Friday, May 30, 2008

Introducing Tracy L. Ranson

Hello! I'm a new author at Bookstrand, Tracy L. Ranson. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to do this but I just moved into a brand new home and the move about killed me. I told my husband that next time, we're hiring a moving crew. I'm not doing that again.

Anywho, I wanted to introduce everyone to my new book, PIRATES OF THE MIST. What woman doesn't love a bad boy pirate? Michaela Martin dreams of the pirate Tristan Hamilton, notorious 'Scourge of the Seven Seas' but never imagines that she's going to meet the handsome man in person, especially since he'd been dead for almost three hundred years. Thanks to the fog rolling in on Coral Cave beach the night of the anniversary of his death, her fondest wish has come true.

There are quite a twists and turns so it as well so that will keep you up late in the night! Bookstrand was gracious enough to put this book into print in Feb of 2009. I can't wait to hold it in my hands.

I have a lot more books under consideration so I'll be back soon to blog a little bit more about it.

Tracy L. Ranson
Passion and Desire.....Across Time

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Introduction to Jordana Ryan

Hi everyone,

I'm Jordana Ryan! So excited to be here. I have two releases coming from BookStrand. Sweet Dreams is a Contemporary Suspense novella. Gillian never dreamed of running the bakery in her small town, but now that she does, she loves it like nothing else. She can't imagine her life any different than the way it turned out, until Lucas Jensen ambles back into town and into her life. Seeing the man she once had a huge crush on makes her wonder what life would have been like had she left the tiny town and followed her dreams. When strange things begin to happen to Gillian and it looks as if her life may be at stake, it's up to Lucas to find out who is threatening the woman he is coming to see in a different light and stop them. But can he battle his own demons to save the life of the only woman he has ever met worth fighting for?

Perfect Game is a Contemporary Romance Novel. Jessie Kirk never really knew her father, Dan Kirk, but when her mother dies suddenly, she's determined to either get to know her father or gain closure. Her arrival in Santa Fe, New Mexico is less than welcomed by her father or his team, the Santa Fe Devils. After all, her last visit had been one big disaster. But, Trevor, the star pitcher on the team, can't help but remember the vulnerability he had once seen in the girl.

When a career threatening injury leaves him reeling, Trevor and Jessie discover that together they can take off the masks they wear for everyone else and just be themselves. Can either of them stand what they see in themselves and each other? Or will they go on pretending for the sake of appearances?

Both of these stories are due out in late 2008 with BookStrand Publishing.

Jordana has been writing most of her life, but didn't decide to make a career out of her passion until about a year ago. Jordana has spent most of her life working with adults and juveniles in the criminal justice system, and those fighting mental illness. Jordana enjoys tackling issues that are sensitive and perhaps more emotional and feels fulfilled when a reader says her stories have touched them.
Jordana is a single mom to a beautiful six year old girl and can often be found playing with her daughter, crocheting, or cooking when not writing. Throughout her writing Jordana loves to showcase her second passion of cooking and baking!
Jordana loves to hear from her readers and can be emailed at

Jordana has a website which can be found at
A myspace that can be found at

Jordana also hosts a blogtalk show that can be found at

I'm looking forward to being able to bring you more great stories, and would love to hear anything my readers have to say!

Relishing Your Life

Sunday was my niece’s 16th birthday party. It was an outdoor celebration and the weather was perfect. We couldn’t ask for a better day, better company or better food. But it started me thinking about being 16. About how life is so different now than when I turned 16, many years ago (okay, not so many…but long enough ;)

I began to wonder if the problems facing the young men and women today are different or even harder than when I was a teenager. Life is faster. Cell phones and texting are the order of the day, causing more than one teenager to be distracted while driving. And there is a different expectation of the kids today.

But looking at my beautiful niece and her friends, I also saw the same excitement about life that I had. The same knowledge that you could do anything, be anything you wanted to be. And as I pondered this, I realized that feeling never totally goes away. I was in my thirties before I decided I wanted to write a novel. I wanted to finally realize my dream of writing.

I knew that I could do anything, be anything I wanted to be. Sure, it was different. I had a lot more responsibilities. I wasn’t able to work on my writing craft full time. But the passion was still there. The knowledge that you can go far if you put your mind, and most of all your heart, into it.

Maybe in some ways we don’t change. Maybe the core of us stays the same. If I close my eyes, I can still imagine I am a teenager with my whole life ahead. I can still see myself I my mind’s eye as a young, vibrant girl. Yet, I am happy where I am now. Nearly forty, about to be a mom and with the greatest job in the world—writing.

No, I don’t long for youth. Let my niece relish this time in her life, and I will relish mine.




Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A video for The Soft Edge of Midnight

So I finally got off my duff and made a video for The Soft Edge of Midnight. Should you like to see it? Well here you go...

Ooh, isn't it pretty? I think so. It's the first book video I have ever done, so I'm quite proud of it. The book is in E book and in Print and we have been getting some amazing feedback, including winning several awards such as the E-Cata Sensual Best Love scene for 2007 and the Best Urban Fantasy for the Fantasms 2008! We hope you like!



What's a girl to do? So many to choose from. Too many to list. Our heroes tempt us with six-pack abs, drool worthy pecs, and deep masculine voices. They spill over with testosterone and alpha male attitudes. They charge into battle and burning buildings. Well...because that's what our heroes do.

Some heroes come in alternate forms, like the shape shifting hero, the vamp, and were. There's cowboys, cops, carpenters, Texas Rangers, barons, counts, superstars, firefighters.
Who do we love? I love bad boys, the tortured hero, the all American boy (or should I say man?). A smorgasbord of hot men laid out in front of us. (Smacks lips)

Here's a list of my favorite heroes in no particular order, both fictional and real.

J.T. Dillion from the Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner. To me he's the quintessential tortured hero. And still one of my favorites. He's a lean, mean, fighting machine which is exactly why Tess, the heroine, seeks him out so he can teach her how to fight, to survive. J.T. has been deeply hurt, but Tess drags him out of his grief to train her for battle.

Scott Gandy the hero from The Gamble by LaVeryle Spencer. With his southern charm, he's a sweet talking gambler and rogue. Scott fancies his saloon hall dancing girls, that is until he meets Agatha Dowling. And Agatha is anything but...

Matt Damon Matt always reminded me of the boy next door, that is, until he made the Bourne movies when a whole different side of him emerged. He's not only super sexy, but cunning and crafty as well.

Big from Sex and the City. Now here, ladies, is the quintessential bad boy. He's handsome, rich, suave, and silver-tongued. Big reels Carrie in like a hungry trout. She can't so no to him, won't say no to him, even after she meets Aiden (a good guy). She's willing to jeopardize her relationship with Aiden to be with Big. That's the power of a bad boy.

Anderson Cooper Yes, I'm talking about 360 Anderson Cooper. He's smart, accomplished, funny, and he looks good not only in his spendy suits, but also blue jeans and a tee shirt.

Lucas Davenport If you're a fan of John Sandford's Prey Series you know who I'm talking about. He's tall, dark, and rich. But most important of all, he's a cop with confidence. And Lucas definitely knows how to seduce the ladies.

Kurt Russell One of my all time favorite actors. It doesn't matter what movie he stars in, I'm there. I mean, really there. (Sigh.)

Terrence Howard This man is drool worthy. He moves with the natural grace of a wild animal, but has this sexy smile. In the movie, The Brave One, he broke the rules, his own code of ethics to protect Jodi Foster. He even took a bullet for her.

Hawk Rivers The hero from Karly's Drifter, by yours truly. Okay, I had to throw one of my heroes into the mix. I love all of my heroes. After all, I created them. For me, there has always been something about Hawk. He's the epitomy of a tortured hero. He's lean and mean. Hawk has suffered and he survived. When he meets up with Karly Jackson, Hawk makes it very clear to her what he wants. Hawk has been hardened by life, but Karly won't and doesn't back down.

