Friday, July 25, 2014

Guest - Neely Powell

Good morning! It's the end of the week so I hope you have some great plans! Tomorrow I'll be attending a family reunion - for a family that sort of adopted me a few years ago. Super people and super food but I'll be away all day Saturday leaving Hubby in charge of my furbabies. But enough about me, lol. We have an assortment of cozy chairs and an addictive cappuccino. For the sweet treat, we've got a Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Scone. So tasty!

Don't forget to follow our guests instructions to enter in their drawing.

A Special World in an Ordinary Place

When we began plotting our first paranormal novels, we found we didn’t want to create an alternate reality as much as we wanted to put the extraordinary in the ordinary world. For us, this provides more of a challenge and gives us more ways to make our fiction believable. Is it so difficult to imagine the beautiful woman working quietly in the corner of the jewelry store is a faerie who thrives in a world of jewels? And maybe once in a while when she sees a couple she thinks are worthy, she adds a special bit of magic to the lovely engagement ring they pick out? As a matter of fact, that sounds like a great idea for a new book!

Since our first book, True Nature, is about a shape shifter and a psychic, we next wanted to create a world of white magic. We went to Ireland for the roots of our coven of witches and brought them to America after the first great plague in the 1700s. They traveled inland and, in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia, found a home that reminded them of the beautiful Mourne Mountains they left behind in Ireland. And that’s where New Mourne was born.

However, peace and prosperity comes at a price for our witches and their home. Since their first long-ago winter in New Mourne, they’ve been cursed by an angry ghost known as The Woman in White. She demands the life of one young witch from each generation. In exchange, New Mourne is a haven for the supernatural. Other witches, werewolves, Druids, shape shifters, wizards and fae populate New Mourne. An ancient dragon is rumored to reside at the top of a nearby mountain. All live in harmony with the Connelly coven, nature and humans.

Having all these magical people walking around in a regular town filled is what we love. We can go to the grocery store and imagine the man picking up his oversized frozen dinner is a shape shifter who needs some protein so he can shift and run in the wild that night. Or that the woman next door can fly. Or that faeries dance in the moonlight on the front lawn. So creating the fictional world of The Connelly Witches has been incredible fun.

Our witches are dedicated to the protection of their family and their town, but the latest generation will not acquiesce without a fight to the fierce spirit’s demands. The time of sacrifice is upon them in the first book of The Connelly Witches, Witch’s Awakening. The heroine is Brenna Connelly Burns, an elemental witch, the strongest of her generation, and destined to become the coven leader. Elemental magic gives Brenna power to control earth, wind, fire and water. She needs all of that and more as she battles a demon, searches for a way to break the family curse and falls for a shape shifting lawman.

Brenna’s younger sister, Fiona Connelly Burns, is a witch and a medium. She communicates with spirits and helps them pass over when unfinished business would otherwise bind them to earth. In Witch’s Haunting she struggles with evil of a ghostly nature as The Woman in White’s promise to take yet another Connelly seems destined to come true. While Fiona tangles with some angry specters, her heart is claimed by a charming reality TV producer who wants to make her and New Mourne infamous, even as he runs from some ghosts in his own past.

Eva Grace Connelly is first cousin to the Burns sisters and closer than most kin; she and Brenna were born to twin sisters at the same moment in the middle of a wild winter storm. In contrast to Brenna’s raw power, Eva Grace is a gentle but strong empath and healer. She’s sacrificed much in her life—never knowing her father, losing her mother to The Woman in White and her fiancĂ© to a wicked supernatural force—so Eva Grace is certain she will be her generation’s sacrifice. Standing with her against that deadly end is paranormal expert Rodric McGuire, PhD, who uses his gentle strength to heal Eva Grace’s broken heart and his special knowledge to help the Connelly witches face their worst enemy.

We hope you enjoy a scene from Witch’s Awakening, the first book of The Connelly Witches:

A barn owl was out and about, having left the nest in the old barn early on this sad night. These birds were usually seen when it was full dark, their wings spread, carrying them with silent speed. Brenna learned as a child that barn owls didn’t hoot. Their call was shrill, almost a scream. Or if threatened, they issued a hiss that could turn your blood cold.

It was fitting that an owl had come out early tonight, as myth and legend associated them with death.

The screeches continued. Brenna turned around, trying to spy the animal’s distinctive and pale heart-shaped face in the gathering shadows. She zeroed in on a ghost-like shape in an ancient hickory tree. Peeking out from around one branch, the bird fussed at her with increasing fervor.

“You feel it, don’t you?” Brenna said to the bird. “This beautiful place is dirty.”

The owl’s low, warning hiss sounded in agreement.

