Thursday, May 24, 2012

Friday Fun: Meet Author Allison Merritt + Giveaway!

Please help me welcome the talented ALLISON MERRITT to the blog today! Allison writes wonderful, adventurous Historicals!! My favorite!
You can find Allison on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER
Be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for an e-copy of THE TREASURE HUNTER'S LADY!
Thanks for being here today, Allison.
Do you have critique partners?
I have a couple of very fantastic critique partners. They're both published. One went the self-publishing route and her vampire paranromal romances are so well-crafted, she puts me to shame. The other writes romantic suspense and her characters are to die for. Plus, I have awesome beta readers as well. I sure can't overlook them.
If you could time travel would you go forward or backward?
I'd go backward. I'd love to see the world during the Depression Era and around WWII. The people back then were so hard working and they didn't have the technology we have. It would be interesting to see how life was so simple in some ways and so difficult in others.
Favorite romance movie?
Overboard. I know the premise of the movie--Kurt Russell conning Goldie Hawn because she was such a cow to him is kind of creepy--but it's a great progressive romance. You have to admire Kurt for at least making a go of marriage when he starts to fall in love with her.
Do you believe in love at first sight or just lust at first sight?
I do believe in love at first sight. It seems like to me that there are some people you connect with instantly. I felt like that when I met my husband. Out of the guys I dated, he was the only one that I really wanted to get to know.
Tropical or European vacation?
Tropical. I went to Grand Cayman with my mom the year I graduated from college. We swam with the stingrays at Stingray City. It was amazing. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?
Not to worry! Chances are no one I know will end up in one, but certain elemnts might. I always say I'd hate to ruin a good novel by modeling a character after someone I don't like. But people watching is an important tool and it can sure lead to some good ideas for writing.
For years, Romy Farrington traveled at her world-famous archeologist father's side, exploring new lands and uncovering ancient secrets. It was everything she ever wanted, until a near-fatal encounter with hostile natives forced her and her father into a life of retirement in Boston and an undesired advance into proper society.

Everything changes again when she's saved from an accident by a brash Texan in a back alley. Abel Courte may act like a care-free cowboy, but he's harboring a secret—he's searching for the Diamond of Uktena, a legendary jewel that can cure any disease known to man. He needs information Romy's father has in order to get to the jewel. When he traces the origin of the Diamond to Dakota Territory, he sets off to claim the treasure, only to find the archeologist's fiery redheaded daughter stuck to him like a bug in sap.

In a race against time, Romy and Abel must learn to trust each other as they undertake a cross-country journey that will expose them to lands uncharted by white men, a deadly battle against the fearsome creature in possession of the Diamond and a fight to return to civilization where they might make the greatest discovery of all—love. 

Romy’s eyes locked on Abel's necklace. “What's that around your neck? A fossil of some sort?”
His hand flew to the pendant and stuffed it back down his collar. “Nothing.”
“As someone who's seen a lot of nothing, I can tell you without a doubt it's something. Full of secrets, aren't we, Abel?”
Blue eyes widened then narrowed, as she looked between him and the maps he'd lifted out of the drawer. Her coyness fell away like leaves in the fall. “You're a treasure hunter. You found out that Papa is going to search for the Diamond of Uktena, but you plan to steal it first.”
“Why would I want to steal a—” He gave up the pretense. “First of all, it isn't stealing if it isn't in anyone's possession. Second, I'm not a treasure hunter.”
“It is stealing if you're going to sell a priceless artifact to the highest bidder on the black market.”
Abel frowned. “I don't need a lecture from some little chit whose daddy is the biggest treasure hunter in the world.”
Romy poked a finger into his chest. “Take it back. He's an archeologist and an adventurer. When he finds valuables he turns them over to the proper authorities.”
He pushed her finger away. “I'll bet you a thousand dollars he's not going to do it this time.”
Her eyes narrowed into slits, half-hidden behind a thick fringe of lashes. “You're wrong.”
“It would be the biggest discovery of our time. Of any time. It's no mere gem, no ornament to put on a shelf.”
“I have some knowledge of the Diamond,” she defended.
The admission was too nonchalant. Had mere curiosity led her to follow him?
He patted the fang inside his shirt. “I doubt anyone could put a price on its worth, but there are those willing to try.”
She stared at him dubiously. “Because it's supposed to come from a mythical serpent?”
He debated telling her. It wouldn't benefit Romy to know what he was doing. After tonight it was unlikely he'd see her again.
“Ask your father. He might know more than I do. I have to leave now. I'd appreciate it if you kept our little rendezvous quiet.”
He snatched up the papers, flashed a grin and started for the door. The rustle of skirts alerted him that she was right behind him, but he didn't slow down. Not until a cold metal barrel pressed against the center of his neck.
“Stay where you are.”
Romy's voice was hard and all business. Abel raised his hands. She drew the gun back and came around to face him. The pistol was no little thing, not the type a dainty female would carry for protection. Romy was a woman of many facets, like the fabled Diamond.
“I can't give you the fang.”
“I have the feeling it's an intricate detail in your mission, Mr. Courte.”
He sighed. “I don't know for certain.”
“Tell me what you do know.”
“The fang is solid proof that Uktena exists.”
She frowned. “And who is Uktena exactly?”
“Uktena isn't your typical serpent. Rumor has it that this sparkly rock stuck in its forehead can bring power and riches to whoever wields it. Better still, the Diamond cures illnesses. Any disease you can think of.”



