Guest Blogger

Welcome C.M. Torrens!

Woot! A big welcome to C.M. Torrens! She’s a great friend, good motivator and also a fabulous critique partner! I had the pleasure (yes, pleasure because it was AWESOME!) to beta read His Soul To Take which later sold as C.M.’s first release! Okay…now I’ll turn this place over to her as I return to the Cave Of Deadlines.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ooh, I’ve hijacked Keri Ford’s blog. Shh, if I’m quiet she might not spot me.

*peeks around*

Sweet! I get to darken this joint up. I’m taking this blog to the dark side. We have cookies (and nookie as a friend of mine says). Poking around in here makes me feel like the naughty city girl dropped in small town Nebraska, or Arkansas as the case may be.

Do you think she’d mind if I redecorated a bit?

*breaks out the black paint and red candles*

You don’t think she’ll notice, do you?

I better hurry things up before she comes back.

Hi, I’m C.M. Torrens, a friend of Keri’s. She let me in, honest! Er, though she might not approve of the redecorating.

I have new book out, just released. His Soul To Take, an M/M paranormal romance. See, I told you I was darkening this place up. Now, I’m not sure if this crowd is all that interested in M/M paranormal, but one just never knows about these things. My reading habits skip around all the time and yours might too. So, when she offered me this spot, I took it.

As a writer, I love finding light in the dark. That’s what I write. It’s like finding a candle in a dark room. When everything seems hopeless and lost, you find that one thing, that one spark that can make everything seem less dark and hopeless and futile.

In my novella, His Soul To Take, Death/Simon is trapped in a curse, doomed to forever take the souls of the living. He’s lost and given up hope of ever breaking it. He’s been trapped so long his memories of life and love have faded away. When he meets Robert, Simon intervenes to postpone his fate. Robert becomes Simon’s light in the dark.

Oh, I think I hear her coming back. Um… would you mind not telling her that I was the one that spray painted the cows black with red stripes? I kind of went overboard in my redecorating.

And, uh, if I never get let back in here again, but you’re still interested in my book, here’s the links.

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Please Welcome Guest Winnie Griggs!

Please welcome a chapter-mate, awesome woman and fantastic author–Winnie Griggs!Hello everyone.  I’m so pleased that Keri invited me to stop in for a visit  today.My new release, The Proper Wife, was a really fun story to write.  The heroine, Sadie Lassiter is the younger sister of Ry Lassiter, the hero in my book The Christmas Journey.  As soon as she appeared on the page of that book, I knew she had to have a story of her own.  And what an intriguing heroine she turned out to be – spirited, intelligent, both confident and unsure at the same time, and, unfortunately, something of a klutz.  In other words, not at all the staid, prim and proper miss that Eli Reynolds, our hero THINKS he’s looking for in a wife.  Here is the back cover blurb to give you a little taste of what the book is about: Sensible, settled, steady… and not Sadie Lassiter.Eli Reynolds knows what he wants in a wife, and the flighty Texas girl couldn’t be further from the mark.  Eli has his nine-year-old sister’s welfare to consider – Penny deserves a mother who will give her proper care.  But when bad weather strands Eli and Sadie together, he sees a new side to her character.  She’s rash – but also resourceful.  Instead of discipline, she has diligent faith.  Her housekeeping skills are lacking, but she’s filled with humor and sweetness.  She may not be a “proper” wife, but to save her reputation – and to take a chance on happiness he’d never expected to find – Eli will take her as his bride.One of the small but pivotal scenes in the book has my heroine deciding to harvest some honey from a hive whose location is a well guarded secret.  I did quite a bit of research on beehives and honey gathering and during that time stumbled on quite a few irrelevant but fun facts relating to honey and honey bees.  I thought it would be fun to share some of them with you.  And, for no other reason than the fact that I was born on a Friday the 13th, I’ve decided to list 13 of them. 

  1. The word honey comes from the Hebrew and means enchant.
  2. A single honey bee will visit 50-100 flowers on a single trip out of the hive.   Even so,  in her entire lifetime, a honeybee will produce only about one twelfth of  a  teaspoon of honey. 
  3. Bees must fly approximately 55,000 miles and gather nectar from approximately 2 million flowers in order to make one pound of honey.  This is the lifetime work of nearly 300 bees.
  4. Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including water.
  5. There are 20,000 species of bees, but only 4 make honey.
  6. Honey, when stored in an airtight container, never spoils. It can be stored unopened, indefinitely, at room temperature. In fact, sealed honey vats found in King Tut’s tomb, still contained edible honey, despite over 2,000 years beneath the sands.
  7. No two honeys are exactly alike in flavor, color, and nutritional content.   This is because the types of flowers on which the honeybees feed and climatic conditions of the area greatly influence the honey itself.
  8. Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including water.
  9. Honey bees are not native to the Americas – they were brought here by the early colonists in the seventeenth century.
  10. Due to the high level of fructose found in honey, it is 25% sweeter than table sugar.
  11. Worker honey bees are all females. Males do not know how to even feed themselves and their only reason for being in the hive is for reproducing with the queen. The males do not have a stinger and they are kicked out of the hive in the fall, because there are no uses for them.
  12. Honey bees never sleep!
  13. The lifespan of a worker bee is about 4 weeks during spring and summer; in winter, the lifespan is closer to 6 weeks. On the other hand, a queen bee can live up to 2 years.

And there you have it.  How many of these were a surprise to you?  And do you have any personal experience with bee hives?~~~~~~ Excerpt for The Proper WifeBorn and raised in the bayou country of southeast Louisiana, Winnie moved to the opposite corner of the state when she married her college sweetheart over 25 years ago. She and her husband, along with their four teenage children, reside in Plain Dealing, a small community nestled in the piney hill country of northwest Louisiana….

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Lillian Grant!

Happy Birthday , Nancy Tobin by Lillian GrantSuddenly single on the eve of her fortieth birthday, Nancy Tobin’s not sure turning middle-aged is worth celebrating. She’s stuck in a dead-end job as the boss’s bitch with only her morose Labrador for a companion. What does she have to party about? Maybe if she ignores the whole birthday thing, it will just go away.Hot, twenty-six-year-old Jake Turner has other ideas. When he bumps into Nancy at the library, he sees a woman in need of a wake-up call. Determined to unleash the beauty hidden beneath the sad façade, he schemes to relight her spark. He wants to give her a birthday to remember but he ends up being the one who can’t forget: a visit to his apartment becomes a weekend in his bed where he discovers an offbeat, unpredictable, sexually adventurous woman he never wants to let go.With Jake, Nancy can do anything, her life can be whatever she chooses. But this new and exciting relationship teeters on the edge of destruction when her soon-to-be ex-husband reveals the reason for Jake’s initial interest in her. Can Nancy trust Jake when he finally tells her he loves her?Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content and graphic language.ExcerptNancy walked toward the library. What bright spark thought it was a good idea to build a university campus on the side of a hill and park the library right at the top? Thank God she was finally fit enough to climb the stairs without having to stop to catch her breath halfway up.When she arrived at her destination, her first port of call was the kitchen for a cup of coffee. Sipping the warm liquid, feeling the caffeine invade her senses, she wondered what excitement the day held. No doubt it would begin with putting last night’s returns on the shelf. Then she’d be at Cynthia’s beck and call. She grimaced. They should just change her job title from library assistant to Cynthia’s bitch. She chuckled. Maybe she would suggest it at her next staff review.Footsteps approached. She poured the last of her coffee into the sink, put her cup in the dishwasher, and escaped. Small talk was horrendous at the best of times; in the mornings, it was completely unbearable. No one gave a crap about the latest episode of Big Brother or what the weather was supposed to do all week. Why waste your breath on such trivial bullshit?Nancy heard giggling as she pushed her second full cart around the corner into the row she needed. She came to a halt and stared with disgust at the aisle’s occupants. The library on a Friday morning!“Excuse me; would you like to take this somewhere else?”The couple pulled apart, and Nancy glared at them. The boy slowly removed his hand from inside his companion’s shirt and zipped up his pants. They didn’t even have the decency to be embarrassed about being caught.The blonde piece stuck her nose in the air and barged past Nancy. Her liberally pierced male companion smirked as she dragged him along behind her. No doubt they would find some other equally inappropriate place to copulate.Not willing to go quietly, the young girl sneered at Nancy and turned to her partner in crime. “Miserable, dried-up old bag. I bet she’s never had a man in her pants.”Nancy shook her head. The stories she could tell would turn their hair gray, although she’d never considered screwing anyone at the library, not even in her wildest dreams. Why did youngsters assume middle-aged people had never had a life? Dear God, did that mean her parents had been like rabbits, with nothing but sex on their minds? She closed her eyes and shuddered with disgust as she deliberately pushed the thought aside and turned to racy memories of her own youth.She’d been a typical teenage girl, her bedroom wall covered with posters of virile young men and her head full of love and sex. However, her first sexual encounter had been far from typical. Underage, she had sneaked into a club with her friend Fiona to see a local band, Freddie and the Slayers. Fiona had been madly in love with the lead guitarist, even though he had only had eyes for Nancy. A gorgeous sex god, resplendent in tight black leather pants and a loose white shirt open to the waist. His light brown hair had fallen halfway down his back in a mass of soft curls, and when he’d stared at her, his cobalt blue eyes had given the impression he could read her mind. He’d been a showman with a reputation for being a hard-drinking, hard-living whore who picked up women and discarded them wherever he went.It seemed his reputation was well earned. Nancy still remembered the pain of losing her virginity and the humiliation when the back doors of the panel van had been flung open and the rest of the band — and Fiona — had stood staring at them. That was the last time she had ever seen Fiona.The boys had chuckled and made some comment about the “shagging wagon” as the guitarist climbed off her, cock still semierect. At his request, she had written her number on the back of his hand, but she’d never expected Christopher to call. On reflection, it might have been better if he never hadLost in her memories, Nancy jumped when a hand squeezed her shoulder.“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. I spoke to you twice.”Nancy turned around. Stunned, she stared at the gorgeous specimen who had interrupted her. Had he sought her out after their impromptu skirmish in the corridor the day before? She mentally shook herself. Get a grip. Of course not. Look at him. He was only about twenty-five, if that. Yesterday she’d only seen those big smoky brown eyes ringed by long dark lashes. They gave the impression he wore eyeliner. She looked closer. Now she could see the gorgeous eyes were complemented by a square jaw, high cheekbones, and short dark hair.She became aware she was staring at him and the fact that he was still waiting for a reply. She smiled.“Not your fault. I was miles away. What can I do for you?”“Were they pleasant?”“Were what pleasant?”“The thoughts.”Nancy shrugged. “Not really, just memories from another life. So what can I help you with?”“The lady at the desk told me to try looking over here for a copy of the Kama Sutra, but I can’t find it. Any ideas?”Nancy stared at him, opening and closing her mouth a couple of times. The students game enough to check out that tome usually hid it in a pile of textbooks. They certainly didn’t accost her in the aisles and ask for help finding it. “Why would you want the Kama Sutra? What the hell are you studying?”The young man folded his arms and chuckled. “Don’t tell me you’re a prude. Surely someone as pretty as you is a woman of the world?”Okay, so he majored in bullshit. The reflection in this morning’s mirror pulled no punches, and pretty was stepping way beyond reality.“Flattery will get you nowhere, young man.”He smiled at her, his eyes seeming to twinkle with amusement. It appeared she’d become his latest plaything. The batteries in his Game Boy must have gone flat.“Jake.”“What?”“My name’s Jake, Jake Turner.”Well, Mr. Smoky Eyes had a name. It suited him. Not that she needed to know his moniker. They were ships in the night. No doubt he had some blonde bimbo tucked away somewhere, ready to scratch his itch. Nancy could see the wall clock over his shoulder. Time was marching on. Cynthia would be doing her rounds soon. Woe betide anyone caught shirking.“Well, Jake, if we have a copy, it will be in the next aisle.”“Thank you.” His lopsided grin made her heart beat faster. “Lovely to bump into you again.”Despite her best intentions, her face broke into a smile. “You’re most welcome. Now move along.”He leaned his shoulder against the shelf. “Not until you tell me your name.”The familiar stomp of Cynthia’s size 10 shoes approached, but he still didn’t move.“Nancy. Now get out of here before I get in trouble.” She waved her hands to shoo him along.“Okay, Nancy. Thank you for your help.”She watched him wander away. When he slid his hands into his front pockets, pulling his jeans tight, she couldn’t help but notice his firm backside. At the end of the aisle, he glanced over his shoulder and winked at her.“Maybe I’ll bump into you again.”Caught with her gaze drilling his backside, Nancy felt her face flush and turned the other way as she fumbled and dropped a book on the floor with a loud thud. She bent down and scooped it up just as Cynthia arrived in the aisle and glared at her.“Nancy, get a move on. You’re not paid to socialize with the students. If that book’s damaged, the cost will be coming out of your wages.”With great difficulty, Nancy fought the urge to flip her the bird, afraid Cynthia would look back around the corner and catch her. Alone again, she glanced down the now empty corridor toward where Jake had disappeared. What did he mean about maybe bumping into her again? Her heart skipped a beat at the thought that he might come back.* * * * *Nancy sat alone at the table near the student café. Despite her best intentions not to, she searched the male population for Jake. He must have been teasing. Why would a cute young guy be interested in her? She stared at the nubile female bodies as they walked past, their belly buttons proudly displaying all manner of trinkets and tattoos and yelling to the world, I’m young, supple, and the best shag you could ever have. She looked down at herself and saw the roll of flab above her waistband. Her body appeared to yell, I’m old and saggy and too fucking tired to care if I ever shag again. Why would he even give her a second thought? Perhaps it was a dare or a joke.“Excuse me; is this seat taken?”The voice dragged Nancy back to reality, and she looked up, surprised to see a familiar face. Her cheeks burned, and she struggled to speak.“No, please, feel free.”Jake slid into the seat next to her. “So, Nancy, we meet again. Are you stalking me by any chance?”Nancy was quick to shake her head. While she had been hoping to see him again, she had no intention of revealing that to anyone. She could barely believe it herself. Was she so desperate for love she would latch on to the first male who showed a glimmer of interest? No matter why she attracted him, with her track record, she should avoid good-looking young men like the plague. “No, absolutely not. Are you sure you’re not stalking me? I was here first.”His deep, sexy chuckle resonated through her. “Touché. You guessed it. Someone is paying me to follow you.”“Well, they’re wasting their money, I can assure you. There is nothing to see here.”“Let me be the judge of that. Did you miss me?”Nancy tore her eyes away from his and tried to sound nonchalant. “I haven’t given you a moment’s thought since you left the library.”He put his hand over hers, and she felt the blood rush to her cheeks again. When he leaned closer, she closed her eyes. The smell of his musky cologne and the feel of his breath on her face as he whispered in her ear made her stomach lurch and her heart rate lift.“Liar, but it’s okay. I’ve been thinking about you too.”Nancy opened her eyes and snapped her head around to glare at him. No one in their right mind would think about her. She refused to be the butt of anyone’s joke. Her hand hovered in midair as she fought the urge to slap his face. Jake leaned back and put his arm up. Deciding he wasn’t worth it, Nancy dropped her hand and snatched her empty Coke bottle off the table instead.She clenched her teeth. “Fuck off, you git; you’re not funny,” she spat out.Without another word, she got up and stomped back to the library, tears of frustration stinging her eyes. Stupid, stupid woman!buy from: Powell’s | Indiebound | B & N | Amazon | Borders

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Please Welcome Renee Vincent and Her Super Hawt Hero Breandán

Keri: Hi all! Am so so so pleased to have Renee Vincent with me on the blog today! I first met Renee in June 2010 when I attended Lori Foster’s Reader Author Get Together. She’s made of fab awesomesauce and full of win! It was because of Renee that I heard about my publisher! (there’s those conference dollars at work for you!). Take it away Renee!Renee: Hello Keri! Thank you so much for having me and Breandán Mac Liam on your blog today! We are very grateful for the opportunity to talk about my new release, Mac Liam: Book 2 of the Emerald Isle Trilogy and Breandán is very excited to meet your readers. In truth, he’s actually looking to walk away from this interview with more fans than Dægan Ræliksen has.Breandán: Pardon me, Renee. Why did you roll your eyes when you said that? You think perhaps ‘tis not possible?Renee: No, that’s not what I meant at all.Breandán: What did you mean by it?Renee: I rolled my eyes because, to me, it seems like such a frivolous thing to compete over. I mean really…what would it matter if you came out of this promo week with more fans than Dægan?Breandán: Oh trust me, ‘twould mean everything.Renee: Then let’s begin the interview and find out.*Dægan enters the room with a proud swagger in his steps*Dægan: Oh I would certainly like to find out as well.Breandán: And who invited you? I was told this was my interview for the promotion of Mac Liam.Renee: *throws hands up* Don’t look at me…Dægan: I am the stalwart Northman from Hladir…I need not an invitation.Breandán: Have you ever heard the American expression, “three’s a crowd?”Dægan: Indeed. And need I remind you that you hardly took notice of the phrase either when it came to me and Mara?Breandán: Is this or is this not my interview, with my story? I recall not your surname on the title…Dægan: Afraid of a little competition, are we?Renee: Gentleman….please. We have an interview to conduct.Dægan: *smiling haughtily* By all means, Renee, please continue.Renee: Thank you, Dægan. Just to let the readers know a bit about the Emerald Isle Trilogy, it’s a series about a love triangle between Dægan Ræliksen, Mara, and Breandán Mac Liam. While Ræliksen is mainly about the love between Dægan and Mara, Mac Liam begins shortly after, highlighting Breandán’s deep love for Mara. Here’s the blurb:A tortured soul…Breandán Mac Liam, the strapping young hunter from Ireland’s lush forests, is in love with Mara, an ineligible beautiful princess. For seven long years, he has been vividly haunted by her memory, taunted by the throes of his heartache. And not even the thought of her marriage to a Northman can extinguish the fierce, burning desire running rampant through his heart and soul.An innocent heart…Mara, the spirited Connacht princess, has no idea she is the object of the Irishman’s longing. She is living out her days on Inis Mór, raising a troubled son and trying to endure the cruel loneliness that afflicts her.A deadly secret…Ordered by the king on his deathbed, Breandán must return to Mara and bring her through the perilous lands of Connacht to fulfill her father’s last dying wish. But as their worlds collide, Breandán not only finds himself wrapped in the arms of Mara’s embrace, but thrown into a struggle to defend his honor.With Mara caught between the family she loves and the father she knows, can Breandán uncover the mystery of her past and still protect her from a secret that threatens them all?Renee: Now that we have that out of the way, here’s the first question, Breandán. We barely got a chance to really know you in Ræliksen. What would you like the readers to know about you?Breandán: Well, I certainly did not come here with the intention of boasting upon myself, but given the company we are now keeping, I feel compelled to mention the differences between me and Dægan.Dægan: Ach, here we go…Renee: Dægan, could you please find a bit of reserve?Dægan: My apologies. Continue, Irishman.Breandán: *cocks brow* As I was saying, I am a patient man. I rush not into things, pondering the consequences of my actions and those around me. And most times, I can see things that others—who are more rash—might overlook.Renee: Do you think this makes you a better match for Mara?Breandán: I never said that. But since Dægan so kindly pointed out that I am Irish, I feel obligated to remind the readers that so is Mara. The logical choice would be for the heroine to choose someone who understands her and is always there. I am those things—and more.Dægan: Well said, Irishman. You have informed the readers who you are in comparison to me, but you have forgotten to state who you are not.Breandán: All right.  I shall bite from this bated hook. Who am I not?Dægan: You are not me.Breandán: Oh, that took a considerable amount of intelligence to come up with that, Northman.Dægan: *narrowing eyes* Did you just try your hand at cutting me down to size?Breandán: You tell me…how does it feel to look up to me from your knees?Renee: Boys, boys, boys….can we please have a civil conversation without all this bickering? Next question. In Mac Liam, there are some surprises to the story, particularly an unexpected character from Ræliksen making an appearance. Can you tell us about that? Breandán: Well, this person was mentioned in Ræliksen, and presumed dead. I want not to give too much away, but his presence adds to the twist at the end. Like Ræliksen, Mac Liam goes through a number of twists and turns, which magnifies the conflict. There may even be things the readers forgot about from Ræliksen that help to add to the climactic ending.Renee: We also get to meet your friend, Marcas for the first time. What kinds of things does he add to the story?Breandán: Comic relief I suppose. Though I find him not very funny. And he says what is on his mind regardless of the content. Most times, ‘tis crude and quite distasteful, but I assume the readers will enjoy his blatant honesty. Despite that he is not so easy on the eyes, he is entertaining to say the least.Renee:  He seems to rub you the wrong way. Does this ever make you question his loyalty?Breandán: He may irritate me with his comments, but never would I question his friendship. He and I have been friends since childhood and he has been with me through all my hardships. If anything, the man has had every reason to leave me behind considering all the grief I put him through in trying to get over Mara.Renee: Is it safe to say trying to forget about Mara was the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?Breandán: Aye. But in view of the fact that I have been given another chance to see her, I refuse to walk away a second time. I love her, and ‘tis my life’s purpose to see to her happiness—even if it means my sorrow.Dægan: That is the quite possibly the biggest heap of foolishness I have ever heard.Breandán: You believe me not?Dægan: *crossed his arms to his chest*  Nay, not in the least.Breandán: Then perhaps we should let the readers decide. Renee, do you not think this would be the perfect time to drag out an excerpt from Mac Liam?Dægan: An excerpt? I recall not having an excerpt in my interview with paranormal romance author, Anya Davis.Breandán: Are you concerned your fans might find me more appealing once they get a taste of me?Dægan: Hardly.Renee: Um…Keri. Before these two have words we’ll be forced to censor, can you post that excerpt, please?Keri: Yes, I agree Renee. Here it is:“What are you afraid of?” Breandán asked. Mara’s gaze jumped to his, but she didn’t answer him in the beginning. Instead, she pressed the wadded up linen upon his brow, trying to stop the bleeding with pressure. She held it for some time before she found words to speak. “I was afraid Tait was going to kill you.” He smiled, appreciative of her concern, but she didn’t understand him. He reached up and covered her hand, helping her to press the linens harder against his brow. “Nay, I mean what are you afraid of now?” Mara swallowed and glanced at Breandán’s hand clutching hers, her mind caught in a whirlwind. The whole time Tait and Breandán were fighting, she couldn’t help but feel terrified, especially after seeing so much blood pour from Breandán’s eye. She knew neither wouldn’t walk out of the skirmish without some sort of injury—cuts and black eyes, or even a bruised pride. But she had no idea she would feel so much more when it came to Breandán’s safety. Once she had seen the abuse Breandán had received from Tait’s first blow, and the struggle he endured from then on, she was beside herself with worry, especially after seeing the look in Tait’s eyes when he drew his dagger. She was utterly panic-stricken knowing Tait had every intent to kill Breandán on the spot. Had it not been for the fact that Tait laid horrifyingly lifeless on her longhouse floor, she probably would have run up and embraced Breandán right there. Crazy as that may sound, she had this nonsensical urge to kiss him now that they were all alone. She closed her eyes, trying to sort out her scrambling emotions. “You can tell me,” Breandán encouraged her softly, his other hand now upon her face. She opened her eyes as she felt his tender touch across her cheekbone, his words echoing in her ears while, together, they still held pressure to his brow. “I am afraid…” she began, trying to ignore the warmth flushing her skin from the neck up. But even as she listened to the words she wanted to say next in her head, they still didn’t sound right. She tried another way. “I think I want to kiss you. I think. But…I am afraid. I am afraid when I close my eyes, all I will see is Dægan. And ‘tis not fair to you. I want not to hurt you.” Breandán stroked a piece of loose hair from her face and smiled, which almost seemed to represent astonishment for her wanting to kiss him rather than happiness. She watched that thought tumble around in his head for a bit, not knowing what he’d do or say next. She assumed he’d retract both hands from her and slip back into the reserved gentleman he had always been. But strangely, he didn’t seem interested in letting her go, still holding tight to the hand upon his wound. “Is that all you are afraid of?” he asked, his eyes deeply gazing into hers. Her words failed her now. Flat out failed her as his stare captured her. He was such a beautiful man with his dark hair and light eyes, his touch rippling through her body, and she nearly fell limp. She could only nod her head. Breandán released his left hand from hers and brought it up to meet the other, though she remained holding the linens above his eye. Tenderly, he clasped her face, his thumbs caressing her ever so lightly. “If you fear you will only see Dægan when you close your eyes, then leave them open.” Her heart stopped. Her breath caught as he drew near, his eyes falling on her lips. He was going to kiss her. He was actually going to kiss her and she hadn’t the will to stop him. At that moment, she was like bread dough in his hands and nothing else mattered but what he was about to do. She wanted this. Wanted it more now that he was pulling her closer. She felt chills crawl up her spine and a heat pooling at her core, barely remembering how those sensations had once felt, but liked their sudden return all the same. She only wished she knew what she was doing, wished she had a better hold of her emotions. He was so close to pressing his lips to hers that she could smell his masculine scent as clear as if she were burying her nose in his tunic. And she could feel his breath scarcely caressing her top lip as he lingered. Her eyelids automatically closed with anticipation, but his voice stopped her. “Open your eyes, Mara,” he said in a gentle, heated whisper. “Open them and know ‘tis I who is kissing you.” She dragged them open, his voice like a subtle touch, soothing and erotic. His aqua eyes were mesmerizing as they held hers all the way to the moment their lips finally met. Fire burned through her as the heat of his soft lips branded her own. All she could see and feel was him. All she could think about was how wonderful his mouth felt on hers, how sensuous his kiss was. “Breathe, a thaisce.” Until he spoke, she hadn’t realized she was holding her breath and was doubly amazed that he was perceptive enough to notice. He slowly released her face. “Tell me,” he whispered, his eyes sultry and beguiling. “Who did you see when I kissed you?” A smile graced her lips. “Only you.” He smiled with her and returned his grasp upon her hand clutching the blood-stained linen at his brow. “I know you love Dægan. And I know he still occupies a significant place in your heart. But I am not here to replace him. Nor will I ever try. I only wish to fill what is left of your heart, if you will let me.” His heartfelt touch soothed her, his kind words flowed like a cool river through her heated soul. But she was still unconvinced she needed this. Needed him. Oh, she wanted him. Her body was telling her that. But needing him was quite a different matter. She was a mother now whose main concern was her son, Lochlann. And what would he think of this? What would he think about Breandán being in her life? The last thing she wanted was to make Lochlann feel second best, or make him think she didn’t love his own father anymore. Lochlann only had the mind of a six-year-old and those thoughts would no doubt run through his brain. And having been without a father for so long, he may not take well to someone else in his life. But then her thoughts ran toward this morning, when Breandán was carrying her son on his shoulders and the sound of his laughter filling her ears. Lochlann had warmed up to Breandán and he seemed very happy with his companionship. So much so that she began to think he’d might be fond of having Breandán as a father. A father?* * * * Breandán: What’s wrong, Dægan? You look a little worried.Dægan: I am not worried. I know my loyal fans will not fall prey to your ruse.Breandán: ‘Tis hardly a ruse when ‘tis offered from a sincere heart.Renee: And with that, we are going to shift to the readers now. Thank you so much Keri for having us here today. I hope we have not disrupted the calm of your blog.Places to find Renee Vincent:Website: http://www.reneevincent.com/Blog: http://www.pasttheprint.blogspot.com/Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reneevincentauthorTwitter: http://www.twitter.com/ReneeVincentGoodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3005290.Renee_VincentPlaces to find Ræliksen:Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Nook 1Place For Romance | All Romance EbooksSmashwords Digi Books | KOBOJoseph Beth Turquoise Morning Press | DieselPlaces to Find Mac Liam:Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Nook | Diesel1Place For Romance | All Romance EBooks Smashwords | Digi Books | KOBOJoseph Beth | Turquoise Morning Press AVAILABLE IN PRINT SOON!!

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Please Welcome Inez Kelley!

So pleased to have Inez Kelley with me today. Her latest release Lipstick On His Collar is one scorching hot read! And hey, lookie here! I have a free copy to give to one lucky commenter!He never thought his next wildfire would be wearing a red dress.“Make me your goddess and I’ll take you to heaven.”This sultry promise sparks a scorching, unforgettable one-night stand. The next morning Bram Winters awakes with a hickey and a head full of wicked memories—alone. His nameless goddess is gone without a trace, along with his shirt. And his heart.Five months later, he stumbles across his mystery lady in a Laundromat, but she still won’t give up her name. Worse, she begs him to leave, no questions asked. Once he catches the spark of terror in her eyes, though, his firefighter training takes over—and he digs in for the duration.Lady never wanted Bram to see her life’s ugly underside, but it’s too late—his socks are already in the washer. He was supposed to be her declaration of independence from her unstable ex, a bittersweet memory to carry into her new life.Except the ex continues to stalks her. And Bram’s reappearance sends her emotions and desires tumbling over the edge. As the minutes wear on, sexual tension rises faster than the steam from a hot water wash.And Lady’s ex watches from the shadows, growing more furious by the minute…Product Warnings: Scorching sex, icy scissor play and an anonymous woman taking a wet slide down one hot ex-fireman’s pole. Beware of hot flashes and spontaneous combustion. Correct change not required.<><><><> Keri: See, doesn’t that sound awesome? Where do you find your inspiration, Inez?Inez: No idea. Sometimes is it s lyric in a song, another time it may be a passing comment someone makes, other times they just bloom in my head.Cool. If a reader was going to pick one of your stories to start with, which one should they read and why?Tricky question, since I write across genre. If they want short and spicy, my co-authored story with Ginny Glass TALK DIRTY TO ME is a great place to start. If they want fantasy, the definitely MYLA BY MOONLIGHT. So many wonderful choices! Do you have a pet peeve when you are reading another author’s work?I really hate head hopping(bouncing POV in a book) and authors who go surface deep only never make it to my keeper shelves.*hides her occasional POV changes mid-scene* Ahem…Are you a pantser or a plotter?I’m a navigator, which is a weird blend of the two. I know the beginning, the end and key points to hit in the middle. The journey to hit all those story markers is the fun part.Know what you mean! I like to write the same the way. It does keep things interesting. What would your main character say about you?Depends which one you ask *snicker* Hehee. What makes this book special?Chronologically, LIPSTICK ON HIS COLLAR was the first time I tried to write RED HOT. I took one scene I had in my head for years and built a story around that scene. It was the first time I let myself go and just write two characters who were steaming hot for each other and went for it.And I’d say a job well done! What’s your favorite of the books you’ve written?*MY* Favorite? That comes out from Carina Press in January 2011, titled SWEET AS SIN. That is my heart-story, so to speak and I can’t wait for people to read it.Heart-stories. *sigh* Who is your favorite author and why?I really don’t have a favorite. I have those I prefer and those I like for certain reasons but I don’t have auto buys for example. Gotcha. What are your hobbies (reading and writing don’t count)? Do they ever make an appearance in your stories?I cook or bake, which I guess does show up in a lot of my stories. Love baking myself! What is the hardest thing about writing for you?Not burning out and keeping the flow. I can have a week where I write balls to the wall and knock out 20 thousand words. Then I am brain fried and my not write again for 3 days. That is my self-annoying thing. I’ll take 20k ball wallin and 3days off for it anytime! Does your family know what you write?Yes, my young children know I write grown up books and are okay with that. My extended family smiles politely and nods.Haha. I have a few of those polite nodders myself. If you could choose any other profession, what would you be?I did my two dream jobs. I was a 911 dispatcher for over 10 years and loved it. Then I left that to write. So yeah, pretty much did what I wanted there. Wow. Intense. No way could I do that. I’d pee my pants on ever scary call and be bawling with half the others. Did you want to be an author as a kid? If not, what did you want to be?Yes, I did. I really did. But I was told it was a pipe dream and it would never happen so I wrote in secret for no one’s eyes but mine and pursued other goals. That is my biggest regret. I should have followed my heart way back then.Awe, poo on whoever told you that. Lots of smelly, wet poo. What exotic locale would you most like to visit?I want to go to Alaska and to Ireland. Not to crazy about beaches, but any mountain retreat sounds wonderful to me. Oh, man…woman of my heart. I want Alaska so bad and that whole area around Ireland is on my to-do list one of these days. Inez, thanks so much for being with me today!Everyone, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Lipstick On His Collar. This book is burning up the sales list and you want a piece of it!

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One Liners with KJ Reed!

Please welcome awesome friend and critique partner, KJ Reed, author of newly released, Songbirds.

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I am obsessed with movies. It’s true. I need some sort of therapy. Movies Watchers Anonymous. But hey, there are worse things to do to pass the time.I think one of my favorite parts about movies is the great one-liners and applicable quotes you can drag from them. Everyone knows when you say something like “As God as my witness, I will never go hungry again!” you’re referencing Gone With The Wind (one of my favorites). Pretty much everyone under the sun has at least heard of the movie, if not seen it.I think that because it’s a favorite of mine in the entertainment aspect, I write that way. I like to think that my book has some good one-liners in it. So first I’d like to share a few of my all-time favorite movie quotes, then a few of my favorites from my new release, Songbirds, which is available now through Ellora’s Cave.

“Have fun storming the castle!” -- Princess Bride

Well, this isn’t an American Teen Princess Pageant! This… This… This is Nazi Germany!- Drop Dead Gorgeous

Mr. Darcy: "So what do you recommend to encourage affection?" Elizabeth Bennet: "Dancing. Even if one’s partner is barely tolerable." - Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Jane: [wearing Gone With The Wind-style dress] Theme wedding.Kevin: What was the theme? Humiliation?- 27 Dresses

"Get off my plane." -Air Force One

Yeah, I like movies. You don’t even want to know how many quotes I had lined up that I had to choose from. But how about my own work? What kind of memorable one-liners did I manage to write? Let’s take a peek at a few of my own favorites. They looked so young, though they were probably in their late twenties. Not that Cross was over the hill at thirty-five. But he just felt so damn old.Yeah, well, building an empire will do that to ya. Get the fuck over it Strickland.Well, shit. If things were going to change, might as well go all the way.He really had to get his head out of his ass if he didn’t want these people thinking he was a bumpkin hick.She was a gallon of energy harnessed in a pintsized container.After a few moments, the committee turned toward each other, nodded, and exited the room without saying a word or glancing their way. Only Cross looked back once, his expression unreadable, before following the long line of judges. The seven dwarves of doom.Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to crush dreams we go.“No, I don’t think so. I think it’s kind of like both of us saying a celebrity is hot. We both see the same features, are drawn to them, but it doesn’t matter cause it’s not like they’re going to show up in our bed anytime soon, you know? And even if they did show up in bed, I passed pre-school with flying colors. I can share.” There are a few of my favorite one-liners from Songbirds. I absolutely love these three characters and how different they all are. How together, they are so much stronger, so much better. And how they play off of each other to create the dialoge and inner thoughts that they do.Thanks, Keri, having me today! You know I love ya, and I was super happy to have a chance to blab on here!Head on over to my website for more information on Songbirds (including “behind the scenes” information) as well as info on my other books, my blog, and contests to win cool stuff! And don’t forget to check out Songbirds, available now!

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Welcome Beth Cornelison!

Hey, gang. Am super pleased to have friend and chapter-mate vising today! Please give a warm welcome to Beth Cornelison!***Hired by the groom-to-be, former SEAL Jake McCall must make sure beautiful bride Paige Bancroft stays safe. When gunfire shatters the wedding, he discovers that the threat to Paige is hovering close. Now the country’s national security depends on keeping her and a mysterious “bead” in her possession out of the wrong hands.Paige Bancroft never had control of her privileged, sheltered life until she finds danger on her trail and a larger-than-life bodyguard at her side. Realizing her almost-wedding was a mistake, she’s determined to fight for her survival…and start a new life with the sexy SEAL—for better or worse.****Hi all and thanks, Keri, for the opportunity to guest blog here today.October marks the release of THE BRIDE’S BODYGUARD, the second book in my Bancroft Brides series from Silhouette Romantic Suspense. The series centers around the lives of three sisters, each of whom find danger and adventure– and unexpected grooms– on their journey to “I do”. Writing about these sisters was a blast for me, because I am the middle sister of a three sister family.

Beth Cornelison (center) with her sisters and their respective husbands.

While these three sisters are not modeled after myfamily, I did draw from my own experience concerning the love and friendship, the unspoken rivalry and competition, and the shared memories that bond sisters.Each of the Bancroft sisters has a little bit of me in them and perhaps a dash here and there of my sisters, but their personalities and uniqueness are the result of characters who spoke to me in clear terms of how they should be written. Yes, my characters talk to me. Why? Do you find that strange?In writing about Holly, the middle sister, I drew on my own feeling of being ‘out of the loop’ because I, like Holly, live several hundred miles away from the family. I’m not able to make it to many of the family gatherings— birthday parties for kids, Easter meals, soccer games and choir concerts— because of my long distance, and I mourn the loss of those special opportunities.I empathized with youngest sister Zoey’s feeling that she had to live up to her sisters precedent. I remember clearly the feeling in high school that I needed to fill my big sister’s shoes, before I finally found the courage to follow the path that felt right for me.Having sisters meant terrible cat fights about silly things, sharing clothes, private jokes about family history, shared heartaches over lost pets, and competition for our parents attention and praise. Today I still laugh with my sisters about our childhood misadventures, commiserate over issues with our aging parents, and treasure knowing that someone who understands me, where I came from and what makes me who I am, is just a phone call away in times of triumph or pain.As a writer, even after the book is finished, I imagine the lives my characters might be living after the last page. It’s fun to think of the Bancroft sisters sharing holidays and the birth of babies with each other the way I have with my sisters. The bond of sisterhood is a special one and creating Holly, Paige and Zoey Bancroft was a fun way to celebrate my own sisters.Look for The Prodigal Bride, book 3 in the Bancroft Brides series in February.Happy reading

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*Excerpt Fun* by Ruth J. Hartman

 Today on the blog I have an excpert from Pillow Talk–latest from Ruth J. HartmanRuth is a published author and licensed dental hygienist. She lives in rural Indiana with her husband of twenty-eight years and their two extremely spoiled cats.<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> Don’t wake up. Please don’t wake up.She held her breath as she cautiously slid her petite hand from under the dark blue pillowcase. The sleeping powder on her gloves usually did the trick, but occasionally she’d come across a kid who was immune and woke up anyway. Silently, she padded across the carpeted floor to the open window. The evening breeze ruffled her short, layered dark hair. Two minutes later her phone purred softly.“Where are you?”She looked up at the upstairs window. “Standing outside Timmy Westfellar’s house.”“Wait. Weren’t you just there last week?”“What can I say? He’s prolific. The little guy shoots out teeth like bullets.”Trixie hated when her supervisor called to check up on her. She was great at her job and he knew it. She snapped her phone shut and closed her eyes. When she opened them, she was standing in her living room.“Oops. Sorry guys. Didn’t mean to wake you.” Three cats stretched and jumped off the couch. One of them meowed and yawned at the same time.She looked down at him. “Oh, you me-yawned. I love when that happens.” She laughed and knelt down to stroke the orange tabby’s chin. “Thanks for the chuckle, Oscar. It’s been a rough night.” Oscar bumped his head against her knee then raised his upper lip to rub his gums along her outstretched hand. “I missed you too.”“What about you two? Didn’t you miss me?” She stretched out her other hand and the all-black female sauntered toward her, purring loudly. “That’s better, Miss Lucy.” She ruffled the cat’s fluffy head.She scooted over to her third cat and stroked his striped face. “And what’s going on with you tonight, Sir?” The older gray tomcat sat and stared at her with huge green eyes as if he knew a delicious secret. “Hmmm. You’ve got that look in your eyes tonight, Cuspid. Just what have you been up to, you little furry instigator, you?” He was the only one of her cats to have a tooth-related name. She wouldn’t have minded giving them all a dental theme, but didn’t want to draw too much attention to that part of her life. It was hard enough hiding her other job from the world. A world that simply didn’t understand people like her even existed.~*~Her alarm went off the next morning at 6:00 a.m. Her body felt as if she’d only slept fourteen and a half minutes. She had difficulty rousting herself out of her warm comfy bed after a night of stealing teeth. Sneaking up on little kids asleep in their beds was exhausting. There was always the chance she’d get caught. That someone would wake up at exactly the wrong moment and shriek. But, that was just part of being what she was. A tooth fairy.Not the tooth fairy. Just one of many. It was a popular misconception she’d heard many times of one impossibly tiny fairy, with wings no less, who absconded with every lost tooth of every small child in the entire universe. Please! She was good, but nobody could handle all that pressure. Besides, there was no pay involved with being a TF. It was just an ability you were born with, and you either chose to use the gift you were given or it was taken away from you. She’d heard of lazy fairies who wasted their abilities and were rudely thrust back into simple human oblivion.After getting ready for work, she climbed into her 1989 yellow and rust (not the color) Jeep. She could, of course, be at work with a blink of her brown eyes, but chose instead to go the old-fashioned route. No sense giving the neighboring business people a collective heart attack when she suddenly just appeared. Now that would make headlines.The wind tousled her hair as she fumbled with the keys to her shop. She’d opened Necklaces, Bracelets, and Rings, Oh My! two years earlier. Her overhead was kept low because she created all of the jewelry herself. She had the uncanny ability to look at an ordinary object and create a one of a kind piece of wearable art. From acorns and buttons to small smooth stones and colorful paper clips, nothing was off-limits for Trixie’s imagination. And most people never even realized the necklaces and bracelets were strung together with waxed dental floss. A girl had to use what was at her disposal, didn’t she?Finally getting the stubborn lock to cooperate, she shouldered the heavy oak door open the rest of the way. A loud whoosh of wind followed her in and scattered the pamphlets she kept on her counter.“Good morning! Good morning!” squawked a raspy voice.Trixie shut the door with a loud whump and made her way to her office in the back of the building. “Morning Benson. I suppose you’re ready for breakfast.”The large green parrot hopped around inside his tall silver cage. “Yep! Yep! Hungry! Hungry!” His words were interspersed with squeaks and whistles.“Give me a second. Gotta put down my stuff.” As she unloaded her denim purse, a mauve briefcase, and a toaster-sized cardboard box filled with hopefully usable jewelry items, she crossed her office to a pink plastic tub sitting on the end table.“Here ya go, Benson.” Trixie briefly opened the birdcage to fill the food dish with stinky bird kibble.“Thank you much! Thank you much!” He flapped his shimmering wings as he bobbed his fluffy head in approval. His open beak looked like a silly grin.Trixie laughed. Why did her bird always say everything twice? Did he think that would get his message across quicker? Maybe he should have been named Benson Benson. And technically, he wasn’t even her bird. He came with the building when she bought it. The former owners couldn’t take Benson with them when they moved to another state. It was at that moment that Trixie got a crash course in bird care. All she’d ever had were cats. And for obvious reasons, her pets could never get together for a play-date (although her cats might enjoy it.)Her shop had become her life. That, her best friend, and her animals. Ever since high school, she’d longed for romance, but it had eluded her grasp. She knew that there probably wasn’t a man out there who would understand her nightlife, though. If he was out there, how would she ever find him? She doubted if there was an online chat room for “Tooth Fairies R Us”.She worked steadily on her jewelry and waited on customers until 11:00 when her business partner came in. Julie hated getting up early even more than Trixie did, so Julie started later and closed up every evening at 7:00.Trixie looked up from the purple and pink button earrings she was making. “Hey, Jules.”“Morning Trix. How’s the feathered one today?”“Good. Loud as ever. I guess if he’s ever quiet we’ll know something’s wrong, huh?”Julie smiled “Right.” She set her purse on the counter. “Oh, I brought in a couple of those hamburgers you like from Connie’s.”“Fries, too?”“Of course, you silly woman.”Trixie tried to keep a straight face as she said, “You’ll make someone a very good wife someday.” She couldn’t hold in a snicker.“Hopefully, if my boyfriend ever gets himself in gear and asks me already. Besides, if you thought that’s all it took to get a man, you would have tried that on some cute guy a long time ago.” She giggled and shook her head as she unloaded their lunch from the bright yellow sack.“Let me wash my hands and I’m all set.”“You go out last night?” Julie asked as she put ketchup on her fries.“Oh yeah,” Trixie answered as she dried off her hands with a cat print hand towel.“Uh-oh.”“You got that right.”Julie waited for the explanation as she munched on a salty fry.Trixie sighed. “It was Timmy.”“Again? Good grief. How many teeth does that kid have, anyway?”“I’m beginning to wonder if he’s human.”“Maybe he’s an extraterrestrial.”Trixie tilted her head. “Do they even have teeth?”“You’d know better than I would, Miss TF.”“Maybe he’s Sharkboy.”“Who? Oh, you mean that weird kid in the movie who grows new sets of teeth every month?”“Yeah. It could happen.”Julie just stared at her.“It’s not that much different than those polydactyl kittens that have extra toes.”“Mitten kittens?”“Right.”“But I’ve seen mitten kittens. Have you ever seen an actual Sharkboy?”“Well, no. But would it be stranger than being a tooth fairy?”Julie shook her head and laughed. “I see your point.”Trixie picked up a long French fry and took a bite. Her brown eyes grew large. “Oh no,” she said with her mouth full. She put her hand in front of her mouth as she spoke. “That did not just happen!”Julie’s eyes opened wide. “What? What?”Trixie took the half-chewed fry out of her mouth and examined the gooey, mulched remains.“What?” Julie asked again. She put her food down as she stared at Trixie.“Don’t mean to gross you out, Jules, but look at this.” In her hand, partially embedded in the French fry was a tiny charred fragment of potato.Julie leaned closer for a better view. She gasped. “Are you okay?”Trixie didn’t answer right away. After she ran her tongue over her teeth, she once again reached into her mouth…and came out with a large chunk of pointed tooth in her hand. Her eyes grew large. “I don’t believe this.”“Of all the people this should not have happened to…”Trixie groaned. “Just great. Wonderful. Well, hand me the phone book, please. It seems I need to find a dentist.”

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Birthdays!

I’m starting a series of guest bloggers hopefully every Wednesday and Friday. Please welcome my first guest and chapter mate–Dennis Clarkston!Hello, have you ever thought about a character being troubled over a certain birthday.   We writers usually write about what we know or experienced.  And, what I know is that several of my friends and acquaintances experienced bad days on their 30th and 40th birthdays.  Just the thought of those days placed them in a state of depression.   Their funk would last that day but most last several days.  They worried about life passing them by and a passing of an era.So, when my 30th birthday came around, I expected this big heavy weight to land on my shoulders (WHAM) and force me into a depressed state of mind.  After waiting for 30 minutes for something to happen that morning, I decided to just get on with my day.  To me, it turned out to be like any other day.   Well, almost like any other day.  Yes, a normal day in that I felt no regrets or did not fret.  No, not a normal day in that I usually don’t get to eat on chocolate birthday cake every day. (Mmmmmm, Chocolate!! – LOL)Then came my 40th birthday.  Again, nothing major happened.  It, too, turned out to be a normal day except for the birthday cake and a few phone calls.  The sky did not fall; the world did not collapse; or the truck started.Now, let’s relate this back to the characters and add some “What ifs…?”  What if the heroine was expected to be married by 30 but found herself single on that day?  How does this affect her?  What if in her attempt to keep her spirits up, she runs into Mr. Right?  Does this kill her funk when she falls for him?On the subject of writing what I know: What if the hero soaks in the information he picked up from his friends who had turned 30?  What if they tell stories of horror and angst?  What if his 30th birthday is weeks away and dread settles in?  What if when he reaches it, he finds that it is just another ordinary day?   What kind of lesson does he learn from this?What if the day before his birthday, this wonderful woman catches his attention? What if all thoughts of his birthday disappear?  What if he had been set up for a blind date on his birthday, but he wanted to date this wonderful woman instead?  What if in the process of trying to find this woman, he lost her in the crowd?  What if he finds out that his blind date was this wonderful woman he saw the day before?  What will he remember about his birthday?To me, this is not enough to build a novel around but it could be used to spice it up some.  One might be able to use it as the hero’s/heroine’s minor internal conflict that can influence the course of his/her actions.Have you had something in your past that you dreaded and then discovered that it was really nothing?  Have you been bothered by any of your birthday’s? Now, you may be asking, “Why this topic?”  Well, yesterday I celebrated my 51st birthday.  And, again, it is turned out to be just another day but with, Mmmmm Chocolate, cake. ——Dennis H. Clarkston lives in the oldest city in the Louisiana Purchase, Natchitoches, La.  He has both a BA and a BS.  No, that does not mean he has a Bad Attitude and is full of Bull S—.  Though he feels like he needs some to complete his books. His dream of writing started in first grade but did not start writing seriously until he hit 24.  He started many novels but never made through to complete the first draft of any until this past July.  Likes to write science fiction that is action adventure based or is that action adventures that are science fiction based.  All have comedy, romance and mystery tossed in as well.Currently, Dennis is running through his first edit of his first novel and hopes to complete his second edit by the end of September.  Then, he hopes he can let it go to someone to critique.  Blog: blog.clark-stone.netEmail: garnara@gmail.com

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