Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Enchanted Nominated in CAPA

Yes, Enchanted has been nominated in The Romance Studio's 2012 Cupid and Psyche Awards. It's listed under their fantasy romance section.  I'm in total shock! And so totally excited and happy that Enchanted is listed!

What are the CAPAs?  I quote from The Romance Studio:


'They are awards given by The Romance Studio for excellence in romantic fiction. Categories have changed for the 2011 awards and include inspirational, contemporary, fantasy, historical, paranormal, romantic suspense, young adult, sci-fi, anthology, BDSM, and the Ariana Overton Award for Best Cover Art or the Ari.'

This is the absolute best Christmas present of the year!!

 Here's the link to TRS CAPA listings: http://www.theromancestudio.com/capa.php 

 Here's the link to TRS Review of Enchanted: http://www.theromancestudio.com/reviews/reviews/enchantedleger.htm

Friday, December 21, 2012

World Survival Celebration!

In celebration of the sans event of world destruction, I have reduced the price of my two novellas Wraith's Forest and Esmeralda.

Want to go to a perfect world, where fear and hate and no threat of imminent destruction doesn't exist or does it? If so, then The Wraith's Forest is the book for you.  http://www.amazon.com/Wraiths-Forest-ebook/dp/B004VGW2M8/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_4

Esmeralda (Now this book will give you the shivers, I promise) So if you're disappointed about the non-destruction of the Earth and want to be scared a little, grab a copy of this one.  http://www.amazon.com/Esmeralda-Witch-Mountain-Series-ebook/dp/B009WQ0FMG/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_3

Of course there is always the out of space, another world-another life book that will help you escape the disappointment of not going out with a bang. Dragon Wish http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Wish-ebook/dp/B0052FXRRG/ref=pd_ybh_3

Or if you are magic enthusiast, there the old let's hide in the Sidhe with the magic folk story while the earth around us turns to dust. Enchanted  http://www.amazon.com/Enchanted-ebook/dp/B0091USBUQ/ref=pd_ybh_4

They're all pretty darn good books, if you ask me.  Of course, if you look at the reviews, you'll see that I'm not the only one who believes they're good.

Anyhoo, have fun reading! Maybe it'll help with not having to die today.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Am Finished!

I decided late to start a project for NaNoWriMo. Wasn't sure if I could do it. November is a busy month and I know from past efforts that life can get in the way. This year though, I had the book all laid out in my head and all I needed to do was put it on paper!  

I did it!!




 I wrote an entire novel in 23 days!

One thing that really helped me was a writing aid book by Rachel Aaron.

She wrote 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love.

Using those methods, I was able to write this novel.  It's a Young Adult Urban Fantasy. I'm about to start polishing it and hopefully will find a home for it soon! Then it's diving into book two of this series.  I can't wait!!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Are Romance Novels Just Porn for Women? by Guest, Steph


Today I have the pleasure of hosting a guest, Stephanie from over at  Stephsbookretreat  She's an avid reader and a wonderful lady.  If you have time be sure and cheek out her place! She'd love to hear from everyone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Most evenings you can find my husband and I cuddled up on  the couch, him watching Anthony Bourdain No Reservations or Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern; my husband will have his head in my lap and I will be reading some romance or romantic suspense novel (paperback usually). If you ever overheard what has become a joke between us, you would hear, “romance novels are just porn for women,” come from my husband, then you would see his loving wife glare over her novel and stop stroking his forehead and hair, lol. I have thought about this and you know what, I can see where he would think so. In some ways I do see the similarities, especially when you are comparing it to erotica and to some of the other harder core novels, yet, I do draw a line. I don’t think they are created equal.

When I think of pornography, I think of pictures or DVDs, when I think of erotica and other novels, I think of words and of having to use one’s imagination. Unlike ‘picture porn’ novels require the reader to fill in certain blanks and to imagine the scene being described come to life in their own mind, and not watching it or viewing it.

Maybe it’s just that most women prefer to read than to view things that get them aroused, yet, if you walk down any isle in the romance section, you will not find novels that are JUST hardcore people having sex, etc, most have a well written plot and the sex just adds to the plot and keeps the plot moving. There are some novels where they are inundated by sex sex sex, well, you generally know what you are getting when you read those; it only takes a few moments or reading the synopsis to find out what sort or novel you are going to get; other times, the sex/romance is almost secondary to the main plot line.

Growing up, I remember being told by some female family members and others, that Harlequin novels were ‘unacceptable’ for a ‘young lady’ to read, because they were full of ‘depravity’ and ‘nothing but sex;’ as an adult, I can say, from reading experience, that Harlequin novels are NOT like that, if anything, the ones I have read are great quick reads. I can read one in an afternoon or a weekend, unlike some other novels where they are a few hundred pages and mostly part of a series, so the author takes extra care to fill in newcomers to the series and to still not alienate their established readers.

Some novels are very steamy, and yes, a bit more erotic than others, sure they might turn the reader on, yet, I like to joke with my husband and my girl friends that, ‘I love the men in my novels but I am in love with my husband.’ Some of the men in the novels are very much fantasy reads, yet, I know that they are just that, fantasy.  I’ve read are I don’t read novels as a way to get turned on or ‘in the mood’, I read them because they are a way for me to relax and I enjoy the camaraderie that I get when sharing with other readers and authors about what I read.  

Pornography is usually kept in the ‘backroom’ or ‘behind the counter’ in many places, yet, I have never seen a romance novel or even a harder core novel hidden in such a way. Maybe it’s because romance novels are just more generally accepted. 

