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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tantalizing Tuesday

Guest Blog and Giveaway
with author Joel M. Andre


I am one of those people who have a really hard time talking about themselves. I know people that can spend hours telling fascinating stories about their lives, but I tend to be more reserved than that. While I love to share the world of fiction, I find that my real world life tends to be a little more simplistic.

However, since I am so passionate about writing, I am always willing to touch on that topic. I am honored to be able to share some of my habits that I have with you today. Perhaps the best place to begin is how I come up with ideas.

While some people sit in front of a piece of paper trying to force out content, I try to take a different approach. Instead of trying to focus on an idea or topic, I will go do something else. Normally if I clean or find some kind of task that allows me to think while I am active, I can get a series of ideas that come to mind. At that point, I can jot down the idea and roll with it. In some cases, such as Brutal and A Death at the North Pole, I had the title rather than the actual story line in mind.

Once I am ready to write, I go into my writing room and begin to craft the story. Usually, I will have several stories going at one time and will flip between them to help offset writer’s block. When I am done, it is off to the editor before it goes live. The overall time frame on them can vary. For example, I wrote, A Death at the North Pole over a long weekend. The Black Chronicles: Cry of the Fallen took me a few months to write. A lot of it depends on how much fun I am having I think.

When it does come to writing, I will sit down and craft a story whenever I have a chance. Sometimes I get up early enough to watch the sunrise and I will go to work after that. Work and other factors do come into play as I am setting up my schedule for the day. However, I do my best to ensure that I have a block of time to write.

In this post, I think I have given a little more insight into what I do and how I approach writing. While I could be wordy and rehash information, I tend to be more to the point. I think the biggest thing is to give people what they are looking for, without going overboard. Don’t get me wrong, I love to paint a scene and give detailed accounts of things, but there are times when a short and simple block of text is just as valuable.

I’d like to take a moment to encourage all of you to find the time to write every day. I hear how people dream of writing, but never take the steps to make it happen. With as little as 500 words a day, you can craft your own tale in just a few months.  That means you can knock something out in about 10 minutes or so each day.

For now, I am headed on out to continue working on a paranormal story I have coming out around St. Patrick’s Day. It does have an Irish theme and I can’t wait for all of you to have a chance to read it.  


Brutal Synopsis:

One dark and warm October night in the heart of Arizona, a group of friends are out for an evening of fun. It was a night for celebration, and to draw them away from the world. 

As they drink the night away, a dark and handsome stranger watches them in the distance. His observations going unnoticed as the girls focus on their own conversation.

Too drunk to make it home on their own, the stranger offers the group a ride home in his taxi. Reluctantly, the girls agree.

What follows is a dark and brutal act of revenge decades in the making.


Author Bio:

Joel M. Andre was born January 13, 1981. At a young age he was fascinated with the written word. It was at fourteen that Poe blew his mind, and Andre began to dabble with darker poetry.

Between the years of 1999 and 2007 Joel was featured in various poetry anthologies and publications. In 2008 he released his first collection,Pray the Rain Never Ends.

Knowing there was something deeper and darker inside of his soul, Joel decided to take a stab at commercialism. Releasing the dark tongue in cheek, A Death at the North Pole, created a dark world among the death of Kris Kringle. Ultimately providing a tale of redemption.

October of 2008 saw Joel release his second book, Kill 4 Me. A tale in which a woman is haunted by a vengeful spirit through text messages and instant messaging.

Taking some time off and doing a lot of soul searching, Joel took things in a new direction and dabbled in the Fantasy Genre with, The Pentacle of Light. The tale dealing with five major races battling for control of Earth, and the acceptance of their God.

Finally, after missing his detective Lauren Bruni, he released the book The Return in October 2009, this time moving the action from the North Pole and placing it in the small Arizona community he was raised in.

Andre’s latest book is The Black Chronicles: Cry of the Fallen about a dead man who seeks revenge on the woman that tormented him in peaceful Northern Arizona.

Currently, he resides in Chandler, AZ.

You can visit his website at

Contest: one eCopy (open internationally) of Joel M. Andre's Kill 4 Me: 


Next Stop:
February 29-Guest Post@ Reviews By Molly


Friday, February 24, 2012

Phantasm Friday

Guest Post and Excerpt of
Louisa and the Crystal Gazer
by Anna MacLean

Have you ever attended a séance?  Tales of the supernatural and other-worldly events have always fascinated me, so when it came time to write the third Louisa May Alcott mystery, Louisa and the Crystal Gazer, I knew I wanted to include a séance.

