Sunday, September 30, 2012

Meet & Greet: Gemini

Stem 6418C

Gemini has lived in Endfield ever since she can remember. It is the only place she has ever been. Her entire life consists of exercise regimens, dietary regimens, community assignments, regular clinic visits, medical tests, and carefully supervised social interactions. But this strictly regulated life is all she has ever known -- her normal -- and she is perfectly content to maintain this existence and meet the expectations...

Until her closest friend gets his orders. When Gryff leaves, Gem's whole world seems to fall apart.

And that is when Gem discovers that not everything she has known her entire life is as it seems.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sweet Saturday: A Knight's Errand

Sir Tristan Talbot was an arrogant fool, but I would never say that to his face. My position was precarious enough without causing turbulence. His former squire had met an untimely end, and the circumstances surrounding it were still rather mysterious.

I suppose the knight had honest cause for his arrogance. He was the most trusted warrior of King Willard and had single-handedly saved the king’s life on more than one occasion.

I knew well that being chosen as his squire was a great honor. Especially given my family ties, which were questionable in their loyalties to the king. So I made up my mind to keep my mouth shut and do what I was bidden. My disregard for Sir Tristan would stay between me and the willow tree.

When the royal messenger arrived to deliver the king’s request, I was overseeing the exercise regimen of Validus, Sir Tristan’s war horse. The sound of approaching hoofbeats tramping a rapid rhythm to the stables caught my immediate attention. Any horse arriving in such a hurry could not mean anything but bad news. War perhaps.

The messenger swung himself down from the horse before she had slowed sufficiently for such a dismount, sending him rolling several feet over the rocky terrain. No doubt there would be scars after such a fall, but the boy leaped to his feet and ran to where I stood in the stableyard.

He bowed briefly as he struggled to catch his breath.

“You bring news for Sir Tristan?” It was a stupid question. Who else would the news be for?

“Yes. Urgent news. The king requests an immediate audience,” he choked out, still gasping from his harried ride. He thrust a sealed scroll into my hands. Ordinarily, the king’s messengers would insist on giving the sealed orders directly to the knight in question, but Sir Tristan refused to interact with anyone lower than his own station. His squire was the only exception to his self-imposed social policy. It was for this reason I always wore the blue tunic embroidered with Sir Tristan’s coat of arms which identified me as his squire.

I took the parchment and nodded. “See the cook. Have some mead and something to eat,” I suggested somewhat absently. It was a perfunctory duty to offer hospitality to one in service of the king. My mind, however, was already sending me with speed to Sir Tristan with the king’s missive. He would not like to be kept waiting, even if he wasn’t expecting the correspondence.

The messenger shook his head. “I wait for Sir Tristan’s reply.”

“Follow me,” I said. We set off at a sprint towards the manor house.

When we reached the entrance, I instructed the messenger to wait while I located Sir Tristan, whom I knew would be lounging in his study after a long night of carousing with some peasant girl he had no doubt rescued from a renegade sheep the afternoon before. Naturally, by nightfall that story would evolve into a rescue worthy of King Arthur’s knights, involving a dragon threatening the maiden’s virtue and that of her whole village.

The man knew how to spin a yarn to make his exploits seem legendary.

Actually, truth be told, he knew how to employ a worthy bard who, in turn, knew how to spin a yarn to make his exploits seem legendary.

But I digress.

Sir Tristan lay drinking wine on a blue velvet pillow near the enormous stone fireplace and roaring fire. Beside him as predicted, sleeping contentedly, was one of the village girls. Her long brown tresses splayed across the pillow. She was not exceptionally attractive as village girls go, but Sir Tristan had never been accused of bias when it came to his evening conquests.

His creed, he has told me many times, when it comes to women, is they are all equal in the dark. His words. Not mine.

As I said before. Sir Tristan was an arrogant fool.

He regarded me with his usual silent disdain as I entered the room.

I stopped several feet from him and waited for him to address me. He liked to play this waiting game. I think he thought he was testing my obedience. I saw it as more of a challenge. Who could stare at the other the longest without breaking the silence.

I always won.

“I presume you have a matter of great importance which requires my immediate attention, squire.” I stood at attention, staring him straight in the eyes. He hated that. It grated on his sense of dominance. Which is exactly why I did it.

Without speaking, I stepped forward, offering the scroll with the king’s gold seal. Sir Tristan reached for it from his place on the floor, broke the seal, and read it. His eyes traced the words scrawled there, but his expression revealed nothing of its contents.

I waited.

He was a slow reader.

In his defense, I’m certain the words were long and difficult to pronounce. The king’s scribes were known for their extensive vocabulary. Sir Tristan was not.

