Thursday, January 31, 2008


Challenges. From time to time writers will issue challenges to each other to come up with stories that fit a certain frame work or include certain elements, sometimes just to entertain. One such challenge produced Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

I've answered many challenges in the past few years, often taking the rules and twisting them into something I'm not sure the issuer ever intended. Elements get worked in, but sometimes not as intended. One such challenge was issued in the fanfiction world to create a "ship," a relationship story about two characters; the pairing of which made me squeamish. But I wrote it. Not with the "ship" as was intended, but turning it into a story of respect and mutual admiration.

My upcoming Ellora's Cave release also began as a challenge. My friends and I would issue monthly challenges to one another. One of those challenges resulted in Measure of Healing, the current Cerridwen Press release by Jacqueline Roth. (The current challenge is to write a faerie story, or story about the reawakening of the earth in Spring.) One February the challenge was issued to write a story that included an amethyst, a kiss, a Mardi Gras mask and a ground hog. That story became Mating Stone.

It started out to be a joke. I was going to write a torrid romantic Were story where in the end the shifter turned into something less than impressive. Something cute and cuddly. A nice joke, eh?

Let's just say my hero was not impressed with my humor. Mark Ursine, said Were, began to take shape in my mind and the story he was trying to tell me progressed until I knew I couldn't take the funny out. This was a serious tale of love, betrayal and the kind of hate that can only form between two people who have one of the closest of all bonds, the bond of brotherhood. Twins. Besides, Mark has a real determined way of getting exactly what he wants.

So Mating Stone turned into an erotic romance. Mark showed me the error of my ways and revealed himself not as some cute cuddly little fellow, but as a powerful and fierce Bear. It's hard to argue with someone who is several hundred pounds bigger than you and has large claws and fangs.


The night they met had been her birthday. She’d let her sister and some friends talk her into going to a club to celebrate. “Come on Sarah, it’s February 2. It’s your twenty-eighth birthday, so do what all good little groundhogs do and get out. Even if you see your shadow, at least you had fun before you run back and hibernate some more,” her sister had teased until she’d agreed.

She’d not met Mark at the club but afterwards on her way home. Hitting a pothole had blown her tire and while she could change a tire herself—hell, like any good ol’ Minnesota girl she could change a tire, put on her own snow chains and knew how to use the jumper cables in her trunk—she just didn’t relish doing it in the short skirt her sister had talked her into wearing.

Resigning herself to ruining her stockings and probably the new skirt, she’d been hauling the jack and donut from the trunk when a motorcycle had roared up behind her. The headlight had almost blinded her but not as much as what stepped out into the light. Pulling a black helmet from his head the man had been devastating. His black jeans and leather jacket completed a monochromatic feast for the eyes.

Flashing her a smile almost as bright as his headlight he’d insisted he couldn’t let a lady like her change the tire. He’d made short work of the flat even if she did stand there like an idiot and chatter way. By the time he was done he knew it was her birthday and where she’d been. If it had taken any longer she’d hated to think what else would have come bubbling out of her mouth.

He packed her jack back into her trunk and asked her allow him to follow her home since he didn’t have much confidence in the small rubber tire. When she’d hesitated he’d pulled out his driver’s license and a credit card. He put them in her hands. “Hold on to these. If you get spooked at all you know who I am, where I live and can either call the police or charge a fortune for yourself in compensation.”

When they’d arrived at her place she handed them over and smiled nervously. “Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough,” she nodded down to the damp patches on his knees where he’d knelt in the wet snow alongside the road.

“Then have dinner with me tomorrow,” he’d flashed an encouraging smile and she felt as if her bones melted. “That’s all the thanks I need.”

She agreed and had started to walk away when he called out to her. He was pulling something from the storage compartment under the seat and walked quickly up to her. His long legged strides held her so transfixed she didn’t see what he had in his hands. He stopped in front of her and hesitated. She looked up at him. He suddenly seemed shy and uncertain, grinning up at her through the hair that had fallen over his forehead.

“Happy Birthday, Sarah.” He placed a single red rose in her hand. His quick kiss to her cheek was so soft and so fast that she almost missed it.

By the time her fingers rose up to touch where he had pressed his lips to her skin, he was back on his bike, turning it and roaring away. Odd but only now did it occur to her to question where on earth he’d gotten the rose.

Eternally Yours Contest

What could you spend an eternity doing? What is your passion? Your hunger? Your deepest desire?

