Celebrate This Blog!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Exploring Predestination in FATED HEARTS, by P.R. Mason


As I was working on the sequel to my urban fantasy novel, ENTANGLEMENTS, I became obsessed with the concept of predestination and the line between fate  and free will.
My father always came down on the side of 100% predetestination because he often had vivid dreams that foretold future events in his life. Some of these occurred years after the dream. For instance, when he was married to my mother he had a dream about visiting another woman in the hospital to visit the baby they'd had together. Nice, right? So he thought every event in his life was "fated" to happen and his choices made no difference.
I argued that choices had to matter, arguing that his dreams were precognitive of an event that would happen only if he continued on the path on which he was traveling at the time. And those dreams of events that never happened were forgotten because he had changed paths. Anyway, these issues came to the forefront of my mind in relation to an idea about two characters and so I felt driven to write their story.  The 11000-word paranormal romance novella FATED HEARTS is the result. It was just released. Here's the blurb:

EVE has always played by the rules, afraid to take chances. HOLDEN wants to change that. She's certain they've never met before...or have they? Holden seems so familiar, but who is he? What is he? Yesterday her biggest challenge was trying not to bomb on her SATs. Today, paranormal forces have transformed an ordinary high school dance into a test of fate vs. free will and loving Holden could be Eve's end.
It's available exclusively at Amazon: http://amzn.com/B006XVD53O
You can read an excerpt by clicking on the link. I hope you'll check it out!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Merzetti Effect - Letting the Critics Speak

I thought I would do something different today. I’m going to let other people speak for my vampire romance, The Merzetti Effect.



Smitten With Reading
“...this was a fantastic read. I loved the premise with the Merzetti blood line. It's really creative and the entire book was highly entertaining and incredibly written. The suspense was perfect and the twist...nope, I soooo did not see that coming...literally gasping out loud. This is definitely an author that I am going to keep my eye on.”

Blithely Bookish
“The bottom line – In a genre saturated with vampires of every shape, size, color and tormented disposition, it’s always refreshing to find an author who provides a unique take on these beings… their world, their humanity – or their lack thereof, and with The Merzetti Effect this author has given us something a little different, and definitely hot!! I am hoping, hoping, hoping that there will be many more books in Norah Wilson’s Vampire Romance series to come!”

Maldivian Book Reviewer’s Realm of Romance
“Very highly recommended for fans of vampire romances. This is one book you ought not miss!”

Kimba the Caffeinated Reviewer
“…a suspenseful and steamy paranormal romance. ... I highly recommend the Merzetti Effect to fans of paranormal romance.”

The Book Diva’s Reads

“…a fast-paced tale of romance, suspense and thrills.”
“There are plenty of paranormal romantic suspense stories about vampires available. However Ms. Wilson has provided a story that is slightly different and pulls the reader in from the beginning.”

Close Encounters with the Night Kind (Nikki)
“There are a few twists that surprised me in the book, but it helped shaped the story. I thought it was an excellent read and highly recommend it!”

Geeky Girl Reviews
“I loved this book. I was hooked from the very beginning and did not want to put it down.”

Paperbacks and Frosting
“I think there was a lot about this novel that was cleverly written and I really enjoyed the story. I found myself reading through it very quickly. The action was quick and nothing in the storyline was overwhelmingly complicated or made me wish that parts had been left out of the novel, which can sometimes happen in the paranormal genre. Overall, this is a really fun read for a fan of paranormal romances. It is a little spicy so if you’re looking for a sweet romance, then this isn’t for you, but I would definitely recommend this to someone looking to sink their teeth into a new romance and escape reality for a while.”

Smitten with Bad Boy Heroes

“I really enjoyed this novel and found the premise of the Merzetti bloodline to be distinctive and compelling. The characters are well developed and the storyline well delivered. I will definitely be reading the next in the Vampire Romances – Nightfall.”

And it’s still only 99 cents (75% off)!

Buy it at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Sony, Kobo, Diesel and All Romance EBooks.

And look for Book 2 in the series, Nightfall. It picks up the story of Aiden Afflack, vampire hunter, who meets his match in photographer/storm chaser Sam Shea.



Visit my website: Norah Wilson Writes
Follow me on Twitter: @norah_wilson
Friend me on Facebook and Goodreads

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Baby, it's cold outside

I live in Canada, and contrary to what some people believe, we don't live in igloos, don't all say "eh" and "aboot" and we don't all spend all year on the ski slopes J. I grew up in a city, so the only skiing I ever did was when I was about ten and I saved my allowance to buy a pair of those little plastic skis that were about a foot long and strapped on my feet over my clunky winter boots. I spent hours skiing down the "hill" at the back of our house, which was little more than a graded slope. Still, it was high enough for me, considering I have a phobia about heights. Now, I'm all grown up and I live in ski country, but to be honest, I prefer aprés-ski (drinking hot cider in the chalet in front of a roaring fire) to freezing my behind off.

Winterlude, my short contemporary romance, is set in a ski resort in Vermont. Not on the ski slopes, but inside, where it's toasty warm. Nicole has been protected her whole life. Now, she's looking for some action, and sets her sights on Dylan, the one man whose career depends on resisting her.

Excerpt:

What the hell ...?

No way! There was no way the gorgeous blonde with the shapely legs and tempting behind could be his boss's daughter. That sure as hell wasn't the same face as the one in the photo on Aubrey's desk. Granted, the photo had been taken at Nicole's high school graduation, but she couldn't have changed that much. Could she?

What were the odds there would be two Nicole St. Clair's in the same place at the same time? A million to one, at least. But that was the only explanation, because the woman who was practically offering him sex a few minutes ago couldn't possibly be the woman he'd promised to take care of, to bring back to Atlanta safe and sound. Untouched.

