Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

This year has been good for the Scott family and for Star-Crossed Romance. We've had great guests and wonderful books to review. 2012 looks like it will be on the same path with plenty of giveaways for our lucky readers.

As for me personally, I've had good luck with my self-published book, Altered Destiny (it's also available on the Nook) and with my book, Heartstone, published via Mundania Press. And I'm considering self-publishing a collection of my short stories and a new SF romance in 2012.

So 2012 is going to be a Very Good Year.

I hope your New Year will be blessed and filled with joy. If you're going out tonight, have fun but be safe. We don't want to lose any of you!


New Year 2012 Pictures, Comments, Images, Graphics, Photos
New Year 2012 Pictures Comments - Photobucket

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Blogging at Writers and Writing today

Good morning all! I'm over at Kris Neri's blog, Writers and
Writing, today talking about muses and the importance of
routines. I'd love it if you could stop by and say hi.

http://krisneri.blogspot.com/2011/12/breakfast-with-my-muse.
html

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Guest - Terry Spear

Good morning all! Today's guest is a long time favorite - Terry Spear! Terry is taking a little time from her family to share how an author balances holidays, family and writing. Sourcebooks is offering a giveaway of her book, Dreaming of the Wolf. Read on to find out how you can win a copy.

Oh, and look for my review of Dreaming Of The Wolf here.

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Balancing Writing with the Holidays

There’s supposed to be balance???

This year is my second year to have a December release, and next year will make it a third. So for me, the only way I’m going to write and be ready for the holidays, when I have a month long blog tour coming up also, is to do everything early.

Which is kind of like organizing my paperwork all year long for tax season the next year and being prepared. It isn’t going to happen. At least not all of it. :)

Which isn’t really true. I’m  never prepared for tax season. And I always have all my blogs ready before the month of December rolls around.

But still, writing 30 or more blogs in the month before that, not to mention all the ones I do on a regular basis, working full time, and thinking about shopping—which reminds me, I still need to get a mother-of-the-bride gown for my daughter’s wedding in January, makes it hard to write books. Too.

Not to mention keeping up with editing deadlines. Also.

So I try to do everything that I can early and not procrastinate as much as possible (except on picking out a mother-of-the-bride gown—only because I looked once and couldn’t find anything), and that means writing all my guest blogs in the next couple of weeks that I can. I also ask my kids and their significant others what they want for Christmas so I can buy them early.

That really helps. Get the stuff done early, and then when the holidays get here, I’m ready. Sort of.

Last year when my kids and their significant others arrived, we were cooking the turkey, so we thought, for about two hours when my son remarked that we didn’t have any nice turkey smells.

Hmm. Yeah, he was right. The oven was dead.

So he cut up the turkey and we cooked it piecemeal in the small counter oven.

The thing about Christmases like that is they make them memorable. The turkey wasn’t beautiful when we put it on the table, but it was just as good eating. And we all had a laugh.

Which brings to mind that no matter how well planned things can be…a monkey wrench can easily be thrown into the middle…and there goes all that balance.

I’m currently writing about Tom, the triplet brother of Jake from Dreaming of the Wolf, and the sequel to the 1st jaguar shifter story. So while I’m celebrating Dreaming of the Wolf’s release, because no matter what, that’s what all that writing is about—the ultimate release of the new book!—I’m still working on book 11 of the wolf series, and book 2 of the jaguar series as if I had total balance in my life.

Now, if I had one of those hunks in my life, it wouldn’t matter if my life was balanced or not. LOL

What about you? How do you handle the bustle of the holidays with your everyday life? Do you think a wolf like Jake would help or hinder your well planned days?

Terry Spear
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality.”




DREAMING OF THE WOLF by TERRY SPEAR—IN STORES DECEMBER 2011
A fierce hunter…
Alicia Greiston is a no-nonsense bounty hunter determined to bring a ring of mobsters to justice. Her dogged pursuit of the crime family has forced her to avoid relationships—any man would only become a target for retribution. Luckily, Jake Silver is more than a man, and his instincts are telling him to stop at nothing to protect her.

An animal passion…
However, the mob isn’t entirely human either, and soon Alicia must flee for her life. When Alicia and Jake’s passion begins to spill over into their dreams, Jake learns he will have to do more than defend her—he’ll have to show his mate the way of the wolf.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award-winning author Terry Spear has written a dozen paranormal romance novels, with over 60,000 copies sold. She received Publishers Weekly's Best Book of the Year in 2008 for Heart of the Wolf. A retired officer of the U.S, Army Reserves, Terry is a librarian by day. She lives in Crawford, Texas. For more information, please visit  www.terryspear.com

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-- Lynda Again
    As I mentioned earlier, the fantastic Danielle of Sourcebooks is sponsoring a giveaway of a copy of Dreaming of the Wolf to two of our lucky readers. To enter the drawing:

1) Leave a comment answering Terry's questions above include your email addy
2) Send me an email with your name and address. with Terru in the subject line.

