Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Welcome Kat Holmes, Ending 31 Days of Blogging Into 2012

What better way to end January's blogging party than with Kat Holmes! Kat Holmes, writer extraordinaire, is a Muse author who is not only prolific but when not writing on her own, partners in a mother/daughter team, Kat being the daughter part. Who is the mother? Anybody?? Win a copy of A Wedding to Die For if you know the answer to this one!
Having read The Lighthouse, I know how well written and entertaining Kat's work can be. The Lighthouse just drips of atmosphere!
But first, let's get to know Kat better with her answers to this interview:

1. What is your favorite book?
I have two. The entire Tapestries series by N.J. Walters and Dark Needs At Night’s Edge by Kresley Cole.

2. Who is your favorite writer?
N.J. Walters. That woman is my hero.

3. How old were you when you were first published?
I was 33.

4. What writing style do you most abhor?
I won’t read horror under any circumstances.

5. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?)
I write on my desktop first thing in the morning when my mind is fresh and ready to go.

6. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript?
That while I like and love the story no one else will and it will be rejected. And it has happened.

7. In what era do you wish you’d been born?
I’m in love with the medieval era.

8. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Had…I think many of us overuse that word especially when writing our first drafts.

9. Which talent would you most like to have?
Hmm I’m not sure. But I think I’d like to be able to play a musical instrument.

10. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Conrad Wroth from Dark Needs At Night’s Edge by Kresley Cole

11. How would you like to die?

What a question. But like most people, I think would prefer to die peacefully in my sleep.


Zip on over to her author page at Muse and see just how many other books of Kat Holme's are offered there! http://tinyurl.com/7xr5agj

Monday, January 30, 2012

Welcome James Hartley, author of Teen Angel and Many Others

Well, hello, Jim! And welcome to This and That. This is a busy man, who is also an author of paranormal short stories, novellas and novels. Just zip on over to his page at MuseitUp Publishing at http://tinyurl.com/87w39nq for a sampling of his work. Good writing and magic abounds. There is not shortage of ghosts, either, but only of the most fascinating kind. Here's a little bit about one of his offerings, Teen Angel:

BLURB: Angie, a teen aged girl, was killed in a tragic accident. As a ghost she became convinced her boyfriend Dickie still loved her, so she decided to return to Earth and win him back. But her timing was a little off -- thirty years off! -- and she found him grown, married, and with teen aged daughters of his own. When she discovered she was stuck there and couldn't return, she figured there was no choice but to break up Dickie's marriage ...

The roar of a motorcycle coming up the driveway and then the
slamming of the front door finally broke the stasis.

Two teen-aged girls entered the room. The older one, swinging a
pink motorcycle helmet in her hand, called, “Hi, Mom! Hi, Dad!”
then spotted Angel and added, “Hey, who’s your friend over

Rick and Lois looked at each other, each mentally willing the
other to the chore of explaining this to the girls. Finally Rick
sat up and muttered, “Here we go again.” Then in a louder voice,
“Angel, I’d like you to meet Brenda,” he continued, pointing to
the one with the helmet. “And Rosalie,” he said, indicating the
younger girl. “They’re our daughters. Girls, this is Angel.
She’s a ghost.”

Brenda did a double take, while Rosalie, currently hooked on
videotapes of Friday the 13th movies, gave a little squeal.

Brenda waited to see if her father would get to the point of the
joke. When he remained silent, she gave in and asked, “Okay,
Dad, what’s really going on here? Why did you say she’s a
ghost?” She paused. “I mean, she’s not wearing a white sheet, is
she?” she concluded in a sarcastic tone.



As if on cue, Brenda, Rosalie, and Angel entered the room.

“Hi, Uncle Walt, Aunt Barb,” chorused Brenda and Rosalie, while
Angel settled for, “Hello, Mr. Smith, Mrs. Smith.” Brenda, who
was closest, passed sodas to the others and grabbed a beer for
herself, saying, “These are for us, aren’t they? Thanks, Mom.”
The three of them settled on the couch.

Rick said, “Wait a minute, girls. Walt came over here to show me
something special. It might be confidential. If it is, you girls
will have to go in the other room. You know you’re not allowed
to listen in on legal business, especially if clients’ privacy
is concerned. What about it, Walt? Should I chase them out?”

“No, no, Rick. Don’t chase Angel out. What I have to tell you is
really about her. And you might as well let the girls stay too.
I’m sure they’ll want to know what’s going on, and they probably
ought to find out.”

“Walt, what in the hell are you talking about?” asked Rick.
“You’re acting like a CIA agent about to date a Russian spy. Did
you just catch Angel selling defense secrets to the KGB, or is
it something worse?”

Angel bristled at this and protested, “Dickie! I wouldn’t do
that! I would never betray my country, or President Eisenhower
either. I’m a loyal American.”

Walt gave her a strange look, and it was obvious he was prepared
to refuse to believe anything she said. Then he said, “Rick, I
really want you to know I’m your friend. I’m on your side, no
matter what it may look like. I don’t know if you’re the victim
in this scam, or if you got caught up in it by accident, or
what. I just want to help you. But even if you’re in it
deliberately, I don’t blame you. I’m sure you had a good reason,
and I’ll help you.”

Rick looked exasperated, and Lois said, “Walt, you are babbling
like a brook. You’re not making any sense at all. Would you
please stop apologizing and start explaining? I would really
love to know what you’re going on about.”

“Yes,” said Barb from the rocking chair, “I think you better get
to the point, dear, before everyone explodes from curiosity.
Just like this cat.” Blackstone had jumped up on her lap, and
she was gently scratching his ears.

“Okay, okay, okay! I’ll get to the point. The point is this girl
here,” he pointed at Angel, “this girl who claims to be a
cousin. She’s a fake. She’s scamming you, after your money, or
something.” He stopped as everybody tried to talk at once and
waved his arms for silence. When it was quiet again, he
continued, “I checked every Gossett in the state of New Jersey,
and not a one of them has a daughter named Angel. Or Angela or
Angie or anything similar. How do you explain that?” Rick
started to say something, but Walt waved him down again with one
hand, pulling papers out of his brief case with the other. He
spread them on the coffee table and said, “Look at these.”

Everybody leaned forward to look, and even Blackstone trotted
over to sniff at the papers. The cat was easily satisfied and
went back over to the rocker and curled up for a nap, but the
others stared longer at Walt’s treasures. He had gotten a copy
of Angie’s school photo from the year before she was killed, and
a number of old newspapers with stories of the accident and
pictures of Angie. The resemblance to Angel was unmistakable,
but neither the Parkers nor Angel were the least surprised by
it. Lois, trying to defuse the situation, said, “Quite a family
resemblance there, isn’t there?”

Walt retorted, “Family resemblance my ass! It’s far too good.
I’ll bet close examination would show plastic surgery. She’s
here to get something from you; I’d bet on that.”

“Well, one out of three ain’t too bad,” muttered Rick under his
breath. Then, in a normal tone, “Walt, we know where Angel is
from, and why she’s here. Thanks for trying to help, but
everything is under control. Why don’t you just relax?” He
leaned back in his chair.

There was silence for a moment, broken only by the squeak of
Barb’s rocker. Then, suddenly, there was a horrible screaming
hissing noise. Barb had rocked onto Blackstone’s tail.
Blackstone rose gracefully into the air, as cats are wont to do
in such circumstances, in an arching trajectory that ended in
Angel’s lap. The big Siamese landed there with all eighteen
claws fully extended and attempted to dig in for safety.
Unfortunately, this proved a painful surprise for Angel, who had
been paying no attention whatsoever to the cat. She in turn let
out a loud scream, but instead of jumping, she vanished. This
left Blackstone in midair, startled that his support had
vanished, before dropping to the couch. He let out one more
yowl, clawed his way up the back of the sofa, over it, and then
vanished from the room, still spitting and hissing. Once
Blackstone was gone, there was silence until finally Lois said,
“Oh, shit!” Walt was still staring at the empty space where
Angel had been, his jaw hanging open in shock.

Barb had a similar stunned look on her face, but she recovered
faster. She started to rock again and said, “I just can’t wait
to hear this.” Walt nodded.

Rick and Lois looked at each other, and finally Rick said,
“Well, you see, er, it’s like this. Angel is a ghost.” He paused
to see what effect this had had on the Smiths. Both looked a
little strained, but neither had fainted at the information, so
he continued, “Angel is the ghost of Angie Gossett, my old
girlfriend. The one you have all the pictures of…there.” He
waved vaguely at the coffee table.


Thanks for dropping by, Jim, and good luck with Teen Angel and the rest of your books! Once again, the buy page for Teen Angel and other of Jim's books is: http://tinyurl.com/87w39nq

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Welcome Susan A. Royal, Author of Not Long Ago

Let's give a big welcome to Susan A. Royal! She's a new author and we all know how exciting that can be. This an opportunity to get to know her better and, frankly, given her answers, she seems like quite a woman. Here's Susan:

First, let me thank Heather for allowing me to be here today. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions since I signed a contract with MuseItUp. I’m thrilled to be considered a part of something so exciting. Soon I’ll be knee deep in edits and finding out what my cover art is going to be. But I can’t wait. Until then, I’ve included an unedited excerpt and a little about the book. I hope you enjoy. Please, remember to look for it. Not Long Ago, is a time travel romance due out June, 2012.
1. What is your favorite book?
Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson

2. Who is your favorite writer?
My new favorite writers are husband and wife team, Ilona Andrews

3. If the answers to 1 & 2 are different, why?
Three Hearts and Three Lions was one of the first time travel books I ever read, and it blew me away. I’ve read it over and over and never get tired of the story. I’ve just discovered Ilona Andrews. Their books are gritty, sexy, humorous and the characters jump off the page.

4. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?)
At the computer, evenings weekends (I don’t watch much television and my “office” is in the laundry room, so I multi-task. I often work out dialogue or get an idea how to move the story forward while I’m taking a break folding clothes or cooking)

5. In what era do you wish you’d been born?
I’m happy living in this era. But I’d love to be able to travel in time and meet people like Robin Hood, Mark Twain, King Arthur, Merlin to find out if they were anything like I’ve read. I’d also like to be able to witness, up close and personal, some of the great events of history—things like the Battle of Culloden, Lincoln’s assassination, days leading up to America’s independence, Pearl Harbor.

6. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Honestly, it changes from book to book. Lately I’ve had a thing about using ‘made their way’. Before that it was ‘just’ and ‘really’ Or I find I’ll use a new word or phrase and like it so much I repeat it unconsciously until I begin to edit.

