Thursday, June 30, 2011

CA Lighthouse Series - Alcatraz Island Lighthouse, San Francisco

Alcatraz Island sits in the heart of San Francisco Bay. When the Gold Rush brought an influx of people and miners to California, the US Congress in 1850 authorized 9 lighthouses to be built on the West Coast. The Alcatraz light was one of them.

The lighthouse's name is derived from the Spanish word, "alcatraces" which, in my understanding, means pelican. The building was finished in 1853 and lit in 1854 using a 3rd order Fresnel lens. (A Fresnel lens is much thinner, larger, and flatter, and captures more oblique light from a light source, thus allowing lighthouses to be visible over much greater distances.)

The Alcatraz light has the distinction of being the first one in operation on the Pacific Coast. The facility included a cottage for the keeper, a 2-story building, and the tower which was in the middle. The original tower was 50 feet. San Francisco Bay, however, had dense fog and a fog bell was added in 1856. Initially, a person attended to the fog bell. Eventually, it became automated, but I couldn't identify when.

When the lighthouse was constructed it ran on oil, then kerosene, and in 1909 it was converted to electricity. In 1902, the 3rd order Fresnel lens was replaced with a 4th order lens. In 1906, the great Earthquake of San Francisco damaged the original lighthouse. In 1909, the present day lighthouse was constructed (hence the electricity.) The new tower was now 84 feet tall and made of concrete. The lighthouse keepers continued to live in a cottage at the base.

Prior to 1934, Alcatraz was the home of a military prison. That year, it was upgraded to a maximum security federal prison. The lighthouse was outside the prison grounds. In 1963, the lighthouse became automated and the prison was closed. The 4th order Fresnel lens was replaced with a reflecting light.

Today, you can find the 4th order Fresnel lens on display at the Alcatraz museum. The tower is all that remains of the lighthouse. The cottage was destroyed in a fire in 1970. The light continues to work and is monitored by the US Coast Guard.

The island is now open to tourists.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Game of Thrones, Part 1 in a series

Sean Bean as Eddard Stark

Thoughts and reflections on George R.R. Martin's novel and the HBO series.

My husband and I are two very different book readers. He prefers high fantasy and science fiction, I'm a romance, history, and biography nut. And I'm not adverse to high fantasy or science fiction, but it's got to be something special to catch my attention.

About two years ago my husband listened to "A Game of Thrones" on Audible and said I would like it. I grunted. Then he said HBO was making a series out of it and Sean Bean was cast in the leading role. That caught my attention.

I loved HBO's "Sopranos" and "Rome." Both series had a high production quality, great characters, and pitch perfect storytelling. I knew Game of Thrones would be no different so I looked forward to watching the series.

I was not disappointed.

The production quality is fantastic. Game of Thrones is a high fantasy story set in another world, and as the series opening credits unfold, the "casual" viewer sees a map of the world to help them understand the lay of the land.


Several aspects of the series pulled me in immediately. To the north is The White Wall covered in ice and snow. "The Others" are past the wall and have recently been awakened. The Night's Watch, the guardians of the snow and ice infested land know something threatens them – but what? They have to figure it out. Theirs is not an easy job. It's a hard life and a man must not have a wife or start a family.

Jon Snow, Eddard's bastard

The Stark family of Winterfell is south of the wall. Eddard Stark is a good, honest, and noble man – a true hero who embodies courage and nobility naturally. His family is interesting as well. My favorites: Jon Snow and Arya. Why? Because these are characters struggling to fit into their world.

Another character that just captured my attention was Daenerys Targaryen. She is the daughter of the mad king, Aerys Targargen, who was overthrown by Robert Baratheon. Daenerys goes to live with the Dothraki and marries Khal Drago, their ruler. As Daenerys' story unfolds, I witnessed a naïve young girl gain courage, inner strength and find love. For me, her story was the most compelling because it's such a strong character-driven plot. And the dragon lore was cool, too.

