Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cowboy Heroes—Perfect Gentlemen and Savage Rogues


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I grew up on a cattle ranch in East Tennessee. My father was considered a cattle trader rather than a farmer. The biggest difference in our working farm was that the animals there only wandered the fields for a very short time. They were simply passing through without the luxury of an extended visit. The cowboys who stopped by our farm, typically never stayed around very long either which is why I was never permitted to “date” a cowboy.

By the time I was a teenager, one such cowboy caught my attention and he held it longer than a country minute. He used to visit our place once a month, twice if I was lucky. After drooling from a distance—and daydreaming about this ‘nice’ young man for more days than I recall, I finally realized that I was in ‘love’ with a cowboy. Eventually, I’d make a play for him and with any luck, he’d notice me.

The day I gained his undivided attention just so happened to be a hot summer afternoon when boredom consumed me. I was bound and determined to ride a horse that had stubbornly refused all riders for a good number of months. My father was the only one who ever stayed on her back but I decided I was going to ride the unruly beast too.

This particular June day, I felt confident I’d go unnoticed because the farm was buzzing with activity. After my father returned to the barn and began sorting cattle, I decided it was time to make a lasting impression on the mare no one in their right mind wanted to ride.

I took Misty into a large open field and with the help of a dilapidated fence; I stepped into the stirrup, threw a leg over her croup and planted my then-tiny backside into the saddle. I was, in fact, barely there when Misty decided to bolt through the pastures… and she headed straight for the river-bottoms.

The route Misty chose placed me at a great disadvantage. We didn’t go unnoticed as we galloped by the first barn and that’s when I saw—him. The cowboy of my dreams was just stepping out of his truck when we raced right by him. Since I was more than a little occupied, I don’t think I waved hello but through the cloud of dust we managed to stir, the amusement danced across his face. There was no doubt about it. He thought the ridiculous show was all for him and I was in for quite an embarrassing ride.

If you’ve ever been a passenger on a runaway train, then you can probably relate to my predicament. My arms flapped out to the side and I lost my balance almost immediately but I still managed to hang on for dear life.

After riding for what seemed like forever, Misty reached an abrupt decision and without a moment to spare, she halted right before she reached a slight embankment. Since I didn’t have the reins of control I desperately wanted to have, I landed at the edge of Holston River. While Misty didn’t want to splash mud on her pretty dapple-grey legs, she didn’t hold the same consideration for her rider.

By the time the ‘search party’ arrived to retrieve me, there were only two men I didn’t want to see and they were there to fetch me. After my dad threw a slight fit for show (he was more bark than bite), he rode the horse back to the barn. I was swiftly helped into the front seat of an old truck and to my dismay, the one behind the wheel was one handsome cowboy.

While it’s been a long time ago, I still remember his polite mannerism. He seemed to ignore the fact that I was covered in mud. However, after a few minutes of small talk, he decided to put to rest any notions of something so ridiculous in the future.

His parting words stayed with me for several years. He said, “If you’re going to get a man’s attention, choose a horse you can ride and sweetheart, if you want a cowboy who will teach you all about it—let me know when you turn eighteen.” I later discovered he was twenty and after I made the mistake of telling my brother of the experience, he never came back to our farm again.

After writing about enough cowboys in romance, today I understand why the young man never returned. I also realize why so many women love to open up a spicy western with these sexy denim-clad men on the pages inside. They are the ultra-bad alpha male and a true-to-life hero any woman can meet.

Cowboys say the right thing even when it’s the inappropriate one. They look at their women in a most suggestive way and they typically fill out a pair of Levis better than any man alive. With a devilish smile and a lingering gaze that tells a woman everything she needs to know, it’s no wonder so many authors find their inspiration in the spiciest of men.

I later ran into the hell-hot cowboy when I was seventeen. I was at a horse sale with some of my friends. When I spotted the handsome rogue with a body truly meant for sinning, his lips curled up with an instant smile. After he looked around the crowd, he must’ve decided it was safe to approach. Once he did, he asked the question that inevitably would either seal (or kill) any kind of future deal.

“Are you eighteen yet?” His raspy voice was laced with thick implications.

“No. Four more months.” I proudly informed.

His eyes drifted over me long enough to assure that the man in front of me was more cowboy than I could handle. “Have you learned how to ride a horse yet?”

“I always knew how to ride a horse, just not one with behavioral problems.” I quipped.

“How do you feel about cowboys with the same issues?” He asked with a cocksure smile.

I swallowed hard a few times and I realized I’d met my match. A player of players was staring back at me waiting for the most inviting of replies and…I didn’t have one.

With an easy grin and an unforgettable wink, he leaned over and whispered. “All right then. Look me up when you turn twenty-one.”

As an erotic romance author today, I think about that handsome rogue every now and then. He’s a voice inside my head when I’m looking for just the right lines and he’s also a gentle reminder of why so many women love a cowboy.

Most of the young men I met as a girl were exactly as the one I’ve just described. They were perfect gentlemen in public but when provoked, they knew how to quickly remind a woman interested in them that they knew all the right moves to keep any woman coming back for more. I hope my cowboys do the same for you! A Matter Among Men is available now from Siren and more westerns are headed your way soon.

Until next time,
Destiny Blaine
www.myspace.com/destinyblaine
http://www.sirenpublishing.com/destinyblaine/amam.asp

Three New Reviews for The Dance


I'm happy to report that I've received three new reviews for The Dance in the past week.

For buying information, check out my website at:

5 Cherries—Whipped Cream (Long and Short Romance Reviews)

Right from the get-go, The Dance embraced humor, warmth, very human characters and a wealth of possibilities. It’s a well told tale about two people who make choices with the best of intentions and get the worst results. However, until they face their demons, and for one of them, it ends up being formidable, they will have an incomplete future.

