Saturday, February 27, 2010

Congrats Beth!

Congrats to Beth whose name Wookie pulled out of the prize box this morning (Sorry, I was running a bit late)

Beth, I'll get the book in the mail to you this week! Thanks for entering!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Breathe...Just Breathe

Earlier today I was reading a snippet of The Running Encyclopedia while waiting for my hubby to meet me. That in itself wasn't my moment of epiphany...but reading about the idea that when you need a break to take it and that the best athletes know how to step off the gas, take a breather, then jump back to breakneck speed. Sure I've raced, been to the point where I doubted I could take another step and battled through to keep chugging along with a momentary pause to regroup.

Then I shifted this idea to my writing. As I've said I haven't been writing of late. In the beginning it was an unconscious choice after being burned out from trying so hard and being rejected after my publisher's bankruptcy. I believed I'd place another book or another story, but month after month I worked and worked, but nothing big materialized. I realized I was focusing too much, that I needed to force myself to take a break. Then life got in the way. Racing took over a spot, the economy tanked any my full time job was...and quite possibly still is...in jeopardy. Not to mention planning our wedding and getting married, which shoved what time I could've written out the window except for those must does.




At times it seemed like I was doing all I could to keep up, or was always trying to get back in step, and yet I didn't feel satisfied in the job I was doing. I always seemed to be letting someone down, missing something when I should've been on top of the situation, and in short was realistically juggling too much. Stressed wasn't the word for how I felt. Trashed like a marathoner at the finish like after a pack of hills sums it up better...sapped of energy, aching from exertion, and sad because I hadn't been able to enjoy the moments along the way.

Now I think the strain from all my extra curricular activities has come due. I've gotten to the point where I just want to breathe...to be left alone to think, heck even time to read a whole book. Very much like I used to when I wrote some of my best novels. I hunger for getting back to writing, though I'll still have to juggle daily life. As a woman multi-taking is a necessity. But I also have to live...not just stick my head up just in time to see another day/week/month whisk by because I'm so busy.

Really living means being alive...not just going through the motions, like in writing. Recall how they say show don't tell? I want to be in the moment, not getting the recap via someone else.
With this breather from the "rat race" maybe I can finally get more words on the page, though I'm certain I'll have a rocky road getting my feet wet again. But I still remember all my favorite characters, their situations and want readers to get to know them. That passion is partially what drives me, so I know I'm still a writer! Hopefully when I jump back to warp speed one of my things to do will be shopping a new manuscript!




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Monday, February 22, 2010

Guest - Nina Pierce

Good morning, everyone! Today's guest is author Nina Pierce who'll be discussing the differences between past, present & future technology and how it relates to our writing. Nina is also offering a giveaway so make sure you read to the end of her section. And I've got another special offer for members of my newsgroup, don't forget to check that out too.

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What is it about the future that captures our attention? Is it the wonder of inventions yet to come? The fascination with life forms or planets not yet discovered? Or the intrigue of what our personal journey has in store?

For me, it’s imagining what might be. I have no doubt when my grandmother was traveling to school by horse and buggy in the early 1900’s, she couldn’t even imagine a world where everyone (including her) owned a car. Or that you could stand in the middle of a busy sidewalk and talk to someone half a world away on your mobile phone, let alone access map information from a global satellite to help you find that new restaurant. Amazing stuff.

But there are gifted writers like Gene Roddenberry whose imaginations stretched far beyond the mundane. It amazes me how many of his “futuristic” inventions in the original Star Trek series have come to fruition. The communicator? I watched my niece last week put her phone on speaker and hold it to her mouth like Captain Kirk always did with that flip top communicator. Video phones? Pneumatic doors? Access using finger print recognition? Communicators in ears? Personal computers that sit on a desk? Okay, so they haven’t invented the food replicator, which is soooo on my kitchen appliance wish list (right next to the cleaning-bot from the Jetson’s), but you get the idea. Mr. Roddenberry showed us a world of possibilities. (Okay, for those of you not old enough to remember the original series, you’re just going to have to take my word for it … it was ground breaking stuff in its time.)

It’s simply astonishing how quickly things are changing. We can barely keep up with the newest and the best. We’ve gone from 8mm movies to videos to DVD and now to blu-ray. I don’t know about you, but I just got my video collection all purchased in DVD’s, I can’t afford another upgrade! I barely have time to learn the newest computer program before the next thing is rolled off the assembly line. (Heck, I just figured out how to program my VCR. I have no doubt a tivo or DVR would throw me over the edge.) With the explosion of the digital age it seems nothing is impossible and gadgets will continue to evolve at break-neck speed.

Now we’re looking at space travel for the every day person through Virgin Galactic. And with satellites already traveling to distant planets, I have no doubt human space travel beyond the moon isn’t far behind. I don’t think I’m alone in believing (and hoping) there’s more out there than just us. Perhaps the next satellite or the next probe will make that contact.

Though I may not be able to keep up with all the new technological advances, I am completely enthralled by what the future may have in store. My latest release from Ellora’s Cave, “Healer’s Garden” is an erotic suspense novel set in the 23rd century. Imagining a world where global warming has melted the polar icecaps and released a virus which wiped out most of the female and nearly all the male human population was a wonderful challenge. Trying to work out how humans would continue their race turned the story into an erotic romp into this new world.

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In the female dominated society of the 23rd century, mating with a male, even if it is to save the human race, is a distasteful task and one Healer Jahara Hriznek has successfully avoided—until now.

Brenimyn is a gifted breeding instructor at the Garden of Serenity. Forced to copulate with all females requesting his services, he yearns to find the one woman who responds to his touch. When Jahara arrives with the new class of breeders, Brenimyn’s body immediately aches for her, but convincing the stubborn healer that sex between a man and a woman is more than just an act for procreation proves to be a challenge he refuses to fail.

Jahara doesn’t want to enjoy the sinful rapture only Brenimyn brings to her body. Brenimyn has no intention of dousing the flames of desire licking at them until Jahara is completely his—body, mind, and heart. But when the government finds their loving relationship a threat to the natural order, there may be more than their stubborn wills at stake.

Please enjoy this short excerpt from Chapter One:
May 2267

Jahara Hriznek’s life was over. The evidence weighed heavy in her hands. In the time it had taken to do the retinal scan, her future had been stolen from her.

As she stood at the tall bank of windows, staring at the distant mountains, Jahara knew nothing could change this new course of her life. She felt the hollow reality as obviously as the barren expanse of desert stretching between her and the horizon. There was nothing to break up the monotony of the landscape. Nothing to take her mind off the inevitability of the days to come. Nothing to bring back the future she’d thought lay before her when she woke this morning.

No helo-vehicles were out this time of day. It was still much too hot for people to leave the climate-controlled confines of the buildings in the city on the other side of the mountains. It would be a few more hours still before the sun sat low enough to make the commute across the blistering sands a safe one. Then the nearly empty roadway, three stories below, would bustle with solar powered helo-vehicles and buses.

She wouldn’t be among the commuters winding their way from the Eastern Territory’s capital city of Lexington into her little village. Jahara had taken a much-needed day of rest from the healing facility.

The city’s new government expansion had brought with it careless male workers whose stupidity forced them to the hospital in droves for emergency services. Those healers not completely repulsed by the men’s presence were forced to work overtime to treat the injuries. Jahara had been fielding complaints and filling in for overworked healers for weeks.

For one day she’d wanted to think about nothing more taxing than what music selection she would pull from her computer files. She’d planned on using some of her monthly water allotment and soaking in a hot bath rather than her daily chemical wash. Jahara had even considered calling Merenith and convincing her to take the day off from the animal clinic and lounge around with her. She had no doubt her current lover and she could find ways to entertain each other.

But none of that had happened.

The messenger service had shown up at her door early this morning, delivering the wretched news. Had she known they were making their way to her, Jahara definitely would have worked at the hospital today and long hours into the night. Using her hands to heal males was preferable to holding this retched projection disk.

Now, as Jahara glared at the palm-sized disk, fear burned the back of her throat and trembled along her chin. Hot tears of anger welled in her eyes. She shouldn’t be so upset. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t known this was coming. Her twenty-eighth birthday was next month. It was law. Her birth-mother, the Dame of her family, had held off the inevitable as long as possible. Jahara’s position as medical director had, up until this day, kept her from fulfilling the horrid obligation. But no woman, no matter how prestigious her position, ever ran from it. The thought soured in her stomach.

She’d known what the packet contained the moment she’d opened the door to find the government currier standing in the hall. Jahara had wanted to flee, to shut the door and hide from the responsibility, but instead she calmly leaned forward and let the android do the eye scan that proved the disk had found its way into her hands. She stared down at the official government seal over her Dame’s image on the disk. Even offspring of the chief administrator of the Eastern Territory weren’t exempt from this law enacted by Congress nearly a century and a half earlier.

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Nina's Bio
Since she was a little girl, award winning author Nina Pierce, has used her imagination to conjure up characters and places far away. It wasn't until the decline of her health from MS and her eventual retirement from teaching science in 2005 that she found her way to the world of writing. Now those stories come to life on the page as she lives vicariously through her characters. With the logic of a scientist and the heart of a romantic, Nina pens sexy tales of romantic suspense in both novella and novel length fiction

Nina lives in northern Maine with her real-life hero and high school sweetheart of thirty-four years, her three grown children and a menagerie of pets.

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I really enjoy exploring the possibilities of all that’s out there. The story I’m currently working on takes place in deep space and is proving to be another challenge of world building where weapons feed on negative emotions and medical advances create havoc in humans. I’m hoping to have this one out summer of 2010.

I want to thank Star-Crossed romance for having me here today. I’d love to hear what attracts you to the science fiction genre and more specifically whether you enjoy reading about the future. What is the pull for you? Oh, and because my prize closet seems to be overflowing with goodies, I’ll choose one of this week's commenters to receive a goodie packet. All you have to do is leave a comment AND send your email address to me at nina@ninapierce.com

Nina

Here’s where I hang out on the web …
website: http://www.ninapierce.com
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ninapierce
twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ninapierce
book trailers: http://www.youtube.com/romanceauthor62
blog Nina Pierce

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-- Lynda Again
This week's member word is INEXORABLE \in-EK-sur-uh-bul; in-EKS-ruh-bul\ , adjective;
1. Not to be persuaded or moved by entreaty or prayer; firm; determined; unyielding; unchangeable; inflexible; relentless.
.


Members of my newsgroup will know what to do with today's word. You can know too by joining us. But don't worry, there isn't any chatter. You'll only get notices from me so it won't fill your mailbox. My fluffy cat, Wookie Baby, will help me select the lucky person whose name is drawn and I'll announce it here on Friday. (She'd do it herself but her English vocabulary is limited to NO-when she's going to the vet and WOE-when she's getting a bath, lol) This week's prize is Wild Blue Under by Judi Fennell.

Directions on how to join the newsgroup are below. Hope to see you there!

To join my newsletter, send a blank email to:
LyndaKScott-Newsgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
Be My Friend http://www.myspace.com/lyndakscott
My Website: http://www.lyndakscott.com
My Blog: http://www.lyndakscott.blogspot.com
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Star Light, Star Bright...Interstellar Interview with Kathleen Nance


Kathleen Nance's first career choice was detective, thank to Nancy Drew novels. In fact, books have always been one of her treasured companions because they're a source of knowledge, and a means to travel beyond her world. She's had this fascination since she discovered The Poky Little Puppy and The Little Engine That Could. The rift between her love of reading and creating her own stories took a big hop, but she made it!

Her practical streak butted in, Kathleen began a career in pharmacy. In the varied career, she's worked in almost every field except sales. Though her years writing drug monographs strengthen her appreciation for fiction. When she became a stay at home mom, she decided it would be the perfect time to put those tales she'd been spinning down on paper and see about getting published.

To her, creating characters and plots are an irresistable challenge. Especially when she got to live with the djinn, elves, and meddling Greek gods. And along the way, she got to play all the roles of her heroes, heroines and even her villains.

Five manuscripts and six years later, her first book WISHES COME TRUE, was published in 1998. Since that momentous occassion she's won a Golden Heart, a SARA Rising Star Grand Prize, the Holt Medallion, the Colorado Award of Excellence, the PRISM Award and the National Rader's Choice Award! Plus she's been a finalist for the RWA RITA.

After living in New Orleans for 18 years, she returned to her birth state of Michigan with her husband, three children and two cats. She's learning the ins and outs of empty nest syndrome since all her kids now have careers of their own, trying to stick to her exercise program, and finds herself doing a home health care variation in the pharmacy field.


I met Kathleen via e-mail many years ago. I took a leap...after much lip biting and hit send on a fan e-mail about one of her Djinn novels. To my surprise she wrote back! Afterwards we exchanged a couple of others, and then got to meet face to face at the Put Your Heart in A Book Conference in NJ. Of course I was totally delighted, and forgot to get my dh to take a picture of the occassion! Though I still remember than night like it was yesterday!

We've chatted back and forth for years, weathered some writing issues together, as well as sharing family tales. Through it all Kathleen has never said she wishes I'd leave her alone, that she doesn't have time for me (eventhough she's presently on deadline for the next Mage novel) and has always looked at the good in everything. She loves writing, even getting up early to write before she goes to her day job, and always make time for her family. Since I became a fan, I've seen her talent blossom as each new book topped the last. Kathleen awes me with the kernels she finds in a character and develops to create men and women that you hate to say goodbye too. Quite simply she creates magic...and I hope to meet many more Mages that will grace her future pages.





Can you give readers insight into the world of the mages created for PHOENIX UNRISEN and again in DRAGON UNMASKED?

It’s a world of spells and rituals, where the will of the mage is key. A world of power, where there are some who would abuse that power and some who are dedicated to protecting the innocent and the weak. The mages are steeped in tradition, yet they, too, must change with modern times. The books explore the possibilities for blending magick with science.




What prompted you to have a female mage as the main character for DRAGON UNMASKED?

When I wrote PHOENIX UNRISEN, I was fascinated by Adam Zolton, Natalie’s boss. I knew he had to be my next hero. But, I also knew he was not a mage, so it seemed natural that the woman in his life, Grace Armatrading, would be.







Can readers expect to see more of New Orleans, or will you be leading them in a new direction? How do you feel setting accentuates your novels?

DRAGON UNMASKED is set in the Midwest, mostly in Michigan, where I live now. GRYPHON UNLEASHED, the third book in the series, (out December, 2010), is set in a variety of places, so setting plays more of a minor role. A few of the scenes are set in New Orleans. Returning to the city for a future story is always a possibility. Setting can be either a nice brush stroke to the story or it can be almost a secondary character in its impact. Sometimes it depends on the story. Whatever the setting and its importance, I think you need to at least make it vivid and the realities of it have to impact the scene.




In PHOENIX UNRISEN, readers got the chance to "see" fabulous spells. Did research help you convey such realism and build an intricate web of magical rules?

Some. I’ve done research on the subject, but also a lot of was taken from imagination and from working out in my mind what the parameters and underpinnings are.





Out of all your heroes or heroines, which one would you turn to in a snowstorm for help? Which would you ask over for dinner and what would be on the menu?

Snowstorm? Well, most of my heroes are Southern, and although quite capable at adapting, I guess I’d have to say Lian Firebird from Day of Fire – he’s used to trekking around Canada. Same with the heroine, Day Daniels.

I would love to have anyone of them over for dinner. Can I have them all? If I absolutely have to pick one, I’ll go with Khalil, the hero of GRYPHON UNLEASHED, since I’m “living” with him now, and he’s lived all over the world – he grew up in circus.


The menu, well if it’s a fantasy where anything could happen, I’d have it catered by Iron Chef Bobby Flay.






When do you write and where is your favorite place to pen your romances?

Various times and places. Since I work a full time job that’s fairly intense, I have to fit writing around that. I will write in the morning, at lunch, or after work, and I do a lot on the weekends, whatever is working that day. I also write a lot of different places. I do have a desk but with a laptop and an Alphasmart that I use for a lot of the first draft, I will also write all over the house, depending upon my mood. I’ve even taken the computer to work or outside if it’s nice. I’m very flexible.




Have any of your characters been based on people around you or innocent passersby that you had the pleasure of people watching?

I will take bits and pieces from people, either known or observed, like someone who talks a lot or uses their hands as gestures or has a great laugh or is a clothes horse or has vivid green eyes. But I’ve never taken someone in entirety.





Do you have any news readers need to know about, such as clearing extra space for another release?

Yes, I’m delighted to have two books out this year! DRAGON UNMASKED will be released February 23rd and GRYPHON UNLEASHED will be available December 2010.





If you'd like to find out more about Kathleen or read excerpts from her books, go to http://www.kathleenance.com/ .



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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fat Tuesday Celebratory Foods

Thought I'd get us in the mood for Lent :-) Not that I'm Catholic (I'm not but my dh is) but the way we humans celebrate holidays or religious events with food fascinates me. So I did a bit of research...

From Wikipedia: Shrove Tuesday is a term commonly known in English-speaking countries associated with the United Kingdom and its Anglican traditions, especially Canada, Ireland, Australia[1], New Zealand, and parts of the United States[2] for the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Christian season of fasting and prayer called Lent.

The word shrove is the past tense of the English verb shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of confession and doing penance. During the week before Lent, sometimes called Shrovetide in English, Christians were expected to go to confession in preparation for the penitential season of turning to God. Shrove Tuesday was the last day before the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, and noted in histories dating back to 1000 AD. The popular celebratory aspect of the day had developed long before the Protestant Reformation, and was associated with releasing high spirits before the somber season of Lent. It is analogous to the continuing Carnival tradition associated with Mardi Gras (and its various names in different countries) that continued separately in European Catholic countries.

In the United States, the term "Shrove Tuesday" is less widely known outside of people who observe the liturgical traditions of the Episcopal, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic Churches. Because of the increase in many immigrant populations and traditions since the 19th century, and the rise of highly publicized festivals, Mardi Gras has become more familiar as the designation for that day.

In the United Kingdom and many other countries, the day is often known simply as Pancake Day. Making and eating such foods was considered a last feast with ingredients such as sugar, fat and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting associated with Lent.



A Festy cock is a Scottish dish made of a ball of finely ground meal, wetted and patted, rolled into a pancake shape, then roasted in the hot ashes from a mill kiln. This was a dish to be eaten at Shrovetide

For German American populations, such as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, it is known as Fastnacht Day (also spelled Fasnacht, Fausnacht, Fauschnaut, or Fosnacht). The Fastnacht is made from fried potato dough and served with dark corn syrup. In John Updike's novel Rabbit, Run, the main character remembers a Fosnacht Day tradition in which the last person to rise from the table would be teased by the other family members and called a Fosnacht.


In Hawaii, this day is also known as Malasada Day, which dates back to the days of the sugar plantations of the 1800s. The resident Catholic Portuguese workers used up butter and sugar prior to Lent by making large batches of malasada, a fried dough.



In Iceland the day is known as Sprengidagur (Bursting Day) and is marked by eating salt meat and peas.


In Lithuania the day is called Užgavėnės. People eat pancakes (blynai) and Lithuanian-style doughnuts called spurgos.






In heavily Polish Catholic areas of the United States, such as Chicago and the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck, Pączki Day is celebrated with pączki eating contests, music and other Polish food. (The custard is my favorite :-) I allow myself one on Fat Tuesday (with a calorie count at 420 for these luscious treats you know why.))



In Sweden, the day is marked by eating a traditional pastry, called semla or
fastlagsbulle, a sweet bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream. Originally, the pastry was only eaten on this day. It was sometimes served in a bowl of hot milk. Eventually the tradition evolved to eating the bun on each Tuesday of Lent leading up to Easter. After the Reformation, the Protestant Swedes no longer observed a "strict" Lent with fasting ritual.

Clearly, we have very few holidays that aren't associated with eating so go forth and sample all the world's delicacies but keep your hands off the custard paczki -- that one's mine! :-)

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-- Lynda Again
This week's member word is MOROSE /LOOSH/ adj. sullenly melancholy; gloomy.


Members of my newsgroup will know what to do with today's word. You can know too by joining us. But don't worry, there isn't any chatter. You'll only get notices from me so it won't fill your mailbox. My fluffy cat, Wookie Baby, will help me select the lucky person whose name is drawn and I'll announce it here on Friday. (She'd do it herself but her English vocabulary is limited to NO-when she's going to the vet and WOE-when she's getting a bath, lol) This week's prize is a copy of Linda Wisdom's Hex In High Heels. It's a great book!

Directions on how to join the newsgroup are below. Hope to see you there!

To join my newsletter, send a blank email to:
LyndaKScott-Newsgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
Be My Friend http://www.myspace.com/lyndakscott
My Website: http://www.lyndakscott.com
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Guest - Susan Kearney

Good morning everyone! Are you ready for Shrove Tuesday, aka Fat Tuesday? I'll have a blog detailing some of the food traditions from around the world for this last day before Lent. It might give you some ideas for your own celebrations OR it might make you hungry for one of those delightfully fattening treats :-) (There are no calories on this blog! LOL)

Today we have Susan Kearney, one of my favorite futuristic authors, who will be discussing creating characters for this great genre. Make sure you read all the way to the Lynda Again section. I have another special treat for members of my newsgroup (if you aren't a member, read below to find out how you can become one).

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Futuristic romance is my favorite genre. Yes, I’ve written for historical, contemporary, romantic suspense and science fiction markets but the idea of mixing romance and science fiction has always draw me. Perhaps it’s the possibilities... that the universe is infinite and full of adventure and surprises that draws me to the genre.

I’ve always loved action and adventure combined with romance. I believe the trick to making stories seem believable is to find a way to connect to the characters and their worlds. That’s why the Pendragon Legacy trilogy may have dragonshapers who can morph between dragon and humans, but they also have hopes and dreams – just like you and me. My characters want to save their families. They want to fall in love. They just do it on a somewhat grander canvass.

When I began the trilogy, I had no idea JORDAN would be the hero for the third book. But his backstory intrigued me. I mean a two-thousand year old man who is on a critical mission to save Earth -- who could ignore him. Besides — he fought with King Arthur, he knows stuff we don’t and that’s enough to drive Vivianne Blackstone, a self-made billionaire to distraction—and passion. You see when I write the alpha male, I often let him meet his match with an alpha female. That’s when the tension rises and the sparks fly. That’s when I can’t type fast enough. That’s when I forget that there’s no such thing as dragons and interplanertary travel and an ancient threat to Earth. The story becomes real because I’m rooting for my people. And I hope readers will be rooting for them too.

I can only tell the stories that interest me and I hope readers will come along for the ride. I like strong, intelligent men and women who feel vulnerable when they fall in love. And I like to have fun with the worlds, the characters and the plot. If you’d like to know more about me and my books, I encourage you to watch the videos and read a free excerpt at www.susankearney.com

Link to video about RION http://www.susankearney.com/interviews.html
link to video about LUCAN http://www.susankearney.com/bookvideos.html
link to excerpt JORDAN http://www.susankearney.com/jordan.html

1600 years ago, Jordan was the sole survivor of a ruthless Tribe attack which annihilated his world. To stop the Tribes deadly galactic conquest from continuing, he followed the Tribes to Earth, assumed the name Merlin and assisted King Arthur and his Knights to save Earth. When Arthur died, Camelot fell and Jordan lost his Ancient Staff. Now, over 1000 years later, the Tribes are back and so is Jordan. He’s recovered his Ancient Staff and is again on the trail of the Holy Grail to save Earth and protect the galaxy.

Vivianne Blackstone is a lady with her own agenda. An American businesswoman, self-made billionaire and a fighter from the get-go, she’s confident, capable and a definite type A personality. One of Earth’s brightest and most loyal citizens, she vows to do her part to save the planet when she learns the Tribes are on the move again.

Jordan and Vivianne team up to save Earth and along the way they fall in love. But according to galactic legend, there’s only 1 way to defeat the Tribes: Uniting the Ancient Staff with the Holy Grail. There’s only one catch, Jordan cannot live without the Ancient Staff. To defeat the Tribes and save Earth, he must perish.
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Susan Kearney used to set herself on fire four times a day, now a USA TODAY BESTSELLING author, she does something really hot—she writes paranormal romance and her current series The Pendragon Legacy based on Arthurian Legend is a huge success. She can apply the old rule of "write what you know" and never run out of ideas for characters and plots. An All-American and professional diver, expert in martial arts, sailor, real estate broker and owner of a barter business as well as women's fitness and three hair salons, she has enough material for a lifetime.

Kearney has written historical, contemporary and futuristic romance as well as romantic suspense and science fiction for publishers such as Harlequin, Tor, Grand Central Publishing, Simon and Schuster and Berkley. Kearney has won career achievement awards for paranormal and romantic suspense., as well as Telly awards for her videos. She given workshops at national conferences on the business of writing as well as on plotting , characterization and world building.

A native of New Jersey, Kearney writes full time. She resides in a suburb of Tampa—with her husband, kids and Boston Terriers. Currently she's plotting her way through her 54th work of fiction. You can reach her through this web site. www.susankearney.com

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-- Lynda Again
Today's member word is MOROSE /LOOSH/ adj. sullenly melancholy; gloomy.


Members of my newsgroup will know what to do with today's word. You can know too by joining us. But don't worry, there isn't any chatter. You'll only get notices from me so it won't fill your mailbox. My fluffy cat, Wookie Baby, will help me select the lucky person whose name is drawn and I'll announce it here on Friday. (She'd do it herself but her English vocabulary is limited to NO-when she's going to the vet and WOE-when she's getting a bath, lol) This week's prize is a copy of Linda Wisdom's Hex In High Heels. It's a great book!

Directions on how to join the newsgroup are below. Hope to see you there!

To join my newsletter, send a blank email to:
LyndaKScott-Newsgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

GO TO CHERRYFEEN.COM
CHERRYFEEN.COM

I wish all our lovely or handsome readers a very special Valentine's Day!

Hug someone you love :-)

Oh, and from the South Beach Diet Tips:

3 More Reasons to Love Dark Chocolate

As if you need another reason to eat chocolate! We know dark chocolate is one of a number of foods containing antioxidant-rich compounds known as flavonoids, which have been shown to improve heart health. Well, three studies now show that eating dark chocolate has even more health benefits. Here’s the scoop:

Reason 1: Dark chocolate can decrease blood pressure and lower the risk of developing diabetes in healthy individuals.
The research: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating dark chocolate reduced insulin resistance and significantly lowered blood pressure. Doctors don't know exactly how much dark chocolate you need to reap these health benefits, but if you’re following the South Beach Diet, it's best not to overdo it. Starting on Phase 2, try dipping four to five strawberries in dark chocolate, or limit yourself to one or two dark chocolate wedges as an occasional treat.

Reason 2: Dark chocolate may be an anti-inflammatory.
The research: A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that dark chocolate improves health, including heart health. It significantly reduced levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a substance that is an indicator of inflammation in the body, which helps determine the risk for developing coronary disease. Thus, dark chocolate may have "anti-inflammatory" properties.

Reason 3: Dark chocolate may keep you feeling fuller, longer.
The research: A University of Copenhagen study found that dark chocolate gives people more of a feeling of satiety than milk chocolate. Two and a half hours after eating the chocolate, the participants were instructed to eat as much pizza as they liked until they felt comfortably full. As it turned out, the calorie intake from the pizza was 15 percent lower on the day they ate the dark chocolate. And it gets better! The participants also stated their cravings for sweet, salty, or fatty foods had lessened as well.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Review - Legend of the White Wolf

Legend of the White Wolf
Terry Spear
Sourcebooks
Available Now

When Detective Cameron MacPherson goes in search of his missing friends and partners, Owen Nottingham and David Davis, he never dreams he will find a life and death mystery…or the woman of his dreams, Faith O’Malley.

Faith O’Malley is on a mission – retrieve her father’s stolen research and tear a piece of hide off the thief, her, now-ex, boyfriend, Hilson Snowdon. But things aren’t that simple, she discovers. First, she has a tire blow out and a close encounter with a white wolf before she can even get to the little town of Milinocket where Snowdon has taken refuge. Then she’s given the keys to the wrong room at the hotel but she meets the room’s occupant, a naked Cameron MacPherson fresh from his shower. Heroically, in my opinion, she goes back to Registration and gets the correct key. But all is not lost, through a series of semi-comic adventures they spend most of the night together.

The next morning, it’s back to searching for her thieving ex-boyfriend which leads her to Back Country Tours. She wants to talk to the guide who took her father into the woods when he was there doing his research on people who believed in Bigfoot. When she gets there, however, she finds a dead body. And Cameron finds her backing out of the office as he arrives to get information on the tour his friends had taken. One thing leads to another and Cameron and Faith find themselves working together and heading out into the back woods where there’s no electricity and no cell phone coverage.

As they settle into their cottage, deep in the snow-covered heart of nowhere, Cameron continues flirting with Faith. They eventually end up in the community spa. But the arrival of a group of strange men and a woman ends Cameron’s plan for a little seduction. While they get dressed for the frigid hike back to Faith’s cottage, she hears their snowmobiles but that isn’t what startles her. The sight of a huge white wolf bearing down on her. Cameron leaps between them taking a painful bite but Faith is no swooning flower. She grabs a shovel and wallops the wolf.

And therein begins the story of the 'magical' wolves as one of the characters calls it. Cameron becomes a werewolf and Ms Spear shows us how this affects him in a most realistic and intriguing fashion. Not only that, but she continues the mystery of why Faith's father was on this excursion, what he saw and why her ex-boyfriend stole it. Cameron's partners were also 'infected' by the white werewolves but interestingly, they don't seem as adaptable as Cameron who really seems to take on the role of a werewolf quite readily.

The romance between Cameron and Faith is absolutely adorable. Cameron is sweet, gentlemanly but enough of a rogue to catch any woman's eye. But just because he's 'gentlemanly' doesn't mean he's passive. The passion between him and Faith sizzles off the page and would make us all head up to the wilds of Maine to find our own 'magical' wolf.

All in all, Ms Spear shows a fine talent for creating believable and fascinating characters. She handles the mystery portion of the plot with a great deal of finesse which made reading the book a joy. You definitely don't want to miss this one.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Guest - Mary Montague Sikes

Good Morning everyone! Today's guest will be talking about very common problems we authors have. And she has some interesting thoughts so grab your coffee and a roll, sit back and enjoy.

Oh, and by the way, Ms Sikes is offering a copy of her book Hearts Across Forever so read on to the end to find out how you can become eligible to win.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What About Old Manuscripts?

What to do with old manuscripts? Authors are often told to learn from them but never look back.

I’m not sure I agree with that philosophy.

A few years ago, I remember attending a meeting where Nora Roberts was a featured speaker. She spoke about her first manuscript and said it was hidden away in a drawer somewhere. Although she indicated then it would never go out for publication, I wonder now if it did somehow resurface as a polished manuscript. After all, we on our writer’s journey learn so much along the way. We even learn how to fix things that at one time appeared unfixable.

(The event where Nora spoke that day actually became the first meeting of the Virginia Romance Writers. We passed around a notepad and gathered names and contact information for people there who wanted to form a romance writers’ chapter. What an exciting beginning of one of RWA’s most active chapters!)

The increasing popularity of e-books has widened the marketing possibilities for all authors. My advice to new writers is to finish the book, then go back and edit. Don’t spend too much time going back over the work as you write. That will delay completion of the first draft. Having a finished manuscript in hand is an awesome feeling of accomplishment.

If you have a drawer full of old manuscripts or a computer filled with book files, you should take another look. You may have an unpublished gem waiting for the educated editor you have become.

Among the treasures I’ve found in my computer files are the ideas for books relating to the hotels featured in my coffee table book, HOTELS TO REMEMBER, published in 2002. A few years after publication of that book, I created a series of proposal ideas for stories about not only some of the old hotels but also about places visited as side trips. One of those side trips was to Rose Hall Great House already featured in my first novel, HEARTS ACROSS FOREVER.

One of the story ideas I discovered in my files was about a couple who met at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond at the turn of the Twentieth Century. That idea and the Jefferson became a central feature of my gothic romance, DANGEROUS HEARTS, scheduled for publication later this year by Red Rose Publishing. This story is part of the “Shadowed Hearts” book series, each written by a member of the Gothic Romance Chapter of RWA.

So, what should you do with an old manuscript?

Don’t throw it away. Take some time and revisit it. If nothing else, you may have a great story idea for a new book.

©2010 Mary Montague Sikes

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mary Montague Sikes

is an award-winning author, freelance writer, photographer, artist, and teacher who loves to travel, especially to exotic tropical locations. The settings for her books and articles include Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, the Bahamas, and St. Martin. Her most recent research trips carried her to Los Cabos on the western coast of Mexico, to Yellowstone National Park, and to Carmel-by-the-Sea in California. Inspired by the Ansel Adams-type scenery, she took hundreds of photographs during those trips.

The Fredericksburg, Virginia native has presented workshops on promotion and marketing, painting, and writing to state and national conventions as well as to many local writers’ and artists’ groups. Her paintings are exhibited widely in Virginia and are in private and public collections in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Her work is represented by Prince George Art and Frame in Williamsburg. She maintains a studio and a gallery at Petersburg Regional Art Center.

www.marymontaguesikes.com
http://marymontaguesikes.blogspot.com/
http://otpblog.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1020636841



Night Watch

Several years ago, my husband and I took an unforgettable trip to Trinidad. Before we left, I envisioned being part of a Bogart and Bacall movie where I might take on the glamorous façade of an old movie star by traveling in a white suit. So I tried it! That suit turned out to be inappropriate attire for the trip we made by small motorboat over a churning sea to reach Gasparee, the offshore island where our resort hotel was located. A network of dark caves with stalactites and stalagmites, located on that island, created lots of “what ifs” for me, especially when I learned of the island’s colonial history and found out the caves were once frequented by pirates who stashed their treasures there. Crossing the gulf and passing ocean-going vessels along the way made me wonder, what if Lily Henri, my heroine in Night Watch, journeyed by small boat over these waters late at night with her life in danger? What if she looked like a woman murdered in the waters of the English Channel and mistaken identity put her in danger? What if she were caught up in a gunrunning mystery and later kidnapped? That mystery and intrigue on the island of Trinidad are all part of Night Watch, due out soon. Look for it on Amazon or on my Web site, www.marymontaguesikes.com.

Secrets by the Sea

When Dana Sinclair’s grandfather falls in love with the Caribbean island of Antigua and moves there to live, his family disowns him. But over the years, Dana keeps up with him through her letters. Then, her grandfather is murdered, and Dana is his only heir. She moves into Edgewater Manor, the centuries-old home overlooking the sea that her grandfather cherished. Haunted by secrets hidden in the old house and by the enigmatic but intriguing Clifton Wilder, Dana seeks to unravel the mysteries of her grandfather’s tragic life and death. Secrets by the Sea is available now from Amazon both as a paperback and as a Kindle book.


Hearts Across Forever

In 1980, during my first of more than a dozen trips to Jamaica, I became enchanted with the glorious lighting and fantastic foliage of the island. My first novel, Hearts Across Forever, is set in Jamaica where I ran with the wild goats that amazed me by climbing trees. My husband and I had an unforgettable adventure riding retired polo ponies through a heavy rainstorm along the coast where the movie Papillon with Steve McQueen was made. Although my clothes were ruined, I’ll always have memories of the magical shores in a rainy mist. When I visited Rose Hall Great House, Hearts Across Forever and the heroine, Kathryn Calder, were born. In my imagination, I could “see” dancers on the portico and feel the wicked presence of the “white witch.” This reincarnation story takes the reader back to days in old Jamaica when evil reigned on an old plantation. Hearts Across Forever is available from Amazon both as a paperback and as a Kindle book.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
-- Lynda Again

To enter the drawing for Ms Sikes' book, 1) leave a comment AND 2) send her an email at monti7olen@verizon.net She'll choose the winner by noon Friday.

Today's member word is LOUCHE /LOOSH/ adj. dubious; of questionable intent or morality.



Members of my newsgroup will know what to do with today's word. You can know too by joining us. But don't worry, there isn't any chatter. You'll only get notices from me (once or twice a week) so it won't fill your mailbox. My fluffy cat, Wookie Baby, will help me select the lucky person whose name is drawn and I'll announce it here on Friday. (She'd do it herself but her English vocabulary is limited to NO-when she's going to the vet and WOE-when she's getting a bath, lol) This weeks prize is a copy of Terry Spear's Legend of the White Wolf. It's a great book and I'll be posting a review on it tomorrow so make sure you enter!

Directions on how to join the newsgroup are below. Hope to see you there!

To join my newsletter, send a blank email to:
LyndaKScott-Newsgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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My Website: http://www.lyndakscott.com
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Friday, February 05, 2010

Heart Happy

Today marks a momentous occasion...Go Red For Women! This is the day set aside for women, and men, to wear red to symbolize women's fight against heart disease. I got into the action by wearing what little I had, since it isn't my favorite color. I donned a red t-shirt emblazoned with the message--I'm a keeper and a small rhinestone heart. Since today's high hit 34 degrees, I topped it off with a red and black windbreaker. Everywhere I went I saw people proudly wearing their red in support. Heart disease affects so many people, and by association it also affects families because they are caregivers and patients' support systems.


Living with heart disease isn't easy since once the heart weakens everything kind of goes haywire. The blood isn't pumped as well, which leaves toxins in the body, not to mention a build up of fluid which can block lungs, etc. How did I learn first hand about the disease? My grandfather died of it after years of going though more tests than any one person should have to withstand. Needless to say he was a hero of mine way before he showed his mettle while fighting to live.



As romance writers we understand romance, the ways of the heart, and are associated with love. Though we specialize in paranormals here at Star-Crossed that doesn't mean we discard the basics, after all matters of the heart are essential to our heroes and heroines. And the most common symbol of that emotion is a heart...so it seemed like a logical jump. Plus the large majority of romance writers are women!

(On a tangent, this also had me thinking back to fundraiser brainstorming at a board meeting. What would be cooler than a Writers Walk? That way we could all train for the event to get us out of our chairs for a brief amount of time, help us drop some unhealthy pounds, and give us a way to fundraise for our local groups or other non-profits like those for illiteracy.)

If you've been reading this blog long, you know I'm a multi-tasker. These days I can't seem to help it. So I decided since my half marathon falls on the day before Valentine's I'd use the event as a "fun-raiser" for the American Heart Association and pay respects to my grandfather's memory along the way. 13.1 miles is a long haul, so I'll have time to think about him, and the rest of my family as I plod along. He was the man who taught me to put in a hard days work, yet he also showed me family was integral to living a good life. Looking back on al I've accomplished, I wouldn't have made it to where I am today without the love and support of a long list of friends and relatives who helped me along the way.

So if you're looking for a unique valentine, especially for the the person who has everything, then stop by my page and make sure when you donate to leave a message.

________________
As an aside on heroes from last Friday if you want to see an example of how much a hero can take and keep on ticking, check out Dean Karnazes and David Goggins! I finished Dean's first book, ULTRAMARATHON MAN, in almost 8 hours straight. If you want an example of someone with extreme endurance, or someone superhuman, these are men who know all about those topics.





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Monday, February 01, 2010

Guest - J.L. Wilson

Good morning everyone! We have a very interesting article today about world building and how to keep track of your details from author J.L. Wilson. Here's a link for contact information - J.L. Wilson

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi, there -- I'm J L Wilson, and some of you may know me as a mystery writer ("Mystery with a touch of romance; romance with a touch of gray"). I'm also an author of two different paranormal series. One, the History Patrol, is all about reincarnation where people are sent back in time to resolve reincarnation issues. The other is The New Human Intercession, which is set on another planet far in the future.

I read my first romance novel in 2003 and sold my first romance novel in 2006. I did a LOT of reading in between! Plus I found several supportive writers' groups, critique partners, and others who helped me along the way. One thing I learned from the authors who write paranormal fiction is the importance of keeping all the facts straight in my books. My technique for world-building is similar for both series. It’s all in the details and how you keep track of your details.

I jot notes in notebooks, which I usually keep with me at all times. I buy small notebooks at craft stores and use those (usually 5x7 size). I now have a bookcase full of them. I do the same thing for my mystery stories: a notebook that contains character descriptions, location descriptions, pictures cut from magazines -- anything that might pertain to that book. And I also keep track of key points in the plot & clues I drop where I need to add some details later.

I usually use one notebook for Who: details about every character in the book. The other is for Where/What/How/Why – this usually includes things like plot outlines, locations, vocabulary (especially for my series on the other planet -- they have different kinds of transportation, food & clothing), cultural information (again -- different planet, different culture & politics, etc.).

For the History Patrol, there's time travel involved. The characters are born in the past, they die, then they're reborn. So I need the details about that. Then I need information about the time where they're sent -- and I need to get those facts right! I also have a timeline for human history into the future, because what's happening in the past is going to create that future.

Yep, it can be confusing. I set up a couple of web pages to give you an idea of the details I track. Just start here for more information.

http://www.jayellwilson.com/SubPages/worldbuilding.htm

Here's a short blurb about my latest History Patrol book. It's up for an Eppie award in March as Best Science Fiction Romance:


ENDURANCE

Imagine being torn away from all you know and love. And now imagine being torn away from your place in time. That’s what happened to Nico Haidess who is trapped, not just in time, but in a reincarnation gone wrong.

He’s a Guide with the History Patrol, sent back from 2190 and now stranded in 21st century America. He’s been reunited with the love of his life, Lucinda Delacroix who has been reincarnated in this place and time. There’s only one problem: he doesn't recognize her as his lost love and she doesn't recognize him.

To Lucinda, Nico is just a handsome stranger, a man who seems oddly familiar. And to Nico—a paid assassin—Lucinda is just an assignment, a suspected traitor. He must kill her on Easter morning and make it look like an accident.

Luckily one other creature can help. Cerberus is a telepathic dog on special assignment with the History Patrol, sent to bring these two lovers together. Cerberus has a vested interest in the fate of Nico Haidess and he'll do whatever it takes to see Nico and Lucinda reunited—even if it means dying and defying God to accomplish his purpose.

But the clock is ticking for all of them and time is starting to run out.

And here's a blurb about Human Touch, my "let's overthrow the government!" book...


HUMAN TOUCH

Isbel Kensington's lack of paranormal Talent makes her unique, especially given her powerful paranormal family who run the planet Delmorna. Isbel's studies into ancient diseases uncovered an old family secret which threatens the stability of the government run by Isbel's devious sister Dru.

Cyrus Durant is a cloned human and undercover cop who has to act as Isbel's Paid Male during her research holiday. He has to get close to her and determine if she's involved in Dru’s treasonous plots. Cyrus has never been this close to a woman. The experience is overwhelming, especially when he and Isbel start to form an intimate psychic bond.

As Isbel's research unearths the truth about the planet's history, she and Cyrus become targets in a deadly political struggle. In a final confrontation with her family, Isbel finds out just how deeply blood ties run -- and how easily they can be severed.

Thanks for letting me drop by and chat today. Complete details about all of my books (14 published and counting!) can be found at my web site. I've got 2 more paranormals releasing this year and 3 more mysteries coming up, so there's always a lot of news there.

Thanks again!

JL Wilson

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
-- Lynda Again,

Today's member word is WITLING -- a person who affects wittiness.


Members of my newsgroup will know what to do with today's word. You can know too by joining us. But don't worry, there isn't any chatter. You'll only get notices from me (once or twice a week) so it won't fill your mailbox. My fluffy cat, Wookie Baby, will help me select the lucky person whose name is drawn and I'll announce it here on Friday. (She'd do it herself but her English vocabulary is limited to NO-when she's going to the vet and WOE-when she's getting a bath, lol) Oh and this week's prize is an ARC of Catch of a Lifetime the book I just reviewed for Judi Fennell. You can see the review here http://star-crossedromance.blogspot.com/2010/01/review-catch-of-lifetime.html

Directions on how to join the newsgroup are below. Hope to see you there!

To join my newsletter, send a blank email to:
LyndaKScott-Newsgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
Be My Friend http://www.myspace.com/lyndakscott
My Website: http://www.lyndakscott.com
My Blog: http://www.lyndakscott.blogspot.com
Tweet me: http://www.twitter.com/lyndakscott
Be My Friend on:
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