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Release Wednesday + Giveaway!!

Everyone, please help me welcome my friend, the very, very talented DANELLE HARMON! Danelle is bringing back her wonderful books and I'm so lucky to have her here today as her launch begins! 
You can learn all about Danelle and her many novels at her WEBSITE
Or you can check out her Amazon Page
Be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for your choice of one e-copy of one of her books.

Thanks for being here today, Danelle!

 I would like to start off by extending a HUGE thank you 
to author Jennifer Jakes for hosting me on her blog today!  I have never done a blog, or even been a guest on anyone's blog, so this is truly an honor for me to be here.  I have been away from writing for a long time -- it's been ten years since my tenth, and last, book was published, and Jennifer has been instrumental in helping me launch my 
new e-career!  Hello, everyone


England, 1776: Lord Gareth de Montforte is known as an irresponsible rake with a heart of gold. When he takes a bullet for boldly thwarting a stagecoach robbery, he is stunned to discover that the beautiful young woman he has heroically rescued, Juliet Paige, is his deceased brother’s American fiancĂ©e, accompanied by her infant daughter. Despite his brother the duke's refusal to acknowledge Juliet, Gareth is determined to do right by the courageous woman who crossed an ocean to give her baby her rightful name. But Juliet is wary of marrying this black sheep aristocrat, even while she is hopelessly charmed by the dashing devil. Never has she met anyone who embraces life so thoroughly, who makes her laugh, who loves her so well. And, even when it seems the odds are against them, Juliet has absolute faith that Gareth will go beyond the call of duty, risking his life itself to give her and her daughter a home — and a love that will last
a lifetime. 

"Just what on earth are you doing, Lord Gareth?"

The way she said it made his cheeks warm with embarrassment. So he
was a pillock. Who cared? Instead, he gave her his most devastating
grin and said with cheerful earnestness, "Why, I have come to rescue
you, of course."

"Rescue me?"

"Surely you didn't think I'd allow Lucien to banish you into
obscurity, now, did you?"

"Well, I -  The duke didn't ban-"  She gave a disbelieving little
laugh and leaned out the window, grasping the blanket tightly at her
breasts. Her hair, caught in a long, dark braid, swung tantalizingly
out over her bosom. "Really, Lord Gareth. This is ... highly

"Yes, but the hour is late, and as it took me all day to find you, I
was feeling rather impatient. I do hope you'll forgive me for
resorting to such desperate measures. May I come in and talk?"

"Of course not! I - I cannot have a man in my bedroom!"

"Why not, my sweet?" He pushed aside a small, leafy twig in order to
see her better and grinned cajolingly up at her. "I had you in mine."

She shook her head, torn between what she wanted to do - and what she
ought to do. "Really, Lord Gareth ... your brother will never approve
of this. You should go home. After all, you're the son of a duke and
I'm just a - "

" - beautiful young woman with nowhere else to go. A beautiful young
woman who should be a part of my family. Now, do collect Charlotte
and your things, Miss Paige - I fear we must make haste, if we are to
marry before Lucien catches up to us."

"Marry?!" she cried, forgetting to whisper.

He gazed at her in blank, perfect innocence. "Well, yes, of course,"
he said, clinging to the branch as it dropped another few inches.
"Surely you don't think I'd be hanging out of a tree for anything
less, do you?"


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Friday Fun: Meet Author Kristine Cayne!

Please help me welcome the talented KRISTINECAYNE! She's brought her newest Romantic Suspense, DEADLY ADDICTION, the 2nd book in the Deadly Vices Series!

You can see all of Kristine's great books HERE
But grab a cup of coffee and come on back to learn more about her and her work-in-progress ;)

Thanks for being her today, Christine!

 Do you have critique partners?
Dana Delamar ( is my wonderful, amazing critique partner. We meet twice a week to go over new work and edit previous work. We’ve helped each other through our publication journeys. Dana is not only a fabulous writer, she’s also a terrific editor, which is a great thing to have in a critique partner, since she can tell me where all the &^%#ing commas go.
 If you could time travel would you go forward or backward?
Since I can read about the past, I think I’d travel to the future. Think of how much technology has evolved in the past 100 years. Can you imagine what the world will be like even 100 years in the future? I can try, but I’m certain my imagination doesn’t even come close to reality. It would be a life-changing event for sure.
 If you could switch places with one of your characters would you?
Switching places with one of my heroines would mean I’d get to be with one of my heroes for a while. What a great idea! J I can’t pick which of my heroes I prefer, because they are both terrific men in their own ways, and I’m sure I’d get along with either one. But which of my heroines would I rather most be? Personality and lifestyle-wise, I’m most like Lauren James, the heroine of Deadly Obsession. But if I traded spots with her, I’d have to deal with the dreaded stalker. On the other hand, I’m not sure I could or would want to be Alyssa, the heroine of Deadly Addiction. She’s had some incredibly difficult and dangerous experiences that I know I couldn’t live through. I’m just not that tough or kickass. Okay, decision made. I’d switch places with Lauren, get rid of the stalker, then enjoy being the girlfriend/wife of a world famous sexy movie star for a while. Rowr!
Tell us a little about your WIP.
My current work in progress is Deadly Betrayal, the third book in my Deadly Vices series. The hero is Kaden Christiansen, who was first introduced in Deadly Obsession as Nic’s bodyguard. 
Here’s a short blurb:
AZITA SERAJ, Dari doctor and women’s rights activist in Afghanistan, is horrified to learn that her late husband’s brother, Khalid Mullazai, is giving his twelve year old sister to a Taliban tribal leader in exchange for debts owed. Desperate to save the girl, she reaches out to the only hope she has: an American soldier she treated several years earlier for a gunshot wound. A wound he received in an ambush she’d been deceived into initiating. Can she enlist his aid and still keep secret her betrayal?
KADEN CHRISTIANSEN never forgot the beautiful Afghani doctor who saved his life, and when he receives her cry for help, he doesn’t hesitate. The opportunity to see Azita again and to discover the source of the ambush that caused the death of one of his men is one he relishes.
Hunted by Mullazai and Taliban fighters as they travel across the country disguised and posing as a married couple, Kaden and Azita begin to fall for their own act and for each other. But Kaden senses that Azita is holding back. Is the reason their cultural differences or something darker?
Sound good? I’m looking forward to learning more about the Afghani people, culture, and politics.
Favorite actor/actress/both?
Right now, I have two favorite actors – Channing Tatum and Chris Hemsworth. I’m more than a little ashamed to admit that this is mostly due to looks and charm. However, I do think that both actors will continue to grow and have tremendous acting careers. On a side note, they are both the inspiration for characters in my series. Coincidence? ;-)
As for my favorite actress, I’ve enjoyed every Katherine Heigl movie I’ve seen, well, except for One for the Money. Ugh. Casting error anyone?
Do you believe in love at first sight or just lust at first sight?
I definitely believe in lust at first sight. I’m sure everyone has experienced that electric feeling, the tightening of your tummy upon seeing that special person. Some people believe it’s pheromone based, and that’s certainly possible, but we’ve seen this (or experienced it) over and over with television, movie, and music stars. People fall in lust with people they’ve never met.
I don’t think you can fall in love with someone until you get to know them at least a little. There has to be something in their manner, their personality, that draws you to them and elicits feelings of kindness and caring.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Release Wednesday + Give*Away!

Help me welcome the talented KELLY RAE! :) Be sure to comment for a chance to win WHAT IF.....!

Thank you Jennifer for letting me stop by and share a little about myself and What If… with your readers. I am over the moon that I get to talk about writing, because it means I finally am one. Please bear with me folks, if I gush just a bit. J
On May 1st, my debut contemporary romance novel, What If…, was released. It was more than a labor of love, but a matter of pride and dream fulfillment. I decided I was going to take my dream of being a writer and make it happen. I love writing and I hope that others will enjoy my stories, as well. Thank you for stopping by to learn a bit about me and maybe even find a new author and book to love.
What if... is a story that I like to define as a forgiveness tale. When Katie finds herself facing memories of a past, she had chosen to forget, she realizes that the only way to truly get over any of it is to face it head on, forgive those involved; including her. I adore Katie because I think she is like a lot of women I know who have been hurt, in one way or the other, and turn all of their focus onto things they can their careers! Women who give up on love and romance to take care of their kids and make them their sole focus, somehow forgetting their need for adult companionship, I know these women. I have been this woman. Balancing a full life can be hard and when you have experienced loss and pain, it can be daunting to open up and love again. I like Katie because she is brave, even if it takes some encouragement!
Chris is the one person who Katie fears the most, because she can’t help but FEEL when he is around. Granted half the time what she feels is irritation and frustration, but the other half of the time WHAM, this man gets to her. Chris makes her want things that she swears she doesn’t. He makes her feel things that she refuses to admit. And, when he kisses her, well you will just have to read to see how well this man does that! He’s good! Good looking and reminds me a lot of the Tim McGraw song Real Good Man. He might have been a bad boy, but my oh my is he a real good man!
When I write a book the characters become my friends. I want to encourage them and see them do well. It’s what makes that Happily Ever After moment at the end, just as satisfying to me, as I hope it is to my readers. I hope you find yourself rooting for my friends Katie and Chris and even Katie’s sidekick Sarah…whom I think might get her own book eventually.
Thanks for stopping by to learn about me and I hope you will check out What If… and be transported for a time into another life where hope, forgiveness, and happy endings rule! A lucky commenter will be gifted with a free e-book of What comment away and win!
“Hello,” a groggy Sarah said when she picked up the phone.
“I’m so sorry to call this late Sarah, but you’ll never guess what happened to me tonight.”
“Well, I’m awake now, please do go ahead, and tell me.” Having friends was a handy thing, Katie was discovering.
“Okay, so I went to Paul’s for dinner tonight, well for a dinner party, and guess who was standing eight feet from me as I walked into the dining room, with a dish of potatoes in my hands?” Katie knew it was probably not hard to figure, since very few things flustered her and Sarah knew it.
“Well, let me guess, since you are calling me at what has become the middle of the night for me, and you sound as though you are excited and on the verge of tears, all at the same time, it must have been Chris.”
“Right you are my dear, and that is the reason I keep you around. Chris was there, he came with Coach Underman after they had a game, or practice, or some such thing tonight. I was shocked and I’m really hoping that he did not notice, do you think he noticed?”
“Were you talking five miles a minute like you are now?” she asked.
“Ha, ha.”
Nevertheless, Katie took the hint and slowed down a bit to tell her what happened. How she left without letting him talk to her and how sad she thought he looked when she did. Katie admitted to Sarah that it was mean. She just could not stand there so close to him and chat like old times.
“Sarah, you know that I can do most anything I put my mind to and have always been able to, but with him it’s different. I see him and there are so many emotions that pop up that I can’t sort through them fast enough to select a response. At dinner, it was clear that he is very dedicated to those kids and apparently, he coaches several other sports on campus. He is also the Director of Physical Education at the high school and holds a seat on the education board. It was all news to me, since I didn’t even know he still lived here until a few weeks ago.”
“Katie, you seem to have forgotten that I did, or do rather, know he lives here and I know all this stuff. What you need to do is let me go back to bed now and we can talk about this tomorrow, after you have given some thought as to why a man you haven’t seen since he was a teenage boy makes you a babbling, stuttering, nervous, and somewhat crazy woman after all these years. Especially since you haven’t let the man say more than ten words to you, or said ten to him. So, you go do that and I will go back to bed now, deal?”
“Well, doesn’t your sunshine wear off a bit when the moon comes out?” Katie said with a snorted giggle, “Sorry again about waking you up, since obviously you are no fun in the ‘middle of the night’. Now you just go back to bed and don’t worry, there is no need to talk about this again. I’m not crazy and this was such a non-event that I shouldn’t have called you anyway. I think I am just amped on dessert. Please tell Tom I’m sorry, too.”          
“Lie to yourself if you want Kates, I do it all the time. Good night and sweet Chris Staller dreams.” Without letting Katie respond, Sarah hung up the phone and left Katie to be buzzed on sugar and adrenaline all by her lonesome.
“Mphf, he doesn’t make me crazy or nervous; I’m fine... perfectly fine!”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Friday Fun: Meet Author Abbey MacInnis + Give*Away!

Hi everyone! Please help me welcome the talented ABBEY MACINNIS to the blog. Abbey is one of my blog -mates on the History Ink Blogspot. I don't know about you ladies, but I LOVE this cover for HIS FIFTH AVENUE THIEF.
You can find out more about ABBEY and her writing at her Website
But come on back, because she's giving away a copy of HIS FIFTH AVENUE THIEF to one lucky winner;)

Thanks for being here today, ABBEY!

Thanks to Jennifer for having me here! I’m happy to meet all of you!
In my part of the world, Spring has finally sprung. I love going outdoors to walk my dog or just sit on my patio with a glass of ice tea or coffee, a good book, or my laptop. Annuals are flourishing and birds singing. I love hearing children running around laughing and playing. My new home is cozy and private, the chimes on my gate ring musically in the warm breeze. I get the urge to open windows and clear away the dust and let in fresh air and sunlight. I even love it when it rains. There’s just something about how the air smells after it storms. So clean, so cool.
There’s just something about this season that clears away the cobwebs of Winter. It’s easier to ease into Summer after having such a great Spring. I’m more creative, more energized during this time of year. I eat better too. There’s more fresh fruit that’s becoming available. And since I’m leaving on a four-day cruise to the Bahamas in a few weeks, that’s something I’m definitely looking forward to indulging in. Might just get my serving of fruit in a nice little drink or two, but heh, why not. It’s my first cruise ever! I can’t wait. I’m loading up my Kindle, so I’ll be prepared for days on the deck working on my tan, or doing my best to not get burnt to a crisp. LOL
My Springs are crammed full of fun events that I look forward to each year because I see good friends and family I only meet up with once a year. there are church festivals to attend, holiday weekends with family out at our lake cottage relaxing and enjoying the water. Barbeques with family, laughter, a little beer and, always, fun. And nights before a fire pit roasting marshmellows, making s’mores and sharing family stories is such an awesome way to create new ones and memories with those you love.
So what about you? With the new season, what are you looking forward to? What festival or event do you enjoy attending during this time of year? I’ll give away a copy of my Historical novella, His Fifth Avenue Thief to one commenter. Don’t forget to leave your email so I can contact you. I’ll draw a winner on Saturday.
Abbey MacInnis is a published author of Contemporary Western romance. Along with Contemporary, she writes Historical, Paranormal and erotic romance. Whether a Medieval knight, regency rake, or cowboy or cop, her heroes are always strong men who’ll love their women unconditionally.
On most days, Abbey can be found at her computer, penning her latest tale. A tale where love, respect, and passion combine to create a satisfying and happy ending. She invites you to step in to the pages of her romances, to leave your worries behind and get swept up in her world.
His Fifth Avenue Thief blurb:
Two years prior, Irishman Aaron O’Connel took his life from rags to riches. Chance and wits have kept him alive in 1850’S New York City. But no amount of money or success can bring his love Cathlene back from the dead. When a thief sneaks her way into his mansion, the last woman he expects to find absconding with his belongings is his long lost wife.
Abandoned on New York’s shores, a widowed, penniless, and ruined Cathlene O'Connel was left to fend for herself in an unfamiliar world. Fear and circumstance drove her to a life of thieving in order to survive, but her heart risks the biggest danger of all when Aaron hands her a scandalous proposition: A son in exchange for her freedom.
Now that he has her back, Aaron doesn't intend to let Cathlene slip between his fingers. He'll do whatever it takes to regain her trust and love. But when an enemy from Cathlene's past resurfaces, Aaron not only faces battling for Cathlene's heart, but also her life.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Release Wednesday - Jade Lee!!

Allow me just a small Fan-Girl moment to say, " Squee! I have JADE LEE on my blog!"
Ah-hem. All better now. :)
Seriously, if you haven't read one of Jade's many wonderful books, you are missing out!! And to fix that problem, Jade is offering a FREE NOVELLA

Thank you so much for being here today, Jade!

            Raise your hand if you’re in the midst of prom season!  I have two daughters who started going to prom when they were freshmen in high school.  Yup, I had 8 years of gowns and make up and hair.  When the youngest girl went off the college, I breathed a huge sigh of relief as spring came around and I had no daughter at home to spend my money.  Who wants to do all that shopping?  Who can listen to the giddy laughter of teenage girls or hear the breathless sigh of delight when the boy finally asks her to the prom?  One year, a boy actually serenaded my daughter.  He wrote a song asking her to the prom.
            Oh wow, I miss it.  I miss my girls, I miss the pictures and the tuxes, I miss the excitement and specialness of it all.  And frankly, that’s a bit of a surprise because I was never a very girly girl.  And yes, I went to my prom, but back then it was not nearly as elaborate as it is today.
            I think it was in a fit of longing for my daughters that I created a series set in a bridal salon in Regency London.  Every book has a wedding in it, so I got to revel in the wedding fun as much as I wanted.  But don’t get the wrong idea!  The wedding isn’t the primary story!  No, the novels ended up being about the ladies who run the salon.  Strong women-all four of them–fighting to run a business when women simply didn’t.  They didn’t manage money, they didn’t own their own businesses, and they weren’t supposed to go to the docks (for example) to buy fabric or other supplies in bulk.  It was the women who fascinated me in these tales.  That I set their stories in a bridal salon was so that my sappy side, the happily ever after bridal side would be satisfied too.
            But what about the men? you ask.  Honestly, it’s the heros who make a good romance for me.  Arrogant lords, powerful men, guys that make your jaw drop and your eyes sparkle.  Those are the guys for me.  I didn’t go for my usual dark, tortured hero.  No, this time I had to reach for my lighter side.  Witty banter, fun situations, but still with a core of seriousness because, honestly, these ladies had to be serious about their livelihoods.
            So now I’ve given you the overview.  You now get the chance to tell me if I struck the right notes.  You can pick up the prequel novella for free here:    And then, if you like it, check out the first novel Wedded in Scandal here:    It’s got an excerpt there that I think is very fun.  Plus some of the excellent reviews including Publisher’s Weekly that called it “a highly entertaining read.”

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Friday Fun - Meet Author Michele Drier!

Please help me welcome the talented MICHELE DRIER! She's brought her latest release, SNAP. All you Paranormal lovers take notice! Here's a great new Vamp book ;)
You can learn more about Michele at her website
But come on back for a visit !

Thanks for being here today, Michele.

Hi Jennifer, thanks for having me as a guest today!  I’m particularly excited because the second in the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, SNAP: New Talent, has just been published on Amazon!

Once upstairs, I didn’t shield much from Jean-Louis. 
I’d certainly had my share of affairs, short-time attractions and even a couple of long-term lovers, but I’d never known a man so attuned to my wants as he was.  He was the epitome of the Pointer Sisters’ “Slow Hands” and that played in my head for the next hour or so while we made languorous love.
                       From SNAP: New Talent, Book Two of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles

Hard-driving media businesswoman Maximillia Gwenoch thought she’d found her perfect job when she took on SNAP’s managing editorship.  She had her eye on fame, fortune and Jimmy Choos.
What she got was an introduction to dishy and super-sexy Jean-Louis.  A co-worker.  A vampire.  And second-in-command of the powerful Kandesky Hungarian vampire family.
In both the first and second book of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, SNAP: The World Unfolds, and the new release, SNAP: New Talent, Maxie is torn between her need for her career and her love for Jean-Louis.  And Jean-Louis is edging ahead. After all, he’s had about 500 years to learn what women want—and to perfect his techniques.
Different Genres, Sexy Guys
I write in two different genres: paranormal romance and traditional mystery, and each genre has a love interest.  The guys are of a type I admire (oh, hell; prefer, if I could find ‘em), urbane, intelligent, witty, slightly wounded from previous entanglements but trying to get it right.  Sort of like a friend of mine who said, right before his fourth wedding, “I believe in marriage.  I’m going to keep doing it until I get it right” (I think he stopped at five).
Outside of nothing at all, I think the sexiest thing a man can wear is a black evening suit.  Maybe too much James Bond in my formative years?
Worldly Vamps
I suspect the reason the Kandesky vampires, and particularly Jean-Louis, are so worldly, rich, European, is that I couldn’t have my “regular” protagonist fall for someone violent.  If Maxie was going to fall in love with a vampire, said vampire needed to have traits that were familiar.  I read some vampire books and, even though I really like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Charlaine Harris resonated with me.  After all, vampires were once human.  Why shouldn’t they behave in some human ways?  One reviewer called SNAP “Twilight for grownups.”  I like that!
And, most of all, why shouldn’t they have practiced and practiced at good sex?  Some of the Kandeskys have been married to each other for upwards of 500 years.  Try that if you think having sex in your 70s or 80s has lost its appeal!  Not to mention, they all suffer from some sort of arrested development, staying the same age as when they were turned (or as the Kandeskys say “became an acolyte”).   So Francois, in his early 20s, has the body and libido to match, even though he’s several hundred years old.  And Maxie is dying to find out if he’s hetro, gay or bi.  None of her business, she’s not interested, just pure nosiness.  He’s the Paris bureau chief for SNAP, the magazine, and has a certain swish.
Two Series
The SNAP Kandesky Vampire Chronicles are a true series.  Before I began writing the first one, I knew there were going to be four books, and now I’ve added two novellas, which will tell the back stories of the Kandesky leaders: Baron Stefan Kandesky and Penelope, and Jean-Louis and Magda.  Each book in the series stands alone, but together they tell the saga of the war with the Kandesky neighbors and rivals, the powerful Huszar vampire family.
My mysteries are a series, also, that follow newspaper editor Amy Hobbes as she uncovers murders beyond those her staff regularly writes about.  There is a stable cast of players, including Amy’s lover, Phillippe Etange, art critic for the San Francisco Times, but events are always changing in the world of daily news reporting.  Again, before I began writing, I had five books plotted out.
Both series are fun to write!  I lean on my background in print media for the canvas on which these stories—and love affairs—are painted, but don’t think that the real world of journalism is populated with such sexy creatures.  Journalists report on it, they don’t do it!
 With the stories in my head, and the lovers in my heart, my biggest challenge now is carving out the time to write so readers can have a seamless passage through the Chronicles.
Amazon links
 SNAP: New Talent
 SNAP: The World Unfolds

Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian.  She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home.  During her career in journalism — as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers – she won awards for producing investigative series.
Her mystery Edited for Death, called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review and a Memorable Book for 2011 on DorothyL, is available in paperback at Amazon and B&N.
Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky vampire chronicles, is available in ebook at Amazon.  The first book, SNAP: The World Unfolds, received a 4-star rating from the Paranormal Romance Guild.  The second book, SNAP: New Talent, is now published and also available from Amazon

Visit her website:   

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Release Wednesday + Give*away!

Everyone help me welcome SANDRA DE HELEN and her new release THE HOUNDING!
Sandra holding a giveaway so be sure to leave a comment with your E-Mail Addy.

Thanks for being her today, Sandra :)

 One day, when I worked in downtown Portland, I was walking across busy 5th Avenue, when suddenly I had the idea of having a female detective named Shirley Combs who would have been teased about her name, but in spite of -- or maybe even because of that -- became the world's greatest living detective. One day she meets her Dr. Watson. A young naturopath, Mary Watson, who becomes Shirley's sidekick and narrator. Once I decided to write the first book, I realized it would make a great series. I’m at work on the second book right now.

The first book, The Hounding, is a direct descendant of A. Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles in every way. It is not a copy or a rewrite, but a descendant. In fact, the client is a descendant of Sherlock Holmes’s client. The second book, The Illustrious Client, is a descendant in another way. Once again the title is a riff on Doyle’s similar title, and the story is descended from his story, but my story is of this century, and includes a murder.

Here’s a synopsis of The Hounding:

Tall, thin, androgynous Shirley Combs considers herself the world’s greatest living detective because she uses the methods and casebook of Sherlock Holmes to solve crimes of the gentry of the American city most closely resembling London, England -- in terms of the weather, at least. Sidekick/narrator Dr. Mary Watson both delights in and is frustrated by her partner’s behavioral resemblance to Sherlock. Combs is unemotional, analytical, and given to pacing through the night in the streets of the almost perfectly livable city of Portland, Oregon. Her ability to observe details and understand their relationship to a case is unmatched; her demands on Watson’s time are too.
            Shirley Combs bills herself as the world’s greatest living detective, and why not? Taunted and teased as a child because her name sounded so much like Sherlock Holmes's, she developed an early obsession with the adventures and methods of Sherlock himself. She considered her fate sealed when she met up with Dr. Mary Watson. Shirley adds the technology of today to Holmes’s 100-year-old casebook and solves the mysteries of her much-beloved hometown. Mary Watson assists, and - of course - chronicles their exciting exploits. The planned series of novels incorporates and explores current events, types of people, social/economic situations that occur in Portland and the Pacific Northwest.
            In their first documented adventure, Shirley is hired by 19-year-old Goldenhawk Vandeleur to investigate her wealthy mother’s untimely death. Timber heiress Priscilla Vandeleur Leoni, direct descendant of Sir Charles Baskerville, decides to spend the family fortune saving the old-growth forests of Oregon. She is a product of the 1960’s ­­- former hippie and free-love advocate who gave birth out-of-wedlock, experimented with lesbian separatism, and married late. When faced with midlife, she tries to outrun her fears and give away her huge fortune. Haunted by a phobia of dogs, she is literally frightened to death by a pair of pit bulls.

And now for a sample, Chapter One:

Cilla can’t seem to shake the nightmare. She almost gives up her daily run rather than face the possibility of meeting those dogs in real life. Dogs are reality for every marathon runner, and each runner finds a way to deal with them. But for Cilla, the fear of being attacked runs so deep she feels it is part of her genetic makeup.
She jerks awake at 5:37 a.m. the sky barely light as she sits up, shaking, sweating, her heart pounding as she listens for the heavy breath, the pounding footsteps that haunts her awake.
Breakfast, newspaper, even the Today Show doesn’t erase the feeling that the giant hound is waiting for her around the next corner.
Finally she dons her running gear and sets out, determined to do her eight miles anyway. The Portland Marathon is seven weeks away, and Cilla intends to achieve her personal best. She adds a light windbreaker to her outfit, tying it loosely around her waist by the sleeves, because even though the calendar says August second, the temperature at ten a.m. is only 51 degrees.
As she crosses Highway 43 at Glenmorrie Road and starts the three point one mile trek that becomes Old River Road, Cilla breathes one small sigh of relief. She knows this stretch of road like no other. This is the one she includes on every run, every walk, and every bicycle ride. This beautiful road along the Willamette River has more trees and fewer dogs per square foot than any other property she knows.
Oh sure, there are houses, particularly at the beginning and end of the road. And yes, homeowners have dogs, but for some reason not so many dogs, and so far, she hasn’t hurt any of them.
Cilla always carries a pocket-sized can of mace and an umbrella, for the express purpose of warding off dogs. She read somewhere that letter carriers open automatic umbrellas in the faces of their canine foes and the dogs back up or run away. She tried it a few times herself and the element of surprise gave her enough lead-time to run away.
The sky is overcast. The low clouds and tall trees seem to enforce a certain silence. Cilla’s breathing is the loudest sound she hears. Her feet hit the ground rhythmically, one two, one two. She breathes in for four counts, out for four. Her thoughts seem to float just ahead of her, pulling her onward, coaxing her step-by-step, mile after mile.
As she reaches the halfway point on Old River Road, she is halfway through her eight-mile training run. Tomorrow she will run thirteen. Today is an easy day. She can feel herself begin to relax. Her breath, still keeping the beat, comes into her lungs a little easier. The ground isn’t quite so hard as it was a moment ago.
In the distance she hears a car door open. There are no houses for another half mile; either the sound carried along the river, or someone is parked somewhere ahead, probably enjoying the quiet.
Suddenly Cilla hears the pounding footsteps, the heavy slobbering breath of her nightmares. She stops for a second to hear which way the sound is coming from. At the same time, she readies both mace and umbrella. The dogs are coming toward her. She whirls and begins retracing her path.
They are coming too fast. She piles on the energy, grateful for her years of running, proud of her ability to create bursts of speed when needed.
The hounds begin to bark. They see her. She glances over her shoulder. There are two of them — wedge-shaped heads, powerful legs, wiry bodies — pit bulls. Adrenalin shoots through Cilla’s body like lightning. She knows she cannot outrun these dogs for any great distance. She heads for the river. She feels sure she can outswim them, and doubts their ability to attack while in the water.
Cilla slides and falls down the embankment toward the Willamette. Damn! A barbed wire fence. She stands up, desperately hanging onto her weapons, steps on the bottom wire, and prepares to step over the top one. The wire snaps and the barbs from the top wire rips through her pants, tearing her flesh and causing her to cry out. As she bends to crawl between the wires, one of the dogs leaps onto her back, bites into the back of her neck and begins to shake her head viciously from side to side.
The powerful jaws of the second terrier snaps into her left side with a terrible force. Cilla fights for her life. She sprays the mace as best she can, pops open the automatic umbrella, and waves them both in the direction of the two canines. She knows that pit bulls are rumored to fight for hours, but she has the experience of years of nightmares, of horrible fantasies and planning how she will escape should she ever actually be attacked by her greatest enemy. She can’t believe it is actually happening; yet the pain is excruciating and she feels herself fighting to stay conscious.
When the dogs refuse to succumb to the mace, and merely rip the umbrella skin from its ribs, Cilla drops the weapons and tries desperately to pull herself through the fence, not aware that the barbs are by now embedded into the palms of her hands. The first dog continues to shake her by the neck, the second is barking, snapping, tearing flesh from her leg. She can’t see it, but she can smell the hot blood intermingled with the scent of the dogs’ bodies and breath, and the fresh green smell of the undergrowth only inches beneath her nose.
She struggles beyond human strength to shake the dogs free and at last manages to rid herself of the first one. Then suddenly, from somewhere far away, she hears a low buzzing sound. The dogs hear it too. They stop their attack; they run away. Cilla disengages herself from the barbed wire, stands up and begins to survey the damage. A wave of dizziness causes her to sway, and a crushing pain hits the middle of her chest.
As she becomes aware that she is losing the battle for consciousness, Cilla thinks that in spite of the pain, in spite of the horror, the actual reality was not as bad as her fears, because she felt proud of her fight, and comforted by the approaching darkness.
The last thing Cilla ever hears is the sound of a car door slamming shut.
Buy the book here:

I am doing a giveaway the day the paperback of The Hounding is officially released (soon!) Leave a comment here or at Red Crested Chatter blog. You can leave a comment (plus your email, so I can contact you) at each blog, to get more chances, but no more than one per blog, please. The giveaway is a signed copy of The Hounding. This is only for USA commenters though (due to price of mailing outside of US). For those outside of US, I will give instead a gift cert for price of the book at, so that I can email you.

Sandra de Helen lives and writes in Portland, Oregon where she is a member of Penplay. See more of her work at de Helen is also a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and International Centre for Women Playwrights.