Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sweet Saturday: The Deal

“If I do not take you back—there is only one alternative,” Elias choked out. He glanced at Jaime’s expression. She knew. And she had done it on purpose. He cursed under his breath and looked out the window.
“What is your alternative, monsieur?” she prodded. Oh, she was good. Jaime had not exaggerated her ability to get her way. He should have been furious with her gall, her presumptive nerve—but he could only smile. Jaime Pepiot had clearly orchestrated the entire situation.
When Elias didn’t answer right away, he felt her move from the other side of the carriage to the seat next to him. The warmth of her body radiated against him, making him fully aware of her nearness. “Monsieur?” she asked again, putting a small gloved hand on his arm. He glanced down at her hand, the white glove against his dark traveling suit. Then his eyes traced up the line of her arm to her face until his gaze met her eyes. But she was staring at his lips.
“We shall have to marry, mademoiselle.” He watched her eyes for sign of distress, but her gaze was unwavering. “Today,” he added, still waiting for her reaction.
“Then that is what we shall do, monsieur,” she whispered.
“Does it not bother you that I am nothing more than a servant of the sultan’s brother?”
“No.” Jaime’s eyes met his, a gaze which seemed to bore into his very soul. “It wouldn’t matter if you were the slave of a servant.”
She slowly raised her hand to his face and caressed his cheek. Elias closed his eyes and opened them again slowly, fixing his eyes on hers. Taking her hand in his, he kissed her fingertips lightly, then released her hand and clutched her shoulders, pulling her to him. Her hands slid up his arms to the back of his neck.
When their lips met Elias knew. He knew that this is the way it was meant to be… from the beginning of time.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Favorite Recent Reads

Just a look at three of my favorite recent reads:

The first is The Redemption of Lord Rawlings by Rachel Van Dyken. The hero in this story was a villain in the first two in the series, and the way the author made him not only salvageable, but also a hero you could really admire and root for, is amazing. Not too many authors can pull that off.


Phillip Crawford, the eighth Earl of Rawlings and notorious rake of the ton, has come to the end of his rope. Out of money, out of favor, and out of luck, he wanders the streets of London in the rain, hoping to be hit by inspiration...or a runaway carriage. Something has to give. It is his father's final cruel trick to hold his inheritance just out of reach, requiring him to marry by his next birthday in order to claim his full rights as earl. His step-mother refuses to offer him any more support. With no money, no prospects and no other place to turn, he has only two options:

Marriage or debtor's prison.

The better choice seems clear enough, but with his name and reputation being attacked daily in the society papers, there's not a proper lady in all of London desperate enough to accept him. It isn't going to be easy, even if the reports of his exploits and rakish lifestyle are greatly exaggerated.

On the other hand, debtor's prison does start to look much more appealing when the only friends he has left decide to help him in his search for the perfect bride. Matters become much more complicated when the only woman who shows an interest in him just happens to be the young sister-in-law of the Duke of Tempest; the same man who, just months ago, had been tempted to kill him.

One thing is for certain, as the Season draws to an end, Lord Rawlings will have to decide once and for all, if his wicked ways are enough to bring him contentment in life, or if a leopard really can change his spots. Or in Phillip's case—can a devil truly be redeemed?

BUY LINKS: Amazon       Barnes&Noble     Astraea Press

The Fairy Godmother Files: Cinderella Complex by Rebekah L. Purdy became an instant favorite. Incredible voice. Great dialogue. Fun characters. Can't wait for the next installment!


The Fairy Godmother Files by Rebekah L. PurdySixteen-year-old Maggie Winters can’t think of anything more exciting than junior year. There’s her first prom to look forward to, she can drive, and most important Connor Prince has finally noticed her. But unfortunately so has the school snob, Katrina Melville, who goes out of her way to make Maggie’s life a living hell. If that’s not enough, Maggie’s grandma has decided to retire, which doesn’t seem like such a big deal. That is until she finds out her grandma is a Fairy Godmother, and not just any Fairy Godmother. The Fairy Godmother, as in Cinderella, pumpkins, and mice. And she has informed Maggie that she’s next in line to become the new Fairy Godmother.

At first Maggie is excited, the whole getting wings, flying (or rather trying not to crash), and a wand that lets her grant wishes. It’s like being a superhero, without all the action, explosions, and spandex. Then she gets her first assignment, Katrina Melville, her nemesis. And if that doesn’t make her want to poof herself into oblivion, she finds out that part of Katrina’s happily-ever-after is Connor Prince. Life is so unfair. Even worse, she can’t tell her two best friends about any of it and they’re getting sick of her disappearing acts. Then there are the dangerous creatures, called Grimms who will stop at nothing to keep the happy endings from being fulfilled, even if it means destroying the Fairy Godmother responsible. With time running out, Maggie has to make this wish come true or it will ruin the fates of everyone involved, and open the world to darkness beyond imagination. Maggie will soon find out what it truly means to be a Fairy Godmother—and it isn’t all about princes, gowns, and wings, but something much more.

BUY LINKS:    Amazon     Barnes&Noble     Astraea Press

The third is Saphyre Snow by Marcia Lynn McClure. Love the way the friendships develop between Saphyre Snow and each of the men of the keep.

Saphyre SnowDescended of a legendary line of strength and beauty, Saphyre Snow had once known happiness as princess of the Kingdom of Graces. Once a valiant king had ruled in wisdom--once a loving mother had spoken soft words of truth to her daughter. Yet, a strange madness had poisoned great minds--a strange fever inviting Lord Death to linger. Soon it was even Lord Death sought to claim Saphyre Snow for his own--and all Saphyre loved seemed lost.

Thus, Saphyre fled--forced to leave all familiars for necessity of preserving her life. Alone, and without provision, Saphyre knew Lord Death might yet claim her--for how could a princess hope to best the Reaper himself?

Still, fate often provides rescue by extraordinary venues, and Saphyre was not delivered into the hands of Death--but into the hands of those hiding dark secrets in the depths of bruised and bloodied souls. Saphyre knew a measure of hope and asylum in the company of these battered vagabonds. Even she knew love--a secreted love--a forbidden love. Yet it was love itself--even held secret--that would again summon Lord Death to hunt the princess, Saphyre Snow.

BUY LINKS:        Amazon      Distractions Ink     Barnes&Noble

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Welcome Tracy Krauss -- Author of Wind over Marshdale

As a special treat today, author Tracy Krauss is joining us to tell us a little about herself and her new release Wind over Marshdale. Thanks, Tracy! It's great to have you today. :)

Q: Who is Tracy Krauss?

A: Besides an author, I am an artist, drama director, worship leader and teacher. I’m all about the creative process, so everything I do has that bent to it. When I’m ‘making’ something – be it a painting, directing my vision for a play on the stage, playing an instrument, or writing a book – I feel energized. Sometimes I tend to burn myself out because I don’t rest much, but I like to be busy and I love all my creative pursuits, so it’s hard to drop anything.

I currently live in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, Canada, known for its many waterfalls. However, my husband and I have moved around a lot in our nearly thirty years of marriage, and many of the places we’ve lived have been in the far north. Places like Churchill, Manitoba — the ‘polar bear capital of the world’; the Yukon, which is next door to Alaska; and the North West Territories – all north of the 60th parallel. This has given me lots of fodder for my stories.

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I first started writing when my eldest was just a baby. I could hardly wait for her to go down for her nap so that I could pound away at my mother’s old typewriter. That was more than a quarter century ago. Four kids, plus homeschooling for nine years, plus going back to work as a public school teacher full time, and I finally signed my first contract in 2008. (This was after many, many rejections and a lot of hard work revising, querying, and revising some more.) My first book AND THE BEAT GOES ON released in 2009, followed by MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER in 2010PLAY IT AGAIN in 2011, and now, WIND OVER MARSHDALE in 2012. I’ve also had five plays published or contracted in that time with various play publishing houses.