Unlike with pornography, women can share what we read in an ‘everyday setting’ for the most part. We share novels in public and even talk about them around our children with not a lot of editing; not that we get very graphic with our discussions, even when talking about the ‘hottest’ novels or latest erotic novel. A woman can have just about any novel sitting in her car on the seat or on the coffee table when guests come over [ok, maybe not your grandparents or pastor], but other than that, if your copy of the latest best selling romance is sitting out you won’t be embarrassed about it.

I can think of a few authors that yes, they do write some very steamy scenes, and of course if it’s a particularly great book or scene [one particular shower scene pops into mind], we share, we may even send the excerpt to a girl friend who might enjoy it and appreciate it, that is just because we love our girl friends so much that we are compelled to share. That’s what girl friends are for; and for those of us, who have reading blogs, it’s one of the things we enjoy is sharing with others a great romance or even a bad one.  

Based on what I have shared with girl friends and what I have heard when we spoke about this, I think it’s the general consensus that women have a better imagination that is more easily fostered by words than by images. I can get a better picture of something if it’s described to me in words than just by seeing a picture of something; my imagination takes over where the author leaves off and I basically personalize it to what I can imagine. A [romance] author gives their readers a starting point and guides them through a world that they have created and into a world where we can slip away for a while and then return to ‘reality’ the one where there are dirty dishes in the sink, clothes on the floor, preschoolers to be wrangled and school meetings to attend. For a few minutes we are transported to a world of Scottish highland warriors, rakish rogues, erotic vampires, and far away places that we may never get the opportunity to see in our lifetime.

So why not find a comfy chair or draw a hot bubble bath and lock the door and enjoy a novel on your Kindle/Nook or pull a paperback out of your purse or off the shelf and enjoy some ‘you’ time, ladies.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Yes, I am NaNoing This Month

That's right.  I decided on the spur of the moment to do NaNoWriMo this month. I usually work on something during November for NaNoWriMo but I don't push to finish. My attitude has always been: I'm working on my current WIP and doing this is helping me complete the book. I've never started a brand new story for November.




Well that changed this year. On November 1st to 2nd, I had no intentions of doing NaNoWriMo then on Saturday morning I changed my mind. And it's not because I'm a woman. I've been stuck in a rut the last couple of months and a friend of mine told me a couple of weeks ago to start something new and different. She thought maybe it would free up my muse.

Well, guess what?

It did.

From Saturday to last night--Drum Roll Please--I wrote

15,000 Words

Can you imagine not only my surprise but my total excitement?


The story is a YA Paranormal Romance (well, it's turning out to have a romance).



Wish me luck!  I am 25% done out of 50k words.


A world on the edge of destruction and only one girl with the help of a boy can save humanity!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Robert Downs - Killing Casey Holden

Review:

I found Fall Immortality similar to the older detective books and movies. Only this book has a much modern tone to it.  The author's voice is smooth and I enjoyed it.  It's not the type of book I normally read but I did so at the request of the author.  If you are a fan of mystery and crime novels then Falling Immortality is a book you need to pick up.

And now, here's Robert.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I almost killed Casey once. It was a pickup basketball game that had quickly spiraled out of control. Like most of his life. The game had started innocently enough, and we were up by three points, before he tripped me at midcourt. I went down hard, had the wind knocked out of me for about three seconds, sucked a few teeth back into my jaw, and deposited a few skin cells on the recently waxed wood floor of the local gymnasium.

When I opened my eyes, he stood over me, like some sort of Neanderthal with a thin line for a mouth and a bulging bicep for an arm. He held out his hand, and I swiped it away. I could feel my cheeks turning about six shades of red, and I could hear voices, see a few recognizable faces, and hear the air conditioning unit pumping cool air in between the rafters. I stood up, swiped my hands down the front of my shorts, saw a series of bright colors, and then I rushed him like some sort of half-crazed banshee.

Not the smartest move, I realize that now, but I could feel my cheeks burning, and see what was left of my pride sitting at midcourt. When I saw his orange t-shirt, I slammed my hands out, and he shot backwards about three feet across the floor, before landing on his ass. Brushing himself off the way I had moments ago, he stood right in my face, breathing hot fire against my nostrils, and the last thing I remember before my world went gray was his hand slamming against my chin. If I hadn’t blacked out, I’m fairly certain I could have won the fight. And he’d be wheeling himself around in a wheelchair, instead of strolling through the Virginia Beach PD like he owned the joint, even though he turned his back on the department over a year and a half ago.

 Greg Gilman is a major character of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator. Robert Downs is the author of said novel. A sample chapter of his MANfiction mystery debut, as well as other interesting information about the author, or Casey Holden, his main character, can be located at his website.


You can visit Robert at:  http://robertdowns.net/

and pick up a copy of Falling Immortality here: http://www.amazon.com/Falling-Immortality-Private-Investigator-ebook/dp/B005F5OZMO/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1351982168&sr=8-1

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Now It's Wraith's Forest!

First off...

HAPPY HALLOWEEN/SAMHAIN to everyone!  I hope everyone has many, many blessings rain down on them.

Second off...

My other novella length is now up for FREE on Amazon!



Fairy tales and haunted woods lead us through L.J. Leger's Beauty and the Beast story of one girl with the weight of a village on her shoulders and the attention of a very unlikely soul. 

 Jenna is chosen for the coveted task of gathering the magical fruit to preserve the peaceful balance of the secret valley where she and many others live. During the harvest, one fruit is damaged and the task of healing the bruise falls on Jenna’s shoulders. She must enter the Wraith’s Forest, retrieve a magical blade from the specter who lives there so the valley will remain a utopia. But once she makes contact with the Wraith, her fear slowly disappears and her curiosity is aroused with more questions of why the Wraith is in the Forest and the true purpose for the harvest. If you love Beauty and Beast type fairy tales, Wraith’s Forest is the book to read. Perfect for Young Adults!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Check out Esmeralda on Amazon!

Limited time offer!

Be sure and grab a copy.  It's up for FREE!  



Tomorrow, my other novella Wraith's Forest is up for Free too!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Release - Esmeralda (Witch tale)

Today is the release day for Esmeralda.  I will add the link for Amazon as soon as it goes live!

It's LIVE!!!!  http://www.amazon.com/Esmeralda-Witch-Mountain-Series-ebook/dp/B009WQ0FMG/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_2

I'm soooo excited about this book!

It novella length filled with lots of eeriness and romance.

Blurb: Widow Glory Sinclair and her daughter are living a quiet life on the mountain homestead her family settled nearly three hundred years ago. Then, on a crisp autumn morning, a fractured shriek echoes across the hollow, and Glory’s temperamental handyman claims her prized statue carved from a tree trunk attacked him. Could a wooden likeness of a witch who died centuries before take life? Glory doesn’t think so. Still, mouthwatering sheriff and bachelor William Moore’s decision to hang around and get to the bottom of the increasingly frequent strange occurrences provides her a degree of comfort. Her growing desires to find comfort in his bed…not so much.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What Paranormal Means to Me - Part 1



I'm not really sure why I decided to do a blog post on paranormal experiences but it hit me this morning that I've had many strange happenings during my life.  Otherworldly experiences that I'd thought I'd share with everyone.

When I was eleven, my mother moved me and my sister to north Mississippi where my father's family lived.  That area of Mississippi is gorgeous at any time of the year but I especially loved it during the Fall.  I had always lived in southern Louisiana where there is very little changes in seasons.  It's either steamy hot with humidity or too cold because of the dampness. The trees and plants go dormant with very little color.

We moved to Mississippi in the late 60s and stayed there until 1971.  My mother put me and my sister in a private academy. They had just opened so the enrollment was small.  Mom would take us and pick us up at the end of classes.  We'd stand at the top of the hill where the school had been built and watched for her turquoise Chrysler New Yorker to come up the drive.  We then would go home to Cuff Hill. It seemed as if being on the top of a hill was normal.

Yes, my dad had bought my mom an old two-story house up on a hill.  Just past where the yard ended, we were  surrounded on three sides by a jungle of woods with entangled vines. The hill was cleared around the house except for the slope in the front. There, pine trees flourished in thick array. I laugh when I think back. We never had to worry about the grass there. No, the pine needles covered the ground and cushioned my feet when I'd run down the slope.

The house was huge in my child's eye. An old white madam presiding over the hill. All the rooms on the first floor, including the kitchen, had ten foot ceilings.  It was elegant for that time with crown moldings and wainscot. The type of old house full of character.

Up to this point, I existed in my own world of me. Too young to consider adult subjects but barely old enough for my imagination to soar.  My little dog and I would often walk in the woods, climb trees (poor little Buelah would wait patiently for me to ascend from the heights of the limbs) and enjoy my childhood. One of my favorite places on Cuff Hill was the attic playroom.  The staircase to the second floor was between the living room and my mother's bedroom at the front of the house.  As with most old houses, there was a door closing the staircase off from the rest of the house. I would spend days in the long room up there. It was my space, a domain where neither beast (not counting Beulah) nor man would dare bother me. I would spend hours playing and imagining worlds of my own creations. I never felt strange  being up there with the windows open and the gentle breeze flowing through.  Nope, it became my sanctuary.

Cuff Hill was the birth of my muse.  The peaceful quiet, the beautiful seasons, and the discovery of books helped open new wonders for me.  Real books with stories and plots and in your face excitement and adventure.  I fell in love and at the same time, I opened the door in my mind to my own stories and worlds.

It was also a time of discovering there is more to life than this reality we exist in.


I distinctly remember my first paranormal experience.

One day, I was in my mom's bed.  For me it was a secure place where my mother's scent still lingered on the pillow and the warm covers enclosed me. A wonderful haven of peace. That day was either a Saturday or Sunday, I'm not sure which but I do know that it was a day when the entire family was home.  My older brother, his wife, and baby son were staying with us at that time. I'm not sure why I was in mom's bed. I don't believe I was sick but I don't remember. Everyone else was in the kitchen.  The way the house was built, the kitchen was at the very back left corner and her bedroom was at the front right corner. I could hear them talking in the kitchen as I snuggled under the covers.

I want to say it was cold, possibly late Fall or early Winter. As I lay there, I heard a thump on the staircase. This was followed by another and another as if someone was coming down the stairs with heavy footfalls.  I became very still, listening, trying to understand why someone would be up on the second floor when I knew they were in the kitchen.

The steps grew louder and closer to the bottom.  They stopped but my heart didn't. It banged against my chest and I was unable to escape from the bed. The door to the attic opened and then slammed shut.

Fear was born in me. The throat closing, pangs across the chest and belly along with the desire to scream in terror type fear.

I lay crunched in a bundle of covers and pillow, hoping to make myself as small as possible. I didn't want to see. I didn't want to know. I'd never experienced anything like this before. Then only a minute or two after the door slammed, my mother came in the room.  In tears that this point, I told her what had happened while clinging to her. She sent my brother upstairs and they searched the house but there was nothing there. It was put off as just my imagination but I didn't believe it and I still, to this day, know it was more than imagination.

I have more experiences I will share with over the upcoming Halloween season.

If you have a paranormal experience, please share it with me.  I would love to hear about it.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Risque Reviews Interviewed me!

Yes, I'm up on her blog.  

Barb is a great lady and she was kind enough to interview me!

Be sure and check it out.

http://www.barbaramazzuca.blogspot.com/2012/10/interview-with-author-of-magical.html


I also want to share the cover for my upcoming release.

Tara at Fantasia Frog Designs is who created it for me!



Here's her link:  http://fantasiafrogdesigns.wordpress.com/




Sunday, September 30, 2012

Amber Green Golden Boys for Free

Check this out!!


A dear friend of mine has a book up for free on Amazon.  

Amber Green's M/M romance is going to be offered for free on Amazon October 3 through 7.

If you want an awesome read, you need to grab a copy!!

Golden Boys



Blurb:

With his easy laugh and knowing eyes, Jell grew up street, while I was raised to be a pillar of society. When the FBI asked me to betray him--the guy I've crushed on since ninth grade--I went straight to Jell. So he and I have one less secret between us. Which would be great if we didn't have to escape a psychiatric clinic in the middle of the night, half naked, with people shooting at us. The only refuge we can agree to head for is my crazy cousin Gator's retirement village.

Now we're lost. And I've never been so alive.


http://www.amazon.com/Golden-Boys-ebook/dp/B00993KG6C/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1349051119&sr=8-4&keywords=Golden+Boys+Green


Amber's website: www.shapeshiftersinlust.com

Excerpt:


My hackles rose as I came in through the garage door, though it took a minute to identify why: the crackle of the deep fryer and the aroma of onion rings. Mom fried grouper yesterday. With her fixation on Black Men’s Heart Disease, my mother does not countenance fried food twice in a week.

Terrific. Another we-still-love-you display to set the backdrop for another discussion of my sexual orientation. As if talking me out of being gay would be like talking me out of joining the navy.

My flunking out of med school had been bad enough. Nobody seemed sure whether to treat it more like my sister-in-law’s miscarriage or Cousin Wendy’s eloping with a known drunk. And—as of Monday—I’d topped that.

Maybe I should have come out when the fatal grade report arrived, killed all the family’s illusions at once, instead of waiting a few weeks to offer that twist to the knife.

"Ethan? Did you wipe your feet?"

I always wipe my feet. "Yes’m, but if I were an ax-murderer, wouldn’t this be a little bit late to ask?"

She smiled up at me. Not with her serene smile, but the careful one she’d worn since Monday. "I have a pot of boiling grease to throw."

Like you’d ever do that. I kissed her offered cheek.

She’d had her braids redone, meaning she’d taken the day off work. Normally the incense from the braiding parlor clung to her skin. Today, fried onion overrode the scent.

The oven dinged. She waved at it, her eyes on the fryer. "Would you get that, please?"

"That" was garlicky Cuban chicken with rice—yes!—and next to it a cheese-topped casserole with bits of broccoli and scorched triangles of sweet pepper peeking out.

My mood lightened as my mouth watered. Three hot dishes meant company, but no roast meant family only. Conversation would center on some cousin’s engagement or breakup, job or job prospects, or the ever-popular question of how to protect black youth from the invidious street culture. Topics besides my quite personal business, thankyouverymuch. "Who’s coming for supper?"

"Tonight it’s just Honey and Ron. Plus Dido, maybe."

Aunt Picky, Uncle Persnickety, and their Cousin Dyed-oh, who badly needed a husband to manage. I smothered a sigh. "I’ll give the front bathroom a quick polish."

"Your dad just finished it. He’s changing now."

Meaning I needed to wash up and change out of my scrubs quickly. My Student Nurse uniform. I’d bought this to wear as an intern, and wore it now as a symbol of my fall.

Her voice drifted after me. "Ron wants to talk to you after supper."

Terrific. They’d decided to sic the FBI on me.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Special on Enchanted

Enchanted is on sale over at Lyrical Press for 50% off regular price!  Be sure and grab a copy before it goes off sale!




She knows how to unravel secrets, but getting to the bottom of this one might just kill her.

Magic is for fools, television news reporter Caitlyn believes. And she's no fool. She's determined to prove master illusionist Shay a fake. Somehow though, with Shay the lines between magic and reality blur. Perhaps it's his charisma, or being in Ireland with him, but now she's dreaming of a magical place. One that seems oddly familiar...

Shay hides a terrible secret. He's to blame for Caitlyn's separation from her family and the world she doesn't remember. She must go home to the Sidhe, and to recover his honor, he must be the one to bring her. He'll willingly lose everything he is to help her break the curse binding her. But time is of the essence--the old evil has surfaced. He must make Caitlyn believe in magic, and his love, before she becomes its prey.

A Lyrical Press Fantasy Romance 

Grab a copy today!

http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3_26&products_id=540

Monday, September 3, 2012

Enchanted - Judith Leger







































She knows how to unravel secrets, but getting to the bottom of this one might just kill her.

Magic is for fools, television news reporter Caitlyn believes. And she's no fool. She's determined to prove master illusionist Shay a fake. Somehow though, with Shay the lines between magic and reality blur. Perhaps it's his charisma, or being in Wales with him, but now she's dreaming of a magical place. One that seems oddly familiar... 

Shay hides a terrible secret. He's to blame for Caitlyn's separation from her family and the world she doesn't remember. She must go home to the Sidhe, and to recover his honor, he must be the one to bring her. He'll willingly lose everything he is to help her break the curse binding her. But time is of the essence--the old evil has surfaced. He must make Caitlyn believe in magic, and his love, before she becomes its prey.

A Lyrical Press Fantasy Romance

Judith Leger 
Website 
Blog

ENCHANTED

$5.99

Author: Judith Leger
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Paranormal
ISBN: 9781616504014
Length: 76,000 words
ePub Page Count: 223
Publication Date: September 3, 2012
Formats: pdf, epub, mobi

Monday, August 27, 2012

Isaac Is Coming!

Well, it is hurricane season so it's not too shocking to see a storm like Isaac bearing down on my beloved state of Louisiana.

I am sending prayers and best wishes to all those in line with the storm.  I live on the western side of the state and I am hoping that the storm doesn't decide at the last minute to move further west.

This time is suppose to be a happy one with the upcoming release of my paranormal romance, Enchanted. I'm trying hard to find happiness in this moment but it's a little difficult with worry of the storm hanging over us.

Another dark cloud suppressing my joy is the recent loss of my brother in law. He passed away on August 15 of a massive heart attack. I've been with my husband for 34 years. His family has become my family so I loved my BIL as a true brother. This alone was a horrible blow. I hope the people I know and love in the path of that storm are kept safe.

I'm also hoping that once this is over, I'll be able rejoice in my book release.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Spotlight: The Viking Witch - Kelli Wilkins



The Viking’s Witch
Scotland, 803 A.D.

About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.

But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence and be used for his ambitions?

After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village?

Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other . . . before time is up.



Kelli Wilkins
Kelli A. Wilkins developed a love of reading and writing while growing up in a small upstate New York town.  Kelli enjoys writing in different genres, and her speculative fiction has appeared in numerous publications, including The SunThe Best of the First Line, What If? andWeird Tales.


Kelli is a member of Romance Writers of America and has published several historical/fantasy romances with Amber Quill Press.  She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband.  Readers are invited to visit Kelli’s Web site, www.KelliWilkins.com, to catch up on all her writings

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kentucky Green - The First Book I wrote - Terry Irene Blain


The first book I wrote was actually Kentucky Green. I know a lot of writers tell about the story they wrote in the first or second grade and how they always wanted to be a writer. But that’s not me. I always wanted to be a history teacher and ended up with a couple of history degrees and taught U.S. History and Western Civilization at the community college.

For me, teaching history was really story telling. All about people and places and events. How people lived, what was important to them. Everyone said, “You know all these stories? You should write a book.” Since I’m a rotten typist (and only an average speller) writing didn’t sound like too much fun. The thing that finally drove me to write was when my husband bought a computer/word processor (remember when they called it word processing?), which took away my excuse.

So being an academic, I took a writing class and learned about genres, and how popular the romance genre was. The instructor said to write what you like to read (well, duh!). I’d always read historical novels and looking back I can see that they contained a strong romance even if they weren’t ‘romantic’.

So how did I come up with Kentucky Green? I was lucky enough to grow up with a large extended Midwest family and knew a lot of family history and stories. My several times great grandmother came to Illinois from Kentucky on horseback, carrying her newborn baby in her arms. And one of my favorite historical novels was The Kentuckian by Janice Holt Giles. So Kentucky was to be the setting, and a generation later than The Kentuckians.

Being a historian, I read about Kentucky in the time I’d chosen, found details, came up with characters. I loved the research. Some of the most fun scenes to write about were when Dan teaches April about his Kentucky rifle. At one time my husband had a black powder rifle, so I knew I wanted to include a scene with the rifle.

Being my first book, it went through a lot of revisions and re-writing while I leaned the craft. Now I’m lucky enough to share my stories with readers like you. I hope you’ll enjoy Kentucky Green.






Blurb: 
April Williamson’s heart calls her across the frontier, but only one man—a handsome army scout with a tormented past—can get her safely to freedom.
Synopsis
Daniel McKenzie was an army scout—quiet, capable, handsome…and utterly unwilling to be the trail guide April Williamson needed to reach Kentucky. The Indian attack at Blue Licks was but one bitter taste of the American frontier, a massacre that had taken her father just as cholera had taken her mother. But April would not give up on her dream. At journey’s end was independence, and nothing would stand in her way.
The young widow was beautiful and determined, but the months of travel involved in her plan would be too hard. Without the general’s order Dan would have told any woman no, but April especially. His secret would destroy her—or she might destroy him. April’s kiss was like the country itself. Restless and sweet, it promised a love that denied every boundary and looked only to freedom and the future.


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Terry Irene Blain

Bio: Terry Irene Blain was lucky enough to grow up in a large Mid-western family with a rich oral tradition. As a child she heard stories of ancestors’ adventures with Indians, wildlife, weather and frontier life in general, so she naturally gravitated to the study of history and completed a BA and MA then taught the subject at the college level. Married to a sailor, now retired, she’s had the chance to live in various parts of the U.S. and has traveled to Hong Kong, Australia, England and Scotland.

“My degrees and my teaching experience make me a natural to write historical romance. Writing historical romance gives me the opportunity to pass on stories of who we are and where we come from while exploring the relationship between men and women. What could be more exciting than that?”

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Flaws of a Hero: The End Begins: The Nine - Jeffrey Zweig II


Thank you Judith for hosting me on your blog today!

Today I’m going to talk a little bit about what makes your heroes believable. This post is more for the newbie’s than the old folk but either way pull up a chair and gather around. You might learn something.
Especially as a fiction writer it is easy to get caught up in the majesty of your hero being powerful, unstoppable, and even invincible with nothing that could stand in their way. But this is uninteresting. Those kind of flawless folk are long gone with the golden age of comic books. Heroes today are not flawless examples of what society should set out to be. Instead they are what people should be – “imperfect perfect “creatures getting by the best way they can.

The human condition is far from “perfect”. Thus our characters have to represent this and be relatable so the reader can connect to them. They are going to have faults, period. Not only does this make them more interesting but open up new potential plot points or directions to take them as you write your story. And who ever complains about too much inspiration?

Let me go over a few points I notice from time to time when reviewing other peoples work:

Going through the Journey: From the get go your character needs to show at least some of what they are capable of. And then allow them to grow, sometimes in ways even you don’t expect. You want them to have peaks and valleys their characters journey. They are not untouched by the world around him. We all react to outside stimuli that test our desires, our fears, our endurance. This is the same for your character as well. Even if they are not central to the main plot, a side step here and there to round out your hero is not always a bad thing.

The 24/7 upstanding citizen: Very few of us are so perfect that we aren’t rebellious in some way. In doing that we allow ourselves the chance to change and evolve and to become our own person. And sometimes that rebellion is doing an unfavorable thing. Unless there’s a point to being that cookie cutter angel, things we do wrong help define us.

Cause and Effect: I punch through a window - my hand will break. I cheat on my girlfriend, that girlfriend may or may not plot to have me fired from my job. Your hero should not be exempt from the responsibility of the consequences their actions bring. They will not just solder on through tough times. Sometimes they will stumble or just fall. It should change them in some way, and either they fly or fall. And from there they can rise again – if you want them too. This brings me to my next point…

Roadblocks/Obstacles/Conflict: Those things the character has to overcome to get to their end goal. We have them in everyday life and have to surmount those to get to what we want. This can be a physical object, a destination, or battling depression to make it to the credits. These are just a few of infinite examples of what your character can/should face. Every story should have them and every story needs them to put the character through its paces. If they are breezing through the book without conflict and resistance – you have a problem.

These are just a few ideas I’ve come up with through my years of screenplay coverage and critiquing other writers work. But I can’t take all the credit for this experience. So for more in depth look at these kinds of things I recommend two books by Sol Stein – Stein on Writing and How to Grow a Novel. They will help you take a serious look at your project and see if there are issues that need to be addressed.

Final point before I leave. Have fun making your character be as dynamic, three dimensional, miserable, and happy as possible. It’s part of life and as they say it’s more about the journey. The same goes for your story. Thank you once again Judith for letting me prattle on your blog today and being a part of my first blog tour!





Blurb:

A young alchemist, Cassarah Telmar, thought training at the magic academy was what life was about, until she discovered it's students powers were being stolen by the Coalition, an ambiguous corporation turned warmongering militia. Cass escapes their program and vows to bring them down.

The key lies on the young James Kesumare's mind, who is responsible for destroying the gate technology that's stranded the Coalition and forced them to survive in a backward parallel world. Cass wants nothing more than to destroy them and free her clan, but she's too blind to see that the end begins for both the Coalition, and herself. She will have to chose between living under their thumb, or dying with freedom.


Excerpt of The End Begins: The Nine:

The early morning light of Cass’s fourth day in Jurgin almost blinded her. It was the second day having taken on an overnight shift and the hours were worn on her face. Children with large backpacks passed her, smiling and waving. Some of her other neighbors acknowledged her with a wave, though they seemed to still avoid her despite having blended into their population quite well.

From the street, Cass entered a small diner, very homely and inviting even with a small layer of noticeable dust. Once inside she noticed her other co-workers sat in a booth not far from the front door. She quickly turned away and sat in her own booth. The waitress was quick to come by to take her order. The male co-workers from the other side of the room tried to grab her attention, but she paid little attention and was thankful when her food arrived.

This diner she’d visited since coming to Jurgin specialized in hearty meals of bacon, eggs, and sausage, though she defied the usual for hash browns and eggs. The food was quick to come and she enjoyed the taste and though she only nibbled at the meat, she gorged herself on eggs, potatoes, and toast. Already the feeling crept in that she was losing herself in the local community’s filth at times.

As she tore into a strip of bacon, her glance shifted to the floor, a discarded newspaper sat under her feet. She brought it up to the table when a long article on the side of the newspaper’s face with an image of Skylar and some other Tro-Dey’s greeting the locals of that area the picture was taken, that had a name she had a hard time saying.

Cass scanned the plain-faced type font of the article, which at first caught her off guard to how similar it was to her own. She learned it was an interview given by Skylar, their acting representative, during the Nine’s first visit to Washington. They were interested in expanding their influence to the country in light of the issues the ravaged country had.

The young woman sank in her chair in anguish as one of her co-workers, a six-foot-something rotund man with large, black, and round glasses came and sat at her booth. She didn’t respond to his presence.

“What you readin’?” he asked.

“Nothing in particular,” she lied. He leaned on the table toward her.

“Look, Jass. Let’s face it. No one around here has taken to you too well. I know you’re not from around here and so do most of us. All I’m saying is, you hang with the right people, and things will go easier for you. Just trying to make your life a little easier. I’m sure you can appreciate that, can’t you?”

Dwelling in her personal hell, her vision locked on the paper until the fat man swiped the newspaper from her.

“Are you listening, Jass?” he asked.

Cass shot up from the table. “My name is Cass! C-A-double-S!” Her diamond blue eyes narrowed at him.

“I’ve had enough of your insistent meddling in my affairs. I am not going to,” she searched her mind a second for the right word, “fuck? You? Okay? Get found? Lost? Go away! Leave me be,” she threw down some flamboyant currency on the table and left for the door.

The man, with the paper in hand, stood from the booth. Before she made it to the door, two men, the fat man’s lapdogs from his booth, had the door blocked.

“Let me pass.”

“Jass,” the fat man gingerly called to her, “It would be in your best interests if you…”

The moment the fat man put a hand on her shoulder, she kicked into the side of his knee. He yelped an octave higher while his mass crashed to the ground with a loud thud. As the young alchemist’s attention returned to the two men at the door, her face connected with the fist of one of the lapdogs. Disoriented, the other shoved her into the diner’s counter.

As they advanced on her, she groped the counter for a weapon.

Steak knife. Dirty but sharp, she thought, but the lap dog’s greedy hands pinned her against the counter with their strength.

The fat man wobbled to his feet with a face red with anger. She felt his next course of action was going to be a violent one.

There were no options now; she had got in over her head.

Cass willed energy into her hands until they were a hint of red, then grabbed the closest man that held an arm and burned them. He released her, cursing while the skin on his forearm blistered instantly.

When the other tried to restrain her, she landed a quick jab that left knuckle marks in their skin, then released the energy housed in her hand and shot a small fireball into his face. The second lackey was down for the count, their skin was red, blistered and cracked.

But the fat man would not be detoured, and lumbered after her. She brushed her hands as they turned blue against her clothes. Energy crackled along the veins of her hands as she drew it from her torso and double-fisted him in the chest.

The sudden impact knocked the glasses off the large man’s face as he stumbled across the room and crashed into a table while he went into cardiac arrest. The other lackey, with forearms burnt, backed away.

Cass stood, bleeding with her power, triumphant.

Then came the stares and shocked faces of the witnesses around her.

Author Info:


Born and Raised in the state of Indiana, Jeffrey Zweig II is a self published author of Epic Science Fiction/Fantasy. His degree from Indiana State University, with a background in DIY film production, and internships with various production companies laid the foundation for his creative career and for living life on his terms. He resides in Indianapolis, Indiana living the dream, as they say.

When not writing he volunteers his time remotely with the Dallas based non-profit Reading and Radio Resource, a company specializing in aiding those with disabilities to enjoy literature.

For more information on this author:

His Blog: Stories of the Sleepless Mind
His Wiki: Zweig Independent Publications
Twitter
Facebook
Smashwords
Goodreads

Monday, August 6, 2012

What’s on my Office Desk? Guest Terry Irene Blain


When I was starting to write Colorado Silver, Colorado Gold, I made a collage. I’ve done this for other books, and find it a good exercise, as I’m a visual person. Once I decided on Durango, Colorado, who my hero and heroine were and what they looked like, that’s when I started looking for photos for my collage.

I use a 2’ x 3’ bulletin board and staple or pin the things I find to the board. This is often a work in progress while I’m writing the story as things are added. Since the Colorado Silver, Colorado Gold story dealt with the setting, I looked for pictures of Colorado.


















The best place for photos of scenery is in National Geographic. When our Friends of the Library have their annual sale, I look through boxes of old National Geographic magazines. For ten cents I buy all the ones with articles on a place I might want to set a novel. I actually found three magazines that featured Colorado. The background for the collage is several large photos of scenery, including mountains and valleys. I even found a map of Colorado. Another place to find photos is to get tourist brochures from where you story is set. So I have nice photos of the Silverton Railroad that runs into Durango.

The inspiration for my heroine was a girl in my office, so I have a couple of actual photos of her. For the costumes, I used Dover Publications Paper Doll series, making a Xerox copy so I don’t actually cut up the book. These items are mostly on the right side. On the left side is where the hero items are. The hero doesn’t necessarily have to look like the individual in the photos, the pictures just have to have something make you to think of the hero. You’ll see there are several pictures of country singers (they have the right hat). For me, the best photo I found was of the iconic Wells Fargo green box (small picture on the map of Colorado).

Once I start writing, the collage goes on the wall where I can glance at it. And when the book is finished, I have souvenir for all the work I did.




Blurb: 

To protect her sister, Juliette Lawson stole documents and fled west. Now Wes Westmoreland, undercover lawman, threatens both her plan and her heart.

Synopsis:

Socialite Juliette Lawson fled west from Philadelphia on a train and in disguise. In Colorado she’d be safe; she’d take work with her uncle at the Rio d'Oro, his smelting operation. Her actions back east had been wrong, but to protect her pregnant sister from scandal she would have done anything. Then she met a man as hungry for answers as she was for independence. A handsome, honorable man. For him, she wished the truth was hers to tell.

From the first, Wes Westmoreland knew he couldn’t trust her. Having grown up in the saloons and brothels of San Francisco, he saw trust, like love, as a luxury an undercover lawman couldn’t afford. Not on a job like this one, not with gold involved. This woman dressed as a widow was clearly hiding something; he’d felt it the moment they touched. But he’d felt other things too, stirrings in his heart, and for the first time ever, he saw riches worth the peril.

Excerpt:

Chapter One
St. Louis, Missouri, 1889

Whistle shrieking, the train jerked to a stop, the sudden lurch throwing Julie Lawson forward. The black silk of her skirt slipped on the hard wooden seat and only the firm bracing of her feet kept her from slipping to the floor. She glanced down at the small valise that hadn’t been out of arm’s reach since she fled Philadelphia.

Julie shifted back in her seat, hearing the echo of her grandmother’s favorite phrase, your impulses will get you into trouble one day, Juliette Marie, you mark my words. Gran had certainly been right.

She let out a shallow sigh. The widow’s weeds she’d hurriedly dug out of the trunk in the attic required a corset so severely laced a shallow sigh was all she could manage.

The train whistle gave a short toot. “St. Louis! St. Louis! Thirty-minute stop in St.
Louis!” came the sing-song voice of the conductor.

She glanced at the watch pinned to her bodice. Enough time for her to walk down the platform and back. As she stood, the hat and heavy veil wobbled. Using her reflection in the dusty window as a mirror, she readjusted the long hat pins. The hat more secure, she peered through the glass.

The platform bustled with activity. Fellow passengers came and went, dodging
scattered trunks and carpet bags. The harried-looking conductor strode by, a piece of paper in his hand and a pencil tucked behind his ear. A small boy in corduroy knickers trailed a large, hairy dog, the boy clutching a piece of twine attached to the dog’s collar.

A telegraph office stood at the platform’s west end near the panting engine. Standing in front of a row of round-topped steamer trunks, a man waited quietly beside the office. His coat and trousers were the color of bitter chocolate. A perfect match to his wide-brimmed Stetson and western boots. A pair of saddle bags hung over one shoulder.

Leaving her coat draped across the seat, she lowered the black lace veil, and drew on her black kid gloves. Picking up the small valise, she left the railroad car.

She walked along the platform, the warm summer air smelling of coal smoke and dust. As she neared the west end of the platform, she noticed the man she’d seen from the window. A growing commotion behind her caused her to turn. All down the platform, people scrambled and yelled, their shouts mingled with a dog’s deep bark. A flash of tabby fur streaked past her skirt. The dog bumped her knees as he gallumped past.

Off balance, she stumbled backward. And into a solid, warm male body. Strong arms wrapped around her. Her flailing bag struck him, bringing a muffled exclamation. With a thud they came to rest against a steamer trunk. Turned sideways, she half-sat, half-lay over his long legs. She fought to regain her balance, thwarted by the slick silk of her skirts.

“Hold still, lady,” he muttered as he hitched her more securely over his lap. “I don’t want to drop you.”

Throwing her arms around his neck, the bag she still held thumped into his back.
Another exclamation, this one not so muttered, sounded in her ear.

With one arm about her shoulders, the other stretched across her lap grasping her hip, he kept her from sliding to the ground. For a few seconds neither of them moved. She started to breathe again inhaling a faint scent of leather, tobacco, and shaving soap.

The masculine scents made her instantly aware of the intimacy of their position with her draped across his lap, the surrounding warmth of his arms and body. She loosened her grip around his neck and brought the bag back over his shoulder where it plopped to the ground. Unable to get her breath, she blamed the too-tight corset. “I... I beg your pardon,” she managed to get out.

Her hat dipped so far forward it practically sat on her nose. The pins pulled hurtfully at her hair. Without thinking, she reached to fix it and flipped back the veil. She glanced up and got a good look at her rescuer.

His hat gone, his gold-blond hair curled slightly where it lay too long about his ears and collar. His muted green eyes widened in surprise. His gaze flicked from her face, to her hair, and back to her face. Julie’s stomach dropped like a stone. She jerked the veil back into place.

Without the obscuring veil, she looked even younger than her twenty-one years, her hair a pale, but unmistakable, blond. Not the gray-haired widow he’d obviously expected. “I do beg your pardon,” she repeated. “I’m so sorry.”

A grin tugged up one corner of his mouth, white teeth flashing under his blond
mustache. “I’m not,” he replied.

Her heart jumped into her throat, reminding her of her scandalous position on his lap. She squared her shoulders, stiffening in his grasp. She swallowed her heart back to its proper place. “Please, sir,” she said in her best touch-me-not voice.

His fabulous smile faded. “Yes, ma’am. Sorry.” Carefully, he loosened his grip,
allowing her to slide from his lap. Once she’d regained her feet, he stood. For some reason she still couldn’t catch her breath. Drat the corset for making her so breathless and lightheaded.

After a second, he stooped to pick up his hat. Her gaze followed his movement and she spotted her valise tangled with his saddle bags. “Oh,” she gasped.

He shot her a quick glance then extracted the small bag from the snarl of leather.

She twisted her hands together, resisting the impulse to grab for her bag.

“May I carry your bag?” the blond man asked as if to make amends. He gestured with the bag toward where passengers were re-boarding. His face showed a carefully neutral expression. But his green eyes reminded her of the waters of the Chesapeake in a storm. She didn’t want to imagine what thoughts those eyes might hide.

“No,” she stammered, “no, thank you.” She couldn’t even get a simple sentence out. When he handed her the valise, her hand brushed his strong, tanned one. Even through her glove, she imagined the warmth of his touch. “Thank you,” she was able to murmur as she turned.

She concentrated on walking with as much dignity as possible as she returned down the platform. He had to be watching, for she felt his gaze between her shoulder blades as she fought to keep her steps at a sedate pace. At last she regained the haven of the railroad car. Relief washed through her.

She took her seat but couldn’t resist looking out the window. He still stood in front of the telegraph office, hat in hand, looking down the platform toward her railroad car. After a moment, he slapped the hat against his thigh before resettling it on his head.

“Al-l-l aaaa-board!” shouted the conductor. The train whistle echoed with a toooo-tootoot! A loud clanking was followed by a sudden forward jerk. The whistle shrilled again. A series of short tugs became smooth forward movement. Through the window the train depot and platform began to slide away.

Don’t look. Don’t look. Her head remained straight forward, but in spite of her
admonishments her gaze crept toward the window as the telegraph office scrolled by.

Saddle bags resting near his booted feet, he scanned the train. His gaze seemed to penetrate the dusty window and her veil with no problem. His eyes held hers for a split second, making her breath catch. He briefly touched the brim of his hat and nodded as is figure slid past.