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Monday, November 30, 2015

A Little Bit Thankful. . .

It’s been quite the month, hasn’t it? So much has happened. I’m not even sure where to begin, lol.

On a global level, we had several terrorist attacks, the most famous were the attacks in Paris. I don’t know about anyone else, but watching the news unfold on television and social media made me realize just how thankful I was for family living close by and my health.

On a national level, we celebrated both Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving, two holidays that make us reflective and grateful for what we have. We always have Thanksgiving at our house, and it's nice to have all of us under one roof - even if it's only for a little while.

On a personal level, my oldest’s Cross Country Team finished for the year, and her Basketball team started practice. I was very thankful that he basketball schedule is a little less demanding than her running schedule. She also managed to finish a major school project about her ancestors, a project that made me realize just how far we have come from our humble roots.

On a professional level, I got some big news on two fronts, neither of which I’m allowed to share yet. (dang it!) If you want to be one of the first to know, then you might want to sign up for my newsletter here. I’llannounce it here first, as well as give subscribers a special surprise inDecember. So stay tuned!

The news has made me reflective as to how far I have since I started writing in 2008, and all of the amazing friendships I have made along the way. So I’d love to take a moment now to thank all of you, writers and readers, for an amazing 2015. Here’s hoping that 2016 is even better!

How about you? Is there anything you’re thankful for this holiday season? Tell me about it in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you!

Buy from the following vendors:
More vendors coming soon!
“A fast-paced plot, appealing lovers awakening to their true feelings, unnerving antagonists, and entertaining sex scenes make this an absorbing, satisfying romance.” – Publishers Weekly
A sensual tale about the risks and rewards of falling in too deep-and loving it.
Tired of living a lie, Arianna Perconti leaves her fiancé at the altar and runs into the arms of her family’s fiercest rival, Jason Stone. Hoping to cash in on their ‘friends-with-benefits’ arrangement while hiding out from bitter relatives, Ari instead finds herself falling deeply, desperately in love with the sexy hotelier. Jason is everything she never knew she wanted-yet she will do absolutely everything to show him she means business. In bed…
Jason lives in the fast lane and has the race cars to prove it. A born adrenaline junkie, he must admit that Ari is the perfect partner for his heart-pumping bedroom games. The problem? The relationship is starting to deepen, but is Jason really cut out to be a one-woman kind of man? The question haunts his days, only fueling the passion he and Ari share during those hot, hot nights. But when an estranged sibling enters the picture, threatening to take away everything he holds dear, Jason is forced to make a decision: Say goodbye to his wild ways or risk losing Ari forever?

A lifetime New Englander, Suzanne married her college sweetheart and has been with him for over twenty years. Every summer she drags her husband and two daughters to Maine on a quest for the perfect lobster dinner. Every fall she can be found down in Foxboro, Massachusetts cheering on her favorite football team. In between those trips, she’s a chauffeur, a maid, a chef, an event planner, a hairdresser, a wardrobe stylist, a tutor and a sometimes masseuse. To keep her sanity, she often drinks copious amounts of coffee and stares at the blank screen of her laptop, dreaming of great adventures. Sometimes she even writes them down for others to enjoy.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

T’was the month before Christmas #RB4U #MFRWauthor #Christmas

This is really my favourite time of year. I love the cooler temperatures, and the magic of the first snow-and of course the beauty of the Christmas holiday, which seems to somehow bring out a softer side in most people. It would be wonderful if that kindness and unity could be an everyday thing, but I suppose that's too much wishing....

Anyway, many years ago a friend of mine wrote up his tribute the commercialization of the holiday, and it never fails to make me laugh when I read it, so I thought with Christmas only a month away, I'd share it with everyone for a chuckle. Also, if you have children or grandchildren, you might enjoy a story I wrote for my sister when she said I needed to write something about our beloved family dog, Holly. It's aimed at younger kids, but we're all kids at heart. There's a link at the end of the post... now... on to that commercialism and laughter! 

