Thursday, March 31, 2011

Having a Berry Good Time @ The Book Boost & Call for Guest Bloggers!

We're splashing into Spring here at the Book Boost and welcome our fantastic line-up of April guest bloggers to the mix (see our Author Appearance schedule in the right hand column of this blog). They'll be dazzling you with industry topics as well as their personal take on these topics:

• National Humor Month (Share a joke or something funny about writing…)
• Stress Awareness Month (What stresses you the most about writing…)
• April Fool’s Day (Biggest mistake you’ve made as a writer)
• Easter (What are you on the hunt for as a writer?)
• How important are book titles to you?

Can't wait to see how they mix it up all month long. Hope you'll join us for cool prizes, hot excerpts, and new authors!

In the meantime, we are ready to fill out our May & June schedule here at the the Book Boost. For a date, please contact us at with your month of choice and we'll schedule you on the next available date until all the dates are filled.

And don't forget our $5 cover ads! Best value cover ads in the business. Contact us for details.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Merrily Berrily Yours,
Kerri Nelson
Owner, The Book Boost

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Muddle Through with Guest Blogger: Karen Harper

Win a copy of The Irish Princess and meet romance author Karen Harper today at the Book Boost!

Here's what she had to say...


For several years I have been writing both historical novels set in Tudor England and contemporary suspense set in modern day America. Published since 1982, I have written over 50 novels. But in creating each one, my biggest challenge is in writing a strong middle of the book, which I have come to think of as the muddle of the book. Each time I have to say to myself, “No sagging middle” –and I’m not talking about middle age spread or the need of a diet. The middle of the book must be lean and mean—it must move!

The problem is that, by the middle of the novel, I’m juggling a lot of characters, and in my suspense novels, more than one who-done-it character who might be the villain. I’ve worked hard to get off to a grabber beginning. I pride myself with those to get the reader immediately involved in the story and the main character’s dilemma. I often know what the exciting, rewarding ending of the book will be—ah, but to get there with flair and excitement, that’s the task.

It usually works to add something shocking, another death or murder, or to be certain the main character is in a real mess in the middle of the book. The short excerpt I’ve included below comes from the middle of my recent release, The Irish Princess, where the Irish heroine, a real historic woman whose family was nearly wiped out by King Henry VIII, gets an opportunity to wreak revenge—to kill him. He has locked up her father, “the uncrowned king of Ireland,” in the Tower of London where he died, he’s had her brother and uncles executed and her Irish castle besieged, so it’s easy for the reader to see what motivates her.

In the romantic suspense novel I’m writing now, Return to Grace, book #2 in my new Amish trilogy, a key character who could be the murderer in a rural Ohio town heavily populated by the Amish goes missing—simply vanishes. No sign of a struggle, his car in the garage. Although this man was trying to take over Amish farmland, the Plain People willingly go out on a foot search in hilly terrain for him. The mystery of how and why he’s gone missing; the suspense of the search for him; and the reader’s (hopefully) being surprised the author would ‘get rid of’ one of the prime suspects, hopefully ups the ante and carries the reader through what could have been a sagging section of the book.

One thing I’ve noted again and again, including right now when I’m in the muddle of that novel, is that, while I write the muddle, I try to keep my outer world very organized—as if that would help control the book itself. I drive my husband crazy over-cleaning and over-arranging things. I straighten my desk, clean out a cupboard, the car’s glove compartment—anything to control something when the middle of the book seems messy.

But the reader needs an extra to boost the middle, so it’s worth working hard for. Keep the reader turning the pages! Being aware of this whether as a writer or a reader is fascinating. They say that, once you’re a writer you never really read only for pleasure again, that you’re always looking at how the story is constructed. And propping up a possible sagging middle will keep the reader whizzing through the pages, unable to put that book down and looking for the next one. And thankfully, for twenty-nine years now, there has always been a Karen Harper book on American and foreign bookshelves—and for e-readers too.

A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for sharing your techniques on muddling through the middle book slumps, Karen! This has always been a problem for me as well. I love how you cope with the out of control feeling by "driving your hubby crazy". LOL Please tell us more about your book.


From the national bestselling author of Mistress Shakespeare comes a grand-scale drama starring Gera Fitzgerald, a would-be Irish Princess who is forced from her homeland and thrust into King Henry VIII’s treacherous Tudor court.

Though bold and rebellious, Gera holds close to her heart Edward Clinton, an ambitious courtier who understand her heart. Even as Gera works to undermine King Henry, she seeks to protect his young daughter Princess Elizabeth, a kindred spirit fighting to survive, whose future is linked to Gera’s own.

From County Kildare’s lush green fields to London’s rough-and-tumble streets and the royal court’s luxurious pageantry, The Irish Princess follows the journey of a daring woman whose will cannot be tamed and who won’t be satisfied until she restores her family to its rightful place in Ireland.


The king was dying, but I was going to kill him anyway.

As I took a silent step into the king’s bedchamber, I felt the tip of Dudley’s dagger prick my elbow. Truth be told, I had come to kill the king for my people and my country, and for all those he had foully murdered while claiming to be the savior of his people. But if my other enemy’s dagger did the deed and was discovered, let John Dudley suffer for it.

I moved silently, giving my eyes time to adjust, though there was little enough to bump into but the bed, which dwarfed everything. I felt I’d opened a long-sealed tomb. No air stirred, and the stench of the king’s abscessed leg, the very smell of death, sat heavy here.

I parted the bed curtains so I could see within. At first, I thought I saw only a pile of pillows, but the king was propped upon them. I knelt on the mattress, dragging my skirts and the shawl around my waist. I crawled closer, my fingers gripping the dagger handle so hard that my entire frame shook as I began to lift it.

I held my breath and positioned myself to strike. Then a voice, soft, wheezing, said from the depths of the black bed and the huge, fleshy frame, “You’ve come to bed at last, my dearest love, my angel.”

Want More Karen?

Visit her website here:

Pick up your copy of her book today. Click here!

Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Karen and be entered to win one of TWO copies of The Irish Princess!

**Winners for Book Boost prizes are drawn the first week of the following month and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More than a Happy Ending with Guest Blogger: Sandra Cox

Welcome back author Sandra Cox for her monthly blog spot here at the Boost.

Here's what she had to say...

What do you look for in a book? What takes it from mediocre to good and from good to outstanding? Do you look for plot, suspense, romance, eroticism? What are you after when you read?

I’m a romance writer but romance isn’t the first thing I look for in a book. I like a strong storyline. My preference: a good suspense, hopefully with paranormal elements and a great romance woven through it like fine wine, subtle so it doesn’t overpower. Too much of anything can be a turn off, at least for me.

I want characters that are so real they suck me right into the book and into their world. That means I have to know more than what they’re wearing. I need to know what makes them tick. How they got that scar on their temple. What’s their favorite cologne? What trauma in their childhood formed their personality?

Setting is also important. Is that couch they’re sitting on comfortable enough to sink into? Has she had her first cup of coffee and did the aroma make her weak in the knees. Does the dark clouds and hot, heavy air account for the tension she’s feeling? Writing setting is a fine line. While the details are important, I don’t want so many that my mind wanders.

There’s a lot that goes into writing an exceptional story. Besides, a strong story line, great character development and setting, the story also needs to flow smoothly and have understandable POV.

And the icing on the cake, at least for me...I want a happy ending.

A Note from the Book Boost: I know what you mean, Sandra. So much goes into creating the perfect scene. Too much of something can be a turn off while too little of something can leave you feeling empty. A fine line sometimes for sure.

Want More Sandra?

Visit her blog for updates here:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Music to My Ears with Guest Blogger: Cynthia Vespia

The Book Boost welcomes author Cynthia Vespia to the blog today!

Here's what she had to say...

Finding the Muse in Music

Recently, master movie maker Quentin Tarantino was the recipient of the Music + Movie Award during the 16th annual Critics Choice Awards telecast. Tarantino was the first recipient of the award and was honored for the exceptional way he blends music and movies together to deliver maximum impact. He noted that he finds the personality of the piece by the music, that it is the rhythm of the film. Tarantino recalled when he was just an aspiring filmmaker how he would listen to songs in his bedroom and imagine full scenes playing out in his mind's eye.

Music is a very powerful tool. It can evoke a wide range of emotions. We all have special memories linked to specific songs that are triggered the moment we hear the first few tones. Who among us hasn't shared a song between lovers that forever becomes “our song?”

Music is an art form, as is storytelling. Whether on the big screen or in the written word it is only natural that music and storytelling would come together. Music can quell the voices or spur them on. The tempo alone energizes me and makes my fingers fly across the keyboard. I can liken it to putting on my favorite rock music while working out in the gym. If I feel sluggish the music picks me up and takes me to a different level.

For me, music is therapy. It has helped me through difficult times and heightened the enjoyment of others. I've used music in the past during my writing to keep me in the zone, to limit distractions, and to evoke emotion for a specific scene. I wrote almost an entire novel to the soundtrack from A Beautiful Mind. The haunting melodies from Lord of the Rings and Basil Poledouris' Conan soundtrack emphasized the dark, brooding worlds in my fantasy series Demon Hunter.

I find I stick more to soundtracks when writing. Lyrics throw me off my game. But if you blend the two art forms together, the way Quentin Tarantino does, you can create maximum impact...if at least for yourself. The reader never has to know that you wrote your latest blockbuster to the tune of Lady Gaga. It can be your little secret as long as it helps you creatively.

Does the genre of song have to match the genre of your novel? You tell me. My paranormal thriller Life, Death, and Back though riddled with ghosts and the afterlife was penned as love ballads intertwined with 80's hair metal played softly in the background. The novels I write are eclectic and thus the music tends to follow. This rock chick isn't afraid to admit to loving the sounds of smooth jazz and sultry blues riffs. If I wasn't called to be a writer I would've been a musician. To me music is soul food and the great ones will never die. As long as you are inspired by your song of choice then slip on a pair of headphones, crank the dial, and mesh the worlds of music and writing together to birth a novel that pours off the page in rich emotion.

A Note from the Book Boost: I'm a big Tarantino fan and I give him huge props for the work he's done with music in movies. Great choice for you post today Cynthia. Thanks for joining us. Please tell us more about your book!


Life goes by in a blink.

One moment can change everything.

For most, death is the eternal end.

Bryan Caleb has just died. Now, as he struggles to come to terms with his own mortality Bryan must find the compassion within himself to help guide Lisa Zane, an emotionally and spiritually drained young girl, through her troubled life to find her purpose.

For it is only with Lisa's help that Bryan can rescue his very own son from the life of crime he has fallen into before Kriticos Caleb's fate mirrors his father' death.


It was eighteen years to the day. Approximately one hour to the time, Bryan Adam Caleb had passed away. His sudden resurgence left him in a panic. Six feet deep within the bowels of the earth, Bryan stirred and came awake. Gasping, his chortled screams muffled by the lined pine box that had been chosen for his eternal resting place.

Sightless in the dark, he clawed at the box top, ripping and striking until finally he burst through. The thick mounds of dirt that covered the casket fell all around him. The soil tumbled through his matted hair; fell across his shoulders, into his mouth and in his eyes. Feeling as though locked in a vertical tunnel, he moved through it like a rat in a sewer, anxious to see the light of day.

When he finally broke the surface, he was chagrined to find the moon shone down on him from the midnight sky. Its yellow hues danced off the surroundings, and impaired Bryan's sight further.

He fell to his back and covered his reborn-eyes against the earthly world. Eighteen years had passed since the day the auto accident had taken his life. Since that time he had come to know another way of life, an ethereal life. Now, catapulted back into the realm of the living, what he wanted, needed to know, was why?

Slowly, guttural screams crept into his throat and then echoed deep into the night. He wailed as though he were a newborn child brought to life for the first time, when indeed it seemed to be his second passage at life.

Sustaining his shouting, he finally uncovered his face and looked with his new eyes. What he saw were markers, dozens of them laid out in neat little rows down across a grassy null. He sat up and looked towards the front of the hole he just erupted from. Indeed, standing straight, tall, and bearing his name was his own marker.

Bryan quickly pulled his legs up from the hole and crawled over to look in. Down past the darkness he saw the casket, torn asunder by his emergence. His lips parted in awe and his breathing became rapid.


He had not taken an actual breath in such a long time. The crisp night air seemed to burn his lungs with each inhalation. He was alive.

Bryan's world spun out of control. Life and death were becoming a shared unity with one seeming to cancel out the other. He didn't know which side of the spectrum he was labeled.

So many years ago, he was killed; his life extinguished. Then, he was able to walk the grounds of Earth only in spiritual form, forsaken of any sensory details. Now, he felt the ragged grass beneath his fingers as he perched over his plot. He smelled the cold, musty soil and the stale odor of long lasting death emitting from the bowels within.

Concentrating now, he was able to visualize more clearly and took in the meanings behind what he saw, what he felt. There was no body in the open grave beneath him. There was no indication only his soul had come awake, as it had upon the brutal impact of his initial death.

As he looked over his hands and arms, he saw no decay, no time worn distinctions that any human body would have undergone after so long in burial. He was flesh and blood with muscles and fibers, skin, and sinew: all intact.

Frightened, he scrambled back from his grave, only to back into another. He bumped the large stone and it startled him. Looking around at the dozens of plots, he sensed fear, an all-encompassing fear he never knew before.

Once he had felt there had been no other place safer than a cemetery with its calm and simple solitude, but if he were to once again rise from his final resting place, what was to say that at any minute the rest of the bodies laid out wouldn't do the same?

He forced himself to his feet and ran as fast as he could. His feet pounded the ground beneath him with each step, and seemed to echo at the back of his skull.

“Where are you going?”

For a moment, Bryan thought the voice came from his own subconscious. He truly did not know where he was going, just he needed to get away quickly, but the voice had lingered too long on the night air just by Bryan’s ear. It caught him by surprise and tripped him up.

He came down hard upon the cemetery floor, feeling the impact of the hit. A wandering soul would feel no pain, but Bryan’s own pain sensors were fully active as he hit the ground. He rolled to his back. His eyes searched through the blackened night for the speaker.

He didn't have far to search. Standing over him, clad in a white tunic, his straight blonde locks framing his stone jaw, was Charlie: Bryan's own guardian when he had been alive. The angel who helped guide him through his passing and the dubious tasks that had come with it.

Charlie helped Bryan accept his fate, by making him help another who was in distress and showing him what it meant to be a guardian in his own right. It had cleared his way of thinking, and Brian had no longer felt cheated of his life. Helping the young girl, Lisa, out of her turmoil had been an awakening for Bryan in his death, as much as it was for Lisa in her life.

It had been many years since Lisa needed Bryan's guidance. She reached a straight and narrow path, leaving her self-destruction behind her.

Bryan had become mostly recluse, retired in his efforts, in his spiritual guardianship. He easily could sense this new state of affairs had nothing to do with that.

As though reading his thoughts, Charlie extended a hand and said, “Come, I will enlighten you to your new affairs.”

Want More Cynthia?

Cynthia is the author of character driven suspense fiction which she refers to as "Real life situations that you could find yourself in but hope to God you never do." She is a certified personal trainer and former fitness competitor who enjoys reading, movies that involve a strong plot/characters, and keeping active through various forms of martial arts and outdoor activities.

Visit her website here:
Or her blog here:

View the book trailer ad here.

Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Book Boost's Review: Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes

Here at the Book Boost we normally don't do book reviews (except for special occasions like our annual Blogger of the Year event) but after taking a peek at this story and realizing that it was a children's book with a very special message...I had to post my thoughts.

Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes is all about a young boy's worry that he won't fit in while wearing his new shoes to school. It is all about our fear that our differences will make us stand out in some negative way and that because we are different that no one will accept us or love us.

As the mother of a child with juvenile diabetes, I'm quite familiar with this fear in children. My daughter was diagnosed at the age of 2 and although she is completely accustomed to dealing with her disease on a daily basis, she was terrified of what the kids in Kindergarten would think of it.

To soften the impact, I went with her to school and read her classmates a story about Rufus the Diabetes Bear and showed them how she gives her bear shots of insulin just like the ones she must endure daily. Later that day, all her class mates fought over who would sit next to her at lunch. They all wanted to watch her check her blood sugar and everyone wanted to be like her.

This book carries very much the same message. It is our differences that make us the beautiful creatures that we are today.

I hope you'll check out this touching tale.

--Kerri Nelson
Owner, The Book Boost


Willie Wiggles hates his slippery feet. He just slips, slides and spins all over the place. But what he hates even more are the special shoes that have been made for him that will help him to walk just like all the other kids. Willie thinks that they are the "stupidest, ugliest shoes in the whole world."

Discover how sometimes we worry about things about ourselves when actually there is nothing to worry about in the first place.

Read an Excerpt here:

Want More Larry?

Larry Peterson was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. As a freelancer, he has written many newspaper columns for local publications. Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes is his first children’s book. Peterson has lived in Pinellas Park, Florida for the past 28 years.

Visit the book website here:

Watch the book trailer! Click here.

Pick up your copy today! Click here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Networking Nuisances with Guest Blogger: Bri Clark

Win a copy of Familial Witch and meet author Bri Clark today at the Book Boost!

Here's what she had to say...

Social Media and Authors…Some People Will Become Offended

Recently I had a friend, an amazing friend that I go to church, who lives near me in the community and who I am on good terms with (really I am). She deleted me from her networking friends list. I noticed it and worried I had offended her. Therefore, I sent a message then followed up with a call. She wasn’t offended but had some other concerns with my page. That sparked some ideas for this post.

I started into networking just for the social aspect, to reconnect with old friends and keep up with new ones. However, now that I’m an author I now have hundreds of friends and would hope to get up to the thousands. The reason is it’s how I market my career. However, for those friends that are specifically friends. What do you do when they get upset?

The best thing to do is understand why they are upset. Here are two examples I have encountered.

* Privacy: My friend I mentioned was worried that with all those people I don’t technically know on my page that they may be able to access hers. While she does have high privacy settings we all know, nothing is concrete and you have to keep a check. Who wants added responsibilities? Therefore, I respected that and made a point to go through my own setting and keep people from accessing my friends’ pages. As an added protection, I have made it a habit to check my setting every Monday morning to make sure that they haven’t been changed.

* Annoyance: If you see a grand article on writing techniques or an open submissions call you definitely want to share that with your industry friends. Or a great deal is happening locally and you wanted to share it with you neighbors so you turn to social networking. Point is one may not care about the other. The solution is lists. I have lists in my accounts that are titled by relationship. Business and Personal…I have recently done this so I still have some bugs to work out. I hope to only post to each that applies.

Will people still delete me in the future? Probably. Am I still friends with them in real life? Absolutely! However, because I appreciate all my relationships through social media I am going to try to be mindful of everyone. So have any of you had any problems through social media? Please Share!

A Note from the Book Boost: I only use social media very carefully and I'm really particular about what I put there. I never mix business and personal because you just never really know who is out there reading it. This is a crazy world we live in these days and privacy is becoming more and more difficult with each new technology creation. Thanks for sharing your story and I hope you and your friend survive the media incident. Please tell us more about your book.


Lucien Lemione the clan leader of the feared and revered Eternals is faced with the ultimate betrayal. His second in command for two centuries has not only created the most grievous of offenses but also commissioned the creation of liquid silver. When poisoned by this toxin, an immortal suffers a fate much worse than death, frozen in an internal prison. After being wounded when found spying, he hides deep within the eerie woods that encircle the Triad Mountains. Desperate and in pain, he prays to an offended mother goddess for help. Her answer: a woman, but not just any woman. A witch.

After losing her entire coven at the hands of the Eternals, Aisleen is the last of her kind. She retreats from the world to Trinity Forest where she is giving the opportunity of a lifetime, or perhaps a test of principles. It’s there she discovers the man she heals is the Eternal that wiped out her people. Although she is bound as a healer, she could be creative in her revenge. Aisleen knows who and what Lucien is…but does not speak of it. There can be no future with Lucien for she can only be with a mortal man. Even if she wanted to be with him, can she forgive the man that caused the genocide of her people?

Lucien must act quickly for the survival of his clan is at stake. However, Aisleen’s ethereal beauty and emerald eyes keep pushing those thoughts far from his mind. Determined to find out what secret she hides, he prolongs his time with her. When his people need him most what will he choose…duty, desire, or will he make his own fate?