Finally, he thrust the parchment back towards me, which I accepted.

“Read it,” he ordered as he rose from the floor and stripped the blanket from his companion in order to wrap it around his waist. She shuddered but did not wake.

I straightened the scroll and tilted it towards the light of the fire to make out the message.

                Sir Tristan,
                The princess has been abducted. Make haste to the castle.
                In the king’s name.
                Long live the king.

I glanced at him. He stood staring into the crackling flames, clutching the blanket about him with his fist.

“So, what do you think, squire?” he asked, deep in thought.

“The princess has been kidnapped. The king will need you right away.”

“Kidnapped.” He snorted as he adjusted the blanket at his waist. “Right.”

I struggled not to roll my eyes. He didn’t know what abducted meant.

“Call my valet. Ready the horses. We’ll leave for the castle immediately.”

“Excellent, sir,” I answered, turning on my heel to leave. Behind me I could hear Sir Tristan pouring himself another glass of wine. The village girl lay shivering on the floor. It was a shame, so I grabbed a fur hanging over a nearby chair and slipped it over her sleeping form. There was no reason the poor thing should catch her death of cold on the stone floor—velvet pillow or not.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Walls

She had taken them by choice—the drugs to suppress her hormones. So the connection she shared with Teo was purely emotional. A deep-seated connection between them that transcended physical interest. And she knew, with Teo, that it was the same for him. All stems were treated with the same hormone suppressing chemicals.

Teo had never needed to touch her. Never wanted to kiss her. Those thoughts were so far from his mind, she knew she was safe with him.

Completely safe.


The way Wash was looking at her now frightened her. He was real. Real and fully aware of her effect on him.

Aria tried to speak, but her voice caught in her throat, choking her.

"You seem upset," he whispered and took a step closer.

She shook her head adamantly, still unable to speak. Upset? No. Scared to death— that would be more accurate.

No one had touched her in years. Not since... No. She refused to think about it and pushed the dark memory from her mind. It was different now. This was different.

"Then what is it? You're shaking." Wash took another step, coming within reach of her. He lifted his hands and gently rested them on her shoulders, tipping his head to see into her downcast eyes.

She was trembling. She could feel it all through her and the sensation of his hands on her arms doubled the response. The pulse in her neck throbbed so loudly she swore he would hear it.

"Aria?" His deep voice swept over her, drowning her senses.

She was losing herself. Losing sight of who she was—what her life was.

"I—I can't... You can't," Aria stammered, fighting the urge to fall into his embrace. It was only Wash. She had known him for just a few days. He was nothing to her.

But no matter how she chanted that mantra, she knew —it wasn't true.

"It's okay. I'm not going to hurt you."

"Yes! Yes, you will!" She stepped backward out of his reach. "Don't touch me—" Emotion stung her eyes now, and she knew she wouldn't be able to hold back the tears much longer.

She had to get away from him. Had to escape his view. No one must see her cry, know that she was vulnerable. And definitely not Wash. That would be more that Aria could bear, and she was already dangerously close to letting him beyond her carefully constructed walls.

~One Lonely Rose (work in progress, Endfield #2)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Spotlight: K. Victoria Chase

Welcome to K. Victoria Chase, the author of Rafael (#1 in the Santiago Brothers series) and Serial Games (#1 in the Virginia Justice series).

A little about our guest today:

From childhood, bestselling author K. Victoria Chase enjoyed writing stories and plays and reading Christian romance. She received degrees in Criminal Justice and Diplomacy and worked as a federal law enforcement officer for several years before deciding to try her hand at writing a complete novel. Serial Games (Virginia Justice Book One) is the third completed work and the first published by Desert Breeze Publishing. Book two of the series, Marked by the Mob, will be released in November 2012. She has recently signed with Astraea Press for the first in her Santiago Brothers series, the Amazon bestselling Rafael. Until she can make writing a full-time venture, K. Victoria Chase continues to work in the field of counterterrorism, identifying potential terrorists that threaten the United States and the world. She currently resides in Leesburg, VA and writes both clean and Christian interracial romance.  

Do you do your best writing in the morning, during the day, or at night?
I don't have a particular time of day. I'm always thinking about stories so at any time I can sit down and start writing.

It's hard to have a scheduled time when you have other demands on your time. I usually end up working after I've put the kids to bed.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Which one? LOL. For 'Rafael,' I was listening to the song, "Impossible" by Shontelle (about a girl who put her faith in the wrong guy) and was thinking of the kiss (I always imagine the kiss between the hero and heroine when first brainstorming ideas for a story). The rest of the story typically just falls into place once I start writing the kissing scene, haha.

