Thursday, September 29, 2011

California Lighthouse Series - Pigeon Point, CA

A couple of weeks ago I shared with you one of the ugliest lighthouses in California at Long Beach. Today, I make up for it by sharing one of the most picturesque lighthouses – Pigeon Point.

Pigeon Point is located south of San Francisco on a rocky promontory. (mass of rocks) Its 115 feet tower makes it one of the tallest lighthouses on California's coast.

Pigeon Point opened in SEP 1871 with a steam whistle (fog signal). Unfortunately, bad weather and heavy rain caused a 14 month delay with installing the light. On 15 NOV 1872, the 1st order Frensel lens went into use. A frensel lens was developed by French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel for lighthouses. The design allows the construction of lenses of large aperture and short focal length without the mass and volume of material that would be required by a lens of conventional design. Compared to conventional bulky lenses, the 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. (Definition taken from Wikipedia:

Pigeon Point's Frensel lens weighed 4 tons and rotated every 4 seconds. Originally powered by a clockworks and weight, electricity replaced that in 1926.

A lighthouse is only as interesting as the people and stories behind it and Pigeon Point has some interesting stories. The one I found most interesting involved The Carrier Pigeon, a 175 ft. Clipper ship.

That's a Bummer

In the fall of 1852, a Clipper ship, The Carrier Pigeon, began its maiden voyage from Bath, Maine. After traveling around Cape Horn, it traveled up the west coast of the Americas. Not far away from San Francisco, near Santa Cruz, the fog really got thick and the boat struck rocks, sinking. The crew made it to shore, but the ship was lost. Sadly, the boat was valued at $54,000. In the 1860's, 3 more ships were lost in this area due to the heavy fog.

Can you imagine traveling months down the east coast of the Americas, through Cape Horn and up the west side of the America only to crash miles from your destination? Big Bummer.

Today the tours to the tower are closed due to crumbling brickwork, but every year on the 15th of NOV the Frensel lens is lit to celebrate its anniversary. The lighthouse keepers housing currently serves as a youth hostel.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Welcome Cathy Pegau & The Giants to the Football Blog Stop Tour!

STEPH: Who's your favorite football team? How long have you been a fan?

CATHY: My favorite team is the NY Giants. I’ve been a fan essentially since birth because my father was a fan. Sundays in our house were for football. Nothing else.

STEPH: Who's your favorite player "playing" right now? Why?

CATHY: After this last game on 9/25, WR Victor Cruz. He made some amazing catches during and shows huge promise. He’s a talent that the Big Blue needs to cultivate.

But I’m also a huge fan of the defensive game. Watching Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Aaron Ross and Antrel Rolle in action is a thrill.

STEPH: Who's your favorite all time Giants player?

CATHY: Tough choice, so I’m going to cheat and give you three : ) Michael Strahan for his enthusiasm and toughness. Lawrence Taylor for his relentlessness. Phil Simms for his skill. All three also are so knowledgeable about the game, it’s mindblowing.

STEPH: Who's the Giants "evil" nemsis?

CATHY: Dallas Cowgirls Cowboys. My father-in-law is a Cowboys fan, so we have a friendly rivalry going on : ) And anyone who is playing the Cowboys is the team I root for, even if it’s the Philadelphia Eagles!

STEPH: Ever been to a football game? What's it like?

CATHY: I went to one game when I was 15 or so. It was freakin’ cold! But soooo fun! The atmosphere around a professional game is like nothing else.

STEPH: Do you own a jersey?

CATHY: I do! #10, Eli Manning. I inherited it when my dad passed away.

STEPH: What's your favorite food to eat during the game?

CATHY: For something quick and easy, nachos. A more elaborate snack is wings. And a good cold beer.

Rulebreaker from Carina Press
Buy links:
Liv Braxton's Felon Rule #1: Don't get emotionally involved.

Smash-and-grab thieving doesn't lend itself to getting chummy with the victims, and Liv hasn't met anyone on the mining colony of Nevarro worth knowing, anyway. So it's easy to follow her Rules.

Until her ex, Tonio, shows up with an invitation to join him on the job of a lifetime.

Until Zia Talbot, the woman she's supposed to deceive, turns Liv's expectations upside down in a way no woman ever has.

Until corporate secrets turn deadly.

But to make things work with Zia, Liv has to do more than break her Rules, and the stakes are higher than just a broken heart…

*From The Galaxy Express
"RULEBREAKER is a book that made a couple of wishes come true for me, and also a few others I didn’t realize I had."
"If you enjoy stories with a redemption arc, RULEBREAKER has it. If you like colorful secondary characters, this story has it. And finally, if you’re even a fan of COLUMBO-style investigators, then this story has that, too."

*From Amazon
Bella Street: "I was immediately hooked by the droll humor and great characters who populate this book, and was impressed by the perfect balance of world building and tightly-woven plotline."
H. Cashman: "I liked all the action, the intrigue, and the twists this story brought."
Mercurial Times : "I thoroughly enjoyed this SFR espionage novel. The worldbuilding is very good, the main characters are vivid and vivacious."

*From Loving Venus-Loving Mars
"All in all Rulebreaker is an excellent read. It’s suspenseful and has a lot of interesting twists and side corridors that are fun to go down. The writing is smooth with a perfect pace, which kept me on edge until the end."

*From Lesbrary
"I knew I liked Rulebreaker when I kept thinking of other books and fanfiction to compare it to."
"Pegau showed herself willing to make difficult authorial decisions in order to lend weight to her narrative, and both Liv and Zia were portrayed as sympathetic, if flawed, people."