Brenna smelled death and sadness, with a nasty undertone of evil. She could reclaim this little sanctuary and clear it of the spirits that disturbed the land’s natural inhabitants.

The bird fell silent as she set up her candles at five points. With a flick of her wrist they flamed to life. Then she shed her clothes and shoes, tucking them near the altar before moving to the center of the ring of fire.

Skyclad, she lifted her hands, palms up and chanted, “Dirt from the earth, wind through the trees, water to cleanse, salt to set free. Banish the evil, honor my plea. As I will, so mote it be.”

With quick, sure motions she had learned from Sarah, Brenna poured salt and water in a wide circle. She closed her eyes and repeated the cleansing spell aloud. The ache in her heart eased. She felt the calm and beauty of her family’s land push against the darkness.

The owl called out another warning. Brenna opened her eyes and locked gazes with a white tiger.

Huge. Predatory. Standing like a sphinx just beyond her charmed circle. His tongue flicked around his mouth, displaying gleaming, sharp teeth.

Brenna expelled a deep breath. “God, shifter, you scared me.”

Witch’s Awakening will soon be released as an audio book too. Details coming soon!

Witch’s Haunting, the second book of the series, will be out in late fall, and we’re writing Witch’s Healing now for a 2015 release. 

Do you ever wonder about the supernatural that might be lurking just beneath the surface of our everyday world? Tell us more on our Facebook page,, by July 31st, and you’ll be entered to win a free ebook of Witch’s Awakening.

About The Authors
Neely Powell is the pseudonym for co-writers Leigh Neely and Jan Hamilton Powell. The best friends met when they both worked at a rock 'n roll radio station in Chattanooga. They tried writing fiction together for several years, but life and other adventures got in the way.

Their friendship endured as they went on to individual careers. Writing as Celeste Hamilton, Jan published 24 romance novels for Silhouette and Avon Books. Her books appeared on the B. Dalton, Waldenbooks Romance, and USA Today bestseller lists before she left fiction for a career in corporate communications.

Leigh became a successful nonfiction writer and editor of newspapers and magazines, though she was still interested in writing fiction. Something clicked when she focused her talents on the paranormal world. Around that time, Leigh started a novel about a shape-shifting attorney and his dysfunctional psychic best friend and partner. Jan was providing editorial support when Leigh suggested they try the partnership again.

Neely Powell was reborn. The result was the sale of their paranormal mystery, True Nature
to The Wild Rose Press, and The Connelly Witches paranormal romance series to Harlequin. Neely Powell writes about shifters, witches, werewolves, faeries, and ghosts, mixing in shades of romance, mystery, and thrillers—the kind of books they both enjoy reading.

Lynda Again -- Hope you've enjoyed our guests today. If you did, please click on the Google (g+) button to help spread the word and leave a comment to let them know (and don't forget about their drawing - see above). Also I've included the recipe for the gluten free scones in my newsletter but you register for it. The good news? It's free!). The recipe and other tidbits will be there for you to enjoy

Have a Blessed day!

Contact me

Monday, July 21, 2014

Guest - Megan Elizabeth

Good morning! We have author Megan Jones visiting today. Today Megan is talking about writing so it should be interesting. We have some delightful Toffee Brownies and my favorite Roobios tea. Enjoy!


Writing on Writing
By Megan Elizabeth

A friend of mine once asked me, “If I could offer any advice to new authors what would it be?” For a moment I paused, thinking who am I to give guidance or advice to anyone? The truth of the matter is, I am not James Patterson or J.K. Rowling. However, I am a writer who has started from the bottom and am working my way up through the industry in the hopes that one day I will be the next J.K. Rowling or JR Ward. So again I ask myself, what life experience do I have to share with a new writer? I’ll start from the beginning.

Writing is not a talent that one is born with. Sure, there are always those few stories of the phenom, like Steven Hawking who are just brilliant; but for others like myself it’s a constant work in progress. My tumultuous relationship with writing began at a very young age, that is, when I actually started writing, which wasn’t until third grade. Sad but true, I couldn’t even write my name. Why, you ask? I’m dyslexic, and from day one I was behind all the other kids. Little Susie was happily scratching her name on her papers with hearts and flowers; I was ripping mine up and tossing it in the trash. Taking a new paper, foregoing the name writing part and drawing epic scenes that only I would visualize in my head. Was that the making of writer? Could be, or it could be a little girl who watched too much TV and lived in her own world.

My family and I were told that I would never go to college, yet I have a BA and a CEAS. We were told I’d never read or write properly; yet I’ve read hundreds, possibly even thousands of books. I’ve also written two novels and have started a third. So, am I the New York Times best seller here to give advice to the lowly new writer? No, I’m the writer who was told that the New York Times was a pipe dream. Just like they told that little girl she would never read or write. It might not be today, but I will get there. If you want to write, you can and will be a writer. If you have a story to tell, there is someone out there who will listen.

