Okay so it looks like I fell off the planet. Promise - I'm still here. The last four years have been ... hard. There's no other word for it. Everything is fine. I'm fine, but I've been the caregiver of my mom who has Dementia. Between her needs, work, etc I seem to have lost control of my time. I am still writing and am trying hard to get back to my blog.

In case you weren't aware Phaze and HSWF which where under the Mundania Umbrella have closed. I was smart enough to get my titles back before all this happened. I'm happy to say the three books I sold to HSWF have been picked up by Melange Books and are available through their Satin Books imprint. I have even sold a new title to them called Magical Quest due out in 2022

I have also been lucky enough to find a publisher for my Vespian Way series. I'm now with Blushing Books under the name of Bethany Drake. I have five titles out with them right now and am close to submitting two more. There's Desire's Destiny, Desire's Duty and Desire's Promise. Then there is two in my werewolf series, Tears of the Queen and Legend of the Tears. I have just finished the rough draft of the third book in the series and have plans for a fourth one the moment I submit it.

I'll probably still be sporadic here on the blog. Unless I win the lottery and can hire someone to help me I can't avoid it, but know I'm still here still working hard in the background and am hoping to do better at keeping my blog alive.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Meet My Next Guest: Herbert Grosshans!

I want to welcome Herbert Grosshans. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Hi, Barbara. Thank you for having me on your blog. I’m a writer. I write in different genres. Science Fiction, Thrillers, and Crime novels. Sometimes I even write a few poems, but mainly for my wife. She has a collection of about 50 poems I wrote for her over the past few years. They belong to her and she doesn’t want me to publish them. That’s okay, because I don’t consider myself a poet, anyway. My earlier books contained explicit Erotica, but my last published novel doesn’t, neither does the one I’m currently writing. I believe I’m starting a new trend, which seems to make my family quite happy. So far I’ve published 29 books. My first novel, an erotic Science Fiction story ‘The Xandra, Daughter of the Dark’, was published 2006 with Midnight Showcase. I have eight books in the series now. When Midnight Showcase changed owners it became Melange Books, LLC, which means most of my books are with Melange. I self-published one book with Amazon: How to get published, but my last three books I self-published with Smashwords. I’m not sure if it was a good move. Only the future will tell.

Anyone who wants to find out more about me and what I’m about can find me here:

Tell us about your latest release: My latest book ‘A Matter of Integrity’, a crime novel, featuring PI Lews Canon, was published by me with Smashwords. People tell me I have a dry sense of humor and I wanted to bring that into my novels, so I wrote this book. It is easy to write a few pages in that style, but carrying it through to the end without it becoming a farce, is difficult. My wife, who was my first reader, actually gave me a compliment. She said it was entertaining and she even chuckled a few times. If a wife thinks her husband is funny, that is a huge compliment. So, I believe, I succeeded. Lews Canon is not your average steely-eyed detective. In fact, he has one blue and one brown eye. He doesn’t carry a gun, wears no unglasses, and doesn’t dress like a detective. His sidekick, Nelda, isn’t some beautiful, sexy woman, either. In Canon’s words,She doesn’t need a gun to keep people from messing with her. One look into her face and eyes is enough. She’d cause the devil to run back to hell, screaming.” However, she is loyal to him and keeps him in line when he gets himself into trouble, but he still manages to do that, anyway. But aside from the friendly bantering between Nelda and Canon there is still plenty of action in the story. All I need now is readers who get as much enjoyment reading the story as I got writing it.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.
1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why? 

Definitely James Spader’s character Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington in The Blacklist. Why? Because he is a cool character, intriguing, smart, and devious. He’s a mystery man, not evil but not good, either.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why? 

In a way, that is a difficult question to answer. When I write a story, I have to put myself into the main character’s head. I become him or her while I’m writing. (Not really, just in my imagination ☺). Obviously, during that time the character I write about is my favorite. However, if I have to choose one, I have to say it is Dan Griffin from my Stardogs novels. He’s a super soldier, tough and ruthless, but he has a soft spot for helpless people. And he loves his women. He’s a superhero. I always loved superheroes. Superman, Spiderman, Batman... (Yes, I’m still a kid at heart). Writing the two books actually took years. I wrote the story off and on. So he was in my head for a long time. Who knows, I may even write another story featuring Major Dan Griffin of the Terran Empire. One of my readers (and reviewer) was curious what happened to the hybrids in the story. She would have liked to read another book about them, because she liked the two books.

3.) What genre do you write? What made you pick that one? 