T’was the month before Christmas, and all through the store
Each department was dripping with Yuletide decor
The Muzak was blaring an out-of-tune carol
And fake snow was falling on “Ladies Apparel”
I’d flown many miles from the North Pole this day
To check on reports which had caused me dismay
I’d come to this store but for one special reason
To see for myself what went on at this season
I hid in a corner and in a short while
I saw the store President march down the aisle
He shouted an order to “Turn the store tree on!”
And also “NOEL” in blinding pink neon
Up high hanging grandly from twin gold supports
Four hundred pink angels flew over “Men’s Shorts”
And towering up over the rear Mezzanine
A 90-foot, day-glow “Nativity Scene”
The clock on the wall said a quarter to nine
The floorwalkers proudly stood in a line
I watched while the President smelled their carnations
Then called out his final command—“Man your stations!”
When out on the street there arose such a roar
It rang to the rafters and boomed through the store
It sounded exactly like street repair drilling
Or maybe another big mafia killing?
I looked to the door and there banging the glass
Was a clamouring, shrieking, hysterical mass
And I felt from the tone of each scream and each curse
That the “Spirit of Christmas” had changed for the worse
The clock it struck nine and the door opened wide
And that great human avalanche came thundering inside
More fearsome than Sherman attacking Atlanta
Came parents and kiddies with just one goal—“Santa”
In front stormed the Mothers all brandishing handbags
As heavy and deadly as twenty-pound sandbags
With gusto they swung them, the better to smash ears
Of innocent floorwalkers, buyers, and cashiers
Straight up to the Fifth Floor the mob penetrated
And soon reach the room where the store Santa waited
I followed them closely, the better to see
This bearded imposter who dared to play me
He stood six-foot-five and weighed all of one-thirty
He’d lost half his teeth, and his costume was dirty
His beard dangled down like a wad of cheap cotton
His breath needed “Scope” and his “Ho-Ho” was rotten
Egged on by their parents the kids had one aim
To get to this man who was using my name
They mobbed him and mauled him, the better to plead
For the presents they sought in their hour of greed
The President watched with a gleam in his eye
As he thought of the toys that the parents would buy
Of all Christmas come-ons this crowd would attest
That visit to “Santa” was clearly the best
It was all too much for my soul to condone
And I let out a most UN-professional moan
The crowd turned quickly, and I’ll say for their sake
That they knew in an instant I wasn’t a fake
“I’ve had it,” I told them, “with fast-buck promoting!
“With gimmicks and come-ons, and businessmen gloating!
“This garish display of commercialized greed,
“Is so very UN-Christmas it makes my heart bleed.”
With that I departed up an emergency stairwell
Deaf to each plea, and hysterical yell
On reaching the roof to my sleigh I went forth
Where my reindeer were waiting to take me back North
The crowd came behind me and begged me to stay
And before they could stop me, I was off in my sleigh
But I turned to exclaim as I flew from the mob
“Happy Christmas to all—I’m resigning my job!”

It was snowing again at the North Pole, making an already magical place even more beautiful.  Christmas Eve was less than a day away, and that day was one of the busiest of the year in the remote little hideaway all children dreamed about and longed to see.  The Holiday season had arrived, and all were happy and in the mood for a wonderful celebration.

Santa Claus was smiling merrily as he made his way to the stables to check on his team of reindeer.  At his heels was his wife’s favourite pet, an exceptionally pretty Siberian Husky they had named Holly almost a year earlier.  (Holly is short for Holiday, because that’s when she was born!)  The little dog romped cheerfully along at Santa’s side, chattering away in her own fashion.  The other canine members of the household had decided to stay in the kitchen, hoping to mooch a freshly baked cookie from Mrs. Claus, who was making delectable treats for all to enjoy...

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Guest Blog: Party Time with Lynda Bailey + Giveaway #RB4U #BDSM

Happy Last Weekend in November! In keeping with RB4U’s monthly theme, we’re gonna party like rock stars. <wink>

November has always meant a lot to me – and not just because of Turkey Day. This is also my birthday month…the 20th to be exact. AND it’s my sister’s birthday month as well. In fact today is HER birthday. To commemorate, I’m doing a giveaway…details at the bottom.

To start things off, I found this pic of me and Sis taken a very loooong time ago. (I’m the one on the right…)

Cute kids, huh?

As you might imagine, November was a busy month for my family. First my birthday, then my sister’s, then Thanksgiving – which sometimes fell on Sister’s bday – then we’d slide right into December and Christmas. Talk about a toy boon. <grin>

My sister and I had birthday parties with all our friends, plus balloons, presents, games, cake and ice cream. While I can’t share actual party favors and food with y’all, I can share my guest list – and you can share yours…but there’s a catch. Whomever you invite must be fictional; someone from a book or a movie or a TV show.

