Monday, December 31, 2007

Good-bye to 2007

I apologize for being a day late with my blog.
As the old year draws to a close I find myself looking back at all that has happened over the year 2007. I feel that my greatest accomplishment was to finish my almost true story, THE VIOLIN, and to have it published by Amira Press. I look forward to its release date and wish my dad could have been around to read it. I would hope that he would have loved the character, John Douglas, and would have approved of the way I portrayed his beloved brother and the life I created for him.
I hope all of you have a New Year filled with love and success in all your endeavors.
All good things to your corner of the universe in the new year,
Sarah McNeal
www.sarahmcneal.com

The after holiday blahs...

I know I'm not the only who gets them, but I'm suffering from the after holiday blahs already. There's always all that wonderful buildup to the main event Christmas, and then once dinner has been eaten, and the presents opened, and the last Christmas special watched, and a few days go by, and then there is such a feeling of let down sometimes. Maybe I wouldn't be having it so bad but then to top it off I discovered I got scammed today by one of my freelance clients. Man there is nothing I hate worse than a scammer, and I don't care what kind they are! In this particular case I responded to an ad on Craig's List for a short editing job. I've never had any problems with Craig's List or any clients from there. Anyway, I was contacted by the client who provided me with the document to be edited, and then after responding to one e-mail, she dropped off the face of the earth. After there was no reply to my providing her with the first draft, and a second e-mail requesting that she let me know if she received the first draft e-mail, I began to get suspicious. Since I have other clients whose projects I could have been working on, as you can imagine I was not a happy camper. A quick check to the ad on Craig's List found that it had been flagged as a scam. I decided I needed to find out more about this person and did a reverse address search on her address only to discover that the address she had given me did not exist.

Of course at that point all I could do was e-mail Craig's List, give them the information that I had and hope that they are able to keep this person from scamming anyone else in the future.

The truth is there were a few red flags that had I been paying more attention I would have noticed and not even bothered to reply to the woman. One was that the e-mail was not personalized, the second was that there was no To: on the e-mail which can mean that it has been sent to more than one person, the third flag was that the notes she sent me were clearly written by someone for whom English is a second language and yet in her e-mail she wrote perfect English. In addition, she had seperated a lot of the sections with XXXXXXXX which when I began looking at examples of scam e-mails that Craig's List had, I discovered a log of them had this trait. Finally she wanted to me to give her my mailing address and to pay me via check or Paypal. I chose the Paypal option as this is the easiest and most expedient way for me to be paid.

Once I realized she was a scammer I really sweated because this scammer had my Paypal e-mail, which in and of itself is not that big of a deal but there are people who have programs that can hack into Paypal and if they have your e-mail they can use these programs to find your password and hack into your account. Yup, really made for the holiday blues today, let me tell you. Needless to say I went into Paypal, changed my password and security questions which is what is suggested and now I will have to hope for the best.

One of the reasons I went into this long post about this is that I would hate to see the same thing happen to someone else. This is the first time I've ever had a problem with a listing on Craig's List but you can bet your life that from now on I insist on a 50% deposit before I even start to do any work for anyone I haven't worked with before and know is trustworthy.

So, that's why I'm here at 3:49 am typing this long post. (sigh) Okay, that's my vent for the day. LOL

Just as a reminder there's still a couple of days left to get the holiday sequel for free when you purchase a copy of Destiny's Choices. If you haven't already, be sure and check it out!

Regina

Friday, December 28, 2007

My latest ebook




OBSESSION/ANNE SOLE/DARK EDEN PRESS


This is a book that comes out in the next day or so. I thought it was scheduled for Feb this year, but today I got news that it is tomorrow. IT IS A MYSTERY/ROMANCE/PARANORMAL - and the nearest thing to an erotic I have written. I don't think it is as naughty as some I've read but it is hotter than my other books with Dark Eden Press, which were Dangerous To Know and Daddy Loves Belinda/ both Anne Sole books


So enjoy this excerpt I've put up for you.


The gods were angry. A terrible plague was rife in the Kingdom, and now the Queen was dying. It was whispered that a curse lay upon the land and the people were afraid.
*****
‘Ally, are you busy?’
I had been preparing my equipment for that morning’s shoot when the phone rang, but I was happy to hear my sister’s voice.
‘Not too busy to talk to you. I’ve been leaving messages all week.’
‘I’ve been working on something.’
When Elaine became immersed in a project she went around in a state of absentmindedness, passing her best friends in the street without seeing them!
‘Something special?’
‘I’m not sure yet. I’ve been told there’s a package waiting for me at customs. I’ve got to go in and sign for it. Apparently, it’s too valuable to let go without filling in all kinds of forms.’
My clever sister was an Egyptologist, the brilliant author of several books on the subject, and a research adviser for at least two museums that I knew about. She was passionate about her work, so passionate that it had led to the breakdown of her marriage. Simon Norton had decided he wasn’t prepared to play second fiddle to a load of long dead mummies, and had found himself a tall, slender and very leggy blonde who was clearly very much alive.
‘Very mysterious. Do you know what it is?’
‘I’m not sure. I’ve been promised a couple of things so it might be either one. Both are equally interesting in their own way.’
‘Something for your exhibition?’
Elaine was preparing an exhibition at a prestigious museum in New York, where she lived. She had a small apartment overlooking Central Park. It was always untidy, littered with piles of her notes and anything she might be working on, which could be a piece of stone bearing inscriptions or paintings, or perhaps ancient manuscripts written in ink so faded they were barely decipherable. Elaine was known for being rather good at reading hieroglyphics and had gained quite a reputation amongst the staff of museums all over the world.
I stayed with her as often as I could manage-- she had given me a key so that I could come and go as I pleased. Since our father’s death and the sale of our family home in England a few months previously, I had been more or less on the move, living out of a suitcase most of the time and storing the rest of my personal stuff in Elaine’s spare bedroom. It suited me, because I travelled a lot in my work and spent most of my life in hotel bedrooms.
‘I might use it,’ she said in answer to my question. ‘We’ll see. How much longer are you staying in Paris, Ally?’
‘Oh, a couple of days, I should think. We’ve finished all but one last shoot for the magazine, but I want to take some pictures for myself. Artists on the Left Bank, that sort of thing.’
‘For your exhibition. You should have one, Ally. I know you make a good living as a fashion photographer, but some of your other stuff is wonderful. I loved those pictures you took when you were in London last summer – those kids living rough on the streets. One girl had the face of an angel.’
‘Don’t be deceived by her looks. She was one tough kid,’ I said and laughed. ‘Fashion photography for glossy magazines pays the rent. My other work is just for personal satisfaction.’
‘I’m not so sure about that,’ she said. ‘Besides, if you stopped living in hotels and got your own place you might be able to afford to ease up a bit. You could use your share of Dad’s money to put down a deposit on an apartment. There’s one going near me…’
‘You could have your spare room back then.’
‘You know I didn’t mean that, Ally. I love having you to stay, but you need somewhere of your own – roots.’
‘Yes, I know, love. Maybe I’ll take a look when I get back. It would be nice to buy something near you. We might get to spend more time together.’
‘That’s the idea,’ Elaine said and there was a slightly wistful note in her voice. ‘I often wish I’d spent more time with Dad. He always said he was busy and we’d plan things for the future.’
‘I know. We none of us thought time would run out that fast…’
Michael Rowlinson had been a successful businessman for most of his life, taking care of his daughters single-handed, because our mother died soon after I was born. He’d had a succession of housekeepers and minders for us, of course, but he had given us love in abundance and he had never remarried. He was always too busy for that – but not too busy to keep in touch. He had been so proud of Elaine, just as I was, but he had taken an interest in my work too.
‘You take after me,’ he’d told me once. ‘You like life and being with people. Elaine is studious like her mother. Helen could have done anything – been a brilliant scientist if she hadn’t fallen in love and given it all up to have kids. She was going to write a book when you and Elaine were grown up.’ He’d sighed and looked sad, and I knew that he had never ceased to mourn the wife he loved. ‘It was a shame she never lived to see it, Ally.’
‘Yes, I wish she had,’ I’d told him, giving him a quick hug. ‘I’ve often wished I’d known her, Dad, but we’ve had you and each other. We’ve been lucky.’
‘I’m the lucky one,’ he’d replied. ‘It’s been a satisfying life – making money to look after my girls.’
He’d always seemed to be rushing from one place to another, then, when he was fifty-six, he’d suddenly decided to retire and spend the rest of his life playing golf.
Since his death, I’d wondered if he’d somehow guessed he only had a couple of years left to him. The cancer had been swift, taking us all by surprise. I’d been on the verge of leaving college and Elaine had been going through the aftermath of her divorce. She was now thirty-three, and I was twenty-two. There had been a big gap between my sister and I, and perhaps the unexpected arrival of a second child had contributed to the heart problem, which had killed my mother at such a young age.
Losing Dad had hit both Elaine and I hard, bringing us up with a start. It had made us aware that life was fragile and could be lost all too quickly. Sometimes, I thought Elaine had taken it even harder than I – perhaps because she seemed to have settled for life without a husband or children, and that left her with only me and a few good friends. And her work of course. Work was very important to my sister.
‘I’ll see you the day after tomorrow,’ I told Elaine, realising that she was probably feeling a bit low. It wasn’t like her to call, especially if she was working. ‘We’ll look at the apartment together. And I have a couple of weeks free now – if you can manage it we can spend some quality time together.’
‘Yes, I would like that,’ she said, sounding more cheerful. ‘I’ve been working hard on the projects for the exhibition – and something else I’ve been researching – but I shall take a few days off and we’ll do something relaxing. Maybe even go away…’
‘That’s a promise,’ I told her. ‘I’d better go now or I’ll be late.’
‘Yes – and I want to collect that parcel. If it’s what I think it might be … but it probably won’t be authentic. Most people think they have something that is far more ancient than it really is, but I do have hopes…’
‘You are sounding very mysterious.’
‘I’ll tell you all about it when I see you. There’s really a curious story about this…’ the line crackled and she laughed. ‘Do you think someone is warning us we’ve talked enough? I’ll see you when you get back, Ally.’


If you liked this excerpt please visit my website and blog to find out more about me. Best wishes and A Happy New Year to you all. May 2008 be peaceful, happy and healthy for us all! Linda
*****
http://www.lindasole.co.uk/





Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Early A.M.

By Pat Cromwell


All I asked for Christmas was a visit from my muse, and that my favorite characters on my favorite soap operas have a better 2008. So, my second request was silly – in soap land there is no such thing as a better life or a good life that runs smooth. But that is what makes them so enjoyable. Now, getting back on track, lo and behold my muse appeared.

December 25th, around one in the morning, I’d just finished It’s A Wonderful Life, wrapped my last gift and had snuggled under my comforter when I was pulled from my slumber. I was literary snatched from my dreams of cheer and good will by the most persistent and unrelenting voices that a writer could hope to have! My goodness, what an amazing tale they were spinning.

My muse was on fire.

The voices in my head were adamant that I tell their story and they were quite indignant that I had wanted to wait until morning. It was of course my fault. I should have requested that my muse return at a proper hour. I can only surmise that I must to have been a very good girl for my Christmas wish to come about so quickly!

Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I crawled out from the covers and fired up Old Betty. Yes, my laptop has a name. My car, which I’ve had for nearly seven years is still referred to as “Car”, but the HP has a name. Go figure. Again, I must get back on track…

The characters I penned that morning were in rare form, spilling their story. The keyboard of my laptop was ablaze. I laughed and I cried as the story unfolded and came to a satisfying conclusion.

I completed one story – about 7500 words - and started another.

Now comes the rewrites for the one I completed, followed by the nervous twitch that resides in the pit of my stomach prior to garnering the nerve to submit it. I kid you not when I say that submitting a story is the single most exhausting experience for me. Okay, so I have only submitted three times – accepted twice, and am currently anxiously waiting for word on the third, but it is exhausting none the less.

I am my own worse critic and no matter what I do, once a story is submitted I inevitably find editing errors or I second guess the plot. I think of ways to improve it and move dialogue around. Although I apply my “Pat’s Word List” prior to submission, after I hit send and the little bytes travel to the publisher, I always find those sneaky little words that hide in what I consider quick witted dialogue or descriptive prose. Oh yeah, did I mention that this list consist of killer words like waist versus waste, pass versus past … well you get the ideal.

Before bloging this morning, I scrutinized – again - the masterpiece I scribed on Christmas early am. A ritual I will probably under take for months. Who am I kidding? Probably. No, I think the more accurate sentence is definitely undertake for months to come.

Why? Now that is simple: I want it to be better than the one I wrote before, but secretly hope that it will not be as good as the next.

After all, that’s what growing is all about.

Happy Reading!Pat Cromwell
http://www.freewebs.com/patcromwell/
Behind Blue Eyes at www.amirapress.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgnV3uXKwmM

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Snowing in Seattle...

Wow! I woke up early this afternoon after taking a nap and found that it was snowing outside. I love snow, and as anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest knows we get way more rain than snow, so to get snow on Christmas day is like really rare. In fact this is only the 3rd time in my lifetime that I can remember having snow at Christmas. Whether it will stick or not is another story, although it seems to be in some places, but just being able to watch the white stuff coming down is something of a miracle on its own.

If I can get the batteries for my digital working, I'll try and take some pictures so I can post them here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Since I'm the lucky one who gets to post on Christmas, I'd like to first wish all of you a merry one. Even if you don't celebrate, you can still have a wonderful...Tuesday!

My absence last week was due to making the 12 hour drive from Florida to Maryland so that I could spend the holidays with my family. My parents live here, snug between Baltimore and Washington, DC. My grandparents and other extended family are here as well. My sister and her new husband live in Florida, about two hours from me, but we've all come up north. My aunt and her husband are flying in from South Dakota later in the week. I don't get to see my family often since I moved south for law school, so I look forward to this time of year. I must admit I didn't value my family nearly as much before, when they were just a short car ride away. I've come to realize just how important and influential they all are.

If you're fortunate enough to be close to your family today, take a moment to let them know you care for them. If you can't see them in person, give them a call.

Be safe, and be happy!
Kayleigh

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Memories

As Christmas approaches, I can't help but reflect on times gone by and those happy memories associated with other Christmases and my childhood.

I think about the time my dad and I forged through what seemed like miles of forest, over waist high blackberry briers, sticky beggar lice and the bitter cold to find the one perfect Christmas tree. Meanwhile, Mom would be going through boxes of ornaments polishing and dusting them until she thought they were presentable. Some of these "treasures" made by my sisters and I that had seen better days but Mom had more sentiment than practicality when it came to such things. She was always eager to see what prise tree Pop and I would bring home. What a happy soul she was.

My dad would often share his memories of his childhood as we trudged over field and stream looking for a tree. He told me how they used real candles on their tree when he was a kid. His father would stand close by with a bucket of water in case the tree caught on fore. And he told me about his love for his brother, John, whom he adored.
I took Pop's memories of his brother and wrote the almost true story of John in my book THE VIOLIN to be released very soon from Amira Press. In THE VIOLIN I created the character of John Douglas who, like my dad's brother, died when he was 21 years old by drowning while fly fishing with his friends.

I could see the sadness in Pop's eyes when he spoke of his brother's death. I decided to give John the life he never got a chance to live and the love he never had. And as I wrote the story of THE VIOLIN, I relived the memories of my dad and the wonderful life he gave to me.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas. I hope you are making some memories right now that you, and perhaps your children, will cherish always.
Sarah McNeal
www.sarahmcneal.com

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Laziness

Three days till Christmas over here, and it is my opinion that Melbourne is trying to make us feel like our weather is in fitting with that of the rest of this world for the holidays. Raining, like heavy rain, for the last three days. It's alright though. We definitely need it.

I believe that I have succumbed to the pre-Christmas laziness right here. My shopping was well done earlier this month, so while the Significant Other is currently out in the city (getting wet right now, I'd assume), running around to get his presents, I am sitting here on my computer composing this post to write to you.

Unfortunately, my laziness has also extended to my writing. Although I know I have many things I could be writing, I've been continuing on my trend to do more reading than writing. It's getting close to the New Year as well, however, and with the new year, I'm sure will come more inspiration in me to write and then to write about it. *grins*

Merry Christmas, all, whatever your plans for the day and whatever joy you gain from the holiday.

xxx
Nikki Watson.

pictures











Image from yuleovit.com
Image from Pat's Graphics

I am giving you this little story for Chrtistmas. I hope you enjoy it.





A TIME OF RENEWAL/LINDA SOLE
She stood looking out at the garden, watching a blackbird gathering moss for its nest. The sun was shining, calling her out, and lifting the shadows that had hung over her of late.
This had always been Emily's favourite time of year, the time when everything was renewed. Spring warmth, flowers, blossom and hope. At least, that was the way it had always been when her Tom was alive.
Her throat caught with emotion because he wouldn't see spring this year, wouldn't be able to work in his beloved garden. It hurt her to see the garden looking in need of some tender loving care, the care that Tom had lavished on every shrub, every rose, every blade of grass.
Oh, she had done her best. Of course she had. She had managed to cut the grass and tidy the rose beds up a little, but it wasn't the same.
'I miss you,' Emily murmured, turning to look at the photo she kept on the mantle. She smiled as she always did when she saw a picture of a young, handsome Tom. He had been so strong and full of life when that was taken, just after they were married. 'I shall always love you, my darling.'
Where had all the years gone? That was what Emily asked herself a dozen times a day as she cleaned and polished, keeping the inside of the cottage as spick and span as she always had. They had been such good years, the two of them always busy. Tom with his market garden business, or their own little piece of paradise out the back, and Emily with the children and then helping out at the local play school once the girls had grown up.
Emily sighed as she thought of her two daughters. Roberta away in America, an expert in computers no less – Where had she got her cleverness from? Neither Emily or Tom had that kind of a brain, though Tom was an intelligent man in his own quiet way – And Sheila in London with her doctor husband and their son Robbie.
Robbie was a clever lad, too, so Sheila told her. They were hoping he would follow in his father's footsteps and become a doctor. He was due to leave school and go to college any day now.
Her family was doing very well for themselves. Just as her husband had, though none of them had guessed it.
'Surprised me, didn't you, Tom?' Emily chuckled as she remembered the nest egg her husband had provided for her, which she had discovered only after his death. 'Never breathed a word, did you?'
It amused Emily when she thought back down the years, to the day she'd told her parents that Tom Harding was coming that evening to ask for permission to wed her.
'You could do better than him,' Emily's mother had commented. 'He'll never amount to much, never be more than he is now – a farm labourer.'
'Tom has plans for his own business,' Emily had replied. 'Anyway, I don't care if he works on the land all his life, mum. I love him, and I always shall.'
Emily's father had given a snort of disgust. He worked as a clerk in a solicitor's office and considered his daughter was letting him down by courting a lad from the labouring class, but he hadn't refused when Tom asked.
Emily could remember the day she married Tom, when he'd brought her back to this cottage, carrying her over the threshold. It had been rented then from the farmer who owned it, but Tom had bought it once his business started to flourish.
'I'm going to give you a good life, Emmie,' he'd promised her that day. 'I'll work for you and I'll love you all my life.'
And he had. Sometimes she'd thought he worked too hard.
Tom had started in a small way, using the cottage garden to grow plants and selling them on to larger horticultural centres, then he'd bought a small piece of old orchard land just down the road, tearing up the old trees and planting pretty shrubs and blossom trees in containers. He had been one of the first to use that idea.
'He'll never get anywhere with that,' Emily's mother had said at the time. 'If he had a few pounds to invest, he ought to have asked your father where to put his money.'
'Tom likes to grow things,' Emily replied. 'And I've never gone short, mum. There's always money on the table every Friday, same as if Tom was working for someone else.'
She wished her mother was alive so that she could tell her what Tom had done, but both Emily's parents had died years ago.
Gradually, Tom had built up the business, acquiring more and more little pieces of land that were scattered all round the village … and that was what was really troubling Emily now.
She looked out at the garden. She could get someone in, she supposed, a man to do the heavy work she couldn't manage. But what was she going to do about all the other land? Sheila thought she ought to sell. Especially the orchard, where Tom had started his business, because that was the bit of land the developers wanted.
They were offering a ridiculous figure, at least in Emily’s estimation. More than a million pounds… but what did she need that kind of money for? She’d never gone short of the things she wanted, but she had always enjoyed making clothes, knitting, cooking… there just wasn’t anything she needed. A new TV perhaps, but she could have that anyway.
Of course she could give the money to her children … perhaps it was selfish of her to want to hold on to the land…
Emily turned to look in the mirror, and then her heart caught. She could see Tom and he was smiling at her … but not the Tom who had so recently died. This was the young Tom who had courted her all those years ago.
'Tom'… she whispered. 'Oh, Tom…'
'Don't take on, lass…'
She heard the words as clearly as if he were standing beside her, and the tears slipped gently down her cheeks. The picture in the mirror was changing and she saw that she was with Tom now … they were standing in the orchard … kissing.
'Oh, Tom,' Emily said. 'Is it time? Have you come for me? Take me with you … take me with you…'
'Not yet, lass. You've work to do yet. I'll come back for you when it's time…'
The picture in the mirror had gone. Emily touched her face, seeing the lines and the sorrow. Had she imagined it – or had Tom come to her?
No matter, it had finally made up her mind. The children could wait until she was dead. They were all doing well … and Tom had been one of the main employers in the neighbourhood. If she sold the orchard it would put a lot of young men out of work.
She shook her head. This wouldn't get the jobs done. She sat down on a kitchen chair, about to slip her gardening shoes on when she heard the front door bell. Now who could that be? She wasn't expecting anyone.
When she opened the door her heart stood still. It was Tom! The young man smiling at her was the very image of the photo on her mantle. Yet she knew it wasn't her husband.
'Hello, Gran. I thought I would surprise you.'
'Robbie…' Emily shook her head at the change in him. It was nearly a year since she'd seen Robbie and he'd grown up. There had always been a resemblance between him and his grandfather, but now it was more marked. 'I thought you were still at college?'
'It's a holiday,' Robbie said and leaned forward to kiss her cheek. 'I thought I would visit – if you don't mind?'
'Mind?' she said, drawing him into the house. 'It's lovely, Robbie. You must know I'm always pleased to see you. Your Mum and Dad don't visit enough. And you didn't come the last time they were down.'
'Dad said I needed extra tuition,' Robbie said. 'He was afraid I would fail my exams and he was right.'
'You don't know that.' She sensed he had something on his mind. 'Go and sit down while I put the kettle on. I've made a chocolate cake – could you eat a bit?'
'Smashing,' Robbie said with a grin that made Emily's heart do odd things. He really was like his grandfather. 'Can we talk as you make the tea, Gran? I want to ask a favour…'
'Of course – if I can help.'
Robbie went to the kitchen window to look out as she made the tea.
'It doesn't look the same these days,' she said. 'I suppose I shall have to get someone in, but I hate the thought of a stranger working in Tom's garden.'
'Would you mind me working there?' Robbie looked at her hopefully. She was surprised by the expression in his eyes – almost pleading. 'I know it's a terrible cheek, Gran. Mum didn't want me to ask – and Dad isn't pleased, but it's what I want to do. I want it so bad it hurts.'
Emily saw it in a blinding flash. He wasn't just like Tom to look at, he was the same kind of man: quiet, intelligent, needing to work with his hands.
'Is it just my garden you want to tidy up?' she asked. 'Or were you thinking you would like to take over the business?'
'Would you let me manage it for you?' Robbie asked and his face lit up. Just the way Tom's had all those years ago when he'd asked her to marry him and she'd said yes. 'I don't need much of a wage. I could live here for a while – or perhaps you wouldn't want me?'
'Not want you?' Emily shook her head. 'Of course I'd want you, love.'
'Mum says you ought to sell the orchard land,' Robbie said. 'I know it's a lot of money, but…'
'What's money for it if it doesn't get you what you really want?' Emily asked. 'If you can make a go of the business that's all I ask. Keep it running the way Tom did, just nicely ticking over.'
'I'm sure I can,' Robbie said, eager now. 'I've been studying a lot of stuff on horticulture … that's why I gave up the idea of a medical career. I'm never going to be a doctor. It's not what I want.'
'No, you wouldn't,' Emily said, her mind already made up. 'Well, the orchard is yours, Robbie, and the business. I'll want my housekeeping on the table every Friday, same as your grandfather gave me, and you'll take your wage – and when I go the land will be yours.'
'You can't do that, Gran,' Robbie said, alarmed. 'I wasn't asking for that. What about Mum and Aunt Roberta?'
'Oh, there will be enough for them,' Emily said. She smiled as she went over to the dresser and took out a statement. 'I don't really understand this stuff – but it's shares. Tom invested in them over the years and they're worth quite a bit. More than the orchard anyway. I shall never need them. The solicitor says it's probably best if I put them over to the girls while I'm alive. Save a bit on tax that way … and I've got all I need. As long as I get my money on a Friday.'
Robbie was astonished as he glanced through the statement. 'Did you know Grandfather had all this?'
'He never said a word. I always had what I wanted, and there was a piece of jewellery for my birthday and Christmas – but Tom knew I didn't need more.'
'Then I can really come here? Take over the business?'
Emily felt herself caught up in a big bear hug. It almost squeezed the breath out of her. She hadn't been hugged like that for years, not since Tom's heart began to trouble him.
'It's what Tom would have wanted,' she said, and looked out of the window to hide the tears of joy.
The blackbird was after the moss again. Spring was always her favourite time of year, so of course Tom had chosen this time to send Robbie to her, and she knew that he was watching over her as always.
It was a time of renewal and hope. In Robbie she would see it all happening over again; the struggle to build up, the eagerness and the love…
Oh yes, the years had been good to her. And there were more to come.

To find more stories visit me at my website!
Linda Sole
www.lindasole.co.uk



I wish all of you a Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas came early

By Pat Cromwell
Christmas came early for me this year. On December 17 I received via email a copy of my first review. The Romance Studio gave 5 hearts to my debut novel Behind Blue Eyes. It was wonderful to read the review and I was very excited and thrilled at the knowledge that I had actually garnered such gracious and admirable remarks.
The Review reads as follows"

Seine Simmons had loved Michael O’Neal for years. At 20 years of age, she finally seemed to catch his attention. Michael, 10 years her senior, was her father, Lawrence Simmons’s, number 1 man. Her brother, Rafael, technically was second in command, but Michael was the one Lawrence relied upon. There was only one thing Lawrence refused Michael and that was Seine. Unfortunately, that was the exact thing Michael intended to have.

Seine and her best friend (who had lived with them for years), Lynda, had been based in Paris since her father was determined she would get the best education possible. She was to be the black equivalent to a Princess. She, however, resented that she was forced to go all the way to Paris and leave her mother and father. She could not forgive her father, but she continually tried to gain his approval.

A lot can happen in 5 years. When next the author, Ms. Pat Cromwell, takes up the story, Seine is 25 years old. Michael has used his annihilation to take over everything that Simmons, the media conglomerate, held dear. And that is the rest of this dynamic story.

Ms. Cromwell has created vibrant characters who were not only full of life but who also moved with the big dogs. Michael’s personality was forceful until he had to deal with Seine. His entire life was affected by his feelings for her. Seine, a beautiful woman enthralled with Michael’s whole distinctive package, especially his beautiful blue eyes, did not care that he was a white man. They seemed to not even notice their differences.

The sub-characters were well penned and the entire story flowed well through their interactions. The sensual aspects of this story were smoking hot. They were frequent but they did not detract from the well explored plot. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. It, literally, was impossible to put down. I think this story is one which truly gives the readers the love, excitement and sex that we’ve come to expect.


Sensuality rating: Explicit


Overall rating:



The link to my very first review is:
http://theromancestudio.com/reviews/reviews/behindblueeyescromwell.htm




With that said, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. I hope that Santa's as good to you as he has been to me.



Happy reading,

Pat Cromwell
Behind Blue Eyes at http://www.amirapress.com/

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Doorway to the Stars has been released!

Can you tell that I'm just a little bit excited about Doorway to the Stars being released? LOL It came as a huge surprise to me last Thursday night when I discovered it on the new releases page over at New Concepts Publishing. You can read the blurb on the site at NCP!
  • Read the blurb and buy Doorway to the Stars at NCP!
  •  
    Below is the beautiful cover for Doorway to the Stars!

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    Happy Holidays everyone! PhotobucketPhotobucket

    ~Marly

    Monday, December 17, 2007

    Holiday Goodies Galore...

    I love the holidays! Mainly because I get a real kick out of coming up with presents for people, there is just something about giving that is way cool. Just last night I posted a holiday novella to my newsletter group called Illara's First Christmas. This is the holiday sequel for my science fiction romance Getting Out Alive. So, that means anyone who signs up for my newsletter Regina's Universe can get a copy. It's only going to be there until January 2, 2008, but I figure a few weeks should be enough time for everyone to who is signed up or for those who want to sign up to get their copy.

    Illara's First Christmas can be read by itself, but you will understand the worlds and what is happening much better if you read Getting Out Alive first.

    Here's a blurb for Getting Out Alive:

    Getting Out Alive is a mystical journey of one woman’s yearning for absolution, written in a style to rival one of the greatest paranormal writers of our time, Dean Koontz.-Beverly R. Jones, Author of All Things Sacred

    Secrets...everyone has them, but Angel Whitedove alien abductee and researcher is about to discover one she hadn’t bargained for involving her missing father, and the special work she does.

    Darek of Laren has one mission: retrieve the outlaw Laaen and return him to his home planet for trial. Only he doesn’t find Laaen as expected, but Laaen’s daughter Angel, and an ancient evil the people of Laren thought had long since gone extinct.

    Forbidden love, danger, and an eons old conspiracy follow these two as they race to save themselves, humanity, and their worlds.

    Blurb for Illara's First Christmas:

    A continuation of the story told in Getting Out Alive. Angel Whitedove decides that the child Illara needs something to help bring her out of her self-enforced silence, and she has just the thing to do it. In order to help the child, and to keep her own spirits up she introduces Christmas and all that it entails to the Larindons. However, there is the added threat of discovery by the Greys who have control of the planet below. Will the ship stay hidden, or will their enemy find them and ruin Angel and the Larindon's holiday?

    To purchase a copy of Getting Out Alive you can go here.

    To sign up for my newsletter and get your free copy of Illara's First Christmas the holiday sequel, sign up for Regina's Universe Newsletter.

    Happy Holidays!

    Saturday, December 15, 2007

    Reading +Chai + Excerpt = Must be the Christmas Season!

    I had the most lovely beginning to the weekend last night, leading into this morning. Lounging around at a friend's house is definitely something to pleasurable. Lounging around with books and Chai tea is awesome. The promise of pancakes cooked for me this morning was awesome beyond words!

    My book pile now extends to half a dozen books that I am part the way through, though I know the ones I'll put on the back burner are the ones that are already mine. So far, I must say, I am really enjoying the summer here in Australia. It always means I get more reading done.

    As promised from last week, I have a short excerpt from my current untitled work that I would like to share with you. Though I see I am not the first to put some pretty m/m fiction up on the blog. *smiles*

    *

    ‘You really shouldn’t stare like that,’ Shaun murmured. He hid behind another sip of scotch, not sure that he really wanted to assert himself over this.

    ‘What?’ Adrian’s voice was deep. There was a half smile on his face, though Shaun couldn’t tell if it was friendly or mocking. Adrian’s half closed eyelids hid half of the expression from there. ‘Does it bother you?’

    Shaun would have said no, but that would have negated the objection. Instead, he wasn’t quite sure what to say. The alcohol in his system was making his thoughts run slower. ‘I’m not—’ he started.

    ‘Wouldn’t bother me if you were.’

    Whatever Shaun had been about to say, Adrian finished it for him, before smoothly crossing to Shaun’s side again. Shaun realized with a start that Adrian was talking about the idea of Shaun being gay not bothering him. His heartbeat sped up at Adrian’s close proximity, but before Shaun could speak again, Adrian’s sonorous voice drew him in.

    ‘Your hair really will look good when it’s long enough to tie back.’

    Shaun carefully didn’t move, either towards Adrian, or away, too conscious that either one could insinuate more than he was meaning. He said the first thing that came to his head. ‘I find women attractive.’

    'So do I,’ Adrian answered.

    That confused Shaun. ‘Then why…?’

    Adrian looked down at Shaun. His gaze trailed down past Shaun’s eyes, his high cheekbones, straight nose and full lips, which parted as soon as Adrian’s gaze landed on them. Adrian imagined himself kissing those lips, and found himself very well pleasured by the idea. ‘Why not have both?’ he asked in a low, teasing tone. His eyes rose again back to Shaun’s, and he said, ‘I’m greedy.’

    Shaun swallowed, feeling the tightness there, but more worrying, the tightness that had started lower down in his body. There was no mistaking Adrian’s meaning now. He felt thoroughly strapped for words.

    ‘Um…’ He swallowed again, and now there was no mistaking the smile on Adrian’s lips. If there was mockery there, it was directed at Shaun, except now, the smile on the older boy’s face seemed more… tender.

    Adrian stepped away, and Shaun immediately felt a sense of loss that he couldn’t have begun to put into words. The heaviness of the exhaled breath he took told him how long he’d been holding onto his breath with Adrian so close.

    ‘I have other DVDs we can watch, now that the television is no longer so accommodating.’

    Shaun had no idea how Adrian went back to ordinary world again so quickly. He could still feel his heart pounding in his chest in a way that Jacinta or none of the girls Adrian had pushed him towards had caused. Adrian seemed, as ever, cool and unaffected by the world going on around him. Shaun wished he knew his secret.

    Now, however, Adrian was looking at him expectantly. On the television behind him, Basic Instinct had changed to the six o’clock news, and Shaun had to make some approximation of acting normal, since that was apparently the game for now.

    ‘Sure. I can choose something.’ He turned towards the bookshelf against the wall and moved closer so that he would be able to read the titles.

    Adrian watched the younger boy with fondness Shaun didn’t see as he fingered slowly through the few shelves of DVDs on offer. Shaun wasn’t the only one with a slight bulge in his pants, though Adrian hid it better.

    In his estimation, the afternoon had gone quite well.

    Friday, December 14, 2007

    Hi again!

    This lovely cover, which looks just like an old photo of my husband's grandmother outside her house is the copyright of Severn House.

    I am pleased to say that I have remembered today is Friday and Friday is my day to blog here. Regrettably, I forgot last week and I am sorry about that. Sometimes the work just piles up on top of me and I do forget the days, let alone what I am supposed to be doing!


    Today I want to tell you about the book from Severn House coming out in January 2008. It is called Love Is Not Enough and is an Anne Herries saga. It takes place just before the first world war and tells the story of sisters and the man they both love. Marianne is engaged to him but jilts him in a fit of temper. Troy is not the kind of man to come crawling back, and even though Marianne later tries to make up their quarrel he is not interested. Instead he turns his attention to Sarah, Marianne's younger sister, who has always loved him. However, Sarah's father is afraid of scandal and refuses to listen to them. Now the war intervenes and Sarah is swept up in a drama that will bring both pain and lasting hurt. Is she strong enough to overcome what for many would be an overwhelming obstacle?


    This story is the first of a trilogy and the second book is already written and has just been sent into the publisher. I now have to write the second book in a Regency trilogy for HMB. I also have some edits coming up and Christmas is nearly here, though I am happy to say that I have done all my presents. I like to be well ahead so that I can settle down and enjoy the festive season.


    I want to congratulate my fellow authors on their blogs. I find them interesting to read and I hope others will too. Next week I will tell you about one of my ebook publishers - unless I do something about Christmas. It is nearly here and I love the excitement and the way everyone wishes each other A Happy Christmas. Maybe I'll do something different next week!


    If anyone would like to read a Christmas Robin there is a lovely Regency tale on UK Historical romance. I shall be writing the last part nearer Christmas. Best wishes to you all, Linda

    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    A Recent Interview

    By Pat Cromwell

    I was recently interviewed for the Amira Press Newsletter, November 2007 issue. I thought I’d share a sampling of questions and my response with you as a way to get to know me a little better:

    Tell us a little bit about your current Amira Press release Behind Blue Eyes.
    Behind Blue Eyes is the story of Michael O’Neal and Seine Simmons. It’s a love story and like all romances, there is always at least one obstacle that stands in their way. While outside influences threaten them, the biggest challenge they face as a couple is their failure to communicate properly with each other.

    How did you come up with the idea for Behind Blue Eyes?
    Behind Blue Eyes went through a lot of changes before I came up with the final version that I submitted to Amira Press. I suppose the biggest influence is the song Behind Blue Eyes as sung by Limp Bizkit and that killer video with Halle Berry and Sexy Fred Durst (IMO – smile).

    What is a typical day like for Pat?
    Stressfull! I thought life was tough when my kids were younger, but these days are far busier. I don’t seem to have enough hours in the day to get everything done. Outside of my regular nine to five, I do bookkeeping for a couple little business in Indy, and I write Database Programs and Application. So far, that has been very lucrative and I am developing a nice little referral service thanks to the handful of companies that I have wrote applications for. My leisure time is stretched between writing, reading, and checking out tapes of my favorite soaps!

    You spend a lot of time supporting your fellow authors, and reading many different books. What are your favorite genre’s to read?
    My all time favorite genre is of course contemporary Interracial Romance. Although after reading a book by Shara Azod, I think I’ll have to take a look at historicals a little more closely. I like a story with heart and underlying messages. A good book to me is one where once it is finish the characters linger on in my mind. Next on my list of favorites are thiller / suspense romance. I am a serious Sandra Brown and Anne Stuart fan.

    Do you have a favorite genre to write?
    Interracial Romance. I find it easier to write what I know (lol), to celebrate the challenges that IR couples face and to dispel some of the misconceptions that are too often touted in some IR books. IR couples do not spend morning, noon, and night obsessing over societies perception of them, but instead spend time doing the same thing that same race couples do.

    Do you have any idols or people that are heroes to you?
    My heroes are usually always the underdog. That is, people who are able to rise above their circumstances and to meet challenges in life. There is this trail in Indianapolis called the Monon Trail for walkers and bikers. I met a very special guy there one Saturday. We were park side by side and as I changed into my running shoes I kind of froze as I watched him do the same, replace his regular shoes with running shoes. I was in awe of him as he laced them because (and this is what made him a hero in my eyes) he had one arm. IMO people like that deserve admiration and are the real heroes. He’s a winner because he didn’t give up and he met one of his many challenges in life. I am honored to know him.

    If you could have any super power, what would it be and how would you use it?
    Okay at the risk of sounding like PollyAnna, I’d like the power to heal people of those disease that scientist claim there are no cure for. You know, Cancer, AIDS, Heart Disease, etc. And I would heal people of their craving and addictions to illegal drugs and alcohol abuse.

    Can you share with your readers a little bit about what makes you unique as an author?
    This is a tough one because we writers are all unique with what we do. For the most part the themes are pretty much the same - we just arrange the words differently and develop our own style. It’s that style that draws a reader time and time again to a particular writer. I do categorize certain unique styles. My favorite is the writer whose main emphasis is the hero and taking him from a very bad guy with issue’s to that of hero in the eyes of the only woman that counts – the heroine. I suppose that if I belonged to a "Unique Style" than that would be it. I don’t think very many women would find Michael to be all that great of a catch. But then he doesn’t care what other women think, only one – his Seine.

    If you could be any one of your characters, who would it be and why?
    This is my favorite question and the answer is definitely Lynda from Behind Blue Eyes. Actually, I really am a lot like her in real life. I am the goto friend and I am definitely all five of my sister’s goto sister!

    Do you believe in love at first sight?
    I do believe without a doubt, absolutely, positively yes in love at first site. I believe it personally, and imaginatively in the stories I write and the one’s that I read.

    Where can readers learn more about you?
    I have a website that is for the most part complete. There isn’t very much personal information on it, but I do have an excerpt for Behind Blue Eyes and several other books that I have penned and am in the process of completing. I have an IR Listing that is very important to me. It’s a list of recently release books with an interracial / multicultural relationship. Many sites do not list IR’s as IR’s so many of the books are not easily found by fans of the genre, thus my reasoning for creating the list. It’s just another tool for our reader’s to utilize.

    Website: Pat Cromwell Romance To Tease The Soul is: http://www.freewebs.com/patcromwell/

    YouTube book trailer for Behind Blue Eyes can be viewed at:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgnV3uXKwmM

    Happy Reading

    Wednesday, December 12, 2007

    RWA Online Christmas Party Chat Invite!

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    Get into the Christmas Party Mood because RWA Online wants you! Put on some Christmas music to add to the ambiance and join the members of RWA Online on Friday, December 14th from 9pm EST to 11pm EST for lots of holiday cheer! We will have cyber treats and drinks to offer as well.It's not hard to find us, Holiday Tinkerbell will take you to the chat room with her Pixie dust when you click onto her picture!
    Me and my other Christmas Elves will have lots of Christmas prizes, so don't miss out! You never know what we'll draw out of our magic bags! Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
    Here are the invitation details once more!
    When: Friday, December 14, 2007!
    What Time: 9pm to 11pm EST!
    Where: RWA Online Public Chat Room, click Christmas Tinkerbell to be taken to the chat room!



    Who will be there: Members of RWA Online, and YOU our guests from outside of the chapter!

    We hope to see you there!
    ~Marly and the rest of the RWA Online Christmas Elves.

    Tuesday, December 11, 2007

    Another Drive-By


    Sorry to keep doing this to ya'll, but just three more days and I'll be done with finals, thank goodness!

    Here's an excerpt from Leading Her to Heaven, which is being released in ebook this Friday, and in print March 15, 2008.

    Blair Ruthven was experiencing something strange -- for him. He was nervous. Over a woman, of all things. Nerves before going into battle would be understandable, though Blair himself never had them, but nerves over a woman? It was downright embarrassing.

    He paced the length of the great hall, back and forth, back and forth, like a caged beast. He hadn't bothered to unhook his sporran or his broadsword when he'd returned, and the accessories smacked against his thigh now as he stalked to and fro. The bright reds and greens of his mantle were a contrast to his tawny, sun-weathered skin, aqua-blue eyes, and unruly, brown hair. Four tight braids framed his strong, masculine face, while the rest of his long mane was left free, hanging down his back to just below his shoulder blades.

    It had been three months since he'd signed the marriage contract, but the entire thing had seemed rather surreal to him until this morning, when the messenger had arrived with word that his bride to be would be leaving her father's estate and heading north within the week.

    Blair had sent back that he would meet her in Edinburgh and accompany her the rest of the way to Perthshire, his family seat and her new home. Things were quiet for once; a begrudging peace of sorts had been reached between his clan and the Murrays to the south. And the Robertsons to the north were too damn scared of him to try anything foolish while he was gone. He could always send someone to meet his fiancée on his behalf - his brother, perhaps - but he preferred to go himself.

    "I wager she's fat an' ugly," his younger brother announced, interrupting Blair's internal monologue. He was sitting at the end of the long dining table, one booted foot propped irreverently on the tabletop, a clay stein in his fist. "All English wenches are."

    Blair sighed and ran a hand across the stubble of his beard. "I was promised she is'na fat."

    Indeed, the messenger from the English king had come bearing a small portrait of the girl and, if the painting was accurate, she was the farthest thing from fat and ugly the Scottish Laird had ever seen. But he'd also heard stories of the king's crafty use of deception and trickery to get what he wanted. Still, he'd kept the tiny portrait; it sat in his bedchamber now. He hadn't shown it to anyone else, especially not his brother. For some reason, he didn't want any other man to see her.

    "Granted," his brother continued as if he hadn't spoken, "I do no mind some fat on my wenches, but for Henry not to want her, she must be dumpy in all the wrong places."

    "Ceallach!" Blair exclaimed, using his brother's Gaelic name, as he often did when he was annoyed with him. Which was most of the time. "Ye speak of my future wife!"

    "Aye, and it would'na do for ye to get yer hopes up, bràthair." Kelly took another swig of whiskey. "Why did ye ever agree to this?"

    Blair sighed. He was tempted to grab the whiskey from his brother's hand and down it himself. Getting good and drunk, that would solve his problems. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been truly intoxicated. He wasn't sure, honestly, why he'd signed the marriage contract. James had been in favor of the match, but would not have forced him into it had he put up a fight, and Blair knew it. "The King thinks it will be good for Scotland," he said finally, the excuse sounding hollow even to his own ears. Good for Scotland -- right. When had a Ruthven ever given a damn about that?

    "Aye, an' a nightmare for ye. Fat an' ugly, bràthair, mark my words."

    Monday, December 10, 2007

    Exerpt of WIP titled Doomed to Be Charmed, 18+ only please...

    This is an unedited exerpt.

    Doomed to Be Charmed (18 and up only, this is a m/m paranormal erotic romance)

    ***Note: A little background. Kyle Morgan comes from a family of witches. He was raised by his mother, grandmother and great-grandmother along with his eleven older sisters. He’s the baby of the family. He’s also gay. His special gift is the ability to open doorways into other dimensions and worlds, but he has been taught not to use his ability because there is always the danger of allowing something evil into the earth realm. However, when he begins being contacted in his dreams by two very hot twins who claim he is their mate, and they ask him to open a dimensional gate, Kyle is torn between wanting the two handsome shape shifters, and his duty to protect his family and his world.***

    Kyle Morgan turned and shifted in his sleep colliding with the teddy bear his five-year-old niece had left behind when she visited earlier that day.

    His breathing caught as he was drawn into the dream again. He found himself standing in a shadowed forest glade beneath the light of a full moon. A set of familiar masculine voices entered his mind.

    We need you! Open the door between our worlds so we can come to you.

    Two men stood before Kyle beautiful in a way that was somehow alien. Obviously twins, they had matching sets of long ebony hair that reached their butts and that they tied back loosely with leather thongs. He thought it was sexy as hell. As usual they were naked as the day they were born, the tan skin covering defined muscles, but of the type from hard labor rather than the gym. They had brown eyes that could flash to amber in a heartbeat.

    What do you want? Kyle sent the thought to them not venturing any closer. As attractive as they were, there was something dangerous about the two, and some inner voice kept him from going to them as it always did.

    You know. This time the one called Tyrel answered. His mental voice was slightly huskier than his twin’s.

    No. I don’t. Kyle stated emphatically, stubbornly resisting their pleas. He was pretty sure he did know what they wanted, but as attracted as he was to them, he wasn’t giving in.

    Kyle watched as the two men exchanged looks silently conferring.

    Baby… Tyber coaxed, taking a step closer and holding out his hand to Kyle.

    No! Kyle sent the shout while stamping one foot angrily. Why won’t you just go away and leave me alone. Find somebody else to open the damned door. I…I can’t. He ended on a near sob.

    Tyber’s hand dropped and Kyle could swear he heard Tyrel sigh deeply.

    Distracted Kyle found himself ensnared by Tyrel’s deep brown gaze. Sweetie, you have nothing to be afraid of. We would never, could never hurt you, or those you love.

    How do I know that? Kyle was getting mad again. They always did this, ganged up on him, called him by those ridiculous girly endearments. Tried to get him to do what they wanted. You two could be anybody, rapists, murderers. I’ll…I’ll bet you don’t even really look like this! Kyle gestured wildly at both men.

    Even as he said it he knew it was at least partially true, but he also knew it was partially not. It was one of the reasons he’d been reluctant to let the pair very close to him. As usual this drew mental snickers from the other men. However, this time the dream changed significantly from what it had been the other times he’d traveled to this place.

    Before he could protest, or try to force himself to wake up Kyle found himself sandwiched between the larger twins. At five foot nine, he was no match for the men who were half a foot taller than him, and carrying nearly twice his muscle mass. But that didn’t stop him from trying.

    Hey, hey! Back off! He shoved against Tyrel’s chest with his hands, but only succeeded in pushing himself back into Tyber. They just moved in even closer, trapping him between their larger masculine bodies.

    Kyle panicked, and mewling sounds began coming from him as he went into fight or flight mode. He hit, tried to use his nails to scratch, and kicked out at them with his legs. He was crying and didn’t even realize it. When he finally wore himself out, he could hear them both crooning to him in his mind.

    Shh, shhh little mate. No one is going to hurt you or force you to do anything you don’t want to. Their mental voices blended together and it was the strangeness of this that finally got through to him.

    Let me go!

    However, instead of doing what he wanted he felt two sets of arms surround him.

    We’re not going to hurt you Kyle. Tyrel murmured again, stroking one hand through his much shorter hair. Then he did something that totally shocked Kyle, he pulled on his hair, tugging his head back and captured his lips. Seconds later Kyle felt the gentle glide of Tyrel’s tongue silently asking for entrance. When he didn’t immediately open his mouth, Kyle felt Tyrel slide his tongue into the crease of his lips. Let me in mate, I must taste you.

    The voice was almost begging and Kyle knew that this was not something this man did easily. Even though he was still afraid he relaxed his guard slightly, and tentatively opened his lips. The twins were so hot, it was difficult to resist.


    © 2007 by Regina Paul. All Rights Reserved.

    Sunday, December 9, 2007

    Christmas Grows Near

    Well, Christmas is right around the corner and I haven't digested my Thanksgiving dinner yet. I feel sort of like a Grumpy Grinch at present but I'll get in the mood soon and put up the tree and turn on a light or two. I do like shopping for my six year old niece, Madeline, who wants to grow up to be a princess. Don't all six year old girls want to dress up in party dresses and pretend?

    The Violin should be released very soon from Amira Press. The proof reader is giving it a go right now. I'll be having a little contest with some very nice prizes ao I hope you'll check out my website at www.sarahmcneal.com and enter. I'll be putting up an excerpt and the contest in the next day or two at my site so keep in touch.
    I hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season and staying safe. Drive carefully and lock your doors.
    All good things to your corner of the universe,
    Sarah McNeal

    Book Buying, Christmas Faux Pas and GLB - Nikki Watson

    I committed the big Christmas faux pas this week. Imagine, you're in a second hand book shop. Two of the novels by one of your favored authors are just sitting there on the shelf. What else could you do but just pick them up?

    Imagine then, coming back home to your beau sitting on his computer. You pull out these books by Jacqueline Carey, and prance around a little because everything is merry and you can now start reading them at your leisure. Except, your beau is looking at you strangely. And when you ask 'What?' he says:

    'You know how I stop buying stuff for myself before Christmas just in case you get the same stuff for me?'

    *grins* Tis a crazy time of year. Obviously this is a big book buying season, which I suppose is good for all the lovely ladies of this group, and beyond.

    There is a happy ending to this story, however. He had only given the money for someone else to order these books for him off Amazon. Money which was just as easily gotten back the next day with no harm done to my coming Christmas presents.

    So I get to talk about why I love the Kushiel series so badly. See, here is a lady who knows how to, at times, write about same sex couplings, giving it no more emphasis than it deserves. I've seen it be a big issue with writers. GLB (gay, lesbian, bisexual) stories are still relatively new, next to their heterosexual cousins, and thus there must be something big that we are missing!

    When Carey's main character talks about her previous female partners, it is with fondness and grace, or not, with regard towards the actions those characters have made, rather than their gender. It makes me happy to be able to see that they are remembered by her no differently than her previous male partners.

    I happen to like reading same sex couples. I happen to like writing same sex couples, whether it be male/male, female/female, or any combination consisting of larger numbers of characters. As a matter of fact, there is something to that effect that I am working on currently, so if you're lucky, there may be an early excerpt from it posted next week. :D

    So lastly, I say not, 'Let's see more of these same sex pairings published!' but rather, 'Let's see more of this done well!'


    Nikki Watson
    Dark Fantasy and Romance Writer
    http://www.nikkiwatson.110mb.com/

    Thursday, December 6, 2007

    Why Jake?

    By Pat Cromwell

    I recently followed a discussion on Amazon by readers of romance. It was their wish list of what they wanted writers to refrain from when penning a story. It was titled Dear Author…Don’t.

    The most popular request was for writers to stop using certain names for their hero. It appeared that most of the contributors to the discussion were unanimous with their displeasure of the use of those dashing and charming names that we like to use. I did not see the name Michael in any of the post. That’s a good thing because the hero in my book, “Behind Blue Eyes” name is Michael.

    One poster wrote:

    “I swear if I read another romance with a hero named Rafe I'm going to SCREAM!”

    Although I don’t have a particular problem with the name Rafe as a hero, I do understand where she is coming from. I have a pretty good ideal of who this Rafe character is; he is of the same mode as the guy that has graced the pages of so many of the romance novels that I have read. His name is well known and is synonymous with sexy hero among the members of my reading group. This one guy shows up so much that I feel as if I know him personally.

    Maybe you’ve come across him to.

    His name is Jake and he makes me want to scream.

    Probably not for the same reasons as the “Rafe” poster does, but he makes me want to scream none the less. He has found his way into so many romance books, that as a reader there are times I’d love to have Jake officially banned, but am so glad he isn’t because he’s a bright spot and the perfect hero. As a writer, I steer clear of him – I’m afraid I may not give Jake the justice he deserves and IMO Jake is a legend, perched on a pedestal. Why else is he used time and time again? I opt instead to use his distant relatives – Michael, Stephen, Vincent, Chase, and Kenneth. I’ll make them as legendary as Jake someday.

    That does not mean that I will not have Jake staring in one of my books, but for now, I’ll let him be. For which I am sure he is pleased to hear. I bet Jake wish he could take it easy and indulge in an extended vacation from the written pages. Perhaps let his twin brother Seymour stand in for him every once and a while.

    Did I mention Jake has a split personality?

    Sometimes he wears his persona of dashing millionaire playboy, others times he is the most handsome and understanding cowboy the state of Montana has produced. Jake has been a Dom with a submissive waiting in the corner, and he has appeared as the misunderstood guy with tons of issues who arrives on the scene just in the nick of time to save the damsel in distress and unravel the hidden meaning of life. I have read about Jake the Private Eye, Jake the Doctor, Jake the Lawyer, and Jake the Professor. Sometimes he shows up with black hair, other times he is blonde. But no matter what color his hair, he is always handsome, sexy, and in touch with his feminine side, yet manages to retain that strong Alpha Personality that I love.

    So why use Jake instead of Seymour? Honestly, can you imagine the heroine in the throes of passion moaning uncontrollably, “Oh Seymour!”

    No way!

    I don’t care if Seymour looks exactly like Jake and that Seymour has Jake’s personality, somehow the “Oh Jake” sounds so much better than “Oh Seymour.”

    Beside the “passion” factor that is the very essence of Jake, there is that unconscious familiarly that is attached to him. When I read a book staring Jake, I know that he is going to be taking care of business. As a reader of romance, I am drawn time and again to books that have Jake staring in the pages and I look forward to the persona he takes on. I’d be skeptical of Seymour. As a writer of romance, I’d love to have Jake star in one of my books. After all, he is to die for. But my muse has never presented me with a story line for Jake. Michael, Stephen, Vincent, Chase, and Kenneth to date grace the pages of my stories. Modesty aside, they are just as dashing, handsome, and Alpha as Jake. Jake is their role model.

    Following is a little excerpt from Behind Blues Eyes featuring two of Jakes distance relatives Michael O’Neal and Stephen Lay’s:


    Begin Excerpt

    “There’s one other thing we have to work out,” Stephen said

    “And that one other thing is?”

    “Getting you out of the shit you’re in with that girl.”

    “She’s staying with me. I’ll make it right with her. It will just take time.”

    “You misunderstand what I mean. You need to forget about her. Get her out of your system. You should just walk away from her, man. I mean ASAP. What you are doing is crazy and bad for you. She has got you twisted. I mean honestly, if you counted the total number of hours that the two of you have spent together you wouldn’t get past a hundred. The entire time we have hung out together, you have not allowed yourself to get to know other women. Man, when you two are not together your brain is lethal. Five minutes with her and you are back in Idiotville. You need to walk away, just as you did years ago. That’s the only reason we got as far as we did and that is the only way you can stop being nuts.”

    “What part of I love her do you not understand?”

    “I guess God loves me because I’ve never been afflicted with that disease. With that said, partner, you need to get her out of here because in twenty-four hours her brother is going to be front-page news. She’s going to be pissed.”

    “She’s already pissed.”

    End Excerpt

    You can find more excerpts on my website. Also, I have tibbits from my books that feature some of Jakes other relatives!


    Until next week…Happy reading!

    Pat Cromwell http://www.freewebs.com/patcromwell/ http://moonlightromanceauthors.blogspot.com/
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgnV3uXKwmM
    Behind Blue Eyes at www.amirapress.com

    Tuesday, December 4, 2007

    Sweet Revenge by Marly Mathews!

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    Hey Everyone, it's my day to blog again here at the Moonlight Romance Authors blog. Today I thought I'd talk about my short English Tea Rose, Sweet Revenge, published by The Wild Rose Press. This story is set during the regency times, but it's more of a mystery intrigue than your normal ballroom regency. Please read on to find out more about Sweet Revenge.
    ~Marly
    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
    BLURB:
    SWEET REVENGE
    English Tea Rose Line
    historical romance
    By Marly Mathews
    Publisher: Wild Rose Press

    Lady Carys Richardson is a woman set on a mission. She's convinced her brother, Charles was murdered during his service in the Napoleonic wars. On her path to vengeance, she falls in love with the Duke of Penrose, Thomas Williams. Thomas was her brother's commanding officer in the Navy. Her investigation leads her to point the accusatory finger in Thomas's direction and her world begins to unravel.

    Lord Thomas Williams is a duke with wealth and power. He also is a man that knows too much without having enough evidence. When he finds out that Carys believes him to be the murderer, his heart is broken. But he hasn't lost his faith in Carys nor can he stop loving her. When Carys finally realizes her horrendous mistake, will it be too late to right the wrongs of the past and bring the true killer to justice?

    EXCERPT:

    SWEET REVENGE
    © copyright 2007, Marly Mathews

    "You come to me alone with no chaperone?"

    She smiled. "Who would have accompanied me? Most of my friends are busy with other more pressing matters. They have to have their gowns pressed and ready for whatever social soiree they'll be attending tonight. It is after all, the height of the season."

    "So it is." His eyes drank in the full length of her. "Though, you invite a heap load of scandal at your doorstep with your presence here."

    "I know. That's why I'm here." Her blue eyes twinkled. "I need to discuss a matter of grave importance with you. I thought it could wait until the wedding night, but I daresay, I was quite mistaken."

    "Then, we should get right down to it; no time like the present."

    A hint of doubt glimmered in her wondrous eyes, and then faded as quickly as it had appeared. She was hesitant. He couldn't understand the startling change in her ... she'd always approached him with a certain amount of determined gusto.

    "I--" She nervously cleared her throat. Her eyes took on a haunting sorrowful look that had him clenching his hands in worry. "Has your heart ever told you to do something, and your mind reels against it? Knowing that you couldn't possibly do what your heart tells you to do ... that it is beyond the realm of possibility?" With her last word, she dropped her voice to a faint whisper. She looked grief stricken, almost as if she were fighting an inner battle--and losing.

    "If I hadn't followed my heart, I wouldn't be facing a lifetime of wedded bliss with you."

    He hooked her arm through his, and they walked arm in arm down to the library. It was closed off, spacious and he happened to know that Carys had an extreme fondness for books. He was having his library updated before she moved in. Everything would be perfect for her. He'd have it no other way. He had to make her the happiest woman alive. If he didn't, he'd fail to fulfill a promise long ago made.

    Available now from Wild Rose Press.
    Buy it by clicking
  • HERE


  • Here's what Carly at Fallen Angels had to say about Sweet Revenge--she gave it FIVE ANGELS!
    This is one Regency romance that is less about frippery and frills than about human nature and revenge. I was pulled into this story right away. The exchange between Carys and her horrid aunt is priceless! The nasty old woman is just plain rotten but Carys is quick-witted enough to give as good as she gets. I laughed out loud at the dialogue! So witty and fast paced, it made the words race by. The mystery of this is intricate and could be a bit confusing if the reader doesn't follow closely. The love story is sweet, and I like the fact that forgiveness and moving on is part of this story.

    Sweet Revenge by Marly Mathews is a very enjoyable story, one that is both entertaining and amusing!
    Reviewed by: Carly, Fallen Angel Reviews

    NOTE: When I wrote this post it was Wednesday here where I live, even though the post says Tuesday. My apologies!
    And if you want to keep up on my latest news and happenings, I'd love for you to join my yahoo author group! This group is usually low to moderate traffic, but you're free to set how you receive messages. I hold a few contests a month with all sorts of prizes being offered. Here's the link,
  • My Yahoo Author Group

  • See you there!
    ~Marly

    Drive-by Posting

    Hi, my name is Kayleigh, and I'm a procrastinator.

    It's no secret that I'm in my second year of law school, which makes me seriously busy, and seriously miserable, most of the time. And there's no worse example of that than the two weeks following each semester during which I am subjected to those diabolical torture devices, final exams. For those unfamiliar with the law school machine, the final exam is in most instances the only contributor towards my grade. Three hours. One test. 100% of my grade. Source of a teeny bit of stress?

    You bet your ass.

    At the moment, I've completed one class, with four to go. Law and Literature did not require a final, but a final paper instead, and there were other grades in that class - a midterm paper for which I got a 39/40 (and I'm pissed about that one point!), participation for which I have 100%, and a few mini-papers.

    The big bears are coming up Thursday and Friday of this week, and Wednesday and Friday of next. Business Corporations is on Thursday, Professional Responsibility is on Friday. Wednesday I have Administrative Law and Friday Constitutional Law I. I've spent today studying Professional Responsibility, which is basically attorney ethics *insert lawyer jokes here*. That ties nicely into my rant from the other day regarding author ethics. Just goes to show there are shiesty people in ALL professions. Lawyers just get a bad rap because, well, a lot of us deserve it. No, seriously, attorneys have very rigid standards of ethics to follow, and we police ourselves well. The reason why people have such a bad opinion of lawyers (aside from a few bad apples spoiling the bunch) is that we have an adversarial system of justice, which means that in any given case two sides are pitted against each other - either the People versus an individual in a criminal case, or individuals versus individuals in civil cases. Someone always wins, and someone always loses. Naturally those who support the loser, or those who are the losers, aren't going to be happy. And there are bad lawyers out there, along with bad laws, but that's a rant for another day.

    My current source of procrastination material, outside of this blog posting, is the December RWR, which just came in the mail. And as usual, I could wank for hours about the current state of the RWA, but all in all I really must get back to studying.

    Instead, I'll leave you with an excerpt from my upcoming Regency, Reckless Liaisons, here.

    -KJ

    Monday, December 3, 2007

    Exerpt from Destiny's Holiday...

    Destiny's Holiday is the holiday sequel to my romantic suspense Destiny's Choices. When you purchase a copy of Destiny's Choices you get a copy of Destiny's Holiday for free! Get your copy today!

    Exerpt:

    Tiana stepped back holding the door wide. James lowered the tree so it would fit through the doorway and then took it over to the corner Tiana had cleared and leaned it against the wall.

    James shook his head and snow flew everywhere.

    Tiana ducked and covered her own head. “Hey! That stuff’s cold, watch where you’re shaking it!”

    “Sorry.” James grinned. “Some of it was starting to slide down the back of my neck.” He pulled off his coat, and threw it on the couch.

    Tiana walked over and picked it up taking it to the hall closet. “I swear I will get you trained to hang up your own coat one of these days.” She muttered beneath her breath.

    When strong arms reached around her as soon as the coat was hung, Tiana leaned back into James’ strength. “But it’s so much fun to watch you do it for me.” James teased.

    Tiana turned in his arms and arched one brow. “Are you telling me you do it on purpose?”

    “Oh definitely. As long as I can see this gorgeous backside walking away from me…” He
    grasped one butt cheek in each hand. “I’ll probably keep doing it.”

    “Uh huh. I see how you are.” Tiana draped her arms around his neck. “Maybe I’ll just have to give you some sort of incentive to start doing it yourself. What do you think?”

    “I think it would have to be a pretty good incentive for me to not want to watch your ass moving in a pair of tight jeans.”

    “I’ll bet I could think of something.”

    James stroked her rump. “What did you have in mind?”

    Tiana reached up and kissed him sliding her tongue along the seam of his lips, her arms tightening.

    James pulled back a bit, “So is this what you have in mind?” He murmured.

    “Nah, this is just an appetizer.” Tiana smiled then stepped away. “I’ll think about what kind of incentive I can come up with while we decorate the tree. Oh, and I do hope you remembered a tree stand, because I don’t have one.”

    Sunday, December 2, 2007

    Come join me, and a bevy of authors who are giving stuff away!

    “Destiny’s Digs” is set for Monday, December 3rd from 9 until 1 over at CATA!

    CataNetwork Readers

    The giveaway is a chat where the primary theme will be the giveaways. Authors will still come in and promote with excerpts but the overall idea is to give away some of their favorite things. Some of your favorites will show up to give…give…give so come on out and join in on the fun with your favorite authors!

    Larriane Wills
    Gracie McKeever
    Emma Wildes
    Aleka Nakis
    Sloane Taylor
    Morgan Ashbury
    Anya Huerta
    J.L. Foster
    Regina Paul
    Susan Smith Alvis
    Samantha Lucas
    Beth Wylde
    Lyn Armstrong
    Missy Lyons
    Destiny Blaine

    We're all going to be giving away our favorite "things" including e-books, print books, and so much more. See CATA's calendar for complete details. Come on out and join us for a party full of giveaways! Starts at 9 AM on Monday, December 3rd!

    Greetings Everyone From Sarah McNeal

    Hello everyone. I'm really happy to be here with such extraordinary writers. My thanks to Regina for thinking of this blog and for putting her time and effort into it.

    My name is Sarah McNeal. I love to write romances especially fantasy and time travel. My first two novels are part of the Valmora series, fantasy novels about two families: one from the modern world where we live and the other from a magical place called Valmora where the fight between good and evil is a daily struggle. The modern world family, the McKnights, travel across time and space to enter the Medieval world of Valmora to help their friends, the winged Nimway, fight against the evil from the people of the Dark Isle led by the witch, Queen Mahara. Those novels are at New Concepts Publishing. I am presently working on the third in the series, The Light of Valmora.

    The Violin is quite a different story. It's an almost true story about Genevieve who buys a violin and is taken back in time to 1927 where she attempts to save the life of John Douglas. She finds it easy to fall into the life this time period gives her and becomes fond of the delightful Douglas family especially the handsome but doomed John Douglas. But maybe it isn't John who needs saving and perhaps there are many mysteries about herself that Genevieve has yet to discover. The Violin will be released by Amira Press this month and I can't wait. This book means more to me than anything I've written so far.

    I'm also working on a short story for charity with JL Foster and some other very talented authors. Every story is about a breast cancer survivor and. of course, there is romance. ooh-la-la

    After that, I'll be writing the story of Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride.

    Writing stories brings me joy and peace I can find no where else. It is so exciting when a reader tells me how much they loved reading one of my stories. I will continue to strive to tell a good tale and leave the reader satisfied that, at least in fiction, all ends well.
    Thank you for listening to my chatter. I hope to talk with you again next week. Until then, all good things to your corner of the universe.
    Sarah McNeal
    www.sarahmcneal.com

    A world of reading and writing - Nikki Watson

    I found myself with enough time, today, to lie down on my bed and spend a fair amount of time reading. It's a past time that I used to indulge in vastly more before there was this thing called the internet *smiles* and it's a past time that I realised today I had quite missed.

    I managed to finish off two of the books I've been reading, Widdershins by Charles De Lint, and Kelley Armstrong's first novel Bitten. Of course, I couldn't finish two novels without starting another one, so I figured Diplomacy of Wolves, because it's been clearly too long since I last read that. The book is the beginning of the Secret Text trilogy by Holly Lisle. Clearly I didn't fill my shape changing fix by finishing Bitten. *grins*

    Of course, I should probably spend some of this first post promoting my own writings. I write what I love reading, which is fantasy, and have a fantasy trilogy coming out with New Concepts Publishing. I also play my hand in social realistic writings, and currently have the novel Spiral out with Aphrodite's Apples Press.

    Here is an excerpt:



    She kissed him, and it was perfect. It was unlike every practice kiss that she had made with boys at holiday houses over the summer, or ones she had had in her dreams over crushes in high school. It was nothing like the boys she'd kissed to try to make some spark happen after they asked her out and she was too polite to say no. It wasn't like anything she'd ever experienced, and then it was over, and Elena had to try to hide her pout this time.

    'I dunno. I've had better than that.'

    Sam's silhouette was stroking his jaw in contemplation. Elena arched her eyebrows, feeling a sense of déjà vu come upon her as fun was made at her expense. She propped herself onto her elbow, supporting her head with her hand and looking down at him daringly, even if he could not see her expression clearly.

    'Have you?'

    'Maybe.'

    'Really?'

    'Possibly. Okay, no.'

    'No?'

    'No.'

    'No what?'

    Sam smiled up at her, taking her arm out from under her and positioning himself so she fell almost on top of him—and certainly into easy kissing position—when she lost balance.

    'It was a great kiss. I'd like to do it again.'

    And he did, this time taking the lead himself and stroking her hair out of her face with a gently caressing hand. Elena closed her eyes, not that it made much difference, but in the midst of the mood, it seemed like the thing to do. And then there was no thinking, only instinct, and Elena was placed on her back, with Sam's hand stroking down her side...

    Buy Spiral Here!

    Nikki Watson
    Dark Fantasy and Romance Writer
    http://www.nikkiwatson.110mb.com/