A Gentleman and a Rogue

Friday, May 31, 2013

New Release - 99 cent paranormal romance - Night of Magic



My latest release is a sweet/sensual paranormal romance for 99 cents!

BLURB:

Samhain ~ Dark... Dangerous... Powerful... 
The year is 800 AD on the Emerald Isle.

Five years ago, Prince Jasper lost his daughter Aithne to the world on the other side of the bonfires. Every year since, Jasper sends champions to this other world on the day of Samhain, when the barrier is weakest. 

This year, Finn braves the bonfires in search of Aithne, but dare he follow his heart? Or will greed dictate his actions?

It's now avail on Amazon in the KDP Select program.  

BUY LINK:http://amzn.com/B00D2XP4R6

I have to admit it's one of my favorite covers with Jimmy Thomas! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Welcome Blurb Blitz Tour for Highlander's Hope by Collette Cameron




HIGHLANDER'S HOPE
By
Collette Cameron

BLURB:  

Not a day has gone by that Ewan McTavish, the Viscount Sethwick, hasn't dreamed of the beauty he danced with two years ago. He's determined to win her heart and make her his own. Heiress, Yvette Stapleton, is certain of one thing; marriage is risky and, therefore, to be avoided. At first, she doesn't recognize the dangerously handsome man who rescues her from assailants on London's docks, but Lord Sethwick's passionate kisses soon have her reconsidering her cynical views on matrimony. On a mission to stop a War Office traitor, Ewan draws Yvette into deadly international intrigue. To protect her, he exploits Scottish law, declaring her his lawful wife—without benefit of a ceremony. Yvette is furious upon discovering the irregular marriage is legally binding, though she never said, "I do." Will Ewan's manipulation cost him her newfound love?   

EXCERPT:

Highlander's Hope Excerpt-Pirate Scene

She stepped back as he pushed his way into the room, leaving the door ajar. His hair was damp, no doubt from bathing, and the stubble darkening his face earlier was gone. Feet bare, wearing only buckskin breeches and a shirt unbuttoned to the waist, he resembled a pirate—a dangerous, rakish, sinfully handsome pirate.

She sucked in her breath. He oughtn’t to be here, but he’d said he wanted to talk to her, and he had promised to behave.

Yvette’s eyes traveled the path of silky hair from his chest until it disappeared into his waistband. Her stomach flip-flopped. Sweet Lord above. She pressed her hands to her frolicking middle.      Why doesn’t he say something?

A distraction, that’s what she needed. She escaped to the lumpy bed where she had flung her clothing before bathing. She folded and packed the garments into her valise and set it on the floor beside her trunk. She bent to retrieve her bath towel, and peeked side-ways at him from the corner of her eye. He hasn’t moved. What’s he about?

Grabbing the towel, she glanced down and froze. The candles to her left bathed her in a stream of light. She could clearly see the outline of her legs. Her nightwear was almost translucent in the candlelight and gave him a shadowy view of— dear God—nearly everything.

No wonder he hadn’t moved, the bounder.

Standing upright, she held the towel before her, and faced him. “Enjoying the view, your lordship?” she snapped.
    
Ewan still leaned against the doorframe, watching her. “Immeasurably.”




AUTHOR INFORMATION:

A life-long Oregonian, Collette Cameron was born and raised in a small town along the northern Oregon coast. Today she makes her home in a rural community, 30 minutes west of Portland. Her Victorian farmhouse sits on a one-acre certified wildlife habit, interspersed with a plethora of gardens: English, rose, butterfly, rock, water, and of course, vegetable.

A voracious reader of romance since her teens, she even named her daughter after a heroine in her favorite romance novel. An enthusiast of times gone by, and anything related to romance, she writes Historical Romance, with a dash of inspiration, a pinch of humor, and a liberal portion of suspense.

Having dabbled in interior decorating in her youth, Collette returned to school, graduating summa cum laude from Oregon State University, and going on to obtain her Master's Degree in Teaching. She is member of Romance Writers of America, Rose City Romance Writers, The Beau Monde, and Love Faith and Hope, Inc.