7. Which talent would you most like to have?
I dabble in a lot of different things, but I’ve always wanted to be able to sing (not just carry a tune) and play an instrument. Since I don’t do either, I get to be audience for my talented family: husband (piano, guitar, singer), my son (guitar, singer) and granddaughter (guitar)

8. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My husband and I have three children: a realist, an idealist and a romantic. We have the son-in-law and daughter-in-law everyone dreams about having. And we have four grandchildren. All distinct individuals, we are constantly in awe of the things they accomplish and take pride in the small part we’ve played in their lives.

9. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
That changes from time to time. Tarzan and Flash Gordon were my early heroes. Tarzan, because he lived off the grid, and Flash Gordon, because he got to travel to other planets. Later Mary Stewart let me follow Merlin’s life from his childhood, and I could see why he might have become the man he did. Diana Gabaldon’s characters, Jamie and Claire Fraser, continue to touch my heart with their abiding love. Harry Dresden makes me laugh, with the predicaments he manages to get involved in. There are so many.

10. How would you like to die? With dignity.
I hope I leave this world because it’s my time to go, and not because I gave up. The message I hope to leave is this: Begin every new day with the idea that life is what you make of it. Embrace it. Don’t grieve over what cannot be. Instead, celebrate what you’ve been fortunate to experience.


Not Long Ago, Debut June 2012

Erin has met the man of her dreams, but as usual there are complications. It’s one of those long distance relationships, and Griffin is a little behind the times-- somewhere around 600 years.

Erin and her employer, March, are transported to a time where chivalry and religion exist alongside brutality and superstition. Something’s not quite right at the castle, and Erin and March feel sure mysterious Lady Isobeil is involved. But Erin must cope with crop circles, ghosts, a kidnapping and death before the truth of her journey is revealed.

Forced to pose as March’s nephew, Erin finds employment as handsome Sir Griffin’s squire. She’s immediately attracted to him and grows to admire his courage, quiet nobility and devotion to duty. Yet, she must deny her feelings. Her world is centuries away, and she wants to go home. But, Erin can’t stop thinking about her knight in shining armor.

After helping Sir Griffin with his armor the next day, he sent me to saddle Bayard and bring him from the stables. When I returned, he waited just outside his quarters, pacing in front of the door and adjusting his armor. It seemed a little out of character for the man I knew, but I suppose it had to be normal for even a seasoned knight to be a little nervous before just before competing in a tournament.

When Bayard and I came to a stop in front of him, Sir Griffin tucked his helmet under his arm and stood ramrod straight, his armor glinting in the sun. With his eyes like quicksilver against his dark lashes and curly hair and his strong jaw and Roman nose only slightly curved, he brought to mind every story I’d ever read about gallant knights in medieval times. I had to bite my tongue to keep from blurting out how handsome, how perfect he looked.

“--Aaron, have ye not been listening? Twice already I have asked, and ye just stand there gawking at me.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, Sir Griffin. My mind was--elsewhere. What was the question?”

“It has been some time since I have spent so much effort on my appearance.” Things were beginning to come clear. He indicated his clothing. “What I mean--is everything right?”

He’s worried about his appearance? What in hell am I going to say without sounding like some awestruck teenage girl? You look hot? You’ll knock ‘em dead? I could only imagine his reaction. “You are the very image of a proper knight, Sir Griffin. No one at the tournament could even hope to match you.” No way could I tell him he looked so good I wanted to–-well, never mind what I wanted. All I could do was gather up his banner along with the rest of his equipment and get ready to follow him out on the field like a good little squire. Damn it all.


Thanks for dropping by, Susan, and best of luck with your book, Not Long Ago!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Welcome Lin Holmes, Author of...A Lot!

Welcome Lin Holmes, a woman I admire for her strength of will, sweetness of nature, and creative output. I first met Lin when we were both newcomers at MuseItUp and she had just had Santa is a Lady published. Since that time, Lin has had many other publications through Muse, too numerous to mention. Her latest, She's Gone, is the focus of her guest blog today. But first, let's get to know the secret, inner Lin a little better with her answers to an interview!

1. What is your favorite book?
That’s easy. The Last Day by Glenn Kleier. I found Glenn’s book when I was fighting my second war against cancer. Glenn spun an amazing tale that holds up a mirror up to modern man, revealing what we would do if the Second Coming of Jesus happened today. Would modern man treat this miracle maker better?

2. Who is your favorite writer?
It would be self-defeating if I claimed anyone but Glenn Kleier after the glowing praise I gave him and his debut book in answer of the last question. However, I have other authors/writers I eagerly await. With Glenn, his writing gave me the courage to live despite cancer. That is a huge gift I will always thank him and his ability to weave a story for. I also love Kat Holmes, my very talented author daughter. She has created a world so rich in detail and history I fell in love with it. I am of course speaking of her Artica Lights series. Frozen, book one, is out and available from Muse It Up Publishing’s Hot side. It tells the story of a land of perpetual winter and it’s lonely queen Awni.

Kat just finished the manuscript for the second book in this series, Reflections Of Ice, and I got to read it while it was still a work in progress. The world I fell in love with in Frozen takes on richer depth becoming a tapestry of Artica, and the Lights that play such a pivotal role in all that takes place in the Artica Lights series.

3. If the answers in 1 and 2 are different, why?
I sort of already explained that, but allow me to elaborate. Since becoming a part of the Muse It Up Publishing Family, I am discovering a treasure trove of wonderful authors with powerful stories to tell. Heather, I read your first book, Murder Is A Family Business and loved it. I have the second, A Wedding To Die For, but haven’t had the time to read it yet. It is waiting for me, on my Kindle.

4. How old were you when you were first published?
I had a poem published in my college paper when I was 18, but 59 when Santa is a Lady, my first Christmas Miracles book came out on 12/1/10. Since then I’ve had Forever With You, The Pendulum Swings, Twilight Comes, In From The Cold, This Time Forever, Beyond Yesterday, Suc-U, Champagne Afternoon, and The Christmas War release from Muse It Up Publishing, with She’s Gone coming out in February 2012.

5. What writing style do you most abhor?
I don’t know. I’m one of those people that sits down at either my computer or with pad and pen and let my inner muse, I call Nudge, write. Is that a style? Or are you speaking about genre? If it’s genre, I steer clear of horror and anything that smacks of BSDM. I read for entertainment, mostly, so reading something guaranteed to give me nighmares is just something I avoid.

6. What is your favorite writing cliché?
Published authors are rich! Whenever I tell anyone I am a published author, they look beyond me for my Porche and disbelieve me when I tell them 99% of published authors have day jobs. Naturally, I have a secret dream of being independently grandiose in the images of say J.K. Rowlings, Norah Roberts, Stephen King, and the late Robert B. Parker, but I have a feeling if I ever achieve that level, I’ll be well into my third life after this one.

7. What is your favorite word?

8. When and how do you type? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?)
Since I am dyslexic, I LOOOOVVVEEE my computer and the spell checker attached to MS Word. All my TYPING is done on my computer, but I also will write on a notebook with pen. (I’m a bit old fashioned that way.)

9. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript?I think like so many other authors, I fear I did not spend enough time polishing it, but I also know you can polish it and polish it and still worry you haven’t done enough. So that’s a Catch-22 situation I just live with every time I send off another baby, hoping it will emerge from it’s pre-natal nursery and emerge from the Publishing House ready to test its land legs.

10. In what era do you wish you’d been born?
I have affection for many eras, so have this eerie feeling I HAVE been born into them. Now if you’d like to know which is my favorite? Hmm! Darned if I know. Each had/has its allure.

11. What words or phrases do you most overuse?
You’d have to ask my editors that. I think my Content Editor would probably say I overuse the word “was”, and she’s probably right…but was was always a good word before. :>)

12. Which talent would you most like to have?
I can’t draw a straight line, even with a ruler, so I’d have to say being an artist. To be able to transfer what I see onto canvas and have others see it too…wow!

13. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
That’s easy. Being a mom. I am so blessed to have Kat Holmes, my very beautiful, talented daughter as my cheering crowd and best friend. I don’t know what I did to deserve her, but am beyond thankful for her.

14. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Right now I’m the only one other than Kat, who knows about him. He’ll debut in my first full length, as in over 375 page book, late Spring 2012 in a book I called Echoes From The Past. His name is Ahoishmahir, and he’ll travel forward and backward through three time eras during the course of the story. When we first meet him, we think he’s either a ghost, or a spirit sent to guide the heroine Dr. Kira Firebird on her quest. The first time we meet him in the flesh, so to speak, he’s a leader of the Anasazi people. In his other time, Lemuria…well, I don’t want to give too much away, but Aho, he’s my favorite.

15. How would you like to die?
With my eyes shut. Yep, in my sleep, please.


I have a book coming out very soon She’s Gone from Muse It Up Publishing that is a mystery with a surprise ending.

A man comes home at the end of a busy workday to a house that shrieks with its emptiness. His wife is gone…kidnapped? The cat is gone? Who kidnaps a wife AND cat? Her side of the closet is empty. But they’d made powerful soul rejuvenating love just that morning. Clues…there are clues, but will he unravel them before it’s too late?

She’s gone!

The silence reaches out and rebounds inside his body. Where is she, was she kidnapped? What kidnapper takes her toothbrush, her clothes, and her cat, but leaves his half of the closet full? What does the puddle of melted ice mean, and the lone glass. All the other dishes from their shared breakfast are in the dishwasher; what does this lone glass mean? They had not fought, if anything they’d made passionate love before both needed to head off to their jobs that morning.

She’s gone!

I should call the police. If we were robbed, and that could be the only answer for this, the thieving bastards had to have kidnapped her too. Along with her cat, Mr. Highbrow.
Struggling to his feet, he clutched onto the doorframe like it was a lifeline. He inched his way against the wall, grabbed the chair back to swing his shaking body around the dresser until he was finally able to press one hand against each side of the bathroom doorway. He peered inside, not sure what exactly he was looking for, but pretty certain he’d know it when he saw it.
On the far wall, beneath the shiny medicine cabinet, his toothbrush stood, a solitary sentinel, where just that morning, there’d been two. What kind of a thief steals a used toothbrush? Obviously one who was into strange ideas of dental hygiene.

She’s gone!