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys

Side Note: George RR Martin won the 1997 Hugo Award for best novella for "Blood of the Dragon" which consisted of chapters only from Daenerys POV taken from the original book, Game of Thrones.

The casting is excellent. Peter Dinklage as "Tyrion Lannister" is dynamic as the clever, rude, and infuriating dwarf. Emilia Clarke portrays Daenerys with a subtle yet commanding performance that will have you cheering for every episode.

The series is deliciously close to the novel which I was inspired to read after watching the series. I'm only 150 pages into the novel and have only gleaned two tidbits of info from it that I didn't get from the series – one having to do with dragons and Tyrion and the other having to do with Jon Snow's mother.

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister

The writing is top notch – engaging the readers with a great blend of dialogue and narration. It's easy to see how Martin was nominated for and won several of fantasy's top awards.

Did you know? David J. Peterson from the Language Creation Society was hired to develop the Dothraki language.

What makes Games of Thrones compelling for me are the characters. Even the heroes have flaws and the villains are capable of compassion, evoking sympathy for them.

Next Week:
My top 3 favorite characters:
Daenerys Targeryen
Tyrion Lannister
Jon Snow

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A look at Romance through the years

If you look to the oral tradition about the power of love and it's ability to conquer all, then romance has been around for a long time.

What do classic fairytales like Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs have in common? HEA. Happily Ever After – a must in any romance novel.

The romance novel, as we know it, however, didn't appear until the 19th century. Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters wrote a class of novels known as "domestic fiction," which typically featured an impoverished, yet gutsy heroine. On the gothic side of the house, Ann Radcliffe was writing romance with castles, mad relatives locked in the attic, and ghosts. This came to be known as "gothic romance."

Jane Austen's novel, "Pride and Prejudice" has had several adaptations created for the movie and the TV screen, which speaks to her ability to create compelling romantic characters that have resonated throughout time.

In the 1950's, Mary Bonnycastle and her husband, Richard, started a fledging publishing company – Harlequin. What made Harlequin a ground breaker in romantic fiction was their distribution. They made their books available where women shopped – including supermarkets and the drug store.

However, romance wouldn't be where it is without Barbara Cartland. She had a larger than life personality with her pink clothes, large hats, and her treasured Pekingese. Her stories tended to be short and also non-sexually explicit. A titled nobleman meets a young, inexperienced woman and they fall in love surrounded by historical intrigue. In 1991, she was named a Dame of the British Empire for her body of work. She died in 2000 at the age of 98.

In the late 1970's romance up'd it a notch with more sexually explicit scenes. Many writers soon discovered "sex sells." Kathleen Woodiwiss' "The Flame and The Flower" comes to mind.

Covers evolved, too. Handsome men and beautiful ladies found themselves replaced by Fabio in the mid-80's. Currently, the pendulum has swung back in favor of covers that are now focused on the story inside.

Today's romances cover a variety of topics speaking to the sophistication that modern readers now possess. Today you have "beta" males and "alpha" females tackling modern problems, yet the emotions are the same now as they were in Jane Austen's time. You can still find greed, betrayal, happiness love, and loss – just in a different setting which is reflective of the time period and values the romance was written in.

So fess up – who is your favorite romance writer and why?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Excerpt Monday - From Victorian Scoundrel

Mena Suvari, inspiration for Alice Windsor

"Victorian Scoundrel" is a steampunk romance. Set in London, 1851, Alice "cons" Grayson out of his scent. *wink*

He leaned forward. "I would like to see you again, Miss Windsor."

Alice nipped at her lower lip. He smelled of soap with a hint of spice. She wanted to see him again as well, especially since she would need his help getting her necklace back, but what was she going to tell him? That she was a royal from the future and she really didn't have a place to stay right now? That was too unbelievable. Besides, she shouldn't be leaving her fingerprints, either. "Ah, I'm uncertain what my cousin has planned for us."

"Let me remind you that you need your necklace back."

"Indeed I do. Perhaps you can give me your scent, and I'll contact you tomorrow with a whuzzie."

A whuzzie was a small mechanical ball with wings like a bird. It had a small opening on the top to hold handwritten correspondence. On the bottom was a voice recorder and space for the scent of the person you wanted to send the whuzzie to. The whuzzie matched the scent to the person's name and each scent was unique. An ounce of coal powered the whuzzie, which was good for a trip and a return trip. It was the acceptable way to deliver messages in this time period.

He furrowed his brow. "You are an odd one, aren't you?"

"Me? Why do you say that?"

"A gentleman is supposed to be the one to make arrangements to see a lady."

Alice wrinkled her nose, felt her glasses slide down the bridge of her nose, and pushed them back into place. What could she tell him? Oh, in my time it's no big deal for a guy to give a girl his scent?

Grayson cocked his head. Uncertainty pooled in those expressive hazel eyes of his. Alice decided the best approach should be sincerity.

"My Lord--"

"Grayson, please."

"I do know how to properly address you."

"I didn't doubt it for a minute, I would prefer you call me Grayson."

A warm gentle wave washed over Alice. Why did the man have to be so charming? And why did that dimple in his right cheek pop out when his smile was especially deep and wide, confounding her pulse even more? She returned his smile despite her better judgment. "Grayson, quite honestly, this day has been one surprise after another for me. When I woke up, I had no idea I'd be visiting Buckingham Palace."

"I believe you."

"So believe me when I say I have no idea how this day is going to end. I'll know more when I meet with my cousin, Edmund."
He slowly nodded his head, giving his reluctant acquiescence.

"Grayson, I promise if you give me your scent, I'll be in touch with you tomorrow."

He reached into his frock jacket, pulled out a small vial and handed it to her.

"Thank you," she said.
"You're welcome."


Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Bionic Woman

Lindsay Wagner as "The Bionic Woman," 1976

The first in a series of shows from the 70's, 80's, & 90's Retro Series.

The other day while I was at the gym on the treadmill, I had a chance to watch the pilot episode of the 2007 launch of the Bionic Woman. I wanted to see it for a while because I remember watching the original as a little girl and loving it. I have to admit, I liked the 2007 episode. I downloaded an episode of the original Bionic Woman with Lindsay Wagner, "Welcome Home, Lindsay, part one," to refresh my memory and several things struck me, so much so, I was inspired to write down some of my thoughts after doing a little bit of research about the series.

When I was a girl in the 1970's growing up, I remembered that I loved the show because I loved the science of the bionics and I thought Jaime Sommers was really cool. Now, 35 years later, I know why she was really cool. Lindsay Wagner's "Bionic Woman," was a totally character-driven series. The 2007 series with Michelle Ryan in the title role was a plot-driven series.

The original Bionic Woman ran from 1976-78, spending the first 2 years on ABC and then the last year on NBC. In fact, Lindsay Wagner won an Emmy for the role. Aside from capturing the look and feel of the 1970's, the show was very character-driven. "Welcome Home, Jamie, Part one," reflected a lot Jaime's feelings and was centered around her establishing a new life for herself. We see her getting a job, cleaning house, and searching for memories. Quite honestly, it's got the making of good storytelling by weaving in action naturally, not gratuitously.

I got a kick out of where Jaime decided to live – Ojai, CA. It's right in my backyard, down CA route 126. It's still a very rural area. It's also in Hollywood's backyard.

The 2007 series was produced by David Eick, who, at the time, was doing the remake to Battlestar Galactica, which I enjoyed a lot. Now, 30 years later, the Galactica series had a whole new look and feel to it, as did the new Bionic Woman.

I found Michelle Ryan to be "likeable" enough as Jaime Sommers and I liked the more modern up to date plot as well as the feel of the show, and I'm a sucker for good science fiction. I thought the bionics had caught up to the times, however the 2007 show was definitely plot driven and not character driven. Jaime did little reflection on her feelings and was constantly in motion. If anything, that's where the show failed.