As already mentioned before, I write Science Fiction, contemporary Thrillers, Erotica, and Crime novels. Science Fiction is actually still my favorite genre, because it allows me to let my imagination run free, and I find it easier to write than other genres.

4.) What are you working on now? 

Right now I’m writing another story in my Science Fiction series ‘The Spider Wars’. The working title is ‘Codename: Outpost Salamander’. While the other books in that series contained erotica, this one won’t. Part of my new direction in writing. I hope I can stick to it.

5.) What got you to start writing? 

I’ve always had a fertile imagination and I needed to put my daydreams down on paper. I started writing at a young age. My first story was actually a cartoon: Cowboy Jippi. I was probably around 9 years old. I wrote my first full length novel when I was twenty. The Galactics. I wrote it on my manual typewriter. In German. I still have the manuscript in a drawer somewhere. It will never see the light of day.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from? 

I get ideas for my stories while I’m watching TV, a movie, or when I’m reading a book. Or if I’m listening to a song. A line might catch my attention and an idea pops into my head. Once I start writing new ideas for the story just seem to come out of nowhere while I’m writing. Robert E. Howard (the creator of Conan) said once when he writes it seems to him as if he is just re-telling a story that was told to him; the story actually happened a long time ago. He’s only remembering it. I’m not really a mystical person, but sometimes one wonders where the ideas originate. In our minds? Or are writers (and other artists) perhaps connecting into some ‘library’ in another dimension or existence?

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you? 

That I’m not the tough, ruthless, oversexed, skirt-chasing guy I portray in my male characters? I’m actually quite sensitive. I put a lot of my personal views into my characters, but not everything they do and say is what I do or believe. In many ways I’m quite rigid and old-fashioned. I believe in family values. Even though I write Erotica, I don’t condone the loose morality that exists today. I’m a one-woman man and I don’t condone cheating on your spouse or your partner, either. I frown upon single women getting themselves pregnant or men who sleep around, the way my characters do in my stories. Those are just fantasies. They should not happen in real life. Something else that may be of interest to my readers. English is my second language. I didn’t start writing my stories in English until I was in my thirties. Mainly to get a better command of the English language and because I had started to think exclusively in English. It had finally become my ‘mother tongue’.

8.) Do you have any special talents? 

Nothing special, really. I am a handy guy when it comes to doing chores around the house. I’m actually a retired Electrician, but I am quite capable of doing plumbing, carpentry, and stuff like that. Also, I am a bit of an artist. I am good with pencil drawings. I used to draw a lot when I was younger. I even took a course in art. Now I don’t have the time anymore. There are only so many hours in a day. I put one of my pictures, which I drew a long time ago, onto the main page of my website: http://hegro.shawwebspace.ca I used to play the guitar when I was young. My fingers don’t obey me anymore when I try to play something. They forgot all the chords. I guess that doesn’t count as a special talent. I am fluent in German. Does that count?

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

Don’t waste your time writing that crap (he meant ‘erotica’). I did it anyway because apparently it was selling and, I must admit, I did enjoy writing those sex scenes.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about? 

I would like to talk to Noah and ask him why he saved those pesky mosquitoes. We have a lot of them in the summer months and they are a great nuisance.

11.) What song would you say describes your life? 

Nobody has written a song about my life yet. Perhaps I should write one someday. Come to think of it, there may be one. It could be ‘My way’ by Frank Sinatra. I am not easily influenced by the masses. I don’t follow trends and fads. My motto has always been: Just because the whole world does it, doesn’t mean I have to. Yes, I’ve done it my way.

12.) If you could come back as any animal what would it be? 

Herbert loved your answers and the thought of authors tapping into another dimension or existence is so cool!

A black panther. It is a strong, fearless, and graceful animal, and it moves with stealth through the jungle, feared by its prey and fellow predators.

Here is an excerpt from my crime novel ‘A Matter of Integrity’:

Billy’s uncle pulled up in his tow truck within fifteen minutes after Billy called him. He was a big man, with a bit of a potbelly and a wild beard. Looking at Billy first and then at me, he said, “This little rascal tells me you’ve got yourself a bit of a problem with that car of yours.”
Battery is dead, according to Billy here.”
“Well, if he says it’s dead than it is so,” he said. “He’s a smart boy. Goes after his uncle.” He laughed. “That’s me. I’m Brandon Brandon, Jr. Most people call me Brand. My close friends call me Brandy. My pappy used to call me Junior.”
I stared at him, ready to burst out laughing. “Brandon Brandon?” I repeated.
He must have seen it in my face. I’ve never been a good actor. “That’s right. Something funny or wrong with that name?”
“Oh, hell, no. It’s as good a name as any. I just wondered what your father’s name was.”
“I don’t know why you want to know my pappy’s name, but there is no harm in telling you. His name was Brandon Brandon, Sr.”
“I thought so. By the way, my name is Lews Canon. Lews Bullseye Canon.”
“No shit. Pardon me for saying so, but why would a man with Canon as his last name christen his son Loose? And Bullseye? Whoever heard of a name like Bullseye?”
“It was my grandfather’s name.” I smiled. “It seems you and I are sort of related in a way.”
He tilted his head and looked at me with narrowed eyes. “How’d you figure that?”
“You know...Lews Bullseye Canon and Brandon Brandon? Makes you think, doesn’t it?”
Shaking his head, he said, “I don’t really see a connection there, especially since you being white and me black.” He chuckled. “Bullseye. Loose. No parents should give a kid names like that. What’s the world coming to?” He peered at me. “What’s with your eyes? One blue and one brown. You wearing contact lenses?”
I sighed a little. “No contact lenses. They’re natural.”
He chuckled to himself. “No sir, we ain’t related. Ain’t nobody in my family with eyes like that. They don’t look natural to me. Kinda creepy, if you ask me. No offense. Anyway, what is the problem with the car again?”
“Won’t start. Dead battery.”
“Oh, that’s right. Dead battery. Don’t worry; we’ll get you going in no time.” He rummaged around in his toolbox and pulled out a pair of long jumper cables. Handing me one end of each cable, he said, “Attach these to your battery’s terminals. Make sure you don’t get the polarity screwed up. Then we’ll give her a boost.”
I’ve never boosted a car before and had no idea what to do, but I didn’t want to appear like some kind of moron. One of the huge clamps was red, so I guessed that had to be the plus side. I attached it to the terminal with the plus sign on it and the other clamp onto the remaining terminal. Billy, who stood beside me, supervising, removed the clamp from the negative terminal and clamped it against the frame of the car.
“You have a lot to learn, Mr. Canon,” he whispered to me so only I could hear.
“Go start the engine,” his uncle told me.
I got into my car and turned the key. When the engine sprang to life I was as ecstatic as a TV-evangelist after receiving his first pledge. No flashing lights, just the rumbling of the motor. What a lovely sound.
When I climbed out of the car, Billy had already removed the booster cables from my battery. He winked at me. “I told you it was the battery. You should be okay. Just don’t shut off the engine too soon. Let it charge up the battery.”
Brandon must have been listening. He chuckled. “You’ll make a fine mechanic some day, Billy. I’m proud of you.” Turning to me, he said, “Too bad my brother isn’t alive anymore. His head would be swollen with pride.”
“What happened to your brother?”
“He was killed last year. Murdered, actually. They never found his murderers and the cops did nothin’.”
“Why not?”
He shrugged. “Who cares about another dead nigger? I guess had my brother been white and somebody important, things woulda been different. No offence to you, Lews. That’s just the way the system works. They told us to hire a private investigator. We can’t afford that. Private investigators are expensive.”
This is where you can read 20% of the novel for free or if inclined to buy:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/432389 
It is also available from the Apple iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-matter-of-integrity/id869721766?mt=11

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Quick Update

I have often thought about starting another blog so I can talk about the things going on in my life. I've been dealing with more than the average bear with my mom and mother-in-law. The only reason I mention it is because I am taking a much needed vacation and going to a family reunion. It should be fun, a bunch of crazy irish relatives hanging out in a lake for four days. I wonder who will get the most sunburnt. We'll be telling stories on each other and reminiscing about those who have gone on ahead of us.

I'll also be without internet so I won't be able to upload my normal blogs - I hope to post my next guest on the 30th but I will be moving my mom from a 2nd floor apartment to a firs floor apartment that weekend so I'll have to see how that goes.

I should also get my edits from my publisher soon. Book 7 Stolen Desire is due out at the end of July. I don't have the cover yet, but I will post it as soon as I get it.  And my collection of shorts Love is... has been reformatted and re-released by Satin Romance - an imprint of Melange Books. I love this collection. It is my try at humor and from the reviews I've gotten on the different stories they tickled more than one funny bone.

I'm trying to finish the edits on book 8 - no title yet - so I can send that in and am working on the next book in my Vespian Way series. There are a few other things I'm working on, another fantasy for Melange, I need to drag out my werewolf story and edit it, and start working on my nonfiction fiction. I might start that at the family reunion. The book idea is all about the crazy things that my family has done or knows about.

