Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday's Words for December 31, 2008

New Year’s Eve! How magical those words were to me when I was a child. Without fail, if my mother, an RN, was at home and not at work, we would have a small celebration on New Year’s Eve. This party featured Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, live from the Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City on our television and the inevitable countdown just before midnight. Mom would buy cheese, crackers, and sometimes canned shrimps and oysters. She would have the occasional beer, but for me of course the celebratory drink had always been ginger ale.

I remember watching all those people, dressed up in fabulous evening wear, jewellery sparkling as they danced to the big band sound of Lombardo’s orchestra and imagining how wonderful it must be to actually be there.

I don’t believe I ever asked my mother if she’d ever attended a New Year’s Eve party. But I know that she and my father would sometimes have an evening out at a place called the Brant Inn that featured live music and dancing.

Mr. Ashbury and I married and began our family right away, but still we managed a couple of New Year’s Eve parties. Only a couple, for as our family grew, we instead invested what spare money we had in the children’s Christmas as opposed to a New Year’s Eve party for ourselves.

Haven’t really been out to such a gathering in more years than I feel comfortable admitting. But I still think the moment itself is magical, rarely miss tuning in to watch the dropping of the ball in Times Square, and I still get excited.

I can’t seem to help myself. Here comes a whole new year, a chance for everything to be new again, and anything, absolutely anything is possible! How can I not be excited by that?

Oh, sure, the crap I’m going to be dealing with today is still going to be there tomorrow. Nothing really changes, from one moment to the next. But if I didn’t have hope, where would I be? If I thought that nothing would ever get better, that nothing could ever be new or fresh or a second chance given…I don’t know if I could soldier on. Don’t know, really, if I’d want to.

I believe with all my heart that hope, that having a dream, is as necessary to life as is oxygen, food and water. Those three nourish the body, but hopes and dreams nourish the spirit. This isn’t a new-fangled philosophy, of course. It’s at least as old as the book of Proverbs. Chapter 29, verse 18 reads that without vision, the people perish. And that is very, very true.

Yes, the next few months may be difficult for many. The economy is still in the dumpster and people are still waiting to be called back to old jobs, or to secure new ones. People are still struggling to hang onto their homes, and their sanity. Things will get better, but not over night, and if you’re in distress then months can feel like years. I know that because I’ve been there.

But in the history of the world so far, bust times are inevitably followed by boom times. I’ve experienced such on a personal level, so I know that’s true, too.

In the meantime, why not make a list of dreams and goals and aspirations? If you are in need of a list of dreams to visit from time to time, just to lose yourself in the imagining of them, then those dreams can be anything at all. If, however, you’ve decided that you are going to take charge of your life and create reasons for celebration despite the unhappy circumstances you might be in, then make your list of dreams and goals achievable.

I have a list of dreams and goals. I want to continue to write intriguing stories, experimenting in different genres. I want an agent, and a New York contract (that one’s kind of obvious, isn’t it?). I want to buy a new house that is big enough to give me the illusion of solitude and I want it to have lots of flat land around it! I want to get into a size 14 and I want to dance at every one of my grandchildren’s weddings.

All of my dreams are possible. And having those dreams, believing in them, gives me a solid reason to get out of bed ready to greet each new day.

I wish for all of you every good thing that life can give you, and I wish you peace. Happy New Year!

Coming early 2009 ~ A scorching ménage from Morgan Ashbury

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Trinity Magic Coming January 1

Trinity Magic will be published by Siren-Bookstrand on January 1, a great way to start a new year!
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to 1639 and the world of Trinity Magic, a story that blends the paranormal elements of witchcraft and faeries with the consequences of time travel.

For Arleigh Donovan, the year 1639 doesn't pose a problem, but being cursed bothers her a lot. Draped in a newly mortal form, Arleigh believes she still possesses the ability to kill men with love—a throwback to the time when she roamed through the centuries as a beautiful and powerful faery. The Leanan Sidhe spirit within her can rise at inopportune moments and steal the life of any man it chooses. She knows its effect because the death of the latest victim sent her to colonial Virginia as a convicted murderer. When Ryder Kendall magically appears in Caindale cottage on Trinity Island, the enticing but lunatic stranger is the last thing she needs because she has sworn to never love again. Ryder offers a temptation almost impossible to resist but succumbing to her desires might kill him.

For Ryder Kendall, the year 1639 poses an endless parade of problems. His "Weird Sisters" have sent him to 1639 to be a hero, find the woman of his dreams, and continue a dynasty. Arleigh Donovan is the woman he's been waiting for his entire life, but there's a slight problem. She's determined nothing will happen between them and she might be a little crazy. Dealing with a delusional woman and traveling through time are confusing enough, but to see his sisters over and over and over is mind-boggling. He begins to believe they might truly be what they claim—a Trinity of witches that has existed for 800 years. Contributing to his dilemma are the frustrating neutrality of a bantee, a flock of whimsical faeries, and banshees that shriek at the first drop of blood. But the biggest headache by far is his charismatic rival, Cameron Flynn, an immortal known as the Ganconor. Flynn hates the Caindale family with a 400 year old passion. He wants Ryder dead, wants Arleigh for himself, and has a plan to accomplish both.

Now all Ryder has to do is convince Arleigh he won't fall victim to a "curse", find a way to defeat an immortal, save his three "sisters", secure an inheritance and survive the everyday horrors of the 17th century. 1639 is a nightmare for Ryder, but for Arleigh it is a dream come true.

Being dropped into the past creates problems, but dying from sex shouldn't be one of them.

Trinity Magic will be released from Siren-Bookstrand Publishing on New Year’s Day but can be pre-ordered. Information can be found here:


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Angelic Forecast ~ XVII

“Happy New Year,” I say to the heavenly one, once he emerges from a translucent golden sphere. His smile is extra wide and smug. I guess that he and his Sedona have engaged in an act of passion...or several acts of passion. Raising my eyebrows, I don’t ask.
Besides, being the author, I don’t need to. *Insert smug smile here*
“Happy New Year.” His purply eyes tease and glow adorably. “Do you know 2009 is the Year of Two?”
“I do. I do,” I repeat, liking the rhyme. “Will more couples be saying, ‘I do, I do’ in this year of love and this year of 9 increasing the energy of 2?”
“Hmmmm...that I do not see. It’s more the energy 2 increasing the energy of 9. Although the opportunity for love will abound, despite the downturn in the world’s economy. Universal love between people will come into expression more and more, which is the salvation for All on Earth.”
“Yes, I hope to see that occur.” I sigh, despair tugging at me, despite the cherub’s sweet vibration enveloping me, and his words of hope.
“The more people look to one another to form new ways of community, the faster the state of the world will improve.”
His tone is boldly serious. I nod.

The following week of the New Year brings subtle opportunities for growth in your spiritual direction and in the direction of your heart. Also, look for those lovely subtle ways to move toward your goals, ways which will make you and others smile or simply glow with appreciation for each other. The time for community has come. Every skill you develop toward creating communities during this upcoming year will serve you and others in the future, and in ways which will become profound.

Happy New Year & Angelic blessings from Volcano & Sedona

Help Bring in the New Year of 2013...


Where angels fear to tread, 2012 Earth ~
Is a stranger on a superspeed motorcycle her savior from the brutal endtimes?

