Sunday, December 30, 2012

5th Day of Christmas in Song - What Child is This

One of my favorite carols is "What Child is This" because the words are so heartfelt and the music is so stirring to the soul.

William Chatterton Dix wrote the lyrics to the song in 1865. Dix was born in England and wrote over 40 hymns. When he was 29, he was struck by a severe illness and confined to his bed. It was during this time Dix wrote a poem called "The Manger Throne." From this poem, 3 stanzas were taken and set to an English tune, "Greensleeves." Retitled, the song became "What Child is This."

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. She puts white lights on her tree.

Question for you: Do you prefer white lights or colored lights on your tree?

The Faberge Secret

BLURB: Elise Goodwin finds herself face-to-face with danger when she learns the Faberge egg she bought belongs to Russian businessman Dimitri Romanov, but is Dimitri playing a game with Elise's heart to get his heirloom back?


Elise was cold down to her bones. She flicked her scarf around her neck and glanced at her friend, Lucy Vanowen. Lucy was bundled up to the nines in a thick winter coat, a green and gold knit cap, and Thinsulate gloves. Not even Lucy's blonde bangs peeked out from under her cap.

"Burr..." Elise said.
"It's freezing. You are insane," Lucy said. "It's twenty degrees out, and it's only noon." "How do you know?"
"I checked the weather app on my phone."
"Well, we're almost there."
"Let's hope they have a cappuccino bar."


Fabulously written, the story combines elements of mystery, action, love, and tender family moments all at the right places, making a perfect fit. If you want a good story combining history, crime, and passion, "The Faberge Secret" is the book for you. – 5 Stars, Reader's Favorites


Friday, December 28, 2012

The 3rd Day of Christmas in Song - The 1st Noel

The First Noel can be dated back to the 18th Century England, but is probably older as "Noel" is a French meaning Christmas.

As the song is today, it was first published in "Carols Ancient and Modern 1823) and has a Cornish roots.

The lyrics are a vivid narrative of the birth of Jesus.

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. She puts a star on the top of her Christmas tree.

Do you put a star or an angel on the top of your tree?

A Gentleman and A Rogue
Book 2, The Windsor Diaries

Blurb: Will Lady Keira Russell win Queen Victoria's approval for her work with compressed natural gas, or will Edmund ruin Keira's chances with his mischief making?

Opening Paragraph:
Edmund Windsor landed flat on his rump. Frowning, he got to his knees and brushed the dirt off his frock jacket. To his left, he heard his cousin, Alice, grumbling. Good old Alice. It wouldn't be an adventure without her.

Review:  "I was hooked in it and did not want it to end. All of you romantic historical fans don’t miss this one – it is a winner." - 5 Stars, Trudi LoPreto for Reader's Favorites





Wednesday, December 26, 2012

1st Day of Christmas in song

Welcome to my 12 days of Christmas in song!

Traditionally, the 12 days of Christmas start on Christmas (the birth of Jesus) and go through to 6 January, the Feast of the Epiphany, when the 3 Wise Men found Jesus in Bethlehem.

This is the season we listen to our favorite Christmas Carols. I'll be sharing little tidbits and facts along with You Tube Links. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the music these 12 days of Christmas.

The 12 days of Christmas

This song is believed to be older than the official published version. While the origins are unknown, if you go by the text of the song, it implies a French origin, as a red-legged partridge, a native of France, and known to perch in trees, was not introduced to England until 1770.

Did you Know?
In Australia, an alternate version replaced traditional gifts with native Australian animals.

So What's the Meaning?

The 12 Days of Christmas sounds like a nonsense song, but modern "folklore" claims the words were written to help young Catholics with their faith during the time that practicing Catholicism in England was criminalized. (In the 1500's)

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. When it comes to Christmas, she puts up an artificial tree.

Question for you: Do you use a real tree or an artificial one?

Victorian Scoundrel
Book 1, The Windsor Diaries

Blurb: When Alice follows her cousin back through time, she has no idea the mischief she's in for.

Edmund Windsor was in a rush. Then again, he was always in a rush and today was no exception. Alice skulked after him, trying to keep up without being seen. Edmund made his way through the halls of the British Time Institute located at Cambridge University near the Cam River and the Queen's College. His quick, long gait was full of purpose, his eyes etched in determination. Alice could barely keep up. She adjusted her glasses, setting them straight on her nose, and continued her pursuit.

