A Gentleman and a Rogue

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Flash Fiction - Black Carnations


I thought I'd share a flash fiction with you in honor of Halloween. Happy Trick or Treat. Be safe out there!

Enjoy,
Steph

********

Jolee stormed into the flower shop where she worked and threw her duffle bag behind the counter, grabbing her time card to punch in. She wasn’t quite ready to stuff flower baskets or work on rose displays, but she definitely needed something to get her mind off him.

“Jolee, girlfriend, what’s wrong?” asked Audrey, her boss.

Jolee shoved the time card back into the holder under the counter. “I’m leaving him, Audrey.”

“What now?” Audrey asked. Her soft green eyes were full of concern.

“I caught him in bed with some other girl. We fought,” Jolee answered in a clipped tone. The sweet scents that wafted through the air made her stomach nauseous.

“Did he hit you?” Audrey asked.

Jolee nodded her head and pointed to the duffle bag. “I’m moving out today.”

Audrey nodded her head as if understanding. Even now Jolee was afraid to admit that he’d given her a nice fat welt on her backside from their confrontation this morning.

The bell jingled as the door opened. Jolee felt the warm air plummet to near freezing as a dark haired, olive-skinned man walked in. He was dressed in a very flattering business suit, but wore a wool coat over his clothes. Odd attire for such a warm, sunny day.

“Sweetie, can you take care of him?” Audrey asked. “I’ve got to go out back.”

Jolee nodded her head, rubbed her arms, and approached the unusual looking stranger.

“Can I help you?”

“Do you have black carnations?” he asked. His deep, baritone voice was smooth and soothing as he turned to face her.

In that moment Jolee noticed his eyes – cold, steel blue, the whites almost red, as if he was internally hot – smoldering – underneath.

“Ah, no. That’s just a myth, you know…” she stammered. She was caught off guard by his looks. There was a joke in the flower community having to do with carnations. They came in practically every color except black, and each one had a meaning. Yellow carnations meant friendship. Black carnations meant you wanted someone dead.

“I’ll take a dozen white carnations then,” he replied. “Thank you, Miss.”

Jolee nodded her head and went about preparing him a bouquet. He waited patiently, watching her every move with intense fascination. The transaction complete, he thanked her and walked toward the door, pausing suddenly to face her.

“There will be no regrets from him.”

“Huh? Who are you?” she asked. An uneasy feeling rumbled in her throat.

“Mephistopheles,” and with that cryptic reply, he waltzed out the door.

“Weirdo,” she muttered.

***

The day went on as usual. Jolee created baskets and filled orders. Just before closing a tall man walked into the shop, wearing a light windbreaker jacket that said, ‘police.’

“Jolee Smith?” he asked.

She nodded her head.

“Jack Drebin was found dead in your apartment today.”

Jolee was stunned. Her boyfriend! “How?”

From behind his back the officer brought out a black carnation. “Perhaps you could tell me?”

Friday, October 30, 2009

Twick or Tweet - History of Halloween



All right, so this picture doesn't embody the traditional Halloween "thingies" but it is kinda' spooky. It's downtown Budapest at night, and central Europe is still alive with storie of things that haunt the night.

With Halloween around the corner, I'd thought I'd look into the history of the spooky holiday.

Halloween has it's roots in an old Celtic harvest festival which took place at the end of the Celtic year called "Samhain." During this night it was believed that spirits returned to Earth to destroy the crops and play tricks on the living. Celtic Priests, known as Druids would sacrifice harvested crops to the gods to help keep these spirits away.

By the 800 AD, the Christian religion found the Celtic people. They brought "All Saint's Day," in an effort to exert their influence, thus "All Hallow's Eve" was born and was shortened to Halloween.

In the 1800's, the Irish immigrants brought Halloween with them to the US. It's through all these previous influences, that Halloween has grown into the holiday it is today.

A couple of interesting Halloween facts:

After Christmas, Halloween is the 2nd highest grossing retail holdiay in the US.

Harry Houduni died on Oct. 31, 1926. He was stabbed during a trick, I believe and didn't seek treatment for his injuries.

Samhainophobia is the name of the phobia for Halloween.

The Irish used to carve jack-o-lanterns out of turnips!

One quarter of the candy sold annually is for Halloween night.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/30/the-history-of-halloween_n_321021.html

Have a great Halloween. Anyone want to share what they want to be? I'm still looking for my costume. I want to wear a Star Trek the original series uniform. hehe. My boy Andrew is going to be the headless horseman and my son Joe is Wow Wow Wubzzy.

Smiles
Steph

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Welcome Guest Author - Barbara Edwards


When the idea for Ancient Awakening came to me, I needed a special place for my characters to interact. Ancient Awakening is based in New England in the present. Not so difficult a venue since I grew up in the area, except the Rhodes End has a few quirks and is home to a host of paranormal creatures.



Rhodes End is located on a confluence of ley lines that draws magic and paranormal activity. Rhodes End dog-legs the North-Eastern corner of Connecticut, the hip pressing against Massachusetts while the paw scratches into Rhode Island.



Rhodes End fails to appear on many maps due to various boundary and settlement disputes. Less than an hour from Hartford and Providence, major highways to both Boston and New York City cut through the hills less than a mile away.



The ley lines are the same lines that pass under Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid, Machu Pichu and Anasazi ruins in Arizona. Their mystical power is recognized by ancient religions. The power existed before the Caucasian influx chased away the small tribes who used the site to call their spirits. Nothing is noted of the even older pictographs in the deep caves.




Farmers, shopkeepers, teachers and other townspeople live normal lives unaware of the ‘different’ ones. An ordinary tourist tooling up the scenic road may tell friends of the charming village, but only the harmless or the expected find it easily. The basic rules of space and time seem the same, but magic can occur along with paranormal activity. In fact, those with paranormal senses find them stronger, more reliable.



My heroine ‘Mel’ is a normal, hard-bitten cop, who prides herself on her common sense. My hero Steve is a scientist who believes in the facts he can prove. Being confronted with a dangerous creature that cannot exist makes them doubt all their preconceptions about what is ‘real’.



To accomplish this transition, I researched chromosomes, diseases, archeology, myths and traditions. I wanted my readers to understand why Rhodes End draws the strange and outlandish. Power pulses in the air for those who are aware.


Barbara Edwards

Ancient Awakening, a Black Rose

www.barbaraedwards.net

http://barbaraedwards.net/blog/blog.asp for Barb'Ed Comments




Here a Blurb: Police Officer Melanie Petersen is the only one who believes a suspicious death is murder. By disobeying direct orders from the Rhodes End Chief, she risks her career to follow clues that twist in circles to her backyard and lead the killer to her. Her neighbor Stephan Zoriak is a prime suspect. While working for a major pharmaceutical company, he is exposed to a dangerous organism that changed him. He suspects he is the killer and agrees to help Mel find the truth when the deaths continue. In the course of their investigation Mel and Steve find more death and continued distrust that make them wonder if love can defy death.



Excerpt:


Legend gave him many names, but the wide halls of his mountain retreat no longer
echoed with countless worshipers. He could have ruled the world had his ambition
not died with the passage of time. The endless whispers were from the cold winds
and the few praying priests. He didn’t care that he couldn’t remember his real name
or birthplace.


For an eon he’d regretted the loss of softer emotions. Love had been the first feeling
to die, along with the woman who had insisted he would never harm her. He couldn’t
recall her features just the merry tinkle of her laughter and the bright smile she
had greeted him with every morning. He licked his lips. She’d tasted sweet.

Fierce need flared in his gut and he sniffed the air. Outside his chamber a single
acolyte in long brown robes waited to escort him. His mouth curved with a mirthless
smile. The silent servants had ignited the flickering wall torches. Shadows jumped and shivered in the drafty halls like nervous virgins.






Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A look at Ebook Readers


Well, I don't have an ebook reader - at least not yet, but ebooks are gaining in popularity and ebook reader's are a must. The most I hear about is the Kindle. Here's the stats on the new Kindle from the Kindle home page:
Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines
Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback
Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered wirelessly in less than 60 seconds; no PC required
3G Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle; no annual contracts, no monthly fees, and no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots
International Coverage: Enjoy 3G wireless coverage at home or abroad in over 100 countries.
Paper-Like Display: Reads like real paper without glare, even in bright sunlight
Carry Your Library: Holds up to 1,500 books
Long Battery Life: Read for days without recharging
Of course, there are more features, I'm being brief here. I like all these features and more. The new Kindle is weighing in at $259. So....is it worth it?
*******
I have a Kindle app for the IPhone and in fact, I read Rita's Hestand, "Runaway Bride" off my Kindle app. I liked the conviencence (sp) of it. Since I take my phone everywhere, my book went with me. And it opened up at the touch of a button. I bought it at the touch of a button and it's hooked up to my Amazon account. There wasn't too much glare and the font was easy on my easy.
Who says I need an ebook reader, right?
*********
Then there's the Sony Ebook reader. They have a touch edition and the cost is only $199. The screen is 6" and it has access to Google books. It is compable with many ebook stores and has 5 different sizes for text. There's a 2 week battery with audio/picture player and the memory can be expanded.
I like this too. So it doesn't have access to Amazon's library. That is probably the only set back.
*******
Then I found the Barnes & Noble Nook. It's not available yet. Maybe Christmas? I wasn't sure. It has lots of features comparable to the other readers and access to the Barnes & Noble ebook library. It's got a touch screen and the battery will last 10 w/o wireless. Mind you, wireless sucks the life out of batteries, trust me on this.
Here's a link to the top 10 ebook readers - mind you this link is PRICEY and quite honestly, I don't want to spend over $250 for my ebook reader.
Ebook readers shout out. What ebook reader do you have? What's the TOP 3 features you LIKE about it. What did you think of the price. Do you find having access to Amazon, Google Books or B&N convientent or a deciding factor in your decision to get one? Love to hear your thoughts.
Steph

Monday, October 26, 2009

Excerpt Monday - The Wolf's Torment


THE WOLF'S TORMENT
Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought I'd post a excerpt from my "scary" fantasy, "The Wolf's Torment."
The Set up: Prince Mihai finds out his friend, Viktor, has a dark secret.
********
“Do you believe in myths? Vampires? Werewolves? I never did, though I heard many tales about them growing up,” Viktor said.

Mihai felt a cold shiver run own his spine, recalling the old witch’s pursuit of his mother. Had something similar happened to Viktor? No wonder his friend was distressed. Mihai grew distant, sensing Viktor had something to tell him that involved those repugnant legends.

“I’ve heard tales. The one that intrigued me the most was where a deadly plague ravished a village in Carpathia in the dark ages. Everyone died except the son of the count who oversaw the village. The son was changed somehow from the plague, and when he grew up, one offshoot of his children became vampires, the other werewolves. There’s more to the myth, but I’m being brief. Why do you ask?”

“I have been bitten by a werewolf, Mihai.”

Mihai got to his feet, stunned. Not his best friend! How could such foulness touch him? His eyes raked over Viktor, drinking in his friend’s features. Viktor was a man, but a werewolf was sly and cunning, a beast that, if left untamed, would ravish those he cared for.

Mihai lunged at Viktor, choking him. “Damn you. How could you let this happen?”

Viktor’s hands clamped around Mihai’s wrists, and with relative ease, he pushed Mihai backwards, causing him to crash into one of the posts of the gazebo.

“That wasn’t the reaction I expected from a friend.”

“How can you be a friend to me now? You don’t understand—!”
“Then explain it to me, Mihai. I have built a life here in Moldavia and I don’t want it taken from me.” Viktor balled his hands into fists.

Mihai drew in a deep breath. “I didn’t tell you the entire truth about my mother’s death. Yes, there was a carriage accident, but she was being pursued by a witch. It was a witch that slew her, and I witnessed it.”

“Why was a witch after the Queen of Moldavia?” Viktor asked.

“My mother had been promised into servitude to the witch as a little girl,” Mihai said.
Even now, at this moment, when Viktor was being totally truthful with him, Mihai couldn’t confess to his own mother being a witch. Not even to his closest friend. How could he? Viktor was a wolf, and Mihai had heard several tales of the werewolf’s cunning nature.

“I see. The witch took no pity on your mother, and the bastard who did this took no pity on me either. I have transformed. Sonia witnessed this. She’s so upset she won’t let me touch her, and I fear I might have tried to harm her in my unnatural state.” A tear escaped from Viktor’s eye.

Mihai stood there, rocked by his friend’s confession and his own painful memories of the night his mother died. How could he let such a beast into his home? How could he not? Viktor loved Sonia, yet even now his confession spoke of the werewolf’s inability to control his actions.
“How dangerous are you?” Mihai asked.

“I don’t know. But there’s more - Sonia is pregnant with my child.”
******
The Wolf's Torment is available at http://www.amazon.com

Friday, October 23, 2009

Book Review Friday - Runaway Bride

Book Review for “Runaway Bride”
Written by: Rita Hestand
Desert Breeze Publishing
ISBN: 1-936000-33-4
Ebook Format
$5.99
4 Stars

Hestand crafts a sweet, poignant romance about the power of love in her latest release, “Runaway Bride.” Savannah Kingsley comes from a rich family, but she has a lot to learn about herself and love before she’s ready to get married.

Hestand drops the reader in the middle of Savannah’s problems. Her BMW breaks down in the middle of rural Texas and she’s forced to hop on a bus to get to the next town after skipping out on her own wedding. Enter Ben Hogg. As he watches Savannah get on the bus his attraction is immediate. Despite Savannah’s disheveled appearance Ben offers to help her.

Savannah stays with Ben until she’s able to put together a short-term plan with what she wants to do with her life. Despite their strong attraction, Savannah and Ben both have trust issues. Can Ben tame Savannah’s restless heart, or will he break it into a thousand pieces?

The plot moves at a nice clip, slowing down in just the right places to let the reader breathe. Savannah is a likable heroine and I like the thought put into her name – evoking a southern royalty feel. It gives insight into her character. Savannah’s parents have done almost everything for her from paying for college, getting her a job, and even picking out the man she was going to marry. Savannah’s shock at finding her fiancé with someone else on her wedding day is just the stimulus she needs to take charge of her life and her discoveries are discoveries readers can identify and sympathize with.

Ben is also a likable hero. As the sheriff of Junction, he’s honest, genuine, and cares about the people he serves. Hestand brings out complexities in subtle ways. He likes flowers which shows a softer side to him, yet his ex-wife hurt him badly. Ben embodies the quintessential southern lawman right down to his name. Hestand has painted rich characters in “Runaway Bride” and it shows.

Hestand’s writing style is easy to read and leaves the reader flipping the pages wanting to find out what happens next. The heat factor is “sweet” to “sensual,” ranging from steamy kisses to seductive touches which are tastefully done.

Hestand does a good job with her dialogue. It moves the story forward and feels genuine. “Runaway Bride” doesn’t run from anything. It’s a journey about discovery and the things Savannah learns about herself are heartwarming, heart breaking, and real. Overall, “Runaway Bride” is a solid character driven romance.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The NaNoWriMo Plunge



Well, I'm taking the plunge and participating the National Novel Writing Month this year. This is my first time, so I'm a little nervous and anxious, but I'm also excited as well. The project I'll be "noveling" about is called, "The Count's Lair." This is a paranormal romance and it's book 2 in my "Hungarian Moon" series.