Imagine the very intelligent, and very curious, young Louisa May Alcott sitting down at a séance table with characters such as P.T. Barnum, busily looking for new acts for his ‘museum,’  and others who, while fictional, represent some of the people Louisa might actually have encountered:  impoverished upper-class ladies, still single and on their way to become ‘old maids,’ retired army majors with tales of India and the opium wars, and her own best friend, Sylvia, newly longing to speak with a long-dead father.

Louisa, at this time, is still in her early twenties, still very attached to home and family – and still facing tremendous financial problems.  Her father, the famous philosopher Bronson Alcott, doesn’t bring in much income, and how much can Louisa earn stitching shirts and teaching geography to the neighborhood children?

Louisa has already solved two previous murders, in Lousia and the Missing Heiress, and Louisa and the Country Bachelor, so when a murder victim appears soon after attending her first séance, she’s ready, and more than willing to dive back into detective work.

What many readers don’t know about the beloved author of Little Women is that she was very active and very involved in her world.  Her parents were abolitionists involved with the underground railroad, helping slaves make their way to Canada and Louisa kept fascinating diaries and journals about her own real adventures, including being a nurse in the Civil War.  She was no shrinking violet, hiding in the parlor!  That was the Louisa I worked with, when creating this murder mystery about spiritualists and heiress and lost love.

An excerpt from  Louisa and The Crystal Gazer

“I miss Father,”  Sylvia signed one morning as we took our walk along the harbor.  It was a misty cold day, and the harbor waves were tipped with frosty white.

“Unfortunately, your father passed away when you were a child,” I answered gently. “You barely knew that long-enduring man, so how do you now claim to miss him?”…

“My point exactly,” my companion responded…“I feel the need for a masculine presence in my life, and would like to converse with my father.  I will, with the assistance of Mrs. Agatha Percy. Please come with me to one of her sittings!”

I groaned and jammed my hands deeper into my pocket, despite the stares of several passersby; a lady did not put her hands in her pockets. She did if they were cold, I thought.  Ship rigging creaked in the wind and bells chimed the start of a new watch, and I pondered Sylvia’s statement of that questionable group of individuals known as ‘spiritists,’ or mediums…

“I can think of better ways to spend time and money than sitting in the dark and watching parlor tricks.  I would much rather, for instance, attend one of Signor Massimo’s musical evening.” The signor, a famous pianist, was touring the United States from his home in Rome and had decided to winter in Boston. He was giving a series of performances – performances I could not afford, since the tickets were as much as three dollars apiece, even when they were available.

“Mother tried to get tickets and could not. She was furious,” Sylvia said. I could understand; women with Mrs. Shattuck’s family name and wealth were not accustomed to hearing no.

“Look, there is ice in the harbor,” I said, putting my hand over my eyes to shield them from the glare.

“I will have your answer,” Sylvia persisted.

I  introduced several new topics of conversation, hoping to distract Sylvia from her mission – Jenny Lind, the Wild West, a newly published travel book about France that was flying off the shelves – but each topic she cleverly rejoined and detoured back to Mrs. Percy…

“Don’t you see?” Sylvia sighed in exasperation, pulling at my hand to prevent me from taking another step. “The spirits themselves wish you to visit her.  They put those very suggestions in your mind!”

“Then they should put a plot or two in my mind,” I said, remembering the still-blank sheet of paper before which I had sat that morning at my desk.  Being between stories was an unpleasant state for me, when no plot or story threaded the random thoughts of every imagination.

“I am unconvinced that ‘fun’ is the correct word to describe an hour of sitting in the dark, pretending to speak with the dead,” I said.

“Spirits,” corrected Sylvia.  “The dead don’t like to be called dead. Such a harsh word.”

Neither of us was yet aware of exactly how harsh that séance would become.

Artist’s biography

MEDIA KIT Anna_maclean-210.jpg

Jeanne Mackin is the author of several novels:  The Sweet By and By (St. Martin’s Press), Dreams of Empire (Kensington Books), The Queen’s War (St. Martin’s Press), and The Frenchwoman (St. Martin’s Press).   She has published short fiction and creative nonfiction in several journals and periodicals including  American Letters and Commentary and SNReview. She is also the author of the Cornell Book of Herbs and Edible Flowers (Cornell University publications)  and co-editor of  The Norton Book of Love (W.W. Norton),  and wrote art columns for newspapers as well as feature articles for several arts magazines.  She was the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and her journalism has won awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, in Washington, D.C.  She teaches creative writing at Goddard College in Vermont, has taught or conducted workshops in Pennsylvania, Hawaii and New York and has traveled extensively in Europe.  She lives with her husband, Steve Poleskie,  in upstate New York.


Book Link:,,9781101506141,00.html?Louisa_and_the_Missing_Heiress_Anna_Maclean

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wistful Wednesday


Painted Jezebel: 
Excerpts and Review


Title:  Painted Jezebel (A Jezebel Jinx Mystery, Book 1)
Author:  Jolie Pethtel
Publisher:  Museitup Publishing
Length:  65,000 Words
Sub-Genres:  Comedy, Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller


Museitup Buy link:

Amazon Buy link:


Publicist Finn Mackenzie has always been lucky, until an ill-fated affair with a vindictive writer leaves him one chance for redemption: a spectacular public appearance by the elusive best-selling romance author, Jezebel Jinx.

Unfortunately, the cute but kooky writer refuses to cooperate. Jezebel believes she’s cursed with bad luck. Riddled with anxieties, she never leaves her home--until the gorgeous, albeit desperate Finn whisks her away to a writer’s conference, against her will.

After the initial shock wears off, Jezebel’s dormant hormones kick into high gear around the hunky Finn.
When his ex turns up murdered and Jezebel is the prime suspect, ill-planned sexcapades are the least of their worries.


“Someone was just murdered and I’m the prime suspect. Detective Tyler has gone around smearing my good name with everyone at the conference and here I am strutting around in a bikini. Don’t you think a one piece might have been more—I dunno—respectful?” Jezebel hovered uncertainly in front of the door marked heated pool. “Maybe a black one piece to show I’m in mourning.”

“You can’t flirt with lifeguards in a one piece. It just isn’t sexy enough. Besides, you aren’t in mourning. No one is. Did you see the celebrating going on in the bar? ‘Ding dong! The witch is dead’ is pretty much the attitude in there. If they could give you an award for killing her, they would.”

“I didn’t kill her,” Jezebel hissed.

“No, you didn’t, but if you want to prove your innocence you need to seduce some information out of that lifeguard.”

“My boobs are too small to seduce anyone. My legs are really my best asset, which I could display just as well in a one piece.”

“Rick might be a boob man. That is why you are wearing a size too small and we bought a bikini that lifts.” He mimicked cupping and lifting with his hands, without actually touching her breasts.

“I’m going in.” Jezebel stated as she rolled her eyes, and then stepped toward the pool area entrance. 

“Think sex goddess,” she ordered herself, adding some strut to her walk.

Finn insisted on the fire engine red bikini and matching strappy high heeled sandals. Who wore high heels to the swimming pool? This was wrong on so many levels.

“You look smokin’ hot, babe,” Finn called out. His idea of encouragement. Well, that was nice to know. Jezebel added a little roll to her hips just for his benefit, before pushing open the door and disappearing from sight.

She spotted Rick right away. He sat on his chair like a Greek Adonis, wearing nothing but snug bathing trunks, a whistle and a smile. The pool was filled with women vying for his attention.  Her self-confidence slipped a notch.

Jezebel hesitated a fraction of a second too long as she neared his chair, and then kept on walking. No way was she going to humiliate herself like this. They would just have to find another way to acquire the information.

“Hello gorgeous,” the lifeguard drawled following it up with a whistle and not the ‘behave in the pool’ kind.
Jezebel froze and then slowly smiled. Ah, an ass man. She attempted to spin around gracefully, but grace and spiked heels did not go hand in hand. Just as she was face to face with her target, she slipped and tottered drunkenly on the tiles. In her defense, they were black and the wet spots weren’t particularly visible. She had a brief unpleasant flash of déjà vu, and then the life guard was on his feet, catching her in proper heroic fashion.

“Feel free to drop in anytime.”

Ugh! Did he just say that? The man was so much hotter when he didn’t speak. All brawn, no brain. How disappointing. So what did she say now? Jezebel wasn’t particularly good at suggestive small talk with half naked strangers. She tended to fluster easily. The hidden agenda only increased her nervousness. Where were the cue cards when you needed them?

“You saved my life! How can I ever thank you?” she gushed, fluttering her lashes.

“Do you have something in your eye?” He frowned down at Jezebel, before setting her on her feet.

“I was just a little—um—disoriented for a second.”

“Are you sure? It looked like you were having a seizure there or something.”

“I’m sure.” Jezebel was absolutely mortified. Thank God Finn wasn’t witnessing this. She would never live it down. Just then she caught a glimpse of him pulling off his T-shirt and diving into the deep end in nothing but a pair of modest swim shorts. Not fair. Not only had he overheard every embarrassing word, his smug grin left no doubt, but he was holding himself to a different standard. He should be demeaning himself for the greater good by wearing a pair of revealing swim trunks.

The women swarmed around Finn splashing playfully and damned if he didn’t love every second of it. Jezebel wanted to strangle him. So he wanted to play it that way, then fine. She could play too.


Jezebel’s stomach lurched abruptly, jarring her back to consciousness. Flashes of bright, white light burst behind her tightly closed eyelids and she knew this was going to be one killer hangover. Her memory was a bit hazy—a complete blank really. She didn’t recall getting drunk and blacking out, but she must have. Happy Birthday to me.

The day was a complete bust, of course. She’d have to write twice as much tomorrow to meet her deadline. All she wanted right now was some aspirin for her pounding headache and a good night’s rest. Maybe tomorrow her mind wouldn’t be so fuzzy.

Jezebel gingerly opened one bleary eye and then the other, trying in vain to focus on something—anything. She only succeeded in making herself dizzy and nauseous. The scenery passed by in a blur, with only one consistent focal point—a continuous row of palm trees and while Arizona was thick with palms, there weren’t any in her neck of the woods. 

The implications were sobering. Dear God, this had to be a nightmare. Even in her present groggy state, she could tell she was no longer safe and secure in her cabin.

Worse yet, she deduced she was in a moving vehicle, being transported to God only knows where, and with each second that passed Jezebel sped further and further from the only safe haven she had ever known. 

She would never have consented to such a thing of her own free will and with this realization confusion fled and panic set in. She was being kidnapped!

Jezebel wanted to scream and yell for help, but knew instinctively that if she did, her head would likely explode. The pain was excruciating. 

She touched carefully around her skull with the tips of her fingers. She suspected a blow to the head had caused her current unfortunate circumstance, but no evidence supported that notion.

“Hello, sleepyhead,” the kidnapper greeted her in a cheerful tone. She knew that voice. The familiar Irish lilt. It was that attractive, if annoying, publicist. She knew he was desperate to attend some conference, but kidnapping? The man was a lunatic. She’d witnessed his desperation first hand, of course, but never imagined he would dare go this far. How had he managed to lure her out of her cabin and into his vehicle without a single protest? Jezebel fought to remember. She should have screamed the house down. What he accomplished was an impossible feat, but he was more devious than she had given him credit for. There was only one way he could have pulled this off.

The bastard drugged me.

“What did you do to me?” Jezebel rolled her head to the side with considerable effort to give him her most fearsome glare. He didn’t even flinch.

“I just gave you some sleeping pills.” He shrugged.

“Some?” Her voice rose to a screech. “How many is some?”

“I don’t know. I just crushed a bunch and spread them over the pizza. Who would have thought such a dainty little thing could eat a whole pizza by herself?”

“You could have killed me!” Jezebel was horrified.

“You have been sleeping a long time,” Finn admitted. “I was starting to worry, but you seem fine now.”

“Fine? I am so not fine!” Jezebel began to hyperventilate. “Oh God! I—can’t—breathe!”

“Don’t worry. I came prepared for this.” Finn pulled over to the side of the highway and handed her a paper bag.

“What—the Hell—is this?” she wheezed, studying the bag as if it were a foreign object.

“What does it look like? It’s a paper bag. Cover your mouth with it and concentrate on breathing in and out slowly, until the feeling passes. You’re having a panic attack.”

Jezebel closed her eyes and did as instructed, albeit resentfully, holding the bag over her mouth until her breathing steadied. Still clutching the bag, she turned to face Finn. “Please tell me you brought my medication.”

“Medication?” he frowned. “I looked through your medicine cabinet and I only saw the prescription for sleeping pills. There were no other prescription medications.”

“I keep them in my nightstand in case I have an anxiety attack during the night,” she attempted to explain patiently. “Please tell me you brought them.”

“Sorry, no. It looks like for this trip we’re going to have to do it old school.” He gestured toward the bag. “No drugs.”

“Old school!” she shrieked, hitting Finn over and over with the paper bag. If only she had something harder that would inflict more pain. A blunt instrument maybe, but she had to make do with what was available. Heck, with a little luck maybe he’d suffer a nasty paper cut. “Are you out of your mind? You—are not—a doctor. You are not equipped to handle my condition. You have to take me home. Right Now!”


Jolie Pethtel was born in Ohio, but raised in Arizona, where she met her husband Jim. Jolie has since moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where she lives with her husband and their six rambunctious children. Jolie is a Domestic Goddess by day and Writer by night.

Author Website:
Fan Page:
Twitter: @joliepethtel

My Thoughts:

One thing about this book is that it's a quick read, which is always a plus, in my own opinion. There's nothing worse than a book that drags along and makes you groan with its slow pacing (yes, I have actually encountered books like this and, yes, I have actually groaned in frustration with them). You want a book, especially a mystery, to whip along at a good clip - and drag you right along with it. The worst thing that can happen when you're reading is for the pace to be so slow, it gives you a lot of time to wonder why you're still reading the book. Luckily, that was not the case with Painted Jezebel. It might have started out a little slow, but once Finn got Jezebel out of hr cabin and to the conference, it picked up speed and kept me reading at a similar clip to the end. And boy, did a lot happen at that conference!

One thing I really liked about this book was the way the author kept the reader guessing. She provided a nice tableau of possible suspects for the murder of a not-too-beloved author and kept you guessing until the very end about which one actually did it. She even sent the characters after suspect after suspect, all of whom had motive, intent, and the opportunity to commit the murder. Nicely done. One thing I dislike about most so-called mystery stories is that (perhaps because I'm a writer myself) I can usually figure out who did it before the end of the story. I hate that. Although I want to try to figure it out, I want to be surprised by the end result. So I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of Painted Jezebel.

Although there were some moments that I thought were a little over the top, for the most part, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wistful Wednesday

Little Bit of This,
Little Bit of That

Hello! Hope everyone had a fun and wonderful Valentine's Day yesterday. I had a great time at a week-long event sponsored by Ravencraft's Romance Realm in which each day described our firsts - first sight, first kiss, etc. It was a fun thing and you can still check out my posts, if interested, at

Today, I'm the featured author over at Books, Tours and More:

I'd love to see you there!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Phantasm Friday

Review and Giveaway:
Pictures From the Past
by Deby Eisenberg

Blurb (From the Author's Website)

Pictures of the Past is a compelling saga sweeping through Chicago, Paris and Berlin, reliving events from pre-World War II Europe, but beginning in contemporary times. An Impressionist painting, hanging for decades in the Art Institute of Chicago and donated by the charismatic philanthropist Taylor Woodmere, is challenged by an elderly woman as a Nazi theft. Taylor’s gripping and passionate story takes us back to 1937. Sent to Paris on family business, he reluctantly leaves his girlfriend Emily, a spoiled debutante from Newport, Rhode Island. But once in Europe, he immediately falls in love – first with an Henri Lebasque painting, and then with the enchanting Sarah Berger of Berlin. After Taylor returns home, the Berger family becomes trapped in the Nazi web, and any attempts for the new lovers to be reunited are thwarted.
Interwoven with this narrative is the story of Rachel Gold, a beautiful and bright Chicago girl caught up in the times of the late 1960’s. Pregnant and abandoned by her boyfriend Court Woodmere, Taylor’s son, she moves to New York to live with her aunt, a Holocaust survivor. Years later, as the controversy surrounding the provenance of the painting becomes public, Rachel’s grown son is disturbed by his inexplicable familiarity with the work of art. And it is only Taylor Woodmere who can unravel the complicated puzzle of their lives.
Hotel signWith a heart-grabbing ending, Pictures of the Past is historical fiction at its best, giving a personalized window to the powerful events and intriguing venues of the eras. From a world torn by the horrors of war, a love story emerges that endures through years of separation.
“With a captivating storyline that alternates between characters and time periods, Pictures of the Past grabs the reader from the beginning and sustains a heightened interest and curiosity level throughout. Vividly depicted venues and a tapestry of engaging scenes of dialogue, move the reader easily as one era melds into the next. It approaches the most serious subject of the Holocaust with vibrancy and heart. The language is rich with imagery, extreme pathos and yet lightness, as well. The characterizations are beautifully drawn out, making the reader better understand horrific events of global proportion through identification and empathy with individual experiences.”

My Thoughts:
When I first read the premise of this book, I was very excited and eager to read the book itself. I like books that interweave past and present with compelling stories - there's just something about the blending of old and new, past and present that is intriguing to me. So I delved into this book with eagerness. And stopped.
Unfortunately for me, I was so thrown by the way the book was laid out that I wasn't able to continue with it, much to my disappointment. It jumped from one person to the next with a frequency that was jarring - each chapter introduced a new set of characters with their own stories and what, at least in the beginning, is a very thin connecting thread. I couldn't get past that to really get into the story. I felt too disconnected from it and was unable to continue with it.
As always, I invite you to draw your own conclusions about this story. In that tradition, I am passing on my copy of this book to one commenter on this post - with a twist. If you enjoy the book and want to do a rebuttal of my review, I will post it here for our readers. So if you want the chance to win this book and be a guest reviewer on this blog when you read it, please leave a comment stating your interest and an email address where I can contact you if you win.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tantalizing Tuesday

Finding Time To Write
(When You're a Working Mom)


Stephanie Keyes

Hello to everyone at Moonlight, Lace, and Mayhem! I wanted to thank you for letting me stop over for a visit today. It’s always wonderful to make new friends in the writing community. Today I’m here on the blog tour for my debut novel, The Star Child.

Some questions that I get asked a lot, particularly by other working moms is: “How on earth did you find time to write a novel?” This is usually followed, almost immediately by the statement, “I’ve always wanted to write but I don’t know where to begin.” So I thought I’d address these two items in today’s guest post, based on my own experience. If you don’t have these same concerns, then let’s use this as an opportunity to get to know one another, shall we?

Where To Begin?

Initially, I started writing for two reasons. One, because it was a great emotional outlet. And two, because I was reading a popular series and I was furious that it ended. That meant that I had to wait for the author to write another book! Waiting for a new book or CD to come out is always one of the most frustrating things to me. I keep checking the calendar, wondering when it will be released. Although I am general patient, this is one area where I don’t like to be kept waiting.

When I got the idea for The Star Child, I’d written some newspaper articles and short stories, but mostly focused on technical writing which was miles away from Young Adult Fantasy. So I took out the laptop, opened up a word document, and started typing. I had no idea what I was doing; I just knew that a story was pouring out of me so quickly that I couldn’t type the words fast enough to match the running dialogue in my mind.

I wrote the first three chapters and then realized that I had no idea where the story was going. So out to the local pharmacy I went to go and buy index cards. I bought a 100 multi-colored pack and used them to outline the entire book. Though the subplots changed slightly as the book was written, that framework was the one that I followed throughout the creation of the book.


• When you first start writing, get your ideas down in any format that you can. Whether you use my approach of typing them out or use a journal or sketch book, the only requirement is that you are comfortable with the format that you choose in the short term.

• In the long-term, you’ll need to consider if you’d like to have your work published. If you do then you’ll eventually have to enter your work into a software solution such as Microsoft Word or Scrivener.

• My motto in the beginning was: don’t think, just write. It’s important during this initial phase to get your ideas down. You can worry about what everything looks like later on. Just capture your thoughts in the moment.

Finding Time To Write

Finding the time to write was so difficult for me. Every moment that I wasn’t with my son, left me feeling guilty for not being with him. The first step that I had to take was to check my baggage. I was walking around, interacting with others, and carrying this enormous weight on my shoulders. Then as a mother, I began to realize that my son got the best version of me when I allowed myself a little “me” time. So when Guilt came knocking at the door, I didn’t answer.

I also picked a time when I was at my best. Rather than trying to cram in writing late at night when I was wiped out, I would write during the weekends within the confines of my son’s nap times. Normally, I could carve out at least two hours of uninterrupted time and that made the writing that I did do all the more meaningful. Then I didn’t have additional guilt to pile on later because he was asleep that entire time. I wrote The Star Child in nine months of (mostly) guilt-free nap times.


• Let go of the guilt! You deserve some time for yourself. Start with ten minutes every day and see where it goes from there.

• If you’re considering writing, be sure to pick a time when you are at your best, if possible. For me that does not include anytime prior to 10am.

• Put your writing time on the calendar and mark it as your own.

• Keep all of your materials and resources handy so that you can easily access them when it’s time to write.

Editing, Editing, Editing

After the book was written I wanted to get as much feedback on it as possible, so I reached out to every teenager I knew. Coworkers children, family members, it didn’t matter. I joined a book group and asked my friends, mother, aunts, and my husband to edit it. While they edited, so did I, and slowly, the initial version started to become more solid.

After about a year and a half of editing (also during my son’s the nap times) I was asked to join the Love a Happy Ending group. It’s a wonderful team that brings readers and authors together. It was there that I met Kit Domino.

Kit thoroughly edited The Star Child twice, finding things that I missed and providing me with advice on how to avoid common mistakes that writers make. The experience overall was invaluable to me. By the time The Star Child went to print on December 15th, 2011, it had undergone fifteen rounds of editing.


• Seek as much feedback as possible. You can’t create in a vacuum, so the more you get input from others, the more you can flesh out your ideas.

• Don’t worry that they won’t like it. Writing is a lot like music: it’s highly subjective. If someone doesn’t like your work then it’s possible that your book just wasn’t for them instead of worry about it, ask them open-ended questions to get to the heart of their comments. There could be some wonderful data points there.

• Get a professional editor. No matter how detailed you are, you can’t edit it all yourself. A third party can find mistakes in your work but also give you suggestions on continuity issued in the book.

About the Book:

Stephanie Keyes is the author of The Star Child, the young adult, epic fantasy about Kellen St. James, a seventeen-year-old prodigy and Calienta, a Celtic goddess. The novel blends fantasy and modern reality in a book that has received several four and five star reviews and spent nearly two weeks in the #3 slot in Epic Fantasy in the UK and #5 in the same category in the US. It is described as a “fabulous and engaging fantasy debut”.

The Star Child is available on:


Stephanie Keyes 2.JPG

About the Author:

When Stephanie isn’t writing, she works full time as a Corporate Educator and Curriculum Designer. She holds a M.Ed. from Duquesne University and an undergraduate degree in Management information Systems from Robert Morris University. Stephanie is a clarinetist, saxophonist, and vocalist, and is always making music somewhere at sometime. She credits her loving husband of ten years and her two sons for all things writing. The Star Child is Ms. Keyes’ debut novel.

Find out more about Stephanie at the new

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Mystic Monday

This is the second week of my return to regular posting. Woohoo!

I've been working on my latest story for quite awhile now, but it keeps changing on me which seems to making harder giving it some flesh. Just when I think I've got a handle on where it's going and what's going to happen, it changes.

So, I'm kind of in shock mode right now because there were some changes that just came out of nowhere and I'm not entirely sure how to handle them.

Hahahaha! Yeah, them! About a faction of new characters, lol!

That's the biggest problem! I've got a group of new characters that are decidedly villains and they've decided to absorb one of my secondary characters! I don't know what to do or how to handle this latest change. I really don't. I don't even know how the characters are going to handle this latest change.

Now, I have to figure out a whole new set of character dynamics - something I thought I'd had solid. This is turning out to one beast of a story!

That's not even the interesting part, either. It turns out the main hero of this story is really the main hero from two other stories I've been working on. I can tell you, I sure didn't see that one coming!

I like surprises while reading, but I'm not so sure how I feel about them as an author. These surprises - and the physical illness I've been fighting - are making it difficult to get this story on track!

I will continue to work on the story and I will just go with the flow... I should be used to that, but the fact I started working on this one with an outline first and have been so organized before now seems to be throwing me. That outline has since been tossed out the window.

I find myself treading in the sea of chaos and heading toward the straits of mayhem! 

I will do what all great writers have done before me - persevere!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Megan Johns Invites: A Warm Welcome to Margay Leah JusticeDescended fr...

Megan Johns Invites: A Warm Welcome to Margay Leah Justice
Descended fr...
: A Warm Welcome to Margay Leah Justice Descended from the same bloodline that spawned the likes of James Russell, Amy and Robert Lowell, Mar...

Supernatural Imagination

Please welcome Velvet RoxXx into the Moonlight! She's hard at work on her debut book, More than Human...but you didn't come here to read me chat. So I'll let Velvet RoxXx take over...

Vampires. I must admit, like any other gal out there who adores the supernatural world. I love my vampires. Vampires are like eggs. They have been written about in many ways. Yeah, fried, died and laid to the side. Seriously, there are so many things you can write about in the vampire genre while putting your own spin on it. While I love my vampires and have many stories on my hard drive about them, I'm seeking to write something unique.

Dragon shifters. Oh yeah, how unique is that? Well, these fellas are heavily underrated in my opinion. While there are some books out there about dragon shifters, there don't seem to be as many books as there are about the vamps. 

Dragons are sexy, hell yeah they are. Just the other day while running errands I could have sworn I came across a dragon shifter. Yes, a real live dragon shifter. Some of you may think. Now that gal has totally lost her ever- loving freaking mind! No seriously. C'mon. Use a little imagination here. This is what inspired me to write about More Than Human. I've discovered several things about dragon shifters, too many to list here:

1. Whenever you're in close proximity, the heat rolls off them in waves. Yes, seriously.

2. They growl. Ever been near someone and hear them growl? I mean a deep, guttural growl??

3. They're marked with tats and symbols of their sign. 

Sometimes I see things. No, not dead people. I see energy in a person's aura. At times the energy level is normal, but man sometimes it's powerful and overwhelming...,which leads me to believe. Oh yeah, there are definitely supernatural creatures surrounding us....

Have you ever walked past a person and were immediately captivated by them? I mean you just had to stop and think…hmmm? There’s something about him/her that I just can’t put my finger on. They just seem to intrigue you a bit.

I think maybe I'm just a little intrigued or my muse may be kicking into overdrive. Yeah, I'll go with that. But, you must admit that your mind tends to wander about certain people, places or things that may cross your path. 

Thanx my friends and thank you Gracen for having silly ole me on board today.

Totally not crazy,


VelvetRoxXx Bio

I am Velvet RoxXx and I'm a debut author of erotic paranormal romance. I write of m/f and f/f characters who may find themselves in compromising positions with paranormal creatures due to their inability to control their curiosity.

More than Human Blurb

There’s something about Tori’s boss, Bane McNamara. He’s no ordinary man. Whenever he’s near, she’s driven mad with desire for him. Unfortunately for Tori, she’s not his type. At least, she thinks she isn’t. 

Dragon shifter, Bane wants Tori with every ounce of his being but he must protect her at all costs. Letting her in on his secret identity too soon may cause problems for them both. 

Thrust in a difficult situation, Bane fights to protect Tori from an old nemesis and claim her before anyone else does. However, claiming the fiery raven-haired vixen means she must fully embrace his identity while accepting an even darker secret of her own.

More than Human Excerpt

“Accept it Tori.” Bane spoke softly. “I hear your thoughts. If you weren’t my true mate, I wouldn’t be able to hear what you’re thinking.”

“You’re my Fire Mate.” He seemed to growl as he entwined his fingers in her hair. She barely winced while the man fisted a large amount of her tresses and jerked her head backwards, baring his neck to him.

“I’m confused. I—don’t understand!”

Releasing her hair, he lifted her into his arms and carried her over to the couch. “No need to understand, he spoke huskily. “Feel!” He tossed her onto the sofa and began stripping the clothes from his body.

He reached for her, almost ripping the silk robe from her body. Something seemed to push the air from her lungs as she fought for breath. Realizing she was naked as a jaybird, she covered her stomach.

“Oh no you don’t!” Bane snarled. “You need to be restrained,” he suggested in an animalistic voice. “Don’t you ever hide your body from me!”

Suddenly, a silk sash appeared, and tied her hands together. An invisible force soon had her arms above her head. Did she want to stop him? "Bane!" She didn’t recognize her voice as her own.
He gazed at her naked body as he explored her curves. While he explored her thighs, she shuddered. Tori tried sucking her stomach in when his hand glided over her tummy bulge.

“Don’t do that,” he growled against her ear. He continued the seductive exploration of her body. “By the Dragon gods, you’re such a beautiful woman.

She was shocked. Her body didn’t turn him off? She looked into his eyes, but all she saw was his desire heightening. He lingered at the faint stretch marks. Astonished, she watched as he stroked the areas lovingly, nuzzling against her flesh. She hated her stretch marks, but obviously the man worshipped her body.

Tori’s hips lifted off the couch as he kissed and licked her rounded belly. Pleasure shot through her entire body. “Bane.” She crooned. She watched as her boss continued working his way to the place she desired most. She gasped when he reached her spot. Tori almost leapt off the sofa. “Bane!” She heard him growl. This time she wasn't imagining things. Immediately, three words came to mind. Sexy. Hot. Inhuman.

More Than Human will be available sometime in March.

My Blog is