Winner: BRONZE 2012 Reader's Favorite Contest, Romance: History

2011 Hope Chest Reviews Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance Series

Review: I highly recommend this with highest of 5 stars, and I can't wait until the second Windsor Diaries installment releases! – 5 Stars, Reader's Favorites, Molly E.






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Thursday, December 20, 2012

O, Christmas Tree, Part 2

Viggo Johansen 1891
How did the Christmas tree make it to America?

We all love our Christmas trees. These days Christmas trees, ornaments, and decorations are a million dollar market, but decorated Christmas trees have their origins in Europe and can trace their roots to the 1500's.

Did you know?
The Douglas Fir and Scotch Pine are the two top best selling Christmas trees?

The earliest evidence of trees getting decorated for Christmas comes out of Latvia and Livonia between 1441-1510. Guild Halls would be decorated with sweets to be enjoyed by the apprentices and children.

In the early 1700's, spots of Germany had embraced decorating Christmas trees. European royalty began to accept the custom and when a picture of Queen Victoria with her family was taken for the "Illustrated London Daily," in 1846 Christmas trees were made popular with the general public.

The Christmas tree had a tough start in America.

The pilgrims settled in New England and brought their stoic traditions with them. The Puritans banned Christmas, wanting to get rid of the "pagan mockery" of the observance. Only a church service was allowed. Decorating a tree and singing carols were "heathen" traditions. The stern attitude continued until the early 1800's when the German and Irish immigration trends began to undermine the Puritan legacy.

As early as 1777, Christmas trees started to "peep" out in America. Hessian soldiers as POWs would put them up. Easton, PA, Lancaster, PA, and Wooster, OH were some of the early cities to embrace the custom. August Imgard in Wooster started putting candy canes on the trees in 1947, and we're still putting them on trees today.

Did you know?
Tinsel was created in Germany in 1610. It was made out of silver up until the mid-20th Century.

Early decoration included nuts, apples, paper baskets with almonds, along with popcorn and cranberries stringed together. Quilted snowflakes were also popular. Candles were also placed on Christmas trees symbolic of the stars at night when Jesus was born. (Imagine the fires! Thank goodness for electric lights.)

Did you know?
Since 1923 the US National Christmas tree has been lit on the south lawn of the White House.

Nowadays Christmas tree are a popular way to celebrate the holiday season.

Norway annually gifts a tree to Washington DC as a symbol of friendship between Norway and the US and in gratitude for the United States help during World War II.

Question: Do you have a real tree or an artificial one? Do you theme your tree? When do you put it up? A couple of days before 25 DEC or right after Thanksgiving?

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. Prior to that, she spent 11 years in the US Army, 7 overseas in Germany. She prefers to put a star on the top of her tree. Her 99 cent Christmas story, "Christmas in Bayeux" will take you to Bayeux, France to celebrate Christmas.

Christmas in Bayeux: 99 cent contemporary romance.

Blurb: Aiden travels to Bayeux, France to meet an old friend, Noel. Can she help heal his wounded heart?

Opening Line: A light dusting of snow covered the Renault's window.

4, 5 Star Amazon Reviews:
This was just a wonderful and heart warming read. - Markee Anderson


Friday, December 14, 2012

Welcome Guest Author - Karen Michelle Nutt

Holidays at the Nutt House
By Karen Michelle Nutt

A Glimpse of Christmas Past…

My eldest, Kendra was almost three when the Disney’s Little Mermaid premiered. She loved everything to do with Ariel. For Christmas, Santa brought her all the collector characters. (They were the hard plastic statues.) She was so excited and named off each of the characters as she pulled them out of her stocking. In a cute little voice that only a three year old could have, she said: This is Ariel. And this is Sebastian. Ooh and this is Flounder.” She pulled out King Triton next and we ask her who he was. “He’s…he’s…he’s my father.” We couldn’t help but chuckle. Not only did she love Ariel, she thought she was Ariel. lol

Now she’s twenty-five with a degree in massage therapy and working at a salon. She is also writing a novel. She joined in on NaNo this year. What is her story about? Yep, you guessed it: Mermaids.

