Wizards with Words: Mary E. Merrell and Soul in Present Condition #G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y

bigstock-magic-book-9719930Welcome to another Wizards with Words interview — With a fab giveaway!

Stay tuned for the deets later in this post. For now I’d like to introduce Mary E. Merrell who will be sharing her latest release in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery series. 

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I’m a real estate girl (have been since 1988) and am pretty gone on all things strange and weird. Sounds like a good fit for this series, right? (I’ve been in a few vacant spooky houses in the course of my career).

I’m already invested in book one of Mary’s intriguing series and am looking forward to reading all three. Please say hello to Mary!

~ooOOoo~

Mary, Please share a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.  

I’ve been writing for over ten years now. I was a stay at home mom with two sons and I told myself a lot of stories while I cleaned and did mom stuff. About the time I went into real estate, we got our first computer and I attempted to put one of those stories down. It was a lot harder than I expected, but I was hooked. I took some writing classes and joined a writer’s group. I loved it! Then I went into that vacant home, and a compelling story about a newbie real estate agent and a ghost developed. When I’m not writing, I love to grow things, and my husband and I have a small business making vertical frames for succulents. I try to exercise consistently, (ha, good one) and I love reading and playing soccer. Almost time to retire from soccer…again. My team calls me Brett Favre.

You sound extremely busy! When you do find time to write, do you have a favorite place and/or time of day for flexing your creative muscles? (Sorry, couldn’t resist the exercise connection :)).

My favorite time to write is early in the morning. I love to get up, feed the animals and get a cup of coffee and write away, but if I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, the dogs and I go for a run first. I should be doing my crunches and pushups too, but lately I’ve been shirking. Just ask my pants. I write in the office. Usually surrounded by the dogs and cats.

Pets make a perfect patient audience when writing. And I can so relate to the exercise guilt. If it weren’t for my pool routine, I’d be woefully behind. Going back to your writing habits, when it comes to being a plotter vs. panster, I think even plotters veer from their outline to a degree during the process. When you finish a novel, how closely would you say the end product resembles your original concept — 100%? 50%? Something else entirely? series-lineup I just recently read this term, panster on a blog. I have to say I am definitely a panster, if it means writing by the seat of your pants. (Just figured that out as I was typing) My current release, Soul in Present Condition is completely different from the original draft. I changed the killer, had to add new chapters and delete others. As I really think about this, most of my final drafts probably resemble only 50% of the original concept.

I can most certainly relate to that, being a dyed-in-the-wool panster for many years running. Are you a draft writer or someone who invests a lot of time in editing and polishing as you write? Why does your method work best for you? 

I like to write the book all a one time. Straight through. I’ve written one book a year for the last four years for the NaNoWrimo, and this year, hopefully will be no different. Then the book sits until I can get back and revise it. This works well for me because I don’t do extensive plotting. I have a loose outline that I follow, but it could change drastically as I write. That does mean I have to go back and fill a lot of holes and flesh out the story threads and make sure everything is consistent when I revise. Sometimes, like Soul in Present Condition it hardly looks like the original book at all. front_v1

Speaking of Soul in Present Condition, please tell us a bit about it.

Soul in Present Condition is book #3 in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series. This was a fun book to write. I changed it a lot, because I had a great idea for a twist. Rosemary Fernandes is a new real estate agent and her business is building, in spite of ghosts lurking in any home she might show. She knows how to deal with the lost souls that are drawn to her, how to help them move on.

Unfortunately, her gift attracts the undead as well. Now, Rosemary is human servant to a vampire. Marcus Lyons is…difficult but gorgeous. Rosemary doesn’t understand this strange relationship with the vampire, but the more she gets to know him the more human he seems, and the more she finds herself seeing the good in him.

When Rosemary meets a young ghost, all sarcastic and gangster, she has a plan, but this ghost keeps a secret, a deadly secret. Rosemary knows his soul will go on, even in its present condition, but she must convince the vampire that her destiny is helping the spirits that call to her, no matter how dangerous.

In this book, Rosemary’s relationship with her boyfriend, Frank Perez heats up. She realizes her friends and family are in danger just being around her. She wants to tell them her secret, but first she must get permission. As the ghost, the vampire and her friends come together to solve this latest mystery, the dynamics of her life change drastically and nothing will ever be the same.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I loved writing it.

It sounds fascinating! Without giving too much away, please share a bit about your favorite scene.

There are so many little things that I love. I know, I wrote it, but it still tickles me. But I think my favorite scene is with Rosemary and Frank, talking about what’s going to happen with their relationship. Is Frank going to stick around and work for the vampire Marcus Lyons or let the vampire wipe his memory, so he forgets everything, including Rosemary? It’s tender and heartwarming and ends with Rosemary and Frank making the most of a night alone.

I can see why it would be your favorite scene. How about sharing the first three sentences of your book?

I never take clients into a home I haven’t previewed. You never know what you’re going to stumble into. Like a ghost.

Love that! Now share one sentence – - yes, only one! – - of dialogue or description you love.

This isn’t really dialogue, well, internal dialogue then. It’s one of my favorites. “This feud they had with Marcus was going to be the death of me, because if dying of embarrassment was possible, I’d already be a corpse.”

LOL! Very nice! Poor Rosemary. And now for a bit about Mary. When  you’re not writing (or reading) what do you do to unwind?

I do a lot of gardening. Love growing things, and I run and play soccer.

I know you mentioned your pets before. Pets and writers seem to go together like peas in a pod. Tell us about yours and whether or not they shadow your writing time and space. 

I have two dogs and four…I mean five cats. A kitten got into our backyard a couple weeks ago, which is not all that easy since we have a cat fence to keep our cats in and stray cats out. He’s so little he slipped through the lattice in the cat area. I think he’s one of the gang now. In fact, he’s sleeping on the couch next to me. Having trouble naming him. My niece named him Fisher, but my husband doesn’t like it. Well, it’s better than boots. (He has white feet. So cliché.) The cats usually sleep in the office while I’m writing and usually one or another is on the desk vying for my attention. The young dog Lily is always trying to put a toy in my hand so I’ll play tug-o-war, and Charlie (The older female dog, my husband named.) barks at me to chase her. Sometimes I do…

Oh, I love pets. Especially cats! They all sound adorable. And for what it’s worth, I like the name Fisher for the little one. :) Now I have a couple quick questions about fun stuff!

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother: I would like a staycation, where I can be home, but nobody knows I’m there, and I don’t have to do anything like housework, cooking, or yardwork, unless I want to. Just me and the animals. Maybe my sisters too.  So they can do the cooking. Hee, hee. I can write until I’m tired of it. Then maybe I’ll read a little too. Or watch stupid TV shows like Big Bang Theory or musicals. Whatever silly movie I’m in the mood for.

Favorite time of day:  Morning

Favorite color:  Yellow

Food you never grow tired of:  Chocolate and coffee together.

I just had a very relaxing staycation with hubby. Unfortunately, I didn’t do any writing, LOL. And you know, I think you’re the first person who’s answered yellow to the color question. It’s so cheerful and summery. That was always my mother’s favorite color and the thought of it makes me smile.