Now the serious part—the part where I share my limited experiences with you, and you can take what you will from it. The first question that I get is, “How do you go about getting your book published?” Deep breath and ready for the answer? Keep in mind this is for works of fiction because the nonfiction world operates differently. Also, you can self-publish or go for a traditional publisher. For those of you looking for that professional acceptance into the publishing world, then traditional is for you, and you may continue reading.  First, write your novel, even if it’s complete garbage. Keep writing until your self-titled garbage is complete. Then edit, edit, edit. Then even if you think it’s perfect, edit some more. Find a critiquing partner who understands your vision of the book and allow them to read it. (Hold your breath and hope they like it.)
 Always be prepared to rewrite.

Next, figure out how you are going to get your name out there. It’s not going to be based on how many “likes” you get on Facebook. In my experience, the best place to meet industry professionals such as editors and agents are at conferences scattered around the country. Find an organization that supports your genre like the RWA (Romance Writers of America) that gives authors the chance to interact with the industry. Here’s the difficult part—conferences can get pricey and so can joining organizations. However, I’ve always thought that the best kind of investment is investing in yourself.

Even so, if that isn’t possible, be prepared to write the world’s best query letter. What’s a query letter, you ask? It is a letter that the publishing industry uses to torture poor writers like myself who need 100,000 words to tell a story. A query letter is a one page letter that you will send to that oh-so-fabulous agent in NYC who can’t wait to make you a star and get you on the New York Times best sellers list. It needs to include a blurb about your book (not to be confused with a synopsis). Think what you would read on the back cover of your favorite book. Think that’s all? Nope, just getting started. It needs genre, word count, your author bio, as well as any previous sales you may have made. Did I mention it can only be one page?

Now you have your wonderful query letter, and you send it to all the publishers and agents you can Google. What next? It’s time to play the waiting game! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you must wait for a reply. You may not call, text, e-mail, Facebook, tweet or fax any of the people you have queried. Turnaround time can range anywhere from one week to three months; or the worst case scenario: no news is not good news. I am the world’s least patient person; I have people who can attest to that. However, it is always important to remember a bad reputation is very hard to change. So wait and be courteous.

You’ve waited, you’ve been polite and courteous, and worst of all patient. You finally get an email back or a prestigious envelope from NYC. You tear it open or can’t move your mouse fast enough to see the wonderful offer you got for your work of art. You open it and then…..REJECTED. Don’t panic! Even the greats like Sherrilyn Kenyon and JR Ward have been rejected, even dropped, by publishers. Cry, scream and curse if you have to, but do not under any circumstances e-mail the rejecting publisher or agent and ask them why they rejected you even if they haven’t already stated. Don’t tell them all the ways they’ve made a mistake, and they need to take you. Take it with a grain of salt, file it away and move on. If that doesn’t work, call your mom and cry to her like I do.

Okay, I forget, are we on number three or four? Moving on, things you will need to submit to an agent or editor. You will need to have a synopsis of your work ready to go. This a one to five page document (depending on the request—you need to save every version you create) that highlights the greatest parts about your story. Always include your ending in the synopsis. You don’t need the ending in your query letter (it’s just a letter to generate interest), but you do need your ending in your synopsis. This a chance to show your writing voice. Don’t just list what happens. Put those awesome skills you’ve acquired to work and show what you’re made of.

Synopsis…done. Next, your manuscript will either be requested in full or partial. A request for a full is pretty obvious. It means they want you to send the whole manuscript (check the submission guidelines for formatting). Make sure you’re sending exactly what they are asking for—nothing more, nothing less. A partial means they are asking for the first three chapters or fifty pages of your manuscript (again, check your formatting). In my personal taste, I like to end my partial at a great point in the story. Keep it clean, and leave them wanting more. Leave them wanting to request a full.

Oh, my gosh! You finally got an offer. Do the happy dance! It’s time to celebrate, go out for drinks, or in my case eat cheesecake. Make sure it’s the right choice and fit for you. If you’re questioning your choice, it is okay to say no, though I doubt you’ll want to after the rejection boat has sunk. Sign on that dotted line, and go straight to New York Times stardom. Hopefully, I’ll see you there.  

When the sins of the past claim the future the craving for more can turn deadly….
When the goddess of Love and father of evil determine your fate do you fight back? Matteaus leader of the Fallen never backs down from a challenge. Not even when his fated female proves to be the most challenging of them all.