Katrina is the middle child who loves the movies---anything from the classics to the blockbusters of today. She couldn’t get enough of Lord of the Rings and of course the dashing Legolas was her favorite. I’d find binders with his name scrawled all over it. She’d tack pictures from magazines of him on her walls. Then there was Twilight and she had to have a stocking with Edward Cullen. (She still has it, too.) lol Though her original stocking hangs from the fireplace now.

She’s currently is creating videos and also joined NaNo this year. Her love of fantasy and the paranormal has helped her to create a fascinating story surrounding the Irish werewolf legend.

Vincent is my baby. Though he’s eighteen now and built like a football player. As a child he was the reason safety latches and plug coves were invented. If this kid could put a new toy into the light socket, he would.

When he was too quiet, I knew he was up to no good. I’d ask him, “What are you doing?” and he would respond with, “Something.” And you could bet it was something I wasn’t going to like. One Christmas Santa brought a playhouse for Katrina and Vincent. It was a big plastic one that Santa assembled in the house. One day Vincent was in there by himself, but was awfully quiet. I had to investigate. I opened the window and peek in. “What are you doing?” I asked. He immediately hid something behind his back. “Hand it over,” I told him. And he slowly reveals the item. I almost fell over. It was a kitchen knife. This wasn’t just any knife. It was a large knife that might as well have been a sword. I’m freaking out, but managed to relieve him of the knife without panicking him. I asked him what he thought he was going to do with the knife. He said, “I wanted to cut open a package.”

We had a little talk why he should not use a knife. Locks were immediately placed on the kitchen drawers. I have to say, he was too short to even see into this drawer. He must have just felt around until his little hand clasped the handle.

Today, Vincent is attending the Arts Institute for video design where the only swords he handles are part of the game he’s created. He also works part time with an electrician—so his fascination with light sockets hasn’t quite worn off.

Christmas Present…

The weather is usually comfortable in Southern California and we can enjoy the outdoors. Sometime during the Holiday we like to visit the happiest place on earth: Disneyland! The decorations, the music and the smiling faces always puts everyone in the holiday mood for fun.

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of the Nutt House during the holidays. Since it is a time for giving, I’d like to offer one person a chance to win a PDF copy of one of my books. Winner’s choice!

What do you have to do? I’d love to hear about one of your Christmas Shenanigans, cute story or what you like to do around the holidays. Please remember to leave your email so I may contact you if you should win.

Thank you so much for having me on your lovely blog.
To Everyone: Merry Christmas!! Happy Holidays! And let’s hope the New Year brings us joy!!

About the Author: Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.
Visit the author at:
Stop by her blog for Monday interviews, chats and contests at:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Writing Tips - The Rules

We all enjoy a good romance, but what does a good romantic story aspire to do? I'd like to think the rules are very liberal, but there are two I always keep in mind when putting pen to paper.

#1 Create likable characters

Characters are the heart and soul of any romance novel. The reader needs to fall in love with them as they're falling in love with each other.

If the heroine is rude or crabby to the hero (or even to her friends), she isn't very likable. The same for the hero. It's hard to understand the attraction if they're not "likable." They've got to embody certain traits – honesty, sincerity, protectiveness, kindness, and a willingness to help others. They've got to be "good" people at heart.

#2 HEA

Readers expect a story that's hopeful, honest, and uplifting. If a romance doesn't do that, it isn't a romance. A romance story should leave a reader believing in Happily Ever After (HEA) or at least offer hope for HEA. If it doesn't, it's a mainstream fiction.

Enjoy the Holidays!

Question: Authors: Do you have any "rules" you'd like to add? What "rules" work for you?
Readers:  What do you like to find in your romance? Would you consider Nicholas Sparks a "romantic" author, women's fiction, or mainstream romance? 

Reference: On Writing Romance, by Leigh Michaels, F&W Publications, ISBN: 978-1-58297-6983. 2007. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Now Available in Print - The Hungarian

Now available in PRINT: The Hungarian

BLURB: Matthias harbors a dark secret, but when Katherine comes into his life he risks everything (including his secret) for her love.

You Gotta Read Reviews - You Need to Read, Lupa
I was so very happily surprised by this book. The characters are enchanting, the scenes are vividly written, and the story has a fantastic flow.

Happily Ever After Reviews,  5 Cups
"This is an excellent book and I think fans of both the paranormal and historical romances will really, really enjoy it." 

