Archive for 'Guest Blogger'
Thursday, March 5th, 2015
For months, my youngest has been preparing to move to Florida. My hubby and I have joked about her leaving and how happy we’d be to have the house all to ourselves. I went along with him until now.
Now it’s a reality. She will be moving at the end of March. Her job transfer came through and she’s finishing packing. Not sure how I feel about this. Unhappy. Apprehensive. After all, she is my baby. When they said don’t blink, they’ll be grown in an instant.
Yesterday, we were bringing her home from the hospital all cute, tiny and cuddly, in need of our help to make her strong and teach her right from wrong. We patched her skinned knees. Kissed her boo-boos. Watched every game of every sport she decided she wanted to play. Brushed the knots from her hair.
I’m not ready for her to leave. Where’s the handbook on how to let them go? Unfortunately, I know I have no choice. It’s a fact of life. Kids grow, mature and fly away. All I can do is hope she realizes the door is always open if she ever needs to come home. Any suggestions on how to make this easier? Besides wine. It’s not working. LOL.
Book five in the Cursed MacKinnons series.
A lead on a demonic cult lands Cait and Jenny in the arms of a pair of scrumptious twin Scottish lairds. Hot sex fueled by danger tightens their bonds with these men. But sunlight plays against them. Dour and Donnell MacKinnon are cursed. Just the girls’ luck—they finally find the perfect men and they’re gargoyles.
The cult wants the MacKinnons dead. Cait and Jenny want them in their beds. Men by night. Gargoyles by day. It’s a battle against evil these women are determined to win.
Buy Link: http://www.ellorascave.com/dual-release.html
Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
My new paranormal romance release, Phoenix Inheritance has three things I’d never thought I’d write in a romance:
A cat, dogs, and a kid.
I suspect I’ve gone sentimental in my old age though, I promise, there is a moment when stuff blows up. What it also has, and not for the first time, is a main character who happens to be a person of color.
Daz Montoya, who is of mixed Filipino and African-American heritage, is the third non-white hero in my novels, joining African-American Aloysius James of Luminous and Ghosts of Christmas Past, and Gregor Sherringford, the Indian-British consulting detective in The Curse of the Brimstone Contract. One could argue Philip Drake of Phoenix Legacy is also a person of color, as he’s a quarter Native American, but if someone can pass for white, they don’t experience our society’s prejudice in the same way as one who’s recognizably the other. Therefore, I don’t count Philip.
Daz has been around since I included him in the supporting cast for the first Phoenix Institute book, Phoenix Rising. By the time I started writing Phoenix Inheritance, I never thought “hey, I’m writing a POC as a hero.” I thought “I’m finally able to give Daz his own story. Awesome.”
However, Daz was originally part of a deliberate choice to include people of color to my Phoenix Institute universe after I’d talked to several friends who felt they weren’t being properly represented in romance. One friend, Rita-nominated author Karen Harbaugh, herself Japanese-American, is the reason the heroine of Phoenix Rising, Beth Nakamora, is Japanese-American. Why? Because Karen and the others were right: why was the fictional world so white if the real world is so diverse?
I grew up reading comics books and science fiction and fantasy novels and I know what it’s like to be missing from your favorite genre. Finding three-dimensional female characters at the heart of SF/F and superhero stories was like finding a diamond amidst mounds of coal dust. I held close to my hear those few female characters who, even if they weren’t main characters, at least had powerful moments, like Eowyn in Lord of the Rings. I nearly cried at 13 when I realized that Lessa in The DragonRiders of Pern was a main character. And I bought every single issue of Batman Family Comics that featured Batgirl.
So how could I write stories excluding whole swaths of people? Answer: I can’t.
But you shouldn’t buy Phoenix Inheritance because it’s a blow for diversity. You should buy the book because Daz is an awesome hero that anyone can love.
That he breaks the mold is just a bonus. Below, I hope you’ll see why I adore Daz. And you can enter to win a copy of Phoenix Inheritance by commenting here or liking my Facebook page.
EXCERPT: CHAPTER ONE, Phoenix Inheritance.
Daz Montoya’s lungs burned with the need for air. The fifty pounds of dead weight in his backpack pushed down on his shoulders and his belly scraped the bottom of the pool. He kicked several times, short, sharp strokes designed to close the distance to his goal: the far wall. Read the rest of this entry »
Monday, March 2nd, 2015
I consider myself a voracious reader. Growing up, I lugged countless stacks of books from my hometown library. I cannot tell you how many pages my face creased because I fell asleep while reading in bed. I was the child who snuck a flashlight under the cover so I could finish reading a book. I burned quite a few batteries (not for that reason…at least not at that age). And don’t ask how many paperbacks I’ve dropped in the bath water over the years. Who knew my elbows required that much room?