~ooOOoo~

Blurb Soul in Present Condition
Divorced. Check. Ghost Whisperer. Check. Human Servant. Check. Great. Check. Real estate agent Rosemary Fernandes never expected to inherit the ability to communicate with spirits, and she certainly didn’t expect her gift to attract the undead as well. Now Rosemary finds herself ghost whisperer to the lost souls stuck at their haunts and human servant to a gorgeous but aloof vampire Marcus Lyons. Benito Cruz died with a dangerous secret, a secret that connects the ghost to Rosemary. Can Rosemary send the spirit to his final resting place before his past catches up with them, and can she convince the vampire helping spirits like Benito is her destiny? 

Add SOUL IN PRESENT CONDITION to your Goodreads list here!

member_817010[1]Author Bio
Mary E. Merrell writes Paranormal Mysteries and Young Adult Urban Fantasy. She has worked many jobs, but always had stories in her head. It wasn’t until she went into real estate and walked into that old, vacant home that The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series came to life. Fortunately, nothing spooky happened at the furniture store, or the first book could have been, “The Haunted Sofa.”

Mary E. Merrell’s plots are smooth and slightly dark, and her characters sinfully sweet. Try a little guilty pleasure with House Haunting, the first book in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series. One reviewer called it “A good start to a new series.”

Mary E. Merrell lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, two dogs, and five cats. She has two grown sons. When she’s not writing, she’s gardening or playing soccer. Please visit her website to see what she’s working on next at www.maryemerrell.com.

You can find Mary at the following haunts:
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

Available Now/Buy Links:
House Haunting
Curve Appeal 

And now for that giveaway I mentioned at the start of this post. To celebrate the release of SOUL IN PRESENT CONDITION, Mary is giving away two prizes. One lucky person who comments will win a $10 gift card to Amazon and another will win ebook copies of Mary’s first two books in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series (House Haunting and Curve Appeal). So be sure to share your thoughts, say hello, and include your email.  Mary would love to hear from you!

Winners will be announced tomorrow!

Cover Reveal: Taking Chances by Loni Flowers

Happy Mother’s Day! If you’re a mom, I hope you’re enjoying your special day, and that everyone is remembering their own mother on this wonderful spring day.

I’m pleased to announce that my friend Loni Flowers is re-releasing her adult contemporary romance, TAKING CHANCES with a brand new stunning cover. I loooved the characters in this book (especially Alex, who made my heart melt *sigh*).

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00002]

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: March 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1468184587
ASIN: B006X6FTJC 
Number of pages: 315
Word Count: 86,000+

BLURB
Turning her back on a life she can no longer deal with, Clair Davidson has been on the streets for six months wandering aimlessly from town to town. But when a hitchhiked car ride lands her back in a familiar town, and a terrifying encounter puts her in the arms of someone too good to be true, Clair almost starts to feel like she could belong somewhere again. Almost.

Alexander Frazier knew what it felt like to live on the streets, up until he received a helping hand from a stranger. After saving Clair from a vicious attack, it’s not long before he realizes she’s a lot like he used to be—lost. Alex soon learns he will risk everything to keep her safe and get her life back on track… even if it means his heart.

But fresh starts are new to Clair and not something she’s certain she’s ready for. Clair’s had her share of people walking out of her life and she doesn’t trust her heart in Alex’s hands. Can his love give her the second chance she never saw coming?

EXCERPT
Alex walked around and opened Clair’s door, helping her out as she jumped down. He followed her as she walked to the far end of the yard and sat in the grass. Lying back, she looked up toward the black sky. Alex laughed as he looked down at her.  “You know, if you’re that tired, I can get my blanket out of the car for you.”

Clair gave a small smile, tapping the grass beside her with her hand. “I miss it, ya know?”

“Miss what?” he asked, sitting beside her.

“I don’t know, the quietness, the stars. It’s just different. I know, it sounds stupid… it’s just, I’ve been on my own for so long without anyone caring. It’s a little overwhelming having someone care about me now; especially when they hardly know me. Everything Roz has done, I mean, who even does that?” 

Alex watched her. She was so animated when she talked. Her face lit up with expressions, her hands waved through the air as if she needed them to help her communicate.  Everything was light and easy going until dinner was over. Since the drive home, Clair seemed sad, but Alex let her ramble, venting whatever was bottled up inside her.

“And you,” she said, looking over at Alex, “if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here.” Clair sat up, crossing her legs up under her. “And this date—I mean, this hanging out we did tonight. It was the best night I’ve had since I left home. Thank you for that.” She picked blades of grass with her fingers, tearing them into tiny pieces. “You didn’t have to take me out, but you did it anyway.”

His eyes traveled up her arms to her neck. Her skin looked so fair and soft under the moonlight, it made him want to run his hands over it.  “You don’t have to thank me. I wanted to take you out tonight. I’m happy you said yes. It’s been quite some time since I’ve been out on date.” Yes, a date. He didn’t want to just “hang out”; no, he wanted to know everything about her. To hold her hand, touch her skin, and taste her lips. But would she want the same things as he? He still didn’t know. 

“Oh, and this,” she said, holding the charm out from around her neck, “you shouldn’t have bought me this. But I do love it. Thank you.”

Alex leaned forward, taking the charm between his fingers. “I’m glad I saw you looking at it. It looks perfect on you.” He laid the charm down against her chest. Lightly, he traced his fingers up the side of her neck, her hair cupped around her face. Alex stared straight into her eyes, dark under the night’s sky. Her lips parted slightly and Alex could feel her breath quicken on his skin. He wanted nothing more than to feel her lips on his. He slipped his hand further up Clair’s neck and heard her breath catch as if she’d stopped breathing. With his face only inches away from her mouth, he whispered, “If you don’t want me to kiss you right now, you’d better tell me.”

BUY FROM
Amazon   
Smashwords

12_21_12AUTHOR BIO
Loni Flowers
lives in Eastern North Carolina with her husband; two wild toddlers, who never slow down for a second; and three couch-potato dogs, who only raise an eye when food’s around. She spends her days working full-time for a well-known bank and when Loni isn’t there, you can find her playing on the internet. Chatting on Twitter and Facebook is her weakness!

She loves to read and write, though can’t see to find time to do them both at the same time! Balance… she has none!

An easy reader, Loni loves most genre, but she’s a definite sucker for a good romance story! Contemporary romance is her writing genre of choice but she’s not opposed to writing something different should an excellent idea strike.

Some of Loni’s favorite authors include: L.J. Kentowski, Stefne Miller, Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Karen Marie Moning, Nicholas Sparks, and Jodi Picoult… just to name a few.

Look for Loni at the following haunts:
Blog
Web
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

 

A Pen Pal Welcome to Author, Jennifer Lowery, by Mae Clair

bigstock-Stacks-of-old-letters-on-woode-43415203Today, I’m pleased to welcome Jennifer Lowery to my blog. Jennifer is one of my sister authors at Lyrical Press and has dropped by to tell us about her latest release, MURPHY’S LAW. So, sit back, grab your beverage of choice and enjoy as Jennifer takes control of my “pen” for the day!

