CAUTION: Brainstorming session in progress

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Buy either Elaina Lee and Sarah Ballance's Book, and All Proceeds Go to Helping Others in Need

I would like to thank David for hosting Sarah and I today and for helping spread the word about our charity shorts.  Please take a moment to learn about each natural disaster that our books benefit and how you can help by donating and getting a great read!  Thank you!

When disaster strikes, there's a moment when we forget all boundaries.  Geographic, political, and socioeconomic divisions fall, and there, for some of the most painful, beautiful moments in time, we are one.

Then—hour by hour, day by day, week by week—the vast majority of us lucky enough to do so will move on.  As the headlines change our focus moves elsewhere, and save for the occasional media update, many of us don't look back.

Some, however, struggle to look ahead.  Here's a glimpse at the staggering numbers and the broken realities affected residents of Alabama and Japan must face every day.

ALABAMA TORNADOES – April 27, 2011

An EF-5 tornado, spanning a mile and a half wide, tore through the city of Tuscaloosa. The tornado didn't stop there though, but continued for 80 miles, leaving a visible line through the state of Alabama. The state, already weakened by a series of severe storms and straight-lined winds, suffered considerable damage. At least 28 tornado's touched down on the 27th.

The storm system started on April 25th and ended on April 28th. During that period there were 335 confirmed tornadoes across the country that resulted in an estimated 346 deaths. Tuscaloosa had one of the four largest in that system.  Recovery  hasn't been easy, as evidenced by these facts reported by

·        25,081 families were denied FEMA insurance, including many whose homes had been wiped completely off their foundations.  FEMA's reason?  Insufficient damage. 

·        Following the April tornadoes, FEMA deployed 523 inspectors to the region.  Together, they've inspected over 5,000 properties a day.  That's a lot of destruction, folks.

·        Of the $4 million in initial FEMA aid for Alabama, $3.1 million went for temporary housing alone.  


A 8.9 magnitude earthquake and 30 foot tsunami wave hit Japan's eastern coast, causing unprecedented damage and taking thousands of lives.  A June 29 update from Red Cross Japan reveals the following sober statistics:

·        75,215 people from the three most affected prefectures are still living in shelters or other temporary housing.  7,427 are still missing, their loved ones fearing the worst.

·        119,776 claims for unemployment were filed between March 11 and June 8 in the three most affected prefectures.

·        97,183 people have been evacuated from the area surrounding the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant.  35, 514 have left the Fukushima prefecture, forced to start over with nothing.

You Can Help … Today

Authors Elaina Lee and Sarah Ballance, through the generosity of the Astraea Press charity program, are proud to announce 100% of profits from their novellas below will go toward Alabama and Japan Disaster Relief, respectively.  To help raise awareness, every comment on their individual blogs or guest blog posts (including this one!) from July 12 through August 8 will double as an entry into a weekly drawing for a $10 gift e-certificate or a free e-book.  Winners will be announced on their blogs and contacted via e-mail.  As an additional token of appreciation for your support, if you have purchased either of their titles you are invited to contact Elaina or Sarah for a free gift (while supplies last).

HAWTHORNE | Sarah Ballance | mystery, romance | BUY LINK | BLOG 

After a terrifying encounter with the unexplained, it took ten years and the news of her grandmother’s passing for Emma Grace Hawthorne to return to her childhood home.   She sought peace in saying a proper goodbye, but what she found was an old love, a sordid family history, and a wrong only she could right.

Living in the shadow of Hawthorne Manor, Noah Garrett never forgot about Emma Grace.  In a house full of secrets, his search for missing documents revealed a truth that could cost him everything.  What he found gave Emma the freedom to walk away from the mansion, her heart free and clear, but at what price to Noah?



Chapter One

            The car slowed to a stop and a decade's worth of memories tumbled onto the sun-blanched asphalt.

Hawthorne Manor.

            The hand-painted sign hadn't changed in years. In the thick, damp air filling the Louisiana landscape, the wood display remain inexplicably unaffected. There it sat—every meticulously scripted letter as crisp and clean as the stark white walls of the manor it lauded, oblivious to the passage of time.

            Emma Hawthorne tensed in the seat of the Mustang convertible, staring at her past with ice sluicing her spine Anywhere else, the view would have been gorgeous. The drive, lined on both sides with live oak laden with Spanish moss, was the South personified. At the end, Hawthorne Manor held court. Pristine, proud, the boastful antebellum home beamed, lording over its acreage.

            But it harbored the unspeakable. No amount of time could erase what happened to her on the other side of the expanse of green lawn. Nothing could change what she'd seen there. Some might say she was crazy—that she'd imagined or invented the whole ordeal—but her scars were all the proof she needed. Whether the shadows lurking behind the façade of the picturesque plantation were real or born of an overactive imagination, there was no way she was going back into that house.

Especially not for a dead woman.

            Sparing a glance in the rearview, Emma steeled herself against a trembling in her hands that threatened to overtake her body. She released a pent-up breath, her heart settling into a less acrobatic rhythm at the thought of leaving. She didn't have to stay here.

Let the South win this one. She was going home.

A split second after she decided to go, something caught her eye. She blinked, trying to see through the swaying canopy of leaves and moss, certain a figure stood atop the widow's walk straddling the roofline of the house. But no one—

Something brushed the car, rocking it. Swallowing panic, Emma tried to tear her focus from Hawthorne Manor, but fear kept her from looking anywhere else. Time and distance hadn't done her any favors; she was a fool for coming anywhere near this place, much less with the ragtop down.

The car rocked harder. The something refused to be ignored.

Fighting the grip of panic tightening her throat—fighting the ghosts of her past—Emma forced herself to look away from the house, toward the intrusion over her left shoulder.

The first thing she saw was an aged set of gnarled fingers resting on the door, blue automotive paint showing through an ugly translucence.

The second was the face—withered, centurion, and expressionless. Haunting.



Emma screamed.


            It couldn't be her.

            Noah Garrett tore down the drive, slapping through a muggy afternoon haze comprised of mosquitoes and humidity. He couldn't know that scream, but he felt the connection the moment the sound of her fear pierced the thick air.

            Emma Grace.

            The one reason he allowed himself to stagnate on the old plantation, long after life and reason moved on without him. Long after she had.

            A blue Mustang sat at the end of the driveway. He wondered if it could be hers—even as he knew it impossible—but she was nowhere in sight.

He slowed to a trot. The sprint left him drenched with sweat and not entirely disappointed his imagination had gotten away from him. His  dream of one more chance to see Emma Grace had never included himself as a dripping mess. He wiped the moisture from his brow, fast concluding the car must belong to a tourist. They often parked at the end of the drive and took pictures of the condescending mansion most thought beautiful. He assumed the intrusion seemed small to their frequent guests, but the constant ding of the hidden bell announcing a visitor could drive a man to the edge.

As if losing Emma Grace hadn't already accomplished that.

Noah closed in on the convertible, giving the nearby grounds a cursory look. The lawn was meticulous, the beds overflowing with sprays of purple garden phlox which trailed around the bend in the road and disappeared. A riot of white and rust-red irises backed the smaller purple flowers, their leaves deep green and glossy. Overhead, Spanish moss swayed only occasionally atop a maze of live oak, more likely a result of a passing swarm of insects than an actual air current. The land was still. If there were tourists snapping photos of the historic plantation—or doing anything else—he didn't see them. But someone had been there, the seemingly familiar scream so real.

Wasn't it always?

Resigned to another night alone with his memories, Noah pivoted.

And found himself nose to nose with Emma Grace.

Astounded, he opened his mouth, then closed it. He wanted to reach for her, but his arms refused the notion; they hung uselessly by his sides, the effort futile. His mouth wasn't much on cooperation, either. Finally, he found his tongue. "Em—"

Her expression cut him off. Green eyes wide, skin pale, her small frame shaking, she spoke. "I saw her, Noah. She's back." The words, nearly soundless, seemed to catch in the thick air. Lingering. Threatening.

And ripping the heart from his chest.


TO URN HER LOVE | Elaina Lee | romance | BUY LINK | BLOG 
Caylie Abrahms bad day gets worse when the teen brother she's responsible for proudly hands her a gift.  Just wanting to show how much he appreciates all his sister does for him, Kyle steals what he believes is an ornate glass vase.  The gift is anything but however, and now Caylie has to find the owner of an urn.  Worst yet, she has to explain her dear brother stole someone's loved one.

Against all odds she learns the urn belongs to Rick Marshall, her best friend from college, the man she'd poured her heart out to and been rejected by.  She never thought she'd see him again, let alone have to hand him back his father in glass.  Will her resolve remain strong in his presence, or will she suffer another broken heart?

In silence, they walked the corridor flanking the stairs to the

second story. Kyle stayed behind, digging through the plate of

refreshments. They passed two doors and Caylie began to wonder

just how large his home was. She dared not look around too much,

afraid she'd grow jealous and feel even more insignificant than she

already did. There were no disillusions in her life, she knew she

was poor. Never before though had she felt impoverished. Until

now. However, she did keep a roof over hers and Kyle's head and

they never went without a meal. Those were at least things she

could be proud of. He opened a door to the left and motioned


ʺOn the desk. May I ask first though, who you're calling?"

With a sheepish smile, she held up the card. ʺA cab, I...

accidentally locked my keys in my car this afternoon."

He stepped inside and closed the door. ʺI can give you a ride


Shaking her head, she took the card between both her hands

and stared down at it. Anything not to look at him and his way too

handsome face and the body that proved he did hard labor. A few

strands of gray stood out in his dark brown hair, slight lines

appeared when he smiled, but other than that, the man was still

dangerously good-looking. Only now he had a few years that took

away that fresh-from-school look and a filled out frame that came

with manhood. Alone in a room with him was so not where she

wanted to be.

ʺI couldn't possibly ask for anything more from you. We

have done more than enough."

ʺNo," he said softly and the light, musky scent of his cologne

filled her nose as he moved closer. ʺYour brother has done enough.

You did nothing but return what was stolen, hours after it

happened, I might add. You did me a huge favor, especially since

my mother happened to show up to get a good look at the urn."

ʺSomething you wouldn't have even had to worry about if

my brother hadn't taken it in the first place." She shook her head

and put some distance between them, moving towards the phone.

ʺI'm sorry, I can't accept anything else from you. Agreeing not to

press charges and then giving my brother an opportunity to do

some's more than enough, more than I could thank you


Before she could reach the phone, his hand wrapped around

her upper arm. His touch sent waves of longing through her body.

Not wanting to feel anything stronger, she brushed his hand away,

thankful he released her without hesitation. His eyes darkened

with anger and something she couldn't place and wasn't sure if she

wanted to.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dragon Wish - Judith Leger

A vision, a wish, and a journey plagued by evil.

Cold, desolate cliffs and a white dragon’s blue gaze captures Seren Jordan in a terrifying vision.

A universe away, Paladin Fulcan--prince, captain, and sorcery-shadowed seed of dragonkind--struggles to overcome his grief during the long journey to where he must bury his wife and son. Seeing a shooting star, he violates all the laws of the dragonseed: he makes a wish.

A dragonseed's wish can open the gates between realities, can alter fate. But has fate itself decreed this wish? For the throne-less dragonseed's destiny is entwined with that of a mortal mate; their son is fated to be the One True Dragon King to rule over all the dragons.

But not all dragons are content to accept one rule, and the rebels quietly gather allies to prevent the birth of Seren's baby.

Judith's web site: Judith Leger
Buy Link: Wild Child Publishing
My Interview with Judith: Interview

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Random Musings

I was invited to participate in a threesome once, but when I caught my left hand fingering my right hand, I severed the relationship.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Random Musings

Since I started writing romance, the phrase "Over, under, around and through" has a whole new meaning.

Random Musings

People who readily quote others give me pause to wonder if they've ever had an original thought.

Random Musings

Twenty years ago, today was a goal.
Did you achieve it?

"Keep It Under Wraps" Giveaway - Lillian Grant

To celebrate the release of Keep it Under Wraps on 19 July Lillian Grant is giving a copy away to one lucky person who leaves a comment on her website

Leave a comment and check back on the 19th to see if you are the lucky winner. Oh, and you don't need to have read book one to enjoy book two.

If you don't want to wait you can preorder it at Sirenbookstrand. And it is available at a discount price until the 26th July.


A sex scandal threatens to destroy reformed Hollywood bad boy Jonathon Deveraux. PI Georgina Stanvers can save him – if they can trust each other.

Reformed Hollywood bad boy, Jonathon Deveraux, doesn’t remember starring in the DVD in his mailbox, and he’s not sure he trusts the female PI hired to find out where the movie came from.

Georgina Stanvers needs the work but she doesn’t like Jonathon. He’s a smooth talker, like the movie makers who ruined her father. She only suggests re-enacting the bondage scene to jar the actor’s memory. But untamed passion rewrites the script, and inhibitions are stripped away along with their clothing.

When bullets fly it appears an impending sex scandal is the least of Jonathon’s troubles. Needing to discover the truth, “George” puts her heart on the line, and her life in the hands of killers bent on revenge. If Jonathon is to prove his attraction to the PI is more than lust, he’ll have to save her. But first he needs to trust George, and his heart.


George swallowed, breathing deeply in an effort to slow her racing pulse. There he sat, on a bed. The bed. The one where the two ladies had tied him up and done to him what they would. Knowing what happened here should disgust her, but it didn’t. She had never thought being a voyeur was a turn-on. Porn did nothing for her, but she had to admit she’d watched the DVD more times than strictly necessary to solve the case. If she made the suggestion swirling in her brain would she be able to resist temptation? From the expression on Jonathon’s face, she got the impression he wouldn’t be disappointed if she didn’t.

“Perhaps a reenactment would help you remember something.”

His gaze met hers, and she took an involuntary step toward him. Dark eyes filled with desire held her enraptured. Now that she stood within reach, his hand circled her arm and tugged her to stand between his legs.

“Reenact how, exactly?”

George forced herself to break eye contact and stared at the headboard instead.

“You could lie on the bed, like in the video, and I could tie you up. It might trigger something?”

The smile teasing his lips left her in no doubt he had deliberately taken the last comment to mean something sexual. Is that what she meant? She didn’t know.

He agreed with a small nod, and she stepped back as he pulled off his boots. His socks came off with a quick tug then he began to slowly unbutton his shirt. Eyes locked on his, she fought not to drop her gaze to his chest as his tanned torso gradually came into view. The garment slid down his arms and he tossed it aside before getting to his feet. Battle lost, she took in his toned muscles, brown skin, and dark nipples erect from the cold, or maybe with lust. Her own nipples hardened in response, sending a shiver down her spine. She stood mesmerized as he slid his hands down his chest, over his stomach, before they came to rest on his belt buckle.

Her eyes focused on the oversized steel clasp. Fingers sliding behind the scuffed black leather, he started to tug the belt free. George took a deep breath and looked away. She was disgusted with herself. Lust may have melted her resolve, but she didn’t have to show it. What was wrong with her? She was practically drooling.

She dropped her bag to the floor and rummaged around inside, deliberately focused on what she was doing. “You don’t need to go all the way. How about you keep your jeans on, Tiger?” She glanced up at him and smiled. “I’d hate for you to catch a chill.”

With his belt unfastened and his button undone, he climbed on the bed, lying in the middle, arms by his side.

George finally retrieved what she was searching for. She stepped to the bed, and he moved from staring at the ceiling to see what she held in her hands.

“Handcuffs? But they tied me.”

“I don’t carry rope. Hands above your head.”

He moved his hands to rest them on the pillow. Her gaze shifted away from his sparsely haired armpits, tight pecs, and defined shoulders, to his face. He chuckled. “But you do carry handcuffs? For work or pleasure?”

She bit her bottom lip, determined not to let him bait her. Leaning across him, she closed the cuff around his left wrist before sliding it through the bars in the headboard and then fastening it around his right wrist. The effort caused her chest to brush against his face. When he rubbed his lips against her protruding nipple she gasped. Pushing herself back up to a standing position, she folded her arms. Both her nipples had beaded at his touch and now threatened to break through the thin fabric of her T-shirt. She made a mental note to always wear a bra in future.

“Lie still and concentrate. You won’t remember anything if you’re fooling around.”

He sighed and stared back at the ceiling. “I figured if this was a reenactment then fooling around would be the order of the day.”

God, he was right. How was having him lie on the bed seminaked supposed to achieve anything? So far all she had managed to do was turn herself on. The sight of his bare chest along with the soft hair that started below his belly button and thickened just above the zipper on his jeans wasn’t helping much either. The only one likely to have flashbacks was her.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Random Musings

I woke up breathing this morning.

Maybe that's no big deal to you, but for me it would have really sucked if I hadn't.