Thursday, October 18, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Guest Post from Ken Myers on Negative Reviews


How to Handle a Negative Review

There is a quote that every writer can relate to, it was said by a popular American sportswriter Walter Wellesley ‘Red’ Smith, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” As writers we pour out our everything when we sit down to write. And when someone says they don’t like what we have done, it can be pretty hard to handle. So take a deep breath and learn how to handle the less than stellar review:

Don’t take it personally: First things first, never take a negative review personally. The reviewer doesn’t know your good personality and all the things that make you, you. So remember when reading a negative review, it is not a reflection of you who are.

Opinions: Working in the creative industry can be fun but it comes with its lows too, the main one being everyone is entitled to their own opinions. What you think is fantastic could be a flop for someone else and vice versa. Don’t forget that creativity is objective to each individual. 

Acknowledge it professionally: You may disagree with the review but as mentioned before, to each their own. When a negative comment is written, acknowledge and respond in a positive and professional manner. A simple reply such as ‘I appreciate your view, thank you.’ Etc.

Don’t focus on it: It’s easy to dwell on the bad and not the good. For some reason that one comment out of a dozen positive ones really sticks out in your brain. Take it as a grain a salt and move on. Don’t focus on the comment.

Learn from it: Take into consideration what the reviewer is saying. Sometimes the negative can really enhance and build our talents by forcing us to see from a different view point. Look at your negative review as a learning experience for your writing.

Remember that negative review does not define your writing and doesn’t mean you are a bad writer. It just means that someone didn’t prefer your style. Don’t take it personally and learn from it. Criticism can really help a person’s growth.

Author Byline:
Ken Myers as an Expert Advisor on multiple household help issues to many Organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance.  He is a regular contributor of “www.gonannies.com/”.  You can get in touch with him at kmyers.ceo@gmail.com.





Thursday, September 6, 2012

Title: The Dragon's Kingdom~ The Kingdom of Enneahedral ~ The Orchard by K.S. Carol

Today I want to introduce you to this amazing new young adult book I found. It is by author K.S. Carol, who is not new to writing, but new to this genre. K.S. Carol is a pen name used to keep the authors adult and young adult novels separate. I love this exciting and original novel that will rip you out of your everyday life and toss you in to the fantasy world Carol has created. The Orchard is a great book for all ages and with school just starting what better to do than get this book and read.   

I was provided with a sample to share with you today and hope it hooks you as much as it did me. You can purchase K.S. Carol's series most places books are sold on line or follow this link to AMAZON for a quick purchase.


~Prologue~
Prologue

“Do you think I have made the wrong decision, my lord?” Elizabeth was bowed before him as she asked, but didn’t miss the look of pain that flickered over his face.
Elizabeth had been putting this meeting off for days. Now she had no choice but to talk to him. When his lordship summoned, you went. She’d run across the fields, hardly noticing the green grass or the moon that shone over her head. She’d hurried, minding only that she didn’t slip, didn’t fall, her mind a whirlwind of activity.
“That is not a question for me to answer, Lady Elizabeth,” he said softly. “Only you can know. Does your heart tell you that you’ve made the wrong choice?”
“It tells me that I am correct. But my head, my lord, it says that I am making a grave mistake in leaving my countrymen in peril.” The tears she had been fighting threatened again. She knew it was stupid to cry, but there was no stopping them.
“Bah! Which do you think will keep you warmer at night—your heart or your head? You have a child now that you must concern yourself with. There will be others to care for the kingdom.”
She didn’t think he sounded so sure, but she made no comment. She felt him shift then, the air around them hot and heavy. The odors from the room they were in stirred and she thought of flowers in the spring and burning leaves in the fall. She could almost taste it on her tongue and opened her mouth wider to bring in more of the calming scent. She chanced a quick glance and saw his shining green eyes staring at her. Bowing her head again, she thought of the stories she had heard about him as a young speck and wondered if any or all of them were true.
“They are not all true, but there are some that are. I will not take the time to tell you that some things are better left to their own, including rumors.” His laughter was short and bitter sounding even to her ears. “Rumors are what brought us all here in the first place. You should know better than anyone that they usually hold little of what is the truth.”
She had forgotten that he could read her mind so easily here in this place of magic. She tried to think of something mundane and a sudden flare of swimming in the pond nude last night came to mind.
“That is enough, Lady Elizabeth. You’d do well to stop that thought. I would prefer that there still be secrets between us and your body is something that I would include in that list of things. If you would like, I can stop listening to your thoughts if you would tell me what has brought you out into the darkness to my home.” He cleared his throat before continuing. “When I asked you here it was to be when you could come at your earliest convenience and not before my message had cooled from my mouth. ‘Tis late and you are well into your pregnancy to be out traversing alone.”
“I come when you need me, my lord. You know that I belong only to you at times like this. But I worry. I worry about you, the kingdom, the people. As your champion, I feel as if I’ve failed—”
“Do no finish that or you shall make me upset with you.” He shifted again. This time she smiled when he huffed. “All right, tell me. Tell me what worries you so. And do not mention to me that you have failed me again.”
“My lord, what will happen now? I wonder of this child. I wonder if this one will follow in our ways to protect your lands.” Elizabeth had tried to think of a solution to keep the kingdom safe and she could not think of a thing. Only his lordship could make the final say.
She hoped for a son, but knew that if he willed it, the child would be his if it were female. She realized he had been quiet for a long while and thought that maybe he had not heard her, but at the same time knew that he could hear a twig snap halfway round the world.
“Not quite that far, my lady.” His laughter made her smile again. “We must have a champion—one that will protect and serve the kingdom for all time, one that will keep us safe. The child you carry is a male. He will be strong and wise beyond his years, handsome of face and of heart, just as you have been and are even now. He and those thereafter will sire the female that will carry the link to the champion. They will sire the next generation of Keepers until she is born. She alone will carry my mark. I ask that you will train the female child of your line so that she will train the next and then the next down through the centuries. Will you teach her the ways of the kingdom, train her to keep it safe? She will have what we want, what we will need. Do you accept this need, Lady Elizabeth, Princess of the Fae?”
“Yes, my lord,” she told him without hesitation. “You may depend upon us. But who will watch over us all, my lord? If there is no champion for many centuries to come, who will protect those within from harm?” Her heart pounded in her chest as she thought of those she was leaving unprotected because she had fallen in love. But she wisely said nothing. She did not what him to be upset with her again.
“Calm yourself and listen to me.” She took several deep breaths to do just what he’d commanded her to do. “I have been the sole protector before and, though you are no longer my champion of blade, you will continue to protect us with your magic.” He lowered his voice as he continued. “The one we seek, she will bring back the life. She alone will finish the quest and she will bring all the magic from her heart to us. It will be her blood that gives us life.”
“This champion, my lord, how will we know who she is?” Her fear slipped in her voice and she hated that. “What if something happens and she is not born? How then would we survive?” She knew as soon as the words left her mouth that he not only knew the answer, but had already seen it. His next comment told her that he had.
“She will be born. I have foreseen it. She will be the greatest of all, even more than you have been.” She heard his body scrape along the stone of his lair before he spoke again. “Give me your hand so that I may take a drop of your blood to sustain us.”
Elizabeth did not hesitate this time either, but gave him her hand. The prick of her skin was small considering the massiveness of the claw that had nipped her. The small amount of her pure fae blood did not harm her or the child, but she knew that its purity would help all of them.
She had been champion for many years, more than she cared to think about. She had slain many and protected a score more. Elizabeth didn’t give fear a second glance, but leaving all that she knew and loved without protection scared her not just a little bit.
His sigh told her that he’d taken it in his mouth. She knew that her blood was only part of the power that made them what they were, secluded and secure. It was him and his energy that gave them whatever they needed when they needed it for all of time.
“Go in peace, my lady,” he told her after a few minutes. “I have much to do, as do you. And I thank you.”
She left the dwelling of her king reluctantly, but not without another backward glance. He was there just beyond the darkness, his bright green eyes shining back to brighten the path she walked along.
~~~
Envir watched Elizabeth leave with a heavy heart. He knew that while she was strong in her conviction that she would keep the kingdom safe, she could not see all that would befall them. He had seen the child born, seen her become the champion, but he did not see if she succeeded. And that one thing may be the end of all that he had ever known.
He shifted into a more manageable form, a human. He knew he needed to go and prepare the kingdom for what was to come and for the very long road ahead of them. He hoped that he was wrong, it had happened plenty before, but he knew deep into his heart that this time he was correct. They were in for a very long and hard time of it. He looked down at the stone beneath his lair and spoke to the woman lying there so still.
“I love you very much, my dear. I miss you more with each passing year and wish to join you. But now is not the time. Sadly, we have come to the point in this venture that we feared would come.” He looked out over the fields of his home and sent the spell to close it off. “We are going to be so alone here for a time. A long time, I think. She will come and when she does, I will lay beside you for all our times.”
His ability to go between worlds would be the only thing that saved them right now and he hoped that humans would be more tolerant than they had been in past dealings. He also hoped that he would be able to hold onto what little magic was left until the champion could make herself known to them all.