Enjoy your Memorial Day!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Guest Blog: Please welcome Suzette Rose Cauler

Another Saturday and another wonderful author visiting! Help me in welcoming Suzette Rose Cauler.

First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

I’m a long-time Pennsylvania resident, new author and mom of 5. I adore books-all types-and have always loved losing myself in a good story. I decided I wanted to be an author back in middle school, and I actually attended a high school for creative and performing arts. After high school, college, life and various jobs got in the way of that. I eventually found my way back to writing, though, first as a freelance writer and now as a book author. By day I work from home writing business, education, and health content, and at night I work on my fiction. Besides that, I love gardening, dancing around in my living room, and walking on the beach. Someday I want to live within walking distance of the beach, or if I’m really dreaming, right on the beach. Also, I love to try new recipes, especially if I’m not the one who has to cook them.

Tell us about your latest release.
Taking Chances is about Dakota, a shape-shifter stuck between a rock and a hard place. She’s forced to steal a relic from a powerful vampire to keep herself alive and avenge her loved ones. She ends up on the wrong side of both the wolf who sent her on the mission and her vampire mark. To further complicate matters, she develops an intense hunger for Kane, the vampire whose home she sneaks into. The sex is incredible, and Dakota finds it all too easy to fall for him. Unfortunately, giving in to her feelings could prove deadly.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why? That’s a hard one. My favorite villain changes frequently. Right now, it’s Regina from the TV show Once Upon a Time. In previous seasons, she was just plain mean, but she had a good, complicated reason for her evil. I like villains that are multi-layered and have vulnerabilities that make them likable. This season, she’s a lot less the villain, but I still like her.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?
At the moment, Kane, the hero in Taking Chances is my favorite. He’s just the right combination of sexy, mysterious, and dangerous.

3.) What genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
So far, I’m writing erotic romance, and I just love, love, love it. I enjoy reading erotic romance, so it just made sense to write what I like to read. Of course, I like to read EVERYTHING, so I suppose I will write in some other genres eventually. Right now, I’m focusing on paranormal stories because vampires, werewolves, and warlocks are just plain hot.

4.)What are you working on now?
I recently signed a contract with Siren Publishing for the Secret-Keeper’s Choice. It’s a paranormal erotic romance, but it’s a ménage. Taking Chances is M/F. I have another M/F paranormal erotic romance that is half finished. It’s about a hunter who falls in love with her prey but struggles to decide whether her place is with hunters like her or the wolf she loves. I’m having a lot of fun writing this story, and I fall a little more in love with my hero each day. I’m also tossing ideas for another ménage around in my head. It’s a real problem—too many ideas and not enough time to write them all.

5.) What got you to start writing?
As a kid, I’d devour books and find many of the things the characters did upsetting. I’d sort of imagine different plot lines or alternate endings, and then I started playing around with writing my own stories. I discovered that writing is very hard work, but it can also be just as much fun as reading. I mean, what could be more fun than creating my own little world and then getting to live in it for a while?

6.) Where do you get your ideas from? 
It’s weird. They just come to me. I’ll catch myself crafting these complicated scenarios while I drive or in the shower or while I’m waiting for water to boil. Oh, and waiting in line! I hate waiting in lines, so my mind tends to wander then. Unfortunately, I also have some nights when my ideas keep me awake. Insomnia stinks.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you? 
I find zombie stories fascinating. Does that count? Also, I still have things I want to do or be when I grow up. I am far from a spring chicken, but I still feel like I’m growing and evolving. Except for when the bills come in the mail, I still feel like a kid.

8.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
I was agonizing about one of my ideas, and a friend advised me to write a story I would like to read. It’s simple advice, but it makes sense. If I truly like the story I create, there has to be someone else out there who will like it too.

9.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
I want to talk to Eve. I want the inside scoop.

10.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

I think I’d want to come back as a cheetah. Gotta outrun those zombies.

Suzette! We're kindred spirits! We write in the same genre and both children at heart. I love the cheetah idea glad you're prepared for the zombie apocalypse.

The vamp guard who’d opened the door had barely nodded a greeting to Dakota before returning to the task of checking invitations. Dakota had timed her entry so that she’d follow a throng of mortals inside and the guards would be too busy with them to notice she wasn’t who and what she claimed to be. The guard’s disinterest in her, coupled with Zephora’s enthusiastic greeting, filled her with relief. Apparently, the glamour spell was working.
Dakota was not only a paid thief but also a shape-shifter, and she’d taken on the form of Desiree Winters, flavor of the month to Elijah Ettore, one of the most powerful, respected, and feared vampires in the states. Elijah was right-hand man to his identical twin brother Kane, leader of the Ambrohio clan of vampires, and this was the home the brothers shared. Sneaking into the Ettore home uninvited, even if it was a party night, was risky business. To pull it off, Dakota had been forced to incapacitate Desiree, so she could shape-shift into the glamorous blonde and sneak in as Elijah’s steady date.
Several guests turned their heads to glance at her, some giving her appreciative once-overs, others what appeared to be jealous sneers. She wasn’t surprised by the looks. She knew Desiree was stunning. The vamp had been a high-fashion model before taking a walk on the immortal side. Dakota had managed to knock the real Desiree out and stash her in the trunk of a stolen car. That trick had been difficult to pull off but necessary.
Music pumped from all corners of the main room. Dakota didn’t see the speakers responsible, but from the sound of things, they had to be huge. The music was loud enough to seriously annoy the neighbors, if there had been any. As it turned out, this vamp lived far out in the country miles away from any neighbors. The better to get away with slaughtering humans, Dakota guessed.
She did her best to look bored. Bodies gyrated and swayed to the music everywhere Dakota looked. As she followed Zephora deeper into the main room, she saw that many of the guests were half-dressed. She even saw a few wearing nothing but loincloths. But the rotating platforms in each corner of the room held the true jaw-droppers.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Writing down the bones: Let's talk dialogue

I know I have spoken about dialogue before but I found another great handout that explains the functions of dialogue. It was written by Marian Jones. I don't have a date on this one either but like I mentioned before most of these handouts are from the eighties.

I loved some of the points Marion came up with. She has 20 and called it the functions of dialogue. (I will be putting this into my own words)

1. your characters can relate to each other through dialogue
2. reveal who your character's are through dialogue
3. show your character's personality through another character's POV
4. using dialogue properly can give your story a sense of urgency
5. it can build and sustain sexual tension between lovers
6. move your plot forward
7. helps foreshadow future events
8. give necessary info
9. allow characters to reflect on something that has just transpired
10. use the banter and teasing to develop their relationship or inject humor
11. it will help break up long narrative, lots of descriptions or reflecting on internal conflict
12. it can speed up and slow down the pace of your story
13. it shows the emotion instead of using a narrative to explain it
14. help explain the mood of the scene
15. it helps with the setting
16. it shows passion
17. it expresses counterpoint
18. helps build suspense
19. helps develop conflict
20. it gives the reader a feel of time or place, plus can help with transitioning into the next scene

This gives you a lot of ways to use dialogue to give your story that extra dimension.

She also recommends that you introduce your characters in a visual manner before that character talks. The first words your character speaks give your reader an idea of that character's personality. So do the tags you use.

This one I find interesting because I write SF/Futuristic so there are times when I will use odd dialogue or words to remind my reader that my characters are from another planet. She says to avoid foreign phrases. Instead she recommends you develop the characters ethnic background by using national cadences and the way their language would convert literally to English and use just a smattering of your characters natural dialogue. I always write my stories without a lot of strange words because I have found I'll put down books that have too much and I've had reviewers give me kudos for that.

The next thing she talks about is contractions. One of my chapter members was an english teacher and the one thing she told me that stuck with me is that we talk in contractions. none of us say I will not do that, but we say I won't do that. It really has helped me in making my dialogue realistic.

I hope you guys enjoyed this wonderful handout!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Please welcome David Russell!

I'm excited to introduce another author to my blog! I want to welcome David Russell! First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Tell us about your latest release: My latest release (pending) is a collection of four short stories, Seductive Semaphore, The Heroine and the Author, Dancing with Danger, and Dreamtime Sensuality.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why? Henry Morgan the Pirate

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why? Selene, the heroine of my novella Self’s Blossom. I guess I have a fantasy obsession about her.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one? I do journalism, poetry, speculative fiction and romantic fiction. I was long ago inspired by the works of Anais Nin, and the novel The Girl Beneath the Lion (Le Lys de Mer) by André Pieyre de Mandiargues. A close friend tried writing in this mode, which prompted me to attempt it.

4.)What are you working on now? I’m approaching the final editing stage of my four stories.

5.) What got you to start writing? A struggle for self-expression: I am very shy, and a poor conversationalist.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from? Books, movies, videos, acquaintances’ accounts of their experiences.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you? That I am really very shy.

8.) Do you have any special talents? Hopefully as a writer, musician and visual artist.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why? “I should scrap your present methods if I were you, and try approaching things on a new tack.” I did; it worked.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about? Ben Okri, the poet and the novelist, about the imagination.

