Monday, March 30, 2015

Guest - Marie Lavender

Good morning! We have a great author, Marie Lavender, visiting today so grab one of the comfy chairs. Snag a coffee and a scone and enjoy the days post.


Being Different

As writers, I think most of us have felt like the odd man out. We are not like other people because we tend to observe humanity and store information in our memory banks, process it and spit out our impressions on the page in the form of characterization. We hear voices in our heads; they tell us what to do. LOL. We often wake up in the middle of the night with story ideas or can’t fall asleep because of it. We plot whole books in the shower. It makes for an interesting ride, to say the least.

In the range of sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal stories, the characters are often different from the rest of society. They break the mold; they are our heroes. And sometimes a completely normal character can be heroic as well, using the resources at hand to solve a problem. I think people are that way too. Anyone has the potential to be something more in the work of a moment.

In my paranormal romance, Second Nature, Desiree is a woman who has lived a fairly normal and quiet life. When she meets Alec, she wakes up to the idea that the world is completely different than she thought. And she learns a lot about herself in the process. In fact, the entire Blood at First Sight Series was created around the theme of people “being different”, or coming to terms with their new abilities.

Most writers or readers of these genres have open minds. They are open to the idea that the world is mysterious, that there is so much we don’t know about it. And for some, maybe it is the escape from the dilemmas in our current society which has the most appeal. Reading a book is an adventure, though. That fictional realm is enticing, so wonderful that it is hard to step away from, even for a moment.

So, what if these things were possible? Just think for a moment if our world was the world of fiction. Space would be so much more than something you see in a movie or learn about on the NASA channel. These fantastic stories would be more true to life than we ever thought. Creatures, both horrendous and beautiful, would abound. Might we have to fear for our lives on a daily basis? Perhaps. Maybe not. But, the idea of it appeals on some level or I think we wouldn’t enjoy reading about it so much. We find the unknown exciting, the unexplained wonderful. We are thrilled by horror movies and television shows about the supernatural. Even dystopian stories are interesting because they make us wonder how things might be if that ever happened in our society.

I think these books also show us that it’s okay to be different. Whether you have special talents or well, you simply like to dance or dye your hair in wild colors, it is quite all right if you don’t always conform to society. Fitting in is overrated sometimes. As human beings, we were born to be individuals, to be completely unique from one another. Of course, we are tied by our humanity and if we don’t recognize the human condition on some level, that is bad. Community is important, even I know that. But, it’s also acceptable to be yourself, to be the person you know is just dying to come out.

And I think these kinds of stories show that. Every time I pick up a paranormal romance or a piece of fiction in general, I am reminded that we all have personal demons. We all have dreams, things we want to do in this life, goals we have to reach. And having some people behind you who understand your individuality and respect it, that actually helps too. But, it’s okay to make that journey fearlessly, even if it’s alone. Because you are honoring who you are inside, what makes you unique.
I am reminded of the movie Divergent. At one point in the story, Tris has to throw off her fears that people will find out her secret, that she is different from them. Because doing the right thing is more important than conforming to the standard.

So, rejoice in who you are. Every one of us has certain beliefs, different backgrounds, and a specific take on how we view the world. Love your differences. Celebrate your individuality and your passions. It is okay to be different, to be something more than normal.

Thanks for your time, readers. Now I have to get back to writing about characters who love to be different as well.    

About Marie:

Bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 19 other books. 2014 BTS Red Carpet Review Nominee. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial's Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader's Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors. Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Marie has published twenty books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance/fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry under the various pen names of Marie Lavender, Erica Sutherhome, Kathryn Layne and Heather Crouse.

Lavender just released Second Nature, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, in December of 2014. She released Magick & Moonlight, a romantic fantasy, back in March. Upon Your Honor, released last April, is her second historical romance. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Second Nature

She never expected it…

 Desiree Edwards has a problem. She’s been attacked, kidnapped and forced to get along with a vampire of all things. It’s something right out of the story books she reads, or her worst nightmare. But, sometimes he’s not the monster he appears to be. He seems so humanlike that she can’t help it when her emotions betray her, when her body betrays her. To make matters worse, she finds out more about herself than she ever wanted to know.

 Alec has a problem. The animal in him wants Desiree. But, so does the man. The more he learns about her, the harder it is to deny what he wants. But, he’s a freak, and she’s just a human. The two species don’t mix that way. Then an old enemy surfaces and Alec is forced to make a choice. His life or hers.

Can Alec’s soul be saved by this unique human? Or will it be far too late?

Excerpt from Second Nature 

At the park entrance, she felt a strange tingling on the back of her neck and paused in mid-step. She looked around, but the place was empty. As it was growing dark, people didn’t usually frequent the park at that time. She fingered the mace in her pocket, just in case. She had learned to be prepared. She couldn’t see anything, though. Maybe it was nothing? Then the tingling sensation came again. It wasn’t quite like the feeling of being watched, but something else. Something more. She was sure of it when the tingle moved through her body.

 Instinct forced her to move forward. Something was wrong. She remembered Alec telling her about powers meeting powers, about the physiological response she might have. To what? The dread made her nauseous. What if it was just a psychic sensation like what she’d had with the man that was murdered? She didn’t want to go through that again. Suck it up, she scolded herself. She couldn’t just ignore it either. She couldn’t allow someone to get hurt.

Check out this light-hearted romantic fantasy also by Marie Lavender:

Magick & Moonlight

Messing with free will is always a bad idea…

Ethan Hamilton moves to a lazy little town in Oregon, hoping to escape his demons. But, instead he discovers a woman dancing nude in the moonlight. This woman who claims she is a witch dazzles him with her sensual presence. He thinks she’s crazy, but what if she’s not?

Jessie Anderson has been taught that her kind hides who they really are. And she has a problem on her hands. Someone knows her secret and she has to do all she can to protect herself. What other choice does she have? Jessie casts a love spell on a good man, a man with whom she can’t fight her attraction. The spell doesn’t work quite as planned – she ends up falling for Ethan.

To top it off, Ethan’s treatment of her, his “love”, is so addictive. Deep down, she knows the spell will wear off, and yet his feelings seem genuine. It’s just a spell…right?

Marie's Links

Lynda Again --

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Guest - Amy Boyles

Good morning! I had a medical procedure on my wrist (I'm doing well, thank you!) so we'll just get to our lovely guest. Enjoy!

Oh and Amy is giving away a $5 Amazon gift certificate so make sure you leave a comment to be entered in her drawing.

I recently read an article where George R. R. Martin, author of the highly successful Game of Thrones series, suggested that characters who aren’t killed off in his books may find their ends in the HBO television series.

As a fan of the books, I’m not exactly sure how to take this. Certainly I hope these will be secondary characters, but Martin still has the final two books to publish and from his fairly slow pace of production, HBO is going to reach season ten before Martin finishes the last and seventh book (they’re currently on season 5).

That being said, I’m starting to fear that the television show will begin to steer far away from some of the plot points in the books. I mean, how else is HBO going to keep this thing going without taking a five year break so that Martin can finish the novels and they can finish filming?

There’s a fine line there, to be sure. HBO wants to keep loyal fans of the book tuning in as well as continue to cultivate an audience comprised of those who haven’t read the novels.

From what I understand, The Walking Dead has done something very similar. Some of the more primary characters in the comic have been killed off while other characters who aren’t even in the books are mainstays on the show. Either way, that show works on its own, as its own entity, regardless of whether or not you’ve read the comics.

Perhaps that’s what HBO is striving for—their own GoT universe, so to speak. There will be the television version and the book version. Both can be watched/read separately, and the show may explore story lines that Martin as an author didn’t have time to examine. Perhaps this is a win/win for viewers and readers.

Still. I think I’ll have to wait and see how this one pans out. I’m keeping my fingers energetically crossed that everything works out in the end, and though Winter is coming, I hope it doesn’t leave us underneath twenty feet of snow.

What do you think about all this? Leave a comment below and be entered to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card. Winner will be announced at 3pm (CST) on March 17.


Ten years ago, Drian Becker underwent the Rendering, a humiliating body exam imposed upon the masses by her father, a commander in the Patriot Army. Being a high ranking official’s daughter, Drian thought she was safe from the practice—not so. Her father’s betrayal left her emotionally scarred and dishonored.

It’s now 2098. Drian hasn’t thought about the Rendering since she became leader of a rebel faction—mostly because she’s an expert at hiding her feelings behind a thick outer wall of badass attitude.

All that changes when Colvin Hinton walks into her camp. With his easy swagger and even easier demeanor, Colvin makes being a rebel look good enough to taste. But when Drian finds herself tangled in his charms she lets down her guard, giving an old enemy the chance to take her out once and for all.

If loving a man is this dangerous, would Drian have been better off remaining in the clutches of her father and living with the scars of being RENDERED?

Excerpt from RENDERED, Book Two of The Dark Revolution series. Book One, Unlikely Rebel, can be found in the Mistaken Identities Anthology:

Liam took a step forward. “If you can’t deliver, Drian, maybe you shouldn’t be leading us.”

The fire caught on a new log and intensified. Drian felt the heat wash over her, flushing her face and body with its energy. She let it fuel her words. “Then let’s do it. Let’s form a plan, go in and attack the fort. We have, what, fifty people? Not including the children, of course. Let’s send them all in, and when Becker’s men capture us—because he will; there’s a few hundred guarding the place—who will rescue us? The children we’ve left behind?”

They were silent, the only sound being the crack of the flames. She watched their faces turn from ignorant pride to shame.

“I might be able to help you with that.”

Fifty heads whipped in the direction of the darkness, hers included. A man emerged from the forest with the predation of a bobcat. Wearing breeches, boots, a button-down shirt and a sage-green coat with wooden buttons, he made standard-issue clothing look appealing. Almost sensual. As he stood in a corner of the firelight, Drian noted his dark blond hair, fiercely sharp eyes and quiet confidence that almost knocked her over. It must’ve done the same to everyone else there, for no one said one word.

He smiled, his eyes twinkling. “Join me and my men, and we can take the fort. We can change this from a rebellion of skirmishes to an actual uprising.”

RENDERED can be purchased on Amazon.

UNLIKEY REBEL, Book One in The Dark Revolution series.


"I loved him the moment his dark eyes met mine, and I swore I would do anything to get him." The year was 2087, the height of the second Civil War. The Patriot Party waged a fiery assault against the government in response to the oil drought. They were successful, winning cities and territories, burning as they went… So begins Book One of the Dark Revolution series, a tale where the future is ruled by an elite group that dictates what people eat, what they wear, even who they marry.

Caught in the middle is Anna Hinton, a young woman torn between her desire for Branthe, a mysterious rebel, and loyalty to her family. But when Branthe reveals a secret that shakes the very foundation of her beliefs, will the truth prove too much for Anna to handle?

UNLIKELY REBEL is in the MISTAKEN IDENTITES anthology and can be purchased here.

Connect with Amy Online:
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Amy Boyles’ Bio

After living in Chicago, Louisville and New York, Amy finally settled in North Alabama with her husband. Along with writing, she has a passion for cooking ridiculously fattening food and complaining about weight gain. She loves to connect with readers.

Lynda Again --

Hope you've enjoyed our guest today. Please click on the Google (g+) button to help spread the word and leave a comment to let her know. Remember, if you're a member of my newsletter, you'll get the latest news on my books along with the newsletter. Sign up. It's free!

Have a Blessed day!

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Monday, March 09, 2015

Guest - Ines Johnson

Good morning! We're getting closer to Spring and that's something a lot of us are looking forward to! Right now, let's look forward to our guest - Ines Johnson, who has a new book coming out. So grab a cup of cinnamon flavored coffee and a Krispy Kreme of your choice and enjoy!

Girl On Her Own Horse

Have you been paying attention to the evolution of the Cinderella story? If you’ve watched the Disney blockbuster, Frozen, then you have. Young girls and women are no longer waiting around for a man to come by on his horse, sweep them off their feet, and give them shoes.

Okay, I doubt any of us would turn down the shoes!

My point is that women are now taking the reins of their own stories and rejecting the Cinderella trope of changing themselves into someone new. In many, dare I say most, of these stories the prince doesn’t pay attention to the Cinderella character in her ordinary world of working 9-5pm with grime under her nails and threadbare clothes. He doesn’t look her way until she gets magicked into expertly applied makeup, a binding, shape-shifting corset, and brand new shoes.

My first notice of this was in the film Working Girl. This 80’s retelling of the Cinderella story featured a bright secretary who had dreams of entering the boardroom with a briefcase instead of coffee. When her wicked boss steals her idea, the secretary seizes an opportunity to steal into a high profile business meeting by pretending that she’s her boss, while also wearing her boss’s dress and shoes. Melanie Griffith, as the secretary, uses Harrison Ford’s charming character to get her into the board room’s door. When the business deal goes south, Griffith doesn’t wait for the knight in a business suite to rescue her. Instead, she shows off her ‘head for business and bod for sin’ in order to win a business deal, thwart her boss, and get her man.

A decade later Drew Barrymore retold the Cinderella story in Ever After. In a pivotal scene when Barrymore’s character, Danielle, has been taken prisoner by the evil Pierre Le Pieu, the audience holds their breath as the prince leaps onto his horse and heads off to rescue her. But Danielle picks up not one, but two swords, and swashbuckles her way to an escape. As she’s walking out of the castle a free woman, the prince arrives moments too late with her shoe in hand.

Nearly another decade later came another retelling with Penelope. Penelope is an heiress born under a curse that can only be broken in the face of true love. The problem? Penelope’s face doesn’t inspire sonnets and poems as much as it does a hankering for breakfast meats. Penelope’s snout nose has caused her to be rejected her whole life, including rejection from her own mother. When she finally finds a man willing to tolerate her looks and break the curse, she comes to the realization that she likes herself just the way she is. And just like that, the curse is broken and Penelope’s outside matches her glowing inside.

In today’s stories, women don’t wait around for men on horses. They take the reins, defend themselves, and declare love to their own reflections. They’re now even qualified to deliver true love’s kiss to their own sisters as we saw in the blockbuster Frozen.

In my fairytale retelling, Pumpkin: a Cindermama story my heroine has given up on fairytale love. Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne has been searching for his soulmate all his life, whom he’ll recognize at first sight by a golden aura, that only he can see, surrounding her person. Manny doesn’t see gold when he meets Pumpkin, but the more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.

About Ines


Lynda Again --

Hope you've enjoyed our guest today. Please click on the Google (g+) button to help spread the word and leave a comment to let her know. Remember, if you're a member of my newsletter, you'll get the latest news on my books along with the newsletter. Sign up. It's free!

Have a Blessed day!

Contact me