Fox Mulder My favorite FBI agent from The X Files. On a quest to ferret out the truth, the sexy agent doesn't take no for an answer. We all know, if necessary, he would take a bullet for Scully.

Who's yours?

Sage Burnett

For the Love of Cover Art ~ When a Good Angel Falls

One of the best things about walking into a bookstore for me, besides all of those fantastic books just begging to be read, is the magical invitation of cover art. Yes, there’s also the wonderful smell of all those books, tempting and teasing all of us acknowledged bookaholics. There they sit on their shelves and endcaps, in the bargain bins, waiting to find their right homes, ready to be ensconced in our shopping bags.

But before I choose which ones to buy, whether it’s an adventurous escape into romance or my eclectic appetite for non-fiction, anything from travel to building that next deck, I look at the pictures, those amazing displays of graphic art.

Now, in the age of cyber cover art, I’m in a beautiful-color paradise of images designed to catch my eye and lure me to the click-buy button.

Today! I’m showing off my cover art for When a Good Angel Falls, coming from Siren-BookStrand late in 2008, and currently featured on the new BookStrand site. Jinger Heaston is the cover artist and I think she beautifully captured my story. I couldn’t be happier. Kudos, Jinger!

When a Good Angel Falls ~ 2012 futuristic ~ The end of the Mayan Calendar
A world-weary, worn-out, incarnated angel who believes she is merely human has three choices: let the Nazerazzi of the North American Union capture her, walk out into the desert night and let the wildlife have a meal, or trust a mysterious stranger on a black motorcycle.

All Shades of Blue Paradise [World of the Blue Pearl Moon, Book I] ~ available from Siren Publishing ~ ~
Pleasures of Blue Lotus Oil [World of the Blue Pearl Moon, Book II] ~ coming from Siren Publishing
When a Good Angel Falls ~ coming from BookStrand late in 2008
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Wednesday's Words for May 28, 2008

Yesterday I went to the grocery store, and I have an announcement to make.

Men should not be allowed to go grocery shopping alone. Ever.

This is a subject that I’ve longed to address for some time. I’ve held off, because I wanted to be certain that y’all knew me well enough to understand that this announcement is not made out of any anti-male sentiment. I have no anti-male sentiment. I do, however, believe that men and women are wired differently, and thus suited to different tasks in life. And one task men are definitely not suited for is grocery shopping.

Normally, this isn’t much of an issue for me. Sometimes it does arise, however, like when you have a man pushing a shopping cart, with a couple of kids tagging along, running here and there, nearly getting mowed down by other shoppers, grabbing things off the shelf and trying to dump them into the basket while the man wonders when, exactly, he lost control of the situation. Those moments you want to take the man back to where the carts are and point out the ones that have the red kiddie seats—complete with seat belts—which undoubtedly his wife uses when she comes in his stead.

And sometimes it’s a very minor issue, like when you encounter a man looking from his list, to the shelf, complete helplessness etched upon his face. Feeling charitable you say, “May I help?” He asks, with desperate gratitude in every syllable, “What is ‘tomato sour’? It’s right here on the list my wife gave me but I can’t find it anywhere.” You in turn kindly ask, “May I see the list, please?” He thrusts it at you eagerly and you read and it then ask, “Do you suppose she wants tomato soup?” That’s worthy of a chuckle and you get to do a good deed in the bargain, so that’s not too bad.

And then there are times like yesterday.

Now that I think about it, this could have been an object lesson from above. I do have a problem with patience (I know, I know, it’s hard to believe. I think so too. My family, however, begs to differ.). Here’s how it all played out.

I had whipped through the grocery shopping at near break-neck speed. Before leaving the house, I had compiled my list in my usual efficient manner, and happily, everything in the store was exactly where it was supposed to be. I pulled into one check-out line, then realized three things simultaneously. One, there were three other carts ahead of me; two, the clerk was young and chatty and moving very slowly; and three, the lane two registers to my right had just two shoppers, the one whose order was being processed and a man with a cart that was but half full.

Needless to say, I changed lanes. And this was my mistake.

I noticed that shopper number one’s order was nearly finished, and that the belt was empty.
Then the man ahead of me reached into his cart. Ah, good, I thought. I’ll be out of here in no time.

Sadly, this proved not to be the case.

Yes, the man had reached into his cart – for his ‘green’ bags. Many of us in this area use the re-usable shopping bags, rather than taking the disposable plastic ones offered free at the check-out. He proceeded, then, to open each bag – he had five of them - and inspect the interior of each one before placing it, open, on the belt. They took up the entire belt. The cashier said good-bye to the previous customer, and turned to Mr. Mom in front of me, greeting him in a friendly manner while gently taking his fully opened bags off the belt, and folding each one so that she could set them aside, ready for her to use.

The gentleman then began to sort through his cart, and place his items, one by one, on the belt. First up were five red delicious apples. How do I know there were five? The same way I know he bought 2 green peppers, 2 red peppers, and 2 red onions. Because he had chosen to eschew the little plastic veggie bags offered in the produce aisles (lest you think he was just being ‘green’ he did use those bags for other things). Added to the belt to finish off his produce department purchases were two heads of leaf lettuce. Dripping wet. On the belt. Then he produced a coupon – I assume the small, withered-looking scrap of paper he held was a coupon – and discussed with the cashier for two entire minutes whether or not this coupon would be honoured.

Triumphant in his cents-off quest, he then waited until all his produce had been rung up and bagged before placing more items on the belt.

On and on he went, examining each item that he took from his cart, fussing over where each item should go on the belt, but every once in a while taking a moment to frown at me (I assure you, my dear friends, that I was not muttering that loud). When his cart was empty and there was a bare six inches of available conveyor belt space, I whipped the green ‘separator’ into place between our orders and began to load my purchases on. I would like to point out that I was finished this before Mr. Mom paid for his booty.

My husband, who had been with me, was chuckling along with me – I thought. I do know he found the man’s manner very strange because he said so. It wasn’t, however, until I overheard him telling our daughter of this adventure that I understood the true source of his humor. “There your mother was, in the checkout line, making notes about this guy the entire time!”
It’s sad, but true. We writers are often underappreciated.


Friday, May 23, 2008


Hi Everyone,
This is Dee Dawning. I thought it was about time I told you about some new releases I have coming out at BookStrand. Yeah!

In July we'll see a great little novel about a young college student and a middle aged cocktail waitress. Here's the blurb:

Is handsome, young Bobby Kramer a dream or a nightmare?

Thrust into her life one night, by peculiar circumstances, Loretta Bishop, seventeen years Bobby’s senior, has been tasked with taking the shy, modest pretty boy under her wing and turning him into a lady’s man.

Free spirited and sexually adventurous, Loretta is eminently qualified to teach him the elements of pursuit, seduction and how to please women.

At first, being with Bobby seems like a dream, but clouds begin to gather from Loretta’s spotty sometime sordid past. Feeling guilt after Bobby asks to marry her, Loretta is no longer able to continue and runs away.

Now, it’s up to Bobby to put the methods Loretta has taught him to practical use. Will he succeed and parlay his new talents into love, wealth and power?

Next in August of September will be my spicy Novelette, By the Book. Again the Blurb:

Danny Williams is pleasantly surprised when Sarah, his comely wife, proposes a game to engender fresh excitement into their flagging sex life, one Friday night.

Handing a copy of an erotic novel to Danny, she suggests they re-enact a sex scene from the book once a week. After acting out the first scene, skeptical Danny is convinced and looking forward to for the next 'By the Book' night.

However, Sarah has a plan within a plan. Things start to unravel and events swing beyond Danny’s control, ultimately changing their lives, FOREVER.