Here's the blub:

Can a man haunted by an ancient curse fall in love? That’s what Count Anton Varga dares to explore when he meets beautiful and talented Lady Amelia Andrássy. Anton rediscovers Amelia in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, giving a concert and he hungers to pursue her, only he has a secret which he fears she will not accept. With the help and support of his friend and servant, Georg, Anton decides to win Amelia’s heart. Will the journey bring him the love he’s hungered for, or will it tear his heart apart?


****



I first heard of NaNoWriMo when I signed up on Writing.com. At first I thought it was an ambitious goal, and I still do. Trying to get 50,000 words in month will be a challenge for me considering my other commitments - real life, my kids, my job... but writing is a passion for me and I'm really into Anton & Amelia's story so I'm looking forward to this. I haven't wanted to tackle a writing project for NaNoWriMo until now. I figure it will help motivate me to get a good chunk of the writing done.


NaNoWriMo supports young writers and they ask if you're willing to be sponsored, which I am. My goal is ambitious for me - $200.00. I hope to make it, but I know that it might be challenging given today's economic climate. As per their current stat, only 3.71 of those sponsored have earned over $81,000 which I think is great. If anyone would like to sponsor me, let me know. Send me an email and I'll send you a link.


NaNo's first year was 1999. They wrote in July and were out of the San Franscisco Bay area. The next year they got a website. In 2001 they saw a large increase in participants. Since then it's just taken off. In 2007 they had over 100,000 participants and over 15,000 reached the 50,000 word goal. Fantastic.


For NaNoWriMo, it's not the quality of work - it's the quanity. Put it down on your writing program and don't worry about editing it until December. NaNoWriMo will give you the skelton of a novel, you fill in the rest later.


Their website offers a lot of support. If you want to check out my home on NaNoWriMo, become a writing buddy, or just say "Hi." You can find me here at: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/526402


It's all about the written word.

Steph

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Top 5 Romances - Inspiration


My fellow Book Spa Author, Celia Yeary did a top 10 of her favorite romances and I was impressed. Mind you, Celia enjoys a good western romance and it's not usually a romance subgenre I read, but she got me to thinking... What are my 5 top romances?


#1 -Whitney My Love by Judith McNaught


#2 - The Wicked Games of a Gentleman by Jillian Hunter


#3 - Across A Moon Dark Moor by Rebecca Brandywynne


#4 - Queen in Waiting by Jean Plaidy


#5 - Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas



Interesting list, huh? And most of the stuff is relatively new. That's because I don't count Victoria Holt. I don't know if I should or shouldn't, so I'm leaning toward I shouldn't for now. Why? I remember I loved reading her books, but I can't remember any specific plots.


I did read romance in high school, but I was into more gothic work - including Victoria Holt who is known for her gothic romance. During this time I was more into comic books and the such - Anne Rice, horror oriented stuff.


The earliest book on my top 5 read I was in 1988 and it was Jean Plaidy's Queen in Waiting. The story is about Caroline of Ansbach who is/will be the future/wife of George II. George and Caroline's story is really a love story despite the conventions of the day. I remember reading it and just enjoying it. Love did have a happy ending. That's what I took away from that book.


Also - I don't know if you noticed but all these books are historicals - taking place in Europe/England.


I think it would be safe to say I'm a sucker for historical romance.


The next book was Upon a Moon Dark Moor by Rebecca Brandywynne. This was written in the first person and I loved how Brandywynne told the story. The character's voice was complete - all encompassing.


The next book that made an impression with me was "Whitney My Love." I loved the story. McNaught switches POV within scenes, which is a big no-no, but I could forgive it. Whitney and Clayton fell completely in love. It was sweet to read.


Next was "Suddenly You" by Lisa Kleypas who just totally sold me on the story. I loved her writing style. It was easy to read and go through with graphic love scenes that sold me on the power of love.


Last on my list is Jillian Hunter, "The Wicked Games of a Gentleman" by Jillian Boscastle. I loved how Drake was reinvigorated by Eloise's love. Again, great graphic love scenes that spoke to the testiment of love.


I do read more than historicals. 4 favorites I've read recently include:


FIRE EYES by Cheryl Pierson which is a western

ANAM CARA by Keena Kincid which is a time traveling historical

NO SECOND CHANCE by Maggie Toussaint which is a contemporary romance

TO LOVE A HERO by Mona Risk which features an international flare to a contemporary romance.


Currently I'm working on a paranormal romance that takes place in England/Hungary in 1901. Something, different, huh? What's your top 5?

Smiles

Steph

Monday, October 19, 2009

Historical Romance - The King's White Rose.

Here's an excerpt from something I'm working on - you can find the short story in my Writing.com port at:

http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1608116

**********

Spring 1464




She pricked her finger on a thorn. Damn her fickle luck! The pain was brief, but she stained the white rose red with her blood before placing a small handkerchief on her cut.

“Mother! The king!”

Elizabeth spun around. The king’s heralds trotted up the road, holding their flags up high,
proudly displaying the arms of Edward IV.

She raced to her sons, Thomas, nine, and Richard, eight, who stood on the side of the dirt road and steeled her posture. She clutched her handkerchief and pursed her lips, pushing her doubts away. The king had a chivalrous reputation, surely he’d stop for a widow and her sons. A gentle breeze blew several stray strands of her blonde hair across her cheek. She pushed them back, standing tall and proud.

The horses continued their trot. “Make way for the king!”

Elizabeth’s heart accelerated as he came into view. He was stunning. She’d never seen a man quite like him – tall, so very tall, with sandy blonde hair, a winsome smile, and a physique that warmed her to her bones. She couldn’t look away. She didn’t want to. The king was indeed a prize stallion, yearning to be tamed by a fiery mare worthy of him. Her eyes drank in his lips – full, red, and round. She felt her cheeks grow red. Elizabeth hungered to be in his presence, despite the social divide between them.

“Hurrah for the king!” shouted her boys.

The king turned in the direction of her boys and his gaze fell upon her. Their eyes locked. Could he see her response to him play out across her face? She bit her lower lip, hoping he couldn’t tell how he’d affected her. He paused, opened his mouth, then quickly closed it, as if he was as stunned by her as she was of him.

“Halt!”

The carriages spun to a quick stop. The horses mashed their hooves into the dirt. Elizabeth stood firm, holding her head up high. She had caught his attention! Her mother said she would. She had to stay cool and calm. Only the king could fix things for her. She watched him rake his eyes over her, a slow smile curving his lips. He brought his horse in front of her and jumped down in such a quick manner it startled her. She managed a poor, awkward curtsey as her sons bowed; her eyes never left him.

He drank her in. Oh, he was magnificent! He was everything a woman wanted a man to be. Edward embodied the virility one would expect a twenty-two-year-old king to have. His blonde highlights sparkled in the sun. His blue eyes simmered in a hot pool of desire. It was then she realized he couldn’t take his eyes off her. A slow, sly smile grew across his mouth, showing off the dimple in his chin. “Rise. Did you want to meet me?”

Elizabeth paused, warmed by his smile and irresistible dimple. He was a lion of a man, with a lion’s reputation. Muscular and lean, her heart wouldn’t stop its fast, rhythmic beating. “I need your help, Your Grace.”

“Oh?”

“I’m a widow and unable to claim my dowry lands. I have nothing for my sons.”

“A widow? Who was your husband?”

“Sir John Grey. He died at St. Albans.”

“Fighting for Lancaster?”

“He was loyal to the man he believed was king. My sons shouldn’t pay for that.”

The king glanced at her sons and smiled. “Two healthy boys. You have the best part of his fortune.”

