Monday, 29 March 2010

Easing into Ebooks, Part 2, by Shawna Williams


Before I discuss the top three questions about ebooks, let me address this all encompassing question.

Is an ebook even a book?

According to Dictionary.com a book is:1) a written or printed work of fiction or nonfiction, usually on sheets of paper fastened or bound together within covers. From the same source, an ebook is: "a book in digital form." So, I guess the best way to put it is that an ebook is a book, (a written or printed work of fiction or nonfiction) in digital form.

What does this mean for the "usually on sheets of paper fastened or bound together within covers" part? Well, that brings me to the first question in our top three.

What does the proliferation of ebooks mean for print?

This question seems to raise a lot of fears amongst booklovers. I've read a full gamut of comments blaming ebooks for everything from the demise of brick and mortar stores, to being responsible for the rampant forest fires in California. (Go figure?) What it all boils down to is fear of change; specifically, that ebooks will be the end to the tried and true, comfy paper book.

Rest assured, they will not.

The paper book has tangible qualities that go beyond the content of its pages. How many of us hold a book to our heart, or stare lovingly at its cover when we feel a connection to the story inside. The story may be the object of our affection, but the physical book enhances those feelings by giving us a memento to remind us of our experience.

For this reason, we're always going to want paper books.

So here's a question: do you want this representation for every book you read?
I don't. As a Matter-of-fact, my paper books are more cherished than ever because they have been carefully selected as stories that have truly touched my heart. That doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed the hoards of ebooks on my Kindle, only that like print books, they have spanned a wide range in appeal. There have been those that made me roll my eyes, and those that failed to hold my interest. Ones I thought were good. Some I thought were great; and on occasion, I've found a book that is uniquely special – leaving me a changed person inside. And because of the ease and economy of ebooks, I've had more opportunity to find those rare gems, and they're resting in a place of honor upon my bookshelf.

So, ebooks may have an impact on the number of books going into print production, but they will not replace them.

Next question: What happens if my computer or reading device breaks? Do I lose all of my books?

Nope! When you buy an ebook you are purchasing the content, not a one-time download. Amazon, Fictionwise, Books on Board, Reader Store at Borders, even publisher storefronts, keep what's known as a virtual bookshelf for every customer. Your ebooks are stored there, and if by chance you lose them through mechanical mishap, or delete a book, and later decide you want it back, all you have to do is log into your account, go to your shelf and download it at no extra charge. You can also have the same book on multiple devices. About a third of what's on my Kindle is also on my computer through Kindle for PC. This is a big bonus since my twelve year old is entranced by a fantasy series and has been hogging my Kindle for over a month now.

And this brings me to the last question on the top three. It's a doozy. Are ebooks inferior to print books? By this, I'm referring to story, editing, and cover -- not the format.

The answer to this is, some are and some aren't. And likewise, some print books are inferior to some ebooks.

This depends on the publisher's standards. I've come across my fair share of print books -- put out by traditional publishers – with weak or implausible storylines, spelling errors, continuity errors, bad research, and characters who fall into the whole array of writing pitfalls – flat, clichĂ©, Mary Sue, inconsistent, or just plain stupid. Some print books are fraught with corny analogies. I've seen some covers where the models' expressions seem to indicate they might be concealing a bad case of constipation. And to detract from this, the artist conveniently sprinkled the page with colorful clipart.

You can find every one of these things in ebooks put out by publishers with low quality standards too. Bad books have been, and always will be part of the industry.
But there are a number of epublishers with high standards for story, editing and cover art. These publishers, as a whole, are more inclined to take a risk on an experimental genre or new author, but that doesn't mean they've compromised they're standards. Only that a door has been opened for a talented person to share their work, and an opportunity has been given to a curious reader to enjoy it.
Now, if you're wondering where you might be able to investigate ebooks at no expense, check back next week for the third installment of this article, and I'll tell you.

Happy reading!

Friday, 26 March 2010

The Reviews are in! White Tiger by Vijaya Schartz


THE BLURB:

On the frozen planet of Kassouk, where a few aliens rule as dieties on a medieval Human world, Tora -- a Human warrior trained by tigers -- seeks her father's murderer. But what she finds at the point of her sword confuses her. How dare Dragomir, the handsome Mutant, question her bloodline and her loyalties? And could a new enemy control the savage hordes of the fringe?

Dragomir offers to help, but Humans and Mutants are forbidden to fraternize under penalty of death... Should Tora trust her mind, her instincts, or her heart?

In the vortex of war, treason and intrique... among blizzards, avalanches and ambushes... will Tora solve the myster of her father's death and unveil the secret of her birth? Can she and Dragomir escape persecutions long enough to save their planet from the invaders and fulfill their destiny?

********

The Reviews:

"...kept me enthralled from the first page... a thrilling science fiction romance"

Marlene Breakfield, Paranormal Romance Reviews

"...an exceptional tale that belongs in a place of honor on keeper shelves everywhere."

Johnna Flores - Coffee Time Romance - 5-cups rating

****

WHITE TIGER is avail at the Desert Breeze Website and at the Amazon Kindle Store. WHITE TIGER's sequel, RED LEOPARD will be avail by Desert Breeze on 1 APR 2010!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Reviews are in for Knight of Glory by Nicole Zoltack



THE BLURB:
Sir Geoffrey, along with some companions, has been sent away from Arnhem, entrusted by Queen Aislinn for a special mission, and has to leave behind the mysterious lady Celestia. On his journey, he uncovers seeds of a sinister plot, learns a horrible secret, and makes a new friend in exile Jenanna.

Their mission completed, Geoffrey and his companions rush to two different kingdoms to ask for aid. Danger and betrayal lurks around every corner, and even allies have secrets that could prove deadly. Geoffrey's feelings for Celestia grow and wane. After learning some of Celestia's secrets, he begins to have second thoughts about his love for her and is even drawn to Jenanna

Rumors abound that the Speicans have enlisted a mage of their own, to work unspeakable, forbidden magic. The war between Speica and Arnhem has just begun. Will Geoffrey survive the battle to live another day and discover which woman he truly loves?

*****
Coffee Time Romance, Anya
4 CUPS

"From dwarves to kings to mages, this book has almost every fantasy character available. Betrayers, liars, and spies round out the list of characters. The battles are interesting and the search for power is fascinating. The dialogue is good, and the lead up to the next book in the series is well done."

****

Shawna Williams, Author of "No Other" (DB Release, May 2010)
5 STARS (posted on Amazon)
"I loved this book!... Sir Geoffry is the noble night with a vulnerable heart. Jenanna is tough, yet feminine; independent, but lonely. And Celestia turned out to be a complete surprise as to what I had expected. Nope, I'm not gonna give anything more away on that... Thanks Nicole! Can't wait for the next."


Knight of Glory is available on the Desert Breeze Website: http://www.desertbreezepublising.com and on Amazon.com at the Kindle Store.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Easing into Ebooks, Part 1 by Shawna Williams



It seems to be human nature to greet something new with a certain amount of skeptism, and I can't claim to be totally immune. When I first became aware of ebooks, I turned up my nose, thinking they were a passing fad in which I had no interest. But when an author I like published a book in ebook format, I decided I would give it a try. Reading on my computer wasn't my preferred choice, as I like to recline on the sofa and get cozy, but since the book was interesting, it was worth snuggling up with my laptop instead.

Of course, now with the influx of ereaders and ereading apps there are plenty of options that make reading ebooks a more enjoyable experience. There's also a lot of misconceptions, and today I'd like to address the top three as they pertain to ereaders.

Anytime I see an article on ebooks/ereaders I always scroll down to the comments section, and it never fails, someone has made this statement. "I don't want an ereader because reading off a screen hurts my eyes." Sometimes the complainant ventures further. "In ten years, when all of today's youth are blind from staring at screens for countless hours, then what are we gonna do!" Occasionally, they're downright belligerent. "Ereaders! No thanks! If I wanted to fry my eyeballs I'd stare directly at the sun!" (You may think I'm joking, but I'm not.)

Let me explain the technology behind today's ereader. It's called e-ink, and it actually is ink. The particles are rearranged with every turn of the page through an electronic charge. It looks like paper, with non-reflective surface and a contrast that is pleasant to the eyes -- no blurring or smudging of words either. The font is also adjustable. In short, there is less eye strain than what you will encounter with a traditional book.

For more on e-ink: http://www.biblio-tech.com/BTR901/January_2001/e-ink_for_e-books__.html

Probably the second most common complaint is that the cold ereader can never match the comfort of holding a "real" book. Now, before I fully address this, I want to tell readers to please reconsider before saying this aloud, or typing it in a comment. It is offensive to authors, who have put countless hours into writing, researching and editing a book; then to have gone through the submissions process, being rejected numerous times, most likely; finally being accepted (brief celebration) more edits, formatting, promotion and so forth, to be told that theirs isn't a "real" book.

There. Since that's off my chest, I'll continue. For some people, this is true. Reading from an ereader is a slightly different experience than reading from a print book. But "different" isn't the same as not being cozy or comfortable. I have a Kindle. I keep it in a book-like cover made especially for Kindles. When you open it, you can either hold it like a book, or fold the cover behind the Kindle so that the soft felt surface rests in your hands.

I'm prone to muscle cramps and stiff fingers, so for me, holding a book causes discomfort over time, since constant tension is needed to keep it open. I also like the fact that if I read at night, I'm not continually having pages get caught on a book light and having to readjust it. So while reading from an ereader is different than reading from print, I wouldn't go so far as to say the experience is any less satisfying.

The last most common objection I want to address, though not the last I've heard, is this: "What if the power goes out. Then my ereader is useless." Thanks to e-ink, and the minimal amount of power it requires, your ereader's battery should last from two to four weeks, if you remember to turn off the wireless feature. This is a reasonable amount of time for your power to be restored. http://ireaderreview.com/2010/01/14/the-opposite-approach-making-ereader-batteries-better/

These are just a few of the concerns consumers have, and often voice. But not all concerns are related to ereader. Some are related to ebooks, and in my next post I talk about the top three of these.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Mansions of Newport, Rhode Island - Rosecliff by Stephanie Burkhart

The Back of Rosecliff


Ah, America's Gilded Age! It was a time of substantial growth in America, not only population, but in wealth. It reigned from between 1865-1901. America's rich upper class only got richer and one of the status symbols was to build an extravagant mansion.


The upper class settled in Newport, Rhode Island on the seacoast and several mansions were built. One of my favorites was Rosecliff, built between 1898-1902.
I discovered the mansions of Newport when I was 16 years old and a student in my high school "American Studies" class. American studies was for honor level students and it took an indepth look at not only America's history, but American literature. In April 1985, our teachers took us to see the mansions of Newport. It's a visit that still resonates with me today. For me, seeing the mansions is like having history coming alive and I'm a self-professed history nut.

Me, in the back of Rosecliff, 1985. Blurry, huh?


ROSECLIFF HISTORY

Rosecliff was built by Theresa Fair Oelrichs, a silver heiress from Nevada. Her father, James Graham Fair was one of the four partner in the Comstock Lode. She married Hermann Oelrichs, American agent for Norddeutscher Lloyd steamship line. She and her husband, together with her sister, Virginia Fair, bought the land in 1891 from the estate of George Bancroft, and commissioned the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White to design a summer home suitable for entertaining on a grand scale.

The principal architect, Stanford White, modeled the mansion after the Grand Trianon of Versailles, but smaller and reduced to a basic "H" shape, while keeping Mansart's scheme of a glazed arcade of arched windows and paired Ionic pilasters.
Rosecliff stayed in the Oelrichs family until 1941, then went through several changes of ownership before being bought by Mr & Mrs J. Edgar Monroe of New Orleans in 1947.

The Front of Rosecliff


Mr. Monroe, a southern gentleman who had made his fortune in the ship building industry, came to Newport with his wife Louise every summer to escape the summer heat of the Deep South. The two became well known for the large parties they threw at Rosecliff; many of which had mardi gras theme, the Monroes loved dressing up in fancy costumes for these parties.

Unlike Mrs. Oelrichs' parties, which were stiff and formal, the Monroes' parties were laid back and easy going. Because Hermann Oelrichs Jr had sold off all the furnishings in 1941, nearly all the furnishings visitors see at Rosecliff today are from the Monroe period of occupation.

In 1971, Mr. and Mrs. Monroe donated the entire estate with its contents and a $2 million operating endowment to the Preservation Society of Newport County, who opened it to the public for tours. Mr. Monroe often would come back to the estate for charity events up until his death in 1991.




AMERICAN STUDIES

During this time, we were reading "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the literature teacher, Mrs. Hussey, wanted to take us to see Rosecliff. The ballroom scenes of the 1974 film, The Great Gatsby were filmed there. Other movies filmed at Rosecliff include "True Lies," and "Amistad."

I remember it was a cold day, the wind was blowing, and it was overcast. Still, Rosecliff looked regal, standing in quiet testament next to the sea. It was majestic. Incurable romantic I was even back then, I remember closing my eyes while I stood on the back patio overlooking the sea, smelling the salt, imagining a gay party at the turn of the century. The scene played out vividly in my head – so vividly, I can still remember it today.

Me & my friend, Idgy, circa 1992.


If you ever get a chance to go to New England, Rhode Island specifically, I highly recommend a visit to the mansions. While the Gilded Age has past, the mansions echo with history and gala from the turn of the 20th Century.

Information from this article was taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosecliff

Thursday, 18 March 2010

An Interview with PI Barrington's muse, Jinx!


Hi everyone - today we have PI Barrington's muse, Jinx, visiting at the Desert Breeze blog. Patti's book, "Crucifying Angel," has gotten fantastic reviews. I just started reading it now, and I love how it moves, fast, effortlessly, and the characters are intriguing. The crime? Death by crucification - at least that's how it appears. It takes place in the not so distant future in Las Vegas, NV, sin city capital of the world. Kudos to Patti & Jinx on a great story! Now, onto the questions....

****

STEPH; Jinx, tell me what you look like - are you a pixie muse? A blonde bombshell? Curly brown hair?

JINX: I'm definitely the mini-blonde bombshell pixie type. Not like Patti at all! But definitely not Tinker Bell either.

STEPH: How long have you worked with Patti?

JINX: Her entire life; she just didn't know it. She just now is giving me the recognition I deserve! I've always been hovering around, whispering in her ear (well, okay screaming at times), pointing out ideas or causing her to look up at just the right moment to see or hear or smell something that leads to an idea. Scents can do it too.

STEPH: Is Patti an easy or hard writer to inspire - or somewhere in between?

JINX: Easy, way easy! She can be walking around a store and I can find something to trigger an idea; a paisley design will bring back a memory to build upon; something visual will trigger it: a poster, a skyline, someone dressed unusually or very chic or in a uniform; a nature vista can do it too.


STEPH: What tricks of the trade did you use to help Patti with Crucifying Angel?

I dredged up a few old tricks I've used in the distant past that fit nicely into this novel. For instance I reminded her to pay attention to something tiny but pivotal about a person or a place or a thing that could create the concept of the story. Tiny things about people or places or things that might go unnoticed by everyone else can be an unbelievable ignition for characterization, setting, even plot. For Crucifying Angel, Las Vegas became the setting for several reasons: the first being that the desert landscape appears already strangely and seemingly destroyed although there is a huge living eco structure there; also she and I know that area fairly well and it was easily described as a setting; and last the visuals of the city, the casino lights on the Strip at night and the oddly drab of the casinos in the daylight were familiar too. I also forced her to actually do a little research on the ecology of the place, things that in reality are threatening the environment of the area which happened to be from extreme mining. It all kind of tied the story details and location together coherently and gave Crucifying Angel the correct atmosphere for the novel.



STEPH: Where do you go on vacation?

JINX: Las Vegas of course, lol! It's a four hour drive away, you don’t stay forever, and I love the moonscape look of the desert in the day. It's easy to picture an alien planetscape there. Also the beach, anywhere with nature, though I have been known to traipse through big cities on occasion! There's also a secret place that Patti and I share and we've sworn a pact never to reveal it!


STEPH: Do you plan on reading the Desert Breeze Anthology, Be Mused, about muses?

JINX: Planning? I'm so excited I'm hopping up and down! It's about time we got some recognition and appreciation! Muses are people too!


STEPH: Tell us about the latest project you and Patti have been working on.

JINX: Miraculous Deception, Book Two of the Future Imperfect series, in fact was just completed and will be released in June! I gave Patti several of the ideas and twists for that one, but its part of a series that we both love, so working on Future Imperfect is and has been a joy for us! Upcoming next is the Borealis novelette for a DBP anthology our Editor Gail R. Delaney conceived and is assembling right now. That's the current WIP. The concept is great and writing it is fun as well!

STEPH: Tell us a little known fact about Patti.

JINX: Deep down she's a pathetically incurable romantic. If a man gave her a hand-picked bouquet of flowers, she'd swoon. No joke. Oh, yeah today's her birthday hence the name Patti!

STEPH: What were the most satisfying projects you've worked on? Why?

JINX: So far, Future Imperfect. Each book is more fun to write and a little more intricate than the one before it. I've given her the opening for Book Three, untitled as of now as well as the ending scene I developed during Crucifying Angel! Hopefully people will enjoy it!

***
Thanks for popping in today, Jinx! Good luck on books 2 & 3 of the Future Imperfect series.

Smiles
Steph

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day! The Myth of the Leprechaun


When we think of the Leprechaun what's the first thing that comes to mind? For me – it's the Lucky Charms cereal leprechaun. He embodies everything I think a leprechaun should be – happy go lucky and always trying to find that pot at the end of the rainbow.

But how did the myth of the Leprechaun get started? The earliest reference to them was in a medieval story called "The Adventure of Furgus son of Leti." In the story, King Ulster falls asleep only to be dragged into the sea by three leprechauns. When he awakens, he turns the tide on the leprechauns and captures them. They grant the king three wishes for their release.

Of course, the most well known myth is that a leprechaun hides their pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The trick? A rainbow is an optical illusion and will always move farther away as one walks towards it, so finding the end of the rainbow isn't as easy as it seems.

The poet, Yeats has an interesting description of leprechauns. They are "solitary fairies, wear red jackets, whereas the "trooping fairies" wear green.

Leprechauns are solitary nature, unfriendly, and they are said to live in remote places. They like to pass the time making shoes. They're generally quiet, but if you listen close, you might hear them hammering as they make their shoes. Leprechauns are tricky fellows to catch, but if you do catch one, perhaps you can persuade him to reveal the location of his pot of gold. Don't look away though; if you take your eyes off a leprechaun, he will vanish in an instant.
Fun Facts: The National Leprechaun Museum open in Dublin, Ireland this month.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The "unsellable" novel by Deb Kinnard



Deb Kinnard, author of the upcoming novel, "Damages" (releasing 1 APR 2010) pops into the blog today. Enjoy! Steph. And now, here's Deb

****
Markets can be fickle brats (so can Muses, but that's another post). I seem to have become very good at writing Books That Won't Sell. I've written a spousal abuse book, a time travel romance, and a love story set in 973 Wales.

Why can't I just get with the program and write bonnet books? I don't really know for sure...

A couple of years ago, when I came to agreement with my wonderful agent, Tamela Murray, we talked about what finished projects I had and where they might be pitched. I mentioned a book dear to my heart, called DAMAGES. "Oh," said she, "I don't think that's gonna fly."




"Why not?"

"It centers around an ungodly marriage."

Now granted that the Christian fiction market has its own quirks. We talked about the core of the book and I explained that the story tells how Brian and Cassidy change their marriage into everything that's right and beautiful and God-honoring.

Let's just say Tamela still wasn't feeling the love. With regret I shelved the book. It was only a couple of years later that I floated the idea again. Hey, maybe the market had changed a little?

"Tell you what. Let's check if Desert Breeze might be interested," she said.

And lo! The book the market didn't want has found a home. I'm tickled to pieces.

Read more about Brian and Cassidy's journey from a very strange agreement to a lovely marriage in DAMAGES, releasing April 1.

Do I still write out of the box? Probably. Will I ever get with the Christian fiction mainstream program? Probably not.

*****

Thanks, Deb for stopping by.

Monday, 15 March 2010

An interview with Lilly & Sam, from Beyond Africia


We're here today with Lilly and 3 year old Sam from Beyond Africa . (Author Carie Lawson is in "character") Welcome Lilly and Sam.

STEPH - Lilly, where did you train to a missionary?

LILLY: At my Mom's knee. This mission is home--it's where I grew up, I say grew up, but really I lived here from the time I was two until I was eight. It's a place I felt very loved. The best memories of my childhood were right here. It's kind of funny comparing those childhood memories with the reality of today. You know everyone talks about things seeming smaller when they return to a place they remember as a child. I'm finding that things here are more worn than I remember.


STEPH - Lilly, what inspired you to become a missionary? I understand you grew up with a Aunt.

LILLY: After my parent's died, all I ever wanted was to come back here. The best way to do that was to get a nursing degree. I completed my degree about eighteen months ago and started looking for a way to get back to the mission. God worked more than one miracle to help me get back.


STEPH - Sam, what about Lilly do you like?

LILLY: Her hair is shiny like the sun. And she smiles a lot. I'm not scared anymore when she's near me.


STEPH - Lilly, how has Sam's presence in your life, changed you?

LILLY: He's given me a family again. I know what it's like to be alone and so does he. I guess that makes it very easy for us to stay together.


STEPH - Lilly, I hear there's a pilot who likes to help out, Case? What's he like?

LILLY: Hmm, well. I'm not sure that he really likes helping out. But he's been very kind when we've asked him. We might have overstepped by asking for his help this last time. It's just that there are these children here, a family looking for their mother. They got separated from her during a round of fighting not too far away. Nick, another missionary, suggested asking Case to help us look for their mother, because he's a pilot. Of course, I had to ask him because I met him first and we've become friends...kind of. He agreed to help, but wants me to go with him. It makes me a little nervous. He's so handsome and has been kind, but I don't really know that much about him. I mean, why would an American pilot chose to stay in the DRC? I don't think it's for the money. Still, if it can help those children, I'll go. It'll be fine.


STEPH: - Lilly, what do you love about the Congo ? Sam, what do you love about your home?

LILLY: I like helping people who need it. The other missionaries, Bill and Sarah, remember my parents so it's kind of like being with family.

Sam: I like Lilly and Nick. I get to sleep on a pile of blankets in Lilly's room and Nick gives me cake sometimes. He smiles a lot.

Lilly: I think Nick might be the real Santa Claus. He's great with the kids here.


STEPH: - Lilly, do you have TV? The Internet.

LILLY: Oh, no. We have one phone here. It has a cord. But I wasn't expecting things to have those things.


STEPH: - Sam, are you an Elmo fan?

SAM: Lilly, who's Elmo? Oh, no, but there's a dog that I like to play with sometimes. I think monsters are scary.

Thanks for popping in today Lilly & Sam.
*smiles*
Steph

Carie's book is available at the Desert Breeze Site or on Amazon for the Kindle

Sunday, 14 March 2010

The Mansions of Newport, RI - Marble House by Regina Andrews


My life isn't a fairy tale, and I'm no princess, but sometimes I enjoy pretending that I live in a palace. After all, I am a romance writer. Lucky for me, Newport, Rhode Island is in my own backyard and I have my choice of castles to visit. Today, I'd like to talk about my very favorite - Marble House.

Marble House is located on Bellevue Avenue in Newport. This is the main residential boulevard in the seaside resort town which is about 30 minutes south of my home in Providence.

I am in love with the French influence in Newport. "Bellevue" is French for "beautiful view", and this street along the Atlantic Ocean sure gives me a great view. It's lined with ten magnificent mansions, breathtaking private residences and lots of beautiful trees. I never get tired of it.




Beauty Inside and Out

I find it hard to know what to look at first when I visit Marble House. The cobblestone approach is so grand that it always takes my breath away. (Sometimes I think it looks like the White House). Then I go through the front door into the huge and elegant foyer, gleaming with cool, smooth marble, and gilded with gold and opulent antiques everywhere I look. But what I love the most are the vast windows that open to the beautiful vista outside. The ocean, the cliffs, the gardens call to me. In fact, Marble House was the inspiration for the mansion which is the setting of my newest book, Destiny's Designs.

History of Marble House




The magnificent "summer cottage" of Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt, Marble House was completed in 1892. It was styled after the Petit Trianon at Versailles – more French influence. What I find amazing is that it's made of 500,000 cubic feet of marble. That must have helped keep the mansion cool in the heat of the summer. The Vanderbilt's divorced three years after Marble House was finished. Alva Vanderbilt came back to Marble House many years later, and built a Chinese Tea House on sprawling back lawn overlooking the cliffs. She sold Marble House in 1932.
Marble House is now run by the Preservation Society of Newport County. It is a vital part of the cultural landscape of American history, and hosts weddings, charity galas and festivals year-round. I can tell you from my heart it is beautiful every season of the year.

Interesting Note
Filming for the 1974 movie The Great Gatsby starring Mia Farrow and Robert Redford took place at Marble House.
Information for this blog entry was taken from:http://meetings.newportmansions.org/pdfs/SS_MarbleHouse.pdf and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marble_House

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Congrats to Jen Ranieri on her QUASAR win!

From left to right
Gail Delaney
Steph Burkhart &
Jen Ranieri


I popped in the office the other day (I only live about 20 minutes from where Gail and Jen work) and Jen had her QUASAR with her. I must admit, it was very impressive. *smiles*

Jen is very kind. Her passion, dedication, and commitment to her work are just some of the qualities I admire about her. She is relentless in finding the right graphic(s) for covers. Not only that, for those who know her, Jen has an amazing sense of humour. I had an opportunity to spend NaNoMoWri Month with her last November, and I really enjoyed our mornings where we sat down and worked on our projects. She's a very motivated and motivating person.

While at the office, Jen and Gail wanted to take a couple pictures with her QUASAR to show to everyone. With an IPhone at hand, we snapped away. For those who don't know - Jen is a biggie techie.

Jen and Gail are very excited about Romantic Times (RT) Convention this year. They've got some really cool things planned for Desert Breeze and I'm thrilled to be onboard.

*smiles*
Steph

Friday, 12 March 2010

An Interview with Geoffrey of Siva, from Knight of Glory by Nicole Zoltack


I'm here with Geoffrey of Siva today, a Knight in the Kingdom Arnhem. Geoffery is the main character in Nicole Zoltack latest release, "Knight of Glory."

STEPH: So, Geoffrey, tell us about this woman named Celestia that you've just met. What's she like? Where's she from?

GEOFFERY: *eyes turn dreamy* She's beautiful with long, wavy red hair and the most intriguing eyes. I couldn't tell at first what color they were, green or blue, they're a sparkling aquamarine, the like of which I had never seen before. And her skin! Her complexion is like a soft blush, sweet and rosey.

We shared a few dances but she never did tell me much about herself. She is staying near the market, though, and I can hardly wait to see her again!


STEPH: Tell us a little about the war that's going on between Arnhem and Specians.

GEOFFERY: Vile Speicans! How I hate them! They want nothing better than to kill us all, to run us from oiur homes, to steal our land. Not that long ago, they stole until our land and kidnapped many of our women. *mumbles some horrible curses under his breath that weren't suitable for a lady's hearing*

You see, Speica is a desert land, hardly any crops will go there. Because they cannot grow their own food, they plunder from neighboring villages. Our kingdom and theirs have fought for centuries now, idle battles, and many wars. I fear that this war will be the last one, with only one kingdom remaining to tell the tale.

For truth, I cannot recall why Arnhem and Speica started fighting in the first place, those long years ago.


STEPH: Tell us what your favorite class was as a page and why you enjoyed it so much.

GEOFFREY: I am much pleased that you asked about my favorite class and not my least favorite. *shudders at an ill memory involving a bird and its droppings*

Weaponry. Any time I held a sword, even the wooden ones from being a page, I knew I could not only defend my own honor, but those entrusted in my care. Being a knight means protecting those who cannot protect themselves. And what better way to accomplish that then by being able to defend them with sword and shield?


STEPH: Tell us a little about your home, Siva.

GEOFFREY: Siva is a small town within Arnhem. I only have precious few memories of it, having left there at the age of seven to start my training at the castle.

Siva has fertile land, perfect for farming. Many families there are farmers, a good deal of my childhood friends tilled the land instead of becoming a knight like me. If you are born into a noble family, it is expected that you would become a knight. Even those not of noble blood has a chance to become a knight, should their family be able to afford it. I am a noble and am very glad for that. I do not think that I could work with animals all day and fight the soil to get crops to grow. God's Wounds! That would have been an awful life for me. But I do know that some enjoyed it.


STEPH: Do you have any charities you give to or support?

GEOFFREY: All knights (or should I say all decent and honorable knights) give as much as they can to those in need of charity, whether it is time, coin, or someone to protect them. Right now, it is my duty to help all of Arnhem, not any particular part of it.


STEPH: How did you meet King Caelan? How long have you known him?

GEOFFREY: I've known Caelan since I first went to the palace for a ball. I was nearly five, he was four. When we both realized that we would be training for knighthood around the same time, we became fast friends. For so long, 'twas strange to think of him as the prince, but now he's king and married to Aislinn! *laughs* 'Tis funny how life works itself out sometimes. Long ago, I had fancied AIslinn for myself but that would have been a disaster. I knew those two loved each other before they did. And their love is strong and true. Nothing will make it waver. I can only hope that one day, I share that great love with a wonderful lady.


STEPH: I noticed that the queen affectionately calls you "Bard." Have you written poetry? Is there a poem you like to share with us?

GEOFFREY: *narrows his eyes* She calls me that to torment me! It started back when I fancied her. I might have mentioned something about her eyes, stole a line from one of the bards. Ever since, she calls me that. I know she means it in jest and sometimes it doesn't bother me but other times, it stings. At the time, I had truly cared for her, and she had shoved me aside. 'Friends only,' she said. But I'd wager a silver piece that she started to think about the prince a little more after that.

Knights don't have time to write poetry! Although I have heard that it does make the ladies swoon. Perhaps I could write Celestia a piece. Maybe she would enjoy my efforts, and they wouldn't be in vain as they had been with Aislinn and the others. How does one fall in love? What is love?

For all I know, my idealization of love, my longing for it, my almost desperate need for it, could be why Aislinn calls me bard. One day, if I ever do find love, I will write her a poem. Or a song. Just please, don't tell Aislinn? She'll never let me hear the end of it!


STEPH: Geoffrey, thank you for being here. Good luck on your adventure! (And thank you to Nicole for being in character!) Knight of Glory is available NOW with Desert Breeze.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Author Interview with Vijaya Schartz - talking about the Chronciles of Kassouk


We're here today with Vijaya Schartz, author of the Chronciles of Kassouk series. Book 2 in the series, Red Leopard will be avail in April! Now, onto the questions


STEPH: You must be thrilled about your upcoming release "Red Leopard" with Desert Breeze. Can you set the scene for us and give us a tease of what to expect?

VIJAYA: In charge of the fortress of Kassouk in the King's absence, what is Terek to do when a Goddian spacecraft lands in his medieval backyard, and the striking woman leading the galactic party insists on colonization? Galya, the Goddian Princess commanding the geological vessel, is bent on finding a crystal with unusual hyper-conductor properties. And the futile resistance of the local population isn’t going to stop her. Not even that defiant tribal chief nicknamed Red Leopard, like the infernal feline that follows him everywhere.

Terek and his band of swordsmen and felines must defend their people’s freedom, no matter the cost. But with this unexpected arrival, an old prophecy surfaces, taking new meaning and carrying a new threat... When political intrigues, greed, murder and betrayal tip the scales, whom can Galya really trust? Her fellow Goddians? the Mutants bred to serve her race? or her primitive Human enemy?




STEPH - Where do you get the inspiration for stories? Dreams?

VIJAYA: I get inspiration from dreams, of course, but also from ancient history, political events, newscasts, and people around me. In this case, my cats. So much so that I dedicated this upcoming book to my feline friends. In a world where large cats live alongside people as pets, and people take pride in borrowing traits from the animals they love, it helps to have a knowledge of feline behavior. I've lived with cats all my adult life and consider myself a cat expert. I also have a page just for cat lovers on my website. STEPH: I love cats. My cat, Bart, taught me a lot of things and I miss him very much. (I got him in 1991 as a 6 week old kitty. He passed in 2006)



STEPH - Where did the inspiration come from for "White Tiger? Red Leopard?"

VIJAYA: The idea for the first book in the Chronicles of Kassouk, WHITE TIGER, came about a long time ago. After spending some time in the snow, I was inspired to write about a frozen world. Of course the idea evolved. New Earth and the world of Kassouk are the consequence of the crash of a Human research vessel called Noah's Ark, on the frozen planet. People and animals struggled for survival. The people lost their technology. At the time of the series, they are in a medieval stage of civilization. Over the centuries, Galactic races intervened, were worshiped as gods, or softened the weather, but all refused to share their technology with a primitive Human culture. STEPH: Very creative!

STEPH - Do you have a favorite Sci Fi show or movie that resonates with you?

2010 QUASAR Award Winner from EPIC


VIJAYA: I'm a Sci-Fi fan. I believe Star Trek and Star Wars started it all and are priceless classics. Now I cheer for Caprica, the prequel to Battlestar Galactica. I'm interested in the ideas of Flash Forward. I'm eagerly awaiting the new season of The Visitors. Anaz-voohri, my last book with my previous publisher in 2007, was called a mix of X-files and Battlestar Galactica with sizzling romance, and I'm proud of it. Gail Delaney was my editor at the time. STEPH: How uncanny was that. I love Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica. I didn't know about Caprica, but I'm going to try to catch up - see if it's on ITunes.

STEPH - Do you have a book trailer you'd like to share?

VIJAYA: Anaz-voohri's book trailer won a Cameo Award. I don't have trailers for my most recent books. I've been too busy writing. Here is the link:
http://www.veoh.com/videos/v316500c33gbMKj



STEPH - Your cover won the Eppie for best SciFi cover and then the QUASAR award for best cover over all from EPIC. Did you have much input into the cover?

VIJAYA: I gave my suggestions for the cover and detailed descriptions on the author input form. Some authors might find it tedious, but I was amazed when I saw the cover for the first time. The citadel of Kassouk in the background is exactly what I visualized, with the snow-covered mountains in the far back and the large moon. The tiger's head with blue eyes represents the heroine. Her nickname is White Tiger and she has blue eyes. She learned to fight from tigers. The talented Jenifer Ranieri did a fantastic job of portraying my world on the cover, and I am grateful. I was thrilled when the cover won the Ariana in Sci-Fi Romance category. Then it won the 2010 QUASAR at EPICon. for the best ebook cover of 2009! Jenifer said it was like receiving her own Academy Award (since it was the same weekend) except that it was a plaque, not a golden Oscar. I'm so happy she is designing my covers for this series. The second book in the Chronicles of Kassouk has a similar cover, with a Red Leopard instead of a White Tiger. The third book, scheduled for November 2010 is titled Black Jaguar. You can imagine what that will look like (the jaguar has emerald eyes).

STEPH: What's the last movie you saw?

VIJAYA: I recently saw Avatar, and I'm still reeling from it. Did you expect anything different? Although I thought they could have done a better job of exploring the humanity and the depth of the characters, the special effects were absolutely incredible. At the movies you can actually see floating boulders, giant blue aliens with tails riding dragons spinning down at vertiginous speeds, and all the stuff of sci-fi and fantasy in action. I'm very visual, and when I write, I imagine my story unfolding on a big screen. There is a movie in my head. I hope it translates on the page.

Next, I want to see The Hurt Locker. I also write Girls with Guns for another publisher, and I need an update on current warfare. Movies are a source of research and inspiration as well as entertainment. My creative mind never stops. Everything is fodder for stories. Everything that makes me feel (good or bad) is good for the muse.

You can find more on my website at: http://www.vijayaschartz.com and if you click on CONTEST on the left, you could win a pdf copy of RED LEOPARD. The drawing is April 1, 2010, when the book is released. Good luck.

I wish everyone a wonderful spring season.
Thank you so much, Stephanie, for the interview.
----- Original Message -----

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Desert Breeze author K Dawn Byrd pops in to talk about her upcoming release, Queen of Hearts



Today we welcome K Dawn Byrd with us, who has a release in April, "Queen of Hearts."

STEPH: Can you tell us a little about "Queen of Hearts"

K DAWN: Daphne Dean is proud to be serving her country stateside during WWII as a reporter and an Office of Strategic Services operative. When the photograph she takes of the crowd at a murder scene places her on the mob's hit list, she's forced into hiding in a vacant mental asylum in the middle of nowhere with terrifying secrets of its own.

Daphne believed herself to still be in love with her ex-fiancée, Kenneth, until she spends several days locked away in the asylum with Vito, the mob boss' son. Can she put the terrifying events that occurred there behind her and allow herself to pursue a relationship with Vito? Or, will she return to Kenneth who has turned his back on his country by becoming a draft dodger and a black market racketeer? One thing's for sure, it won't matter if she can't escape the mental institution alive.


STEPH - The story is set in the United States during World War II. What kind of research did you have to do?

K DAWN: Actually, I didn't have to do much research at all. I've been a WWII buff for years and have read many WWII books. I like stories about what happened to real people back in the day. I found it very interesting to see how the war changed our country and the people who lived here.

STEPH - Where did you get the inspiration for your story?

K DAWN: Like I said, I'm a WWII buff and I thought it would be fun to write a WWII story. At the time I was plotting (October 2009), I e-mailed Gail Delaney, who is the CEO of Desert Breeze Publishing, and asked her if she had a need for a historical. I had already sold a contemporary romantic suspense to them with an August 2010 release date. She held an April release date for Queen of Hearts. All I had to do was write it and hold my breath until I heard back from her to find out if she liked it. Lucky for me, she did.

STEPH - Do you cast your characters? If so who plays Daphne? (I'm thinking actress Jennifer Ferrin) Vito? Kenneth?

K DAWN: I consider my husband to be a very handsome man. I normally start a novel picturing my hubby as the hero. This makes it much easier for me to keep up with what my hero looks like as I write. Okay, I admit it...I'm a sucker for black-haired, green eyed men! I then search through magazines until I find photos of the other characters and keep them close by while I write.


STEPH - Will Daphne get the OSS training she needs?

K DAWN: Daphne never receives the OSS training and believes herself to be the most inept spy ever. She's understandably frustrated when thrown into the midst of delivering messages to other spies with no knowledge of what she's doing. For example, she meets Scarlet (British secret intelligence) at an officer's club and when Scarlet holds out her hand, Daphne shakes it. Scarlet then rakes her over the coals, informing her that she was supposed to have passed the message at the point.

STEPH - Was this the story that came out of NaNoWriMo 2009? How was that experience?

K DAWN: Queen of Hearts was my NaNoWriMo project. It was a challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days, but I did it. I had no choice if I wanted to meet the Desert Breeze deadline. It was due on my editors desk January 1. That gave me the moth of November to write and December to edit. The NaNoWriMo experience was wonderful. It's changed the way I write forever. I now give myself permission to write a terrible first draft. Before NaNo, I was very particular about the first draft and it took me forever to write it. I believe that the way I write now allows me to write the story much quicker.

Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grqPjGvfRa0
Blog: www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com

THanks so much for being with us here, K Dawn!
Smiles
Steph

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Featured Author Interview - Gail Delaney talks about Something Better


Gail Delaney pops in and talks about her new release, Something Better. Welcome Gail!

STEPH: How exciting to have something *grin* new out! How did you get the inspiration for the story?

GAIL: It actually stemmed from a dream.

When I lived in the East Coast -- because of our time differences -- Jenifer Ranieri and I would do all our catching up through chats and emails. She'd be getting on as I was about half way through my day. We frequently talked about our dreams, so I got into the habit of writing down my dreams to share with her later.

I had already moved to California when I had the dream that inspired Something Better, but I wrote it down anyway to keep the details fresh. I kept having the dream, with more detail each time and I just kept writing it down. Pretty soon, I saw a story idea forming and went from there.

STEPH - Did you "cast" the main characters? Who is Andie? David?

GAIL: David is definitely cast * big grin *. There is only one actor who could be David, and that's Joshua Jackson. Every mannerism, pattern of speech, everything... I can visualize in Joshua.




Andi... no... she's not cast. She's just Andi.

STEPH - How long did it take you to write the novel? Did you bang it right out or did come in spurts?

GAIL: It took me just over a year, and it definitely came in spurts. I started it right around the time we were launching DBP, so I had to work on it here and there when I had some free time -- which was hard to come by. I'd usually do nothing for 2 or 3 weeks, and then slam out 2 or 3 chapters. My biggest writing spurts finished the book, and that was about 30,000 words in about 4 days. I was TIRED when I finished! Considering this is the longest book I've ever written -- at nearly 125,000 words -- I don't think a year is too bad.

STEPH - Did you plot out the novel or did it shape up as you wrote it?

GAIL: I don't plot. I start with a beginning... a general concept of the end... and some possible 'moments' that come to me as I write. Sometimes, the scenes I see don't actually make it in -- depending on how the story flows. But I don't do much more than that. I've had people say "When you get to 'such-and-such' you should 'do thus-and-such', and all I can say is "We'll see..." because how can I know if that'll work until I get there? Every scene -- to me -- is a result of the previous scene. Just like life. You can't plan life... you live each moment reacting to the moment before it. And that's the way I like to write.

STEPH - How do you balance your personal writing with editing?

GAIL: It's not an even or consistent balance, by any means. I edit/work during the day, and often into my evening and night at home. I attempt to leave the weekends for me, but that doesn't always happen. I tend to put editing ahead of anything of mine, unless my muse is just REALLY being persistent and won't let me focus, then I give in for an evening.

STEPH - Have you traveled around California yet? Is there one place you'd like to go in California that you haven't been to yet?

GAIL: Sadly, I have not. Would you believe I haven't even been to the beach yet? My husband works on the coast, and I've yet to get there myself. I have lots of places I'd like to go... Hearst Castle, the Missions, wine country, San Francisco. I'd like to get back to the Queen Mary in Long Beach... Jenifer and I went there a few years ago, and I'd love to take my daughter. I think she'd love staying on board the ship.

STEPH - Name one thing you miss about New England.

GAIL: My dad.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Congrats to Desert Breeze Graphic Artist - Jenifer Ranieri!


I just want to give a shout out to Desert Breeze's talented graphic artist - Jenifer Ranieri! Jen won the QUASAR award last night from EPIC (Electronically Published Internet Content) for her cover for "WHITE TIGER" by Vijaya Schwartz.

The QUASAR is chosed from all the cover category winners selected in January. WHITE TIGER also won for best Sci-Fi cover in January. Congrats to Vijaya for writing a great story and to Jenifer for the cover art.

*smiles*
Steph

Featured March Release - Search for Paradise by Barri Bryan


THE BLURB:


When a divorce from her husband of twenty-five years leaves Kate McClure financially destitute and alienated from her two adult children, she and her aging mother Belle return to Paradise Ranch, the homestead they left when Kate was a child. In this quiet spot she can begin to put her shattered life back together, or so she thinks.

She has scarcely set foot in the dilapidated old ranch house when her next-door neighbor, handsome bachelor Hank Sinclair, arrives to announce that he has a prior claim on Paradise.

Against her better judgment Kate enters into a business deal with Hank and finds she is falling in love with him despite his frank admission that he wants no lasting relationship.

***
EXCERPT:

So this is Paradise." Kate McClure shaded her eyes as she gazed across the rolling, sparsely wooded countryside. "Who named this place?"

Belle Sullivan smiled, the dimples in her cheeks deepening. "Your Daddy did. He had just come home from Vietnam. It looked like paradise to him."

"What did you think about this place, Mamma, the first time you saw it?"

A pained expression crossed Belle's face. "It looked more like that other place to me. But Daddy loved it here, and I loved Daddy. Then Daddy left me, and I couldn't run a ranch by myself, so I took you, and moved to town."

Kate sat on the grassy slope. "Daddy didn't leave you, he died. There's a difference."

****
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Barri Bryan is the pen name for Billie Houston. I acquired a pseudonym at the behest of my adult children when they discovered a steamy excerpt from one of my romances at the web site of a publisher.



I am a former teacher and educator. I like poetry, George Strait's music, old movies and Earl Grey tea. My hobbies are reading, quilting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, taking long walks, and growing house plants and herbs.



I'm four-time EPPIE winner and a published author with over twenty novels, four books of poetry, numerous essays, several short stories, and one non-fiction how-to-write-book to my credit. I have been writing since 1990. My first romance was published in 1998. I write the kind of books I enjoy reading --- romantic tales about relationships; stories that explore feelings and probe emotions. The plots revolve around ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances and faced with difficult decisions.

********

BOOK TRAILER LINK: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-67/Search-for-Paradise/Detail.bok

Saturday, 6 March 2010

The mansions of Newport, Rhode Island

THE GREAT HALL, BREAKERS


**NOTE: Photos in this blog are of "The Breakers."

This month Desert Breeze released "Destiny's Designs" by Regina Andrews and while I haven't read the book, the description really resonated with me. The main character, Lisa Machon, runs an interior design firm in Newport, Rhode Island. And Newport, Rhode Island has held a special place in my heart since high school.

I grew up in Manchester, NH and one of the most challenging classes I ever took was called "American Studies" as a Junior. It was a two period class that combined American Literature and History. It was not for the faint of heart. Mrs. Hussey and Mr. Lord where very demanding and at the time, I was challenged academiclly (sp?) like I never had been before.



In April of 1986 (I hate to date myself!) when we entered 20th Century America, and the Gilded Age, they took us on a trip to Newport, Rhode Island. It was an experience that still resonates with me today.

Newport is the home to many of the vacation homes built by the turn of the century millionares like the Vanderbuilts, The Astors, and the Whartons just to name a few. One of the mansions we went to was Rosecliff where the 1974 movie, "The Great Gatsby" was filmed. We also visited the Breakers, my favorite manision. It is a five story mansion that overlooks the sea. It has a great hall, and a working elevator. Can you believe it? A working elevator! At the turn of the century. It had plumbing, a modern kitchen, and central heating!




The Breakers belonged to the Vanderbilt family and was a symbol of their social and financial preeminence at turn of the century. Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) established the family fortune in steamships and later in the New York Central Railroad. The Commodore's grandson, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, became Chairman and President of the New York Central Railroad system in 1885, and purchased a wooden house called The Breakers in Newport during that same year. In 1893, he commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design a villa to replace the earlier wood-framed house which was destroyed by fire the previous year. Hunt directed an international team of craftsmen and artisans to create a 70 room Italian Renaissance- style palazzo inspired by the 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin. Allard and Sons of Paris assisted Hunt with furnishings and fixtures, Austro-American sculptor Karl Bitter designed relief sculpture, and Boston architect Ogden Codman decorated the family quarters.

The Vanderbilts had seven children. Their youngest daughter, Gladys, who married Count Laszlo Szechenyi of Hungary, inherited the house on her mother's death in 1934. An ardent supporter of The Preservation Society of Newport County, she opened The Breakers in 1948 to raise funds for the Society. In 1972, the Preservation Society purchased the house from her heirs. Today, the house is designated a National Historic Landmark.


Most of the mansions are owned by the Newport Preservation Society, but they capture a photograph of life of what life was like for the rich at the turn of the 20th Century.

THE BREAKERS KITCHEN


Since my initial visit, I went back often in the 1990's. I took my husband there shortly after we were married. It was a very romantic time for me.

The Breakers is just one manision in Newport and throughout the month, I'll sharing tidbits of the other mansions on Saturdays. Hope you enjoy!

Smiles,
Steph

Reference for this blog: http://tickets.newportmansions.org/mansion.aspx?id=1000

Friday, 5 March 2010

Featured March Release - Something Better by Gail Delaney



THE BLURB:

Andrea Parker made a career out of romance, except hers was the kind that happened between the pages of a book. Or, now, on the big screen when her best selling novels are adapted to film. Just because she writes romance doesn't mean she believes in happily ever after.

David Bishop's face---and okay, yeah, much of his body---is known world wide as the Hottest Bachelor in Hollywood. But just like the rest of the world, he is smitten with the brilliant and talented Andi Parker. Little did he know the easy part would be convincing her to give him a chance

Just like in the novels, enter the 'dastardly bastardly' villain to screw up their potential Happily Ever After.


***
AN EXCERPT:

He took a step toward Andi and she immediately leaned backward. It wasn't an actual step away from him, but it was enough to make him stop. There was no confusing that body language. He let his hands drop to his side and looked away, disappointment pushing his shoulders down. "I'm sorry, Andi," he said in a low voice. "If I came on too strong, or misread things¿"

She shook her head and snapped her attention to him, cutting him off. "No, see, this isn't a bad romance novel."

He tilted his head and squinted his eyes. "What?"

Then she started talking so fast, it took all his focus to keep up with her. "If this were a bad romance novel, then you'd assume that I stepped away from you because I didn't want you to touch me. Which would be wrong, I just stepped back because I need to think, and I don't do that very well when you're touching me. But, if this were a bad romance novel, you wouldn't know that so you'd assume I didn't want anything to do with you, and you'd back off¿or leave¿or get angry because I 'sent you mixed signals'. And then I'd get upset because that's not what I intended at all, but being TSTL I wouldn't say anything, I'd just let you go because I figured that was what you really wanted all along."

*******

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gail R. Delaney has been actively writing 'for publication' since 1996. The first novel she ever wrote is still sitting on her computer, waiting for the major rewrite that will make it acceptable. She says she has learned a great deal since writing that book, and it shows when she looks back at that rough draft.

Gail has had eight novels published in the genres of contemporary romance, romantic suspense and futuristic romance. Her novels have received several nominations and awards since she was first published in 2005.

Gail and her family recently moved from the cold and blustry east coast to Southern California, and is loving every moment of sunshine she can soak in.

THE BOOK TRAILER:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uHKKi7hmzE

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Featured March Release - Destiny's Designs by Regina Andrews



THE BLURB:
From the chintz window treatments to the plush carpeting, Lisa Machon has carefully designed every detail of Innovations, her Newport, Rhode Island interior design firm. Control has been the objective in her personal life, too. Until she meets the dashing, carefree sailor Neil Lamont, a man who doesn't seem to have a care in the world.

Little does she know that he is not as fancy-free as he appears. They are united only by their mutual affection for Countess Lamont, Neil's mother, and destined to go to great lengths to bring her happiness. Through faith, will they see that Lord is really in control of our lives? And will faith open their hearts to their love for each other?


****
THE EXCERPT:

Silence. Once again, the answer she hoped to hear from God did not arrive.

She sighed, starting to print copies of her lecture notes for her students. She gasped and jumped up when Neil burst into her office.

He held the door wide open and knocked on the frame, shaking the clapboard shop. "Anybody home?"

Lisa shook her head. "You'll huff and you'll puff... but you can just come in. Good morning."

"You tell me what's good about it."

He closed the door behind him, then ran his hands through his tousled hair. Lisa noticed his broad his palms and strong fingers. His ringless finger...

Oh, Lord! I do not need a distraction named Neil Lamont!


*****
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A resident of Providence, Rhode Island --- Regina grew up in nearby Barrington and still belongs to her church family in that town. After graduating from Providence College she attended the University of Delaware, eventually earning her Master's Degree in American Civilization from Brown University. She is inspired by the seashore and the song of the birds... anything to do with nature. She and her husband enjoy visiting nearby Cape Cod.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Featured March Release - Knight of Glory by Nicole Zoltack



THE BLURB:

Sir Geoffrey, along with some companions, has been sent away from Arnhem, entrusted by Queen Aislinn for a special mission, and has to leave behind the mysterious lady Celestia. On his journey, he uncovers seeds of a sinister plot, learns a horrible secret, and makes a new friend in exile Jenanna.

Their mission completed, Geoffrey and his companions rush to two different kingdoms to ask for aid. Danger and betrayal lurks around every corner, and even allies have secrets that could prove deadly. Geoffrey's feelings for Celestia grow and wane. After learning some of Celestia's secrets, he begins to have second thoughts about his love for her and is even drawn to Jenanna

Rumors abound that the Speicans have enlisted a mage of their own, to work unspeakable, forbidden magic. The war between Speica and Arnhem has just begun. Will Geoffrey survive the battle to live another day and discover which woman he truly loves?

********
AN EXCERPT:

One lady stood by herself in the middle of the ballroom. The dancers paraded around her, ignoring her, and she appeared to be in her own world. Geoffrey's feet guided him to her even before he thought about it. "Hello," he said, bowing lowly. He accepted her outstretched hand and brushed his lips against it. A complete gentleman, he released it as soon as his lips touched. To hold her hand any longer, especially without knowing her name, would disgrace her reputation. "My name is Geoffrey of Siva."

"Hello, Geoffrey," the vision of loveliness said. "It is a pleasure to meet you."

"The pleasure is all mine." Geoffrey took half a step back and drank in her beauty. Her complexion was unlike any that he had ever seen before, a pale faint blush color.

A single strand of long wavy hair tumbled from her elegant hairdo, and she twirled it around her finger. "I am known as Celestia," she said, her voice light and feathery.

"Well, Celestia, would you care for a dance?" Geoffrey's heart thundered. Is this the first stirrings of love? He found himself drawn to her, unable to tear his gaze away. Reaching out with his hand to hold her, he was shocked when she stepped backward.

"I would rather not."

"Oh." Geoffrey fought back a wave of disappointment and struggled to keep his face from showing his frustration and regret.

********
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nicole Zoltack has been creating stories since before she could even write. She loves to read everything she can get her hands on but fantasy romance holds a special place in her heart.

Nicole publishes under the name Nicolette Zamora for strict romances.

Nicole is happily married to her college sweetheart and has an adorable son. She lives in Pennsylvania where she enjoys the four seasons but wishes that winter would stop cutting into the warm springtime.

Knight of Glory is also available on Amazon.com and All Romance Books

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Featured March Release - Beyond Africa



THE BLURB:

Lilly finally returns to the only place that's ever been home, a mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But the ongoing civil war creeps closer, threatening her sanctuary.

Case McCord, a weary soldier, determined to keep Lilly safe from the encroaching dangers, offers her protection, a home and love. Accepting him would mean turning her back on everything she believes. Rejecting him would mean turning down the greatest desire of her heart, and putting a child she loves in danger.

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EXCERPT:

"Tell me about Sam," Case ordered, breaking the silence between them.

Instant words of defense sprang to her mind. She shoved them away. "What do you want to know?"

"Well, he looks like a native, but Sam's not exactly a Congolese name. And he looks as if he belongs to you, or at least wants to."

"Bill and Sarah named him after he was found walking out of the jungle. You know, because Samuel in the Bible was taken to the temple when he was probably about this age." The second comment could be ignored.

"Didn't know that."

Now you do. "Why do you ask?"

"You two looked so close, I thought I might offer a suggestion."

This sounded suspicious. She raised her eyebrows and smiled. "What's that?"

"What if I could get both of you out of here? Wouldn't it be worth it to rescue this one child from the poverty, sickness and war he's destined to see if he stays here?"

Shock took her words. "You. You. You could do that?"

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Carie Lawson home schools her four kids, drives the soccer van --- complete with dirty socks and McDonalds bags scattered throughout --- and tries to sneak away to her computer whenever possible to write. She is an active member of a local writer's group, Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, and received third place in the North Texas Romance Writer's Great Expectations contest in the Inspirational Romance category.

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Beyond Africa is available on Amazon.com and at All Romance Books