After three rings, Tia’s secretary, Heather McCutcheon answered the phone.
Heather was a sweet kid, a bit scatterbrained and a little bit overtly talkative. “Oh Hi Mr. R. What a surprise. I didn’t expect to hear from either you or Mrs. R., this being your second honeymoon and all. How is Crystal Island? I bet it’s wonderful. I just sat and drooled when Mrs. R. told me all about it. So why are you calling? Did Mrs. R. forget something? You know, she really should leave the office behind and let the rest of us take care of things. What I wouldn’t give for time to go off somewhere exotic at this time of year and just loll around and have fun.”
Jonathan was beginning to think Rod Serling had returned from the Great Beyond, revamped The Twilight Zone, and he’d somehow walked into the middle of shooting. The Twilight Zone had depicted seemingly average Joe’s going about the business of living their lives confronting, all of a sudden confronting warped parallel-like worlds that often tipped them into the realms of mind-blowing insanity.
“Crystal Island?” he repeated dumbfoundedly.
“Yeah. It sounds like a piece of heaven.” She sighed letting him know that Heather was both enchanted and envious. “I asked Mrs. R. to bring me back a couple souvenir stalagmites…or are they stalactites? I can never remember which one grows up and which one grows down.”
Jonathan wanted to scream. He was going to get nothing more from Heather, but he did not want to alert her that her boss lied. Jonathan had never known Tia to lie.
Scrambling to find something safely innocuous to say, he finally spoke, anxious now to hang up the phone and track down travel agents. “Ah, Tia wanted me to make sure you’ve cleared her calendar for the entire time.” he said hoping his probe was subtle enough not to alert Heather to his own total ignorance of his wife’s actions, plans, and reasons for disappearing.
“Oh sure, tell her I even rescheduled Carlton Bradley’s conference. She’s got the whole month free. I’m forwarding any emergencies to our New York office, just like she said I was.” Heather’s voice beamed with pride.
“That’s great, Heather. I’ll make sure I tell her just as soon as she steps out of the shower.”
“You just tell her to have a good time and not to give the office one little thought.”


Buy page for all of Lin's Muse offerings: http://tinyurl.com/7j2ym9o

Friday, January 27, 2012

Welcome, Ingrid Ricks, author of Hippie Boy

I will be honest, I haven't read Hippy Boy yet but plan to do so. After seeing the cover and reading 38 fantastic reviews on Amazon, it's on my to buy list. But first, let's get to know Ingrid a little better:

1. What is your favorite book?
This changes on a monthly basis, but at the moment, I would have to say A Thousand Splendid Suns. I still get an ache in my gut when I think about that story.

2. Who is your favorite writer?

Maya Angelou.

3. If the answers to 1 & 2 are different, why?
Khaled Hosseini, who also wrote The Kite Runner, another favorite book of mine, is an amazing writer and he definitely comes in at a close second to Maya. But Maya Angelou will always be my favorite because she inspires me on so many levels. Her life is the stuff of movies and her ability to overcome such enormous life obstacles and then share her experiences through her series of gripping memoirs blows me away. I’ve learned so much from her stories and essays, primarily that regardless of the challenges you face, it’s up to you to create the life you want for yourself.

4. How old were you when you were first published?
I was twenty-one. I landed a spot on my college newspaper. I still remember my first story. It was about a local movie theater. It was 500 words and took me about twelve hours to write.

5. What writing style do you most abhor?
Dry, textbook-style biographies.

6. What is your favorite writing cliché?
If you want to write, write.

7. What is your favorite word?


8. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?)
I do my best writing at my local coffee shop, Aster. I usually knock out my client writing in the morning, then head over to the coffee shop each afternoon for three hours of writing. I order a double-short soy mocha and always sit at the same corner table if it’s available. I just retired my five-year-old Dell laptop and am now experiencing the luxury of writing on a MacBook Air (and keep wondering how I ever got by without it).

9. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript? Hippie Boy is my first book and the only fear I ever had was that I wouldn’t finish it. Now that I have, I want and hope that the story resonates with readers.

10. In what era do you wish you’d been born?
I would love to be a 60s flower child for a month and hang out in Haight-Ashbury, listening to music and experiencing that lifestyle. A month would be enough though. Then I could come back to my era, which I think is a pretty amazing one.

11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I call my oldest daughter, who just turned thirteen, Sydalicious. It drives her crazy but it’s a habit I can’t seem to break.

12. Which talent would you most like to have?
I would love to be one of those writers who has a true gift with words and can channel those words into a masterpiece that just flows from their fingertips when they type.

13. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Having the courage to go after my writing dream and turn it into reality.

14. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
At the moment, the girl in Little Bee. She’s been through so much, and she is so strong.

15. How would you like to die?
I always joke with my husband that when we’re both in our nineties, we’ll head out one morning for a beach walk and coffee, come back home, sit down in our matching rocking chairs, hold hands, rock back together and both die instantly. Seriously…not a bad way to go.


What would you do if your Mormon stepfather pinned you down and tried to cast Satan out of you? For thirteen-year-old Ingrid, the answer is simple: RUN.

For years, Ingrid has begged her free-wheeling dad to let her join him on the road as a tool-selling vagabond to escape the suffocating poverty and religion at home. When her devout Mormon mother marries Earl―a homeless Vietnam vet who exploits the religion’s male-dominated culture to oppress and abuse her family―she finally gets her wish. Ingrid spends the next few summers living on the margins while hustling tools with her dad and his slimy, revolving sales crew. He becomes her lifeline and escape from Earl. But when her dad is arrested, she learns the lesson that will change her life: she can’t look to others to save her; she has to save herself.

About the Author
Ingrid Ricks is a Seattle-based writer and speaker who focuses on overcoming adversity and embracing life. Her stories have been featured in Salon, Ladies’ Home Journal, The Seattle Times and numerous other publications. Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story, is her first book.

What Others Are Saying:
“A soft-spoken yet resounding reminder of the power plays tied to religion... Ricks’ voice is true, and her prose has a poised confidence missing from the repertoires of many established authors.” Booklist
“Ingrid Ricks has shined a light on American Mormonism no less important than the light Kathryn Stockett shined on the degradation of black maids in "The Help." Hippie Boy" is for anyone who has ever felt left out, alone, bereft, bewildered, betrayed...in other words, everyone.” — Libby Maxey , Pastor, Tennessee
“When Ingrid describes life on the road with Dad, I was reminded of a movie I saw in the 80's staring Ryan O'Neil and his daughter Tatum O'Neil called "Paper Moon"…I would recommend this book to anyone! –Michelle C.

“I gave this book to a friend of mine because I was curious if my reaction to it was normal. Why did I, a man in my forties, relate so strongly to this young girl who I had absolutely nothing in common with? Paul, in his fifties, read it in two sittings and loved it as much as I did. No matter who you are, you won't be able to put the book down until you find out if this indomitable spirit gets her night in a Holiday Inn, a promised gift from her loving but struggling father, support from her troubled mother, and freedom from her dirt bag stepfather who smells like old meat.” –J Craig

“I chose this book because it was a good price to try out my new Kindle, and the premise seemed interesting enough. I did not expect to be totally hooked in to the story. I planned to read this book over several days of commutes, starting on Monday. I was so curious about (and concerned for!) the young protagonist that I devoted Tuesday evening to finishing the last 30% because I couldn't wait unti Wednesday morning.” – Michelle Mann

Amazon Book/Buy Page: http://www.amazon.com/Hippie-Boy-Girls-Story-ebook/dp/B005RGXNVU/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Welcome J.Q. Rose, author of Sunshine Boulevard

Before we get to her interview, let me say that Janet - the name her comrades are allowed to call her - has so much warmth, humor and good will, it radiates from every word she writes. Get a load of her picture. This is a lady bubbling over with life!
If you haven't read Sunshine Boulevard yet, hie thee to the MuseItUp Bookstore http://tinyurl.com/7usad6m and get a copy. It's a novella and absolutely mad fun. I mean, how and why is everybody getting offed in such a peculiar a way? You'll have to buy the book to find out! But first, a little bit more about this imaginative author:

1. What is your favorite book?
I think I am in good company with so many who fell in love with Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.”

2. Who is your favorite writer?
My role model is Mark Twain. He is such a great storyteller and so witty.

3. How old were you when you were first published?
Other than “published” in my school paper, the newspaper published a poem I wrote for the dedication of the city library, but I don’t remember what was dedicated!! It could have been a section for the area museum. I must have been in high school.

4. What writing style do you most abhor?
I like beautiful, flowing descriptive paragraphs, but not when there are paragraphs and paragraphs to read that they stop the action in the story. So give me more action, and not all the description.

4. What is your favorite word?
Today it is 'transcends'. The choice will probably change tomorrow.

5. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?)
Since I am trying to finish my WIP, I have dedicated an hour and a half after lunch to work on it. I usually sit at the desk and type on the keyboard. No pencil and paper for this gal. I type at the speed of sound so I can get my brilliant ideas down as fast as I think of them!!

6. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript? Did I get the editor’s name right?

7. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I overuse “just” and “that.” I just never realized that I used just just as much as I do that.

8. Which talent would you most like to have?
I took piano lessons for about six years as a child and HAD to take a year of piano when in college. I am still a mediocre player. I admire those who can make the keys sing and can play without music. My dad could play any song if you just hummed it to him. Oh yes, and one of his tricks was sitting UNDER the piano keyboard and playing a song with both hands. He was a talented musician, but only for his own enjoyment. I guess I didn’t get that gene. Today would be his 95th birthday, so he his in my thoughts.

9. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
This is a topic we discuss in my workshop for Life Story Writing. So many people think the answer has to be something like I discovered a new planet or developed a new medicine or changed the world. But there are so many kinds and degrees of personal achievement in our worlds. My greatest achievement some days is following a recipe and it comes out delicious. At other times it is listening to my beautiful daughters and realizing how much of a contribution they make to our society. Of course, as a writer, finishing a satisfying project has to be at the top of the list.

10. How would you like to die?
Quickly with no hanging around waiting for it. I am sure all of us wish to die with no pain. After death, I will join a whole choir of angels and we will sing our way to Heaven.

Thanks so much, Heather, for this opportunity to be a guest on your blog and to meet your readers.

