Saturday, May 31, 2008

Check out the new Sensual on Ecataromance!

Check out Sensual!I’m helping to spread the word about the newly redesigned website Sensual.If you like your romance novels on the steamy side, you’ll love this site. It’s full of reviews, interviews, excerpts, information on the newest print and ebooks and lots more. You can even win books and other goodies. So check it out. http://sensual.ecataromance.com
Authors, you can spread the word too! If you’d like a chance to win one of 20 Cover Ads and get a shot at a fabulous grand prize (a 3 Pack of their huge billboard ads - a $100 value!) just repost this blurb on your blog or website. Then stop by Sensual and leave a link to your post. All authors are eligible to enter and win so why in the world wouldn’t you? See their site for more information and official rules: sensual.ecataromance.com/?p=688I\’ll see you at Sensual!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Writing takes over your life

Me enjoying myself in Spain last year - just so you know I don't actually write all the time.
I don't know how many other authors find that writing takes over their lives, but I certainly feel it does, because there is always something you have to do. If you aren't actually writing a book you are promoting, checking proofs or doing edits. We must love it or we wouldn't do it!


I am going on holiday in a few weeks and I shall take my computer with me so that I can continue to write a little and stay in touch with what is happening. I have almost finished the third book in a trilogy for Severn House. One more chapter and then revisions should do it, and then I have to start a Regency because a deadline is looming. However, I intend to take time to watch the final of the "I'll do anything" contest on TV this weekend. Three girls are left competing for the roll of Nancy in Oliver - a new production of the musical in London.


My new book with Eternal Press will be out next week. It is my first with them so I am looking forward to it. I have another coming in September. I have a new Regency for HMB in July.


Love to all, Linda

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My view on Speaking to the Dead...

After reading Sarah's post on her thoughts of speaking to the dead I really wanted to do more than leave a comment, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if we get some serious dialogue going on this one. LOL

Like Sarah, I've had experiences where I've dreamed of relatives that have died where they've given me specific information. Unlike Sarah's dream where her mother came and told her where to find a pair of earrings, most of my information has had to do with my genealogy research. I've always been fascinated by the past, and particularly by the secrets that families keep. You know the ones where great-grandma ran a speak easy during the prohibition, or the uncle whose family were slave owner's but who married an ex-slave (that's a true story in my family history). In one instance, I was researching one of my Native American ancestors who had married a non-Indian. At the time I was trying to discover what tribe she was when I had a dream where her Uncle gave me further information to find the answers I was looking for. That dream led me on a path where I was able to find out what tribe she was. I don't believe in coincidences, and I know that the dead do use dreams to communicate with us.

Personally I plan on using some of this personal experience in a future book so stay tuned!

If someone has had a similar experience and would like to post their comments on either my or Sarah's blog post, I certainly hope you will. :-)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Speaking to the Dead


I know, weird subject, but I see so much about speaking to the dead lately on television. There are those who claim to actually do it and then there is fiction like The Ghost Whisperer. There is all about hauntings on the Discovery channel. After watching John Edwards (I think that's his name. I might be thinking of the senator though) and the woman with the skunk hair-do, it really got me to wondering about speaking to the dead.

Do you think it's possible to connect with those from the other side? Do they hear us? Do they have something they meant to tell us but didn't get a chance to do it? God, I hope so. In my latest release, THE VIOLIN, Genevieve is haunted by dreams of a man who died back in 1927. Wouldn't it be wonderful if those we loved could speak to us in our dreams? I did dream about my mother a year after she died and she told me where a missing pair of earrings were. Granted, it could have been that my subconscious knew where those darn earrings were and it just came up in a dream when my subconscious was free floating in my mind. But I like that the information was presented by someone I loved. The earrings were in the pocket of a coat I had not worn since the night my mother died. Still, I hope it really was her speaking to me in a dream.

What a wonderful feeling to know that they were only separated from us by some thin, mysterious Vail. Perhaps they know what we are going through. Just maybe, they can whisper to us words of encouragement and guidance. Maybe this kind of soft communication is what we call "a hunch".

Personally, I hope that all of this is true. I would love to hear from my parents, my niece, Christy, and my Uncle John. It wold be so wonderful to ask them questions about their lives on the other side and tell them how much I love and miss them.

If you could speak to the dead, who would you want to communicate with? What would you say?


Wishing you all good things to your corner of the universe. Happy Memorial Day.

Sarah J. McNeal
www.sarahmcneal.com

Friday, May 23, 2008

Love & War


My new book for Severn House will be out next month. Love & War is the second in the Upstairs Downstairs trilogy. I am working on the third book in a new Linda Sole trilogy and I have finished the third in the Upstairs Downstairs trilogy. Now I have to finish my Regency trilogy for HMB!
I love the covers on the SH books because they are real and this one even looks a bit like my husband's father as a young man.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Three New Contracts!

Big news for me! NCP has offered me three new contracts! Woo-Hoo! The contracts were offered on the sequel to I'll Be Yours, His Lady's Keeper, my futuristic paranormal fantasy, Psychic Chains, and my futuristic paranormal fantasy, Rogue Fairy book one in my new Exiles of Magic Series!

More information, coming soon! Remember, you can subscribe to my newsletter author group, so you'll be the first to know of any new information concerning my books!
  • My Yahoo Author Newsletter Group!


  • And the good news train just keeps on going...I have also had a new author website designed by the fabulously talented, Rae Monet! You can follow the link below to see the new look!
  • My new author website!


  • I'm off to do some more happy dancing!

    ~Marly

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    I'm Back! (Sort of)

    Hello pretties,

    At long last, after months of grueling, unending misery (okay, it was two weeks), final exams are over! I'm taking summer classes, so the relief is short-lived, but I have a nice week and a half break before I'm back in the thick of it.

    I'm spending the time finishing my current novel, Reckless Liaisons. It's nearly done. Requested partials are already under review with a few agents and editors I pitched to at an RWA conference in March. With any luck, I'll be hearing from them soon. Once the book is complete, I'll be querying more agents and editors with fingers crossed.

    It's a frightening, but exciting thing, the next step in my career as a writer; that is, trying to make the jump from small press to mass market with a New York house. I know the book is good enough. I'm very proud of myself.

    So, keep your fingers crossed for me!

    Message In A Bottle


    I seem to be on a communication kick lately but I've been wondering about messages in bottles.

    Have you ever put a message in a bottle? I've seen it in movies where marooned people put a message in a bottle hoping that someone, somewhere will come to find them and save them. Putting a message in a bottle could also be like sending a message out into the great unknown of the universe. Maybe it could be a wish or a hope of being saved in some spiritual way or hoping to find our one true love. It could be like a prayer or a question sent out with the desire for an answer.

    Does the bottle have to be in the ocean? Couldn't it be sitting in the sun there on the kitchen windowsill? Couldn't we write little notes and put them in the bottle, a wish that the world could be at peace, that someone we know could be in good health, or write a message to someone who now resides on the other side?

    I have a cobalt blue bottle in my kitchen window. I write notes, prayers and wishes for all the things I can't do anything about and I roll them up and put them in the bottle for the sun to shine on and the universal power to answer or handle. It brings me peace to release these thoughts, questions or wishes.

    What about you? If you could write a message that would transcend time, place and dimension, what would you write? Have you ever found a message in a bottle? How did it make you feel?

    Sarah McNeal


    Friday, May 16, 2008

    Too Hot To Handle



    Excerpt from Too Hot To Handle/Linda Sole/Eternal Press




    This book will be published by Eternal Press in June



    Sylvie knew that most of her friends settled for sex and a mutual liking, companionship and someone to share their lives. They went in for relationships that were never intended to be permanent, which might last for a few months or a few years, but would eventually end as one partner moved on to a new relationship.
    "Marriage doesn’t matter anymore," was the general theory, and Sylvie had gone along with it, but in her heart she couldn’t help wanting more.
    Well, you’re not likely to find it with Rafe Wilde, she told herself firmly. He simply isn’t the marrying kind.
    She sighed, then smiled at her own thoughts. Mr. Wilde was just too attractive for her peace of mind.
    And yet there had been a moment in his arms when she would have given herself and not though twice about it. Even now there was a tender, sensitized feeling between her thighs, a need that she had never felt before.

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Too Hot To Handle



    Coming soon from Eternal Press.


    Too HotTo Handle/Linda Sole

    Sylvie knew that most of her friends settled for sex and a mutual liking, companionship and someone to share their lives. They went in for relationships that were never intended to be permanent, which might last for a few months or a few years, but would eventually end as one partner moved on to a new relationship.
    "Marriage doesn’t matter anymore," was the general theory, and Sylvie had gone along with it, but in her heart she couldn’t help wanting more.
    Well, you’re not likely to find it with Rafe Wilde, she told herself firmly. He simply isn’t the marrying kind.
    She sighed, then smiled at her own thoughts. Mr. Wilde was just too attractive for her peace of mind.
    And yet there had been a moment in his arms when she would have given herself and not though twice about it. Even now there was a tender, sensitized feeling between her thighs, a need that she had never felt before.

    Sunday, May 11, 2008

    Writing and other stuff...

    Well I'm happy to say I've been writing like crazy this weekend. I love to write fiction! However, like most authors who sometimes have to do other things in addition to their writing finding the time for it can be difficult. I finally decided that I was never going to have huge swatches of time to write and even when I did, it was still hard sometimes because well the muse doesn't always stay with us. Sometimes even when you want to write you feel as though you can't, or your internal editor takes over telling you that everything you are writing is crap!

    Since I've decided there are never going to be grand swatches of time to write and that if I wait for those grand swatches of time I won't get anything written, that then freed me up to write. Weird huh? Yeah, I know I've been telling myself the same thing, "think about how much more you could have written if you'd just taken this attitude before." LOL Oh, well better late than never I guess.

    Nike was onto something with that nifty saying, "Just Do It!"

    Mother's Day


    To all mother's, daughters and sons all over the world, I wish you joy and love.

    For myself, I just wish to get through it. I don't know why I miss Mom more on Mother's Day than other other holiday. I was twenty-seven when she died after years of intermittent illness. I had no idea that one day she would go into the hospital and never come home again.

    It used to annoy me when she would introduce me as her "baby". I was her youngest daughter and, I admit, she doted on me. It would feel very good to me now to hear her call me her baby.

    Most of the year I am happy and serene but this one day makes my heart ache and I feel hollow inside. I'm glad I'm going to work today. I have 12 hours to think about other things and draw my thoughts away from the gnawing lonesomeness that Mother's Day brings me.

    To all of you I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating your mothers or being cherished yourself with gifts, special dinners or breakfast in bed surrounded by those who love you and are loved by you.

    Happy Mother's Day Charlene Hilda McNeal. I love you.

    Sarah McNeal



    Thursday, May 8, 2008

    Chateau Despair



    My new book from Red Rose Publishing came out today. Chateau Despair is a big WWII saga that spans from 1921 until after the war.




    Clothilde grows up in a crumbling chateau in France with her half mad grandmother. She is caught in Paris when the Germans invade and eventually joins the Resistance. Clothilde has several lovers, because men cannot seem to resist her.




    Christine grows up in a beautiful country house in England. Her main problem is unrequited first love and clothing coupons. What can these two women possibly have in common - and what will happen when they finally meet?

    Madame Fanchot watched in triumph as the child entered the world in a mess of slime and blood. However, her feeling was short-lived as she turned to its mother. She was dying. Her labour had been long and hard, and the months of carrying had taken their toll. No one would care what became of her or her child. She’d been foolish and careless and her behaviour had brought shame to her family. For herself, she could have little reason left to live, but Madame Fanchot knew that she feared for her child.
    "Where is she?" The woman’s voice was barely more than a whisper. The blood drained out from between her thighs, sluggish and thick. Madame Fanchot gave up any attempt to staunch it. She believed nothing more could be done to help the woman, or perhaps she was either too indifferent or too ignorant to try to save her. "Let me see her…just once."
    "She is beautiful, Madame," Madame Fanchot said. She laid the small bundle in the mother’s arms. The child was wrapped in nothing but the shawl the woman had been wearing when they’d found her wandering in the woods some hours earlier. "You have a lovely daughter."
    "I want to call her Elena," the mother said. "Her name is Elen…"
    The rattle of death caught in her throat, causing her head to fall back against the pillows.
    "She has gone," a man said from the doorway. He spat on the floor of the filthy cottage. "So perish all such whores as they deserve."
    "You are too harsh, Jean," his wife said. She took the squalling child from its mother and held it to her breast to quiet it. "How can you know who or what the poor woman was? She has scarcely spoken a word since we found her wandering."
    "No decent woman would be alone in a wood in her condition," he muttered sourly. "If she came of good family they threw her out – and she isn’t wearing a wedding ring."
    "That doesn’t mean she was a bad woman," Madame Fanchot gave the dead woman a pitying look. "What are we to do with her now?"
    "I’ll bury her in the wood. I’ve no money to pay the priest for a proper burial for a stranger?
    "But shouldn’t we tell someone? Supposing someone comes looking for her or the child one day?"
    "We never saw her."
    "What of the child?" she cried in horror at his callous words.
    "Get rid of it…" He growled deep in his throat . "I don’t mean kill it – take it to the church. Leave it near the altar. The priest will know what to do. It won’t be the first time he’s had to deal with an abandoned bastard I’ll swear. I don’t care what you do with it, just get it out of the house."
    "The shawl is hers. Was there nothing else – no ring or trinket of any kind that might help them to trace who the child’s mother was?"
    "Nothing," he muttered in a way that immediately told her he was lying. "Nothing at all."
    She scowled at him. If he’d stolen something from the woman, he would likely keep it until he thought it was safe to sell. She would not receive the smallest part of his ill-gotten gains, even though she was the one who’d gone through the trouble of attending the woman.
    "I’m going to take the child," she told him. She hated his brutality; she hated the poverty of her life. She wished she dared to leave him and take the child with her. It was impossible. Poor as her life is, it was still better than starving on the streets. "If you mean to bury the woman, Jean, be careful. If anyone sees you there could be trouble."
    "No one will see," he shrugged. "No one ever comes to the woods these days. Not after what happened up at the chateau."
    Madame Fanchot crossed herself as she hurried out into the bleakness of a cold winter evening. The chateau remained empty for the past five years, save from the crazy old woman that owned it. The last of her family, she had lived there alone, hardly seeing anyone since the tragedy. Madame Fanchot’s mind shied away from what had happened all those years ago.
    Indeed, she did not truly know for sure what had happened at the chateau. She’d only heard the rumours, but it was certain three people were brutally murdered there.
    Shivering, she ran all the way to the church. She looked about her, but could see no one. Hurriedly, she deposited her bundle behind the priest’s pulpit. He would surely see it there when he came to take evening confession.
    Afraid and guilty for leaving the child, Madame Fanchot made the sign of the cross over her heart and then ran from the church hastily. In her anxiety to get away, Madame Fanchot failed to notice the figure sitting quietly in the shadows. Nor did she ever know what happened after she’d left, though there would be times over the years when she wondered what had become of the child. Times when she believed she knew…









    CHAPTER ONE
    ENGLAND 1945
    The day began much as any other. Long afterwards, Christine thought that surely there should have been a storm with thunder and lightening – something dramatic to warn her that her life was on the brink of change.
    How lucky she was to be Christine Kavanagh and live at Penhallows, the beautiful old house she shared with her mother and grandfather. She looked up from her breakfast as she heard the sound of heels tapping on the polished floor. Her mother walked into the room. Christine experienced a wave of love. Elizabeth Kavanagh was at forty-five, still a very beautiful woman. Christine coveted her mother’s golden hair, but had inherited her late father’s dark colouring.
    "Good morning, Mummy," Christine greeted. She received only a mumbled reply. Beth had her nose in a letter and held several more unopened ones in her hand. Christine poured her a cup of tea and placed a dish of hot toast beside her. "You must try this honey. It is delicious."
    "Is it, darling? That’s good." Beth did not look up from her letter as she sipped her tea.
    Christine smothered a sigh. She was used to being ignored by her mother, who was a busy woman and usually too wrapped up in her work to notice her daughter. Despite this, Christine knew she was loved. Indeed, her mother treated both her and her brother Harry exactly the same, loving them but leaving them to get on with their lives.
    "Is there a letter from Harry?"
    Beth looked up at last. "No, Christine. I’m sorry. I expect he’s too busy to write."
    Christine frowned as she thought about her brother. Harry was nearly twenty-two. He had been born three months after Beth Winthrope’s marriage to Alexander Kavanagh, which had been rather scandalous but couldn’t be helped because of the divorce.
    No one ever talked of the divorce these days, but Christine believed her father had been married before he’d met her mother. It had caused a terrible scandal, of which she’d been told only the bare bones. However, she understood from Harry that her father’s former wife had been involved in a wild, extravagant love affair with a Frenchman of good family.
    Harry had told her about the old scandal after their father’s death. He’d come home on leave the previous summer and they’d sat together in the summerhouse, comforting each other as they’d talked of the past. Christine had asked him to tell her about the divorce. After a moment’s hesitation, he’d explained.
    "It was a terrible scandal," he’d said. "Father’s first wife was the daughter of an earl, and a leading socialite of her day. Can you imagine what a furore it must have kicked up at the time?"
    Christine had been thoughtful before she’d given voice to her question. "Do you think Daddy still loved her when he married Mummy?"
    "I doubt any man could love a woman who’d put him through all that."
    The tragic loss of Alexander Kavanagh had been recent then, and Christine spent several sleepless nights wondering about her father’s state of mind. She knew that he had loved her mother and his children – but sometimes wondered if he’d ever truly forgot the woman who had betrayed him.
    Christine suddenly became aware of her mother speaking to her.
    "What are you dreaming about now? Millie wants to clear the table and it’s time for your piano lessons."
    Christine studied her mother as she came out of her daydream. Was it her imagination or did she seem worried about something?
    The war made things difficult and taking care of a big old house like Penhallows was never easy. Christine thought that being a widow and running a business must put an intolerable strain on her mother, which was why she tried to help as much as she could.
    "You might like to take this with you." Beth handed Christine a letter across the table. "It’s from one of the evacuee children who’d lived with us at the beginning of the war. Matthew asked if he can visit us next month. His uncle will bring him down and take him back at the end of his stay. What do you think, Christine? Can you tolerate a visit from Matthew Crane? He might have been a bit of a tearaway when he was last here, but that was three years ago and I dare say, he has grown up now."
    "Yes, of course…if it wouldn’t be a problem for you?"
    Christine enjoyed being with the children when she was home from her boarding school. She would have liked to leave school early to help with them more, but her family would not hear of it. Of course, she wasn’t old enough to join any of the special women’s units. Her mother insisted that she finish her education before thinking of anything else.
    "I’ve never found the children any trouble," Beth replied. Her smiled made her look years younger than her forty odd years. "If the ministry had gone ahead with its plans to turn this house into a convalescent home for wounded soldiers, it would have been far more disruptive. We are lucky that they decided Penhallows is too small to make such a thing practical."
    "I don’t think Penhallows is small at all," Christine was annoyed at any criticism of her beautiful home. "But I am glad they thought so!"
    "Go along, Christine. Miss Timpson is waiting."
    Christine rose obediently as her mother gathered her things. "Is there something I can do for you, Mummy – write letters, address envelopes…anything?"
    "I have a secretary to do those things," Beth replied, softening her refusal with a smile. "It’s very kind of you to ask though." She gave her daughter an assessing look. "You need new clothes. Perhaps we can go to London soon. I’ve been saving my coupons, and Uncle Jack says he can spare a few for you."
    "Is Uncle Jack coming here this weekend?"
    "Yes, I believe so. He is bringing someone…a young lady. His letter was rather mysterious…" She broke off to make a note on the pad she habitually carried with her. "We need flowers for the best guest rooms, which reminds me…I shall want extra flowers for the church this weekend. Now you can help me with the flowers, darling."
    "Yes, of course, Mummy."
    "Miss Timpson arrived some minutes ago. You mustn’t keep her waiting. As for me, I have a great deal of work to do. Your uncle has sent me several new designs to approve – and one of them is bothering me. I am not certain that it is right for us."
    "I still like your own designs best, Mummy. I think they were much better than any of the new stuff they sell now."

    Sunday, May 4, 2008

    News from Regina Paul...

    This weekend has been very busy for me, that's probably true of all of us. Lately I've been working a full-time job, and then doing my freelancing on the side which of course includes working on my books as well as creating covers for other authors, writing articles and posting to my blogs. Sadly the last couple of weeks though I had very good intentions I didn't make it to post to this blog. So, hopefully, this post will make up for it with our loyal readers who the entire group here is very happy to have!

    I spent yesterday creating a book cover for a friend of mine for her book A Place for Ida, and then today finishing up the last minute details. Finally this afternoon I managed to get a monthly newsletter out for May. That made me absolutely ecstatic since I had missed April what with everything else going on. I'm thankful for having loyal readers and patient ones at that. If you haven't already signed up for my newsletter Regina's Universe, I hope you'll consider doing so, not only for the free reads of which there are plenty, but for the articles, exerpts, news and other fun stuff!

    I've posted a new desktop wall paper in the Gallery on my website. I'm working towards making these more of characters from my books, rather than just random art, although there will be the occasional random piece from time to time. This one is my vision of Tiana Slickpoo from my Native American Romantic Suspense Destiny's Choices.

    I have a new contest posted for the month of May that may be of interest to those who enjoy getting promo items. It is for a large promotional package of goodies a few of which will be bookmarks, desktop wallpapers (different ones than on my website), e-books and who knows what else! Check out my website for further details.

    That's it for now! Hope all is well with you and yours! :-)

    Telephones

    When was the last time you called a business and talked to a real person first thing off the bat? Most of the time, we call a business because we need to ask a qustion or we need something done and we sure would like an answer or a service quickly. When the power goes out and the heat is off in the dead of winter it is rather annoying to go through the list of options just to get to another list of options. There's often a time limit to get through the options before the system just kicks you off. If you ever do get to speak to a real person, you feel like you are saved--unless they transfer you to "our helpful automated system." How do the elderly or hearing impaired ever deal with the automated system?
    Have you ever left home without your cell phone---on purpose? I don't know about you, but I have an uneasy feeling if I discover, half way to my destination, that my cell phone is at home. It feels like I didn't lock the doors to my car while driving through a bad part of town.
    There is phone wierdness out there, too. I stood in line in a discount store and watched as a young woman held a cell phone to her ear the entire time even though there was no one on it. From time to time she would look at the blank screen, fiddle with a button or two than put it right back to her ear as if she was embarrassed that she was in the world without talking to someone on the cell phone. Talking to real people around her might have sent her sanity or dignity over the edge.
    Have you ever tried talking to a person who is talking to a person on their cell phone? It happens to me all the time at work. I could be telling someone how to get their blood pressure down while they are laughing on the phone with Aunt Lulu. Even doctors have a hard time getting through to people who would rather talk on the cell phone to someone than find out the results of their tests.
    I can get a better deal having a cell phone than having a regular phone in my house. I can call my sister in Minnesota without the bill going out of the roof. But most of the time, my cell phone is just that thing I carry around for emergencies and forget to turn on most of the time. I enjoy talking to people around me--even in a line at a discount store.
    Sarah McNeal
    www.sarahmcneal.com
    Author of
    THE VIOLIN Amira Press
    THE DARK ISLE New Concepts Publishing
    LAKE OF SORROWS New Concepts Publishing

    Saturday, May 3, 2008

    Contest on my yahoo author group...

    Hey All,

    I'm running a contest until the 17th of May on my yahoo author loop for a free download of Twilight's Kiss. If you'd like to enter the contest, you'll need to join the group.

  • Join my yahoo author group!


  • ~Marly

    Thursday, May 1, 2008

    May!

    PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

    Happy Beltane! I'm happy to see the arrival of May, though I do like April as well. May is my birth month so it's always held a special place in my heart.

    ~Marly