Each day beginning February 5 and running through February 14 one of the ten authors will complete the line,

"My darling I could spend eternity…"
on either their blog or website. Collect all ten answers and e-mail them to with Eternally Yours in the subject line to win some hot, romantic books. There will be three lucky Valentine winners.

The prizes –

1st prize--5 books

2nd prize--3 books

3rd prize--2 books

Entries must be in by February 16 at midnight EST. All books and prize winners will be drawn randomly.

Participating Authors:

Sandra Cox Silverhills
Mona Risk To Love a Hero
Brynn Paulin Tribute For the Goddess
Bronwyn Green Mystic Circle
Cindy Spencer Pape Stone and Earth
N.J. Walters Seduction of Shamus O’Rourke
Elyssa Edwards Mating Stone
Amarinda Jones Shades of Gray
Kelly Kirch Time for Love
Anny Cook Honeysuckle

Be sure to join this group of writers on Love Romances Cafe for a group chat on February 4th from 1pm-8pm. There will be excerpts, good conversation and a contest or two as well. If you have not signed up for this chat loop, it's at

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Eternally Yours Contest

What could you spend an eternity doing? What is your passion? Your hunger? Your deepest desire? Each day beginning February 5 and running through February 14 one of the ten authors will complete the line, "My darling I could spend eternity…" on either their blog or website. Collect all ten answers and e-mail them to with Eternally Yours in the subject line to win some hot, romantic books. There will be three lucky Valentine winners.

The prizes –
1st prize--5 books
2nd prize--3 books
3rd prize--2 books

Entries must be in by February 16 at midnight EST. All books and prize winners will be drawn randomly.

Elyssa Edwards -Mating Stone
Mona Risk -To Love a Hero
Brynn Paulin -Tribute for the Goddess
N.J. Walters -
Seduction of Shamus O'Rourke
Amarinda Jones -Shades of Gray
Sandra Cox -
Bronwyn Green -Mystic Circle
Cindy Spencer Pape -Stone and Earth
Anny Cook -
Kelly Kirch -Time for Love

As a special treat these authors will be participating in a chat on February 4th from 1pm-8pm at Love Romances Cafe. Stop by and meet these wonderful writers.

Confession time! I am so jealous. When Anny sent me this list of prizes my response was to pout and say "But I wanna win these book!" This list has some of my favorites and some new authors I've been waiting to read. This list of newer releases should warm up even the last desperate howls of winter.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Six Random Things About Me.

Okay my friends, I've been meme'd three times over. For those of you who don't know what this means, it means I've been "blog-tagged" and have to give out six random facts about myself. Well, you're only getting six, not 18 because...well...frankly, I'm not that interesting.

1. I love peaches. I will consume almost anything with this flavor. Tea most especially but certainly not excluding alcoholic drinks. Imagine my delight when I discovered a sparkling peach wine to celebrate at New Years. Yummm

2. I'm a nerd. Yep, I can nerd-out with the best of them. I get excited about diagramming sentences, Star Trek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even more embarrassing things which I refuse to reveal. I have multiple costumes not used for Halloween but for things like Cons and Ren Fests. (YeeHaw folks, an excuse to have picture of Spike two days running makes me a happy girl.)

3. I'm afraid of alligators. No, you don't understand, not just afraid--phobia afraid. My SO is from Florida and I hate going to visit the in-laws. Not because of the in-laws, but because this requires going to the land of the alligator. I tell you they are lined up at the Georgia/Florida border waiting to get me.

4. I know several children's books by heart. The SO is a Youth Services Librarian and I am often the practice dummy for story times. So certain phrases have been altered in our house. "I don't care," must be immediately followed by "said Pierre and so the lion ate him then and there." "Me too," must be followed by "said the chick." And the word "terrible," cannot be said in isolation but must be followed by "horrible, no good, very bad day. Mom says somedays are like that, even in Austrailia."

5. I have OCD and ADD so I HAVE to lose interest in what you're saying... (I so need someone to make that into a tshirt. I'd buy one for every day of the week.) I can loop on things until my darling one looks at me and asks if I've taken my medication. This OCD manifests itself most particularly in my books. I have books on my shelves and they are organized by author and then in chronological order of the series. If one of my books is out of order I must fix it. Right now. The SO will torment me at times by moving books on the shelf. If a book I haven't read yet is on the shelf of books I have read I must fix it. NOW!

6. I live in a zoo. We own four dogs, a cocker spaniel named Shiloh who is literally insane, a Brittany named George who thinks he can cook and subsequently almost burns down the house about once a week, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Gracie Sue who is unaware that the breed standard says "not for rough play," and a miniature dachshund named Wendell who believes he is human. We have two birds, a blue parakeet named Pip and a green and yellow one named Green Bird. We have three neon tetras who do not have a name except for fishies and a snail my SO now has us all calling Snailie-po.

I have delayed in resonding to my meme'd stated because I cannot think of six people to tag in return. I do promise to do so, but that must come at a later time.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Answering the Age Old Question

It has been a battle of taste that has raged for years with no clear winner. The question that has set friend against friend, sister against sister and mother against daughter:

Who's hotter, Angel or Spike?

The last week or so has been a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon. The library where my SO works recently got the entire 7 season collection on dvd. We've finished the first season and started the second. It is in this second season that the conundrumm to end all conundrums came to be. Which vampire is the hottest? Is it tortured, vampire with a soul, Angelus (Angel) or the cocky, funny, alpha male vampire William the Bloody (Spike)?

We're supposed to love Angel. He's a vampire with a horrendous past. He was one of the bloodiest and cruelest ever created. He killed his entire family. Hell, he created Spike. But he was given back his soul. Now, haunted by a conscience and in love with the little vampire slayer he has become a good guy...of sorts. We're supposed to love him because Buffy does.

We're supposed to hate Spike. His caustic wit, his merciless nature...I mean, he killed a little kid. Granted said little kid was only a kid in body and was actually the annointed one who was controlling the othe evil vampire, but hey, he was cute. And Spike torches him. Spike wants to kill Buffy. (We won't discuss the chip debaucle that marked the point at which Buffy jumped the shark.) We're supposed to root against him.

Sorry, can't do it. Yes, Angel is a cutie. Yes, he's a dark, brooding, tortured soul. But he's also a whining, whishy-washy pain in the arse and a borderline pedophile. He was what, 25 or so when Darla turned him? Buffy is 16! You spent an entire two seasons reminding us that there is a close to 250 year age difference. Icky factor- in a big way.

Spike doesn't want to kiss Buffy until she's at least legal. Spike is a decisive undead man who knows what he wants and does it. He's brutal and you know exactly where you stand with Spike. And he does have a softer side. Look how he watches after Dru. So sweet. And he's quite lovely. I've never been much for blonds, in fact I've always loved the dark, strong type. But give me my Spike any day!

Of course, a girl does have to keep an open mind.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Were's are Here

Mystery and variety are important elements in making a happy girl. One of life's little mysteries, my friends, is how yours truly manages to share a brain and writing world with another writer by the name of Jacqueline Roth. Don't ask, it has to do with symbiotic life forms, multiple personalities and the desire to avoid explaining Romantica to angry parents.

So if from time to time another mind seems to take over here, just go with the flow. It's easier than fighting it...or trying to make sense of it.

The upcoming Mating Stone and Lovers' Stone both reveal a world around us where shifters who have tied themselves to our world live along side us. This is the same world you will find introduced in the Cerridwen Press release Measure of Healing by Jacqueline Roth.

Release day for Measure of Healing is here!

I'm very excited and evidently so is Mother Nature. We've had our first trackable snow in Atlanta, GA in 4 years. Trackable snow means it's sufficient in amount on the ground that you could see a rabbit's tracks. What a great treat for this winter missing Northern girl! That or Mother Nature was trying to make our current setting look more like the mountains on the cover.

I think you're going to like Alejandro Ramirez. Alej is a tough-ass, motorcycle riding, works with his hands kinda guy. He also happens to only be half human. The other half is Were. Were-Cougar to be exact. Not usually the warm fuzzy family type, Alej finds his Cougar instincts constantly at war with his human side, especially the one cultivated by the loving human family that takes him in when his Cougar mother throws him out.

Dr. Gabriela St. Jerome is a strong-willed woman who doesn't want anything to do with Alej. It's not that she doesn't think he's a nice guy, he probably is. But he's exactly the kind of man who will get her dead. Very dead.

Add an injured child that one fiercely protects and that the other can heal and you force these two adults to deal with their fears, prejudices and passions.

Measure of Healing is available at

For an excerpt check out this and other books at