"...let me say that the writing and world-building are excellent. The futuristic details add a lot of flavor but don’t overwhelm the story. There is a stylish, sexy quality to the writing, despite the fact that there is very little sex. Rulebreaker reminded me of a George Clooney caper film. It’s compelling and charismatic."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Steph's Favorites Read to date!

I know its September and usually people wait to list their favorites, buy hey, we just had the Emmy's so I figured why not share some of my favorite reads now? ~~grin~~ (I promise a top ten in January)

Contemporary romantic suspense

Set in San Diego, Paige and Justin must learn to trust each other and love if they want a future together. Excellent! I was on the edge of my seat the entire novel. Romantic with pulse-pounding suspense.

Amazon Link:

HIS CONQUEST by Diana Cosby
Scottish historical romance

Set in Scotland, 1297, Lady Linet, an English noblewoman, frees Scottish lord Seathan Grey from a dungeon, but the journey to his keep is rife with peril. Cosby weaves love and danger effortlessly in order to tell a highly romantic, suspense filled story.

Amazon Link:

Victorian/Historical Romance

Lily wants to find love on her own terms. After convincing her parents to allow her to work as a maid, she meets Andrew, Viscount Westrope and the sparks fly. Dare they follow their hearts despite the conventions of the day? The chemistry between the couple is combustible and the inner conflict that keeps them both at bay is well done!

Amazon Link:

Historical/Egyptian Romance

Isis brings Osiris back to life, but can she tame the womanizer's ways? Rich in history, adventure and love.

Amazon Link:

Vintage Romance

Can a boy from the wrong side of the tracks win an honest woman's love? Part of the novel is set on the Mauretania and I swear I felt like a fly on the wall. A heartwarming read – especially watching Liam and Peg grow as characters.

Amazon Link:

So, what stories have been your favorite so far?

PS… I just want to gush a little. Peter Dinklage who plays "Tyrian Lannister" from GAME OF THRONES won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor! Well earned! Games of Thrones is a book I'm reading now and I really like it! The Mini-series is "spot on" with the book. Sign in if you want to give a shout out to Peter!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Welcome Julie Lence & the Colts to the Football Blog Tour Stop!

STEPH: Julie, welcome to the football blog tour stop! Who's your favorite football team? How long have you been a fan?

JULIE: The Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots, 6 years, give or take, each.

STEPH: Who's your favorite player "playing" right now? Why?

JULIE: Peyton Manning. He seems like a very nice person, and he has a dedication not only to his craft and team but to every aspect of the game. He works diligently with his rookies to help them hone their talents, and he's constantly practicing and looking for ways to better himself and his skills. Plus, when he's at fault for a mistake made during the game, he blames no one but himself. In my opinion, he truly exudes good sportsmanship all the way around.

STEPH: Who's your favorite all time Colts player?

JULIE: Peyton Manning

STEPH: Who's the Colt's "evil" Nemesis?

JULIE: I don't really have an evil nemesis, as far as a team or a player. There are some players I don't care for, mostly for their off-field antics, like Michael Vick and his dog fighting ring, but I wouldn't necessarily say they are evil people. They just do stupid things, which, in my opinion, doesn't make them good role models, especially for children who dream of playing the sport professionally one day.

STEPH: Ever been to a football game? What's it like?

JULIE: Yes. A few years ago, my son entered a contest to be the 'Kick-off' kid for the Denver Broncos. During the pre-season games and the regular games, one child, accompanied by a parent, went down to the field and onto the sidelines with their escort from the Broncos. Every time the Denver Broncos kicked off and the play was over, the child rushed out onto the field and retrieved the football tee. My son won the opportunity to do this for one of the pre-season games and had a great time. Up close to the players, his name was announced over the sound system the first time he went onto the field and he was on the big screen each time he ran out to retrieve the tee. He also had his picture taken with some of the cheerleaders, and I watched all of this from way up high in the stands, as the hubby accompanied him onto the field. I think the Broncos were playing Cleveland that day, but had it been the Colts or the Patriots, I would have been on the field with him. All in all, it was a great experience for him, but I much prefer watching the games at home, where I have a front row seat to see all of the action.

STEPH: Do you own a jersey?

JULIE: Yes. Three of them: Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Tom Brady

STEPH: What's your favorite food to eat during the game?

JULIE: Chicken wings, Artichoke Dip with Rye bread and fresh vegetables.

Blurb for No Luck at All:

The youngest son of a wealthy rancher, Creel Weston spent his childhood breaking wild mustangs and dreaming of becoming a doctor. Being blackmailed into marrying a spoiled socialite wasn't part of his plans, especially when he loved her. He'd take Racine back home with him and find a comfortable ground with her. Trouble was, she wasn't as spoiled as he'd been led to believe, and harbored scars that would take more than his doctoring skills to heal.

Boston socialite Racine Somerfield had an unbearable childhood. Mama despised her, and although he said he loved her, Papa couldn't wait to get rid of her. Marrying Creel and accompanying him back to his home in Colorado Territory, Racine hoped to find some semblance of peace and happiness at Wooded Acres, and in Creel's arms. She didn't expect to add another wound to those she already carried.

Western Historical Romance Author

Friday, September 23, 2011

Welcome Jami Davenport & The Seahawks to the Football Blog Stop Tour

STEPH: Who's your favorite football team? How long have you been a fan?

JAMI: The Seattle Seahawks. I’ve been a fan since their birth in 1976.

STEPH: Who's your favorite player "playing" right now? Why?

JAMI: That’s a tough one, as most the veterans on the team are gone. I guess I’d have to say Marcus Trufant because he’s a hometown boy. If you’re talking football player among all the teams, I’ve come to like Aaron Rodgers, especially since he’s my fantasy football quarterback, and it’s looking pretty good so far.

STEPH: Who's your favorite all time player?

JAMI: That would be Jim Zorn. I remember the Seahawk’s first years when didn’t stand a chance, yet Zorn and Largent always seemed to pull a rabbit out of their hats and win games they had no business winning. I loved it back in those days because it was exciting to watch them, and you never knew what was coming next.

STEPH: Who's the Seahawks "evil" nemsis?

JAMI: When we were in the AFC West, it was Oakland Raiders. We had season tickets back in those days, and we loved to hate those Raiders. Now, I’d have to say the St. Louis Rams, but it’s not the same.

STEPH: Ever been to a football game? What's it like?

JAMI: Yes, we had season tickets for years when the Hawks still played in the King Dome. If you’ve never been at a home Seahawk game, you have no idea why the 12th man is called the loudest fans in the league. Believe me, we deserve that honor. I’ve left games with my ears ringing and my head pounding. I swear I don’t hear very well because of those games. I’ve screamed myself hoarse at just about every game.

STEPH: Do you own a jersey?

JAMI: Two, which I bought last year, and neither player is on the team this year (Hasselbeck and Tatupu). L

STEPH: What's your favorite food to eat during the game?

JAMI: A hot dog, what else?


"I got sucked into this book. I mean, hook line and sinker sucked in. I was deeply invested in these characters. Hooked folks, I'm positively hooked."--Recommended Read from Wendy, the Super Librarian

"The ending was heartrending and I loved reading my way through the football season with a player who had lost his mojo." -- Jane Litte via Goodreads

"I am thoroughly impressed with Ms. Davenport's ability to instill escapism in her story. For the duration, I was consumed with her tale of two friends to lovers intertwined with football." -- Top Pick from Yadira, Night Owl Reviews

"Romance so real that you feel you are there."--Trixie, Blackravens Reviews

"With sultry and inventive sex scenes, heart-breaking sorrow, nail-biting football plays and a cast that is captivating and engaging, Fourth and Goal is a winner!" -- Whipped Cream Reviews


In a game played on and off the field, only one of them will emerge the winner.

Armed with an uncanny ability for evaluating football talent, a dogged determination to succeed in a man’s world, and an empty bank account, Rachel McCormick agrees to help struggling wide receiver Derek Ramsey get his game back. Rachel believes Derek, her former best friend and lover, knows the truth behind the points-shaving scandal which ruined her father. She vows to expose the secret even if it destroys Derek in the process.

When Derek’s coach suggests sex as an excellent tension reliever the night before a game, Rachel takes one for the team. The next day, Derek has the best performance of his not-so illustrious pro football career.

As Derek and Rachel rack up nights in bed and other places, the team racks up wins on the field. Rachel is torn between her loyalty to her father and her growing affection for Derek. Now it’s fourth and goal, one second left on the clock. Their hearts are on the line. Do they trust each other enough to go for the long bomb or do they get dropped for a loss?






Loose id:

Barnes and Noble:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Welcome Elaine Cantrel & the Clemons Tigers to the Football Blog Tour Stop!


Do you like football? I live in the South, and there aren’t many people in the South who don’t like football. Some Southerners like pro teams, and some like college teams. Some follow high school football, and some follow all three.

Personally, I first learned about football when I was in high school. I didn’t miss a single high school football game until my senior year. After I graduated from high school, I went off to college and became a Clemson Tiger. Then I got married, and my husband taught me to watch NFL football on TV.

So, why do we do it? Why do we devote sometimes an entire day to football when there are so many other things we could be doing? First, we do it because we like the game. We get a thrill out of watching the game and dissecting what everyone on the field should have done. And of course that includes the coach!

Second, we do it because there’s a social aspect to it. We get to see our friends and exchange news. One of the most important social aspects is tailgating. Have you ever done that? On the day of the football game we have a picnic out of our cars, vans or SUVs in the stadium parking lot. Some people pick up a bucket of KFC, but others bring their grills and cook steaks. If you can think of a menu, you can find it. Many local restaurants have picnic baskets that you can pick up on your way to the game.

You see paper plates, plastic dinnerware, and in a few cases nice china. Oh, and some people bring liquid refreshment.
Third, we get to live vicariously through the team and the cheerleaders. For a few hours we can pretend we’re a star.

And fourth, it gives us a sense of satisfaction and tradition to participate in a fall ritual that’s been going on for many years.
The team that I follow most closely is the Clemson Tigers. On the days when Clemson is playing we hang our tiger tail from the tailgate of our SUV, and we fly orange flags because orange and purple are Clemson’s colors. At the school where I work, we have a luncheon when Clemson plays their arch rival Carolina. Followers of each team decorates one side of the faculty lounge, and we all bring party foods which we have for lunch. It’s fun, and on that day lots of emails fly back and forth between followers of each team.

My last release is called A New Dream, and guess what job the hero has in the beginning of the book? He’s an NFL player for the Green Bay Packers. It just seemed like an obvious choice to me!

If you’ve never caught football fever, let me get you started. First of all, buy a team jersey. Then, pick up some hot wings, nachos, or whatever it is you like to snack on. Invite as many of your friends as you can accommodate in your home, and then sit back and enjoy yourself.

Blurb for A New Dream

Blurb: A New Dream

What do you do when you lose everything?
After an auto accident destroys his pro-football career, Matt McCallum struggles to find a new dream for his life, but nothing engages him the way football did. After a stint in rehab, he takes a job managing a grocery store where he meets Violet Emerson.

Violet works in the bakery department, but her dreams carry her far beyond the doors of Chef’s Pantry. As soon as she can save the money, she plans to open a catering business. And she thinks the new manager’s broad shoulders and blue eyes are simply divine.

Thrown together at work, Matt and Violet find a common dream for their lives, but a loose end from Matt’s past returns to jeopardize their future. Will love be enough to save their new dream before it turns into a nightmare?

Buy Link


Romance Junkies Read the full review at

RJ gave A New Dream a 4.5 and said, A NEW DREAM is a wonderful contemporary romance with heartwarming characters and heartfelt moments. Elaine Cantrell creates a beautiful, believable relationship with old fashioned values that adds sweetness to the story. All of her characters were likable with emotions and reactions that one can relate to. My favorite though had to be the hero Matt, who had to face a very difficult reality. His growth and the way Ms. Cantrell portrayed his struggles with coming to terms with the changes in his life was nicely done. This is one of the best inspirational romances I’ve read in a while.

Romantic Times gave a New Dream 4 stars and said,
Readers will love this touching and inspirational story in which a former football player learns to live his life under new terms after a tragic accident. As he journeys toward a new dream he meets (Violet) and falls in love.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Welcome Allison Knight and Alabama Crimson Tide to the Football Blog Tour Stop!

STEPH: Who's your favorite football team? How long have you been a fan?

ALLISON: I'm an Alabama University Football fan. I don't fly a flag, I don't go to their
games, but on Saturday when they are on the field - don't bother me.
'Roll Tide'! I do no writing on Saturday afternoon during the season.

We moved to Alabama in 1997 and I learned quick enough, there are two
seasons here in Alabama. We have Football season and the rest of the year.
You have two choices. You either route for Auburn or for Alabama.
I chose Alabama.

STEPH: Who's your favorite player "playing" right now? Why?

ALLISON: Trent Richardson was Mark Ingram's partner, and Mark kinda
overshadowed him, but now that Mark has signed with the Saints,
Trent will get a chance to show just how good he is.

STEPH: Who's your favorite all time 'Bama player?

ALLISON: I'm especially fond of Julio Jones. First he played well. And he wasn't
afraid to play with injuries. But I have to also admit, when your
granddaughter went to school with the guy, you are interested. He's a
local kid, and his mother works for my cleaning lady. I know first hand
this kid is a really nice guy. Unfortunately he's gone pro and is now
with the Atlanta Falcons.

STEPH: Who's the Tide's "evil" nemesis?

ALLISON: Auburn of course, but Mississippi State runs a close second. The
Auburn game is on November 26 and Mississippi is on the 12th of
November. You better believe I'll be glued to the TV on both those days.

STEPH: Ever been to a football game? What's it like?

ALLISON: When we lived in Indiana, I went to a Notre Dame game.
I remember the excitement. The problem is of course, a lot of
noise, the stands were not that comfortable when you are 6 months
pregnant, and you miss a lot of the game trotting back and forth to the

I do remember the half time show, because they had their trademark
Scottish guard. At the time the school was all men. The Scottish guard
were in kilts, with those tall hats, their plaids flappingin the breeze.
They also had an impressive band. Quite a spectical.

STEPH: Do you own a jersey?

ALLISON: No, nor do I fly an Alabama University flag, but I sure know a lot of people who do!

STEPH: What's your favorite food to eat during the game?

ALLISON: Who eats! I get too excited and would probably throw food all over the
living room. During half time we frequently have pizza or chips and dip.
It depends if we have people watching with us.

Blurb for Battlesong:
Their marriage begins with a lie. Tricked into wedding young Laren Blair, the daughter of a Scottish laird, Arthur ap Brynn Ffrydd, an English baron, abandons her at his keep. When he finally returns six years later she has won the affection of his people but all he sees are the changes she has made. Their battles begin.

She fears her life will be as miserable with Arthur as it was with her cruel father. He envisions losing his property to her Scottish clan. As they learn to tolerate each other, desire draws them together. When Laren is kidnaped and Arthur is wounded in battle they realize they love each other. Reunited, can their love withstand the strain of another lie?

Reviews for Battlesong:

The Romance Studio
Reviewed by Theresa B.

This was a story about a Scottish bride and an English Baron. Tension was still tight between the two sides and mixed marriage was frowned upon though Laren's father had his own devious reasons for the marriage.

Allison Knight did a good job with the characters and the historical detail.

The Pagan and The Pen Book Reviews
Reviewed by Violet

Ms. Knight just keeps getting better. Battlesong is the follow-up to Heartsong, though one doesn't have to read Heartsong to fully enjoy Battlesong. From the second I picked it up, I was whisked away to Medieval England. It's a dangerous, romantic time that Ms. Knight vividly and expertly recreates.

The characters are fully realized and full of life. Laren is a woman to admire. Her grit and strength create sparks in any setting, but especially in this one where women were considered property. Arthur is rash, headstrong, handsome, and true to his values-a perfect recipe for a hero.

Battlesong is an enjoyable, relaxing read that provides the perfect escape for a rainy afternoon. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical romance.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Welcome Author Carol Preflatish & the Colts to the Football Blog Tour Stop!

Here's Carol to gush about her team, The Colts!

STEPH: Who's your favorite football team? How long have you been a fan?

CAROL: My favorite team is the Indianapolis Colts and I've been a fan for over ten years.

STEPH: Who's your favorite player "playing" right now? Why?

CAROL: I've always been a sucker for the kickers. My favorite Colt is their kicker, Adam Vinatieri, but a very close second is their wide receiver, Austin Collie. Both players are very dedicated and have played with injuries that could have ended their careers.

STEPH: Who's your favorite all time Colts player?

CAROL: My all time favorite Colt would be Brandon Stokley. He was a wide receiver that played for the Colts a few years ago. He was always the one player that could pull out a catch when they really needed it. Unfortunately, he suffered a lot of injuries and the Colts released him. He played for the Denver Broncos for a while and he's now with the Seattle Seahawks.

STEPH: Who's the Colts "evil" nemsis?

CAROL: That would have to be the New England Patriots. No matter how good or bad either team is for that particular season, you never know who will win and you can always count on an exciting game. Both teams have such superb quarterbacks, that it's really a joy to watch them do battle.

STEPH: Ever been to a football game? What's it like?

CAROL: I went to my first Colts game last year and I loved it, even with the horribly high seats we had. The energy is so exciting and when the team is announced and they run onto the field, I got shivers. It was so cool. It also feels like a much slower pace than on television because you have to wait for the commercial breaks at the game. At the game we were at, we sat next to a husband and wife and the husband normally works security on the field for the game. It was his day off so they came to watch the game together. It was really interesting to hear some of the inside stuff they said. For instance, we got really cold during the 4th quarter. He said that Peyton Manning gets hot toward the end of the game, so he wants the heat turned off.

STEPH: Do you own a jersey?

CAROL: I own two jerseys. I have a Brandon Stokley, which I don't wear since he doesn't play for them anymore. My other jersey is a Peyton Manning jersey. I bought it because I needed a jersey and I couldn't find a Vinatieri or Collie jersey, but I'm on the lookout for either one this season.

STEPH: What's your favorite food to eat during the game?

CAROL: I always pop a big bowl of buttered popcorn to eat and Diet Pepsi to drink while I watch the television pre-game. I do have a special sandwich that I always fix for the Super Bowl. it's Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Mini Sandwiches and you can find the recipe on my Food blog at


Nathan Perry, having recuperated from a Gulf War injury, returns to his hometown of Mystic, Massachusetts to become the town's first ever police detective.

His first assignment is to discover who has been stealing valuable antique signs from the town's businesses and why. Even though he's a hometown boy, Nathan finds some of the residents less than cooperative with his investigation.

During his investigation, Nathan is surprised to find out who is involved and what the thefts are linked to.

This book will be available as a Kindle ebook later this fall. Watch my web site for news on the release,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Welcome LE Harvey & The Philadelphia Eagles to the Football Blog Tour Stop!

STEPH: Let's welcome author LE Harvey to the blog! Who's your favorite football team? How long have you been a fan?

LE: Philadelphia Eagles. I've been a fan since childhood: a cousin of mine was an Eagles Cheerleader and being a Philadelphian, it was only natural! :)

STEPH: Who's your favorite player "playing" right now? Why?

LE: Fred Jackson of the Buffalo Bills. I like anyone who has a "no fear" approach to the game. :)

STEPH: Who's your favorite all time Eagles player?

LE: I think I 'd have to say Donovan McNabb. He is an incredible player and always had a great sense of team.

STEPH: Who's the Eagles' "evil" Nemesis?

LE Dallas, of course!

STEPH: Ever been to a football game? What's it like?

LE: If memory serves, the last football game I attended was a college game where my cousin was cheerleading. But I am excited because this year, I will see my first pro game: Eagles vs. Buffalo thanks to my wonderful partner! :)

STEPH: Do you own a jersey?

LE: Not yet ;)

STEPH: What's your favorite food to eat during the game?

LE: I'm like a goat during football games: I'll eat anything! :)

Trailer video:

Buy Link:

My website:


Carol Mathers: born a sickly child, in a home fraught with undercurrents that threaten to sweep away any chance she might have for a normal life. Now in her mid-thirties, she's a highly sought-after IT guru in St. Louis. She has built a great life for herself with her partner, Alexandria, even though the two face prejudice as lesbians, and as an interracial couple -fighting tragedy and sometimes, finding triumph. During her tumultuous life, Carol discovers that she has acquired AIDS as a result of a childhood transfusion from the dark period of time before AIDS was widely known... or understood, not even by the medical profession. Now, the two women face even more obstacles, prejudice, and a strange, new life as AIDS patients. Carol learns just how much her chaotic past has affected her, and how she can never really escape it, even as she tries to move on with her life. An unexpected event creates even more pain and tragedy in Carol's life, and causes her to wonder about the meaning of and purpose of her own life... or if there is any purpose at all...


"Rich!" -Chelle Cordero, author

"I really like it! It reads well and it moves really well. And, you literally paint pictures very well. I get very clear mental images while reading the book!" -Lloyd Kaneko, author

"As I read "Imperfect," I saw both Carol and her partner Alexandria as strong, determined characters. But they were facing a lot: prejudice, sexism, baggage from the past. Is love enough? Is strength enough?

The ending hit me like a ton of bricks because I really liked these people,...I must tell you that after your powerful ending for Imperfect , I'll be waiting to read Impeccable as soon as it's hot off the press." - Malcolm R. Campbell, author

Friday, September 9, 2011

Welcome M.S. Spencer and the Vikings to the Football Blog Tour Stop!

STEPH: Who's your favorite football team? How long have you been a fan?

M.S. SPENCER: The MEN IN PURPLE. They have the best helmets, don’t they? Seriously, I’ve been a fan of the Vikings since 1975 when I moved to Chicago for graduate school. A couple of classmates came from Minnesota and we would watch every single game on our little black and white TV, eating our chili on tray tables. Though not exactly an obsession (well, maybe) I still get very emotional when I watch them play. Unfortunately, their games don’t always air here in Washington. Someday when I win the lottery I’ll spring for one of those TV football packages.

My family always found my devotion a bit freakish but grew used to it. The best birthday present they ever gave me was a scrapbook filled with stuff about the Vikings. I keep it next to Calvin & Hobbs books.

STEPH: Who's your favorite player "playing" right now? Why?

M.S. SPENCER: Well it WAS Brett Favre. They have a new coach this year, Leslie Frazier, who filled in after last year’s natural disasters (the Metrodome collapse and snowed out games) and have changed a lot of the roster. If Adrian Peterson stays, he’ll be great. Visanthe Shiancoe is also wonderful at tight end. I’m not a big fan of Donovan McNabb, but the backup Christian Ponder looks really good—I just watched highlights of the Houston pre-season game (Vikings 28-0).

STEPH: Who's your favorite all time Vikings player?

M.S. SPENCER: Fran Tarkenton—who else? I was such a big fan I actually read the mystery novel he wrote (not much of a mystery but a fascinating insight into the game). After that Alan Page, the great defensive tackle & member of the Purple People Eaters, the bane of quarterbacks everywhere. He played for the Vikings from 1967 to 1978, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and went on to be (wait for it!) a justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court. Talk about versatile…

Third is of course Ahmad Rashad. As a Vikings fan in Washington DC with a mother who hated football, I watched a lot of games alone with the door closed. I’ll never forget the Browns game in 1980 when Tommy Kramer sent a "Hail Mary" pass down the field to Ahmad Rashad as time expired resulting in a 28-23 victory. I was jumping up and down and screaming in ecstasy. My mother threatened to call an ambulance.

STEPH: Who's their "evil" nemesis?

M.S. SPENCER: You mean team? Some might say the Chicago Bears, but I say Green Bay—my son’s favorite team (coincidence? I think not). Actually, while they are great rivals I root for Green Bay whenever it’s playing someone else. I was in heaven for the couple of seasons that Bret Favre played for the Vikings. Like having the cherry on top.

STEPH: Ever been to a football game? What's it like?

M.S. SPENCER: Yes, I’ve been to Redskins games. I live in Washington and do love the team (although it’s not as visceral an adoration as I have for the Vikings). Redskins fans are really the best in the world—and they’ve had to deal with even more adversity than Vikings fans! There’s nothing like an open stadium and real grass. One of the things that endeared me to the Vikings was when they played outside (before the Metrodome, aka Mall of America Stadium). You had to be tough to play in Minnesota in the winter—it was too funny watching teams like the Dolphins try to keep up in a blizzard. Of course I went to many a college football game (Ivy League, so it was more a drinking than a sporting event). My son took me to a UVA game—we had a blast. UVA students always dress up for the game—it’s a tradition & so refreshing to see young ladies in dresses & young men in khakis.

STEPH: Do you own a jersey?

M.S. SPENCER: Of course! Although I’m a bit superstitious. If the game isn’t going well I take it off.

STEPH: What's your favorite food to eat during the game?

M.S. SPENCER: My own chili—hot, with lots of toppings. I don’t take any shortcuts, starting with fresh ground spices and whole tomatoes. Ask my kids (and their friends!)—it’s the best. Plus homemade coleslaw. Back in my slimmer days, I’d scarf up cornbread slathered in butter and a couple of Geary’s Pale Ales to go with.

Fun Facts about the Vikings:

In their opening game on September 17, 1961, the Vikings gave their followers a little taste of what the next 47 years would be like when rookie quarterback Fran Tarkenton came off the bench. Tarkenton threw four touchdown passes and ran for another as he led the men in purple to a 37-13 victory over the Chicago Bears.

In 1986, exactly 25 years later, Tarkenton would become the first Vikings player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Only four NFL teams have played in more Super Bowls, and only one (the Dallas Cowboys), have more playoff appearances.

Biography ~ M. S. Spencer

Although M. S. Spencer has lived in Chicago, Boston, New York, France, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, and England, the last 30 years have been spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. Once she escaped academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. She holds a BA from Vassar College, a Diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago. She divides her time among Virginia, Maine and Florida. All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.

Ms. Spencer has two fabulous grown children, Spencer and Emma. She has only one cat (down from three, plus a dog, a snake and two hamsters). It’s a quiet household now, but since her study window looks on a park and river there is plenty of wildlife to distract her from her writing.

My latest release is Losers Keepers, the story of a romantic triangle enmeshed in murder, set on the Atlantic barrier island of Chincoteague.

Losers Keepers, by M. S. Spencer
Published July 27, 2011 by Secret Cravings Publishing
eBook, 72,000 words, ISBN 978-1-936653-95-9
Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 3 flames

Dagne Lonegan, aka Dear Philomena, advice dispenser extraordinaire, hoped that spending a year on the Eastern Shore island of Chincoteague to write her novel would clear her sinuses, if not her heart, of any feelings for Jack Andrews, erstwhile lover and long-time jerk. It’s just her luck that her first week on the island she’s in the right place at the right time to be involved with a murder. Only she doesn’t know it. Unfortunately, the murderer doesn’t know she doesn’t know. Strange and dangerous things begin happening to her, interfering with her new romance with Tom Ellis, the handsome manager of the National Wildlife Refuge. Complications ensue when her Jack arrives to take charge of the murder investigation.
Will Dagne stick with the tall, cool glass of a Ranger or fall back into the arms of her first tempestuous passion?

Buy links:


Book Strand:

You might also be interested in my first novel Lost in His Arms, romantic suspense set in the spinning world of 1991 when countries fell like flies and a CIA fixer had his hands full. Or try my second novel, Lost and Found, in which we follow a desperate wife searching the wilds of Maine and Florida for the husband who disappeared.
Buy Links for Lost in His Arms and Lost and Found:


All three books are also available here:

I’d love to hear from you! Contact M. S. Spencer at

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Welcome Fran Shaff to the Football Blog Tour Stop!

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Quarterback

FRAN: Steph, thanks much for inviting me to be a part of your football guest blog series. I’m thrilled to be here!

STEPH: It's great to have you here, Fran! Who's your favorite football team, and how long have you been a fan?

FRAN: Steph, I’ve been a fan of the Green Bay Packers since the mid 70s when I began to watch pro football. I was living in Northern Illinois at the time so they were sort of a “home” team since they played some of their games in nearby Milwaukee in those days.

STEPH: Who's your favorite player "playing" right now? Why?

FRAN: Aaron Rogers has been tremendously impressive since he took over Brett Favre’s spot as quarterback. His skill and ability have blown me away. I hated to see Brett leave. How would we ever win again? Rogers came in following one of the best NFL players of all time and led the team to a Super Bowl victory in very short order. Wow!! He never gives up. He’s inspirational.

STEPH: Who's your favorite all time Packer player?

FRAN: That is a very difficult question because there have been so many outstanding players for the Packers in the last thirty plus years. Naturally, Brett Favre is a favorite. Reggie White was fantastic on defense. I loved watching him play. But I guess my favorite Packer player of all would be Sterling Sharp. Watching receivers make great catches is one of the most thrilling things about football, and it seemed he caught everything he could see.

STEPH: Who's the Packers "evil" nemesis?

FRAN: The Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears are tied for the honor of being named as the Packers’ “evil” nemesis. The Packers have great rivalries with both of those teams, though the Bears have been around a LOT longer than the Vikings have. When I lived on the Wisconsin/Minnesota border years ago I saw a sign along the beautiful St. Croix River separating the two states. The sign sported caricatures of injured Packer and Vikings players shaking hands. So I guess they’re not nemeses as much as they’re rivals, huh? Since my husband is a Bears fan, when our two teams meet we’ve got to try to maintain peace in the family, so we can’t consider either team “evil.” (But my Packers DID walk over the Bears last season right into the Super Bowl, didn’t they? I think Hubby thought my team was a little evil that day. ☺)

STEPH: Ever been to a football game? What's it like?

FRAN: No, Steph, I’ve never had the pleasure of attending a pro football game in person. The view’s probably better on TV, but I’m sure the excitement is palpable when a fan attends a game in person.

STEPH: Do you own a jersey?

FRAN: I have tee shirts and sweatshirts, of course, even a cap, but no jersey.

STEPH: What's your favorite food to eat during the game?

FRAN: Whatever we’re having for lunch is my football food since most of the games start at noon in the time zone where we live.

You know, Steph, I enjoy NFL football so much I just knew one day I’d have to combine my love of the sport with my passion for writing. “Male Fraud,” my most recent romantic comedy and the result of meshing football and storytelling, made its debut recently. Here’s the blurb:

Terry Fiscus wants to be a trainer for the pro football Chicago Cyclones. Coach Dan Barringer doesn’t believe a woman belongs in a men’s locker room. Terry really, really wants this job so she disguises herself as a man, and Dan hires her. When Dan meets Terry outside of work and gets to know her as the lovely “Teresa” he falls in love, and so does Terry. As she tries to manage her double life things get extremely complicated and side-splittingly funny.

“Male Fraud” is available as an e-book at most major e-book stores. It is also available in paperback at Amazon as part of my “Romantic Comedy Collection.” A video book trailer, excerpts and more information are available at:

Thanks so much, Steph, for inviting me to be a part of your special football event. It has been a real pleasure to be here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Count's Lair - 2011 Winner, Silver, Reader's Favorites in Romance: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Imagine my surprise when I popped into my email the other day and discovered that my book, The Count's Lair, won the 2011 Reader's Favorites, Romance:Sci-Fi/Fantasy Silver award. 2nd Place. That's not too shabby. :)

A little about The Count's Lair

The story was a natural, organic story that grew out of "The Hungarian." Count Anton Varga had been the "villian" in "The Hungarian." As werewolf, Anton was finding it hard to control the feral nature of the beast as a man and sought attention from Katherine, Matthias's wife. Then, a chance encounter with Lady Amelia Andrassy in the Duma bookstore changed everything for him and made him question his motives, his wants, his desire, and even the direction of his soul.

That lay the ground work for "Moonlight Sonata," a 21K "prequel" free read. Anton seeks out Amelia to offer his emotional support just after the death of her cheating husband. Amelia welcomes his friendship, but is not ready for more. Instead, she goes off on a six week piano tour of the Austrian-Hungary Empire to find herself.

The Count's Lair was my 2009 NaNoWriMo project. I met with my friened, Jenifer Ranieri at the local coffeehouse to work on the project and had a blast. I wrote close to 54K words that November and met my NaNoWriMo goal, but there was more to go. I actually finished the novel the following January.

The novel is set in Budapest, Hungary in 1901 during the Christmas season. Ah, what a romantic time of year to fall in love. Anton has also taken a personal journey, traveling to Sopron, near the Austrian border to find peace with his soul. He determines in order to win Amelia's love, he must forgive himself for his past indescitions and be a "noble" man - one deserving of Amelia's affections.

Why Budapest? I had an opportunity to travel to Budapest in 1997 as part of a USO tour and I loved the city. The people were so open and friendly. The aritecture was haunting, yet beautiful, capturing the ambience of the immediate past century. It was a place where you could believe werewolves might exist.

Anton and Amelia's story had to be one of the most favorite stories I've written to date. He's the dark, brooding, handsome count, Amelia is the idealist, wanting to fall in love, but afraid it won't meet up to her expectation. It's a great story. Here are some reviews:

Ralph Fienes, Character inspiration for "Anton"

5 Stars, Readers Favorite:
The Count's Lair is filled with suspense, mystery, passion, and the paranormal.

5 Stars, Long & Short Reviews
Want a recipe for a great story? Take an awesome writer like Ms. Burkhart, stir in her intimate knowledge of Hungary, her innate ability to create wonderful characters, a book-full of suspense, mystery and passion and you get a book you can't put down.

5 Stars, Tami Dee, Author of the Mists Time of Series
Budapest Moon book two The Count's Lair is everything a romance novel should be.

Pen and Muse Reviews:
Burkhart does it again with book two in the Budapest Moon book series, The Count’s Lair. The second book is filled with passion, chock full of paranormal goodness, romance, suspense and mystery.

The manor had grown quieter. The orchestra still played music, but at a softer tempo. The clattering of dishes and the clicking of glasses came from the direction of the kitchen.

The guest rooms were deep within the mansion, toward the south end. Anton took Amelia to the last room in the hall, facing east. He opened the door, and she followed him inside. The room was dark. He flicked a switch near the door, and a small lamp on a dresser came on.

Amelia surveyed the compact room. A double bed rested against the side wall, next to a small door. On the opposite side of the bed was a nightstand. Across from it, next to the fireplace, was a dresser, along with a mirror and another small door.

Anton walked toward the door on the other side of the bed. "This is the washroom, and a small closet is over there."

Amelia nodded. Anton placed her vase of flowers on the dresser. She went to the window and looked out. It faced the Danube and the parliament building.

"What a nice view," she whispered.

He walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her, pressing his chest against her back. "That's why I chose it for you. The view is magnificent."

His seductive voice and intimate touch made her insides grow warm. She loved to feel the full length of his hard body against hers. They didn't say anything for several minutes. Then he slowly turned her in his arms and kissed her.

She molded her body to his, threading her fingers through his hair, pulling him toward her. She needed to feel him. His sweet tongue pierced the warm barrier of her mouth, and she gladly allowed him to explore. Uncomfortable warmth pooled inside her and slowly radiated out to her arms and legs.

Amy Adams, inspiration for "Amelia"

"I've missed this," he whispered between deep kisses. "So have I." He trailed his honey wet lips down her neck. "I've dreamed of you, Amelia. I've dreamed of you running your hands over my body--" She placed her hands against his cheeks and broke contact with his mouth to look into his eyes, recalling her earlier thoughts about turning him into a mess. "You want me to touch you? More intimately?"

He said nothing, only his eyes, now a deep sapphire blue, expressed his desire. She placed her hands on his white shirt and slid them under his dinner jacket. He wiggled his shoulders, and the garment dropped to the floor. Then she wrapped her hands around his neck, undid his tie, and placed it on the dresser.

He put his hands on her waist, drawing her closer. She started at the top button on his shirt and unfastened them. Her fingers fumbled on the third or fourth one, and he placed his hands over hers, helping to guide her. When she finished, his white shirt hung loosely over his shoulders.






Friday, September 2, 2011

Welcome Dee Ann Williamson and the Nebraska Cornhuskers to the Football Blog Stop Tour!

Goodbye summer, here comes football season! I live in Nebraska and we don’t have a professional team, but we have a huge college team at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. They are the Nebraska Cornhuskers. One may either love or hate the Huskers and I am one of the super fan-a-tics.

Preparation for game day is and can be comical. People around here don’t plan weddings or parties on football Saturday when Nebraska is playing. And most people know that the best time to go shopping is during the game as the stores are sparse.
I don’t own a jersey in the school colors of red and white but I do own over 30 t-shirts and sweatshirts including jackets, slippers, books, earrings, and a gazillion other Nebraska related stuff. I do draw the line at wearing the goofy bright yellow corn cob headgear. Nope, I’m not that crazy.

Going to the stadium in Lincoln that seats over 80,000 people is incredible. The air is electric and seeing the sea of red is breathtaking. Or maybe I can’t breathe because I’m squished onto a bench seat hip to shoulder with people I don’t know. Everyone should experience it at some time in their life. There is nothing like it. Be prepared to find a new best friend sitting next to you whether you like it or not.

If I don’t get to a game at the stadium I’ll have people over or I’ll go to a family member’s house to watch the game. Oddly enough I watch football with other Husker fans and they’re all women. Our husbands don’t like football. We’re the ones screaming at the TV, jumping up and down for bad calls or touchdowns or we’ll high five each other. I would say we’re easily a lot louder than guys and just as passionate.

I’ve also driven to away games or flown to bowl games. The stadiums that I’ve driven to such as Kansas, Missouri or Iowa remind me of a high school football field including a track around the turf. I’ve flown to Arizona, Texas and California for bowl games and they’re the best because you can legally drink beer in the stadium and hang out with a bunch of drunken Nebraska fans especially after a win. Nothing beats being in a different state, taking over the bar and singing ‘The Nebraska Fight’ song at the top of your lungs.

A lot of great players have graduated from the University and have gone on to play in the NFL or coaching. For example, most recently Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle was a first round draft pick and is now playing for the Detroit Lions. “Yeah Suhhhh!”
He is a great guy with a big heart and gave back to the college within a week or two of being drafted. He donated over $2 million dollars to the college so they could improve the strength and conditioning program. What a guy!

Formerly part of the Big 12 Conference the college jumped ship and is now in the Big 10 Conference. Former rivals were Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado and now, the schedule is going to be rough. Or rougher. The team is scheduled to play powerhouses such as Ohio State, and Michigan just to name a few teams. Excitement is building as I read more about the team’s preparation. I can hardly wait till the first game on September 3rd against Chattanooga. Click here to see the schedule. Go BIG RED!

Dee Ann Williamson is an aspiring author and a marketing consultant by day. Besides being a super football fan and glued to the TV both Saturday and Sundays, she loves boating and reading. Stop by to learn more about her. She is a marketing professional who has promoted authors through the creation of business cards, postcards and fliers, etc.. She has also arranged book signings and taught classes on how to market and promote your book.