You might wonder about my word choice, ‘incomplete future’. Think of a scale – you put two items to weigh and they don’t match. Of course you are going to add something to or subtract from the one that needs to be balanced. Thing is, sometimes the item we believe to be perfect ends up being not enough. That is how I see the relationship between Rico and Mariah. It’s a delicate dance to make a relationship work and Ms. Davenport explores this from a very human perspective. Our hero and heroine each end up giving, but the scales remain unbalanced. They have to come to terms with what each is willing to do, to go that extra mile, if they want that balanced future, a complete future.

The back drop totally fascinated me. Oh sure, this occurs in a delightful and romantic location but what hooked me were the horses, especially Mariah’s horse, SueƱo. The riding discipline that Mariah practices is called dressage. I had no clue what that was; couldn’t wrap my mind around what that would look like. I found a co-worker who knew exactly what it was because she herself practices it with her horse so I was able to pick her brain. How cool was that? Think of the Lipizzaner stallions and you’ll get the picture. Once I figured it out, I had a new appreciation for Mariah’s character and enjoyed the story on a whole other (new) level. Now I am fascinated with Ms. Davenport’s choice of profession for her character. I wonder, what was her inspiration?
The conflict of the story is meaty and emotional. Ms. Davenport resists, though I have no idea how she did it, the easy way out for her characters. I really wanted Rico to save the day. I wanted the conflict to end as happily as Mariah and Rico eventually become. The author stuck to realism and endeared her characters to me even more. They are not perfect, they are not cardboard and neither are they capable of super human acts. Rico and Mariah are just a man and a woman stumbling through the pile of yuck life has thrown at them, to come out on the other side with bumps and bruises but whole.

The passion they share is sweet and hot. The happily ever after is well earned and emotional. And through it all, Ms. Davenport keeps it optimistic with humor, love of family and hope. Which is a good thing because there are some tense moments which for me, were jarring and emotional. You can’t come away from reading The Dance untouched. I certainly didn’t and I highly recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a well told romance.
_____________________
Euro-Reviews--5 Flags

The Dance by Jami Davenport is the story of a man and a woman who have been deeply wounded by loss and betrayal. They've each handled their pain very differently but still end up in the same place - hiding behind thick walls to keep out anyone who could hurt them again.
Mariah has been alone for as long as she can remember. She clings to material things because they don't run away. But still she keeps the hope alive that one day she'll find real love and have the whole fantasy. But in the meantime she'd rather by like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, and not think about it until tomorrow.

Rico has his own skeletons in his past and in his present his freeloading family is milking him dry. A has-been rock star who was addicted to drugs, Rico has thrown himself into his import business to keep everything else out of his life. But still his family is making him nuts so he goes into "hiding" in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. When he sees Mariah on her horse she puts the first chink in his wall in years, but is he ready to let her in, and will she want to cross that threshold?

The two can't resist each other and eventually give in to their feelings and their walls come tumbling down. But all too soon it is time for Rico to head back to his "real" life and that coupled with the truths that Mariah learns brings their happiness crashing against the rocks.

The Dance is a great book! It pulls on your heartstrings and caused me to tear up a time or two. I really felt for Mariah and all the hurts she had to work through. Her growth throughout the story was inspiring. Rico, of course, had my heart from the beginning. And when the two are together it is beyond scorching! Through all of this The Dance is still more than just a love story, there are some ups and downs which keep you guessing and causes plenty of hand wringing as we wait to see if they will get their happily ever after. I definitely recommend this book, its a great read filled to the brim with real emotions and plenty of heat.

_________________

Simply Romance Reviews--"A" Rating and Outstanding Read

Mariah Baker doesn’t want to nurse her wounds – not the kind on the outside but the inside ones, that are deep and painful. She’d rather put it off like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, but in The Dance she’ll learn that isn’t the best way to heal.

Rico is hiding from a family which is milking him dry. A music star that was betrayed and then shunned, he went into the import business and still supports his freeloading family. But he’s bored in his “hideout” until the day he sees a vision on a horse and can’t stay away.

Mariah and Rico are instantly attracted to each other and work hard to keep it controlled – at least for a while. Mariah knows Rico will leave at the end of the month and she doesn’t even know his true identity, he pushes all of her buttons and she can’t resist.

But nothing is as it seems and when Mariah finds out the truth and Rico goes back to his “real” life it is almost too much for her to bare. Coupled with the underhanded plotting by her unscrupulous ex, Mariah doesn’t have much of a chance though she puts up a good fight.

I really enjoyed Jami Davenport’s The Dance. It is a beautiful love story and so much more. There is a lot of plot weaving and twists here that you wouldn’t expect in this kind of story but it all works, especially the love scenes – can you say “smokin’?” If you’re looking for a read which will bring tears to your eyes and joy to your heart then pick up The Dance you won’t be disappointed.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Book of the Week at LASR and WC

Two Siren-Bookstrand books are up for Book of the Week, one each at Long and Short Romance Reviews and Whipped Cream Romance Reviews. We would love it if you would please take a short moment and vote for:

The Dance by Jami Davenport at http://www.longandshortreviews.com/WC/recentrev.htm
You can read the review at: http://www.longandshortreviews.com/WC/0808/TheDance-JD.htm


Flavia's Secret by Lindsay Townsend at http://www.longandshortreviews.com/LASR/recentrev.htm
You can read this review at: http://www.longandshortreviews.com/LASR/0808/FlaviasSecret-LT.htm

Eight Reasons Why I Love Historical Romance

When I was first published, I began as a writer of modern romantic suspense. I still love that genre but writing for Kensington and Bookstrand has given me the chance to return to my first love, historical romance.