Recently, I settled in for a wait at the doctor office. Hooray! A perfect opportunity to read. I search my cavernous tote bag for my iPad. Wait a minute. I know I had it when I left home. A sense of doom rolls over me quick as a dust storm. I rummage through my bag again. I can’t have lost it. Oh, Lord! Not my books. How on earth will I make it through the day without the wonderful stories I lose myself in at every opportunity?
My palms dampen. Sweat trickles between my breasts. My throat constricts. I stand up, eager to escape the office and retrace my steps. Hopefully, I can locate my reader before someone else considers this his or her lucky day.
I look over my shoulder.
An older lady two chairs away from me smiles and gestures at the floor. “You dropped something.”
God bless her. I want to kiss her, but it is a doctor’s office. She’s probably sick. I know I am.
Blood roars in my ears and I feel faint with relief. I pick up my precious piece of real estate which apparently rested on my lap beneath the huge tote. That’s it. I’m carrying a backpack from now on.
When I’m finally called back to see the doctor, she kindly informs me that I have the flu.
“Fantastic.” I smile from ear to ear, giving the Joker a run for his money. When the doc stares at me with a frown then writes additional notes in her file, I wonder if she’s recommending me for a psych exam.
My body can fall to pieces but as long as I have my beloved stories, all is right with the world. This passion for books is similar to the passion my heroine, Trella Arnold, has for painting. What do you feel passionately about?
Excerpt Choice #1
Trella’s luminous eyes searched his as if seeking reassurance. “I’m not a damsel in distress,” she muttered.
Carlos cradled her face in his hands. “Far from it.” He touched his lips to the space between her arched eyebrows. The kiss was meant to be comforting, but as soon as his mouth made contact with her soft skin, his body’s wiring sputtered from shock.
“I know you’re strong, but we have to be smart.” Incapable of avoiding her heat, he kissed the bridge of her nose. He needed to stop before he did something he couldn’t take back.
Her fingers entwined with his. “Hector won’t get away with this.”
He kissed her right temple. “I agree.”
“We’ll take him down and anyone working for him, too.”
Her words, uttered without an ounce of mercy, fueled his arousal. Carlos was beyond ready to be turned out, burned and fried by the release of her passion. He kissed her left cheek. “He’ll have no idea what hit him.”
“We’ll nail his ass to the wall.”
He wanted, no needed to taste her. “No one pisses off my girl,” he whispered. He didn’t know when he began thinking of her in such a manner.
He touched his lips to hers, his entire being fusing with the spirit of this amazing woman. He didn’t bother fighting what he’d wanted to do since he’d arrived yesterday. He nibbled at her softness, wishing he was feasting on every inch of her.
She tensed for a second then relaxed as her mouth moved against his. She parted her lips, permitting him entrance.
He groaned at her submission. She tasted of citrus fruit, juicy and luscious. The patio, the pool, the night—everything around them disappeared, leaving him aware of nothing but her. Their tongues touched and met, and the softness of hers, sliding over his, triggered an erection that spurred him on.
He moved his hands to her waist, lifting her off the ground, their bodies melding, pelvis to pelvis. Ever since he saw her again, kissing her had been in the back of his mind. Being around each other, it was bound to happen sooner or later. He much preferred sooner.
He wanted to carry her upstairs, but the timing was wrong. He didn’t care if she kissed him out of shock. He’d take her lips on his for any reason.
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1x7Rgcz
Ellora’s Cave: http://bit.ly/1wjHxe9
All Romance Ebooks: http://bit.ly/1tK6qFT
Social Media Links
Sunday, March 1st, 2015
There are two black Arabian horses that figure prominently in Taking Fire. US Marine Corps Sergeant Khatereh (Khat) Shinwari, uses them to cause havoc, attack the Taliban, protect her father’s village along the Afghan border with Pakistan. She had two full sisters, two Arabian mares, Mina and Zorah. Mina is her main riding horse. Zorah is a pack-horse, carrying supplies and medicines to the villages that Khat takes care of. She is a paramedic, as part of her training.
Khat has learned to be a shadow warrior using her sturdy, endurance trained mounts. Mina is the one that she rides and sets up ambushes as well as sniper attacks, up in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan, near the Pak border. With a black horse at night, it won’t be seen by the Taliban or Al-Queda soldiers. During the daylight hours as she operates as a Shadow Warrior creating havoc for her vaunted enemy, Mina may gallop for miles along rough, narrow trails used only by goats. Khat relies on her nimble, swift mare to carry her away from the enemy before they can find and capture her. She has evaded her enemy for five years, lives in any number of caves to escape detection, takes care of her hardy, brave Arabians, who in turn, take care of her.
Because Khat is half Afghani, she had the blood of these warriors in her DNA. And utilizing the Arabian horse is part of her black ops life. Mina gets her to an ambush, and helps her escape it. Khat cares and adores her brave and beautiful horses. And they love her in return.