11.) What song would you say describes your life? There are so many, but perhaps Bob Dylan’s Idiot Wind should have priority.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be? An armadillo; I’d like to protect myself.

Thanks for joining me David and answering my crazy questions.


Six-thirty p.m. in the lounge - the prearranged rendezvous time if things had been normal. Selene was first to arrive. Would Hudson now feel inclined to turn up? Would he be in any state to turn up? She noticed on her way that his key had not been returned to reception. In fact, he arrived at seven, looking incredibly coy, bashful and apologetic - just like Selene felt. He was carrying a gold lacquered gift box. She gave him a nod and a smile, beckoning him to sit down beside her. They kissed tentatively - reticently. 

"Oh Selene, I really am sorry I got carried away like that. It was dreadful of me." 

Selene patted him on the knee. "Darling, I should be apologizing for getting all hysterical like that." 

He put the box in front of her. "I went diving, wanted to come to my end in the depths; felt I couldn't live with myself, but I was obviously called to find something. I guess I realized one of my ambitions." He opened the box. In it was an oyster containing a huge pearl. Selene gave him a hug, tearful in her appreciation of his courage. "I've had to reflect an awful lot on my past experiences, you know. I've had to study feminism, and I really feel that if both sides - both sexes open up more, accepting more of each other, then life will be so full and enriching. I know that an awful lot happened between us . . ." he hesitated. 


A dreamy glow came over Hudson. "We've got so close, taken plunges together; you were so magnetic in that costume." A lump came to his throat. Selene was now aquiver with suspense. They were at the point of that final something for which she had yearned so desperately for so long. Selene took the words out of his mouth. 

"Let's make everything perfect - the absolute right time, the absolute right place, and in the perfect way. Let's take the bridal suite together for our last night here!" The final overt proposition synchronised absolutely with Selene's memory tensions. A split second before her utterance, she had a vision of being at a ceremonial hair shearing before becoming a nun, and then of a mythical white wedding (the reality of which had never come near her). She thought of the flying buttresses of a cathedral, stained glass tinted in the morning sun, angled to the light of daring love, lifting to heaven. 

Hudson had at last uttered the key word to the elusive combination of the ideal seduction! This just had to have one fragment of impulse and spontaneity in the context of everything else being utterly premeditated. The peak of experience had been rehearsed to the finest detail. True seduction was total theatre. To hell with all those 'ideals' of 'naturalness'! She had seen through them in that turgid forest. The true ideal lay in laced artifice! Here was the final trigger. Ages ago, they had talked away all thought of marriage and domesticity. But Hudson's superb artistry in taking hold of the last remnant of conventionality for the final act of defiance against it. The flouting, the inversion of all the oppressive concomitants of a straight wedding night, was genius. They went into a torrid clinch nearly upsetting one of the tables in the process. 

"Oh darling," said Selene in a half-whisper, "you've done everything right; let's go!" 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Promo Time: ARe Bad Boys

I'm a member of ARe and they've got a great contest for you!
Bad boys...what are we gonna do? Well, you could always collect each and every one. All this month, All Romance will release a series of eleven sexy novellas starring the baddest boys to hit the Cafe! You like motorcycle club heroes, hockey players, ultimate fighters... they're all right here. To celebrate Bad Boy month at All Romance, we're giving away a $50 GC to ARe so you can grab the whole bad bunch! Want to win something? Here's what is up for grabs: One Grand Prize: a $50 GC to All Romance/OmniLit goes to one lucky winner. Fifteen Second Prizes: We'll choose 15 readers to receive a free copy of one ARe Bad Boys novella. Readers' choice! How to Enter: There's more than one way to win. You can do one or all of these: 1) Blog about our giveaway! Add this post to your blog and use this form to tell us where to find it. (Worth 25 entries for you!) 2) Comment on AReCafe's blog post and tell us which Bad Boy you want to read most. 3) Tweet out this message and tag AReCafe: Bad's never been so good. Meet the #AReBadBoys in 11 hot new romances at @AReCafe - http://buff.ly/1kk2JN4 4) Update Your Facebook page or profile with the message above and tag AReCafe. 5) Add any or all ARe Bad Boys to your Goodreads shelves (get the list here). 6) Repin any or all ARe Bad Boys to a board on Pinterest. Visit our #AReBadBoys board and get started! 7) Review a Bad Boy novella you have already read and send us the link using this form. You can also use the Rafflecopter below to enter. The contest runs May 1 - May 31, 2014. a Rafflecopter giveaway ~ Now, a word from our legal eagles: You must be 18 years of age and a registered customer of AllRomance.com or OmniLit.com to enter. Not registered? Visit AllRomance.com. Employees of All Romance eBooks, LLC will not be eligible for prizes. All Romance eBooks, LLC will award $50 in eBook credit for All Romance/OmniLit to one (1) grand prize winner, and one free eBook each to fifteen (15) winners. Readers may choose any of the eleven ARe Bad Boys novellas as a prize. The $50 eBook credit may not be redeemed for cash. Ebooks will be delivered automatically to the reader's library. If we don't receive a response from winners within seven (7) days, the prize will be forfeited. The odds of winning are dependent on the number of entries. NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY. Prize recipients will be notified by June 1, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random using Rafflecopter and Google Forms. Prizes are being furnished by All Romance eBooks, LLC, DBA All Romance, OmniLit, and ARe Cafe. 300 Main St #186, Safety Harbor, Florida 34695. The value of the prize, $50.00 in eBook Bucks is valued at $50.00, and the value of each eBook prize is $2.99.  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Another Author Interview: Christina Hamlett #authorinterview

