Friday, March 30, 2012

COLLAGING YOUR FEARS AWAY WITH MAGGIE


By Maggie Toussaint

Maggie Toussaint
“I’m not brave.” There. I’ve said it. Out loud. Sure, I take risks with my books, but me, Maggie Tousssaint, I’m a big ole chicken. But that very fear turned out to be the saving grace for Murder in the Buff.

When I had a hard time breaking into publishing with conventional mysteries, I wondered if my subject material was too tame. How could I think outside of the box? How could I challenge myself as a writer and a person?

As I cast about for ideas, I remembered there was a naturalist colony in the woods of my old stomping grounds. Most of us locals debated for hours on end – what were they doing in there with all the bugs, ticks, snakes, and buzzards? I’ll admit my curiosity level rocketed off the chart.

Uh oh. A puzzle. I love puzzles. The idea of writing about a nudist colony tantalized me. And it scared me half to death. Could I do it? How would I do it? Would I have to do onsite research?

That idea nearly gave me heart arrythmia. But it got me thinking. If everyone was naked, where would they hide the murder weapon? Strangers would stand out, so it would have to be someone known to the victim. Hmm. I liked this idea more and more.

But. I did not want to see naked strangers. So, I did two things that really helped me. I talked to a former classmate of mine who’d been in there, and her eyewitness account was invaluable. And I decided to create a collage to use as a writing focal point.

I collected images of people, of items I thought would be related to the story. This wasn’t hard for clothed people. But it was increasingly difficult for the naked people. I started looking for images of people that looked more free-spirited or mean or conniving. I stumbled onto an article about naked grannies in England that gave me hope for my project. I found several images in magazines of naked people with the sexual parts out of eyesight through careful positioning.

I needed images that were provocative without being lewd. Granted, “racy” is in the eye of the beholder, but I didn’t need to see EVERYTHING. That’s what my imagination is for.

I labeled everyone on the collage, and I propped the final posterboard on the wall behind my computer monitor. Instant centering during my writing phase.

The final project turned out great, but it needed a special publisher to allow it to shine. Muse It Up took a chance on MURDER IN THE BUFF, and I’m so glad they did.

Here’s the blurb for MURDER IN THE BUFF:

Reporter Molly Darter’s world is crashing around her. Her cheating husband and trashy sister wrecked her marriage, and now she has to collect a nudist’s obituary to keep her job. The nudists convince Molly their friend was murdered. Molly scoffs until explicit pictures of the nudist with town leaders and her father surface. Family loyalty kicks in, and she hunts for the killer in earnest to save her dad.

Who killed Barbara Jean? Was it the judge, the preacher, or the banker? Or was the killer someone she knew intimately? Only one thing’s for certain. The killer is watching every move Molly makes.



MURDER IN THE BUFF is available at: Muse It Up Publishing and Amazon.
Maggie Toussaint
www.maggietoussaint.com


Thanks to Maggie for sharing with us today. For those of you who missed my review of her fun mystery, MURDER IN THE BUFF, please go to the post for March 14th at
http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/2012/03/review-of-murder-in-buff.html

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

REVIEW OF DARK NIGHT OF THE MOON



I thought it impossible, but Keta Diablo has surpassed HOLDING ON TO HEAVEN with the sequel, DARK NIGHT OF THE MOON. What a story!


Lauren McCain Gatlin is married to Brand Gatlin, but in love with his brother Creed. She married Brand when she learned she was pregnant with Creed’s child after Creed had left to fight in the Civil War. Through a terrifying ordeal in the first book, Lauren found her twin after being separated at birth. The midwife who delivered the twin girls told the McCain parents that only one twin lived, and kidnapped Sage McCain.

Winapaya may have
resembled Winnebego
Chief Ha-Zah-Zach-Kah
In the meantime, Sage married to Winapaya, from the peaceful Winnebago tribe associated with the more ferocious Sioux. Sage and Winapaya have two children and another on the way.


Lauren, her father, and her son Finn live with her Aunt Estelle and their servants. Sage and Winapaya live not too far away with the man Sage thought of as her Norwegian grandfather, Peter Pa. Lauren’s mother-in-law Polly Gatlin lives nearby also. No, no, don't be confused; when you read the book it all falls into place

The initial problem is that Brand is missing and presumed dead in the Sioux uprising that killed so many of Lauren's family and friends near New Ulm months ago. But Brand’s body has not been found. Lauren and her mother-in-law cannot give up hope that Brand is alive. I dare not reveal more to you for fear of spoiling your pleasure when you read this book. Let me assure you there are many surprises in store for readers.

Set in Minnesota in 1862, this riveting story is filled with beautiful imagery and vivid descriptions. Ms Diablo obviously immersed herself deeply into research for her work, and it rings true to the reader. I loved the characterizations, which ranged from humorous, stiff-necked, and honorable to evil. I also cheered for the mystical wolf. One of the characters is Crooked Back, a Winnebago woman healer who helps Sage. To show she has no fear of death, she chants:

I am part of the earth and stars
And the gusts of far and near
Of lush valleys and snow-crested mountains
Of flora, and fauna, and deer.


Not being a student of the Sioux, I don’t know if that is an authentic chant or not, but it certainly seems so in context of the book. In fact, everything regarding pioneer life, the Sioux, and the era rings authentic.


Although you will enjoy this stand alone book without reading the first book, the flow is so beautiful if you have begun with HOLDING ON TO HEAVEN and follow with DARK NIGHT OF THE MOON.


They are available from Amazon here:


HOLDING ON TO HEAVEN:
http://www.amazon.com/Holding-on-to-Heaven-ebook/dp/B0073TYAKC/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1332889207&sr=1-7


DARK NIGHT OF THE MOON:

http://www.amazon.com/Dark-NIght-Moon-ebook/dp/B006ZRZ5FM/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1332889165&sr=1-4


If you missed Monday’s post, please scroll down and read about author Keta Diablo.


Please return Friday or this weekend for a visit with another fine author, Maggie Toussaint.

I'm Slinging Words with Joan Reeves at http://slingwords.blogspot.com/ Come by if you can.

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, March 26, 2012

WELCOME KETA DIABLO!

Why I wrote HOLDING ON TO HEAVEN . . .


Hi everyone, and thank you so much for stopping by Caroline’s wonderful site.

Some readers have asked me why I wrote HOLDING ON TO HEAVEN so I thought I’d speak to that here. I’ve always loved history about the Civil War – the battles, the thousands of lives lost and the boundaries that were often crossed when family members choose sides. It wasn’t uncommon to find cousin fighting against cousin or neighbor against neighbor. The Civil War was a deeply personal war for many, and yet in the end, many didn’t know why they were fighting. I can’t think of anything more horrible than to have our country divided over ideals, beliefs or principles to the point we take up arms against our brethren.

Imagine drawing a line across the United States – the top half of the states fight for one side and the bottom for the other. And suppose you had family down in Texas when you live in Wisconsin? I’m sure you can see what the Civil War was one of our darkest times in history.

HOLDING ON TO HEAVEN is, in essence, about a woman named Lauren McCain who was raised in the deep South and moves to the North just before the war broke out. Her loyalties are divided. She’s fallen in love with a Northerner, carries his child, and yet her father and family hail from North Carolina. Now, toss in the Dakota Sioux uprising in Minnesota at the same time and the entire country is ablaze with fire and terror.

HOLDING ON TO HEAVEN is an emotional story about betrayal, grief, fate and abiding passion. If you like reading about the Civil War, I think you’ll love the story of brothers who love the same woman and yet, love each other too. Oh, yes, and there’s a few twists and turns in the story. There is a happily-for-now ending, but here’s the good news: DARK NIGHT OF THE MOON, the sequel to HOLDING ON TO HEAVEN was released! And I promise there will be a happily-ever-after for all.

May you all have a blessed week and many intriguing reads.


Buy link for HOLDING ON TO HEAVEN: http://amzn.to/v03tFa






Buy link for DARK NIGHT OF THE MOON:


http://www.amazon.com/ketadiablo/e/B002BODURI

About DARK NIGHT OF THE MOON, the sequel to HOLDING ON TO HEAVEN.

Creed Gatlin flees to Arizona intent on eradicating the haunting memories of his brother’s wife. His brother Brand, presumed dead, resurfaces after a long absence and with his re-emergence, the destinies of those he loves is altered forever.

In a land rife with war and danger, Sage must travel to the village of her husband’s People. There, she is reunited with Crooked Back, the ancient healer. One the long trek back to Full Circle, devious plots are underfoot and peril lurks around every corner for Sage, Lauren and Peter Pa.


DARK NIGHT OF THE MOON will take you on an unforgettable journey of war, violence, overwhelming grief, and finally, compassion and love.


~ ~ ~ ~


About Keta Diablo:

Keta Diablo, Author
Keta is a multi-published author of paranormal, historical and occasionally gay fiction (paranormal). In 2009, her erotic romance DECADENT DECEPTIONS was a finalist in the RWA Molly contest. In 2010, Keta's entry Phoenix Rising finaled in the Scarlet Boa contest and in 2011 Keta's acclaimed paranormal shifter, WHERE THE RAIN IS MADE, was nominated by Authors After Dark for a BOOKIE AWARD AND by Deep In The Heart of Romance for BEST ROMANCE OF THE YEAR. Many of her books have won numerous awards: Top Reviewer's Pick, Recommended Read and Best Book of the Month.

If you'd like to know more about Keta and her latest releases, she haunts the Net here:

Keta's Keep Blog, http://ketaskeep.blogspot.com


Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ketadiablo


Facebook Fan page: http://www.facebook.com/KetaDiablo.Author
Keta, thanks for sharing with us today! Readers, on Wednesday, I'll post my review of DARK NIGHT OF THE MOON. Beware! Aftert I read it, I had to also get HOLDING ON TO HEAVEN.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 23, 2012

WELCOME REGAN BLACK

Regan Black, Author

Before I turn the blog over to Regan Black, please let me congratulate B.J., whose comment receives a copy of HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME. I'll be emailing BJ with her download later today. Now, to Regan Black:


Thanks so much for having me here today, Caroline!

THE MATCHMAKER’S MARK came about for a couple of reasons. First, I needed a break from the darker Shadows of Justice novels. I love my 2096 Chicago and the characters in that series are like family, but it can get a little tiring saving the world from evil plots day in and day out. So I gave both that cast and myself a little breather. And secondly, my pals at the local retired greyhound group were encouraging me to get a greyhound into one of my novels. That happened a bit differently than I expected, but it was tons of fun.

Of course, being me, there had to be a paranormal element too, but it has a fun feel in this series. Here's the quick overview: When you're 'more' than human, finding your soulmate isn't as easy as answering a few questions online. It's best to track down Campbell Consulting, a.k.a. the Matchmaker.

In Charleston, South Carolina half-elf Lily has a birthmark her elders vow is a mystical promise of true love. So far she's yet to encounter Mr. Right in either the elf or human realms.

Dare, a wood elf, has led the Matchmaker's security team for years. In town on a simple errand, when the Matchmaker disappears his future is turned inside out.

And Amy Campbell is a completely human English professor about to discover the true magic of the family business...

My marketing team and I joked that I should use the name Regan Gray on these books, because they were so much different than the other series.


Unitarian Church Yard
Charleston, S.C.
Charleston is a beautiful city with such a diverse and wonderful history, it seemed like a natural setting for a more lighthearted and romantic story. I've been on several tours since we moved to the area and studying the past just seems to set my imagination on fire, even when I'm working on a contemporary storyline like THE MATCHMAKER'S MARK. Planting Lily's fictional flower shop on King Street worked well because that meant they were close to one of my favorite restaurants on the same street. It absolutely thrills me when someone who lives here, or who's been to Charleston, recognizes that restaurant. In real life it's Juanita Greenberg's, so if you get to the area and are in the mood for amazing Mexican food - be sure to stop in.

Plus, Charleston has its share of ghosts and legends. In THE MATCHMAKER'S MARK, Amy - in one of her first acts as the Matchmaker - converses with the Lady who haunts the Unitarian Churchyard. That ghost is considered the most frequently sighted in the city and I guarantee you, whether you see her or not, the Unitarian Churchyard is spooky with a capital "spook" at night. Especially with an excellent guide telling you tales...



In the following excerpt from THE MATCHMAKER’S MARK, Amy, her greyhound, and Dare, the bodyguard for the former Matchmaker, are taking a rest in the Unitarian Churchyard:



"Hold Guinness' leash, please."


She pushed it into his hand and he opened his eyes to a scene straight from one of Camille's stories.


His years in her service meant many of the nights they only had each other for conversation and they'd swapped tales of family and legends. Dare had never seen spirit magic first hand, but he recognized it now. Amy had moved from his side and stood surrounded by pale figures, translucent and lit from within.


Ghosts.


As he watched, her lips and hands moved as if she was conversing with old friends, but no sound reached his ears.


His breath backed up in his chest as the air snapped cold and brittle around him. The tree, with its sturdy, reassuring presence, the relaxed dog at his side, and his dedication to Camille kept him from melting into the bark. Escape wasn't appropriate, but neither was defense. Amy didn't seem to be in any trouble, but he wasn't sure he'd know if she were.


He shifted, became the target of a particularly intimidating ghostly gaze and decided to stay put while his mind puzzled out how to get her out of here.


Amy listened with her heart more than her ears, and ignored the cold air turning her every exhalation into a small cloud. She accepted she was talking with the dead, though this sort of communication wasn't precisely verbal.


But they were communicating.


She couldn't label the act, couldn't point to the time when she'd learned how to do whatever it was she was doing. At the moment she just listened, which seemed to be the primary concern of the ghosts surrounding her.


They knew they were dead, a fact which busted a great many myths Hollywood purported. Three out of the four ghosts didn't even mind the current suspended existence. The last one to join the conversation was most irritable with his family for ignoring his demise.


She wasn't sure what she could possibly do to help him, so she let him rant for a bit before another member of the group cut him off.


"That is enough. I must speak!" The female ghost was elegantly attired and her eyes were direct and a bit disapproving. Her statement earned her no respect.


"It's always about you," the others grumbled unanimously as they drifted their separate ways.


But in Amy's heart, the source of her connection to them, she felt such sudden, deep longing she clutched her chest. She saw it all, the woman alive and so in love, then crushed and devastated when her husband was lost to her.


"He should be here," the woman said. "He should be here with me."


The woman's loneliness was a tangible force winding through the air, raising goose bumps on Amy's skin. Instinctively, she reached out, but something bumped her legs – Guinness – and Dare hooked her with an around her waist.


"No!" Amy struggled, but couldn't twist free. She knew what the ghost needed. She could help if Dare would just let her do it.


With a look of utter contempt, the ghost moved away, skirts swirling behind her as she moved through headstones, iron, and air with equal ease.


Amy slumped, lurching free when Dare's arm went slack.


"Here!" It took her longer as she was flesh and blood, but she navigated the obstacles in the dark, stopping near the obelisk where the elegant ghost had disappeared. She extended her hand once more. "I can show you where he waits."


She heard Dare's footsteps on the path and willed the ghost to act quickly.


Her ears buzzed as ghostly fingertips brushed her own in an ethereal touch totally absent of heat. In that odd connection, she spoke with images more than words, so the two could be united at last. An immense love buoyed her heart as the tiniest bit of relief rippled out of her like a pebble dropped in a pond.


"Godspeed," she whispered into the peaceful stillness in the air.

Dare felt something too. Something closer to rage than peace, but he couldn't put it into words. The warmth and comfort he'd enjoyed in this churchyard had turned to cold ash. She'd endangered herself, endangered an entire balancing force of the non-human realms. For what? A ghost?


"What was that?" he demanded, his brutal voice shattering the quiet around her.


"Helping." Amy sighed and turned, snapping her fingers for the greyhound's attention. Her expression: part satisfaction, part serenity, and all wistful, took the leading edge off his anger.


"You can't help all of them. It's best to stick with the ones still living. She had a place here."


"The wrong place. She and her love, her husband were an odd, but perfect match. She came South with him, to a life as foreign to her as another country. He left, had to leave her for some business.


"They died on the same day. The same day, Dare! I'm not sure how I know, but they were so close, so perfect together. They were two halves of one whole that neither could live – literally – without the other. Here, alone, she was heartbroken. I could fix it."


"They had their chance in life."


"So they don't deserve a blissful eternity in death?" She tsked at him. "His body has never been returned here to the family plot. I know that much from the tour guides. But as the 'Matchmaker'," she used air quotes, "I felt how he pines for her too.”


"I could fix it, Dare," she repeated, winding down. "They were the perfect love match. Isn't that what the Matchmaker's all about?"


Not even close.



You can pick up THE MATCHMAKER'S MARK at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite ebook retailer. I'm thrilled to say THE MATCHMAKER'S CURSE, book two in the series, is due out at the end of April. In the meantime, you can read more about this series and my other books at www.ReganBlack.com. We have an active community there through my monthly newsletter and on my Facebook fan page. I hope you'll join the fun.

Regan Black is dedicated to guiding paranormal romance readers through action packed stories to the best happily ever after endings so you can savor a fantastic escape from the daily grind. "My mission is to deliver stories from the heart, full of unforgettable, passionate characters who know what they want and are willing to risk it all to reach the goal." A recipient of a 2011 Reviewer's Choice award from the Paranormal Romance Guild, she is also the author of the Shadows of Justice series (JUSTICE INCARNATE, INVASIONS OF JUSTICE, VEIL OF JUSTICE, TRACKING SHADOWS, SHADOWS TO LIGHT) as well as the non-fiction ADOPT A GREYHOUND GUIDE, GOAL SETTING FOR WRITERS, and several short stories. She lives in South Carolina with her family and their domestic petting 'zoo' starring three retired greyhounds, two manipulative cats, and three quirky finches.



Regan, thanks for sharing THE MATCHMAKER'S MARK with us. I've added it to my Kindle and look forward to next month's release of THE MATCHMAKER'S CURSE.

Readers, thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

HOW AUTHORS ADD POWER TO THEIR WRITING


The Lucky Leprechaun Hop is in its final days. Check out the over 200 blogs here: http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com Kathy and her cosponsor Books Complete Me (Author Cindy Thomas' blog) each have a list of the participating blogs. Leave your email in your comment for a chance to win a copy of my sweet contemporary HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME. A follow counts as a second entry but is not necessary. Now to my scheduled post:

                HOW AUTHORS ADD POWER TO THEIR WRITING


Are there authors you read simply for the beautifully expressive way they write? There are numerous authors I turn to for inspiration. One of the reasons for their impact is they use active verbs, unique metaphors, and nouns that paint word pictures. They never tell, never use clich├ęs; instead, they show so well we drink in their pages.

Each writer knows to avoid weak words: felt, just, simply, etc. But avoiding those words is not enough, authors are forced to come up with dynamic ways to express our character’s thoughts and feelings so people will read and reread our books.

For instance, one might write: "The Gothic Revival house had been opulent at one time, but now displayed its age."

Sarah Addison Allen in THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON wrote:

“The house looked nothing like the rest of the houses in the neighborhood.
It had probably been an opulent white at one time, but now it was gray, and its Gothic Revival pointed-arch windows were dusty and opaque. It was outrageously flaunting its age, spitting paint chips and old roofing shingles into the yard.”

One could write: "Dust motes danced in the dwindling sunlight."

Sarah Addison Allen wrote: “No lights were on, but the last sunlight of the day was coughing through the dining room windows, directly to her left.”

Can’t you picture the sunlight streaming in through a window like someone’s mouth coughing little particles of dust motes into the room? Not a pretty picture perhaps, but the allusion is perfect in the book.

Has stress ever left you disoriented or frozen? Here is Lori Wilde’s description of her heroine’s reaction in ALL OF ME:

“’Yes,’ Jillian said, but she could barely hear herself. She was a bright kite who’d broken loose from its tether, flying high into a cloudless blue sky. Up, up, and away, higher and higher, smaller and smaller. Soon she would disappear, a speck in the sky. What was happening to her?”

Another writer whose descriptions I love is Loretta Chase. Here are the descriptions of the hero and heroine from LORD PERFECT, one of my favorite of Ms Chase’s books:

The artist heroine, Bathsheba Wingate, watches the hero in the book’s opening. The setting is a London museum and the hero is Benedict Carsington, Viscount Rathbourne, heir to the Earl of Hargate.

"He leant against the window frame, offering those within the exhibition hall a fine rear view of a long, well-proportioned frame, expensively garbed. He seemed to have his arms folded and his attention upon the window, though the thick glass could show him no more than a blurred image of Picadilly.

It was clear in any case that the exhibition within—of the marvels Giovanni Belzoni had discovered in Egypt—had failed to hold his interest.

The woman surreptitiously studying him decided he would make the perfect model of the bored aristocrat

Supremely assured. Perfectly poised. Immaculately dressed. Tall. Dark.

He turned his head, presenting the expected patrician profile.

It wasn’t what she expected.

She couldn’t breathe."

The author immediately skips a space and opens in the hero’s POV. From the same book, but a few pages later, Loretta uses the hero’s POV to describe the heroine.

"She was the sort of woman who made accidents happen, simply by crossing the street.

She was the sort of woman who ought to be preceded by warning signs.

From a distance, she was breathtaking.

Now she stood within easy reach.

And now . . .

Once, in the course of a youthful prank, Benedict had fallen off a roof, and briefly lost consciousness.

Now, as he fell off something and into eyes like an indigo sea, he lost consciousness. The world went away, his brain went away, and only the vision remained, of pearly skin and ripe plum lips, of the fathomless sea in which he was drowning . . . and then a pink like a sunrise glowing upon finely sculpted cheekbones.

A blush. She was blushing.

His brain staggered back."

I don’t know about you, but I find those descriptions highly satisfying.

In my latest work, BRAZOS BRIDE: Men of Stone Mountain Book One, I struggled with making the three Stone brothers’ dialogue distinctive. They are similar in appearance and share a close bond. Naturally, their speech is similar. But each needed a distinctive speech pattern so the reader could recognize the speaker without dialogue tags. I include action or word tags, but the point is to make the dialogue so specific that a tag is not necessary. Since each is so similar, I don't believe I succeeded, but I love these brothers! Each is a terrific hero. I'm now at work on the second of the Men of Stone Mountain trilogy, HIGH STAKES BRIDE. Writing books that please me is a wonderful job. Aren't I lucky?

I hope you will read BRAZOS BRIDE and will find the dialogue (and the entire book) satisfies you. To assist you (aren’t I kind?) I've priced BRAZOS BRIDE at only 99 cents and here’s the buy link:
http://www.amazon.com/Brazos-Bride-Stone-Mountain-ebook/dp/B007HS10SY/ref=sr_1_14?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1332254739&sr=1-14


Please return on Friday when Regan Black will be my guest. I’ll also announce my winner of HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME for the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop.

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, March 19, 2012

REVIEW OF CLASH OF WILLS PLUS GIVEAWAY HOP

Welcome to the review of S. G. Rogers' fantasy novella, CLASH OF WILLS, and a continuation of
the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop. I'm still giving away a copy of HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME to someone who comments during March 17th through 22nd. A follow counts as an extra entry, but is not necessary. If you are a follower, please let me know in your comment. The other over 200 blogs participating in the hop can be found at http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com
Now my review:



CLASH OF WILLS

By S. G. (Suzanne) Rogers
The Wild Rose Press
$1.25 rated G

Princess Samantha of Paloran has no intention of choosing one of the many suitors her parents thrust her way. Once again, she has browbeaten her companion, Nanny, to trade places with her to entertain Crown Prince Wills of Insolita. The crux of her masquerade is that Samantha misses her older brother, David, who has been disowned for his practice of magic. Before he left the palace, David entrusted a special type of compass with Samantha with the instruction that it would always lead her to him. For weeks, she’s been planning her escape to the Uncharted Territory to find her brother.


When Prince Wills and Nanny hit it off, this leaves Samantha free to plan her trip. Samantha convinces her parents that she needs to travel to Insolita to meet Prince Wills parents. On the trip, she initiates her plan, then discovers an amazing truth about herself. Will Prince Wills help her or renounce her? What trials will Samantha face before she finds her brother?


CLASH OF WILLS is a clever novella that could also be a Young Adult novel. It reads like a modern fairy tale and is sure to please fantasy fans.

I was given a copy of CLASH OF WILLS for an honest review.


The buy link at The Wild Rose Press is http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=4771
CLASH OF WILLS is also available at Amazon and other online stores.
          About CLASH OF WILLS' Author


S. G. Rogers, Author
Originally from Southern California, S. G. (Suzanne) Rogers has lived in the magical places of La Jolla, California, Asheville, North Carolina, and Laurel, Mississippi. She earned her first black belt in taekwondo from martial arts champion Billy Blanks. Later on, she earned black belts in taekwondo and hapkido from Master Myung Kim. Currently residing in beautiful Savannah, Georgia, S.G. Rogers writes fantasy and romantic fantasy stories. In her former lives, she was a lawyer and an actress, but she’s now grown up and settled down as an author. Drawn to fantasy literature, she resides with her son, husband, and two hairless cats—Houdini and Nikita, which look and act quite a bit like dragons. When she’s not writing, she enjoys practicing martial arts. She and her family live on an island populated by exotic birds, deer and the occasional gator. Although she’s most often drawn to speculative fiction, she’s been known to break away to write other genres. Tab is her beverage of choice, but when she imbibes, a cranberry vodka martini doesn’t go amiss.
 Thanks for stopping by!

Don't forget to leave your email address in your comment to be entered for the LUCKY LEPRECHAUN GIVEAWAY HOP.

Friday, March 16, 2012

CELEBRATE THE WEARIN' O' THE GREEN WITH A CHANCE FOR A BOOK!

Top ‘O The Mornin’ and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! If you're here on Friday, I'm a bit early, but the sentiment is sincere. Welcome to our Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop from March 17th-22nd, sponsored by “I’m A Reader, Not A Writer,” "Books Complete Me," and “Author Cindy Thomas” and featuring giveaways by over two hundred bloggers. My giveaway is open worldwide and is a PDF. copy of HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME to one person who leaves a comment. No hoops to leap through, no gazillion steps, just a comment. Easy, right? If you follow my blog or if you're already a follower and remind me, that will count as a second entry; but it's not necessary to do so to be entered the drawing.



As one who loves almost everything Irish, I love this time of year. Outside, our plants and lawn are greening. Birds are nesting. Spring is a time of renewal and hope. Our place isn't as green as Ireland, but things are pretty nice even here in North Central Texas.


March is Irish American
Heritage Month
Our skies are overcast, which sets the perfect mood for curling up with a book. At our house, we are voracious readers always poised to seize any chance to kick back and read. What should you read? You knew I’d have a suggestion, didn’t you?


Downtown Lubbock, Texas
HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME is a sweet romance set near where I grew up in West Texas. When I was ten, my family moved from a rural area to Lubbock on the high plains. It’s nothing like Ireland, except many of the pioneers who settled there were of Irish or Scot-Irish descent.

Although my family weren’t among those who founded Lubbock or other towns nearby, my hodge-podge ancestry includes many Scot-Irish, and that gives me added reason to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. As if I need a reason!


Derek's Sister will
find him in book two
I love family-oriented books, and love the extended family in this one. HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME is the first of a trilogy about the Corrigan family and their friends and neighbors. Reviews were very good, such as 5 Stars from The Romance Studio. The next book will feature Derek’s long lost sister who will be wooed by his best friend, Rusty McCullough. I’m already building the book in my mind and have an outline written down for the time I have a chance to work on that book.



Derek Corrigan is a true hero. The victim of an abusive father, Derek was adopted at age eight by Sam and Maggie Warren. The Warrens were wonderful parents who loved and encouraged Derek until he excelled at everything he did...with one exception. Women! Derek’s wonderful gift for business failed him with women. In HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME, Derek is a widower with two small children who are his life’s focus. Meg is five and Warren is eight. Although Derek is involved in numerous investments, he considers himself a rancher. Remembering desperation all too well, he uses his wealth and time to give back to those in need, especially his neighbors. He designed and built a gorgeous Spanish-style house across the road from Sam Warren's Georgian-styled ranch home in which he’d grown up.


Courtney Madison is worthy of being called heroine. She is all about helping others and earning respect. Her policeman father died when she was eleven, only a year after her brother Jimmy was born. Courtney’s mom was ill-equipped to earn a living, and the family struggled. Then, when Courtney began junior high, her mom was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis and declined until she soon was unable to work. Courtney picked up the slack by working at an Baker's Books, independent Dallas bookstore, after school. When her mom died, Courtney became Jimmy’s guardian. As the book opens, Courtney is manager of the store, but a new chain store has opened nearby and tanked the independent store’s sales. In an attempt to hold on to his investment, Mr. Baker is coming out of retirement and Courtney and her assistant manager are out of a job. In addition, her formerly sweet brother has become surly and hangs out with a rough crowd. She’s buried under a mountain of hospital bills from her mom’s care, looking for a new job, and confronting her brother’s new attitude. Desperate and barely holding on to a fraying rope, she wonders how or if she can recover and retain Jimmy's guardianship.



Enter Sam Warren, Derek’s adopted dad--or at least Sam's Last Will and Testament. When Sam was hospitalized in Dallas across the room from their mom, he met Courtney and Jimmy. After Sam went home, he corresponded with Courtney. Poor Sam remembered Courtney with a sizable legacy.


Sam left Courtney
a pot of gold.
Did he ever! He left her an estate valued at well over two million dollars! The catch, as Derek explains to her, is that she has to move to West Texas and live on Sam’s farm for one year. Woo Hoo! Not a catch where she's concerned. Instead, she sees a chance to get Jimmy away from his new rough friends, pay off her mother’s medical bills, and maybe...just maybe...get herself a few new things. Rejoicing, she believes her inheritance in West Texas is the answer to all her prayers.

But Courtney learns that while money improves her life, it doesn’t guarantee happiness. You can bet this modern Cinderella encounters problems even a fairy godmother couldn’t imagine! Yes, I'm afraid I was mean to her and threw obstacles in her path. You'll thank me, though, because it makes her triumph even greater. In addition, Derek and Courtney each have secrets which haunt them and complicate their lives.



Available in Print or E-book


And here’s an excerpt from the opening of HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME:


Courtney Madison rushed down the main aisle of Baker’s Books. Warmth enveloped her, a welcome change from the freezing Dallas weather outside. She was hurrying toward her office at the back of the store when a man stepped from the mystery section. Their collision knocked off his western hat and a stack of books from his hands.


“I’m so sorry.” She leaned over to retrieve his things.


“My fault. Let me help.” He bent and grabbed the Stetson.


Her head collided with his and her purse slid from her grasp. Pain radiated across her scalp. She’d be sure to have a bump tomorrow.


Both straightened and stepped back.


She stared at the books she’d knocked from his arms. “How could I have been so clumsy? You must be wondering what’s keeping the rest of the Three Stooges…” When she raised her head, her sentence trailed away.


Cobalt blue eyes met her gaze. He stood a good seven inches taller than she, which put him at about three inches over six feet. A deep tan with crinkled lines at the corner of each eye suggested a man at home in wind and weather. The white line of a scar on one cheek and a tiny crook in his nose added ruggedness to his otherwise breathtaking good looks. Close your mouth before you drool on him.


When she knelt again to retrieve the half dozen or so books he’d dropped, he bent to help, his large tanned hands making short work of the task. A unique scent teased her nostrils, a blend of subtle woodsy toiletries.


He leaned nearer, speaking low. “I thought tornado season started in March, not January.”


A smile spread across his face and created a twinkle in his gorgeous eyes. She knew he meant her, but after an upsetting meeting with her brother’s school counselor this afternoon, combined with her formerly sweet brother’s recent behavior changes, she felt as if she’d been sucked into the vortex of a tornado herself.


Her face heated in a blush. “Speaking in defense of this particular tornado—” she pointed to herself “—I was whirling along nicely until I hit your brick wall.” She pointed to his broad chest and smiled.


He swept up her purse and offered it to her as he rose. She recognized sparks of interest in his twinkling eyes.


“Thanks.” Courtney stood and slid the bag’s strap over her shoulder. Something about him tugged at her memory, but surely she’d recall meeting a man this attractive.


He shifted his reclaimed stack of mysteries and his hat while he gave her an appraising look. The twinkle in his eyes faded and his brows knit. “Are you Courtney Madison?”


Perplexed he knew her name, she nodded, but still couldn’t place him. “Have we met somewhere?”


When he held out his right hand, his smile was polite but cool. “I’m Derek Corrigan.”


“Of course, Sam Warren’s son. Sam showed me photos of you and your children.” She took his warm hand in hers, making her wish she’d worn gloves on her errand. “I was so sorry I couldn’t attend Sam’s funeral.”


Her throat closed and she fought the tears that gathered in her eyes at the mention of Sam’s name. Sighing, she patted their clasped right hands with her left. “And I’m so sorry you lost Sam. Even though you kept your birth name, I know he was your father in all the ways that count.”


“That he was.” His voice grew gravelly. “Appreciated your note and the flowers.”


She smiled up at him. “I’ve missed hearing from him. He was such a dear man.”


He eased his fingers from hers and looked around. “Is there somewhere we could speak in private?”


Embarrassed she’d held his hand for so long, Courtney also became aware that the only other customer in the store now inched closer, obviously eavesdropping. “Let’s go to my office, shall we?”


Here’s the trailer for HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME:



The buy link for print or e-book copies of HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME is www.thewildrosepress.com/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html or at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online stores.


Be sure to leave your email address with your comment if you want to be entered for the free copy of HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME. To discover the other blogs on the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop, click here.


In keeping with St. Patrick's Day, I'm sending you a couple of Irish blessings:

These things I warmly wish for you-

Someone to love,
Some work to do,
A bit O' sun,
A bit O' cheer,
And a guardian angel always near.


May you always have these blessings--
A soft breeze when the summer comes
A warm fireside in winter
And always--the warm soft smile of a friend.



Thanks for stopping by!



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

REVIEW OF MURDER IN THE BUFF

MURDER IN THE BUFF

By Maggie Toussaint
MuseItUp Publishing


Molly Darter is a charming, responsible mother whose job at the newspaper depends on her personally collecting a family-placed obituary from the Naturalist Woods nudist colony. Molly’s conservative policies collide with the colony’s testosterone-laden male leader, Mama Leon. He is convinced the dead woman was murdered and insists Molly is the only person to find the killer’s identity. Molly has her own problems. She is convinced her hunky estranged husband, Hadley Darter, has cheated with her irresponsible and trashy sister, Clarice. Molly needs the newspaper job and that means obtaining the obituary information so she can meet her boss’ deadline.

Forced into investigating the murder, Molly opens a Pandora’s box and learns more than she ever wanted to know about various leading men in Marshview, Georgia. She also learns that she knew the dead woman as the friendly saleswoman at the roadside organic vegetable stand. Now Sheriff Otis Blizzard, the man who beat her husband in the last election, appears to be trailing Molly. Why is that?

MURDER IN THE BUFF is one of the best cozy mysteries I’ve read, and I read cozies frequently. Maggie Toussaint is a gifted author whose wit shines through to provide a fast-paced, hilarious read. The only point in which I disagreed with the plot was that Molly didn’t listen to Hadley’s explanation about Clarice. I won’t belabor that because this was such a fun read with surprising twists and turns guaranteed to provide suspense, laughter, and a smile at the perfect ending. I’d give a 5 out of 5 rating to MURDER IN THE BUFF and recommend it highly!

This book was given to me for an honest and unbiased review. The buy link at Amazon is http://www.amazon.com/Murder-in-the-Buff-ebook/dp/B007HOPSFE/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1331721775&sr=1-6


Mystery and Romance Author, Maggie Toussaint

For more information on Maggie Toussaint and her books, see www.maggietoussaint.com and her blog http://mudpiesandmagnolias.blogspot.com

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 12, 2012

ANN CHRISTINE AND SAFARI MOON

Christine Young,
aka Ann Christine
Born in Medford, Oregon, novelist Christine Young has lived in Oregon all of her life. After graduating from Oregon State University with a BS in science, she spent another year at Southern Oregon State University working on her teaching certificate, and a few years later received her Master's degree in secondary education and counseling. Now the long, hot days of summer provide the perfect setting for creating romance. She sold her first book, DAKOTA'S BRIDE, the summer of 1998 and her second book, MY ANGEL to Kensington. Her teaching and writing careers have intertwined with raising three children. Christine's newest venture is the creation of Rogue Phoenix Press. Christine is the founder, editor and co-owner with her husband. They live in Salem, Oregon.

Website:
http://christineyoung-romancewriter.blogspot.com/


Rogues Angels blog: http://www.roguesangels.blogspot.com/


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Young/350132315013316


Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/achristay
Publisher: http://shop.roguephoenixpress.ieasysite.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=SAFARIMOON

Christine has special gifts for readers who comment.
* A SAFARI MOON bookmark to one randomly drawn commenter at every stop.

* ebook copy of THE GIFT (part of A Valentine Anthology) and STAR CROSSED (part of St. Patricks Day anthology) to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
* One commenter during the tour will win the right to have a character named for them in her next release--either GHOST DANCE (a western historical romance) or REBEL HEART (science-fiction romance)
* Two randomly drawn commenters during the tour will each win a $25.00 GC to Starbucks


Now, here's Ann Christine/Christine Young to tell you her story and about SAFARI MOON:

SAFARI MOON is my first published contemporary novel. Because I usually write historical novels, I decided to use a pseudonym. SAFARI MOON is by Christine Young writing as Ann Christine. I wanted my readers to be able to differentiate between my historicals and my contemporary novels.

I have a contemporary novella, STAR CROSSED, which is part of A St. Patrick's Day tale, and THE GIFT, which is part of A Valentines Day Anthology. However, I wrote these as Christine Young.


Best friends forever or BFF is a common phrase now. But I have always believed one must be a best friend before a lover and before marriage. The major premise of this love story is friendship and how it can develop into true love. The snafus so to speak are the insecurities harbored within both Nyssa and Solo. It seems they both have an angel and a demon resting on each of their shoulders and in some cases whispering words of questionable wisdom.

As to Nyssa's career choices, she is goal oriented, intelligent, and wanting all of the things she thinks will make her happy. She chooses a high-powered profession as an investment broker on Wall Street. Nyssa soon finds she is ill suited for that type of life. Leaving it all behind her she goes home and starts her own business, running a bicycle shop and guided bicycle tours in all parts of the world.

Santorini, Greece
My inspiration for the bicycle tours came from my parents. After they retired they started riding bicycles and eventually discovered a company that gave guided bicycle tours in the U.S. and all over the world. They have been to places such as Bali, Greece, France, New Zealand, Tasmania, Natchez Trace and New England just to name a few. Much of my research came from the tour pamphlets, photos my parents took, and their stories.

The trek to Alaska to photograph wolves is especially important to me. Wolves have always been a misunderstood species. Perhaps the Native Americans understood their true value and their place in the animal kingdom. For a species such as the wolf to come so close to extinction is a crime. So, off my bandwagon, I love wolves, perhaps a shape shifter story is in my future. Of course the shifting would have to be wolf to human.

I am an amateur photographer. I have always wanted to take classes on photography but could never find the time in college. I began my college career as an art major, but soon discovered I wanted more. I became a science major with an art emphasis and a career as a medical illustrator. My portfolio was not good enough to get into one of the five medical illustration schools who accepted about 5 students per year. I did, however, illustrate a few articles for a doctor I knew. I now take pictures of all of our travels and, of course, the granddaughters.



SAFARI MOON Blurb:

Solo St. John, a wildlife photographer, is preparing for a trip to Alaska. Suddenly, Solo finds women of all sorts invading his privacy, his home and his office, all cooing nonsense words and blatantly throwing themselves at him. Solo doesn't know why, and he has no idea how to rid himself of the persistent women. He finally decides to beg a favor of his best buddy, Nyssa Harrington.



In love with Solo for the past ten years and knowing he doesn't return her feelings, Nyssa doesn't want to talk to Solo. She knows if she accepts his phone call, she will not be able to resist the temptation to hope again.



SAFARI MOON Excerpt:


Wanted: A professional wildlife photographer to take pictures in the Alaskan wilderness. Experience first hand a real safari moon. Call(555)381-1252 or send resumes to 2286 Main, Suite 2D Bend, Oregon.

Solo St. John was in the middle of an erotic dream about his buddy, Nyssa Harrington, when the click of his front door shutting brought him to instant alert mode.



Solo looked up, caught a flashing glimpse of a good deal of naked flesh; long legs, perfectly rounded derriere, and a waist he could span with his hands. The intruder's long blond hair curled around her shoulders an inch above the ties of her bikini top.

Then he saw the skunk. He blinked twice.

This woman and the skunk were not the subject of his brief and very strange dream, a fantasy that made his mind speed along at sixty in a residential zone. This was someone he had never seen before and he resented the intrusion.


"Hello," she cooed seductively from his living room. "Will you come out and play?"


The skunk stuck a black and white head around the open door to his bedroom. A second later the animal turned and lifted his tail before disappearing into the living room.


Solo was out of bed and pulling on his jeans before the count of five. Yet in that short time, the lady in question, along with the skunk that was now exploring his fireplace hearth, had taken over his living room.


The lithe, supple blond sported an expensive camera, and all the while the lady in question babbled nonsense words.


"I'm willing, able, and eager." She posed for him, a pose meant to entice.


I would like to thank my hostess, Caroline Clemmons at A Writer's Life, for letting me tell my tale. Remember to leave a comment to qualify for one of Christine's giveaways. Here's where she'll be on her tour so you can comment at each stop and improve your chances of a win.
March 12: A Writer's Life


March 13: Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews

March 14: Novel Reflections

March 15: Sugarbeat's Books

March 16: Megan Johns Invites

March 19: Always a Booklover

March 20: Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem

March 21: Reader Girls

March 22: It Only Takes a Mustard Seed to Make a Dream Grow

March 23: It's Raining Books

March 26: Rachel Brimble Romance

March 27: Carrie Ann Ryan's Blog

March 28: Cocktails and Books

March 29: BookSpark

March 30: I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read!

April 2: Everyday Is An Adventure

April 3: Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess

April 4: Storm Goddess Book Reviews & More

April 5: As The Pages Turn

April 6: Kacey's Kreations
Thanks for stopping by!