Sunday 30 December 2012

My New Year’s Resolution: Learning the Art of R&R

I have to be honest. I had a hard time relaxing over the holidays this year. My body may have been physically visiting with my family, but my mind certainly wasn’t there! And believe me I tried! I’m finding that there’s no on and off switch for an author. Our office, our playground is in our heads 24/7. And I know I’m not alone. Did you know that regular relaxation is essential for a long life and personal effectiveness? Well, duh, that makes sense! So here are some techniques for relaxing physically that I scored from time management guru Brian Tracy:

Take time off every week: First of all, work only five or six days per week, and rest completely on the seventh day. Every single study in this area shows that you will be far more productive in the five or six days that you work if you take one or two days off completely than you ever would be if you worked straight through for seven days.

Get your mind busy elsewhere: During this time off, do not catch up on reports, organize your desk, or do anything else that requires mental effort. Simply let your mind relax completely, and get busy doing things with your family and friends. Maybe work around the house, go for a walk, engage in physical exercise, watch television, go to a movie, or play with your children. Whatever you do, discipline yourself to shut your mental gears off completely for at least one 24-hour period every seven days.

Get away on mini-vacations: Second, take one three-day vacation every three months, and during that time, refrain from doing any work. Do not attempt to catch up on even a few small things. If you do, you keep your mental gears in motion, and you end up neither resting nor properly doing work of any quality.

Take big chunks of down time: Third, take at least two full weeks off each year during which you do nothing that is work-related. You can either work or relax; you cannot do both. If you attempt to do a little work while you are on vacation, you never give your mental and emotional batteries a chance to recharge. You'll come back from your vacation just as tired as you were when you left.

Give yourself a break today: If you are involved in a difficult relationship, or situation at work that is emotionally draining, discipline yourself to take a complete break from it at least one day per week. Put the concern out of your mind. Refuse to think about it. Don't continually discuss it, make telephone calls about it or mull it over in your mind. You cannot perform at your best mentally if you are emotionally preoccupied with a person or situation. You have to give yourself a break.

Go for a walk in nature: Since a change is as good as a rest, going for a nice long walk is a wonderful way to relax emotionally and mentally. As you put your physical body into motion, your thoughts and feelings seem to relax all by themselves.

Eat lighter foods: Also, remember that the process of digestion consumes an enormous amount of physical energy. Therefore, if you eat lighter foods, you will feel better and more refreshed afterward. If you eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products, your digestive system will require far less energy to process them.

Be good to yourself: Since your diet has such an impact on your level of physical energy, and through it your levels of mental and emotional energy, the more fastidious you are about what you put into your mouth, the better you will feel and the more productive you will be. We know now that foods high in fat, sugar, or salt are not good for your body. The lighter the foods you eat, the more energy you have.

Wishing all my readers a safe, prosperous, blessed, and Happy New Year this 2013! Cheers, all!

Friday 21 December 2012

Full Paradigm Shift…

It’s here. The end of one cycle and the beginning of another. The Mayan calendar is finished. Done. Dead. Gone. Now what? Now it’s time to wipe the slate clean and move forward with all your newfound knowledge. Kind of like Dorothy finally returning home to Kansas with no flying monkeys to deal with! Remember – you are here because time has carried you here to fulfill your purpose. It also helps to know that there’s a plan, and you’re part of that plan!

It’s not an accident (BTW- there are no accidents) that you were born at this specific time in history, in the specific place you live. This is a time of immense opportunity. You are here to seize the day; to see the condition the world is in, and act to change it; to see that the world is a reflection of your own inner beliefs and use that reflection to face your own shadow; to use the power of your mind to create a new reality. These are truly exciting times for all of us!
Your past thoughts, actions, and beliefs have brought you to this moment in time for a reason. Knowing this deep in your core is part of living from your higher self. There’s an old Hopi saying: “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” The Mayans also have a saying: “You are the pyramid and the pyramid is you.” Smart people those Hopis and Mayans!

So, as you buckle down for the major transformation that’s taking place now, know that the old order must dissolve to make way for the new. Expect the unexpected! I wish you peace, prosperity, happiness, and wisdom in this brave new world. Be the change you want to see.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Wenches of Words Wednesday: Clarissa Johal

Today, I’m excited to feature fellow Wench of Words, Clarissa Johal, a wench of many talents including writing paranormal fiction and scaring the pants off readers! Take it away, Clarissa…

Musa Publishing’s newest author is here to discuss her life and debut novel BETWEEN. Please give a warm welcome to Clarissa Johal.
Tell us about yourself.

I write adult paranormal and horror. I love ballet, photography, fencing and running with my dogs. I’ve lived in so many places that I’ve lost count, but I was born in California. Right now, I live in North Carolina with my husband, two daughters, dogs, cats, tanks of fish, rescue turtles, rats, gerbils...the list goes on. I used to work in veterinary medicine and as a zoo keeper volunteer. These days, I try and help out with very basic wildlife rescue rehab when I can, which doesn’t explain all the other animals in my house, but I’m a sucker for strays.

Tell us about your book.

How far would you go to redeem yourself?

As a young girl, Lucinda was able to see spirits, a gift that didn't come without its problems. Now, a dedicated young veterinarian, she is committed to the idea that every life can be saved.

After a devastating accident, Lucinda tries to escape her past by moving to a small town. There, she meets a newcomer and feels an immediate connection with him. But there is another mysterious stranger to the small town, one that stirs within her a mixture of unease and desire.

As Lucinda is drawn into a bitter tug-a-war from the forces around her, she is likewise pulled into a dangerous twist of past and present events. Forced to make difficult choices, she finds that the two men are locked in not only a battle for her life...but a battle for their salvation.

BBQ? Carolina, Tennessee, Texas or Kansas City?

Oh yikes, none of the above. I’ve been a vegetarian for about 20 years now. My family is complicated. My younger daughter eats chicken, but doesn’t like fish, save for tuna. My older daughter eats fish of all kinds but no other meat, I don’t eat meat or fish, and my husband eats almost everything. Nobody eats beef, pork or lamb, because they don’t like it. Makes for an interesting dinner.

What are your five favorite Novels?

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, Lirael by Garth Nix, and the Skullduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy. I also really love Shakespeare.

If you could only have one vice what would it be?

I’m boring as I only have one vice now! But it’s mine so I’ll stick with it—I’m an unapologetic coffee drinker. And it has to be Peet’s Sumatra.

What do you prefer roller coasters, carousels or the bumper cars?

I used to love roller coasters. On the first date I ever went on, I rode every single roller coaster at the California State Fair and ended up getting sick in my purse. That cured me from roller coasters forever. The guy even asked me out again but I was just too mortified. I’d probably pick carousels now. And I’d have to ride the seahorse or I’d have a grown-up tantrum.

What are you working on now?

My next paranormal novel. It’s about a young woman that gets struck by lightning and then begins to experience unexplainable things. That’s all I can say.

What’s your favorite movie?

One favorite? Right now it would have to be Castaway on the Moon. It’s a Korean film that came out in 2009. Big Trouble in Little China and Woman in Black with Daniel Radcliffe are close seconds.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

The Dumfries and Galloway area of Scotland, hands-down. My husband and I backpacked all over the UK many years ago and I fell in love with Loch Skeen. I actually got choked up when it was time to leave. I wanted to sleep on the moors. The remoteness and beauty of the area really struck me.

Are you a Plotter or a Panster?

Oh, panster all the way. I have a general idea of plot and maybe one character, it may even be a supporting character, but I never know what’s going to happen until the characters tell me. With the exception of Between, which I wrote from beginning to end, I usually start by writing a random scene and it will build from there. If I tried to plot everything out, I think it would destroy my creative drive completely.

Where do you find inspiration?

In art and in mythology. My favorite artists are Waterhouse, Michael Parkes and BROM. I love reading all kinds of mythology but especially Celtic and British.

Name five things that are on your desk right now?

My gargoyle Victor, a handout from MOMA featuring one of Tim Burton’s awesome drawings, a painting my daughter did in grade 5, a lava lamp, and my Nikon camera.

How do you handle writers block?

With oven mitts. Kidding. I jump on my trampoline and ballet. Usually in that order.

To read an excerpt from Between, please click HERE.

Learn more about Clarissa Johal on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Buy Links 

Musa Publishing:


Tuesday 18 December 2012

Spreading the Good News…

First, I’d like to announce the winners of the Goodreads Giveaway and the Gift Card Giveaway Hop! Drum roll please…and the winners are…

Goodreads Giveaway goes to Maria Gonzalez! Congratulations, Maria, your limited edition signed paperback of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis is in the mail. Thank you for entering the giveaway, and I hope you enjoy my labor of love.

Gift Card Giveaway of a $10 Musa Publishing gift certificate goes to Kate Smythe! Virtual high fives for the score, Kate! Now you’ve got the tough job of choosing the eBooks you want to stuff onto your ereader! Thank you for stopping by on the hop to enter, and enjoy your choices!
Okay, now for the BIG NEWS! I’ve just signed another contract with Musa Publishing to publish the prequel to the Last Timekeepers series, entitled Legend of the Timekeepers. This book is in Lilith’s point of view, when she was a young teen. The story takes place after the destruction of Atlantis, and introduces readers to the charming, and oh-so-evil Belial. There’s no release date set, so please be patient and stay tuned for further announcements on my blog, facebook page or tweets.

I also want to wish everyone happy holidays and may 2013 bring you and your loved ones peace, prosperity, health, and happiness throughout the year. Cheers, blessings, and salute!

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Gift Card Giveaway Hop

Welcome, and thank you for stopping by on your tour around the Gift Card Giveaway Hop hosted by Sweeping Me and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. I’m giving away a $10 Gift Certificate from Musa Publishing to use on any of their vast and awesome choices of ebooks. My novel The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, the first book in my middle-grade/YA time travel series is released through Musa Publishing, and available on Amazon, and other on-line book store. BTW – this Giveaway is opened internationally, so everyone is included in this hop! Cheers and Happy Holidays to All!

Here’s the tagline and blurb from my book:

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.

Good luck, and don’t forget to visit all the other blogs on the hop and enjoy more giveaway fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions
 This Blog Hop begins midnight on December 11th and runs until midnight December 17th, 2012. The draw will take place December 18th, 2012.
 The winner will chosen by Rafflecopter
 I will contact the winner via email and give the winner 72 hours to accept his/her prize.
 Prize as stated—no alternatives will be offered.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Wenches of Words Wednesday: Vonnie Hughes

I’m excited to feature fellow Wench of Words, Vonnie Hughes — a wonderful wench from down-under — who pens Regency and romantic suspense fiction, on my blog today! Take it away, Vonnie…

Vonnie Hughes and Musa Publishing are delighted to present CAPTIVE, a new Aurora Regency, for your reading pleasure.
When Alexandra Tallis sets free the attractive man her sister stupidly tried to hold captive, her actions lead not only to a love she never thought to find, but also to a horrific family secret that threatens that love.

When Alexandra Tallis discovers that her witless sister has imprisoned their father’s nemesis, Theo Crombie in their attic, she quickly frees him, fighting an unladylike impulse to keep him as her own special captive. Despite the brutal beating she receives from her father for her actions, Alexandra continues to yearn for the delicious Mr. Crombie even though she knows that nothing will ever come of her dreams.
Injured and shackled in a stranger’s attic, Theo unexpectedly discovers the woman of his dreams. But how can he pursue those dreams when her bizarre family’s complex relationships threaten the very foundation of his existence? Somehow Theo must find a way through this maze to claim his lady.

“Oh, no, Emmaline! Please untie him. Let him go.”

Whatever would her sister do next? At seventeen, she was an eligible man’s worst nightmare. And this latest escapade—

“Don’t be such a bore, Lexie. ’Tis a great joke! For once, Papa will thank us. Especially when he finds out who it is we’ve trussed up.” Emmaline laughed her silvery, seductive laugh that drove men wild and irritated women.

“Thank us? He is more like to beat us. You cannot capture someone and bring him here and…and just tie him up!”

“Of course I can. I already have. I shall lock the two of you in here together and then raise an outcry. Papa and the servants will come running and—,” she waved her pretty hands in the air, “—the rest will take care of itself. Papa’s investment problem will be solved, and with a bit of luck, you might even be married by next week, sister.”

“Are you out of your mind?” rasped an angry voice from the darkest corner of the garret.

“Ah, you’re awake!” trilled Emmaline.

Alexandra Tallis gulped. She was doing her best not to look at the near-naked man half-hidden in the shadows. But her eyes refused to behave. Stripped to the waist he was a wondrous sight, all muscle and taut sinew. His arms tensed and strained as he struggled to escape.

“Get me out of here,” he snarled.

Alexandra blinked and looked more closely, but her eyesight was not the best. She lifted a candle from the wall sconce and took a step forward. And another.

“You’re bleeding!”

He swiveled his head to look in her direction. “Sense at last. Yes, I’m bleeding. I’d be obliged if you’d free me from these bl—these ridiculous bonds.” There was a clank and rattle as he tried to move.

Gracious! Emmaline hadn’t just tied the man up—she had chained him. Alexandra closed her eyes for a few seconds.

“Emmaline! How on earth did you manage—?”

“Davy did it for me. Well, he would fight, so Davy had to subdue him.”

“What did that witless boy do? Shoot the poor man?”

“Yes, actually. He did,” the man muttered.


Vonnie Hughes is a New Zealander living in Australia. She loves animals and jogging. Vonnie writes Regencies and romantic suspense novels along with short stories. She is presently working on a romantic suspense, working title: Innocent Hostage and a Regency novella, working title: A Tale of Two Sisters.

Her earlier book Coming Home is about a soldier and a nurse, thrown together during the Napoleonic wars, who find more danger on their return to England than they ever did on the Iberian Peninsula.

The Second Son is actually a prequel to Coming Home. A second son, filled with angst, stands to inherit a title and property through the death of a brother he has always loathed and mistrusted. A young disabled woman teaches him how to find his self-respect and how to love.

Another Regency Historical, Mr. Monfort’s Marriage, has businessman Matthew Monfort inveigled into marrying an earl’s daughter. With good reason he loathes the ton, so his new wife needn’t think she’s going to win him over, even though she’s quite delightful…and intelligent…and sweet…However Verity shows him that not all members of the ton are idle layabouts and that he can do much good with his largesse and with—shock, horror—the unexpected and embarrassing title conferred on him by Prinny.

All of Vonnie’s books are available on Amazon and Musa Publishing.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

Monday 3 December 2012

Thinking Outside the Box for the Holidays…

Supporting local businesses not only helps keep money circulating in your community, but keeps people like your neighbors, friends or family employed throughout the year. This isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your hometown businesses with their financial lives on the line trying to keep their doors open. Here are some suggestions that will help you think outside the box:  

·         Everyone gets their haircut. How about gift certificates from your local salon or barber?

·         Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement. Especially when January 1st rolls around and your resolutions kick-in!

·         Who wouldn’t appreciate their car detailed? Small, locally owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate.

·         Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like their driveway sealed, or lawn moved for the summer, or driveway cleared all winter, or a few rounds at the local golf course.

·         There are a ton of owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy-smancy eatery sort, what about a half-dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint?

·         How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a local mechanic shop?

·         Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Betcha she’d LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day. Or, how about a paid manicure or pedicure?

·         What about a book by a local author, fiction or non-fiction. There’s a gift for everyone on your list.

·         Need a computer tune-up? I know I can find some local computer repair business.

·         Looking for something more personal? Local crafts people make jewelry, candles, pottery, paintings, jams, jellies, relishes, and more.

·         Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. How about going to see a play or ballet at the local theatre. Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

This holiday season the dollars you spend could save someone’s job, or stop a business from closing its doors. And when we care about our community, the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.

SHAMELESS PLUG — if you’re thinking about supporting THIS author over the holiday season, please click HERE to purchase an ecopy of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis to download to your ereader. Cheers and wishing you and your family safe and happy holidays!

Gift Image: 123rf2376639 Stock Photo

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Wenches of Words Wednesday: Nancy DiMauro

I’m excited to feature fellow Wench of Words, Nancy DiMauro, a wench of many talents including writing speculative fiction, on my blog today! Take it away, Nancy…

Welcome, Nancy, and thanks for coming out. Tell us about yourself.

I’m a mommy, writer, lawyer, and farmer. Wow, that’s a mouthful.

My condo-raised husband agreed to move out to the country with me 12 years ago (almost to the day) because living on a horse farm was my dream. So, we have two horses in our front yard, and two dogs, three hermit crabs and four cats in the house. My dear hubby has managed to resist the pleas for a partridge in a pear tree so far. But, he doesn’t realize I planted a pear tree this last spring. 

Anyway, I am lucky enough to have two boys (soon to be 14 and 12). I’ve been a practicing trial attorney since 1995, and in my free time, I write. Actually, I’m pretty regimented about when I write – between 9pm and 11pm 4-5 nights a week. After all, being a writer is one of my jobs.

Tell us about your book.

My newest release is Apollo Rising about Apollo’s quest to break Daphne’s curse and restore her to her true form. In seeking to enlist the aid he needs, Apollo bargains with Hades for Daphne’s soul. But the god of the underworld may demand too a high price. 

Here's the official BLURB:

Shot by a golden arrow, Apollo has only truly loved Daphne. He visits her each eclipse, and longs for reunion. He seeks the Fates’s advice and learns he may finally restore Daphne to her true water nymph form by enlisting other gods’ assistance.

If Apollo fails Daphne will be lost to him forever. To regain Daphne’s soul, Apollo must deal with the devil, King of the Underworld. Love-torn and treacherous, Hades would slay the pantheon to remain with his wife for the full year. Apollo’s quest might just give Hades the leverage he needs to do so.

Will Pheobus Apollo surrender the sun to try to reclaim love? Can he break Daphne’s curse or will his attempts destroy her forever? Will she still love him after millennia as a soulless tree? With the end of the quest see Apollo rising, or in sunset?

You can find Apollo Rising on Amazon.

Who is your favorite character from one of your books and why?

Has there ever been a question designed to cause more strife? It’s like asking which child is your favorite. I love them all. Vonna, from the Flashes of Life story in Paths Less Traveled, is probably my favorite to play with right now. While I have other characters with supernatural powers, Vonna’s ability to recover memories from the dead is pretty out there. Also, Vonna sees emotion as color so I’ve had to create a color wheel of emotion. That was really challenging. The other neat thing about Vonna is she’s living in a near future Washington, D.C. so I get to mix in politics with the vampires, psychics and weres. Oh my! Vonna’s talents also make her a target for anyone wanting to get away with murder.

What are you working on now?

I’m in different phases on three novels. I’m editing/ rewriting The King’s Falcon, which follows Falcon from Lightning Strikes in Paths Less Traveled. I’m hoping to turn that in for consideration by the end of the year. I’m almost done with the first draft an erotic romance called New Bohemia: Just One Night in which May has a favor to ask of her best friend and housemate, Pete. I’m outlining The Nocebo Effect, which follows Vonna as she tries to solve a string of murders that initially appeared to be natural deaths before the killer finds her.

Do you listen to music when you write, if so what?

I don’t listen to music, but I tend to have the TV on for background noise. I notice silence, but I can ignore the TV if I’ve seen the show before. So, my DVR gets a lot of play while I’m writing.
Which of your covers is your favorite?

Wow. That’s tough. Kelly Shorten did all the covers for my four Musa books. They are all really wonderful and tie in so well with the stories. Since I have to pick, I think the Shots at Redemption cover is my favorite. I love the ghost ship.

Check out the cover and blurb at Amazon, Musa Publishing, or Barnes and Noble.

Where do you find inspiration?

My family. My boys (all three of them) do and say the most outrageous things. My youngest son also loves telling stories so he and I will spend hours talking about worlds that only we can see.

Name 5 things that are on your desk right now?

Pictures of my boys as babies; The Describer’s Dictionary by David Grambs; The Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon; a list of e-mails from Dave Farland’s Novel Rewriting workshop participants; and a stack of business cards I still need to scan into my contact list.

What is your biggest distraction when it comes to writing?

The need for sleep. Because I write so late in the day, there are times when I just can’t stay awake long enough to get the words on the page. I’ve learned just to give up and try again the next day.

When did you discover the need to write?

Back in high school. I’d been writing poetry for years, and wrote my first novel when I was a sophomore. Of that fan-fic novel, let’s just all be glad that the changes in technology since the 1980’s have made the story unrecoverable.

How do you handle writers’ block?

I don’t really believe in writers’ block. For me, when I hit a point I’m struggling to find the words, it generally means one of a few things. Usually, it means I haven’t taken the time I need to pre-write the scene. Because my keyboard time is limited, I spend a lot of time daydreaming scenes before they ever hit the page. The ones I struggle with are often the ones where I haven’t spent the time visualizing them first. I’ll log off for the day and imagine what I’m missing. It might take another day to get to the point where I can write the scene, but my high word count days are ones where I’ve been daydreaming a lot about the story.

Another reason I can’t write is because sometimes I need more research. In New Bohemia, I have a significant section of the story in the Swiss Alps. When it came time to write it, I realized my visualization of the area came solely from my memories of The Sound Of Music. So, not so good. I spent about two weeks researching locations, building construction, and most importantly snow rescue techniques. When I went back to the keyboard, the scenes were much easier.