God couldn't be that cruel.

What had happened to the little mouse he'd seen eight years ago cowering in the corner of the St. Clair mansion library? He remembered trying to be strike up a conversation with the girl, hoping that by befriending the daughter, he would impress his new boss into giving him a promotion.

The girl had practically fainted. Her face had flamed, then she'd grabbed a handful of chocolates and buried her head even deeper into the book on her lap. Someone had spoken to him then, and he'd immediately forgotten her.

Could that girl really have grown into the goddess climbing the stairs? Fairy tales, metaphors - they all jumbled in his mind. The ugly duckling turning into the swan, the butterfly emerging from its cocoon. It looked like that was exactly what had happened. The child had become a woman, the woman Dylan wanted in his bed. The woman he couldn't have.

As if she knew he was watching, she turned and smiled, lifting her hand in a tiny wave before she disappeared from view.

God was indeed that cruel, it seemed. Here was a woman who made his insides boil with nothing more than a look and a few words, a woman who'd made it perfectly clear she was interested in more than sharing a meal, and there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it.

Nicole was expecting sex. He'd played the game enough to recognize the signs. And the signals she was sending out were strong enough for a blind man to see.

Damn! What was he going to do now?

Winterlude is available on Amazon
Visit me on my website http://www.margeryscott.com
Follow me on Facebook and Twitter


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Twist on Egyptian Mythology

I have always been fascinated by the history and mythology of Egypt. When I was asked to provide a story for The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance II, I took the opportunity to put my own spin on the mythology of ancient Egypt and create a contemporary paranormal world. This novella is now available separately as an ebook for anyone who didn't catch it in the anthology. So if you are interested in ancient Egypt or simply just love paranormal romance, this one is for you!


Warriors of Ra Blurb


Christian Lefevre broke Trisha’s teenage heart, but twenty years later she must seek him out to identify a rare Egyptian artifact. The artifact, a fire-filled pyramid, holds the secret to the danger that caused Christian to send her away, the secret to his roots buried deep in the mythology of ancient Egypt. Where warriors gifted with power from the ancient gods battled to protect the innocent and claim their special women. Trisha discovers she is one of those women, but she has no intention of becoming the property of any man, even a wealthy titled man. She wants love on her own terms. And when help comes from a surprising source, she might just get love and a power that she had never dreamed of. 

This is a novella of 14,500 words originally published in The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2.

Buy links:


Excerpt
Chapter One

Chateau Montgatine gleamed in the sun like a spun-sugar palace. Colorful flower borders laid out in the pattern of Egyptian symbols trimmed either side of the long gravel driveway. Trisha knew about the mystical floral design even though it was only visible from above. Twenty-two years ago, Christian Lefevre, the Comte de Montgatine, had taken her up in his private plane to show her.

The years telescoped, taking her back to the first time she'd set eyes on the chateau as a naive eighteen-year-old. She'd grown from a girl to a woman during her six weeks in France. She'd felt like a fairy-tale princess, dreamed of romance and happy endings. But by the end of her stay, she'd learned that happy endings were strictly for fairytales.

She pushed the button on the intercom by the gate.

"Bonjour." A man's voice gabbled a few incomprehensible sentences through the crackly speaker.

"Bonjour, monsieur. I have an appointment with the comte."

"Ah, oui, oui. Welcome back to Chateau Montgatine, mademoiselle Trisha."

Trisha's heart skipped as she recognized the voice of Christian's butler. "Monsieur Benoit, is that you?"

"Oui, oui. Still here, mademoiselle, still here. We talk in a moment."

The latch on the gate clicked open and the wrought-iron sections swung inward. Trisha jumped back in her rental car and started the engine. Her pulse sprinted as she drove toward the chateau. She might be forty now, a different person to the teenager who'd given her heart away, but the prospect of facing her first love still left her breathless with nerves. If only there had been someone other than him she could have turned to for advice.

The front door opened as Trisha grabbed her briefcase and climbed out of the car. Monsieur Benoit stood on the top step beaming a welcoming smile. "You have not changed at all, mademoiselle." She intended to tell him that he should call her madame, but before she could speak, he hugged her, pressing the customary three kisses to her cheeks.

"You're too kind, monsieur Benoit. You haven't changed either." He must have been forty when she'd stayed in a cottage near the chateau over two decades ago, but he certainly didn't look sixty now. He barely had a grey hair.

A strange little flutter of unease passed through her as she glanced around the chateau grounds. Two gardeners were busy weeding, lizards sunbathed on the limestone walls, and swallows swooped and circled over the garden, snatching insects from the fragrant air. If it hadn't been for the briefcase clutched tightly in her damp hand and the small Citroën rental car, she could almost believe she'd been transported back in time.

Trisha shook herself and followed monsieur Benoit into the cool interior of the chateau. Her sense of déjà vu continued. The intricate colored patterns on the walls and ceiling were unchanged, the furniture exactly as she remembered. Trisha laughed, mainly to relieve some of the tension clogging her throat. "You haven't redecorated I see."

"Oh no, no. The comte, he does not like change."

He'd been quick enough to change his feelings for her. Trisha pressed her lips together. Now was not the time to dredge up old hurts. She couldn't change the past. She could only make the most of the present, and her present involved her passion for her job at the Bristol Institute of Art. This meeting was business, not pleasure. She'd best remember that.

She smiled at the butler. "May I see the comte now?" The name Christian whispered in her mind, but she had no right to call him by his given name. Twenty-two years apart had made them strangers again.

"Oh, of course, of course. He waits for you in the library."

Trisha's breath eased out in relief. She and Christian had never spent time together in the library, so she would not be haunted by memories in there. Maybe that was why he'd chosen to meet with her in that room.