He moved to the streets of the land he had once called home. He could feel the magic here, the others like him that needed peace. He could feel the first trickle of the champion too, her family’s fae blood calling to him. He moved to the offices of his old allies, the ones who would set things up for him, and entered the office without anyone but them being the wiser.
“My lord. We did not expect you today. You said…please, have a seat. Let me go and get my brothers.” The vampire rushed from the room, the bright light shining behind him. “I’ll only be a moment.”
He’d approached the vampires just after he’d stumbled over the way to keep his friends safe. They’d agreed to do his bidding; in exchange, he’d give them the ability to walk during the day. They’d been around for nearly as long as the earth had been created.
“My lord.” Envir turned to the men as they walked in and closed the door. “I hope that things are well. We have not…you must tell us what you are in need of. You know that we are here only to serve you.”
Envir smiled. “Yes. I know that. I have something to tell you. And a task, a large one that will require you to be on your toes. We have a champion coming. I’m not sure of the year when she will come. I see many things in my visions of her, many things yet to come, and more so that will change the very fabric of all our lives.”
They both sat down and began making notes. He knew that they would do their very best. These men were loyal to a fault and would die making his wishes come to fruition. When they both looked up at him he knew that he’d been quiet for too long and smiled. He had a great deal to tell them and should get on with it.
“She will be born in a time of great speed. She will be powerful, yet she will be humble. You will need to protect the world. Protect it now more than ever.” He had a bit of fear. Something was going to happen before she was born that would change things if not… “You will watch over the fae of this world. They will need you when things are at their worst, when things are moving the most in other directions.”
“You can count on us, my lord.” Envir looked at Paul Wilkins. “But you know better, do you not? It is something that will…please tell us what we are to do, sire, and I swear to you we will do our best to protect you.”
“I don’t see what befalls her. She will be…stubborn and she will be very upset. I’m not sure what has happened, but she will be hardest to convince. You’ll need to keep an eye on them until a time when you can approach her. Her name will mean ‘dawn,’ and she will brighten the paths.”
He flushed when he realized what he’d said, but neither man seemed to notice. They were too busy taking notes. He had to smile when he thought of some of the things he’d seen in his visions.
“There will be some things you will need to invest in. Monetary investments as well as time and energy investments. Keep with them until the champion arrives. I fear you will need the monies over the centuries to sustain us.”
He started telling them about the automobile and then ended with the thing he hadn’t been able to name. He smiled when they looked at him with a slight frown.
“It will be powered by things we have no need of in my world. But I have told you what it looks like and I would like for you to invest.” He stood, his head hurting and his heart heavy. “I shall not be able to contact you until she comes. You will do as I ask then?”
Both of them nodded before they too stood. “You can depend on us, my lord. We will not let you down. We will make sure that everything is as you have requested.”
Envir was moving between the worlds when he realized he’d forgotten to tell them about the skip in time. There was something wrong. Something would happen to the line at one point and he…he didn’t know what it was. But as he could already feel the different areas closing off as he’d bid them to, he knew he needed to return to his castle or be locked away from it. But he’d spent too much time in the human world and had to settle in the lair. He didn’t mind so much. He was close to his Illuminaria, just where he wanted…needed to be.
As he shifted to his true self, Envir settled his large, scaled body against the back of the cave. Dragons like him needed the deepness of the lair to keep warm and he was afraid he’d be here for a very long time to come.

The Tapestry
The Tapestry

~1~

Aurora looked at the man seated across from her behind the big desk, then at the man sitting next to her. They had to be insane because there was no way what they were telling her could be anything but insanity. Either that or she had to believe that someone was playing a huge prank on her.
“You say that my mother was supposed to receive this rug on her twenty-fifth birthday and she was supposed to take care of it so I can do the same?” She glanced over at the rug in question before turning back to the men. “My mother could barely finish one project before she started another. I don’t know why you’d think she could have watched something else.”
“Tapestry,” Ronan Wilkins said for the tenth time since she’d entered the office. “It’s something that your family has been doing for centuries, Ms. Kirkpatrick. You are unfortunately the last of your line as your mother had no male children. We have a summons from the company that funds this endeavor and he has yet to return our calls.”
Mr. Wilkins fussed with the papers on his desk again. She wanted to punch him in the nose. Instead, she took a deep breath. It would do her little good to lose her temper with him. “And why, again, didn’t my mother have the rug?” She called it a rug just to irritate him this time. “You said something about my birth. I don’t understand what you mean.”
“It’s a tapestry, Ms. Kirkpatrick, not a rug. The previous Keeper, your grandmother, felt that your mother was...that is to say, she thought she was...” He looked to his partner for help, she realized, and so did she.
Aurora smiled when she figured it out. “You mean she thought my mother was a lazy flake. Ah, well that explains it then. I never met my grandmother, though I’m sure she knew about my existence, but that’s neither here nor there.”
“She was aware,” he told her quickly. “Your mother, she kept you from her for a time. Then when you reached a time when she could approach you, it was nearly too late. Then she couldn’t find the two of you.”
Aurora nodded. “When I was six years old my mother sold every possession we owned in order to join this get rich quick scheme. This was going to make it so we’d never have to move again when she couldn’t pay the rent. Three weeks later, when it had fallen through, we were homeless and broke. When I was ten she decided that she was going to sell herbal supplements. She sold our car—my only means to get back and forth to school mind you—to buy her kit. She took two orders and quit. Then several years ago she ‘borrowed’ money from me to sell something else that was going to pave the way to better things. That one lasted longer than most, an entire month before she quit. If my mother is involved in a deal, then I want no part of it. I really can’t blame my grandmother for staying away. I would have too had I been able to. My entire life was spent trying to dig us out of whatever hole she managed to drop us into.”
The Wilkins men both shifted in their seats. Good, she thought, if you open a box, you can’t be surprised when the stupid thing is filled with a lot of crap and very little help.
“It pays well—untold riches and luxuries.” She frowned at the other man; his name escaped her. “You need only to take it into your keeping and the money and whatever else the estate deems your needs are, you will have. I’m told it is more than enough to keep you well compensated for your entire life.”
“Yes, I’ve heard that before too.” Money was not on her list of priorities. She only wanted enough to pay her bills and to put some away for a rainy day if she could. “If it paid well then why didn’t my grandmother give my mother, or at least me, a better life? I don’t think so, Mr. Wilkins. I would like the money and would love to help out, but I can’t help but think of all the other things my mother thought would do the same thing. I’ve been doing fine on my own and I’ll continue to do so.” She stood up and walked to the door. “I have to get back to work. I’m sure you gentlemen have other clients to take care of. Have a nice day.”
“Ms. Kirkpatrick, you need to take this seriously. From what I’ve been told, there are consequences to those who do not keep it safe. The money isn’t the only thing—”
She turned so quickly that both men jumped back. She’d not even been aware that they’d moved from their seats, they’d done it so quietly. And for whatever reasons, that made her madder. “Don’t threaten me, Mr. Wilkins. You think I give a rat’s bottom about a pretty picture sewn into a piece of linen? My mother was killed eight days ago and I didn’t find out until you sent me that stupid letter. We may not have been close, but she was still my mother.” Her head suddenly swam and she felt dizzy. “I’ve got to go. Don’t contact me again.”
Aurora stumbled out of the office door and then outside. Her head was splitting and she thought she might be sick. When her cell phone started to ring she nearly didn’t answer it. She sighed heavily when she saw who it was from. She pulled it to her ear, knowing that if she didn’t answer the caller would simply call until she did.
“So, how did the meeting go? Are you going to be rich beyond your wildest dreams? I hope you don’t forget the little guys on your way up,” Aimee Peterson said in way of greeting.
Aimee owned and operated the small shop on the east end that Aurora sold her handmade jewelry in. They had been friends since Aurora had wandered in one afternoon, being drawn there for a reason she had never tried too hard to figure out.
“No, not rich, just another job my mother left unfinished. I didn’t take it, needless to say—something about a rug. Can you still meet me for dinner? I want to pick up those pieces that you ordered for me.”
“Sure. I also have some requests too. One that is really weird even for my shop. I’ll meet you at the Barn after work. See ya.”
After Aurora put the phone back in her pocket and started for the garage she wondered about the request that Aimee had. There had only been a few over the last several months, mostly people wanting earrings changed from old fashioned clip-ons to the more traditional pierced type. Then a few weeks ago, someone had sent a piece of jade that Aimee had said the customer wanted Aurora to go wild with. The piece had made her feel odd, but she had made a very beautiful necklace with the unusual design. She wished now that she had asked if it was the same person.
Aurora got back to her job five minutes early. She had asked for and received a half day to finish up with the lawyers and now thought she would have been better off if she had not wasted her morning. She ground her teeth harder when she thought of the way the firm had threatened her with consequences—like she didn’t have enough going on right now. At five o’clock she was very ready to go home.
Her job was not all that hard; she worked for a nice little insurance firm as their secretary/receptionist. She had always been very organized in her life, some would say too organized. But at some point in her childhood she had come to the realization that someone had to be the adult in her family and it was not going to be her mother. By the time Aurora was seven, she was getting her mother going every day to get to her job, herself to school, and making sure that all the bills, including the rent on their one-bedroom apartment, was paid every month. When Aurora had turned sixteen, already working a part-time job at the local pizza shop, she could balance a checkbook, make dinner, and keep the house, what there was of it, clean. At eighteen she had a permanent full-time job and was making enough money to move out on her own and buy a decent car. Her mother had moved to Florida and called Aurora only when she wanted money or was in a bind with some man, which to Aurora amounted to the same thing.
After she and Aimee had ordered burgers with fries and a beer each, the women settled down to business. Not the kind of business that involved any sort of work, but the business of catching up from last week and everything that had happened. Aimee had a new boyfriend, there was nothing new in that, but this man was different she had said, also nothing new, and he made her feel like she was someone special.
“You are someone special. Everyone should treat you that way. And you shouldn’t let guys walk all over you. It’s not good for women everywhere.” Aurora smiled when Aimee blushed.
“This from the woman who would rather sit at home with a good book than try and find someone to spend your life with. When are you going to start dating again, love? You know that you have to play the lottery to win the big prize.”
It wasn’t that Aurora didn’t like men; she just didn’t trust them, anyone for that matter. Her last boyfriend had freaked out when she had tried to show him what she could do. That was two years ago and she had not been out since.
Being a person with telekinetic power made her feel a little freakish herself, but when he had run from the room screaming, literally, after she had brought a book across the room she figured she was supposed to be alone. At least for now. She decided it was time to change the subject.
“Let me see those pieces you’ve brought. And the strange order, was it the same man as the last time?” Aurora looked at the small box and shuddered. Evil.
She had no idea where that thought had come from, but she knew as sure as she was sitting there that something evil was in the box of beads and wires. She looked up at Aimee and knew that she had no idea of what she had brought Aurora.
“No, this was a woman actually. That piece is quite ugly if you ask me. She said that you should make it into a charm. I think it would make a better charm than a necklace for the simple reason you could cover it up with your sleeve rather than have anyone look at it around your neck.” Aimee poured out all the pieces on the table and picked up one that had been left by a customer only that morning to have made into a bracelet. She wanted it to wear with a silver chain in any design.
It was quite pretty really, a piece of lapis that Aurora might have picked out for herself if she wore jewelry. It was a knotted-looking thick cut of dark blue that looked like it might be a cross of some sort. The stone itself was very dark, indicating that it was quite old and there were streaks of red, like blood, throughout it. It was also not the piece that was giving her the bad vibrations. Aurora did not touch it nonetheless.
The next few pieces were things that she had ordered. There was a bright blue piece of glass that had been shaped into a small robin’s egg and had a loop of glass fashioned at the top to hang. There was also a small frog that Aurora could see hanging from a chain of chainmaille from around someone’s neck. She smiled. The last few were bags of wire to shape into rings and long pens that she would hang other pieces she already had in her massive collection. The last thing on the table was in a dark bag made of what looked to be silk and tied at the top with a string of the same material. Aurora took a deep, calming breath as Aimee poured the gem out into her palm to show Aurora.
“This is one I was telling you about. Isn’t it ugly? I almost choked when she showed it to me.”
It was a rectangular shaped piece of dark material, black with dark green and darker red jagged strips running through it. There was no visible means of hanging it and for some reason, Aurora could see silver wrapped around it, crisscrossing back and forth over it and then looping in and over it several times. The means of wrapping it around the wearer’s wrist would be a leather strip at about an inch wide and braided. The braids would have beads of silver in the braid itself. There would be longer, varying strips of leather hanging from it with a single bead at the tip of each of them. There was something else about the piece, something that terrified Aurora enough that she wanted to run from it.
The piece glowed. Not just in the bright light of the restaurant, but she had seen the glow within the bag before it had been taken out. When she had been about to ask Aimee about it she heard a whisper of someone saying to her, “No, she doesn’t know. Only you see it.” She had bit the inside of her mouth to keep from screaming.
She’d heard the voice before. Not in recent years, probably since she’d been a child, but it scared her nonetheless. Looking at the piece in her friend’s hand, Aurora simply kept her mouth shut.
“Can you work with these pieces, or should I just send them back? The one that’s ugly the woman put a deposit down of a hundred bucks for. No small change if you ask me, especially since I know that you won’t charge her near that much to make the piece.”
“No, I’ll do it. Just let’s put them back in the box. I think that’s our food coming now.” Aurora wanted to get it to her home before she touched it. Touching it in her special room would be the only time she would allow herself to try it.
When Aurora had been small she realized she was different than most kids. Well, that wasn’t quite true. She knew she was different a lot longer than that, but she hadn’t known just how different until later. Not only because she was smarter, because she was that, but because she could do things. Things that she was reasonably sure she would be in trouble for if others found out she could do them.
In addition to the telekinesis, she could also touch someone and read their thoughts. Not everyone, just most people. Her mother was one that she could not read. Aurora could also take a plant near death and blow across it or even touch it and within several hours, depending on how near death it was, it would come back to its healthy state. She did not have plants in her house anymore because they would grow so quickly and so large that people would begin to ask how she did it, and since she did not know herself, it was just easier to not have them around. But there was one thing she could do that terrified her more than anything. It was the ability to heal.
The first time it had happened, she had been about ten. The neighbor’s child had been shot during a drive-by. Their neighborhood was not the best and drug dealers were out in a constant parade every night. One night during a territorial fight, shots were fired.
Aurora had been out on the front porch with her best friend enjoying the July evening. The shouts and then the guns going off had made both little girls duck for cover. When Aurora raised her head, Charity Barr did not. She lay in a pool of her own blood, her breathing fading along with her heartbeat. Aurora had picked her up, wanting to pull her to safety, when her hands started to burn where she touched Charity’s cooling skin. As she watched in horrified fascination, the bullet that had entered the girl’s chest popped out and the wound closed up. There had been no scar, nor had there been any bruising. Aurora dropped Charity as soon as she opened her eyes and stood up. That’s when the pain started. Hard and fast, her own chest tore open, blood poured out from the opening, and Aurora dropped to the concrete step beneath her. Just as quickly as it had started, the pain and the blood disappeared, leaving a mark an inch around. Aurora still carried the small scar that looked like a bullet wound on her left breast. Neither she nor Charity had ever told anyone what had happened, nor had they discussed it again after that night. They vowed that they would never tell anyone, not that they thought that anyone would believe them. Both girls had remained best friends ever since.
At eleven o’clock, Aurora was home and in bed. She finished reading the last few pages of her book then rolled over and closed her eyes. She counted sheep and when she got to two thousand and four, she fell asleep. I actually made it to less than five thousand was her last thought before drifting off.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Elissa Daye's blog tour - Excerpt from In Flames

The last few day's you have met and got to know Elissa, well now I get the privilege of sharing an excerpt from her book In Flames. Also don't forget to enter her giveaway at the end of this post. ENJOY....



Chapter 1
Outlands 1342
The Outlands was a favored stopping place for the soldiers of Blackwolf Keep. It was a
village filled with wanton women who had decided to live away from the rest of the world. The
soldiers were always eager to slake their lust within its walls. The wars that waged across the
countryside had almost diminished, making their visits to their favorite stopping point few and
far between but always treasured. When they arrived within the wooden gates, the women of the
village rushed toward their horses with their buxom chests and swaying hips. Everyone knew
that the night would be filled with sounds of passion.
Lord Aesov walked into the middle of town like he owned the place. After days of conquest
he was more than ready to find a warm body to relieve the tension from his aching body. The
Outlands was certainly the place for that. He had taken his pleasure with most of the women in
the village and today would certainly be no different. The women were lounging all around him,
but none of his usual conquests would quench his thirst today. That was until he spotted Bridget
from across the camp. Something about her distracted him from the swarm of beauties before
him. Perhaps it was the fiery hair that fought to escape from its ties, the way her chin jutted out
in defiance as he perused her body, or maybe even the way she tried to ward off the blush that
crept up her face. He had never seen her in the Outlands before. He would certainly have
remembered her. When he dismounted, he walked over to where the quiet woman stood. When
he reached out to take her hand, she pulled it away. He bowed low to her and let his eyes meet
hers slowly. “I’m Lord Aesov, leader of Blackwolf Keep. I am humbled by your beauty, my
lady.”
“Humbled my arse,” she chided him.
“I’ve never seen you before. Are you new to Outlands?”
“What you mean to say is you’ve never ridden me before. I’m not a doxy and I do not tussle
for the mere sport of it, my lord.” She lowered her blue eyes away from his and turned away
from him.
“Aye. I can see that.”
From that moment on, Aesov made it a goal to stop in the Outlands as often as he could and
a slow courtship began. He had never been turned down before and his ego made him feel like a
stuffed porcupine; his prickles were always up whenever she was around. It took time and
perseverance on his part, not to mention spending time away from his husbandly duties at
Blackwolf Keep. His wife, Lilyana, had known better than to keep him on a tight leash. While it
would have been objectionable to most women, the riches she enjoyed made turning her back on
his dalliances easier to do.
When Bridget finally caved in to his demands, Aesov could not get enough of her. He had
stayed with her for weeks at a time hoping that soon his desire for her would be quenched. He
knew she was becoming attached to him, so he planned on breaking it off as soon as he had his
fill of her.
Aesov ran his warm hands all over the beautiful body before him, his desire for her so
unworldly he thought he would explode. She had been rather difficult to seduce away from her
naive notions that love was the only thing that separated them from the wild animals of the
forest. It had been hard to trick her, to make her believe that her feelings were returned, but
Aesov had been persistent. 


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Monday, August 20, 2012

Elissa Daye's blog tour - Guest Post

Let's welcome Elissa back today. I think you will all enjoy what she has to share with us today. Also don't forget to enter the amazing giveaway she is doing. You can enter at the end of this post.


The Roads I’ve Traveled
By Elissa Daye

Reading started me down the path to writing. I was an avid reader from the moment I could read my first words. I read everything I could get my hands on. I loved reading and escaping into other worlds. My favorite books when I was a child were written by C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume, and Jean Craighead George. I very much wanted to live on my own and survive in the forest.

As a writer, I started early. In second grade I remember getting a notebook as a prize from a teacher and I started writing poetry where every line had to rhyme. Something like “The little kitten lay, fast asleep in the hay.” In Middle School I constantly entered the Young Authors contests with my poetry. I remember when my mom attended a parent teacher conference for 8th grade. My English teacher told her how impressed she was with my writing and told her that I wrote like a 20 year old. It was the best compliment I had ever received at the time and it made me want to do even better.

When I entered high school I started writing short stories, mostly for school assignments. By the time I was a junior in high school, my English teacher encouraged me to enter for a chance to attend the Illinois Summer School for the Arts. At that point in time I had already been writing longer short stories, one of them being a ghost story, which I entered as an example of my writing. I won a scholarship to attend the two week summer camp and had the time of my life. That summer allowed a whole new door to open for me, and while my journey through that portal has not been without challenge, it has certainly been worth it.

 The Destined Series started after I had completed my first two books, and while it was not the first completed, it had been in my head for many years. First it was a series of scenes that I thought would work well together. Then I discovered that there really were no limitations for what I wanted to do. A story with magic? Absolutely, no problem. Add some werewolves? Ok, why not? A steamy love story? Of course, what other kind is there? When I let go of all my preconceived notions of what should and could be involved in a romance novel, writing it was easy. It was passionate, it was uplifting, and it was freeing.

In Flames is the first in the series, and perhaps the easiest to write, for the beginning is just a starting point in the world. Connecting each story and growing the world in each has been more of a challenge. Each book has to be able to build on the other and stand on its own. With book one, I introduce Lysandra, who enters the story with pretty much the worst case scenario thrown at her from the beginning. She channels the power of love through her journey and becomes quite a striking heroine. Aiden is our love interest, a man who really has no interest in love at all. He lives with the curse of his people, a curse that becomes a blessing in disguise.

In Flames is just the first leg of the journey. My goal is to create a diverse series that shows the empowerment of women, and how the world could work in balance. I hope that my readers will appreciate these stories and get a break from their world, if only for a moment.

Links where I can be found?
Twitter @daenira


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Elissa Daye's blog tour - Interview


Welcome Elissa, lets jump right into this and get things rolling. I know my readers would love to learn more about you.

1. You're a new author, just starting out. What inspires you to write? 

That’s a tricky question actually, because it has two parts to it. The first part is why did I want to be a writer. I was an avid reader from the moment I could read my first words. I read everything I could get my hands on. In third grade I remember getting a notebook as a prize from a teacher and I started writing poetry where every line had to rhyme. Something like “The little kitten lay, fast asleep in the hay.” The other reason I started writing was that it was an escape from life. Reading and writing got me through some very difficult times growing up. There is nothing like getting lost in another world to avoid the one you live in. In many ways I want to provide that outlet for others.

As far as what inspires me to write my stories, it’s different all the time. Sometimes it’s a certain feeling I get that there is something inside just itching to come out. A lot of ideas pop in my head right as I am working on another project. In the past these ideas have distracted me from finishing whatever writing I was working on at the time. Now I just write down the general idea and promise to come back to it when I can devote adequate time to it.  Here lately it’s the inspiration of fellow writers that gets me moving. Seeing that others believe in you and have walked the path before you really helps when you are just starting out. Having people who appreciate what I write and give me feedback has been so helpful since I’ve been terrified to share my work with others. You know how it is, we’re always our worst critic and we sometimes expect others to treat our work as critically as we treat it.

2. You have a young family. How do you juggle writing while doing all the homelife things you need to get done, too?

Actually so far it has been easier than I thought it would be. My daughter is about 23 months old right now and she is extremely active, so it has been a challenge. I take advantage of naptime. She gets a good two hours of sleep in the afternoon which is a good chunk of time. I sometimes put cleaning on the backburner and make meals that last a couple of nights so I have more time to focus on other things. My husband has been very helpful too, especially when I need to take a break from life to write. I have left the house with the laptop or camped out in the bedroom away from family life for a few hours at a time. Weekends have become my friend as I let daddy take over caring for baby. It gives me time to work on things or take a break while he gets to bond with our daughter. The biggest chunk of time that I have is when my child goes to bed for the night. When everyone else is asleep I finally get the quiet time that I need to focus on writing. My house may not be as picture perfect as people expect, never clean enough to pass the white glove test, but it’s enough for us to function and certainly a lot cleaner than it was when we were both working desk jobs. Sometimes we sacrifice for our craft. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.  
  
3. Do you work outside of the home? If so, what kind of work do you do and do you incorporate your work life into your writing?

I used to work outside the home before I had my child. I’ve taught middle school and elementary school, so I think in the future when I write children’s novels I will pull greatly from that experience. I will be kind to the teachers when I write my books, because we often read about the evil, nasty teachers and never hear about the ones that put their heart and soul into the classroom. I also worked a desk job, so I guess it is easy to say that I could incorporate the daily frustrations of dealing with people and working in a small cubicle that sucks the life out of you. Currently, I am a stay at home mom, and am thoroughly enjoying raising my daughter. It allows me to watch her grow and encourages me to be the best role model I can for her. Someday I know she will be proud of me for pursuing my own dreams. I hope to encourage her to do the same.

4. When did you start writing either creatively? What were some of the early writings that you did? Would you ever use any of them now?

I think I sort of answered this on a previous question. I have been writing for a very long time. I have never written professionally before though. When I was a child, I loved reading and escaping into other worlds. My favorite books when I was a child were written by C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume, and Jean Craighead George. I very much wanted to live on my own and survive in the forest. When I was in third grade I wrote a fanfiction story for Highlights Magazine, but it was never published. The title was Superfudge Junior, and you can probably guess it was all about Farley Drexel Junior and how he was very much like his father as a child. I did not understand copyright infringement at the time, which is why I think they never responded to my inquiry.  From there I continued to write more poetry. I remember when my mom attended a parent teacher conference for 8th grade. My English teacher told her how impressed she was with my writing and told her that I wrote like a 20 year old. It was the best compliment I had ever received at the time and it made me want to do even better.

When I entered high school I started writing short stories, mostly for school assignments. By the time I was a junior in high school, my English teacher encouraged me to enter for a chance to attend the Illinois Summer School for the Arts. At that point in time I had already been writing longer short stories, one of them being a ghost story, which I entered as an example of my writing. I won a scholarship to attend the two week summer camp and had the time of my life. I decided from then on that I wanted to be a writer. The funny thing is that I had such a logical head on my shoulders and decided since writing was not a guarantee that I had to have a profession to fall back on.  So I attended Illinois State University and got a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I became a teacher, who put everything I had into my work and had very little left over to work on the book that I had started when I was in college. When I was finally able to quit teaching, my writing became my focus again.

5. What else would you be doing if you couldn't write, and why?

Well, I’ve already done it. I was a teacher. I loved teaching, but the dealing with administration and bureaucratic imbeciles that had never even spent a day in the classroom literally sucked the soul right out of my body. I would probably find a desk job if I could no longer write. Or just stay home and raise my children and let my husband take care of us. One day he says I will keep him in the manner to which he should be accustomed. Ha ha ha! Dare to dream I tell him.

6. Who inspires you to write?

I think it is fair to say that the people I know and love inspire me every day to write, but every part of my past is a stepping stone to another story. It is true that writers suffer great melancholy, and I have had my fair share which I think allows me to put more emotion into my writing. I also think that everything I have gone through in this lifetime has inspired me to be who I am. I waited most of my life to get to the point where I believe in me and while having others like what I do is nice, I have to be the one to inspire and motivate myself to continue. There was nothing like finishing the first book, being proud of myself, and knowing that I could repeat the process anytime I wanted. From there, I have only continued to grow my world in my books and my personal life.

7. Have you always wanted to write paranormal romance novels?

Actually, until recently I didn’t know it was possible to write them. I have just learned that the box I was writing myself into no longer exists. People are ready for almost anything you can dream up these days, which opens my writing up to whole new worlds that I had never thought to explore. I have been reading romance novels for most of my young adult/adult life. I liked to escape from my world and live in someone else’s for awhile and I liked the idea that most romance novels gave you a happily ever after.

8. Tell us about In Flames.

In Flames was not the first book I have finished, but it was the first that I wanted to share with the world. I loved the romance between Lysandra and Aiden. It’s not an easy romance. Nothing about their situation is easy. Lysandra has been torn away from everything she knew way before she could ever understand who she was or who she was meant to be. Aiden knows who he is, he has already lived through some of the darkness that is new to Lysandra. They both have their road blocks that keep them from seeing the overall picture. They are destined to be together, destined to fall in love, and destined to change their world together forever. Their love ignites the pages, so be prepared, for this story is not your typical handholding romance novel.




Elissa is also doing an amazing giveaway. here is all the swag you can win.  It's super easy so make sure you enter for a chance. Also I would like to Thank Elissa for stopping by my blog today. Check back all week for more from Elissa.


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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dominion by Melody Manful

I'm so excited to share with you the cover and a except from the new book DOMINION by Melody Manful. This cover is so beautiful and the prologue except has me wanting more. I hope you enjoy this little teaser and make sure you find Melody on facebook, twitter, goodreads, amazon where ever you can. This is one author none of us want to miss.



I should have called the police the moment I woke up, but what was I going to say: “Hello. 911. Help. I think I’m going to die because I had a dream that I died?” Yeah, even in my head I sounded ridiculous.
What happened to me was horrifying. It still is. But you won’t read about it in the newspapers, because it never happened.
“It was only a dream.” That was what everyone kept telling me. Nevertheless, they were wrong. What happened to me wasn’t a dream. I was living it. I died that night. I was murdered in a firestorm.
Yet, where I am, I’m alive.
One single white lie isn’t supposed to bring with it a lifetime of obstacles, right?
Wrong!
I lied. I said ‘Yes,’ when I was supposed to say ‘No’, and that was how I got here.
I committed a crime. Handcuff me. Sentence me to life. Execute me. Trust me, death will be a vacation compared to the punishment I’m serving.
“You’re such a terrible liar, Abigail.” This is what everyone I know says whenever I try to key up a lie. Then again, what does everyone I know, know for sure?  Nothing!
I wasn’t crazy. No, honestly, before I found myself in ‘wackoland’ I was a walking ray of sunshine. Everything in my over-idolized life was perfect.
Until he came.
First, I thought. Finally. Someone to chase away the monsters underneath my bed, but as it turned out, he didn’t come to chase them away. He was it.
My guardian angel.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Kiss by Joann H Buchanan

Well it is finally here book 2 in The Children of Nox series by my amazing friend Joann H. Buchanan release tomorrow, August 1, 2012. If you didn't see my review of I Am Wolf, book 1, well I LOVED it (I will repost my review at the bottom of this post). Joann is one of the most amazing author I have ever had the pleasure of reading and now that I have an ARC of The Kiss I can finally breathe a little. Today I want to share her cover, and excerpt and the info for her giveaway. I will also be posting my review as soon as I'm finished living in her magical little world. So with out further ado her is THE KISS.



Excerpt from THE KISS
By
Joann H. Buchanan


Twilight slashed the horizon like a blade, reaping the magnificent, radiant day. Darkness bled, seeping, sharing the true abyss hidden by the light. Time—past, present, and future—all converged at this moment. Twilight—not dark, not light, but shades of grey that exist in all. Twilight—the reaper of dusk and dawn. Blood and water, myth and legend—clich├ęs full of stories that back the very nature of life. It was in this moment where Cleo found herself. This was her own twilight—the stripping of the past and embracing of the future. Whatever that held.
Pinned, thick hair, lined with smooth edges, moved like a single entity in the breeze, not allowing a single strand to waver out of place. Her skin, fragile and delicate like that of a china doll, rippled with goose bumps on her taut body. Heart pounding, palms sweating, and a small brain worm wriggled its way through her mind. What if I don’t want to be chosen?
Like a veritable prism of color, silent, reverent, stiff robed Elders stood eyes closed, at each of the four corners of the sand garden containing three boulders and two smaller ones centered within the perfect proportionally-raked lines. Palms flat against one another and their elbows straight, the Elders took on a statuesque sight.
A gong sounded. It echoed like the past, bouncing off the present surrounding hills. Just behind the Elders, the rest of the already chosen took their place. They were the Shakya Clan. The defenders of justice. Completing the scene was the rest of the villagers. Those not chosen, who were merely witnesses to the grandiose ceremony, lined the outer edges of the courtyard. The gong sounded again. A line of possible chosen moved in a steady rhythmic cadence. Step together, pause together, step together, pause together, they walked. Each member took their position between the already chosen Shakya and the Elders. Another gong and they disrobed, allowing the delicate clothes to drop to the ground.
“Isn’t this exciting?” Joy whispered to Cleo.
“Shh…not really. I’m cold,” Cleo whispered back.




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New Cover


Original Cover


I AM WOLF by Joann Buchanan


Angel, hero, monster, devil--we all become what we really are. I Am Wolf --The journey of a boy about to become a man who inherits his ancestors gift and must learn the right way to use it. He falls in love with Alaynee and begins to feel like he is normal again. When their world is shattered by the kidnapping of Alaynee's little brother, Jonah breaks the cardinal rule of his gift and bites the kidnapper, creating a creature called the unnatural. This sends him and all his friends on an adventure across the states to a place in Tennessee. There they find not only must they stop the unnatural creature, but they must save Cara--the girl the creature is after. Jonah must ask himself the most important question of all, would you sacrifice yourself to save another?




My Review:


I fell in love from the first page. I Am Wolf is a phenomenal debut novel for author Joann Buchanan. She paints the most amazing pictures for her novel and you feel like someone has pick you up and put you right inside the pages.


The characters and well developed and as a reader you can relate to them. Some good lessons are shown in this book and the importance of friendship and sticking together when times get tough. Even though this is only the first book in the series we get to see the characters grow and mature as they work through what life has handed them.


The writing in this novel is so well done and it amazes me how she was able to go from a loving light hearted scene to a demonic and dark scene and place the reader in the head of a psychopath.


This story will take you through every emotion you can imagine and you will not want to put it down. I Am Wolf ids a page turner to the end. I believe there is something in this book for everyone and Joann must be a magical name, because J.K. Rowling needs to hold on to her throne, before Joann Buchanan kicks her right out of it. Look out Harry Potter, the wolves have descended and are coming for you!



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Amazing Melissa Keir

 Thank you for joining us today, I’m so excited to have you hear and know my readers will enjoy it as well.

 Thanks Charlotte for having me. I’m excited to share my books with your readers as well as a little bit about myself.

 About You:
 Can you tell us a little about you?

I have a blended family like the Brady Bunch without Alice to do any of the work. When we married, we each had two teenagers and so we were a house of hormones! The children are older now and are becoming such amazing adults. I am also an elementary school teacher and have taught all grades from preschool through middle school for the last twenty years. Since I don’t believe in not keeping busy, I work as an editor and assistant for Inkspell Publishing and do book reviews for Sizzling Hot Books. In addition, I have four novellas published and am working on more stories.

 What quality do you most value in yourself?

 I really value my caring nature. I am a huge nurturer. I care for everyone from the children in my class to the neighborhood animals. I believe that it is always important to be kind to others and will often put my own issues aside to help others.

 In addition to writing, what else are you passionate about?

 I am passionate about reading. On average, I read about 200 books a year. Mostly they are books that I am a big fan of the author but I also read books for review. Reading out loud to the students is one of my favorite things to do. I like using different voices and inflection to engage the students.

 What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

 I am so proud of my teaching certificate. I was a stay-at-home mom with two small children when I went back to school to get my bachelor’s degree. During that time, I faced the death of my mom, my own health scare and the everyday challenges of being a parent, homework, wife, and school. There were times that I wanted to give up but I kept going and was so proud that I finally graduated and obtained my degree.

 What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?

 Margaret Atwood has definitely influenced my writing. Her book, “Good Bones and Simple Murders” showed me that I could play with perspectives and provide different looks at ordinary things. Her writing comes from a place of strength and I want to be a writer like her. In the romance genre, my earliest influences were Johanna Lindsey and Jude Deveraux who taught me the importance of happily ever after. I fell in love with romance which allowed me to begin my own journey as a writer.

 About Writing:
 What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine?

I begin with an idea. The idea is outlined in my head. I know the characters and the basic storyline. Then I begin writing. The characters dictate what happens in the story and the details. Sometimes the story doesn’t come out exactly how I thought it would happen. During the school year, I wake up and get ready for work then before I leave for work, I answer all my emails and do my blogging. It is in the evening that I write. I love to sit in bed with my laptop and write while the dogs lay around me.

 What motivates you to write?

 I’m motivated by the people in my head, the characters that bug me and the idea that I can share those stories with others.

 Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

 I think everyone suffers from writer’s block at one time. I was given the recommendation to read instead of write when I was blocked. It helps to read other author’s works. I come back more motivated and excited about my own writing.

 Do you have any advice for other writers?

 My biggest advice to other writers is to keep writing. Each time you write, you improve. I’ve taken classes on writing as well as read everything I can find on being a better writer. When I first started writing, I was with a small publishing house that closed after only a few months. My story had been accepted and begun edits but when the publisher closed, the story reverted back to me. I was devastated. But I didn’t give up. With some encouragement from other author friends, I sent my manuscript out to other publishing houses. One who accepted and then my dream came true. It wasn’t an easy thing. In fact, I was very heartbroken but I didn’t give up. And No Author should EVER give up. If one publishing company says no, keep trying. 

What are your current / future projects?

 Currently I am working on a couple of series books. I have just gotten my third book in The Wilder Sisters series accepted and is slated for a Christmas release. I also am working on the sequel to Protecting His Wolfe, which will tell Marcus’s story. Finally, I am working on two other books that I hope to complete and submit soon.

 About your book:
 Can you tell us a bit about your book?

Protecting His Wolfe is the first in a three book series about the three Pigg brothers, Jonah, Marcus and Luke, who own the Pigg Detective Agency. The story is a twist on the Three Little Pigs fairy tale. Blurb: Betsie Wolfe was a small town girl who left her cozy little life for a job in the big city, but she never expected to become a witness to a murder or face vicious threats. Detective Jonah Pigg was immediately attracted to Betsie’s lavender eyes and small frame huddled in the gray wool blanket when he arrived on the scene of the murder. When threats on her life begin, he takes her into his home under the protection of the three Pigg’s who own the Pigg Agency. It will take all his detective work to keep her safe from the killer. Passion has a way of igniting when people are under stressful situations and lust leads Betsie and Jonah into each other’s arms. But is their relationship only a matter of desire or is it something more?

 What is the message in your book? What are your readers’ reactions to it?

 The message is to stand up for what is right. Most people are willing to do what is right but when it comes down to risking your life for that, it is harder. I think people are inherently good and would not want someone else being killed if they could stop it. Most readers are surprised by the resolution of the conflict. 

What do you think readers will find most notable about this book?

 Most readers have commented on the mystery that surrounds the people behind the drug deal and murder. They also like the twist on the fairy tale.

 Can you suggest one question readers might find interesting to discuss, concerning you, your writing in general, or this book?

 Do you believe that people are inherently interested in protecting others or are they more worried about themselves? I would love to hear thoughts on what the readers would do if they were put in Betsie’s place. 

How can readers help you promote this book?

 I know that word of mouth is the most important part of success in writing. If a reader would love to help me promote this book, then they should let their friends know how much they enjoyed it. I would greatly appreciate it.

Where can readers find you and more about your book(s)? Where can they purchase your book(s)? 

Readers can find out more information on me and my books on my website at: www.melissakeir.com. On my blog, I’ve shared missing scenes from this book and have the book trailer on the Protecting His Wolfe page. My books can be purchased on All Romance Ebooks, Bookstrand, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Here are the buy links for Protecting His Wolfe: 

All Romance ebooks

http://www.bookstrand.com/protecting-his-wolfe 

http://www.amazon.com/Protecting-His-Wolfe-ebook/dp/B008C29YNC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339943518&sr=8-1&keywords=protecting+his+wolfe

Back to school

I'm pretty sure I'm the only parent that dreads back to school. We are now over a week in to the new school year in my area and the ...