Some of Collette's favorite things include unique blends of coffees and teas, trivia, Cadbury Milk Chocolate, inspirational quotes, and scented candles. Her Christian faith, husband, three adult children, and five miniature dachshunds round out her life quite nicely! When she's not teaching or writing, she enjoys amateur photography, bird watching, gardening, interior decorating, rock-hunting, boating or fishing on the Columbia River, and reading.

GIVEAWAY:  Collette will be awarding a gift basket that includes a gift card, blue rose tea cup, blue rose soap, vintage looking cameo pendant, shortbread, tea, and other goodies to a randomly drawn commenter during the tours. 

The more you comment on the Blurb Blitz Blog Tour stops the more chances you have to win.  Here's a link: to a post with all the stops. 


LINKS:

Book URL: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/meet-collette-cameron/highlanders-hope-by-collette-cameron/
This is not a "buy" link.

My Links:
Website: http://collettecameron.com/
Blog: http://blueroseromance.com/
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/collettecameronauthor
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/collette.cameron.5
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Collette_Author
Google+: https://plus.google.com/110459897284342875390#110459897284342875390/posts
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/collette-cameron/60/17a/667
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/colletteauthor/
Soul Mate Publishing Author's Blog: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Super Book Blast: The Perfect Duke by Dawn Ireland




THE PERFECT DUKE
By
Dawn Ireland

BLURB:  
Known as The Marble Duke amongst the Ton, Garret Weston, the Duke of Kendal sets himself apart from his peers. Nothing will hinder his guilt-driven attempt to become a perfect duke.  Nothing that is, save the alluring and imaginative betrothed he’d thought dead. His intended believes-of all things-that she is a Vicar’s daughter. The “perfect” duke needs a “perfect” duchess, but how was he to discern her suitability? Employing her as a governess to his niece seemed like an ideal solution. But whose “suitability” is being tested? His betrothed refuses to see he is beyond redemption. And most grievous of all, she stirs his blood, making him forget what’s important.

Cara believes fairy tales really can come true, until she meets the unrelenting and arrogant Duke of Kendal. He looks like a Prince, but acts like a Beast. Why must he challenge her at every turn? Her greatest peril is her attraction to the vulnerable, seductive man behind the title. A match between them would be impossible. But can she show him, without losing her heart, that “perfect” is in the eye of the beholder? 



EXCERPT: The duke peered down at her. “I asked Timmons to refrain from telling you about the servants’ lives.”

“You told him what?” Cara stood. “You had no right.”

“Actually, I have every right.”

For the first time in her life, Cara wanted to throw something at another human being. Fortunately, the oriental vase on the table closest to her was out of reach. “Tell me something. Do you relish being feared by your staff?”

He took a backward step. “That is ridiculous. They do not fear me.”

“Don’t they? And what makes you so sure?” Cara could not believe the man had no idea how he treated others. “When did you last speak to a footman?”

“I speak with them daily.”

“Don’t you mean ‘command’ them daily?” She’d witnessed the impersonal way he treated his staff. “I’m willing to wager you don’t even know one of their names.”

“Charles.”

Cara crossed to within inches of him. Staring up into his frigid green eyes, she enunciated every word. “There is not one footman named ‘Charles.’ It’s the name you give them, like referring to all dogs as ‘dog.’”

“You would not understand. That is the way things are done. It would be impossible for me to learn every footman’s name.”

“Impossible, or tiresome?”

The duke took her arms in a firm hold and Cara had the impression he wanted to shake her. “My conduct is not your concern.”
Dawn Ireland


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


“Once Upon a Time” are four of Dawn’s favorite words. Her love of story became a love of romance when she read Georgette Heyer’s, Devil’s Cub. It inspired her to write stories with strong characters that discover love is never easy, but always worthwhile. Dawn’s written several award-winning novels set in Georgian England – an era filled with rules and intrigue. Her characters often defy “Society” as they pursue love, run away, pursue, run away – well, you get the idea.  

Then again, she might write romance in order to do the research. What other profession encourages you to sit in the audience at Harlequin’s Male Model search, and take notes, or just sigh?

Dawn lives in a Victorian home in Upstate New York with her husband and very independent cats. When she’s not writing, she’s singing, gardening, learning to play the harp or wood carving. If you’d like to learn more about Dawn and her novels, go to her website at www.dawn-ireland.com            



LINKS:

facebook

The Perfect Duke
ASIN: B00BT0NGOC


 Dawn Ireland will chose one randomly commenter to receive a $20 Amazon gift card.

The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. You can find the tour dates here:  http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/04/super-book-blast-perfect-duke-by-dawn.html


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Visit my Coffee & Chocolate Giveaway May 2013




Hi all, it's time for my bi-monthly Coffee & Chocolate Contest. 

Me? I adore chocolate and love coffee.  This month's giveaway will focus on my novel, "The Wolf's Torment."  The Wolf's Torment is a paranormal romance that takes place in Romania in the mid-1800's. Prince Mihai is a witch, but can he save his family being haunted by an evil werewolf? "The Wolf's Torment" won GOLD in the 2012 Reader's Favorite Contest in the Fiction: Supernatural category. 


GRAND PRIZE: Win a GC to Starbucks, a coffee mug, a bag of chocolate, magnets, and Lori Powell original book bag. All you have to do to enter is visit my Facebook Fan Page between 26-31 MAY and leave a comment on any one of the Coffee & Chocolate Posts. Everytime you comment, you'll be entered in the "hat" for the grand prize drawing.

ALSO: Everyday I'll be putting up a post giving away a "free" read. (I send PDF via email) all you have to do to enter is to leave a comment on the post. 

Winner will be announced on my Facebook Fan Page and here on 1 JUN. Previous Winners listed on the bottom of of my website at: http://www.stephanieburkhart.com 


My Facebook Fan Page:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

No purchase necessary
I will ship internationally

If you have a moment, stop on by, comment, and enjoy the fun.

Smiles
Steph 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Remembering Memorial Day




Traditionally set as 30 May, Memorial Day is celebrated on the 4th Monday of May. It's a day intended to remember the people who died while serving in the US Armed Forces.

In 1986, I joined the US Army. After electing to become an MP (military police) I went to Ft. McClellan, Alabama for my basic and advanced training. Alabama in the summer was muggy, humid, and warm, but the stuff I learned instilled a sense of pride in me that still resonates today.

Memorial Day was born out of the ashes of the American Civil war, to honor those who died on both the Union and Confederate sides. (Veterans Day is intended to honor all the US military veterans, living and dead.)

I served 7 years overseas in the German cities of Muenster, Fulda, Bad Hersfeld, and Hanau. On several occasions my squad raised and lowered the US Flag on military installations. There's nothing more inspiring than raising the flag.

In May 1868, Union General, John A. Logan issued a proclamation calling for "Decoration Day" to be observed on 30 May. He picked this day not to honor a battle or a heroic action, but because he knew it was a good time for the flowers to be in bloom.

Remember the context of the times – there was no Internet, TV, or Radio. Simply placing a flag or flowers over the graves of the war dead was the best way to honor those who gave their lives in the military for others. This most solemn tradition continues today.
Me, at the Taszur Air Base, 1997


I served in the Army for 11 years during the last years of the Cold War and before the War on Terror. Several people from my PLDC (Primary Leadership Development Course, needed to pin on Sergeant stripes) served in Gulf War I.  It's not easy sometimes to give up your own personal sense of freedom, but those I knew, and myself included, did so because we all shared an unspoken pride in serving our country. That was the glue that held us together. We may have said "I’m here to earn the G.I. Bill," or "I wanted to see the world," or "I was looking for an adventure," but it was the unspoken pride in our nation that inspired us to be all we could be. It's that unspoken pride soldiers from the Civil War, Calvary from World War I, airmen, seamen, and marines embraced in World War II, and then men and women in today's Armed Forces share. It's our common denominator.

Decoration Day was initially used as a term in 1882. It wasn't changed officially to "Memorial Day," until 1967 by an act of congress.

All I ask is for you today is to take a few minutes out to share your unspoken pride with others. If you have a loved one or know a friend who died in service, place a flag or some flowers next to their resting place. If, perhaps, it's not practical, fly a flag today or stop around noon and say a prayer. In the afternoon, enjoy a start of summer BBQ. I intend to.


Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She served in the US Army from 1986-1997. She achieved the rank of E-6, Staff Sergeant. Her highest military award is the Army Commendation Medal (3x). From JUL-OCT 1997, she was deployed to the Taszur Air Base in Taszur, Hungary in support of Operation Joint Guard.

Her story, "Journey of the Heart," is a vintage romance that takes place in California in 1946. Her hero, James DiMera, served in World War II. When he returns home, he learns he has no home to return to. Can he find a new purpose and sense of worth on Rachel's winery?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Snippet Sunday - Feast of Candles, 99 cent contemporary romance


Hi all, I'm participating in the Weekend Warriors Snippet Sunday. This month, I'll be taking snippets from my 99 cent "spicy" contemporary romance, "Feast of Candles."



Feast of Candles
Contemporary Romance
99 cents

BLURB: Drake is going to take the biggest risk of his life all on a bottle of wine. Can he break the barriers around Lily's heart? 

This snippet: Drake confesses to Lily the genesis for his attraction. 

*****


"The passion you have for wine making is evident in your product."

Her left eyebrow rose a fraction. "Did you have a bottle before last night?"

"Last weekend at my family Advent wreath ceremony. My brother, Christian, focuses his efforts on promotion and marketing. He had recently returned from visiting New York and shared a bottle of your wine that he acquired."

A thoughtful, serious look grew over her expression. "He liked my wine?" 


*****


Reviews:

"This is a delightful short story." - Billie Houston, Amazon Reader

"Drake's romantic gesture at the end will have you swoon!" Angela Britnell, Amazon Reader
BUY LINKS:
AMAZON: http://amzn.com/B008NXELPG

Smiles
Steph

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Snippet Sunday - Feast of Candles, 99 cent contemporary romance


Hi all, I'm participating in the Weekend Warriors Snippet Sunday again, but this month, I'll be taking snippets from my 99 cent "spicy" contemporary romance, "Feast of Candles."



Feast of Candles
Contemporary Romance
99 cents

BLURB: Drake is going to take the biggest risk of his life all on a bottle of wine. Can he break the barriers around Lily's heart? 

This snippet: Lily and Drake talk while she gives him a tour of her winery. 



*****

He gazed at several displays with genuine interest before feathering his eyes over her seductively. "I am interested in your heritage, but perhaps I should share a little about mine first."

Her firm expression softened a little. "I have to admit, I don't meet too many men from Denmark."

He slid his hands into his pockets and grinned. "We're an easy people, quite happy in our way of life. Perhaps we're too complacent."

"Why do you say that?" 




*****


Reviews:

"This is a delightful short story." - Billie Houston, Amazon Reader

"Drake's romantic gesture at the end will have you swoon!" Angela Britnell, Amazon Reader
BUY LINKS:
AMAZON: http://amzn.com/B008NXELPG

Smiles
Steph

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Book Review for: Valentine Babies by Mona Risk


Enjoy this week's Tuesday's Book Review offering! 

4 Stars
Reviewer: Steph Burkhart 

Roxanne Ramsey has a career she loves as a reporter seeking out international stories, but will unexpected complications send her life in a different direction?

The story opens with Roxanne attending her sister's wedding as a bridesmaid, but Rosanne's just discovered she's pregnant and the father has been killed in Iraq. One of the bridegrooms, Greg, reaches out to Roxy with a kind, caring hand and she embraces his offer. Over the course of several weeks, they grow close, but Roxy is concerned Greg will never want her because of her condition. Both Roxy and Greg have emotional issues to overcome, but are they insurmountable?

Risk pens a highly entertaining and emotional story with "Valentine Babies." Her writing is easy to read (it always is) and it effortlessly wraps the reader around the story. The plot moves at a nice clip, not too fast or slow.

The journey the characters take is heartwarming. Roxy is at a crossroads with two paths in front of her. Which one will she take? Greg has an honest, noble heart, but possesses a fear of flying. Will that fear ruin his future?

The story is sweet for romance readers with Greg and Roxy sharing several kisses and tender embraces. Overall, "Valentine Babies," is an endearing story that makes one believe that the power of love can overcome anything. I highly recommend this story.

Amazon Buy Link: 


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Snippet Sunday - Feast of Candles 99 cent contemporary romance


Hi all, I'm participating in the Weekend Warriors Snippet Sunday again, but this month, I'll be taking snippets from my 99 cent "spicy" contemporary romance, "Feast of Candles."



Feast of Candles
Contemporary Romance
99 cents

BLURB: Drake is going to take the biggest risk of his life all on a bottle of wine. Can he break the barriers around Lily's heart? 

This snippet: Lily had doubts...



*****


Lily brought her index finger to her lip, reveling in the scent of Drake's spicy cologne. "Mr. de Brett...ah, Drake, he intrigues me."

Neil gently placed his hand on her arm. "Be careful. I don't want to see you hurt."

"I'll try, Neil, I'll try." Lily approached the window and observed Drake's car driving away. She feared she could easily lose her heart to the handsome Mr. de Brettville. If only his home wasn't in Denmark, and he didn't have a business reason for being here. She didn't like feeling so flustered one minute and so aroused the next. Lily wrapped her arms around herself and gazed out the window, resolved to keep the battlements around her heart in place. 


*****


Reviews:

"This is a delightful short story." - Billie Houston, Amazon Reader

"Drake's romantic gesture at the end will have you swoon!" Angela Britnell, Amazon Reader
BUY LINKS:
AMAZON: http://amzn.com/B008NXELPG

Happy Mother's Day!  
Smiles
Steph

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Goddess Fish Book Blast for "Blood Bound" by Melanie Atkins




Blood Bound
by Melanie Atkins

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Fueled by grief after his fiancée is brutally murdered, Detective Sam Walker focuses on finding her killer -- a calculating predator who binds books with human skin.  Dani Barrington, the newest member of NOPD's Victim and Witness Assistance Unit and a survivor of another frightening attack, helps him discover the terrifying link between the monster's known victims.  Despite his anguish, Sam is struck by Dani's strength and determination, especially when her inquisitive  nature makes her the killer's next target.  He must find a way to protect her or risk losing the one woman who can bring his dead heart back to life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT 


"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned." NOPD Detective Sam Walker's low rasp echoed inside the tiny confessional within the deep recesses of St. Mary's Church. He pressed his damp palms to his thighs. "It's been nine months since my last confession."

"Continue."

"My sins are... indescribable..." He let the word trail off. Sweat pooled at the base of his spine. "I don't know if I can--"

"You must voice your transgressions, son, to get them off your chest. It's the only way to gain absolution."

"I don't deserve God's forgiveness."

"Sam, tell me the truth." Father O'Malley cleared his throat. "Is this about Kristen?"

"She died a horrible death," Sam whispered, his heart breaking all over again for his fiancée and the family he would never have with her.

The priest paused.

"It's been a long time."

"Eight fucking -- sorry, Father." Sam broke off and swallowed, doing his best to regain his composure. "Eight long months. I thought I was coping, but I can't get past it. Especially since I'm the reason she's dead."

"How did you come to that conclusion?"


Sam pressed his lips together. Every time he thought about his fiancée's brutal murder, his gut clenched. He should have taken her to dinner that night like he'd promised, instead of letting the job get in the way. The Glock riding his hip was a constant reminder he'd been a detective first, and her intended husband second.

God should damn me straight to hell.

Father O'Malley shifted inside the tiny booth, and the ornate screen between them shuddered. The too-sweet odor of funeral lilies wafted over Sam.

"You didn't murder her, my son. Some sick, depraved individual did it."

"I was supposed to protect her."

"You were doing your job."

"When I should have been with her. Keeping her safe." Agony pierced his soul. He dropped his elbows to his knees and hung his head. His voice broke. "I let her die."

