Monday, June 18, 2012

Guest - Mona Karel

Good morning all! We have guest Mona Karel visiting us today with an interesting perspective on writing. Enjoy!


Do NOT Get Between Me and My Book
Mona Karel

            I recently took a break from writing to vacation in one of my “other worlds,” spending a week at a large gathering of my favorite breed of dog.  This included five days driving to and from, and no real time (or inclination actually) to write.

            A brief rest after arriving home, and I was ready to tackle that work in progress. I opened my e-mail to a message from someone I’ve know for decades, dredging up past slights and bizarre accusations.  I know this person isn’t the most balanced of my acquaintances, and thought I could shrug off her rants.  In fact I thought I had.  Instead I stewed over the memories she dug up out of my past, and examined every one of her accusations for truth.  And...I didn’t write.

            Obviously I was more tired from the trip than I realized.  It took two full days to realize I had allowed her the power to come between me and my book.  For years I fought my job, my life, and myself to put writing first.  Lo and behold, first chance I had, I let this nonsense take over one of the most important components of my life.

            Maybe all writers aren’t intrinsically insecure. I’ve met many, long term and new, published or unpublished, who believe completely in themselves and their words.  Naturally I measured myself against them, and found myself just not quite up to their strength. Foolish, yes, but knowing myself has become the first step toward making myself a better person, and writer. I’m not them, I’m me.  No worse, no better.

            If you managed to stay with me throughout this whine, then may I offer this bit of advice.  Do NOT let anyone, including yourself, get between you and your book.  We want to write well but we need to write often and the rest will come along as we allow ourselves to be the writers we are meant to be.  I will now stumble off my soapbox and get back to writing, after I introduce you briefly to Bethany Acton, a writer of all things, who is a main character in my most recent book, Teach Me To Forget.  Bethany never suffers from writer’s block–hey, we can all dream!

Teach Me To Forget

Her past was behind her...or so she’d thought.

Bethany Acton has come a long way from the day she was an abused child-bride of a dissolute jet setter. Now divorced and single, she writes for a lifestyles magazine, lives out of her motor home, and answers only to her boss—when he can find her. She has overcome her horrendous past and taken control of her own life. But when Jonathan Merritt, a rising star in wildlife photography, enters her world, she learns that control is a tenuous thing.

His past was despicable, but it hasn’t affected his future...until now.

Jonathan knows he has met the woman with whom he wants to spend his future, but first he must admit his role in her past. Afraid the truth will turn her against him, he tries to gain her trust and affection before confessing. But the longer he hesitates, the harder it becomes to tell her. Can Jonathan gain enough of her love and trust for her to forgive what he did—or will his past indiscretions destroy his only chance for happiness?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Guest - A.S. Fenichel

Good morning all! Today's guest is A.S. Fenichel, who has given us an inspiring post on...inspiration. A.S. also has a giveaway so make sure you read on to get the details.


To Muse or not to Muse… Where do writers find inspiration?

I want to thank you for having me here today. I’m so excited, that I’ve decided to give away an Ebook copy of Mayan Craving, but we’ll talk about that a little later.

Since having my first book, Mayan Afterglow published last year, I find people ask me two questions quite often. Some ask, “Will you write my story?” This is tricky. I answer, “The book will never be as good told third party. You should really write your own story.” The other questions I hear are, “where do the stories come from? What inspires you?”  The simple answer is, “Everywhere and almost everything.”

Of course that is only a half-truth. Some writers actually have a muse. They must be in love or be tormented by love, in order to write. I would not consider my husband, a thirty-year veteran police officer, my muse. I’m sure he’s happy to hear that. However, I would say that being in a stable relationship makes my writing life easier.

Now you are probably thinking, just answer the question already.

The thing is, for me, there is no simple answer. Every story has its own trigger. In each case, once the trigger is pulled, it has to marinate in my brain for a while. I tuck it away where it won’t be disturbed by the day to day grind. It does not require nurturing. In fact, it’s better if I just ignore it until it becomes a plot, character or scene. Once that happens, it has to nag at me like a petulant child before I’ll pay it any mind.

For example, Mayan Afterglow started as a dream about a thief in a castle. The thief is skulking around filling his bag with treasure when a bolt of lightning appears in the dining room. Within the bolt he sees a man kissing a woman but soon realizes that what appears to be a kiss is actually the life being sucked out of the woman. I didn’t have any idea what I would do with the very interesting snapshot I was left with on that particular night, until I read a call for entries looking for stories about the End of Days. Suddenly, that thief pushed to the front of my mind. He was no longer in a castle. He was raiding abandoned homes in Lake George, New York. The rest of the story tumbled forward in a rush of information. Ellora’s Cave Publishing released Mayan Afterglow in July 2011.

Asher Dove started out as a character that I created to facilitate movement in Mayan Afterglow. Once the book was finished, Asher wouldn’t go away. He was quirky, funny and admirable in so many ways. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that Asher’s story needed to be told. Again, that nugget was tucked away in the back of my hyperactive imagination for about a month. One day I could see Asher flying his Cessna airplane in search of the woman of his dreams and Mayan Craving was born. My wonderful publisher, Ellora’s Cave released Mayan Craving in May 2012.

About a year ago the first scene for a new book popped into my mind. I had scratched my hand on a piece of wire while working in the yard. It got me thinking about a character in a historical novel I was reading at the time. She would have been wearing gloves and not risked injury to her delicate hands. I pictured her in the nineteenth century sneaking into a garden in the middle of the night. Her very stylish evening dress had three inches of mud caked on the bottom and her hair had fallen from its elegant coif. She closed the iron gate and lamented a tear in her favorite gloves. It was all so delicious that I wrote the scene down. I added to it from time to time over the next twelve months, having little idea where this snippet would go or if would ever turn into a book.  A few weeks ago I was doing my daily walk, six miles of hilly, country road, and it hit me. Suddenly, I knew who Belinda was, I knew where she’d been and I knew the man waiting for her on the verandah was her fiancĂ©. Once I had all of that backstory, a plot as unconventional as Belinda spilled forth. A few days later, on another long walk, I realized that this was only the beginning of a very long complicated series of books. I admit I was a little scared at this point but I’ve been hard at work.  This story is not yet published.

Coming back to the original question:  Where do the stories come from? I guess my answer is, I don’t really know. Sometimes it’s dreams and sometimes a torn glove. Lightning can strike walking down a country road or sitting in a fancy restaurant eavesdropping on the table next to you while a woman gives her husband a scolding. The point is that inspiration is all around us, so keep an open mind.

Book Giveaway:
As I said at the beginning, I’m so happy to be here, I’d love to give someone an electronic copy of Mayan Craving. All you have to do is comment on this post and drop me a quick email at with your email address in the text. I will do a drawing for the winner in a few days and post the winner here. It’s just that easy! Good luck!!

Here’s the blurb from Mayan Craving, my latest release and you can read more at my website

Surviving the End of Days was only the beginning of the journey for Nancy. After years of searching, she’s finally found her missing sister, but when she attempts to rescue Robyn, she enters her worst nightmare. Captured by demons and about to be sacrificed, Asher is her unexpected hero. Asher’s kindness and bravery arouse her lust, and leave her wanting much more than just his friendship.

Asher has been in love with Nancy since he first laid eyes on her, but her infatuation with another man always left him standing in the background. Her sudden craving for him couldn’t turn him on more. He can’t help finding rapture with Nancy, but the attraction could only be fleeting.

While danger and passion pull them together, doubt may rip them apart. They’ll need more than a carnal connection if they’re to survive.

Don’t forget Mayan Craving is available in electronic formats at
You will also find it on Amazon

About the Author:
A.S. Fenichel adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story. Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey. She now lives in the southwest with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When she is not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history and puttering in her garden.
A.S. loves to hear from readers. Here’s how you can reach her.

-- Lynda Again,

   Great post, A.S! And your books sound fantastic. Thanks for being with us.

    Hope you all have a Blessed Day!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review - Where There's Smoke

Where There's Smoke
Karen Kelley
May 2012

Destiny Carter, wannabe demon, is in Ft Worth and she has a week to convince someone to give up their soul and return to Hell with her. It shouldn't be hard. She has some demonic skills and, honestly, who wouldn't want to face eternity in Hell? Once you made it to full demon, you could do anything…like drinking and gambling and SEX. That was the one thing she missed most after she'd died, the sex. Her life had been crappy, at the best, but she'd always managed to have good sex. She missed that.

When she sees the tall, handsome cowboy sipping beer at the Stompin' Ground Bar, she knows who she wants to take back to Hell with her. She's sure that once he becomes a full demon, they could have a hot time in Hell for all eternity.

Chance Bellew, a nephilim, is on a mission. He knows that demons lie when they recruit souls to Hell and he wants to save Destiny. Something about her tells him that she doesn't deserve the hell they don't tell their recruits about--an eternity of hellfire until nothing human is left. And though she's doing her best to seduce him, his methods keep him from having sex with those he's trying to save.

He doesn't count on the hot-as-hell attraction between him and Destiny though. And things get hot in a hurry.  The chemistry between Chance and Destiny practically ignites the pages as we watch him try to seduce her to heaven while she tries to seduce him to hell. Added to the fire is that Destiny is falling in love with Chance. But after a life filled with pain and broken promises, can she trust him with her heart?

This story may be about saving souls but it's definitely erotica and very HOT. I liked the fact that Destiny is a straight forward person who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to say it. And Chance? Who doesn't love a cowboy? And one who's part angel? Impossible to resist this very drool-worthy cowboy. The fact that he tries to resist Destiny makes him even more of a hottie. I have to admit, the scenes where he describes what he wants to do to her…you need a tall glass of ice water. Maybe a bucket. Or three.

Yes, it's that hot.

I even loved the secondary characters, Destiny's neighbors, who unknowingly help restore Destiny's faith in humanity. Then there's Chance's fellow nephilim. Three more part-angel cowboys who are hot as fire. I hope they get their own stories told too.

If you like forbidden love stories, especially the hotter kind, you'll love Where There's Smoke. Definitely a great summer read!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Guest - Shannon Donnelly

Good morning everyone! Today's guest is Shannon Donnelly. Shannon's writing has won numerous awards, including a RITA nomination for Best Regency, the Grand Prize in the "Minute Maid Sensational Romance Writer" contest, judged by Nora Roberts, RWA's Golden Heart, and others. Her writing has repeatedly earned 4½ Star Top Pick reviews from Romantic Times magazine, as well as praise from Booklist and other reviewers, who note: "simply superb"..."wonderfully uplifting"....and "beautifully written."
Her latest Regency Historical Romance, Paths of Desire, can be found as an ebooks, along with her Regency romances. Shannon is a regular speaker at writing conferences, and will be speaking at the 2012 RWA  National conference in Anaheim. She gives online workshops and is the author of Story Telling; Story Showing, an ebook that compliments her popular online class Show and Tell: An Interactive Workshop. She can be found online at,, and

Shannon is offering ebook giveaways of her Paths of Desire to two lucky commenters (please include your email address so she can contact you)



I’ve been watching a lot of movies about family lately, and some about family which don’t really seem to be about family, but really are. As in The Avengers, which is all about family.

What!—you say. But that’s an action movie! Yes, it is. However, at its heart, it’s all about family. My favorite kind of family, in fact—the kind that bickers, fights, argues, tears itself apart, but which bonds together against any outside threat. (That was also me and my brother when we were growing up, which is probably why I’m so fond of that kind of family.) Critics have already noted the dysfunctional side of The Avengers—and other Joss Whedon shows, which is why I love Joss. I relate to dysfunctional. That also makes for the best kinds of stories.

Family, in a novel, gives you some of the best conflict and story ever. When in doubt, bring in the family. Any romance writer knows this. And readers love it, too. Yes, there are a lot of “orphan” stories out there, but you’ll notice the orphan doesn’t stay on her own for long. Soon, the family of choice shows up. That’s the great thing about family—they don’t have to be tied to you by blood. They can be tied by preference, circumstance, or just because you happen to see the world from a similar outsider view. I’ve used that trick in most of my books, including the latest, Paths of Desire, where family turns up when you least want them and where they are most annoying. And the heroine ends up making a family of misfits like herself—because we all need family. We need to share our world.

Readers and writers are all family—we bicker, fight, tear at each other. But we’re also bonded. We love our books, our stories—we love talking about them, pushing the best ones onto each other, gasping when other readers don’t love our favorites with the same insane passion. We bond over books. We’re every bit as dysfunctional as The Avengers—well, maybe not quite that super-powered, but close (including the costumes hanging in the closets). That shared love is one of the great joys of life—and all writers are readers. Books bond us. We love words and stories and characters. We read because life would be flat and unbearable without that escape. Stories make sense of our lives. And that’s why we write—because we want to share even more and so we dive into the deep end on things.

So—authors, next time you bash readers for not “getting” your story, stop and remember, that’s your brother and sister out there (yes, I know, you bash them, too, but do so with love). And, readers, next time you’re about to savage a book with harsh criticism, remember, that’s your sister in words who wrote that, and your brother, so put in some humor and respect—okay, maybe you don’t use that with blood kin, either, but this is your ink kin we’re talking about. Go ahead and hit hard—then, like that great fight scene in The Avengers, after knocking each other around, offer a hand up and know that while you may come to blows occasionally (just to test each other and prove who really can dish it out), we’re all a family of readers out here.  You may not like everyone in your family, but they understand you like no one else in this world.


The newest Regency Historical from award-winning author and RWA RITA-nominee, Shannon Donnelly.

She wants a rich lord for a husband—she won’t end like her mother, abandoned and broken.

He wants to prove to his friend she’s the wrong woman—he knows too well the pain of a bad marriage.

The last thing either wants is to fall in love, but when desire leads to a passion that won’t be denied, how can the heart do anything but follow?


                Leaning forward, he cupped her face and kissed her, hard and deep. She held still under his touch, but her lips parted, her tongue met his. Her hand stole up to clutch at his coat collar. He moved his hand from her face to her breast. Kissed her until he had no breath. He pulled away while he still could and leaned his forehead against hers, breath mingling in matching ragged gasps.
                “I don’t know what you do to me—I’ve not looked at any woman in months. Not had one for longer. I’d convinced myself I’d had no need for this.”
                “I’m not doing anything!”
                “You are—just by existing. I’d forgotten the joy of bringing a woman pleasure. I’d forgotten too much.”
                She turned away and pulled her cloak tight. “I’m not looking for pleasure—I’m looking for a husband.” He gave a laugh, and she turned to him. “You wouldn’t laugh at a lady who said as much—and you wouldn’t handle a lady as you have me!”
                “No—thank merciful heaven for that. But I want more than to touch you.”
                “Go away—and stay away!’re a distraction! An arrogant, conceited distraction. And—”
                He caught her wrist. “Don’t lie to me. Don’t lie to yourself. This doesn’t end here between us.”

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Great Escapes - Valentine's Day

Oh wow!

Great Escapes - Valentine's Day is now available on a Kindle Fire and Android applications!

I'm sure Nook isn't far behind!

Isn't that cool? LOL

Have a great weekend, everyone!