~ooOOoo~

Hi Mae, and all you fabulous readers out there *waves* Thank you so much for having me today! My contemporary romance, Murphy’s Law, released last month so I’m very excited to be here! Thank you so much for sharing it with me!! 

In honor of my release I am giving away a $5.00 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter so please leave me a comment with your EMAIL to be entered to win!!

When writing I think authors get into a zone. We forget everything around us when our muse is talking as our fingers fly over the keyboard and we rush to get those words out of our head. We block everything we have to do that day and week, sometimes even forget to take a bathroom break for fear of losing momentum.

This is a good thing, but can also lead to mistakes like misspelled words, grammar mishaps, things like that. Easily fixed, of course, but sometimes we writers make little blunders  that make you wonder just what you were thinking when you typed that! Was it a Freudian slip? An honest slip of your fingers on the keys?

Well, I’m here to share one of my bloopers with you during the writing of Murphy’s Law. I call it a blooper because it makes me laugh every time I read it. I hope you get a chuckle out of it too :)

Here is the correct sentence:

He had met Al, the owner, when he’d needed a winch for his SUV and knew he would use discretion.

Here is the sentence as I originally wrote it:

He had met Al, the owner, when he’d needed a wench for his SUV and knew he would use discretion.

Now, mind you, this manuscript got all the way to my editor before anyone caught the blooper! We’re talking six revisions myself! And I never saw it! And could the sentence be more perfect for this blunder, lol. Oh my gosh! What was I thinking!

So there you have it. Not sure what on earth I was thinking when I typed that or how I missed it in revisions, but there it is for you to chuckle over. I hope you enjoyed my blooper! And don’t worry, my fabulous editor at Lyrical caught it and we got quite a laugh out of it J Murphy won’t be picking up any wenches for his SUV!

Thank you for having me today, Mae !! I just want to send out a big THANK YOU to all my readers out there! Without you I wouldn’t be here. My wish is to one day meet each and every one of you so I can personally thank you for your generosity and support! 

All my best, 
Jennifer

~ooOOoo~

Murphy’s Law
Contemporary Romance 

Blurb:
Tag: Nowhere to go. No place to hide.

Home is the last place Jon Murphy can go. After being held captive in Tazbekistan, he returns to the States only to find he can’t face his mom and sisters with what he did while he was a prisoner, so he retreats to the mountains.

Widow Sara Sheldon has made a lifetime of mistakes and is now running scared from her husband’s powerful family, who are determined to take her daughter away from her. When her little girl goes missing in the Rockies, Sara enlists the only help she can find: a gruff recluse with tracking skills to admire and a body to covet.

A storm strands Sara and her daughter at Murphy’s cabin, leaving her no choice but to hope her in-laws don’t catch up while she plans where to run next. Murphy resents the invasion of his privacy, but can’t seem to keep his mind–or his hands–off Sara. How can she stand to look at him, with all his scars? He’s not nearly as honorable as she might think…only enough to make sure she’s safe, and then he’ll go back to being alone, the way he should be.

CONTENT WARNING: Sexual content
A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance

MurphysLaw coverExcerpt:
Murphy sat at the kitchen table, half in the shadows created by the soft light glowing above the stove, hair tousled from sleep. Naked to the waist. A bottle of amber liquid sat in front of him, an empty glass in his hand. Her gaze landed on his muscled shoulders and trailed across his tanned chest. So much for getting him out of her mind. Now she had the real thing to dream about. Looking at the dark hairs that veed down his chest and disappeared behind the table, she decided he’d been right. He was a dangerous man.

She tore her gaze away from temptation and looked at the granite lines of his face. Beneath the hardness of his expression, something haunting lingered. Drawn, she circled the table to the opposite end.

Murphy met her eyes with coldness that should have sent her running for the safety of her room, but she remained standing in place. He wanted to chase her away. This time she wasn’t running.

“Mind if I join you?” She grabbed a glass and from the cupboard and reached over his shoulder for the bottle.

His hand snaked out and wrapped around hers, preventing her from pouring a drink.

“I mind,” he growled.

“Well, get over it. I need a drink.”

Scowling, he let go of her hand and allowed her to pour a glass for herself. She refilled his glass next, set the bottle on the table, moved to the chair beside him and sat, lifting her glass.

“Cheers.” She brought the glass to her lips. His gaze as she drained the glass made her fight the urge to cough as the fiery liquid burned its way down her throat. Seconds later she felt the familiar warming sensation as it numbed her insides. Her eyes filled with tears. She blinked them away and reached for the bottle.

Murphy held it away from her. “What are you doing?”

“Having a drink. I’m not in the mood for warm milk tonight.”

His eyes darkened and narrowed. “You don’t strike me as the drinking type.”

She wasn’t, but tonight it sounded good. Maybe it would soothe away her problems and make her forget how screwed-up her life was. Talking about Kent earlier had brought back painful memories. She didn’t want to feel that misery anymore.

“Maybe you don’t know my type,” she said.

He studied her closely for a moment before rubbing a hand over his face. “Go back to bed, Sara. Sleep it off.”

“I don’t want to sleep it off. I’m tired of thinking about it.”

Maybe it was the whisky, or his naked chest, or the part of her that had been dormant for six years coming back to life. More than anything she wanted to discover it with Murphy, her strong, scarred hero.

She rose to her feet. He watched warily as she stepped in front of him and positioned herself between him and the table. He leaned back in his chair and sent her a thunderous look.

“You and I are alike in many ways, Murphy,” she said softly. “We’ve both lost pieces of ourselves we can’t ever get back and it has forced us into a life of loneliness and solitude. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being alone.”

He pinned her with a hard glare. “I’m not what you want. Go back to your room before I do something we’ll both regret in the morning.”

His harshly spoken words sent little electrical shocks through her body.

“I’m tired of people telling me what I want.”

Jennifer Lowery Author picAuthor Bio:
Jennifer Lowery grew up reading romance novels in the back of her math book and on the bus to school, and never wanted to be anything but a writer.  Her summers were spent sitting at the kitchen table with her sisters spinning tales of romance and intrigue and always with a tall glass of ice tea at their side. 

Today, Jennifer is living that dream and she couldn’t be happier to share her passion with her readers.  She loves everything there is about romance.  Her stories feature alpha heroes who meet their match with strong, independent heroines.  She believes that happily ever after is only the beginning of her stories. And the road to that happy ending is paved with action, adventure, and romance. As her characters find out when they face danger, overcome fears, and are forced to look deep within themselves to discover love.  

Jennifer lives in Michigan with her husband and two children.  When she isn’t writing she enjoys reading and spending time with her family. 

Find Jennifer at the following haunts:

Author Website   Facebook   Twitter   Romance Recipes

Buy Murphy’s Law:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Lyrical Press
iTunes

 

Book Spotlight: Blood Family: Quest for the Vampire Key by Mark Knight

I love reading in multiple genres. Right now I’m engrossed in book three of a fantasy trilogy. Prior to that I was mired in romance – - everything from contemporary to paranormal. I also love reading thrillers, mysteries, YA novels and even horror. That’s why when I heard about Mark Knight’s new release, I had to take part in promoting it!

