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Monday, December 31, 2012

Guest Blog: Karen McCullough: Not the Usual Resolutions for 2013

The start of a new year is traditionally a time for looking back and finding lessons in hindsight, then vowing changes for improvement. I’ve done my share of making the usual promises to myself: eat better, exercise more, be more patient, etc.

The usual stuff.

I still do that, but after too many years of grand promises and not-so-grand failures, I’ve learned something. Those grand resolutions are impossible to keep. Partly because they’re usually so vague you don’t know whether you’ve kept them or not, partly because they’re too easy to fudge, and partly because the changes demanded are too big. 

I’ve learned that resolutions work better when you make your promises small things and very specific.  Instead of vowing to lose weight, I said there would be no more late night raids on the Doritos bag. If I had to have a snack after supper, it would be fruit.

That one I’ve kept.

And instead of exercising more, I said I’d try to walk half an hour three times a week. I’ve discovered I enjoy it so much, I actually do it most days.
I also make resolutions related to my writing life. I have limited writing time because I have a web design and development business that pays the bills. Most of my day is taken up with that business, but I try to keep at least an hour a day for writing. Some days, it never happens, though. But I’m not going to resolve to make more time for writing. I plan something more specific.

This is what I’m resolving for the coming year.

  1. Try to write a sentence on the work in progress every day. One sentence doesn’t sound too overwhelming, but it should at least keep the current book top of my mind. If I can manage one sentence I should be able to do a lot more, but I’m not insisting on it. Just one sentence a day.
  2. Finish at least one of the several unfinished manuscripts sitting on my hard drive (even if I have to do it one sentence at a time).
  3. Read at least one book about the craft.  I think it’s going to be Story by Robert McKee. I have a copy that’s been sitting on my shelf for a while. Even though I’ve been writing for almost 30 years, I still feel like I have a lot to learn.
  4. I admit this one breaks all my guidelines for small, specific things, but it’s something I need to do.  I’ve got to figure out a system for integrating promo into my schedule without spending hours a week on it.
 So… What are your writing resolutions for 2013?

Karen McCullough is the author of a dozen published novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres and has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy. She’s also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three children, three grandchildren and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.

When Catherine Bennett agrees to attend an important party as a favor for her boss, she knows she won't enjoy it, but she doesn't expect to end up holding a dying man in her arms. Nor did she anticipate she’d become the recipient of his last message about the location of evidence that would prove his brother innocent of murder. Now the killers are after her to get that information. She’ll need the help of attorney Peter Lowell, as well as the victim’s difficult, prickly younger brother and a handsome private detective to help her find the evidence before the killers do.
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

CNN Heroes

Christmas is over and the New Year is nearly here.  It's time for us to make our New Year's resolutions.  My New Year resolution is to get writing and finish my book.  Oh sure, I had valid reasons for not finishing it this year, but unless something catastrophic happens in 2013, I'm going to finish, revise and submit this book. 

All writers write about heroes and heroines, and that's why I'm going to write about CNN heroes.  These heroes aren't tall, dark and handsome, and they aren't glamorous, but they are heroes.  Many of them put their lives in danger by doing what they do.  They are real-life heroes.

Connie is a doctor and she started a foundation to keep kids in school.  Many kids would stay home to take care of critically ill family members and miss school. This doctor worked to get these kids back in school.

There are over three millions young girls in the world who aren't being educated. A heroine in Afghanistan is helping young girls to get an education.  Now, this is definitely a dangerous job.  It's dangerous for their teacher and for the young ones trying to get an education.  To just walk from their home to the school puts these girls in harms way.

A hero who beat his addiction helps others beat theirs.  He trains them in sports such as running, boxing, mountain climbing and rock climbing.  Wow!  Talk about dangerous--you would never get me up there.  I say whatever it takes to beat drugs. 

A wealthy woman, a banker, in Columbia holds her ill son and he dies in her arms. This loss makes her think of the many poor who can't provide the means to save their loved ones, and she forms a foundation to help women and children in undeveloped countries.

A woman who is a veteran trains dogs to work with veterans who suffer from P.T.S.D., depression and thoughts of suicide.  These soldiers are able to find relief with the help of these animals.

A hero in South Africa helped young people get an education even though he didn't have one.  He helped feed these kids at school.  Can you imagine what this man could have done if he'd been educated?

In Nepal, kids were in prison because their parents were there.  A heroine took the older children and put them in schools.  The ones who were too young to be taken from their parents are taken to a school for 4 or 5 hours a day to learn to read, spell, add and subtract. (By the way, this young woman won the Hero of the Year Award).

A heroine started a project teaching kids to swim after her son drowned.  Many young kids didn't know to be afraid of the water.  She, especially, wanted to make sure black kids learned how to swim.

In Haiti, a woman started a campaign saying, "No to Violence," in order to help kids and women living in tents.  She wrote complaints to authorities for them, provided whistles and hired young men as security just to name a few things she accomplished. 

A man loses his fourteen year old daughter to a drunk driver.  Out of his loss, he challenges the kids at her school not to drink until they are 21.  If they accept the challenge he'll help pay their college fees or for a trade school, whichever they choose.

In my stories, the heroes and heroines represent real life situations, too, and I try to make my characters as realistic as possible.  These people, these heroes are real, too, and it could be time romance novelists start showing these heroes and heroines in our stories. 

Have a wonderful New Year!  See you in 2013!

Sandra K. Marshall  


Friday, December 28, 2012

Guest Blog: Toni V Sweeney: I Didn't Intend to Write a Series...or Even a Sequel

 How many times have I said that to myself? t last count eight times. I always plan to write Just One Book, but almost before the final word is typed on that first story, Fate and my overactive imagination steps in, and my good intentions fall by the way side, and Book 2, then Three, Four, and etcetera, start clamoring to have their stories told, too.
Hey, it's not fair! What about the rest of us, the other characters in the story? We’ve got lives, too, you know. You can’t just say They Lived Happily Ever After and let it go at that…you know that’s not true. What about when the kids start coming, or the police find out about his criminal past, or his long-lost brother shows up, or that vengeful ex-girlfriend…you’ve got a lot more to tell and you know it. So you aren’t going anywhere, my friend. Sit yourself back down at that keyboard and start typing. We’ll tell you when to stop!

So I do, and the stories come pouring out, and on and on, like a flood.Sometimes the flood slows to a trickle, but it nevertheless continues to flow.

This time, it’s the story of a city called Leonesse, set in the mythical country of Purdha. Purdha’s always been at war with the Nords, with peace at intervals. It’s also the tale of three sets of lovers who live in Leonesse. One pair are born there, of one pair, the lady is a Nord and the lord a Purdhan, of the third pair, neither is a native of the city though are Purdhan-born.

As I said, I didn’t intend to write a series. I was just going to write a story called The King’s Swordswoman, and that was it. But after it was over, those blasted characters started making themselves heard. So The Seventh Mothman followed, and then My Lord Ax. I’m happy to day they quieted down after that and I can only assume they’re satisfied with things since I haven’t heard any more out of them. (Whew.) There was a minor problem, however. I’ve got this habit of writing books in reverse order. The King’s Swordswoman brings up the innumerable wars between the Nords and the Purdhans. My Lord Ax explains how and why those wars started and just how the young couple who became the ancestors of Janel Redhu, heroine of The King’s Swordswoman, fit into the story. Read in chronological order, it’s the first in the series, The Lovers of Leonesse. Read in order of being written, it’s the third. Confused so far?

In January, 2013, the third , and last (I hope), in the series will be published. While The King’s Swordswoman is set in some vaguish Graeco-Roman-Barbarian period, and My Lord Ax is reminiscent of a Regency tale, The Seventh Mothman is Renaissance steampunk, through-and-through, with a little Shakespearean convention thrown in. It has an inventor who is also a painter, a sculptor, and the head of the vicomte’s security, an inventor who has created a magnificent machine that can actually fly. It has a girl, disguised as a boy, searching for her runaway brother, hoping to bring him home to claim his birthright. It has a handsome young man with a secret, who takes the “boy” under his wing, so to speak, and teaches him how to handle the flying machine. And then this girl pretending to be a boy falls in love with her benefactor, and is unable to tell him, because to do so would involve shedding her disguise and revealing to all that she’s female and therefore not automatically expelled from the squadron called the Mothmen, the brave souls who fly the fantastic machines. And then war is declared with a new enemy…

Will Antoinette reveal her love for Etienne? Will she be booted out of the Mothmen once they learn she’s a woman? Will she find her brother? Will Etienne’s secret destroy that love? Will his ego survive being fooled by a girl disguised as a boy, especially after some of the things he and the “boy” have said and done together? Will they and their fellow mothmen survive the coming war? How am I going to make a Happy Ending out of all this?

That’s up to the reader to find out.

The Seventh Mothman, coming January 15, 2013, from Class Act Books.


When Andre duCleau’s Will leaves his entire estate to his runaway son, François, daughter Antoinette is forced to make a drastic choice: Find her brother or live in poverty. She chooses the later and travels to Leonesse disguised as a young nobleman. Antoinette doesn’t find François, but she does find a home with the city’s flying squadron, the Mothmen.

Once the guardians of Leonesse, these brash young men took to the air in flying machines created by King Georges’ Venitani inventor, but now, they and their brave deeds have been almost forgotten…until war again arises.

Secure in her disguise, Antoinette is ready to fight…until her feelings for Etienne, a fellow flyer, get in the way. What will happen if Etienne and the others discover her secret? Will they denounce her or will they accept her as The Seventh Mothman?

Toni V. Sweeney was born some time between the War Between the States and the Gulf War. She has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains. Her first novel was published in 1989. An accomplished artist as well as writer, she has a degree in Fine Art and a diploma in Graphic Art and produces videos when she isn't writing novels. Toni maintains a website for herself and her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone, and has been associated with the South Coast Writer's Association, the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers, several other writer’s loops, myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The Seventh Mothman will be her 32nd book.

To celebrate Christmas Just Passed, I’m giving away a copy of The King’s Swordswoman to one commenter. No questions to answer, nothing to buy, just comment and your name’s in the hat!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Turning I Can't Into I Can by Janice Seagraves

Turn I Can't Into I Can
By Janice Seagraves

I used to work for a retired couple. The woman surprised me one day by telling me that she was an artist. When they moved into their current house, she thought she would have a room to paint in. However, her husband took the only spare room as his den.

She actually thought she couldn't paint until she got a room to work in.

I thought that was odd. I paint, draw, and do crafts. All I need is the end of the dinning table, a bit of space on the coffee table, or when my back was still good, I’d work on the floor.

As for my writing, I have a desk shoved into the corner near the dinning table where I work. A corner is all I need for my office.

Speaking of writing.  Some people can’t write without the computer, which is fine. But I know a few individuals who prefer using a pad to write on. They enjoy the textural feel of the pencil or pen in their hand, and the scratch sound as the nip goes along the paper. They take their pad everywhere, and it tucks in very neatly into a purse or pocket. And then at the end of the day, they transfer their writing to the computer.

The same can be said for people and their laptops. They are very portable. They take them everywhere. And not just to the coffee shop. One woman who has kids underfoot all day long, takes her laptop all over the house. When she’s cooking, her laptop is on the kitchen counter. If she’s ironing, her laptop is like a faithful companion sitting nearby, on a table or chair. When she’s in the living room with her husband and kids, the laptop is on her lap. She gets a great deal of writing done.

These people have turned the I can’t into I can.

Make your New Years Resolutions: I Can

Janice Seagraves website:
Janice Seagraves's blog:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Combating the Blue Funk

Christmas is behind us and soon New Year’s will be as well. Then we will be faced with the most brutal time of the year as winter rages on. Your writing could suffer as many sink into what I sometimes call a “blue funk.” Over the years, I have learned it is not a good thing to stay wallowing in a state of negativity with no positive gain. Here are ways I know to combat the feeling and put you back in your happy place:

Appreciate what you have. The first thing you should do when you wake up each morning is think of what you have to be thankful for—for one thing, you woke up! At the end of the day, take inventory of all the examples of abundance in your life that you experienced through encounters during those hours. Whether it’s the person who held the door for you, a phone call you took, or something endearing someone told you, it’s an example of how full your life already is. Think of each of these as a ray of sunshine glowing on your heart. They’re all signs you are not in this life alone.
Find the good in everything. Everything can be seen in a negative or positive way. If something happens to you, for example you have a flat tire, be thankful you didn’t wreck the car. There is always a positive side to every experience. Is it better to think of the glass half empty or half full? Which thought makes you happier? Why not think in a manner that will make you happy instead of miserable?
Start believing that you can change things. It all starts with a belief, and the harder you believe that you can make things better, the more it will turn out that way. It’s the positive side of the self-fulfilling prophesy.
Enjoy the moment. Whatever you’re doing in that moment, take the time to enjoy it. Every task, undertaken in the right manner and the right spirit, can be fun.
Take positive action. As long as you’re moving forward, you’re not going backward or stagnating in the same place. A small step to make life better for someone is the right step to make, even if that move is a baby step. The more you practice, the larger your contribution in the future. For instance, write a page a day. Even if they’re not that good, you’re still practicing your craft.
Do something that gives you meaning. Often we feel dissatisfied with life because it seems we aren’t doing anything worthwhile. So, search for a way to give to others in the following ways:

1. Spend time with loved ones and really listen. Be there for them..
2. Volunteer. Helping others freely with no thought of return brings its own intrinsic rewards.
3. Create. Any kind of creating — whether it be writing, drawing, singing, playing music, designing, building something — can bring meaning to your life. You’re expressing yourself, sharing, and providing the world with a creation that will live on as something tangible, at least for that moment, and goes on to become a lasting memory.
4. Give anonymously of your time, your talents and/or your resources. Knowing you did something just because it was the right thing to do makes you feel better than any amount of praise.

Often these activities also provide inspiration, so they are a win-win for you and others. Now get over that sinking feeling and be happy. Time to write the next chapter in your WIP.
Bobbye Terry writes mystery/suspense and romance under her real name and fantasy/science fiction as Daryn Cross. See more about her at and

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Guest Blog: Margay Justice: More Innocent Times

I long for more innocent times. The times of my childhood when Christmas was something more than a commercial to sell new products. When children actually knew what the holiday was all about and looked forward to spending it with their parents.

I long for the days when we would sit down and watch holiday movies as a family. When it felt like it wasn’t Christmas if we didn’t have a visit from Rudolph and Frosty, the Peanuts gang, or The Little Drummer Boy.

I long for the time when trimming the tree was a family affair and we eagerly awaited the event and fought over who got to put up which ornaments. When we would ooh and ahh over each ornament our mother uncovered and understand that each one had a special meaning.

I long for the days when handmade gifts were the most appreciated because we knew how much love our mother put into the making of each thing she put under the tree. When the gifts actually had meaning and weren’t just the latest thing that big toy or computer companies convinced us we had to have.

I long for the time when being together on Christmas was the greatest gift of all, even if we didn’t realize it at the time.

I long for the holidays of my youth when it was okay to believe in Santa, and to respect your parents and want to spend the day with them.

Descended from the same bloodline that spawned the likes of James Russell, Amy and Robert Lowell, Margay Leah Justice was fated to be a writer herself from a young age. But even before she knew that there was a name for what she was doing, she knew one thing: She had a deep and unconditional love for the written word. A love that would challenge her in times of need, abandon her in times of distress, and rediscover her in times of hope. Through her writing, Margay has learned to cope with every curve ball life has thrown her, including the challenges of single parenting, the harsh realities of living in a shelter, coping with the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, and the roller coaster ride of dealing with a child who suffers from bipolar disorder. But along the way she has rediscovered the amazing power of words.

Margay currently lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, two cats, and a myriad of characters who vie for her attention and demand that their own stories be told.


For more than a hundred and fifty years, the gray wolf has failed to roam the hills of Massachusetts, leading to the belief that they are extinct. But with a spattering of sightings across the Berkshires, the legend of the gray wolf comes to fruition. The product of that legend, Micah Sloane will go to great lengths to protect his kind from the threat of outsiders, who seek to exploit the legend for their own interests. One thing he didn’t count on, however, was finding his soul mate in the company of such men.

From the first time she predicted a stranger’s imminent death when she was little more than a child, Shiloh Beck knew she was different. Wishing to cultivate her gift, her parents made the fateful decision to enroll her in a private school for paranormally gifted children. Unbeknownst to them, the school was just a front for a research facility simply called the Institute, whose secret board members weaned gifted children from their families to exploit their gifts. Shiloh has spent the better part of her life trying to escape the Institute and reunite with the family she was told had abandoned her.

From their first meeting, Micah and Shiloh share a connection that goes beyond the normal to bond them in a way that love alone cannot. But before they can build a life together, they must deal with the fall-out when the legend of the wolves collides with the men behind the Institute.


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Monday, December 24, 2012

Everything You Wanted to Know about Christmas Trees But Were Afraid to Ask

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Christmas Trees But Were Afraid To Ask

It’s that most wonderful time of year when Christmas festivities and decorations fill our lives. For over a century the Christmas tree has been a symbol of the holiday season. How did it come to be such an unmistakable symbol of Christmas? Well, settle back. I’m here to tell you.

Here’s a brief history of the Christmas tree. I hope you enjoy it.

3000 B.C.-Ancient Egyptians revered Evergreens because they represented life’s victory over death. The Egyptians would bring boughs into their homes during the Winter Solstice.

600 A.D.--St. Boniface used the Fir tree as a symbol of Christianity. Some believe he chose the Fir because its triangular shape symbolized the Holy Trinity.

1100-Christians began to hang Firs upside-down from their ceilings at Christmastime.

1510-The first “proper” Christmas tree was displayed at Town Hall Square in Riga, Latvia, and was believed to have been decorated with paper flowers.

1521-Germany popularized the Christmas tree and used Pine trees in Christmas celebrations. Decorations were hung from the trees, as well as fruits and nuts for the children to eat on Christmas Day.

1610-Ultra-thin strips of silver were manufactured for decorating Christmas trees. These strips were called tinsel.

1747-Bethlehem, PA, claimed to have had the first Christmas tree in the United States.

Early 1800’s-Popularity of the Christmas tree spread throughout Europe and was recognized by the Catholic Church.

1846-Queen Victoria popularized the Christmas tree in England and the U.S. East Coast after appearing in a news illustration posed next to one.

1850-Glass ornaments were manufactured to decorate Christmas trees, and quickly became fashionable, as well as a status symbol.

1880-Artifical Christmas trees were introduced in the U.S. and Germany to combat the damage and depletion of Fir and Pine trees.

1880-Woolworth began importing and selling Christmas trees to the American public.

1882-Inventions like electric lights and metal hooks for ornaments were introduced.

1930-Decorations for Christmas trees became more elaborate, and themed trees became popularized.

1950-The “Silver Tree” was released in America and designed to reflect light from a light source beneath the tree.

1980-Present-Artificial Christmas trees have become more realistic, some now come with lights, and sprays are available to mimic the scent of real Evergreens.


 Tree at Rockefeller Center, 2010

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Guest Blog: PG Forte: All the Trimmings

One of my favorite things about the holidays is the decorations. As a child, I remember helping to stencil designs on the front windows of our house and all the excitement when the boxes of ornaments were brought down from the attic. I remember the big, fat bulbs with their bright primary colors. I remember fragile glass ornaments—each one different, unique. That all disappeared the year I was eleven, when a fire in my parents’ attic destroyed all those beloved ornaments. I found the new ornaments boring and the fake tree utilitarian. Gone was the fairyland feeling of having an actual piece of the forest transplanted into the living room. Even the lights were the wrong colors. And the magical, silvery tinsel (that I never did get the hang of, apparently)? That was gone too, replaced by snake-like lengths of hideously dull gold garland. 

Is it any wonder that, as a teen, one of my favorite “date” destinations was the local Christmas store? I could imagine nothing more romantic than strolling through the forest of decorated trees. I always wanted themed trees—although the theme in question seemed to change from time to time—and that was an idea I never could sell my parents on.  As an adult, however, I finally got what I wanted. For many years, our tree each Christmas was a pure and frosty masterpiece. White lights. Silver garland. Unique, hand-picked ornaments in white and silver and clear and frosted glass.  It took me years to assemble a tree’s worth of decorations, but I loved every minute of it.

But life is change, something that was brought home all too well the year all our ornaments disappeared during one of our frequent moves. Feeling depressed, I decided to go with a ‘blue Christmas’ theme. I’m sure it was pretty, but it was all wrong—cold and cheerless. It only made me more depressed.

Since then, we’ve been experimenting. One year, my son’s then girlfriend convinced me to add red to my usual silver theme (which had never been the same since the loss of my original silver-and-white collection) it didn’t really work for me. The next year, I tried red and gold. At least it was warmer.  A few years ago I found myself craving color—and a sixties-retro look. I blame the book I was working on, at the time, which was partially set at Christmas in the late sixties.

This year, we’ve moved once again. Our new home was built in the late 70s. It has high ceilings and a floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace surround all in earthy tones of red, brown and gold.  This year’s tree is the biggest we’ve ever had. It’s still somewhat retro, but the color scheme is red and gold and chocolate…I think it’s yummy. But who knows what I’ll want next year.

The characters in my new release, Finders Keepers, are also having a nostalgic, retro kind of Christmas here’s a brief excerpt:
Aldo was wrapping a thick strand of lighted garland along the railing of the deck when they rolled back into the yard later that day. He stopped what he was doing to stare in disbelief at the tree strapped to the truck’s roof. “You couldn’t say no to her, could you?” he asked, directing the question to Caleb as he climbed from the cab.

Caleb shrugged and shot a quick glance her way. “What can I say? The lady is very persuasive.”

“And you, my friend, are whipped,” Aldo replied. “I should’ve known you couldn’t handle her.”

“Hey!” Sally shot a mock glare at him. “That’s enough of that! Are you just going to stand up there and run your mouth, or are you gonna come help us?”

That brought a grin to Aldo’s face. “Ooh, tough words. What do you mean us anyway?” he asked teasingly even as he ambled down the stairs, just as ordered. “Don’t tell me you’re planning on lifting that thing down from there? Because that would be a first.”

“You’re a fine one to talk about being whipped.” Caleb gazed pointedly at Aldo. “Seems to me you got your ass down here pretty quick when she told you to.”

“Yeah, well, what you call persuasive, I call bossy. Plus I’m not stupid, you know. I’ve seen her handle a weapon.”

Sally rolled her eyes. “That’s it; I’m outta here. You boys don’t want my help? Well, then, fine. I need to save my hands for my work anyway. So I’ll just head on into the house and pour myself a drink, leave all the grunt work for you he-men to do.” She nodded toward the single string of lights Aldo had tacked up around the door. “Hey. That’s looking good, by the way.”

“Thanks.” He gave her a wry smile that made her wonder if they weren’t both thinking the same thing. It had been sweet of him to make the effort, but if Davis was here, he’d have laughed and called Aldo’s handiwork pathetic. Then he’d have spent the rest of the day wrapping the entire cabin in lights.
CONTEST ALERT: I’m running a contest this week, to celebrate my release. You can use the form below to enter:

Sometimes finding what you want is the easy part.
Caleb is a bionic soldier with little-to-no memory of his past. He's seeking the truth about himself and those missing memories.

Aldo's an undercover cop who just might have the answers to Caleb's questions. But if Caleb's the man Aldo thinks he is, how can he let him get away a second time?

Then there's Sally; she's an ER physician who used to be married to Aldo's late partner, Davis. Sally's not dealing with widowhood very well. In fact, it's getting harder, every day, just to find a reason to keep getting out of bed. If the truth about the men's shared past comes to light, she could lose them both. 

Along with her last, best reason to go on living.

This holiday season, chance will bring them together and give them an opportunity to help one another find what they each want most. But every gift comes with a price. And keeping what they've found once they've found it? Yeah, that's gonna be the hard part.

PG Forte inhabits a world only slightly less strange than the ones she creates. Filled with serendipity, coincidence, love at first sight and dreams come true. It also bears an uncanny resemblance to Berkeley, California.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Just in time for Christmas-a love story to warm the heart

Leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 Gift Certificate to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
It’s the Christmas season, a time to celebrate life and look forward to the future. But what about those souls who are still tormented by the hand life has dealt them? What if the prince isn’t so handsome and the princess sees herself as less than regal? What if the magic in their life only comes from their dreams? Of each other?
Books and More owner, Nina Foster doesn’t believe in love anymore. Twice, men have crushed her heart. Now, she’s resigned herself to making hot chocolate and baking cookies for the customers who enter her store. She won’t risk her heart again.

Blake Massie hides away from the world, nursing his scars. He sees himself as a monster that no one could ever love. A self-imposed recluse, he won’t allow himself to open up, afraid of being burned like his fire-ravaged skin.

Unable to reach out in person, the pair communicates via the Internet and hot, erotic fantasies. Night after night, they explore their growing passion with only a blindfold to protect their secrets. As Christmas approaches, Blake must share his pain if he is to ease hers, but doing so could drive her away forever. Can they take a chance and follow their deepest soul dreams, or will their fragile hearts continue to hide from the world and one another?

Before she realized it, he tilted her to face him, one arm around her, the other hand cupping her chin. He pressed his lips against hers, a butterfly touch, so feather light it was barely there. She didn’t pull away, and the pressure increased. And when her arms came up to wrap around him, he traced the seam of her lips with his tongue.

He kissed one corner of her mouth then the other before murmuring, “Let me in. Please.”

It was the dream all over again, except this time she could actually taste him, and he was delicious. She opened her mouth to let his tongue sweep inside, and she offered him her own. It wasn’t the most passionate kiss she’d ever had or the most aggressive, but it certainly was the most possessive. As if he was somehow claiming ownership. And she had no desire to push him away.

She threaded her fingers through his hair, as smooth to the touch as his beard, and held his head to hers while he gently plundered her mouth. His tongue lit fires every place he touched, the heat flowing down through her body and making her muscles clench with desire. This was at once the most erotic and the most emotional kiss she’d ever shared, and she never wanted it to stop. It was only lack of oxygen that made them break the contact at last. She didn’t try to move away, hoping he’d take it as a sign not to let go. They sat there for a long moment, arms wrapped around each other, her head against his shoulder.

“I dreamed about kissing you like this.”

The words were whispered so faintly at first Nina wasn’t sure she heard correctly. “You did?”

“Uh huh. A lot.” He gently nipped her ear lobe. “About tasting you, inhaling your scent. Touching you everywhere. Do you dream that way?”

She squeezed her thighs together against the sudden hunger beating through her, her voice unsteady when she answered him. “Yes. Yes, I do.” She stroked his beard again. “Blake? Won’t you please take off the blindfold so I can see you?”

His muscles tightened for a moment then relaxed. “No. I can’t. Not yet. Please don’t ask me.” His laugh was forced. “Let’s keep this a fantasy for the time being, okay?”

“All right.” His words sounded so desperate, how could she say no?

Friday, December 21, 2012

New Release: The Temperate Warrior By Renee Vincent

That's right! The first book in my Warrior Saga series has just released and I'm in the middle of a huge blog tour with a stop at Carly Fall's Blog.

While you're there, don't forget to enter my giveaway!

What others are saying about

"Heartwarming, heart pounding, and spellbinding I can not find fault in this author’s work as she weaves each enchanting tale. The stories are beautiful and live in my mind long after having read them and they never fail to sadden me just a bit by their (albeit happy) end."
~ 5 Stars TOP PICK ~ Night Owl Reviews

"An action-packed tale, THE TEMPERATE WARRIOR, the first book in gifted author Renee Vincent’s WARRIOR SAGAS, is a witty, sensual historical romance. I could not put it down, staying up late into the night to finish it. However, the lack of sleep was worth it. Although he is a strong warrior, Gustaf also has his tender side and helps Æsa understand her value as a woman, the one he loves. Brimming with humor, passion, complex and compelling characters, an intriguing plot, witty repartee, suspense, danger, tender romance and a one-of-a-kind love, this beautifully written story is delicious. A definite keeper! As readers of her previous books can attest, Ms. Vincent writes wonderful stories that stay in your memory long after the book is closed. I enjoyed THE TEMPERATE WARRIOR immensely and recommend it highly to anyone looking for a great story with plenty of heat, humor and heartfelt emotion. Do not miss it!"
~ 5 Blue Ribbons ~ Romance Junkies

Or you can read and decide for yourself:

*If you missed my previous stops on my blog tour and would like to catch up and enter to win, I've listed their direct links for your convenience:

Sky Purington's Christmas Blog Event
(I'm hosting a separate contest there too so don't forget to enter)

Provocative Pages
Guest Blog: Why Vikings?

Monique Morgan's Blog
Book Feature

Books and Other Spells

Roxanne's Realm

Here's where I'll be in the future:
December 22 - Grave Tells
December 22 - Reviewing in Chaos
December 23 - Fangs, Wands & Fairydust
December 24 - Victoria Danann
January 21, 2013 - Margaret Ethridge's Blog 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Interview of Tony-Paul de Vissage

 Today it's my pleasure to present an interview of romance/vampire/horror author, Tony-Paul De Vissage.

Latest Book: The Last Vampire Standing
Buy Link

Tony-Paul de Vissage is a Southerner of French Huguenot extraction, whose first movie memory is of viewing the old Universal horror flick, Dracula’s Daughter, on television, and being scared sleepless--and that may explain a lifelong interest in vampires.

This was further inspired when the author ran across a band of transplanted Transylvanian vampires who were sightseeing in the South. Thinking were getting a bad press and in need of some favorable publicity, he decided to do what he could to change that attitude through his writing. Though it may be argued his efforts have probably done the opposite, no vamp has complained…yet

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: Since it wasn’t my first book, and there was a long space between it and the second one, I was just greatly relieved.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The beginning and the ending. It’s all that business in the middle that slows me down.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: See above. After I get the essentials out of the way, I have to go back and put in the details and make sure they all match up. That’s the tedious part. Like making sure if a chapter start at midnight and only a few minutes elapse before it ends, the time hasn’t skipped a couple of days or months. I once had a scene beginning at night and ending two days later in a different location with no explanation of how the transition was made, and not even the copy editor noticed that.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: Vlad, of course. He’s such a smart-mouth, as well as being the part-narrator. I really enjoyed writing him. It was fun putting those irreverent nosferatic words in his mouth.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroines? Tell us about your heroine.
A: I like that little blonde who’s on Revenge. What’s her name? Emily VanCamp. She’s got just enough gumption and good-looks to be Meredith, and she sure doesn’t take any guff from anyone!

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroes? Tell us about your hero.
A: I partly envisioned Vlad as being like Ian Somerhalder on The Vampire Diaries, so, with a little tweaking from the make-up department, he’d do.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Not a bit. If they did, I’d be writing a series.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: I’m a Southerner. I dote on boiled peanuts. Shelled, of course, so I don’t have to bother with that. Actually, any food inspires my imagination because I love to eat. Ribs, fried chicken, barbeque… (And my waistline can confirm that!)

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: Painting and sculpture. I’ve a BA in Art and once actually had a one-man show. The walls of my apartment in California were covered with my paintings and the tables decorated with sculpted pieces, and I’ve sold a few.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: My over-active imagination, coupled with a desire to get those stories out of my head and into the computer as fast as the ol’ fingers can fly. Having a bad shoulder and having to occasionally slow down on the keyboarding is absolute T*O*R*T*U*R*E.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why? 
A: Something erotic, but here’s a secret (whispers) I’m working on an erotic horror novel now, set in the 1800s in New Orleans.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Publisher’s page(s):
Twitter: @tpvissage

Two men…separated by thousands of years, cultures, and customs…and in love with the same woman…

All grad student James Tucker Upchurch wanted was to earn summer credit on an archaeological dig to Central America…and to marry his fiancée, Shannon. All Semris wanted was to escape the monotony of a millennia-old life, and the burdens being a demon king, and the son of the Mayan God of Death, have placed upon him.

For five thousand years,the misplaced Dark Lords of Hell have been trapped in this world, ruling the Mayan city of Nikte-Uaxac. While elsewhere civilizations rise and fall, they and their subjects remain unchanged, until Twenty-first Century intruders appear, stealing from them their most precious possession, the Emperor himself…

Tuck never expected to lose his girl to a demon nor to be given immortality, and Semris never thought he’d experience mortal love, but when the current world meets a more ancient one, everything and everyone they know will be changed. Forever.

Tuck walked over to the cage.

Oh, God, did that last shot kill him? As far as he could tell, Semris hadn’t moved. When he saw the slow rise and fall of the bare chest, he felt abrupt relief. He also saw the golden amulet, recognizing it as the twin of the one that had started all this unpleasantness in the first place.

The fruit hadn’t been touched, was rapidly darkening, the sweet, overripe smell permeating the cellar, attracting flies. How the Hell they get in here, anyway? Several big bluebottles were buzzing around inside the cell, hovering over the peaches, a couple crawling along the edges of the plate. One was floating in the water glass, wings fluttering and making little splashes.

Tuck knelt and opened the little flap, reaching inside to remove the glass. As he reached back in for the plate, it happened. so fast he didn’t even realize Semris had moved until he felt the iron grip upon his wrist, saw the fangs drop and the dark head covering his hand.

He screamed as twin razor slashes struck through his wrist...knowing no one could hear, struggled desperately to get away. Frantic, disbelieving thoughts whirling through his mind. Oh, God, this is why he didn’t eat the fruit. He’s a vampire! Sweet Jesus, he’s going to kill me! Help someone, help me! Why should they? I didn’t help him.

The pain went away, his arm numb from wrist to fingertips.

He knelt there on the floor, watching the pale body crouched so near he could have reached out and touched his shoulder...his bare, wingless shoulder. Where did his wings go? What happened to them? All he could do was watch those shoulders heave with the strength of each deep swallow, feeling his life ebb away, and a vague surprise that it didn’t hurt at all.

Eyes rolling up, Tuck gave a little sigh and collapsed against the bars. He was barely conscious as he saw Semris raise his head and release his arm. In spite of being only slightly aware, he felt a stab of surprise as the quiet voice whispered, “Gracias. Gracias por su sangre.”

He’s thanking me? Thanking me for letting him kill me? With an effort, he made himself withdraw his wounded arm, cradling it against his chest with his other hand. Forcing his eyes open, he stared at his wrist, fighting the wave of blackness floating before his eyes.

There was no bloody ripped-away flesh as he’d imagined, only four deep punctures. Two of the five little veins had been pierced, but the wounds were clean and already clotting. Tuck forced himself to take a deep breath, then let it out, and repeated the procedure. Keep breathing! Don’t pass out. He might decide to have a second helping.

“I took too much. I am sorry. I was too hungry.”

There was such concern in Semris’ voice that Tuck found himself replying, “That’s all right. I-if I’d known, I… Oh, God, what am I saying?” He fell silent, feeling a bout of hysteria galloping toward him.

Something was thrust into his hand. One of the peaches. Semris’ hand, between the bars, holding it out to him. Aqui. Come. Pronto.”

So he took the peach and bit into it, choking slightly as the rich, sweet juice slid down his throat, but forced himself to keep chewing and swallowing. As the fruit sugar hit his stomach, he began to feel better.

“That was good.” With a sigh, he tossed the peach pit aside.

Through the bars, hands helped him to his feet. He leaned against the door, hanging onto it to keep his balance as dizziness flooded back.

“Again, I am sorry. He looked up, meeting Semris’ eyes, startled at the concern in them. “It has been so long since I have had the living wine.”

Living wine…what a beautiful way to describe it.
Tuck still felt a little groggy, wondered if he was now under the vampire thrall. He decided to find out. “Am I your minion now?”

“Why would you think that?” Semris sounded genuinely puzzled.

“Well, you’ve taken my blood. Generally, when a vampire--”

Vampiro! Donde?”
Semris looked around quickly, arms crossing over his throat in a protective gesture.

Tuck answered, feeling he’d made a mistake. “Aren’t you a vampire?”

“Of course not!” The answer was disdainful that Tuck might mistake him for such a vile creature. “I am a Dark Lord. Un demonio.” The pale chin lifted proudly. “Los vampiros are creatures accursed.”

Tuck thought that over. “And you’re not.”

“No.” Semris shook his head, the dark hair swinging. “I am not.”

Tuck realized he must be feeling better, to be able to marvel at the absurdity of this conversation.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Just that I have a new vampire series coming out in 2013 from Double Dragon Publishing. Three books have been written so far. It's called The Second Species, and it’s about a family of vampires who aren’t really vampires.

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