Love that!

If you could cast a movie based on your book, who would you choose to play each role?
For 'Serial Games,' I pictured Chris Hemsworth for US Marshal Brandon Worth and Kerry Washington for FBI  Agent Maggie Weston.

What are you working on now?
Right now, I'm 60% finished with book two in the Santiago Brothers series, 'Alejandro'. I'm so excited about this story! I LOVE Alejandro and can't wait to introduce him to the world.

When you write, do you plan everything out in advance, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
I fly by the seat of my pants until the details get to complex and then I'll write a quick paragraph summary for each chapter which will include the main POV, and the GMC(goal, motivation, conflict) that needs to be introduced or addressed. I find a short paragraph allows me the flexibility to write freely and still keep the details of the story straight.

That is a good idea -- puts everything right there but still leaves room for the story to breathe.

What is the most difficult thing about writing for you?
Not enough time! I have a day job and it is hard to find the time, and the motivation sometimes, to write after a long, stressful day at work. Writing takes a lot out of you mentally, and you need healthy reserves before you start your daily grind. I also have a problem with finding the right adjectives/synonyms to express emotions. I can see my character's facial expressions but how to describe...

It always comes back to time and energy, doesn't it? Can't wait until we can both quit our day jobs! ;)

What is your favorite part about writing?
Writing the kissing scenes, writing 'the end,' accepting a publishing contract, watching my ranking change on  Amazon because of a sale... Writing and publishing is a passion of mine. I love it. If I had to choose ONE thing about writing in particular, I'd have to say it would be creating characters that make ME blush and cheese like a schoolgirl.
My publisher is going to release audiobooks soon. How many people listen to the books they 'read'?
Thank you for having me!

Loved having you, Victoria! Thanks for hanging out today!




The last time Detective Genie Green let a man humiliate her was her college sweetheart--never again. Yet, when former high school lothario Rafael Santiago returns to town as the consulting detective on her case, Genie's rule of never allowing another man to best her is challenged. Can she trust him long enough to solve this case and get the glory?

Rafa can't seem to outrun his delinquent past. When The Snakes, a criminal organization he used to belong too, begin murdering people from his hometown, he has a chance to right some of his past wrongs. Will arresting the murderers be enough to redeem him, or will a certain beautiful detective pay the ultimate price instead?

A Christian interracial romantic suspense.

BUY LINKS: Amazon      Barnes & Noble      Astraea Press
Serial Games

FBI profiler Maggie Weston has a reputation for identifying the most gruesome of killers. But her reputation is put on the line when US Marshal Brandon Worth walks into her office with news the one case that haunted her the most, John Michael Burrows, has escaped federal custody. Brandon needs her help; she understands how Burrows thinks and the best tracker on the east coast isn't about to pass up her expertise. Maggie and Brandon have to work together to catch a serial murderer and the closer they get to Burrows, the more their hearts become involved. While insecurities and bitterness threaten a budding relationship between Maggie and Brandon, an elusive killer terrorizes a small Virginia county with a game he plans on winning.

An interracial Christian romance.

BUY LINKS: Amazon      Barnes & Noble       Desert Breeze

Monday, September 17, 2012

Meet & Greet: Gryffon

Gryffon Stem 7217C

Fun-loving Gryff has lived in Endfield ever since he can remember. He follows the protocol just as he as always done: Exercising, working, eating right. He does everything he is supposed to do, in order to meet the expectations.

When his orders arrive, he quietly says goodbye to his group of friends, to Gem, and reports to the EROMI building... fully knowing that no one ever comes back.

~ All We See or Seem ~

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Be Sure to Check It Out

Goodreads Book Giveaway

All We See or Seem by Leah Sanders

All We See or Seem

by Leah Sanders

Giveaway ends September 29, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Daddy's Little Girl

The Duke of Montmouth’s Winter Ball was the first the duke had had since his marriage last winter. As such, it promised to be a memorable event. Anastasia Trent, the only daughter of the Earl of Marks, had been looking forward to it for weeks. Ever since her father informed her of the betrothal to Baldwyn Sinclair.

Anastasia had been in love with him for ages, though he had never shown much interest in her. Truth be told, she hadn’t seen him in several years, but that last meeting still made her cringe with abject shame. How she could have ever been so purely disgraceful and immature was beyond her own understanding.

She only hoped he had forgotten the incident.

There was a sort of hope in that he had agreed to the betrothal. At any rate, tonight they would announce their engagement, and he would be hers forever, just as she had always dreamt.

Last year, her eighteenth year, she had begged her father to allow her to sit out another Season and debut at nineteen. She realized it would be strange to be presented so late, but there was only one man she had ever wished to marry, and as he was in Scotland, there was no use in coming out.

Her father had always indulged her every whim, and though Anastasia had never told him her reasons for hesitation, she knew he had a suspicion. When he brought her into his study one day a few weeks ago and asked her how she felt about a marriage to the duke, she could hardly contain her enthusiasm.

Finally, the evening of the ball had arrived. Anastasia had spent the entire day preparing herself—two baths, four hairstyles, and seven gowns later, she was ready to meet her groom-to-be. A bit of the old schoolgirl giddiness bubbled in the pit of her stomach, and she prayed she wouldn’t have to make another trip to the necessary.

Her father awaited her at the foot of the staircase. Her heart soared as she descended, and her feet hardly touched the floor. If the look on her father’s face was any indication, the pale gold gown she had finally settled on was the perfect choice.

“You are a vision, my sweet,” her father crooned, offering his arm gallantly. His broad grin and sparkling blue eyes warmed her heart. He still cut a dashing figure with the brush of silver at his temples, highlighting his chestnut hair. It was a shame he refused to marry again after her mother had passed away.

He often told her she looked like her mother, but Anastasia knew it wasn’t true. She had his hair and his eyes, while her mother was a blonde beauty with marvelous hazel eyes. If she inherited any of her mother’s traits, it would have to be her spirit…her sense of adventure. Though Anastasia hardly remembered, her father told her many stories of Lady Marks’ escapades. Each new story inspired her more than the last.

Her favorite, of course, was the tale of how her mother captured her father’s heart.

It was that story—that fairy tale—that burned in her soul since childhood.

She wanted a story like that.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Meet & Greet: Katherine Bourne

Lady Katherine Bourne
Daughter of the Earl and Countess of Banbury

Lady Katherine, the beautiful but rather accident-prone daughter of the Earl of Banbury, has been infatuated with the Duke of Paisley ever since their first meeting, when she was nothing more than a child. His noble and chivalrous nature has always captured her girlish fantasies.

On the other hand, she has always had a strong aversion to the incorrigible and rakish tendencies of Benedict Devlyn, the Devil Duke. No matter how sinfully handsome he is.

When she hears the news that the Duke of Paisley will be returning from Scotland for a short time to choose a wife, she plans to make certain she is in the forefront of that race. Even better, his grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Durbin, seems to be on her side in the matter.

Imagine her disappointment when she arrives at the Montmouth Winter Ball to discover her one-time ally has already finagled a betrothal between Paisley and some other girl, and had in mind instead that Lady Katherine be a match for none other than the Devil Duke... the last man on Earth she would ever choose.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Deal or No Deal?

“In that case, Anastasia Trent, if you wish to travel in my carriage, you shall have to buy a seat.

“Is that so? And what is the going rate for passage in such a broken down third-rate conveyance?”

“It is quite expensive, my dear. I fear you cannot afford it.”

“Then you have grossly misjudged me, Your Grace, for I am a lady of some means.” The sparkle in her eyes spelled mischief and mirth. How he loved her. What had taken him so long to realize it? “Name your price, good man. For I am in desperate need to arrive in London today.”

“Desperate need?” Baldwyn put his arms around her waist and pulled her close. “Very well. The cost for passage to London this day is one kiss… Payable in advance.” He lowered his head to hers, but she slipped one finger in front of his lips, stopping his forward motion inches from her mouth.

“I have not yet consented to your terms, sir.” A wry smile played on her lips. “I wish to offer a counter.”

“Anastasia,” Baldwyn whispered against her finger. “One does not say she is desperate and then expect to have bargaining power.”

She giggled. “No. No, I suppose not. But will you not hear me out?”

“What is your offer, Princess?” He placed a lingering kiss on the finger that blocked his path to her lips.

She brought her hand down to rest on his chest. “Two. One now…” she rose onto her tiptoes, meeting his lips with her own in a slow, warm caress that he could feel all the way through him. Baldwyn was breathless when she pulled away. “…And the second payable on safe delivery.”

He rested his forehead against hers and closed his eyes. “Sweet Anastasia,” he whispered hoarsely. “You have much to learn about bargaining.”

~Two Turtledoves (work in progress)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Spotlight: Samantha Combs

Samantha Combs

Welcome, Samantha Combs, author of the new release Waterdancer! Thanks for joining me today, so honored to be helping you celebrate your newest release!

What inspired you to write this book?

It was actually an idea from one of my kids.  The best ideas I get come from them going, “Hey, Mom, what if... (fill in the blank)…”  My daughter asked me wouldn’t it be cool if she could breathe underwater.  I told her she would need to be a fish.  She asked, “Like a mermaid?”  My son busted in with, “No, a sea creature.  That’s way cooler than a stupid mermaid.”  That’s all it took.

Kids really do have good imaginations. Mine are constantly offering ideas for stories too!

How did you come up with the title?

Same conversation with my kids.  Daughter: If I was a mermaid I would dance in the water all day long and twirl my pretty green tail around.

I love the title! She did well on that one!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I don’t usually do “message” books on purpose, but if this one has one, it’s that love can help you move mountains if it’s true and real.

What are your current projects?

I’m writing a YA contemporary and also a new YA paranormal, on the dystopian side.  I am also shopping my newest book, a dark YA paranormal called The Deadlies.  A group of Southern girls at an antebellum prep academy become possessed by the demons of the seven deadly sins.  And only one girl can save them.  Only she doesn’t know it yet.

That is an intriguing premise—sounds really creepy!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The business of writing is challenging.  Writing is awesome.  Marketing, production, pimping… not so much.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

It may seem cliché, but I have always loved Stephen King.  He has a way of introducing you to the paranormal, the supernatural and extraordinary in such an ordinary way.  He takes you by the hand and leads you into the weird and odd casually, and long before you realize where you are going.  By then, it’s too late to leave.

From the Back Cover:

As if high school isn’t hard enough, try being Bailey Wasserman.  Try being the new girl in town, navigating a touchy relationship with your flighty mom’s rich new husband in a brand new town he’s just moved you to.  Add to that finding out that your father, a semi-pro surfer who’s just mysteriously re-entered your life after nearly fifteen years of silence, is half sea-creature and you’re about to inherit that particular gene on your sixteenth birthday which is only a few days away, all after you just met the cutest surfer boy you’ve ever seen in your life.

Bailey feels she and her mom have always met life’s challenges as a team of two, more like best friends than mother and daughter.  But her mom’s recent marriage has changed all that.  Having her little brother Landry is all Bailey can find good about that union.  The move to wealthy Del Mar from their humble beginnings has turned Bailey sour, until a chance meeting of surf hottie Jack West changes all that.  Then, when her father reenters her life, with his annoying Zen-surfer lingo and a talking turtle he claims is her spirit guardian, no less, he threatens the only relationship Bailey thinks is working in her world. She soon finds out that’s not all his arrival will do.  His presence and their shared family trait could ultimately force Bailey to make a decision that will alter the course of her own life and those she loves… forever.

Waterdancer is available from these booksellers:
Amazon                              Barnes & Noble                              Musa Publishing

Want more information about Samantha Combs’s available titles? Check out her website!

Monday, September 3, 2012

New Release: Whispered Music by Rachel Van Dyken

Rachel Van Dyken's London Fairy Tales
Book Two
Whispered Music


He wasn’t looking for a savior…

Scarred at a young age, Dominique Maksylov, Royal Prince of Russia, has lived a reclusive life. As a musical prodigy, his music has wide reach into the world, but few ever see his face. He never ventures into polite society, but when he discovers he is the only heir to the Earldom of Harriss, he goes to one ball. And that one ball, was enough to change the direction of his life forever.

But how could he possibly have known that other person— the other half of his whole—would not only need his help but threaten his very existence?

She didn’t know how hard it would be to love the broken.

Isabelle Hartwell’s mother just sold her to the Beast of Russia. He’s mean, temperamental, and the most virile, handsome man she has ever encountered. But he has a secret, one he’s willing to die for and he refuses to let anyone in. Will she be able to reach his heart before it’s too late?

Find out if love prevails in this regency retelling of how Beauty tamed the savage Beast…

Wanna find out more? Visit Rachel Van Dyken's website for Release Information and to enter her drawing for a Kindle Fire!

Amazon                    Barnes & Noble                   Astraea Press

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Meet & Greet: Benedict Devlyn, the Duke of Creighton

Benedict Devlyn
Duke of Creighton
"The Devil Duke"

After the death of his parents, Benedict Devlyn was taken in and raised by his Aunt Agatha, the Dowager Duchess of Durbin. She was strict and insisted on things being done her way. Benedict, however, was a strong-willed child who never liked to do things by the book. And so he came by his nickname, "the Devil Duke" quite honestly by doing exactly whatever pleased him.

A man of rapidly changing tastes, he has had eight different mistresses in the last year, whom he hires as his housekeeper for as long as they can hold his interest.

It should come as no surprise, that he has no intention to marry any time soon. No woman can capture his heart. But his aunt is growing impatient. She will see him married before her time comes, no matter what methods she must employ to see it done. Poor fellow, he won't even know what hit him!