A former warrior in the Heavenly Kingdom, Matteaus, leader of The League of the Fallen bears the scars from a past filled with regret and misguided deeds. Renowned for his thirst for redemption and walking the line between saint and sinner, he is a male feared by many and respected by all. Determined to right his many wrongs, his drive for redemption is his only companion. His warrior nature his only passion-until his next assignment brings him in to the fiery path of a beautiful female who’s been on the run for secret reasons of her own.

Taylor has been running from Lucifer’s hot pursuit for years, her only concern has been keeping herself and her young son safe. Having no patience for an unwanted love affair she tries to ignore the instant attraction to the raw magnetism that rolls off of Matteaus. Yet as their desire for each other begins to overtake them, Matteaus’ steadfast determination to earn his redemption keeps him on the path of righteous and away from Taylor’s searing touch. Now Taylor and Matteaus must join forces to protect the ones they love.
Could this be the mission that finally earns his redemption? Or will his past misdeeds cost him everything, including the one female he is destined to love?

About Megan  
Megan Elizabeth is the author of the ground breaking new series The League of the Fallen-a series that mixes fallen angels and Greek mythology. She has written in many genres but always returns to Urban Fantasy and Fantasy. Spending many of her days teaching she is devoted to instilling the love she has for the written word in others. She lives in New Jersey with her son Alex and two dogs who are more like children than dogs. She is an avid reader and is an active member of the national RWA and FF&P branch. If Megan is not in front of her computer typing away she is working with her fellow writers in the Books & Bling critiquing group. If you’d like to know more visit her and The League of the Fallen at

Contact Megan


Lynda Again -- Hope you've enjoyed our guest today. If you did, please click on the Google (g+) button to help spread the word and leave her a comment to let her know. Also I've decided to include recipes for the sweet things our readers can enjoy BUT you have to be a member of my newsletter (you can join below -- it's free!). The recipe and other tidbits will be there for you to enjoy

Friday, June 27, 2014

Guest - Sarah Daltry

Good morning! Today we have author Sarah Daltry visiting us. So grab a cup of vanilla hazelnut tea, a pecan praline cookie and a comfy seat in one of our fabulous chairs. And don't forget to follow the instructions on how to win her giveaway.


It likely seems strange to talk about realism on a fantasy blog, but I find that it’s at the heart of what I write. I don’t write traditional romance or fantasy, because everything I work on starts with the nature of humanity. Who are we? How are we with other people? I suppose what I have always felt was missing in a lot of romance was that crossover to real relationships and it’s the focus of my writing. On the other hand, I love escaping into fantasy worlds, so that probably sounds funny.

If you think about it, though, you can have both. I’m a hardcore Harry Potter fan. Sure, these are not romance, but the relationships that run through the series are the core of the books. The entire series is about love – familial love, friendship, sacrificial love. I think what I like so much about these books is that they both suspend reality and expose it. Yes, Harry and his friends are fighting Death Eaters and attending wizard school and talking to centaurs, but strip away the fantasy. How is it different than teens fighting corruption or bullies, attending high school, and making friends with people a little different than themselves? The series deals with violence, hate, love, sacrifice, and perceptions. Hermione’s parents are dentists – and she’s hated for not being from a magic family. How many teen girls are hated for something out of their control, something that is based on prejudice and stereotypes, that is centered in a belief system too outdated for our world?

When I approach romance, whether in a contemporary setting or a fantasy one, I look at it with the same lens. Love isn’t easy. I’ve been married 13 years and my husband and I have been together nearly 20. At no point in our marriage or relationship did I think, “wow, this is just like the movies.” But he’s my best friend. When I’m stressed out or depressed or sick, when I won’t talk to anyone, he is the person who comes upstairs where I’m lying in bed with a DVD of some movie I love and a glass of juice. He doesn’t have to say anything – he just knows what comforts me. In painting these images of romantic heroes, these men who are impossible to find, we lose the ability to love the people who truly warrant it. I want to write about those people.

Yes, I appreciate escapism in books, but I also think that it’s time to embrace the average. Spiderman may be a superhero, but he’s nothing without Peter Parker. Those stories engage me more, because they show me the amazing abilities people possess within them. Ignoring the spider bite, Peter Parker is driven by the good inside of him. We can all be superheroes; we can all be the stars of our own stories. We do this by recognizing what makes us incredible, not by yearning to be something else.

About Sarah: 
Sarah Daltry is an author who writes in many genres and for a variety of age levels. Her first novel, Bitter Fruits, is an urban fantasy romance published by Escape Publishing (an imprint of Harlequin). She is also the author of the New Adult contemporary series, Flowering; the gamer geek comedy, Backward Compatible; the recently released YA fantasy, Primordial Dust; and two novellas inspired by classic literature – The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (inspired by the poem of the same name) and The Quiver of a Kiss (Helen of Troy’s POV during the events of The Iliad).