Here’s my list:

From a book, I’d invite Rhys Rhodes, the Marquess of Blackhurst from Lorraine Heath’s FABULOUS historical romance, Love With a Scandalous Lord.

If you haven’t read Love with a Scandalous Lord, you need to. Absolutely. Rhys is the quintessential romance hero. Dark and brooding, hiding a tortured past, but with a drool-worthy tender side. I’d spend my time talking to Rhys, soaking up that glorious British accent, or maybe we’d play a genteel game of croquets.

From TV, I’d invite Worf from Star Trek, the Next Generation.

Gotta love a man – or Klingon – in uniform, right? I must confess that I’ve always had a crush on Worf. Guess I’m a sucker for the strong silent type. *sigh* And Worf’s so athletic. Bet he’d crack the piñata with one swing.

Finally, from a movie I can’t resist Captain Jack Sparrow.

Handsome, adventuresome…and being a little bat-sh*t crazy is a bonus. Who wouldn’t want Captain Jack at their party? He’d be the one with the rum.

So what about you? What fictional book, TV or movie character or characters would you invite? 

Share and be entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card. 

(And attention authors…no fair saying one of your own characters, ‘kay?)

Thanks to RB4U for letting me hang out today!

Learning to love is the easy part…

As a young woman, Kate Landry trusted the wrong man, and she paid dearly for her naiveté. Alone, pregnant and destitute, she survived by the sheer force of her will. Now forty-two, Kate has made a good living for herself and her daughter as the owner of the Bluebird Saloon. But she’s forgotten how to live. That is until he comes into her bar…

Liam St. James loved a girl once. And only once. After an accident paralyzed her, she didn’t trust he would continue to love her. Brokenhearted, Liam left and soon discovered a world where women did trust him—to be their sexual Dominant. He plays out the scenes masterfully, but the unexpected request from the stoic bar owner will pose his greatest challenge yet…

Kate and Liam embark on a journey to uncover repressed urges and, in the process, they discover new desires. They also fall in love with one another. But when you’ve been shattered as badly as they have by mistrust, deceit and abuse, loving is easy. Trusting is harder, if not impossible, especially when the heart is involved…

Shattered Trust is a BDSM romance. It contains explicit language and graphic love scenes, including bondage, domination, spanking, whipping and multiple partners. It is intended for mature readers only.

Purchase from Amazon today: 

About the Author: 
Lynda has no doubt she's born a storyteller. Her romances are full of passion, with heat levels that range from hot to sizzling! She's been a finalist in numerous writing contests, including RWA’s® prestigious Golden Heart® in 2010. Please join her for laughter, love and that all important HEA.

Where you can find Lynda:

Friday, November 27, 2015

Nanowrimo Self-Sabotage by Janice seagraves

I'm doing the Nanowrimo and here's a list of  things that are sabotages my writing.

  1. I'm hungry, I think the candy in the candy bowl is calling my name. 
  2.  I'm thirsty, I have one soda left way in the back of the fridge. 
  3.  I need to use the bathroom, even though it's the tenth time in the last hour. 
  4.  I want to pet the cat she seem lonely; "Here kitty-kitty. Ow, don't bite me." 
  5.  My daughter's friend came over, I get to have girl talk which will waste another hour or two. 
  6.  Is it lunch or dinner time yet? 
  7.  Did some one email me? It has been two hours since the last time I checked. 
  8.  Is that show I want to watch on? I better check. 
  9.  I'm cold I better get a sweater on. Ooh, better yet I'll change into pajamas, even though its only seven o'clock in the afternoon. 
  10.  Did I hear the UPS truck outside? I think my package I ordered from Amazon is due. 
  11.  Time to update my word count for the third time in the last hour. 
  12.  I better check what's going on in the nano forums. 
  13.  Hey, I better do my monthly post on Romance Book '4' Us!
Are you doing the Nanowrimo? If you are how are you doing?
Here's my Nanowrimo winning novel from four years ago:

Blurb: Team Alpha Three’s spaceship is out of power after fighting a wormhole, and parked on the primitive world of Zenevieva. With half the team sick from radiation poisoning, the team commander entrust geologist, Maya Gladstone, to find enough matrix crystals to power up their spacecraft, so they can go home to Earth.
Vach Namaste of the powerful Clan Namaste, a native of the planet, has desire the lovely Maya since she stepped off the spaceship on that astonishing day a year ago. He’s hounded her every step since. As Hymeneal Night approaches, he makes plans to take her as his bride… willing or not.
Excerpt: As promised, Maya bought another cheap tote so she wouldn’t damage her prize. Then she worked her way through the bazaar, buying supplies for the next day’s trip. As she went from tent to tent, hunting down the few veggies, fruit and other types of food that she could digest, she caught glimpses of the Zeeman following her. She tensed. What does he want with me?
She stalked completely round one of the tents to come face to face with him. Now’s my chance. “Why are you following me?”
“What? I don’t know what you mean.” He took a step back.
Maya grabbed a fistful of his dark brown robes. “Yes, you do. You’ve been dogging my steps from moment I set foot on your planet.” She suddenly noticed that the young man was bigger than she’d thought. His chest was deep and his shoulders broad. His arms were larger than Bobby’s and he worked out. And here I am, holding him by his clothes.
He stared at her hand. “I like you and want to get to know you. If you were one of my people, I would woo you.”
She realized his robe wasn’t made from the rough, homespun fabric used by the common Zeeman. Is he a clan lord?  Maya loosened her grip on the silky material. “Who are you?”
He moved back and swept his arm down in an elaborate bow. “My name is Vach Namaste of the Namaste clan. It would please me if you remembered it.”
With a flutter of his robes, he hurried away, weaving through the crowd. It wasn’t until he had disappeared that Maya realized that he’d been speaking to her in English.
Vach finally reached the edge of the bazaar, where he had tied up his steed. He patted its thick neck. “Hey, Brawley.”
His mount woke up with a snort, then lipped at his hand, demanding a treat. It was still standing in the same place that he left it and no one had bothered it. No one would dare touch a sherakey, not even this sleepy fellow. Reaching into a pouch, Vach dug out a sweet lump for his mount. Giving him the treat, Vach turned to see if the human female had followed.
She hadn’t.
He felt disappointed. But she wasn’t of his race and didn’t understand the proper way to act. If she wanted him to woo her, she should have followed him. If she didn’t, then she should have knocked him on his well-bred butt, just like the human guard had suggested.
Vach had wanted this human female since he saw her step out of the spaceship on that astonishing day a year ago. Her blue eyes drew him closer. Her long, red hair made him want to run his fingers through it. Her curves sent flames of desire flickering through his body. He’d taken to coming into town regularly to stroll by the compound, just to see if she would be there. Today had been one of those rare good days when she was there to follow. He learned a little more about her each time. Now he knew she wanted to find something. If he knew what it was, maybe he could find it for her.
Climbing up on the saddle, Vach clicked his tongue and his mount started down the dusty road toward the Namaste bachelor compound. He contemplated his plan for Hymeneal Night. Vach already knew from eavesdropping at the map seller’s tent that Maya would be out on the desert, all alone.
And then he’d get his chance to have her.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Your Readers - What Have YOU Done for THEM Lately? by Sam Cheever

Tis the season for giving and appreciating what you have. And it's a time for authors to nurture the important relationship between us and our most faithful readers. It's a time for us to think about what we've done for them lately to show them how much they mean to us.

But wait, you might be thinking, I give them books. I give them hours of entertainment. I give them a chance to escape into the pages of a carefully crafted world with characters they can fall in love with. I hand them my heart and soul on a platter and pray that they handle them with care.

All of that is absolutely true. But let's be honest. Unless you're an extremely rare bird, you're not writing just for the fun of it...or to share your creative largess with a lucky public. You're writing for money and hopefully fame.

There's nothing at all wrong with that. I freely admit that's what I'm doing. But that reality doesn't take away from the beauty of the friendships I've formed in my writing journey. It doesn't make me appreciate the relationships I'm building any less. So it makes sense, especially at this time of year, to think about how I can give back to them for their love and support. This year I'm doing that by giving my newest release, a collection of fun Christmas short stories based on my Bedeviled & Beyond world to my approximately 1,200 member newsletter list. It's my Christmas gift to them and I've asked them to share the book with their own families and friends. This is a one time offer but it's given from the heart. It's a season of giving so I'm giving to them and allowing them to give, if they want to, to their loved ones.

But the giving doesn't always have to come at Christmas. Throughout the year, I also send each of my newsletter subscribers a note and a gift on their birthday. Along with my heartfelt birthday wishes, I offer to send them either a free book or box of promotional goodies as my birthday gift to them. Yes, this costs me money and time. And it would be much more spendy if I didn't own rights and control for most of the books I send out, but it's an investment in my relationship with them so I figure it's well worth it.

Gifts to your readers can come in many forms. You can send them the spicy scene you were forced  to cut from your latest book. Or write a short story based on a popular series that only newsletter subscribers will receive. You can offer monthly newsletter contests, as I do, so they have a chance to win a gift of your choice (I offer a $10 gift card to each month's winner.) You can offer new releases to them early and/or at a special discount only for them. The list goes on and on. You're limited only by your imagination. The old adage, it's the thought that counts, has never been more true. Readers who know that you're thinking of them and wishing to make them happy will be committed, loyal readers. And in return you get to sell books and make more friends. It's a win-win for all involved!

Bedeviled & Bah Humbug - 4 Fun Christmas short stories to make the season bright!

Based in the Bedeviled & Beyond world, this fun collection of Christmas short stories will put a smile on your face and turn every day into a Hell-i-day!

#1. Astra Takes out the Grinch: Astra’s been conscripted to deal with a hairy, green demon who’s stealing presents and creating havoc. The Big Guy has grown increasingly tired of the Grinch’s antics and, this Christmas, has called out the big guns.

#2. Astra gets a Lump of Coal – Thumps an Elf: Astra is forced to spend Christmas in Satan’s backyard, helping the angels figure out how the green dragons are escaping Hell to terrorize the human realm on Earth. But in true Astra form, she figures out much more than that!

#3. The Year the Grinch Stole Santa: Astra is determined to take Christmas off so she’s been ignoring the nearly constant calls from the North Pole to help them find Santa, who’s disappeared just days before Christmas. But Astra learns the hard way that Santa’s minions will not be ignored!

#4. An Elvish Catastrophe: Astra and Darma are Christmas shopping at the mall when a pack of ninja elves invade the place and demand the execution of all faux Santas. Talk about little man syndrome…these ninjas have it in spades!


USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and
mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

If you haven't already connected, Sam would love it if you Liked/Followed her wherever you enjoy hanging out online. Here are her online haunts:

Newsletter: Subscribe to my newsletter and win a free copy of the fun and sexy Honeybun Fever Box Set
New Release Notifications:
Amazon Author Page:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

#Amazon best selling author, @ChantaRand Breaks all the Rules at her Party #RB4U

Rule Breakers Party

The party of my dreams would include all of the famous women from history, who have inspired me with their stories. Some have used their sexuality to change the world. Others have broken the rules of society, successfully dominated in a man’s world, or shown bravery and courage in the face of absolute adversity.

When I’m around positive women, I feel enlightened, uplifted and invincible. When I’m not around positive women, I always try to remind them of how powerful our gender is. We are definitely NOT the weaker sex. That said, I think it would be totally awesome to have a party where all those famous women I admire could sit back, relax, and share their triumphs, failures, and life experiences. Here’s what it would look like:

Location: Beach house in St. Lucia

Guest List: All the women, past and present, who’ve inspired me.
·               Cleopatra
·         Rosella Morrow (my grandmother)
·         Rosie the Riveter
·         Vanessa Williams (I love her personal journey in life)
·         Madame C.J. Walker (One of the first black female millionaires)
·         Michelle Obama
·         Mae Jemison (First black female astronaut)
·         Marilyn Monroe
·         Harriet Tubman
·         Joan of Arc
·         Coco Chanel
·         Madonna
·         Beyoncé
·         Queen of Sheba

Food: Historical pot luck – Everyone brings their favorite dish from their era in history. I would bring my husband’s world famous BBQ brisket. 

Drink: Beer and Wine, of course. They’ve been around since ancient times, and they go with everything!

Why I love Rule Breakers: First and foremost, I’m one. If we didn’t have rule breakers, women and blacks might have never been given the right to vote. These women are symbols of power to me, and I believe women need all the empowerment we can get. If you could have your own empowerment party, who would you invite?  

A dead husband. An unconsummated marriage. She needs an heir. Any man will do.

1061 AD. A sprawling empire rich in gold, resources, and military might dominates West Africa. It’s The Kingdom of Ghana, and it’s at the height of its power.

Twenty-year old Nabeela is grappling with her own power struggle. In order to save her younger sister from their step-brother’s clutches, Nabeela agrees to marry a repulsive African prince and bear him an heir. However, her plans are waylaid when tragedy strikes on her wedding night—her new husband dies—without consummating their marriage.

