Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Review - Enchanting The Lady


Enchanting The Lady
Kathryne Kelley
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
August 2012

Enchanting The Lady is another fresh paranormal take on Regency England. In it, magic is the keystone of English aristocracy. Without it, you're a commoner and have no place in society. Interestingly, the amount of magic controlled determines the user's aristocratic ranking with the Royals having the most power and Baronets having the least…which makes sense since the Baronets are shapeshifters who have no real magical power. Baronets are immune to magic and work for the Prince as spies and guards.

Sir Terrance Blackwell is one such man. He guards the Prince against those who might use relic magic, one of the enchanted objects created by Merlin himself. Relic magic is the only thing that can defeat the Royals and must be found and destroyed. Sir Terrance accompanies Prince Albert to a Testing after scenting relic magic close by. What he finds there is a beautiful young debutante, Duchess-of-Honor Stonehaven Felicity Seymour who is about to undergo her Testing.

Unfortunately, Lady Felicity knows she has no magical ability. Oh, sometimes she feels bits and pieces of it, but it rarely comes to her call. She valiantly tries to summon the power for even the lowest rank but fails. She is stripped off all titles and lands and then discovers that not only does she not have a title to draw suitors to her, she also does not have a dowry. Since she is convinced she is totally without beauty, she is understandably devastated by the realization that she will never marry and never have children.

Then, at her come out ball after the testing, she meets Sir Terrance. His open admiration of her and his apparent intent of courting her is astonishing. And thrilling. Sir Terrance is the most handsome and charming man she's ever met and he quite takes her breath away.

But Terrance's courtship is a charade. He wants to find that relic-magic that he can scent around her. If she's using it, though he can't imagine why, he plans on destroying her.  Because as much as he knows that those who use relic-magic are dangerous to the Royals and the kingdom, a sweet ingĂ©nue like Lady Felicity is dangerous to his good sense and his heart.

As the two fall in love, Terrance continues his pursuit of the evil object while attempting to protect Felicity from odd magical attacks. Will he find the relic in time to save Felicity? Or will it destroy both him and the woman he loves?

I have to point out that Enchanting The Lady is a re-print but it is a fabulous books and a delightful read. If you like Regency historical romance and paranormal romance, you'll love this original and fresh take. I highly recommend it.

Guest - Jessica Aspen


Good morning! Today's guest, Jessica Aspen, has some great hints for twisting our familiar fairy tales around.  Fascinating reading!

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How to Twist a Tale
by Jessica Aspen

What do fairy tales, romance and werewolves have in common? A writer’s imagination.

Inspiration comes in many forms and I find my inspiration in fairy tales…with a twist. Since I was small I’ve loved fairy tales. And I’ve read many versions of both traditional and twisted tales. When you read them over and over you come to recognize their universal themes that appear not just in children’s books, but also in many books that are not fairy tales at all. But how does this happen? How do you take a story, like Little Red Riding Hood, and make it into something so different that, when readers pick it up, it resonates in their hearts with the traditional elements, but also contains something surprising.

You add the unexpected.

I’d twisted fairy tales before, but when a contest came up for Red Hot Fairy Tales, the one that stuck in my brain was Little Red Riding Hood. And since I love paranormal werewolves seemed a natural fit. That’s how Little Red Riding Wolf was born. And of course, since all paranormals need strong women, Red isn’t a little girl. She’s all woman, and she’s the werewolf.

But what about other tales? How do authors twist and turn old tales into something special, something different, something new? I think when we look at Snow White and the last year’s many twists we can see that the basics of a fairy tale lurk within the new stories, and as long as an author keeps some recognizable pieces, there are unlimited ways they can go. One of my favorites twists this year has been Once Upon a Time.  The TV show on ABC features Snow White as its underlying theme. Sure it uses other fairy tales, but the main characters from the original tales that show up the most are Snow, Charming and the Evil Queen. Now the twist.

The show’s plot is based on what happens after the HEA (Happily Ever After), ie. the happy couple’s baby is the only one who will be able to negate the oncoming curse. Once you twist the end result, it’s easy to go back and twist the back story. In fact, it is required. Why? Because, if you read the original fairy tale, the Evil Queen is danced to death in red hot iron shoes. In other words, she’s dead. So that needs to be remedied. And while you’re at it, why not make Snow a strong heroine who rescues the Prince. Have the dwarves be criminals. The Prince a commoner. Why stop?

Take Snow White, same basic story of a dysfunctional family with no dad and an evil stepmother, move it into the Colorado Rockies and add werewolves. That’s how I wrote my next book, Snow and the Seventh Wolf. Keep the commonalities and change the setting. Change the ending. Change the beginning. And while you are twisting the plot, don’t forget to hang on to something of the original story to make us feel the theme. Apples. The number seven. Innocence wronged.

With movies such as Julia Roberts, Mirror Mirror, and Snow White and the Huntsman, we see yet more ways to twist the classic tale, Snow White. Even the Three Stooges have a version, nuk, nuk, nuk! How many ways are there to twist a classic? As many as there are stars in the sky. Good thing, because I love fairy tales and I’ll be twisting them until they all have happy endings.


Come into the woods with Little Red Riding Wolf, Jessica Aspen’s spicy paranormal novella from Passion in Print Press. What if Little Red Riding Hood was a werewolf and a sexy forest ranger wandered into her woods?

Fraternizing with humans is taboo, but when feisty werewolf Red runs into hunky new forest ranger Evan Brewster, she jumps on the opportunity to let loose her desires. Evan is stoked when he meets the petite red haired hottie, and combined with his new discovery of wolves in Colorado, thinks his career and life are made. Then Red pushes him away, her hostile brother threatens his life, and things begin to spiral out of control. Caught between her sexy lover and her pack can Red trust Evan with her secrets, or must she sacrifice her human lover and her heart?