 Sarah has been writing her entire life, but she started publishing in early 2013. A former English teacher and YA librarian, she is passionate about books of all kinds!

Primordial Dust
A princess, trained to behave. An assassin, betrothed to her. A thief, whose eyes she dreams of at night. A kingdom at war, torn apart by the suppression of magic and truth, as well as family secrets that threaten to destroy decades of peace.

Questions of loyalty, of morality, and of free will culminate in a fantasy novel about forging one’s own path and choosing one’s own destiny.

Buy Links:
Amazon to come

Giveaway: Leave a comment with your email addy so you can be contacted if you're the winner.

Ebook of Bitter Fruits (18+, Explicit scenes)

or Primordial Dust (PG)

Contact Links:

-- Lynda Again
    Hope you enjoyed meeting Sarah today and getting a glimpse into her writer's mind.

     Have a Blessed weekend!

Contact me:

Monday, June 02, 2014

Guest - Diane Burton

Good morning! We've got one of our favorite authors visiting today. Among other things, Diane writes science fiction romance -- one of my favorite genres! So help yourself to one of our orange-pecan muffins and a lovely cup of tea. Enjoy!

Going to Mars

I have always been proud of the efforts of NASA in space exploration. But for years I felt they are too slow in exploring beyond our moon. I know, I know, small steps. But, sheesh. I remember how fast NASA moved after Sputnik scared the heck out of all of us back in the 50s. We entered a Space Race with Russia to get an American in space. Once we did that, in less than a decade we put a man on the moon. And then where did we go?

Because there haven’t been significant advances in space exploration (something to get excited about) since 1969, I’m intrigued by Mars One, the Dutch organization that plans to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. A lot of other people are, too. When they opened for applicants, over 78,000 signed up within two weeks. I wasn’t one of them. Why? It’s a one-way trip. Even though there are no upper age requirements, I couldn’t leave my family. Too many exciting times to spend with them.

But what if I had no family and was in good health? Would I apply? In a flash. According to the timeline, or roadmap, on the Mars One website, there will be much preparation and training for those who qualify. That should weed out a lot of applicants. One such training would be for a team to live together in a remote outpost. (I assume something similar to a bio-dome.) If you can’t live with your team in the desert (or the arctic) for several months, how could you get along forever on Mars?

Last December, the members of The Roses of Prose blog posted an anthology of Holiday stories, An Unexpected Holiday. When this was first suggested, I panicked. I don’t write short stories. I think the shortest book I’ve ever written is over 80k words. Usually, my books run over 100k. So how could I write a 7,000 word story? Well, I may be an old dog, but I can learn new tricks. LOL My story was the only sci-fi romance, Christmas in Space. It was so much fun that I decided to expand it into a novella for this Christmas. I used a lot of the information about Mars One as I wrote about space explorers in the late 22nd Century on their one-way trip to establish a colony on an Earth-like planet. Watch for it this December.

In author interviews, I’m often asked how I do research for my novels. I always answer that I wish I could do it first-hand on a starship and/or on an alien planet. Until I do, I rely on the internet and search for what is happening now with space exploration. On a side note, I have to admit I visited the Very Large Array near Socorro, NM and the UFO Museum in Roswell. The first was informative, the latter was fun. Sure wish I’d had my picture taken with the aliens. LOL

In my research online, I always get ideas for more stories. Or ideas to use in my WIP. If we have the resources to put a man on the moon, we can do anything. So I’ll continue to write science fiction romances, adventures that are out of this world.

My newest sci-fi romance The Chameleon makes the assumption that humankind has explored and established settlements far beyond their home planets, that FTL (faster than light, aka warp drive, hyperdrive) travel is not only possible but commonplace. Wouldn’t it be great to live in that world?

The Chameleon

Legally Blond meets Mata Hari

Socialite Jileena Winslott has perfected the image of the spoiled, rich, bubble-headed daughter of an industrial magnate. In reality, she’s a smart, savvy aide to her father in social situations where she is his eyes and ears. She yearns to be her true self and run the family business. When her father sends her on a covert mission to the Outer Rim, she has the chance to prove herself. Big problem. He insists she take along a fake fiancĂ©—the man she’s secretly loved for years.

Security Officer Laning Servary has better things to do than babysit a spoiled rich girl on a tour of the Frontier. If he refuses, he can kiss his career good-by. Then Jileena’s father sweetens the pot. If Laning keeps her safe, his family will receive the land they share-crop. He can’t refuse.

In the close quarters of her ship, Laning and Jileena discover they aren’t who they seem. Pirates, weather, and her recklessness threaten to derail the mission. As Laning and Jileena revise their impressions of each other, they’ll have to make hard choices about their goals. Can their budding love survive?

Excerpt from The Chameleon

Jileena had her hand on the knob when her father said, “You should inform Nellis that you have a family emergency and will be unable to finish your internship in accounting.”

For five secs, she stood rooted to the floor. Her heart tripped madly and her lungs struggled for air. Surprise Number Three. He knew.

As she turned to face him, she fluttered her hand and affected smiling confusion. “Why, Daddy, whatever are you talking about?”

His deep rumble of laughter rolled around the room. “Very good. That wide-eyed look almost convinced me.” Then his expression changed. “Did you imagine I would not know what goes on in my own company? A strange intern manages to work in almost every department, and you think I don’t know about it?”
She clasped the door handle with both hands behind her back. How did he know? Where did I slip up? Who told him?

“Now, Daddy—”

“Don’t you ‘now, Daddy’ me. I told you I know everything you do. Those so-called vacations you’ve taken? Did you think I wouldn’t find out you were working in our satellite plants?”

She clenched her teeth. She had no secrets left. He knew everything. Crazik. Well, almost everything.
“If you wanted to work in the company, all you had to do was ask. You didn’t have to disguise yourself. I saw you earlier. Wherever did you get those horrible clothes?”

She returned to the visitor’s chair. All bluff and bravado gone. “If I’d asked to work in the business, you might have said no.”

“I might have agreed.”

“I couldn’t take that chance. Besides, I can just imagine the newswave headlines. Baby Winslott plays working girl. Supervisors would pat me on the head and give me meaningless busy work. I wanted to learn the business from the ground floor.”

“You have done that.” His look of admiration warmed her heart. “When I saw you heading for a sanitary with a bucket and mop, I wanted to stop you.”

“I’m glad you didn’t. It’s surprising what one learns as a janitor.” She grinned. “Who blabbed?”

“Actually, no one. As convincing as you are at parties as a vacuous twit, you were even better in the role of temporary worker. You managed to deceive every supervisor you worked for. When they sang praises about the industrious intern, they gave no indication they knew Leeva Warren was you.”

Jileena allowed herself a moment of satisfaction before standing. “Good.”

“Baby? I’m depending on you to get those mining rights. This is your chance to show me what you’re made of. Do not fail.”

The Chameleon buy links:

About Diane
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and two grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website:
Thanks, Lynda, for inviting me to visit.

Connect with Diane Burton online
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author

-- Lynda Again
    Diane always gives us a terrific article full of things to think about. And her book, The Chameleon, sounds pretty good too. If you enjoyed her visit, feel free to let her know.

Contact me:

Friday, May 02, 2014

Guest - Susan Mac Nicol

Good morning! We have a terrific guest today, author Susan Mac Nicol. Susan will be discussing her foray into writing paranormal romance. We have a fantastic selection of teas and coffees PLUS, in honor of my recent birthday, a gorgeous calorie free chocolate layer cake! Enjoy!


The one thing I really enjoy about writing paranormal Romance is the world building. I think the real one is harsh enough sometimes to live in, so being able to create your very own world where you control how and when things happen is somewhat of a release.

Double Alchemy isn’t the first paranormal book I’ve actually written. It’s my first male/male romance but by no means my first foray into creating hidden worlds and strange characters. When I was about fifteen, I started writing this story called Soul Quest. It was the story of twenty one year old Colyan Fairchild, an orphan bought up by a great wizard called Baraktar, who finds out his destiny is to one day rule the Kingdom as its rightful king. For this story, I created two worlds, one dark, one light - Gehen and Salvinia - and a host of characters and animals and magickal beings that added to the tale. It’s turned into an adult fantasy with romance and one day I really hope to finish it.

Here are a few of them -
Ronari - Circle of Elders that run a village and consult on village issues.
Timori - The villagers commissioned by the Ronari to perform the task of hunting for the village. Creph - long handled spear used by the Timori for hunting.
Terrari - cat like little furry animal, like a mink.
Rubicoose - racoon like animal, lilac and grey, with certain supernatural abilities.
Thaobar - Healer , natural medicine man.
Zarga - mystical beast like a huge horse, very hairy

For Double Alchemy, the world building wasn’t all that fantastical as it takes place today in contemporary London but the duality of the nature of this world is what makes it so special. Ordinary folk see only the one side but those fortunate enough to be Fey have a glimpse of a whole new world where strange creatures abound and life is not as simple as it seems. As a Warlock, Quinn can conjure up magical domes, fight other Fey beings, and see things other people don’t. He can time travel using his Withinner, Taliesin, a sixth century sorcerer, who is as much a part of Quinn as Quinn himself. Cade begins to see this world, slowly, but with a sense of awe and sometimes fear. Especially when Quinn keeps almost dying on him.