Hope Chest Reviews - 4 Hearts
Overall, The Hungarian was a pretty good read. Stephanie Burkhart is good at telling an interesting story that holds my attention.

Sizzling Hot Book Reviews, 5 Hearts
"I highly recommend The Hungarian, even if you aren't that interested in the paranormal such as werewolves. The romantic tale of The Hungarian is enough to win over anyone."

Reader's Favorites, 5 Stars
"This book is extremely entertaining. The plot is sensual and romantic."

Coffee Time Romance, 3 Cups
"Ms. Burkhart tells this tale in such a voice that we can practically feel the waves of emotions both characters are feeling coming off the pages."


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Writing Tips: Hook, Line & Sold!

For me, a "hook" is that one sentence (or two, no more than) that sells your book to whoever you're talking to. (Some other marketing material may also refer to the "hook" as a "pitch")

Take yesterday for me. I went to get my hair cut and styled and brought my writing notebook. My stylist said, "Whatcha' doing?"

"Writing a book."

"What's it about?"

I've got 1 chance to tell her about my book and "hook" her in and grab her interest.

Now that's a challenge. You, the author, have 1 sentence (possibility 2) to "sell" your book to either a reader, an agent, a publisher, a representative at a book store whom you're trying to arrange a book signing.

Your hook better be pretty "snazzy" to grab that person's attention.

The pros? A 1 line sentence about your book is easy to remember and easy to draw on when people ask.

The challenge – your hook needs to be in an "active" voice, not a passive one. Active voice will grab that potential buyer, where a passive voice may make them snooze.

What's an active voice? Stay away from "was" "has been" and "to be" as verbs. When crafting your sentence use a thesaurus to give you "active" verb word choices. Stay away from "ly" adverbs. The stronger your verb, the less you need an "ly" adverb.

It usually takes me a good 20-30 minutes focused time to develop my hook.

When people (in person) ask, "Hey, what's your children's book, The Giving Meadow, about?"

I say: "It's about a caterpillar who travels through a meadow learning to share and care. Young children really enjoy the story.

I have a 99 cent short story called Journey of the Heart.

Here's my blurb: Can World War II veteran James help Rachel save her winery or will he drift out of her life the same way he drifted in?

I usually use that blurb when I'm on the Internet. If I'm in person, my hook is a lot more "conversational."

"Rachel's going to lose her winery, and only has one chance to save it – World War II vet James. Does he care enough to stick around?"

I usually try to end the "hook" with a question if I can – inviting the person to find out the answer by buying the book.

Question: Do you use hooks? How to come up with your hooks? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

My Pen Ran Out Ink - My 2012 NaNoWriMo Adventure

I hate feeling overwhelmed. I'm a writer, I love to write, but I've discovered it's not wise to over commit yourself. Last year I contracted 5 books. What was I thinking?

When National Novel Writing Month started creeping around the corner, I knew I had to commit to it. I'm down to 3 contracts, but even still, finding the time to write is challenging. This was my opportunity to catch up.

About two weeks out I started researching my project, Book 3 in the Moldavian Moon series, Sunrise Over Brasov. The paper flew. The ink spilled. Character bios. Thank goodness for Google images. I stocked up on pens, paper, French Roast Coffee and ink cartridges. I drew maps and outlined a plot. Come 1 NOV I was ready to write. My goal? 5 handwritten pages a day.

The challenge isn't actually the writing. Juliet, my muse, is fired up, has the strawberries stocked up, and is ready to go. It's finding THE TIME. Juliet will throw a hissy fit if I don't find THE TIME to write. I hate it when my muse gets mad at me.

November 1st came and I hit the paper writing. Words flowed like a rushing river onto the paper. The hero, Michael, re-kidnapped the heroine, Rosa, from the evil werewolf's fortress. I even fit in a day to meet with my NaNoWriMo buddy, Jenifer Ranieri at Panera.

Then my pen ran out of ink.
Juliet forced me to use a pencil.

My son, Joe, had a tumbling and trampoline class and his regular gymnastic class. Taxi service time.
Juliet made me take my laptop.

My son, Andrew, had basketball practice and Hip Hop Dance.
Juliet got mad when I told her I watching football on Sundays.

She pushed me toward the paper, whispered sweet nothings into my ear, promised me Lindor chocolates, and made me neglect my emails. I've got one account with over 700 emails.

THE TIME threatened to derail my progress, but Juliet kept me steady. My 6-year-old hid my thesaurus under couch because he wanted "Mommy" time, but Juliet found it.

I'm tired, weary, my fingers ache and I have a couple more gray hairs because I was stressed out to the max, but I did it. I'm a NaNoWriMo winner!

My treat? Lindor truffles and French Roast coffee from Starbucks. Actually, I'm hoping to give Jen Ranieri a buzz. Maybe we can go to lunch to celebrate if THE TIME lets me. He's a demanding beast right now.

The good news? I have over 50K on "Sunrise Over Brasov." There's more to write, but I'm pleased with the plot and characters. Now I can slow down and smell the roses.

The bad news?

I have to catch up on over 700 emails. Juliet tells me there's a button called delete. I'm not so sure.

For those who took the challenge and won, Juliet wants to invite you to a party. (Not at my house!) She's serving strawberries and chocolate.

For those who took the challenge and didn't quiet finish, Juliet says she's available for hire at a fee.

She's a taskmaster, just so you know.

I'd love to hear about your NaNoWriMo experience. Did you write with others in your region? What region do you come from? Give a shout out. Did you hang out at the coffee shop? Run out of ink, too? Share your word count and your story!
Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD, a taxi service for her boys, and addicted to dark chocolate and strawberries. The first book in the Moldavian Moon series is "The Wolf's Torment." Can Mihai save his family from an evil werewolf that threatens to destroy their happiness?

Here's a sample from the opening of Sunrise Over Brasov:

Several gunshots and piercing screams forced Rosa from the comfort of her bed. Uncertainty knotted in her stomach. What was happening? Flinging off the covers, she rushed to the window and pushed aside the heavy drapes. The thunderous noise made her pulse erratic. 
Frost had collected on the thick windowpane. Outside, several gun muzzles flashed – or was it nistal root exploding? She couldn't be sure. Overhead, a waxing half moon appeared just over the Brasov skyline. Rose worried her lower lip. The battle continued, but who would attack the fortress? 

She glanced at the mechanical brass clock on the table next to the fireplace. Five-thirty in the morning. The logs in the fireplace smoldered, threatening to flame out. Sunrise would come soon. She approached the chair next to her bed and slid her robe over her shoulders, crossing her arms over her chest to keep warm. Should she determine if Clement needed help, or should she check on Rickard? This fighting might trigger a change in him.

The door flung open and a man stepped into her room. Who was he? The vaguely familiar scent of sandalwood and pine filled her senses. Her heartbeat spiked, but she held her ground and set her chin, determined not to show him an ounce of fear. 
There was no denying his masculinity. He was tall and his massive shoulders filled out the cloak he wore. Most of his facial features were enveloped by shadows, but she could make out his penetrating amber-hazel eyes through the darkness. A soft gasp escaped her. 

He raised his hand and lowered his hood. An inherent strength filled his profile. Confidence. Concern. Relief. 
Rosa's breath jammed in her throat. He looked familiar. He smelled familiar. 
"Rosa, it's Michael. Let's go."

"I'm not going anywhere with you."

Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Review for: In the Pleasure Groove
Written by: John Taylor
Dutton Publishing
ISBN: 978-0525-95800-0
Avail as: ebook & print (hardback)
3.5 Stars

Duran Duran was one of the biggest bands of the 1980's and bassist John Taylor gives readers and fans a peek at his musical influences, life in Duran Duran, and finding his own way. Expressive and poignant, John's story gets to the "heart" behind the man who continues to live a story we can all relate to.

John opens the novel with life in Birmingham, England with his parents. Growing up, he was just a boy in the neighborhood, but when teenage John meets Nick Rhodes, the backbone of Duran Duran is formed. John and Nick pursue their dreams and soon the "boys next door" are founding members of one of the 1980's biggest rock groups.

As John deals with fame, he comes to rely on fame's usual crutches, drugs and alcohol. His insights into the making of the first three Duran albums are a delightful treat for any fan.

At the height of Duranmania in the 1980's the boy next door seems unrecognizable, surrendering to the music and drugs. John's story also offers hope that one can look adversity in the eye and overcome. He shares his choices, good and bad, and he shows us the humanity behind the man and his music.

The book is easy to read and easy to relate to. Taylor talks about the height of Duranmania and the effects that fame had on him and his relationships. What I liked the most was his ability to relate a very human story behind the fame.

"In The Pleasure Groove" gives you John Taylor, his way, his perspective. His story is highly entertaining, connecting on that "raw gut" level, just like Duran Duran's music.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cyber Monday - Four 99 cent stories for your Kindle

Hi all - just wanted to share some of my 99 cent stories which are a great bargain for this time of the year:

Christmas in Bayeux
Contemporary Christmas Romance
Mainstream love scene
Blurb: Can Noel help Aiden heal his wounded heart this Christmas season?

"Christmas in Bayeux" is the perfect short romance to enjoy during the holiday season or any time during the year, and I highly recommend it." – Diane Craver, Author, A Joyful Heart, Amazon Review

Buy Link:




Feast of Candles
Contemporary Christmas Romance
Spicy Romance
Blurb: Drake takes the biggest chance of his life on a bottle of wine. Can he crack the battlements that surround Lily's lonely heart?

Amazon Buy Link:

Review: The ending with the feast of candles is so romantic you'll want your own feast of candles with your sweetheart. Lovely story!

A Polish Heart
Contemporary Inspirational Romance
Sweet Heat Level
Blurb: Will Sofia's faith give Darrin his heart back? 
Here's a link:

Journey of the Heart
Vintage Summer Romance
Sweet Heat Level
Blurb: Can James help Rachel save her winery or will he drift out of her life the same way he drifted in?

The story was compelling and not boring, which is often a stereotype of sweet romances. I would recommend this short sweetie of a story. Good job, author. - Angel E


Friday, November 23, 2012

Book Review for: Captured by the Highlander

Book Review for: Captured by the Highlander
Written by: Julianne MacLean
St. Martin's Press
Avail: ebook/print
5 Stars

MacLean leaves you breathless with "Captured by the Highlander." Duncan MacLean has a ruthless reputation as the "Butcher of the Highlands," but when he kidnaps Lady Amelia Templeton, she tests him on so many levels and dares to ruin the Butcher's reputation.

Set in Scotland in 1716, the story opens with Duncan's suspenseful kidnap of Amelia. He's looking for her betrothed, Colonial Richard Bennett, who is known for his brutality towards the Scots. Initially, Duncan, as the Butcher, just wants revenge, but he can't deny he's attracted to Amelia. She's headstrong, believes in her convictions, and dares to defy him.

Amelia breaks away from Duncan and seeks refuge from a squad of English soldiers. Unfortunately, they're drunk and act poorly. Duncan saves Amelia, and the incident challenges her to understand his motivations.

Duncan takes Amelia to Montcriffe where she discovers his true identity. Dare she give in to the passion Duncan evokes knowing the danger he faces if his secret is revealed?

MacLean's writing is easy to read and plunges the reader in a suspense filled opening. The action is perfectly paced, allowing the reader to catch their breath before racing forward again.

MacLean paints wonderful pictures with words allowing the reader to vividly see Duncan and Amelia's word in their mind.

The most rewarding part is the characterization. Despite Duncan's ruthless reputation, his motivations are clear to the reader. As a reader, I easily lost my heart to him. Amelia is feisty, challenging, and when evidence presents itself, willing to give Duncan a chance.

The story is sophisticated for romance readers with love scenes that capture the passion and sensually of the couple. MacLean will leave you breathless, wanting more tales of the Scottish highlands. "Captured by the Highlander" is a wonderful romantic escape on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Writing ideas - I Need a Hero

Prince Harry is currently serving in
Our hero has a fine line to walk. The modern reader wants a man who is verbal, tender, and vulnerable, but not a wimp. Tall order, huh?

What makes a guy attractive?

Our hero has to convince the heroine - and the reader - that he's an attractive guy - inside and out. Add a dash of danger, a pinch of excitement, and a dose of sexy. It's just not enough to be good looking, he's got to treat those people around him with respect.

The Alpha Hero

He's assertive, dominant, and successful. (Sounds a little like Christen Grey, doesn't he?) He's the guy who owns the company and wants another one.

The Beta Charmer

This guy is playful and relaxed, caring and charming. He owns the company, but lets someone else run it.

A hero needs a convincing job.

He can own the company, be a police officer, fire fighter, or in the armed services. He can be a spy or an archeologist. He can even be a rock star or royalty. Whatever his profession, he's got to love what he does, act honorably, and treat those around him right.

Do you like a rich guy for a hero?

Do you like reading a romance where the hero is filthy stinking rich, or do you prefer to have him a more down-to-earth job?

The job has to fit the hero. It can't be trivial. It's got to be something he enjoys and excels in.


What qualities do you want your hero to have? Heroism? Nobility? Honor? Integrity? What kind of job?

Question for you: Do you want a hero who is rich? Why or why not?

Reference: On Writing Romance, by Leigh Michaels, F&W Publications, ISBN: 978-1-58297-437-8, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thank you to all the Veterans out there

I just want to say thank you to all the Veterans out there for serving in your country's armed forces. I'm a Veteran myself, having served in the US ARMY between 1986-1997 as an MP (Military Police). I thought I'd share a little bit about my Army life with you all today.

Taken in Butzbach, 1990. This was at my dining-in at PLDC. (Primary Leadership Development) The guy in the picture is my husband. We met at PLDC and married in NOV 14 1991.

Taken in East Germany in 1988. I am wearing my Class "B" uniform. This is in East Berlin at Treptower Park.

In Fulda, Germany NOV 1989, right after the fall of the wall.

Taken in Kaspovar, Hungary in 1997.

Me in my Dress Blues, OCT 1997.

I went to Ft. McCellan, AL in JUL 1986 to attend my Basic & AIT Training. I finished in NOV 1986.

My Duty assignments:

Munster, Germany
295th MP Company, Romulus, NY
11th ACR, Fulda/Bad Hersfeld, Germany
NTC Ft. Irwin, CA
127th MP Co., Hanau, Germany
90 Day Deployment to Taszar,Hungary JUL-OCT 1997.

A Little About Veterans Day:

Veterans Day is an official United States holiday honoring armed service veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11th. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.)

In June 1954 Armistice was replaced with Veterans Day in the United States and it's been that way since.


If you're a Veteran, feel free to share your branch service. Where have you been? When did you get out? Give a shout out to the military member in your family.

Most of all, feel free to thank a Veteran for their service. They really appreciate it.

My lastest book is a steampunk romance, A GENTLEMAN AND A ROGUE. You can find info for it here:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Just Released! My steampunk romance: A Gentleman and a Rogue

BOOK 2 of "The Windsor Diaries" - "A Gentleman and A Rogue" is now on sale! It's the 2nd steampunk novel in this romance series.

Here's the Blurb:

Royals Edmund and Alice Windsor return to 2011 only to discover their world is now powered by gasoline and electricity - not compressed natural gas. Their attempts to persuade their grandmother, Queen Anne II, falls on deaf ears. Taking matters into their own hands, they enlist Jonas Byron's help and travel back to 1855 to set the time line right.

Now in Lincoln, Edmund is reunited with Lady Keira Russell, the love of his life, but if it isn't one obstacle, it's another. Keira does not want to fall in love with him again. Jonas Byron has taken up with Keira's father to build a windmill, and Edmund's brother, Richard, the Guardian of the Time Machine, has followed Edmund to ensure Queen Victoria makes the right decision when choosing the fuel of the future. Edmund has a choice - make mischief to ensure time marches to the beat of the right drummer, or trust in Keira and her belief that Queen Victoria will make the right decision on her own. Will Edmund lost Keira for good if he makes the wrong choice?

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

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

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

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

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

"Looked more like flirting to me."


A muscle twitched in his jaw. "No."

"You are a horrible liar."

"Keira, you can't trust him."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Thursday, November 8, 2012

Save the Date: 20-25 NOV Coffee & Chocolate Contest!

My monthly coffee and chocolate contest/giveaway will feature my novel, The Faberge Secret. Win a GC to Starbucks, a coffee mug, a bag of chocolate, magnets,"EARTHQUAKE" blend Coffee from the Newhall Coffee Company and Lori Powell autumn themed book bag. All you have to do to enter is visit my Facebook Fan Page between 20-25 NOV and leave a comment on one of the 4 Coffee & Chocolate Posts. Also giving away a couple of other short stories and anthologies! Winner will be announced on my Facebook Fan Page and on my website on 26 NOV.