Khat needed this breed because of it’s well-known endurance. First bred in the Middle East, the Egyptian Arabians are well known for their delicate beauty. But their beauty is molded by thousands of years of being bred and living in the hot deserts of many countries. There is no breed more intelligent than an Arabian. Even today, among the Bedouins, their horses are cherished At night, the horses come and stay with the family in their tent, an accepted part of the human household. Over these thousands of years, because of this tight human-animal connection, Arabians are considered “people” horse breed. The bond between people and Arabians is one of legend nowadays. But it’s true. I know because I bred, raised and sold Arabians in Ohio for ten years when we had our farm. As you read Taking Fire, just know that the information on these wonderful four-legged secondary characters is all true.
Lindsay McKenna Links:
Book trailer: http://vimeo.com/lindsaymckenna/breakingpoint/
Instagram: www.instagram.com (Lindsay McKenna)
Lindsay McKenna Newsletter: https://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/tools/subscription?username=lindsay.mckenna
audible.com: The complete Wyoming Series
Monday, February 23rd, 2015
Citizen Soldier Series/Book 2: Mason
Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PULHSAO
Jill is a chocoholic with a big heart, a flair for baking and confection, and a knack for getting into predicaments, including the one where she was almost financially ruined by her ex. Now she’s in a new town, with a new business, and is determined to stay away from trouble. Especially, the gorgeous guardsman with the haunted gaze, brooding expression and miserable attitude. Her days of helping people were over. She was tired of being taken advantage of and was looking forward to getting back on her feet. Too bad her new business venture puts her in daily contact with the sexy man.
Who would’ve guessed chocolate penises would lead her on a path to financial freedom?
A loud knock reverberated through the silent car. Jumping straight up, she hit her head off the roof. Pain radiated across her face, again. “Ouch.”
Unable to make out more than shadows, she twisted the key and pushed the button to roll down the window. With her heart hammering in her throat, she prayed an axe murderer wasn’t on the other side.
“Are you okay?” a familiar voice asked, and it took her a second to focus on the handsome man in fatigues.
Her mind registered the National Guard uniform with the name WYNE on his chest, while her body registered just which of the four gorgeous Wyne brothers stood outside her door.
Mason. The grumpy one. Serious one. Cute, drop-dead gorgeous one. The one whose mere presence always interrupted her pulse and sent a tingle to all her neglected good parts.
But he was a man. And she was off men. For over a year-and-a-half now. So, her body was just going to have to starve because she was still fasting.
“Jill?” Another face appeared. Another Wyne brother. The youngest. The friendliest. Keiffer. “Is that you? Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” she finally answered, pushing at the air bag. “I got in a fight with this and lost.”
“What the hell are you doing out here?” Mr. Grumpypuss asked, withdrawing a huge knife from his ACUs—Army Camouflage Uniform—and stepped closer. “Turn your head and close your eyes,” he ordered before she even had a chance to answer his question.
A second later, she heard a huge pop, and felt a burst of air. When she opened her eyes and turned back around, the airbag was deflated, and she could breathe a little easier. Read the rest of this entry »
Friday, February 20th, 2015
UPDATE: The winner of the goody bag is…David!
* * * * *
Do you – as either readers or writers – have a theme or era or setting that will not let you go? I was recently re-reading Susan Hill’s excellent “Strange Meeting”, which is set in WWI; in the introduction she said how she felt compelled to write WWI out of her system and did so with that book. On the one hand I was frustrated by that, as I’d have loved to read more of her work set in that era, but on the other, I was envious of her because she’d been able to produce that one book and walk away. You see, WWI keeps whispering in my ear saying, “Write about me, write about me…”
I guess it’s partly my own fault because I have always read a lot of books from the late 19th and early 20th century (Conan Doyle has a lot to answer for) and enjoy ploughing through biographies of WWI poets, or true accounts from soldiers, sailors and airman of the time. Time and again I come across something that makes me think, “Ooh, that would be a great idea for a story”. Then I have to tell the writer side of my brain to behave itself as I’ve “done” WWI four times and really, do I have to go there again?
I’m sure this is as much a reading obsession as a writing one. There was a period when I almost had to sneak WWI themed books out of the bookshop and into my house in a plain brown wrapper, so my family wouldn’t know I’d bought yet another tome about sportsmen who’d lost their lives in the Great War or some such theme. But once you get bitten by the bug, it has you in its grip as strongly as Lyme Disease does, and I’ve had that too so I know what I’m talking about!
It’s the same when you come across a new author. Maybe I should rephrase that – it’s the same when I come across a new author, because I just want to work through anything of theirs I can get my mitts on. And it’s not just “new” authors. I’ve read and re-read The Lord of the Rings many times, and then I’ve pored over all those books about the writing of the trilogy. Similarly I’ve read the Sherlock Holmes stories, then felt compelled to get books about Sherlock’s’ London, the world he lived in, the men who inspired the character, and all things Holmes and Watson.