I think one gets great pleasure in building a world that exists only in your mind. It’s escapism of the purest form. These sorts of worlds are limited only by the writer’s imagination. The paranormal world is such a joy to create and live in, and I’m sure that sometimes, we all wish we could really be there and escape the real word, even if it’s just for a moment.

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Also, here's the link to Susan's tour page and the current schedule:

-- Lynda Again,
    What a striking cover for Double Alchemy! Thanks for visiting today, Susan!

  Everyone, I had a birthday in April and one lucky member of my newsletter will receive a birthday prize!  A variety pack of Body Essential Oils!

   You can join the newsletter by clicking the link below.

   If you haven't heard, I've sold Rider in a 3 Book deal to Entangled Publishing! To celebrate that, I'll be offering a prize (or maybe a couple of prizes) near its release date. We're going to rename Rider, which was always just a working title and I can't wait to see what we come up with ;-)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Guest - Cecilia Dominic

Good Morning! It's Hump Day and we're going to celebrate it with a terrific post by Cecilia Dominic. I think all writers might appreciate her take on characterization and I think all of us might be sympathetic to the loss of a well-loved grandmother.

Today, we're serving cappuccino and anise flavored cookies. Help yourself, find a spot in one of the comfy chairs and enjoy!


Inspired by Being Italian

One question a lot of writers hear is "where do you get your ideas?" I suspect most people are referring to plot when they ask. Of course characters and their backgrounds also require a lot of thought. In the case of Long Shadows, the main character Lonna Marconi, her context, and back story were inspired by my own Italian heritage. Okay, I'm a stealth half-Italian with red hair and blue eyes, but I happily claim it (the other half is Belgian).

I'd like to dedicate this blog post in memory of my own Italian grandmother, whom we called Noni. She passed away this last Valentine's Day. It was sad, but I'm glad she got to join my grandfather, who was the love of her life and whom we lost in 2001, for a Valentine's evening. She was an avid reader and even started writing a novel once. She passed down the love of the written word to her kids and grandkids. Her favorite genre was mystery, and she said she enjoyed reading the first Lycanthropy Files book The Mountain's Shadow when it came out last fall.

I originally loosely based Lonna on my best friend, who shares her curvy appearance and straightforward manner. At the end of The Mountain's Shadow, I wanted to explore what happened with Lonna, and I was excited when my Samhain editor gave me the go-ahead to write her book. It picks up about two months after The Mountain's Shadow ends.

Like many young people, Lonna struck out from her family to create her own life and identity. Her parents are dead, so her main connection to her family is her aunt Alicia, with whom she isn't as close as she'd like to be. As she says,

I’d ended up talking to [her caretaker] more often than to my aunt, who liked to keep her phone conversations to questions about school and money, nice concrete topics. As I did well in school and was good with money, they were usually short phone calls. – Long Shadows

The Italian side of my family comes from Boston, and as I was growing up, I couldn't help but notice the contrast in manner and attitude between them and my Southern friends' families. The older generation especially has that Northern lack of overt affection. I drew on that while creating Alicia's character, but she has reasons for her reserved manner. She does deeply love Lonna, which readers and Lonna discover as the story goes on. I do want to mention that not all my Boston relatives have prickly exteriors. My grandmother was sweet and gave serious hugs.

Of course a lot of the scenes in Long Shadows take place around kitchens and food. This has gotten to be a Lycanthropy Files theme. The book's disclaimer reads:

Warning: Some sexy scenes, adult language, and alcohol consumption. Also descriptions of Italian food that might offend carbophobes.

Mmm, Italian food… When I was growing up, we'd visit my grandparents' house, first in Boston and then in Florida. Noni pulled out boxes of homemade cookies, and they were always a highlight of the trip, as were her gnocchi, ravioli, and meatballs. As she got older and developed arthritis, she couldn't manage the pans anymore, and she passed her recipes along. Italian brownies are really more like chocolate chip cookies with spices than brownies. As my sister said when I gave her some, "They smell like my childhood and happiness." I gave Lonna good memories of them as well:

Later that morning, I woke disoriented. The sun poured through the leaves of the tall magnolia trees outside the gable windows and made dancing shadows over the walls, bed, and me. The first thing to orient me was the smell. Aunt Alicia’s house had always smelled like cinnamon, ginger, and anise, the flavors in the Italian cookies my mother liked. I’d always gone for the chocolate ones, Italian Brownies, which had a kick of cinnamon as well. – Long Shadows

I'm a stress baker, so I made a large batch around Christmas when we were having some renovation work done on the house and lost the living room and office for three weeks. There's a chocolate glaze on top of them: (Italian brownies.jpg)

Unfortunately, I have not been given permission by the family to share the recipe. Noni was always very protective of her recipes and would only share them with people she approved of. My husband jokes he had to marry me so he could get access to my family's tomato sauce and meatballs recipe. I retort that he's stuck with me now because divorce isn't an option – I'd have to kill him first to keep the family's secret recipe safe.

I am happy, however, to share a link to my go-to lasagna recipe, which I make with homemade sauce and sometimes homemade pasta noodles, and I substitute ricotta for cottage cheese. It's from Cooking Light, so it's not too unhealthy. The best part is that you don't even have to cook the noodles, but you don't have to use those weird no-boil ones, either:

Readers sometimes wonder how much of an author goes into her characters. In Lonna's case, quite a bit, at least with regard to her Italian heritage. Including some of those aspects made the book fun for me to write, and I hope it will be fun to read as well. I think my grandmother would be proud.

Long Shadows, The Lycanthropy Files Book Two

Being unique isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

By day, Lonna Marconi’s busy career keeps her mind off the fact she was turned werewolf against her will. By night, a dose of wolfsbane lets her inner wolf out to play while her physical body stays safe at home.

When an overheard phone call at work warns her a trap is about to be sprung, she turns from hunter to hunted in the blink of an eye.

She finds refuge with the Ozarks pack she never claimed as her own. Upon discovering a family secret that explains why she’s unique among her own kind, Lonna finds heat in the arms of Max, who’s the one thing she cannot trust—a wizard.

Another kidnapping attempt sends her navigating the treacherous metaphysical borders of a centuries-old war, pursued by rogue sorcerers, a band of ghostly wolves, and repressed memories that prevent her from reclaiming her heritage. All the while, trusting her back to a wizard who demands the price of her heart…who may not have the luxury of giving his in return.

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From Samhain Publishing (all ebook formats available):

Also available anywhere else ebooks are sold.

The Mountain's Shadow, The Lycanthropy Files Book One

Some mistakes can literally come back to bite you.

First it was ADD. Then pediatric bipolar. Now the hot behavioral disorder in children is CLS, or Chronic Lycanthropy Syndrome. Public health researcher Joanie Fisher was closing in on the cause in hopes of finding a treatment until a lab fire and an affair with her boss left her without a job.

When her grandfather leaves her his multimillion-dollar estate in the Ozarks, though, she figures her luck is turning around. Except her inheritance comes with complications: town children who disappear during full moons, an irresistible butler, and a pack of werewolves who can’t seem to decide whether to frighten her or flirt with her.

Joanie’s research is the key to unraveling the mysteries of Wolfsbane Manor.  However, resuming her work means facing painful truths about her childhood, which could result in the loss of love, friendship, and the only true family she has left.

Warning: Some sexy scenes, although nothing explicit, and adult language. Also alcohol consumption and food descriptions that may wreck your diet.

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Also available anywhere else ebooks are sold. Paperback release date is October 7, 2014.

Cecilia Dominic wrote her first story when she was two years old and has always had a much more interesting life inside her head than outside of it. She became a clinical psychologist because she's fascinated by people and their stories, but she couldn't stop writing fiction. The first draft of her dissertation, while not fiction, was still criticized by her major professor for being written in too entertaining a style. She made it through graduate school and got her PhD, started her own practice, and by day, she helps people cure their insomnia without using medication. By night, she blogs about wine and writes fiction she hopes will keep her readers turning the pages all night. Yes, she recognizes the conflict of interest between her two careers, so she writes and blogs under a pen name.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with one husband and two cats, which, she's been told, is a good number of each. Her debut novel The Mountain's Shadow, an urban fantasy featuring werewolves with a scientific twist, was released in October 2013. The second in the series, Long Shadows, was released yesterday on March 25, 2014.

You can find her at:
Amazon Author Page:

-- Lynda Again
   Thanks, Cecilia, for the terrific look into your family and characterization. Those cookies look delish! Too bad you can't share the recipe but I certainly understand family recipes and traditions. Thanks for being with us today.

   Everyone, I have a birthday coming up in April and one lucky member of my newsletter will receive a birthday prize!  A variety pack of Body Essential Oils!

   You can join the newsletter by clicking the link below.

   If you haven't heard, I've sold Rider in a 3 Book deal to Entangled Publishing! To celebrate that, I'll be offering a prize (or maybe a couple of prizes) near its release date. We're going to rename Rider, which was always just a working title and I can't wait to see what we come up with ;-)

Contact me: