Monday, July 21, 2014

Guest - Megan Elizabeth

Good morning! We have author Megan Jones visiting today. Today Megan is talking about writing so it should be interesting. We have some delightful Toffee Brownies and my favorite Roobios tea. Enjoy!


Writing on Writing
By Megan Elizabeth

A friend of mine once asked me, “If I could offer any advice to new authors what would it be?” For a moment I paused, thinking who am I to give guidance or advice to anyone? The truth of the matter is, I am not James Patterson or J.K. Rowling. However, I am a writer who has started from the bottom and am working my way up through the industry in the hopes that one day I will be the next J.K. Rowling or JR Ward. So again I ask myself, what life experience do I have to share with a new writer? I’ll start from the beginning.

Writing is not a talent that one is born with. Sure, there are always those few stories of the phenom, like Steven Hawking who are just brilliant; but for others like myself it’s a constant work in progress. My tumultuous relationship with writing began at a very young age, that is, when I actually started writing, which wasn’t until third grade. Sad but true, I couldn’t even write my name. Why, you ask? I’m dyslexic, and from day one I was behind all the other kids. Little Susie was happily scratching her name on her papers with hearts and flowers; I was ripping mine up and tossing it in the trash. Taking a new paper, foregoing the name writing part and drawing epic scenes that only I would visualize in my head. Was that the making of writer? Could be, or it could be a little girl who watched too much TV and lived in her own world.

My family and I were told that I would never go to college, yet I have a BA and a CEAS. We were told I’d never read or write properly; yet I’ve read hundreds, possibly even thousands of books. I’ve also written two novels and have started a third. So, am I the New York Times best seller here to give advice to the lowly new writer? No, I’m the writer who was told that the New York Times was a pipe dream. Just like they told that little girl she would never read or write. It might not be today, but I will get there. If you want to write, you can and will be a writer. If you have a story to tell, there is someone out there who will listen.

Now the serious part—the part where I share my limited experiences with you, and you can take what you will from it. The first question that I get is, “How do you go about getting your book published?” Deep breath and ready for the answer? Keep in mind this is for works of fiction because the nonfiction world operates differently. Also, you can self-publish or go for a traditional publisher. For those of you looking for that professional acceptance into the publishing world, then traditional is for you, and you may continue reading.  First, write your novel, even if it’s complete garbage. Keep writing until your self-titled garbage is complete. Then edit, edit, edit. Then even if you think it’s perfect, edit some more. Find a critiquing partner who understands your vision of the book and allow them to read it. (Hold your breath and hope they like it.)
 Always be prepared to rewrite.

Next, figure out how you are going to get your name out there. It’s not going to be based on how many “likes” you get on Facebook. In my experience, the best place to meet industry professionals such as editors and agents are at conferences scattered around the country. Find an organization that supports your genre like the RWA (Romance Writers of America) that gives authors the chance to interact with the industry. Here’s the difficult part—conferences can get pricey and so can joining organizations. However, I’ve always thought that the best kind of investment is investing in yourself.

Even so, if that isn’t possible, be prepared to write the world’s best query letter. What’s a query letter, you ask? It is a letter that the publishing industry uses to torture poor writers like myself who need 100,000 words to tell a story. A query letter is a one page letter that you will send to that oh-so-fabulous agent in NYC who can’t wait to make you a star and get you on the New York Times best sellers list. It needs to include a blurb about your book (not to be confused with a synopsis). Think what you would read on the back cover of your favorite book. Think that’s all? Nope, just getting started. It needs genre, word count, your author bio, as well as any previous sales you may have made. Did I mention it can only be one page?

Now you have your wonderful query letter, and you send it to all the publishers and agents you can Google. What next? It’s time to play the waiting game! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you must wait for a reply. You may not call, text, e-mail, Facebook, tweet or fax any of the people you have queried. Turnaround time can range anywhere from one week to three months; or the worst case scenario: no news is not good news. I am the world’s least patient person; I have people who can attest to that. However, it is always important to remember a bad reputation is very hard to change. So wait and be courteous.

You’ve waited, you’ve been polite and courteous, and worst of all patient. You finally get an email back or a prestigious envelope from NYC. You tear it open or can’t move your mouse fast enough to see the wonderful offer you got for your work of art. You open it and then…..REJECTED. Don’t panic! Even the greats like Sherrilyn Kenyon and JR Ward have been rejected, even dropped, by publishers. Cry, scream and curse if you have to, but do not under any circumstances e-mail the rejecting publisher or agent and ask them why they rejected you even if they haven’t already stated. Don’t tell them all the ways they’ve made a mistake, and they need to take you. Take it with a grain of salt, file it away and move on. If that doesn’t work, call your mom and cry to her like I do.

Okay, I forget, are we on number three or four? Moving on, things you will need to submit to an agent or editor. You will need to have a synopsis of your work ready to go. This a one to five page document (depending on the request—you need to save every version you create) that highlights the greatest parts about your story. Always include your ending in the synopsis. You don’t need the ending in your query letter (it’s just a letter to generate interest), but you do need your ending in your synopsis. This a chance to show your writing voice. Don’t just list what happens. Put those awesome skills you’ve acquired to work and show what you’re made of.