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? ...more

Author Discovery by Lindsay Townsend, BookStrand author of FLAVIA’S SECRET and A SECRET TREASURE ~ ~

WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS ~ adventure fantasy erotic romance ~ available from BookStrand ~ ~ ~

Kiss from Savanna Kougar...

~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~ ~

Here's this week's astrological fortune cookie:

From Claire, the Mudflat fortuneteller:


For more fortunes, check

TARBABY TROUBLE, Mudflat book 1, 2009 Eppie Fantasy finalist
WELCOME TO MUDFLAT, BABY, Mudflat book 2, 2009 Eppie Fantasy/Paranormal Romance finalist

4 Headstones for Nine Inches of Snow and the Ebony Princess!

Nine Inches of Snow and the Ebony Princess was a cute fairy tale, and while the characters where familiar - the prince, the down-trodden princess and the evil step mom - it was still a fresh and sexy read that left me wanting to know more about Aziza and David’s life together.” 4 Headstones, Shona for Bitten By Books. To read the full review, visit here:

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Romance Junkies gives Forbidden Desires 5 Blue Ribbons

I just received my review for Forbidden Desires from Romance Junkies. Forbidden Desires is the second book in my Tri Omega Mates series and it received 5 Blue Ribbons. For more information on this book and the others in the Tri Omega Mates series visit to my author's page or my website.

Ryland is running out of ideas of how to show his mate that he is ready to be claimed. Deciding to take the bull by the horns, he tells Gregory, the man who saved him years earlier and has been there for him through thick and thin – that he is ready to be claimed. This, however, evolves into a situation that has far reaching consequences.

Gregory is out of his mind with lust for his little mate, but wants to wait until he is ready. Knowing that he cannot have what he wants, he does the next best thing. This results in him having to face up to what was directly in front of him and laying claim to his mate.

After a night of passion, they find out that all is not perfect with their joining –as not only is Ryland unable to talk to Gregory, but they find out that he is a Tri-Omega and if his second mate is not found soon – Gregory may not have a mate at all.

Getting away from the pack for some much needed R&R seems to be the most logical thing to do – allowing Ryland and Gregory to spend some quality time together. However, they get more than they bargained for as not only does Ryland find his second mate, but his mate's wolf is in no mood to share.

After reading a wonderful first book in a series, it is always with a sense of trepidation that I read the second without comparing it to the first. Stormy Glenn has done what few authors have been able to do. She has given us a better book with FORBIDDEN DESIRES, the second book in The TRI-OMEGA series.

This book is a character driven book, it delves into the dynamics of two men who have waited what feels like an eternity to be together, only to find out that in their eagerness to be together they have set in motion a chain reaction that is unstoppable without a third to complete their partnership. Their third is not open to sharing and finds great difficulty in accepting that he is a part of an already established union.

Stormy Glenn has given us a plot, which will have readers putting The Tri-Omega series in their diaries for future release. Sex scenes are definitely not vanilla – they are hot, aggressive and in some case very much unexpected. I absolutely love this book and look forward to seeing where Ms. Glenn goes with this series.

If you're interested in the rest of the titles of the TRI-OMEGA series here's a list of them in order: SECRET DESIRES, FORBIDDEN DESIRES, and HIDDEN DESIRES which is due to be released in early 2009.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Good morning!

It's Christmas, the sun is shining, and last night my new book Syren Song released in the Menage Amour line. Can it get any better? I hope everyone reading today has a bit of Christmas magic touch their lives in some positive way.

Later today, after the family meals, when the kids are playing with their new video games, when your other half is snoring on the sofa, your relatives have all left, take some time for you, indulge, lose yourself in a sexy read from one (or more) of our talented authors here at Siren/BookStrand.

If you'd like something quick (and hot, very, very hot) to break the chill of winter, check out the excerpt for Syren Song, its guaranteed to warm you up a bit (and add a touch of spice to your holidays).

Remember, treat yourself nice this holiday season. You deserve it.

Happy Holidays!
Blaze Ballantine

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It’s Christmas Eve! And yesterday was the eve to Christmas Eve. Yes, that’s silly, and that’s me. Sometimes I can be like a kid, I get so excited in anticipation of things—be it vacations, lottery draws, or Christmas. And yes, it’s about fifty-fifty, how many times I’m disappointed as opposed to how many times I have my expectations fulfilled. But that’s me, too, and at this stage of my life, I’m not going to change.

Since Christmas is the season of love, I wanted to give you some of my thoughts on what love is. I feel as if I have credentials in this area, because I’ve been married for 36 years. Also, I have now published nine different titles and they are all romance books. So, here goes. a choice. Yes, it is. It’s not a magical feeling that looks like pixie dust, it’s not music that sounds like violins. It’s a choice. With romantic love, in the beginning we have distinctive feelings inside us when we meet someone. A flutter, or a stirring, or an outright arousal. That is the natural animal inside us coming to the fore, those nature-born instincts that have allowed our species to survive by setting us on the road to procreation. But the purpose of those flutters is short lived. They don’t stay a fluttering all the time inside us forever after. Some of us are lucky enough that we get those flutters now and then through our years together. But that really is rare. So, love is a choice. You can choose to love your spouse...or not.

What do I mean by that? Well, love is a verb. Yes, it’s a noun but it’s also a verb and verbs, as we all know, are action words. So, love is an action! What kind of action? Well, yes, of course hugs and kisses and other physical expressions qualify. But there are other actions we can take throughout the day that qualify as love.

Offer help with a chore, or space so that a favorite hobby may be pursued. Take young children out for an afternoon to give their frazzled care-giver some much needed peace. Bestow a hug out of the blue, or a flower, or a small gift. Think of something your loved one would really like, and then do it for them.

Years ago, when my beloved first got the job he has now, we lived right close to his place of employment. Our property bordered the Quarry, and he would drive one of the company vehicles up for lunch, especially in the winter. Each day I would have a hot lunch waiting for him, as well as warm and dry clean socks. He would take off his boots, then his socks which would be wet from either perspiration or leaky boots, dry his feet on a towel then slip on those warm socks. His eyes would close and he would sigh...and I knew that I had done a loving thing.

So do loving things for your loved one. a blessing. It’s not just a blessing for the recipient of the love, it’s a blessing for the giver of the love, and in truth for anyone in close proximity to it. When you are a person unafraid to love, you enrich the lives of everyone in your family. I’ve heard it said more than once that if a man wants to give his children a fine gift, he should love their mother—and vice versa. A home filled with love is a home that nurtures every heart within it. A home where the parents are in love with and behave lovingly toward each other is a home that is absent of anger, fights, and resentment. Those negative emotions steal all the oxygen, so that the young ones in the home where they thrive cannot, themselves.

Love.....isn’t, despite what songs may say, free. In fact, love is likely the most expensive commodity we could ever give another, for it requires us to take our eyes off ourselves and place them on someone else. It demands that we leave selfishness behind and take up unlimited generosity. It means putting the needs of your spouse ahead of your own, and the needs of your relationship as a couple ahead of you both. Love is not for the miserly, or the faint of heart.

But if you can pay that price, then love is also the most priceless treasure you will ever possess.

From my family to yours, may you have a blessed and Merry Christmas—and to those of you who celebrate it, a Happy and blessed Chanukah.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sandstone Legacy by Rachel McNeely just released

Sandstone Legacy
by Rachel McNeely

Jake Andrews and Katie Weber are the only beneficiaries set to inherit the valuable Sandstone Ranch property. But who wants it more? Jake needs the property to further his successful business and plans to tear down the old house. Katie wants the house to remain and is willing to fight for it.

The people of Treehaven believe the old farmhouse is haunted. Katie and Jake have thirty days to discover the truth and print the findings in the local paper.
Jake doesn't believe in ghosts, but since Katie's first visit to the old farm house, she's been convinced that not only does a ghost reside there but also it doesn't want company.

Together they battle the growing attraction between them, a not so friendly ghost, and the hidden secrets that will expose an enduring love story and a person willing to kill to keep the secrets of Sandstone hidden forever.

"For several years, I've been writing stories set in Regency England. When the idea for Sandstone Legacy popped into my head, I decided to try writing a contemporary novel, but as my critique partners said, I couldn't leave out a tad bit of history.
Having lived in the south most of my life I've always been fascinated by the big old houses. The architecture has personality. I've imagined sitting on the wide porches and listening to the stories of past residents and their lives. So, I wasn't surprised when the beginnings of Sandstone Legacy took form in my mind.
But what about my ghost? My husband has often talked about civil war battle fields near his boyhood home in Virginia and this tweaked my interest. I did some research looking at books about the war and stories of ghostly appearances, visited a Bed and Breakfast, heard their tale of a possible ghost, and started writing." ~ Rachel ~

To read the EXCERPTS for Sandstone Legacy CLICK HERE

New Year Weekend Party

Hi! Recovered from last week's party yet? Well, here's another one.

Join us for a full weekend on December 27 and 28th! There's a new year coming, so -

Look Back. Be with us as we share our favourite excerpts
and chat about how 2008 has been for us.

Look Forward. Be with us as we share our forthcoming
releases and chat about our goals and hopes for 2009.

Share your New Year dreams. Share your hopes and wishes for this festive season. What do you hope for in 2009? Come and tell us!

All welcome! Tell your friends. This is going to be informal and
easy, low key and casual, so come as and when you can.

It's all happening on December 27-28, right here:


Monday, December 22, 2008

Angelic Forecast ~ XVI

“Happy Winter Solstice,” I say to the Heavenly One. He surfs next to me, riding on a stream of stars.
“Good timing, right?” He grins, lighting up my dark bedroom with a golden glow.
“Darn right, since I was about to visit dreamland.”
“The time of the Winter Solstice is always busy,” he explains.
I lift my eyebrows in question while bathing in the sparkling tiny globes of light falling down on me like rain.
“It is a time when people open themselves to hearing our sacred messages, and call upon us.”
“They receive your light as they receive the longer days of light.”
He smiles from ear to ear, waves his hand and a cascade of jewel-colored sparkles float downward.
I smile, feeling utterly blissful. “This year Christmas day breaks down to the number eleven, then two. A day of destiny and love.”
“Yes. Now is the time to gather all those you love as close as possible. The time for community has arrived, a renaissance of community. The more people learn to live and work together for the benefit of all, the brighter their days.”
“I can believe that,” I mutter, wishing it would occur over night, as I watch him surf from my bedroom, the stars forming like an ocean wave.

The following week brings many moments of great highs and great lows...great joys and great sadness on the world stage. Although, this is a week for giving and receiving gifts from each other, a time for celebrating that we are able to give from our hearts to each other, it is also a time of cleansing, for letting go of those old gifts which no longer suit us, as certain styles of clothing may no longer suit us, or suit the direction of our lives.
Indeed, release the old and receive the new gifts Spirit has for you. Smile often at each other. Enjoy what those you love give you. Look at their hearts for you. And let them look at your heart for them. For that is the heart of our holidays.

Happy Holidays & Angelic blessings from Volcano & Sedona




Where angels fear to tread, 2012 Earth ~
Is a stranger on a superspeed motorcycle her savior from the brutal endtimes?

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? ...more

Author Discovery by Lindsay Townsend, BookStrand author of FLAVIA’S SECRET and A SECRET TREASURE ~

WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS ~ adventure fantasy erotic romance ~ available from BookStrand ~ ~ ~

Kiss from Savanna Kougar...

~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~ ~

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Christmas "Ghost" story

In Britain, there is a tradition of telling ghost stories around Christmas.

Here is mine. It's not a traditional ghost story but I hope you enjoy it. It begins like this....


I was born seventeen years ago, in the year of our Lord 900. I give the Christian date because I respect Jesus Christ, who cares for slaves, although I will never worship him. Forgiveness is a creed I do not understand.
The name I was given at birth is not important; the villagers of Oslo never used it. They called me a charmer. Or a witch.
Perhaps I was a witch. I hated water and was afraid of the sea. Once, running along the beach with apples, fleeing the tide, I fell and turned an ankle.
A Viking found me. We knew each other by sight, Bjorn Askson and I. Once, on market day in Oslo, he blew me a kiss. He had been drinking, but I did not care. The way he looked at me then passed straight into my memories. Bjorn was handsome, with the piercing glance of a dragon ship. As different from the man who owned me, the paunchy wizard Gagnrad, as a body could be.
Now Bjorn swung down from his horse and lifted me out of that mess of crushed reed-weave, sand and apples. Gently, as if I was one of his precious bales, the silk-stuff which he traded and which made him rich. He set me on his mount before him.
Neither of us spoke. Gagnrad was always scolding me to take care, not to rush so recklessly, nor speak so boldly, forthright as a free-woman. I was silent and still. I tried not to think about Gagnrad. I leaned back against Bjorn Askson's body, imagining, in as many ways as possible, what it would be like to enjoy that well-shaped mouth.
Bjorn smiled, brushing back the tendrils of blonde hair plastered against my cheek by water. I felt his fingers tighten round my waist. He bent his head.
'You are free to choose.’ He slackened his grip. 'I am not Gagnrad.'

Read the rest here.

FLAVIA'S SECRET - sensual historical romance set in Roman Britain.
Bookstrand 4.5 Red Roses and Blue Ribbons. 4
Books. Book of the Week at LASR 4 Stars.
A SECRET TREASURE - romantic suspense set on Rhodes. Bookstrand. The
perfect holiday read. 5 Stars. 4.5 Red Roses. 4
Cups. 5 Angels. 4 Books. 4 Bookmarks
A KNIGHT'S VOW - Kensington Zebra and Kindle editions. Passionate
medieval romance. 5 Red Roses. 4.5 Blue Ribbons.4 Stars
A KNIGHT'S CAPTIVE - Kensington Zebra. Forthcoming, April 2009.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The party is on its way!

Saturday and Sunday we'll be doing an all weekend holiday party. I will be hosting on Sunday afternoon. Lots of hosts, lots of fun stuff!

LAST MINUTE ON LINE GIFTS, no shipping delays - those little robots at the online stores work 24/7 -

If you have fantasy fans in your family, introduce them to the Mudflat series. This urban fantasy is set in present day Seattle with other world elements. Mention names like Harry Dresden and Morganville. Get a response? Right. But fantasy fans already have all the books in those series.