Bio: J.Q. Rose

J.Q. Rose grew up in the Midwest amid flat lands blessed with fertile fields of corn and soybeans and wide horizons colored by vivid sunsets. The hard working people there have influenced her life values and writings.
Janet is a wife, mother, and grandmother. Those are the most important facts about her. She is a wife to Ted, mother to their two grown daughters, mother-in-law (ouch), and grandmother to four young grandsons and one two-year-old princess. (Aren't grandmas supposed to sit in a rocking chair on the porch and wear their white hair up in a fly away bun? Not anymore!! )

She taught elementary school, then moved into the small business world when she and her husband owned and operated a floral shop, garden center and greenhouses. After the sale of the business, full-time RVing was the next life adventure as she and her husband chased the sunshine across the country seeing new places and making new friends while working on various projects. This fantastic lifestyle afforded many opportunities for writing travel articles and stories on the RVing lifestyle. Her first published mystery, Sunshine Boulevard, sprang from her experiences as she traveled the state of Florida. Her latest humorous holiday short story, The Good Neighbors, is the result of living in a Florida retirement community.

Janet spends her winters in Florida and her summers up north camping and hunting salamanders, toads, frogs, and snakes with her grandchildren. Blogging and photography occupy her spare time as well as playing her favorite board game, Pegs and Jokers


Sunshine Boulevard, mystery/light horror
Tag line:

Mysterious deaths upset the Florida retirement community interfering with their seasonal activities and turning up more than dead bodies

Who or what is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard? Follow Jim and Gloria Hart, snowbirds who annually migrate to Florida for warm sunshine, fun, and games in snow-free winters. However this season, Jim Hart, a volunteer First Responder in his retirement community of Citrus Ridge, is drawn into the investigation of the mysterious deaths. Even in the midst of the unfortunate demise of the residents on Sunshine Boulevard, the Harts try to enjoy the winter with friends. They don't realize that their friends are getting together for their own kinds of affairs with each other. The neighbors are in a dither over the deaths, but perhaps more intrigued by the gossip about the affairs and why the naked lady was found lying in the geranium bed.

“Jim, Jim!” Gloria threw her keys on the kitchen counter and then stashed her mat and barbells in the hallway closet.
“Jim!” She called louder. He was not in the Florida room. She gingerly stepped from the kitchen to the carport. She darted into the attached shed housing the laundry room with storage in the front and Jim’s workshop in back. She walked through the workshop and out the door to the neat little back yard and found him watering their garden plot.
“Did you hear about George McDonnell?” Gloria shook her auburn hair, compliments of her favorite brand of hair color #118. Her clear blue eyes filled with tears.
“Yes, I heard.” Jim kinked the hose to stop the water flow and dragged it to the faucet on the back of the house. He slowly turned the tap to cut off the stream of water and dropped the hose to the freshly cut grass.
“How sad that he died alone. Oh, Jim, he wasn’t discovered for so long his body just ro...” She couldn’t say it.
“Gloria, come in the house. I have to tell you something. I don’t want the neighbors listening in on this conversation.” Gloria knew her husband of thirty-five years well enough to realize something wasn’t right.
As they stepped into the bright kitchen, Jim turned to her. Looking straight into her eyes, he said, “Royce called this morning. George’s death was peculiar. I guess, that’s what the Medical Examiner is saying.”
Jim was friends with the county M.E., Royce Williams. They worked together on investigations involving the First Responders Unit. Living in a retirement community, the Medical Examiner and medics were frequent visitors. An ambulance at a home was not a significant event at Citrus Ridge. It was part of life and death.
“Royce told us George’s body did not rot. It couldn’t have decomposed that quickly because Miss Lottie checked on him every day when she brought him the mail in the afternoon. She delivered it the day before he died. He was alert and talked about the weather.
“When Lottie called 9-1-1 at one o’clock yesterday, she was so upset she couldn’t even speak. They traced the call to her house. When the police arrived, she only pointed to George’s house.”
Jim stopped a minute. Gloria saw the anguish in his face. “They discovered George sitting in the living room in his recliner. His body was mustard yellow. His clothes were melted to his body. The odor was not a rotting smell, but rather like burning or scorching. In fact the fabric in the chair was charred. Ron was the first responder. He told me when he and the paramedics touched the body, it turned to powder.”
Gloria cried out in disbelief. She covered her face with her hands. “Dear God. What happened, Jim? What could have caused such a thing?”
“Ron arrived at the scene first. You know Ron. Always talking and telling greatstories.” Gloria remembered the usually fun-loving raucous Ron.
“Royce told me there was such a look of horror in Ron’s eyes. He was traumatized by what he saw. Ron told him he moved George’s wrist, and his hand fell making a pile of yellow ashes on the floor.”
“Dear God.” Gloria sat down at the dining room table feeling nauseous. Jim wiped his eyes. “I don’t know how Ron and Lottie will ever forget this nightmare.”

Sunshine Boulevard is available at Muse It Up Publishing Bookstore
http://tinyurl.com/2c53noz and

Amazon.com http://tinyurl.com/4czwr6h

bn.com http://tinyurl.com/4442b94

as well as at many online booksellers.

The Good Neighbors is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0066CYXQI
All royalties support local food pantries.

J Q Rose Website http://www.jqrose.webs.com

J Q Rose Blog http://www.jqroseauthor.blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Welcoming Dianne Hartsock, Author of Trials of a Lonely Spectre

This is a intriguing cover and makes you want to read this paranormal short story. The blurb sounds fantastic! But first, a little bit about Dianne, who reveals a lot through her interview.

1. What is your favorite book?

Out of all the questions I’m asked, that’s still the hardest one for me to answer. Which genre, is what I ask in return. But if I had to choose, it would be The Return of the King by Tolkien. I think of the trilogy as one book, but the ending in this one breaks my heart every time I read it. Frodo is the perfect hero. I wish I could have known him.

2. Who is your favorite writer?
Again, which genre! I’m a veracious bookworm with lots of favorites. At the moment I have to say its C. J. Cherryh. I’ve been reading her books for the past thirty three years and have fallen in love with all of her heroes. I’ve only recently discovered her scifi stories (yea!) and have whole new worlds to explore through her. Her plots are intense, her characters believable and likable.

3. If the answers to 1 & 2 are different, why?
That’s a very good question! I love the fantasy world Tolkien’s created and hide away in it now and again. And he’s definitely influenced my writing the most. Not style! I couldn’t dream of being that good. But when I read his books, my mind seems to expand with possibilities.

Cherryh, on the other hand, writes in a more contemporary style, and they’re just darned good books!

4. How old were you when you were first published?
I’m not telling! But besides a short story in the local paper when I was sixteen, my very first publication was last May. But what a year I’ve had! My greatest joy was when my paranormal thriller novel ALEX was published. I can’t tell you the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment I feel when I hold the print book in my hands. I also have four short stories published as eBooks with a few more on the way.

5. What is your favorite word?
Hope. It doesn’t matter how successful/unsuccessful, happy, sad, in love or not; there’s always hope for a better tomorrow. There’s a Christmas display at a house I pass every evening on the way home from work during the Christmas season with the word HOPE prominently displayed. It fills my heart with peace every time I see it.

6. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?)
I work full time as a floral designer, so in order to get any writing done I have to adhere to a very strict schedule. Up at 7a.m. to write for an hour before work. Home at 6p.m. to make dinner. My husband wakes early for his job so he’s in bed by 8:30, when I write for another three hours. Yikes! I try not to think about it too much. Keep in mind, this includes all my time on FB, Twitter, blogs and promoting—all the distractions of the internet! I am blessed with having a day off during the week, though, that I also devote to writing. Let me tell you, it’s now my favourite day of the week!

7. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript?
After the long hours and hard work, laughter, tears and joy we put into a MS, I don’t think anyone can help feeling a little anxious about submitting. But a few years ago I had an incident I’ve never forgotten. I’ve spent several years working on a fantasy novel, still without any takers! Anyway, I received from one of the publishing houses I submitted to about the worst rejection letter imaginable. Not only did they have no interest in my story line, but they attacked my query letter as well, pointing out its glaring flaws and commenting on how unprofessional it was. Sure, I was just starting out and made some mistakes, but I still don’t see the point behind their bluntness. A standard rejection letter would have been kinder. Now I always have that niggling fear of someone’s cruelty with words.

8. Which talent would you most like to have?
I still dream of one day painting in oils. I can’t tell you why! I’m not really sure myself. But I like to think I paint in words and in my flower arrangements. There seems to be a need in me to create something beautiful on canvas as well. I just have to find the time for lessons!

9. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My children, of course! I have two fantastic kids, both in college and on their way to wonderful futures, God willing.

10. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
I've been reading the wonderful 'Fortress' series by C.J. Cherryh. Books to fill you with joy and longing and wonder and magic... The perfect escape. And the hero, Tristen, engages all my sympathy. I have a secret crush on him, but don’t tell anyone!

'...they would ride out simply to see the winter and to hear what Tristen would say of it, how he would wonder at things men simply failed to look at, past their childhoods.
But, oh, how precious those things were! To look at the sky, breathe the cold wind, have fingers nipped by chill and skin stung red and heart stirred to life, gods, he had been dead until Tristen arrived and asked him the first vexing question, and posed him the first insoluble puzzle, and marveled at hailstones and mourned over falling leaves. What miracles there were, all around, when Tristen was beside him...' –The Fortress of Eagles


The Trials of a Lonely SpecterMuseItUp Publishing http://bit.ly/rhfkBG

There’s been an accident. Quinn believes he’s dead, though Liam insists otherwise. But if that is the case, why does Quinn see the two of them as ghosts? And why does Liam play along? Exposed to mediums and apparitions, Quinn has to make a decision: either accept his fate or risk everything to trust Liam one more time.

Thank you, Heather, for having me as your guest today. Hope your New Year is going wonderfully! You can find me at:

Blog: http://diannehartsock.wordpress.com/
FB: http://www.facebook.com/diannehartsock
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/diannehartsock
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4850270.Dianne_Hartsock

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome Scarlett Valentine, author of Awakening

Join me now and meet the talented, award-winning author, Scarlett Valentine. She's cornered the market on romance, love, and not just a little good, old fashioned lust. Don't believe me? See the excerpt below of Awakening. This section is hot, hot, hot! But first, Scarlett's interview, where we learn more about her and her delightful sense of humor.

1. What is your favorite book?
If this is a question about what one book I’d take to a deserted island with me, the one book I’d read forever and ever, you’d still be waiting for me to board the boat. There are so many good books out there. I just couldn’t decide!

If you were to ask me my favorite genre, then I’d have to say romance and most of its subgenres . . . historical, contemporary, erotica, suspense, etc. I love a good love story with a happily ever after.