Synopsis…done. Next, your manuscript will either be requested in full or partial. A request for a full is pretty obvious. It means they want you to send the whole manuscript (check the submission guidelines for formatting). Make sure you’re sending exactly what they are asking for—nothing more, nothing less. A partial means they are asking for the first three chapters or fifty pages of your manuscript (again, check your formatting). In my personal taste, I like to end my partial at a great point in the story. Keep it clean, and leave them wanting more. Leave them wanting to request a full.

Oh, my gosh! You finally got an offer. Do the happy dance! It’s time to celebrate, go out for drinks, or in my case eat cheesecake. Make sure it’s the right choice and fit for you. If you’re questioning your choice, it is okay to say no, though I doubt you’ll want to after the rejection boat has sunk. Sign on that dotted line, and go straight to New York Times stardom. Hopefully, I’ll see you there.  

When the sins of the past claim the future the craving for more can turn deadly….
When the goddess of Love and father of evil determine your fate do you fight back? Matteaus leader of the Fallen never backs down from a challenge. Not even when his fated female proves to be the most challenging of them all.

A former warrior in the Heavenly Kingdom, Matteaus, leader of The League of the Fallen bears the scars from a past filled with regret and misguided deeds. Renowned for his thirst for redemption and walking the line between saint and sinner, he is a male feared by many and respected by all. Determined to right his many wrongs, his drive for redemption is his only companion. His warrior nature his only passion-until his next assignment brings him in to the fiery path of a beautiful female who’s been on the run for secret reasons of her own.

Taylor has been running from Lucifer’s hot pursuit for years, her only concern has been keeping herself and her young son safe. Having no patience for an unwanted love affair she tries to ignore the instant attraction to the raw magnetism that rolls off of Matteaus. Yet as their desire for each other begins to overtake them, Matteaus’ steadfast determination to earn his redemption keeps him on the path of righteous and away from Taylor’s searing touch. Now Taylor and Matteaus must join forces to protect the ones they love.
Could this be the mission that finally earns his redemption? Or will his past misdeeds cost him everything, including the one female he is destined to love?

About Megan  
Megan Elizabeth is the author of the ground breaking new series The League of the Fallen-a series that mixes fallen angels and Greek mythology. She has written in many genres but always returns to Urban Fantasy and Fantasy. Spending many of her days teaching she is devoted to instilling the love she has for the written word in others. She lives in New Jersey with her son Alex and two dogs who are more like children than dogs. She is an avid reader and is an active member of the national RWA and FF&P branch. If Megan is not in front of her computer typing away she is working with her fellow writers in the Books & Bling critiquing group. If you’d like to know more visit her and The League of the Fallen at

Contact Megan


Lynda Again -- Hope you've enjoyed our guest today. If you did, please click on the Google (g+) button to help spread the word and leave her a comment to let her know. Also I've decided to include recipes for the sweet things our readers can enjoy BUT you have to be a member of my newsletter (you can join below -- it's free!). The recipe and other tidbits will be there for you to enjoy

Friday, June 27, 2014

Guest - Sarah Daltry

Good morning! Today we have author Sarah Daltry visiting us. So grab a cup of vanilla hazelnut tea, a pecan praline cookie and a comfy seat in one of our fabulous chairs. And don't forget to follow the instructions on how to win her giveaway.


It likely seems strange to talk about realism on a fantasy blog, but I find that it’s at the heart of what I write. I don’t write traditional romance or fantasy, because everything I work on starts with the nature of humanity. Who are we? How are we with other people? I suppose what I have always felt was missing in a lot of romance was that crossover to real relationships and it’s the focus of my writing. On the other hand, I love escaping into fantasy worlds, so that probably sounds funny.

If you think about it, though, you can have both. I’m a hardcore Harry Potter fan. Sure, these are not romance, but the relationships that run through the series are the core of the books. The entire series is about love – familial love, friendship, sacrificial love. I think what I like so much about these books is that they both suspend reality and expose it. Yes, Harry and his friends are fighting Death Eaters and attending wizard school and talking to centaurs, but strip away the fantasy. How is it different than teens fighting corruption or bullies, attending high school, and making friends with people a little different than themselves? The series deals with violence, hate, love, sacrifice, and perceptions. Hermione’s parents are dentists – and she’s hated for not being from a magic family. How many teen girls are hated for something out of their control, something that is based on prejudice and stereotypes, that is centered in a belief system too outdated for our world?

When I approach romance, whether in a contemporary setting or a fantasy one, I look at it with the same lens. Love isn’t easy. I’ve been married 13 years and my husband and I have been together nearly 20. At no point in our marriage or relationship did I think, “wow, this is just like the movies.” But he’s my best friend. When I’m stressed out or depressed or sick, when I won’t talk to anyone, he is the person who comes upstairs where I’m lying in bed with a DVD of some movie I love and a glass of juice. He doesn’t have to say anything – he just knows what comforts me. In painting these images of romantic heroes, these men who are impossible to find, we lose the ability to love the people who truly warrant it. I want to write about those people.

Yes, I appreciate escapism in books, but I also think that it’s time to embrace the average. Spiderman may be a superhero, but he’s nothing without Peter Parker. Those stories engage me more, because they show me the amazing abilities people possess within them. Ignoring the spider bite, Peter Parker is driven by the good inside of him. We can all be superheroes; we can all be the stars of our own stories. We do this by recognizing what makes us incredible, not by yearning to be something else.