After following monsieur Benoit to the library door, she passed through with a smile when he opened it for her. She breathed slowly, evenly, stared at the rows of old leather-bound books. Calm and professional, she repeated in her head. The click of the door closing made her heart trip; then she heard a rustle of clothing.

"Madame Cole. Trisha."

The sound of her name spoken in the deep, achingly familiar voice from her memories drew her gaze inexorably to the man on the far side of the room.

She froze. Shock pounded in her chest, echoed in her temples, beat a drum of startled panic through her body. The briefcase dropped from her nerveless fingers to the floor.

Framed by the elegant marble fireplace, Christian stared back at her wearing his familiar linen suit, his hair neatly trimmed, his eyes green as emeralds, his skin supple, bronzed, smooth.

He hadn't aged at all.

Lines formed between his eyebrows. He moved toward her. "Are you all right, madame?"

Trisha's hand pressed over the frantic beat of her heart. "You're so… young," she breathed in a strangled voice.

Understanding flashed across his face, followed by pain. "No one has told you. I'm sorry. My father passed away ten years ago."

Trisha blinked, his words skating around her brain. She grabbed at a chair. He hurried over to support her elbow, help her into the chair. Then he pulled another seat up and sat facing her.

Tears pricked the backs of her eyes. Although Christian had sent her away, knowing he was living out his life in the same world as she had given her some kind of comfort. Too late, she realized that deep inside she had still dreamed that one day he might want her back.

But now… "Dead?" she whispered, daring to look this doppelganger in the face. He was the spitting image of his father. His eyes were the exact same shade of green; his hair the same light brown with sun-kissed streaks. Could a son resemble his father to such an extent? Even identical twins had some differences, didn't they?

"I'm so sorry, Trisha. Remy must have forgotten to tell you."

"How old are you?" she whispered. Even as the words passed her lips, she realized it was rude to ask such a direct question. Especially of a comte she'd only just met. But every cell in her body was shocked into confusion. Instinct told her she knew this man. Everything about him was familiar.

"I believe I was born the same year you visited France."

A shaft of pain caught her breath. So there had been another woman in Christian's life even as he romanced Trisha. A woman carrying his child. He must have married the other woman, or her son would not have inherited the title.

"How do you know which year I visited?" she asked, hoping he had made a mistake, hoping the man who'd stolen her heart hadn't moved on to another woman so quickly it made a mockery of all she had felt for him.

The comte rose and fetched something from a desk under the window. He held out a small wooden frame containing a photograph of her sitting on the edge of the fountain in the secret garden, smiling at the camera. An exquisite butterfly hair clip decorated with diamonds and rubies glinted against her dark hair. She'd almost forgotten the romantic afternoon when Christian had taken her along the maze of tiny paths overhung with roses and given her the gift. She'd treasured that precious butterfly for the grand total of three days. When he sent her away, she'd thrown it back in his face.

The comte pointed to the date written in the corner. "My father kept this photograph on his desk."

Why would he keep a photo of her? Christian had been the one to end their relationship, claiming she was too young for him. Even though he had only been in his early twenties.
Although at times he'd seemed much older than his years, just as the young man before her did. Christian's son could only be twenty-one, yet his assured manner belonged to a man twice his age.

The comte rose and filled a tumbler with amber liquid from a decanter. He returned and held out the glass. "You've had a shock. Cognac will steady your nerves."

Trisha gave a disbelieving laugh. "Christian gave me cognac when I was stung by a bee once and…" Her words choked off with emotion as the memory rose from the deep recesses of her mind. After a long moment staring at his lean fingers holding the cut crystal, she accepted the glass. The smooth liquid burned a path down her throat.

"A predilection for Cognac is in the Lefevre genes," he said wryly.

By the time she'd downed the contents of the glass, a warm fuzzy sense of unreality filled her head. "You look so much like your father. I'm finding it difficult to…" She rubbed her temples. "Maybe if you tell me your name it'll help."

He rose, placed her glass on a silver tray, then stared out the window for a few seconds, his shoulders tense. "It's Christian, I'm afraid… after my father."

Trisha's sense of unease flared again as this young Christian who could have stepped out of her dreams turned to look at her. For long moments, his emerald gaze perused her face, her body, as if he wanted to memorize her. "Still so beautiful," he said softly.

Her breath escaped on a tiny gasp. "What?"

He curved an elegant hand toward the photo. "Compared to your picture, madame, you've aged well, like a fine wine."

Her heart tripped, flickers of awareness racing through her in response to his appreciative gaze. She stared at her hands gripped tightly in her lap. Being attracted to this man was wrong. He was little more than a teenager; the son of the man she'd loved.

He picked up her briefcase and placed it beside her chair, then sat before her again, suddenly all business. "If you're recovered from your shock, perhaps you'd like to tell me why you came all this way to see me."

"I came to see your father."

His shoulders lifted in a small shrug. "I might be able to help you."

He must have inherited his father's possessions. Perhaps he would recognize the objet d'art about which she wanted information.

A sense of purpose infused Trisha as she unfastened her briefcase. She took out the photograph of the strange transparent pyramid that had arrived at the Institute. "We can't find anyone who knows what this is." She handed the photo to Christian. "The base of the object is twenty-four inches square and the thing's very heavy. There appears to be flames inside it, but it must be a clever special effect. I'm hoping you'll be able to tell me what it is because I saw something similar here years ago."

"When?" The young comte's gaze snapped up from the image and pinned her in place. His eyes flickered like green fire. For the first time in years, Trisha's cheeks grew hot at the memory of how desperate she'd been to keep Christian's love. She had sneaked into the chateau uninvited, and waited, naked in his bed, hoping to persuade him she was old enough to give him everything a woman could. But he had never appeared. In the end she had crept away feeling foolish. She had not seen the man she loved, that day, but the memory of the mysterious pyramid full of green fire that she'd found in his bedroom was seared into her mind.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Inspiration Found - Christmas in Bayeux by Stephanie Burkhart


Oddly enough, I don't get my inspiration from dreams. Having a full time job, parenting young boys, and writing, well, that leaves about 5-6 hours sleep a night, so I'm usually out like a rock.

Where did I find the inspiration for my story, "Christmas in Bayeux?" Part of it was from my love of history and my life experiences. When I turned 18, I joined the US Army, becoming and MP (Military Police). My first assignment was the 583rd Ordinance Company in Muenster, Germany. Now, there's an adventure for you! At 18, I was living in Germany and serving my country.

I grew up in Manchester, NH, the 2nd largest French-speaking city in America. I'm French on my father's side. My 1st time in Germany piqued my interest in World War II.

When VTP put out a call for their 2010 Christmas Collection, I knew I wanted to write a story for inclusion. Drawing on my love of history and my international travels, I set the story in Bayeux.

Unfortunately, I'd never been to Bayeux. I've been to France, though, and felt confident I could write a French setting convincingly. I researched Bayeux, learning some tidbits and worked them into the story.

There's one last place I go to draw inspiration – Hollywood. I love to "cast" my characters. This helps me to set a solid visual in my mind of how they look. My choices are for inspiration only, but it's a nice tool I use to help me round out my character's appearance. I'd thought I'd share my picks for Aiden and Noel with you.


For me, Jamie Dornan has the look for "Aiden." He's got a very expressive face and weariness wears well on him. When the story opens, Aiden is weary and tired, looking for a spark to ignite life's passion again.

Karine Vanasse offers inspiration for Noel. Canadian, Vanasse captures a French ambience that embodies Noel. Her smile will melt your heart and that's a quality Noel has – a smile that will melt Aiden's heart. History, Life, Research, and Hollywood – interesting choices for inspiration, huh?

TIDBITS:

--The American cemeteries at Bayeux are considered American soil and have soldiers from both World Wars buried there.

--The Bayeux Tapestry tells the story of how William the Conqueror won his English Throne. It is believed his wife, Edith, embroidered the tapestry, but the true origin in unknown.

--Jamie Dornan can be seen on the ABC Series, "Once Upon a Time."

--Karine Vanasse can be seen on the ABC Series, "Pam Am."

Actress Karine Vanasse


REVIEWS FOR CHRISTMAS IN BAYEUX:

5 Stars, Karen Michelle Nutt, Author
"Christmas in Bayeux is a tender romance sure to warm your hearts for anytime of the year. I highly recommend it."

5 Stars, Diane Craver, Author
"Christmas in Bayeux" is the perfect short romance to enjoy during the holiday season or any time during the year, and I highly recommend it."

5 Stars, Markee Anderson, Author
"This was just a wonderful and heart warming read."

5 Stars, Celia Yeary, Author
"You will enjoy this beautiful story, rich in history and appreciation of the past, while living and falling in love in the present. I highly recommend "Christmas in Bayeux."

BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-muZ0dhOvSE

ENJOY THIS EXCERPT:
Aiden sat next to the window overlooking the ocean, sipping his coffee. French coffee was usually a stiff cup of espresso.

"Good morning," he said.

"Good morning," she replied, smiling. Her breakfast plate waited for her—granola, a croissant, and a cup of yogurt.

He clapped his hands. "So what are we fixing today?"

"Nothing."

He arched his left eyebrow. "But, you have—"

She held up her hand and flashed him a wide grin. "We're going out."

"Where?"

"Into town. I have something I want to show you."

He plopped a piece of his croissant into his mouth. "What?"

"It's a surprise."

"I'm not good with surprises. I need time to prepare."

She giggled. "Aiden, really, this isn't the Army. Let me surprise you."

His brows drew downward in a frown.

"Don't pout, mon ami. It's unbecoming."

Aiden drew in a deep breath. "Say, isn't Christmas around the corner? Where's your tree? Your decorations?"

She waved her hand. "I usually put my tree up the night before."

"Oh, that's no fun. Don't you have an advent calendar?"

"Not since I was a girl."

"You need some Christmas spirit, Noel."



BUY LINKS:

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-in-Bayeux-ebook/dp/B005BTLSI8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326918404&sr=8-1

BARNES & NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-in-bayeux-stephanie-burkhart/1104401603?ean=2940011371806&itm=1&usri=christmas+in+bayeux

SMASHWORDS: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/72100

FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:
WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephanie-Burkhart-Author/149938795021166

GOOD READS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Celtic Magic



I have always loved mythology and have a special affection for anything Celtic. I live in the South West of England and all around where I live there are Celtic crosses and other Celtic symbols on buildings. When I first started writing Celtic stories, I visited Ireland a few times. That is a magical land and after a visit I had no trouble believing fairies exist!

My novella The Feast of Beauty is based in the same world as my Magic Knot fairies series. Only in The Feast of Beauty we meet a different race of people, the people of the sea god Lir also known as the Rainbow People.

Praise for The Magic Knot Fairies Series:


“Taylor's wonderfully creative and lusciously sexy debut will cast its own magical spell over readers.”
—The Chicago Tribune

 “This is just one of those books that captivates you from the first page.  It's different, emotional, full of evil but with plenty of love to counteract those bad guys.  Ms. Taylor is going on my autobuy list for sure.”
—The Good, The Bad, The Unread

“This book is so well written that it’s hard to believe it’s Taylor’s first novel, as well as the first in a promising series of contemporary fantasy romances.”
—Booklist *Starred Review*



Feast of Beauty Blurb


Kate’s grandmother’s dying wish is that she should return her pearl pendant to Knocknapog, the tiny fishing village in Ireland where she was born. As production assistant at a television company, Kate is able to book a shoot at the village’s mysterious Midsummer Feast of Beauty. She and her colleagues stay with the wealthy local landowner Esras Mac Lir, who organizes the midsummer celebration. But he is not what she expects. With his unearthly silver hair and emerald eyes, there is something magical about him, something compelling and seductive that mesmerizes her and invades her dreams. And when he claims to have been waiting for her all his life, she doesn't know whether he's a romantic, or living in a fantasy world—until he proves that they share a magical heritage and that she truly is his Feast of Beauty Queen.

This book is a novella of 11,500 words. It was originally published in The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance. This is a revised version of the original story.




Excerpt:
Chapter One
County Cork, Ireland

Surprisingly, wrap-around sunglasses looked rather good with a top hat, but Kate wasn't sure about bare feet and board shorts with a tailcoat. The combination made the man look only half dressed. But he was so mouth-wateringly gorgeous she decided the fewer clothes he wore the better.

He stood on the front steps of Knock House and raised his arms to attract attention. The gesture was unnecessary. Every woman in the vicinity was already staring at him, along with most of the men.

"Welcome to my domain, my friends. I'm Esras Mac Lir, descendant of the sea god Lir, and Fairy King of County Cork and the Celtic Sea."

Incredulous silence fell over the crowd, broken only by the birds twittering in the roses covering the front of the Georgian mansion, and the distant rumble of waves breaking against the rocky headland on which the house stood.

"I'm delighted to welcome the London based Barthurst Production Company into my domain. They're going to film an episode of their award-winning travel show Claudia's Magic Carpet at my Midsummer Feast of Beauty. I can assure you that tomorrow's feast will be a magical experience for everyone."

Peter Hurst, the producer and Kate's boss, leaned closer to Kate and whispered, "You sure this guy isn't a retired rock star? He's got that touch of megalomania that usually goes with too much money and a lifetime of sex, booze, and drugs."

"As far as I know he's just a wealthy eccentric with an interest in Irish mythology. He sounded fairly normal on the phone when I set up the shoot," she replied. Although she'd have booked to film at the Feast of Beauty no matter how weird he'd sounded. She had her own reasons for wanting to visit this part of Ireland.

"If the Barthurst TV people would like to come forward, my right-hand man Faelan will show you to your rooms." Esras then doffed his dove-gray top hat and bowed with an elegant sweep of his arm. He sported just-got-out-of-bed hair, as though a woman had been clutching it in the throes of passion. The spiky strands were light brown, but as he moved, his hair gleamed with unusual silver highlights.

Peter started forward while Kate hung back, checking her clipboard for the long list of jobs that she as production assistant had to complete before the shoot the following morning. She had at least two hours of typing to do, what with Claudia's script changes and the shot cards. And it was vital she found time this evening to go down to the little village of Knocknapog half-a-mile away.

Her grandmother had been born in the village and had lived there until she'd married and moved to England. Kate cradled the teardrop pearl pendant her grandmother had left her, rubbing her thumb over the smooth pink surface. Grandma's last wish had been that Kate should bring the pearl back here. The trouble was, Kate had no idea what she was supposed to do with it now she had arrived.

Visit Helen Scott Taylor's Website for more information on her books.

Friday, January 20, 2012

No More Lies by Mona Risk

Oh My God, NO MORE LIES ranking dropped to a fabulous ranking:




  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  (14 customer reviews)





  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store) #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Romance > Contemporary




  • The daughter of a professor and writer, I grew up surrounded by books and started writing my own stories at an early age but I also wanted to be a doctor. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stand the sight of blood or dissect the adorable rabbit in my premed lab. It was easier to shift to a different major, prepare a Ph.D. in Chemistry and dedicate myself to a career in environmental clean-up.


    An early retirement allowed me to pursue my dream of writing romance novels and work on my first book, TO LOVE A HERO. Over the years, I visited over fifty countries and took careful notes of the local customs and various cultures. FRENCH PERIL, a romantic suspense , was followed by RIGHT NAME, WRONG MAN, both set in the historical Loire Valley.

    I never forgot the medical dream of my youth and indulged in creating gorgeous doctors and handsome specialists for my medical romances. BABIES IN THE BARGAIN was followed by the series DOCTOR’S ORDER, where the heroines are American career women, and the alpha heroes handsome foreigners.

    Rx FOR TRUST was the first medical romance of the Doctor’s Order series, released by The Wild Rose Press. The story’s theme followed a famous phrase by Walter Scott: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Walter Scott.

    Three years later I took back my author’s rights and republished the story under a different name: NO MORE LIES.

    #3 in Kindle, #1in Contemporary
    For three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday,  NO MORE LIES is on a special promotion program at amazon.com
    It can be downloaded FREE at
    http://tinyurl.com/79r88wp
    Product Description
    A lie that brings a smile... or the truth that draws tears?
    Dr. Olivia Crane lives a quiet life. No one questions why she doesn't socialize or where she spends every weekend.

    When the visiting physician from France strolls into her office, with open arms and a confident smile, her perfect control is about to crumble.
    Good God, he can't be Dr. Luc George, the man she loved ten years ago? Should she return his scorching kisses, or should she lock her door before he digs into her many secrets?

    Secret daughter, secret friend, secret enemy. Had Luc really known his sweet Olivia back then? He wants her back, but he wants the truth, too. Now, Olivia has to face her past before she can grab her second chance.

    Reviews:
    2011 EPPIE Award Finalist
    2010 Best Contemporary Romance ~ Readers Favorite

    "A charming story. Keeping the reader entertained with the twists and turns in the plot." ~Got Romance!

    "Full of emotion, suspense, intrigue, good intentions and determination." ~The Long And The Short Reviews

    "A wonderfully written book about true love and the rarity of second chances." ~Happy Ever After

    Plus 14 five stars reviews.
    If you like this book, please leave a review. a couple of lines telling other readers that you like it.

    And please FOLLOW OUR BLOG.

    Excerpt:
    Luc frowned as Olivia bolted off the bench. “Mom, don’t tell me how to handle my daughter. Put her on again.”
    Olivia had a daughter?
    Ten years was a long period to be alone. But she wasn’t wearing a ring. Neither she nor McMillan had mentioned a present husband, fiancé or boyfriend. And she hadn’t said a word about this daughter all day long. Still she could have had a child anytime after he’d left. But why had she kept her a secret from him?
    He scowled as he trudged through the grass surrounding the pond, his breathing labored, blood pounding against his forehead. “Olivia.”
    As she turned toward him, she mumbled a quick, “Bye, Mom,” and then shoved her cell phone into her purse. “Luc, what are you doing here?” She bent to retrieve her high-heeled shoes from under the stone bench and slipped them on while he dumped the bottle, bucket of ice and glasses on the bench.
    “Ah.” Merde. One of the glasses had shattered on the stone. Mumbling a string of curses, he collected the broken pieces and threw them into the ice bucket.
    Why had she not told him she had a daughter? Is it possible that Melissa is...?
    His jaws tensed. “Olivia, how old is your daughter?”
    Lies by omission had cost him a child. Pain spiked through his heart at the thought of his little Paul and the lying bitch, the salope, who’d kept his son hidden from him for two years.
    Was the nightmare of his past slithering around him again?
    Luc resolutely took the last step separating him from Olivia. He wouldn’t allow her to knock his structured world out of control the way another woman had, years ago.
    “You’ve been eavesdropping? How dare you?” Her chin lifted, and she scowled.
    The memory of a pale toddler still scorched his heart after so many years. He was inflexible when it came to secrets and lies.
    Dis-moi. Tell me the truth. How old? Is she mine?” How could she have hidden this from him? She was no better than Brigitte. Were all women fickle liars?
    Mon Dieu, not his Olivia. He grabbed her shoulders with more strength than he intended to.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Riley's Journey by P. L. Parker


    Ever wonder if modern man could survive the trials and hardships of the last great Ice Age? I've always been interested in ancient history, the farther back the better. After a particularly engrossing chapter of the Discovery Channel about the discovery of the Oetzi, the frozen mummified body in the Alps, the idea for my time travel novel, Riley’s Journey, came into being. I was captivated by the trials and tribulations this ancient man must have endured before his eventual death. Why was he in that place, frozen for all time? My creative juices flowed. How would modern man measure up under the same circumstances? Would he fare better? Worse? Without modern conveniences, would he even survive? My personal opinion was…perhaps. But it would have to be an individual skilled in living off the land, comfortable with crafting and using ancient weaponry, and the daring to go forth and multiply. A lone person might survive, but without human society, would he have the will to continue.

    Blurb:

    The research project was only for an "extended period." No one said anything about forever! Deceived and betrayed, Riley is sent back 40,000 years to be the mate of a man she’d never before met. Her journey will take her into a world fraught with dangers—a world made more treacherous by savage beasts, primitive Neanderthals, and the incursion of the aggressive Cro-Magnon man.

    Surviving alone for five years in this vast wilderness, Nathan, along with his enormous dog, Demon, carve out a life in the perilous environment. Though thrown together by forces beyond their control, Riley and Nathan nevertheless find love—but can these two lost souls survive against such overwhelming odds?

    Excerpt:

    He nodded. “Bethany offered me the chance to come here. She knew I needed to hide and I had nothing to lose, so she sent me through.”
    “But why am I here?” Riley waited for an answer.
    He paced the room, his face unreadable. “I think that’s partly my fault.”
    “Your fault! How could it be your fault?”
    “Sometimes, if Aunt Bethany happens to be monitoring from that end, and I’m down by the drop point, she must be able to hear me, because equipment, food, that sort of thing will be waiting,” he paused, drawing a breath. “It’s lonely here, no one to talk to. You’ve seen the others, they’re the only other humanoids in the area. They don’t like me and I don’t like them. We keep away from each other as much as possible. I had to teach them a lesson a time or two, but they respect me. They leave me alone and I return the favor.”
    “Okay, so we’ve established why you’re here. Now, what about me?” Riley waited, fearful of his response.
    He fidgeted, seemingly uneasy about answering. “I think Aunt Bethany sent you here for me. I think she sent you here to be my mate.”
    Stunned, Riley stared blankly at him for what seemed like hours, her mind refusing to accept what he had said. She was here in this God-forsaken wilderness because he needed a girlfriend? What kind of crap was that?
    Finally, he broke the silence. “Aren’t you going to say anything?”
    “What do you expect me to say? Thank you? If even a small part of what you say is true, then I’m stuck here for eternity with a guy I don’t even know, in a place I hate and with no future. Yeah, I guess that comes under ‘thank you!’”

    Review - 5 Hearts from The Romance Studio:  “This imaginative story captivates with thrills and excitement that spin with every turn of the page. As the storyline with Riley and Nathan unfold, it is an experience that grips the reader as they try every way to find a survival pattern to keep them from any danger. This is a smashing good story with excellent writing. --The Romance Studio - 5/5 Hearts - Reviewed by Linda L.”


    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Girl of My Dreams by Morgan Mandel - A Cinderella Story

    When I was young and my Dad took me and my brothers to the library, I always looked for the Cinderella book on the shelf. I never tired of reading the tale.

    I'm not young anymore, yet the Cinderella story is still a favorite of mine. I love reading books and seeing movies about extraordinary people on the inside, who seem to be plain on the outside. Somehow, magically, with the aid of makeup, hair styling and perfect clothes, the outward appearance is transformed, and Cinderella's true beauty emerges. We all know it was really there all the time, of course, and just needed a bit of tweaking.

    Girl of My Dreams, my contemporary romantic comedy, is just such a Cinderella tale, with humor thrown in, and a slice of suspense.

    Here's An Excerpt from Chapter One, where you can guess the Cinderella possibility exists:

    The ratings were down. Mecca was dying. It could not survive another season without a hit. Neither could he. He’d sunk time, money and effort into this project. The boys upstairs had given it a go, only if he’d produce and direct it. This was his chance to prove he could make it without the connections of his actress-mother Barbara Branton. A foul-up would turn him into a has-been at the age of thirty.
    “Blake, should I go with them?” Jillian asked again.
    Her voice was alert and in crisis mode.
    “You’re not a doctor. I need you here. We have a show to run.”
    Almost as soon as he’d hung up, he found Jillian standing before him. Through all the commotion, her hair was still pushed back from her face and her glasses perched firmly on her nose. He had to hand it to her for keeping her cool.
    “I’ve called food management and alerted them of the situation. They’ve closed the cafeteria,” she said.
    “Good. We don’t need anyone else sick. The coordinators were hit, too. What about the survivors?”
    “They’re already in Makeup.”
    Blake rubbed his chin. “Fine. Now, all we need is number twenty-five.”
    Thinking, he stared straight ahead. He had a feeling the answer was right in front of his nose, if he could only see it. His loyal assistant stood at attention, ready to spring into action. Hard-working, intuitive, creative, Jillian was a miracle worker. She always came through for him, but this time he couldn’t fault her if she failed.
    A gleam flashed in her eyes. “I’ll do it. I’ve read the routine. It’s only one episode. He won’t pick me. Then I’ll be through.”
    He stared at Jillian. She wasn’t as striking as his hand-picked contestants or their twin-like alternates, but certainly she was no dog. Sure, her suit was circa 1980 and her shoes looked like they could stick out of the bottom of a nun’s habit, if nuns wore habits any more. Okay, so Jillian wasn’t the world’s greatest dresser. Wardrobe could fix that. She had a certain charm, was over twenty-one and legal. Ditch the Coke-bottle glasses, pat on some makeup and she’d pass. But…

    I hope you enjoyed the excerpt.
    Morgan Mandel

    Click a link for order information to get Girl of My Dreams for 99 cents:

    Kindle for US
    Kindle for UK




    Morgan Mandel is a prior president of Chicago-North RWA, belongs to MWMWA, Sisters in Crime and EPIC. All four of her books are available in electronic format. You can find Morgan at http://morganmandel.blogspot.com/ , Facebook: http://facebook.com/morgan.mandel, Twitter: http://twitter.com/morganmandel and many other social media sites.


    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    REDEEMING A ROGUE

    Don't you love bad boy heroes who are much better than they realize? Redemption for rogue Nate Batholomew (aka Barton) is THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND’s theme. The catalyst for Nate is his growing attraction, then love, for Sarah Kincaid. But Nate had the basics already in place--an innate need to protect the weak, loyalty to friends, and strength of will. Not bad qualities for a scalawag con man, right?

    In a way, Sarah Kincaid also finds redemption because she not only finds love, but she discovers her selfhood. Not her physical identity, she knew that. Shy Sarah had always felt a shadowy copy of her dynamic older sister, Pearl. Sarah longed to blossom so people recognized her as an individual who made valuable contributions to her family and her community. But how? She is an admirable young woman, but feels almost invisible.

    Since an infant, Sarah and her half-brother Storm have lived with their half-sister, Pearl. They share a father but each had a different mother. Sarah’s mother, Rochelle "Roxie," operated a saloon and left her with Pearl to protect the infant from a rougher life. When Sarah learns her mom is dying, she goes to St. Louis to nurse her in her last days, then disposes of her late mother’s gambling house. Sarah erroneously believes her mother owned all rights to the casino. Since a young woman can't travel unescorted and her chaperone deserted her, she is traveling home with a tiresome couple, the Welborns, who are friends of friends.

    I recently changed the cover to one by Jimmy Thomas and Delle Jacobs at Romance Novel Covers. I love this cover and hope you do, too.



    Here’s an excerpt of the first time Nate comes to Sarah’s aid. It’s a tad long, but I hope it tempts you to buy the book:

    The paddleboat glided along the current toward Memphis. Compared to her train ride from Texas, the slower pace of the water vessel allowed Sarah time to speculate on the lives of people in the houses dotting the shoreline and fueled her active imagination. She pulled her new black shawl around her shoulders and wished for her thick cape against the cool night air. At least her black bombazine traveling suit had long sleeves to ward off the chill.

    A light breeze carried a blend of odors from the big paddle wheeler and the Mississippi River it cruised. The almost tangible fishy scent of the water and the mud and weeds along the shore blended with the smells of the boat. Her tongue tasted the moisture in the air, but she didn't know if this meant a promise of rain or came from being on the water.

    Living near the Pedernales River in Texas had not prepared her for navigating the great Mississippi River. The steady movement of the paddle wheeler plowing through the water lulled her. She lost track of how long she stood at the rail, and started when Mr. Welborn brushed against her.

    "Enjoying the trip?" he asked.

    She stepped away. He smelled of cigar smoke and whiskey. She liked neither. In spite of their travel together, she still felt uneasiness toward Mr. Welborn. "Yes. This is a lovely way to travel."

    "It could be even nicer." He edged near. "You slip me into your stateroom tonight when I tap on your door and I'll make it plumb delightful." His arm brushed against her breast as he leaned forward.

    She moved away again. "You insult me, sir, and your wife." Sarah looked around, hoping other passengers were near. Hatred rose like bile in her throat. Her instincts about him had proved correct.

    He pressed forward. "Now, now, I know all about your mother. Been to Roxie's place a few times, had me some fun with her girls there."

    Sarah stepped toward the nearest door, the one that led to the dining salon, but he grabbed her arm.

    She tried to pull from his grasp. "My mother ran a business. I'm sorry she had to deal with men like you, but it has nothing to do with me."

    "Don't play the outraged virgin, missy. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." He jerked her toward him.

    "Why, you odious man. How would you like it if I told your wife about this?" She tried to pull free, but he held tight.

    "She knows about your mother and wouldn't believe the likes of you. You cooperate with me, or I'll tell the captain you propositioned me." His foul breath fanned her face.

    "Tell him whatever you wish. I wouldn't cooperate with you if I had to swim home." Sarah tried once more to pull away.

    Timid she might be, but she was far from defenseless. Her brother, Storm, had taught her to protect herself against unwanted advances. She stamped hard on Mr. Welborn's foot and elbowed him in his considerable gut, kicked him in his other shin, and rushed away. He was lucky she didn't take time to disable him completely. She heard muttered curses as she stepped into the light of the large salon and pulled the door closed behind her.

    On deck, Nate stepped from the shadows. When Welborn turned to follow Sarah, Nate stepped in front of him.

    "Far too nice a night to go inside, don't you agree?"

    "Get out of my way. I'll fix that brassy little chit. I'll call her out to the captain in front of everyone." Welborn put out a hand to shove Nate's arm.

    Nate stood firm. "I think not." At Welborn's surprised glare, he added, "Not unless you want to swim the rest of the way with a grappling hook tied to your neck."

    "Say, who do you think you are?" Welborn's weasel-like eyes widened and he stepped back.

    Nate advanced a step. "I'm no one. No one at all. But I'll be watching that young woman. If anything happens to her, you will be blamed. And I will personally see that you regret it--and that your wife knows what I just saw and heard. I can assure you, she will believe me." He leaned forward, towering over the portly older man. "Treat Miss Kincaid with respect and courtesy or join the fish. You understand?"

    "Y--yes." Welborn nodded, his eyes wide with fear. "No need to get upset."

    "See you remember." Nate turned and entered the salon.

    Now what possessed him to defend the woman in possession of the inheritance rightfully due him? From what he'd seen, she could take care of herself. He credited disdain for Welborn and his type for his actions against the man.

    He saw Miss Pure-And-Simple Sarah Kincaid across the room standing next to Mrs. Welborn. She twisted a handkerchief in her hands and looked the prim wallflower. Bright spots of color still decorated her cheeks, but otherwise her pale skin against black clothing emphasized the impact of her encounter with Welborn. She looked ready to pass out now the crisis had passed.

    Deliberately controlling his pace to an amble, he stopped a couple of feet from where she stood. He ignored her and spoke to her companion. "Isn't there a musicale tonight?"

    "What? Oh, yes," Mrs. Welborn said. "It will begin in a few moments."

    Too much rode on this to take any chances. He feared using his true last name. Sarah, as he had come to think of her, might connect the last name with Cal and find it more than a coincidence. In fact, he figured he'd better come up with a name he'd never used. He smiled, hoping inspiration would strike. As always, deception came easy.
    "I'm Nathaniel Barton. Perhaps you and your sister will allow me to find seats for you."

    The woman preened at his timeworn flattery. "This is our traveling companion, Miss Kincaid. I'm Mrs. Welborn."

    "Let's take these seats right over here, ladies." As he stepped behind them, he put a hand at the waist of each woman. Sarah wore a money belt, just as he'd thought. Her jacket almost hid the tell-tale bulge above her small waistline.

    Mrs. Welborn fluttered her eyelashes at him. "Oh, we must save a seat for my husband. He stepped out on deck for a bit of air."

    Nate watched Sarah's face harden into a mask. Her fingers worked harder at the black-bordered white linen square. She would reduce her handkerchief to shreds before evening's end if she continued twisting it.

    He maneuvered the ladies so Sarah sat between him and Mrs. Welborn with the empty seat on the other side of Mrs. Welborn. "How are you finding the journey, Miss Kincaid?"

    She looked straight ahead rather than at him, but answered, "It's been...eventful."

    She turned her face to his. The full impact of her large lavender-blue eyes hit him. Good Lord. If she'd smiled at the same time, he would have melted like a pool of wax at her feet. On second thought, part of him was growing, not melting. He adjusted his posture to conceal the front of his britches.

    Welborn's face when he saw Nate sitting with the two women was worth the price of several boat tickets. The man almost stumbled, but regained his composure and pasted a false smile on his lips.

    "Well, well, I see I'm back in time for the show."

    "Clyde, this is Mr. Barton. Mr. Barton, my husband."

    Nate pushed down a laugh and smiled his brightest. This was the most fun he'd had in a month. Damned if he wasn't enjoying himself.

    Nate spoke to Mrs. Welborn, "Mr. Welborn and I met earlier in the evening. You folks going far?"

    Mrs. Welborn said, "We're going to Houston, Texas, to visit our daughter and her family."

    The lights dimmed and the musicians launched into the evening's program. He flashed a warning glare to Welborn before he nodded at Mrs. Welborn. "I wish you a safe journey."

    I hope you’ll want to purchase THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND. Here’s the link at Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/MOST-UNSUITABLE-HUSBAND-Kincaids-ebook/dp/B004M8T1D8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1326495069&sr=1-1

    Smashwords still shows the old cover, but if you wish to use Smashwords, this is the link:
    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/37792

    Thanks for reading! Please return each day for our book of the day.