to the reader didn't validate the characters, their actions or reactions to situations very well. The organization and presentation of information about the characters weakens them greatly.

For example, the story opens with the main character Raven Drake, a magick user and a member of polite society, betrothed to one man and having an affair with someone else. Raven is listening to Sir John Corwin's speech about how magick users are bad for society and should be removed. During this time, she begins to long for her lover.

Here's what I take issue with in this scene:
1. The identity of Raven's husband isn't revealed until the third chapter. Because of this fact, the reader gets the mistaken impression that she is betrothed to Corwin. This leads to unnecessary questioning of why she would even let this union take place.

2. She is a magick user (a master one, we find out later), but instead of caring about what Corwin (a known witch hunter) is saying to the people around her, she is focusing on a liaison with her lover. For a high ranking and powerful magicker, this does not seem a logical progression of thoughts. I get it how a woman can feel passionate about a man, but in this scene, Raven is trying to argue on behalf of magickers without giving herself away.

3. This scene has a volatile conclusion, and for that reason, the lusty thoughts make no sense. Either this character is more naive than the author implies or she has no fear of death, and that, I find difficult to believe, especially with her reactions later in the cottage with her lover.

4. The fact that her betrothed, Gareth, isn't there with her. If they are to be what the author later states, the actions displayed by the character of Gareth (his absence from the ball), do not jive with his position. They are supposed to appear to be the power core and yet they aren't seen together at a ball of this nature. Why? The author doesn't do an adequate job of addressing these issues when the questions arise. In fact, 50 pages in and I'm still wondering where her fiance is and why he isn't with her.

Here's where I find more incongruity in the story. The author wants us to believe that Raven does not regret having the affair with Malcolm, yet it is while she is waiting outside the cottage that she thinks of her husband and recalls why they are betrothed and that she does love him.

Huh?

Somehow, if I was ever comfortable with cheating on my husband (which I doubt I ever would be), I don't think I would be wasting thoughts on him. My thoughts would only be about my lover and what I would find in his arms.

The way the story is currently organized and presented hurts the credibility of the characters, it's very hard to like any of them. The idea is to create a sense of mystery and suspense, not irritation and confusion.

Here's what would have made sense:
As she's listening to the hurtful and heinous words that are tumbling out of Corwin's mouth, Raven recalls how she got into this situation, betrothed to one man, but in love with someone else. As she tries to cleverly show the idiocrasy and lunacy of Corwin's statements, Raven recalls the reason for her betrothal, where her husband is at the moment and why he isn't with her. It would also make sense for her to recall the council and her standing within the council and her relationship to Isadore.

Then, after the entire incident is over with, it makes total sense that she would seek out her lover, if her fiance is not present. It is during her walk to the cottage that Raven should recall how she met him, how he attracted her, and how his lovemaking is what makes her return for more.

This story is a decent premise, but just not greatly executed in the beginning to keep a reader interested.

The last of RR's HSN Promo Package, Land of Falling Stars by Keta Diablo, I'll be reading this week and will be posting my review to Goodreads.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Supernatural Sunday with Winter Kisses

Authors Nichelle Gregory and G.R. Bretz join us today to spotlight a Christmas anthology, Winter Kisses. On Tuesday two other authors of the anthology will join us, so be sure to check back.

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

Starlight Saturday

YA Spotlight - Year in Review Part 1
Spotlight 1

With all of the business of the holidays going on, I thought that it would be best to review all of the books mentioned here as part of the YA Spotlight. Hopefully, you'll find some of them worthy of gift-giving this holiday season. Since there have been so many authors and books, this review is done in two parts.

Let's start with the very first books that were featured back on July 11th:
The Elfin RealmThe Elvin Realm by Linda Dawda is the tale of the three Morgan siblings and their friends Anders, Trinity and Essen who enjoy role playing together so much that they wear homemade costumes. These three children - Tom, Rachel and Scott - along with their friends, stumble upon a portal to another realm, the Elvin Realm. According to those they meet, they are considered to be great warriors and are needed to save the realm. The only problem is, they've never used real weapons before and need training.

Throughout this training process, they make new friends such as Zepholor and learn to to use their weapons that were once made out of wood, cardboard and tinfoil but are now real. They are reluctant to take up the mission, but when one of them becomes endangered by the enemy Talser Wraiths, they realize the costs of this battle and the importance of training. There is also one thing that they learn about their family that they never knew before. But I'm not going to tell you what that is, you'll have to read the book to find out!

Let's not forget about the Morgans' return to the Elvin Realm:
The Rise of ZeflanaThe Rise of Zeflana: The Elvin Realm II is about how the Morgan children had to return to the Elvin Realm to save one of the people they love the most. What was worse, it happened at night, while the Morgan children were sleeping. Zeflana, the evil fairy who wanted to steal the Morgan children's power, snuck right into the house, under their noses, and took their mother. Their friend Anders returns with them this time to help them get their mother back and to once again save the Elvin Realm. For more about these books and how to purchase them or contact the author, check out her website: www.hiddentrees.com

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:


The Adventurer's Guild   Underground

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!
Sweethearts   Story of a Girl   Once Was Lost

For more information on these books and the author herself, please check out her website: www.sarazarr.com.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Phantasm Friday

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY LIFE

~~~~~

COME JOIN ME AT DAWN'S READING NOOK AND ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN ELFIN BLOOD.
Contes ends today!!

~~~~~
Taking the same idea that Margay used, I’m remembering years past and what events changed my life the most.

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?

Twilight Thursday

Welcome Author
Kat Martin
Kat Martin!!!


We welcome back author Kat Martin today! The first part of her interview was "aired" here on Tuesday and, as promised, the second part "airs" 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:

ME: Why the Romance genre? What was the draw for you?

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.

ME: 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.

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.

ME: 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?

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?

ME: Do you prefer throwing snowballs or serving hot cocoa? Does that show through in your writing? If so, how?

KAT: Definitely throwing snowballs. Gets the blood pumping. Afterward, however, I want a delicious cup of hot cocoa to savor the fun we had.

ME: 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?

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.

ME: What character did you have the most fun creating and why?

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.

ME: If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters in real life, who would it be and why?

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.

ME: Which of your characters would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?

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.

ME: If you could give any of your characters a Christmas gift, who would it be and what would you get them?

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.

ME: If you could be any Christmas Character, who would it be and why?

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.

BLURB:
Reese's BrideWounded 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.

EXCERPT
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.

CHAPTER ONE
England
September, 1855


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.