On Friday, Dec 23, I'll have my alien kitten, Wookie, pick the winner. Good luck!

Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Review - Dreaming Of The Wolf

Dreaming Of The Wolf
Terry Spear
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
December 2011

Alicia Greiston is determined to bring her mother's killers to justice. But not just the thug who pulled the trigger. She wants the mobster who ordered her mother's death too. She's a thorn in their sides and they want her stopped.

That's why, when a big bruiser tries to intimidate the woman who's caught his eye, Jake Silver comes to her rescue. He pretends to know the intriguing woman, even kisses her to prove it, and the thug backs off. But he leaves Alicia with the threat that she won't always have someone to defend her.

Alicia can't believe that a man with Jake's rugged good looks is a knight in shining armor. Her experience with men has been less than successful. But with the threat the thug left, she knows that Jake might be hurt if he sticks around her. When he asks to spend time with her, she accepts but plans on ditching him.

Jake is more than a man though. He's a werewolf shapeshifter and his instincts are telling him to keep Alicia close, to protect her even if she doesn't want his protection. He's confused because the level of attraction and the instinctive need to protect her makes him think she's his mate but she's human. That instinct doesn't apply to humans even though  Jake's passion for Alicia is so intense. When she ditches him, he follows her just in time to see her best two thugs who had also followed her. He's impressed, relieved and even more intrigued but after an afternoon of hot sex, she vanishes again. No amount of hunting gives him any clue as to where she went.

Alicia hates having to leave Jake but it's for the best. The note that threatened his life if he stays around is proof of that. Besides, she has no time for sexy men. She has to catch her mother's murderers if they skip their trial and bring them in. Unfortunately, her informant, who's left her clues as to their whereabouts, has other ideas. He's been changed, made into a werewolf, and doesn't want to be alone. He wants a mate and Alicia is it. His bite leads Alicia into a world she's never known. Then she starts dreaming of Jake. Every night.

Jake is morose after he loses Alicia. Then he starts dreaming about her, hot sexy dreams that leave him emotionally unsettled. After several weeks of not sleeping, he gets a call that she might be back in town and goes looking for her. What he finds explains everything but may cost him everything he holds dear – his family, his pack and his mate.

Dreaming of the Wolf is a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat read from the very first page. Terry Spear knows how to capture her readers with her well drawn, attractive characters and her tantalizing love scenes. Although it's part of the Silver town series, it stands alone quite well and some of the secondary characters definitely need books of their own.

If you haven't got it, treat yourself to a fantastic read.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Guest - Jordan K. Rose

Good morning all! Today's guest is Jordan K. Rose who will be discussing the holiday tradition of cookie making. She's even given us a recipe for some yummy cookies. I may try making these yummy sounding cookies this week too. Read on and enjoy!

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Hi Lynda! Thanks so much for having me on the blog. Christmas is my favorite time of year and I’m so happy to share a little bit about my holiday traditions.

I’ve always loved the Christmas season from the lights to the music to the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers. But I’ve found that it’s far more stressful as an adult than it was when I was a kid. To combat the worry that I’ll never get anything done I make lists. One for gifts, one for cookies, one for food I need to bring to parties, and one separate list of gifts for my husband. That last list actually starts in January and inevitably I lose it at some point during the year and have to start over!

My favorite list is the cookie list. I bake every year and make cookie trays or baskets or tins, depending on what strikes me. This year, like last year, I used little holiday bowls. I filled them up, wrapped them in clear cellophane, added a pretty bow, and off they went to family and friends.

But it’s not as easy as just making a cookie list. The cookie list ends up with check marks, hash marks, stars, circles and the occasional arrow. Which cookie will get made in which order? Which recipe requires preparation a day in advance? Which cookie requires refrigeration after baking? Which cookie needs frosting? Which cookie can’t go in someone’s bowl because of allergies?

Lists! I need more lists!

Then we have the ingredient list. How many bags of flour do I need? Chocolate? Nuts and what kind? Sugars- - granulated, brown, dark brown, superfine? Vanilla? Do I have enough? Yes, I do. I made my own vanilla this year. My fingers are crossed that the result of that experiment is flavorful enough.

I typically begin my cookies the first week of December and deliver them by the end of that week. I’ve learned to be early, if I want my cookies eaten and enjoyed. Too many treats right near the holiday means my efforts get wasted.

I have such wonderful memories of baking with my grandmother each Christmas. We played music and baked cookies and talked about everything under the sun. As she grew older and less physically capable I did more of the up and down and rolling and cleaning. She supervised. We had a wonderful time. Though, I will admit to being thrown out of my grandparent’s house on December 23rd one year.

It seems that if you break too many items, your grandfather will lose his mind. That’s a bit of advice I’d like to share. Try not to let this happen to you:

So first, grandma told me to go put on the Christmas music, Mahalia Jackson to be exact. While I’m in the living room getting the stereo going, grandma calls my name, repeatedly. Not in a hurry-up-the-toaster-is-on-fire sort of way. More in a hide and go seek, sing-songy way. You can imagine my surprise when I came around the corner and found the toaster on fire. That was the first issue.