About Sarah: 
Sarah Daltry is an author who writes in many genres and for a variety of age levels. Her first novel, Bitter Fruits, is an urban fantasy romance published by Escape Publishing (an imprint of Harlequin). She is also the author of the New Adult contemporary series, Flowering; the gamer geek comedy, Backward Compatible; the recently released YA fantasy, Primordial Dust; and two novellas inspired by classic literature – The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (inspired by the poem of the same name) and The Quiver of a Kiss (Helen of Troy’s POV during the events of The Iliad).

 Sarah has been writing her entire life, but she started publishing in early 2013. A former English teacher and YA librarian, she is passionate about books of all kinds!

Primordial Dust
A princess, trained to behave. An assassin, betrothed to her. A thief, whose eyes she dreams of at night. A kingdom at war, torn apart by the suppression of magic and truth, as well as family secrets that threaten to destroy decades of peace.

Questions of loyalty, of morality, and of free will culminate in a fantasy novel about forging one’s own path and choosing one’s own destiny.

Buy Links:
Amazon to come

Giveaway: Leave a comment with your email addy so you can be contacted if you're the winner.

Ebook of Bitter Fruits (18+, Explicit scenes)

or Primordial Dust (PG)

Contact Links:

-- Lynda Again
    Hope you enjoyed meeting Sarah today and getting a glimpse into her writer's mind.

     Have a Blessed weekend!

Contact me:

Monday, June 02, 2014

Guest - Diane Burton

Good morning! We've got one of our favorite authors visiting today. Among other things, Diane writes science fiction romance -- one of my favorite genres! So help yourself to one of our orange-pecan muffins and a lovely cup of tea. Enjoy!

Going to Mars

I have always been proud of the efforts of NASA in space exploration. But for years I felt they are too slow in exploring beyond our moon. I know, I know, small steps. But, sheesh. I remember how fast NASA moved after Sputnik scared the heck out of all of us back in the 50s. We entered a Space Race with Russia to get an American in space. Once we did that, in less than a decade we put a man on the moon. And then where did we go?

Because there haven’t been significant advances in space exploration (something to get excited about) since 1969, I’m intrigued by Mars One, the Dutch organization that plans to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. A lot of other people are, too. When they opened for applicants, over 78,000 signed up within two weeks. I wasn’t one of them. Why? It’s a one-way trip. Even though there are no upper age requirements, I couldn’t leave my family. Too many exciting times to spend with them.

But what if I had no family and was in good health? Would I apply? In a flash. According to the timeline, or roadmap, on the Mars One website, there will be much preparation and training for those who qualify. That should weed out a lot of applicants. One such training would be for a team to live together in a remote outpost. (I assume something similar to a bio-dome.) If you can’t live with your team in the desert (or the arctic) for several months, how could you get along forever on Mars?

Last December, the members of The Roses of Prose blog posted an anthology of Holiday stories, An Unexpected Holiday. When this was first suggested, I panicked. I don’t write short stories. I think the shortest book I’ve ever written is over 80k words. Usually, my books run over 100k. So how could I write a 7,000 word story? Well, I may be an old dog, but I can learn new tricks. LOL My story was the only sci-fi romance, Christmas in Space. It was so much fun that I decided to expand it into a novella for this Christmas. I used a lot of the information about Mars One as I wrote about space explorers in the late 22nd Century on their one-way trip to establish a colony on an Earth-like planet. Watch for it this December.

In author interviews, I’m often asked how I do research for my novels. I always answer that I wish I could do it first-hand on a starship and/or on an alien planet. Until I do, I rely on the internet and search for what is happening now with space exploration. On a side note, I have to admit I visited the Very Large Array near Socorro, NM and the UFO Museum in Roswell. The first was informative, the latter was fun. Sure wish I’d had my picture taken with the aliens. LOL

In my research online, I always get ideas for more stories. Or ideas to use in my WIP. If we have the resources to put a man on the moon, we can do anything. So I’ll continue to write science fiction romances, adventures that are out of this world.

My newest sci-fi romance The Chameleon makes the assumption that humankind has explored and established settlements far beyond their home planets, that FTL (faster than light, aka warp drive, hyperdrive) travel is not only possible but commonplace. Wouldn’t it be great to live in that world?

The Chameleon

Legally Blond meets Mata Hari

Socialite Jileena Winslott has perfected the image of the spoiled, rich, bubble-headed daughter of an industrial magnate. In reality, she’s a smart, savvy aide to her father in social situations where she is his eyes and ears. She yearns to be her true self and run the family business. When her father sends her on a covert mission to the Outer Rim, she has the chance to prove herself. Big problem. He insists she take along a fake fiancé—the man she’s secretly loved for years.

Security Officer Laning Servary has better things to do than babysit a spoiled rich girl on a tour of the Frontier. If he refuses, he can kiss his career good-by. Then Jileena’s father sweetens the pot. If Laning keeps her safe, his family will receive the land they share-crop. He can’t refuse.

In the close quarters of her ship, Laning and Jileena discover they aren’t who they seem. Pirates, weather, and her recklessness threaten to derail the mission. As Laning and Jileena revise their impressions of each other, they’ll have to make hard choices about their goals. Can their budding love survive?

Excerpt from The Chameleon

Jileena had her hand on the knob when her father said, “You should inform Nellis that you have a family emergency and will be unable to finish your internship in accounting.”

For five secs, she stood rooted to the floor. Her heart tripped madly and her lungs struggled for air. Surprise Number Three. He knew.

As she turned to face him, she fluttered her hand and affected smiling confusion. “Why, Daddy, whatever are you talking about?”

His deep rumble of laughter rolled around the room. “Very good. That wide-eyed look almost convinced me.” Then his expression changed. “Did you imagine I would not know what goes on in my own company? A strange intern manages to work in almost every department, and you think I don’t know about it?”
She clasped the door handle with both hands behind her back. How did he know? Where did I slip up? Who told him?

“Now, Daddy—”

“Don’t you ‘now, Daddy’ me. I told you I know everything you do. Those so-called vacations you’ve taken? Did you think I wouldn’t find out you were working in our satellite plants?”

She clenched her teeth. She had no secrets left. He knew everything. Crazik. Well, almost everything.
“If you wanted to work in the company, all you had to do was ask. You didn’t have to disguise yourself. I saw you earlier. Wherever did you get those horrible clothes?”

She returned to the visitor’s chair. All bluff and bravado gone. “If I’d asked to work in the business, you might have said no.”

“I might have agreed.”

“I couldn’t take that chance. Besides, I can just imagine the newswave headlines. Baby Winslott plays working girl. Supervisors would pat me on the head and give me meaningless busy work. I wanted to learn the business from the ground floor.”

“You have done that.” His look of admiration warmed her heart. “When I saw you heading for a sanitary with a bucket and mop, I wanted to stop you.”

“I’m glad you didn’t. It’s surprising what one learns as a janitor.” She grinned. “Who blabbed?”

“Actually, no one. As convincing as you are at parties as a vacuous twit, you were even better in the role of temporary worker. You managed to deceive every supervisor you worked for. When they sang praises about the industrious intern, they gave no indication they knew Leeva Warren was you.”

Jileena allowed herself a moment of satisfaction before standing. “Good.”

“Baby? I’m depending on you to get those mining rights. This is your chance to show me what you’re made of. Do not fail.”

The Chameleon buy links:

About Diane
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and two grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website:
Thanks, Lynda, for inviting me to visit.

Connect with Diane Burton online
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author

-- Lynda Again
    Diane always gives us a terrific article full of things to think about. And her book, The Chameleon, sounds pretty good too. If you enjoyed her visit, feel free to let her know.

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Friday, May 02, 2014

Guest - Susan Mac Nicol

Good morning! We have a terrific guest today, author Susan Mac Nicol. Susan will be discussing her foray into writing paranormal romance. We have a fantastic selection of teas and coffees PLUS, in honor of my recent birthday, a gorgeous calorie free chocolate layer cake! Enjoy!


The one thing I really enjoy about writing paranormal Romance is the world building. I think the real one is harsh enough sometimes to live in, so being able to create your very own world where you control how and when things happen is somewhat of a release.

Double Alchemy isn’t the first paranormal book I’ve actually written. It’s my first male/male romance but by no means my first foray into creating hidden worlds and strange characters. When I was about fifteen, I started writing this story called Soul Quest. It was the story of twenty one year old Colyan Fairchild, an orphan bought up by a great wizard called Baraktar, who finds out his destiny is to one day rule the Kingdom as its rightful king. For this story, I created two worlds, one dark, one light - Gehen and Salvinia - and a host of characters and animals and magickal beings that added to the tale. It’s turned into an adult fantasy with romance and one day I really hope to finish it.

Here are a few of them -
Ronari - Circle of Elders that run a village and consult on village issues.
Timori - The villagers commissioned by the Ronari to perform the task of hunting for the village. Creph - long handled spear used by the Timori for hunting.
Terrari - cat like little furry animal, like a mink.
Rubicoose - racoon like animal, lilac and grey, with certain supernatural abilities.
Thaobar - Healer , natural medicine man.
Zarga - mystical beast like a huge horse, very hairy

For Double Alchemy, the world building wasn’t all that fantastical as it takes place today in contemporary London but the duality of the nature of this world is what makes it so special. Ordinary folk see only the one side but those fortunate enough to be Fey have a glimpse of a whole new world where strange creatures abound and life is not as simple as it seems. As a Warlock, Quinn can conjure up magical domes, fight other Fey beings, and see things other people don’t. He can time travel using his Withinner, Taliesin, a sixth century sorcerer, who is as much a part of Quinn as Quinn himself. Cade begins to see this world, slowly, but with a sense of awe and sometimes fear. Especially when Quinn keeps almost dying on him.

I think one gets great pleasure in building a world that exists only in your mind. It’s escapism of the purest form. These sorts of worlds are limited only by the writer’s imagination. The paranormal world is such a joy to create and live in, and I’m sure that sometimes, we all wish we could really be there and escape the real word, even if it’s just for a moment.

Book Trailer:

Rafflecopter Code:

Purchase Links:

Also, here's the link to Susan's tour page and the current schedule:

-- Lynda Again,
    What a striking cover for Double Alchemy! Thanks for visiting today, Susan!

  Everyone, I had a birthday in April and one lucky member of my newsletter will receive a birthday prize!  A variety pack of Body Essential Oils!

   You can join the newsletter by clicking the link below.

   If you haven't heard, I've sold Rider in a 3 Book deal to Entangled Publishing! To celebrate that, I'll be offering a prize (or maybe a couple of prizes) near its release date. We're going to rename Rider, which was always just a working title and I can't wait to see what we come up with ;-)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Guest - Cecilia Dominic

Good Morning! It's Hump Day and we're going to celebrate it with a terrific post by Cecilia Dominic. I think all writers might appreciate her take on characterization and I think all of us might be sympathetic to the loss of a well-loved grandmother.