Facebook Fan Page:

The Faberge Secret

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Book Review for: 50 Shades of Grey

Book Review for: Fifty Shades of Grey
Written by: E.L. James
Avail: as a print book
4 Stars

James pens a character driven romance full of inner conflict and nail-biting tension with "Fifty Shades of Grey." Christian Grey is a successful businessman determined to dominate in all things. Enter Anastasia Steele. She challenges him at every turn. Dare he give his heart to her?

Set in contemporary Seattle, Anastasia is a grad student who interviews Christian for her friend, Kate. Ana and Christian can't deny there's a charge of attraction between them. Later, Christian finds Ana and they have a coffee date. Christian would like her to enter into a relationship with him. For Ana, Christian's proposal is shocking, but she's game to try. However, when she wants "more," is Christian willing to meet her in the middle?

James uses a strong character voice that easily pulls the reader into Ana's world. The story is written in the first person, present tense. At times, I found the present tense a bit disconcerting, but the characterization is so strong, I enjoyed the novel very much.

What makes the novel resonate is the characterization. Christian is forceful, bossy, dominant even, but he reveals to Ana another side of himself that he hasn't before. Ana is strong, made of "steele." She may be willing to try Christian's suggestions, but she speaks her mind all things.

The novel explores darker topics and erotic themes in a mature way. Can the light of love break through the secrets which have hardened Christian's heart? "Fifty Shades of Grey" is more than an exploration of the erotic – it dares to peer into the dark parts of our souls to see just how much the human spirit can endure, as in Christian's case. Due to the erotic/intimate scenes I would recommend this book for mature readers. "Fifty Shades of Grey" will leave you breathless and wanting to read the sequel.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Book Review for: "The Last Olympian"
Written by: Rick Riordan
Disney/Hyperion Books
ISBN: 978-142-310150-5
Avail as: ebook & print
4.5 Stars

Riordan delivers an action-packed, suspense-filled story with his final book in the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series titled "The Last Olympian." The battle is on between Kronos, his Titans, the Olympians, and the demigods. The prize is Earth and it's way of life. Who will win?

New York is under siege and the Titan Typhoon is wreaking havoc throughout America. The mist hides the truth from humans, but the demigods and Olympians struggle against the Titans. Percy leads Camp Half-Blood in the defense of New York, however things aren't what they seem. By the time the dust settles, Percy and his friends will have their courage, resolve, and inner strength tested. The final battle is packed with surprises.

Riordan's writing style is easy to read. There's adventure, fast-paced action, and plenty of suspense mixed in with the perfect does of tender, character revealing moments.

Percy's come a long way since his first adventure, displaying a rare maturity for his age. Nico diAngelo, Hades' son, also proves his worth. There are a lot of surprises in store for the demigods and how they face adversity defines their character. It's a lesson that will resonate with the novel's young reading audience.

Again, Riordan's done a wonderful job putting a modern twist on the ancient Greek legends, making them appealing for today's audience. The series inspires young readers to explore and read.

"The Last Olympian" is full of secrets, unexpected twists, and nail-biting suspense. Readers 9-years-old and up will enjoy this novel. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's Here! The Cover for "A Gentleman and a Rogue!" Steampunk Romance

Just wanted to share with you - Book 2 of "The Windsor Diaries," my steampunk romance, "A Gentleman and a Rogue" now has a cover! It's due to be released on 11 NOV 2012 this month. If you enjoyed Alice's journeys to Victorian England, she's baaaack and this time she's helping her cousin Edmund win Lady Keira's heart.

Here's the Blurb:

Royals Edmund and Alice Windsor return to 2011 only to discover their world is now powered by gasoline and electricity - not compressed natural gas. Their attempts to persuade their grandmother, Queen Anne II, falls on deaf ears. Taking matters into their own hands, they enlist Jonas Byron's help and travel back to 1855 to set the time line right.

Now in Lincoln, Edmund is reunited with Lady Keira Russell, the love of his life, but if it isn't one obstacle, it's another. Keira does not want to fall in love with him again. Jonas Byron has taken up with Keira's father to build a windmill, and Edmund's brother, Richard, the Guardian of the Time Machine, has followed Edmund to ensure Queen Victoria makes the right decision when chosing the fuel of the future. Edmund has a choice - make mischief to ensure time marches to the beat of the right drummer, or trust in Keira and her belief that Queen Victoria will make the right decision on her own. Will Edmund lost Keira for good if he makes the wrong choice?


For a treat, here's the Cover to "Victorian Scoundrel"