She must find a replacement to impregnate her immediately. Any man will do—including a drunken soldier her servants find naked taking a bath in a neighboring village. Nabeela holds him captive and coerces him into having sex with her—stealing the one thing he can never get back—his seed.

What she doesn’t know is the soldier is Rafan, Commander of a warring tribe’s royal army, and one of her family’s arch enemies. Eager for revenge, Rafan tracks her down once he’s released. But when these two reunite, they realize their lust for each other is far greater than their disdain.

Enamored by Nabeela’s beauty and bravery, Rafan makes her an offer of marriage, and the promise to help her become queen. He convinces her that they are stronger allies than enemies. Even though they share a commitment to unite, there are others who are determined to destroy them and their plans, including the one person Nabeela would have never suspected. In the end, she’s is forced to choose between her passion and her ambition.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Topaz and Thanksgiving

November is my birth month so it’s always been special to me. This year, however, it also represents hope and renewal. October was an especially brutal month for me personally. I’m still dealing with the aftershocks, but now that November is here, I’m trying to move on.

A theme for our November blogs is parties, as in who would you most like to party with.  In my twenties and thirties, I was all about partying. God forbid we stayed in New Year’s Eve. Last year my birthday fell on Thanksgiving. Because it was a milestone birthday, I wanted to celebrate with the two people I love the most in the world, my husband and son, the only two people I need to make my party complete. My son lives near Las Vegas so my husband and I flew to Sin City for my Thanksgiving birthday. We had an amazing holiday dinner, but the best part was that the three of us were together. Family is what Thanksgiving is all about.

I used to fantasize about having an elegant family Christmas party where the women and girls were dressed in taffeta, silk, and satin, and the men and boys wore elegant suits. The table would be set with fine china and Waterford crystal and everyone behaved beautifully. Definitely a fantasy. If your families are anything like mine, we dress up for Christmas, but comfortably, and in most cases not in silk, satin, or taffeta. And what about Thanksgiving? Loose clothes are the order of the day.

Another theme this month is November’s birthstone, topaz or citrine. Since it’s also my birthstone, I love the gem in all its colors. I have a citrine ring, a pair of citrine earrings, a smoky topaz ring, smoky topaz earrings, a mystic topaz ring, a golden topaz ring which my grandfather gave me when I was a child, and a blue topaz ring.

Topaz comes in many colors which might surprise people. Here’s what I found on Wikipedia:

Pure topaz is colorless and transparent but is usually tinted by impurities; typical topaz is wine red, yellow, pale gray, reddish-orange, or blue brown. It can also be white, pale green, blue, gold, pink (rare), reddish-yellow or opaque to transparent/translucent.
Orange topaz, also known as precious topaz, is the traditional November birthstone, the symbol of friendship, and the state gemstone of the US state of Utah.
Imperial topaz is yellow, pink (rare, if natural) or pink-orange. Brazilian Imperial Topaz can often have a bright yellow to deep golden brown hue, sometimes even violet. Many brown or pale topazes are treated to make them bright yellow, gold, pink or violet colored. Some imperial topaz stones can fade on exposure to sunlight for an extended period of time. Blue topaz is the state gemstone of the US state of Texas. Naturally occurring blue topaz is quite rare. Typically, colorless, gray or pale yellow and blue material is heat treated and irradiated to produce a more desired darker blue.

Mystic topaz is colorless topaz which has been artificially coated giving it the desired rainbow effect.

Two gems are appropriate for November birthdays -Topaz and Citrine.

Citrine, the other birthstone for November is known as the "healing quartz". This golden gemstone is said to support vitality and health while encouraging and guiding hope, energy and warmth within the wearer. Citrine can be found in a variety of shades ranging from pastel yellow to dark brownish orange. It is one of the most affordable of gemstones and plentiful in nature. Citrine is found most frequently in Brazil, Bolivia, and Spain.

If you need a break from all the holiday eating, I recommend the delicious stories in Entice Me: Luscious Love Stories. I’m honored to be part of this anthology with so many talented authors.

My contribution is Capri Nights, a sensuous romance set on the bewitching Isle of Capri.

A San Francisco sous chef discovers she might have bitten off more than she can chew when a scrumptious Italian man stirs up a recipe for romance on the delicious Isle of Capri.

Sous chef Cat Connors has spent a lifetime feeling like a stale cracker on a plate of fancy hors d'oeuvres among her stepfamily. But when she travels from San Francisco to the sunny Isle of Capri, she’s determined to finally shed her dowdy image and spice up her life. She has big plans for her future as a chef. Those plans don’t include a yummy Italian with a mouth-watering body and a smile that melts her insides like gelato under the hot Capri sun.

When Alex Viteli retreats to his villa on Capri to escape the notoriety and legal troubles brought on by his family, the last thing he needs is a beautiful, tempting dish of a woman. Alex may be the scion of a wealthy Italian family, but that won’t matter if he can’t cook up a scheme to clear his father’s name and keep himself out of prison.

Though they fit together like strawberries and chocolate, Cat and Alex may not have time for more than a quick bite of romance. Cat’s future is in San Francisco. Alex can’t leave Italy. But the sultry Capri nights might tempt them both to savor just one more sweet taste of love.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Guest Blog: E.Ayers A Season for Death and Sadness #RB4U #PepperPhillips

Think autumn flowers and what comes to mind? Chrysanthemums, especially the pompom mums we all wore on football nights at school. From plain flat blooms to big puffballs and in a wide range of colors from reds, and russets, to yellows, greens, whites, purples and lilacs, they are also easily colored by adding dye to their water, meaning you can have them in any color. They brighten our gardens and often remind me of the Muppets. You can't help but smile when you see them.
They’ve been used historically as an herbal insecticide, a wine, a sweet tea, and as fall decorations. More recently, studies have shown mums to seriously reduce air pollution. But they are also considered death or funeral flowers in many parts of the world. Autumn is sort of the natural cycle of life. Just as so many annual plants have succumbed to a frosty death, and the leaves fallen from the trees, that cycle of death is repeated with humans.
Is it something left over from when we first walked the Earth? Was it more practical to die before the winter cold struck and froze the ground to the point when burial was impossible? I’ve asked a few doctors about it. They get that deer-in-the-headlamps stare as they ponder the question. Most have responded with an affirmative about death striking the elderly more frequently in September, October, and November. Then others give that standard answer that there is no such thing, and it’s an old wives' tale.
I do know that I've lost grandparents, parents, my husband's parents, and several other elderly members of the family in the autumn months. I've also seen plenty of friends lose their parents and family members in the fall months. Accidents and illness can claim anyone at any time. But today, we seem to be forced to attach a reason for death. Old age is not considered a cause of death. I beg to differ on that.
Of course, what is old age?
I was looking over the medical records of my deceased husband. In his initial visit to the ER, he was described as a frail, elderly man. What? My daughter, who was a first responder as a paramedic for many years and later as an RN in the Emergency Department of a large hospital, just rolled her eyes. "Mom, thirty-five and up is middle aged."
Huh? Okay, I get it. (But I still haven't figured out frail, as opposed to what, obese? He had a washboard stomach!)
"Mom, that hospital clerk is nineteen, she saw some gray hair and said 'elderly'." Okay, so age is relative. To a young woman, my husband was an old man.
Elderly, according to our local emergency departments, is considered age fifty and up. Yikes! At least let us reach the age of retirement first! And the closer I get to that retirement date, the older elderly becomes. Can we say prime? I like that. I'm in the prime of my life.
And I understand that 150 years ago 22 was considered middle aged. Women were married in a dress and often buried in that same dress a few years later when they died in childbirth. So times have changed and medicine has changed. We live longer. But we still reach a point where the body gives up and parts wear out faster than modern medicine can keep up.
Among my family and friends, I've seen the Grim Reaper claim quite a few people. And other than those who were lost to mishaps or struck by cancer, etc., the vast majority I would consider elderly deaths. These are people who have reached the end of their time on Earth. And in almost every case, those deaths have occurred in the autumn months.
And what flower blooms in autumn? Chrysanthemums. So it's quite natural to use what nature has made available for funerals to honor the dead.
This past weekend has been difficult for the Authors of Main Street, as we've kept vigil. The Grim Reaper came and snatched one of our beloved members who was in the prime of her life.
For many, an author is merely the name on a book. Pepper Phillips was a pen name. In real life, she was a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She also was a nursing home administrator, a gardener, a top-notch cook, a spreadsheet queen, a breast cancer survivor, and most of all a dear friend. She didn't just write about the Boggy Bayou, she lived there. Her husband and her boys went alligator hunting. It was like a rite of passage into manhood to do that. She had the "camp" property and her regular house. From her pictures, you couldn't tell one from the other. If there was space for a flower, she planted it.
Her books always warmed the heart and often made us giggle. Her wonderful sense of humor came though in almost everything she wrote. She was the epitome of a Main Street author and a big sis to all of us within that group.