Today, we're serving cappuccino and anise flavored cookies. Help yourself, find a spot in one of the comfy chairs and enjoy!


Inspired by Being Italian

One question a lot of writers hear is "where do you get your ideas?" I suspect most people are referring to plot when they ask. Of course characters and their backgrounds also require a lot of thought. In the case of Long Shadows, the main character Lonna Marconi, her context, and back story were inspired by my own Italian heritage. Okay, I'm a stealth half-Italian with red hair and blue eyes, but I happily claim it (the other half is Belgian).

I'd like to dedicate this blog post in memory of my own Italian grandmother, whom we called Noni. She passed away this last Valentine's Day. It was sad, but I'm glad she got to join my grandfather, who was the love of her life and whom we lost in 2001, for a Valentine's evening. She was an avid reader and even started writing a novel once. She passed down the love of the written word to her kids and grandkids. Her favorite genre was mystery, and she said she enjoyed reading the first Lycanthropy Files book The Mountain's Shadow when it came out last fall.

I originally loosely based Lonna on my best friend, who shares her curvy appearance and straightforward manner. At the end of The Mountain's Shadow, I wanted to explore what happened with Lonna, and I was excited when my Samhain editor gave me the go-ahead to write her book. It picks up about two months after The Mountain's Shadow ends.

Like many young people, Lonna struck out from her family to create her own life and identity. Her parents are dead, so her main connection to her family is her aunt Alicia, with whom she isn't as close as she'd like to be. As she says,

I’d ended up talking to [her caretaker] more often than to my aunt, who liked to keep her phone conversations to questions about school and money, nice concrete topics. As I did well in school and was good with money, they were usually short phone calls. – Long Shadows

The Italian side of my family comes from Boston, and as I was growing up, I couldn't help but notice the contrast in manner and attitude between them and my Southern friends' families. The older generation especially has that Northern lack of overt affection. I drew on that while creating Alicia's character, but she has reasons for her reserved manner. She does deeply love Lonna, which readers and Lonna discover as the story goes on. I do want to mention that not all my Boston relatives have prickly exteriors. My grandmother was sweet and gave serious hugs.

Of course a lot of the scenes in Long Shadows take place around kitchens and food. This has gotten to be a Lycanthropy Files theme. The book's disclaimer reads:

Warning: Some sexy scenes, adult language, and alcohol consumption. Also descriptions of Italian food that might offend carbophobes.

Mmm, Italian food… When I was growing up, we'd visit my grandparents' house, first in Boston and then in Florida. Noni pulled out boxes of homemade cookies, and they were always a highlight of the trip, as were her gnocchi, ravioli, and meatballs. As she got older and developed arthritis, she couldn't manage the pans anymore, and she passed her recipes along. Italian brownies are really more like chocolate chip cookies with spices than brownies. As my sister said when I gave her some, "They smell like my childhood and happiness." I gave Lonna good memories of them as well:

Later that morning, I woke disoriented. The sun poured through the leaves of the tall magnolia trees outside the gable windows and made dancing shadows over the walls, bed, and me. The first thing to orient me was the smell. Aunt Alicia’s house had always smelled like cinnamon, ginger, and anise, the flavors in the Italian cookies my mother liked. I’d always gone for the chocolate ones, Italian Brownies, which had a kick of cinnamon as well. – Long Shadows

I'm a stress baker, so I made a large batch around Christmas when we were having some renovation work done on the house and lost the living room and office for three weeks. There's a chocolate glaze on top of them: (Italian brownies.jpg)

Unfortunately, I have not been given permission by the family to share the recipe. Noni was always very protective of her recipes and would only share them with people she approved of. My husband jokes he had to marry me so he could get access to my family's tomato sauce and meatballs recipe. I retort that he's stuck with me now because divorce isn't an option – I'd have to kill him first to keep the family's secret recipe safe.

I am happy, however, to share a link to my go-to lasagna recipe, which I make with homemade sauce and sometimes homemade pasta noodles, and I substitute ricotta for cottage cheese. It's from Cooking Light, so it's not too unhealthy. The best part is that you don't even have to cook the noodles, but you don't have to use those weird no-boil ones, either:

Readers sometimes wonder how much of an author goes into her characters. In Lonna's case, quite a bit, at least with regard to her Italian heritage. Including some of those aspects made the book fun for me to write, and I hope it will be fun to read as well. I think my grandmother would be proud.

Long Shadows, The Lycanthropy Files Book Two

Being unique isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

By day, Lonna Marconi’s busy career keeps her mind off the fact she was turned werewolf against her will. By night, a dose of wolfsbane lets her inner wolf out to play while her physical body stays safe at home.

When an overheard phone call at work warns her a trap is about to be sprung, she turns from hunter to hunted in the blink of an eye.

She finds refuge with the Ozarks pack she never claimed as her own. Upon discovering a family secret that explains why she’s unique among her own kind, Lonna finds heat in the arms of Max, who’s the one thing she cannot trust—a wizard.

Another kidnapping attempt sends her navigating the treacherous metaphysical borders of a centuries-old war, pursued by rogue sorcerers, a band of ghostly wolves, and repressed memories that prevent her from reclaiming her heritage. All the while, trusting her back to a wizard who demands the price of her heart…who may not have the luxury of giving his in return.

Buy links:

From Samhain Publishing (all ebook formats available):

Also available anywhere else ebooks are sold.

The Mountain's Shadow, The Lycanthropy Files Book One

Some mistakes can literally come back to bite you.

First it was ADD. Then pediatric bipolar. Now the hot behavioral disorder in children is CLS, or Chronic Lycanthropy Syndrome. Public health researcher Joanie Fisher was closing in on the cause in hopes of finding a treatment until a lab fire and an affair with her boss left her without a job.

When her grandfather leaves her his multimillion-dollar estate in the Ozarks, though, she figures her luck is turning around. Except her inheritance comes with complications: town children who disappear during full moons, an irresistible butler, and a pack of werewolves who can’t seem to decide whether to frighten her or flirt with her.

Joanie’s research is the key to unraveling the mysteries of Wolfsbane Manor.  However, resuming her work means facing painful truths about her childhood, which could result in the loss of love, friendship, and the only true family she has left.

Warning: Some sexy scenes, although nothing explicit, and adult language. Also alcohol consumption and food descriptions that may wreck your diet.

Buy links:

Also available anywhere else ebooks are sold. Paperback release date is October 7, 2014.

Cecilia Dominic wrote her first story when she was two years old and has always had a much more interesting life inside her head than outside of it. She became a clinical psychologist because she's fascinated by people and their stories, but she couldn't stop writing fiction. The first draft of her dissertation, while not fiction, was still criticized by her major professor for being written in too entertaining a style. She made it through graduate school and got her PhD, started her own practice, and by day, she helps people cure their insomnia without using medication. By night, she blogs about wine and writes fiction she hopes will keep her readers turning the pages all night. Yes, she recognizes the conflict of interest between her two careers, so she writes and blogs under a pen name.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with one husband and two cats, which, she's been told, is a good number of each. Her debut novel The Mountain's Shadow, an urban fantasy featuring werewolves with a scientific twist, was released in October 2013. The second in the series, Long Shadows, was released yesterday on March 25, 2014.

You can find her at:
Amazon Author Page:

-- Lynda Again
   Thanks, Cecilia, for the terrific look into your family and characterization. Those cookies look delish! Too bad you can't share the recipe but I certainly understand family recipes and traditions. Thanks for being with us today.

   Everyone, I have a birthday coming up in April and one lucky member of my newsletter will receive a birthday prize!  A variety pack of Body Essential Oils!

   You can join the newsletter by clicking the link below.

   If you haven't heard, I've sold Rider in a 3 Book deal to Entangled Publishing! To celebrate that, I'll be offering a prize (or maybe a couple of prizes) near its release date. We're going to rename Rider, which was always just a working title and I can't wait to see what we come up with ;-)

Contact me:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Guest - Alethea Kontis

Good morning! We've got author Alethea Kontis visiting today. Alethea is discussing the ins and outs of creating characters, particularly Female Author Main Characters. So pull up a seat in one of our supremely comfortable chairs or couches. Grab a cup of mocha latte and a decadent dark chocolate cookie and enjoy!

Writing is a Magical Business
By Alethea Kontis

Confession: I wasn't the best English student in the world. I was good at math. I majored in Chemistry. For this reason, I did not have my very first true creative writing class until Orson Scott Card's Literary Boot Camp in 2003. I was 27.

Not that I had ever really stopped writing, of course...those of us so cursed by the Fates never lose the compulsion to tell a great tale. I still played around, sending weekly poems to my pen pals and journaling like crazy. I had a few novel ideas--including the one I write mostly while bored in Physics--and a bunch of short stories--including the one I wrote while bored in Inorganic Chem. I also had a screenplay and outline for a Movies for Dummies book that I wrote guessed it...bored at my movie theatre job.

Thanks to my storytelling parents I was an avid reader by the age of five and, thanks to my Assistant Manager position at the Moves at Polo, I saw pretty much every single film that released between 1991 and 1998. I had a great mind for story, a fabulous ear for dialogue, and I knew every cliché in the book.

At least, I thought I did.

Who knew that describing your character in a mirror was a typical lazy-author cheat? Who knew that the majority of Chosen Ones have green eyes? Who knew that you shouldn't have two main characters whose names rhyme...or start with the same letter...and that the first letter that pops into your mind is usually "A", because we're trained to think alphabetically?

From manuscript format to brains were on the verge of leaking out my ears as I tried to soak in every word of that class. I took a lot of notes that week. Some things I can still reference on the internet. But one cliché in particular stuck with me: "Just because they tell you to write what you know doesn't mean you should make your main character a writer."

This rule was mostly brought about as a result of Stephen King (Shining, Misery) and Ray Bradbury (Death is a Lonely Business, Graveyard for Lunatics), who wrote Author Main Characters and did them well. But those main characters were MEN. How about Female Author Main Character? One in particular changed my life in 1984, proving to a young, impressionable Alethea that she could have the writing and the adventure and the guy and everything else her heart desired.

That woman was Joan Wilder.

Shortly after returning from Boot Camp, a fellow camper (Eric James Stone) helped me set up a Blogger account, and I started keeping my journal online, for all the world to see. In part, it was (and still is) an ongoing letter to my Mom, telling her about my life and letting her know that I was okay (because of her three daughters I am the least likely to pick up the phone). I started to look for the magic in my own life, stories I could tell that would amuse her.