2. Who is your favorite writer?
Just as I couldn’t choose a favorite book, I couldn’t pick just one favorite writer. I love romance, but that’s not all I read. For example, I enjoy historical fiction by Elizabeth Chadwick. For romantic suspense, it would be Linda Howard. For thrillers/straight suspense, Dean Koontz. Literary fiction, John Steinbeck, etc . . . But I couldn’t pick just one author to cover all books.

3. If the answers to 1 & 2 are different, why?
I have eclectic reading tastes, and I’m a very moody reader. I could have two or three books on the go at one time and read the one I’m in the mood for. This is probably why I really love digital books and ereaders. Load up my Kindle of all my favorite books and then I’ll get on the boat destined for a deserted island  (as long as I have a solar powered recharger with me too)

4. How old were you when you were first published?
Well . . . I did self-publish in the 5th grade, but I don’t think that counts. My writing career started back in 1995 when I wrote some promotional materials. Around the same time I started reviewing books. Then I published travel articles starting in 1998. It wasn’t until 2006 that my first fiction was published, and since then I’ve had several stories published. (notice how I actually avoided the whole age question?)

5. What writing style do you most abhor?
I really dislike passive or lazy writing. I know we all do it at some point, or it slips into our work when we’re not looking. But books that are rife with it are really annoying and difficult to read. I want to use a red pen and send corrections back to the editor! That’s right. The editor. No matter how passive an author’s work is, the editor should have worked that out with the author before publication.

6. What is your favorite writing cliché?
I think they’re all annoying and try to avoid them like the plague! You can always tell which authors are babes in the wood by their word choices. I believe clichés are screaming meemies begging to be brought to heel. In this day and age, authors are barking up the wrong tree by letting clichés rule the roost in their writing. It doesn’t take much to think outside the box and come up with a unique way of laying it on the line.

Do you really want me to go on? I can do this all day!

7. What is your favorite word?
I really love words and names. The more unusual the more I like them. It’s too hard to choose just one, but some of my favorites include: Love . . . Honor . . . Loyalty . . . Puppies!

8. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?)
When? You know, I don’t have a schedule other than my natural inclination is to begin mid to late afternoon and keep going past midnight. However, now that I’m married, I’ve had to adjust my schedule. Evening time is the only time I get to see The Man and I would miss him too much if I locked myself away from him to put a few words on a page.

How? Probably like most of us these days—on my computer. Until last February, I’d be found anchored to a big desktop machine. I got tired of that and bought a laptop. It’s not my first. I’ve gone through many machines in my writing life. But I found a great sale price on the brand I love and couldn’t help myself. And that it has a candy red case didn’t hurt either. It’s quick—much quicker than my old desktop. It’s flashy (did I mention it’s candy red?). And it means I can take it anywhere. Sounds like a sportscar, doesn’t it? Really, it is. Love it! Of course, now my desktop seems all that much slower, so I see a new desktop in my future!
Where? Nowadays I usually write in our dining room, which overlooks our big grassy back yard, a huge pasture and the back of a bog where turf is still hand-cut in the traditional way. It’s an awesome place to watch the seasons change

9. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript?
That the publisher or agent ignores me. More and more I’m seeing this on their websites—“If you don’t hear from us within 4-6 months, please to not query, as we’re not interested.” Well, how do I know if they even received my query or submission in the first place? The internet email delivery system is about as reliable as the real post. Stuff does get lost or go into spam folders by mistake or simply overlooked.

10. In what era do you wish you’d been born?
I like the era I was born in, but I think it would be interesting to pop into different eras for a week or so just to see what things were like . . . like maybe Renaissance times to attend some of those grand balls and wear an over the top gown!

11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
The phrases and words I overuse are usually curse words. My favorite curse is ‘crap in a handbasket’. I know. I’m very bad. I use it so much the dogs run when I say it.

12. Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d love to be able to sing or play a musical instrument. I love music and it irks me that I can’t make any. I learned to play guitar in school but I didn’t have a good teacher so I wasn’t inspired to keep it up. I’ve thought about buying another guitar and try to relearn, but it’s still just a thought. Mostly because I haven’t had the time. And because I’ve considered learning a different instrument. Just can’t decide between an Irish flute or harp!

Or did you mean special talent? Like flying. Yeah, I’d like to fly!

13. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’m not sure. My ego generally isn’t that big. I do aspire to things—being a good friend, and good person in general; being honest in all things; and try to be my word.

14. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Currently, Richard Castle. Okay, I know he’s technically not a hero in the traditional sense, but I love this character. He’s quick –witted, charming and creative, but he’s also everything I look for in any hero—honorable, loyal, brave, not afraid to love, and he’s sexy as hell while he’s doing it.

15. How would you like to die?
Wait! I’m not immortal? Aah, man!!


Awakening by Scarlett Valentine

Ysbail of Ellesmere is a pawn in her guardian's war. For decades there has been unrest between the marcher lords and Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd, King of Gwynedd. The most recent war had been the bloodiest she could remember in her eighteen years. Madog ap Maredudd, Prince of Powys, and his allies lost untold numbers of men at the hands of Owain's soldiers. When a settlement of truce is presented to Madog, it's at Ysbail's expense. She is to marry Bedwyr ap Owain, one of King Owain’s bastard sons, and his most notorious henchman. If all the rumors and stories she's heard are true, she knows her marriage will be rife with horror and fear.

Since proving himself worthy with his sword, Bedwyr fights at his king's side. He's shed oceans of blood and sent untold numbers of men to their graves. He's become what his name foretold—the grave-knower. He's afraid of nothing, least of all death. All men fear him, including those who fight at his side, and sometimes even his own king. Terror of him lives within women's hearts; only the bravest of whores accept him into their beds. And children weave their own tales of the monster they hear him to be, embellishing the details to their own gruesome degrees.

When King Owain informs Bedwyr that he's to marry Ysbail of Ellesmere as part of a peace settlement with Madog, Bedwyr is furious. A man such as Bedwyr can only survive on the battlefield. For without love, hatred will send a man like him to the edge of insanity. Then push him over. But when Bedwyr sees Ysbail for the first time, blood-thirst turns to blood-lust, and he vows to show her that she should have no fear of him.

Rhyd Ddu, mountains of Eryri, Cymru—1149

“Take it off, Ysbail.”
She stood her ground, shoulders back, gazing into her husband’s black eyes, daring him to make her.
Their marriage was still fresh in her mind, as was the humiliating bedding that followed. He had granted her some respect in the task by ushering would-be witnesses from the chamber, but he had done no more than that before laying her on the bed, lifting her gown, and taking her most precious possession. While he had apologized for what must be done, she still had not liked it. His taking of her had been swift and every bit as horrible as she had heard it would be.
Her father, Alun ap Wnffre of Ellesmere, had been the governor and close friend of Madog ap Maredudd, Prince of Powys. Her mother had died in childbirth, and Ysbail had barely been out of swaddling when her father was killed fifteen years previously during one of the frequent border wars. Madog had promised to raise her until she was of marriageable age. With the rapidity of the event, she felt Madog could not wait to be free from his responsibility. So, afraid she might bolt, he had waited until her arrival in Oswestry from her home at Ellesmere to tell her of her betrothal.
He was right to worry, for she was to marry Bedwyr ap Owain, one of King Owain Gwynedd’s bastard sons, and his most notorious henchman. Legends preceded Bedwyr. She grew up hearing tales of his bloodlust and the carnage left in his wake. He was what his name foretold, for Bedwyr meant grave-knower.
“Take it off, Ysbail. I would see you now.”
She inhaled sharply at his repeated command, his gaze piercing through the chamber’s heavy shadows. The only light came from the small fire in the hearth, which only served to enhance her husband’s fearsome visage.
Bedwyr was not unpleasant to look upon. Had she not already known of his reputation, and despite the scar crossing his left brow, she might have called him handsome. Dark, unruly waves hung about his shoulders. More often than not, they also shielded his eyes and hid high cheekbones. Belying his shaggy and unkempt appearance, he preferred a shaven face, which accented his ever-present scowl and served to deepen his features. His smile, if it could be called such, looked more like a snarl—the white of his teeth being the only brightness about him.
Just the size of her husband should have frightened her, never mind his looks. But in the time it took to travel from Oswestry to Bedwyr’s keep high in the mountains, he had been nothing but considerate and thoughtful. He had not tried to bed her again during their journey, but she knew once they arrived he would waste no time forcing himself upon her. He was a man after all. At least he had given her a pair of weeks to adjust to her new home before making it clear he would come to her. Earlier in the day, he had ordered she and her meager belongings be moved into his chamber. The lustful look she saw on his face told her in no uncertain terms that he would take her again this night.
She knit her brows together, hoping to emphasize her scowl and displeasure at what was to come. When she made no effort to yield to him, he reached up and pulled free the laces at the top of her gown. He slipped a single finger under the edge of the fabric, letting the back of it brush one of her nipples. She gasped at the sensation.
“Remove it or I will do it for you.” His voice was deep in timbre and low in volume, yet spoke of his determined insistence. Stranger or no, she knew she would do his bidding or suffer his wrath.
She felt her nostrils flare as she breathed deeply, trying to control her racing heart.
With trembling fingers, she loosened the ties and pulled the gown over her head, letting it fall to the floor beside her. The fabric of her shift rasped her breasts. She knew without looking down that her bosom was well in evidence, for the look on her husband’s face told her.
“The shift as well.”
She swallowed hard while continuing to gaze at him. She kept her spine stiff, refusing to cower before him. She would not let him see her apprehension.
Removing the final barrier between them, she let it slip from her fingers onto the pooled gown.
It was her wifely duty to give her husband what he wanted without their private chamber, and within. Her only solace was that if the task went as quickly as before, she could endure it. Just.
“Ysbail,” he murmured, gawping at her and unmoving. Was there a hint of surprise in his voice?
Perhaps he had changed his mind about bedding her once he saw her petite form and the smallness of her breasts. Now that he was seeing her fully for the first time it was very possible she repulsed him.
Not so, she found. Her flesh prickled as he raked her with his burning gaze. When she tried to shield herself, he gently brushed her hands away.
“No, cariad. Do not hide yourself from me. You are exquisite. I wish to look at you.”
Reluctantly, she lowered her arms to her sides. Bedwyr touched every bit of her with his gaze. The defiant flush she felt on her cheeks a moment before now warmed her entire body. Or was it heat from the fire prickling her naked flesh?
He stepped slowly around her and came to a stop at her back. She would not look to see what he was about. She squeezed her eyes shut and wished it over with, whatever was to come.
Then his warm, battle-roughened hands were on her shoulders. He sought not to still her or keep her from running — ‘twas just a touch. Her bedding had been little more than pushing her skirts about her waist. He had not even touched her when he leaned over her and thrust himself into her. But now . . .
His hands slid across her bare shoulders to the nape of her neck. Licks of fire trailed in the wake of his fingers. A moment later she felt him unweaving her hair from the long plait she wore. He finger-combed the strands and spread them over her shoulders, the long fair curls tickling her breasts. Her heart quickened at his gentleness.
Then his head dipped to her nape and she heard him inhale, long and slow.
"Mmmm—" His breath washed across her flesh.
Bedwyr stroked the length of her arm. Taking her right hand in his, he placed delicate kisses on her fingertips, her palm, her inner wrist. Fire raced through her to pool in her belly. The sensation ignited something within her, and it was not entirely unpleasant.
She looked up over her shoulder and their gazes met once more. The look in his black eyes had softened, yet at the same time had become more intense. A length of dark hair fell over his face, further shielding his expression in the shadows. Not that she could name it. She was ignorant in the ways of lust, but she felt sure that would change when this night was over.
She looked away. Emotions whirled inside her. She did not want a repeat of her bedding, yet Bedwyr’s touch ignited something within her with just a light touch and the way he looked at her.
He tilted her head sideways and whispered in her ear. His breath stole along her nape.
“You shake. You have no need to fear me, cariad. I will not harm you. I will honor you each time we are together. Especially in this.”
“There is no . . . honor . . . in this.” Her voice betrayed her with its breathlessness.
“No honor? I am sure it was a shock to learn of your betrothal as you had, then forced to surrender yourself to a stranger in such a barbaric way. But, were I any other man, I would not have waited this long for you to heal from your bedding. I would have had you on your back many times by now, with my cock buried deep within in you.” He ground his erection against her bottom as if to prove his point.
She emboldened herself. “If that is what you want, then take me and get it over with.”
Bedwyr growled. “You know not what you tempt me with, gwraig.”
“I tempt you with nothing. I only wish to get this over with. If you wish to honor me, I pray you do not toy with me. If this is what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life, I would rather have it done quickly than have blood sport made of me.”
“Oh, Ysbail, I will toy with you. But there will be nothing quick about it.”
Ysbail did not want him to see her alarm at of his promise. She was sure she was not afraid of him, but the reality of what was to come crept over her suddenly, stealing her strength.
Bedwyr slid his tongue along the edge of her ear. Her belly quivered with the sensations shooting through her.
“Does this pain you?”
“Nay,” she gasped.
His lips moved to the curve of her nape and placed a kiss on the delicate flesh there. “And this?”
“N-nay, my lord.”
When he palmed her breast, he seemed to rob her of her senses. He rasped his thumb across her nipple, rolling it into a stiff peak. Pinching it lightly weakened her knees. Her body felt suddenly weak. Were it not for his strong arm around her waist, she would surely collapse onto the flagstones.
“And what of that?”
How could she reply without breath in her lungs?

Awakening can be purchased at:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Meet Killarney Sheffield, author of Guilty Kisses, among others!

I love it when historical novelists visit. Such history! Such passion! Such writing! And another PG-13, so pass the fan. I need to cool off.
Let's have a round of applause for Killarney, who's a real go-getter, personally and professionally. For example, Killarney spent months trying to get the rights to Lawrence Gowan's song, 'Love Makes You Believe' for her Guilty Kisses book trailer, and finally succeeded where many others would have long given up (like me). Being the doll she is, she now offers all proceeds of Guilty Kisses - until Feb 15th - to MusiCounts.ca to help keep music in schools, done in honor of the Canadian singer/song writer. Visit her website at http://author-killarney-sheffield.spruz.com/ for more information on this.

Guilty Kisses, Historical Romance - Released June 2011 from MuseItUp Publishing Ltd.

She almost wished it was a dream, for dreams returned and had no consequences or guilt.

Blurb: When Lady Cassandra is visited by a thief in the dark of night, she finds her body awakened in a way that her husband's touch has never stirred her desires.

However there are consequences for even a brief stolen night of passion that leave Cassie in dire straights. She turns to the only one she thinks can help her...but will he come before it is too late?

Comte Cohen Ashton's mission is to retrieve a priceless artifact and return it to its former country of origin. He doesn't expect to have his heart stolen by his sworn enemy's lovely young wife or to discover a treasure of his own making that is more valuable than any other.

In the midst of a war between England and France, Cohen must save them both from their folly and Cassie must forgive herself her own sins. Can they prevail or will their fates be sealed by guilty kisses?

The figure crept along the corridor, his dark clothing blending into the shades of shadows, and then slipped into the parlor. A single lamp burned on the table across from the Egyptian statue. Its bejeweled eyes winked in the flickering light, as if privy to some immensely wicked secret. The cracksman moved soundlessly across the carpet and stopped before the pedestal, with bated breath, listening for any sign his presence had been discovered. All was eerily quiet in the mansion. Expelling his pent up breath, the man reached up and closed his glove encased hands around the statue. With a practiced touch he eased the archaic feline from its perch, so loving the thrill of the hunt. The quest for this treasure had been exciting, although as easy as petting its loafing namesake. Perhaps thrice as risky.

With a cocky smirk, he paused to listen before tucking the ill-gotten treasure into the satchel at his waist. Pride made him stay his retreat for the briefest second and pat the object before slinking back into the inky recesses of the hallway. The man faded into the dark corridor in the hope of making an inconspicuous exit. Without a sound, the study door opened, spilling a shaft of light into the hall across his path. Caught off guard, he darted into the servant’s stairwell. Voices breached the silence.

“…retire for the night, Bernard.”

“Yes, my lord.”

A second of frustration permeated his calm. Damn! The earl should be long in bed by now. The stairwell was not a good place to hide in case a servant happened by. They would surely raise the alarm if an intruder was spotted lurking this late in the evening. Thinking quickly, he slunk up the stairs to the second floor. A smile rode his lips. The rope and grapple in his satchel would come in handy, experience telling him it was best to be prepared for any situation. It would make climbing down from one of the windows on the second floor easy.

Topping the landing, the thief peered down the long hallway. A door closed and footsteps approached the bottom of the staircase. He eased back into the murkiness. The first room on his right would suffice as a hiding place for the moment. With a last nervous glance behind him and a twist of the door handle, he slipped inside, closing it softly behind him. It took only seconds for his eyes to adjust to the meager firelight before locking the door. A pink robe lay across the back of one of the chairs nearest the fire. The female occupant of the room must already be in bed, since the fire had burned down to glowing coals. Silently he crossed the room to the window beside the bed, freezing at a rustling sound accompanied by a soft sigh; then turning and peering at the bed. The curtains were drawn to protect the occupant from drafts. He hesitated before easing the curtain back, the light from the fire cast a pale glow on the sleeping figure. She sighed again and rolled in her slumber toward the edge of the bed.

He leaned closer. The firelight enhanced her delicate beauty as her lips parted. A blonde curl caught in the edge of her sleeping mask, slid free to caress her creamy cheek. He ducked inside the curtain, dropping it back in place.

“My lord?” she murmured, still half in dream hibernation. “I have not readied myself for you.

You did not tell me you would visit tonight.”

His lips clenched together to keep his amusement in check. The woman believes I am her ancient husband, come to claim his marriage rights. The thought of the withered old earl being able to perform any matrimonial act amused him.

A slamming door somewhere downstairs distracted him from his reverie. Footsteps hurried down the hallway outside the bedroom. Has the missing statue already been discovered? The front door opened and voices carried from outside. Damn! If I try to escape out the window now they will surely catch me. I have to find somewhere to hide until I can figure out another route of escape.

“My lord?”

The woman had rolled onto her back, and now lay stiff, with her arms at her side. Good Lord! Is she waiting for the decrepit earl to make love to her?

The hounds outside began to bay. Already they are searching for my trail. I will have to lie low for a few hours until I can make good my escape, but where? A glimmer of an idea sparked, and then flamed to life. Here, with her. As long as the woman thinks I am her husband, I will be safe. No one would think to look for me with her. With the drapes pulled, can I fool the lady?

Guilty Kisses buy page: http://tinyurl.com/6sjaohc

Want more from this talented writer? Here are the covers of two of Killarney other works, Stand & Deliver Your Heart & The Horseguard's Lady, also well-received:

Buy links- Stand & Deliver Your Heart & The Horseguard's Lady


Visit http://author-killarney-sheffield.spruz.com/forums/ for her reviews!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Welcome Cyrus Keith, Author of The Nadia Project

Before I introduce Cyrus Keith, I would like to say I'm in the middle of reading Becoming Nadia, Book One of the Nadia Project, and relishing every word. What Cyrus has in common with Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, informally known as the "Big Three" of science fiction writers, is his ability to ask the deeper questions of life -- such as who or what is God, why are we here, what does it mean to be human, and why is life worth living -- while writing one helluva scifi story. He, like the three writers I previously mention, take the art of science fiction writing and catapult it into timeless literature, using the tools of a 'what if' future and remarkable talent. I am very proud to belong to the same publishing house as this fine writer. Without further adieu, Mr. Cyrus Keith.

Happy new year, everyone. I just got back from one of those things that make up what we call "life" around the Keith Household.

One question I get quite often is something along the lines of, "How do you find time to write, with everything else going on?" Well, to tell the truth, sometimes I wonder myself. I work full time and serve as a musician on my church worship team. Somewhere in this eclectic mix, I have to be a dad and a husband, and up to last year, I was also an assistant scoutmaster for my younger son's boy scout troop and children’s' minister. In between all of that, I managed to write two novels, one of which has been selected as a finalist for Best Thriller at EPICon as well as a Preditors and Editors' Top Ten Finisher for Best Thriller novel.

The sacrifices a writer's family make to help him or her achieve a dream that may or may not (most likely not) be fulfilled cannot be understated. My wife and kids gave so much of themselves to let me sit and type in my off times, I can never repay them. I can find time to write largely because of their grace. But sometimes, things just jump up and bite you in the nose, and you find yourself taking an unintended vacation from the word processor.

Take the last week. Our oldest son has a genetic disorder that disfigured his body and required eight spinal surgeries, not to correct his condition, but to just stave off the horrid side effects of his condition. I was supposed to be in rewrites for "Critical Mass," the last installment of my series The NADIA Project. Life had other plans for me, and one thing that must be held in balance is the priority of family. So in between the surgery waiting room and the recovery room, nights spent in a nearby hotel (we live several hours from the hospital), worrisome hours spent handling post-op nausea and a stressed out wife, Cyrus Keith the Writer took a backseat to Cyrus the husband and dad. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

That's one great thing about the atmosphere Lea Schizas cultivates at Muse It Up Publishing. I somehow think that if I didn't take that time off to take care of my family, she would have been disappointed in me as a writer, because if it's one thing we must do as writers, it's to keep our priorities straight. I've seen so many other writers at our house go through issues from basic stress to major family crises time and again, and without exception, the qualities of our people shine through in where their families are in their order of business.

So anyway, back to the other question: Where do I find time to write? I could try to make vague allegories about jars and stones and sand, but the truth is, sometimes I don't know. I just know that God gives us enough grace to do what we were born to do, in spite of whatever else comes up in our lives, and when I write, I can feel Him smile at me.

I'd like to show you a sneak peek at my latest work, Critical Mass, coming soon. (Disclaimer: excerpt is unedited):

It had been dark for some time. The rain had moved on, leaving the pavement with a sheen that whispered with every passing car. Scud clouds overhead trailed the thunderstorm like remoras behind their shark. The moon cast its wan light between them, a pitiful challenger to the flickering neon of the street below.
The city's diurnal population was at home and in bed. That left the nighthawks, those who thrived in the hours between sunset and dawn. They worked, played, lived, and loved in dark hours. And some of them died there.
The crowd at the Tap Tavern began to thin out about one in the morning. By ones and twos, they filtered through the front door and into the street, fanning out to home, to work, or to other purposes known only to them. By two o'clock, only the closing crew remained, a couple of vague shadows moving beyond the frosted glass of the large windows flanking the door.
A small brown coupe sat parked across from the alley mouth in the dark of the early morning. Traffic was lighter now than it was at eight o'clock, but was still busy enough to conceal the lone occupant seated behind the wheel. With stubborn, unhuman will and deadly purpose, the figure waited for the rest of the lights to go out in the tavern. At ten minutes after three, patience was rewarded. The glow behind the picture window extinguished. A side door opened and shut, and a shadow separated from the building and shambled down the alley.
The coupe's door opened, and a compact, athletic figure emerged into the dimly lit street. The young woman glanced both ways and trotted across, following the figure up the alley. With silent skill enhanced by superhuman agility, she sidestepped cardboard boxes and cats alike. Despite the deeper darkness, she could see as if the way was lit by a full moon. Her hearing, finely tuned on top of her superior talent, picked up every whisper of paper, every scuttle of tiny feet, every rustle of a wing. She didn't have to see her quarry; she should be able to hear him, as long as he didn't suspect—
Halfway down, she stopped. Something wasn't right. She turned her head, tuning, homing—there it was! Someone breathing—
He broke from behind a dumpster and took off at a dead run, scattering rats and garbage across the wet pavement. Even with Jenna's enhanced reflexes, he had a modest lead before she could take up the pursuit.
Block after block he led, dodging and darting to avoid her grasp. But she wasn't that eager for a fight. Not yet. She would wear him down a bit first. She changed her breathing to maximize endurance and followed for a while, not catching up but not falling back, either.
He showed some gumption, that was for sure. That, and training. She gave him a little more room to test his evasion technique, and no surprise, he showed her some tricks that she already knew, most likely picked up from the same instructor. She lost view briefly, twice, but picked him up again just as she had the first time, flushing him like quail from a thicket. No human could have picked him up, but Jenna was no human; she was better. The deadly chase went on, block after block. The man breathed in ragged gasps as desperation overtook him. A hand clutched at his side. There was no way he was getting away again.
An angry flash came over her at the thought of the betrayal that put them both in this situation, and Jenna put on a burst of speed. After three years, every suspicion was confirmed. This was the man who'd tried to kill them. Time to play.
Drawing a telescoping baton from her pocket, she caught up to him as he tried to duck down another alley. He spun with a snarl, a hand darting for his pocket. She closed in before he could draw his pistol, and went to work with the baton. Jenna broke his wrist with the first blow, and the second knocked him senseless. Stabbing out with her free hand, she grabbed his shirt and hauled him down, dragging him into the shadows.
He lay panting and whimpering in pain and fear as Jenna brought her face down close to his and hissed, "Let's talk about Tahiti, Hamet."
His eyes shot wide, and he began to gibber in a Middle-Eastern tongue. She placed a knee on his broken wrist. His complexion paled and he fell silent, teeth clenched in agony. "In English. I know who you work for."
"I didn't know it was you," he blurted, a grimace pasted on his features. "None of us knew. We just had orders—" He moaned as a spasm gripped his broken arm. She grabbed it and gave it a light twist. She was rewarded with a howl as the man bucked off the pavement.
She shoved him back down, brandishing the baton in his face.
"Orders from who?"
"You know as well as I," he moaned. "You get orders. You follow them. You don't ask questions."
"Is that right?" She snapped the baton down on his hand. A satisfying crunch echoed off the wall, accompanied by a shriek which was cut off by her wadded up bandana.
It got worse before it got better. Jenna didn't like that part of the job, but two things drove her on: Justice, and vengeance. Jenna had to find out why The Pinnacle wanted one of their own dead, and Anna Spielberg deserved payback. Now, after three years, she was damned well going to get it. Occasional shadows drifted by the end of the alley, but at this hour and in this neighborhood, no one was going to get involved.
Hamet was tougher than she gave him credit for. By the time she got the information she wanted, there wasn't much left of him. But the answers came. They weren't what she wanted to hear, but the truth needed to be told. When she finally snapped his neck with a well-placed kick, it felt anti-climatic. The trail she'd followed on her own for the last three years had finally come to its end. And with that end came the realization that Jenna had been trying to avoid for longer than that. Not all was well with her employers.
There were divisions among the Council. Not on the surface, for outwardly they still seemed to operate as united as ever in their cause for world peace. But underneath the placid veneer were machinations and plots. Whispers of sabotage and power plays chased each other through Jenna's mind as she strode from the alley and back up Seventh Avenue.
Somewhere in the power struggle, someone upline had made a mistake. They issued a kill order on the wrong person, and not just because of who Anna was. Dr. Spielberg had dedicated her life to the purpose of world peace. She saw it happening within just a few more years. It wasn't even that they tried to wipe out a seven-year-old girl as well. Sofi was as harmless as they come, a sweet, shy little thing with as much deadly potential as a pink frosted cupcake. Their worst mistake was in messing with someone assigned to Jenna Paine's protection.
As Jenna stalked away from the body, one thing hung in her mind: She would find out who on the Council issued the kill order on Anna. And when she did, they would face the full fury of a woman scorned.


Becoming Nadia and Unalive buy link: http://tinyurl.com/7ccq5wm

Saturday, January 21, 2012

One of Our Stars, Penny Ehrenkranz, Talks About Her Life and Work

Okay, I'm prejudice. Penny is not only a fine writer but also a first-rate editor. I should know, I'm lucky enough to have her edit my Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series. Penny is knowledgeable, insightful, knows what I'm trying to say (only better), and just plain tops! I absolutely love working with an editor of her calibre.
But enough waxing poetic and on to Penny's writing, of which I personally know is crackerjack stuff, having read much of it. Below, Penny answers some questions and we get to know this talented woman a little better:

1. How old were you when you were first published?
I was 47 when I had my first official byline in a magazine. I had certainly written for a lot longer and started when I was a child. Unfortunately, life got in the way and my writing was put on a back burner for more years than I would have liked.

2. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?)
I generally use my PC when I’m writing because my office is quiet and away from the hubbub of the house. When it comes time to edit, though, I transfer my work to my laptop, which is a Mac, and go out to my garden or my favorite easy chair if the weather outside is too rainy or cold.

3. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript?
Isn’t it the same as everyone’s? I am going to be rejected and get back a nasty letter from the editor telling me I should find a new career.

4. In what era do you wish you’d been born?

I am actually quite happy having been born when I was (I’m 65 now), since I was part of the sixties and seventies when so much happened and so many doors were opened to women.

When I was younger, I used to think being a pioneer would have been fun or even further back, living during the age of knights and chivalry. Now, as a wiser person, I realize I would miss my comforts of a hot bath, indoor running water, central heat, cuisine from around the world, and, of course, all our modern conveniences.

5. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I’m sure I overuse “was,” and I found out recently I overuse “just” as well. I haven’t noticed too many phrases being overused, but then I tend to write in a variety of genres. I did have a problem with my MG novel, which is about a ghost. My MC kept having “shivers run down her spine.”

6. Which talent would you most like to have?
I would love to be able to play guitar. I took lessons about twenty years ago, but I didn’t get any further than being able to do a basic strum and hold a few chords. I envy people who have musical ability.

7. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My children. My husband and I met in our 30’s and I didn’t realize what I was missing until my children arrived. Suddenly, I felt like my life had been fulfilled. Second to that would be having reached my goal of being a published author.

8. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
If he is a hero…I love Harry Dresden in the Jim Butcher books. I am quite sure there are other heroes, but Harry always comes to mind first.

9. How would you like to die?
I would definitely prefer to go to sleep one night and not wake up the next morning. I am a total wuss when it comes to pain, so I am definitely not looking for a long painful illness, car crash, motorcycle accident, or being attacked with a gun, knife, ax or other weapon of destruction.

But don't go yet, Penny! You've got more books to write! Below are three of her offerings:

Through a series of misunderstandings, Mabriona is forced to live a lie, but when the man she loves awakes from his coma, will she confess her deceit?

Blurb: Mabriona is cousin to the beautiful and spoiled Princess Alana. When Alana is forced to marry a man she despises, Mabriona is torn between her loyalty to her cousin and her attraction to the handsome Prince Blayne.
Tragedy befalls the cousins on the way to Prince Blayne’s castle. Servants, believing Mabriona to be Alana, refuse to listen when she tries to explain.
While she waits for Blayne to recover, Mabriona meets his equally handsome younger brother, Madoc, a bard.
When Blayne awakes, will Mabriona choose life with a future king, will she be sent home in disgrace because of her inadvertent lies, or will Madoc win her love with his poetry?