"You didn't let her die, Sam. A terrible thing happened. It wasn't your fault. God doesn't hold you responsible."
"Well, He should. I'm guilty."

"Sam--"

"He... he skinned her, Father. I don't know why, but he did." Tears burned his eyes.

Clearly shaken, Father O'Malley murmured more words of condolence. "I'll say another prayer for her soul."

 "It's my fault she's gone. I can never do enough penance to make up for it." Sam shuddered. "Not in this lifetime."

"I want you to say one Our Father and one Hail Mary."

Sam barked a harsh laugh.

"That doesn't even scratch the surface. I can't even--"

"Wait. I'm not finished." Father O'Malley regained his poise, and his strong, even tone reverberated in Sam's ears. "I also want you to pray for the person responsible for Kristen's death."

"Hell, no!" Sam blurted, the idea of absolution jolting his brittle psyche. "I can't pray for that sick son of a bitch. He's killed four women, including Kristen, after brutalizing them, and we have no idea who he is. We're working day and night--"

"That's your penance, son." Father O'Malley said, gravely. "In addition, you must perform the Act of Contrition and say the Rosary. Don't let that individual's cruel soul steal yours."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:



Melanie Atkins a multi-published author of romantic suspense, an editor for an online publishing company, and an avid reader. Writing is more than an escape for her—it’s a way of life. She grew up in the Deep South listening to tall tales and penning stories about her cats. Now she writes gripping stories of love, suspense, and mystery with the help of her furry little feline muses.

Melanie is an active member of Romance Writers of America®, the Magnolia State Romance Writers (MSRW), the Published Author Network (PAN), the Electronic and Small Press Authors' Network (ESPAN), the Electronically Published Internet Connection (EPIC), Sisters in Crime (SinC), the Red Dog Writers, the Gulf Coast Writers Association, the Southern Writers, the Mississippi Authors Guild and the Byram Writers’ Group. She currently serves as Past President of MSRW.

www.melanieatkins.com

www.wordpress.melanieatkins.com


*****************
GIVEAWAY: Hey all, Melanie will be awarding the winner's choice of a backlist eBook to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so comment! You could be the lucky winner!  The tour dates can be found here:  http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/03/virtual-super-book-blast-blood-bound-by.html

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Writing Tips - The Appeal of Romantic Comedy




Some of the traits that draw me toward someone are their laugh, their smile, and their sense of humor. For me, that's the appeal of romantic comedy – watching a couple confront their conflicts equipped with a light-hearted disposition.  So, what are some of the themes that make a romantic comedy work?

Themes:

Fish Out of Water
This is where you take the hero/heroine out of their element and put them in a completely different situation. For example, bring in a "big city" TV reporter to run a small town TV station, or a "big city" cop to be the small town police chief. They're both out of their element. The big city reporter could be attracted to the local fire chief who is a local boy. Or the new police chief from the big city might find himself attracted to the quirky girl next door who teaches at the local school and makes homemade soap on the side.

TIP: What amps up the comedy? Have your characters overreact to the situations they find themselves in.

Deception
Nothing brings out a laugh like a little well- meaning deception. Our hero/heroine is pretending to be something they're not – lying about their job, their feelings or their intentions because they think they might not be good enough for the other person.

Examples: Tess in Working Girl or Fiona in Shrek or Michael in Tootsie.

TIP: Deception helps builds conflict – interior as well as external and conflict is what the characters need to change and grow. Example: Sandra Bullock's character in "While You Were Sleeping."

Mismatched
Think Cinderella with a chuckle. The handsome prince or billionaire sweeps our heroine off her feet only our heroine might be a call girl (think Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman) or a chauffeur's daughter (think Julia Ormond in Sabrina) or Princess Fiona in Shrek.

What makes a romantic comedy resonate?

Ultimately, there's something that terrifies the hero/heroine emotionally. It could be commitment, security, image, or not being good enough, attractive enough, or competent enough. That's inner conflict, and most readers can sympathize with all those elements. The other half of the romance helps them face that fear and overcome it with a little comedy – the tool that infuses their inner strength and courage.

Question:  What's Your all-time favorite romantic comedy?
When Harry met Sally
Pretty Woman
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Shrek
Working Girl
Other – (say what it is)

I'd love to hear your thoughts about writing romantic comedy.
Smiles
Steph

Monday, May 6, 2013

What's your favorite crayon? Crayola turns 110 this year!




Crayons have been bringing out our inner artist since we were tots and Crayola's crayons have been entertaining us since 1903.

So what makes Crayola special? I'd venture the love, care, and innovation found in every product. Crayola may be 110, but they've always been innovative and that's what made them succeed through the decades.

Binney & Smith in NYC founded the company in 1885.  Their original focus was on producing industrial pigment and supplying it to others. Soon, they began branching out. In 1904, they won a gold medal at the St. Louis world's fair for the dustless white chalk.

Binney worked with his wife, Alice, and in June 1903, they produced the first wax crayon. Alice came up with "Crayola." "Craie" in French means "chalk" and "Ola" was short for "oleaginous" or oily.

In 1926, Binney and Smith bought out the Munsell color company crayon line and added 22 new colors to their inventory.

In 1949, Crayola introduced the 48 crayon box.

In 1977, Crayola acquired Silly Putty.

In 1984, they bought Hallmark. Their current products include chalk, crayons, markers, and colored pencils.

Currently, they make 133 colors. 13 colors have been "retired," such as maize, raw umber,  thistle, and mulberry.

Crayola also renamed several colors, "Flesh" is now "peach."

Made in America
Crayola is headquartered in Forks Township, PA. It's a privately held company and global. Manufacturing plants are located in Forks Township, Bethlehem, PA, and Mexico City, Mexico.

You can visit the official Crayola museum called "The Crayola Experience," in Easton, PA.

Did you Know?
The world's largest crayon is at "The Crayola Experience." It's 15 feet long and weights 1500 lbs.

Question: Can you guess what color the world's largest crayon is?

In 2000, Crayola asked America to vote for their favorite colors.  George W. Bush gave a shout out to "Blue Bell." Courtney Cox said hers was "red." Blue came in first, #2 was cerulean, and #3 was purple heart.

Question for you: What's your favorite Crayola color?



Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD.  Her favorite color is cerulean.

Enjoy this excerpt from "A Gentleman and a Rogue," Book 2 of The Windsor Diaries, her steampunk romance series.

The song ended and Edmund grabbed her hand, tugging her toward the nearest hallway. At first, she wanted to protest; call out for her father and defy Edmund's wishes, but then reason kicked in. She wanted -- no, needed -- answers. And, she had plenty of questions.

They entered the main wing, and passed two rooms before Edmund opened a door and dragged her inside. Books littered the shelves. The library. A beam of light from a full moon shined through the window, casting Edmund's features in sharp, contrasting shadows. He leaned against the door and crossed his arms. His eyes narrowed, giving his expression a dark, hard edge. He looked like a devil in this moment. She steeled her shoulders, ready to do battle with him.

Silence grew between them as they both set their postures. Damn Edmund. She wanted to kiss the devil senseless. Thankfully, she still had her wits.

"What are you doing with Jonas Byron?" Edmund's voice was cold and exact.

"Dancing." She surprised herself with the ease of her retort.

"Looked more like flirting to me."

"Jealous?"

A muscle twitched in his jaw. "No."

"You are a horrible liar."

"Keira, you can't trust him."

She placed her hands on her hips. "Curious, you're the second man tonight to tell me that."

"Grayson has your best interests at heart. You need to listen to him."

"He's been missing for four years." She paused, glaring at him. "Like you have. And I thought you weren't coming back."

"I'm here now, and I'm not leaving you again."

She tilted her head and laughed. Oh, yes, he'd leave her again, and she had no intention of letting her heart get broken.

Edmund lunged forward, placed his hands on her waist, and pulled her against the length of his hard, muscled body, trapping her arms between them so her hands rested on his chest. His emerald eyes flamed with desire. Her heart turned over in response. His unique scent, spice and currants, weakened her resolve. As her memories flooded through her mind, her lips ached for his.

"God, Keira, don't test me like this."


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