"Why do you like it so much?" a friend asked me over coffee recently. "History is the past. Everyone's dead!" That made me think - WHY do I like historicals and history so much? I suppose in a wider sense we all live always in the past - we are a collection of past memories and experiences that forms us and makes us what we are.

Here are 8 more reasons why I love the genre:

1. The chance for high stakes and adventure. (This is where history and romantic suspense tend to come close together and perhaps why so writers of romantic suspense such as Mary Stewart tend to write both historicals and moderns.) In a historical romance, I can choose when and where to set the story, so I choose to set my stories in situations of great personal conflict and outer tension. With my ancient historical novel, FLAVIA'S SECRET, set in ancient Roman Britain in AD206, the stakes for Flavia and the hero Marcus are life and death. To save her life and the lives of her fellow slaves, Flavia has forged a vital document, and she does not know if she can trust her new master Marcus, to whom she is also passionately attracted. For his part, Marcus wishes to expose a corrupt and brutal Roman official, the Decurion Lucius Maximus, a man who, if crossed, is quite happy to commit murder.

The whole issue of slavery is also explored in FLAVIA'S SECRET - it's many terrors and cruelties. There is also love and tenderness, as there was in the Roman world itself, where we have gravestones showing that masters did free and marry their slave-women companions.

2. Glorious heroes. In the past, the roles of men have been perhaps more defined by martial qualities, by their roles as warriors. This can lead to unpleasant, brutish individuals but I like to explore its other positive aspect in my historicals - the man as a valiant protector. I love the idea of a strong man who can rescue the heroine. So in FLAVIA’S SECRET and my forthcoming title, A SECRET TREASURE, I have the heroes Marcus and Julio care for and protect the heroines Flavia and Eve - who also care for and protect them.

3. Enterprising Heroines. Because women sadly are still oppressed in many parts of the world and were particularly oppressed in the past, writing about my heroines in a past where they were automatically belittled simply because of their sex gives me lots of opportunities for conflict. My heroines must battle for their places in the world and they do so, with their wits and beauty and knowledge. Often in the past women could also be powerful figures - think of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Cleopatra - with control of lands and men. I like to explore that in my stories, too and I think it's very empowering for women.

4. Exotic and Exciting Settings. I can show cathedrals and castles when they were new or being built. Living in the United Kingdom, I can explore many part of the medieval and Roman worlds - as I did when I set FLAVIA’S SECRET in the Roman baths at Bath. (This is a wonderful, sensual, sexy setting!) For my next Bookstrand title, A SECRET TREASURE, due on September 2, I explore the beautiful city of Rhodes on the island of Rhodes, adding a twist by suggesting how the island may have looked in the late 1930s.

I can also show the pyramids when they still had their white limestone coverings and Egyptian temples when they were vibrant places of faith, as I do in my forthcoming Bookstrand historical BLUE GOLD. I can also use the setting in a more intimate way, as I do in another forthcoming Siren historical ESCAPE TO LOVE, where the hero and heroine are at the Roman holiday resort of Baiae, infamous even then for its wild boating parties and debauchery.

5. Lovely costumes. I know this is possibly a frivolous reason for enjoying writing about the past, but throughout history there have been some truly spectacular fashions! Read about what Roman and Egyptian women really wore in my books and you'll see why I like them so much. And I must admit, I'm a sucker for a man in armor...

6. Insight and empathy. A historical novel can really take you back, in imagination, to a different world and time. It can give you a glimpse into what people might have felt. And people in the past did think very differently to us. A novel can take you into that past, provide a bridge between what people believed then and ourselves. I tried to do that in FLAVIA’S SECRET, where I touch on the pagan beliefs of Marcus and of Flavia herself - she is Christian, but her faith is different to modern beliefs, because of her experience.

7. Play and fun. The past is indeed 'over'. New documents or witnesses might appear but I don't have the particular problem of a writer devising stories in our contemporary world, where imaginary events can sometimes be overtaken by real ones. (This happened to me with one of my modern romantic thrillers, where I set a scene in the famous Italian opera house, La Fenice. Soon after the book came out, La Fenice burned down. It's now rebuilt, but I felt very awkward for a long time!) I can use the 'gaps' in the historical record to flex my own imagination. The old 'What If?' scenario. This is great fun for a fiction writer! In my upcoming historical romance, A SECRET TREASURE, I used 'What if' to consider the following: 'What if a priceless classical treasure was just waiting to be discovered in the then ruined palace of the Grand masters on Rhodes, a palace rebuilt by the Fascists in 1940 as a holiday home for Mussolini?' After I'd posed that question, I just filled in the gaps!

8. The drama of the past itself. A world without phones, internet, safe transport, or amazing life-saving surgery can be useful if you want to to add to your characters' conflicts and problems. I do this towards the end of both FLAVIA'S SECRET and A SECRET TREASURE, where vital 'breakdowns' in communication happen between Marcus and Flavia and Julio and Eve. This is something a modern character could solve simply by making a call on a cellphone!

Lindsay Townsend
http://lindsaysbookchat.blogspot.com/

Books available from Audrey Godwin's writing library

This is just a few of Audrey Godwin's works that are available at the present time. I haven't been with Siren/BookStrand very long, so my works are limited. If you are interested, excerpts can be found on both Siren and BookStrand websites. Next time I'll give you a peek into some of those that will be here very soon.

Sweet Hell
ISBN: 1-60601-090-5
E-book $5.99
15% off at checkout

Pari has a body that relentlessly craves sex! She hides this shameful affliction behind a tailored suit, a prim French twist and a briefcase, but when the sun slowly sets in the West, Pari can no longer hold herself back. She becomes a different person. One day she sees a lusty male animal on the TV…a killer, a Rambo-type man that makes her blood boil. But he’s a criminal! Has she become so hungry that she will lay down for anyone? She finds herself appointed to defend him at his trial. This leads her into a situation where three lusty men cruelly take advantage of her weakness, but she loves only one—the dark, handsome, illegitimate son who keeps his distance—until he becomes possessed by an amorous ghost who drives him to her bed!