Michelle Ryan as "The Bionic Woman" 2007

After 7 episodes, the writer's strike hit and the show fell victim to that. It was not produced after that, but those 7 episodes were plot driven. If you can't hook your audience on the characters, all the action in the world won't save it.

A plot driven story moves at a faster pace and the action is more gratuitous and in your face, but if all you have to care about is the plot, and not the characters, then you aren't going to make much of an impression.

A character driven story moves at a slower pace and the action develops naturally. The audience gets a sense of character – how good (or bad) they are. They see layers – what makes them tick. The highlight of the story is to place the character in a situation outside of their comfort zone to see how they react.

In today's instant gratification world, plot driven series rule, but it's character driven stories that resonates. It's why Lindsay Wagner will always be the only Bionic Woman in the hearts of many.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Welcome Guest Author - AR Norris

I'd like to welcome fellow DB author, AR Norris to the blog. Her latest release, Duty & Devotion, is a sci-fi/futuristic romance and I'm a sucker for a good sci-fi. And now, here's Amber to talk about love at first sight. Enjoy!


I swear to this day that my husband and I were love at first sight. Of course...that's not really true. It was passion at first sight, which bloomed into love. But man! At the time I swore it was true love, immediately. Knocked me straight off my feet!

I think a lot about love. It's hard not to when the idea of true love is everywhere you turn. Books, TV, magazines, movies...the stories really know how to pump up the fantasy. They mix up intense moments and immediate attraction with love. They take opposites and smash them together. (And I'm not talking about individual characteristics...I'm talking compatibility points.)

What they don't show is the reality. The moments after "THE END".

There are a few things I have figured out with me and my husband's relationship.

1. You have to be able to be friends or you're never gonna make it. (We're talking decades together, people. You have to be able to laugh, cry, get angry, and reconnect with each other again.)
2. There has to be foundational morals and values that synch up.
3. The hardest for many, you have to learn to compromise. (Hello, there are two separate lives merging into one. It takes merger skills of gargantuan ability.)

It is easy to fall into the mystery and allure of passion and attraction. I mean, come on, who doesn't want to be wooed? But, I think one of the most empowering things is to realize when a relationship is not love and step away and have the strength to move on. It defines you and opens you to real love.

Poor older sister Nettie in Duty and Devotion has to try and try again, searching for love. And in a time of war no less. Of course, she didn't make it easy on herself. She went for the guy that was socially acceptable to her position and then to the man that intrigued her passion. Below is an excerpt when Nettie realized her first relationship wasn't right, and she walked away.

Nettie closed down her console. "It was nice returning to engineering. I'm going to miss it." She looked up when he didn't say anything. He stood, staring at her with those deep grey eyes through the floating image. "Sir?"

"Is that the only thing you'll miss?" His voice was low, barely audible.

Without responding, she stood and gathered her training materials. He cursed and walked around the table to her.

"Damn it, Matterville. You know what's happening. I've tried to hide it, but it's pretty obvious."

She refused to meet his gaze. "What does it matter? There is nothing we can do about it."

He grabbed her by the shoulders. In shock, she looked up and he kissed her. It wasn't soft and seemed more from frustration than anything else, but the heat behind it ignited her. She leaned into him and let herself fall. Her abdomen knotted and her head spun. She slid her hands up to his shoulders and grasped his face.

She caressed his neck, ran a hand over his cropped hair, tickling her fingers. One of his big, rough hands slid down her lower back, braced her against him, and propped her against the table. Her head fell back. He nibbled her exposed neck. She started to say his name... no, she started to call out Captain.

A nagging doubt wheedled passed her passion. This isn't right. She tried to ignore it, but the feeling grew. Nettie managed to pull away.

"No." It was a simple statement, though breathless. She wasn't sure what regret there
would be, but she knew with that answer there wouldn't be guilt. "No." She stated again for good measure.

She nudged him away, moved away herself, and put some distance between them. "We're attracted to the idea of each other. You'd be the safe choice for me and that's not fair to you or to me. I have to focus on survival and being a soldier."

Conflict sparkled in his eyes, the muscles in his face and neck so tense they could snap. "Matterville, you aren't meant for war. You're not soldier material. I can help you with a safe position after training."

It was a blow to her ego and she felt it physically as the breath left her. Shaken, she fought off the urge to tremble. "With all due respect, Captain. I think I am good enough... No, I know I'm good enough."

She picked up her course material and lifted her chin. "If we are finished here, I would like to be excused, sir."

"I apologize, Nettie. That was... inexcusable."

She struggled to find her equilibrium. "It's Officer Matterville, Captain Branz. And no harm done. If anything, you've given me a reminder I sorely needed. Have a good day, sir."

Nettie walked out without looking back. She'd closed the door to her old world and focused on the one she was heading to.


If you want to learn more about me, stop by my blog: Adventures of a Sci-Fi Writer

Duty and Devotion is available at Desert Breeze, All Romance Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, and the Apple iBookstore

Thursday, June 23, 2011

California Thursday -The Lighthouse at Long Beach

Long Beach Skeleton Tower

First off, forgive my hiatus during the month of May. I was a busy little bee promoting my latest release, "The Wolf's Torment," and writing furiously to meet my deadline for "Danube In Candlelight." I've got a busy summer planned – more writing, and a vacation that's not really a vacation with the boys, but my lighthouse series is back. It's going to be a fun and busy summer!

I thought I'd take a peek at a lighthouse a little closer to my house – The Long Beach Lighthouse. Heck, I thought since the boat to Catalina Island leaves out of this harbor, I pass the lighthouse all the time. Shame on me! When I started doing my research and saw a picture of the actual lighthouse, my mouth dropped to the floor. That ugly thing was the lighthouse?

Indeed, the Long Beach lighthouse has the distinction of being the ugliest lighthouse in California.

Previous to 1949, there was a skeleton tower. In 1949, a 3 story, monolithic structure was made out of concrete and sits on 6 columns. Practically, it was built to withstand tidal waves and earthquakes, but it's not very pretty.

The lighthouse is known as a "robot light" because it's completely automated and remotely controlled. It's cool, modern, but aesthetically not "hip."

The good news – there are two fake, yet attractive lighthouses in the harbor. Heck, I was fooled!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Writing tip Tuesday - Writing Romantic Dialogue

Here's some of my own tips for Writing Romantic Dialogue. I'd love to hear your tips and thoughts on how you write romantic dialogue.

1 - Dialogue should sound authentic, but not reflect real life too closely.

In real life people greet each other with:

"Hello, Bob."
"Hi, Sue. How are you doing?"
"I'm okay. You?"
"I have a little headache."

Dull and boring, huh? Try to strip as much of these exchanges that you can from your dialogue. Get to the heart of the matter by passing over pleasantries. Rule of thumb: Stay away from pointless chit chat.

#2 - Dialogue should move the plot forward, but not be an info dump.

When you use dialogue, reveal a little about your character, but don't go into a monologue that reads like an info dump.

"Lord Varga does not like garlic," said Lazlo.
Amelia arched an eyebrow. "I didn't know. Why?"
"It makes him sick."
"How interesting. Garlic is known for it's healing properties."
Lazlo pursed his lips.

#3 - Should I cuss?

Try not to, but remember there are times when it is necessary. If your characters gets their finger caught in a door, and the pain is immediate, they're going to cuss. Don't, however, liter your character's dialogue with cuss words. It makes your character unromantic and unsympathetic. It's more acceptable to write "he swore" than a cuss word.

"David took the money."
"What did he do with it?"
"I think he blew it on cigarettes."
Sam swore. That was all the money he had.

#4 - Dialogue shows passion

Ah, pillow talk. Flirting banter. Promises of seduction. All these types of dialogue "show" romance. And don't forget to use dialogue during your love scenes. Let your characters be playful. Show them flirting. Depending on the hero, if he's talkative, then being intimate with the heroine might be a time where he's quiet and more reflective.

"I didn't get a chance to tell you last night so I'll tell you now - I love you."
"Most assuredly."

#5 - Avoid dialect in dialogue.

Why? Quite honestly, most authors can't do it well and readers who don't "get it" might find it a bit stilted.

#6 - You are what you speak.

The words characters say reveal who they are so make them shine. Are they educated? Young? Friendly? What do they value?

"Old lady Jenning's pig ran away again."
"Did you find him?"
"Sure did - down by the river."
"Did you return the pig?"
"I sure did. She said she appreciated my honesty."

#7 - Dialogue shows suspense

The lack of dialogue or reluctance to talk may heighten the suspense.

"Do you know what she wanted?"
"What was what?"


Write a vignette, no more than 500 words using one of the following sentences as a prompt.

Prompt #1 - "Josie, don't do that!"

Prompt #2 - "Aiden, you are such a rock."

Send it to me as an attachment to either: or ATTN: Romance Dialogue Contest and I'll pick one which I will feature in my official JULY 2011 newsletter. Winner gets a $5.00 GC to Amazon.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Excerpt Monday - Victorian Scoundrel

Here's an excerpt from my upcoming 1 JULY release, Victorian Scoundrel. It's a steampunk romance. Enjoy!


Tired and thirsty, she finally made it to the courtyard. Edmund was nowhere to be found. She should have expected it, really. No doubt he was in the palace filling their great-grandfather's head with forward-thinking ideas. She crossed her arms, staring at the steps. Several carriages waited nearby. No one in their right mind would let her into the palace looking like she did -- like she had just stepped out of the gutter.

"Excuse me, who are you?"

Alice spun around to find herself face-to-face with two gentlemen who stood near one of the waiting carriages. One gentleman was older, Alice guessed in his fifties, one younger. The older gentleman stared at her like she truly was a guttersnipe, but the younger one -- he was tall, with chiseled cheeks and sensitive hazel eyes. His broad chest filled his suit well and he measured her with a cool, appraising look that hinted at... appreciation. An uncomfortable feeling washed over her. Never had a man's stare made her feel so... warm.

"Well?" asked the older gentleman.

Alice straightened her posture with her usual royal dignity and took off her glasses as she always did when she introduced herself. "I am Her Royal Highness, Princess Alice of York."

The men looked at each other, at her, then back at themselves. She wasn't sure if they were befuddled, confused, or wanted to laugh. Finally, the older gentleman spoke. "Princess Alice is seven years old."

Alice bit the inside of her lip, realizing she had totally forgotten where she was due to the younger gentleman's attention. She slid her glasses back on. "Simply call me Alice -- Alice Windsor."

"And you may call me Prime Minister."


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Friday, June 17, 2011

Welcome Guest Author - Mariposa Cruz

STEPH: I don't know much about Howl. Can you tell me a little about it?

MARIPOSA: Personally I’m drawn to stories about people with real problems even those who live in alternate realities. As a single mother, Kate worries about raising her daughter and making ends meet. Then the fragile balance of her life is thrown into upheaval after a shapeshifter attack.

STEPH: Where did the inspiration for the story come from?

MARIPOSA: Growing up I loved watching monster movies on Saturday afternoons and I wanted to tell those stories from a woman’s perspective. I started writing Howl shortly after we moved to Reno from Northern California. I missed my California family and friends and my initial loneliness surfaced in both Kate and Jack in different ways.

STEPH: You know I grew up watching "Creature Double Feature" with all the monsters as a little girl in the 1970's too!

Where is the story set? How important was that to the story?

MARIPOSA: Howl is set in Haven, California, a fictional town based on some of my favorite towns in Mendocino County. The mysterious beauty of the area makes it a perfect setting for the supernatural.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

MARIPOSA: I worked on Howl in between other stories and freelance writing projects so it’s tough for me to estimate the actual writing time.

STEPH: Cast the movie! Who are Kate and Jack?

MARIPOSA: Cameron Diaz’s wide-set blue eyes remind me of Kate. Gerard Butler with his intensity
would make a perfect Jack.

STEPH: What do you hope resonates with readers after they finish reading?

MARIPOSA: I hope that readers believe that they can reach their own HEA even if it means traveling
dark roads to get there.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

MARIPOSA: Not yet, but the Nook is definitely on my wish list!

STEPH: What's your writing space like?

MARIPOSA: I have two “writing spots”. I do most of my writing in my bedroom with a mug of tea at my elbow while my cat snoozes at the foot of my bed. Sometimes during lunch I’ll write in the car with a view of Mt. Rose.

STEPH: What summer movie are you looking forward to?

MARIPOSA: I can hardly wait for the final Harry Potter movie, though it will be bittersweet to see the series end.

STEPH: Any advice for aspiring writers?

MARIPOSA: Set reasonable writing goals for yourself and stay consistent. Even if it feels like all you’re doing is collecting rejections, you are far ahead of the folks who have all their stories in mind and nothing on paper.

Here’s a blurb:
As if Kate Owens doesn't have enough problems as a struggling single mom and paralegal, a brutal animal attack outside her office plunges her into turmoil. At work, she is attracted to her rescuer, Jack Walker, an attorney wary of commitment. Every morning after the attack she awakes drenched in blood beside the body of a mangled stray. Kate's days become a battle to maintain control while her nights are a disturbing blur of dreams. Will Kate's nightly madness harm her young daughter? Lone wolf attorney, Jack Walker understands the reason for his paralegal's exhaustion and haunted demeanor. Jack has pursued the beast since law school graduation and he knows the creature's relentless thirst for revenge.

Can Jack save Kate from her attacker and her own savage nature?

Here’s some reviews

4 Books from The Long and Short Reviews

“I love a good werewolf/vampire/ shape-shifter story and this one doesn’t disappoint. Ms. Cruz spins a story that kept me right in my seat throughout. The characters are rich with detail and I felt like I was a part of the tale, right alongside them. The secondary characters really enhanced the story as well. But more than that, the abundance of characters helped me see the group as more as a family.”

Bitten by Books

“I will definitely be looking out for more stories from this author.”

Howl is available at The Wild Rose Press
I feature author interviews and other writing-related musings at my blog

Friday, June 10, 2011

Welcome Guest Author, Barbara Edwards

Steph: I'd like to welcome author Barabara Edwards. Her latest release is "Ancient Blood," and it's a paranormal, right up my alley! Barbara is a wonderful lady and fellow Book Spa Friend. Thanks for being here today!

Barbara:Hello, Stephanie, Thanks for having me as your guest today and the chance to talk about my new release, Ancient Blood.

Steph: I don't know much about Ancient Blood. What's it about?

Barbara: Ancient Blood is set in the small New England town of Rhodes End where the paranormal is the norm. The hero, Cole, is a hereditary werewolf. Lily, a woman running from a dangerous stalker, is the heroine. Neither is ready for love, but it finds them anyway.

Steph: Where did the inspiration for it come from?

Barbara: The same place as all my stories-I dreamed about Cole and Lily. The big difference was that theirs was a love scene and when I woke up I knew how much I wanted to write their story.

Steph: How long did it take you to write?

Barbara: Over a year, with rewrites. I really envy authors Like Nora Roberts who write a book in a couple months.

Steph: Did you have to do a lot of research on it?

Barbaraa: Oh yes. I researched mitrochondrial DNA along with the pattern of hereditary characteristics, the results on ingesting Wolfsbane, the colors of auras and their interpretation, the mating habits of wolves along with the herbs that are commonly grown in New England.

Steph: Are you a plotter or a panster?

Barbara: I keep switching back and forth. There are times when I know exactly what and where the scene will contain, how it fits in the story and expands the plot. At other times, the characters take over and the whole thing goes in a direction I never imagined.

Steph: Cast the movie - Ancient Blood. Who plays the main characters?

Barbara: I’m not a movie go-er so I don’t know who the big name stars are. I would need a lean, dark, brooding hero for Cole and a spunky, intelligent blonde who loves animals to play Lily. Any suggestions?

Steph: I'm a sucker for Robert Pattinson. What do you think of Mena Suvri for Lily? What's the theme of Ancient Blood?

Barbara: Lily and Cole’s story was inspired by an idea I pursued in Ancient Awakening. It’s a question of how you face problems that life presents you. Lily has to accept that the result of her head injury, her ability to see auras, is a part of her. Cole cannot accept his werewolf status. He is obsessed with finding a cure.

Steph: What can readers take with them after reading the book?

Barbara: I hope they want to visit New England. It’s a beautiful, fascinating place full of history. The oldest known case of Vampires is in New England. Do you know where?

Steph: Oh my gosh, I grew up in New Hampshire and have to a lot of places, I know about the Salem Witch trials, but not about the vampires. I would have to guess they're somewhere in Massachuetts though.

Do you have an e-book reader? If so, which one?

Barbara: I have a Sony e-book reader. It is an older one almost five years old. I have been looking at all the choices, Kindle, B&N’s Nook, Sony’s new e-book reader and can’t decide which I want more. Each has good points.

Steph: For fun: What's your favorite pie?

Barbara: Strawberry-Rhubarb pie is my absolute favorite and I make it every spring when the rhubarb is ripe.
I make great crust, by the way.

Here’s a blurb and excerpt from Ancient Blood:

Lily Alban escapes a murderous stalker, but his vicious attack leaves her with the ability to see auras. She finds safety in the tiny hamlet of Rhodes End where a stranger stands out like a red light. Try as she might to deny her growing desire for Cole, she seeks his help but soon discovers the man she loves is not a man at all.

Werewolf Cole Benedict resists his attraction to Lily. A botanist researching the healing herbs to find a cure for Lycanthropy, he’s determined to protect Lily from her stalker as well as himself even in human form, but instinct takes over when he changes to his inner beast.

Together they must use their extraordinary gifts to catch Lily’s stalker before he attacks again, but revealing their secrets to one another could destroy their growing love or save them both.

“Lily?” His strong hands gently cupped her shoulders.
“Don’t, please don’t.”

She pulled away, fully intending to flee. Her resistance shattered, and she turned into his embrace. It was too late to escape.
Pressing against his strength, she wound her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. His erection prodded her stomach, and she moaned. A heavy groan filled his throat as he lifted her from her feet. He kicked the bag aside as he sat her on the counter.

“I can’t wait,” he growled. His flaring aura spiraled with colors she couldn’t name. She caught her breath. One hand burrowed through her hair, keeping her still as he stepped between her thighs. “You’re all I could think about all day.”

Clasping her bottom, he slid her to the edge of the counter. With his lips claiming her mouth, he unbuttoned her slacks, than lifted her slightly to push them down and off.

The cold surface only made her more aware of his scorching heat. His rough denim pants scraped her inner thighs in contrast with the silky hair under her palms. Her pulse leaped, and she gasped. His male scent mixed with hints of the wild forest filled her nostrils. When his fingertip explored the heated moisture gathering at her juncture, she tightened her thighs around his hips.

Ancient Blood is Available from The Wild Rose Press
Print ISBN: 1-60154-916-4
Print ISBN 13: 9781601549167

Again, thank you for having me as your guest.
Barbara Edwards

Visit my website: for more excerpts from all my books

Steph: Barbara, that's a hot excerpt! I cannot wait to read! You've got me hooked. hehe