The next day we set off the smoke detector, again. This time from the cookies baking in the oven and not the flaming toaster. I couldn’t get the noise to stop so I climbed on a chair to remove the batteries and accidentally pulled the whole thing off the ceiling to crash to the floor and shatter. Issue number two.

The next day I loaded up the dishwasher and turned it on when we were done baking. They had a dishwasher that you hooked up to the sink for the water. I did hook it up. I simply forgot to turn on the water. (I can’t remember everything.) In any case, every plastic utensil or bowl melted in the dishwasher.

That’s when my grandfather told me to leave and not come back.

Thank God for moms. My mother and grandmother got me back into the house for Christmas Eve dinner. Every time my grandfather looked at me he shook his head. And for the next several Christmases he mentioned how I broke everything I touched.

Twenty years later both my grandparents are gone. I still listen to Mahalia Jackson when I bake Christmas cookies. I make a number of the same recipes we made together and I’ve tried lots of new ones, including this one from my husband’s grandmother.

Butterballs

2 sticks of butter at room temperature
½ cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
powdered sugar

Cream the butter with the sugar and vanilla. Add the flour and salt. Shape the dough into the teaspoon sized balls.

Bake at 325 degree for 15-20 minutes.

When the balls are still slightly warm, roll in powdered sugar. Roll again before serving. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas! I hope your holiday is filled wonderful moments that become memories to fill your heart for years to come.
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After trying her hand at many, many things- from crafting and art classes to cooking and sewing classes to running her own handbag business, Jordan finally figured out how to channel her creativity. With an active imagination and a little encouragement from her husband she sat down and began to write, each night clicking away at the keys with her black Labrador, Dino curled up under the desk.

A few short years later she’s entered the publishing arena with no plans to ever turn back.

Jordan’s a member of Rhode Island Romance Writers, as well as RWA National, and the New England (NEC), Connecticut, and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal (FFnP) Chapters.

Her first book, Perpetual Light, releases in February of 2012 from Crescent Moon Press.

Find Jordan on her website at www.jordankrose.com
Follow her tweets on https://twitter.com/#!/jordankrose 
Friend her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jordankrose

Perpetual Light 

Fate is cruel. Especially when the one you’ve sworn to love for all eternity, the very soul who changed your destiny is the last person you should trust.

After more than three hundred years of running, Lucia Dicomano must make a choice.

Forced to take her place as a Pharo of Redemption, the divine slayer needs to master her forgotten powers. Lucia turns to Vittorio, the one vampire she’s failed to deliver from eternal damnation. But overcoming smoldering remnants of love, lust and anger aren’t their only obstacles.

Samuel, who may know Lucia better than she knows herself, hunts her with a fervor stoked by a thousand years of vengeful hatred. His plan—capture and enslave the weakened Pharo then take control of her elusive power. 

Can Lucia trust Vittorio long enough to reclaim her powers? Or will she have no choice but to kill him and battle Samuel alone?

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-- Lynda Again
    The cookies sound like just the thing to go with your favorite coffee or tea and a good book, don't they? I can just imagine now...hazelnut coffee, yummy cookies, a fire in the fireplace and a good book? Good times!

    Hope you all have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guest - Stephanie Julian

Good morning all! We have author Stephanie Julian visiting us again. Today she'll be discussing how she researched the Forgotten Goddesses of her books. I think you'll find it very interesting!

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Several years ago, I had this idea to write a book about witches. But I didn’t want to go the traditional Celtic/Neo-Pagan route. I wanted something different, something that could tie into my Italian heritage.
So I plugged “Italian witchcraft” into Google, and was amazed at the wealth of information. The first information to pop up were several books by Raven Grimassi on La Vecchia Religione, the old religion, otherwise known as the magical folk traditions of the Italians.

Jackpot! But I didn’t stop there. I kept pushing farther back. From Grimassi, I found Charles Godfrey Leland’s ETRUSCAN ROMAN REMAINS and things started to fall into place. Then I discovered Etruscan scholar Larissa Bonfante’s ETRUSCAN LIFE AND AFTERLIFE and immersed myself in Etruscan history.
I’d visited Italy three separate times as a teenager. I’d visited Tuscany but I hadn’t known that the ancient Etruscans, who came before the Romans and from whom the Romans assimilated much of their culture, had their own pantheon of gods and goddesses and their own mythology.

The first book that came out of that research was SPELL BOUND (Amazon, B&N) and it dealt with a group of 500-year-old cursed witches. Then came the Magical Seduction series, which focused on the fairy races of the Etruscans. Next up were the lucani, the Etruscan werewolves in the Lucani Lovers series.

Finally, I decided to explore the love lives of the deities in Forgotten Goddesses and what happens when deities become obsolete.

First, I had to decide which goddesses I was going to start with. That was easy. I’d start with the Goddess of Dawn because, well, dawn is the start of the new day. And I also had this idea about playing off the concept of light and dark.

And so Tessa—bright, sunny and sweet—and Caligo—dark, a little bitter and definitely not sweet—came about. They were the perfect pair and I got to play off the whole light and dark aspect.

Obviously, the next book should be the Goddess of the Moon. And Lucy, who had created the lucani, the Etruscan werewolves, needed a man strong enough to break through the walls of the goddess who had faced down Titans. Since I love hockey players and think they’re the toughest of all professional athletes, I knew exactly what Brandon would be. Or course, Brandon also has a secret that even he doesn’t know about.
Next July, readers will get to read about Amity, Goddess of Health, and her men, Remy and Rom. Yes, there are two of them. And they need her as much as she needs them.

When I’m working on a new story, I always start with character first. I have a general idea of what the plot will be but the story is always more about how the character reacts to the situation. Then I follow along with the character learning the plot as I go.

And finding out so much more about the character than I could ever hope to discover if I’d simply plotted out the book and followed a strict synopsis.

Yes, I’m a pantser and proud of it. But all that research I’ve done is always in the back of my head, weaving its way through every story.

HE'S EXACTLY WHAT SHE'S ALWAYS WANTED,
AND SHE UNLEASHES HIM LIKE A FORCE OF NATURE...

Lucy was once the beloved Goddess of the Moon, and she could have any man she wanted. But these days, the goddesses of the Etruscan pantheon are all but forgotten. The only rituals she enjoys now are the local hockey games, where one ferociously handsome player still inflames her divine blood...

Brandon Stevenson is one hundred percent focused on the game, until he looks up and sees a celestial beauty sitting in the third row. A man could surely fall hard for a distraction like that...

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-- Lynda Again
     It's always fascinating to see how other people work, isn't it?
     Stephanie's latest book is the second in her series. You can see my review of it here. Let me know what you think.

     Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Review - How To Worship A Goddess

How To Worship A Goddess
Stephanie Julian
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
December 2011

Lucy Aster, a once powerful Etruscan Goddess of the Moon, spends her time like many other mortals, cleaning clogged drains, watching hockey games, or singing in her bar. Though she still has worshippers, the Lucani who came with her to the new world several hundred years earlier, she knows they don't need her the way they once did. She feels obsolete and, worse, alone. But her passion for watching the local hockey team helps salve some of her loneliness...mainly because of one big, tough, thoroughly handsome player, Brandon Stevenson.

Brand is 35 and doesn't recuperate from the hits and injuries as quickly as he once had. He's  nearing the end of his professional hockey career with nothing to look forward to, no wife or kids, nothing to do when he hangs up his skates. The only thing that he looks forward to is a glimpse of a etherially beautiful woman who always comes to the home games. He doesn't her but he wants to. He finds her name, Lucy Aster, from the season ticket holder list but her address is fake. That doesn't stop him. He's determined to find her. When he does, Lucy poses as much a mystery as she ever did. And so do the people surrounding her.

Two thousand years ago, Lucy have a small Etruscan village the power to transform into wolves. The remnants of that village are still faithful and still worship her even though Lucy fears she no longer deserves it. She has her sons, Ty and Caeles, who pretty much run the bar but feels that she needs more. When Brandon appears in her bar, it's as if fate has brought him there. She doesn't know why she's so attracted to him but she's done fighting it.


Brand had always had a problem with keeping his temper and used his natural aggression as a tool when he's on the ice. When he walks into her bar, he's just in time to hear Lucy sing for the patrons. Her voice is as beautiful as she is and Brand is captivated. But when Lucy finishes her set and approaches him, he's at a loss. Talking to her is easier than he expected but talking isn't what either of them want. Before long, Lucy leads him upstairs to her apartment above the bar.

Neither of them realize that Charun, the God of the Underworld, is after the power that Lucy still has. He sends his demons to capture her but Brand saves her. Unfortunately that doesn't stop the demons. They take her adopted son Caeles instead. Lucy is devastated. She wants to give herself up to Charun if it will save Caeles. Brand, however, is willing to fight anyone or anything to save the woman he loves. The question is what can a mere mortal do to fight an ancient god? 

Though this is the second book of the series, it isn't necessary to read the first book to understand what's going on (you'll want to read it eventually because it's a good book too). The characters are wonderfully written, both at the 'ends' of their 'careers' and both looking for something else. Ordinarilly, I'd say that would make them too needy but not so. Lucy, even though her powers are fading, is a strong heroine, whose past leads her to take care of those who follow her. Brandon shows her that she doesn't have to be alone or take care of everyone around her. He can help her and does.

The romance between these two is hot and sensuous and the plot is full of twists and turns that keep you reading. All in all, a fine read and definitely worth a second read just to make sure you didn't miss anything the first pass through.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Guest - Karen A. Wyle

Good morning all! Today's guest is Karen A. Wyle who'll be talking about one of my very favorite genres - Science Fiction. Karen is offering a giveaway of her ebook to one lucky commenter so read on to find out how to enter the drawing.

Enjoy!

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Why I Love Reading and Writing Science Fiction

Karen A. Wyle

I'll start with a caveat. I do not always write science fiction. For many otherwise fallow years, I wrote picture book manuscripts. More recently, between my current release and the sequel (still in rough draft), I wrote what I suppose is general fiction, if a novel in that category can take place in my fanciful notion of an afterlife.

That said, I am proud to write science fiction.

I don't remember when I started reading science fiction, but I'd guess I was around ten or eleven. I have been reading it ever since. The day I met my husband, twenty-five years ago, we talked for two hours about Robert A. Heinlein and assorted other SF authors. As you might suppose, our marriage exposed me to even more of the genre.

How do I love science fiction? Let me count the ways. . . .

Science fiction explores how human beings – whether acknowledged as such, or in any of innumerable disguises – react to the unexpected. How do they – how would we – cope with the fulfillment of anything from dream to nightmare? How will the future we anticipate surprise us? How will we surprise ourselves when we confront it?

Science fiction's imaginative settings allow us to examine familiar themes and problems with a fresh eye. (Star Trek, despite its flaws, was often excellent at using the trappings of science fiction to explore issues like racism, war and peace, patriotism, gender identity, ambition, love versus career, et cetera.) I am a lawyer; I am writing a series of short stories which will eventually include legal issues raised by certain future technologies. I have long been fascinated by twins: my novel Twin-Bred features fraternal twins (carried by host mothers) belonging to different species. I have been deeply interested in parenthood since becoming a mother: I can create aliens for whom parenthood is in many ways different, and in some fundamental ways the same.

Science fiction paves the way. Its authors, often scientists themselves, extrapolate from current technology and knowledge, and make educated guesses about what we will be able to invent. Often they guess correctly. It might be easier to identify the scientific advances of the last sixty years that were not predicted in science fiction than to list those that were. By working within the constraints of scientific theory, science fiction honors those who have spent their lives helping us understand our universe (and any meta-universe which may include it).

Finally, science fiction gives the would-be builder of worlds a place to play. While fantasy does the same, science fiction imposes certain constraints – and as many a poet would testify, some constraints can actually spur creativity. At any rate, I find satisfaction in knowing that what I have imagined, or what another author lays before me, could possibly exist. Science fiction authors differ in how hard they strive to ensure that the physical features of their planets, aliens, and technologies fit within our current scientific theories (or at least, scientific hypotheses held by at least one adventurous scientist out there). No scientist myself, I still try fairly hard. I use my husband, whose scientific knowledge runs broad and deep, as my technical adviser – but if I really want to make the sky green, or put multiple sails on the sailboat, or whatever, and he is skeptical, I just keep researching until (with luck) I find some more or less plausible basis to do so. On the other hand, unlike historical fiction, where the possibility of error lurks behind every detail, the amount of research need not be too intimidating.

I'd love to see comments about what visitors to this blog like most about science fiction -- or about any problems they have with the genre.
                                                                       * * *
Karen A. Wyle was born a Connecticut Yankee, but eventually settled in BloomingtonIndiana, home ofIndiana University.  She now considers herself a Hoosier. Wyle's childhood ambition was to be the youngest ever published novelist.  While writing her first novel at age 10, she was mortified to learn that some British upstart had beaten her to the goal at age 9. 

Wyle is an appellate attorney, photographer, political junkie, and mother of two daughters. Her voice is the product of almost five decades of reading both literary and genre fiction.  It is no doubt also influenced, although she hopes not fatally tainted, by her years of law practice.  Her personal history has led her to focus on often-intertwined themes of family, communication, the impossibility of controlling events, and the persistence of unfinished business.

Links for Karen A. Wyle

Website and Social Media:

Author website:  http://www.KarenAWyle.net

Author Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/KarenAWyle



Blog (Looking Around):  http://looking-around.blogspot.com

  

Can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb?  After seventy years on Tofarn, the human colonists and the native Tofa still know very little about each other.  Misunderstanding breed conflict, and the conflicts are escalating.  Scientist Mara Cadell’s radical proposal: that host mothers of either species carry fraternal twins, human and Tofa, in the hope that the bond between twins can bridge the gap between species.  Mara lost her own twin, Levi, in utero, but she has secretly kept him alive in her mind as companion and collaborator.

Mara succeeds in obtaining governmental backing for her project – but both the human and Tofa establishments have their own agendas.  Mara must shepherd the Twin-Bred through dangers she anticipated and others that even the canny Levi could not foresee.  Will the Twin-Bred bring peace, war, or something else entirely?

Excerpt Twin-Bred

[Context: The human colony on Tofarn and the indigenous Tofa have great difficulty communicating with and basically comprehending each other. Scientist Mara Cadell is running a project where host mothers carry twins, one human and one Tofa, in the hope that the bond between twins can bridge the gap between species. Alan Kimball, a member of the governing human Council, is hostile to the Tofa and has inserted agents into the project.]

Tilda looked at her twins, cuddled close together in the crib. Mat-set had all four arms wrapped around Suzie. They seemed to cuddle any chance they got. Maybe they were glad to be free of separate amniotic sacs.
She looked down at Mat-set and remembered the rumors of Tofa with five arms instead of four. She had even seen pictures, but who knew whether they were authentic. Certainly none of the Tofa Twin-Bred babies had been born with extra limbs.
Tilda glanced over at the big dormitory clock and then back down at the babies. She gasped and staggered a step back. Mat-set was still holding Suzie with four arms. So how was he scratching his head with another one?
Tilda looked around wildly for a chair, found one blessedly nearby, and sank down on it. She pinched herself. Nothing changed. Well, who said you couldn’t pinch yourself in a dream and keep on dreaming?
She got up and walked, a bit unsteadily, to the intercom and buzzed for a nurse. Then she went back to the crib. Of course. Four arms, only four, and what was she going to do now?
She decided to be brave and sensible. If she had really seen it, the staff had to know. And if she hadn’t, and she didn’t wake up, then she was ill, and she should get the help she needed.



The chief nurse tucked Tilda in and watched her drift off to sleep, sedative patch in place. Then she went back to her station and called up the monitor footage on Tilda’s twins.
Well, well.



* CONFIDENTIAL *
CLEARANCE CLASS 3 AND ABOVE

LEVI Status Report, 12-15-71
Executive Summary

Anatomical Developments

Observation of the Tofa infants has shed some light on the longstanding question of whether the number of Tofa upper appendages is variable among the Tofa population. The thickest of the four armlike appendages is apparently capable of dividing when an additional upper appendage is desired. . . .



Councilman Kimball bookmarked the spot in his agent's report and opened his mail program. He owed an apology to the young man who had claimed his poor showing against a Tofa undesirable was due to the sudden appearance of an extra appendage. Apparently the man had been neither dishonest nor drunk.
After discharging that obligation, Kimball made a note to seek further details as to the divided arms' placement, reach, and muscular potential. His people needed adequate information to prepare them for future confrontations. After all, forewarned — he laughed out loud at the thought — was forearmed.


Purchase Links for Twin-Bred:


Amazon (POD): 

Nook Store: 

Smashwords (various ebook formats):  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94490

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-- Lynda Again
    Wow! Talk about an intriguing premise and excerpt! As I said earlier, Karen is offering a free copy of Twin-Bred in any format the winner wants to one lucky commenter. So leave a comment WITH your email addy so she can contact you by Friday, Dec 16. Good luck!

     Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Guest - Sidney Ayers

Good morning all! I hope your Christmas plans are coming along nicely. If not, remember the reason for the season isn't the gifting or grand parties. Your family and friends will love you just as much if you don't become frazzled ;-)

Now on to our guest, author Sidney Ayers, who'll be talking about how she handles the writers life. Enjoy!

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I think I’m kind of lucky when it comes to my writing life. I’m single and I don’t have any kids, but I do have five nieces and nephews that give me my kid fix. My family knows that writing is my life and job. They’re some of the most supportive people I know. It’s give and take, though. Sometimes my family needs me, yet they know that I need alone time too. It’s  an understandable  balance, I guess.

My routines had been  varied. Sometimes I wrote in the morning, sometimes at night. Whenever my muse struck, I try and accommodate him or her. I have more than one muse, and that, in and of itself, can make things difficult. Unfortunately, that is a topic for another blog. Sometimes, this varied schedule caused issues. I found myself forcing myself to write when my brain was ready to go vegetate.  All I ended up with was a huge migraine that even Excedrin couldn’t touch.

What I’ve done is set up an actual schedule. I’ve allotted a set amount of time for writing, editing, lunch, and of course free time. This allows me to be accountable and on schedule. I’ve discovered that setting aside a particular amount of hours a day for writing works better than  chaining myself to the keyboard until I write a set amount of words a day.  I post the schedule where everyone can see. That way, my family knows when  I’m working and when  have free time. I’m on a steep deadline right now, so they all know how important my writing time is. I know it may seem kind of tacky, but it works for me and my family. It keeps me productive and the tensions considerably lower. Of course, if there’s an emergency, I will find a way to work around the schedule.  Family should always come first, after all.

How do you as writers and or working parents balance your careers and family?


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-- Lynda Again
    It's always interesting to see how some writers allocate time between their writing and their family. Thanks Sidney for sharing your routine.
    I've posted a review of Sidney's latest book, Demons Like It Hot, that you may be interested in. To see it, click here.

    Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Review - Demons Like It Hot

Demons Like It Hot
Sidney Ayers
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
December, 2011


Serah SanGermano, a successful caterer, accidentally helped her friend unleash a legion of demons (Book 1 – Demons Prefer Blondes). Since then, her life has become a bit out of kilter in and outside her kitchen. Trying to cope with supernatural skills that are more nuisance than anything else have interfered with Serah's normal, mundane life. She doesn't want anyone to know about these skills. What she wants to do is focus on her try out for a cooking reality show. That's hard to do when her focus shifts to include a demon bodyguard, but one look at the 'Rambo-esque' hunk has all her burners set to high.

Matthias Ambrose remembers what it felt like to lose the ones he loved and he doesn't want to suffer through that agony again. But one look at Serah and his emotional walls start to crumble. He doesn't want to be responsible for her safety but he's not willing to let anyone else take on the job either. But as he discovers what the evil Infernati are planning and the dire threat they pose to mankind, he has to risk letting Serah know his darkest secret so he can protect her and the world.

While Demons Like It Hot was slow in the first half of the book, the increasing action in the second helped the pacing quite a bit. Most of the time the dialogue was deft and witty but the characters had the irritating tendency to utter 'Whatever' far more often than I prefer. While that may not bother other readers, it bothered me because it seemed like a cop-out, a way the characters could stall the emotional action. One other thing bothered me and this may be related to the 'whatever' problem. The main characters seemed less well developed in this book than they did in the first book of the series. In fact, some of the secondary characters were more well rounded. 

That said, though, Demons Like It Hot has an imaginative premise that many readers will find interesting and entertaining. Because it is the sequel to Demons Prefer Blondes, some readers may find reading the first book helpful before tackling the second book. 

Monday, December 05, 2011

Guest - Dr. Debra Holland

Good morning all! Today's guest is Dr. Debra Holland, who has given us a wonderful tribute for Andre Norton (one of my all time favorite authors). Enjoy!

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REMEMBERING ANDRE NORTON 
GRAND DAME OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY

I first read Andre Norton’s book, Star Man’s Son, in seventh grade because it was in our classroom library. From that book, I fell in love with science fiction and fantasy. Star Man’s son was a futuristic dystopian story, (although it was missing a romance.) I then went to the public library and started checking out every book they had by Andre, probably about ten of them.

When I went to high school, I was pleased to discover the school library had several more of Andre’s books that I hadn’t read. While sitting at a table with a bunch of other students, I had one of her books in front of me. One of the boys mentioned that Andre Norton was a woman, which surprised me (although I pretended to already know.) Later, I found that her real name was Mary Alice. In my opinion, Andre was a much more dashing name.

As the years went by, I continued to read her books, amassing quite a collection by buying them secondhand at garage sales, used bookstores, and library sales. I own most of her 100 plus books, most of them tattered, much-read paperbacks. Since discovering the books of Andre Norton, I read all the science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romance tales I could get my hands on.  As you can imagine, my house is overflowing with books.

When I wanted to write fantasy, I queried Andre with a short story to go in her Witch World Anthology. She wrote me back that she no longer did the anthology. But that letter was more than a brief statement. It was a real letter, letting me know some of what was happening in her life.

So I replied to the letter, asking questions and telling her a bit about myself. She responded. Thus began a correspondence that lasted the last couple of years of her life. When I made that fantasy story into a book, Sower of Dreams, she read it, made some suggestions, and endorsed it—probably one of the last endorsements she gave before she died.

I wasn’t the only fan Andre wrote to. Apparently, she had a big group of fans and writers she wrote corresponded with. She wasn’t really writing books anymore when I knew her, although she did mention one she sometimes toyed with, but it wasn’t coming together. So her correspondence was where she seemed to channel her writing energy.

The world has come a long way since Mary Alice Norton had to take on the name of a man to sell her science fiction and fantasy. She started writing during a time that science fiction and fantasy was perceived as a mostly male genre. Male authors wrote for male readers. Even coming on the writing scene much later, J.K. Rowling also had to mask the fact that she was a female author, although the truth about her gender came out early on.

I don’t think the women who publish today are asked to change their name to something more masculine. We are lucky. Women like Mary Alice and Joanne Kathleen and all the terrific female fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal romance authors have burst open the gates of what people—both men and women, boys and girls—will read.

What’s that saying about standing on the shoulders of giants?

Most female authors take for granted their freedom to choose the name under which they write, whether real or a pen name. Those of us who started writing and publishing in the last ten years owe a debt of gratitude to who've gone before--the giants whose shoulders we stand on, the women who opened the doors. Some of those women we still have with us, and I’m so very thankful that I can look forward to reading more of their books. Others like Andre (and the recently deceased Anne McCaffery) have passed on, leaving a legacy that I’m also so very grateful to have.

So during this busy holiday season—a time of gratitude—take a few moments to appreciate what we writers have today and give thanks to those who’ve gone before us.



Sower of Dreams
A kingdom invaded.
A warrior princess on the run for her life.
A hero from another world.
And evil god who wants their souls.

Can they join forces to defeat the evil one and win freedom for their people?






Buy It Now
http://amzn.com/B005FA30V6
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/78076



Debra Holland is a three-time Golden Heart finalist and one time winner. She has self-published her Golden Heart winner, Wild Montana Sky, a sweet, historical Western romance, and its sequel, Starry Montana Sky, as ebooks and had almost 30,000 sales in her first six months. She has also self-published the first two books in her fantasy romance trilogy, Sower of Dreams and Reaper of Dreams.




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-- Lynda Again
    What a great tribute to Andre Norton! I'm sure we all have personal favorites, authors who've touched something inside us that has stayed with us all our lives. For me, it was Andre Norton, Isaac Asimove and Anne McCaffrey...all of them are now gone but, for many of us, they will never be forgotten.
    Do you have an author like that? One who has been a personal favorite or unofficial mentor for years? 

    Have a Blessed Day!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Guest - Paulette Forshey

Good morning all! Bonus! We have the talented and lovely J. Paulette Forshey visiting us today and she's talking about naming characters. Paulette is also offering a giveaway...read on to find out how to enter her drawing.

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Character and Name Building

Choose your characters and their names wisely for the time period you're writing. A gum chewing valley girl named Muffy in a bustier and stilettos isn't going to be dating Henry the VIII. I'm pretty sure there weren’t any Tiffany's and Buffy's, in the 1600s, but plenty in 1990s. And warrior or knight, unless it's a comedy, wouldn't say "for sure dude" when addressing a king in the 14th century.

How do you form and name your characters? Do you start with a name and build your character from there? If so how do you come up with the name, see it, hear it, or make one up? Or do you have a person in mind then come up with the name?

I've use all three methods at different times trying to get the "feel" for a certain character. One time, after naming a villain and trying to insert him into the plot, I found that no matter what I wrote it just wasn't working. The more I wrote the worse it became, to the point I nearly scrapped the entire project. Thank goodness we have to sleep, that's when the answer came to me, or in this case, the individual showed up and introduced himself. He explained to me he was my hero's best friend, not the villain. Then Nairn St. Clair (from "The Tarczal Alliance") gave me the physical description and the name of the murderer in my book.

A physical handicap or war wound might give you a nick name for an individual in your novel, like One-eyed Pete, or Lefty. How many red-haired men and women have the nick name of "Red"? I have a hero that because of his blond-white hair, plus his last name being Cynewulf, gave me the nick name of the "The Pale Wolf" for him.

Use family genealogy to help you out. I had a paternal grandfather named Armistead Roseberry Carter who owned a meat market. A sales person who came once a month to his store, and couldn't for the life of him remember Granddad's name, started calling Granddad "Frank", and it stuck for years afterwards. Grandmother Cater went by the name of Daisy, a nick name her father called her, because she was as bright and sunny as a daisy in spring.  Her actual name was Lennabelle. So shake that family tree and root out names for the people in your novel.

If your characters won't help you by showing up in a dream try bouncing around ideas with your critique or writing groups. If all those can't assist you there are sites to help name that elusive hero's or heroines. Here are a few: Vampire Name Generator - http://www.emmadavies.net/vampire/? or Fantasy Name Generator - http://fantasy-name-generator.com/ or Character Name Generator - 


My favorite character name is from my friend and author Lisa Cooke's book "Texas Hold Him" her hero's name was Obediah (Dyer) Straights.

To the person who sends me the funniest or most interesting character name you've ever come across, I'll give them a copy of my e-book "33 Days Til Christmas" due out Dec. 09, 2011 and an angel wing necklace. Don't forget to include your email addy in your comment!




33 Days Til Christmas


Gabriel lie on his back and dipped his chin to look at the bundle he held tight to his chest. Pansies. Big. Spring. Purple pansies, was his first thought. He’d never seen eyes that shade on a person. Her skin, almost translucent, made the dots of pink from the cold on her cheeks stand out like paint on a doll’s face. A red and green knit cap adorned hair as black and shiny as a crow’s wing, hair that swooped forward to brush and tickle his nose.

“Sir, are you okay?” said the bundle that wiggled against him stirring things down below that shouldn’t be stirring. After all, he was an angel, and angels weren’t supposed to have stirrings.



  






My other books: "The Tarczal Alliance" a paranormal romance,  





"Chances Taken" a contemporary romance both with Whispers Publishing, and "Cat and the Wizard" with Smashwords.








I'm working on a horror short "The Estate" due out in July 2012 from Whispers, and the next in my Tarczal series titled "The Archway". 

Bio: Paulette lives in a small Ohio town with her husband, a Basset Hound, and a Jack Russell who thinks she owns the place. Her mornings belong to her writing, her days are spent loving her five grandbabies, and her nights belong to her husband, the inspiration for her heroes. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Central Ohio Fiction Writers, Southeastern Ohio Novel Writing Group, Northeast Ohio Romance Writers of America, and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter of RWA. She also writes under the name of Genevieve Delacroix.

My web site: www.jpauletteforshey.com
Email: lvkkincaid7@yahoo.com
FaceBook:  paulette.forshey@facebook.com
Twitter: @ForsheyJ



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-- Lynda Again
    Thanks for a great post, Paulette! And good luck to all who enter her drawing. I'm waiting to see what funny or unusual names come up ;-)

Have a Blessed Day!