Title: Blood Family: Quest for the Vampire Key
Author: Mark Knight
Genre: Dark Paranormal
Publisher: Amazon
Illustrator: David M. Rabbitte 
Release Date: April 7, 2013

bloodfamily-fullsize

BLURB:
Until the age of seventeen, Daniel Dark had no idea of his true origins. Something was ulcerating deep inside him, waiting to claw its way free. Pastor Nathan Dark and his wife, Annie, had adopted him and brought him up as their own. But Daniel always felt that there was a secret they feared tell him…

Everything changes the day a mysterious package arrives at his home. It contains blood – human blood. Daniel’s vampire half awakens and takes its first step out of the shadows. The once lazy, goalless youth transforms into sharp-sensed killer. Now, there is no turning back.

Many horrors await Daniel, for he not only can detect but also attract the living dead…

Daniel Dark will unlock the sinister netherworld where helpless humans are kept and bred for bloodletting, and where he will have to face the unutterable evil.

EXCERPT:
Daniel loved Sunday mornings. The folks had gone to Sunday Service of course, leaving Daniel with the entire house to himself.

Mom and Dad had given up trying to keep their son going to church. He hated the place, and made no bones about it. Considering all that his Dad had put him through in that building – the chanting, the laying on of hands, the constricting straps – they really couldn’t protest too much. So, they went to the church and Nathan gave his sermon and Annie helped with the communion, while Daniel sat in the living room at home blitzing out on a slew of Jackie Chan DVDs and cramming down junk food. Bliss.

After the Sunday roast (which even now was sizzling in its own juices in the oven, sending mouth-watering aromas into the living room) Daniel would have a catnap in his room, and then would get ready for an evening out with his cronies. He still hadn’t phoned his girl to see if she wanted to come. Maybe I should just hang loose for a while, he pondered. Daelin can call me for a change.

Yeah, like that would happen.

Impatience would win. Daniel would make the call.

The doorbell rang. Hoisting himself up from the couch, he ambled over to the front door, surprised that there was a caller on a Sunday morning.

Shit, he thought, I’m just in boxers! He shrugged inwardly. Whatever. They’ll have to take me as I am.

He got a fleeting glimpse of the caller through the slim stained glass window that bisected the door. If he had looked a few seconds longer he might have thought twice about opening up at all – but he’d already turned the handle and was swinging the door wide open.

What stood there before him was a courier holding a parcel. Then – no courier, just the parcel on the doorstep.

He’d just imagined the courier.

Just…imagined…?

The parcel was not large, perhaps the length of a loaf of bread, and wrapped in plain brown paper, tied off with string. He picked it up.

Oddly, there was no return address. No postmark. The handwriting of his name and address looked ordinary enough, however. Taking one last look left and right to see if he could see who had left it, he took the mysterious package inside and closed the door against the cold.

The package, by strange contrast, was warm. It was making his palms tingle, as though thousands of miniscule, electrified worms were eating their way out of the package and into his skin. It’s a bomb, he thought, only ninety-seven percent seriously. A bomb left by that creepy old pastor. Well, if it is, I’ll come back and haunt the fuck out of him.

He could have opened it right there but instead took it up the stairs into his room, closing the door after him. Usually, this is what he would do if his parents were home and he wanted to be alone (which was most of the time). Something about this package was telling him that it was not just specifically but uniquely for him, and where better to view its contents than that most sacred of realms – his bedroom.

Standing in the center of the room amid the debris of corn snacks, car mags, and yesterday’s clothes, Daniel allowed himself a long moment to wonder just who could have sent him this thing. It was nowhere near his birthday. His relatives were not about to send him a gift without a reason. Could it be Daelin? Nope – wasn’t her style. She had the role of gift-getter down pat, and Daniel could see no reason why that would have changed.

For a long moment he stared at the package. Feeling a chill, he quickly pulled on a tee shirt and jeans. He took a deep breath. Ok – I’m going for it.

The brown paper tore easily. The parcel wasn’t crumpled at all – in fact, it barely seemed that it had even been handled. Still there was that strange warmth, that weird prickling…

Finally, the last shred of paper fell to the floor. What Daniel Dark held in his hands immediately induced strange sensations. Wonder. Confusion. Dread.  It was a glass sphere, like a crystal ball. Black-red in color. Upon its surface was an embossed symbol, a kind of a trident.

For glass, it was remarkably warm. It was then he realized that the orb was not made of red glass; the redness was coming from what it encased within. His hands were tingling even more than before. There was a hissing sound…

The heat from his hands was eating into the material of the sphere. Daniel watched, open mouthed, as the outlines of each of his hands sunk slowly into the glass as though melting their way through it. An electrified glow traced his fingers as the orb continued to distort, until…

Detonation.

mark-portrait-mausoleum-sept-2010About the Author:
Mark Knight grew up in Massachusetts, USA. Settling in the UK, Mark continued to write novels of differing genres, including horror and television scripts. Mark has scripted two horror scripts for Hollywood’s Little Slices of Death production company and one for Illusion Studios. He also won several short story competitions, and has had his work featured in published anthologies. Mark concentrates now on Young Adult urban fantasy novels.

www.markknightbooks.com 
www.bloodfamily.co.uk 
@markknightbooks (Twitter)
www.amazon.com/author/markknight

 

Welcome Guest Blogger Alana Lorens

Today, I’m turning my pen over to Alana Lorens who has a fun guest post to share and an excerpt from her contemporary romance,  BY ANY OTHER NAME. Welcome, Alana!

~ooOOoo ~

We’re not in high school any more—thank heaven!

High School Football Players and CheerleadersIt’s that time of the high school year when it’s winding down, and people wax nostalgic about “the good old days,” awards banquets, prom, graduation, all those milestones in the passage into adulthood. Summer comes along, home to so many high school reunions. Have you attended any of yours?

High school was a sort of hell for so many of us, unless we were the popular ones, and that was years ago. I imagine the current atmosphere with the immediacy of social media added to display everyones peccadilloes (and sometimes a lot more!) to the world make it even harder.

But high school ends—huge sigh of relief—and life goes on. What you do with it afterward, that’s what really counts in the scheme of things.

Seems to me that the reunion season can be pretty frightening for the former top-of-the-world types, the prom queens, football quarterbacks and so on, especially as the years pass. While they may have ruled the school, as they say, they may not have continued on that golden path into adult life. Without that strict social strata high school inevitably generates, perhaps they slip from those upper tiers down into “normal” life. Or a financial setback for the family can make the whole dynasty take a hit.

Those who travel around the middle layer, not particularly remarkable but yet not labeled as one of the “geeks and freaks,”  they can blend in comfortably and enjoy their anonymity.

Those who weren’t so popular, though, the ones who people ignored for the most part, they can sometimes surprise the class with unexpected accomplishments. Maybe high school bored them and held them back—not till they hit the real world did they find something that really inspired them, or they learned in ways that didn’t teach to the state assessment test. For me, these are often the most interesting returnees at reunions.

What do you think? What was the most surprising revelation of a reunion you attended?