So gift them a new series to download on their eReader or computer. The Mudville series is PG13. The books combine sword and sorcery action with romance. In the Mudflat Series by Phoebe Matthews, the first two books are available now (more in 2009) and are:

TARBABY TROUBLE, 2009 Eppie Fantasy Award finalist
WELCOME TO MUDFLAT, BABY, 2009 Eppie Fantasy/Paranormal Romance finalist

Order at

The Science Behind The Twist

Can you imagine a world in the near future where it would be possible to become another person? In my new romantic suspense, THE TWIST, the hero actually turns into a carbon copy of the leading lady!

Zane Tollison's wife is running through their cash faster than he can make it. A "Hail Mary" contract with Clearwater Tobacco arrives in the nick of time to keep his fledgling consulting firm afloat, and to unchain him once and for all from his narcissistic wife.

Beautiful, brilliant, and estranged Kathy Davis is desperate for a new beginning. The feisty post doc bio-geneticist jumps at an offer from Clearwater, pouring her soul into a development that will revolutionize the tobacco industry.

The two are unwittingly reeled into a convoluted plan to steal $12 million. Zane is changing into a carbon copy of Kathy, a pawn in a bizarre genetic metamorphosis, entangling Kathy in a sinewy web of seduction and deceit. Forging a bond that will set the course of their destiny, they fight to overpower the diabolic hold that has taken over their lives.

The transformation in The Twist is pure sci-fi, but what if it were possible? As an engineer, I’m trained to come up with a way to make things work. I wanted a heroine who would stand toe to toe with the leading man and a plot that would keep a reader on the edge of his seat. Setting a romance in the framework of high tech intrigue, my technical background turned out to be my best friend.

I really had to get into Zane’s head to write The Twist. Women are so different...our emotions, what’s important to us, how we relate to each other. And then there’s the things we take for granted. Hair, nails, putting on your face, the whole bit. It would all have to be pretty strange for a guy. Trying to stuff all of that into a guy’s head was a challenge. Male characters just don’t have the range of emotion for you to work with. I guess that’s part of what makes them guys. As Zane begins his transformation, everything he is grappling with bubbles to the top as a confused mix of humor and rage. After the change it’s like he’s got the hormones of a squad of teenage cheerleaders. Yup, we finally get our revenge on the guys in THE TWIST :)

Every man should have to spend at least a month as a woman.
Debra Gaynor, ReviewYourBook

*FIVE STARS* KaseysView

*4 1/2 HEARTS*
The Romance Studio

*FOUR STARS* ReviewYourBook

THE TWIST, BookStrand #1 Bestseller
***Available in Paperback & E-book***

The Twist by Lee Silver

($11.69 paperback) (ON SALE $4.49 e-book)

A clever and witty sci-fi romp through big corporations, marriage and the gender wars.
Dee S. Knight , author of Heat Wave

Best Wishes for the Holidays!

Lee Silver
"Romance with a Twist"
THE TWIST, BookStrand #1 Bestseller

Wednesday's Words for December 17, 2008

It’s that time of year when I once more must come face to face with the two most dreaded words (by me, anyway) in the English language: Christmas shopping.

Even thinking those two words sends a ripple of revulsion down my back. Images flash in my anxiety-heightened brain: crowds and confusion; malls and mayhem; noise and nut bars—and not the kind you eat, either.

If I was half as smart as I think I am, I would begin sometime in January to purchase the items I need here and there so that I wouldn’t have to go through this every year. But a lifetime of living in denial when it comes to unpleasantness kicks in on December 26th, so that I actually forget that such a thing as Christmas shopping exists – until about December 15th of the following year.

I did briefly consider my beloved’s annual suggestion: The Dollar Giant, where 20 dollars gets you 20 gifts for 20 relatives. I think maybe I’ll wait until I’m somewhat older before I do that. Then said relatives can shake their heads sadly and say, “poor Granny’s turned curmudgeonly with age”.

So I have made my first foray into the world of Christmas retailing, but this time instead of the mall, I went to a few of the stores that are right here in my own home town.

I should tell you first that my town (modest community that it is) advertises itself as the “prettiest town in Canada”. With a population of around 9000, like most small communities it is comprised of basically two groups of people: citizens and new-comers. I’ve lived here since 1987. I have found that being a new-comer doesn’t seem to have any permanent negative connotations attached to it. If the matter does come up I have a fail-safe tactic. My brother has lived here since 1967, his wife used to be one of the town librarians and he himself served several terms on town council. All I have to do is say, “I’m Chuck’s sister”, and that usually takes care of any problems before they arise.

Small towns really are, though, what you make of them. I suppose if we had been the kind of people who dive right in to civic affairs, then this unique and picturesque community that has not one but two rivers running through it would sparkle more for us than it does. But Mr. Ashbury and I are both loners and shy at heart. In our beginning years here we worked full time and would come home each night to three kids and various pets. By the time dinner and kids were seen to, our energy was gone.

It’s kind of sad to think that basically we let life pass us by because we were too consumed by the everyday to do much else, but there you have it.

However, we have always tried to shop locally when we could. For the most part we get our groceries here in town, and whenever we need to run to a hardware store, bakery, or even liquor or beer stores, we do that right here too.

We’ve never really gone Christmas shopping in town, though, because we’ve always been in the position of having to get the most “bang for our bucks”—which means going to the near-by mall that features a discount department store.

But this year I decided it would be nice to visit a few of the stores right here in town. And I was looking for something in particular. Something, actually, for myself.

Somehow in the last year or so the plastic sheet I used for rolling out pie dough has vanished. So I have been looking for a replacement, and alas, have been disappointed by the larger chain stores at the mall. So I got it in my head that maybe I could find such an elusive item here in town. What I really wanted, to tell you the truth, was an old fashioned pastry cloth. Do you remember them? My mother had one, and it was wonderful.

The stores in town have it all over the mall, in my opinion. The clerks are friendly and do their best to help you. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, they’re quick to suggest who else in town might. They carry a lot of the same items you can find at the mall, although yes, they cost a few dollars more.

But the stores aren’t crowded, and your fellow shoppers know how to say, “excuse me, please,”, “thank you very much”, and “here, let me get the door for you”.

No one had what I was seeking, but when I made my final stop at the largest store in town—one that has been around for more than a generation and features linens—the owner tilted his head in response to my query and asked, “would a piece of canvas do?”

It’s lightweight and unbleached. I bought a piece that is one yard square. I’ve washed it, and I’m going to cut it down to the size I need. And I’ll let you all know how it works out.

If you’ve got a bit of time on your hands this Saturday evening, December 20th, from eight to ten pm eastern, I would be delighted if you would join me for my second annual “Christmas with Morgan Ashbury and friends” chat. There will be prizes and some Christmasy- thoughts, and some book excerpts. I’m being joined by Lara Santiago, Raina James, and my special guest Sharon Ashwood whose first novel is being released early next year through Signet. In those loops that will allow me to advertise a chat, the address and times are below. Otherwise, feel free to e-mail me.

Please join me for Christmas with Morgan Ashbury and friends
Saturday December 20th 8pm to 10 pm eastern at Chatting with Joyfully Reviewed

The Christmas Tree

As an author, I'm asked many times about my favorite Christmas memories. The questions come from readers, publishers, reviewers, and many others. Those memories tend to wind up being edited down to a paragraph. Maybe two. You can't really do justice to a memory in that space.

Growing up in the Missouri Ozarks, we often had a white Christmas. Yes, just like the song. The Bing Crosby version. A wonderfully beautiful time, but mixed with a little of the bittersweet.

At the time, I didn't understand that my parents scrimped and saved for a long time to make Christmas happen. Looking back, they spent a lot of money we didn't have on Christmas, and I'm not talking about just on gifts.

My Dad's birthday was December 18th. Just a week before Christmas, his birthday present was always a Christmas tree.

We lived in a house that had high ceilings. Really high. About fourteen feet. Such a house today would have the ceiling lowered somehow, if for no other reason than to save on heating costs. And wallpaper. But our house had the ceilings clear to their full height. Added to this was a good deal of dark woodwork. I later learned that most of the houses of the period from when ours was built had mahogany woodwork. The carving was intricate with lots of roping and circular features.

Our home was the second floor of the building. The stairs were a straight shot from the front door, but at the top of the steps, there was a ninety degree turn into the hallway that led to living room at the front of the house, and the kitchen toward the rear. My room was off the living room.

Between the living room and my room was a huge door. It reached nearly to the ceiling and was about eight feet wide. Made of the same dark wood, it had carved panels inset on its surface, and it slid on rollers to disappear into the wall. Oh, that's called a pocket door. I usually kept it closed.

At least on nights other than Dad's birthday...on that night, the show was too good to miss by closing the door.

The annual floorshow we called tree shopping always started the same way. Dad would swear that we would get a small tree this year. I never figured out his definition of a small tree.

We would pile in the 1967 Dodge van and head out to the tree lots. This was one of the old vans, not like today's minivans filled with soccer players and their moms. A big thing, based on a big truck, the van had two seats up front and the engine sat back a little, between the seats. In fact, there was room to pass from one seat to the other by walking between the dash and the engine box. The box lifted up so you could check the oil from the driver's seat.

The back of the van had no seats. Just a huge open area, a lot like a metallic football field. Since there were no seats, we didn't need seatbelts. No one wore them back then anyway.

We went to the same lot every year. It was called simply "Ron's". I assume the greasy old man who drooled when he stared at Mom was Ron. Anyway, Dad said Ron had the best trees at the best prices. I wouldn't know. I wasn't very old, I had never been to any other tree lot, and the prices must have been secret since the trees all had little colored tags on them. I guess Ron had the code to break the cipher someplace.

In late December in Missouri, it gets dark about four in the afternoon. Dad didn't get home until about four-thirty or so. By the time we ate and hit the streets, it was full-dark. We usually took several hours in the dark, using flashlights and the several bonfires Ron kept burning, to pick out a tree.

This was no small task, nor was it one to be taken lightly. While Dad stood shivering in the cold wind, Mom made him hold the tree upright. She then stared at the tree with a practiced eye, making Dad turn it this way and that. Most of the time, she would shake her head and mumble something about a flat or bare spot. Dad would go back to the racks of trees for another.

Did I make it clear these are real trees I'm talking about? Many people seem to think that Christmas trees come from the garden center at the local Wal-Mart. You know...the ornaments are where the fertilizer was stacked in August. No, these trees didn't come in a box.

Just a short time ago, these trees were living, growing things. They were snatched from the forest by force and brought by truck to Ron, and others like him, for sale to folks like us. Sort of an evergreen slave trade.

Ron had racks built from 2x4 lumber that held the trees. To a kid like me, there seemed to be a million trees there. Maybe there were a few hundred. But the smell still lingers in my head. The pine scent was almost overpowering. Ever open a new bottle of pine cleaner and take a really deep whiff? That's not even close. At times, when standing close to one of the racks, it could actually get unpleasant.

Ron had several types of trees. I remember spruce, Scotch pine, blue spruce, and a few others. Dad liked the Scotch pines, and that's where the efforts focused.

Often, Mom's thumbs down for a tree came because it was too small. Now, Dad wasn't a big man, only about five and half feet tall. But unless the tree was at least a foot over his head, he knew better than to waste Mom's time. She wouldn't even speak then. She just gave Dad "The Look".

You know the one. All mothers know how to use The Look. Yes, even you mothers out there reading this know what I'm talking about. It's the expression that, when aimed at the man of the house, says without words, "Are you out of your mind?"

The same look, when aimed at the children, says, "That's very sweet and cute, but if you don't stop, I'm going to slap your face off."

No matter who The Look was aimed at, it worked.

Dad knew better, but always tried to sneak a tree shorter than himself into the game. I thought it was like a pitcher in baseball trying to doctor the ball. Sometimes, you got by with it. Most times, you get caught. When you did get caught, you usually paid a little fine, maybe sat out a game or two, and then all was forgiven. I wonder how many games Dad sat out over the years.

The lot was pretty slow this particular year, and Ron was helping Dad pick out trees for evaluation. After looking at several dozen, all rejected because they were too small, Ron told Dad he could give him a good deal on a larger tree since only a few remained and it was only a week until Christmas.

With Mom's smiling approval, we followed Ron to the high rent district.

The tree towered over my seven-year-old head like redwoods. Reaching so high in the air, the tops were lost in darkness because the light of the bonfires just couldn't reach that far. Dad frowned and turned his flashlight to the sky, but the light faded before it found the tip of the tree.

While Ron still had several trees here in the Beverly Hills part of the lot, only one fit the bill; a Scotch pine, the only one there. The trunk near the base was too big around for Dad to grip fully with both hands. Some of the lower branches were bigger than a few trees we looked at earlier. Processed and cut into lumber, the tree could have built at least two homes.

Dad and Ron wrestled the monster from the rack and balanced it precariously on the ground. The tree swayed in the wind, causing the men to struggle to keep it upright.

Mom, taking pity on them, walked around the tree instead of making them turn it for her.

Her smile said it all. This was the one.

After a few minutes of negotiation, Dad and Ron settled on the price. The tree was soon tied with bailing twine and ready for loading.

With the mighty pine tree resting on the ground, the problem became obvious. The tree was about twice the length of the old Dodge van. There was no way it would fit inside unless the windshield was broken out. Maybe not then.

Dad decided to tie the tree to the top of the van.

Ever see the Oscar Meyer Weiner-Mobile? The van looked a lot like that when Dad and Ron finished. Well, other than the moldy green hot dog drooped down toward the street at the ends.

And away we went, driving through the dark streets with a dwarf redwood on the roof.

Those old vans were top-heavy when they left the factory. Dad nearly flipped ours over several times on turns long before this night. With who-knows how many tons of evergreen tied to the highest point of the vehicle, it became very top-heavy.

It took about thirty minutes to get to the tree lot. It took more than an hour to get home. When added to the time at the lot, we finally arrived back home at about nine at night.

And the fun had only just begun.

I'm an only child. No big brothers to help. Mom was under five feet tall and weighed perhaps ninety pounds. Soaking wet. With her clothes on. I was not quite seven.

What I'm trying to say here is that Dad was on his own.

He managed to wrestle the baby sequoia from the van and get it on the ground. He had the idea of putting the tree on big canvas tarpaulin so he could drag it instead of carrying it. It sounded like a good idea to me.

He began pulling. The tree did well, sliding along the ground and up the five steps to the door. It fit through the door, barely, and Dad backed up the main stairs, pulling and sweating and saying bad things about the tree's parents not being married.

I remember Mom and I standing at the foot of the stairs watching Dad. His face looked like traffic signal stuck on stop. In the rain. He was really sweating. I recall not understanding why, because it was maybe twenty degrees outside.

He was a little past halfway up the steps when the top of the tree went through the door. Dad gave a mighty pull, and the tree lurched up the steps nearly a foot. Dad sat down hard on the steps. The jolt made him lose his grip on the tarp.

The tree came sliding down the steps, top first, like a runaway train on a mountain. The bottom of the tree bounced on the steps as it descended making a sound like restless cannibal pygmies deciding whose house to meet at for dinner.

I watched all this from my position on the steps leading from the sidewalk to the door. Directly in front of the door. Right in the path of the humongous tree.

Dad always called me 'Mel'. Mom gave him The Look every time he did. She never failed to call me 'Melodee'. I hate it when people call me 'Mel'. Only three people can get by with it, and I like it. Dad was one. Hey? What little girl wouldn't like her Daddy to have a special name just for her? A close business associate is another. She holds the purse strings, so she can call me anything she likes. The third is someone very special to me. But I digress.

Mom said only one word. "Mel!"

Remember the scene in the movie Vacation when Clark falls asleep at the wheel and leaves the freeway? Remember when the man walking his dog snatches the dog back by the leash, thus saving it from being crushed by the Griswold Family Truckster? Mom did the same thing to me, only using my arm instead of a leash.

And I reacted the same way as the dog. I yelped. Loudly.

The tree shot past Mom and I at a high rate of speed. I guess being tied tightly to the trunk, the branches offered less wind resistance. The canvas slide probably helped. When the bottom of the tree exited the door to the house, it was moving much faster than I could walk. Probably faster than I could run.

The inertia, a function of the weight of the tree (large) and the speed of the tree (also large) carried the tree all the way back to the van. It stopped when the first four or so feet of the tree top was under the van.

Dad stumbled down the steps. He stood next to Mom and I, his breathing a ragged pant, with his hands on his hips. I think he used up all the good words already, because he didn't say a thing. He just glared at the tree.

Finally, Dad's breathing returned to normal, or at least as much as a fifty-five-year-old obese smoker can breath normally, and he smiled down at me where I still stood holding Mom's hand. "You OK, Mel?"

He got The Look from Mom.

I smiled. "Yeah, Daddy."

He messed my hair and went after the tree.

The second assault on Mount Aaron went pretty good. At least Dad made it to the top of the stairs with the tree in tow. It was here that a major problem was encountered.

Remember that ninety-degree turn?

How do you get a monster conifer around not one, but two such turns?

I was wrong. Dad hadn't used up all the good words. At least not yet. Even today, I don't understand what they mean when people say someone is 'turning the air blue'. Mom said Dad was doing that, but I didn't see it.

Dad was a machinist. More accurately, he was a precision machinist. All machinists work with tolerances measured in thousandths of an inch. Dad dealt with dimensional clearances on the order of a few ten-thousandths of an inch or less.

The tree had far less clearance than that to get around the corner and out of the stairs.

I'm not sure if the cussing or his skills as a machinist helped more, but Dad managed to get the tree from the stairway into the hall. It was a relatively simple task to get it into the living room.

It was nearly eleven then.

After some careful measuring and a couple of tests, Dad finally cut several feet from both ends of the coniferous monster and was ready to attach the base and stand the tree up.

The trunk was far too big to fit into the stand.

Again, the air didn't turn blue, but I came to understand that the supply of good words is all but infinite.

I had a cat. His name was Jessie, and he was just your common feline mongrel. When you have a cat, you also have a litter box. A litter box implies cat litter. But cat litter is expensive. Instead, Dad would get a fifty-pound bag of something called Speedy Dry from where he worked as we needed it. It looks, feels, and smells, at least before the cat gets to it, just like clay cat litter. We had a new bag.

Being ingenious, Dad got a five gallon bucket, put the base of the tree in there, and filled the bucket with Speedy Dry. Adding water made the mixture like cement. It also weighed more than Mom and I put together. That's a good thing, because the huge dwarf redwood needed the weight to hold it upright.

When Dad finally stood the tree up, it was about quarter before midnight. The tree-top ornament, a hideous yellow and purple thing my grandma gave us, was less than an inch from the fourteen foot ceiling.

Dad cut the rope holding the branches and the tree unfolded majestically, nearly filling the entire room with long green needles reaching in every direction. The already strong scent of pine intensified in the air, and sent us all the same message...

Christmas was actually coming.

Mom brought in the boxes of ornaments and lights. As Mom picked out the ornaments she wanted on the tree, Dad played with the strings of lights, making sure they all worked and the cords and plugs were in good shape.

I sat down on the couch and watched my parents.

The last thing I remember is the old mantle clock above the gas fireplace chiming midnight, signally the end of my Dad's fifty-fifth birthday. But his night had only just started. By the time I woke up in the morning, still on the couch, the tree was trimmed.

Dad died in 1987, but even now, I get my Christmas tree on December the 18th.

Happy birthday, Daddy.

Keep Loving!

Melodee Aaron, Erotica Romance Author

Home Page

Melodee's Books at BookStrand
Melodee's Books at Fictionwise
Inquisitor Betrayer

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thanks to all who voted for my short erotic excerpt in the Midnight Seductions Endless Romance Writing Contest.

I am thrilled to announce that I took Second Place for an excerpt from For One Night Only.

Please visit for purchase details and more info.

Forbidden Desires - Tri Omega Mates 2

Forbidden Desires by Stormy Glenn
Available Today at Siren Publishing
Erotic Paranormal, Werewolves, M/M/M, Male Ménage a Trois Romance.

Ryland has loved Gregory for six years, ever since Gregory rescued him from the brink of death. He has also known since then that Gregory is his mate. He's been old enough for a couple of years now, he just can't understand why Gregory won't claim him.

Gregory knew the moment he saw Ryland six years ago that they were mates. Ryland just wasn't old enough to be claimed. So, Gregory bided his time, waiting for Ryland to grow up. But as his desire for Ryland builds, he wonders how much longer he can wait.

Gregory finally claims Ryland only to learn that by doing so, he has endangered his life. Ryland is a tri-omega and needs two mates to keep him grounded and safe. But he hasn't met his other mate yet, which could be a problem. It could mean Ryland's life if they don't find him.

~Story Excerpt~
Gregory stood in the doorway to the tack room watching Ryland shovel hay in the side horse pen. He had to take a deep breath as he watched the afternoon sunlight glisten off the sweat dripping down his tanned muscled body.

His life at this moment would be so much easier if Ryland would stop working outside without a shirt on. Looking out at his perfect little body he wondered if even that would be enough tonight. His cock was so hard in his pants that he was pretty sure he was going to have zipper marks.

Oh, sweet hell!He groaned to himself as Ryland bent over. His faded blue jeans were straining across his tight little ass. Gregory reached down and rubbed his hand across his aching cock, feeling a small damp spot appear.

Ryland really needed to stop. It seemed that every time Gregory turned around he was doing something that had him all tied up in knots and hard as a rock. Today was no different.
He quickly averted his eyes when Ryland turned in his direction. It wouldn't do to let Ryland see him drooling. He might get it into his head to do something even more aggressive—like drop his jeans. Gregory could always hope anyway.

"Hey, Gregory, I didn't know you were out here." Yeah, right!

"Hey, Ry. I was just cleaning up some of the tack and heard some noises out here. You about done here?" Gregory prayed that his voice didn't betray the arousal he was feeling. It wouldn't do at all for Ryland to figure out how much he was turning him on.

"Almost. I have a little more to do then I'll be done. Jake wanted both pens cleaned up today but I already got the other one done. Why? Did you need me?"

Oh, that wasn't nice! But if Gregory wasn't mistaken, there was a clear invitation in Ryland's voice, one that was very hard for Gregory to ignore.

"No, I just wondered how much longer you'd be. I wouldn't want you to fry out here in the sun. It's a little warm today," Gregory replied, pulling at the collar of his blue cotton shirt.

Warm was an understatement. It was blistering hot and not because of the bright afternoon sun shinning down on them. It was the perfect little body standing right in front of him.

Gregory just couldn't take it any more. He was going to go into town and find someone to relieve the ache Ryland was creating in his pants. He would rather just claim his mate but Ryland still wasn't old enough, not for him. Not for what Gregory wanted from him.

"Look, Ry, I need to go. I have some stuff to do. Don't stay out here too long," Gregory said quickly as he looked away from the tempting chest in front of him.

Gregory turned and shut the tack room door and headed for the house. He needed to go get ready. Get a shower, some clean clothes, and maybe a little cologne. It had been so long since he had tried to attract someone, that he wondered if he even remembered how it was done.
With a little chuckle, Gregory walked into the house and headed for his room. Maybe tonight was just what he needed to get him through the next couple of years until he could claim his mate.
* * * *

Ryland watched Gregory walking into the house. Now where in the hell was he going? Ryland had specifically waited until Gregory came outside to take his shirt off. He was sure that Gregory would see him, maybe want him. Maybe claim him.

He had been waiting nearly two years for Gregory to claim him. He knew Gregory was waiting until he was old enough. He even respected the boundaries that Gregory had set down.
He had still looked forward to his eighteenth birthday with anticipation. He had been so sure that Gregory would finally claim him. But the day had come and gone, along with a lot of others. And still Gregory made no move toward him.

He had tried everything he could think of to let Gregory know he was ready, baring telling him to his face. Nothing seemed to work. Maybe he should just tell him. Maybe that's what Gregory was waiting for.

Ryland shook his head, laughing quietly to himself as he thought about how he might have been able to skip the last two years of longing and misery just by talking with Gregory.

Setting his shovel against the side of the barn, Ryland grabbed his shirt and pulled it on, leaving it unbuttoned. He just needed to go talk with Gregory and they could get this whole thing worked out.

He didn't know why he hadn't thought of this before. It made perfect sense. Gregory had always been so patient with him. He must be waiting until Ryland felt that he was ready before claiming him.

With a little spring in his step, Ryland made his way into the house and upstairs toward Gregory's bedroom. He would just go in and tell Gregory he was ready to be his mate and everything would be okay.

5 Star Review for Kentucky Woman!

I'm happy to say I've received a 5 Star Review for Kentucky Woman from JERR!

Title: Kentucky Woman
Author: Amber Carlton
Reviewer: Stefani Clayton
Rating: 5 Stars
Heat level: O

A recent widow, Jessie McGee discovers her father has died, her twelve-year-old brother Martin is terrified, her childhood home is in shambles and everything her dad had requested upon his death was ignored thanks to his second wife, Ellie. Jessie doesn’t have time to grieve. Instead she loads her brother and what she can of his belongings and heads home to try and come up with a plan. Along the way, she gets a little more than she bargained for when she happens upon two bounty hunters Cutter Raines and Billy Marlow. Jessie mind whirls and a new plan takes shape, but it is dependant upon these men agreeing to her terms.

This is erotic romance taken to an all time high! During the Confederate war, the South was a battlefield for the passionate. This story manages to combine every element of the Confederate war into an exciting love story entwined in a web of lies, secrets, and happy ever after. I laughed, cried and celebrated every achievement with these characters. Jessie is a wonderful character. Strong, smart but vulnerable at times- she was very real and someone I would have been proud to call a friend. Cutter Raines and Billy Marlow will blow your mind! These two have such depth and so many layers to their characters that I found myself falling in love with them more and more throughout. Martin is twelve but I found him charming in his boyish ways. There were other characters, so many in fact I couldn’t begin to name them all, but they made this story come to life. The sexual dynamics started as a bargain and ended up becoming the sweetest reward. Hot, heavy and sometimes a little kinky but always remained secondary to the storyline. By far, one of the best reads of the year! Add Kentucky Woman to your Christmas list, you won’t be disappointed!

Please follow the link for more information:

Thank you!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Angelic Forecast ~ XV

“O the weather is frightful, inside your bubble sphere is so delightful,” I say to the heavenly one, as we gaze at the slash of icy pellets with tiny snowflakes interspersed.
“Yes, weather wars are partly responsible,” he states seriously.
I sigh long and deep. “Yes, these days who knows what’s real weather and what has been manipulated.”
“In the long run of time, it will work against them. Those who are responsible. So it has been written by the Divine of Divines.”
“I hope so,” I murmur, wishing things were different, better for all us on planet Earth.
“You will notice as the magical date of Christmas approaches, the light will gradually increase in the skies.”
“The Winter Solstice? When the days lengthen again?” I ask for clarification, although I don’t think that is what the cherub refers to.
“The Winter Solstice is a *7* day this year...highly spiritual.” He pauses, casting forth a golden ball of light which illuminates the inside of the sphere and makes the raining ice crystals appear like tiny striking golden stars. I stare in wonder. “That is, the opportunity to reach for your highest spiritual self and discover a new, bolder way to live,” he continues.
“Yes, we could all glow brighter in our world. Cast our light over each other.”
“Like larger and brighter candle flames.” He waves his hand and for an instant the ice pellets become the brightness of flame, thousands of them.
“Wow,” I whisper. “Trippy.”
“To answer your question,” he croons angelically, “more sacred light is being sent. It will make the skies of beloved Earth appear more radiant...ever more radiant.”
I smile...

For the following week expect the unexpected. Whenever the ‘unexpected’ is the kind you find difficult, turn to your higher self and seek the guidance which is always available. When those you love face their unexpected challenges, advise them from your own knowledge and encourage them to seek spiritual guidance. For now is the time for all of us to share our knowledge and our experiences with each other at an even deeper level. This will bring about new and better ways for us all and lighten whatever our personal burdens are. Such gifts to each other cannot be underestimated in this time of turmoil on the world stage.

Happy Holidays & Angelic blessings from Volcano & Sedona



Where angels fear to tread, 2012 Earth ~
Is a stranger on a superspeed motorcycle her savior from the brutal endtimes?

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? ...more

Author Discovery by Lindsay Townsend, BookStrand author of FLAVIA’S SECRET and A SECRET TREASURE ~

WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS ~ adventure fantasy erotic romance ~ available from BookStrand ~ ~ ~

Kiss from Savanna Kougar...

~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~ ~

Next week's fortune cookie from Mudflat -


TARBABY TROUBLE, Mudflat book 1, 2009 Eppie finalist in Fantasy category
WELCOME TO MUDFLAT, BABY, book 2, 2009 Eppie finalist in Fantasy/Paranormal Romance category
The winners will be announced at the national EPIC convention in Las Vegas in March.

For more predictions from Claire, the Mudflat fortuneteller, and for chapters and blurbs about the 2009 Eppie finalists, seeya at

Order the Mudflat books at

Siren-Bookstrand Christmas Party

Hi! Join us for a full weekend on December 20 and 21st when we party away for Christmas!

It's all happening next weekend on the Siren-Bookstrand Group:

Christmas Crackers - Contests. Prizes. Hunks. Christmas Stocking Fillers. (Need a last minute gift? Our Stocking Fillers could give you that perfect present - especially to yourself. There will be excerpts galore to savour, from Christmas -themed stories and from other stories.)

Christmas Dreams. Share your hopes and wishes for this festive season. Be transported as our writers share their 'Couples' First Christmases.' What happens to your favourite characters at Christmas? Here's a chance to find out!

Christmas Times. Come and join in as we chat about Christmas past and present and share good memories and stories. Tell us your favourite Christmas song. Wow us with your best Christmas memory.

Christmas Fun. Recipes. Candies. Drinks. Chatter. Jokes.

All welcome! Tell your friends. Come as and when you can - it's all weekend on December 20-21st, right here:

Best wishes, Lindsay

Lindsay Townsend


FLAVIA'S SECRET - sensual historical romance set in Roman Britain.
Bookstrand 4.5 Red Roses and Blue Ribbons. 4
Books. Book of the Week at LASR 4 Stars.

A SECRET TREASURE - sweet romantic suspense set on Rhodes. Bookstrand. The
perfect holiday read. 5 Stars. 4.5 Red Roses. 4
Cups. 5 Angels. 4 Books. 4 Bookmarks

[Mistletoe and ribbon from]

Friday, December 12, 2008

Available now from SirenBookstrand

Midnight Rodeo

When the rodeo rolls into town, bar owner Talia's only interest is the extra money the increase in trade will bring. What she doesn't yet know is how the sexy blond Reb and the dark, mysterious Cody will make her question everything she ever believed about men, sex and her own desires.
Not only are the cowboys lifelong buddies but they also seem to have the same taste in women--each sending her clear and persistent signals that they want her while fully aware of the interest of their friend.
Unable to resist the lure of her own private rodeo, she succumbs to the cowboys' overwhelming mutual seduction. The relationship intensifies, sparking a rivalry between the friends that forces Talia to choose between them.
As the Rodeo leaves town again, will Talia have nothing but hot memories to remember it by--or will she be giving the cowboy of her dreams a Midnight Rodeo of his own?

Watch a video of Midnight Rodeo

"This story was fun to write! Who wouldn't love not one but two sexy cowboys, both determined to drive you wild? Cody and Reb are as visually different as two men can be - one blonde and serious, the other dark and brooding - but they have one important thing in common. They both want Talia!" ~ Luxie

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New trailer for Serena's Song, by Raina James

Good afternoon,everyone.

Congratulations to the Lovely Lara on her new release, The Mistletoe Mistake. That cover sure is tantalizing -- yum! -- and I have no doubt it will be an exciting read. Lara sure knows how to keep the words sizzling on the page.

I'm just going to slide in quickly with an invite to check out the new video trailer for Serena's Song, my contemporary romance. I am so thrilled with what my friend, Andy Tomec, came up with, I just had to share. Please don't hesitate to tell me what you think. :)


The Mistletoe Mistake by Lara Santiago Releases Today!

Blind Date After Dark 3
The Mistletoe Mistake

By Lara Santiago

Erica Porter's new job might be her last. Kissing your married boss has a way of getting you fired. But the man under the mistletoe isn't who he seems and as their relationship grows, so do the secrets. How much longer will she have to pay for her mistletoe mistake?

Quentin Thorne has successfully avoided getting caught under the mistletoe for the bulk of his adult life without regret. However, his brother's new employee is about to change his views on Scandinavian legend.

Sensuality Rating: SCORCHING
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance
Length: 19,000 words

"Have you ever been on a blind date? Chicken that I am, I never went on one so now I explore the concept of blind dates and their infinite possibilities in my writing. Hope you enjoy my vivid imagination in the Blind Date After Dark series." ~ Lara ~

This is my latest "holiday" story. :)
Check it out.


To purchase The Mistletoe Mistake CLICK HERE

Glowing Review for "Mucho Caliente!"

"“Mucho Caliente!” / romantic comedy
Reviewed by Terri for Night Owl Romance, December 2008 (
Score: 4.75 / 5 Hearts / Reviewer Top Pick

Gemma Talbot is beautiful, intelligent, on her way to Ibiza, and recently divorced. Her ex, Richard, left her for an older woman telling Gemma that she was too immature and impulsive. It didn’t help that Gemma instead of listening to the music popular in her 20s listened to the current popular music in her late 30s. Now, she’s ready to take control of her life and start a new chapter. She’s off to stay with a friend and earn living painting old chandeliers. Little did she dream or imagine that her life was about to change sitting in coach on an airplane.

Latin heart-throb, Emilio Caliente, decided on the spur of the moment to run away from his manager, his last single flopping and his recording label not happy with his new album. That’s why he is sitting in coach in a not very good disguise. All he wants is a little peace and quiet. Talking to the woman next to him on the plane wasn’t on his agenda but he was taught to be polite.

Upon landing, a mix up of bags and a need of a ride seem to force these two very unlikely people into each others company where they find themselves wanting to know more about the other. Add several members of a fan club, the ex husband, a psycho manager and a lot of misunderstandings and you end up with a seriously fun book to read with more twists and turns than expected.

This book doesn’t just gloss over the insecurities of either main character but lets the reader live through them with the characters. What woman doesn’t worry about those extra pounds and sagging especially when standing next to some young thing? How do you deal with a morning after with a rock star? And is she after me or my fame? And how do I find out without seeming like an egotistical jerk? Better yet, how do you deal with your ex when you’re with your new friend? These problems and more are realized and resolved though not always easily, quickly or in the way expected.

Because you saw the characters flaws and concerns, they became real. Not only did the main characters seem real but the other characters were given enough depth that you felt as though you knew them. The secondary characters added interest and gave a more rounded feel to the story. Emilio’s band was important to his life so it makes sense that they should interact with him. Gemma was going to live with a friend so having her around was natural. These personal relationships made the give and take of daily living and the rough road of a new relationship have a context.

My only confusion was the references to high school. High school is a US school and though Gemma being in the US was briefly mentioned most of her past was European based making a US upbringing hard to imagine. Still, it was a very small issue and didn’t really distract from the story. I’m thinking this was to appeal to US readers who for the most part don’t understand or know anything about schools in other countries. But, it is pretty much a minor detail.

I loved the way Gemma’s thoughts and fears were made known and shown. I loved that she was a regular woman just like me and my friends. I liked that there were problems and life didn’t go smoothly. I think the best part was the ending and that I’m not sharing! This was one twist and turn that I didn’t expect and fully appreciated."