Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Promo Wednesday - Review for "The Wolf's Torment"

The Wolf's Torment was published with IUniverse in 2007. I was very proud of the story when it came out. It's a bit darker for me, and I'm currently (slowly) writing the sequel, "Twilight Over Moldavia."

In the mid-1800s, Moldavia is a dark, mysterious country near the Baltic Sea, steeped in mythical legends of vampires, werewolves, and witches. At a young age, Crown Prince Mihai Sigmaringen realizes the legacy of his country when he witnesses his mother’s gruesome murder at the hands of a vengeful witch.

When he comes of age, Mihai goes to England for his education, intent on modernizing his country and ridding it of its dark reputation. His father recalls him to Moldavia to resume his royal duties and find a wife. Mihai reluctantly returns, but his life takes a stunning turn when a werewolf bites his best friend, Viktor.

Despite his distaste for the supernatural, Mihai allows Viktor to stay in Moldavia and watches as Viktor struggles to maintain his humanity. But faced with demons and other paranormal beings, Mihai’s loyalty to his friend may very well plunge his country into chaos …

Review from:
Andrew Ian Dodge, Blogger News Network

The Wolf’s Torment
S.G. Cardin
iUniverse (2007)
ISBN 9780595417339
Reviewed by Andrew Ian Dodge, Nov 2007

I am fan of gothic horror novels, having written a few tales myself in the genre, but I do have a low tolerance for derivative novels that add nothing new to the genre. This is not one of those. Despite the fact the author has never been to places in the book; she has been in the region however, she evokes the feeling of that part of Central Europe oh so well.

The novel includes a pack of wolves, some witches and a bunch of vampires thrown in for good measure. For this story she has come up with a few legends and “facts” about supernaturals which is a nice touch. The legends of all intertwine in that part of the world; so the method used in this novel is accurate.

It reads well and does not hang around too long. There is none of the bloat that you find in modern gothic horror novels. While its plain to see that the author is a woman; from the romance aspects of the novel, there is none of the soap opera like plodding that can affect some novels in this genre. I found this far more enjoyable than the last few Anne Rice and Anita Blake novels.

Steph: The last line of the paragraph makes my day!

The fact several of the main characters start out in London is a nice touch. The spoiled upper class girl who gets more than she bargained for is most amusing as well. Might be a lesson to some of those in the UK/US who marry Eastern Europeans without finding out who they really are first.

Only one criticism and this is personal taste. Why does it always have to be the werewolf that is the evil one in the end? That said the author was keen to make sure her werewolves were not one-dimensional knuckle-dragging beasts.

I hope to hell that she decided to publish this via iUniverse and its not because publishers rejected her novel. Because any publisher who rejected this novel needs to seriously have their head examined.

STEPH: Thanks, Ian!

I enjoyed the novel immensely and was pleased to see that there will be a sequel in future. I hope that they author will include me on her review list once again. The fact I stayed up past midnight two days before an operation to finish this novel speaks volumes.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday's Book Shelf - What I'm Reading

TIES THAT BIND is by author Keena Kincaid and the book is published through "The Wild Rose Press." It's also available on ebook, but I have it in print. I enjoy reading romance, which this book is, and "The Wild Rose Press" has it listed in their Faery Line since it involves "light" magic.

So why am I reading this book? Because I loved the first book, Anam Cara by Keena. In that book, Bran ap Owen came to Carlisle looking for his soulmate, Liz. He had to make things right for them so they could finally be happy. His brother, Aeden, was tied into the "making things" right aspect. In that book, Aedan, and Liza's daughter, Tess, have a "first love" love affair, but are seperated when the book ends.

Ties that Bind is the sequel and tells Aedan and Tess's story. I've been looking forward to reading this book since it came out.

What I enjoyed about Anam Cara is that it's set in an historical setting, England in the 1160s during the time of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitane. Aeden and Bran are mistrals. There's a also a nice dose of "magic" laced into the storyline. The clan from Duncarouch (sp?) are Sidhe and have magical abilities. Both Bran and Aedan have magical ablities. Lace in a little of magic, a little history, and a compelling love story and I'm hooked.