Sin City
ISBN: 1-60601-179-0
E-book $5.99
15% off at checkout

Surrounded by the lavish world of politics, Griff Nyle is as dangerous as he is dazzling. Women are playthings and scandals rock the city. He amuses himself in this erotic playground until a brazen beauty steps out of the shadows and threatens his life and his marriage. She is a powerful Femme Fatale who has a talent for naughty sex. She lures Griff into her powdered boudoir with her lush curves and red, moist lips, but when Griff realizes that this beauty is the bait for a spy ring that is stealing government secrets, he gets serious. Now he is forced to put all his bad boy antics behind him, and save his marriage as well as his country. Can a man who has made promiscuity a way of life change his ways before it’s too late, or will his only escape from this velvet trap be her death—or his!


Dancing with the Devil
ISBN: 1-60601-024-7
E-book $5.99
Fictionwise
ISBN: 1-60601-042-5
Trade Paperback $13.99

It has been whispered among those that live here that the jaded city of Hollywood is the Throne of Satan. It’s here that he lives and breathes corruption while ruining people’s lives, and collecting the souls of those reckless youths that speed through the canyons of the Hollywood Hills. He appears as a raging Santa Ana wind, an earthquake or a mudslide, and the result is always the same. Death and destruction is left in his wake!

One night Lorna Desmond, an old sex goddess of yesteryear goes to the Lucifer Club along the famed Sunset Strip and sees Lance Weston dressed in a devil’s costume doing one hell of a sexy bump and grind on a hellish stage. To others he appears as nothing more than a young dancer who knows how to strut his stuff, but to Lorna who thinks she can see beyond the obvious to a slight protruding of horns—a 666 brand that’s been seared into his head—a face too handsome to be mortal—a sinner—a fallen angel—he’s the ruler of evil—the devil himself!

Under the cruel attack of a hypodermic needle, he winds up in a tower room high in the Hollywood Hills where he meets Shania Hunter. They call him the devil, but instead of evil she sees eyes that glitter like two dark stars, a mouth that is a sensuous curl, and as she sinks into his cushioning embrace, his love is hot. Their passion turns the small room into a flame-ridden cave where ecstatic moans ripple from her lips and his muscled body glows in the firelight. They risk their lives for the taste—the touch—the sexual frenzy their bodies ache for until they finally fall into a deep and forbidding love. They are forced, day by day, to carry this secret in their hearts, knowing that they may never escape their prison, but be forced to live in a world of bondage and sadism—a world where pain and pleasure becomes one—a world where domination can lead to damnation—and where enslavement can be—forever!

Saturdays With Silapa Podcast










Powered by Podbean.com


Katana Duet: Samurai’s Forbidden Love by Silapa Jarun

is now available as an ebook at Bookstrand.com

Credits

Konrad Lennartsson, Aki and Akeno Matsumoto performed by Vincent DePaul

Klara Lennartsson performed by Masae from www.samurai-on-samurai.com

Music

The Sweetest Poison and Enter the Calliope by Allison Curval The Clockwork Dolls


If the embedded podcast player above is not working or not appearing you may download the file directly here (wma) or here (mp3).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Review for THE DANCE by Jami Davenport


Jami Davenport has a talent for creating plots that pull you back even when you need to put the book down and get something else done. She has a very engaging style of storytelling. Her characters are full and real, and her settings in the San Juan Islands will whisk you away every time.

THE DANCE is the story of Rico, a "has been" rock star, and Mariah, a woman who "dances with horses." Mariah is on the verge of losing everything, and Rico is struggling to recover from his skydive from wealth and fame.

Mariah is sexually inexperienced and carries some serious baggage from a bad past relationship. Rico has been taken advantage of and betrayed by his family and the only woman he ever loved. Yet, he still carries the torch from that old flame. Their combustable sexual attraction and her deepening feelings for him give Mariah the courage to overcome her fears. Rico's more than willing to school her in the bedroom, but he has no intention of giving her his heart.

This is a very sensual read and if you read Jami Davenport's, WHO'S BEEN SLEEPING IN MY BED, you'll recognize some of the characters and settings. Pick this one up. You won't be disappointed.

Wendi Darlin

Silapa’s Amazing Multi-Media Interview with Lee Silver!

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical when Silapa Jarun, author of Katana Duet suggested we do a multimedia interview. Ya right. I mean, we live like a million miles apart. Well, it was just so sweet of her to offer, how could I say no?

Never underestimate the power of the internet, or for that matter, Silapa ;;)



After she gave me a quick lesson on how to use the audio recorder I didn’t have a clue was even on my computer, I sat down to answer her questions. My hubby grudgingly volunteered to do the guy parts from a scene in my new romantic suspense, The Twist with the promise of splitting all the royalties the promo would generate (wink, wink). Fingers crossed, I sent everything off to Silapa so she could work her magic.


I was absolutely amazed when Silapa sent me the final interview! It's fast-paced & fun, weaving a blend of sound tracks and sound bites that would make Barbara Walters blush. The interview was as natural as if we were chatting in the kitchen over a cup of coffee.


Websites, blogs, trailers (yawn). They’re all so…yesterday. Turn up your headphone, ladies, Silapa just raised the bar ;;) You can hear Silapa’s interview on my website at http://www.leesilver.org/Page0002.Html


A very sincere thank you to Silapa for doing all the heavy lifting. You can read all about Silapa and her new release, Katana Duet at:




Lee


Lee Silver
"Romance with a Twist"
THE TWIST, BookStrand #1 Bestseller
www.LeeSilver.org







Booksigning this Weekend!

Join Stella Price and several other authors this Sunday from 1-4pm at the Farmington CT. Borders for a fantastic Panel about romance and the industry and a signing of their new work!

Stella will have several books to sign, including our Siren release, The Soft Edge of Midnight!

So if your in the area, stop by, hang out and get to know some new and exciting authors sure to steam up your reading glasses!

See you there!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Number One in a number one year...

Thanks, a big thanks, to Lindsay Townsend, BookStrand author of FLAVIA’S SECRET ~ She let me know WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS is #1 on BookStrand's top sellers list today. I'm definitely a very happy camper in the year 2008, which is a number one year in numerology.
WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD, 2012 Earth


Blurb:
Winter Solstice, December 21, 2012 – The end of the Mayan Calendar
What happens when a world weary, worn out incarnated angel, Sedona, who believes she is merely human has three choices after her old van breaks down? Let the Nazerazzi squad of the North American Union capture her and force her into a FEMA concentration camp? Walk out into the Arizona night desert, let the wildlife have a good meal, with the hope her death will be quick? Or does Sedona trust the mysterious stranger suddenly before her? Handsome as sin and all in black, he emerges from the darkness astride a super-speed black motorcycle.
Is he her savior from the brutal hell of end times, or is he a roving cult member of the New World Order, hunting his next blood sacrifice?
Sent from heaven to help her save humanity, Zerr Dann knows the Divine is playing its last card on Earth.
[paranormal erotic romance]


First excerpt:
"Have a holly jolly Christmas, it’s the best time of the year," Sedona badly sang, just to dryly entertain herself. "Especially if you’re seasonally depressed and have no vitamin D," she sarcastically stretched. "Oh by golly, 2012‘s not Christmas holly, oh by golly, the endtimes aren’t jolly. Is our salvation just unholy folly?"
Sedona drove along the old one-lane highway southwest of what used to be Flagstaff, Arizona. Once the catastrophes lined up like the breadlines, it had become a FEMA /military base of operation. She had been fortunate to bypass the checkpoints without being stopped, and hauled off to the closest camp, then forced into some ungodly way of existence. Death was always preferable. And few her age cared anymore. No reason, no reason, at all.
As usual she wondered about the great mystery. Why? Why am I still alive? In these unbelievably ugly times, with evil alive and well everywhere. Is it the grace of Goddess?
It could only be grace. Only some strange miraculous grace that she still lived. The why of it? Sedona possessed no earthly clue.
True, she could summon psychic abilities as naturally as she breathed, in certain crucial instances, especially healing. Whenever the soft glow of ‘knowing’ occurred inside her, she could simply touch a person or an animal, and the healing would instantly take place. Yet, she couldn’t just heal anyone who needed it. And certainly, her abilities didn’t compare to other well-known Psychic/Healers.
Still, she’d never fit in, not anywhere. And talk about choosing the ‘road less traveled’, she could be the iconic poster person on that book cover. Not that real books were available these days, except on the dangerous black market.
Briefly, Sedona shook her head, wanting to get rid of the angst over her survival. In truth, she envied all those who died, their spirits traveling to the other side. Human or animal, it didn’t matter. Sedona envied them. Especially when she saw all the corpses, common now, and literally piled up the world over. She blessed them all to heaven and desperately wished, aching-wished she could join them.
But she never had. Not yet.
Sighing, Sedona watched the impressive light show in the night sky. All around her asteroids arced constantly, some flashing out before they struck. Most of the stars couldn’t be seen, hidden by the ash haze of Mexico’s erupting volcanoes, hellish explosions she’d watched on an illegal TV feed. While hard on her lungs and eyes, the ash made the spy satellites useless, a victory in her book, since it impeded the net tight control of Homeland Security.
The steady rain of asteroids for the last thirty-five days had been strangely beautiful, yet deadly to large land areas on Earth, and sometimes to remaining population centers. Yet, it also prevented the Homeland Hordes from rounding up the desired or eliminating the undesired. Slowly enough not to trigger the watch beams, her old early ‘90s van clumped along. Five years ago Sedona had eliminated every electronic device, and replaced the engine with an antique which had been converted to use water as fuel, although now, clean water was scarce in most places.
No electronics, no herd-control implanted chips, and a lot less chance of being caught, then charged with a crime against the state. Any crime, it didn’t matter anymore. Jaywalking could be considered a crime against the state, even a possible terrorist act.
Recently a man had been convicted as a terrorist for halting the progress of an enforcement vehicle, and sent away to the most grueling work station, simply because he jaywalked. That was life inside what some now called and accepted as the North American Union.
Sedona didn’t accept it. Had never accepted it. She had neutralized every chip. But she couldn’t fight as a New Rebel either, even though she had trained the last five years to a high fitness level.
Sixty-one years of age, she no longer had the stamina needed for that noble sacrifice. The New Rebels were always on the run, or attacking. Nor did she have the tech expertise, the brilliance to manipulate the big brother chips and the Darth Vader web systems.
Having no family left, and not much of anything left, with her land stolen by the police state since it still produced crops, Sedona helped out wherever she could. And merely existed. Now she drove to a friend’s hidden sanctuary, invited when they’d managed to talk over a shortwave radio.
Sedona grimaced at the irony of driving through Sedona, her namesake. Now deserted, the new age haven had been brutally wiped out by the New World Order’s bio-terrorism. Yep, the message had been cruelly delivered to all those who believed in sacred-creating an enlightened global order.
In 2012 fear reigned. For most everyone.
Seeing no one, she drove in silence. Even having an old radio on, if a signal could be snagged, upped her chances of being caught. "Run silent, run deep," she quoted, ignoring the eery chill in her gut.
"Fear rules everything. Okay, maybe not for those lucky enough to be at Maya Toga Days," she mumbled, half-elated, half-repulsed by the idea. "Maybe a big fat miracle or two. The great solar flare of enlightenment courtesy of sun cycle 24." She took a breath, musing. "I don’t suppose they have Christmas tree lights on the pyramid. Serpent lights, yeah, that’s the ticket. The ticket to paradise. The tree of life. Let’s all jump for joy. It’s a new kind of holly jolly Christmas. The garden of Eden returned, where the feathered serpents are Santas, delivering toys."
"Oh no." Despair settled in her stomach like a rock. Her van slowed, clunking offensive loud noises. "It’s a good day to die. Good night to die."
Her own whisper knifed her insides, as she guided the rolling van toward the crumbling edge of the neglected highway. "Maybe the coyotes will get me first. Rather feed the wildlife," she muttered.

Savanna
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~ http://savannakougar.com
WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS ~ 2012 adventure fantasy romance available at ~ BookStrand Publishing ~
http://www.bookstrand.com/authors/savannakougar/wagaf.asp ~ http://www.bookstrand.com/~
All Shades of Blue Paradise ~ an aristocratic fantasy of fiercest passion
~ available from Siren Publishing ~
http://www.sirenpublishing.com/savannakougar/asobp.asp ~
Pleasures of Blue Lotus Oil [World of the Blue Pearl Moon, Book II] ~ aristocratic fantasy coming from Siren Publishing
Murder by Hair Spray in Gardenia, New Atlantis ~ 2051 futuristic coming from Siren-BookStrand

Now Available: Reclaiming Nicola

Nicola Bourdeaux is Victor’s ultimate woman. She’s smart, beautiful, and the sweetest person he’s ever met. But when a rival firm gets a hold of confidential information and Victor loses a major lawsuit, he accuses Nicola of betraying him. His mistake leads to a major blow-up and break-up.

Victor Weise is Nicola’s ultimate man. He’s intelligent, handsome, and the most arrogant man she’s ever met. But when Victor accuses her of betrayal, Nicola is determined to a make a fresh start. She accepts an offer for a teaching position out of state, convinced she needed to get as far away as quickly as possible.

But before she leaves, she gets a request to visit the Weise residence. Hoping to gain some closure, Nicola accepts. But Victor has some tricks up his sleeve.

Will one afternoon be enough for Victor to reclaim Nicola?

Now available from BookStrand.com. Click here for an excerpt . . .

Anika Hamilton, Happy Reading
http://www.anikahamilton.com/
http://www.bookstrand.com/authors/anikahamilton/rn.asp

Wednesday's Words for August 27, 2008

I try very hard to steer clear of issues and debates that can be extremely polarizing. For example, under the heading of topics I will never address in my weekly essay is the current election campaign being waged in the United States. Well, there was that one essay on the differences in the lengths of our respective countries’ campaigns, but that was as far as I’ll go.

I am a Canadian, but I do pay attention to American politics. The United States is the leader of the world and our closest neighbour, so why wouldn’t I? And I do have opinions on the race now underway, but it’s not for discussion here. In point of fact, it’s really none of my business.

As those of you who read my essay last July on our visit to Dallas know, I remember exactly where I was when I heard of the death of President John Kennedy. And, I was watching television when the announcement of ‘breaking news’ was made that Senator Robert Kennedy had been shot. Having only been 9 years old when the President was killed, and 14 when the Senator died, my imagination was captured by this incomparable family.

I have been watching the American National Political Conventions every four years since 1968. This year is no exception, which brings me to the topic of this essay.

Do you know what I found myself remembering from my early reading of the Kennedys when the video tribute to Senator Kennedy played? They had a sailing yacht called “The Ten Of Us”; but when Teddy was born, his father went out and got another boat and called it “The One More.” I think the reason that came to mind is that he is now one of only three of those eleven still living.

I don’t think I have ever witnessed a greater display of commitment to cause than I saw Monday night, as Senator Edward M. Kennedy addressed the Democratic Convention. Yes, there was a moment or two when he faltered slightly. But his speech held everything I’ve come to expect from him over the years: there was verve, there was power, and there was faith. The art of oratory is almost a lost one, but Senator Edward Kennedy is a master of the craft. And whether or not you agree with his politics, you cannot deny he is a man who loves his country, and that he has spent his life in service to it.

He didn’t have to do that, really. His father left him well financed. He’d watched his three older brothers stand to serve—one in war time, two in time of peace—and he watched as one by one they fell because of it. Who would have blamed him if he’d chosen to live the life of a recluse, enjoying the means he was born into?

And yet he has served in the United States Senate for more than forty-five years. That is longer than most of us expect to be active in our careers. And while he has from time to time been surrounded by controversy, he has also been steadfast in speaking out for issues that matter most to him.

His appearance in such a public venue at a time when he is struggling with dreadful health issues is further testament to his passionate love for his country and belief in his ideals. I doubt one man in a hundred, having undergone brain surgery, chemo therapy and radiation would have been capable of that appearance or that speech.

In these modern times, when phrases like ‘personal space’, ‘comfort zone’ and ‘me time’ litter our lexicon like so many discarded candy wrappers , it’s good to have an example like Senator Kennedy to remind us what ‘giving back’ is really all about. Too often, we become so concerned with our own personal comfort, that we miss opportunities to make a difference.

And it’s making a difference that life is really all about—in my opinion, at any rate.

Love,
Morgan
www.sirenpublishng.com/morganashbury

Monday, August 25, 2008

Author Discovery: Savanna Kougar's 'When A Good Angel Falls'


I read 'When a Good Angel Falls' by Savanna Kougar and was hooked from the very start, pulled instantly into a mesmerising, original story. The post apocalypse world of 2012, where books are illegal, corpses line the streets, and where even the stars are obscured by ash, is powerfully evoked. The beautiful, red-haired heroine Sedona is a healing, powerful heroine. The cherubic hero - who looks like Tom Cruise and who whimsically uses Old Spice - is wonderfully appealing.

With ultimate high stakes - the fate of the earth itself - Sedona is key to the planet's survival.

There is also powerful, erotic romance in "When a Good Angel Falls", eroticism as a life-giving, life-enhancing force that is vital to the story and the earth. The love-play between Sedona and her younger hero lover is highly charged from the very beginning and is both playful and deliciously sensual. The hero is to die for: considerate, playful, seductive and hot!

This is a fast-paced ride of an adventure, beautifully written, about an older woman who is an incarnated angel discovering her true powers. It is a marvellous, empowering read with a spine-tingling climax. And I love Aru, the sly musical references and the spirit animals, especially the wolves!
Lindsay Townsend

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Blog Day Afternoon

Well, morning, anyway.

Yes, I'm back for more random ramblings and maybe to sneak in a few words about some of my books.

Many of you are aware that the first two stories in my Flights of Fancy series are now available at Siren, but let me tell you a little more about them.

Burning Love, Flights of Fancy 1, takes us to a new chapter (no pun intended!) in the Immortal Love Universe. There are a few characters from other stories in the Universe you may recognize, but mostly we meet a new group of people. The ship HMSS Daedalus is on a mission of first contact, seeking new worlds and peoples. Anytime people are together and under stress, strange things can happen, but Spence never expected thing to get as strange as they have. He admits that the sexy diplomat Star is the hottest woman he's ever seen, but as the old saying goes, he has things to see and people to do. Especially women to do. He doesn't have time for getting serious for more than a night or two at time. When Star tell him that the aliens on the planet are pyrokenetic, things get totally out of hand. It gets worse when Spence finds that the alien diplomat Krell can do things to him that no one else, man or woman, could ever do, things really get confusing.

Currently at number eleven on the Siren Bestseller List.


Knights of Desire, Flights of Fancy 2, finds Daedalus and her crew on a planet populated by chivalrous knights and talking dragons. Shane suddenly discovers that it's alright to both a woman and a warrior. She falls for Sir Landis, but things aren't really all that OK because Landis is in love with Sir Clemmons. When the dragons kidnap Shane, the men go after her and the fun starts.

Currently at number six on the Siren Bestseller List.


I need to toss in one other story, and that is The Polyamorous Princess. This one is also set in the Immortal Love Universe, but it's not a part of Flights of Fancy. What the three books share, beyond the common setting, is that they are all menage tales. In The Polyamorous Princess, Allison, daughter of the Emperor and Empress Janelle, falls for two very different men. Damon is a tough, swaggering Marine who fears nothing. At he doesn't until he meets Allie. The dichotomy of Damon's reactions attracts Allie in ways she never knew possible. Then she meets Harry...Harry is an intelligence officer and everyone believes him to be a genius. Most people also think he's more than a little crazy. Eccentric, arrogant, and lacking anything even close to military discipline, Harry literally sweeps Allie off her feet. Caught in the middle of a war that could easily be the end of the line for humanity, the three must sort out their building desires for each other and come to terms with the idea of polyamory.

Currently at number fifteen on the Siren Bestseller List.


OK, maybe "menage" isn't the right word. I'll probably get letters from readers reminding me I don't write traditional menage stories.

Polyamorous is a much better word.

All of the characters are in love with each other. There are no third--or fourth or fifth or sixth--wheels in my books.

I've also been blogging a bit on my MySpace page. I tend to stick to news and politics there, so if you have a bend for that sort of thing, drop by and check it out at http://blog.myspace.com/melodeeaaron and give it a read.

Keep Loving!

Melodee

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Author Discovery: Jacqueline George


This week's installment of Saturdays With Silapa will feature Jacqueline George's Light o'Love.

Jacqueline George's Light o'Love is simply spectacular!

Initially, I was attracted by the interesting setting of the The Jane Flockman Institute of Political Science and Ethics,and the haunts in an around Liverpool. What I found was a memorable story about the supernatural world thriving around us.

Jacqueline's elegant prose teases readers with sensual descriptions of characters who come from all over the spectrum and each and every one are part of the Institute's eclectic family. While the story focuses on the coming of age and sexual awakening of, Shirley Grainger, Light o'Love, the work features loving and amusing older characters who are the heroine's teachers and friends. It's rare to come across a work of erotic literature with mature couples but Jacqueline created such attractive and vibrant pairs I found them to be just as delightful as the young lovers!


Light begins as a pupil but she evolves into a guide for her classmates who are also studying The Craft and testing the waters of the adult world. The young women soon realize the dangers of witchcraft which come from attracting members of the Dark Light.

The heroine, with all her erotic adventures and looming perils around her and the school still has a degree of innocence derived from her altruism. Light's "voice" impressed me as being completely believable and she is such a fun character I hope a sequel is in the works. Light's very goal is to reach out to heal people around her with love and in doing so she touched me as a reader and brought a smile to my face.



Silapa Jarun


Friday, August 22, 2008

New Review for The Dance

I was happy to receive this 4-star review for The Dance:


Dance, The
Jami Davenport
Siren Publishing, 2008
ISBN: 1606010875
4 Stars
Reviewed by B. Lamar for ReviewYourBook.com
Entertaining…

Just as Mariah swore off men, she met Rodrigo--handsome, sexy, and oh-so-tempting. The down-on-his-luck former rock star had been watching the beautiful woman ride her horse. Mariah’s bills were piling up. The old horse farm’s upkeep took an amazing amount of money. Plus, she had expensive taste. Everyone seemed to want a piece of Rodrigo. They seemed to think he was still making money, even though his bank account dwindled as his fame dwindled. Can this couple survive through the distrust?

Jami Davenport has created an entertaining look at the lives of has-been rock stars. The Dance is about maturing, learning to trust, and learning to love. The characters are well-developed and have depth. Fans of romantica will enjoy The Dance.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday's Words for August 20, 2008

There are several reasons that I undertake the writing of this essay every week. The first is that I pure and simple love to write essays. I love writing, but essays are special in that there’s a freedom of poetry and flow you can’t always use in fiction. The second reason for these weekly compositions is that I enjoy sharing my opinions and inspiring debate. Notice, dear readers, that I said “my opinions” and not “the truth”. My words are only my opinion, and I welcome all discourse, whether in agreement or opposition. Another reason is yes, a self-serving one. I’m a writer of fiction, and in penning these essays I am promoting myself as a writer, as someone whose stories you may perhaps want to buy.

But there is one reason above all the others why I write these words each week, and that is to share. I’m a woman in my middle years and I have known good times and horrendous times, and if sharing my experiences with you brings you some measure of comfort, or peace, or just lets you know you’re not alone, then everything I have gone through has served a higher purpose.

You may have noticed that last week, my words were actually posted on Tuesday. That’s because last Wednesday I was at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, Ontario, undergoing eye surgery. I had a lesion on my lower right eye-lid that would not go away. This past spring, I discovered that it had evolved into basal cell carcinoma.

The surgeon removed most of my lower eye-lid, and then grafted a new one from the skin of my upper eye-lid. I have stitches in both places, and I’m bruised all around my eye—it looks like I walked into a fast traveling baseball. But I can see just fine, and the discomfort is minimal. Also, the prognosis is good. With the lesion removed, that should be the end of it.

Because of my past history—I had a triple by-pass nearly six years ago—it was decided that they would perform this surgery after giving me only sedation and a local anaesthetic. It was a very strange experience, let me tell you. Normally, I have a freaky thing about my eyes. The thought of someone touching them gives me shivers. Thankfully, the sedation took the edge off that. It also took the edge off the pain, and once the local kicked in, there was no pain at all.

I didn’t care particularly for being able to see them working on me. Remarkably, I fell asleep during the procedure, which was just as well. When they wheeled me out of the operating room, it was right back to the day surgery ward, no recovery room needed. They checked my blood pressure, which proved to be excellent.

They also checked my blood sugar, because something else happened to me this year I’m just now confessing to all of you: I was diagnosed as diabetic.

Fortunately, I am able to control this with diet, exercise, and oral medication. Needless to say the pool is out for the next few weeks as I wait for the skin around my eye to heal. Doesn’t matter, I will get back to it. Swimming is a part of me now.

Now, I’m telling you all this not because I want you to feel sorry for me, but to let you know that everyone of us has stuff to deal with in our lives, and it really is an ongoing, never-ending process.

Most of my life I have lived a sedentary existence. In my thirties I smoked, which was particularly stupid of me. I never really exercised, nor did anything to promote good health in myself. I had a way of living in denial that was almost an art form.

Denial is a good short term coping tool, but it always comes back to bite you in the ass.

Today I’m in my fifties and paying for all those youthful indiscretions which weren’t, in the annals of indiscretions, all that bad to begin with. I feel as if I need to pose for a poster with the caption, “Don’t let this happen to you!”

But I’m not a model or a poster artist. All I have are these words. If you take them to heart, they will certainly be enough.

Love,
Morganwww.morganashbury.com

Monday, August 18, 2008

Introduction

Hi, everyone. I’m Rachel McNeely and a very new author for BookStrand. Needless to say, I’m excited about the upcoming publication of my book, Sandstone Legacy.
I’m very pleased to be a part of Siren-BookStrand as I have seen what wonderful growth they’ve accomplished since opening. My friend, Lara Santiago, has been writing for Siren from the start and is very happy.
About me, I live in Florida, am a native in fact. I’ve visited many places, including Madagascar, and in spite of the hot Florida summers, there is no place like home.
I’ve been writing on and off for years, but got serious about four and a half years ago. Sandstone Legacy is the second contemporary I completed, but I have also finished several regency historical manuscripts and love writing both.

Flights of Fancy


I just have to brag a little on how well the first two installments of the Flights of Fancy series are doing.

Flights of Fancy 1, Burning Love, is back up to number 13 on the Siren Bestseller list. This tale introduces the reader to the science and diplomatic ship HMSS Daedalus and her core crew. Star figured out a few months ago that she spent too much time on work and not nearly enough on herself. As Spence points out to her, "All work and no play makes Star a dull girl." Little does Star suspect that she'll soon have to pick between Spence and an alien ambassador named Krell who can touch her like no human ever could. Or will she?

Knights of Desire, Flights of Fancy 2, is now at number 6 on the list. This tale follows Shane Rawls, a Marine with a secret fantasy for multiple men in her bed. When two knights, Clemmons and Landis, enter her life, sparks fly. Speaking of flying, Landis and Clemmons are at war with dragons. Shane soon finds that talking dragons add to the complexity of falling for multiple partners.

I'm putting the finishing touches on Flights of Fancy 3 even as you read this. The working title is As Darkness Falls, and this story finds Rabine Salas in the middle of boxers and vampire-like creatures on a planet where things are adeptly hidden from her and the Daedalus crew in dangerous ways. Watch for more information.

Flights of Fancy is set in the Immortal Love Universe, the same had-core science fiction background as the Ike Payne Adventures and The Polyamorous Princess. This universe covers the entire galaxy and more than twelve billion years. It's a big place, and my private playground.

You're invited to come play with me!

Keep Loving!

Melodee