The final reason I can’t get words on the page is exhaustion. My other jobs (mommy and lawyer) are demanding. Sometimes they take everything I have. When that happens I have to give into the inevitable and use my writing time for sleep.

Where can readers find you?

On my website and blog. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.

I have to run now. Thank you for interviewing me, and thanks to everyone who took the time to read it. ~Nancy DiMauro

Friday 23 November 2012

Let the Giveaway Begin...

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon Ledwith

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

by Sharon Ledwith

Giveaway ends December 15, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Wenches of Words Wednesday: Lisa Greer

I’m excited to feature fellow Wench of Words, Lisa Greer, who writes about the dark side of romance, on my blog today! Take it away, Lisa…

The Love and Terror of Our Lives by Lisa Greer

I have a new release an historical gothic romance, The Montmoors 2: The Bastard Returns—second in a set of serials that focuses on a cursed line of male heirs condemned to life inside a crumbling castle in Cornwall. The series moves through generations of Montmoors, and readers will learn whether the curse that rests upon the family—and dozens of other intrigues that pop up—will lead to happiness in the end.

I've been thinking a lot about gothic romance lately and why it's loved by fans old and new. What's so appealing about this genre, and why should you give gothic romance a try?

I think we've all experienced love—the sensation of your heart bumping faster when you see him or her, wondering if you can live without the beloved, feelings so strong for someone else that you don't need to eat or sleep, at least not much. And of course, mature love that is tested and stands strong through the years.

And if not love, then surely you've felt terror. That thumping sound you hear in the middle of the night that makes your heart stop for a minute or how you go looking behind the door after watching a scary movie. If those types of terror aren’t for you, then there’s always the icy grip of death, of impending loneliness, or any number of things perhaps that only frighten you. Terror and love are emotions, states of being, even actions that we all understand.

That is why I write what I do—gothic romance. The beloved authors of the genre like Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, and Emily Bronte understood that intersection of fear and desire.

Gothic romance in its most common, pure form, the type that makes its fans swoon, deals in scary realities—haunted houses, castles and troubled lords aside. A critic once said, in fact, that gothic romance is the choice between two men. And it is, isn't it? And isn't that choice an all too real one in life, if we broaden the scope a bit? The choice between opposites? For good or path or the other.

Gothic romance reached its zenith in the 60s and 70s with authors like Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. They kept going strong in some circles even into the early 90s with their mix of romance, Byronic heroes, ghosts, suspense, and danger—in spite of the fact that they should have been outmoded before they ever became popular.

But that wasn't the case. The genre adapted to the modern and post modern eras and still does and harkens back to the Victorian Era in some cases. Love and terror worked then, and they work now. The characters who play out the dramas of desire and fear are ones we can identify with, too—or at least that we love reading about.

The heroines of most gothic romances are hip and intelligent, but they don't mind relying on a man to do some of the fighting for them when it comes to ghosts or being trapped in the family mausoleum. They drink sherry and beer, smoke cigarettes, and wear miniskirts—or they don't. They write masters theses, act as dutiful daughters to their ailing professorial fathers, or work as art gallery owners. They are orphans, governesses, and heiresses, alone, yet strong. They are all of us as women.

And the heroes, well, the heroes are often Byronic—dark, isolated, secretive. They are mad with old loves and losses or haunted by sordid pasts. But sometimes they're not. Sometimes, the hero is the good friend, the guy who stands beside the heroine, the one who is the picture of mental health. And that's part of the fun. In many gothic romances, you'll have your doubts about the heroine's choice, and she will for a while, too.

Of course, gothic romance has been around since well before the 20th century. The mother of the gothic, Ann Radcliffe, and others were writing Gothic and gothic romance in the 18th century. My favorite gothic romance is still Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. What novel captures the solipsism of first love and the terror of its loss as well as that book? What Byronic Hero is better drawn than the gypsy Heathcliff? The macabre, mysterious, and frightening have always attracted readers. We do understand love... and terror, or at least we want to feel we are not alone with either emotion.

Here's a little from The Montmoors 2: The Bastard Returns for your reading pleasure.


The mysteries of Montmoor Hall deepen with each passing day…and night. A ghost haunts governess Catherine Roth while the master, Andrew Montmoor, is away.

To make matters worse, Catherine is falling in love with the troubled master of Montmoor Hall even though she knows Andrew is lying to her…but about what? And what will happen when the bastard brother, handsome Benjamin Smitt, returns to claim what is his?


She woke up in the night, not sure what had roused her. Catherine opened her eyes, and in front of her shimmered the image of Monroe Montmoor. He appeared exactly as he had in his portrait, and glowered with what could only be fury, and his green eyes blazed at her. He stood, silent and strangely translucent.

“No.” The whisper escaped Catherine's lips before she could stop it.

A twisted grin crossed his full lips, and she wanted to scream. A smile on his face struck her as more terrible than a frown. If he was so grotesque in death, what manner of monster must he have been in life?

With his gnarled, blue veined hand, he reached out toward her, and his mouth worked soundlessly, even as Catherine's mind screamed that his hand coming toward her was impossible. She didn't want him to touch her, would go mad if she heard what such a specter had to say. He shuffled a few steps closer to the bed.

He's going to touch me, to do something...

Jolted from her paralysis, Catherine screamed, a gut wrenching sound that made her own ears ring. The figure disintegrated, disappearing by degrees.

Her door burst open within seconds, and a disheveled Montmoor appeared at her side wearing a silken nightshirt that, thankfully, covered his body down to his calves.

“What in God's name is going on?” He sat on the edge of the bed and took her in his arms, and she didn't resist. Catherine sobbed against his warm neck, aware of his arms holding her tight.

“I saw something.”


“I think it was a spirit, a ghost, though I've never seen one before. I don't even believe in them!” She heard her voice rise to a hysterical pitch.

His arms tightened around her, and she felt his breath against her hair as his hands twined in the silky strands.

“It's the curse.”

“Why do you say that?” She remembered his words from the night before with a shudder.

“Because I believe what you saw was my great grandfather, his spirit. He’s vengeful. He never rests. He walks the halls.” His voice grew louder with each terrible word, and a wild look entered his eyes.

Catherine pulled away from him, frightened even more by his strange reaction.

“That's foolish. I couldn't have seen a spirit. It must have been a nightmare from being in a new and different place.” She almost believed it herself as long as she avoided looking at him.

“Tell me exactly what you saw.” He ground the words out, and all at once Catherine grew uncomfortable with his closeness to her on the bed. She crossed her arms over the thin chemise she wore, one of the lacy ones left by his sister, Alice. And did she really elope? There was something so strange about the story, about the way Lord Montmoor had not met her eyes when he had told it.

He leaned back, looking into her eyes.

“I saw the man in the portrait. Your great grandfather.” She forced herself to meet his gaze. The skin at the nape of his neck glowed in the light from the brass candelabra he had laid on the bedside table.

“As I assumed. He doesn't want you here.”

“Why wouldn't he want me here? And how do you know?”

Montmoor broke the intense gaze between them. “My destiny is sealed—or that is his wish—for me to be cursed and lonely.”

BUY LINK Watch the YouTube trailer HERE. Learn more about Lisa Greer on her website. Stay connected with Lisa on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday 19 November 2012

Just Ask 'How'?

Imagine getting a chance to wave a magic wand to create your future. What would this future look like? Who would you be, what are you doing? Are you working at your dream job? Cranking out bestsellers? Starring in award-winning movies? Owning a chain of businesses? Putting criminals away? Saving lives? Teaching young minds? Raising responsible children?

Okay, now that you’ve got an image of your future self, I want you to ask one very important question.  How am I going to achieve this awesome future? That’s it. Chances are, some of us don’t even know where to begin. I’m betting an education comes into play here. You’ve got to get your hands dirty, grimy, yucky. Whether it’s how to write bestsellers, how to act, how to practice law, how to run a business, or how to teach, we all need to start somewhere. I had no idea whatsoever how to write a novel when I decided I wanted to be a bestselling author someday. None. Zero. Zip. Then I opened up a college course program to the page, How to Write a Novel, and jumped at the chance to learn this skill. That was seventeen years ago. BTW—I’m still shooting for the bestseller list, but I’m much more prepared than I was back then!
The point is, I just asked ‘How’? How do I go about writing a book worthy of getting on the bestseller list? When I asked that, it seemed that the Universe conspired with me to get me on the right path, and give me what I had asked for. Don’t get me wrong, the road to finally seeing my first book, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis in print has had many a pothole and detour, but I followed through, and got back on course each time. I became proactive in my quest, figured out what I needed to do, and just did it.

And you can too. Victory can become yours if you listen to your heart and embrace your purpose. All you need to do is just ask ‘how’? Then go for gold.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Wenches of Words Wednesday: Sara Daniel

I’m excited to feature fellow Wench of Words, Sara Daniel, a fabulous romance author, on my blog today! Take it away, Sara…
Early this year when Musa posted a submissions call for a series called Finally Ever After, I jumped at the opportunity. The stories were to be short, happily ever romances about lovers who have loved each other and lost. Now, they have a second chance to create the happy ending they didn’t get the first time.

I love characters with a past history, especially in a short word count. They have instant attraction and long-standing unresolved conflict—the perfect elements for a fast-paced, emotion-packed read. Zane’s Art had all these things coupled with a strong present conflict. The story flowed out of me so fast I knew it was meant to be!

Here's little from Zane's Art for your reading pleasure.
A high school art teacher must choose between her students and the artist she never stopped loving.

High school art teacher Julianne Truman's last chance to save her beloved art department from budget cuts is to sell the old sketches that her former boyfriend—and now famous artist—Zane DeMonde drew for her. But is she prepared to let go of his artwork and the last traces of him in her life?

Desperate to save his artistic reputation from the exposure of his early works, Zane returns to the home town he wanted to forget. He accuses Julianne of profiting from his success and demands she take his art off the market and cancel the auction.

Their high school attraction flares back to life, forcing Julianne to choose between the students who count on her and the man she never stopped loving.


“Cancel the auction.”

Julianne Truman’s head snapped around at the hard male voice. The stapler fell from her hand and cracked open on the floor, as she caught sight of the extraordinary face that went with the voice. Her knees shook as she climbed down the ladder. She hadn’t faced Zane DeMonde in nearly fifteen years. At one time she’d believed he’d be part of every single day of her future.

“Zane, I didn’t expect you to come.” She stepped toward him. His black hair was a little shorter than the last time she’d seen him, but at shoulder length it was still far longer than most men’s. Gone were the black hoodie and ripped jeans of his youth. Now he wore chinos and a sharply pressed blue button-down shirt, open at the neck.

The dark storms in his cobalt blue eyes were exactly the same as the day he’d walked away from her. “Cancel the auction. The sketches and painting are not for sale.”

She swallowed. “I own them. If I choose to sell them, that’s my business.” And it was breaking her heart to part with the only piece of him that she’d been able to hang onto all these years.

“When they have my name on them and you’re getting rich off me, it’s my business.”

Getting rich was so far from the truth Julianne would have laughed if her chest weren’t so tight. “It’s an honor to have you back in town.” At least her students would think so. Her brother would likely burst an artery. And she—well, she couldn’t even begin to process the mix of emotions she was feeling. “Do you have a minute to talk? I can explain what’s going on.”

“I know what’s going on.”

She hoped he couldn’t hear how hard her heart was hammering or sense how desperately she longed to wrap her arms around him and pick up where they left off fifteen years ago, as if he’d never left her. “Then you know that the arts are at the bottom of the school district’s priority list. To have supplies for the classroom, to restore the school mural, to give my students a chance to explore different mediums, the art program needs an alternate source of funding.”

“You’re the Dentonville High art teacher?”

She couldn’t help feeling defensive at his derisive tone. “Yes, and I love my job.”

“Do you? Or have you never moved beyond your high school life?”


To learn more about Sara Daniel and her work, please visit her website and blog.

Stay connected on Sara's Facebook page and her Sara Shafer page.

Remember, Sara is also only a tweet away.

Monday 12 November 2012

Please Support Your Fav Author…

There’s much talk around the virtual water cooler in my publisher’s social media groups these days. The gist is this: an author gets more money (50%) when a reader buys a book or ebook from the author’s publisher’s website. When you make a purchase through other on-line book stores such as Amazon or Smashwords or Barnes & Noble, our slice of the pie becomes smaller.

So here’s my plea, as one of the thousands of authors vying for a reader’s attention: PLEASE SUPPORT A FAVORITE AUTHOR BY DECIDING TO MAKE YOUR NEXT PURCHASE AT THEIR PUBLISHER’S ON-LINE BOOK STORE!
I know, I know, you say you’ve got a specific ereader that takes you directly to the manufacturer’s virtual warehouse so you can wander though their vast shelves and get deals galore. Let me tell you, this book business is tough enough, BUT if you find an author who you connect to, love their prose, their voice, their platform, then wouldn’t it be justified to support these storytellers so they could earn a decent living and produce more of their written wares for you to read? I’d say that would be a win-win situation!

Below is a post written by author friend, Margaret Lesh, explaining about the misconceptions of ebooks, and the various types of ereaders out there:

Every respectable publishing company has all the formats available for different ereaders. Mobi (Blackberry), PRC (Kindle), Epub (Nook, Kobo, Android), and PDF (Window-based and Mac computers) to name a few. It’s a simple process, and may add one or two more steps when you purchase a book directly from a publisher. Don’t let that scare you off. Be brave. Grit your teeth. Download that book you’ve wanted to buy for so long, but have kept putting it off because the technology is a scary and new. Free programs such as Calibre make it easy-peasy to convert your ebook to be able to read on the specific ereader you own.
So there you have it. You’ve heard my plea. The choice, as a reader, is yours. And thankfully, it always has been.

Image: 123RF Stock Photo: 3244416

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Wenches of Words Wednesday: Patricia Yager Delagrange

I’m excited to feature fellow Wench of Words, Patricia Yager Delagrange, an author of contemporary fiction, on my blog today! Take it away, Patricia…

Inspiration Behind the Book by Patricia Yager Delagrange

How many times have I seen an Amber Alert on the news which ends in the child’s death? How many times have I been driving down the freeway and read about another child kidnapping in yellow lights across a billboard? How many times have watched on the news that another child has been murdered?

Too may times. One time is too many.

And each time this occurs I wondered how in the world do the parents make it through such a tragedy? How do they go on? How can they return to work? How can they face interacting with family and friends after their child’s death? How do they go on living?
This question had burned in my mind for years and I wanted to write about it. People have asked me how I can write about something that’s never happened to me. I counter with: I write fiction. All fiction writers tell a story they’ve made up in their heads. But they imbue that story with their own feelings. Which is what makes a good book. And I have a wealth of feelings that I used when I wrote Moon Over Alcatraz. I have two children. I know what it’s like to love two human beings unconditionally, with no reservations. My kids often ask me, “Do you love me, mom?” And my answer is, “Always and forever.”

So I took a happily married couple, excited to have their first child, placed them in the delivery room, and had the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck, which produced a still birth.

And that’s pretty much what happened to that couple - their lift stood still. They didn’t know how to move on from there. Instead of looking to each other for solace and renewal, they turned away from each other. Both of them, unbeknownst to the other, dealt with their grief in a way that broke them apart, instead of pulling them together.

Losing a child is devastating. And each person deals with that emotional turmoil in their own particular way. I’d go so far as to say that no one can predict how they would act in that circumstance. Emotions can be unpredictable, surprising even to the person who’s experiencing them. This is what happens to Brandy and Weston. You have a difference in their emotional upheaval. One character is the mother who carried her baby to term, and the other is the father who didn’t have that same physical experience.


Following the death of their baby during a difficult birth, Brandy and Weston Chambers are grief-stricken and withdraw from each other, both seeking solace outside of their marriage; however, they vow to work through their painful disloyalty. But when the man Brandy slept with moves back to their hometown, three lives are forever changed by his return.


Three days later we were standing at the edge of a hole in the ground at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Hayward, the silence so thick, the insides of my ears buzzed like a distant swarm of angry bees. Mr. Peralta and another gentleman stood off to the side while Weston and I held hands next to a tiny casket.

Weston had chosen a simple mahogany box with gold handles, a bouquet of white lilies graced the top of the small box. I knelt down and laid a kiss on the smooth wood then wiped off the tears that had fallen on top. Weston joined me, placing a single red rose in the middle of the lilies. He helped me up and we stood side-by-side in silence, my guilt over her death like a stone in my empty belly. I missed everything I’d dreamed would be happening right now, yearned for all that could have been.

Weston nodded at the man standing next to Mr. Peralta and our baby was slowly lowered into the gaping maw. She reached the bottom, and a bird landed on the rich brown dirt piled next to the grave. It pecked around, chirping a little song then flew off - as if saying goodbye. My heart squeezed inside my chest.

I picked up a small handful of soft dirt. “Goodbye, Christine,” I whispered, throwing it on top of her casket.

Weston wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me in close to his side. Why her? Why my baby? Was this supposed to make sense? And, if so, to whom?

We drove home in silence. No words existed to express my grief.

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Learn more about Patricia Yager Delagrange on her website and blog. Stay connected on facebook and Twitter.

Monday 5 November 2012

Authors in the Limelight Interview: C. W. Trisef

I want to thank and welcome author, C. W. Trisef for sharing his personal writing journey with us on my blog today. His books, Oracle: Sunken Earth and Oracle: Fire Island, can be purchased from Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

How long have you been writing, C. W.?
I have been writing all my life, but I am a debut author.  “Oracle – Sunken Earth” (book 1 in the series) is my first novel, released June 2011.  “Oracle – Fire Island” (book 2) is my second, released March 2012.  The 7-book series is about a teenage boy named Ret Cooper who cautiously undertakes the daunting task of “healing the world” with a spherical ball of curious design called the Oracle.  The Oracle has six unique markings on it.  Ret has the same six markings on the palms of his hands, which individually lead him to our planet’s most ancient secrets.  These world mysteries guard Mother Nature’s six pure, original elements, which Ret must collect and place inside the Oracle.  Ret’s knowledge grows and his powers increase with each element collected.  The series is good, wholesome adventure, packed with humor, intrigue, science, and even a little innocent romance.

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write the Oracle series?
I have always been fascinated by our planet’s ancient secrets, so that was certainly the genesis for the series.  The world mysteries in book 1 are the Bermuda Triangle, the Lost City of Atlantis, and the Bimini Road.  The world mysteries in book 2 are the Nazca Lines, Machu Picchu, and Easter Island.  My website ( explains each world mystery in greater detail.  I like to think that the Oracle series is an impressive blend of fact and fiction, based on real places and substantiated theories.  I believe that a great story not only entertains but also educates, thus the unique writing style.

An author after my own heart! What sets the Oracle series apart from other books in the same genre?
The Oracle series was written to entertain and educate through wholesome literature.  I have a passion for creative literature, especially fictional adventure.  Every word is placed to educate, every theme to build social awareness, and every detail to promote creativity.  The Oracle series is clean and wholesome, but also intriguing, adventurous, and fun.  With an underlying goal to educate readers, it was necessary to put a little more effort into word placement and literary technique.  Although the writing style may be referred to as uncustomary, it might also be described as refreshingly unique (at least that's my hope).

As an author, C. W., what is your writing process?
Outline, brainstorm, research, outline some more, set aside hours to get into the writing groove, consult the outline, let go and just write, and then go back to the outline again.  It is really important to me to know the end game before I start writing, and to adjust quickly, if needed.  I think a great story weaves subtle nuance (hints) into the storyline, and the only way to do that is to know exactly where the adventure will be going.  I would also love to see the Oracle series on the big screen, so the books are written with that hope in mind.

Hey, I’d go to those movies! I know you’re planning seven books for this series. How long did it take for you to start and finish your first two adventures, Oracle: Sunken Earth and Oracle: Fire Island?
Writing book 1 was a much longer process than writing book 2, but that was mostly because (as I stated above) it is important to me to know the end game before I start writing, so I spent a great deal of time upfront lying out (outlining) the entire 7-book series before finishing book 1.  Book 2 took less than one year, and book 3 will likely have the same result.

Sounds like you have a solid foundation for future success. Do you have any advice for other writers doing a series, C. W.?
Yes, don’t get discouraged, keep going!  It is a great feeling to see hard work in book form.  Check out my website ( and/or shoot me an email ( if I can help in any way.

What’s next for C. W. Trisef the author?
Book 3 in the Oracle series is already underway.  I hope to release a book a year until all seven are done and the series is complete, so that should keep me busy until 2017 or so.  The ending of the Oracle series is epic (very exciting), so getting to book 7 and the series completion will remain my primary focus for the foreseeable future.  Beyond the Oracle series, I do have another project in mind (another series, probably shorter than 7 books), but that will have to wait.

Knowing that patience is a virtue, I’ll be waiting! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?
Staying true to the Oracle series, I would love to go back in time and visit the world mysteries that I write about (like the Lost City of Atlantis, Machu Picchu, Easter Island) and discover what really happened to these places.  Who knows, maybe these mysteries really are hiding Mother Nature’s six pure elements for Ret Cooper to collect and place in the Oracle … J

Oracle - Fire IslandStay Connected with C. W. Trisef:

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