And then the stories started to find me. I got one book contract, and then another. I made friends with a bestselling romance author and an SF Grand Dame. Rainbows started falling out of the sky. My best friend got pregnant. My grandmother got dementia. I fell in love with a man from the other side of the ocean and flew halfway across the world to meet him. I kept adventuring and keeping logs of my travels, living vicariously for my coworkers who felt stuck in their small town.

Within the space of a few years, my world completely changed. And when I looked back, I realized that I had a story--a story about a frumpy, scared girl who chooses the brave path and realizes that her life is a thousand times more amazing than she ever imagined, full of magic and misery and everything in between.

I called the story BEAUTY & DYNAMITE, but I might have just as easily called it BECOMING JOAN WILDER.

Call me a cliché if you will, but it's my life. It can't be written any other way. So many women want to "live the fairy tale," but I'm here to tell you: it's not all sunshine and puppy dogs. But sunshine and puppy dogs still exist. Some things are meant to be.

And some things are just meant to be great stories.  

Once upon a time, a young girl walked into a world of wonder and delight. But that's not where this story starts. The young woman she became published a nationally recognized children's book and edited a star-filled collection of stories to benefit the tsunami relief effort. But that's not where this story ends. Meet Alethea Kontis, a  self-proclaimed Genre Chick whose life is an adventure that tears through these pages like a hurricane. Carrot-a-day cancer cures and Murphy as a guardian angel (yes, that Murphy, the guy with all those irritating laws) are just a part of the daily routine for the Incredible Whirlwind of Beauty and Dynamite, the force of nature masquerading in human form.

Link to original Beauty & Dynamite book trailer:

About Alethea Kontis
New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a goddess, a force of nature, and a mess. She’s known for screwing up the alphabet, scolding vampire hunters, turning garden gnomes into mad scientists, and making sense out of fairy tales. Alethea is the co-author of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter Companion, and penned the AlphaOops series of picture books. Her YA fairy tale novel, Enchanted, won the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award in 2012, was nominated for the Audie Award in 2013, and was selected for World Book Night in 2014. Both Enchanted and its sequel, Hero, were nominated for the Andre Norton Award. Born in Burlington, Vermont, Alethea makes the best baklava you’ve ever tasted and sleeps with a teddy bear named Charlie.You can find Princess Alethea online at:


-- Lynda Again,

   Hope you enjoyed Alethea's take on creating characters. Her books sound terrific, don't they? 

   I have a birthday coming up in April and one lucky member of my newsletter will receive a birthday prize!  You can join the newsletter by clicking the link below. Stay tuned for more details.

   If you haven't heard, I've sold Rider in a 3 Book deal to Entangled Publishing! To celebrate that, I'll be offering a prize (or maybe a couple of prizes) near its release date. We're going to rename Rider, which was always just a working title) and I can't wait to see what we come up with ;-)

Contact me:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Guest - Ashlyn Chase

Good morning! Our guest today, Ashlyn Chase,  sent some excerpts for her latest book, KISSING WITH FANGS while she's doing an author tour. Her publicist, the lovely Danielle, is offering a fantastic giveaway of a full set of the Flirting With Fangs series (Flirting Under A Full Moon, How to Date A Dragon, and Kissing With Fangs) to one winner (sorry, USA and Canada only). See below for instructions on how to enter the drawing.


We’re half way through my excerpt-sharing virtual tour for my latest release, Kissing with Fangs. If you like what you read today, be sure to check out the previous posts and what’s coming up the rest of this week for a sneak peak at this book. The schedule is listed below!

Set up for today’s scene: No one had heard from Claudia in a week. Her worried parents drove hours to Cambridge, MA to check on her only to find her former boss, Anthony, 'checking her out' as well.

Scene 5:
As soon as the door closed, Claudia’s parents both began talking at once.
“Where were you?”
“Is he really your boss or your boyfriend?”
“What happened?”
Claudia held up both hands. “Whoa. Let me make some coffee first.”
“Oh, yes. Coffee would be nice,” her mother said. “I’m glad you haven’t forgotten your manners.”
Manners are all that’s keeping me from throwing you out the door.
While Claudia headed to the kitchen, her father said, “So, tell us why you moved from your other apartment. It was so much nicer.”
He dropped into her chair and a crunching noise surprised him. “What the…?” He popped back up and lifted the cushion.
Oh no. Now she knew where Anthony had stashed the empty beer bottles.
He pointed to the cracked brown glass. “What’s this? Some dangerous version of a whoopee cushion?”
Claudia felt her face heat. “Um, no. Of course not. I had a few friends over before Anthony surprised me with a visit. I just stashed the bottles there because I didn’t have time to clean up.” That sounds reasonable. She hoped they believed her, because it was the best story she had.
Meanwhile, her mother had made it to her kitchen and opened one of the pizza boxes. “It looks like you weren’t worried about impressing your friends. Really, Claudia. Pizza and beer? I thought we raised you to be more refined.”
She smiled. “Sorry, Mom.”
“And look at all these glasses in the sink…” Her mother was about to open the dishwasher, and only God knew where Anthony had stored the hard liquor.
“Mom, please! Get out of my kitchen.”
Her mother gasped. “Excuse me? I’m sure you can rephrase that to sound a little less churlish.”
“Sorry. I just—Please, sit on the couch with Dad and let me make you something to eat. You must be hungry after your long drive.”
“That’s more like it.” Her mother sniffed and turned on her heel, marching back to the living room.
Claudia usually liked apartments with an open floor plan so she could talk to guests while preparing food, but in this case, she’d rather stick them in another room—or another city—and gather her wits.
She opened the refrigerator, knowing there was precious little to offer anyone in there. Butter. Peanut butter. Jam. Cheese. She’d better find a way to make something edible. If not, she was toast. She bolted upright. Toast!
It wouldn’t impress, but it would fill their stomachs. If only I had time to run to the coffee shop. Ah! A brainstorm in her otherwise fuzzy mind formed a solution.
“Why don’t we all go to the coffee shop down the street? They have some lovely pastries…”
Her mother studied her with raised eyebrows. “You aren’t considering going out like that, are you?”
Claudia sighed. As usual, she couldn’t do anything right. “Well, we have a choice. I can get cleaned up and we can go out, or I can make PB and J, and grilled cheese sandwiches.”
Her father smiled. “With the crusts cut off?”
Her mother wrinkled her nose. “That’s hardly a decent breakfast.” She started to return to the kitchen. “Is that all you have?”
Claudia grasped her mother’s shoulders before she could reenter and spun her around. “I’ve been away…on a camping trip. That’s why I have no food and why you couldn’t get in touch with me. There’s no cell reception up in the Maine woods.”
Whew! Two explanations with one lie. She felt brilliant. Now if she could just down a gallon of coffee, she might make it through this inquisition—er, visit.

Anthony woke up in unfamiliar surroundings. Where the hell am I, and what is that stench? Then he remembered. He hadn’t made it back to his lair in time and had to resort to prying open a manhole and hiding in the sewer to accommodate his death sleep.
Now that it was evening again, he considered going back to Claudia’s, but he reeked. Besides, her parents might still be there. A long, steamy shower in his apartment sounded like a much better idea.
He climbed the ladder until he reached the manhole cover. Now to play “guess if anyone is up there or not?” He couldn’t use his sense of smell. That was compromised. Bloody hell, I might not get the disgusting smell out of my nose for days.
He lifted the lid slightly and listened. Noise of the city met his ears. Mostly traffic rumbling along the busy main drive a block away. He didn’t hear any clicking of shoes along the sidewalk, so he pushed the manhole aside and climbed out.
A couple of men who had apparently been leaning against a nearby building spotted him but said nothing. They simply stared as he straightened his lapels, stood tall, then strode off in the direction of his home with his head held high.
He was halfway home when he heard his name being called.
Maybe it’s another Anthony. He hoped so. He was close enough to the Italian North End for the name to refer to dozens of men.
“Hey, Anthony! Wait up.”
There was no mistaking the voice now. Tory Montana had caught sight of him. Even though Tory was quite a way off, he’d know that Anthony, with his vampiric senses, could hear him. I can’t very well pretend I don’t know one of my former best patrons.
Anthony swiveled around. Despite the darkness, he spotted the African American ex-linebacker jogging toward him. As soon as he’d spotted Anthony waiting for him, Tory slowed to a walk.

Be sure to follow the entire blog tour to get a sneak peek at Kissing with Fangs, and opportunities to win all three books in the Flirting with Fangs series along the way:

Scene 1: Ashlyn Chase’s Website:
Scene 2: 3/6 Under the Covers Book Blog
Scene 3: 3/7 Casablanca Authors
Scene 4: 3/11 Debbie's Book Bag
Scene 5: 3/12 Star-Crossed Romance
Scene 6: 3/18 The Reading Café
Scene 7: 3/20 Fresh Fiction

There's Something He's Never Told Her...

When her workplace burned down, Claudia should've taken it as a sign to move on—and not just professionally. She's been secretly lusting after her mysterious boss, Anthony Cross, for years. There's no way she should agree to help him rebuild if she wants to keep her heart intact, and yet it's impossible to stay away...

The flames that destroyed Anthony Cross's beloved bar are nothing compared to the heat he feels every time he lays eyes on Claudia. But he can't have her—it's against paranormal law for a vampire to date a human. Besides, he has some dangerous enemies, and one in particular already has her sights on Claudia. He owes her the truth—both about his feelings and his vampire nature—which means their lives are about to get hotter than ever...

Praise for Kissing with Fangs:
“Taking readers on a ride that is both uplifting and heavy with emotion, Chase constructs a cast of intriguing characters set amidst a flurry of paranormal activity.” —RT Book Reviews

“Fun, quirky, and chalk full of adventure and romance.” —BTSe Magazine


Ashlyn Chase describes herself as an Almond Joy bar.  A little nutty, a little flaky, but basically sweet, wanting only to give her readers a satisfying experience. She holds a degree in behavioral sciences, worked as a psychiatric RN for several years and spent a few more years working for the American Red Cross.  She credits her sense of humor to her former careers since comedy helped preserve whatever was left of her sanity.  She is a multi-published, award-winning author of humorous erotic and paranormal romances, represented by the Seymour Agency. She lives in beautiful New Hampshire with her true-life hero husband who looks like Hugh Jackman with a salt and pepper dye job, and they’re owned by a spoiled brat cat. For more information, please visit, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter,!/GoddessAsh.

-- Lynda Again,
    Want to enter the drawing for the set of Flirting With Fangs books? Send an email to
( with Fangs in the subject line and your name and address in the body of the email. Do this by Friday, March 14. On Saturday, my alien kitten Wookie will select a winner from all the
entrants and I'll contact the winner. Good luck!


Contact me: