Sunday, March 31, 2013

Of holidays, time management, wonderful news and faith

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Sunday to everyone! I hope that everyone is having a wonderful day!

People around the world celebrate different holidays, according to their beliefs. Even those who share a holiday, such as Easter, have their own ideas of how to celebrate the occasion, and what it means to them. I was not raised in a home where we went to church, so I got none of the religious connotations until I grew older and learned about them. For us, it was the Easter Bunny and candy. Even with that aspect, things have gotten out of hand to the point where children now expect actual gifts. Not quite how it was meant to go, I think.

For most Christians, Easter is about the rising of Jesus Christ. Passover celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from Egyptian enslavement. You
would think there's a point of commonality between these two religions, considering Jesus was Jewish. I think too many Christians ignore that fact. Does it make them uncomfortable? I don't know. People have more in common than they have differences. It would be nice if they remembered that.

In my book Revelations, I touch upon the rising, but not in a traditional way. In my version, Jesus and Mary and the Apostles are reincarnated, time after time, throughout the years, by the will of God. It seemed logical to me that there be no big hoopla, no grand announcement, but something far more subtle, in order to gauge what lessons Man had learned from the prior visit.

Random thought - Christ is referred to as the lamb of God, and some people eat lamb for Easter. Seems... barbaric? But then there is also the Communion, which while symbolic also has overtones of cannibalism in eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ. Not literally, of course.

Time management. People are always complaining about not having time to do the things they want or have to do. But I discovered something quite accidentally while waiting for something to microwave in my kitchen. I dislike standing around doing nothing, waiting, so while whatever it was cooked, I busied myself, although at first I thought what can you do in two minutes? The answer is - quite a bit. I found out you can unload or load your dishwasher, you can wash your dishes - or at least some of them. Two minutes is longer than you think and it beats standing there doing nothing. So now, whenever I microwave, I get something else done while I wait. Which led me to the conclusion that time is really fluid, and you can make it of what you will. You can stand around and say you have no time, or you can utilize it and have what you need. No, it doesn't give you more  hours in a day, just a different way to approach the 24 you have. Second conclusion - you will find time for the things you really want to, if you try. You may not always succeed, but know that perhaps the things that got left by the wayside were things you didn't really care about doing anyway.

Now on to my wonderful news. I have a new publisher, and I will be giving more details as I get them, such
as publication dates, but for now I'd like to announce that I have signed two contracts with eXtasy Books - one for Dallas in Wonderland, and one for Trapped in Time, which you may recall each started out as flash fiction stories on my blog.

So now I have two new publishers for this year - eXtasy, and Torquere, who are publishing A Special Christmas in December. I'll keep you apprised of publishing dates as I learn them, and hopefully of other new publishers.

Second bit of writing news - if you'll recall, I posted a story about a guy named Lionel who came home from touring with a band called Midlife Crisis to a horrifying discover. I have decided to keep writing the story, but I won't be posting it on Wednesdays. I'll post it on random days, depending on when I get each part written, and I'll make a page so that anyone who wants can read it in one place. I'd love to hear thoughts on that, ideas, suggestions.

I'll talk about what I'm watching another time. Let's focus on Easter movies right now, or at least those that deal with Jesus. I've reviewed a few on this blog, and one of the best I've seen is Jesus of Nazareth with Robert Powell, who gives a very dramatic, very wonderful performance. King of Kings with Jeffrey Hunter is another I'd recommend, as well as Jesus, starring Jeremy Sisto, of Law and Order and Six Feet Under fame. I honestly don't recommend Mel Gibson's movie, because it focuses so much on Jesus' pain and suffering. What is the point of that? Why not celebrate his life and teaching? In light of the fact that I learned that Mr. Gibson is anti-semitic, perhaps that is my answer. I don't know. I've been told I need to see The Last Temptation of Christ, by Martin Scorsese, and I intend to check it out.

Many people celebrate the holiday with a ham or a lamb, but we're doing something different - we bought a 20 pound turkey. That should feed us for a few days! It's just Sarah and I today. Chris went back to school yesterday. And since she has school work to do, and I have editing and writing, I'm sure it will be a quiet day.

In our family, we have a tradition that we made ourselves, going back to when the kids were little. We name our turkeys. We take turns picking the name of each bird. Oddly, I think they always end up with male names, although most turkeys you buy at the store are hens, not toms. We've had birds named after characters in various fandoms over the years, from Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings. Last time was Sarah's turn, and it was MASH - she named him Frank Birds, a play, of course, on Major Frank Burns. Today is my turn, and as I am in quite a Game of Thrones state of mind, he is called Tyrion Lannister. I've begun watching the first season, and I'm about halfway through reading the second book, but more of that later.

Well, enough for now, things to do and all that. A turkey to stuff and roast. I wish everyone a great day, no matter what you are celebrating - whether a holiday, or just life itself.

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Guest Blogger Rebecca Cohen

Please welcome author Rebecca Cohen, whose newest release, Duty to the Crown, is at Dreamspinner
Press. Rebecca has bravely answered my infamous Rick Reed questions. Let's see what she has to say. Rebecca, why don't you get comfortable, and I'll fix us some drinks. Go ahead and start.

Oh, did I mention there will be a giveaway? Keep reading!

The Questions:

1)      You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have?

Oh, this is a tough one! But I would go for Stephen Fry.  That way he can entertain me with his wonderful humor while we wait for rescue. I would wish for a mobile phone so Stephen could tweet his millions of followers and we’d be rescued pretty quickly.

  2)    Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life – and which character in that musical are you?
Not much of a fan of musicals if I’m honest so I’m reaching a bit here. So… The Return to the Forbidden
Planet and I’d be the Science Officer (aka Gloria)

3)      Take these three words and give me a 100 word or less scenario using them:  emergency, available, rock
In the event of an emergency, disregard all available logic and rescue pet rock

4)      You’ve just been let loose in the world of fiction, with permission to do anyone you want. Who do you fuck first and why?
Benedick from Much Ado About nothing. He’s a feisty one who needs taking down a peg or two, and I’m just the girl to do it!

   5)   What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other?

Given we’ve just had our first child, our romantic time is pretty much zilch at the mo. I’d be happy with a home-cooked meal, a nice glass of vino, and a long cuddle on the sofa

6)      When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot?
Depends on the story, but I would say in most cases I have an idea of a character and the plot builds around them. There’s a great technique called clustering where you put an idea/character in the center of the page and you build a sort of mind map around it, I’ve done this more than a few times with some of my characters who are more difficult to get a handle on.

7)      If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?
I’m torn between someone like Helen Mirren or Judy Dench for their acting gravitas or picking someone
with large breasts, because, hey, I do have quite a large bosom…

8)      Who’s your favorite horror villain and why?
Here’s where I go totally old school and say Nosferatu. He was a proper shit scary vampire (this might give you an indication of my level of contempt for Edward Cullen!)

   9)     Do you have an historical crush and if so, who is it?
I have several – although in most cases it’s for their mind not their body! Elizabeth I, Emily Pankhurst,
Douglas Bader, William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Charles Dickens, Edward Jenner, Charles Darwin… I could go on and on…

10)   Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?

I’m not sure if it is the world which is not ready or if I’m not ready to write it. But I have an idea for a speculative fiction novel set several hundred years in the future where there is only Europe and the current countries in the world are its territories e.g. USA would be North West Europe, Australia South West Europe and so on. The idea is that there are pockets of resistance left in the world and the European army do what is necessary to stamp them out. It alternates between an army doctor in the European Army and a Captain in the US militia.

The Actor and the Earl:
Duty to the Crown:

Blurb for Duty to the Crown

Despite the uncomfortable clothing and the gossip at court, Sebastian Hewel is still enjoying the role of Lady Bronwyn, wife of Earl Anthony Crofton. But when Queen Elizabeth asks a favor of Anthony, Sebastian’s world fractures and his heart threatens to break. The Queen wants Anthony to seduce Marie Valois, the beautiful daughter of a French noble, to discover the whereabouts of her father, who is wanted by the King of France.

Sebastian knows Anthony can’t refuse the Queen, especially since he has something of a reputation at court. But the situation is further complicated when Marie meets Sebastian without his disguise—and starts flirting with him. Her brother, Nicholas, arrives at Crofton Hall, not happy that his sister has been linked to a man like Anthony, only to find his own head turned by Lady Bronwyn and her acerbic wit. Contending with the attentions of both siblings—and a very jealous Anthony—would be bad enough. But then Sebastian’s uncle demands Sebastian and Anthony stage Bronwyn’s death to avoid discovery….

They left the tavern early the next morning, returning to the townhouse in time to have breakfast. Sebastian felt a little guilty at the state they’d left the room in, but Anthony assured him that the extra coins he had left would more than compensate for the cleanup required. They had just sat down to eat when a messenger bearing the royal crest arrived. The messenger handed Anthony a sealed letter, which he tore open, his brow furrowing as he read.
“Is there a problem?” asked Sebastian, not liking Anthony’s expression.
“I’m to report to the palace immediately. The Queen requests my presence.”
Anthony dismissed the messenger with a curt reply that he would return to Richmond directly. Sebastian didn’t know what to make of it, but didn’t think it could be a good thing. “What do you think she wants to talk to you about?”
Anthony shrugged. “I don’t know. Get changed and return to Crofton Hall. I’ll follow as soon as I can.”
“I could wait for you to return,” offered Sebastian.
“No, I think it would be better if you went. Just in case.”
“Just in case of what?” asked Sebastian, concerned.
“Last time I was summoned in such a fashion, my loyalty to the crown was challenged, Sebastian, and I narrowly avoided a stint in the Tower of London. I don’t want Bronwyn to be in the city in case someone has made another unfounded accusation and has decided my wife should accompany me there.”
Sebastian almost dropped the cup of beer he was holding. “Do you really think that’s likely?”
“Probably not, but I’m not willing to take the chance.” Anthony knocked back the contents of his cup. “I should go. It is never a good idea to keep Her Majesty waiting. I will send word if there is an issue that will prevent me returning home by tonight.”
Sebastian watched Anthony depart, his appetite for breakfast leaving with him. He made his way upstairs to his room to dress to travel back to Crofton Hall, and he was ready and waiting in his shift and hose when Miriam arrived with his clothes for the day.
“I must say, you look a good sight better than when I last saw you,” she said, laying down his clothes on the bed.
“It’s amazing what a day in normal clothing can do for a man,” he said with a smile.
Miriam laughed. “I’m afraid it’s back to Bronwyn today. I’ve tried to find you something that won’t be as heavy to wear; not sure if I’ve had much success, mind, but at least it’s not velvet.”
On went the farthingale, corset, and roll, and Sebastian was resigned to another day weighed down by the female paraphernalia that were necessary to masquerade successfully as his sister. Miriam had brought with her a green silk gown and yellow skirt that she usually kept for grander occasions.
“It will crease horribly during the journey,” she said, sounding as if the material were doing her a personal disservice, “but the dress is light enough that you should get to Crofton Hall without passing out. And since you’re not heading back to court, we’ll leave your corset looser than normal.”
He put on his wig. “I suppose I should be grateful for small mercies.”
“And with heat like we’ve got at the moment, you should be thankful Lord Anthony banned his wife from wearing the white paint unless at court,” she said as she tied his ruff in place.
“That was one of His Lordship’s decrees I was happy to accept.”
Ready to depart for Crofton Hall, Sebastian returned downstairs to find the coach ready. And with no desire to stay in London longer than necessary, due to the heat, and Anthony’s dire warning about a possible stay in the Tower of London, Sebastian was relieved when the carriage trundled on its way. They negotiated the busy streets until they reached the outskirts of the city and the open road.
Sebastian was half-asleep when he was jolted wide awake as something struck the side of the carriage. He sat upright, and was about to stick his head out of the window when a crossbow bolt whizzed past him and lodged in the inside of the opposite door. For a moment Sebastian stared at the bolt as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing, but was brought dramatically to his senses as the coach lurched forward. The driver cracked the whip and the horses whinnied in protest but picked up speed. Sebastian dived to the floor of the carriage and searched under the seat for a stiletto blade hidden for just this eventuality. Sebastian knew bandits were a real threat on the roads out of London, and he’d counted himself blessed that up to now he’d been lucky enough not to come to their attention.
The sounds of hooves tearing up the ground alongside the coach made Sebastian scramble backward. A hand grabbed the frame of the window, and Sebastian knew that if he didn’t do something they would be boarded. With as much force as he could muster, he drove home the blade into the bandit’s hand; a scream of pain accompanied the sound of a man falling to the ground.
Sebastian stuck his head out of the window to see the bandit roll into a tree, his horse galloping away into the woods. There were others on foot, but it appeared they were lucky and the gang of robbers only had one horse. Another crossbow bolt embedded in the frame of the carriage, missing him by inches, and Sebastian ducked back inside.

One lucky commenter will win an e-book copy of either The Actor and the Earl or Duty to the Crown. Don't forget to leave an email address!

Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca! Come back again soon!

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Meet Lionel

I did mention last week that this week would probably not see a chapter of Stan and Ollie because the prompts are more Eastern driven, as this is the last Wednesday before Easter. And so they are... but the boys will be back next week. In the meantime, meet Lionel. I'm thinking of taking this somewhere, but I'd love to get some reactions. Like it? Want to read more?

This week, the prompts were:  "... has arisen..." or use: lamb, soul, redemption or use ham in an interesting way or "You have no faith to lose and you know it..." or use chocolate or use a church in some way or "Family values? Your family wouldn't know values if..."

I used the "... has arisen...", but in an entirely different way than I had imagined. Enjoy! Don't forget to see what the other Wednesday Briefers have come up with! Their links follow my tale!


The sour scent of stale sex smelled as rancid as a filthy grease trap. Lionel wrinkled his nose in disgust. He hadn’t really noticed before. Mainly because everyone else smelled just as horrible.  He’d been cooped up with the band members so long, it had become too familiar to stand out. But now he was home, and in the cool, fresh South Carolina air, he even offended himself.

Priscilla would have a cow, and he knew it. His sister could be a real stickler for things. Like cleanliness. And personal hygiene. How could he make her understand that not washing because he was too busy partying—getting high, drinking everything in sight, including a bottle of cough syrup, banging every girl that would let him inside her pants, and maybe a couple of guys—was a cheap price to pay for nirvana.

So what if the cabbie had sprayed the interior of his hack with fabric spray as soon as Lionel stumbled inside? Nothing personal, right? More of a tribute to his pride of ownership. And if the driver was offended, the generous tip Lionel gave him before he crawled out of the vehicle in front of his house ensured that his luggage would be treated with some semblance of respect as it was tossed onto the lawn, right next to where Lionel had tripped and fallen.

He thought he heard the driver mumble something about a sewer. The slam of the cab door reverberated through Lionel’s skull. “Do you have to be so loud?” But he was talking to himself and he knew it. And didn’t care.
Goddamn, that had been fun. Touring with the Midlife Crisis. Six states in two weeks. The tour bus had careened like a drunken sailor through the deep South, from one venue to the next. Faceless crowds filled with adoring fans. Not his, of course. Lionel wasn’t a member of the bad. Technically, he might be considered a groupie. Personally, he referred to himself as a muse. An inspiration for the band. They thrived on his excesses and encouraged them to the nth degree.

 Whiskey and grits. Morning noon and night grits. He’d eaten so many he’d even shat the damn things.
Was it worth it? Hell yeah. He’d even endure Priscilla’s sanctimonious nagging. The memories of his experience—at least the ones he retained—would last a good long while. Perhaps until the next tour he was invited on. And there was no doubt in Lionel’s mind that he would be invited. He’d been the fucking life of the party, hadn’t he? Didn’t the fun begin and end with him? Hell to the yeah. Priscilla’s words would die out long before the glow of this trip.

He fumbled in his pocket for the house key. What was that? He looked into his palm. A book of matches, a half a roach, a few coins. Not what he was looking for. He plunged them back inside and plumbed the depths of his other pocket. This time he struck pay dirt. “Eureka!” he cried, then dropped his voice to a loud stage whisper and repeated, “Eureka!” He held the key proudly before him, as though he’d just won a Grammy.

They should have Grammies for muses. He would suggest that next time he saw the band.

He got the door open in one try, flung the suitcase inside ahead of him and closed the door as quietly as he could. No sense in waking the slumbering beast any sooner than necessary.

“Shhh, I’m hunting wabbit.” He was torn between going to the kitchen to get a drink and heading upstairs to strip and shower. Common sense won out. He could drink out of the tap before he got into the shower. Kill two birds with one stone. The thought made Lionel giggle.

The house was as silent as a tomb. Priscilla must be asleep. Well, good for her. A hot shower, something to wet his whistle, he’d fall into bed and grab some shut-eye himself. He had to look good tonight. His peeps hadn’t seen him for weeks. He needed to prepare himself for them.

It wasn’t until he began to ascend the main staircase that opened directly from the foyer up to the living quarters he shared with his sister that he noticed the runner was wet. He’d tripped and fallen onto his hands. Damn! They sank into the squishy carpet.

Oh, there’d be hell to pay. Priscilla was probably having two kinds of kittens. Must be the damn bathtub, not draining properly. Again. He tried to tell her, but she’d insisted on the heavy claw foot tub and he’d not bothered to argue. It never did any good anyway.

He could just imagine the hell she would put him through. She’d insist on calling a plumber. That wouldn’t be cheap. She’d blame him, of course. She always did. Even though he hadn’t been there, it would still be his fault.
The words to one of the Midlife Crisis’ best-loved songs echoed in his head as he awkwardly rose to his knees, the water soaking through his pants. He regained his feet, only swaying slightly, and wiped his moist hands on his trousers.  “The devil you know is the devil you love, ‘cause when Satan has arisen, there’ll be sunny skies above. Oh baby, what’s happened to our love?”

The lyrics failed to cheer him up. He kept picturing the recriminations that were no doubt in store for him. Maybe his best course was to turn around now and flee the scene? At least until his sister had a chance to handle the crisis herself?

Hell, the carpet on the second floor was saturated too, and stunk to high hell. What was she using in the bath these days, eau de skunk? Phew!

He fell heavily against the bathroom door. It crashed open and he stumbled inside, almost falling into the overflowing bathtub ... where his sister’s body lay.

And then he fainted.

Should I continue with this? Weigh in with your opinion! And visit the other Briefers!

MA Church    
Andrew Gordon 

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ouran High School Host Club Volume 16 Review

 Ouran High School Host Club, Volume 16  

Author: Bisco Hatori
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: June 7, 2011
Format/Genre/Length: Manga/Shonen/192 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: Teen
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

The time is rapidly approaching for Hunny and Mori’s graduation, hard as that is to believe. Even more unbelievable is that Mori has challenged Hunny to a duel! What’s up with that?


Ouran High School is abuzz with the news of the impending duel, and bets have even been placed. But no one can predict how the duel indeed ends.

April arrives, and time for the new school year, but the door to Music Room 3 remains locked…

So much is changing, more than friends graduating and moving on. Tamaki has been asked to move into Mansion #1, his longtime dream come true. Or is it a nightmare?

Suddenly Tamaki has no time for club activities. Or anything else that includes the Host Club. Determined to find out what’s going on, the Club approaches Tamaki’s father, to Tamaki’s dismay. Is he lost to them forever?

As a bonus story, we’re given a glimpse into the courtship of Haruhi’s parents.


This volume of Host Club is both wonderful and infuriating. Wonderful because we’re getting closer and closer to everything we’ve waited and hoped for. Infuriating because sometimes you just want to shake someone and tell them to see what’s really going on around them.

Only two more volumes left. I have no doubt that Haruhi and Tamaki will overcome everything and end up together. I hope. Okay, maybe I have a little doubt. And a lot of worry. And what will they have to suffer in the meantime? Let’s just say I’ll be disappointed with anything less than them being together.
Bisco Hatori has made the Host Club very real. I feel like I know the members very well. I love her artwork and her writing style. This series is definitely a classic.

I suspect that in the next two volumes we’ll be able to tie up everything, answer questions, and weave it all together into one soul-satisfying cohesive whole.  After the series is finished, I guess I’ll have to satisfy my desires to visit with the members of the club by writing fanfiction about them.

Can’t wait for Volume 17!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Virtual Book Tour: Venetian Love Knots: Normandie Alleman

Please welcome author Normandie Alleman and her new release Venetian Love Knots! Full Moon Dreaming is but one stop on this tour. Be sure to check out the other stops. Normandie is offering a Venetian Love Knots gift pack - including a Tote bag and T-shirt (winner's size) with the cover graphic and a $30 Amazon GC - to one lucky commenter during the tour. You can find the other stops here.

Venetian Love Knots
by Normandie Alleman


In Venice, Allison Fox will find love in the arms of two men. Her past collides with her future in a battle for her heart. Which one will win?

Travelling to Venice to be the maid of honour in her best friend’s wedding sounds like a great vacation, and a romantic way to spend Valentine’s Day. But when Allison Fox discovers who the best man is, she is torn between duty and self-preservation.

It has taken Allison four years to put her tumultuous relationship with the rodeo cowboy behind her after a violent incident ripped them apart. Now Allison must find a way to face her past and find closure with her old flame. But will she be able to put the past behind her?

Cole is the Texas cowboy who has never got over his love for Allison. But when he declares his love for her after all this time, is she strong enough to walk away from the intense passion they share?

For years Nico, a handsome Italian, was committed to nothing but his work. Nico never expected he would meet an American beauty who would awaken in him a desire to love again. Once he finds her, Nico vows to never let Allison go.

It will be a Valentine’s Day to remember, but who will win Allison’s heart?



Upstairs, as they tumbled into his room, Cole warned her, “Allison, you are going to have to trust me tonight. Do you think you can do that?”

“Oh, yes!” she cried between his kisses, barely catching her breath.

“Okay, then hold on just a minute, baby. Do you want anything to drink? Do you have to go to the bathroom?” he asked.

“No, why?” she asked, her head clearing a little.

“Because I am going to tie you up,” he said. Then he bit her lip, fondling one of her breasts. Abruptly, he walked away, leaving her standing, shocked.

Allison wasn’t sure she’d heard him correctly. She needed to sit down. Wait, maybe she did need to go to the bathroom. Yes, then she could sit down. And go to the bathroom. Tie her up? Was he serious?

Allison knew Cole, and he didn’t kid around about things like this. What was she going to do? Well, she would let him do it, of course. She let Cole do…anything? That was why he had said she would have to trust him. She did trust him. She trusted him not to hurt her. At least physically. Emotionally, now that was a different story…

Okay, she could do this. It might be fun.

Cole had returned with some white silky ropes and a rakish grin. He looked like he was really going to enjoy this. Maybe a little too much. How long had he been planning this? Did he do this all the time? Allison wasn’t brave enough to ask that last question.

“Are you scared? You don’t need to be scared, babe. I promise I won’t hurt you.” He laughed. “Unless you want me to.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

A former psychologist, Normandie has always been fascinated by human behavior. She was surprised when that interest turned her into a writer of erotic romance.

If there were another 5 hours in the day, Normandie would spend more time needle pointing and playing with photography. Instead, she’s a Pinterest addict and sports junkie who’s crazy for Twitter and the color pink.

My links:


Twitter: @NormandieA


Buy Links:

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Guest Blogger Killarney Sheffield

Blurb:  Marie Antoinette. Beheaded in the prime of her life. What if her fate was changed? What if she escaped that night the castle was stormed? What if she was mistaken for a common woman? What if she found herself aboard a convict ship bound for Australia? What if she had a second chance at life and love? 

Excerpt:  Fear slid its icy fingers up her breastbone and took hold of her heart. How long would a mere dozen guards hold the unruly mob outside before they were overpowered? “Has my brother in Austria not sent word of his protection yet?” Marie held up her arms so Adele could slip the nightdress over her head.
    "No, Your Highness. I fear the missive you sent him was waylaid or deliberately not delivered.”
    There is no help coming. What am I to do? It has been whispered all about the palace for weeks the commoners are calling for our heads. Her hands trembled with distress. Is there no hope? I do not want to die. I have many years left to live. Desperate tears trickled down her cheeks. Oh why did my father give my hand to the French heir to the throne those many years ago? I gave up my home in Austria, my precious pet dog, my family and friends to forge a bond between my country and the prince's. It has all been for naught thanks to my husband, now the King of France for only a few short years since his father's passing. Wastrel. Simple minded wastrel.
    Anger hardened her emotions and she swiped away the tears. It is not fair. I could have ruled better, however even the Queen of France has less authority than a common woman. Damn my husband. Her hand came to rest upon her still flat belly. Will the commoners really behead me when I am with child? Would they be so cruel and heartless to kill an unborn innocent babe?

Book buy link for Marie.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Heap of Trouble Review

A Heap of Trouble  
Author: Lorrie Unites-Struiff
Publisher: MuseitUp Publishing
American release date: September 11, 2012
Format/Genre/Length: EBook/ Western/150 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Sheriff Cole Walker’s biggest concern is what to have for lunch, at least until he walks into his office to discover part of that lunch missing, and the culprit hiding under his desk. He would have gladly rid himself of the little monkey except, wouldn’t you know it, his secret crush, aka Miss Mattie, walks in and takes a shine to the varmint. What’s a feller to do but give in and take the critter into his home, along with a whole heap of trouble.

Cole likes Mattie, but he’s never had the nerve to tell her so, ever since she arrived in town. She’s a strong woman, and he admires her greatly, but he has his own issues and isn’t about to inflict them on her. Now he’s got a thieving monkey on his hands, as well as cattle rustlers, which is a far more serious problem. Sides are being formed, and trouble’s surely going to break out. It’s all Cole can do to keep the peace while he and his deputies try to figure out what’s going on and rectify the situation.

To be honest, I’ve never considered westerns a genre I was greatly interested in. Since reading this book, I’ve re-evaluated that position. Ms. Struiff has taken the genre and injected it with her own special brand of humor, in the form of a thieving runaway monkey named Beggar, who will steal your heart (along with anything else that isn’t nailed down!)

This book flows from beginning to end, and you’ll be caught up in it like a cow in a stampede, but in a good way. Cole Walker, the sheriff/hero, is a strong character, but he’s also human, and he has his weaknesses, although he isn’t exactly eager to admit to them. Miss Mattie is lovely and smart, but she has her own past to deal with, one she isn’t ready to share. The mystery of who’s stealing the cattle is intriguing, watching them solve it even more so, as Cole and Mattie find themselves thrown together more and more.

The humor is what especially makes this book. I love the realism. People do dumb things, yeah, and not every guy looks like he just stepped off a catwalk. Or every woman, for that matter. Cole and Mattie are both characters I’d love to know. After this, I aim to read more of Ms. Struiff’s writings, and search for that same wicked sense of humor.

This book has something for everyone—humor, mystery, romance, intrigue… it’s good old-fashioned fun. It’s safe for all ages, and I think it’s enjoyable by men and woman both. Pick up A Heap of Trouble—you’ll be glad you did!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Virtual Book Tour: Dylan's Song: p.m. terrell

Please welcome author p.m. terrell who is going to discuss her  newest release, Dylan's Song, as well as answer my infamous Rick Reed questions. As a bonus, p.m. will be awarding a Celtic knot necklace to a random commenter, so don't forget to visit the other stops!

The Questions
1)      You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have?
The person would have to be the Irish man of my dreams and the item would have to be an axe. The man of my dreams (let’s just say he bears a startling resemblance to Dylan Maguire in my Black Swamp Mysteries series) would keep me safe and warm and loved. An axe would be handy for cutting down trees and building a home or a fire and it could come in handy for defense. But if I’m stranded on a small island with Dylan Maguire, then I certainly would not want to be found!

2)      Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life – and which character in that musical are you?
Hands down, Mamma Mia. And of course I’d be Donna.

3)      Take these three words and give me a 100 word or less scenario using them:  computation, urgent, updated
The clouds swirled across the face of the moon in an urgent fury, casting darkness on the ground below. By Vicki’s computation, it should have been late evening, though it seemed more like midnight. He would be here soon and now as she looked at her worn shoes and matronly skirt, she wished she’d updated her wardrobe. On a night like this, she needed stilettos and a sexy, form-fitting dress—and a man to cast off the shadows around her.

4)      You’ve just been let loose in the world of fiction, with permission to do anyone you want. Who do you fuck first and why?
Well, if you mean fuck as in get even with someone, I can’t think of anyone I’d want to harm. I’m a strong believer that what you put into the universe comes back to you threefold.

5)      What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other?
Sitting on a riverbank watching the sunset, a woolen blanket pulled around us both to ward off the chill, his arms encircling me and pulling me close to him. As darkness descends, he points out the constellation and we feel as though we’re the only people on the face of the earth. What happens next is the stuff of romance novels.

6)      When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot?
I begin with the plot. In my genre, that means planning the crime. I then find the fatal flaw in the crime and look at the characters who would be best positioned to discover it, be victimized by it—or have to save the country from it.

7)      If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?
Reese Witherspoon. She is from the South and some of the roles she’s played have reminded me of the way I was often treated in the North. And never underestimate a Southern woman.

8)      Who’s your favorite horror villain and why?

The Mummy—Ramses the Great by Anne Rice. It’s the only horror villain I’ve ever fallen in love with!

9)      Do you have an historical crush and if so, who is it?

By historical, if you are referring to someone who is deceased, hands down it would have to be Cary Grant. Handsome, witty, highly intelligent, debonair… and oh, that accent!

10)   Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?
I’ve been asked numerous times to write my autobiography but I’m going to wait until I’m closer to knowing the ending.

p.m. terrell


Dylan Maguire returns to his native Ireland with psychic spy Vicki Boyd. Their mission: to locate and extract a CIA Agent who disappeared in Dublin while on the trail of a known terrorist. But when Dylan receives word that his grandmother is dying, he is plunged into a past he thought he’d left behind forever. His mission and the dark secrets he’d sought to keep hidden begin to merge into an underworld that could cost him his life. He must now confront his past demons and the real reason he left Ireland—while Vicki harbors a secret of her own.

Suspense Magazine says, “p.m.terrell’s writing is powerfully written and masterfully suspenseful; you have to hang on for the ride of your life.” Midwest Book Review says the Black Swamp Mysteries series is “page-turning action, unforgettable characters, breathtaking descriptions and unexpected plot twists.” And syndicated reviewer Marcia Freespirit says the series is “riveting, spell-binding, sexy and intense!”

The bogs were no place to be during the witching hour.

Dylan had grown up with stories of the bogs at night. The ground percolated; it lived and it breathed. There had been many a time when he was harvesting peat in broad daylight that he’d heard a whisper at his ear or felt hot breath on his neck, only to find there was no one near. Now as he rode his horse in silence, he felt that presence tenfold; there were eyes watching them. The intermittent tuffs of heather swayed in the growing storm and he found himself watching them with narrowed eyes, waiting for the plants to morph into sinister creatures that claimed this land after the sun went down.

He knew there was a simple reason why animals were required in lieu of an all-terrain vehicle and he was glad Sam had taken this unique land into consideration when planning the mission. He could feel the hooves beneath him sinking into the spongy earth; a wheeled vehicle wouldn’t have stood a chance, especially as they ventured from the area farmed for its peat to one far less stable.

A mist began; a slow, fine spray that he knew well. One moment the air was still and dry and the next, as though they’d passed through a curtain, the air swirled around them, the moist haze further inhibiting their ability to see. It was said many a man lost his internal compass in the Irish mist; it taunted as it grew into monstrous shapes, turning the landscape into something foreign and active.


p.m.terrell is the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 16 books. Vicki's Key, one of the first books in the Black Swamp Mysteries series, was one of five finalists in the 2012 International Book Awards (Mystery/Suspense) and 2012 USA Best Book Awards (Mystery/Suspense.) River Passage, an historical work based on her ancestor's migration to Fort Nashborough in 1779-1780, won the 2010 Best Fiction & Drama Award. The Nashville (TN) Metropolitan Government Archives determined it to be so historically accurate that they entered the original manuscript into their Archives for future researchers and historians.

Prior to becoming a full-time author in 2002, terrell founded and operated two computer companies in the Washington, DC area. Her clients included the United States Secret Service, CIA, Department of Defense and federal and local law enforcement. Her specialty is in the areas of computer crime and computer intelligence. Her experience in these areas have greatly influenced her books' plots.

She is the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation, whose slogan is "Buy a Book and Stop a Crook" and whose mission is to raise awareness of the link between high crime rates and high illiteracy rates. She founded Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair, an annual event to raise money to increase literacy and reduce crime.

For more information on Book 'Em North Carolina, visit and

p.m.terrell's website is and her blog is

She can be found on Twitter @pmterrell