So, tell me. What’s your reading or writing obsession? Best answer wins a goodie bag.
A more than professional interest . . . a more than personal intrigue.
Orlando Coppersmith should be happy. WWI is almost a year in the past, he’s back at St. Bride’s College in Cambridge, his lover and best friend Jonty Stewart is at his side again, and—to top it all—he’s about to be made Forsterian Professor of Applied Mathematics. And although he and Jonty have precious little time for an investigative commission, they can’t resist a suspected murder case which must be solved in a month so a clergyman can claim his rightful inheritance.
But the courses of scholarship, true love, and amateur detecting never did run smooth. Orlando’s inaugural lecture proves almost impossible to write. A plagiarism case he’s adjudicating on turns nasty with a threat of blackmail against him and Jonty. And the murder investigation turns up too many leads and too little hard evidence.
Orlando and Jonty may be facing their first failure as amateur detectives, and the ruin of their professional and private reputations. Brains, brawn, the pleasures of the double bed—they’ll need them all to lay their problems to rest.
Charlie’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, and International Thriller Writers Inc., with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes Books, MLR, and Riptide.
To sign up for her newsletter, email her at email@example.com, or catch her at:
Thursday, February 19th, 2015
Tara Manderino has a unique take on vampires. They have progeny! What vampires have you see on TV or the movies, or in books, that you would love to see with children?
Comment for a chance to win Bound by Blood!
Most vampires don’t have to worry about their children. Alex does. Worse yet, now he’s worrying about the nanny.
In his two-hundred and fifty years as a vampire, Alex never had to intervene with any of his progeny no matter the circumstances. But now he has no choice. Alex is a detective sworn to protect when a little girl of his lineage is kidnapped. When he meets Lisa, the child’s nanny, his protective instincts kick into gear, yet he finds he must expose her to ever increasing danger as they search for the missing child.
With Lisa’s help, Alex tracks the kidnapper. Learning why she was abducted rocks him on his heels and sets off a transcontinental search that leads to ancient myths of the Cardinal’s Ruby, the stone in Alex’s ring. Alex and Lisa have one shot to save the child, but will they be able to stop the impending destruction raining down?
He turned to meet the nanny and blinked twice. Nannies simply did not look like Miss Lisa Mitchell. At least none of the nannies he had known. Even if they had been younger than fifty they wore starched looking clothing, the kind that could stand up on its own. And they invariably had their hair pulled back and skewed into a so-tight braid it made an instant face-lift.
This nanny was the complete opposite in every way. Her hair, a burnished copper, curled about her face and it looked as if no amount of combing would tame it. Her mouth was a shade too wide, the kind that was perfect for smiling, and was quite mobile. At the moment, he couldn’t see her eyes because the lids were closed, but her lashes were thick and fanned against her pale skin. Her nicely shaped nose was tipped in red, evidence of her crying. He could hear her slow even breathing and was loathe to wake her. But the child needed to be found.
Standing next to her, he watched her exhausted sleep for a moment. If he wanted answers, he would have to rouse her. Slightly leaning over her, he gently nudged her shoulder with his hand.
Her eyes flew open in a second, then widened. He straightened, giving her some breathing room. She looked about, puzzled for a moment, then he saw the terror in the depths of her eyes.
“Who are you?” she asked, pushing herself against the cushions in an effort to sit up straighter.
Alex perched on the edge of the arm of the nearby chair…“Lisa — May I call you that?” At her nod, he continued. “We need to talk about what happened. I‘m sure you’ve already told the police what you remember, but maybe it would be better if we went to the scene. Perhaps something there will prompt your memory.
Alex extended his hand to the young woman. When she placed her hand in his for the second time, he automatically closed his fingers over hers. He tugged, pulling her to her feet. “I’m sure we’ll be fine. If you want to send uniforms, that would be agreeable, but not necessary. You have my badge number.”
Escorting Lisa outside, Alex knew he should drop her hand. There was no reason to hold on to it — and every reason in the world. It felt right and he didn’t want to let go. She didn’t resist.
Tara Manderino writes in a variety of genres, from paranormal to historical. She’s She first began writing in third grade when she realized she couldn’t afford her reading habit.
She writes and is published in a variety of genres and finds that each one is her favorite at the time. Her books are available at a variety of online retailers.
Tara resides in her native town in southwestern Pennsylvania. When she’s not chasing Lydia, the Boxer, she’s writing her own stories, reading or watching old movies,
Buy link: Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00761OURU
Social Media Links:
Author Page FB– https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Tara-Manderino-Author/125470584194435
Linked In http://www.linkedin.com/in/taramanderino