In "Ties That Bind," Aedan is sent to Carlisle to solve a mystery and encounters Tess. The chemistry between them is undenable to everyone around them. They try to deny it themselves, but I doubt they won't get far. There's also intrigue as to who fathered "Daz," the boy that Aedan looks after.

Here's a blurb for the book:
Out of place in the Plantagenet court, minstrel AEDAN ap OWEN misuses his Sidhe gifts for the king's dark business. Sent north to investigate rumors of treason and dispatch the troublemakers, Aedan discovers someone is murdering monks and stealing saints’ relics. And all clues point to Carlisle.

TESS, LADY of BRIDSWELL, refuses to rekindle her relationship with Aedan. She knows his reputation as a secret stealer—and she has a secret that must be kept. But her resolve falters when her uncle promises her hand to a man she despises and Aedan hounds her steps.

A would-be king uses the stolen relics to amplify his power, wielding it like a weapon. Meeting the traitor's magic with magic will prevent war, but it will also destroy Aedan’s chance to show Tess he has at last mastered the temptation of the ancient wisdom. Can Aedan renounce his magic to win Tess' heart anew or will he choose magic over love?

You can find Keena on the web at: if you want to check her out.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Excerpt Monday - Destination: Berlin

This week's featured book is my first novel, DESTINATION: BERLIN. It's a miliary action/adventure with a "sweet" romance between Sharon and Dimitri.

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?

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.

“A tautly written military adventure.” – Midwest Book Review

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. – Book of the Moment Reviewer

Destination Berlin is a military thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. - Starrstruck

The inspiration for "Sharon and Dimitri" - Claire Danes as Sharon and Jacob Young as Dimitri.


Spies. Espionage. Danger. The Berlin duty train hinted at it all, as it carried the four allies between the West and occupied Berlin. Corporal Sharon Cates was high on the potential thrill, but her military common sense kept her anchored to the fact that hints rarely ever gave way to facts.

She walked through the doors and into the duty train’s dining car, wearing her class “A” uniform. It was relatively empty. A lone concession window was open selling coffee and brötchen. She bought a cup and sat down next to a window. It was dark outside, and she couldn’t see much. Glancing at her watch, she saw that it was two o’clock. Sharon knew she should be asleep, but she was too excited. Soon she’d be in Berlin, and she was thrilled. Going to Berlin would be stepping into living history. She put her briefcase on the table and took out a guidebook to Berlin, thumbing through it as she drank her coffee.

A faint creak pierced the air. When Sharon looked up, she spied a Soviet soldier also buying a cup of coffee. A warm shiver slid down her spine. After all, she knew the Soviets also used the duty train; she just thought she’d never see one. He was tall and filled out his uniform well. From the markings on his uniform, she gathered he was a non-commissioned officer, but that was all. To her surprise, he approached her booth.

“Good morning, Corporal. I am Junior Sergeant Dimitri Nagory of the Soviet Army. May I join you?”

Sharon looked up. He was talking to her—in English! She motioned to him to have a seat.

Dimitri sat down and smiled. “If you don’t mind my asking, what’s your name, Corporal?”

“ Sharon,” she answered, as distantly as possible. She never thought she’d meet a Soviet soldier on the Berlin Duty Train. This felt like a page out of a LeCarre spy novel. “Sharon Cates.”

“Is this your first time on the duty train?” he asked.

Sharon stared at him. Nosey Soviet. Cpt. Heathers had cautioned her about them during her security briefing.

“Because it is the first time I have seen you,” Dimitri continued, sipping his coffee.

“Ah, yes,” Sharon finally answered. Should she finally entertain those thoughts of espionage and secret spy scenarios? “It’s my first trip to Berlin,” she added.

“I see. Are you attending the Berlin Orientation Tour?”

“How did you know?”

“Most of the Americans I see on the train travel to Berlin for that purpose,” Dimitri explained, grinning.

“If you don’t mind my asking, why are you on the train?” Despite the desire to keep her composure, her lips curved into an inquisitive smile.

“I work in the Soviet embassy in London. My headquarters are in East Berlin. I travel between London and Berlin every two weeks,” he answered.

“And you can tell me that?” she asked, raising a surprised eyebrow.

“It’s common knowledge,” he added.

“Do you make it a habit to talk to Americans on the train?” Sharon asked.

“No, I don’t. I usually sleep in my train car, but I haven’t had much to eat today so they let me out to do that,” he replied.

“Touché,” she said curtly. “So, Jr. Sgt. Nagory, what do you do in your army?”

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kindles for Christmas

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and Santa brought you a couple of items on your list. He brought me a Kindle. Hehe. Now I can stock up on some ebooks.

The Pros of my Kindle:
I can have a ton of books on it and it doesn't take up too much space.
I can take it to work and read. It's convientent to carry.
For those ebooks brought through Amazon, I can adjust the font as needed.
My books I bought for my Iphone app were in my account.
I can directly upload PDF Files to the Kindle.
The price of the books are very affordable.

The Cons of my Kindle:
I can directly upload PDF Files to my Kindle. The downside being is the font on the PDF is what you get and it's quite small. I can adjust the screen to make the font bigger but then I'm reading it on the side and it's a bit disconcerting.

The best way to read is to buy through Amazon. Not that I don't mind. The price is affordable and I can find just about anything I want on it.

Anyone else want to share their thoughts on Kindles, Ebook readers, and ebooks? I'd love to hear them.


Well, 2009 is winding down and it's been a good year. I can't complain. 4RV Publishing has a children's book it's going to put out and I have two books contracted through Desert Breeze, paranormal romances. I did NaNoWriMo and hit over 50K words in a month (a miracle considering my schedule!)

I hope to have a productive new year. My goals include finishing my NaNoWriMo novel, finishing a historical fiction about Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, becoming a Wild Rose author, Finishing Twilight over Moldavia. And you can always find me on as StephB.


My kids had a great Christmas. My son, Andrew, said the best part was opening gifts. Haha!! Joe's favorite gift was a SuperWhy Computer. Andrew's was the Super Mario Brothers Wii game, but he also liked the Indiana Jones DS game. Both boys loved baking cookies with me, but Joe was pretty messy about it. haha!!


Today's agent tip: Keep that query letter to one page. Agents get a ton of queries a week and they don't want to read past a page. Remember to add any writing credits you might have to the letter.


Stay tune in 2010 for updates to my writing, the publishing world, and ebooks.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Welcome to the Desert Breeze Scavenger Hunt!


Welcome to my blog, “Adventures in Moldavia,” for the Desert Breeze Scavenger Hunt. I’m very excited to have you peek in.

My first novel with Desert Breeze Publishing is due out in May 2010, and it is a paranormal romance. It takes place in 1901 at the end of the Victorian era. The world was growing fast due to industrialization. They had iceboxes, telephones, phonographs, and automobiles were just becoming popular. In fact, European automakers included Daimler, who named a car after his daughter, Mercedes. Carl Benz was thriving. The nobility and merchants could afford autos during this time, but autos themselves, weren’t quite priced low enough for the everyday man yet. Radio was only a few years off. It was an exciting time with many modern inventions. Still, dark legends and myths existed in small corners of the world.

The novel opens with Katherine Archibald, the niece of Lord Henry Archibald, reading a book. In walks a foreign man who finds her intriguing. He reveals himself to be a Hungarian count, Matthias Duma. Katherine is as intrigued by him as he is of her. After Matthias’s business at the Archibald’s is finished, he returns to his London townhouse and confides in his servant and friend, Lazlo, that he’s attracted to Katherine. It’s an attraction that rattles him to the core because Matthias, after all, is a werewolf. He asks Lazlo if he even has the right to make her fall in love with him.

That is what the novel dares to explore – Matthias is tormented by his condition, but he is a man, and the man wants a mate, a lover, and a wife. Quite a dilemma, isn’t it?