She returned his warm smile. “Yes, I do, but they don’t.”

“True. What’s your name?”

“Elizabeth.”

He couldn’t stop smiling at her. “Elizabeth,” he said, softly, as if caressing the finest silk. “I would like to talk some more with you. Do you live close?”

“With my father, Baron Rivers.”

He chuckled. “Ah, Sir Richard Woodville.”

“Yes.”

“Another loyal Lancastrian. How brave you are to petition the house of York for a favor. Brave and courageous. I like that in a woman.”

“Your Grace—”

He gently placed his hand on her elbow, sending a pulse of pleasure through her arm as he stepped into her personal space. “Elizabeth?”

“Our, ah, family is practical, Your Grace,” she rambled. “You’re the king. Our loyalty is with the house of York now.”

“A clever thing to do – since I am king,” he laughed. “I accept your patronage.”

She giggled at his easy manner. He dropped his hand from her elbow. “Come – take me to your home. We’ll talk some more.”

“Your Grace—” began a soldier.

“Stay with me, but have the men ride on. We’ll catch up after a bit.”

Elizabeth paused to admire him. He was so sure of himself, so confident, and yet he talked like a man, a humble man, grateful for the gifts given to him.

Orders were given. A page came up to fetch his horse and he fell in step beside her. Her height complimented his inches. Her sons walked on one side, Edward on the other. An escort followed at a careful distance behind them.

The king pointed to the house that came into view. “Is that your home?”

“It’s my parents’ house.”

He stopped and looked directly at her. “Edward. Call me Edward, please, Elizabeth.”

“Edward? It’s so informal, Your Grace.”

He playfully pinched the bridge of his nose. “Yes, I would like you to call me Edward. That’s my name.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Me? But you’re the king.”

“I am a man in the presence of a beautiful woman.”

She felt her cheeks prick red. At twenty-seven, she was five years older than him, and yet age didn’t matter to him. He already held her heart ransom.

“Ah, look, are those white roses next to the road?” he asked.

“Yes. My mother planted them.”

“I’ve heard rumors about Sir Richard’s wife. She has Melusina’s blood in her.”

“Your – Edward—”

“Be honest.”

“Melusina was a mermaid who could work magic, Edward. If I admitted such a thing, I might be branded a witch myself.”

“Never a witch – an enchantress.” He leaned close to her. “You are as beautiful as Melusina.”

Before she could react to the comment, the door to the cottage opened and Elizabeth saw her father step out. He bowed in front of the king. “Your Grace.”

“Ah, Rivers, your daughter was just showing me your roses.”

“White for York, Your Grace.”

“And what did you do with the red ones?” Edward asked. Elizabeth giggled.

Her father looked confused. “Red ones?”

“Your Grace, we never had red roses. My mother planted these after Albans,” said Elizabeth.

He chuckled and then looked at her father. “A wise wife you have, Rivers. Do you have a pint of ale to offer before I have to move on?”

“Yes, of course, Your Grace. Come inside.”

Edward let Elizabeth and her sons walk into the house before he went in. Elizabeth led him to their dining room and her father went to the kitchen. Her mother and father approached with a pint of ale for all of them. Edward smiled when he saw her mother. “Ah, Lady Rivers, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

She lowered her eyes as she curtsied. “The same, Your Grace.”


“Now, Lady Grey, why can’t you claim your dowry lands?”

“My husband’s family won’t give them up, despite the fact he had two legitimate sons by me.”

Edward gave her a look that would ignite a fire. “”Tis a shame. Any man can see your sons are fine young boys. His family should be glad with the gifts you’ve given them.”

“Your Grace, the land belongs to Thomas and Richard—” began Elizabeth’s father.

Edward sipped his drink. “Oh, I know the laws, Rivers. Clearly Lord Grey’s family is preventing his legitimate issue from their birthright. Write down the nature of the complaint. I want names, dates, and when you and your husband owned the property.”

“Yes, Ed – ah, Your Grace.”

They shared a look, a knowing, teasing look. “Well, I should be going.”

“So soon?” asked Elizabeth.

“Unfortunately,” he paused, drawing in a deep breath. “Henry has only a few castles in the north, but I can’t even allow that if there’s to be peace – and I want peace. The fighting between cousins must stop.”

“What will you do if you catch him?” asked Elizabeth’s father.

“I have no desire to hurt him. He’s mad, he is. It’s Margaret, his queen, who is the real danger. Thank you for the ale.” Edward stood up. “Elizabeth, walk me to the door.”

“Yes, Your Grace.” She fell in step beside him.

“I plan to return when this is done,” he said, quietly so only she could hear. “I can’t tell you how long that will be. Will you be here?”

“Yes.”

He paused at the door and cupped her cheek in his hand. “You are beautiful, Elizabeth Grey. An enchantress.”

She lowered her eyes, feeling the blush of her cheeks. Slowly, he raised her chin with his thumb and bent down, brushing his soft, pouty lips against hers. She moaned from the shock of his sensual mouth. He pulled back. “I won’t forget your kiss, Elizabeth.”

“Nor I.”

“Before I go into battle, may I have a favor?”

“I have nothing.”

“Nothing for your king?”

She felt inside her dress pockets and withdrew her stained handkerchief. “All I have is this.”

He smiled as he took it, bringing it up to his nose. “As sweet as a rose. Until our next meeting.”

“Edward,” she whispered.

He bowed quickly and left, leaving her without any time to curtsey. Instead, she ran to the window and watched him mount his horse before racing off down the road.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Welcome Guest Author - Kelli Wilkins


Welcome to Adventures in Moldavia, Kelli!

********


Have you ever read a Bigfoot romance?
Beauty & the Bigfoot – a new paranormal-comedy!
By Kelli Wilkins

Hi folks!

My new release, Beauty & the Bigfoot, (Yes, it’s a Bigfoot romance!) offers readers a quirky look at the legend of Bigfoot. When I told people I was writing a Bigfoot romance, they said, “You’re kidding, right?”

Nope! Maybe I watched too much In Search Of… as a child or “unexplained phenomena” appealed to my imagination, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in the strange and unusual.

Beauty & the Bigfoot was a lot of fun to write and I had a great time creating the characters. Through Tara and her eccentric father, Charlie, I was able to turn up the camp level and add in many wacky references and asides.

The book started out with the premise: “What if a girl fell in love with a captured Bigfoot?” I liked the idea, but I wasn’t sure where I could take it. Later, when I was doing research for the book, I came across several historical accounts (dating back to the 1500s) of huge, hairy “wild men” living in the woods. Native American tribes have several names for Bigfoot and they took the subject seriously. After reading these stories, my imagination took over from there. (Once you read the book, you’ll see how it all ties in together.)

So, is Bigfoot real? Is the Patterson film a hoax? Are there Sasquatches roaming the forests of the Pacific Northwest? I don’t know for sure, but I do know that the legend continues on – with a happy ending – in Beauty & the Bigfoot.

I'm pleased to say that Beauty & the Bigfoot has received great reviews! Here's what people are saying:

From Bookwenches:
"I could use a lot of words to describe Kelli A. Wilkins’ Beauty & the Bigfoot, but if I had to narrow it down to just one summary word, it would be this: fun. I knew I was going to be in for a treat when I picked this novella up; there was just no way that a story with a title such as this could take itself seriously. I mean c’mon…love with Bigfoot? Sex with Sasquatch? How far-out is that? I am delighted to report that I was right. This story was a hoot and a half, and Ms. Wilkins has definitely been placed on my “authors to be watched” list because of it. Ms. Wilkins does an excellent job of bringing Tara and Joe together, however unbelievable such a romance might be, and she does it with wit and a humor that is completely irresistible.

This story brims over with amusing characters. I quite enjoyed reading Beauty & the Bigfoot. It is a quick and easy read, entertaining, and even sexy at times. And now that I’ve “discovered” Ms. Wilkins writing, I am definitely going to have to explore her backlist of stories. And maybe sign up for her newsletter as well." - B.D. Whitney

From ParanormalRomance.org:
"An Erotic Twist on the Classic Bigfoot Tale"
Beauty & the Bigfoot is a thoroughly entertaining read on a classic legend, that I found enjoyable and sexy! Ms. Wilkins puts a twist on the bigfoot myth, that left me pleased with the ending. Beauty & the Bigfoot was a well thought out, erotic and downright fun read to the end! I loved Tara and her take on what is happening to her, and Joe is just a downright yummy male, even if he is a little hairy! If you are looking for a fun, erotic and entertaining read then Ms. Wilkins delivers." - Missy Brown, Reviewer


Kelli Wilkins
www.KelliWilkins.com

Author of...
Beauty & the Bigfoot - New release!

And don't miss...
Confessions of a Vampire's Lover
Naughty Nobles
A Midsummer Night's Delights
A Most Unusual Princess
Dalton's Temptation
The Pauper Prince
The Dark Lord
The Sexy Stranger

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Welcome Guest Author - Courtney Breazile

The Book:

Amelia lives each day with the knowledge that she will be killed on October 31st, her twenty-second birthday, only to be reincarnated one hundred years later. While alive she is haunted by dreams of passion she is never able to experience and death she knows is waiting for her. A demon is coming to kill her, and fate decrees that she will choose death from him. What could possibly drive her to ask for her own death—only the promise of her every fantasy coming true before the death blow.
An excerpt:

"At eleven I heard him, calling to me. He wanted me to return to my apartment, he waited there for me. My knees went weak with fear and excitement, I couldn’t control the compulsion to obey, I had to go to him. Without a single goodbye, I walked out, mind numb to anything other than the task at hand, getting to my demon.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew I was doing something stupid, I shouldn’t make it this easy for him. If he wanted to kill me, then I should make him come to me, but those thoughts were fleeting and I could not make myself obey them.

Daray’s thoughts and desires filled my mind, and that is what my body obeyed, as if he were its true master. I was helpless to fight it, and I wasn’t afraid. His compelling me was not malicious. It was somehow comforting, as if a long awaited return. This is what I have lived the last twenty-two years waiting for.

When I stood outside my apartment door wondering how I got there, I almost faltered. I had a sudden moment of returned clarity, I wanted to fight, I wanted to live. I was not going down easy."
********
Reincarnated Death Wish (To Experience Passion is to Choose Death) is available from eXtasy Books October 15th. www.extasybooks.com To see a trailer and all the Xrated Halloween fun me and my fellow eXtasy Halloween Hooligans have cooking up, visit my website at www.courtneybreazile.com

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Welcome Guest Author - Christine Columbus!

Christine is from The Wild Rose Press and has 8 Rosettes…She's got a new release Trust Your Heart a Miniature Rose…

A little excerpt….


A trace of laughter filled his deep, sensual voice. My eyes widened. “David Lindstrom?”
His gaze narrowed. “Michelle Mason?”

My heart thumped. The handsome man in front of me was David. He looked different from the teenager who had shared a locker beside mine for four years. Back then, he wore nothing but faded denim overalls, white stained t-shirts, work boots and a baseball cap, but the smile was the same.

He clasped my hand and drew me closer.

I leaned close and sniffed twice. He certainly didn’t smell like the farm boy who came to school more times than not smelling like manure. His scent was clean, crisp and all male. “You smell wonderful.”

His arms wrapped around me, and his chest rumbled with laughter. “You were always the honest one.”

The warmth of his embrace was like chocolate to a dieter, and my arms tightened possessively. Guilt and the desire to take a little nibble had me rocking back and forth in his embrace. His arms tightened.


*********
The Reviews Have Been Great:

Review: WOW!!!! I am not sure if I have ever wanted to slap so many secondary characters in my life! Ms Columbus, you have done such a fabulous job creating the emotions for this story that I wanted to jump into the pages and wring the necks of a couple of the nasty people who were total jerks to Michelle.Both main characters were so wonderful. Emotion ran rampant and more than once I experienced the emotion right along with them. When I read a story that can do that, I am at a loss for words. The beginning, middle and end left me a very satisfied reader. *Snaps* for a job well done and a toast for more to come from this talented author :)

5 STARS*****

Trust Your Heart was a fun and tender story that kept me smiling the whole way through.



Trust Your Heart was a sweet read that held my interest until the end. Christine has a great knack for injecting clever dialogue between her characters which I throughly enjoyed.

**********
Where you can find "Trust Your Heart:"

http://www.thewildrosepress.com/trust-your-heart-p-3669.html?zenid=64bf02d49ecb8f0b8d7c4ac8827cc933 If you'd like to know more stop by my website: www.ChristineColumbus.Net

Monday, October 12, 2009

Welcome Guest Author - Amber Polo

I'd like to welcome the author of Romancing Rebecca, Amber Polo who is here to talk about her new book.

Welcome, Amber!
**********

Flying Free is about a woman learning to fly, starting life over, and falling for an unlikely man. Can a meat eating Texas advertising woman find love with a vegetarian Buddhist and get her pilot's license despite interference from her wacky Arizona airpark neighbors? It’s a romance, so of course the answer is yes. It’s funny and sad and passes on some interesting information. (Sorry for that but in another life I was a librarian.)

I live in a perfect setting for a novel, one of 500 residential airparks in the U.S . Unlike golf course communities, airparks have runways instead of fairways and every house has a very big garage (hangar). On my airpark everyone knows your business. Everyone. Since most of the residents are retirement age, I wondered what would happen if a young(er) woman moved in. And from there the story took off.

I’m not a pilot. At eighteen it took awhile before I got the hang of driving a car. Now I like looking out the window too much. That said, I want women to know that it’s never too late to make a dream come true. I’m writing and a neighbor got her pilot’s license at age fifty.
In my novel the hero and heroine start new lives in their forties and one of my characters is a flight instructor in her 70s. If you think that’s hard to believe, don’t tell my neighbors. Any woman needing encouragement to learn to fly should contact the local Ninety-Nines chapter of women pilots.

Find me and Flying Free online. I have a new blog Heads in the Clouds, Women in the Air – Interviews with Women in Aviation who Love Books and Write Them.

You can find Amber and her books at:
My website http://www.amberpolo.com
My new blog http://womenintheair.blogspot.com/
My publisher for print and ebook
http://www.trebleheartbooks.com/AmberPolo.html

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Flying-Free-Amber-Polo/dp/1936127059/ref=gfix-ews-form
http://tinyurl.com/flyingfreeonAmazon

“this is a fast, fun, and uplifting read” B Hughes, Founder of Power of Music

lying Free by Amber PoloTreble Heart Books http://www.trebleheartbooks.com
Contemporary Romance
October 2009
ISBN: 978-1-936127-05-4pages 273
Print and ebook

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Promo - Across The Fickle Winds of History




1913 brought the tercentenary of the Romanov dynasty to Russia and the last glory days to Nicholas II and his family – but even as the Romanovs celebrated, the underpinnings of discontent and dissension began to make their way through Russian society.

It is in this world that Olga Nicolaievna Romanov finds herself coming of age. A young woman of seventeen, Olga and her sisters meet there strangers on the ground of the Catherine Palace. Immediately, she’s drawn to a handsome young man, Paul Kerensky. The girls take the strangers into their home – and their hearts.

Soon, Olga begings to suspect the intriguing stranger she’s come to know is not who he appears to be. Her head and heart wage war as Paul leaves clues to his true identity and the reason as to why he’s come into her life. When she discovers Paul’s secret, she realizes her country is at a crossroads – and she must choose the path her country has to follow.

*******

3 Stars, ForeWord Clarion Reviews, Aimee Merzon. “A creative and surprising theory that solved the mystery of the Romanovs.”

4 Stars, Lulu Reviews, Shannon Yarbourgh. “The author’s descriptions are quite beautiful, painting a picture of Russia in a much different light. From the first World War to a grand ball at the palace, Cardin breathes a certain life into her characters and setting that make this short novella quite intense.”

********

You can purchase “Across The Fickle Winds of History” at:
http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/across-the-fickle-winds-of-history/1572128

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Welcome Guest Author - Kelley Heckart


Blurb: Cardea is cursed to live an eternity as a blood drinker.

Aedan mac Gabrain, prince of Dal Riata, trusts no one after suffering a curse that keeps him from touching any females.

Can two tortured souls find love while battling a dark goddess determined to destroy them?

Cat's Curse is a Celtic historical romance with fantasy elements. This is the first book in a trilogy titled Dark Goddess. This series revolves around the entangled destinies of an Irish clan and an ancient Fae/Goddess. Cat's Curse is my first book featuring a vampire-like character, though she differs from a European vampire because she was cursed by her enemies to live an eternity as a Lamia (Greek vampire), half-woman, half-serpent. This is also my first book based on an actual person in history. My hero, Aedan mac Gabrain did exist in sixth century Scotland. He is mentioned in various texts from Adomnan's Life of St. Columba and in the Welsh poems, he is called Aedan the Treacherous. He was a formidable king feared by his enemies, but his younger years were shadowy and he may have fathered a king of the Picts. This fascinated me and I imagined what his earlier years might have been like and what kind of woman he would be drawn to.

I came up with the idea for this trilogy when I was researching the Picts. I came across this Irish king named Aedan mac Gabrain who had a shadowy past and fought the Picts for many years. He fascinated me because he was a contemporary of kings like Urien of Rheged, the Briton King Riderch of Strathclyde and a close friend of St. Columba, but not much was known about him other than he was considered one of the most feared warlords of his time.

4 cards! Ms. Heckart has written an entertaining tale that combines both history and fantasy in a way that will enchant the reader. Definitely put this one in your “I’m gonna read it next” pile! Reviewed by Rie McGaha of Book Reviews by Rie McGaha
Link to full review: http://thepaganandthepen.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/book-review-cats-curse-by-kelly-heckart/

4 Cups! Cat’s Curse is a wonderful story full of spells, trust, betrayal, and for the two, unconditional love. I love how the subplots built up the main story. Every character is developed. The dialogue and action keeps the book fast paced…The action blends into the story and love scenes are sensuous instead of graphic, along with being very compelling. This well thought out story is a very easy to recommend historical. I look forward to more of this trilogy. Anya Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More
http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/catscursebookone.html

Kelley's website: www.kelleyheckart.com

Friday, October 9, 2009

Welcome Guest Author - JM Cornwell


I'd like to welcome guest author, JM Cornwell to the blog.
************
Devastated by love and nearly killed in a car crash, Lynn Sanderson disappeared, returning five years later with a new name, a new face, and a plan…

Adrian Cahill didn’t realize his ideal woman, his soul mate, was right in front of him, so Lynn walked away from their stagnant relationship.

She had no idea she’d soon be involved in a near-fatal crash that would change her appearance and leave her haunted with nightmares of accidents and death. No longer the same person, Lynn took on another girl’s name and carved out a new identity.
While recuperating from reconstructive surgery, she bought a run-down cabin in the mountains of Pennsylvania. With the help of local handyman John Logan she brought the structure back to life, turning it into a wonderful retreat. He also helped her remodel an abandoned factory near Bolton air field in Columbus, Ohio. Over the years the two became close friends, though Logan remained a mystery, never revealing much about his personal life or his past.

After five years and in her new incarnation as Diana, Lynn made up her mind to go back for the man who rejected her, and goad him into chasing her until she catches him. Could she create a new ending for an imperfect past?

And how will Logan, her mysterious mountain man, feel about losing his best friend?

REVIEWS:

Ecataromance.com’s Emily:
“J.M. Cornwell has written an endearing story about Diana who becomes conflicted and begins to question her choices. Every detail is beautifully described for the reader, making it difficult to put the book down. Past Imperfect will pull at your heart strings as you turn each page and begin the next.”

Matilda at Coffee Time Romance & More:
“Past Imperfect is a pleasurable read, one that will touch your heartstrings and even complicate you on which man Diana should be with. Smooth flowing dialogue makes this a story you can breeze thru without losing a thing. This is a book worthy of the shelf space.”

John A. Evans on Amazon:
“As a guy, I'm not a huge romance novel fan, but I must admit I do have my "must read" authors (Nicholas Sparks is one). Anyway, from the moment I started reading, J M Cornwell had complete control of my time and attention. In the end I was satisfied, but sorry the read was over. I'll be watching for more stories from J M.”

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Welcome Guest Author - Sandy Sullivan


I'd like to welcome guest author, Sandy Sullivan. I had a chance to read Sandy's book recently, and while I'm not much of a western fan, I really enjoyed this. Sandy's steamy scenes, are very steamy - scorching in fact, and if you like your romance laced with steam, this book satisifies.

*********

Amy Russell has sworn off men until she runs into Tanner Lewis. His muscular chest, soft brown eyes and drop dead gorgeous, sexy dimpled smile has her rethinking her decision. Can she learn to trust again, especially a cowboy, after her ex broke her heart? Will she let Tanner penetrate the shell around her heart?

Tanner's been burned. Yeah, he was in love once, until he caught his fiancée in bed with his best friend. Now all he wants is to get his singing career on the right path. Just when he thinks things are going perfectly, he runs smack into Amy Russell, horse tamer extraordinaire and registered nurse. As he watches her take a difficult horse and turn it into a docile pussycat with nothing more than soft words and a kind touch, he's fascinated, but Amy doesn't want a relationship. Can he convince her there's nothing better than a cowboy's love?


Categories: Contemporary EROTIC Romance Western/Cowboys Word Count: 80,445Heat Level: SCORCHINGPublished By: Siren-Bookstrand, Inc.

A link to buy Sandy's Book:

Sandy Sullivan - Romance Author
2008 Eppies Judge
2009 Dixie Kane Judge and Participant

Here's a sample Question and Answer with Sandy, taken from the BookStrand Site:

Q: What is your favorite genre to write?

A: I write mostly western historical and western contemporary, but I’m delving into erotica too.

Q: Where do you get your ideas for your stories?

A: I can get an idea from a dream, a song, seeing someone in the grocery store – it doesn’t matter. I’m open to suggestions.

Q: What is your favorite time to write?

A: Any time that is quiet in my house. Usually when my husband isn’t home. LOL

Q: Do you have a picture in your mind when you start a story about what the hero/heroine looks like?

A: Most definitely. I love men with nice chests, some chest hair, six pack abs and dimples! I love dimples!

Q: Would you do a book tour and do you suggest that for getting the word out about your books?

A: I would love to do a book tour. I think it’s a great idea and I think maybe getting several authors from the same publishing house to do one together would be really cool.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Welcome Guest Author - Marion Webb-De Sisto


Welcome guest author Marion Webb-De Sisto!
*****
Become reacquainted with the first and seventh archangels, Samael and Seriel, as they begin their exile in a dark, hellish place where essence-drinking demons and energy-sapping plant life abound. There's even a fierce, golden dragon to breathe fire into the story. Both siblings are separated from their beloved Malkura in this continuing angelic saga, and the reader learns how the brothers handle this misfortune. Seriel is resigned to never having won her affection while Samael plots to regain what he has lost. The celestial adventures continue to unfold in this further narrative of the brothers' rivalry and pursuit of their eternal lives. Abbadon has something for everyone, being a tale of adventure with some romantic moments and several dastardly deeds by Samael, a.k.a. the Devil.
********

* "A most unusual love story."

* "Marion Webb-De Sisto has created a complete angelic society, just as today's physicists are putting forward the theory that angels created the universe."
*******
Here's a link to Marion's book at Amazon:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Welcome Guest Author - P.I. Barrington


Patti's novel, "Crucifying Angel," is going to be released with Desert Breeze Publishing on 1 NOV. Here's an excerpt.
******
BLURB:
A serial killer with an unholy mission is unleashed on deteriorating sin city Las Vegas and LVPD Homicide Detectives Payce Halligan and her new partner, British ex-Deputy Chief Inspector begin a deadly cat and mouse game as each must deal with their own traumatic past and their evolving attraction.
***
The next tableau of death also sat eight stories up in another iron skeleton that was once a casino in utero. Again, the body of the victim hung upside down, crucified from two iron girders crossed into an X, the victim's ankles pierced and wired to the two top opposing ends of beams and body slashed in the identical locations. White linen cloths draped the body, reminiscent of Roman togas, did nothing to hide degrading posture or the disrespect of the murderer, nor the fact that the desecrated body could be seen from the Strip below by pedestrians and passengers alike. Their curiosity peaked by the obvious attempt at hiding the crime scene with yellow police tarps that only made the scene more visible.

Gavin walked to the edge of the scaffold, gazing at the vistas of Las Vegas, trying to take in the wide, unending expanse of desert and make sense of the bizarre methods of death. Was there some message in the patterns known only to the killer and mattering only to him? Was there something he wanted to authorities to take notice of, something he was telling them? Or was it just the death-addicted actions of a homicide junkie?

This was the place for it. Las Vegas, sin city from its inception, was hot as hell literally and figuratively, was as barren and painfully garish and distorted as any lower floor of Hades. Even the populace on the streets below looked and lived like lost denizens of the Underworld.

The Underworld! Gavin, like any other citizen of Earth, knew about the Mafia underworld and its underpinning of Las Vegas. It was the mob, specifically in the form of Bugsy Siegel, who conceived and gave birth to the free sin capitol of the United States, who nurtured it and encouraged its licentiousness, its slavering over the outrageous amounts of money that was the lifeblood of this uniquely evil city.

He shook his head slightly, folding his arms over his chest. Was the city really evil or was it just an enabler of devilry? Did it matter? Murder was murder whether it occurred in the suburbs of cold rainy London or here in the desert hell of Nevada, USA.

The soapy sweet scent of Payce's hair as she moved past him jerked him back from the philosophical to the real world.

"Hey, wake up, McAllister," she said, glancing over the scene one last time. "Anything else?"

"Um-- no. I think we're done here." He moved to stand beside her as the working elevator lift creaked upwards toward them.

*******
Crucifying Angel will be available on 1 NOV 09. From Desert Breeze Publishing. Here's a link:

Welcome Guest Author - Anne Patrick


I'd to welcome fellow Desert Breeze Author, Anne Patrick who is here to tell us a little about her book, Journey to Redemption.
**********
First of all I’d like to thank Stephanie for having me today. I’m thrilled for the opportunity to share with your readers a little about myself. I’m Anne Patrick, and I’m a ‘Sweet’ Romantic Suspense/Mystery writer. Meaning, there are no bedroom scenes in my stories. I know that may sound boring to a lot of people but I promise you my stories are far from boring. I grew up reading the sweet, Jane Austin, style romances and…well…I guess they just stuck with me. My heroines are strong-willed, often very opinionated, ladies who usually wind up in a big mess of trouble and need a handsome man to come along and bail them out—though they’d never admit to needing the help.

My first novel, Every Skull Tells a Story, was published two years ago and is available in print from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble etc. Here’s a little blurb about it: Forensic Sketch Artist, Mackayla Kinsington, and FBI profiler, Galen Schroeder, team up to discover the identities of three bodies found at a U.S. senator's vacation home. When the killer realizes how good Mackayla is she becomes the next target.

My second novel, Journey to Redemption, just came out this month and is available in Ebook form from my publisher, Rogue Phoenix Press and on Amazon Kindle. Here’s a blurb about it:
Detective Morgan Reynolds thought her nightmare was over when serial killer Gerald ‘The Slasher’ Tate was sent to prison for her husband’s murder. But she was wrong. The Slasher has escaped and he’s making it even more personal this time. Tate has kidnapped her son and is giving her 72 hours to find the answers he wants or Jared dies.

I also have three more novels coming out next year. Ties That Bind (sometime after the first of the year) from Awe-Struck Publishing, Out of the Darkness (May 2010) from Champagne Books, and Fire and Ash (July 2010) from Desert Breeze.

Now one might wonder why so many different publishers. Well that resulted from a little challenge I made myself after being discouraged by many, many rejections from publishers and agents. About a year ago I decided that for every rejection I got I was going to send out three submissions. Then all of a sudden BOOM! A door opened and I was offered a contract, then another, and another, and before I knew it I had four. I thought…whoa…is this really happening? I still of course dream of someday making the NY times best seller list, but in the mean time I’m happy doing what I love to do and that is keeping people on the edge of their seats with one of my novels.

If you would like to learn more about me and my books, come visit me at http://www.suspensebyanne.blogspot.com/. You can read excerpts, sample chapters, and the latest reviews of my books.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Feature - Destination: Berlin

Stuck in a routine job in Cold War Germany guarding nuclear weapons. U.S. Army Corporal Sharon Cates thinks she is going to Berlin to attend an orientation tour. Unknown to her, the briefcase she carries contains top-secret information that the Stasi and KGB are willing to kill for.

Russian Junior Sergeant Dimitri Nagory is an assistant to a high-ranking Soviet officer in his country’s embassy in England. Dimitri isn’t expecting a great adventure as he boards the duty train for a routine trip to headquarters in Berlin, and he certainly isn’t expecting to meet any Americans.

The Stasi derail the train in the middle of East Germany, expecting to take the information from Sharon’s dead body. The sparks fly when Sharon and Dimitri meet. When the sudden explosion hurls Sharon and Dimitri from the train and into each other, he too becomes a target. With Sharon nursing badly bruised ribs and branded by her country as a traitorous thief for stealing top-secret documents, Dimitri goes against everything he’s been trained to do when he offers to help her to Berlin. Can Sharon trust Dimitri or will he break her heart?


Author Bio: New Hampshire native SG Cardin (also writing as Stephanie Burkhart) spent more than seven years stationed overseas in Europe as member of the Army’s Military Police Corps. Currently she lives in California and works as a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She’s married with two boys, 7 & 3.

Reviews:

"Destination: Berlin," kept my rapt attention from the first page through to the last though. As I finished the story I realized with a smile that I actually quite enjoyed it. There's a little bit of everything mixed into this story. There's history, adventure, suspense, romance and of course so military jargon. The author does a good job though, of simplifying the military lingo, so that it never becomes a burden to understand. The story flows well, and moves along quickly. If you're looking for a good story to keep you occupied for a night or two, I'd highly recommend this one. 4 STARS- Book of the Moment, Reviewer.


Destination Berlin is a tautly written saga of mistrust, determination, and survival. 5 STARS, Midwest Book Review.

Destination Berlin is a military thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Soviet soldier Dimitri and American Corporal Sharon find themselves thrown together by circumstance and each is challenged to defy their beliefs for the other in order to survive. Full of action and suspense, this book is a must read for fans of the genre. - 5 STARS, Starr, a reader.