Q: What authors have inspired your own writing?

A: Frank Peretti is still my favourite author. To me he is a groundbreaker. He’s tackled subjects that were previously considered taboo within Christian circles in such a compelling and thought provoking way that his writing is almost revered as truth. For instance, THIS PRESENT DARKNESS has almost become a manual on spiritual warfare, even though it’s fiction. I try to include some of this ‘edge’ in my own writing. Francine Rivers is another that comes to mind. She has written about some pretty controversial topics as well, and her characters are always believable; they aren’t perfect in other words. Again, this is what I strive for with my characters.

Q: Tell us about your current novel.

A: WIND OVER MARSHDALE takes place in a small prairie town where, on the surface, everything seems quaint and happy. Underneath there are some serious issues, especially with racism, sexual promiscuity, and the occult. Thomas Lone Wolf is a Cree man on a mission to build a heritage site near the town based on some ancient archaeological evidence. He and his children aren’t prepared for the level of prejudice they begin to face. Rachel Bosworth is the new Kindergarten teacher, fresh from the big city and running away from a hurtful past. Con McKinley is a local farmer, who also happens to be single and good looking. A love triangle of sorts develops, with the two men unwitting participants. As well, eccentric twin sisters bombard the town; one with her legalistic religious views and the other as a practicing witch. The local pastor has little effect trying to keep his parishioners in line since he is involved in some unsavoury business of his own. The lives of these and many other unusual characters weave together into a surprising climax. Beneath it all is a thread linking everyone’s problems to the spirit realm; an ancient curse from the past that must be dealt with once and for all.

Q: What’s next?

A: I have two more finished novels and several works in progress. I’m just in the process of polishing up CZECH OUT, about a hockey player who defects to North America during the cold war, and THREE STRAND CORD, a romantic mystery about three friends. Once they’re ready for submission I’ll be pitching them to my agent. I’m also always pitching plays as well, since I write most of my own material for my drama troupe. Finally, I’m publishing an illustrated children’s book. I just finished all the artwork and it should be ready fairly soon.


Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens. A perfect place to start over… or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition?

Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth. Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters – one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax. This suspenseful story is one of human frailty — prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed — magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace.


Publisher : Astraea Press 


Tracy Krauss is an author, artist, playwright, director, worship leader, and teacher. Originally from a small prairie town, she received her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Saskatchewan. She has lived in many places in northern Canada with her husband, a pastor, and their children. They currently live in Tumbler Ridge, BC.

Published works include four romantic suspense novels: AND THE BEAT GOES ON, where archeological evidence for creation comes at a heavy cost; MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER, the story of a ‘cougar’ who takes on more than she bargained for; PLAY IT AGAIN, about an unlikely match during the 1980s rock n’ roll scene; and WIND OVER MARSHDALE, where strong spiritual forces rock a seemingly peaceful prairie town. She also has several stage plays in print. Visit her website for more details.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Meet & Greet: Sir Colin Wilde

Sir Colin Wilde

Sir Colin Wilde is always up for a good long as the contestant is one of his two best friends, the Benson twins. He possesses a dry wit, and never seems too shocked by any mischief his two comrades indulge themselves in. His humor and bearing often act as catalysts to their escapades, though among the three, he is the most level-headed gentleman.

Not much throws him off his game.


Shockingly inept with women, Sir Colin Wilde has his work cut out for him when he meets the lovely Gemma Reynolds. Up until then he seemed like he had everything together. Suddenly, nothing he has ever done before seems to work.

He turns to his good friend Anthony Benson for help. But Anthony has troubles of his own. Far too many to see what Wilde really needs.

~Beguiling Bridget: Waltzing with the Wallflower Book 2~

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Treacherous Conditions

The heart in Elias’s chest dropped into his stomach, instantly nauseating him. What treachery was this?

His first thought was to stop the driver and have him turn back directly. Perhaps the baron had not noticed his daughter’s absence yet. It was still early, after all. Chances are he hasn’t yet discovered Elias was gone. Sitting up abruptly, he reached to pound on the front wall to demand the driver’s attention.

A piteous plea stopped him in mid-air. “Wait!” He could hear her struggling to free herself from her entanglements under the seat. In one fluid movement, Elias relocated to the other side of the coach and reached for her hand to help her up. Breathlessly, she begged again as she pulled herself onto the seat, “Please, monsieur.” Her eyes were wide and frantically shifting around the coach.

Elias could do nothing but stare at her in evident horror. His mind raced with the ensuing consequences. Surely, the lady knew what her deceit would mean for them. Her father would assume he had taken her. There would be nothing he could say to prove his innocence. Unless he returned her before her absence was noted, all was lost. He opened his mouth to insist on going back, but Jaime’s whispered appeal cut him off.

“Monsieur Talb, please don’t take me back. I cannot marry Seigneur Dubois. I promise I will take my own life if I am forced into such a marriage. Take me to Paris—I’ll find a ship to take me to England or America.” Tears were already streaming down her face. The sight of them turned his resolve to mush.

“Once again, mademoiselle, your impetuous behavior has endangered us both. Do you realize what will happen to us if we are found together?”

Her eyes flashed at him, and in spite of her tears, Elias thought he saw the light of willful strategy, as if she knew exactly what she was doing. But she was a woman, how could she devise such a scheme? Her gaze held his as she spoke. “It could not be worse than what would happen if I had stayed behind.”

Elias sat in silence, processing her words. Her behavior was so forward, so unexpected. First, sneaking to his room in the still of the night, and now stowing away in his carriage to escape to Paris in the company of a man she hardly knew. His initial impression of her intelligence seemed off base. Unless—she had intimated to him her ability to make her father believe certain decisions were his own.

“How did you know I would leave this morning?”

“I saw it in your eyes last night. You are an honorable man as I said. I knew if you were telling me the truth about how I affect you, you would not consent to escorting me—in order to flee from temptation.”

“And so you believed the best course of action would be to hide in the carriage of a man who admittedly cannot guarantee the safety of your virtue with him?”

“I am depending on this man’s honor.”

“Mademoiselle, this man’s honor requires—my honor will not allow me to travel alone with you under these conditions.”

“Conditions, monsieur?”

“We will be traveling for several days.”

“Is it the days which are bothering you, monsieur?” She tilted her head and blinked her long eyelashes slowly, directing her gaze back at him. “Or is it the nights?”

Monday, June 18, 2012

Savage Winter Arriving Today!

Not gonna lie. I'm so excited about this new release by Rachel Van Dyken, which kicks off a new series called Seasons of Paleo. I had the privilege to read and advanced copy of this book, and I can tell you Rachel has outdone herself in yet another genre.

The story, though shorter than many of her books, still has all the trademark Van Dyken style, story, and characters that make her books so enjoyable to read, but it spreads into the fantasy genre in a world of the author's invention, setting the stage beautifully for the next three books in the series.


If they take you, you don't come back. You either die...or wish you had.  The Western Empire was ruthless. The only reason I survived was because he gave his life for me--a life that might as well have been mine, for when they stole his last heartbeats, they silenced my own.  They call me princess, an answer to the prophecy, but I’m nothing more than a prisoner...awaiting my lifelong punishment. Marriage. To the Prince of the East. But it’s the Royal Protector who reminds me of what I lost. He threatens something I never thought I'd have heart.

And check out that cover! Super sweet--love it!

BUY LINKS: Amazon, Astraea Press

If you leave a comment for me with your contact email, I'll enter you into a drawing for a free ecopy of Savage Winter. The drawing will be done on Monday, June 25th, and the winner will be notified and posted that day.

I will warn you though that after you read this novella, you'll be hooked and probably start stalking Rachel's author page for when the next installment is due. To that end, I'll give you the link to her Seasons of Paleo fan page too, so you can "Like" and get all the inside information of her upcoming releases.

Thanks for stopping by!

Meet & Greet: Bridget Donovan

Bridget Donovan
daughter of the late Earl of Darlingshire

At first glance, Bridget Donovan is a typical wallflower. She stays near the potted plants, hoping they will conceal her from the view of predatory gentlemen seeking a wife. Lady Bridget has more important pursuits and has no time for such distractions, regardless of what her grandmother might say.

Lady Bridget's tragic tale isn't one she discusses freely. Her philandering English father left her Irish mother when Bridget was a small child. Shortly after, her mother died of a broken heart, and her father of a consumption. Young Bridget was sent for by her paternal grandmother, the Dowager Countess of Darlingshire, a woman with a frightfully lacking sense of humor, whose goal was to raise a proper young lady and see her married well.

But the Lady Bridget's desires differ somewhat from her grandmother's. Her greatest ambition is learning. She loves politics, literature, art, and the finesse of the sport of fencing.

And strawberries. Yes.

But not for their intended purpose. In fact, her affinity for the fruit has more to do with its use as a weapon and less to do with it being an edible delicacy.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tag I'm It!

I've been tagged! Amazing author April W Gardner challenged me to:

1. Go to page 77 of my manuscript.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy the next 7 lines/paragraphs.
4. Tag 7 other writers to do the same.

All We See or Seem page 77, line 7, 7 paragraphs:

Aaron fought the impulse to smile in recognition of his effect on the doctor. “Stems,” he repeated. “As in stem cells?”


It was difficult to tame his desire to continue in the adolescent vein by pressing the issue, and though he suppressed the urge to say it, he was still thinking, So, clones. Since the doctor was already visibly agitated, playing it safe seemed the better option.

Getting straight answers from this man was going to take some doing. Most of what Dr. Admatha had said sounded like a commercial for EROMI. And very little of it offered any more than what Aaron had already discovered through his own research. These doctors were well versed in how to paint the magnificent abstract masterpiece without any details whatsoever.

“Tell me about the stems, Dr. Admatha. Do they know?”

“No. They know only the reality we have built for them. They are content enough and, compared to most of the rest of the world, they live comfortable, healthy, and fulfilling lives. Part of your job is to keep it that way.

“Major, they are genetically engineered facsimiles. They are human-like only because their DNA is copied from humans. The stems themselves are soulless creatures. They exist only by my design and for my purpose.

My seven tags:
Lori Lapekes
Lisa Orchard
Iris Blobel
Rachel Van Dyken
Nancy Brandt
Lindsay Downs
Meg Mims

Be sure to leave me your link so I can read your excerpts too. :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Stowaway

Sleep eluded Elias the rest of the night. Thoughts of Jaime tantalized him, forcing him to make the decision to leave sooner rather than later. When the first light of day trickled through the small window of his quarters, Elias was packed and ready to leave.

Paris - Perspective du Boulevard Pasteur

Seigneur Pepiot would have no time to entreat him to escort his daughter to Paris, and Elias could put as much space between him and the source of his torture as possible. Though guilt harangued him at the thought of leaving her to the fate of marrying the old gluttonous nobleman, he reasoned many women have survived much worse.
She is just a woman, after all. But even as the thought flashed through his mind, his heart convicted him. Jaime was more, and he knew it. There was nothing he could do about it, however, and Elias was convinced his best course of action was to leave and get her out of his mind.

When his carriage was ready, Elias left a note to thank Seigneur Pepiot for his hospitality and to leave his regrets that he must make haste to Paris to meet his associate. Then he boarded the coach and signaled the driver to depart.

Grudgingly the horses jerked forward under the weight of their burden, and it wasn’t until the carriage was rattling down the rough road to Paris that Elias allowed himself to breathe again. He sighed in a mixture of relief and regret as he struggled to turn his thoughts from the enchanting Jaime and her dismal future.

A dark heaviness descended on him, and he closed his eyes. He didn’t want to leave her, but what choice did he have? To stay would only be placing himself willfully into the grasp of temptation he knew he couldn’t withstand.

The jostling of the carriage made sleep difficult, though he was exhausted from the restless night. He kept his eyes closed; hoping sleep would overtake him, allowing the constant rhythm of the carriage rumbling over the ruts in the road to lull him.

A deep pothole trounced the coach, causing Elias to bash his head against the wall. His own cry of pain was brief, and under it he heard a gasp of breath which wasn’t his. A voiceless shriek coming from under the seat beneath him, where typically the blankets and extra supplies were kept. He rubbed his bruised head and leaned far forward, hanging over the edge of the seat to peer at what or whom was hidden there.

There, peeking out behind the layers of wool blankets, were two big brown eyes with golden flecks, blinking back tears.

“Mademoiselle?” Elias stammered in disbelief.

“Oui,” came the timid reply.

Three Favorites

I have always loved reading, but I am far from voracious. For one thing, I am kinda slow at reading. I'm told it's because I read every single word. I can't help it. If I skip something, it bothers me and I have to go back to make sure I didn't miss anything.

I know. OCD much? We'll just put that on the resume' as attention to detail. ;)

Anyway, I like a variety of genres. It comes in handy when teaching middle school kids, when I have to suggest books to people with a variety of tastes. Here are some of my favorites:

Ender's GameEnder's Game (this is a series, and each subsequent book is better than the last) by Orson Scott Card. This is the first science fiction book I ever read. My English professor when I was a junior in college suggested it to me. I love the way the author builds the future world in need of  a hero, a hero who is only six years old.

Here's the blurb:

Andrew "Ender" Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.

But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway almost as long. Ender's two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for violence altogether. Neither was found suitable for the military's purpose. But they are driven by their jealousy of Ender, and by their inbred drive for power. Peter seeks to control the political process, to become a ruler. Valentine's abilities turn more toward the subtle control of the beliefs of commoner and elite alike, through powerfully convincing essays. Hiding their youth and identities behind the anonymity of the computer networks, these two begin working together to shape the destiny of Earth-an Earth that has no future at all if their brother Ender fails.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is another of my favorite books. An Old West rendition of the Book of Hosea in the Bible, this love story has meanings on multiple levels. Francine Rivers is an amazing writer.

Here's the blurb: 

California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep. 

Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. 

Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything. Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw. 

But with her unexpected softening comes overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does…the One who will never let her go.

Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley is one of the books I have read recently that I just fell in love with (and while I'm on the subject, the second one in the Angeleon Circle series is amazing as well). Henley's storytelling, characters, and the development of the setting create a thing of beauty. Love this!

Here's the blurb: 

The stranger’s cloak had fallen back, and with it, a long, white, blood-stained wing.

When Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of a stranger in the temple courtyard, age-old legends recited in song suddenly come to life. She discovers wings on the stranger, and the murderer takes the shape of both a hawk and a man.

Angels. Shape-shifters. Myths and stories—until now.

Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. When Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without settling an ancient debt—the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.

Thanks for letting me share some of my favorites with you! I would love to know about your favorite reads. Anything you recommend as can't miss?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Perfect Word

Probably one of the most overused phrases writers hear from their editors is "Show, don't tell." I've heard it a million times. I've said it a million times. Sometimes it just makes you want to throw something across the room.

I do this lesson with my students on choosing the best word in their writing in order to improve their understanding of that trite, overused phrase. It teaches them the difference between the denotation and the connotation of a word and the powerful effect one word can have on the tone of any communication.

For example, the words smell, odor, and aroma have the same basic denotation. They mean smell (as a noun). But if someone walks into the room and says, "What is that odor?" you know he or she probably walked into 8th period, because those students just came from P.E. It reeks; somebody open a window!

If someone walks into the room and says, "What is that aroma?" you know he or she is enjoying the fragrance (oooo! Another good connotation word!). Mmmmm! Did Mrs. Johnson bring in chocolate chip cookies again?

If someone walks into the room and says, "What is that smell?" well, the meaning can only be determined by assessing the body language and voice inflection, those pesky nonverbal cues that are so difficult to capture in writing. Why? Because he or she didn't choose the word that best captured the essence of the intended meaning.

As writers, it is important that we select the words we use for their connotation. They should offer the most complete picture of what we want the reader to sense.

This goes for verbs too. In fact, the use of strong verbs is one of the most important things for a writer to implement. Strong verbs create rich imagery. The man didn't just walk out the door... that captures nothing of his attitude, his physical or emotional state. SHOW how he did it. And there's no need to adverb that. Use a strong, visual verb.

The man stalked out the door.
The man sauntered out the door.
The man hobbled out the door.
The man swaggered out the door.
The man strolled out the door.
The man ambled out the door.
The man stormed out the door.
The man slipped out the door.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. And that's really the point, isn't it?

You want your readers to "get the picture"? Show them. Don't tell.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Meet & Greet: Anthony Benson

Anthony Benson
Viscount Maddox

By chance, Anthony was born second, but only by mere minutes. He grew up with his best friend and twin brother, Ambrose. They were boys full of mischief, and they never quite grew out of that. In spite of that propensity, somehow they ended up as well-respected gentlemen and the two most eligible bachelors of the ton.

While his brother can be serious at times, Anthony takes life in stride. Everything is a game to be won. Anything can be made into a challenge. If things begin to run towards the mundane, Anthony will find a way to make it interesting. Whether it be through challenging his brother to re-invent a shunned wallflower, or to undertake to win the only woman in society who would spurn his own advances.

He is not completely without scruples, however. For instance, his compassion runs deep for those who have been made outcasts through no fault of their own (though he prefers people to think his motivations are selfish—he does have his reputation to think about, after all).
At the age of seven, Anthony suffered a traumatizing experience involving strawberries. He hasn’t been able to stand them since.

While at Eton, Anthony and Ambrose met Colin Wilde. The three met with an instant camaraderie based on their mutual affinity for mischief, and spent the rest of their educational career perpetuating all sorts of practical jokes and outlandish challenges...again, something they never outgrew.

Anthony's natural confidence draws women like flies, old and young alike. Every Season he has to fight them off with a stick (some more strenuously than others). This, of course, serves only to add a smack of hubris to his already healthy ego.

In spite of his arrogant exterior, Anthony is a romantic at heart and has always fancied himself a knight in shining armor, riding in on his white horse to rescue a fair maiden from a fate worse than death. But in this fantasy, he never once imagined the damsel would despise him.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Strawberry, Milady?

Before she knew what was happening, Anthony had stood, pulled her to her feet along with him, whisked her into his arms, and planted a firm kiss right on her open mouth. Memories of their stolen kisses came flooding back of their own accord. His lips were smooth and tasted of cinnamon.

Shock hindered her from reacting. But Anthony seemed to know exactly what he was doing and took full advantage of her state of mind.

Her good sense came rushing back, filling her with fierce indignation. She pressed both palms firmly against his chest and shoved with all her might, thrusting him away from her.

Meissen-teacup pinkrose01
The rakish grin he wore drove her mind into a fury, and she reared back to deliver a swing that would possess the very real possibility of knocking the rogue quite firmly into the middle of next Sunday.

With all her might she aimed her closed fist at his perfect aristocratic cheekbone, but when he grabbed her wrist, absorbing all her power, and rendering the assault useless, Bridget very nearly lost her mind with rage. With a roar, she wrenched her hand free of his grasp and stepped back, scouring the room for a weapon that would prove fatal to the arrogant sod.

She lunged madly for the teapot, thinking to send it crashing straight through his thick skull, but Francis was too quick and rescued the teapot from her reach.

The silver!

Her gaze raked the table for a sharp utensil. Only spoons!

Blast! Where were all the knives?

Francis must have seen her eyeing the teaspoons, because he deftly removed them from her vicinity without so much as twitch in his perfectly deadpan butler expression.

“Give me something, Francis!” she bellowed in exasperation.

Without a moment’s hesitation, the taciturn butler gracefully lifted the fruit bowl in one hand as if he were serving the royal table.

“Strawberry, milady?”

She could feel the wide evil grin spreading across her lips, as she leveled her gaze on Anthony, who seemed to shrink into himself in terror like a frightened turtle.

“Why thank you, Francis. I don’t mind if I do,” Bridget replied, as she wrapped her fingers around an enormous handful of brilliant red ammunition.

~ Beguiling Bridget: Waltzing with the Wallflower Book 2

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sweet Saturday: He Who Wears the Pants

Aunt Latissia had played her hand well. By the time Bridget and her sponsors arrived at the ball, the gossip buzzing in everyone’s ears was Anthony’s interest in footmen.

Bridget scanned the room for the viscount, eventually locating him in her customary hiding place behind the potted plants.

“There you are, my lord,” she said as she joined him. “Hiding?”

“Not at all. I am simply enjoying the beauty of our host’s lovely greenery. It’s not often I have time for such activities.”

“I see. Yes, they are lovely.” She glanced about him on the right and left, then asked with a smirk, “Where is your footman this evening? Home with the children?”

His vengeful glower brought a smile to her lips. And then a playful glint danced in Anthony’s eyes.

“No. In fact, I believe he’s nigh at hand. No doubt sharpening his rapier in case it is needed to defend my honor from anyone who would wish to steal away my virtue.

“Surely he has nothing to fear in me, my lord. I assure you, my intentions are as pure as the driven snow.”

“Now that is a pity,” Anthony answered, sidling closer.

Bridget could feel her heart leap within her and set off at a hot pace, causing her breath to catch in her chest.

“Would you care to dance, Lady Bridget?” he asked, his gaze boring into her very soul.

“I don’t know if that’s quite the thing, Lord Maddox. After all, you are rather the scandal this evening. And a girl cannot be too careful in situations such as this.

“I suppose that is true enough, however, somehow I believe your attention can only help us both.”

“Both of us? Correct me if I’m wrong, my lord, but it is not my reputation being mucked about amongst the pigs this night.”

Anthony looked past her with a mischievous grin. “Perhaps you are right, sweeting. It is just as well.”

She regarded him with humorous suspicion. “Oh? And why is that, oh great Adonis?” The nickname seemed to take him off guard for a moment and his gaze returned to meet hers, then dropping the short distance to her mouth. Her lips seemed to warm in anticipation at his mere look.

“You’re not wearing breeches,” he said with a roguish wink. “Ask anyone here. Unless you’re in breeches, you are of no interest to me whatsoever.

“Is that so? In that case I’m certain Lady Latissia will be only too happy to give up her skirts for you.”

“Of that there is no doubt. But the very thought is enough to put me off completely.” A shiver seemed to run through him. “Which brings us back to the beginning. Since I am no longer chasing footmen, I find myself in dire need of a fair maiden with whom to dance in order to expunge my soiled reputation.”

“And you wish for me to rescue you?”

He took her hand and hooked it around his arm, gazing into her eyes as he did so. “I am desperate for it,” he whispered and led her onto the dance floor.

~ Beguiling Bridget: Waltzing With the Wallflower Book 2