She's probably best known for her book The Devil has Dimples. A reader posted the following quotes from that book on GoodReads.

“Sometimes that’s all you get out of life. Great shoes.”
“I’ve been stabbed lately with life.”
“All that mattered in life, that someone loved you even though you had faults.”
“She laughed and said how silly we were to not accept life for what it was, difficult.”
“An old expression–‘she looks like she was weaned on a pickle’–came to my mind.”
“Never scorn a woman. They get violent.”
“So, there is a God protecting the innocent. Too bad, he didn’t act sooner.”

Pepper had a sense of humor but she also seemed to understand life, the highs, the lows, and the importance of family and friends. Her writing reflected her good sense and made her a best selling author on Amazon.
Her last book can be found here in the Authors of Main Street's Christmas on Main Street - Book 2. It's another heartwarming story as only Pepper Phillips could write.
The cycle of life is a natural one. It is those of us who are left behind who grieve. It is also a beautiful time of year. The colors of fall call to my heart. Mums are part of that wonderful autumn palette. They almost glow in the sunshine, yet they have color that seems to have weathered a long season. Unlike the spring's vibrant yellow of the jonquils or the tulips' fire-engine red, mums tend to have a touch of gold in the yellow and a bit of plum in the red. They appear to be warmer and softer than their spring cousins. Pepper was like that, all warm and soft with a heart of gold.

Christmas on Main Street - Book 2 Kindle Edition
by Susan R. Hughes, Carol DeVaney, Pepper Phillips, Kristy Tate, & E. Ayers
Welcome to Main Street. It's not a place. It's an attitude. It's not Key West or San Diego or Halifax or Richmond or West Haven - it's any town. It can be anyplace that you can imagine. The authors of Main Street create high-quality romances that warm your heart.
This year we are pleased to bring you five brand-new holiday romance novellas in a boxed set.
Mistletoe & Wine by Susan R. Hughes, USA Today bestselling author:
For Colleen Dixon, Christmas of 1986 seems sure to be miserable. Having just lost her job, her lover and her apartment, she figures a trip across the country to spend the holidays at her grandmother’s house might be just what she needs. Meeting Dr. Liam Clancy during her visit brings a whole new shine to her Christmas spirit. Recently divorced, Liam never intended to fall for a woman again so soon, especially one who lives so far away. Can a holiday fling survive as a long-distance romance, or will the New Year bring the promise of something more?
Christmas at Apple Lake by Carol DeVaney, National bestselling author:
If you’re lucky in love, that second chance will come…
Sometimes love goes wrong, and the cost often defeats even the strongest of women. If you overcome the sorrow of loss and have the courage and determination to believe, love will find you again.
A Magical Christmas by Pepper Phillips, National bestselling author:
During a weekend in Las Vegas, S. R. Lejeune decides to skip the trouble of courtship and propose marriage to the beautiful blonde sitting next to him.
His arguments for a quick marriage are so clear and concise that Jazz Morgan decides to take him up on his offer – especially after their mind-blowing kiss.
But can shared aspirations and a mutual attraction be enough to build a marriage? Maybe not, when S. R. comes to believe the worst of his new bride.
Can Jazz capture the heart of the man she loves? Or should she?
Sometimes it takes more than time for a marriage of convenience to grow into a forever love.
The Little White Christmas Lie by Kristy Tate, National bestselling author:
Carson Trent doesn't know that the beautiful Millie Cruise who literally falls into his lap is really Camille Harper, bestselling romance writer.
Millie doesn't know that she is headed for Carson's grandmother's inn in a quaint New England town.
Neither Carson nor Millie know that their lives are about to spin out of control thanks to a patch of black ice, a cow, and a little white Christmas lie.
Christmas at Mariner’s Cove by E. Ayers, National bestselling author:
It was just a little fib. Celine Colburn wasn't expecting Prince Charming because that was the stuff of fairy tales. But when she met Frank Cresson, she found herself instantly drawn to him. Just as they were getting to know each other, she becomes a witness to a horrendous motorcycle accident that left him unconscious. Except, a lie has a way of growing.

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