Finally, sometime after By the Book my very naughty teaser, Gizmo will be released. Blurb:

Constance Palmeroy receives a package for the future. She opens it and discovers an 'Interactive Transference Device.' Reading the instructions, she realizes that the device will allow her to enter anyone elses body, even of someone on TV or on a recording. After playing around with it for awhile, she drags out a porn movie that features a guy she always drooled over and that's when the fun begins.

New Reviews!

In the last couple of weeks I've received several new reviews for several of my books at Siren and wanted to share them here:

“I like this author because she does not sugar coat but goes for the jugular, she goes to the point without too many flowery scenes and not too many or over the top sexual scenes. In The Wolf in the Mansion there was suspense, action, intrigues and included witches and shape shifters. It was an interesting mixture with non-stop action but it worked effortlessly whether it was the dialogue or speculation of the suspect.” Joyfully Reviewed by Nellie. Read the full review here:

* * * *

“Gracie McKeever delivers yet again with Spells Cast In Shadows. Once again, the prolific storyteller creates an imaginative world of awesome spiritual wonder, set against the backdrop of a compelling tale of love and desire. As always, McKeever’s strength lies in the uniqueness of her characters, which, for a world of centaurs, elves, and other mystical creatures, can be quite a challenge. McKeever, though, not only manages to breathe realistic life into the supporting cast, but she does so with what has become her trademark original touch, enriching the overall story with creative flare.

Of course, fans of a good love scene will never be disappointed in McKeever’s prowess with the “pulsating pen.” Her ability to spark unbridled, though tasteful, arousal through the frequent flesh battles of her characters is quite simply erotica at its finest.

As with all her other works, Spells Cast In Shadows will only increase Gracie McKeever’s growing legion of devoted readers. Her signature literary style continues to improve and is never a letdown.” 4 Stars, Josee Morgan for Apex Reviews. To read full review visit here:

* * * *

“Gracie McKeever tells a wonderful story of finding love again. Emilia’s Emancipation will make you happy just reading it, and the night of incredible passion between Emilia and Ramón was more than enough to have me looking for a cool breeze!

This story brings hope to all those who think they’ve lost their only chance at love. Don’t pass this one up, it’s a keeper.”

B+ (Recommended Read) by Lynda for Simply Romance Reviews. To read the full review, visit there:

* * * *

“IN PLAIN SIGHT by Gracie C. McKeever is one story you can’t miss. This book had me glued to the edge of my seat until the very ending. The characters in this book were well developed. I felt a connection with Sam right away and I could feel her passion for life just jump off the pages. I also connected with Dara Kelly right way. She has a “her way or the highway” attitude that I loved and thought completed this story perfectly. I have to mention the sexy Caution, who is a very hot leading male for this story; he made me tingle with his sexy words. Of course the villains in this story were also great. After all, what is a suspense story without a villain to jump out and grab someone? I thought this plot was well written and very exciting. I had no idea which way the story would turn and what new character would pop in next to surprise me. This left me excited for more dark and twisting fun. The ending caught me by complete surprise. This book was a great way to get away from everyday life. I recommend you pick this book up and spend the afternoon in a sexy and mysterious tale.” 5 Pixies, Becky Gaede, Dark Angels Reviews. To read the full review, visit here:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A new cover for my forthcoming historical romance


I'm already delighted with my cover for 'Flavia's Secret,' my historical romance set in 206AD in Roman Britain.

Now I'm delighted again - by the new cover for my forthcoming historical romance, 'A Secret Treasure'. Thank you, Jinger, and Siren-BookStrand!

'A Secret Treasure,' is a perfect holiday read, a 'sweet' historical romance set on the Greek island of Rhodes.

Here's the blurb:

With war threatening, even on the idyllic island of Rhodes, how can Eve protect her family while loving a potential enemy?

Shy, warm-hearted Eve meets Julio on the gorgeous island of Rhodes and is smitten, but the handsome, energetic Italian is a policeman, one of the Fascist oppressors of her adopted homeland. Eve dreads she will have to choose between Julio, whom she loves, and the safety of her English family.

The Greek island of Rhodes: luxurious and hot, beloved haunt of the Sun God, steeped in the mysteries of the past. In the late 1930s, in the gathering storm-clouds of war, it is a dangerous place to fall in love.When pretty, passionate Eve Burnett meets the darkly intriguing Julio Falcone she is torn. As a man, Julio is powerfully attractive. As a policeman, he is bound to be a Fascist. Her brother David, who is missing, is connected to the Greek partisans who wish to liberate Rhodes from their Italian overlords.Now, as David appears at their parents' house soon after Julio makes Eve's acquaintance, Eve is compelled to hide her brother and a mysterious gold statuette. The Fascists are looking for him and this secret treasure. Soon, Eve realizes that she may be forced to choose between the man she loves and the ultimate safety of her family.

I feel Jinger has perfectly captured the 'feel' of the period and the location. What do you think, please?

Lindsay Townsend

Tarbaby Trouble

TARBABY TROUBLE by Phoebe Matthews
Reviewed by Bill Newman

At a writers' workshop recently one of the speakers said that a reader will always be hooked if the voice of the author is compelling. I'd not read much in the fantasy genre so I decided to test his theory and eagerly pounced on Ms. Matthews to ask her to let me review Tarbaby Trouble.

Knowing I was new to the genre, the author made me promise to toss the book out if I couldn't get past the first dozen pages. Every author says that, but two hundred and fifty pages and two days later I finally put it down. And such is the breakneck pace of the story that I wondered where those two days had gone.

Fleeing a Seattle criminal and his low-life associates, the heroine joins some friends on a wilderness trip. Separated from the group, and lost, she is found by a young man dressed as a barbarian. At first she thinks she has stumbled into the filming of a reality show that looks like Survivor meets historical reenactment. But alas, it is not a movie set and she finds herself the prisoner of Prince Tarvik. The young barbarian prince turns out to have a father modeled on Vlad the Impaler and an even more scary uncle and Machiavellian aunt who want to take over the kingdom.

Stripped of the 21st Century accoutrements upon which her normal life depends, the heroine (who selects the name Stargazer for herself) falls back on her knowledge of astrology to gain the upper hand. To say more would ruin the story, but suffice to say Stargazer will need all of her wits to thread her way through the plots and counter plots in the strange land, and to avoid being beheaded (yes, literally).

Oh, and did I mention that Ms Matthews endows the heroine with an outstanding sense of humor? It means the reader is treated to a cute, comical and at times satirical commentary on life in the primitive land. The humor starts on page one and keeps the endorphins flowing until the last page.

The plot is fiendishly clever (like the heroine) and all fits together like a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle. The clues are all there and Ms. Matthews challenges the reader to keep up with Stargazer's furious pace on her journey of survival and self discovery.

By the way, once you reach the last 100 pages, don't plan on going anywhere until you've finished.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wednesday's Words for May 21, 2008

You have to believe in yourself.

Let me state that again, because I want to make absolutely certain you read the words at least twice: you have to believe in yourself.

Yes, I know that’s easier said than done. But do you understand that believing in yourself is at the very heart of every single one of life’s successes?

I encounter a lot of people day-to-day; some of them face-to-face, and some only on line. And an amazing number of these people have little or no self-esteem, or have no faith in themselves whatsoever.

That used to be me. Not that many years ago, I was the one who would walk with my head down, I was the one who didn’t have a very high opinion of myself, who believed that I didn’t deserve good things in my life, let alone success, or the respect of others.

How did that change for me? Two things happened. The first was someone dared me to believe in myself for thirty days. Seriously. I thought it was a load of horse pucky at the time, but this person dared me, and I accepted the challenge. I wrote down three good things about myself, and I wrote a mantra– just a few lines of a statement of belief in me. Every morning before I got out of bed, every afternoon before lunch time, and every night before I went to bed, I recited this mantra. Every day I added one “good thing about me” to the list. For thirty days.

It wasn’t an instant cure for my incredibly low self-esteem, but I did notice that at the end of the thirty days I was happier, and I did feel better about myself. Because I felt better about myself, I began to do better. So I decided to carry on with this new “good habit”.

Every morning I’d be greeted by someone who would say to me, “How are you today?” and I would invariably answer, “I’m terrific!” And on those days when I really didn’t feel so hot? I’d answer the same thing, “I’m terrific!” Because I’d discovered by that time that my subconscious was an extremely malleable creature. If I said something enough times, my subconscious believed me and worked to make it so.

That’s why it is so very crucial that you never, ever trash talk yourself. Because if you say anything often enough, it becomes reality.

This isn’t new-age anything I’m telling you about. This is a truth that is as old as...well, as old as time. You have, I’m sure, heard this ‘natural law’, expressed as a Proverb: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

The second thing that happened was I began to consciously practice what you’ve heard me refer to several times in these essays as “the giving of increase”. That doesn’t mean you go around giving people money or gifts—although there may be a time or two when you need to do just that. What it means is that you make the effort, in every encounter, to do or say something positive. It’s very true that people will remember how you made them feel long after they’ve forgotten anything you ever said. I took up this new habit, and now it’s second nature to me. Not that I’m perfect – far from it. But I make the conscious effort each day to be positive, and to smile. I smile when I’m all alone. I smile when I answer the telephone, because I know people can hear the smile in my voice. I’m grateful, every single day, for every blessing I’ve been given. I say “please” and “thank you” as a matter of course, and I laugh easily and often. When I chat with friends or relatives, or strangers on the street I strive to put my best foot forward. Where compliments are warranted—or needed—I give them. Where a helping hand is requested, I supply it. I honestly believe in the giving of increase. I strive (and thankfully rarely fail) never to say bad things about people, repeat negative gossip, or insult anyone—even behind their backs. Words of edification will never come back to bite you in the butt.

If you can make someone feel better for having encountered you, I think it’s the greatest thing you can do in the whole world. In return, you’ll find after a time that you have very few dark days, you’ll feel absolutely wonderful inside, and you’ll welcome each morning as the precious gift it is. This practice of the giving of increase is also as old as time, and a natural law. Some people call it, perhaps a tad cynically, “what goes around, comes around.” But I prefer its other name.

The law of sowing and reaping.

Recipient Golden Rose Award 2008 Best Debut Novel – Made For Each Other
Recipient Golden Rose Award 2008 Best Erotic Novel – Lily In Bloom

Hot Heroes ~ Interview with Baron Zaggry Dhio Vettura ~ Wagering in the World of the Blue Pearl Moon

Wagering is a way of life in Baron Vettura’s aristocratic world, especially on any horse sport. And with the revival of the war horse sport of Braverth, all bets are definitely on, amid the swirling dangers of plots and constant intrigues.
Today, I thought I’d let my hero in All Shades of Blue Paradise, Book I & Pleasures of Blue Lotus Oil, Book II ~ speak for himself on the subject of wagering in the World of the Blue Pearl Moon

An interview with Baron Vettura ~
Wagering in the World of the Blue Pearl Moon

Baron Zaggry Dhio Vettura entered the Regent’s extravagantly appointed reception chamber. Immediately he strode toward the woman comfortably seated on an elegant chair designed for her small, curve-flowing body. The Emissary from the green-water world of Vhesphia, the planet residing in the inner orbit next to his world, had arrived requesting to interview him.

Bowing over her slender four-fingered hand, Baron Zaggry briefly pressed his lips upon her dolphin-like skin. Rising, he offered her the warmth of his grin, and the admiring flash of his gaze. "Emissary Gjylish, may I compliment your slim loveliness and the jade-sheen beauty of your complexion?"

"Baron Vettura, you may...of course." Her natural throat-deep voice held feminine giggles, surfacing like bubbles. "And may I compliment the promptness of your appearance. My request to interview you must have caused your personal schedule some strain. I can only apologize, however, the people of my world have been devouring news of the Braverth, and are particularly fascinated with the idea of wagering on sport events. A cultural way we do not possess. Please..." She floated her delicate arm toward the chair facing her.

Pivoting, Baron Zaggry seated himself. Lounging back like the golden cougar his Sheridan called him, he steepled his fingers and focused his full attention on the bright-eyed Vhesphian. "Your command of our formal language is most superior, Emissary Gjylish. What question would you ask first?"

"In our culture wagering occurs on games of chance and intuitive skill. Certainly not with the level of zeal your culture displays. How did high-coin wagering become such a passionate past time?"

Zag smiled suavely, lacing his fingers. "I believe high-coin wagering was born of idleness in the beginning. Once a generation was born in our history, where diligent work was no longer required, and wealth was available, the fierce boundless energy of youth demanded a past time which would excite them, and consume their passionate restlessness. Wagering, gambling...swiftly became a manner of sport, along with the various sporting games, which also originated as entertainment at that time. This new breed of sporting entertainments alleviated boredom, and brought about pleasure-vigorous ways of socializing with each other, of meeting one’s future husband or wife, especially for the most elite of the aristocracy."

"Indeed, the ways of your aristocratic society continue to fascinate the people of my world. Yet, why the avid and frenzied level of wagering on a horse sport? Wouldn’t the pleasure and excitement of watching the Braverth be excitement-fulfilling enough?"

"Truth to your ear, Emissary Gjylish," Baron Zaggry charmed, "the Braverth, indeed, all horse events, fulfill my requirement for excitement and entertainment. Without any need for wagering. However, coin-fortunes or other invaluable favors are to be gained by successful wagering."

"Yes, one of the differences between us. Our society remains more communal, all to be shared. Our wagering is more for the tiny joys of winning a prized gem or a collection of gems. Whereas, your people thrive on the chaotic rise and fall of winning fortunes or favors by gambling on the swiftness and skill of a rider upon a horse. Is that not so?"

"Yes, many in our world do pursue what we call the ‘bliss-rush’ of the win, similar to the natural high of winning a sporting event. Still, there are many other dynamics at play. Often gains in coin are used in productive ways, to improve one’s land and home, to support an enterprise, which maintains the richness of our overall economy. Although, certainly, there are those who squander their gains in a juvenile and irresponsible manner."

"Is not wagering also used as a method to possess power or take away an individual’s power?" With eel-like fluidity, the Vhesphian woman leaned forward, slightly adjusting her media recording globe.

Alert to the interview trap she set, Baron Zaggry languidly adjusted his posture, to one where he appeared more relaxed, and more in mastery of the situation. "True, Emissary Gjylish. The ebb and flow of power is, at times, influenced by wagering. A simple example would be, if I win a large purse, and use it to my advantage by growing one of my business enterprises, I gain in power and in notice, therefore my words carry greater weight."

"Baron Vettura, there is a bold curiosity about how wagering is used in what your society calls ‘intrigues’, or what we would view as hidden deceits practiced to gain an unfair advantage. Could you provide an example for our understanding?"

Lazy as a hunger-satiated cougar, Baron Zaggry allowed his lips to curve in a smile. "Perhaps," he teased, pausing for a moment. "As you, and the good people of your realm, must realize, our ‘intrigues’ have evolved along with the complexity of our culture, and have become multi-entangled layered webs used for a variety of reasons and purposes. For love, for carnal appetite, for the gain of coin, as a way to broker power and favor. Indeed, for any impassioned motivation. Of course, that would include revenge and spying. And sun-obviously, and too often, greed."

Baron Zaggry shifted, propping his booted foot on top of the resting stool with a feral elegant ease. "However, I have not provided an example, have I? Perhaps, you will further define what you wish to know, Emissary Gjylish." Friendly as a cougar expecting dinner, he smiled once again.

"Of course, Baron Vettura, I will define what I and my people wish to know." Her eyes glowed, tiny bolts of emerald lightning streaking toward the pupils of her eyes. "There are updates several times each day on your media venues about the immense amount of wagering in the gambling entertainment salons. There is also speculation about the intrigues which are playing out. Why do so many gamble on who will triumph in the Braverth. Will it be your slave lover, Lady Sheridan. Or, will Lord Gawaith prevail? And what manner of intrigue do you play out?"

Baron Zaggry allowed his steepled fingers to lace and unlace leisurely before he answered. "My slave lover, Lady Sheridan, rides to victory in the Braverth, to win the security of our horse lands. And to triumph as warrioress. It is that simple, and that complicated in our world. Certainly, various intrigues swirl around us like the lavish gown skirts of our women swirl, as they splendidly and gracefully dance during our evening entertainments.

"Lord Gawaith has been my slave lover’s devoted adversary in the horse sports where they compete, for several riding seasons now. He carries an obsession of spirit, the prideful need to defeat Lady Sheridan by his superior skill and by his personal mastery of the horse war game, Braverth

"There are many who believe my slave lover suffers a depletion of her physical prowess...given my carnal appetite for her. They would also believe she could not be as warrioress-determined in her ability to triumph, since she has yielded to me as her master.

Baron Zaggry raised one dark auburn brow, then continued, "Your example follows, Emissary Gjylish of the esteemed Vhesphia World. Is my interview with you part of an intrigue I deftly play against my enemies? Are my words, concerning my slave lover, mere deception? Or are they the truth as some would observe and believe?

"What is intrigue?" Baron Zaggry brought the fierce intensity of his gaze to bear on the Emissary, who leaned forward as if she was about to learn the end of a media-novel mystery. "What is not? Shadow or the mirror reflection upon a blue crystalline lake...and would I wager against Lady Sheridan’s victory in the Braverth, simply to gain another high-coin sum?" Baron Zaggry smiled like a hunt-triumphant cougar, who rested after dining on meaty succulent flesh. "There are some who believe my nature to be so ruthless toward collecting a fortune, I would use my slave lover in such a betraying manner."

Baron Zaggry slowly leaned forward, the lithe power of a cougar. "What do you believe?" He casually un-propped his foot." What is deception? What is not? What wager would you lay down, Emissary Gjylish?"

Do you have a question for Baron Vettura? Present your query in the comment section, and the Baron will answer as his schedule allows.

Or join Baron Zaggry and Lady Sheridan in the World of the Blue Pearl Moon

All Shades of Blue Paradise [World of the Blue Pearl Moon, Book I] ~ available from Siren Publishing ~ ~

Pleasures of Blue Lotus Oil [World of the Blue Pearl Moon, Book II]
~ coming from Siren Publishing

When a Good Angel Falls
~ coming from BookStrand late in 2008

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Monday, May 19, 2008

Phoebe has a CONTEST!

Do you love fantasy, paranormals, adventure stories, all the books that get shelved under Sci-Fi/Fantasy at libraries and bookstores?
Would you like to be a reviewer?
Go to my website for details.

Tarbaby Trouble, Book l, Mudflat series, Bookstrand July 2

Stella's Birthday Bash!

Join us Thursday night at 8pm est for a new kinda chat party! Stella's birthday and a dual party (both on air and in the chat room) and presents galore!

Scheduled to appear: Jacquelyn Frank, Bianca D'Arc, Selena Illirya, Cat Johnson, Alexandra Ivy, Kayleigh Jamison, Tilly Greene, Elizabeth Amber, Allie Boniface, C.H. Admirand, Eliza Gayle, Celia Kyle, Skylar Sinclair, Cara North and Many many others!

Party starts at 8pm at

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

New Review for Going Topless by Renee Knowles

4.5 Enchantments from Enchanting Reviews!! "This is a heartwarming story of love, betrayal and self-discovery, as three women adventure through uncharted emotional territory and realize who they truly are... Renee Knowles did a terrific job taking three completely different personalities, leading them through turmoil as well as self-discovery, and bringing them through to a happy ending. Very good read..."--Desiree-- Enchanting Reviews

Going Topless
by Renee Knowles
Siren Publishing

Buy now in e-book and print at Siren Publishing!

What Others Reviewers Are Saying About Going Topless:

5 Flags! “FANTABULOUS! Absolutely entertaining, charming, witty and real! Renee Knowles is definitely in touch with her feminine side as she breathes life into the various female characters of this book, allowing them to grow and develop as the story progresses. A must read!”—Aya29, Euro-Reviews.

5 Kisses! “Renee Knowles is a brilliant author. She really understands the different journeys all women go through in their lives.... You will really not regret Going Topless.” –Tina, Two Lips Reviews.

5 Roses: "Going Topless is an erotic trip not for the faint of heart. The passion and spark will have you wanting more. Renee Knowles is hot, hot, hot!!! Cheers, Renee, for a huge hit!" —Deb, Sensual Reads


Where sexy men and hot European nights can tempt even the most resistant soul...

Susannah never thought she’d end up 39, widowed and alone. But what does she do when confronted with her late husband's infidelity? What any self-respecting widow might. She allows her sister, Chelsie, to drag her on vacation to Amsterdam, where a hot younger man reawakens her sexuality. But can she learn to love again and escape the pain of the past?

Chelsie Joyner can’t forget her one true love—a man she had an affair with while doing graduate work in Amsterdam. She’s determined to find closure on this trip. But when her prince turns out to be a creep, can she forget him and accept the real man of her dreams?

Read an excerpt here.

Thanks for letting me share!


Renee Knowles
Sensual, Sassy and Slightly Sinful

Hi Siren-BookStrand Siblings,

My Big Day is tomorrow, the release date for Looks Are Deceiving, my Erotic Romantic Suspense, and since I didn’t make it to my high school prom, this definitely rates as one of the top two most exciting days of my life. I don’t remember that first one, but DANG! it must have been great! The newspaper said so the next the police section....wait, that's not good...

Best part of tomorrow? I don’t have to wear high heels! In fact, I’ll be in my jammies and my Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey Mouse hat, and toasting with Kiwi-Strawberry Propel! (If I don’t drink it all tonight. I already polished off that Toblerone. They don’t make those things big enough for me!)

Jenny Penn was so nice to give me a fabulous review (see below) and she didn’t even charge me. (Much! I wouldn’t cash that check this week, Jenny.)

Please stop by the Reader’s Loop tomorrow and celebrate with me! I’ll be giving away a copy of Looks Are Deceiving, telling my best jokes stolen from others, and blabbing about nearly anything that pops into my mind. (My mind is a lonely place, please stop by!)

Thanks goes to Diana and Siren, who believed in me when others told them I didn’t really exist!

Anxiously yours,

Michele Hart

Looks Are Deceiving~~~You Never See Everything.~~~

Discovering Michele Hart's Looks are Deceiving

Looks are Deceiving is a fast paced, engaging novel that captures the reader at the start. Michele Hart employs a technique I appreciate in books by starting the reader off by thrusting directly into a situation where the heroine, Elissa, is challenged by a strange and unusual offer.

By the end of the first chapter, Michele Hart has already captured the reader in the intense chemistry between Elissa and the hero, Greg. The passion builds through the book as the author expertly develops a deeper relationship between Elissa and Greg.

Elissa is a charming mixture of shy and daring, adventurous and pragmatic, sexy and, yes, frumpy at times. Driven by an undeniable attraction for Greg at first, it soon becomes obvious that Elissa’s desires are complicating a much deeper goal.

Greg’s motives are more pure and straightforward, but no less complicated. As the single minded, determined hero, he suffers from a flaw that real men are often accused of. Greg sometimes fails to be direct about the smaller details.

Between Elissa’s intentional deceptions and Greg’s lack of explanations, the plot twist and turns in unpredictable ways. Looks are Deceiving has many layers of depth and a reader would be well advised to keep the title in mind when starting in on this novel. Even once you think you’ve figured it all out, there is still a mystery to be revealed in the last chapter.

Michele Hart thrusts the reader directly into the action from the beginning and keeps them there. With sizzling sex, engaging heroine and hero, a full range of colorful side characters and a well-developed plot, I highly recommend Michele Hart’s novel for anybody who loves their romances filled with suspense.

Jenny Penn
Deception – coming soon in fall from Siren Publishing
Mating Claire – coming soon in fall from Siren Publishing
Cattleman’s Club: Patton’s Way – coming in late fall from Siren Publishing

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Earth-Friendly Print Options

There is a new trend sweeping the publishing industry. Well, actually it isn't new at all. It's been around for some time, but it's just now catching on (finally)! It's called Print On Demand, or POD.

First, let's talk about what POD is NOT. It is not vanity publishing as some would have you believe. Vanity publishing, or self-publishing, is when you take your material, complete your own line edits, find your own printer, print and bind your own books, and sell them yourself. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with self-publishing. I just want to provide the distinction between vanity publishing and POD.

Print on demand with digital technology is used as a way of printing items on demand. In other words, unlike a traditional print run publisher, POD will only print the book when it has been ordered. Traditional publishers print a run of several thousand books right out of the gate with no guarantee even one will sell. This not only ties up a heck of a lot of money in overhead, it also wastes valuable resources (paper, chemicals, time, etc.). If the books don't sell, we now have several thousand books in a land fill somewhere. In this day and age of "green" and protecting our resources, POD really does stand out as the more Earth-friendly approach.

POD has many benefits. Some of them are:

  • You can still order books that otherwise would have been out of print and no longer available. As long as that book is in digital format, it will always be available.
  • Large inventories of a book or print material do not need to be kept in stock, reducing storage, handling costs, and inventory accounting costs.
  • There is little or no waste from unsold products.
  • POD advantages reduce the risks associated with publishing books and prints and can lead to increased choice for consumers.

So there you have it. I hope this helps you understand what POD is and why it is growing in popularity, and why I chose to go with a POD publisher. I'm not going to chain myself to a tree to show my "greener" side, but by choosing an Earth-friendly publisher like Siren-BookStrand, I am showing that I do have one.

Venture - coming soon

“I read your blog on the Siren-BookStrand site, Bill. Did your first wife really call you when she saw the cover of Venture?” Susan asked.

I hesitated. The waitress came to take our dinner orders. Susan rattled off a few dishes then I told the waitress I’d have the same. I wasn’t that fond of Indian food but I knew Susan loved it. “Make mine mild,” I added.

In spite of not liking curry, I would have taken Susan to an Indian restaurant in New Delhi if she’d asked me to. I was that besotted with her. I considered her to be the ideal girlfriend. A divorced librarian, she had no children and didn’t want any. My two kids were grown up, so I wasn’t keen to start a family, either. Moreover, Susan really shone in that part of the house where it mattered, and I don’t mean the kitchen.

“The blog,” Susan said, reminding me what we were talking about, as if I was trying to avoid the subject.

“I did take a certain amount of poetic license,” I replied. “But both of my ex-wives did actually read an early draft of Venture. That bit was true.”

“And the woman on the cover? She’s the protagonist, Lydia, I presume?”

“Of course. And the answer is yes, to your next question, she is a composite of both Wendy and Samantha.”

“So tell me all about Lydia’s character and it’ll give me an idea what kind of woman you like.”

“That’s easy, a woman like you,” I replied.

She laughed. “Nice try.”

I knew it worried Susan that I still communicated with my ex-wives. They were both lovely women, which is not what she wanted to hear. Believing it to be true, Susan could have possibly deduced that the reason I was no longer married to either of them must be because I was a jerk. Instead, her left brain seemed to have concluded I must be still in love with both of them.

“The other point about my blog that was true,” I said, “is that the woman on the cover does look remarkably like my first wife Wendy.”

"Oh, so you prefer blondes?”

Susan was a brunette, not a classically beautiful woman, but she had that dirty-girl look that some men (including this one) find attractive. “You asked me for an insight on the heroine,” I said. “You can’t judge a woman’s character by the color of her hair.”

She laughed so loud I presumed it was the most ludicrous notion she’d ever heard. The people at the next table turned to look at us, and for a moment I thought she might repeat my assertion to them. “Sorry. Go on. What is it about Lydia’s character that makes her a compelling heroine?”

Hmm, this was going to be tricky. My protagonist really did have a lot of the traits of my ex-wives. I had the horrible feeling Susan would try to match those attributes with ones she possessed. I’d maneuvered myself into a situation that had the potential to kill my relationship with her before it even got started. Very clever, William.

“Well, first of all, forget the hair color and the fact that she’s pretty. Those things don’t affect the story or Lydia’s suitability as the heroine.”

Susan leaned forward, linked the fingers of both hands, and rested her chin on them. She nodded. “What does, then?”

“She’s very smart: PhD, IQ in the stratosphere, quick witted, and an expert on DNA. Same sort of qualities you have, really except your skills are literary rather than scientific.”

“Anything else?”

“Yes, she has a strong will and a determination to get what she wants. In this case the guy. And when he finds himself in a pickle with some shady characters, she’s the one who extricates him, risking her own life in the process.”

The food arrived, giving me some breathing space and Susan time to ponder what I’d said about Lydia. It seemed to satisfy her because we moved off the topic and switched to global warming. Don’t get me started on that one!

Book Review - Cowboy Games

COWBOY GAMES by Wendi Darlin
Review by Bill Newman

Being new to the Siren-BookStrand stable I wanted to see what my fellow authors were producing, and how high the bar was. This was especially important to me as I'm a guy in a business where women have a distinct advantage. So first-up I chose Wendi Darlin's highly recommended Cowboy Games.

The plot line is simple: the heroine, Rebecca, goes to a fantasy cowboy ranch to help her heal after losing her husband a year earlier. However, the story is complex and we are hooked immediately when she meets her cowboy host, Gavin. The hunky Harvard-educated cowboy's job is to pamper her for the week, but he is strictly off-limits as regards anything more intimate than a kiss on the cheek. Right!

Ms. Darlin has found a clever way to give the reader an insight into the way women and men approach love, romance, and sex. The story is peppered with twists and turns, villains and victims, and sudden surprises, as Rebecca falls deeper in love with Gavin. It is a love that appears to be mutual. Or is Gavin just doing his job, playing the cowboy game she'd signed up for? After the week's sojourn has ended will he forget her?

There is plenty of close-up sizzling sex for aficionados of erotic romance, and Ms. Darlin finds a way of producing an extremely satisfying climax.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dreaming in Words

Have you ever heard somebody say that they have such great daydreams, but when it comes time to put it to paper, they freeze? Ever felt that way?

This is one of the most common things I hear as a writer. People are always expressing how amazing they think it is that I can write. While they have ideas, they don’t know how to get them from their dreams onto paper.

Over the years, I have responded that they should try, maybe take some writing classes. I was always looking for a response that would encourage them, but, truthfully, I had none. I honestly didn’t understand what they were saying. I’ve never lacked the ability to just sit down and pour out words onto a page.

Then one night I was lying in bed. Not tired, not interested in watching TV or reading or writing, I was doing what I love to do most. I was daydreaming. Something was wrong with the scene and I stopped it, backed it up, and tried to correct it.

That’s when I heard it. Something I had never heard before. I realized it had been there so long, I had tuned it out. It was a voice, reading a story to me, an invisible book, if you will.

I wasn’t really daydreaming, I was writing. Without pen or keyboard, my mind was crafting sentences and feeding them to me to create an image that played out like a movie behind my closed eyelids.

Before you pick up the phone to reserve my padded room, just think about it. Daydreams aren’t some ethereal creation that just floats into a person's head. They’re created by your own mind.

I may not be a neurologist, but there is a connection in the brain that links words with images. When we read, we almost see the story. Is it so hard to believe that the reverse could happen? That as we watch an image being played out, our mind is ordering words into sentences?

Since that moment, I have spent hours honing my craft silently. While I do the dishes, drive to work, in the shower, anywhere and everywhere I let my mind wonder, writing and rewriting dreams in words. It’s little to wonder why, when I finally sit down to type, that the words pour out of me. I’ve been working on that scene for weeks.

While not all, not even most, of the scenes I entertain myself with daily will blossom into a story and make it into a book, they’re still invaluable to me as a writer. Writing, like any skill, requires practice. I, like most people, don’t have all the time to sit around working with paper and pen.

So now when people tell me that they can’t write, I ask if they daydream. When they say they do, I tell them they are already writing. It’s just a matter of listening for that voice.

Okay, now you can pick up the phone and call the men in white. I really wouldn’t mind being locked away for a while. It will give me more time to work on my writing.

Jenny Penn
Deception – coming soon in fall from Siren Publishing
Mating Claire – coming soon in fall from Siren Publishing
Cattleman’s Club: Patton’s Way – coming in late fall from Siren Publishing

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wednesday's Words for May 14, 2008

I just know I’m going to get myself in trouble for this one. Once again, nothing ventured—nothing blown.

I have a personal hot-button issue with regard to the Queen’s English. Now, yes, it’s perfectly fine that there are different versions of the language between our two countries, and when I write my Wednesday’s Words, as with my manuscripts, I more often than not use U.S. English.
But only a handful of words are spelled differently and the rules of grammar are not that dissimilar. It’s not different versions of English that I’m referencing here.

Being an author, I consider words to be my tools; not unlike the way that a carpenter has hammers and saws as his tools, or a blacksmith the anvil, or a plumber the pipe wrench. Words are mine and if you’re a writer, words are yours, too.

And it galls me and pains me when I read excerpts and promotional posts that are full of misspelled words and horrific grammar.

I absolutely shudder when I see the words “unedited excerpt”.

I have to tell you truly, that if I read an excerpt or a promo that slaughters language, that throws our tools around as if they were so many discarded orange peels, I stop reading.

And I will never buy that author’s work.

We all make the occasional spelling error. I know I do, and I kick myself when it happens. That isn’t what I’m talking about. You know what I’m talking about because you’ve all seen them: posts that are not only choppier than Lake Michigan in a thunderstorm to read, but riddled with misspelled words, sloppy grammar and the wrong words.

Wrong words you ask? Indeed. Here are a few examples from just this last week: made for maid; to for too; your for you’re; buy for bye. Perhaps those are understandable. But I’ve also encountered threw for through and thought for though.

Every time I post something in a loop, be it an excerpt, a promotional spot, or these humble words, I strive for clarity, for poetry, and for excellence. Because words are my tools, and I take pride in my ability to use them, I am careful with how I handle them. I strive to write the best stories I can, and the best essays I can, because I am an author and that is what authors are supposed to do.

When I read someone else’s posts that are riddled with errors, I know they’re either ignorant of the correct way to write, or careless in the way they do so. In either case, I don’t want to plunk down cold hard cash to purchase any more of their words. In this instance, the sample really is ample.

Right about now, some of you may be wondering why I let myself get so worked up over this. The answer is quite simple: reputation.

As long as the loops are riddled with authors who are careless with their craft, as long as e-publishing is littered with releases that are sloppily edited or not edited at all, we all pay the price. Readers unfamiliar with the varied and talented offerings by serious authors who’ve been e-published read the slap-dash efforts of these careless sods and judge the rest of us accordingly, sight unseen.

Aside from irritating me, this persistent sloppiness (laziness?) baffles me. Why would anyone who is hoping to sell something they have written not want to take care to make it the best it can be? Why would anyone want to drag down an entire medium, when lifting it up would pay them back a hundred fold?

Someone suggested to me that the real problem is that these ‘authors’ aren’t serious crafts-people at all; they’re merely the Internet’s version of the Carpetbagger.

If that’s the case, I wish they’d all just pack their bags and go home.


LEE SILVER, "Romance with a Twist"

Hi Everybody,

I'm so happy to meet you all (yes I'm a southern gal :) & to be one of BookStrand's flagship authors. I love relaxing on the beach in Ocean City, MD, and we’re going on 16 wonderful years of happily ever after. Our son is grown and living an apron’s string away from mama right here in Norfolk, VA. I'm looking forward to chatting with each and every one of you, sooo don't be shy!

I live a double life, techno geek by day and witchy romantic when the moon is full :) I have always loved to write and have done a fair amount of professional writing for my job. I never did anything creative until I started to have some health issues in the late 90’s. After a geeky reference manual and a few tongue-in-cheek editorials, I thought it would be fun to try my hand at romance.

THE TWIST is my first published novel. A story of mind-bending control and unnerving metamorphosis, THE TWIST unravels the tale of a hotshot consultant as he struggles to foil a plot to steal $12 million and to rescue the feisty, female scientist who has stolen his heart.

THE TWIST is scheduled for release, JULY 8, 2008.

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.

CLICK HERE to read the first chapter of THE TWIST.

Visit me at MySpace to see what's going on in my world.

Let's have fun!

Lee Silver
Romance with a Twist
THE TWIST, Coming July 8, 2008 from BookStrand Publishing

Monday, May 12, 2008

Jami's Book Review--Cowboy Games by Wendi Darlin

Book Review

Cowboy Games by Wendi Darlin
Siren Publishing
Released on June 12, 2008

Wendi Darlin's first release, Cowboy Games, promises to be a Siren bestseller.

I, for one, loved Cowboy Games, because let's face it, who doesn't love a sexy cowboy, and Gavin Carter is one of the sexiest. He also operates Fantasy Ranch, every female's idea of a dream vacation. For seven days, the guests at Fantasy Ranch are treated like royalty by their gorgeous cowboy. Of course, there's a catch--two small rules that are not negotiable:

  • No sex.
  • No contact or attempted contact after the week is up.

Rebecca Ryder lost her husband a year ago and is still mourning his death. Their parting words on that fateful day involved a cowboy fantasy they'd enact when he came home from work that night, unfortunately, he never came home. Now Rebecca is ready to live that fantasy in the protected atmosphere of Fantasy Ranch.

One big problem: Rebecca and Gavin never considered that their fantasy might turn to reality, causing them to break every rule imposed by the ranch and by their own hearts.

Cowboy Games is a delightful tale of two lovable characters who are desperately trying to deny their attraction for each other. Wendi weaves a story full of sexual tension, heightened by the fact that the characters keep avoiding the inevitable. She takes you right to the edge of your seat then keeps you wanting more.

As a final twist, the ranch is being investigated by the authorities with the hope of getting enough dirt to close it down.

Pick up your own copy of Cowboy Games. You'll enjoy every minute of it.

Available for sale in ebook format at:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What Makes a Romantic Hero Sexy?

My fellow Siren authors joined me in a recent chat where we all agreed that the hero in a romance must be sexy. That’s like telling a chef that your food should taste good, it doesn’t tell the chef what you think tastes good.

So, what does make a male character sexy? Is it all rippling muscles and piercing bedroom eyes? Is there something more to it? Will a reader desire the hero no matter what he does, as long as he is buff with chiseled features?

For me the answer is appearance actually counts for very little. A hero must be something more than arm candy to be sexy. To sell me on him, he has to have the right attitude. I fall in love with a character’s personality, not his body.

That said there are as wide a range of personality characteristics as there are flavors for a chef to present to a diner. A hero can be determined, protective, hard, sweet, considerate, caveman mentality versus modern man mentality, scarred and hostile versus outgoing and relaxed, the list is endless.

As a reader, I enjoy a variety of characteristics in heroes. That said there are some core attributes that make a hero the perfect man for me. I like heroes that are protective, self-assured, considerate and respectful even if they’re rough around the edges. I like them to be determined and with a strong will power. Above all a hero most be faithful, violate this rule and I will put the book down.

What I want to know is what you think makes a character sexy? Are looks more important to you than personality? Are there personality traits you must have in a hero or ones that you wouldn’t tolerate?

Jenny Penn
Deception – coming soon in fall from Siren Publishing
Mating Claire – coming soon in fall from Siren Publishing
Cattleman’s Club: Patton’s Way – coming soon in late fall from Siren Publishing

Gifts from the Heart

What type of gift makes your heart melt? Flowers, candy, lingerie, tickets to the ballet? At no other time does the saying ‘it’s the thought behind the gift’ matter more than when it is romantic gift.

The actual gift itself means very little to me as woman. I judge gifts that my boyfriend gives me on whether it shows his understanding of my nature. My current boyfriend knows that I’m in love with diet coke and that the sweetest thing he can do is keep his refrigerator stocked for me when I come over.

Not very romantic to most, no doubt, but to me it shows a level of consideration that melts my heart. It tells me that he wants me to be relaxed and comfortable in his home. Considering that he hates diet coke, it also tells me that he is thinking of me even when he is doing something as mundane as grocery shopping.

This is what I look for in romance novels. A hero doesn’t have to make an overly romantic gesture to be romantic. The thing that will win me over to his side is the thoughtfulness of his gestures.

So what wins your heart over?

Jenny Penn
Deceptioncoming soon in fall from Siren Publishing
Mating Clairecoming soon in fall from Siren Publishing
Cattleman’s Club: Patton’s Waycoming in late fall from Siren Publishing

One of my ex-wives

One of my ex-wives, Wendy, phoned the other day. I’d emailed her a link to the Siren-BookStrand “coming soon” page. Wendy had reviewed an early draft of Venture and had given me some useful feedback.

“Bill, it’s me.”

I recognized her straightaway. She has a voice that sounds like Princess Diana. “Oh, hi, you got my email then?”

“Yes. Who’s that on the cover?”

“Don’t know. The publisher supplied the photo.”

“I thought it was Heather at first. Blonde, blue eyes, same cheekbones and nose, and intelligent looking.”

Heather was one of Wendy’s classmates at high school. I’d dated her briefly then at one of her parties I met Wendy. “Well, if you recall, the heroine in Venture has a very high IQ. More like you, in fact.”

“Still as good with the flattery. I seem to remember that’s how you snared me in the first place.”

“Snared? You make it sound like I kidnapped you.”

“I was only twenty.”

"So what? And anyway you are super smart. You’re an investment banker, for heaven’s sake."

“So your heroine, Lydia, isn’t based on Heather, then?”

Ah, that’s why she called, I thought. I decided to give her the answer she wanted. “No. As I said, she has a lot of you in her.”

“I have green eyes.”

Aargh! In spite of what she said about flattery she wanted me to spell it out. “Smart, I meant.”

“Yes, you mentioned that already. Is that all?”

“Lydia is good in bed, and has your slender figure and sexy demeanor.”

“Don’t get carried away. That’s all you men think about.”

I made a conscious effort not to react to the truism. “Plus, she has your terrific sense of humor.” This was not flattery, either. I had ascribed to my heroine quips and putdowns that Wendy could just as easily have made, and probably did.

“I must go now,” she said. I could hear her teenaged kids screaming at each other in the background.

“Don’t forget to recommend Venture to your friends and colleagues. And don't forget to tell them the heroine is based on you."

“I will indeed.”

To all the mothers out there, including my own Mom . . .

A Song For Mama

No matter what you do,
No matter what you say,
I love you more and more each and every day.

I want to kiss your furrowed brow,
And make you smile instead of frown.

I hear you laugh and it warms me immensely,
And when you cry my heart breaks deeply.

We might argue all through the night,
But in the light of day everything is all right.

We are family today and friends tomorrow,
This is why I try to take away your sorrow.

Because no matter what you do
Because no matter what you say,
I love you, Mom more and more each day.

Copyright © 2008 Anika Hamilton

Happy Mother's Day to all of you,

From Anika

Coming Soon From Siren & Melodee Aaron

Well, here we are again...

It's springtime in Sunny Southern California, and it's another gorgeous day. There's a surprise, eh?

Seriously, it's great here today. A bright, sunny day, warm but not too hot, and a slight breeze to keep things wonderful. As I write this, I'm watching the birds at the feeders and wondering if they are going to eat me out of house and home.

And to make it even better, I just contracted a new book with Siren...

Knights of Desire, Flights of Fancy 2 will be on the Coming Soon lists before you know it!

While set in the Immortal Love Universe like For the Love of Payne, Desert Heat, and The Polyamorous Princess, the stories in the Flights of Fancy are their own series. There are, of course, shared settings and technology and a few characters appear from the older stories, but the main focus is on a new group of people aboard the starship HMSS Daedalus on a mission of discovery, diplomacy, and first contact.

All of the stories in Flights of Fancy are erotica romance and science fiction, but the subgenres wander around a bit. In book one of the series, Burning Love, we took a jaunt into the paranormal world with a race of pyrokinetics. In Knights of Desire, we mix hard-core SF with erotica romance, toss in a dash of ménage, add a healthy scoop of M/M romance, and mix it all up in a sauce of sword and sorcery action/adventure complete with intelligent dragons. Needless to say, this means that Sergeant Shane Rawls has her hands full...mostly with Sir Landis and Sir Clemmons.

Watch the Siren site for more information on when Knights of Desire, Flights of Fancy 2 will be available.

In the meantime, check out all the other works by the great authors at Siren and BookStrand.

LOOKS ARE DECEIVING, May 19th release

Hi Siren-BookStrand Fans,

My Erotic Romantic Suspense, LOOKS ARE DECEIVING, releases May 19th, and I'm very excited to slip this blurb under your nose. Don't miss the mystery.

Looks Are Deceiving by Michele Hart

All shadows and mystery, Elissa Baker’s in hot pursuit of something bigger, uglier, and meaner than Greg Moretti, and she keeps her destiny with the scum of the Earth a closely guarded confidence. Only Greg--muscles, brains, and passion--can wreck her long-laid path by being Mister Right and refusing to let her go.

How can she resist her Latin lover’s dark-chocolate eyes always arresting her, his hypnotic lure stealing her soul, and dealing lusty persuasion like trump cards in a fixed bet?

Greg Moretti is crazy for a woman who leads a smoke-and-mirrors life. He’ll fix that by cooking up some heat, triggering a little hunger, and melting the ice-wall around her world. Elissa will have to choose between Greg and the criminal world. What keeps Elissa from his total consumption? Why does she keep so many secrets?

Greg will take no hostages nor will he back down from his chase until he identifies his competition and makes Elissa want him more than her other distractions. Good boys can be bad too… and lethal to the heart.

The surreptitious solution to the cold-case murder of Greg’s father leads to a gun battle that changes everything. Who invited the Mob?

Someone’s going to lose, and someone’s going to die. Everything changes with the pull of a trigger. Nothing looks the same after this....

Siren Publishing
Read Hot Excerpts:
* Michele Hart’s Web site * http://www.ILoveShapeShifters.Com/

Happy reading from the Siren-BookStrand Magic Makers,
Michele Hart