I know some say werewolves, “Argh! I don’t find them attractive at all.” I can’t say I blame you. What fascinates me about Matthias’s story are the psychological aspects. What does the man have to deal with when he isn’t a werewolf? There’s very little actual wolf scenes in the story. I want to explore Matthias’s psyche, not his transformation or the wolf.

“The Hungarian” was inspired by a short story I wrote called “The Wolf’s Kiss.” That story won an honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest 2007 Popular Fiction contest in the romance category. After being well received on, I expanded it into a full length novel.

This version, due out in May, is very different from the first rough draft of the novel. I took a page out of King’s book, wrote my draft, got to know the characters, than wrote a 2nd draft, taking the story and characters in a different direction. This 2nd draft, I wrote in the first person from Katherine’s perspective. Then I showed Gail at Desert Breeze. She was interested, but wanted it in the 3rd person, hence this 3rd draft.


As with all my novels, I cast my characters. Since Matthias has such striking eyes, I cast Jonathan Rhys-Meyers from HBO’s “Tudors” fame. For Katherine, who just has a mane of beautiful, black curls, I cast an actress who was on “As The World Turns,” Justine Cotsonas.

England and Hungary prove a romantic setting for the novel. In fact, Matthias, my hero, was born in Hungary.


I also have a free short coming out for the Scavenger Hunt, “Under a Christmas Moon,” featuring Matthias and Katherine. It’s meant to stand alone, but I hope it piques your interest about the couple. Below is an excerpt from the opening chapter, and after the excerpt is your clue for the Desert Breeze author’s blog.

Thanks for visiting,


The door squeaked open. Katherine peeked over the top of her book. A tall, muscular man walked in wearing a white button-down shirt and holding his blazer. He paused, as if surprised to find her, and then began to quietly walk toward the window. He moved with wolf-like prowess, his long legs taking cool, calculated steps as his unusual eyes surveyed her. Katherine bit the inside of her lip, returning his measured perusal with one of her own. His silence was unnerving, yet intriguing.

His eyes drew her to him – malachite green with a gold ring around the iris. Dynamic. Expressive. Even now, as he looked at her, they softened and grew translucent. Finally, he stopped in front of the window and casually threw his blazer onto a nearby chair as if he owned the room.

“Hello,” he said.
“You’re staring.”

“I am? I thought you were staring at me.”
He chuckled. “Perhaps I was admiring you.”
“Who else is here?”

Katherine pursed her lips as her insides warmed from the deep silkiness of his voice. He smiled, and walked over to her chair, slowly gliding around it, tracing his finger over the leather headrest, skirting her curly hair.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“And who is inquiring?” She tried to sound cool and composed, but she had to fight the nervous temptation to play with her hands.

“Romeo, perhaps?”

“Then my name is Juliet.”

A teasing smile graced his lips as he walked out from behind her chair and glanced at a bookshelf before turning to look at her again.

“Would you fall for Tristan?”
“Only if my name were Isolode.”

He walked over to a wooden table near the window and ran his long finger over a clay mock-up of Excalibur lodged in a stone. “What do you think of ‘Arthur?’ Do you think it suits me?”

“Only Guinevere would believe your name was Arthur.”

He crossed his arms, his eyes sparkling in the sunlight. “Would you believe my name was Matthias?”

“I might, if—”

“If what?”

“If I knew more about you.”

His eyes darkened a little. “What would you like to know?”

She paused, drinking in his features. His face was chiseled with an awkward scar on his right temple. His nose was perfect – slender – hinting at nobility. His lips were full, red, exuding with male sensuality. He was a vision of male virility, and she found it difficult to tame the unusual warmth that pooled inside her.

“Ask me three questions and I’ll give you three honest answers,” he said.

She stood up, nervously smoothing out the fold of her skirt. Were there limits to what she could ask him? Boundaries? “Is your name really Matthias?”


“Why did you come here today?”

“I have business with Lord Archibald.”

She opened her mouth to ask him her next question, but he swiftly crossed the distance between them. His dominant presence took over her personal space. She shivered from the excitement of being so close to him. He placed his finger to her lips. The touch made her tingle. Was he going to kiss her? “My turn for a question. Do you believe in the stars?”


The next Desert Breeze Scavenger Hunt Question:

What did Chrystal Kincaid do at Heather Graham's Vampire Ball during the 2009 Romantic Times Convention that now set the bar for future Desert Breeze authors?

Visit Chrystal's blog at:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

To Grandmother's House I go...

I live in California now, but when I was a little girl, I lived in New Hampshire, and some of my fondest memories is going to Grandmother's house for Christmas.

My grandmother was Ukranian, but she married a Polish guy and adapted his ways. She liked to be called Bopshie (Polish, I'm told for grandmother) but we grandkids just called her Bopie. She lived in a small rural NH town on the NH/VT/MA border called Hinsdale and the wintertime, it sure got snowy.

I lived in the big city, Manchester. The drive was a 2 hour drive through rural NH on state roads and over a hill. It really was a journey out of a postcard.

We started in Manchester and took the 101 WEST toward Bedford. Bedford was still like Manchester, haha! We went through Amherst, Milford, and Wilton. It Wilton we had to take a turn and go over a bridge. Hey, that was excitement to a little kid!

After Wilton, we went up Temple Mountain. Our ears would pop every time! I can't be sure of the elevation now because it's been over 20 years since I've taken the journey, but for ears to pop, I think it was pretty high. We traveled through Peterbourgh. We traveled through Dublin, Marbourgh, and then hit Keene. Keene was considered a city, like Manchester was, but it was considerably smaller.

After Keene, we switched highways went through Swanzy and Winchester where we hit the 119 state highway and took that through to Hindsale. The pictures I've found where of winter scenes along the way. One is the town gazebo in Ashelot, the town before Hinsdale. In the winter time, it would be very snowy. (As I'm sure the pictures relate) Icicles would hang off the trees. It would be cold, but that cold captured a beauty that is almost impossible to put into words. On the way to Bopie's house we'd sing Christmas songs knowing our gifts were snug in the truck.

Winter in New Hampshire certainly brought out the "heartidiness" in a person. Wherever you are, treasure your winter memories.


TOMORROW: THE DESERT BREEZE SCAVENGER HUNT comes to MOLDAVIA!! Be here while I gush about my Desert Breeze release, "The Hungarian," and get the next clue for the Hunt!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Query Letters, Newsletters & Ebook Readers

Gosh, can you believe it's Saturday? The weekend snuck up fast didn't it? Today's theme is usually query tips and literary agents.

QUERY TIP: Don't compare yourself or the work you're writing about to another author, usually more famous. Agents don't want to see that. While your story may have paranormal elements like vampires, don't say it's like "Anne Rice." Let the characters and the story sell itself without the Anne Rice reference.

LITERARY AGENTS: I love hanging out at Nathan Bransford's blog. I can't gush enough about him because he's easy to read, straight to the point and very topicial. If you get a chance, hang out on his blog. On the side bar, he has what type of manuscripts he's looking for and he's got a good tutuorial about how to query and format a query letter. If you're interested in solicating for an agent, his blog is a great place to start.

Here's a link:


I published a monthly newsletter with news from the writing and publishing world, along with tidbits on the holidays, writing excerpts, weight watcher receipes, book reviews and poetry. In fact, I'm in the proofing stages for my DEC newsletter and I'll be sending it out on Monday. If you would like to sign up, please visit my website at: and on the home page scroll down to the bottom and fill in the form. I'd love to have you on my mailing list!


All I want for Christmas is an EBOOK reader.

No seriously. (And I think my Kindle is in the mail. My husband can't keep a secret to save his life.)

I like to hang out on Publisher's Weekly because they examine trends in the publishing industry and since the intro of the Kindle, ebooks have taken off. There were ebook readers before, but the Kindle benefited from Amazon's high profile. In 2008 alone, ebooks were over a 50 million dollar in the US. It's the way of the future.

Can store over a 100 books on most ebooks readers.
Convientent - you can take them ANYWHERE and read them ANYWHERE - especially while waiting in the dentist and doctor's office.
Saves on ink and paper.

You can't have an author autograph the story. :(

Love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

California Tidbit Thursday - Napa & Sonoma Valleys

You hear about Napa all the time - it's the hub of the California wine industry. In fact, some of the best California wines come from Napa. I've been to Napa on several occasions (it's been awhile) but I've always enjoyed my trips up there. For me, I find Napa and Sonoma very romantic. Traveling down the roads, visiting wineries, that's fun to me.

Napa is quaint, mostly rural, with goregeous views of the landscape. But what makes it so special? Because of it's unique climate, it's a perfect place to grow and harvest grapes for wines. In fact, the movie, "Bottle Shock," is a great movie about the California wine area and how Napa & Sonoma counties came to gain "respectability" in the wine world. I highly recommend seeing it, especially if you're a wine person.

Napa is a little cooler than Sonoma county. Napa Valley is widely considered one of the top American Viticultural Areas in California, and all of the United States. Robert Mondavi is probably one of the best known wine growers in Napa. His wine is world famous. I had a chance to go to the Mondavi winery and it's something special.

Napa Valley even has it's own website:

My favorite wines are the Cabinet Savingion's from this area. I much prefer reds. I also enjoy a good pinot and merlot. If you're ever up in the San Franscisco area, Napa and Sonoma counties are you're less than 30 minutes away from some of the best wineries in the US.

Info from this article came from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On the Reading List

As well as writing, I love to love read. I suppose I enjoy historicals the most, but here's what's on my list. I'd love to hear what's on your list as well!

I just finished this book. Written by Jodi Picoult, this book is a fictional acount of a high school shooting in Sterling, NH. It's my first book I've read by Picoult and I enjoyed it very much. It's considered, "mainstream." I loved how Jodi got into her characters. There was so much depth to the writing, I really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the setting, Sterling, NH, which is in my native NH. I could easily picture the area she was writing about.

Written by Carolly Erickson, this is a biography about Alexandra, the last Czarina of Russia. I've always been fascinated by Russian History since I took a history class my senior year of high school. This biography is very rich in detail and Erickson has a great writing style. Surprisingly, I was disappointed with her fictional account of Tatiana's story in "The Czarina's Daughter," but this book rocks the house.

This is written by Jillian Hunter and is in her Boscastle series. I love Hunter, so I enjoyed the book. She's got an writing style that makes it easy to read. I liked Eleanor a lot. Sebastien was likable, too, but if anything, I would have liked him to actually say "I love you," to her.

I'm almost done with this. It's by Phillipa Gregory and it's about Elizabeth Woodville, Edward IV's queen. I love Gregory, but I'm disappointed with the POV narration in this one. It's present tense and because of it, it's hard for her to cover those events that are important to Elizabeth. Elizabeth's story is very rich, but I'm disappointed with how Gregory told it.


News from the Publishing World - Misc Christmas Thoughts


First, I want to apologize for not being around much. Truth be told, real has me busy this holiday season. I just finished my Christmas card list, but now I have to wrap gifts and keep the chocolate in the advent calender flowing. Haha. Which kind of takes me to my theme today - Christmas traditions.

When I was a wee thing, I remember my Dad would buy lobster and we'd all go over my Granny's house for a Christmas Eve lobster dinner. Being a wee one, I didn't appreciate the lobster at the time.

When we got older, we used to go to my grandmother's house (on my mother's side) for Christmas Eve. Since I lived in NH, snow would litter the ground. It would be COOL. The wind chill would put it about 20 degrees. We'd have to warm up the car before going out to it.

We'd make pedogies (homemade) and have a non meat dinner before opening gifts. I loved the comdarie of making homemade pedogies. The whole family would gather around and one would roll out the dough, one would use a cookie cutter to make the circles and one would stuff the dough. It was my job to boil the pedogies and then fry them up in a pan with butter & onions. Homemade pedogies taste fab, but looking back, that butter & onion couldn't have been good for the ticker! Haha! I would go to Midnight Mass with my aunt Mary and on Christmas we'd have a big turkey dinner and visit the aunts and uncles.

Nowadays, my Christmas traditions are a little different since I live in California. There's no 20 degree temperatures in California. I'm kind of sad that my boys won't know a snowy Christmas, but I try to make it as Christmasy as I can. I light an advent candle for meals and I have an advent calender filled with choc and lollipops. I put out a navity and each day Andrew and I add a piece. We have an ornament dinner every year and exchange personalized ornaments with family members. Opening gifts are usually reserved for Christmas morning. That's what they did for my husband's family when he was a wee one.


Both my boys are excited for Christmas this year. Joe is 3 and is just starting to "get it." He goes to the advent calender every day which is cute.

Christmas traditions are important because, for me, it makes the family unique. While lobster isn't on the menu anymore, I made a clam chowder and Brent will cook up a rib roast for the ornament dinner. I made sugar cookies with Andrew and he loves it. Joe should be old enough to get it this year. We'll see.

I hope you're having a good holiday season and enjoying your own Christmas traditions.



Did I tell you the reason why I neglected the blog? Part was because of National Novel Writing Month. I was tying my fingers off trying to get to 50K words. And I did! I'm a winner at 50,291. Mind you, my novel is probably just a little over 1/2 done but I've got a good start with it. I have to admit, I entered Novemeber prepared. I had character bios, maps, outlines and I was ready to write. I don't think without that prep work, I would have made my goal.


The other reason is the real life business of the holiday season. I work from 6 pm to 2 am and I usually have to get up at 630 am. I am exhausted all of the time. It sucks. I have to do my house work, and the Christmas extras. Not that I mind, but I find there's just not enough time in the day.

My NaNoWriMo project was "The Count's Lair" a book that will be published by Desert Breeze publishing. I'm very excited about the story. My hero is a werewolf who falls in love with a talented pianist in Hungary 1901. I love the time period. While werewolves don't have the appeal that vampires do, I enjoy them because I explore the more pyschological aspects of it.


New from the Publishing World.

I try to keep up with this one which isn't easy. I usually get my news from Publisher's Weekly as I find they are the most up to date:

A new program debuts on Sirius XM Book Radio this week: “Penguin Classics on Air,” a half-hour series devoted to the discussion and exploration of some of Penguin Classics’ 1,500-plus titles. Penguin employees will write and produce the series, and the show will air twice a week—Mondays from 3:00 to 3:30 P.M. and Thursdays from 11:30 P.M. to midnight—on Sirius 117 and XM 163.

It sounds interesting. This week is about Jane Austen. Having just seen Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightly and watching Becoming Jane, consider me a Jane Austen fan. Surprisingly, I didn't read her in High school, so I'm just now getting introduced to Jane.

I'm a firm believer in entering writing contests. It's where I cut teeth and I've entered the Writer's Digest Contests since 2006. Here's a contest being offered through Publisher's Weekly and Amazon:

Also today, Penguin Group (USA) and Amazon announced the third annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition. For the first time, the competition will award two grand prizes: one for general fiction and one for best young adult novel. The 2010 competition will also be open to novels that have been previously self-published. The competition runs from January 25, 2010 and until February 7 at

Here's something a little interesting: A Candianan Private school is switching to EBook readers!

The Blyth Academy, a private school in Toronto, is replacing its traditional textbooks with the Sony Reader Digital Book which will be loaded with electronic versions of students' textbooks. “There may be one or two [books] that we still find are better in the printed version, or that maybe haven’t been fully converted into electronic texts, but we’re hoping by the end of the year, that we’ll have all of our texts completely in electronic format,” said Blyth director of development Brandon Kerstens. He added that some of Blyth’s approximately 170 students in Toronto have opted to continue using hard copies of the books.

The school is maintaining its library of printed books, and students will still read fiction in printed versions. “We’re not doing away with printed text altogether because novels are so beloved, and people love to have their novels in a printed version,” said Kerstens.

Enjoy your Wednesday!