I have another wonderful author answering my questions. I want to welcome Christina Hamlett.  First I’d love you to introduce yourself. 

Thanks for inviting me, Barbara. In a nutshell, my credits to date include 30 books, 155 stage plays, 5 optioned feature films, and squillions of articles and interviews that appear online and in trade publications throughout the world. In addition to being a former actress and director, I’m a script consultant for the film industry (which means I stop a lot of bad movies from coming to theaters near you) and a professional ghostwriter (which does mean I talk to dead people).

Tell us about your latest release

What is it that all authors, artists, business owners and nonprofits need but don’t know how to use once they get it? Attracting (and maximizing) media opportunities is as much an art as it is a science if you want to sparkle in the spotlight. Two dozen media industry experts (myself included) offer tips, resources and guidelines in the recently released Media Magnetism: How to Attract the Favorable Publicity You Want and Deserve, a must-have book for anyone who wants to learn how to make influential connections, become sound-bite savvy, use social media effectively, survive awkward moments and manage a cost-effective PR campaign. It’s available in paperback and on Kindle and we even have a companion website - http://www.mediamagnetism.org – that offers monthly media tips from experts across the country and around the world.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

Inspector Javert from Les Miserables. He never deviates from his rigid personal and professional code of ethics and, thus, for 20+ years doggedly pursues a man that he believes is beyond redemption because of his criminal past. It is only at the end of the chase and their final confrontation Javert comes to realize that Jean Valjean has spent that same amount of time keeping true to his own vow to help others and, in doing so, has led an exemplary life. As a public servant, Javert can’t be faulted for doing what he believes is his duty and yet, as a human being, that obsession has blinded him to ever seeing goodness in anyone whom society has labeled as unworthy. I’m actually toying with the idea of writing a book called Javert: The Early Years and examining the childhood influences that made him such a stickler for rules.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

Hands down it would be the deliciously wicked Adair Beath, the English priest in my Scottish time-travel novel, The Spellbox. Set against the backdrop of 13th century Scotland, Beath is understandably torqued when two American women on holiday inexplicably show up from out of nowhere at Thistleburn Castle. While Lucy and Max struggle to figure out how they got there – and, more importantly, how to get back – Beath is fueling the fires of suspicion that the two women are witches who should be burned at the stake. If The Spellbox were a movie, Beath would have to be played by my favorite movie villain, Alan Rickman.

3.) What genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

The genres I write – comedy, mystery, historical, suspense, nonfiction – are a reflection of the genres I like to read. My first agent back in the days when I wrote for HarperCollins wanted me to pick just one genre and not write anything else. To do that, however, would have boxed me in and truly bored me out of my mind. One of the reasons I’ve never been paralyzed by writer’s block is that I always have a multiplicity of different projects I’m working on at the same time and which keep me enthusiastically engaged in research and learning new things. My favorite type of writing, though, will always be for live theater, primarily because I spent 16 fun-filled years treading the boards. The bulk of my credits are scripts for the high school market because it excites me to ponder how many of those talented young people who act in one of my plays will one day grow up to be actors, directors, producers, set designers…and even playwrights!

4.)What are you working on now?

In addition to two full-length plays, I’m penning a chick lit called All But the Midnight Kiss and a political suspense novel titled Exit Strategy, which is about a corrupt president, a terrorist attack on a facility in the Congo, and a top intelligence officer who resigns under the scandal of adultery so as to remove himself from having to testify about a heinous cover-up.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I knew how to read and write before I started school and have been doing both ever since. Although I wasn’t encouraged by my parents to be a writer, I was fortunate to have teachers who saw the creative potential and provided me with the skill sets to sally forth, get my work published, and turn it into a full-time career.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

From being a voracious reader and a keen observer of all the free material that life throws at me on a daily basis. I think that non-writers could travel to the most exotic ports of call on the planet and still not recognize any wellsprings of inspiration. I, on the other hand, can overhear a funny conversation in the cookie aisle of the grocery store or see something quirky in the parking lot and I can’t wait to rush home and jot down notes about it.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

That I owe my expertise in character development and dialogue to all of the years I spent onstage.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

Like my husband, I’m a gourmet chef. I also love architectural design and – owing to an incredibly nifty software program - have “built” dozens of virtual dream houses for friends’ birthdays and anniversaries. (It pretty much eliminates any worries that someone else will give them the same thing!) When I’m not building houses, I use this program for all of my set designs since it’s much more exciting to imagine a cast when you’re looking at a 3D image of the stage.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

Write what you want to write, not what you think is the next hot “trend.” Trends are too transitory. I also believe that readers can tell when you’ve written something you’re just not passionate about. Which is why I’m not writing about vampires, zombies and dystopian societies.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

I would like to have lunch with Teddy Roosevelt and – if history could be altered as a result of that chat – persuade him to run for a third term (which he would likely have won). Not only was he someone who knew how to keep campaign promises but his reputation on the world stage would have kept us out of World War I. Without World War I, the seeds would not have been planted for World War II. While I have absolutely no patience for anyone who shoots animals for sport (and he would get an earful about this from me), he was passionate about everything that grabbed his interest and exercised a level of integrity, trust and competent leadership that is woefully lacking on Capitol Hill.

Christina I think we're kindred spirits! Loved your answers - you made me laugh a few times - and Alan Rickman is one of my fav's as well.

Now stay tuned for an excerpt from Media Magnetism:

Excerpt from Media Magnetism


            In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. The following year, he formed the first telephone company and even found time to fall in love and get married. Perhaps the only thing he regrets is giving his phone number to the media which proceeded to call him incessantly and ask what he was going to invent next.
            All right, that last part isn’t exactly true. Still, there’s no escaping the fact that the phone is an indispensable tool for getting quick quotes on a late-breaking story, background info for an upcoming magazine feature, or a remote guest’s ‘presence’ in a podcast or radio show. The convenience of being heard but not seen gives both parties the freedom to follow script-notes, look things up and even engage in quiet multi-tasking activities totally unrelated to the call. I once, for instance, finished addressing my Christmas cards when it became apparent that the glacially slow-talking restaurateur I was recording on Line 1was intent on reading aloud the entire dinner menu  (even though I reminded him it was posted on the website right in front of me).
            Despite some of the advantages of invisibility that a phone call provides, they’re often cancelled out – and usually by the interviewees themselves – when there arises a quirky insistence on inappropriate disclosures. Is it to forge a more personal connection with the party they can’t see or does common sense just get put on hold the more casual the ‘meeting’ environment? Yes, we live in a world where Hollywood and 24/7 tweeting have collectively made TMI the rule rather than the exception, but would you really want the media’s first impressions of your business to be influenced by any of the following:

            “Hold on a sec. I’m just getting off the can.” (combined with audible toilet flushing)
            “Oh, was that today? Wow, I must be drunker than I thought.”
            “Let me go grab a towel. I just got out of the shower.”
            “Can I put you on speaker-phone? I’m changing a stinky diaper.”
            “Sorry if I’m kinda loopy. I have no idea what’s in these meds…”
            “Can you hear me okay? I’m sitting in the back of my closet.”

            While doofy revelations like these are more likely to occur in the setting of a home-based enterprise, one of my more unusual phone interviews came in the form of a story I was doing about the vice president of a regional savings and loan. She effusively opened the conversation with the news that it was her first week back at the office following the birth of her second child. “This company has absolutely the greatest maternity leave policies,” she told me, “and don’t even get me started on its fantastic daycare program for employees.”
            Following my congratulations about her new little bundle of joy, I proceeded to dive into my questions about the challenges facing today’s first-time home buyers trying to secure financing in a troubled economy.
            “Can I put you on hold for just a second?” she asked after a moment.
            I assumed that she was being interrupted to sign an important document or respond to a time-sensitive question that only someone at her executive level was qualified to address.
            “Okay, that’s better,” she said when she came back on the line. “I’m breastfeeding and had to switch to my other boob.”
            To be honest, that was quite a lot more than I – or anyone else – really needed to know.