You can purchase Destination:Berlin on Amazon at:
http://www.amazon.com/Destination-Berlin-S-Cardin/dp/0595164196/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254666568&sr=8-2

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Welcome Guest Author - Melanie Atkins


Adventures in Moldavia would like to welcome fellow Desert Breeze Author, Melanie Atkins!
Steph
************
Book: Cherished Witness, September '09, Desert Breeze Publishing

Kelly Watson, aka Teresa Pastral, threw the Fifth Amendment out the window when she testified against her mob boss husband at his murder trial. Now divorced, she has begun a new life in the Witness Security Program. Only--the mob finds her, thanks to handsome lawman J.T. Romano, who uses her as bait to lure the man who murdered his wife and unborn child to town. To ensure her safety, she is forced to trust J.T., the man who has betrayed her to the mob. But can she also protect her heart?

Melanie's Note: I’m thrilled that the first book in my New Orleans Detective series, CHERISHED WITNESS, is available once again, this time at Desert Breeze Publishing. The book has been re-edited and lengthened, and I love the result. I’m so happy to be at Desert Breeze and look forward to the release of the other five books in the series:

PRIME SUSPECT -- February 2010


CHOSEN TARGET -- June 2010


BELOVED CAPTIVE --October 2010


UNWILLING ACCOMPLICE -- February 2011

PERFECT PARTNER -- June 2011

Bullet:"...a tremendous story that is riveting from the first page to the last..." 5 Angels, Fallen Angel Reviews

Friday, October 2, 2009

Welcome Guest Author - Randall Lang


Name of Book: Magnificent Man

Guest Post for: Adventures in Moldovia


MAGNIFICENT MAN by RANDALL LANG

Sometimes a story doesn't begin as a idea, sometimes a story begins as a hero in search of a story. So it was with Magnificent Man. My personal idea of a hero is not only someone who performs rescues, saves lives, or fights for his ideals, my idea of a hero is someone who does good as a part of his daily life. As if to compound that, I feel that a hero should stand by his values and beliefs even when they are considered outdated and anachronistic by others. Throw in a dash of gallantry, a little chivalry, a dose of nobility and you have a pretty good hero. But since this is a romance novel, we dare not create a trite 'bigger-than-life' superhero. Better we should make him complex and, in the case of Coyote, the hero of Magnificent Man, slightly damaged.

Now that we have this hero, what can we do with him? Let's put him in the big city and make him a crime fighter. No, that would not work. He's damaged and a bit limited, the street thugs would eat him alive. What if he were a soldier who saves the heroine from enemies? Not bad, but soldiers tend to work in groups and Coyote really is not a team player. Would he make a good cowboy? Picture him riding a horse through the American southwest in the 1870's in search of adventure. Close, but not quite the exact time for him. Oh yes! There it is! The contemporary American southwest and not on a horse, but rather on a motorcycle, the ONLY real way to see the southwest other than on a horse. Now we have an anachronistic hero with the mind of a medieval knight who travels the southwest on a motorcycle helping forgotten people in a desolate land. That's my guy, that's Coyote.

Every story needs a heroine and Magnificent Man is no exception. We need a good, tough-as-nails heroine to link up with Coyote and change both of their lives. 'Tough-as-nails' really won't work, let's create a heroine who has been kicked by life a few times, and who just wants to improve things for her family.

Cassandra is a former beauty queen from Shreveport, Louisiana. At the peak of her life, things start to fall apart until, fourteen years later, she finds herself as a struggling single Mother supporting her teen-aged daughter and her aging Mother. She takes a chance by answering an ad in a Hollywood fan magazine and makes a hope-filled trip to Los Angeles only to be disappointed. On the trip home, things go steadily downhill until she is rescued from a band of murderous thugs by Coyote. She is confused when he calls her "my lady' and treats her as a knight would treat a queen. He agrees to take her back to Louisiana, but first he must complete several missions throughout the desert southwest. It is during this journey that she realizes what a truly noble and magnificent man is Coyote. Although she resists, she becomes inescapably bonded to him.

Coyote is a man beloved by the people he visits, and he is very content with his solitary lifestyle. He has no desire to become involved with a woman, but Cassandra brings a new type of fulfillment into his life and irreversibly changes him. It is during their journey of adventure through the stark yet beautiful desert landscape that a bond of love develops. A love that puts both of them in an intolerable situation.

I invite you to join Coyote and Cassandra on this journey of love and adventure through the contemporary American southwest. I am,

Your most humble and obedient servant,

Randall Lang

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Randall Lang grew up in the tough coalfields of southwestern Pennsylvania where nothing comes easily. It is a world of limited opportunity and few roles to follow. Dreams are quickly vanquished in the shadows of necessity and creativity is usually buried beneath an avalanche of cynicism. However, epiphanies come in all shapes, sizes, and in a wide range of locations. In the dark and quiet world of the underground worksite, the stories within him began to take form. Years later, Randall Lang is the author of eight books of erotic stories published by Renaissance E Books, has contributed to two erotic anthologies, and the recently released Magnificent Man, an erotic romance published by Midnight Showcase. Randall’s erotic works include the five volume Trailer Park Nights series and three books of erotic short stories. These are available at http://shop.renebooks.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=120. His newest release, Magnificent Man, is available from Midnight Showcase at http://www.midnightshowcase.com/MagniMan.htm. See the book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fv3T4zXq_Lo. Visit Randall’s website, The Worlds of Randall Lang, http://www.randalllang.com/.Or his blog, The Mind of Randall Lang, http://www.randalllang.blogspot.com/. It’s a strange place to be. Randall now lives historically on an historic island in historic Wheeling, West Virginia.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Welcome Guest Author - Miriam Newman


Welcome guest author, Miriam Newman. She's here to talk about her book, "The King's Daughter!
Steph
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Born to a dying mother and an ambitious king, Tarabenthia is the last heir to the crown of Alcinia. Yet when the idyll of her childhood ends, she will defy her father for the sake of love, tipping the balance in a world poised on the brink of war and leaving history to judge whether she is heroine or harlot. She will love a famous general, a Northern prince and a man who arrives on her shores with only the clothes on his back. And, always, love of her land and the Goddess she worships will rule her life.
The Story Behind the Book

The King’s Daughter was written on yellow legal pads in a variety of places in Ireland: hotel rooms, pubs, sheep pastures and the ruins of the Rock of Cashel. Widowed, on the run from memories and short of funds, I didn’t have a lap top—yet. That would have to await my return to the U.S.

For many years, I had written poetry, most of it fueled by Irish myths and legends. But I had never been to Ireland. Most of my poems sprang from my reading and stories from a Scotch-Irish grandmother who told me I was fey. Oh, yes, and there’s the part where my mother read me Longfellow’s “A Skeleton in Armor” instead of nursery rhymes, thereby instilling in me a love of men in chain mail.

I had my own knight in shining armor for all too few years. When he died, instead of doing the expected thing, I ran away. To Ireland. To a place I had never seen, to people I had never met and the book that had been there, waiting for me.

Please share it with me.

Part II of The Chronicles of Alcinia – Heart of the Earth – is available at the above locations.

Happy reading!

Miriam Newman
www.miriamnewman.com
www.thedarkcastlelords.com
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THE KING’S DAUGHTER – fantasy historical – 8th place Preditors’ & Editors’ Poll – Best Romance Novel of 2008
Winner – Coffee Time Romance Award
Special Mention – Romance Junkies

Link: www.thedarkcastlelords.com/the-kings-daughter.htm

Also available at www.fictionwise.com, www.allromanceebooks.com and www.omni-lit.com

Trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnoRJ2i98HI