~ooOOoo~

ByAnyOtherNameCoveraArtBY ANY OTHER NAME

BLURB
Up-and-coming mommyblogger and single mom Marisol Herrera Slade returns to her old hometown in western Pennsylvania for her 20th high school reunion, reluctant and yet compelled to see her high school sweetheart, Russell Asher, who dumped her for the homecoming queen.

Russell’s marriage to the golden girl, however, ended in a nasty divorce, and he has been systematically excluded from his sons’ lives. In his Internet wanderings, he’s found feminist blogger Jerrika Jones, who glorifies single motherhood, essentially putting a stamp of approval on what’s happened to him. He’s vowed to take this woman down if they ever should meet.

What he doesn’t know, when he thinks to rekindle what he had with Marisol, is that Marisol and Jerrika are one and the same. When he discovers the truth, will his drive for revenge derail any chance they have to reunite? Or will they find they have more in common than they ever expected?

EXCERPT
“Russell Asher? Holy smokes, you haven’t hardly changed at all!” The man looked Russell up and down, then greeted Russell’s companions, James Thompson and Stuart Fry, adding, “Don’t you recognize me?”

Russell had to confess he didn’t. He debated suggesting the man was the high school janitor, but held his tongue.

“It’s me, Marty Drogan! From the basketball team. Man, are you blind?”

Astounded that one of his teammates could look like a sixty-year old guy, Russell set down his beer and offered his hand. “It’s been a long time, man. How you doing?” he asked, though he wasn’t really sure he wanted to know.

“Can’t complain, can’t complain.” Drogan reached into his worn suit pocket and slapped a business card into Russell’s outstretched hand. “Been in sales fifteen years. Working my way up to V.P. any day now.” A big cheesy grin. “Me and Carrie have a big house out on Lake Drive.”

“’Not my Cherry’ Carrie? How’s she doing?”

One of the guys Russell was playing with shook his head violently behind Drogan’s shoulder and made a face.

“Carrie’s the sweetest little thing ever, that good little woman who makes my day,” Drogan said. “She just sent me to pick up some pizza. We’ll see you at the reunion, right?”

“Ah…sure. Sure you will.”

Drogan bustled off, all puffed up with pride. Russell turned to James, who’d made the face. “What was that about?”

“Man, that Carrie put on about a ton with those kids of hers. No one in that house is starving, if you get my drift.”

“Too bad. She was pretty cute back in the day.”

“Coulda hit that.”

“As if.”

“Maybe I could.”

Russell let his thoughts wander along memory lane to the old days, when he, Marty, James and the others scored baskets on the gym floor, then scored more private points after the game with the cheerleaders. James had dated Cherise Lang, but it hadn’t lasted long. Marty and Carrie had hooked up early; Tiffy had come around a little later.

Maybe he should have taken that as a hint. An omen. Leave the girl alone and find someone less ostentatious and more solid… Other girls were interested in him. He’d been pretty steady with Marisol Herrera for the summer after junior year, till the basketball season had started in the fall of senior year. He’d just blown her off for a shot at the stars.

~ooOOoo~

This ebook is available at Amazon.com, or at Desert Breeze Publishing.

AUTHOR BIO:
Alana Lorens (aka Barbara Mountjoy) has been a published writer for over 35 years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at the South Dade News Leader in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications includes the non-fiction book 101 Little Instructions for Surviving Your Divorce, published by Impact Publishers in 1999, stories in A Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women, in December 2008, and …A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Parents, in June 2009. Her Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series (as Lyndi Alexander) is available from Dragonfly Publishing; THE ELF QUEEN, THE ELF CHILD, THE ELF MAGE and in 2013, THE ELF GUARDIAN.

Alana’s books include SECRETS IN THE SAND, and CONVICTION OF THE HEART (first book in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer series), in the Crimson Rose line, and THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE, a short contemporary from The Wild Rose Press. She is also the author of a story in the book SIDEKICKS! from Alliteration Ink, and SECOND CHANCES, the second book in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series from Zumaya Publications.

Alana also takes care of a husband and a bunch of kids and blogs on a variety of subjects, including autism, science fiction and life at Awalkabout.

Look for Alan a Lorens at the following haunts:
Website: http://alanalorens.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlanaLorens?ref=hl

Wizards with Words: Welcoming Stanalei Fletcher

bigstock-magic-book-9719930Today on Wizards with Words, I’m happy to have Stanalei Fletcher as a guest.

Stanalei and I hit the writing circuit and the world of social media about the same time, fumbling through the learning curve together. She was one of the first friends I made online and has been a wonderful supporter since. I’m delighted to have her as a guest on my blog sharing about not one, but two, of her releases! So grab a cuppa, sit back and please welcome this wonderful writer!

~ooOOoo~

Stanalei, you have two releases out right now, IMPERFECT DREAM-PERFECT REALITY and LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE. The first is a short fantasy and the second a full-length novel. Tell us a bit about IMPERFECT DREAM-PERFECT REALITY first.

ImperfectDream_final-SmallIMPERFECT DREAM, was exactly that—a dream. I woke up one morning after having a very lucid, very real dream and wondered, what if? I wrote the short story in about 3 hours. Later, I polished it and sent it to The Wild Rose Press to publish. Ebooks weren’t selling like they do today and it wasn’t distributed at all through Amazon. A couple years later, I got my rights back. Recently, I decided to polish it a bit more and re-title it, (it was originally titled The Twilight – and was published long before the Twilight series of vampires). I self-published it with the help of Wildflowers Books. I’m pleased with how well the timing worked in conjunction with LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE.

And now, a bit about LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE. Most of my blog followers know I love time travel romance. I really enjoyed reading LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE. You did such an extraordinary job immersing me in the lives and times of the people who lived in the past. Was White Rock, Idaho an actual town, or did you create it from scratch? If the latter, what was your inspiration?

Thank you for that great compliment, Mae. I think every author hopes they’ll immerse the reader in their fictional world. I very much appreciate you sharing that with me.

White Rock, Idaho is a fictional town. It’s a composite of what things I’ve learned about most old mining towns in Idaho. I had the town of White Rock, the mill, and the aspen grove inside my head for a couple years before I started writing. An opportunity came to visit the area where I wanted the story to take place. I found two ghost towns near each other along the Yankee Fork river between Stanley and Challis, Idaho. I was even fortunate enough to meet the owner of one of the ghost towns when my husband and I toured an old dredge that had mined the Yankee Fork in the 1950s. Upon visiting the second ghost town, I discovered my White Rock, the mill and the aspen grove—exactly as I had envisioned. From that moment on, the ghost town of White Rock came to life for me. For the purpose of the story, my fictional town was much closer to Boise than the real one.

What an awesome history for your setting! I also really enjoyed the disparity between your hero and heroine.  Annie Crawford is concerned about her family’s heritage and retaining the integrity of the past. Developer, Luke Maxwell, is focused on progress. At least when the story starts. I liked seeing their relationship grow in a realistic way. Without giving too much of the story away, do you have a favorite scene between them?

My favorite scene between Annie and Luke is when he tries to convince her she’s really time-traveled to 1891. Annie asks about the keys to her car and Luke replies: “Damn it, Annie, there are no keys! There is no car. For all I know, they haven’t invented gasoline yet.”

LOL! I loved that! LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE had some really inspired twists and turns, especially at the end. I remember how difficult it was to work out the time loop properties when writing WEATHERING ROCK. Sometimes, just thinking about it gave me a headache. What did you find the greatest challenge of writing a time travel story?

I have to say, Mae, that you handled the time-travel properties in WEATHERING ROCK in an amazing way. I’ll try not to give too much away, but your Rick character twist was so well done!

For me, just finding the time-travel mechanism was the challenge.  Believe or not, the medallions were more of an afterthought.  When I came across an article in TIME magazine, I was totally enthralled with the idea of two minds sharing the past, present and future. I knew I’d found my time-travel trigger point.

Thanks for that wonderful compliment about WEATHERING ROCK. I was hoping what I did with Rick would come as a surprise for my readers. And now, I always have to ask this question of time travel authors:  Is there anything from the past (a custom, social attitude, way of doing something, etc.) that you wish still existed today?

Because writing LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE was somewhat of an anomaly for me, I don’t really consider myself a time-travel author. That said, I do wish mankind had the innocence and integrity that we had before the blast of media, reality shows and the over abundance of technology.

I heartily agree with that! If only…

When it comes to writing, do you develop characters before plot or vice versa?

Usually a plot will arrive first, quickly followed by the character’s occupation or goal and thus a character is born. I’m extremely left brained and a stickler for plot logic. So in my outlines, I need to lay out the plot or the characters won’t get very far.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to write?

It seems like my best ideas hit in the morning as I’m waking up or in the shower. Unfortunately, the day job prohibits my ability to rush over to my computer and open my manuscript. Notepads abound at my house, (and everywhere else), and I try to make the most of my writing time I get when I get it.

As a writer, I dabble in a few genres but, as a reader, my taste is all over the board. Do you read mostly in your chosen genre or enjoy various types? Please share a few of your favorite books and authors.

Like you, Mae, my taste is all over.  I’ve never really delved into the “classics”, but cut my teeth on Grimm’s Fairy Tales and comic books. Alistair MacLean is the reason I started writing. My favorite book of his is H.M.S. Ulysses. When it comes to romance, I started out reading Barbara Cartland, Betty Neels, Janet Daily and Margaret Way. I’m a huge Harlequin fan and my go-to author is RaeAnne Thayne. I have every one of Tom Clancy’s books and many of his spin off series. James Rollins is in there too. But the best kept secret in published techo-thrillers has to be Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens—a husband and wife team who hit it big writing Star Trek books, but I absolutely love their mainstream thrillers.

I’m going to have to check them out. I love thrillers. What are you reading right now?

To see my current reading list, check out my page on Goodreads.  As of this writing, I’m reading Threat Vector, by Tom Clancy; McLain’s Law, by Kylie Brant; Finding Your Voice by Les Edgerton; Internal Affairs, by Alana Matthews; Operatives, Spies and Saboteurs: The Unknown Story of the Men and Women of World War II’s OSS, by Patrick K. O’Donnell. And do I keep them all straight? Yes. But don’t ask me how, because I’ve never been able to figure that out.

Amazing! I can only handle one read at a time. And now for some quick question/answers:

Favorite thing to do when you’re not writing or reading:  Watch either the NFL or NBA. I’m a huge Utah Jazz fan…somewhere along the line I became my mother in that regard. But mostly I enjoy spending time with my best friend—my husband. Whatever we do together makes the day perfect.

Favorite color: Green, although if you looked in my closet, you’d think it was gray, white or black.

Favorite TV show: It’s a tie, Stargate: SG-1 and Firefly.  I own the entire DVD series of both.

Favorite season: Fall

Chocolate or vanilla: Yes… vanilla covered in chocolate.

Causal or dressy: Causal

Marshmallow or peanut butter: Peanut butter

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy-godmother, all expenses paid: A visit to Washington D.C. I’ve never been and would love to spend a month in the museums, cemeteries, and monuments.

Thanks, Stanalei. That was a lot of fun! Before we wrap, do you have a current WIP you’d like share?

I’m currently working on the books from contemporary romantic suspense I call my Northstar Series. You can find blurbs for each of the 5 books on my website.

LightningOnlyStrikesTwice_w6995_750Blurb, LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE:
After her grandfather’s death, mounting debts force Annie Crawford to sell her inheritance to uphold her family’s honor and avoid bankruptcy. Financial stability comes with an even higher price: her heritage. She must rebuild her legacy from nothing.

Purchasing Annie’s property means three things to Luke Maxwell: financial burden on Maxwell Development, opportunity to propel his career to the top by developing the old ghost town, and, ultimately, approval to take over his father’s company. All of which take precedence over his attraction to the pretty seller.

While touring the property, Annie and Luke are whisked back in time to the 1891 mining community. Together, they endure antiquated hardships and turn to each other for familiarity. Comfort soon becomes passion. As they face a lifetime in the wrong century, Annie and Luke discover a predestined responsibility to the future. Can the love they’ve propagated in the past take root in the present?

Excerpt, LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE:
Annie leaned toward him and sniffed. “Perhaps you’ve been celebrating Founders’ Day with more than coffee.” She patted her pockets. “Do you know what happened to my keys?”

Luke slammed his fist on the sideboard, rattling the dishes and making her jump back. “Damn it, Annie, there are no keys! There is no car. For all I know, they haven’t invented gasoline yet.”

Apprehension filled her face. “Okay, I’m leaving now.” She glanced behind her.

The door was only two feet away. She turned for it, but before she lifted the latch, Luke grabbed her shoulder and spun her around. She opened her mouth to scream, but he clamped a hand over it.

Wide, fear-filled eyes stared up at him. He swallowed, regretting the actions that caused her fear, but he couldn’t let her go. As he pulled her closer, her breasts flattened against his chest. Warmth spread through his limbs and the constant fuzziness that plagued him since his arrival vanished.

Annie must have felt the change too. She stopped struggling.

He lowered his head. His whiskers scratched her smooth cheek as he whispered in her ear. “I’m not going to hurt you. I promise. I just need you to believe me.” Without releasing his hand from her mouth, he tilted his head to see her face.

Indecision replaced her earlier apprehension. She nodded slowly.

He eased his hand away and she let go an earsplitting scream.

Damn the woman!

Without thought, he covered her mouth with his.

Buy Links, LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES TWICE:
TWRP Trade Paperback
TWRP eBook
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Bookstrand 
All Romance eBooks.com

StanaleiFletcher-WebPicAuthor Bio
My love of writing romance stems from reading favorite such as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Barbara Cartland and Alistair MacLean. I have over twenty years in the martial arts and hold the rank of Sandan, a third degree black belt in Aikido.

After a taste of life on both U.S. coasts, I now reside in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with my hero, who just happens to be my best friend and husband. Together we enjoy the open road astride a Harley, visiting museums and exploring our National Parks.

~ooOOoo~

You can find Stanalei at the following haunts:
Website
Facebook
  
Twitter
Goodreads

Buy Links for IMPERFECT DREAM-PERFECT REALITY
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

iBooks
Kobo
Sony
Bookstrand
All Romance eBooks.com   
 

Book Blitz: Painted Memories by Loni Flowers

I’m doing a rare Sunday post today because I’m happy to participate in the book blast tour for my friend, Loni Flowers. Check out this heart-warming read that should be on your TBR list! I adored this story!

Painting Blogs With Memories Book Blast copy

Title: Painted Memories        
Author:
Loni Flowers
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: January 21st, 2013
Format: E-book & Paperback
Page Length: 334
Word Count: 95,000

Blurb/Book Description: 
I’ve come to realize how much life can change with circumstance. One moment I was a happy sixteen year old girl with a great brother, Jesse, who I adored.

Then Jesse died.

No matter how much I wished it had been me in the accident, wishing will never change what happened. Five years later, my father’s eyes are still filled with hate and regret whenever he looks at me. I haven’t forgotten my mistake, but I’ve accepted it.

My father has not.

He may always see me as a failure, but I’m determined to make a fresh start in a new town where love promises to be more generous than the scorn I’ve left in my father’s eyes. With any luck, maybe some distance will make him see me as his daughter again. Until then I’ll find my own way.

It’s what Jesse would want.

Painted Memories is an original, contemporary romance about love, loss, and recovering from tragedy. Its characters are real. Between humor and heartbreak, it’s funny, touching, and full of redemption.

Painted_MemoriesExcerpt:
My apartment complex was off the beaten path, and if I hadn’t gotten lost in the first place, I might have never found Oakdale. Hidden from the main roads, tucked into a wooded area, huge oak trees surrounded the perimeter. It was a large complex, eight buildings total, two floors each. The property manager told me when I inquired about renting an apartment that there were twisted walking trails, which wrapped around one side of the pond, through the woods to the opposite of the pond. I also had access to basketball courts, tennis courts, and two swimming pools, if I preferred other activities. I was lucky there were several available units when I came across it. Oakdale seemed to be the place to live around here, but none of it mattered if I didn’t allow myself the luxury of using it. I always meant to, but never found the time. I had to start making the time, or else I could end up being a workaholic like my father. After living with him all my life, that was the last thing I wanted to become.

Sweat dripped down the back of my neck and other unmentionable parts of my body as I ran. The hot September made me realize I probably picked the worst time of day to drag myself around the track–late afternoon. I looked across the pond at my starting point and knew there was no way I’d be able to push myself all the way around without collapsing from exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke.

A noise behind me caught my attention and I stepped off the path to avoid forcing the person behind me to slow down.  I jogged between the concrete track and the edge of the water before noticing a man falling into stride beside me. He nodded with a smile and I grinned at him, hearing unknown lyrics streaming from the headphones in his ears. Suddenly, I shifted forward, with only the pond and a park bench in my line of sight. I tried to reach for the bench as I fell, my arms flailing. My body’s momentum propelled me forward and I screamed before being silenced by a mouthful of water.

I struggled, losing my footing every time I tried to stand up. I’ve got to get out! I’ve got to get out! The snakes are going to get me! were my only thoughts.

Water splashing, I choked on the brackish-brown water as I gasped for breath. I was going to drown or get bitten by a snake while everyone around me watched. The guy that was jogging beside me appeared on the edge of the bank, leaning over with his hand stretched out.

“Stand up,” he said. “It’s not that deep.”

After a moment, his words sunk in and I tried to stand. When I looked down at the water, I felt like an idiot, seeing the water only came up to my waist. I took a step toward him and reached for his hand just as something slimy brushed against my leg. With a terrified scream, I leaped forward.

“It’s going to bite me! Get me out! Get me out!” I yelled, splashing water everywhere. He pulled me up the embankment and my shoes slipped over the soft, wet dirt. I coughed up pond water as I gasped for a fresh breath in the humid air. He wrapped his arm around my waist and walked me toward an empty park bench only a few feet away.

“Are you okay?” he asked, sitting down beside me.

“Oh my God! Thank you. If you hadn’t helped me, I might have drowned.” I glared at the bystanders, still gawking at me from their park benches and private picnics. “Obviously, no one else was going to help,” I said louder than necessary. They averted their eyes while I stared, encouraging them to mind their own business.

“Well, it’s a good thing I decided to come for a run when I got off work, isn’t it? My name’s Drew, by the way,” he said, extending his hand.

I shook it, breathing heavily. I didn’t bother to mention that if I hadn’t moved over for him to pass, I wouldn’t have fallen in to begin with. “I’m Lilly.”

“Oh wait… you’ve got something—” he started to say as he reached his hand toward my hair.

I saw it out of the corner of my eye when he pulled it from between the strands of my hair. It was long and green, and only one word came to mind. Snake! I jumped up, a scream trapped in my throat, but slapped my hand over my mouth when he dangled the long piece of grass between his fingers in front of me. I closed my eyes and settled back down on the bench. I knew he must’ve thought I was such a freaking idiot.

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

12_21_12Author Bio:  
Loni Flowers lives in Eastern North Carolina with her husband; two wild toddlers, who never slow down for a second; and three couch-potato dogs, who only raise an eye when food is around. She spends her days working full-time for a well-known bank and when Loni isn’t there, you can find her playing on the internet. Chatting on Twitter and Facebook is her weakness!

She loves to read and write, though can’t see to find time to do them both at the same time! Balance… she has none!

An easy reader, Loni loves most genres, but she’s a definite sucker for a good romance story!

Contemporary romance is her writing genre of choice but she’s not opposed to writing something different should an excellent idea strike.

Some of Loni’s favorite authors include: L.J. Kentowski, Stefne Miller, Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Karen Marie Moning, Nicholas Sparks, and Jodi Picoult… just to name a few.

Look for Loni at the following haunts:
Blog 
Web
Twitter 
Facebook 
Goodreads

 

Blog Tour: Christine Warner and Some Like it in Handcuffs

I’m delighted to have Christine Warner on my blog today as she tours with her contemporary romance, SOME LIKE IT IN HANDCUFFS.

Christine and I originally connected back in the days of Six Sentence Sundays, and have  become blogging and social media buddies. She’s always friendly, helpful and supportive of other authors and–hey–she knows how to create a swoon-worthy hero as you’re about to find out.

So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage (I’ll make mine Green Mountain Vermont Country decaf) and enjoy the special treat Christine has prepared for us!

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Before I get started I want to thank Mae for letting me take over her awesome blog today! Thanks for making me feel so welcome :)

One of my favorite things about sitting down to enjoy some reading time with a good romance is the moment the hero and heroine meet. I love to see what they think of each other in their own words—either by their internals or if they are so bold as to comment aloud. Lol

When I wrote Some Like it in Handcuffs—my light-hearted romantic suspense with humor—I also discovered I liked the process of writing their first impressions. To me, those first impressions show so much about who they really are.

I’d like to share Sunny Kennedy’s first impression of her hero Judson Blackwolf…and I hope when you’re finished reading you have as much of a crush on him as I do :)

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ENJOY!

His large hand combed through his thick overgrown hair before he stopped in annoyance then

swung around on his heel. The mercury light on the pole behind her lit his face as he looked down at her with the most extraordinary pair of gray eyes she’d ever seen. Not solid gray as she summed up in her hasty inspection, but the type of blue-gray color that matched the sky during a spring storm.

Definitely easy on the eyes. The startling realization that this no nonsense detective was quite

a specimen of manhood surprised her. It took her what…all of five minutes to notice. The word handsome didn’t do him justice. His strong, rugged features and dark coloring made his Native American heritage obvious. His height and size made her feel feminine and—she flinched—protected.

Her gaze traveled from the top of his head to the toes of his well-made leather shoes. If she’d paid attention from the start, instead of pouting over her predicament, she’d have noticed all of this sooner. Her lips twitched at her own blatant evaluation of him.

Just the type of guy she was attracted to, too bad he worked law enforcement. All her life she’d been surrounded by men who talked cop day and night. Sunny had sworn off ever actually dating anyone in the profession.

Okay, you’ve learned what weakens my knees at the beginning of a good romance…tell me what weakens yours. :)

About Christine Warner
Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her husband, three children, one laptop and a much loved assortment of furry friends. Besides laughing and a good round of humor, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing but no arithmetic. A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities. She loves to read and write about strong heroes and determined, sometimes sassy, heroines. A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, she enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her Website.

Buy SOME LIKE IT IN HANDCUFFS at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
The Wild Rose Press

It’s Here! Cover Reveal: Twelfth Sun by Mae Clair

It’s Thursday, still dreary and bleak in my neck of the woods, but it feels like Christmas and spring rolled into one! A lot of things have come together in the last few days that I’m anxious to share!

First, I leaned my video trailer for WEATHERING ROCK has been entered into the monthly contest at You Gotta Read Reviews. I’m #6, and the vid went up yesterday. Voting will occur between March 21 and March 26. This was my first attempt at a video trailer and I’m up against some stiff competition with sleek designs, so I’m not expecting miracles but it’s nice to be included. And don’t worry—when it’s time to vote, I’ll provide a shout out reminder to anyone who would like to vote for WEATHERING ROCK. :)

Now, about the title of my blog post. :D Tuesday night, after a fun evening out with ‘the girls’ I came home to find the cover art for TWELFTH SUN waiting in my inbox. Talk about a great cap to a wonderful night! If you haven’t already heard me screaming about it, TWELFTH SUN is my new contemporary romance/mystery set to release in August.

I’m in love with the cover! The very talented Renee Rocco, publisher of Lyrical Press, Inc. did the design for me. It features my hunky young PhD, sunset colors, and the beautiful feel of a beach coastline. Check it out:

twelfthsuncover

Nice, huh?  And not only did the cover arrive, but so did my tag and blurb. I was pleased the publisher chose to use a lot of what I had suggested for the blurb, but it’s been fluffed and enhanced:

BLURB:
The hunky young PhD knows all about seduction, but what does he know about love?

Reagan Cassidy is settled in her life. She has a thriving interior design firm, an upscale condo, two cats, and a goldfish. As a favor to her uncle, she agrees to team up with his marine archeologist friend to validate and retrieve a nineteenth-century journal, reputedly that of a passenger aboard the doomed schooner Twelfth Sun. Finding a hunky twenty-five-year-old coming out of the shower in her hotel room wasn’t part of the deal, but it’s hard to complain…

Dr. Elijah Cross is cocky and he knows it. He enjoys trading barbs with the lovely Reagan. Barbs, and some innuendo. He can tell she’d rather get back home to her business than stick around for the extended treasure hunt they’ve been talked into, but he’s fine with the situation. At least, until the “clues” start getting personal.

Reagan finds Dr. Gorgeous is as skilled in matters of the heart as he is behind the lectern. Throw in a series of clues which mean more to Elijah than he’ll explain, several odd-ball competitors out to win the journal, a saboteur, and a lavish seaside mansion, and Reagan has enough trouble keeping her head straight, let alone her heart.

WARNING: Younger man, older woman, nautical riddles and romance.

Now all I have to do is wait for August to roll around! Having the cover and blurb has ratcheted up my excitement level.

Is it August yet? LOL!

I really love these characters and hope you will too. Yes, I know writers say that about all their books, but this one was a lot of fun to write!

Thanks for sharing my cover reveal with me :D

Welcoming Guest Blogger Sara Jayne Townsend

I’m rolling out the red carpet for Sara Jayne Townsend who has dropped my blog today to to share a guest post.  This is a good one *rubs hands together eagerly* and I can’t wait to hear your opinions! So kick back, enjoy and check out what she has to say!

Minority Opinion?
by Sara Jayne Townsend

Sarah Townsend (45) smallLast month was Women in Horror month. For the second year running, I participated in this by running relevant posts on my blog.  Last year, I showcased women horror writers.  This year, I looked at fictional kick-ass role models of horror (specifically Buffy, Alice from ‘Resident Evil’, Ripley from ‘Alien’ and Sarah Connor from the ‘Terminator’ films).

I think this is an important cause, because we need to raise the profile of women in horror.  Women have been writing horror since Mary Shelley penned ‘Frankenstein’.  They read horror.  There are even well-respected women directing horror films.  So why, in the 21st century, is there still a pervading general opinion that women don’t ‘do’ horror?  As a woman horror writer I think about this question a lot.

I think part of the problem is the fact that the media will always encourage majority opinion.  This is most evident when the Xmas ads get rolled out.  If you buy your gifts based on the message the commercials are giving you, you’d assume that the women in your life want make-up kits and romance films, and the men in your life want computer games and science fiction films.    Not that I want to rant about this, but anyone who doesn’t know me well enough to know I’d rather have a zombie PS3 game for Xmas than a make-up kit shouldn’t be buying me a gift at all.

I have lived my life in the minority.  I’m left-handed, and the world is geared for right-handed people.  I live in a country where the two favourite pastimes are eating curry and watching football, and I don’t like either.  I am a woman who reads and writes horror.  I play video games, and D&D.  I don’t have, and have no desire to have, children, and I have little interest in clothes and shoes and hand bags.  I am not alone in any of this.  The majority of my female friends are horror and sci fi fans, and we talk with enthusiasm about the same TV shows.  We also rant collectively about the image of women in the media, and lack of decent female role models.

Things are changing, slowly (hence my recent blog posts about positive fictional female role models in the media), but there’s still a long way to go.  And if the media continues to cater to gender preconceptions, things will never change quickly enough.

But change is always slow, if constant.  There may always be fewer women writing horror than there are men, but that doesn’t make them any less relevant.   The majority opinion isn’t necessarily right – just more popular.  And there is something to be said for being part of the elite minority.  When your voice is smaller, you just have to shout louder.  Eventually people listen.

BIO:
Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror.  Her latest book, SOUL SCREAMS is a collection of short horror stories and is available in e-book and print format from Stumar Press (http://stumarpress.webs.com/soulscreams.htm).  Learn more about Sara and her writing by visiting her website (http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com) and her blog (http://sayssara.wordpress.com).
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