Discover an excerpt of Little Red Riding Wolf at Passion In Print Press HERE, or buy at Amazon HERE or Barnes and Noble HERE.
And coming in 2013, discover the second novella in the Twisted Tales: Come into the Woods series: Snow and the Seventh Wolf. Deep in the woods can Snow’s only hope really be a werewolf who thinks she’s the enemy?

Fleeing a murder attempt, Snow runs deep into the woods and straight into the arms of a mysterious dark stranger. Exiled werewolf Seth knows he should turn his back on the human, but he’s unable to resist the delicious temptation of Snow. Can Seth overcome his prejudices in time to save Snow from death at the hands of her evil stepmother?

BIO: Jessica Aspen writes paranormal romance near the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. Her books are full of elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. She loves dark chocolate, walking the dog, hiking and is obsessed with her new lap-top. Jessica is also obsessed with writing and learning about writing. She is a member of RWA, CRW, FF&P and PRO. You can find Jessica at http://jessicaaspen.com

Follow Jessica on twitter @jessicaaspen and on Facebook.com/Jessica.Aspen

Discover Little Red Riding Wolf at Passion In Print Press HERE, or Amazon HERE or Barnes and Noble HERE.
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-- Lynda Again,
    Thanks, Jessica, for sharing these helpful hints with us. 
   
     Have a Blessed Day, everyone!





Monday, August 27, 2012

Guest - Resa Nelson

Good morning! Here's a terrific and thought provoking post from Resa Nelson. Enjoy!

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Why Going “Light” on Romance Can Be More Powerful than Going “Heavy”
 by Resa Nelson

For me, a little bit of romance in a novel can be far more powerful than a lot.  For example, I’m a huge fan of The Hunger Games, and when I finished reading it I immediately thought of it as the polar opposite of Twilight.  While Twilight depends very heavily on romance, The Hunger Games includes romance but doesn’t spend much time on it.  Ironically, for me, The Hunger Games is a far more romantic novel.

I once asked a good friend what she likes about romance novels, and she said it’s all about how the relationship develops.  To me, the most satisfying relationships to read about are ones about partners who are equal.  I’m not saying that the two people have to be similar – but I want them to be able to see and treat each other as an equal.  This probably comes from my own desires.  The only way I will consider being in romantic relationship is if a man has my back in the same way soldiers fighting a war look out for each other.  If a man chooses not to be there for me when I need him, why should I trust him?  How can I be attracted to someone who doesn’t have my best interests at heart?

First, let me be clear that I respect everyone’s choices.  If you think Twilight is the most romantic thing ever, that’s your experience and I respect it.  My experience of Twilight is that the romantic relationship felt very unbalanced and unequal.  For example, Bella seems to make Edward the focus of her life, and I think that’s a dangerous trap, which far too many girls and women fall into in real life.  I’ve been there.  Long, long ago, I made my love interest my “everything.”  The result was that I lost myself – I became a hollow shell of who I used to be.  It felt like drowning in quicksand while at the same time feeling elated.  And the elation turned out to be nothing but an illusion.  The love I felt wasn’t real.  It was as fragile as cotton candy, fun and sweet at first, only to become empty and sickening because I had too much.  So I have a hard time with Twilight because it reminds me of a place that was no good for me.

Virginia Woolf wrote of the importance of a woman having a room of her own, and I’m on board with that.  I believe every girl and woman deserves to have a life of her own.  I believe every girl and woman is entitled to choose what her life will be like instead of letting others dictate what they want her to do.  This leads us to The Hunger Games.

For my money, Katniss is the complete opposite of Bella.  Katniss knows how to survive in a harsh world.  When her younger sister is selected to participate in a deadly competition, Katniss takes her place, an act of courage and love.  Just as she has learned to live in a difficult world, Katniss adapts and learns how to survive and even thrive in a new and very dangerous situation.  Katniss is attracted to two different boys for different reasons, but she is focused on the task of her own survival.  Her romantic thoughts don’t disrupt her world or put her in danger.  Instead, her romantic feelings of attraction are an organic part of who she really is.   I wouldn’t describe The Hunger Games as a romance novel – I see it more as a thriller or action/adventure.  And yet I think the romance in The Hunger Games is far more effective and believable than the romance in Twilight because it’s only part of the story.  Katniss has her own life and her own journey – a room of her own.  The romance she experiences isn’t the “be all and end all” of her life.  Instead, it’s in addition to her life, and that’s why it has such a strong and positive impact on me.  I trust Katniss to make good decisions.  I have faith in her.

I think it boils down to how each individual reader approaches a book.  For example, many readers can use a book as an escape to experience all kinds of things they’d never want to experience in real life.  That’s difficult for me.  Because my books are so real to me when I’m writing them, other people’s books are real to me when I read them.  So things in which some readers find innocent delight will freak me out because it feels so real and immediate.

The characters I create in my novels are much more like Katniss than Bella.  In my Dragonslayer series, a female blacksmith named Astrid is the hero.  The world she lives in is challenging, but she always rises to meet whatever challenge comes her way.  She has romantic interests but there are usually more pressing issues in her life, and she never hesitates to put any romantic feelings on the back burner until she can give her full attention to them.  Ironically, even though I don’t put a heavy emphasis on romance, it’s what drives the entire series.  The books couldn’t exist without romantic elements, and my hope is that my light touch on romance makes it that much more powerful.

My Dragonslayer series began as a couple of short stories, which were published in Science Fiction Age magazine.  Everyone is welcome to download a “mini” ebook of these two short stories to sample the Dragonslayer world and see if you like it.  There’s no cost or obligation, and you can download at http://www.resanelson.com/files.



 About Resa
Resa Nelson has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.

Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Her first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, was published last December, Book 3 was published in May, and the final book in the series is scheduled for publication in November.

Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended."

Resa lives in Massachusetts.

Resa Nelson’s links:
Resa’s website:  http://www.resanelson.com                                                                       
Free “mini” ebook of Dragonslayer short stories:  http://www.resanelson.com/files
Ebooks ($4.99 each) are available directly from Mundania Press at:  http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
Paperbacks are available from Mundania Press, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble:
http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)

Resa Nelson’s 4-book Dragonslayer series:

The Dragonslayer’s Sword (Book 1)
For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover--the dragonslayer--disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning.

Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child.

Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much...or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace?

The Iron Maiden (Book 2)
Astrid is reluctant to travel the winter route beyond the Northlands, even though it’s her duty. She’d rather stay home in her village, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Ignoring the bonds of tradition, she decides to spend the cold winter months in the warmth of her blacksmithing shop. Why should she leave the comfort of her cottage to serve and protect foreigners who might raid and harm her native Northlands?

Everything changes when a traveling merchant steals Starlight, the first dragonslayer’s sword Astrid forged and her last link to her sweetheart DiStephan. Having no time to alert her friends, Astrid races in pursuit of the merchant, determined to reclaim Starlight as her own and return home in time for dinner. Instead, her quest leads her to new lands, unexpected friendships with foreigners, and a harrowing encounter with the damage done by the followers of a new god that considers women as nothing more than servants to men. All the while, she must be ready to face any dragon traveling the winter route.

In Book 2 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid must learn that deciding who she is isn’t a decision she can make just once. It’s a decision she must make every day.

The Stone of Darkness (Book 3)
In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route--until she's bitten by a dragon. Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago.

Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane's mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them.

Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world. Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She's convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she's convinced it must hold before it's too late.

Book 4 will be published in November 2012

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-- Lynda Again,
    So, what do you think? Is The Hunger Games a more romantic book than Twilight? I have to admit that I prefer the romance in The Hunger Games to that of Twilight but then, as my friends know, I'm a little odd ;-)

Have a Blessed Day!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Trouble With Magic Giveaway


Please share!

I've been offered the opportunity by Sourcebooks to giveaway one copy of this great book to one of my Star-Crossed Romance readers. All you have to do is to leave a comment about what magical power you most wish you had and why THEN email me your name and address by August 30. (Please put Trouble With Magic in the subject line.) Contest is only open to residents in the USA and Canada, sorry.

I'll have my magical Wookie, the alien kitten, pick the winner from among the entries on Aug 31. 

Have a Blessed Day!

THE TROUBLE WITH MAGIC BY PATRICIA RICE
August 2012, Casablanca Classics

Is Her Magic a Gift or a Curse...?

All the Malcolms have some magic, but Lady Felicity's ability to read people's emotions simply by touching them or their possessions overwhelms her. She's reached a marriageable age, but how can she ever wed when she can see so clearly a man's guilty secrets?

Only He Can Tell the Difference...

Ewen Ives, itinerant rake and adventurous inventor, knows better than to underestimate the mischief of the Malcolms. But sparks fly when he encounters Felicity, and Ewen can't seem to refuse her plea for assistance...

PRAISE FOR PATRICIA RICE:
“Rice's enchanting book is truly spellbinding.” —Booklist

“You can always count on Patricia Rice for an entertaining story with just the right mix of romance, humor, and emotion.” —The Romantic Reader

“Patricia Rice's historicals are deliciously fresh, sexy fun. Never has the battle of the sexes been more charming!” —Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
With five million books in print and New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists under her belt, Patricia Rice’s emotionally-charged contemporary and historical romances have won RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice and Career Achievement Awards and have been honored as Romance Writers of America RITA finalists in the historical, Regency and contemporary categories. A former CPA, Patricia Rice is a native of Kentucky and New York, a past resident of North Carolina, and currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri. For more information on Patricia’s current releases, please visitwww.patriciarice.com.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guest - Elysa Hendricks

Good morning all! I'm taking a break from working on my own mss and what better way than to work on this blog with Elysa Hendricks. You got to love a gal whose bio reads:  Elysa Hendricks is 5'6" tall. She has curly hair and brown eyes. She's an author, a wife, a mother and a daughter. Everything else is subject to change without notice. She's offering a giveaway so read on to see how to qualify.

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When a reader asks me where I get my ideas for the books I write, I say something funny like: "Oh, I have an idea tree growing in my backyard. Once I year I harvest the ideas and store them in my attic to ripen." That usually gets a laugh. If I get a deer-in-the-headlights look, I remind them I'm a writer of fiction, a teller of tall tales. So what did they expect me to say? Stephen King told people he dug his ideas up in the backyard. Of course, he writes horror not romance, so I guess digging things up is appropriate.

The truth is I find ideas for stories everywhere. Everything I see, hear, taste, feel, or smell can spark a story idea.  A snatch of conversation overheard while standing in a grocery store checkout line, reading about a new scientific breakthrough, hearing about a love letter delivered fifty years late, the smell of barbeque on a warm summer night, walking hand-in-hand with my husband through our neighborhood, the sight of two strangers kissing on a street corner or arguing over dinner in a fancy restaurant all trigger What If in my imagination.

And I haven't even mentioned my biggest source of inspiration - novels, TV shows and movies. Though I write mostly in the many sub-genres of romance, I'm a voracious reader of all genres of fiction from romance to horror, mainstream contemporary to historical, mystery to science fiction. Every book I read adds to my knowledge and feeds my muse. Like a squirrel she gathers bits and pieces from every book: an interesting character trait, a fascinating local, a new word. Then she uses them to season the raw ideas I plucked from my tree.

My husband is a big fan of science fiction, but doesn't care for reading, so we watch a lot of TV and movies. Like with books my muse is constantly on the prowl for more ideas.

The Twilight Zone series is one of his favorites and mine. Several of my books draw their beginnings from specific episodes. STAR CRASH was partially inspired by Roddy McDowall's People Are Alike All Over episode. And poses the question, what would it be like to be the star attraction in an alien zoo? Just to stir things up a bit STAR CRASH also incorporates a bit of Star Trek and Planet of the Apes.

THE SWORD AND THE PEN grew out of a combination of  the TV show Xena The Warrior Princess meets the movie Stranger Than Fiction, with a touch of the book InkHeart as well as a dab of Keenan Wynn's Twilight Zone episode A World Of His Own. If you're a writer I highly recommend you watch this episode.

Even my shorter contemporary romances have been inspired by real life issues and events. After a visit to the HAHS - Hooved Animal Humane Society  center in northern Illinois I set my book THE BABY RACE on a horse rescue ranch. And COUNTERFEIT LOVE was inspired in part by the Drew Barrymore movie Never Been kissed as well as my son who even though he's twenty-eight still looks like a teenager.

I love to take themes and ideas from different sources mix them together then add my own unique twist to create something new, and I hope interesting and exciting for my readers.

The world is filled with stories both true and fictional waiting to be told. More stories than I could possibly write, which is why I'm glad there are so many talented authors in the world. Because even if I can't write all the stories I still want to read them.

I'd love to hear about what inspires you to write or about what you like to read.

elysa@elysahendricks.com
http://www.elysahendricks.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elysa-Hendricks-Author/137316289643103

As a special Thank You to everyone who comments I'd like to offer you a chance to read my contemporary small town romance COUNTERFEIT LOVE. Just email me at: elysa@elysahendricks.com and I'll send you a Smashwords Coupon Code to download an ecopy.


STAR CRASH
Amazon:

Blurb:
When Planet of the Apes meets Star Trek what's a girl to do?

After recon pilot Cora Daniels crash lands on an alien planet she finds herself a prisoner of the Flock: a race of birdlike humanoids. Trapped in their zoo she discovers they intend her to mate. To breed. To be part of their human herd.

She's placed in a cage with a man - a powerful, virile man, but not just any man - Alexander. Was he her lost love, who'd disappeared so long ago? Here he was: naked, glistening, a warrior trained by the Flock to fight for their amusement. How could the brilliant man, the tender lover she remember have become this animal born to dominate and destroy? Was he a pawn of the Flock or would their flight to freedom be a long-sought reunion?

Excerpt:
Cora paced the perimeter of the room, her need for release growing with every step. Earth drug companies would pay dearly for whatever the hell aphrodisiac the Flock used on her. Only the sense that she was being watched kept her from touching herself and relieving the increasing ache.

What did it matter? At this rate, she’d ravage whatever abomination entered the room.

A subtle snick of sound and the enticing aroma of warm male flesh told her she was no longer alone. The fear that wouldn’t come to her aid before now blossomed in her. She knew that she should look up, should brace herself for an attack, but she couldn’t make herself move. When she found herself quaking like an untried virgin, anger usurped her fear. She sprang up and turned to face whatever the Flock had sent her.

Shock froze her.

“Alexander,” she whispered.


THE SWORD AND THE PEN
Amazon:

Blurb:
If your fantasy became reality, what would you do?

It was time. After penning ten popular sword-and-sorcery novels, Brandon Alexander Davis was ready to move on. Ready to stop hiding in his fictional world. Ready to start living a real life. There was just one problem: as he plotted the noble death of Serilda D'Lar, his fictional creation, complete with mile-long sword, skimpy leather outfit and badass attitude, appeared in his study.

Was she nothing more than a crazy fan, or had Brandon finally cracked?

This warrior woman whom he knew so well, so strong yet vulnerable, was both fantasy and reality. She was an invitation to rediscover all he once knew--that life is an incredible, magical journey and, for love, any man can be a hero.

COUNTERFEIT LOVE
Amazon:
Smashwords:

Blurb:
Ten years ago a student's unfounded accusation of sexual misconduct drove Jared Blake out of his hometown, forced him to give up teaching, and destroyed his marriage. Now he's back in town to raise his daughter and return to the classroom. The last thing he expects - or needs - is an attraction to a stunningly pretty student in his algebra class, Maggie McCade.

To ferret out a computer hacker and further her dream of starting a high tech security firm of her own, twenty-nine-year-old Maggie McCade descends into high school hell by posing as a math-challenged senior. The last thing she expects - or needs - is to fall in love with her teacher.

THE BABY RACE
Amazon:

Blurb:
Race Reed doesn’t want a wife, but to save his ranch he needs a baby. To gain custody of her stepsister, Claire Jensen needs a husband, but she wants love. Wants and needs are bound to clash when they run The Baby Race.

Race Reed reserves his love and attention for the abused horses he cares for on his ranch. Because his mother changed husbands as often as she changed clothes, doesn’t believe in wedded bliss. Now to save his ranch he needs the money his paternal grandmother is offering as a marriage incentive. The bizarre contest she’s set up between him and his two cousins to produce her first great-grandchild is another matter. His only option – cheat in The Baby Race.

Claire Jensen wants two things out of life, home and family. During her younger years she never questioned her father’s nomadic lifestyle as he hunted for treasure, but as she grew older she longed to put down roots. When her father remarried and gave Claire a stepmother and baby stepsister, she’d thought her prayers were answered. Instead, she took over the parental role to her stepsister as her father and stepmother continued to search the world for treasure. In every way that matters, the six-year-old is Claire’s daughter. When Claire’s father and stepmother are killed on their latest quest for treasure, without a steady job, husband or home, Claire is about to lose custody of her young stepsister. Her only option – run the The Baby Race.

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-- Lynda Again
    That's it for today. Hope you all enjoyed Elysa's visit and follow the instructions for her giveaway.

    Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mundania Press Anniversary Sale

Hey everyone,

My publisher, Mundania Press, is celebrating their 9th anniversary with a special sale. You can save 29% off every book (print and electronic) during the month of August. Enter the coupon code of NINE when you check out.

So if you haven't got your copy of Heartstone, now would be a good time!


Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review - Magic Gone Wild

Magic Gone Wild
Judi Fennell
Sourcebooks Casablanca
August 2012


Vana, short for Nirvana, dropped out of genie training school rather abruptly and unexpectedly. That doesn't stop her from being a devoted genie. It does stop her from being a good one. She can't control her genie magic and the simplest tasks elude her. But she's determined to get her magic under control for her new master, handsome football player Zane Harrison.

Zane has come home to take care of the family estate, a task he wants finished immediately. He also hopes to put an end to his grandfather's bizarre reputation that's haunted him since he was a child. Then he discovers the bottle and the genie and realizes why his grandfather's reputation was so strange.

But the attraction between Vana and Zane is nearly combustible. And it's not just attraction, Vana discovers. For her part, there's far more than just sexual want. There's emotion and that's utterly dangerous for a genie. If a genie says 'I love you', she loses her power immediately. As helter-skelter as Vana's power is, she doesn't want to lose it. She's wanted to be a genie since she was a child.

So she turns back time to eliminate that one dangerously passionate interlude with Zane. He doesn't remember but she does. When he starts to remember little out of place events, Vana is caught in a web of her own making. Well, hers and the Merlin's, the talking phoenix who acts as her conscience and helps to bring Zane and her together. One thing they discover is that Zane can help her control her power. Most of the time.

Their problems are compounded by the appearance of the story villain, Gary, who suspects what Vana is. And he wants it, magic and woman, for his own. All he has to do is find her bottle and she'll be his. His efforts to acquire the bottle are as hilarious as Vana's efforts to perform useful magic but that doesn't make him less dangerous.

Magic Gone Wild is a funny, sexy story that is a delight to read. Judi Fennell can always be counted on for wonderful characters and great plots and she doesn't fail us in this book. If you want a good summer read, this is it. Highly recommended!

Guest - Judi Fennell

Good morning! Today we have one of our favorites visiting - Judi Fennell, author of a fantastic series of mermaid books and now genie books. Judi will be telling us a bit about how she came to be a writer. I think you'll enjoy this ;-) Oh yes, there's a give away for Judi's latest book. See below to find out how to enter the drawing.

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When Did I Realize I Was A Writer and Why?

Hi everyone and thanks for stopping by today. The question is when did I realize I was a writer and why, and I have to say that I don't know that I ever "realized" it as an entity. I didn't think, "I'm going to be a writer when I grow up" when I was a kid. Writers were "those people;" the ones with the magic sauce that made people want to read their books. It was something "other people" did. Not me. Oh sure, I'd dreamed about seeing my books on the shelves, but it was really a possibility.

How wrong I was. But that was how I was raised: go to school, do well, go to college, get a job in an office and that was life. So I never thought about being a writer, I just did it. I've always written. I have my very first story, written on really big yellow paper in first grade about a raindrop falling from the sky. It was that paper that had the dashed middle lines on it at the bottom so you formed your letters properly, but had a big open space above the writing lines for the illustrations. That was the first. Then, in 4th grade, I wrote Cotton The Lonely Rabbit about a rabbit who was different than all the other rabbits and how she made friends. I got an Honorable Mention in the Caldecott Awards for that book, so I guess you could say at that point, I was a writer. But still, no one could actually do that and make a living, right?

From 5th grade I have a journal with a bunch of stories in it. There's Mr. Magical, a wizard-type dude who wasn't all that pleasant. Then there was the story about the zebra-striped alligators that live in the sewers, and another one about a unicorn. So, I guess I was refining my craft to the paranormal genre at that point.

In 6th grade I remember a combined English and Social Studies project where we had to create a country, and define it's imports and exports, its language and culture and the people who inhabited it.

So there's world-building.

We also had an assignment for English and Science to do reports on animals. If you did three, you got an A.

I did ten. So that's the start of being prolific.

In 9th grade I got my big break. Too bad I wasn't around to enjoy that first brush of fame and adulation. It was the ONE day in the entire year that I was out sick. My English teacher had given us an assignment to write a story. I can't remember specifically what it was, but I do remember the story. It was about a young girl who lived in a light house with her family, back in the days when they used oil to light the wicks. The motto (and title of the story) was: The Candles Must Always Be Burning. Sadly, they were and they caused a fire and everyone died.

Definitely NOT a romance. But there's the emotion.

The teacher read the story to the class without telling anyone who'd written it. It got the highest grade in the class and went into the school newspaper. Everyone, I'm told (since I was SICK that day!), was incredibly impressed and couldn't believe someone in our class had written it. I actually found out about it because so many of them called me after school that day. (This was in the days before texting and cell phones, so this was as viral as a bit of news could get.)

9th grade was also the year my good friend and fellow romance-phile challenged me to write a romance.

70 pages later, I had a finished manuscript. I still have it and it definitely shows promise, but an inexperienced fifteen year old didn't really have the life experience to write an adult romance, but I was on my way.

That way got derailed with college and marriage and jobs and babies. But then one day in 1997 a story idea came to me and wouldn't SHUT UP. Sometimes, that's just how it is with characters and stories. It got to the point that it'd be better to write the darn thing down than keep trying to shove it out of my head. So I did.

But I still wasn't a writer. At least not to me. Writers got PAID for their writing. I was just dabbling to keep the voices in my head at bay (said with all the tongue-in-cheek humor my writing is known for).

But then another story showed up. And then another. And then I joined a writers group. And went to my first conference. And had a pitch appointment (and my first rejection). And I kept writing.

All of a sudden, I realized that I actually COULD be a writer. That people DO write stories and get them published.

What I failed to realize until much later (I'd like to think it was before I sold my first book, but the memory is a little muddled due to the excitement of selling that first book) was that I'd been a writer from that very first raindrop story.

Because a writer writes.

I've been writing for as long as I can remember and I hope to never stop.

I hope you enjoy my stories. My third genie story, Magic Gone Wild, releases this month and I have a series of Mer stories - about mermen who live off the coast of NJ.

I also have a Once-Upon-A-Romance series (think It's a Wonderful Life with Disney for grown-ups), and a debuting series BeefCake Inc. about male dancers finding love in all the best places. The first book, BeefCake & Cupcakes comes out at the end of August 2012.

Visit my website: www.JudiFennell.com for excerpts, reviews, and previews.


MAGIC GONE WILD BY JUDI FENNELL – IN STORES AUGUST 2012

Every Time She Uses Magic Something Goes Terribly Wrong...
Vana wishes she hadn't dropped out of genie training. Now she's determined to get a grip on both her genie magic and her life. But the harder she tries to fix things for her intriguing new master, the more she drives him crazy...

Except There's Nothing Ever Wrong About Him...
Pro–football player Zane Harrison finally has control of the family estate and is determined to put to rest his grandfather's eccentric reputation. Until he discovers that behind all the rumors is a real, live genie who stirs feelings in him he's never known before. The more Zane tries to help Vana harness her powers, the more her madcap magic entangles his heart...

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Judi Fennell is the award-winning author of six light paranormal romances, including a trilogy of Mermen-inspired love stories, and three genie-inspired romances. Wild Blue Under won the PRISM Award for Best Light Paranormal from the Paranormal Chapter of Romance Writers of America. A former corporate meeting and convention planner, Judi now writes full time around the hectic schedules of her husband and teenagers. She lives in suburban Philadelphia, PA. For more information, please visit http://www.judifennell.com.

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-- Lynda Again
    To enter the giveaway drawing, leave a comment AND send an email to me Lynda@LyndaKScott.com with Magic in the subject line and your snail mail address in the body of the email. Please send no later than Aug 25. I'll have my alien kitten, Wookie, select the winner and she likes lots of names to choose from. So make her a happy kitten and enter the drawing ;-)
   Oh, and check out my review of her latest book, Magic Gone Wild http://star-crossedromance.blogspot.com/2012/08/review-magic-gone-wild.html

   Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review - Timeless Desire, An Outlander Love Story



Timeless Desire, An OUtlander Love Story
Gwyn Cready
Astor+Blue Editions
August 2012

Two years after devastating loss of her husband, librarian Pandora (Panna) Kennedy devotes all her time to her library. With an impending budget cut, she is desperate to find some way to save the jobs and the institution. As she considers what could be sold to ease the budget crunch, she remembers tales of a lost treasure buried in the library. Then she finds a small, pad-locked door and finds herself transported to the magnificent, book-filled quarters of a handsome, eighteenth-century Englishman. The same man whose statute stands near her library desk--Colonel John Bridgewater.

However, Bridgewater's life is far from what she imagined. He's under guard on suspicion of treason. But with her sudden appearance, John considers her a whore at best and a spy sent to deceive him at worst. Panna is understandably insulted and returns to her own time, but like women throughout the ages, she's not willing to give him the last word and immediately returns.

Despite her suspicious appearance and impetuous manner, Bridgewater warms to Panna. She, in turn, learns about the man, not the hero mentioned in history books. What she learns draws her to him as she's not been drawn by any man since her late husband's death. That he is a hero is without question but is he, indeed, working against England? Is she willing to help him? More important, is she willing to risk her heart by falling in love again?

While elements in the book reminded me of another famous 'Outlander' book, it is a unique and original read. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the descriptions and the plot. The witty, double-entendres are delightful and fun. The slowly built passion between Panna and John is breathtaking and the plot twists are chilling. All in all, this is masterfully written and a damn good read.

It's the first book I've read by Gwyn Cready but it won't be the last. I highly recommend it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Guest - Michelle Miles


Good morning all! We have the lovely and talented Michelle Miles visiting today. She'll be talking about our least favorite subject - plotting! LOL Well, okay. My least favorite subject but that's because I'm one of those 'Fly Into The Mist' type authors...one who envies the authors who can create the entire plot before they even start writing.

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Back to Basics: Learning to Plot…Again
By Michelle Miles


I’ve never been much for plotting. In fact, I’m the type of writer than when I get an idea, I just start writing. That idea can be a character showing up in my head that starts to talk. Or a dream I had that tells the entire story from start to finish. Or sometimes it’s a snippet of conversation I’ve overhead in an elevator. Or a title that jumps out begging for a story to be told.

When it begins in my head is when it begins on paper. At least for me.

I realized that part of my writing problem, though, was I didn’t plot much (or ever) and then I’d get stuck. And stare at a blinking cursor. Delete large chunks of text that didn’t advance the story.

I’d been thinking about plotting for a long time, trying to figure out what would work for me but nothing seemed to fit. I got Break Into Fiction and tried the templates. I got bored with that after the third one. I had the, “Meh. Not so much,” attitude about it.

I tried note cards and writing down specific scenes I had in mind for the story and then arranging them in order of the story. While that was fun and all (I love note cards!), it didn’t work for me either. Anything too specific took all the fun out of writing for me and then why write the story?

I tried to storyboard. That didn’t work either. Another “too specific” problem that made me lose interest in the story.

What I did like and what did seem to work was just writing a blurb. A general, albeit brief, roadmap of where I wanted to go. But it wasn’t enough and I knew this. I still struggled with the story and got stuck. I’d waste weeks, sometimes months, staring at that darn blinking cursor. But I still couldn’t shake the feeling of writing and plotting. I wanted to up my output and the only way I was going to do that was (1) have more free time and (2) learn to plot a little.

Last summer, I was unemployed for about three months, which was great for the writing. In fact, I had a character show up and start talking so I allowed the muse to wander. I’d been stuck for a while on a couple of things and nothing I tried seemed to work. The muse refused. And very stubbornly.  I allowed my muse to write this story, unplotted, for about 30,000 words. Then I stopped and scribbled a few notes about where I wanted the story to go. That was good enough for the time being.

But then I sold my historical/paranormal, One Knight Only, available now from Ellora’s Cave. And I knew there would be a sequel. I had nothing done on the second book. All I had was a title, the main characters, and a vague idea of the story. One day, while everyone was away and I was home alone, I took out my Heroes & Heroines Archetype book and started to study it. I figured out who my H/H were, what their archetypes were and wrote it all down. I also wrote down two of the secondary, but important, characters archetypes.

Then I took down my 20 Master Plots book and read through that. I decided what type of story this was going to be. It was, obviously, a romance, but it was ultimately a quest story. With some Good vs. Evil thrown in for good measure. I did a little world-building, too, while I was at it. I realized something: doing this exercise gave me lots of insight into who my characters really were deep down and what my story was actually about.

Then I wrote a six page, single-spaced synopsis. Not very detailed but enough to give me a general roadmap of where I wanted the story to go.

Two weeks later, I got a new job. Thankfully, I had the roadmap to guide me and managed to write nearly 10,000 words on the sequel. Since my writing time was cut way down, I started writing during lunch and that sequel turned into a complete novel which sold this summer. I’m happy to say Only For A Knight is coming soon from Ellora’s Cave. Did I stick to my synopsis? Nope. Not really. But I had a general idea of where I wanted to go and I knew how to get there, with a few side trips along the way.

My muse has decided not to cooperate much with me anymore. She’s a fickle wench. But I’m forcing her to stick around, even if I have to tie her up and threaten to take away all her shoes.

I’ve yet to attempt to recreate this with another book. I want to do it, though, because I think it’ll help with my output and get me writing a little faster. This summer, I’ve found myself unemployed yet again, so I’m trying this tactic for book three of my knight series. But first I have to finish a rewrite. It’s always something.


Michelle Miles writes contemporary, paranormal, and fantasy romance. She’s really trying to turn over a new leaf and manage her writing time better by doing more plotting and less pantsing. To learn more about her and her books, visit her website at http://www.michellemiles.net

About Michelle:
Michelle Miles found her love of writing buried in the fantasy books of Patricia A. McKillip and the beautiful romances of Victoria Holt. It wasn’t until her high school years she decided to take up the pen and try her hand at writing. She created faraway lands, space adventures, and even princesses who just wanted to be saved. Never learning to plot, she always believed that jumping in feet first was the way to go and has since become a self-proclaimed Pantser, writing sexy contemporaries, sizzling paranormal and sweeping fantasy.
A Native Texan, she loves hockey, baseball, drinking coffee, cross-stitching, and shopping for shoes and Coach handbags. Follow her daily writings and weekly guest features at her blog, Ye Olde Inkwell. Michelle is also a regular contributor to Pop Culture Divas and Plotting Princesses.

Where to find her:


ONE KNIGHT ONLY Buy links:
Available in eBook and Print






ONE KNIGHT ONLY Blurb:

A snarky Faery princess, a Scottish knight with a gambling problem, and a murderous earl all add up to one thing: Trouble. Maggie’s medieval education never prepared her for life in the Middle Ages!

Do-gooder Maggie Chase throws her thesis out the window when she wakes up in the arms of a hot Scottish knight. When she realizes she’s somehow ended up back in time, she embraces the persona of Lady Margaret. But she may be in over her head when she realizes she has to keep the sexy knight alive during a jousting tournament in order to get back to her own time.

Sir Finian “Finn” McCullough is a gambling man and owes a very large debt to an evil earl who is after his family estate. When the beautiful and outgoing Maggie arrives in his bed, he can’t remember tupping her the night before and thinks she’s a spy for one of his neighboring clans. He intends to find her kinsman and return her safely but he can’t resist her charms, her smart mouth or her sex appeal. Instead he keeps her close, taking her with him to an important jousting tournament—one he has to win or lose his castle forever.

ONE KNIGHT ONLY Excerpt:

“This is a dream,” she said aloud.

It had to be, right? It wasn’t real. Because it was the only explanation her tired mind would accept. Maggie slid to the edge of the bed, her bare feet hitting the cold floor and sending a shiver up her spine. Glancing down, she wore the underwear she had changed into last night—her lacy black bra and matching panties. But where were the rest of her clothes? Her suitcase? How in the hell did she get in this bed?

Staring into the fire, she mentally retraced her steps. The car breaking down, walking in the rain, getting soaked to the bone. And then the castle on the hilltop that was there and then wasn’t there. Yes, the castle. She glanced around. Was she still in that castle now? This one was fully furnished, it seemed. Whereas the one she ended up at last night was empty. And cold. And dark.

Maybe someone found her sleeping on the floor? She’d been so tired she didn’t notice when that someone had lifted her and brought her back to a warm bed. And any minute now that someone would bring her a steaming mug of coffee.

A groan behind her made her spin around, grabbing the linen and holding it to her bosom. On the bed, a dark-haired man she had never seen before rolled onto his back. He was shirtless, showing off every ripple of muscle and fantastic pectorals, the likes of which she had never seen in her life. Smooth, hairless skin with tremendous biceps and a narrow waist disappearing into the bedding that made her imagination run away with hot fantasies.

“Ooohhhh,” she breathed.

Who was this man? More importantly, where the bloody hell was she?

A soft snore escaped him and Maggie couldn’t stop staring at that beautiful chest rising and falling with every breath. His long dark hair spilled around him. And his face…

“Wow.”

The word slipped out before she could stop it. His chiseled face hosted a strong square chin with a tiny indention in the center covered with a day’s growth of beard, a perfect nose, pronounced cheekbones, dark eyebrows. She propped a knee on the mattress, scooting closer to lean over him for a better look, amazed at how powerful his face appeared. Fierce. A man not to be trifled with. A man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to get it.

Maggie cocked her head to the side, enjoying her view, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. For a moment, she had forgotten the fact she was in a strange place. Her long, auburn locks cascaded over her shoulder and brushed against him. The baby-fine strands must have tickled his skin, for his eyes popped open and stared back at her.

Gorgeous silvery eyes met hers and she blinked and pulled back.

But he was faster than she. He grasped her by her upper arms and dragged her to him, placing her on his lap as his large, powerful hands gripped her hips. Maggie was completely aware of all of him now. A hot fantasy splashed through her mind as she shifted on top of him. What was under the linen was apparent between her legs. Every last inch of him. Her hands landed on his chest, her senses delighting in the warm, soft skin beneath her palms.

His gaze lingered on her face a moment before gliding down, pausing on her lace-covered breasts and then continuing his downward jaunt. He fingered the waistband of her panties, running the pad of his forefinger over first one hipbone then her abdomen and back again.

The small movement sent white-hot heat shooting through her, awaking parts of her that weren’t used to being on alert so early in the morning. Especially without a cup of coffee.

His hands moved up her sides then, desire evident in those depthless silver eyes…and the appendage on which she happened to be sitting.

“Now, lass, you best be telling me who you are and why you’re in my bed. Not that I mind, but I canna recall tupping you last eve and I always remember bonnie lasses I tup.”

His deep-timbre brogue purred the words and sent a delicious rumble right through her. She resisted the urge to shudder. She loved sex-with-stranger dreams and this one was starting off with a bang.

The only thing she did know was that she was in a strange place with a very sexy man beneath her hands, straddling his lap with nothing but a breath of linen and cotton between them. It wouldn’t take much for her to remove that material and get exactly what she was feeling.

But she wasn’t the kind of girl to have sex with a stranger, was she?

I could be.

Besides, this was just a dream. She would wake up any minute in the cold, deserted castle all alone. And then she would be faced with the problem of how to get herself back to civilization. In the meantime, she could do anything she wanted in her dream. Couldn’t she?

“I certainly don’t mind being in your bed,” she told him. He really was quite delicious. She ran her hands along the smooth skin of his chest and leaned toward him.

He grasped her wrists in iron fists and pushed her back. “You are the one trespassing.”

How in the world could he have the nerve to look angry at her? Maggie wrenched her wrists free and sat up, crossing her arms over her chest. She could play that game too. She was good at it. Sitting on his lap, she thought, gave her a position of being in control. She glared down at him, though even she had to admit it was hard to glare at a man that looked as good as he did.

“Maybe you should tell me who you are, then?” she demanded.

The burly man gripped her hips and flipped her onto her back in one swift movement. Suddenly her position of control and power was removed as he hovered over her, pinning her against the mattress. His brawny weight pressed into her. With one hand on his shoulder, Maggie tried to push him away but he quickly captured her wrist in his big hand and held her arm above her head, thereby removing any chance she could wiggle free.

“You best not play games with me, lassie.”

ONLY FOR A KNIGHT blurb:
Coming soon from Ellora’s Cave

The Sword of Light is missing. Innocent Fae nobles are slaughtered. And now someone wants Princess Elyne’s head.

After saving her love from certain death, Princess Elyne returns to the Otherworld by order of her mother, Queen Maeve. But it’s not the homecoming she expects. The queen is furious she has been meddling with humans and imprisons her, stripping away her magic. The only way Elyne can get her powers back is to perform one selfless act.

When Queen Maeve sends Sir Derron to find the Guardian of the ancient Sword of Light, one of the Four Treasures of the Otherworld, he can’t leave without releasing Elyne. After all, she altered time to save his life in the human world. But freeing the princess comes with a steep price—he must take her with him on this dangerous quest.

Their search becomes much more than a pursuit for the missing Guardian. Dark Elf, Lord Kieran, rises to dominate the Unseelie court. He will stop at nothing to gain control of both the Otherworld and the human realm—he’s murdering Guardians and stealing the sacred Treasures of the Fae. Even with the help of Elves, dragons, and their human friends, the odds are stacked against Derron and Elyne.

Can they stop Lord Kieran before he slays the queen and tears down the walls of the Otherworld?

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-- Lynda Again
   Hope you enjoyed seeing how Michelle creates her wonderful books. Stay cool and keep reading!

   Have a Blessed Day!