Monday, December 27, 2010

Ebook Thursday -- Guest Blogger Dara Girard



Old Friends

I love the classics: Classic movies, classic books, classic music and dance. I like to look back at where we’ve been. This is one reason why I’m thoroughly enjoying the e-publishing revolution as both a reader and a writer. Because traditional publishing treats books as milk that can spoil or fruit that can rot, many books are put out of print and only discovered in dusty used bookstores or online (after lots of searching). Now they can stay in print for years to come and generate income for their creators. As an author I no longer have to worry about a book disappearing after a few weeks (in the case of category books) or months (in the case of regular fiction) now I can create classics.

I wrote The Sapphire Pendant over ten years ago but didn’t get it published until several years later. It’s about a young woman desperate to reclaim a family heirloom by seducing an eligible bachelor. I decided to publish it through my company and it sold well and won a national award, but I was never able to market it the way I wanted to. And I parted ways with my distributor and The Sapphire was heading to the ‘out of print’ pasture.

Now that’s changed. Through e-publishing it’s back on the market with a new cover and a new lease on life. Soon I’ll have it available as a print on demand. Unlike some authors who are updating their work, I’m releasing it ‘as is’ with a note that says it’s the early 2000s. Why? Because I think stories are timeless. No matter how many times they update A Christmas Carol the original story still resonates. I don’t need to see Cary Grant with a cell phone in Bringing up Baby or Dolly Parton in 9-5 using a computer. But that’s just me. I don’t fault anyone for wanting to make their work more contemporary.

That’s the point. It’s the power of choice given to authors that I love the most. We can add, edit, fix, polish, update or leave be to our hearts content. We have the freedom to complete series that publishers dropped, create stories that ‘don’t fit the mold’ or try new genres. We can be the innovators we were meant to be. And most of all we can create them to last. In 2011 I plan to produce more work some old some new, but one thing is certain, I’ll enjoy visiting with old friends no matter what new outfits they wear.

Dara Girard is the author of fourteen novels and one book of nonfiction The Writer Behind the Words: Steps to Success in the Writing Life. You can find out more about her and her work here: www.daragirard.com or www.facebook.com/DaraGirard

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have A Wonderful Holiday!



Merry Christmas to all!
I hope you have a wonderful holiday and Santa didn't leave coal in your stocking.
Linda

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ebook Monday -- What's In My Nook


I have a variety of books in my Nook. Yes, even my own books. :}

But I thought I’d talk about one of my favorite series. I have so many it wasn’t easy to choose, so I had to go the eeny meeny miny mo route.

The winner is … Simon R Green’s Nightside Series.

My buddy Terey Ramin put me on to these books and I was hooked from the first sentence.

It’s an urban fantasy about a darker side of London called Nightside where PI John Taylor grew up and left with a bullet in him courtesy of bounty hunter Shotgun Suzie aka ‘Oh shit! It’s her!’ He’s gone from five years but returns when a client wants him to go there to retrieve her daughter who was lured to Nightside.

John is more than just your typical gumshoe. He wears a snazzy white trench coat, doesn’t bother with weapons because he has talents that can protect him, and has a gift of gab that has me muttering “I wish I’d thought of that.”

Nightside is a city that most of us wouldn’t even want to visit. Vehicles with a mind of their own where occupants could end up as dinner. Shops that offer goods that could create a variety of nightmares, and we won’t even talk about the clubs. Even the private ones are dangerous.

John also has a quest in finding out the truth about his parents, especially his mother, but no one wants to talk about that. Especially the head security man of Nightside, Walker, who

There’s also a variety of characters in the books that totally boggle the imagination but works perfectly in Nightside. Dead Boy who binds his wounds with duct tape, Razor Eddy, who’s pretty much self-explanatory, Shotgun Suzie who might be considered psycho but loves her weapons, depressed bar owner Alex who offers some drinks no halfway sane person would want, and Walker, the one who keeps Nightside together and battles John every step of the way.

The series is a fast read, keep me going, and have me demanding more. There’s so much in these books I could go on for pages, but I’d rather you find out for yourself. If you love dark urban fantasy with incredible twists and turns you’ll love this series.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winner of Book Giveaway!


is Kaleen!


Congratulations, lady!


Send me your snail mail addy at contact at lindawisdom dot com and your book will go out next week!


Linda

Don't Forget the Holiday Hunt at Night Owl Reviews


Lots of fun books and prizes including some from me!

http://www.nightowlreviews.com/nor/pages/WinterWonderlandDetails.aspx

Linda

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Me and A book Giveaway!




















It’s a triple anniversary for me. My wedding anniversary is today and we were even married on a Friday, then I sold my first two romances, Dancer in the Shadows and 14 Karat Beauty to Silhouette Romance on this date in 1979. And Dancer in the Shadows was released in December, 1980.

So it seems only fair that we celebrate!

Champagne and chocolate for all!

And one lucky commenter has a chance to obtain a signed advanced reading copy of Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend that will be released next April.

The winner will get a chance to read about Maggie and Declan ahead of time!

The contest will begin at 12:01 AM Pacific Standard Time on Friday, December 17, 2010 and end at 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time, Friday December 17, 2010. I'm sorry, any comments left after 11:59 on the 17th will not be considered. Contest is open to US addresses only.



Your odds of winning will be determined by the number of commenters and the winner chosen by a random generator.
And I want to add that I will hold another giveaway closer to Valentine's Day and will include international shipping.

Ebook Thursdays -- Guest Blogger Fran Baker



Please welcome Fran Baker who loves to write what I love to read. Is there anything better than a book that keeps you clamoring for more?


I love those old romantic comedies for the crackling dialogue, comedic timing, corny jokes and sometimes cornier plots. Oh, and for the tantalizing suggestion of sex. You know what I’m talking about: the passionate, starlit kisses and the fierce, fiery embraces that take you as far as the bedroom … and then shut the door in your face.

One of my favorites is “Adam’s Rib.” The pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, always a pretty good go, was a classic. Married lawyers, one a prosecutor and one a defense attorney, living the good life at home and then squaring off in the courtroom--you just knew this was going to be a battle of rapier-sharp wits.

As a former court reporter who’s married to a now-retired judge, I’m always up for a good legal story. So when, a couple of years ago, I saw that TCM was running “Adam’s Rib” for the umpteenth time, I settled in for the umpteenth time to watch it. But this time, when Adam (Spencer Tracy) tells Amanda (Katharine Hepburn) that he's been asked to run for judge and she asks him who will run against him, I was struck by an idea …

What if a contemporary couple of married attorneys wound up opposing each other for a judgeship? I had the perfect expert to ask pertinent questions of, and I’d been in enough courtrooms myself to know how the legal system worked. Why not write my own romantic legal comedy?

That’s how Romeo, Romeo, my original eBook novel, came to be. The characters’ names came to me almost immediately: Gian Luigi Romeo and Maggie Kelly Romeo. The opening scene (no shutting the bedroom door here!) practically wrote itself. Once I had those, I was off. I wrote the first draft in record time and then I rewrote it and polished it and … had no idea what to do with it.

One thing I did know was that I should get a blurb for Romeo, Romeo. I contacted New York Times bestselling author Deborah Smith. Deborah and I had both written for Bantam’s Loveswept line of romances, and we’ve worked together for library mailings and such since we both started our own presses. Add in the facts that I’m a big fan of her novels and an even bigger fan of her sense of humor, and I thought maybe this would be a good fit.

To my delight, it was. Deborah wrote: “This hot, funny, smart romantic comedy will make readers think of a great Tracy and Hepburn film, with a side dish of hearty passion. Fran Baker knows how to generate heat and humor.”

Now I had a completed book and a terrific blurb. I gave serious thought to trying to sell it. But after looking around and seeing a romance industry in a state of flux, I decided to chance the winds of change and publish Romeo, Romeo myself. It’s available at Amazon as well as all the eBook stores, and it’s my hope that you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Okay, enough about me and my romantic comedy. It's your turn to tell me what your favorite old romantic comedy is.

About the Author: Fran Baker is the author of eleven novels, with a twelfth in progress. Readers are invited to visit her web sites at www.FranBaker.com or www.DelphiBooks.us. Romeo, Romeo and The Widow and the Wildcatter are available at Amazon (Amazon.com: Romeo, Romeo: Fran Baker: Kindle Store) or wherever eBooks are sold.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The End Also Means A New Beginning



They say you can tell if a person is positive or negative by whether they see a glass as half full or half empty.

We see December as the end of the year and January as the beginning. Why not see this month as that slide into a new beginning?

I got married a week before Christmas. A new chapter in my life.

And 31 years ago on my wedding anniversary I sold my first two books to Silhouette Romances. The following December, my first book, Dancer in the Shadows, was released. Both new beginnings to my career that took me out of the corporate world and threw me into publishing.

Beginnings are good. Something new. Something that you can look forward to.

I even look at that with my writing. The beginning of the book is so much fun. It is for me because I don’t always know what’s going to happen. Sure I’m aware of the story I’ve come up with, but sometimes my characters decide they want to take a different path. There have been times when they’ve even changed the ending for me. And while I feel a little sad when I reach the last chapter, I know there’s a new book waiting to be written. Another beginning. Something new to look forward to.

Don’t look at the twelfth month of the year as the holidays and the end. Look at it as the time that slides into the beginning. Something to look forward to.

I know I’m looking forward to what will happen next year. Where my journey will take me. I’ve been on a lot of paths, some good, some not, but all learning experiences I’ve benefited from.

So remember to think of that glass as half full and that there’s no ending without a new beginning just around the corner.

Linda

Also, one of my award winning Loveswept romance novels is now available as an ebook. O’Hara Vs Wilder can be found on Amazon, B&N for your Nook and www.smashwords.com. More of my backlist book soon to follow. Another beginning.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dear Santa



What I want for Christmas is …

I have no clue.

There’s usually something that catches my eye and I drop hints all over the house, cut out photos, you name it.

But that didn’t happen this year. I’m driving my family crazy because I don’t know what I want for Christmas.

What about you? What do you hope shows up under the tree come Christmas morning?

Hm, maybe I’ll just wish for him under my tree.

Linda

Monday, December 13, 2010

EBook Mondays -- Guest Blogger Patricia Rosemoor

Please welcome wonderful author Patricia Rosemoor! Her books are loved everywhere and the fun part is her backlist is available again!


The McKenna Legacy

To My Darling Grandchildren,

I leave you my love and more. Within thirty-three days of your thirty-third birthday-enough time to know what you are about-you will have in your grasp a legacy of which your dreams are made. Dreams are not always tangible things, but more often are born in the heart. Act selflessly in another’s behalf, and my legacy will be yours.

Your loving grandmother,
Moira McKenna

I am so excited to make the first three The McKenna Legacy novels available to readers again. They were originally published in the mid-nineties, but readers still write to me to ask how they can get them, because they were part of the Harlequin Intrigue line and had a very limited shelf or reorder life.

So now I have learned to “Kindle” and I’ve uploaded all three books – SEE ME IN YOUR DREAMS, TELL ME NO LIES and TOUCH ME IN THE DARK – both as individual buys and rolled together in one specially priced Kindle book. I may try some of the other ebook choices once I get over the trauma of learning this one!

What is so surprising to me is how readers get invested in an idea. I think the idea of family appeals, of course, but the psychic or sometimes downright paranormal element adds an extra appeal to the books. Originally I had a single legacy and Moira’s nine grandchildren. I wrote the three original books and my editor wanted me to work on something different. Then she asked for another McKenna because the originals were selling so well. I worked on yet another series and then was asked to do more McKennas. And so on until I’d written all nine.

And then my editor asked me to develop another branch of the family, because that’s what readers wanted, so I did. But obviously I couldn’t use the same legacy, so this time I went with a curse:

June 22, 1919
Donal McKenna,
Ye might have found happiness with another woman, but yer progeny will pay for this betrayal of me. I call on my faerie blood and my powers as a witch to give yers only sorrow in love, for should they act on their feelings, they will put their loved ones in mortal danger.
So be it,
Sheelin O’Keefe

The challenge is to keep from repeating myself. I first have to think about how to play out the legacy and the romantic conflict so each book is different from the rest. It’s a challenge I love. And if you haven’t done so already, I hope you’ll love discovering the McKennas.

Patricia Rosemoor

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Hell


Many men would rather poke their eyes out with a stick and Nick, Jazz's vampire honey, is no different as you can see.
"Have a wonderful Christmas!" one perky clerk chirped.

"Only fourteen shopping days left!" Another had to chime in.

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!

I saw Santa kissing Santa Claus.

All I want for Christmas is ---

"Peace and quiet," Nick growled, literally, as he prowled the mall from hell. He really should have chosen the Magick Mall for his gift shopping needs, but since they don't have a Nordstrom, Sephora or Victoria's Secret, he was screwed and doomed to shop at the mall that offered all three and more since he doubted Jazz would appreciate receiving a check or even gift cards. Not to mention reloading her Starbucks card wouldn't go over too big either. No, he had to vampire up and do this thing.

He hadn't celebrated the holidays in decades and couldn't remember if he and Jazz ever had, but he vowed he'd do what it took to do it this year, even if he began to think a stake through the heart wouldn't be all that bad after all.
And what idiots are at a mall at eleven o'clock at night?! Other than him, that is. And all for those holiday bargains. The late night shopping hours were great for him since he was a vampire, although he could venture out during the day when it was cloudy. But we're talking sunny California and lately, December was more like July. Hence, his showing up now.

He hated shopping. He tended to order his clothing on line and have them delivered. But he doubted that Jazz would appreciate the personal touch, although he did find something for Krebs on line and even an elegant dog bed for Fluff and Puff that he knew they'd enjoy reclining on when they were on Jazz's feet. He even picked up a few DVDs for Irma's collection.

Now was the most difficult, yet interesting, shopping chore ahead of him.
"Would you like to try our new perfume, Midnight Madness, for your lady's pleasure?" One clerk asked, holding out a crystal bottle.

He reared back and just barely kept his fangs hidden. No way he could tell her he could smell that one and more.
"No thanks, but I may be back." He knew Jazz loved different perfumes to wear according to her mood and that one should work for her.

And what did Nick learn? That Sephora held more smelly stuff than his enhanced senses could handle. That he could see why Jazz spent a small fortune on skin and body products and he REALLY WANTED THE HADES OUT OF THERE.

Victoria's Secret was another hellish trek as overeager clerks were only too happy to assist him and he didn't think it was because they were thinking of sales. Not when he kept finding notes with names and phone numbers tucked into his jacket pocket. He winced at the grand total, but the idea of Jazz modeling the colorful silk chemises and thongs he picked up helped soothe the pain.
By the time Nick left the noise and mayhem of the mall and walked out to his Jeep Wrangler, he experienced something he hadn't felt in centuries.

He had the headache of all headaches and the knowledge the way things were going he'd be doing this again on Jazz's birthday.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

E-Book Thursday Guest Blogger -- Phoebe Conn

Please welcome Phoebe Conn! I remember reading Phoebe's wonderful fantasy books and meeting her years ago. So I'm very glad to have her here talking about her latest book.


DEFY THE WORLD TOMATOES

DEFY THE WORLD TOMATOES has just been released by Samhain Publishing. It’s a contemporary romance with a dash of suspense, and the provocative title catches everyone’s notice. When an author is able to pique a reader’s interest with her title, she can more easily lure her into reading the book.

Looking at my backlist, I have to laugh at some of my own titles, and some chosen by editors, or publishers. My first book, LOVE’S ELUSIVE FLAME, had a heroine named Flame, and I just had to use her name in the title. I’ll admit now it was more or less a spoof of romance titles, but it stuck. My editor chose SAVAGE FIRE for my second book because it had a Native American hero and at that time, Zebra used savage for those books whenever they could.

My editor also chose ECSTASY’S PARADISE for my third book. I complained it was nearly impossible to pronounce, but I was overruled. CAPTIVE HEART was my title for a Viking story that made the New York Times bestseller list. Several books then had editor’s picks, but I chose TENDER SAVAGE for a story about the Minnesota Sioux uprising in 1862. My agent cried, “It sounds as though he’s been parboiled!” Perhaps, but the book is still many fans’ favorite.

Roberta Grossman, the late publisher of Kensington Books, chose NO SWEETER ECSTASY, TEMPT ME WITH KISSES, and LOVE ME ‘TIL DAWN. I prefer titles related to the action in the story so the reader can remember it. Her titles were generic romance titles that could have gone on any book. She was a wonderfully enthusiastic publisher though, and I didn’t argue with her.

Just for fun, I came up with a title for my first futuristic Cinnamon Burke book, RAPTURE’S MIST, that said absolutely nothing about the content. It was more or less a private joke, but my editor at Leisure, Alicia Condon loved it! I learned my lesson right there and gave titles more serious thought before submitting them!

My second book with Samhain will be a June release, and my editor asked for a new title because they had already used the one I’d chosen. The heroine is rebuilding her life after being widowed and I got busy dreaming up titles that related to her success. My editor chose WHERE DREAMS BEGIN from my list and it’s a title I love. It frames the story beautifully, and has an appealing uplifting quality. Even better, the manuscript is already finished!

You’re probably still wondering how I came up with DEFY THE WORLD TOMATOES.
I’m still close with a childhood friend who owns a jewelry design studio. I’ve taught classes there and went with her when she did art fairs. At one fair, there was a man selling plaques with the colorful labels once used for produce crates. There was a company named Defy the World, and there was their label for tomatoes. “Defy the World Tomatoes!” I said, “That’s the best title I ever heard.” Then all I had to do was write the book. The plaque is in my kitchen, and will always have a place in my home. The book has gotten great reviews, and I’m proud the title inspired such a well-regarded book. It’s certainly a backwards approach to writing, but it worked.

Has a title ever caught your eye and enticed you to pick up a book? Have you ever found a title that misled you as to the book’s content? Have you ever found favorite books’ titles impossible to remember because they are so similar to other titles? If you could write a bestseller, what would your title be?

I’d love to hear your comments and will give a pdf copy of DEFY THE WORLD TOMATOES to someone with a dynamite title!

Please look for my books at www.SamhainPublishing.com
Dorchesterpub.com
AWritersWork.com and Backlistebooks.com
Phoebeconn.com

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Movie Time










I dug out my holiday collection movies right after Thanksgiving and looked for new ones. Not to mention watching them on TV.

I’m such a sucker for the holidays. :}

Movies for this time of year are such fun, because you can choose from animation, romantic comedy, humor, and drama. Scrooge isn’t just in the past any longer, families blending the holiday, couples discovering each other, animated characters that give Christmas a whole new meaning. Jack Skellington wanting to be Santa Claus. Tim Allen getting the job without an interview. Vince Vaughn is actually Santa’s brother. Who knew?

Barbara Stanwyck pretending to be a homemaker when she can’t even boil water, but still manages to snare cute Dennis Morgan at Christmas.

The Kranks deciding to skip Christmas so they can take a cruise, but discovering what really mattered that time of the year.

So many versions of A Christmas Carol including Mr. Magoo as Scrooge, Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchett, even Mickey Mouse doing his thing.

And every year it seems I add to my favorites.

So many to name, but I’ll give you a few that I always watch. Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanwyck, Holiday Affair with Robert Mitchum, It Happened on Fifth Avenue which is a cute little comedy, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life, White Christmas, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, the three Santa Clause, Fred Claus, Four Christmases, Christmas with the Kranks, any version of A Christmas Carol, Shrek The Halls, and Madagascar Penguin holiday cartoons.

What movies do you enjoy this time of year?

Linda

Holiday Magick


It's listing to the right."
"It's straight."
"You call that straight? I called it old man crooked." Jazz shot Krebs a look that said 'fix it or else!'
Her housemate blew out an exasperated breath as he stepped back a few paces and studied the tree. She was right. It was leaning a little too far to the right.
"I'll have to secure the damn thing to the wall," he muttered. "You had to have a ten-foot tree, didn't you?"
"The room cries out for a large tree." She held her arms out to encompass the huge living room that was bright with twinkle lights threaded through green garlands decorated with red velvet bows. Holiday music played in the background.
Krebs grunted as he struggled with the heavy tree. He shot a glare toward the man lounging on the couch. "You could help, you know. Vampire strength. Pick the tree up as if it was a toothpick and all that."
"This is your tradition, not mine." Nick grinned. "Besides, I'm enjoying the show you and Jazz are giving me as you argue about decorations and a tall tree." But he took pity on the human and went over to help steady the tree. "Perhaps someone will add her magick to the tree." He lifted an eyebrow at Jazz.
"What would you guys do without me?" She held her hands out. "Getting close to the date. Want the tree to be long. So stand up straight and stand up strong. Because I said so, damn it!" To go with the holiday spirit her magick left her fingertips in red and green sparkles, traveling to the tree and wrapping it in power. The tree immediately stopped listing to the right. "And no holes in the wall," she told Krebs.
"That works for me. Think you can do the lights too?"
"Putting lights up is guy work! I put up the ornaments and icicles." She held up a silvery strand of tinsel.
Krebs gritted his teeth as Jazz directed the placement of the strands of lights. "I thought this was guy work."
"It is, but you still need to know where they go." She handed him the star tree topper.
"What did you do before you had me to boss around?" Krebs asked.
"I had a three-foot tabletop tree, but this is so much better." Jazz sorted through the ornaments until she found the one she wanted and carefully placed it on a branch.
Fluff and Puff slid into the room, chattering away to themselves. They headed for the red basket filled with candy canes and grabbed one, growling and snapping at each other as they fought over the peppermint treat until it broke in half. Each retreated to an opposite corner to enjoy their booty while keeping an eye on the other to make sure it wasn't taken away from them.
"No, the angel has to go up there." Jazz pointed up and up and up.
Krebs sighed. "I'll get the ladder."
"I can take care of that." Nick levitated to the branch Jazz indicated and carefully hung the ornament.
Between Jazz's direction, Krebs and Nick doing her bidding the tree was decorated from top to bottom.
"Any reason why you couldn't do the witchy thing and just send the ornaments onto the tree?" Krebs asked.
"Sure, but it's not as much fun as making sure they're where they belong. I do great work." She beamed as she studied the tree.
Nick and Krebs exchanged a look. "Who does great work?" They asked in unison.
"I was the brains, you were the brawn." She waved off their words. "It's a beautiful tree."
With the drapes open, the tree was perfectly framed in the huge bay window that faced the street. With icicle lights decorating the house, twinkle lights blanketing the shrubs and lighted lollipops and candy canes along the cement walkway, the house was a holiday confection.
"Let's go outside and see the full effect!" Jazz grabbed the men by the hand and pulled them outside. They stood on the sidewalk to admire the final effect.
"Even prettier than last year," she pronounced.
"I have to admit you do good work." Krebs hugged her.
"Jazz has always loved the holidays," Nick said.
"Especially presents." She looked from one to the other.
"You know the rules. We wait until the morning of December 25 and not one minute sooner. It's cold out here. I'll make Irish coffee," he offered, heading for the front door. "You can drink that, right, Nick?"
"Thankfully, I can." He slipped an arm around Jazz's waist as they walked up the walkway.
"Gross!" Krebs stared at Fluff, or maybe it was Puff. "They ate peppermint and that came out of them?"
Jazz held her nose as she waved her hand through the noxious air that seemed to get worse by the minute. "I should have remembered that peppermint doesn't agree with them."
"I guess we'll be drinking our Irish coffee in the kitchen." Krebs led the way.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Treats

The holidays are all about color, music, lights, laughter, family, and friends. But wait a minute! That’s not all. There’s something wonderful to bind it all together.

Good food and fun treats.

Everyone knows I love to bake and there were been years I’d felt as if I spent days in the kitchen. Still, the end results were always worth it and I shared with friends.

I have my usual recipes and I try a couple new ones every year. Some remain in my recipe files and some don’t.

Is there anything better than walking into a house that smells like a bakery? Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, chocolate, cream cheese, peppermint. Whatever gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling?

The following are a few of ones I enjoy making this time of year.

One cookie that’s fun to make. Buttery cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar that come out rich and chewy. And it makes the kitchen smell so good while baking them.


Snickerdoodles


1 1/2 cups sugar 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup margarine, softened 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla 2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs 2 tsp cinnamon
1 3/4 cups flour 1 tsp cream of tartar


400 oven
In large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups sugar and margarine until light and fluffy. Blend in vanilla and eggs. Blend flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt into creamed mixture. Combine 2 tbsp sugar and cinnamon. Shape dough into 1 inch balls, roll balls in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. bake at 400 for 8-10 min or until set.

chocolate snickerdoodles -- 1/2 cup cocoa can be substituted for 1/2 cup flour. Bake at 400 for 6-9 min.


These cookies are sooooo good! Time-consuming to make, but the end results are worth it. Yes, you could make them to share, but after you eat a few, you won’t want to.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies


Filling -- 1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Cookie -- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine, softened
8-oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
reserve 2 oz. for frosting
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder

Frosting -- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa
1-2 tbsp milk
reserved 2 oz. cream cheese

Combine peanut butter and powdered sugar, blend until smooth. Chill while mixing cookie dough.

Cream brown sugar, sugar, margarine and 6 oz cream cheese until light and fluffy. Blend in egg and vanilla. Blend flour, cocoa and baking powder into creamed mixture. Shape dough into 1 inch balls, place 2 in. apart on cookie sheets. With thumb, make imprint in center of each cookie. Fill with 1 tsp filling. Bring dough around filling to completely cover. Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes. Cool.

Mix frosting ingredients together and spread over cooled cookie.

Mine usually come out larger than they say. And I seem to only make them at Christmas time since they're so addicting! They've become addicting to my friends and family too!


These candies aren’t just for holidays. If you like Snickers bars you’ll love these.


Choconut Caramel Bars


2 pkg milk chocolate chips
4 tbsp shortening
2 14-oz pkg caramels
4 tbsp water Choconut
2 cups peanuts, chopped

Melt 1 pkg choc. chips and 2 tbsp shortening-takes about a minute or so in microwave. Stir until smooth. Pour into 9x13 foil lined pan. Refrigerate until firm. Melt caramels and water-about 2 to 4 min. in microwave. Stir until smooth then fold in the peanuts. Pour mixture over the cooled chocolate, spread evenly, and refrigerate until firm. Top with remaining chocolate and refrigerate until it’s set.

Halve recipe if using 8 in. square pan, but do you really want to do that?

I discovered this recipe several years ago and it was an instant hit. If you love dreamsicles you will love this fudge.


Marbled Orange Fudge


1 1/2 tsp plus 3/4 cup butter—divided (it also works just fine with margarine)
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 pkg vanilla or white chips
1 jar marshmallow creme
3 tsp orange extract
orange food coloring

Grease 13x9 pan with 1 1/2 tsp butter. Combine sugar, cream and remaining butter. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 4 min. Remove from heat, stir in chips and marshmallow creme until smooth. Remove 1 cup, set aside. Add orange extract and coloring to remaining mixture. Stir until blended. Pour into pan. Drop reserved marshmallow mix by tablespoonfuls over top. Cut through mixture with a knife to swirl. Cover and refrigerate until set. Cut into squares.

I’ve tried other flavors and while they taste great I always return to the orange/vanilla combo. You can try chocolate and mint, chocolate & coconut and put coconut in the coconut part, lime extract and vanilla, peppermint, maybe even cinnamon!

The holidays are all about the senses, so with this we have smell and taste. How great is that?

Linda

Monday, December 6, 2010

E-Book Monday -- Guest Blogger Jeffrey A. Carver

Please welcome today's guest blogger Jeffrey A. Carver!

I enjoy reading science fiction and so fun to have him here!

What's a science fiction writer doing in a place like this? he asks himself, looking around warily. Book lovers, from the appearance of the joint. Romance, okay. Seems friendly enough. They must be okay. They like books, and they asked me to come.

Well, hi—I'm Jeff. Jeffrey A. Carver, they call me on the book covers. The reason Linda and I know each other—though we've never met in person—is that we're both doing the same thing: bringing our out-of-print books back to life, self publishing them as ebooks. Self-repubbing, I call it. Ebooks are something I've been involved in for years, but this part is new to me.

My first ebook-reprints were released years ago through an outfit called E-reads, founded by my agent Richard Curtis. E-reads was on the cutting edge, so cutting that there really wasn't much audience for the product yet. I wasn't a fan of ebooks myself, to be honest—not until I started creating my own ebook reprints for free giveaway, and found that I love ebooks. Here's how that happened:

I've been working for years on an SF series called The Chaos Chronicles, published by Tor Books. The first three volumes, starting with Neptune Crossing, came out to a good reception. But, for a variety of reasons, there was a gap of a decade between those first three and Book Four, Sunborn. You want to guess the availability status of the first three by that point? Right. Coming out with a fourth novel in a series, when the first three were out of print, seemed like a recipe for disaster to me. So I decided to release those first three myself, for free download from my website. I did, and they did—download the books, that is—by the tens of thousands, over two years. I was building my audience, and many of them said thank-you with Paypal donations, and some said thank-you by going on to buy my other ebooks. Not in vast numbers, but enough to be encouraging. What it didn't do was drive paper sales. Those were in the doldrums, and stayed there.

So a few months ago, I decided to shift gears. Pull back on the freebies (not to none, but to less) and put the novels into the Kindle store and Smashwords for a few bucks each. That's what I've done, and in the process became part of a cross-genre collection of authors called Backlist eBooks, and related communities of traditionally published writers, all taking on the great experiment of self-repubbing their backlists. Right now, I have these three books: Neptune Crossing, Strange Attractors, and The Infinite Sea, out under my own imprint, Starstream Publications. I added new afterwords, reflecting a bit on the evolution of the series and what it was like to write the books.










In case you're wondering what the books are about, here are a few brief squibs:

Neptune Crossing Kindle Smashwords
When John Bandicut encounters an alien intelligence on Neptune's moon Triton, his life changes irrevocably. Urged by the alien quarx now sharing his mind, he accepts an audacious mission—to steal a ship and hurtle across the solar system in a desperate bid for Earth's survival.

Strange Attractors Kindle Smashwords
For John Bandicut, Earth is but a memory. Stranded outside the galaxy in a vast structure peopled by a thousand races, Bandicut finds unexpected friends—only to be caught up in a cascade of irresistible forces. Confronting an entity known as the boojum, Bandicut discovers that the Shipworld itself is in peril, and only he can intervene.

The Infinite Sea Kindle Smashwords
Flung to an alien ocean world, John Bandicut and his companions find themselves plunged into the deepsea realm of the Neri. What will they find in the Neri's failing undersea city, or in the terrifying object of the deep abyss? Book 3 of The Chaos Chronicles continues the hard-SF saga inspired by chaos theory—with an all-new Afterword by the Nebula-nominated author of Eternity's End.

You're all romance people here, right? The answer is yes, there is romance out among the stars, even when you're a lone human in the company of aliens.

Soon I hope to have one more book up: Eternity's End, part of my Star Rigger universe. That one was a Nebula Award finalist. I'm working with a cover designer, and when it's finished I want to go back and redo the covers for the Chaos books. Here's what Eternity's End looks like in its print edition:





This is all still a great experiment for me. Stay tuned, and we'll all see what happens. If you'd like to see my free samples, and even download a free copy of my TV tie-in, Battlestar Galactica: the Miniseries, please visit my downloads page. To see a complete listing of all my ebooks, visit my ebooks page or my Amazon Author page.

And by all means, drop in anytime at my blog, Pushing a Snake Up a Hill.

Say, is there any coffee around here?

—Jeffrey A. Carver

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Holiday Hunt Is On!


Yes, another scavenger hunt going on! And I've offered up some hexy goodies and books.
Just go to Night Owl Reviews to find out what's offered.



http://www.nightowlreviews.com/nor/Pages/WinterWonderlandDetails.aspx

The Halloween Hunt was a blast. Good luck!

Linda

Thursday, December 2, 2010

E-Book Thursdays -- Guest Author Lynn Michaels

Please welcome one of my closest friends who's also an awesome author. How many of you remember her wonderful Harlequin Temptations and Bridal romances?


Now she's bringing her books back to a new life.



Linda





One of the toughest questions for an author to answer is “What’s your favorite of all the books you’ve written?” I’ve been known to go totally blank when asked that, but I’ll usually say, “All of them.” I don’t mean that to sound pat or off hand, it’s simply the truth.
If you asked me “Which of your books did you enjoy writing the most?” two that come instantly to mind are THE PATRIOT and AFTER-SHOCK. I had more fun writing those books than a person alone in a room with a computer should be allowed to have. I’m glad there are no laws against that.
The bad guy in both stories is a mercenary named Conan. That’s not his real name, that’s just what he’s called because he looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was only a movie actor when I wrote the books. He makes his first appearance in THE PATRIOT, and returns in AFTERSHOCK.
Like another of Arnold’s iconic characters, the Terminator, thanks to the boom in e-readers such as Kindle and Nook THE PATRIOT and AFTERSHOCK are baa-aack, this time as e-books. Both are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Preserving books is the coolest thing about e-publishing. A book never goes out of print; there’s no spine to crack and drop pages, and you can’t lose it. Though I suppose you could lose your reader.
For authors, especially category romance authors (THE PATRIOT and AFTERSHOCK were first published by Harlequin Temptation, a cate-gory line that sadly is no more) this is beyond thrilling. Why? Because the average shelf life of a category romance is three weeks. A book that took me 6 to 9 months to write has a sales window of 21 days and then, pffft -- it’s gone, outta there, pulled off the shelf to make room for the next month’s titles. The cover is stripped and returned to the publisher for credit. The rest of the book is tossed in a dumpster.
I can’t tell you how heartbreaking that is for authors. Plus it’s frustrating for readers who really wanted the book but somehow missed it. I know because I’ve been one of those readers.
Whoever said you can’t tell a book by its cover must have seen the original covers of THE PATRIOT and AFTERSHOCK.
THE PATRIOT had the worst cover ever, my editor even said so, and AFTERSHOCK wasn’t much better. Authors have no control over covers. We get what we get, and we all hold our breath waiting to see what art department comes up with.
My good friend Judy Johnson, a very talented artist, created the e-book covers that I’m sharing with you here. I love them!
If you like suspense and adventure with your romance then THE PATRIOT and AFTERSHOCK are your kind of books. I hope you’ll buy them and enjoy them, but there’s no rush. They’ll be there waiting for you, as they say in fairy tales, forever and a day.
E-books are a win for authors and a win for readers. Hallelujah! Can I have an amen?

I hope you'll come visit me and my books.



www.lynnmichaels.us

http://www.amazon.com/Aftershock-ebook/dp/B004BA54Z6/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1291225216&sr=1-7

http://www.amazon.com/The-Patriot-ebook/dp/B004BA550A/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1291225273&sr=1-13

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Countdown



It’s December!

Kids are singing how many days until Santa comes down that chimney.

Adults are penning gift lists, wish lists, and planning shopping trips with the same strategy of a military commander.

And the pantry is loaded with all the staples you need to bake all those goodies that you hope don’t add to inches to your hips and thighs.

How do you handle the holidays?

Do you shop online or hit the malls?

Do you have that list penned of who gets what or do you browse hoping an item will scream a family member or friend’s name?

Do you have those special hiding places the kids don’t know about? Or you hope they don’t know about.

I admit it. I love to gift shop. Yes, I love to shop for myself. I’m human, after all. :} But I also enjoy going out and finding just that right gift for someone. I shop both online and at the mall, although I sometimes like wandering the mall for their decorations.

Just about all of my friends are demented, so what can I say? They’re very easy to shop for. I look for fun items that I know will make them laugh. But I also love finding the fun girly items. We can’t have enough of those, can we?

Then there are the decorations. The crates holding ours is in the garage and I’m finishing putting everything up. It’s also a good time to sort out what we might not keep, even if that means always finding something new. I’ve already seen some items that I’m doing the ‘ahhh!’ moment.

I don’t do as much baking as I used to. Too dangerous to leave around the house, but I love to make a variety and share them. I’ll be putting up some recipes this month of what I tend to make this time of year.

We also have fun seeing the house decorations. A lot of fun to make a Starbucks run and drive around the neighborhoods or even walk around our own neighborhood along with seeing Santa when he drives through the neighborhoods along with a bunch of singers and their collecting for a food drive.

I’ve already warned Barney I’m getting him a jingle bell collar when I shop for his gifts from Santa Paws.

But even with all this, I have a book to write.

I’ll still manage my holiday fun.

What about you? What will December be like for you?

Linda

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ebook Monday -- What's On Your Wish List?














I have a lot of my backlist books reverted to me and I knew I couldn’t allow them to just sit there and collect dust. No way could they lie around and do nothing when they could be out there being useful and hopefully attracting a new audience.

Plus, it’s fun to see them have a new life.

It’s a process where if I not longer have a digital copy of the manuscript I have to scan the actual book. Then I read it to make sure there are no glitches. And I have a new cover designed.

When I queried fans I learned that they didn’t want to read an updated book, but what was published at that time. And that’s what I’ve done.

So far, I have an urban fantasy novella up for all ebook readers and this week will be releasing one of my former Loveswepts, O’Hara Vs Wilder. I loved writing this book, which was a finalist for Romantic Times Best Loveswept Award for 1994 and the Romantic Times WISH award for June 1994.

With Christmas coming up and many people putting an ebook reader on their wish list or already have one, I thought I’d write about ebooks and invite friends to talk about their own backlist books they’re putting up.

There’s such a wide variety of ebook readers out there now. I’ve included pictures of the Nook, Kindle, iPad, and Sony Reader. It’s just a question of which reader appeals to you.

I got my Nook several months ago and I’m well and truly hooked. I also have the Nook and Kindle apps on my laptop and netbook. ‘She shall have books wherever she goes’.

There was a time when ebooks were considered the stepchild of publishing. That’s changed a great deal and the books out there show just how well done they are.

Plus look at the ease of having a reader. You can tuck them in your bag and you’ve got it wherever you go. Plus with WiFi you can shop wherever you are too. I’ve discovered a lot of awesome authors that I might not have noticed before.

So what about you? Do you own an ebook reader or is there one topping your holiday wish list?

Come by every Monday and Thursday to meet more authors who have also put their backlist books up as ebooks and hopefully, you’ll add them to your wish list of reading material.

After all, we can never have too many books, can we?

Linda
And I'd like to add that O'Hara Vs Wilder is now up for Nook readers and apps.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/product.aspx?ean=2940011900082

Kindle

http://www.amazon.com/OHara-Vs-Wilder-ebook/dp/B004EEONOW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1291156997&sr=8-1

And at Smashwords for all other ebook readers.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/31868

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hex Appeal In Spain


I recently received the Spanish cover for Hex Appeal. It will be available in Spain in a few weeks, so if you happen to be traveling, you can find it there soon.
Linda

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday with Jazz, Fluff and Puff




Why did we have to come with you?" Puff whined from his spot in Jazz’s Marc Jacobs pink leather tote, as she wove her way through the hordes of people that pushed around Jazz.

“Because you might come in handy.” Jazz had the grim determination you only saw one day a year. The day after Thanksgiving when serious shoppers came out to do their holiday shopping. She was there armed with credit cards, ready to do what it took to get all her shopping out of the way.

Fluff’s ears curved over the top of the bag, then his eyes peeped over, widening at the mob around them. “I’m going back to the car.”

Jazz tightened her hold on the bag. “No, you’re not.” She pushed her way into Nordstrom on the quest for the perfect gifts. It wasn’t long before she found a leather jacket for Nick, an even cuter leather jacket for herself, sweaters for Stasi and Blair, a wrap for Thea and she was still going strong.

“I want a pretzel,” Puff demanded.

“Later.” Jazz’s gaze narrowed as she spied a plum silk top across the store. She made her way there, but someone else saw the top too and there was only the one. “Create a diversion. Trip her,” she muttered, unceremoniously dumping them out of her bag.

“Pretzel,” Puff reminded her.

“Yeah, yeah.” But her mind was on the prize. The slippers growled their way among the shoppers, who tended to stay out of their way, yet not one screamed or fainted as their magick protected them.

Jazz remained behind them, watching the woman destined to lose the top, because IT WAS HERS. She started to throw out a freeze spell, but she made a promise not to use magick when shopping. Sigh! She quickened her steps and practically slid across the floor reaching out for the top the same time as the other woman.

“I believe this is mine,” the woman said frostily, practically jerking Jazz off her feet as she pulled on the hanger.

“I was here first.” Jazz was happy to see that Fluff and Puff were on either side of her new enemy. She wanted this top, damn it!

Just then the woman yelped and released the hanger.

Puff slid back, looking proud of himself. “Now I get my pretzel.”

“After I finish my shopping.” Jazz glared at the woman who looked ready to pitch into her. “Not getting this top isn’t the end of the world,” she told her before she walked off.

“Pretzel!” Puff raised his voice.

“You promised!” Fluff added his two cents.

“Give it a rest. I said I’ll get you guys pretzels after I finish here. Oooh, pretty!” She squeaked to a stop by a large rack of silk dresses.

Fluff and Puff didn’t say another word, but sulked big time as Jazz finished her shopping in the store and added more large shopping bags to her arms.

As she exited the store, alarms went off big time.

“What the –“ Jazz looked around to see who’d set off the security alarm when a hulkish type man wearing a khaki uniform came up to her.

“If you’ll come with me, ma’am,” he said quietly, taking her arm in a hold that said to come with him or else.

“What’s the problem?” She so wanted to zap him good, but she knew it wouldn’t be a good idea.

“We believe you have items you haven’t paid for.” He steered her toward the offices.

“Oh believe me, I paid for everything and have the receipts and depleted charge card to show for it.” If she wasn’t on probation with the Witches Council, she would have used a spell to get out of there without any fuss, but she knew the man was wrong and there was nothing she loved more than showing a man he was wrong. “So what exactly didn’t I pay for?”

Once in the office, she set her shopping bags down and looked the part of a disgruntled shopper. After all, she had more sales to plunder! More gifts to buy! And there was that gorgeous dress she saw in the paper that she knew would be perfect on her.

The security officer reached into one bag and pulled out two fluffy items.

Jazz stared at Fluff and Puff and laughed. “Are you kidding me? They’re mine. I brought them with me for when my feet get tired.” She gestured with her stiletto boots.

“Sure, lady. We all don’t believe in taking the price tags off our own items.” He dropped them on the desk, where, damn them, they didn’t move an inch and acted as if they were literal footwear, and picked up a phone. “And we have zero tolerance against shoplifters here.”

Jazz picked them up, gasped at the fifty-dollar price tag and glared at them hard enough to cause steam to come out of her ears. “You little shits,” she gritted. “You reveal yourselves now.” Nothing.

The guard shook his head and picked up the phone.

Ten minutes later, Jazz was escorted out of the office by a police officer. When she glanced over her shoulder at the slippers still lying on the desk, she saw Puff slowly close one eye in a wink and mouth the word pretzel.

So a word of warning.

If you’re at the mall and fangy see bunny slippers in the stores, have a a nice big soft pretzel ready. They prefer the cinnamon sugar ones.

Linda

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Hexy Thanksgiving


“I don’t know if three turkeys will be enough,” Blair said, surveying the kitchen counters covered with roasting pans, mixing bowls, and various pots and pans on the stove. “Trust me, Jake eats a lot. There are all you can eat buffets that won’t let us come back.”

“And you demolishing the desert table doesn’t have something to do with that? The turkeys are twenty-six pounds apiece. We’ll be fine.” Stasi covered the sweet potatoes with marshmallows and popped them into the hot oven so they could brown. She paused long enough to sneak a treat to Bogie who barked his thanks and floated toward his soft and comfy bed.

“You did use cream and real butter in the mashed potatoes, didn’t you?” Irma wandered in with Phinneas, her spectral beau, in tow. “It’s what gives them the proper taste.” She heaved a deep sigh. “I miss eating.” She glared at Jazz. “You could let me change my wardrobe, but not allow me to eat? Get working on that spell, missy.”

“Yeah, like that’ll happen,” Jazz muttered.

“It’s a good thing we all have metabolisms that burn up all the extra calories and cholesterol.” Blair set the rolls on a cookie sheet.

“I brought the pies,” Maggie walked into the kitchen. She laughed her friends’ expressions of horror. “From my favorite bakery,” she assured them. It was a known fact the blonde witch’s culinary skills were on the same level as Jazz’s … none. “Four pumpkin, two mince, and one pecan. And …” She opened a pink bakery box to reveal five extra large custard filled ├ęclairs topped with decadent chocolate frosting. For later, she mouthed.

“Ah, I see a lovely corner for moi.” Maggie’s diamond encrusted black widow spider tattoo skittered off the witch’s shoulder and headed up the wall. She pulled a tiny netbook out of a hidden pocket and began her web surfing.

“Where’re the guys?” Maggie asked, perching on the counter.

“Where else? It’s Thanksgiving Day so that means football,” Stasi said. “If we’re lucky we’ll be able to drag them away from the TV long enough to eat.”

“All you have to do is try it,” Jazz coaxed, leading Nick into the kitchen. “It’s not that bad.”

“How would you know? Have you tasted it?” The tall vampire followed her with a wary look on his face. “Plus, did you have to drag me away now? I’ve got money riding on this game.”

“Jazz, you’re not!” Blair and Stasi protested, aware what their witchy friend had in mind.

“It’s a great way for Nick to feel like he’s a part of the dinner,” Jazz argued.

“A glass of wine is just fine with me.” He started to edge his way out of the estrogen-filled room, but his witch’s firm hold on his wrist wouldn’t allow it, thanks to magick increasing her strength. No way she was letting him escape now. She used her other hand to pull a container out of the refrigerator.

“I’ve read fiction books where they come up with special blends. So why not this?” She dumped the contents in the blender and fired it up. She poured a little bit of the thick mixture into a glass and offered it to Nick who reared back as if she held a ball of fire.

“That smells terrible! What’s in it?”

Jazz looked into the glass but seemed to hold her breath. “Pureed turkey and cow’s blood.”

“That was what you put in our refrigerator?” Stasi cried. “Jazz!”

Blair and Maggie gagged at the idea.

“It’s not like I put bits of an entire dinner in there.” She held the glass toward Nick who kept backing away with his hands up. “Although I did think of some potatoes and green bean casserole.”

“Wine only,” he stated.

“Nikolai Gregorivich I made this for you and you will drink it!” She glared at him.

That was when Nick disappeared in the wink of an eye.

“I cooked for you!” Jazz shouted into thin air. She picked up the blender and headed for the sink.

“Wait a minute.” Horace grabbed it out of her hands and downed the contents. A loud belch followed. ‘Eh, I’ve had better.”

Which goes to show a gargoyle will eat anything if it’s Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Holiday Season


I always felt the holiday season would ease its way in once Labor Day was here. Summer was over, fall would show up, and we’d start looking to decorate rooms and houses.

Halloween is over. We’ve recovered from eating the leftover candy and pulled out fall inspired tablecloths and perhaps put out a scarecrow by the front door or a cute fall inspired door decoration.

Have you planned your Thanksgiving menu? Do you do all the cooking or share with family members? Go out?

Growing up I remember family and friends coming to where we had multiple tables and a full house.

When I was in high school my dad was away on business and due to a snowstorm couldn’t get back for Thanksgiving. My mom and I decided we’d go up to Knotts Berry Farm for dinner. They didn’t have a turkey dinner then, but that was fine. We had a chicken dinner, walked through the shops, and enjoyed ourselves. Years later, when numbers started to dwindle we decided to make that a tradition. We all would meet there for a turkey dinner and then enjoy the shops.

When we moved out of the area we still went out for Thanksgiving and now we’re back to having a meal at home, but with smaller numbers we have a more relaxing time with picking up the meal at the grocery store. I have to say it’s nice to let someone else do the cooking. I bake the pies and we fix up extras, but it’s not like we’re getting up at dawn to cut up veggies for the dressing, etc. It doesn’t mean I don’t make the food my own though.

What about you? Do you have fun memories for Thanksgiving dinners? What do you do to make the holiday special?

Linda

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Totally cute dog video!

Barney and I need to have a long talk!

Linda

Friday, November 12, 2010

Evolution of a Writer


My first book was published thirty years ago this December. A year after my agent called me with the news that a brand spanking new publisher called Silhouette Books wanted to buy my first two books.

The best part was I wouldn’t be a one book writer and it was time to see if I could write more books.

Obviously, I could, and what a journey it’s been

Just like the transition from childhood to adult, it’s all an evolution of a writer and a person.

Back in the late 1970s I wrote books with a single point-of-view, alpha heroes who were usually quite a bit older than the tender-hearted virgin heroines and we won’t even go into the bitchy ‘other woman’ that tended to crop up. And love scenes were behind closed doors. Yawn!

And romance writers always wore pink, smiled constantly, ate bonbons, and chirped instead of talked. So not me at all.

Even back then I knew I wanted to write ‘more’ and I pushed the envelope any way I could. So many of us felt the same. It meant coming up more with more innovative storylines, and strong characters that stood out.

It meant writing hero oriented plots, role reversal stories such as my male housekeeper book, Caution Man at Work and Guardian Angel that featured a female bodyguard, and other books that offered a reader more.

Yes, it meant a lot more work, but it was worth it, because it allowed me to grow as a writer and even as a person. It always hasn’t been easy and times I wondered whether I should continue writing, but every writer will tell you it’s not something you can easily quit. Your imagination won’t allow it.

We never remain stagnant. I mean, how boring is that? And no way I want to be the same person I was 30 years ago. I want to move forward, change my hairstyle a few million times, the way I dress and how I think.

I know I couldn’t write what I wrote in the beginning because I’ve progressed so far. And I’d like to think it’s all for the better. That my evolution knew what to do with me.

Even now, I wonder what my next evolution will bring me.

What about you? Do you feel you’ve evolved over the years? That even if there’s been bumps in the road, you’ve kept going?

Linda

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Brady's Hellion Now up For Nook Readers


And more to come.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/product.aspx?ean=2940011864315

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Muse

It used to be that my muse changed according to the book I wrote. It would cover what book genre I read, movies I’d watch, even to how I’d feel inside.

Once I started writing the witches, Fluff and Puff, my fangy bunny slippers tended to whisper in my ear more and more. They claimed they were relaying what the witches had to say, but I think sometimes they were more into making sure they showed up on a regular basis. Shy and humble are not words in their vocabulary.

My muse likes to work in visuals. 3D movies inside my brain seem to be the norm lately. Sometimes Fluff and Puff are the guides, sometimes a future witch shows up to say “let’s discuss my story, shall we?”

But I need to work on the present book, not a future one! That muse is there, an arrogant Persian cat named Cleo, short for Cleopatra … yes, THAT Cleopatra. At least, that’s her story. And she doesn’t whisper in my ear, she speaks loud and clear, wanting to make sure I hear every word.

Perhaps that’s why cats are showing up at the house. They sense Cleo’s lure.

A muse is helpful. They tell us things we might not think of. We have someone to blame if it doesn’t go right. ‘I just did what my muse said to do.’

I like the idea of having a muse. Someone perched on my shoulder and giving me that much needed nudge when I need it.

Still, why can’t my muse be gorgeous and male? Am I asking too much to want that?

And what will turn up as my next muse? Will I finally get lucky and end up with a sexy male whispering all sorts of sexy suggestions in my imagination or will Fluff and Puff bound back demanding their share of chocolate and licorice root?

Tell me about your muse? You don’t have to be a writer to have one.

‘My muse told me I needed this top because it makes me look very sexy and ten pounds thinner.’

What does your muse do for you?

Linda

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Halloween Surprise




“Are you sure Jazz said there was a party here?” Fluff looked through the tall iron gates at a house that should have fallen down in the 1800s. Spires rose high, partially blocking the moon.

“Yeah.” Puff stood beside him. “This is the address she gave me.”

“What do you expect for a Samhain party?” Horace grumbled, stabbing a button. The gates creaked and groaned as they slowly opened wide.

“Lights.”

“Music.”

“Candy,” they said in unison.

The trio walked up the drive toward the front door. They paused when a candle drifted past an upstairs window.

“Geez, she’s trying to scare us with a haunted house,” Puff said, now disgusted. “Come on, like anything could scare us. Whoa!” He ducked with a dark form swooped past his head, brushing his ears. “What the Hades was that?”

“Bats. I hate bats.” Horace raised a clawed fist in the air. “Outta here, you vermin! We were invited here.”

“So were we,” one bat responded in a squeaky snark. “We’re part of the atmosphere.” He flew off with his buddies. They all flew into a single digit formation.

“Your grandmother was eaten by Dracul!” Puff shouted, as they continued up the drive.

An owl hooted from a spindly tree and another owl flew nearby.

An eerie howl sounded from the house along with creaking doors opening and closing and a piercing woman’s scream cut through the air.

“Whoa.” Fluff skidded to a stop. “That was really loud.” He slid backwards a few paces. “How come there’s no cars here? Or party voices? And why didn’t Jazz take us with her and Nick?”

“Stasi and Blair wouldn’t let me go with them either,” Horace groused. He ambled up the wooden steps that groaned under his weight.

“They couldn’t have found a better place for a party,” Puff commented, looking at the porch, the splintered wood silvered with cobwebs,

Horace tried the lion-faced door knocker, but no sound was made. “Freaky.” He looked around and finally spied the doorbell button. He stabbed it then winced as another scream erupted throughout the interior. The door slowly slid open with a fingernails on chalkboard screech. “How lame is this.” He walked in with the bunny slippers behind him.

“Where’s the party?” Puff shouted. “And lights?”

“If there be light, let it be shown,” Fluff spelled. “Give us light!”

A lone candle beamed in the distance, floating mid air.

“Oookay.” The three started to turn toward the door that now slammed shut and sounds of locks snicking shut echoed in the air.

“There’s no party here. They sent us to a haunted house.” Horace bypassed the staircase and headed for the candle.

“No hauntings here.” A skeleton stood in a doorway. He grinned maniacally then suddenly disappeared.

“Ho ho, so not creepy,” Fluff sneered, his ears swiveling like a periscope. “We’ve been frightened by the best. There’s nothing you can do that will scare us.”

“Yeah, bring out your worst!” Puff challenged.

“There better be some hot babes at the end of this,” Horace demanded, leading the way down the long hallway where the suspended candle still beckoned with a soft orange glow. “Or at least really good food.”

Wooooo! A blast of icy air assaulted the trio from an open doorway. When they stopped to look they saw two women in shrouds floating in the room. Each only boasted half a face.

“Oh wow, I am so scared. I want my mommy,” Horace scoffed.

“Yikes!” Puff jumped in the air. “Something just touched me.” He looked around but there was nothing near him.

Fluff huddled closer to his brother. “I don’t think this is a good place for us. Let’s go home and raid the neighbors for candy.”

They froze when heavy footsteps sounded upstairs.

“That’s it. They’re up there.” Horace gestured for the bunny slippers to follow him just as the hovering candle winked out.

“Oh ick!” The first step slowed them down as something ooey and gooey attacked them. It grew more difficult as they climbed upward.

As they slogged up the last step a tall figure appeared.

“Welcome my pretties.” Jazz, wearing a black dress and peaked hat held out an old fashioned broom.

“Clich├ęd much, Jazz?” Puff laughed. “You really thought all that stuff would scare us?”

“Come with me,” she invited, turning gracefully, her voluminous dress sweeping around her body.

“I see our honored guests have arrived.” Nick, handsome in evening clothes and red silk-lined cape popped into sight. His fangs shoe white in the darkness.

“Gee, if only we’d known it was a costume party.” Horace laughed, holding his arms over his rounded tummy.

“Hey!” Fluff snarled and snapped his own fangy teeth at a rat that ran across him.

They followed the witch and vampire down the hall, pausing every so often to view portraits turn from normal people to horrific faces, sneer at blood running down the walls, and hands shoot out to grab them.

“The haunted house in Hollywood was better than this,” Puff told Jazz.

“Ah, but this one has something very special for you,” she intoned in a deep voice.

“Something you may not appreciate,” Nick used his best Bela Lugosi voice.

The room they reached was huge, yellow from candlelight and a fire burning in the massive fireplace. Stasi and Blair were dressed in their own witchy garb, while Trev wore dark purple wizard robes and Jake wore his Border collie fur. Ghostly Irma wore an eye-bleeding colorful mini dress from the 1960's while her spectral beau, Phinneas could have been the sixth Beatle. They were scarier than the other supes in the room.
"Peace baby!" Irma chirped, holding her two fingers up in the traditional sign.

A large table laden with food beckoned the hungry slippers and gargoyle, but they quickly discovered they couldn’t get to it.

“What the hell is going on?” Horace demanded.

“Yeah!”

“There is something that needs to be done first.” Jazz snapped her fingers. A large bubbling cauldron appeared nearby. Steam roiled upwards along with the rich smell of herbs.

Horace sniffed appreciatively. “Stew?”

Fluff and Puff backed up when they saw Jazz’s smile. Except there was no where to go when they found themselves surrounded by witches, vampires, wizards, and Weres, oh my!

“Something you three have needed for some time now,” Blair said, caressing the coarse bristles of her broom.

“And once it’s done you can eat all your tummies will hold,” Stasi promised.

“What’s done?” Fluff asked suspiciously.

“It’s a trap!” Puff shouted, but it was too late. “Get us out. Get us out! Get us out!” He pointed his ears in the air, but his magick fizzled out like a dead 4th of July sparkler.

The three cowered and howled with displeasure as the witches each picked one of them up and carried them to the large cauldron.

“Exactly,” Jazz said, dropping Puff into the hot water.

“WAH!” But it was too late.

Fluff, Puff, and Horace were now terrified as they’d never been fearful before.

After all, what can be more horrifying than a Halloween bath for smelly dirty slippers and gargoyle?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Zoe's Blind Date

Every woman needs a night out with a member of the opposite sex and tonight was all for Zoe.

She wore her favorite basic black dress accented with her favorite sparkly necklace, bracelet, and earrings. A spray tan gave her much needed color and her best friend, Ramona, even managed to make her wild nest of hair look decent.

“So, Harry, I understand you’re a dentist.” She smiled, careful not to show her teeth too much. Dental care hadn’t been a priority lately.

“Yes.” He shifted in his chair looking a little too uneasy. He managed a brief smile. “Uh, you didn’t say what you do.”

Zoe sipped her wine and looked around, admiring the candlelit restaurant with its elegant surroundings.

“I’m a personal consultant,” she replied, looking up when the waiter set her steak in front of her. Oh good, nice and rare. Just the way she liked it.

Zoe didn’t mind that she carried a bulk of the conversation during the meal. She enjoyed talking to people and since she didn’t get out a lot, she planned to make this evening one to remember.

By the time dessert arrived, Harry had relaxed enough to even smile at her and relate a few humorous anecdotes about his patients.

And when they left the restaurant and it turned out Zoe’s car wouldn’t start, Harry insisted on driving her home instead of her calling for a cab.

“Please come in for some brandy,” she invited, once they arrived at her house. “I feel so bad you had to drive out of your way.” She lightly placed her hand on his arm.

Harry hesitated then nodded. “Sure, why not?”

Zoe guided him to the living room then headed for the kitchen to get the bottle of brandy and a couple snifters. She always believed in being properly prepared.

“I’m so glad you came in. I get out so rarely that it’s lovely to have company.” She sat down next to him and poured a bit of brandy in each snifter.
Harry started to lift his glass to his lips when he noticed something floating in the alcohol. He recoiled in horror.

“Oh no.” Zoe winced as she took the glass from his hand. “I am so sorry this happened.” She fished the fingernail out of the contents and placed it on the coffee table. “And I used that heavy duty glue too.”

Harry practically climbed over the back of the couch. “What the hell are you?”

Zoe moved so fast he didn’t get far.

“I’m your blind date, Harry. Just your everyday zombie woman looking for a good time and a great meal,” she informed him, widening her mouth to reveal a set of razor-sharp teeth. Her nails lengthened and fastened tightly on his arm.

“But you ate.” His eyes rolled around like marbles in a circle.

“Oh, the steak was just for show and it did make a very nice appetizer,” she told him. “But I really prefer something a lot fresher.”

Harry had no time to even scream before Zoe’s fingers broke his skull open and scooped out his brains.

*****
Zoe was snacking on her date’s bone marrow as she wiped the blood and gore off her couch.

“That salesman assured me the fabric was protected against all forms of stains,” she grumbled, pouring on more upholstery cleaner. “I guess I’ll just have to invite him out here and show him that wasn’t the case.”

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Don't Forget the Halloween Hunt Is Near The End!


Halloween is nearly here and I don't want you to miss out on all those haunting goodies. Visit their site and begin the hunt!

http://www.nightowlreviews.com/nor/Pages/Hunts.aspx

Linda

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Guest Blogger -- Lizzie Leaf





Please welcome my good friend, Lizzie Leaf, talking about the fun stuff in her awesome books!


Humor is Good, Even in Bloodsuckers!





I like humor in my life. I like to read humor and to write it. So when approached to write a Halloween story, no surprise my mind went in the humor direction.
When I mentioned to a friend the possibility of a vampire story that wasn’t horror, she suggested making the heroine Jewish (which my friend is) and throw in Kosher (yet again, my friend’s food style) to add conflict to the drinking blood issue. I took the bull by the horns and off I went. Thus evolved Waking Up DEAD, where the heroine is a socialite whose grandmother, a Reform Jew, keeps a Kosher Kitchen.
Our gal, is a little on the wild side…think Paris Hilton…and a paparazzi darling. Her connection with the hot guy in a vampire costume at her Halloween party, leads to a life change she’s not too pleased about.
She wakes up smiling pine and discovers, thank to the helpful stranger lurking outside the mortuary, she’s not one of the living dead. And, her new main food supply is blood. Yuk! She doesn’t eat food that’s snuggled with blood, let alone drink the stuff.
Not to bore you with details, I finished the book and moved onto other work—my vampire days behind me—so I thought.
After Waking Up DEAD released, readers started to ask, “When’s the next book in the series?” Series? My mind hadn’t gone down that path, so what to write next? Then another friend said, “How about a vampire who faints at the sight of blood?”
Once she planted the seed, my mind wouldn’t leave the idea alone and DEAD Faint came to be and with that the DEAD series. After that came DEAD Hunter, about what else…a vampire hunter (or so she thinks…snicker).
My publisher, Aspen Mountain Press, strongly believed in the series and selected the first two for DEAD Done Right, as their rollout into the print arena at Amazon.
Vampires don’t always have to be blood thirsty beasts. They can have an attitude that will make you smile and love problems, too. Check out Mary Janice Davidson’s, Undead series (which I had not read until after Waking Up DEAD released and readers said I had a similar style, to which I say “thank you for the compliment,”) and you’ll find humor.
Are there more in my DEAD series? You bet! My publisher planted the seed for DEAD Memory that released October, 9th. Here we have a werewolf heroine who stumbles upon a nude male in her neighbor’s yard. Nursing him back to health proves interesting when he has no memory of who is, and she’s not too sure what he is. He doesn’t smell human, he’s definitely not were, but how can he be vampire with the cross around his neck?
People have to stop planting seeds in my head. Combined with all that appear on their own, I have a headache. I’m off to pop a couple of martin and write…which is the only true way I can purge the noise.

Lizzie