Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Carina Press Launch...CAPTIVE SPIRIT by Liz Fichera

Hi, Toni! Thanks for inviting me to your blog today.

For everyone else, my name is Liz Fichera. I’m an author from Phoenix, Arizona, and I write commercial fiction. Specifically, I like to write everything from historicals, fantasy, paranormal, mysteries, short stories, and even young adult novels. Most of my stories take place in the American Southwest and often include Native American legends and characters. My latest historical novel, CAPTIVE SPIRIT, was released by Carina Press on June 28 and I’m beyond excited about it. This book was a long time in coming, involved many hours at the Phoenix Heard Museum, and if it hadn’t been for my sister, Mary, I may not have finished it much less submitted it to anyone for publication.

CAPTIVE SPIRIT takes place in the Sonoran desert at the dawn of the sixteenth century. It’s about a young Hohokam Indian woman named Aiyana who’s taken from her isolated village one hot summer night by Spanish traders following a Rain Ceremony. Her best friend and wannabe love interest, Honovi, chases after her and the gang of Spanish thugs who dared kidnap her and destroy their village. Together, she and Honovi must overcome a slew of obstacles to return home and save their village, including greedy traders, neighboring tribes, wild animals, an Indian chief who takes a shine to Aiyana, and even an eclipse. Interestingly, the Hohokam Indians were the original inhabitants of Phoenix, Arizona. Around 1500, at exactly when my story takes place, the Hohokam simply vanished for reasons unknown, making the setting for Aiyana’s story all the more intriguing.

CAPTIVE SPIRIT is filled with suspense, passion, epic themes, and mystery. Aiyana is the kind of character who rises to the occasion against all odds, even though she might not do everything right. I’ve posted a book trailer for CAPTIVE SPIRIT at my web site and on YouTube to give you the flavor of the rugged terrain and the times. Many of the photos in the book trailer were taken minutes from where I live in Arizona. I like to think that Aiyana once looked with wonder at the jagged mountains surrounding Phoenix the same way I do almost 500 years later.

If you’d like to read more about CAPTIVE SPIRIT, the first chapter is available on my web site too. In the meantime, I really enjoy meeting other writers, readers, and book lovers alike. Please feel free to connect with me in the following places. Let me know what you think of CAPTIVE SPIRIT and tell me about your books and fav authors too.

My web site: http://www.lizfichera.com/

My Blog: http://lizficherablog.blogspot.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Liz-Fichera

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LizFichera

Click here to view the book trailer and the first chapter of CAPTIVE SPIRIT.

And if you have any questions, please ask away! I’ll be here all day.

This from Toni... I'm driving from Vancouver to Winnipeg and can't get to the computer. Just wanted to say a big thanks to Liz for visiting my blog! The first Mills & Boon novel I ever read was set in the Sonoran Desert (Sonoran Sunrise? and I read it when I was about twelve:)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Road trip home...

Should be on the road now.  My trip is around +2500km.
The plan is we start here...

then hit the logging road (2 h of bone rattling), then head to Nanaimo for the ferry
then Whistler for 2 nights to visit friends
then Vancouver to drop off hubby and pick up road trip buddy
Then through the Rockies
then on to Drumheller because we're almost there anyway and it is AMAZING
Then huge change to Saskatchwen.
And finally home to Winnipeg...
on Canada Day!!

Hopefully catch football and Wimbledon on the radio.  Wish us luck!!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Carina Press Launch... Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator by Janni Nell

Hi I’m Janni Nell and I’m delighted to be a guest on Toni’s blog to talk about my Carina Press release Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator. As a debut author, this is all very new to me. Toni has kindly provided some questions to help me get the hang of things. So here goes.

What genre do you write?

This is kind of a difficult question. It’s cross genre mystery/paranormal with a bit of humor thrown in. A fun quirky mystery.

What do you like most about writing in this genre?

The chance to let my imaginative go to weird and wonderful places. Plus I get to make Allegra say all the snarky things I could never say in real life.

Is this the first story you’ve sold and, if so, how did you react when you found out you were going to be a launch author for Carina Press?

It is the first story I’ve sold and I didn’t react the way I’d expected. Instead of screaming and happy dancing, I went numb. I couldn’t quite believe I was actually going to get published. I kept thinking the acceptance email must have been meant for someone else. Until my husband pointed out it was unlikely anyone else had written a story called Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator. Then he took me out for a celebratory lunch. After than it kind of sunk in.

Do you write to music or prefer silence?

Silence definitely. Music is too distracting. I continually stop writing to sing along, which is something you don’t want to hear. Trust me.

Favorite Movie?

I love musicals and comedies. My current favorite is Mamma Mia.

Favorite Drink?

Champagne. Also, like my character Allegra, I’m partial to a good pina colada.

Tell me a little about your Carina Press release…

Allegra and her guardian angel, Casper, investigate paranormal activity in the Scottish village of Furness. They encounter a wailing banshee, a three-hundred-year old ghost and dead bodies that mysteriously disappear. But it gets worse. Allegra is falling in love with Casper and that’s absolutely forbidden.

What are you working on now?

The second Allegra Fairweather book. I’m almost finished the first draft.

* * *

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a guest on Toni’s blog today and meeting you all. Until we meet again…

May your guardian angel watch over you.

Allegra Fairweather here. Paranormal investigator. Got problems with specters? Shapeshifters? I’m the woman to call. Just don’t call me a Ghostbuster. The last guy who did that ended up flat on his back with my boot at his throat.

With my 99.5% success rate, solving the mystery of a bleeding rose that has sprung up on the shores of Loch Furness should have been an easy gig. But already I’ve heard the shriek of the local banshee, discovered two bodies (and then lost two bodies), and had a near-death encounter with a three-hundred-year-old ghost. And perhaps most dangerous of all, the hot pub owner who hired me now wants to show me exactly what’s under his kilt.

Luckily, I’m ably assisted by my very own guardian angel. I’m grateful for his help—but he’s also drop-dead gorgeous. A bit distracting when I’ve got a mystery to solve, and the clock is ticking…


Falling toward certain death isn’t much fun. Time slows so you have plenty of it to think about how it will feel to hit bottom. I didn’t like the painful images that entered my mind so I pushed them away. Instead I thought about the possibility of not hitting bottom.

You might think I had little chance of avoiding it considering I was plummeting downward at a frightening rate. But nothing in life is certain. There are always surprises.

I felt an updraft of wind beneath me. Seconds later I had stopped falling and was being carried upward in a strong pair of arms. Leaning my head against the broad expanse of chest at my disposal, I sighed. Casper.

I couldn’t see him – I was still battling the dust particles in my eyes - but I could hear the steady beat of his wings.

Casper is my Guardian Angel. He’s been with me, on and off, since I was a child and because he could appear and disappear at will I had called him after the friendly ghost. I don’t know what his real name is. I never asked. But I probably couldn’t pronounce it anyway.

As far as I can work out from the little he tells me Casper once belonged to an old Germanic tribe. He died fighting the Romans sometime during - I’m guessing here - the first or second century AD. He wasn’t immediately eligible to enter Heaven – well he had spent most of his life raping and pillaging – so he was put on Guardian Angel Duty. One day, if he behaves himself, he’ll gain enough credits to enter Heaven.

I felt Casper descending. As he set me gently on the ground, I heard the sound of running water, not from a faucet but natural like a stream.

‘Hold still,’ he said, his voice deep and rich with the accent my tutoring in English had never quite eradicated.

I felt a damp cloth on my cheeks. He wiped gently around my eyes while I blinked furiously trying to dislodge the gritty particles.

‘You’ll have to bend over,’ he said, ‘and bathe your eyes in the stream.’

‘I can hardly see, Casper.’

‘Don’t worry, I’ll guide you.’

He held me around the waist as I bent toward the stream. I gasped when the cold water hit my face but the relief of having the dirt flushed from my eyes was bliss.

When I raised my head, only a little scratchiness remained. I could put up with that until my eyes healed.

I got to my feet and looked at Casper. It had been three months since he’d helped me with a case and it was good to see every inch of his six and a half foot frame. His shoulder-length golden hair was as thick and wavy as ever and the strange gold and green of his eyes continued to remind me of nothing so much as the dappled light of an ancient forest.

I wanted to hug him but instead I planted my hands on my hips and said, ‘You took your time. I was falling for at least a minute before you caught me.’

You can visit Janni’s website at www.janninell.com or drop by her Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Carina Press Launch... CaddyGirls by VK Sykes

Please welcome the writing team of VK Sykes to my blog...


A little about ourselves
Why don’t we start with the fact that V.K. Sykes is actually two people—Vanessa Kelly and Randall Sykes. Some people might call what we do writing by committee; we prefer to think of it as doubling the horsepower. Either way, it seems to work. So far, so good.
Usually the first question people ask when they find out we’re a writing team is, “Vanessa writes the female POV and Randall the male POV, right?” When we answer, “Uh, no,” the next question invariably is, “Well, how do you work it, then?”
The approach that’s worked so far is that we spend a lot of time throwing out ideas--brainstorming characters and plot basics until something feels right to both of us. Next, Randall develops the story outline and writes a rough first draft. After that, Vanessa takes over, fleshing out characters and scenes, and doing most of the emotional heavy-lifting that separates romance from...well, non-romance.
Like a romance novel, a wife-husband author partnership is bound to be replete with conflict, highs and lows, and maybe even something resembling a black moment from time to time. But, whatever happens in the writing process, Vanessa and Randall always have a real-life HEA.
We live in Ottawa, Canada during most of the year, but are fortunate to be able to spend most of the snow season (we only have two seasons in Ottawa: snow and construction) in northern Florida.

What genre do you write?
As V.K. Sykes, we write both contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Our Carina Press release, CaddyGirls, is a sexy contemporary set in Las Vegas. Our in-progress romantic suspense novels are set in Florida, where we spend several months every winter.
Vanessa also writes Regency historical romances for Kensington as Vanessa Kelly. Her second novel, Sex and the Single Earl, was released in early May.

First Story Sold? Reaction to becoming a launch author for Carina?
CaddyGirls is the first book we’ve sold as V.K. Sykes. Vanessa has written two Regency historicals for Kensington and is contracted for two more.
When we learned we were going to be launch authors for Carina Press, we immediately headed for the police station. Seriously, we got the wonderful news just before meeting detectives from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office as part of the research for our latest romantic suspense. We met the commander of the Violent Crimes Division, along with six female detectives. We’re sure they thought we’d popped something—we were so high from our agent’s call that let us know Carina bought CaddyGirls.

We’re convinced that Carina is going to be a huge success. It’s a privilege to be one (or two) of their launch authors.

Write to music or prefer silence?
Oh, silence, please. Blessed silence. The more, the better—but usually we’ll settle for ambient din. In Ottawa, we live in a fairly noisy urban setting, so we’re constantly grumpy. Our small Florida town, on the other hand, is laid back and positively perfect for writing. We get a lot done down there.

Favorite band, movie, TV, drink, vacation
Here’s where you’d think you’d get two different answers, right? Not so much. We actually don’t listen to a lot of music, but we both like rock and country. Mark Knopfler is number one for both of us. Vanessa gets new-agey sometimes, and that’s when the ethereal voices of Enya and Loreena McKennett float around the house (Randall tolerates). Emmylou Harris is grand. Rod Stewart’s Great American Songbooks, too. Sarah McLachlan has an angel’s voice.
We watch all kinds of movies, but try to avoid the dark, depressing, and overly cerebral varieties. Vanessa likes any movie that features spaceships and/or aliens, or things that blow up in spectacular fashion. Terminator and Transformers movies are de rigueur in our house, along with Star Treks. Chinese movies like House of Flying Daggers and Hero are wonderfully exotic. Lord of the Rings is the best ever, though, right? Viggo Mortensen...really.
How about TV? Dexter rocks. So do (or did) The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, 24, Burn Notice, Nurse Jackie, House, Lost, The Mentalist, The Good Wife and, for Vanessa, reruns of Buffy and Angel. We can’t believe we’re losing both Lost and 24 this year. Band of Brothers—bought the DVD’s and watched the series three times. Glee is a fun new show.
Drink of choice? Italian and Australian wines, mostly—white for Vanessa, red for Randall. Lotsa coffee. Starbucks, often.
Vacation? Florida—though that’s not really vacation any more since we’re there so much. Loved England, and really want to visit Italy soon. Vanessa’s been, but not Randall. Maybe Japan, too.

What’s unique about your stories?
Unique is tough, isn’t it? Especially when you don’t world-build. “Unusual” or “different” are a little easier.
The fact that our books are co-written, and one of the authors is male, does help make them stand out. We are able to draw on the strengths of both authors, getting inside the heads of the female and male characters with equal facility. That makes for more fully developed characters. In CaddyGirls, for example, four male friends have a number of interesting scenes as a group, doing and saying the kinds of things a bunch of guys do when they’re out for a good time in Vegas. It helps if the author’s “been there”. And we don’t mean Vegas.
We also try for fun settings—hot, steamy places for hot, steamy stories.
You can find us on the web at: www.vksykes.com

Our Carina Press release

Here ’s the blurb for CaddyGirls:

Aspiring pro golfer Torrey Green works for CaddyGirls, an internet-based company that provides sexy female caddies to guys who can afford the stiff fee. But after months of carrying clubs for butt-pinching businessmen, Torrey is ready to pack it in. Her golfing prospects are dimming because she has no time or money to hone her game—she needs a rich sponsor, and fast. When she receives an email from electronics mogul, Julian Grant, asking her to caddy for him for an entire week, she’s desperate to grab her last chance for sponsorship.

Julian is the president of OverTheEdge Games, the wildly successful video game company he founded with three university friends. Although work always comes first for Julian, he and his partners play hard too, competing both on the golf course and in the bedroom. Their latest competition involves a bet: each partner will pick a female rent-a-caddy for a week’s worth of golf in Vegas. The partner who gets his caddy into bed first wins the bet. But there’s one cardinal rule: promises or incentives to the caddies are forbidden.

Read an excerpt here.

Thanks so much for visiting, Vanessa & Randall.  I'm so impressed by writing teams.  And I love your taste in TV and movies!!  Good luck with CaddyGirls, released 5 July from Carina Press.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Over at Leah's blog...

Forgot to mention I'm visiting Leah Braemel's blog today!!!  She did a really nice interview :)

Carina Press Launch... TEXAS TANGLE by Leah Braemel

Today I want to welcome Leah Braemel to my blog.   :)

Thanks so much to Toni for inviting me to be on her blog. I love the pictures of all the places she’s been; I could get lost scrolling back through her previous posts...Ooops, I’m supposed to be telling you about me.

I’m Leah Braemel, and I’m Canadian! Though I was born in Montreal, my parents moved while I was a baby to the small town of Smiths Falls just outside of Ottawa.  Then, just before I was ten, my family moved to a rural community north of, hmm, let’s say an hour or two northeast of Toronto.  They were building a house on ten acres a couple miles north of a ... well, some generous folks called it a town. Others more truthfully called it a village. My mother calls it a hamlet. You see, the road signs claim its population was 250. If you noticed the sign as you whizzed past it on the highway, that is. Blink and you’d miss it.  It had a hardware store, a gas station (a single pump), and a grocery store that was the lower floor of a house. A commuter train would rattle through it twice a day, once on its way into Toronto, and once on its way back out. The main crops were cows, corn and Christmas trees. (See where my love of alliteration got its start?)

When we moved there, they’d just closed down their one-room school houses and built a brand new 15 classroom school the year before. Some parents weren’t too happy that their kids were being bussed halfway across the township to that “other” town. Oh, the school wasn’t really near any of the three villages in the municipality. The school board built it in the exact middle of the township, at a junction of the two highways that transected the area, specifically so no one could complain, but that wasn’t good enough for some folks. They wanted their kids raised with their area’s kids, not the kids from that other area.

For someone who had previously lived in a larger town (Smith Falls boasted almost 10,000 people when we lived in it), their objections  were funny. Because everyone in my class seemed to be related to everyone whether they were from Village A, Village B or Village C or any of the county lines in between. There were four or maybe five surnames in my class. Strong. White. Preston. Gallagher. Fallis. Maybe there were a couple of other names thrown in there on occasion. Billy White was third cousin to Bobby Preston who was the nephew of Mrs. Fallis, the grade six teacher. Billy lived in Village A, Bobby lived in Village B and Mrs. Fallis lived in Village C. As you can imagine, part of living in such an intertwined community mean everyone knew everyone else’s business. And everyone had an opinion about everything everyone else was doing and they weren’t hesitant to voice it.

So when I was writing Texas Tangle, even though it was set in a different country, I felt fairly confident that my characters would be dealing with similar rural grapevines. (Those grapevines can be deeply rooted, and thorny!) And I confess, it didn’t hurt that one of my critique partners owns the horse farm in the second picture, and she could confirm that, indeed, rural life in her part of Texas was pretty similar to how I’d been raised. Oh, the euphemisms may have been different, and the speech patterns, along with the heat (or lack of it) but family life--farm life--was the same whether north or south. Look at these two pictures – other than the snow, country is country. Animals need to be fed and cared for, crops need to be sewn and land tilled. And people are people. Driven by the same needs, the same desires.

Texas Tangle is about a set of friends, Dillon and Brett, who both love the same woman, Nikki. At first, they ask Nikki to choose between them. But something happens later, and they realize there might be another choice, a more scandalous choice. For Nikki to choose them both. But can you imagine living in a rural community when you’re deciding to thumb your nose at societal standards? The gossip Nikki would have to endure if she agrees to their arrangement is a very real concern for her—she’s already gone through her share of gossip thanks to her cheating husband. And it’s an issue the guys have to address to help convince her their suggestion should be taken seriously. Because if they can’t, someone’s going to end up having to walk away, from everything they love and need. 

The story would have been totally different if they’d lived in the city where you don’t know your neighbor’s name.

Oh, and that village near my parents’? It’s doubled its population – last time I went up there, the sign said 500! But do those folks “back home” know what I write, you ask? Well, my mom does. Although come to think of it, despite me showing Mom my previous book Personal Protection, I’m still not sure she understands that I write erotic romance. But if word gets out, well, maybe it’s a good thing I don’t live in a small town anymore...
Thanks to her cheating ex-husband and her thieving brother, all horse breeder Nikki Kimball has left is a bruised heart, an overdrawn bank account and an empty home. When sex-on-legs Dillon Barnett and his brooding foster-brother Brett Anderson start showing more than just neighborly attention, Nikki is intrigued…and a little gun-shy.

Dillon and Brett have a history; back in high school, the two friends fought a bitter battle over Nikki. Now, ten years later, Brett still longs to be the man in Nikki’s life, but he’s determined to stand back and let Dillon win Nikki’s heart.

Society says Nikki must choose between the two men she loves. Is Nikki strong enough to break all the rules in order to find happiness?

Read an excerpt here and here.  Or you can download the entire first chapter. You can pre-order Texas Tangle from Carina Press

If you want to know more about TEXAS TANGLE, or any other of Leah’s books, visit her website or her blog.  You can also find Leah on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Northern Trail Head of West Coast Trail

So--I'm pretty sure the people who usually set off on this adventure don't have two little kids, two cans of beer, 2 bottles of water, a towel and 4 rain jackets as their only supplies, but we were only doing a mile or so before the Pachena Beach Solstice party (Soulstice as it was called). 
Even from the very start of the trail at the end of the beach this was not what I expected!  4 near vertical ladders to the top of the ridge.  
And then three down to the next beach...
 but what a beach...classic Pacific Coast scenery!

It was breathtaking and strenuous and we only went about a 1km as the crow flies!!  There was a series of massive storms in 2007 that did tremendous damage to the trail and you can see huge numbers of Goliath-size trees twisted and broken. Someone did a hell of a job clearing it up

It would be an awesome trek...47 miles of absolute wilderness that they say takes 5-7 days to hike.  After walking it for just an hour I can see why!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Last weekend in Bamfield, Vancouver Island.

One of the things I think about when I come out to remote places, is 'Why do people live here?'  'How did it all start?'  I remember being up in Northern Labrador, during the summer, and thinking WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY?  :) 

Turns out Bamfield was a fishing and fur town in the 1800s, although I hesitate to say town.  Don't get me wrong, it is gorgeous (Labrador is gorgeous), but I can't imagine living there full time, when the temperature drops and storms start to boil up through the Pacific to funnel through Barkley sound and land at your backdoor.  But, interestingly, Bamfield was chosen as the Eastern terminus for the trans-Pacific cable which was laid in 1902 and stretched 4000 miles to Fanning Island and then on to Australia, Fiji and New Zealand. 

The cable was guarded during the WWs and there are commemorative plaques to mark the sentry posts.  What great history?  Nowadays Bamfield marks the northern trail head of the West Coast Trail--a famous 5-, 6-day hike which we're going to do a 100th of this afternoon before the Pachena Beach Summer Solstice party.  This area is incredibly beautiful, the nature watching some of the best I have ever seen, and it's beginning to feel like a summer holiday resort with people walking around at all times of day and night.  One major difference is people here (at the Marine Station) never stop working.  Hubby goes out at 7 am and gets back at 11 pm. and that's not unusual.  One prof from Brazil was up for 70h straight to get his experiments done.  Biologists tend to work hard and play hard and I like them better for it :)

Obviously I've been sitting around baking cookies and vaccuming.  Not!

What's the strangest place you've ever visited???

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blog Hopping

Today I'm at Liz Fichera's blog.  Liz lives in cowboy country :)  Did I mention I want a horse??

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blog Hopping

Today I'm visiting Jenny Schwartz on her blog Acquiring Magic.

Carina Press launch...THE PRICE OF FREEDOM by Jenny Schwartz

Today's Guest Blogger is...Jenny Schwartz! Welcome, Jenny, thanks for being here.

I love visiting other people's blogs. Thanks for having me over, Toni.
I live in Perth, Western Australia, which means I'm about half a day ahead of most people I chat with online. The problem with that is I'm all coffee'd up and raring to go when they're thinking of sleep, and vice versa. So if you post a comment and I don't instantly respond, I'm not snubbing you. Chances are I'm snoozing--yes, despite what you've heard, authors do need sleep:)
Okay, now what devilish questions has Toni prepared?

What genre do you write in?
I write romance, contemporary and paranormal. I've dabbled with a historical cosy mystery and I have an urban fantasy novel on the backburner. My short stories range even wider, into science fiction, fantasy, literary and horror (although I seldom read horror myself, seeing as how I'm a coward cursed...uh, blessed?...with a vivid imagination).
I also write poetry, which is a great way to scrape the inside of your mind and find out what's growing there.

Is this the first story you've sold and, if so, how did you react when you found out you were going to be a launch author for Carina Press?
From my giddy joy you'd think The Price of Freedom is the first story I've sold. It's not, but I'm delighted to be a launch author with Carina Press. There are so many great people and fabulous stories. Being part of Carina Press is a wonderful experience, not least because of friendships made.

Do you write to music or prefer silence? I need music else the silence drives me crackers.
If I can have silence, I'll choose that every time. But sometimes I have to block out the real world's noisy intrusion, then I'll plug in the iPod. I find it's best not to listen to something I can sing along to--save that for the car and long traffic light stops--otherwise I end by typing the words of the current song.

Favorite band? Movie? Drink? Vacation?
When I'm writing, the ritual is fair trade coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon and sometimes a hot chocolate treat towards evening. I make the hot chocolate by heating full cream milk on the stove, adding cocoa powder, vanilla essence, sugar and cinnamon. Yum.
As you can see, I have a hard time choosing a favourite anything. I like everything!

What's unique about your stories?
Romance and laughter aren't unique to my writing, but I'm passionate about taking readers on a journey. I think every great story is a quest. A romance novel is a quest for hope, trust and love. Excitement, suspense and sensuality are part of that journey.

Tell me a little about your Carina Press release...
I love talking about The Price of Freedom. It's a paranormal romance novella. I've borrowed from the romantic traditions of Arabia, so for my djinni Rafe think desert sheikh with angel powers. Mischa is an awesome guardian angel and defender of the Middle East peace process. Here's the blurb:

Duty will bring them together—and tear them apart!

As a guardian angel, Mischa must protect the one man who may be able to bring about lasting peace to the Middle East. As a djinni, Rafe must fulfill the wishes of a terrorist leader. Their duties colliding, Mischa and Rafe become foes, but the heat between them is undeniable.

When the terrorist learns that a guardian angel stands between him and his greatest wish, he orders his djinni to remove her. Taking creative license, Rafe spirits her away to his private oasis, where she will be unable to protect the peacemaker.

Beyond their mutual desire, they find common ground in honor and loneliness. Passion quickly grows into love. But it’s soon clear to Rafe that love cannot be bound, and Mischa must be true to her life’s purpose. Even if Rafe must sacrifice his own taste of freedom to grant hers…

And who can resist a sneak peak?

“You’re interfering,” the stranger said beside her. He stood on nothing, with the skill of an angel, keeping pace with the aircraft’s glide. His robes stirred in a wind of his own choosing, revealing then veiling his face.
Mischa looked away, up to the plane she carried. “Interference is what I do.”
If the stranger was no man, what was he?
Time flicked over to the third second.
“Are you a demon?”
“My father was.” He stretched out a hand and stroked her face.
His fingers played like flame against her skin, calling desire in a bewildering surge of feeling. She turned her head away.
“I give you my name.” He slid his fingers into her hair, twisted and gripped. He forced her to face him. “I am Rafe.”
“Let me go.” She glared into his green eyes, defying the force of his answering fierceness. He wanted her to know him.
“Your name.”
Her mouth firmed, sealing shut.
The plane was gliding steadily with her assistance, but she’d have to land it soon—even a stretched second had limits. It would be easier without distraction.
“Go away.”
“Give me your name.” He let go of her hair, but the slide of his hand down her face and throat and over her breasts was no release.
Her breasts were high and taut from her upraised arms. They swelled under the slow, exploratory touch. Mischa kicked out.
Rafe sidestepped. “Tell me,” he said on a breath of laughter.
She hadn’t intended to amuse him. Rage fed on the unwanted burn of desire. If he’d been a Scotsman, she’d have set fire to his kilt. As it was…a wicked smile curved her mouth. Why not? Justice meant fighting fire with fire.
A wave of her hand, and his robes went up in flames.
Now, there was a good distraction. Pleased with herself, Mischa turned her attention back to the plane. She’d land it while the stranger beat out the flames of his clothing.
“If you wanted me naked, you should have said,” he purred by her ear.


Story sounds awesome.  Good luck with your release, Jenny!! 

I've had a wonderful time visiting your blog, Toni. Thanks for inviting me :) Here are my links...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Carina Press Launch...MISS MOLLY'S FOLLY by Alice Gaines.

Today I want to welcome Alice Gaines to my blog...

• Tell me a little about yourself

I’m an old grey-haired widow-woman. When I was a whippersnapper, we believed in “make love, not war.” That’s why I gravitate toward reading and writing romance, and the spicier the better. My book, Miss Foster’s Folly, isn’t erotic, but it’s spicy enough to singe your eyelids while you read.

• What genre do you write?
I write lots of genres, but my favourite is historical romance. I especially love the Victorian period. Everyone was oh so rigidly proper and alarmed by s-e-x, while underneath lay a powerful current of eroticism. This was the era of The Kama Sutra and The Pearl. All very naughty and delicious – great material.

• Is this the first story you've sold and, if so, how did you react when you found out you were going to be a launch author for Carina Press?
I love launches, and I’m so excited to be part of Carina’s launch! There’s so much excitement with new authors, new editors, and new covers. The staff at Carina have been wonderful, especially my wonderful editor, Jessica Schulte.

• Do you write to music or prefer silence?
Oddly, neither. I can’t stand silence, but music distracts me. In the summer, I sit outside to write and have birdsong and sounds from the neighbourhood to keep me company. When I’m indoors, the best noises for me are sports events on television. NFL football games and Nascar supply the best background sounds. (LOL--you'd do well in my house!!)

• Favorite band? Movie? Drink? Vacation?

Band: I’m so glad you asked! I live, eat, and drink Tower of Power. They’re a soul band who’ve been around for 42 years, and they keep getting better. Every two years, we have a fan get together and people come from all over the United States and Canada. When you love Tower of Power, no one else quite measures up. (New music to discover--I love it :))

Two movies: The 1950 English version of A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim and Harvey. (oh--I haven't seen Harvey--yet. Must check that out! Love the old Scrooge :))

Drink: Really good red wine, the kind I can’t afford. I bought a bottle of Beaulieu’s Tapestry by mistake one time. $35 at Costco. I almost swooned at the first sip.

Vacation: New Zealand (I'd love to go there...)

• Tell me a little about your Carina Press release...
Miss Foster’s Folly wrote itself. Once I’d thought up Juliet Fowler and David Winslow, the Marquis of Derrington, I let the two of them at each other and sat back with my keyboard to record what happened. She wants a fling, and he wants a wife. Neither of them are willing to give in until Derrington’s body gives him no choice in the matter. Still, he has plans for how to make her agree to marry him, and he has help from his eccentric grandmother.

Needless to say, it’s a Victorian (see above), and it’s full of spice, spice, spice.


Manhattan, 1886

Juliet Foster has just become the wealthiest spinster in town. Her domineering and thoroughly unpleasant father has died and left her millions. She’s free to be her own woman and seek a life of adventure.

David Winslow, Marquess of Derrington, is in search of a wife who can break the Winslow Curse. Every second-generation heir inherits a restless, defiant nature that can only be tamed by a mate as independent and rebellious as himself.

Miss Juliet Foster is perfect—and eager for seduction. But when he wants more than a few nights of passion, Juliet runs like the devil’s on her heels. Can the marquess convince her that marriage isn’t a trap, but the greatest freedom of all?

Thanks so much for being here today, Alice, and good luck with your release!

Blog Hopping

Today I'm at Alice Gaines blog.  Pop over and see me :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Carina Press Launch... THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN by Joely Sue Burkhart

Today I'm swapping blogs with Joely Sue Burkhart who has some great advice for writers. I love her cover too :)

Revision Xibalba

My Carina Press release, THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN, was my first ever (2007) NaNoWriMo novel. If you don't know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month where you write 50K in November. I was so happy when I not only “won” NaNoWriMo by finishing 50K by Nov. 30 but also completed the novel at 63K in Dec. 2007...until I realized the hardest part still waited.

Revision Hell. Or because this novel was based on Maya mythology, Revision Xibalba, the Maya hell.

As far as first drafts go, the original NaNoWriMo version wasn't bad at all. I'd done pretty significant plotting in advance, so the novel was well structured. But at the time, I thought it was too short. I wanted it to be single-title length, and so over the next two years (!!), I brainstormed some additional subplots and details to bring the story up to 90K.

For me, adding that many words was a significant trial, spanning two years and several very difficult revision passes. I'd already told the complete story once; I just couldn't get my brain around telling it again. I ended up creating three spreadsheets to help me figure out the timeline with expanded plots. I had a huge cast of characters. Somewhere in those revisions, I totally changed the end of the book, and not in a good way.

I'll tell you a little secret. The first time I submitted BGG to Carina Press, I ended up with a revise and resubmit request. After carefully reading through the detailed comments, I realized I had revised the heart out of my story and made it so convoluted that I'd missed my original story promise I'd set out to write. Over the next two weeks, I cut almost 30K out of the book, rewrote the ending, and axed about a dozen characters. In short, I ended up very, very close to that original NaNoWriMo story structure. I'd suffered and swam through Revision Xibalba (a watery underworld, not fire and brimstone like the Christian hell) for absolutely no reason!

Actually, that's not true. I learned the value of a tight and to the point high-action story. I beefed up the emotional journey significantly and ramped up the tension by cutting out all the extra characters. Even better: those subplots are hopefully going to turn into a second Bloodgate book.

So writers, sure, we'd all love immediate acceptances, but don't discount a revise and resubmit letter. When a busy editor bothers to write out a detailed letter of things to consider instead of simply sending the form rejection, pay attention. I know I ended up with a much better book as a result!

Review or rate THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN (or any of Joely's books) by July 31st to be entered to win at least two $50 gift certificates! Details here

Read the first chapter of The Bloodgate Guardian
Joely Sue Burkhart
Twitter: http://twitter.com/joelysue
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/joely.s.burkhart
Scribd (free reads): http://www.scribd.com/joelysue

Monday, June 14, 2010

Having a whale of a time...

Standing on the beach I spotted a flume of water spurting into the air...

and realized a (gray) whale was feeding just beyond the surf in just a couple meters of water.

How cool is that??

Available Now!

Today sees the release of my Carina Press book SEA OF SUSPICION.
This was one of those stories I wrote from the heart, that I didn't think would sell, that my then agent didn't like, that the hero was too dark and the heroine too nice.   But I loved the characters and the setting so much I just couldn't not finish it.  So when Carina Press opened I figured 'why not?'  And the rest, as they say, is history.

So I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it!


Marine biologist Susie Cooper traded her life in America for a dream job on the rugged Scottish coast. Now all she lacks is the right man to start a family with. After their first meeting, she knows sexy Detective Inspector Nick Archer isn’t what she’s looking for. He’s the type of guy whose idea of commitment is staying the whole night.

Nick has returned to St. Andrews for one reason only—to fulfill his vow to find his wife’s killer. Relentless in his twelve-year quest for justice, he has no problem using Susie to get close to his primary suspect: her boss. But the passion between them smolders, and as it ignites, Nick finds himself torn between his past and his present—with Susie.

When one of her boss’s students is murdered, Nick’s investigation draws Susie into a web of madness and betrayal. They will have to learn to trust each other if they’re going to catch a killer…and come out of this alive.


They turned into her drive and a security light flooded the gravel yard, revealing the beautiful old stone cottage flanked by patches of heather and herbs.
Home. Thank God.

Grabbing her purse, she shoved open the door before they’d stopped. Dormant wheat fields stretched behind the cottage, which bordered a golf course. Emily and Lily’s cottage topped a low rise three hundred yards away, tall hedges giving both houses seclusion and privacy.

Nick stood beside the car door, one foot on the sill, hands on the roof, looking delicious. His eyes darkened as they met hers. “Still want me to call a taxi?”
The air between them crackled with possibility, but Susie nodded. She wasn’t some easy lay for a stranger. She needed to believe she was worth more than that.

“Can I at least walk you to your door?”

Susie looked over to the French doors twenty yards away up three uneven stone slabs. Nick’s request was a baited trap, but he wasn’t that irresistible. She nodded.

Fog billowed along the lilac hedge that marked her property, enfolding them in a soft mystical silence. He fell into step beside her and handed her the key fob. She moved ahead up the steps, brushing an old lavender bush that released its fragrance through the night air. Fumbling, she dropped her keys and Nick bent to retrieve them before she had chance.

“Nice place,” he commented. “Secluded. Wouldn’t have to worry about upsetting the neighbors with loud music or screaming sex.”

Her skin sizzled and every sense felt electrified as if someone had plugged her in and flipped a switch. Her eyes widened, her chest tightened. This was dangerous. She was too aware of him, too interested in the idea of screaming sex, and too damn drunk to run as fast as she should.

And he knew it.

She pressed back against her door, her shoulder blades drawn up tight together. Nick slipped the key into the lock and took a step forward, bringing him close enough to touch if she so much as took a breath. So she didn’t. The lock clicked and he took a step back with a grave expression on his face.

“I’d kiss you goodnight if you didn’t look so scared,” he said softly.

“I’m not scared.”

“Good.” His eyes sparkled as he lowered his mouth to hers.

Mistake! Her mind screamed but it was too late. The breath whooshed out of her as he pressed the gentlest kiss to her lips—as fine a sensation as the stroke of a feather across sensitive skin. And the world stopped. Then every sense climbed to high alert as he took a half step closer, the bulk of his shoulders blocking the wind, and heat coming off his body like rays from the sun. He smelled spicy and male, the leather of his jacket creaking as he shifted his stance. He took her by surprise as he slipped one hand beneath her coat, resting it possessively on her hipbone. Startled, she opened her eyes.

But he kissed her again, this time less gently. Sliding his hand to the base of her spine, the burning impression of each finger pressing through the cotton of her T-shirt, brushing bare skin. His lips were teasing and coaxing, not what she expected from a man who screamed danger. Her palms braced against the muscles in his chest, but they weren’t exactly beating him off. He eased her toward him, enticed a trembling response from her body, but all of a sudden he jerked away and stuck his hand in his pocket.

“Bloody hell.” He pulled out a cell phone, adjusting it to read the display in the poor light. Swearing, he looked at her with an apology in his eyes. And regret. Because she was a sure thing. “I’ve got to go.”

“You’re on call?” Susie couldn’t believe the disappointment in her voice. Go! Please go.

His smile was a slash of white. “Criminals always know when I have a night off.” His eyes slid to her car. “Can I borrow your Mini?” He gripped the back of his neck, looking up at her from under heavy brows. “I’ll get it back to you before morning.”

“Take it.” Susie wouldn’t be accused of getting in the way of law and order, plus it would get him away from her faster. Next time she saw him she’d be sober and prepared. “I’m not planning on going anywhere tomorrow so there’s no rush to drop it off.”

She opened the front door, pulled the keys out of the lock and twisted off the ignition key from her octopus key fob.

“Here.” She threw it to him, not surprised when he snatched it out of the air without even moving his gaze. His intensity was unsettling.

“Susie…I’m sorry.”

She dashed inside and closed the door. Locked it. He could have her car, no problem. But he couldn’t have her. She wanted a relationship, a future, a family. Nick Archer was a lousy bet for anything except orgasms and heartbreak, and not even the orgasms were guaranteed.

Available for download from Carina Press, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and all good online bookstores

Sunday, June 13, 2010


So today one of the biology profs with his own boat took us for a little jaunt around the inlets near Bamfield.  It was too choppy to go far out to sea but we went into the bay just a little way.  And then both engines failed and we're drifting quickly toward the rocks but in a really deep patch of water that the anchor won't reach.  Thankfully the coastguard station was about 1/4 mile away so we Maydayed for help and were towed out of danger.
This is the RIB tied beside us.  It was too close to get a decent shot.  My daughter was a bit scared, my son said he figured we'd call for help and dad would come and get us.  Aw.  Pretty sweet.
So, add that to my list of new experiences.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bamfield Marine Science Center

We've been in Bamfield for two and a half weeks now.  The first 10 days were pretty dull but since it stopped raining things have perked up.  First I, daringly, drove into Port Alberni with the kids to meet a dear friend.  It's only 80 km but it took me a good 2 hours along a gravel road that was chockablock with speeding trucks and enormous logging lorries carrying full loads of massive cut trees.  It was dry, so every time I encountered a vehicle a huge dense fog of dust was thrown up and I had to slow down to even see the road.  I must remember to clean off the number plate because right now it is painted with a solid layer of dust. 

This week the kids were allowed to join an elementary school doing a Marine Biology course.  First up was oceanography...and what was the first creature we saw?  A river otter. Second?  A bald Eagle.  Third?  A seal, Fourth?
a very cool bear.  All a bit big for the plankton net, but... We measured the clarity of the water with secchi discs and measured salinity and temperature at top and bottom of the inlet.  These kids were Grade 5.  I did that for my degree!!

After that we IDed animals off the pier...
See this huge predatory starfish?  They're everywhere.
There are animals everywhere.  I've seen so many species I've never seen before.  And everything is bigger in the Pacific.  Seriously! 

Next we headed off for a dredge, but on the way we past these guys...Harbor seals on Wizard Island.

That night we had a seaweed lab--which the kids really enjoyed especially when they discovered how to make brown seaweed green.  And the next day we were in the lab conducting experiments.  Experiments!  Really, the program here is super!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Carina Press Launch... MOTOR CITY FAE by Cindy Spencer Pape

Cindy: First of all, I’d like to thank Toni for having me here today. Don’t forget to check out her guest post on my blog: http://cindyspencerpape.blogspot.com.

Toni: Tell me a little about yourself.

Cindy: I live in southern Michigan with my husband of 25 years, 2 almost-grown sons, 2 oversized lapdogs, and a rescue iguana. My educational background is in wildlife biology and animal behaviour, but now I’m lucky enough to write full-time.

Toni: What genre do you write?

Cindy: I write several subgenres within romance, some sensual, some erotic. My subjects have included contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance. I like it all!

Toni: Do you write to music or prefer silence?

Cindy: Again, I like variety. A lot of what I listen to when I write is Celtic rock—it keeps my fingers flying.

Toni: Favorite band? Movie? Drink? Vacation?

Cindy: Tough call, but how about Great Big Sea, The Princess Bride, Diet Coke with Lime, and anywhere I can get away from home—best if there’s a beach involved. (A woman after my own heart! I love Great Big Sea :)

Toni: What's unique about your stories?

Cindy: I like to think I give everything I write my own unique spin. I’ve got a bit of an odd sense of humor, and that tends to surface even where I don’t intend it to. I really believe in happily-ever-after, and I think that shows in my work.

Toni: Tell me a little about your Carina Press release...

Cindy: I’d be happy to…

Motor City Fae
Book I of Urban Arcana
By Cindy Spencer Pape
Coming June 2010 from Carina Press

Detroit artist Meagan Kelly has had a strong sixth sense all her life, but that doesn’t mean the gorgeous stranger’s crazy story—that she’s a half-elf, half human heiress—is true. But Meagan can’t deny the evidence of her own eyes—he’s Fae. A tall, blond, handsome, pointy-eared elf—and a man she just can’t get enough of.

Ric Thornhill’s assignment just got a lot more complicated. The more time he spends with Meagan, the harder it is to see her as a political tool to prevent an all-out war between humans and Fae.

Now Meagan’s in a race to master her newly released powers in time to prevent the conflict, convince a jealous Queen not to strip Ric of his powers, and find out if she can build a life that straddles two worlds.

Excerpt : (PG)

Ric smiled out at the crowd, acknowledging their raucous welcome, though he was getting far less of a kick out of it than usual. He was distracted tonight by his mission and by the owed Greg better than that, but it was sure putting a dent in his mood.

Settling back onto a tall stool in front of the mike, he lifted his favorite acoustic guitar off the stand beside him and launched into a folk ballad. It was a favorite with audiences and the Novak brothers and their band-mates knew it well, having spent plenty of late nights jamming with Ric in L.A. and San Francisco.

“The minstrel boy to the war has gone,
In the ranks of death, you will find him.
His father’s sword he has girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him.”

As he moved into the second verse, he allowed his gaze to wander about the audience, grinning conspiratorially at the men and flirtatiously at the women. Eye contact was one of the differences between an ordinary musician and a bard. That and the magic, of course. Drawing from within himself, he let a trickle of power flow through his voice to the audience, easing tension, soothing minor hurts. It was Ric’s way of thanking them for listening to him sing.

He ignored a couple of openly inviting gazes from the younger crowd, both male and female. While Ric might normally have taken one of the women up on her invitation, tonight he had no time for dalliance. As soon as his set was over, it was back to work for Alaric of the Thorny Hills, queen’s bard and knight of the Seelie Court.

The song ended and at a word from Greg on the drum kit, Ric switched to his Fender Strat. The band launched into a jazzier, more upbeat tune. Ric resumed his perusal of the faces in the room. It was a good crowd tonight; the place was packed, with lots of finger-tapping and humming along. The scents of hops and humanity mingled in the warm humid air and Ric smiled at those too.

In the back corner booth was a tall young man with chocolate skin, beaded dreadlocks and a trim goatee. His liquid dark eyes gazed longingly, not at Ric, but at George. Ric made a mental note to point him out to George at the break. There was a woman beside him, but her face was obscured by the heavy-set man in front of her. When the man moved to the side, Ric made a point of establishing eye contact with this last listener.

His fingers stopped on the strings. Literally stopped moving. He had to consciously think about closing his mouth. He managed not to drool, but he couldn’t manage to stop staring.


The whirlwind woman from the art co-op, the copper-haired cutie and if the gods were kind, the artist named Meagan Kelly. She was sitting in the back of Greg’s club, a glass sliding from her limp fingertips and a look of shock on her face that probably mirrored the one on his own.

* * * * *

Cindy: Me again!

If you enjoyed the excerpt, by all means watch for more. I’ll be visiting blogs all month! Also, I’m running a contest. All you have to do is pop over to my website, go to the “contact Cindy” page, and tell me which blog you saw me on and answer the question of the day. At the end of June, I’ll be giving away a $20.00 gift card to your choice of Borders, B&N, or Amazon. You can enter once for each blog stop.

Today’s question: What instrument does Ric play?

Now here’s where you can find me on the web.