Mabriona assisted Alana down to the common dining hall as was her duty. The big room was warmed at both ends by huge hearths. In honor of Prince Blayne’s arrival, the boards had been scrubbed until they gleamed. Warm, fresh-baked loaves of bread graced each table, and the delicious aroma made Mabriona’s mouth water as they entered the room. Jars of honey mead sat within easy reach of all. Pewter bowls piled high with fresh picked apples and pears were artfully placed. Serving wenches waited, poised, with huge pots of steaming porridge.
King Cedric already sat at the upper table with Prince Blayne at his right hand. His face lit up with a smile when Alana and Mabriona approached. His voice boomed as he greeted his daughter, “Here she is, the flower of my life.”
Mabriona’s breath caught in her throat as her eyes met Blayne’s. As Alana had feared, the young prince was dark-haired with eyes the color of jet, his stature kingly. Broad shoulders and well-muscled arms nicely filled out his deep purple brocaded doublet. A full beard of coarse black hair covered his cheeks and chin, but what stopped Mabriona was his smile. Never before had she seen someone’s face light up like the sun rising on a summer’s morn. Yet, this was what came to her mind. Clearly, Blayne’s smile was meant for her, but why?
He stood and walked toward the women. “Princess Alana,” he said, bowing before Mabriona, his glance speaking words of heat and passion.
“Oh no, Your Highness,” Mabriona said, blushing. “I am Princess Alana’s lady-in-waiting, Lady Mabriona.” She felt Alana glaring daggers at her and quickly curtseyed to hide her embarrassment. Alana made it clear earlier she wasn’t attracted to dark-haired men, why is she so angry? It isn’t my fault the prince was confused. Alana looked down at the floor before glancing up at the handsome prince.
“Forgive me, Lady Mabriona. I’ve made an unthinkable error.” Prince Blayne bowed again and then turned to Alana. “Your Highness, your beauty should have made it clear to me you are my intended.”
Mabriona’s heart sunk. She saw Alana’s cold look as Blayne bowed and took her hand to kiss. She knew then that Alana hated him, yet Alana would marry him as her father decreed. It was unfair, but Mabriona was already wise enough to know she couldn’t change her lot in life. Alana would marry the handsome prince and live happily ever after, and she would remain the ever-faithful servant catering to Princess Alana’s every wish.
Blayne grasped Alana’s elbow and led her to the table to sit beside him. Yet as Mabriona watched them, Blayne’s gaze slid back to her, lingering as if he could imprint her image upon his soul. Her knees felt weak, and Mabriona quickly took a seat at the far end of the board. Her heart beat rapidly in her chest. What was happening to her? Prince Blayne was not the first man to have caught her eye, yet he was certainly the first to have affected her so she could barely breathe. Unobserved and temporarily forgotten, she watched the couple. Just as she suspected, Alana kept her nose in the air and cringed each time Blayne looked at or touched her. King Cedric would get an earful as soon as Alana got him alone, of that Mabriona was certain. Her heart bled for the handsome prince.
She looked up to see Alana motioning furiously at her. She went to the princess and bent near her. “Yes, Princess?”
“Get me out of here, now,” Alana whispered harshly.
Mabriona offered her hand, and Alana rose from her place. Blayne looked up, catching Mabriona’s gaze. His eyes sparkled, and a smile spread across his face. He bowed his head slightly. He openly flirted with her. This could not be happening. If King Cedric saw the interplay, what would he think? Blayne was the intended of Alana. Things could not get any worse. Her thoughts tumbled like the bones the guards threw when they played at betting games.

Mirror, Mirror

Lindsay Baker’s purchase of an antique mirror sends her back in time to salvage a love torn apart by class restrictions.

Blurb: Lindsay Baker is intrigued by everything about the middle ages, but when she purchases an antique mirror and a costume to attend a Renaissance Faire, she suddenly finds herself transported back in time. There she finds she’s been called by a witch to right a terrible wrong.
Graham loves Prudence, but he can’t marry her because he’s landed gentry, and she is only the baker’s daughter. Before Lindsay can return to her own time, she must convince Graham to marry against his father’s wishes. Unfortunately, she also finds herself falling for the handsome gentleman.
Can she find her way back to her own time, or will she be stuck in a time when women had no rights?
Temporary buy link: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2

Her latest book, Love Delivery,can't help but appeal to everyone. Just look at those donuts on the cover!

Love Delivery
Blurb: A waitress in a donut shop, Ann is happy with her single life and her cat, Mittens, until she finds herself interested in Tom, the handsome man who makes deliveries to the shop. Unfortunately, Tom comes with some baggage, including five cats; Maria, his vicious ex-wife; and Maria’s adorable daughter he calls Kitten.

When Maria is hired at the donut shop and learns Ann and Tom are beginning a relationship, she does everything she can to tear them apart. Will Ann and Tom’s love prevail, or will the evil ex-wife win in the end? Love Delivery is a sweet romance, which will bring tears to your eyes and a smile to your lips.

“Here it is,” he said, steering her to a quiet corner. Candles lit the table. A bottle of red wine stood open. Tom held the chair for her, and then sat close so their knees touched. “Would you like a glass of wine?” he asked, reaching for the bottle.
“No thanks,” Ann said. “I don’t drink.”
Tom poured a glass for himself. “Here’s the menu.” He handed it to her.
“I know what I want.”
“What’s that?”
“Fettuccini Alfredo.” Ann shook out her napkin and placed it on her lap.
“This chicken dish is good,” Tom said, pointing to an item on the menu.
Ann grimaced. Is he a control freak? I already told him what I want. “I don’t eat meat.” Her voice sounded harsh in her own ears.
“Ah, well, okay, then. Fettuccini Alfredo it is.” Tom called the waiter and ordered the Alfredo for Ann and a spicy chicken dish for himself.
I guess we don’t agree on everything after all. He drinks and eats meat, too. I hope he doesn’t drink a lot. Maybe we weren’t made for each other. Not knowing what else to do, Ann took a sip of water and smiled.
Tom smiled back. “You’ll have to come meet my cats one of these days. Tyra, a gorgeous, long-haired black female, is my bathroom kitty. Whenever I’m sitting in there, she has to be in my lap. There’ve been times when my pants have been around my feet, and she’s curled up in my underwear.
“Then there’s BeeBee. She’s a Siamese. When I first got her, I thought she liked to cuddle, but it turned out she was just scared. It took me a long time, with lots of persuasion, to get her to come close to me. Finally, I was able to pick her up. I had her in my arms, and I put my face down to smell her fur. Suddenly, she turned and bit me on the nose.
“I think my favorite, though, is Loki. He’s the smallest of the bunch. He has allergies, and if I don’t get him to the vet for a shot in time, he loses his fur on his rear quarters, right by his tail. He loves to ride on my shoulders. Looks just like I’m wearing a fur collar.
“Then there’s the two new ones, they’re the kittens. They haven’t developed personalities yet. You should always get two kittens instead of one,” Tom said when the food arrived.
“Why?” Ann asked. Her face hurt from laughing at Tom’s cat stories. Mittens never did any of the things Tom’s cats did.
While she ate, Tom continued to share funny stories about the cats and kittens. “Kittens play with each other so you don’t need to play with them. You can just sit back and watch them. When I have kittens in the house, I don’t even turn on my T.V. set.” Tom twirled pasta on his fork. He lifted the fork halfway to his mouth and stopped. “Looks like we have company,” he groaned.
Ann turned. Maria and a curly-haired blond child entered. Ann watched Maria’s smile turn to a frown. Maria pulled the child toward their table. Ann gulped. Now what? Can’t she leave us alone? How can Tom and I ever get to know each other if she’s always showing up? She pasted a false smile on her face and clutched her napkin tightly.
“So you decided not to listen to me,” Maria spat at Ann.
“Daddy!” the little girl cried, holding up her arms.
“Hi, Kitten,” Tom said, scooping the child into his arms. He gave her a bear hug, and she giggled. “I want you to meet my friend, Ann. Ann, this is Kitten.”
“Hi, Ann. Daddy calls me Kitten, but you can call me Catherine.” The child put her arms around Tom’s neck and hugged him.
“Hello, Catherine,” Ann said, finding her voice.
“At least you could have gone somewhere else, Tom. We always ate here,” Maria accused and pushed Tom’s shoulder.
Tom moved Catherine to his other knee and glared at Maria. “Do we have to fight in front of Kitten?”
“Hey, Mr. Nice Guy, you’re the one who left us, remember?”
Removing Catherine from his lap, Tom stood up and faced Maria. “You’re creating a scene. Why don’t you leave before things get ugly?”
“Maybe you should have thought about that a long time ago.” Maria poked Tom’s chest with her finger.
Ann watched in fear. Only moments ago, she and Tom were enjoying dinner. Maria’s face now looked hard and dark. She swore at Tom and poked him again. Then she shoved him on the shoulder.
Tom grabbed her hand. Maria spat at him and reached up, clawing his face with her other hand.
“I hate you,” she screamed, grabbed her child, and ran out crying.
Tom turned to Ann. There were bloody scratches on his face. Ann dipped her napkin in her water glass and dabbed his cheek. “I’m sorry, Ann, I guess this spoiled dinner.”
This is never going to work for us, not as long as Maria is in the picture. Ann nodded her head. “Sure did. I’m not very hungry now. I think I’d better just go home.”


Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz has published more than 100 articles, 75 stories, two e books, a chapbook, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children’s publications and non fiction work has appeared in a variety of writing, parenting, and young adult print magazines and on line publications. She edits for two small traditional publishers.
Visit her web site at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.yolasite.com
Her writing blog is located at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com/

Her anthology A Past and A Future, and her YA chapbook, Dragon Sight are available at Sam’s Dot Publishing and Smashwords. Love Delivery, Lady-in-Waiting and Mirror, Mirror are published by MuseItUp Publishing. Boo’s Bad Day and Many Colored Coats, picture books, and Ghost for Rent and Ghost for Lunch, MG novels, are scheduled for publication with 4RV.

A Past and A Future

Dragon Sight

Love Delivery, August, 2011
Lady-in-Waiting, November, 2011
Mirror, Mirror, December, 2011

Ghost for Rent, coming September, 2012
Ghost for Lunch, coming September, 2013
Many Colored Coats, coming October, 2014
Boo's Bad Day, coming June, 2015

My website is: http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.yolasite.com
My blog is: http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com
My Facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/penny.ehrenkranz
My Twitter is: http://twitter.com/pennyehrenkranz
My author page at MuseItUp Publishing is: