Mae Clair Presents: Deb Julienne on the Perils of Climbing Trees

Today, I’m turning my blog over to my Kesington Books/Lyrical Press sister author, Deb Julienne, who has brought along her book SEX, LIES AND BEAUTY AIDS.  Having already read it, I can vouch it’s a fun-filled story.

But before we get to her book, Deb has a comedic tale of her own to share which may give you pause the next time you consider climbing a tree. Then again . . . maybe not, considering the attention she attracted, LOL.  Take it away, Deb . . .

~ooOOoo~

Have you ever heard the saying “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” Whoever said it obviously has been following me hoping for a laugh or two.

Do I feel strong? Heck no…but I am a survivor. Sure, I occasionally have a fit, scream and yell. And yes, I do know how to throw a heck if a pity party but at the end of the day you have to find a way to crawl into bed and hope the heaven you’ll find a silver lining in the morning.

I will make no bones about it, reality bites, but I like to think I bite back as well.

If you have a perfect life you’ll hate my books. Just sayin’. But if you’re anything like me, even doing a good deed can get you into trouble. Don’t believe be? How about this for evidence:

My neighbor and I would go for a walk every day after my kids finished their homework and before I’d start dinner. NOTE: Judy and I love our plants and when we see a plant, shrub, or tree go to seed we’ve been known to take a collection and use said seeds and try to grow a seedlings.

On this particular fall day we were walking round the track at Houge Park in San Jose. Judy happened to notice her favorite tree had gone to seed and that the pods had started to dry and split open. Judy is 4’11″. I’m barely 5’3″. As the taller of the two I jumped up grabbed the bottom branch and pulled myself up in to the tree. Made sure I had a good perch and proceed to collect some good pods, dropping them to Judy.

I then lean forward to swing out of the tree…only to discover I have a major problem…I’m stuck…as in I have a freaking hole in the butt if my jeans and the broken limb of the branch I’m sitting on is holding me hostage by the hiney.

Judy looks up and says, “You like that tree or something come on down.”

“I’d love to but I’m stuck,” I said.

Laughter commences and yes, I too, am laughing, but still I’m stuck.

I reach behind me trying to gauge just how stuck I am, Judy just starts laughing harder and says, “Get your hand out of your butt before you embarrass us.”

“Us?” I said, sarcastically.

Next thing I know I see her suddenly squat and tie her shoes and she starts whispering, “Pull your legs up”…only I can’t hear her.

When I don’t do as she asks, she says a bit louder, “Pull your legs ups.” I can see enough of her face to see something is up, and yet I can see her shoulders shaking, she’s laughing her fool head off.

I’m am so not amused.

Now as trees go, this is a big tree and it’s full, so I can’t see clearly around me.

I ask Judy, “What’s so important down there?” I mean how long does it take to tie a shoe?

She stands up and practically shouts, “Pull your legs up.”

About this time I notice two additional sets of shoes, one on either side of her.

Did I forget or mention that the fire department does their exercising at the park several says a week…yeah you guessed it. The guys part the branches of the tree and ask, “Need some help?”

Judy has lost it by then, collapsed on the grass holding her stomach. Me, I’m stuck in freaking tree with two gorgeous fireman asking if I need help. What’s a girl to do?

I lied of course I told them I had just put a baby bird back in its nest. There were no nests in that tree. Yes, I looked.

Finally, I managed to get my feet under me then yanked with all my might pulling myself into a squat and my britches free from the broken branch…but not without tearing my jeans more. Yes you could hear the rip, noticeably so.

How do I know this? Judy’s laughter has grown, escalating into hysteria. The guys, eye crinkling, lips twitching, trying their best to force a straight face and politely help me swing down to safety. Bless their hearts, they made it all of three feet before they exploded into fits of laughter.

Judy got her seeds. Me – just a nice case of humiliation.

Again I say…life is just one big walk in the park…NOT!

Deb
PS. Stay away from trees, they bite!

~ooOOoo~Lovely young couple having fun in the bedroom

Blurb SEX, LIES AND BEAUTY AIDS
Sex, lies, and beauty aides finally earn the girl next door a little respect.

Sabrina Thompson, editor of Skin Deep Magazine’s successful Natural Beauty Secrets column, is handed the challenge of her life. Take over the Love and Sex column or lose her job. What does a twenty-four year old virgin know about love or sex when she’s never been on a third date? To complicate matters, there’s a new guy at the helm. Her only crush’s clone is issuing orders.While his pompous and ambitious twin dries out, playboy and ne’er-do-well Trent Wellington must assume his identity and save his family’s flailing magazine. The bright spot amid staff cuts and content restructuring is the plucky editor he once made a fool of himself in front of at a family gathering. Fooling everyone isn’t easy, especially when Sabrina inspires his true self to be more than he ever has.

Years of hearing she’s too nice to date have left Sabrina’s frustration simmering. It boils over when she discovers Trent’s deceit and she vows to make him pay. Getting even has never been so much fun.

CONTENT WARNING: mature language, sexual situations

Purchase from:
All Romance 

Amazon Kindle 
Google 
iTunes
Kobo
Nook

About the author:
While some say truth is stranger than fiction, Deb Julienne’s experience runs more along the lines of slap-stick comedy. She believes when life tosses you lemons it’s best to turn it into Limoncello.

Baking, gardening, and writing help fill the leftover space of the day job.
As a teen of the 70’s, some of her most precious memories are enough to make her laugh out loud. She considers herself lucky to have had many friends and partners in crime, stretching the boundaries along the way. Life has been known to take U-turn at a moment’s notice dropping her into a compost heap.

Born and raised in San Jose, California, she now resides in the Tahoe National Forest Basin, her own bit of heaven on earth, with her husband of 33 years, with three sons and one daughter, and two very precocious grandkids.

Connect with Deb at the following haunts:
Website 

Blog 
Twitter: @debjulienne
Facebook 
Goodreads

Mae Clair Presents: Sharon Struth and Share the Moon

Today, I’m welcoming Sharon Struth to my blog with her new release, SHARE THE MOON, one of my lovely sister authors with Kensington Books/Lyrical Press.

Sharon, please tell us about your new release. 

It’s about a small-town on a big lake and a woman who wants to buy some vineyard property…but she wants the land for more than one reason. Here’s a blurb:

Sometimes trust is the toughest lesson to learn. 

Sophie Shaw is days away from signing a contract that will fulfill her dream of owning a vineyard. For her, it’s a chance to restart her life and put past tragedies to rest. But Duncan Jamieson’s counter offer blows hers out to sea.

Duncan still finds Sophie as appealing as he had during boyhood vacations to the lake. Older and wiser now, he has his own reasons for wanting the land. His offer, however, hinges on a zoning change approval.

Bribery rumors threaten the deal and make Sophie wary of Duncan, yet she cannot deny his appeal. When her journalistic research uncovers a Jamieson family secret, trust becomes the hardest lesson for them both.

ShareTheMoon600x900

It sounds intriguing. I really like the mention of a family secret, a plot thread that always appeals to me. How did you choose your title?

Share the Moon is set on Blue Moon Lake. Sophie has lived on the lake her whole life, but not because of choice, but rather circumstances have kept her there. She learns a lesson along the way in this story, that sometimes the life we’ve been handed and share with others is the one we’re meant to live.

We know your book is worthy of the silver screen. If a production company scooped up the movie rights, who would you cast in the lead roles as your hero and heroine? 

Duncan Jamieson is my modern day Scottish fantasy. Sorry, no kilts, ladies, but if I were to cast this as a film Scottish actor Kevin McKidd would be asked in for an audition, pronto! Sophie Shaw has always appeared to me as this photo of Julianna Margulies.

Oooh, very nice choices! And now for a few questions about you. :)

What is your favorite season?
Fall, hands down! I’m chomping at the bit right now for those husky, crisp and cool autumn nights.

Favorite animal?
Dogs. My neighbors call me the dog whisperer, but I just love dogs.

Food you never grow tired of?
Cheese. Any kind of cheese. Cheese preferably with wine.

Are you a night owl or morning lark?
Morning lark. My sister is a night owl and once she was talking to me after 11 p.m. I fell asleep and woke up to find her gone and a wee bit angry.

Casual or dressy?
Casual, all the way, sandals and jeans if possible. No coat or socks, either. I live in New England, so obviously I must put them on at some point. But I hold out until my toes are frozen.

LOL! I love your answers. And I’m so jealous you live in New England. The history in that area has always been a huge draw for me. I’m right there with you in looking forward to the return of autumn. Summer is my favorite season, but fall is a close second. I bet it’s spectacular in your part of the country.  

Thanks for being my guest today, Sharon. I wish you much success with Share the Moon 

S0104078You can connect with Sharon Struth at the following haunts:
Website
Musings from the Middle Ages & More
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter: @sharonstruth

Recommendations for Share the Moon: 

“Heart-tugging small town romance with real emotion. Struth is an author to watch!” —Laura Drake, author of RITA-award winning The Sweet Spot  

“Superb… throw in a hunky dad, a small town and a savvy heroine who gets the job done and you’ve got me hooked!” —Rachel Brimble, author of A Man like Him

Purchase Share the Moon from:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kensington Books
Kobo
Google Books 

Mae Clair Presents: Gemma Brocato with Exposed to Passion #romance #contemporary

I am blogging with Sara Walter Ellwood today, so if you get a chance, please pop over and say hello. In the meantime . . .

She’s baaack!  I love having Gemma Brocato visit my blog, so naturally, when I heard she had a new release coming up, I invited her over to chat. Please say hello to this talented, extremely supportive, and friendly writer again! 

It’s great to have you back, Gemma. Let’s start off with what attracts you most to your chosen genre. Please share! 


To be completely honest, I chose to write in Contemporary Romance because I’m lazy by nature. I love to read historical novels, but the amount of research involved in making sure the details are correct must be monumental. I prefer to spend my time getting the details of emotion right, not how a lady in ancient times got dressed, or ran her household, or the social order of who gets to sit above the salt. Makes me tired just thinking about it.

LOL! I admit I enjoy doing a fair amount of research when it comes to novel writing, but could never tackle a full blown historical for exactly the reason you mentioned—the time involved. Right now I’m working on a novel set in 1983. Not an excessive amount of research, but I have to remember cell phones didn’t exist and the pop culture was considerably different. When I screw something up, I have two critique partners to rein me in. How about you? Do you have a critique partner and how has that been beneficial to you?

I have several critique partners and I love what they bring to my writing. Each person involved offers something completely different. Some line edit, some provide development type of expertise, and some are just fantastic cheerleaders. When we brainstorm ideas with each other, it’s magic. They’ve helped make my books better.

Good for you! It sounds like you’ve got a great group behind you. I’m sure they helped with valuable feedback when you were working on your new release, EXPOSED TO PASSION. I’d love more details.

EXPOSED TO PASSION releases on October 20, and is the third book in the Five Senses Series (It’s on pre-order right now). This novel is based on sight. I’ve matched a traveling photography exhibit curator, Rikki Salerno, with a high school teacher and photography club sponsor, Sam Kerrigan.  I threw in a bullied student and a woman who was a bully as a young girl and never broke the cycle. She made things very interesting. I was so happy to finally write Sam’s story. He’s been begging me for it since I first met him in Cooking Up Love. The nice thing about this series is that each book stands alone. The characters and town are consistent, but you definitely don’t have to have read either of the first two to pick up the third.
ETP Cover

I really enjoyed the first two and am looking forward to Sam’s story. The plot sounds wonderful and I love your heroine’s name. Without giving too much away, tell us a bit about your favorite scene.

There is a scene where a mean girl takes a prank against another student, Katie, too far by feeding the unsuspecting girl a brownie laced with drugs. The scene details Katie’s reaction to the drugs. I borrowed the scene from something that happened once in an airport when I was traveling. Once the paramedics, airport police and the air marshal all left the area, I knew I had to use what I’d seen in a book.

That must have been harrowing in the airport! It’s amazing the things we file away as writers to use later. Share one sentence – - yes, only one! – - of dialogue or description you love.

Oh my gosh – that’s hard. In a scene where Sam is arguing with his brother, Jack Kerrigan unleashes this little zinger. “You’ve been hanging out on planet Uranus too much lately…you’re turning into a real asshole.” Oh, those boys!

Such a guy remark, and definitely a good one.  Score for Jack! :D  Now to completely change things up, if someone gave you a working time machine tomorrow, where would you visit and why?
I’d probably go back England around 2500 B.C. I really want to know how Stonehenge was built.

Ooo, please tell me when you find out! Remember, I’m the one who pointed you in the direction of the time machine, LOL. 

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother:
Does it come with a time machine? No? Well then, it would have to be Mauritius. I’d love to see that island nation because every picture I’ve seen looks incredible.

Favorite season: That a toss up between fall and winter.

Favorite type of music: Classic rock and roll. I’ve been on a kick lately with 70s and 80s music.

Favorite TV show: The Big Bang Theory. Love seeing what these characters get up to.

Favorite ice cream flavor: Kroger used to make one called Death By Chocolate. Yum! We don’t have that store here, so I haven’t had it in years. But I’m not much of an ice cream eater anyway.

Winter?!?! Seriously? Fall, I can see, but the white stuff only looks nice to me in December. ;-) And I love 70s music—80s too, but I’m very partial to 70s. That really takes me back to some fun days. 

Gemma, it was great having you visit as always. I’ll be looking forward to the continuation of your Five Senses series with Sam and Rikki’s story in EXPOSED TO PASSION! 

You can connect with Gemma at the following haunts:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads
Google+

Author, Gemma BrocatoAuthor Bio:
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; someday she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying.

After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.

Blurb EXPOSED TO PASSION: 

They walked through the shadows individually. Will they emerge into the light together? 

Leading a vagabond life as a curator for a traveling photography exhibit translates to a lot of bad days for Rikki Salerno. But her trouble doubles when a careless high school student shoves her into a marsh. Being rescued by teacher Sam Kerrigan should have made things better, but Rikki’s inability to confess her true identity casts a shadow over their budding affair.

When Sam refuses an overly aggressive parent’s marriage proposal, she’s determined to ruin him. Not only does she doctor photos to make it look like Sam’s behaved inappropriately in front of students, she hacks the foundation website to reveal Rikki’s true identity. Faster than the blink of a shutter, Rikki’s focus changes from pursuing her full-color future to the black and white necessity of clearing Sam’s name.

Purchase/Pre-Order EXPOSED TO PASSION from:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kensington Books

Also By Gemma Brocato:
Cooking Up Love
Hearts In Harmony 

Mae Clair Presents: Feminist or goddess – why must women choose? by Cate Masters

Please welcome my guest blogger for the day, Cate Masters with her new release GODDESS, AWAKENED. In connection with her novel, she has an intriguing post to share about how women should be treated and how they view themselves. Check it out!

~ooOOoo~

Feminist or goddess – why must women choose?
by Cate Masters

A funny thing happened during the release party for Goddess, Awakened. At first, we were having fun, discussing mythological goddesses and favorite authors and books.

Then someone asked if my book promoted feminism. The question confused me at the time. Here was my answer:

“Not at all. The theme encourages women to empower themselves by accepting who they truly are and strengthening their unique talents. All things positive.”

Maybe I should explain why I began writing this series, The Goddess Connection, which will all be paranormals/fantasies based in mythology, all stand-alones, each based on a different goddess.

I love empowering women. Celebrating their uniqueness. Each of us have talents or skills we might view as quirks, and maybe we even dislike ourselves because of them. Or maybe we simply ignore them to fit into a more standardized life where we go through the motions but don’t really feel fulfilled.

In each of these books, the heroine will have lifelong quirks that she sees as detrimental, but by the end, she’ll learn that these quirks are actually strengths. They help define her as an individual, and that’s not a bad thing.

So it saddened me that, when I read the answers to one of the questions I posed at the party, “Do you think women should be treated like goddesses?” and some said no. Some argued women shouldn’t be put on a pedestal – and I agreed:

“that’s definitely not the message I want to send. As I mentioned above, the idea is *not* to put women on a pedestal or treat them as divas, but to value who they are in all their flaws, unique beauty, and talents. The theme of the Goddess Connection is for women to nurture that in themselves, too, and not let others devalue us. I hope that makes sense.”

And then I saw this article on HuffPost: “Women Against Feminism is a Thing. And We’re Confused.” http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/07/14/women-against-feminism-tumblr-facebook-_n_5585163.html

I’m definitely confused too. Obviously, these young women have the wrong idea about feminism. Maybe they picture a militant society where females are barely distinguishable from males, some sci-fi interpretation that skews the real meaning. To me, feminism honors the struggle and hardships women endured to receive basic rights that should be afforded any human. To vote. To have an education. To choose for themselves how to live their lives. To better themselves in whatever way that appeals to them.

Lately, I’ve been seeing the term thrown around pretty freely, and it’s disturbing. Another article claimed the Starz series based on Diana Gabaldon’s work was the “feminist” answer to Game of Thrones. Why do journalists feel the need to pit one show against another? One gender against another? (Yes, I know – to boost ratings)

The HuffPost article put the question about a feminist label for my books in perspective, and if someone asks again, I’ll have to better qualify my answer.

Yes, to be a goddess means to embrace your best self. The only way to do that is by freeing yourself from restraints, either from outside or originating in yourself.

In my mind, the same definition applies to feminism.

And if you’re interested in The Goddess Connection, the first book is now available from Kensington Publishing’s Lyrical Press imprint. Here’s a bit more to tease your imagination:

Goddess-Awakened-MEDThe Goddess Connection Book 1
Goddess, Awakened
Blurb 

With a little help from a goddess, battling evil is a piece of cake for Jocelyn Gibson.

A descendant of the goddess Iris, Jocelyn Gibson may have forgotten about the realm of magic, but it hasn’t forgotten her. When Eric Hendricks is targeted by a demon, Joss must step in to battle the evil and save the town’s awkward, but endearing, vet…who also happens to be the man she loves.

Joss’s new inn, a culinary career specializing in cooking with lavender and a new love all make for a fine recipe of disaster. She needs to embrace her inner goddess and harness the powers she never knew she had before it’s too late.

Mini excerpt
In starting her life over, Joss had expected some resistance, even some trouble, but not this. The bedroom floor boards trembled beneath her golden-slippered feet. Tendrils of an unseen power curled upward from deep within the ground, tingling through her toes. She paused to steady herself, then continued to put the finishing touches on her costume. The tremors grew into rumbles and their hum seeped beneath her skin. When their tiny wisps twined through her mind, she clenched her hands. Enough. Go away.

Thick as starlight on a clear summer’s eve, sweet as the lavender blossoms she had yet to plant, energy whooshed up through the cracks of the worn wood and out into the October night.

She gripped the bureau until it passed, the vibrations rolling over her in lessening waves. Bubbly, effervescent waves. “Third time tonight, Taz.” Each departure took longer, and more of the essence remained.

When the dog whined, she stroked his fur. “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt you.”

Even if tonight the waves were palpable enough to make her hairs stand on end. Oh, no, please.

Nothing could ruin tonight. More than a party, this event would determine her future. And after three years of grief, she’d never allow anything to trap her in its clutches again.

Goddess, Awakened
The Goddess Connection, Book 1
Fantasy/paranormal romance novel
About 89,700 words
Purchase from:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance eBooks | Kensington 

About the Author
Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com  and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Connect with Cate Masters at the following haunts:
Website
Email: cate.masters@gmail.com
Facebook
Twitter:  @CateMasters

Book video Link 

Mae Clair Presents: Jessi Gage with Jade’s Spirit #ParanormalRomance #Giveaway

I’m delighted to welcome another fantabulous author to my blog today. Jessi Gage has been burning up the romance best-seller charts with her Highland Wishes series and her Blue Collar Boyfriend series.

Her newest release, which is poised to hit online retailers any day, is a unique paranormal romance. I had the pleasure of reading the first half JADE’S SPIRIT in development stages and can’t wait to see how it turns out.

To celebrate her newest release, Jessi is doing a giveaway. Check out the deets at the bottom of her post on how to enter.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll welcome Jessi as she explains what makes JADE’S SPIRIT such an unusual read and what compelled her to write it.

~ooOOoo~

Thank you for having me, Mae! I’m so excited to share my new release JADE’S SPIRIT with your readers today!

I’m more nervous about this release than I’ve ever been before. It’s not your typical romance. Then again, I don’t really write typical romance. I’ve got a virginal hero (nothing new for me), some ghosts (again, nothing new), a heroine with a troubled past (still nothing new there). But where I diverge from my usual voice is in the message.

I’m a Christian, but I don’t usually write about faith in my books. In my own life, faith plays a huge role every day. But when I read fiction, I’m not looking to be preached at or have my faith challenged or tested. I just want to escape. So that’s what I try to do in my books: provide a pleasurable escape for my readers.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not anti-inspy (inspirational romance or Christian fiction), I just never intended to write books with an explicit Christian message. I read them on occasion, but never felt compelled to write one.

Jade’s Spirit felt different  from the get-go. First of all, it’s based on a real life experience my mother had in her childhood home. She saw a ghost. And it attacked her brother, my uncle Bob. Prayer made it go away. This comes into play in the story I found pouring onto the pages as I thought about who this ghost might be and what it might want. Spiritual oppression and hauntings play a huge role in Jade’s journey as she learns what it takes to fight the supernatural.https://maeclair.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/jessigage_jadesspirit_1400px.jpg

Then there was Emmett. Virginal heroes are nothing new to me. But Emmett is the first character I’ve written who is incredibly like my husband and me. We drink beer. We listen to rock music. We love horror movies. We make inappropriate jokes…and we love Jesus. There aren’t many evangelical Christians who choose to live life the way we do or tolerate those who do. Emmett is like us. He’s…cool and accepting. And he loves Jesus.

I don’t know if a lot of people are going to “get” Emmett. I hope I’ve made him endearing and attractive (he certainly is those things to me), but this character might end up falling flat or being confusing to some readers. Don’t expect a stereotype with Emmett. He’s not your typical “Bible thumper.” He’s sexy, confident, funny, independent, and an unapologetic Christian. Kind of like me and my husband.

I think there are a lot of us sexy, fun-loving Christians out there, and I’m hoping Jade’s Spirit finds its way into the hands of people who will be able to relate to Emmett’s struggle: wanting to obey God and keep it in his pants” but also being honest with himself about the temptations of life. It’s not easy to follow God. Sometimes we make mistakes.

So, yeah, I’m nervous about this one. I read books with main characters who are atheist, wiccan, practice menage, all kinds of things that I, personally, wouldn’t do. But it’s fun to read about people who do things differently and have different beliefs. I hope the Christian message in Jade’s Spirit offers people who don’t share my beliefs a glimpse into my faith without beating them over the head with it. I hope it’s entertaining! That’s what this writing thing is all about!

Thanks for reading! And thanks, Mae, for having me! It’s always a blast to chat with your readers!

GIVEAWAY ALERT:
I want to hear ghost stories or favorite ghost tales from you guys. Leave a comment with something ghost related in it, and I’ll enter you to win an e-copy of Jade’s Spirit.

Author, Jessi GageConnect with Jessi Gage at the following haunts:
website | blog | newsletter sign-up | Twitter (@jessigage)

For information on when JADE’S SPIRIT will be released, check Jessi’s website or add to your TRB on Goodreads!

Mae Clair Presents: Carmen Stefanescu and Paranormal Romanian Folklore

In the spirit of Mythical Monday, Carmen Stefanescu, my guest today, arrives with shiver-inducing tales of Romanian Folklore. Carmen is the author of SHADOWS OF THE PAST, a paranormal romance available now. I invited her to share some legends from her native Romania, where she resides and pens her stories. Please welcome Carmen to my blog.

~ooOOoo~

Paranormal Romanian Folklore
by Carmen Stefanescu

Though Dracula, the infamous vampire, comes from my country, there are other “spooky” things around here. I thank my host for the suggestion she made to me to write a guest post on paranormal folklore in Romania. An interesting topic indeed, especially that there is an abundance of beliefs and superstitions coming along generations, from the mist of times: Ielele (a kind of nymphs), The Living Fire (leaping flames coming out of the earth), The Fate Heralds, The Forest Shrew, The Gentles’ Easter are just a few that come to my mind. I’ll enlarge only on the first two I’ve mentioned above, as I don’t want to bore you.

Romanian folklore is dominated by a main theme regarding the magic, paranormal things happening on two nights: St. Andrew’s eve and Sanziene’s night. The sky’s gates open and witches are ready to get in touch with the spirits.

Ielele are considered as wicked/bad fairies. They have no flesh body and are seen as ghostly apparitions. They are always merry, mischievous and dance draped in white silk, wearing flower wreaths on their heads. The earth beneath their feet is burned and grass will rarely grow again. If it grows, it will have a dark color and cattle will not graze it. The only plant that grows, on the place these fairies dance on, is a mushroom called  “the fairies’ spoon”. People refer to the wicked fairies as deities who, if bothered during their dance, will harm the intruders turning them deaf or dumb. Wearing cloves of garlic at the belt may prevent such misfortunes to happen.

The living fire or the fire that comes out of the earth is said to be a sign that, beneath it, there’s a treasure. People speak of the Dacians’ gold, hidden in the underground. The flames do not harm the people and this mysterious fire can be seen on special nights, like the eve of St Andrew or on Sanziene’s night. (Sanziene is the only pagan celebration included in the Christian  Orthodox calendar and is always on 24th June. People say that the name Sanziene would come from the Roman goddess Diana. Sanziene are fairies who may help people find their soul mates, or get good crops all along the year. Others say the name Sanziene comes from a kind of yellow field flowers with a sweet fragrance.)

On these two nights, young men keep vigil on certain areas, where they noticed the fire before, and if they see the flames they mark the place and then, the following day, they come and dig. If they find the treasure, they must leave some coins of gold in that place, otherwise the curse put on the treasure will follow them.  The treasure finders must bring this offering to the Earth’s Dog, the one who is said to guard the treasure. Old people speak about reckless young folks who disobeyed the warning and, mastered by unexplained greed, took the whole treasure without leaving any offering. The curse soon affected them and they lost both the treasure and their life.

Well, I haven’t seen any of the above but I won’t say all these are just figments of people’s imagination. You know the saying: “Without a fire there’s no smoke.” I do believe in ghosts, reincarnation and karmic retribution too. You’ll find these in my paranormal romance Shadows of the Past, released by Wild Child Publishing.

I really appreciate being hosted on your blog today, Mae!

Author Carmen Stefanescu holding an open bookAUTHOR BIO
Carmen Stefanescu was born in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books.

She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989 and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.

Connect with Carmen at the following haunts:
Website and Blog
Facebook
Twitter @Carmen_Books
Pinterest

shadowsofthepastbkSHADOWS OF THE PAST
Publish date
: 4th December 2012
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing
Genre: Paranormal/Light Romance/lLight Horror.

Anne’s relationship with her boyfriend Neil has disintegrated. After a two-year separation, they pack for a week vacation in hopes of reconciling. But fate has other plans for them.

The discovery of a bejeweled cross and ancient human bones opens a door to a new and frightening world–one where the ghost of a medieval nun named Genevieve will not let Anne rest. This new world threatens not only to ruin Anne and Neil’s vacation but to end all hopes of reconciliation as Anne feels compelled to help free Genevieve’s soul from its torment.

Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve find her eternal rest?

A touching, compelling story of tragedy, loss and the power of endless love and good magic.

The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.

Purchase SHADOWS OF THE PAST from:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Wild Child Publishing
All Romance Books

View the Book Trailer for SHADOWS OF THE PAST

Mae Clair Presents: Lauren Marie and One Touch at Cob’s Bar and Grill

Hello, friends. I’d like to introduce you to a new author today. Lauren Marie is originally from Boulder Colorado and grew up in Las Vegas Nevada where her father taught business and finance at the university. She has a new release, and has dropped by today to share the details. Please say hello! 

Lauren, tell us a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

When I lived in Las Vegas, there was a girl who lived across the street who was about four years older than me. When I was eleven or twelve years old, she was in high school and writing short stories for an English class. She wrote the greatest scary story about an evil black cat and I thought how cool is that?  I started writing down my own stories around that time. I’ve kept a notebook with me ever since.

Isn’t it amazing how ideas can strike you at any point of the day? Do you have a favorite place and/or time to write?

My best time to write is during the daytime hours and into the evening. I’m not a morning person and find it hard to function before I’ve had half a pot of coffee, at least. I’ve also been known to get an idea at two in the morning and found out if I don’t write it down immediately the idea will be gone by morning. As I wrote, I keep a notebook with me all the time and will write if I’m waiting at the doctor or dentist, or I’m meeting someone at a restaurant or movie theater and they haven’t shown up yet. I’ve made notes on the back of old envelopes or slips of paper from my purse. Really the only time I can’t think straight is first thing in the morning.

LOL! I hate early morning, but once I get into the shower, I’m much more of a lark than night owl. When it comes to plotter vs panster which are you?

I do outline a story and I’d say on some of my stories I’m about fifty-fifty with the original outline. Sometimes, though, the only thing that matches the outline is the name of the characters. The original outline for Love’s Touch – Then and Now – took place in Omaha Nebraska. The hero was an orthopedic surgeon from Ireland and my heroines’ father was a surgeon at the Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln Medical Center. In the book, when it was released, the hero is an auto-mechanic and teacher in Everett, the father is a stock broker and the story moved to Western Washington. I originally started that story in the 1980s; as I changed so did some of the elements in the book. However, the basic reincarnation story stayed the same.

Those are definitely some interesting changes! What attracts you most to your chosen genre?

For many years, I wanted to write the ultimate thriller-suspense story. I had one that developed a mystery around the flesh eating bacteria’s, and another about the test dogs at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Eastern Washington. Then there were the senior citizens playing Bridge who were going to take over the world from Black Diamond, Washington. It wasn’t until about 2008, and after I’d read a couple of books by Gena Showalter and Karen Moning, that I thought how much fun it would be to write romance w/ ghosts, witches and paranormal. Once I started the first story I was bitten to the max and haven’t looked back since. Although, I still think I could do the Hanford dogs or the Soap Lady ghost from Lake Crescent in a paranormal romance somehow, but I’m not going there just yet.

Are you a draft writer or do you polish as you go?

I usually write a story out by long-hand first. That way I don’t have to mess with punctuation and grammar to much. I then start putting it into the computer and edit as I go. That’s all just to get the basic idea down. After it’s in the computer I start adding and subtracting, proofreading and shifting things around. I like to call it the Paragraph Shuffle, a basic two-step. Eventually, I’ve read through it so many times that I need to get away from it and give it to my reader who is great at finding holes and typo’s that I missed. I do put in a lot of time with a story, but all of the above is the fun part for me.

Please tell us about your new/upcoming release.

I just had a short story released last week. It’s title is One Touch at Cob’s Bar and Grill and it’s the third short story of the Ranch Series, put out by Books To Go, Now. I worked with four other authors, Casey Dawes, Amber Daulton, Julie Kavanagh and Dawn Luedecke. My story takes place in Willow Creek, Montana at Cob’s Bar and Grill. My heroine Anna Sheets has been running from her philandering husband for two years. The husband hired a private investigator, Sam Crawford, to find her and bring her back to Boise, Idaho. Sam’s followed Anna from place to place and wants her for his own. When he catches up with her in Willow Creek it’s not to take her back to her husband, but to deliver divorce papers. Will Anna accept Sam or run again?

One Touch

This fall my first venture with contemporary romance will come out. It’s the first of the Canon City Series – Love’s Embers. The hero and heroine, Charlie and Lark, first met when they were eight years old and became best friends. When they were fifteen years old a terrible tragedy tears Charlie from his best friend. The story takes place in present day. It’s thirteen years later and Charlie finally comes home. He finds Lark very angry at him and as much as he tries to smooth things over with her it only gets worse. Lark has a secret. Six months earlier a terrible thing happened to her and her anger has affected the way she treats friends and family around her. Will Charlie and Lark be able to forgive the past and rebuild the embers into flame?

Which character did you enjoy writing the most and why?

I have to say Charlie Stone from Love’s Embers. I know my characters aren’t real people, but when I start to cry because of the characters back story that I made up, it gives them a special place in my heart. Sentimental much? Yes. Demented, you ask? Probably. I do cry over characters.

I’ve been known to get teary-eyed a time or too as well. How did you choose your setting and was there research involved?

I’m originally from Colorado. My family moved from there when I was about a year old. I’ve only ever been back once since then and did a lot of research just to find the area I wanted to place the story. I bought maps of the state, geographical and the highways. When I found out that the tallest foot bridge in the United States was just outside of Canon City I decided it was the perfect place for the story, that and rafting on the Arkansas River. I’ve always had a romantic feel about Colorado.

When you’re not writing what do you enjoy doing?

I’m a TV-aholic and a re-watcher. I have certain DVD’s that I love to re-watch and sometimes check out stuff from the library. I also like to work outside in my small yard. Nothing helps my writing process more than pulling weeds. I have my own ghost hunting crew and we periodically get together for some interesting hunts.

You’re braver than I am! I love reading paranormal, but would never be brave enough to go on a ghost hunt. Do you have a guilty pleasure?

I’m an ice cream fiend and actually love Brussel sprouts.

Awesome! I love Brussel sprouts too. Actually more than ice cream. :) What is your ideal romantic date?

Candle light, soft music, cool breeze off the ocean or in a mountain valley. Holding hands and walking on the beach, or holding hands at the movies.

Each one sounds wonderful. Name a book that had a profound effect on you.

It’s actually the Fever series by Karen Moning. It’s the only time, ever, I’ve actually fallen in absolute attraction for a character. I even named one of my cats Jericho. It also gave me the boost I needed when I worked on The Men of Haller Lake Trilogy. I figured if she could do it with Unseelie and Seelie, I could do it with Lake Guardians.

Do you have any pets?

I have four cats – Agamemnon, Tazmania, Jericho and Jasper and they are the coolest pets ever. I’ve nicknamed them the Gang of Four. In the Haller Lake Trilogy, I have a baby-shape-shifter, Otter, who shifts into a black cat so he can get out of his crib and sneak around. His cat character is based on my four kits.

How cute. What is your dream vacation?

Scotland on the Scottish Haunted Castle tour. I’d love to see Edinborough, Inverness, Aberdeen – Duncan and Connor McLeod live.

Favorite type of music?

I have eclectic tastes, I love classic rock, kick ass fiddle players, classical, Irish folk, blue grass and zydeco, some jazz and easy listening.

I love a good fiddle player and Irish folk! It was great to have you as my guest today, Lauren, and I wish you much success with your releases! 

Lauren MarieAuthor Bio
Lauren Marie lives with her four cats in Western Washington State. She is the author of One Touch at Cob’s Bar and Grill from the Ranch Series, Love’s Touch – Then and Now, Going to Another Place and The Men of Haller Lake – Trilogy.

Although, she has been focusing her current efforts in the paranormal romance, time-travel and reincarnation genres, she is currently working on continuing the Canon City Series. The first book – Love’s Ember’s – will be out this fall 2014.

When she isn’t pounding the keys, she is an amateur paranormal investigator. She formed her own group in 2006 to hunt ghosts and some unusual experiences have put in an appearance in some of her stories.

Lauren likes to receive feedback. If you want to send her likes and dislikes, you can write to her at laurenmariebooks@ gmail.com or themenofhallerlake@hotmail.com. She does respond to feedback.

Connect with Lauren Marie at the following haunts:
Website and Blog
Facebook
Goodreads 
 

Book blurb
ONE TOUCH AT COB’S BAR AND GRILL
Anna Sheets has been running from her ex-husband for two years. She’s been up and down the west and mid-western states, but finally finds a town, Willow Creek, Montana and job she likes and doesn’t want to give it up. The people are nice and for the first time she feels safe.

Sam Crawford, P.I., was hired by Anna’s husband a year and half ago. He’s found her in several different locations, but has lost her each time.

Until he caught up with her in Truckee, Nevada, were they had an explosive one night stand that left them both breathless and re-evaluating the circumstances.

Now, he’s found her again and, instead of her running away, he wants her to run to him. He wants to help her learn how to trust and feel safe again.

Purchase ONE TOUCH AT COB’S BAR AND GRILL from:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Books To Go Now