You can choose love but you can’t choose destiny.


After searching through her supplies for the specific leaf she
was looking for, she rejoined Lucien on the small bed. Through trial and error with the vampire, she knew that the rare, sinewy leaves of the GroBe’ tree would only work. Like all her best potions and spells, the ingredients always included rare plants. It was another reason for her living situation. Trinity Forest held many uncommon plants and trees that she had been able to utilize in her craft.

She positioned the leaf over the front part of his shoulder
and prepared to push it all the way through. Before she began, she noticed hidden down within the upside down V the arrowhead made, fitted to the shaft, was a small serrated tip that formed a plug. Upon further inspection of the injury, she concluded that she would have to adjust the direction of the arrowhead since it had been stopped by his shoulder blade. Gathering up some extra linen and bandages, she said a prayer to the Mother Goddess.

It took some maneuvering and strength, but she finally was
able to get it into position. He groaned from the abuse, but continued to sleep. Aisleen was glad she’d doubled the dose of dream stem tonic she had given him. Finally, the arrowhead went cleanly through his front and the leaf then, as if by magic, completely enclosed the arrowhead, keeping any potential surprise safely tucked in its folds. The covered tip fell to the mattress as she applied pressure to the hole. What was left of the arrow came out quickly, followed by blood. Aisleen was prepared for a large amount of blood loss. However, the blood actually slowed. Then, she saw the wound all but disappear with a new epidermis appearing in its place.

She pursed her lips and thought, Few beings have the power
to regenerate like that. While vampires couldn’t be killed, their wounds, healing somewhat, would be left scarred and it never happened that quickly. She decided to inspect him further—easing him down on his back.

Breathless from all her efforts, she sat back up and was
greeted by an unexpected surprise. A tattoo was perfectly situated over his heart, only it was more than a tattoo. It was a living birthmark. The mark was intricate artwork of lightning bolts ending in a half moon. The golden bolts seemed to pulsate into the white crescent as if on fire with red and orange hues illuminating from the marked skin. Sitting straight up and taking a breath within her nostrils, holding it, and slowly letting it out, she felt like she could handle the thought anxiously waiting to be acknowledged.

Want More Bri?

Bri Clark is a real example of redemption and renewal. Growing penniless in the South, Bri learned street smarts while caring for her brother in a broken home. She watched her mother work several jobs to care for their small family. Once her brother could fend for himself, Bri moved on to a series of bad choices including leaving school and living on her own. Rebelliousness was a strong understatement to describe those formative years. As a teenager, her wakeup call came from a fight with brass knuckles and a judge that gave her a choice of shaping up or spending time in jail. She took that opportunity and found a way to moved up from the streets.

She ended up co-owning an extremely successful construction business. She lived the high life until the real estate crash when she lost everything. She moved west and found herself living with her husband and 4 kids in a 900 square foot apartment. She now fills her time, writing, blogging, leading a group of frugal shoppers and sharing her southern culture. Her unique background gives her writing a raw sensibility. She understands what it takes to overcome life’s obstacles. She often tells friends, “I can do poor. I’m good at poor. It’s prosperity that I’m not used to.” Bri and her husband Chris live in Boise. Bri is known as the Belle of Boise for her true southern accent, bold demeanor and hospitable nature.

Visit her blog here:

Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here.

Contest Time:

Leave a response to Bri's question of the day from her blog post and be entered to win a copy of Familial Witch.

**Winners for Book Boost prizes are drawn the first week of the following month and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's No Lie...we have Guest Blogger: Julie Particka

Win a copy of Pretty Souls and meet paranormal author Julie Particka today at the Book Boost!

Here's what she had to say...

Can You Feel the Music?

I listen to music all the time, and I’ve grown used to my kids asking me what songs mean. They understand that I tend to pay attention to the lyrics (and memorize more songs than is sane). One thing I love though is how sometimes when I listen to a song with only half my attention, I hear it in a completely different way.

This happened to me when I was working on Pretty Souls and thinking about where the series would go next. I was driving in my car, listening to David Cook (you know, the cutie from American Idol a couple years ago?). His song “Lie” came on. If you know the song, you know it’s about a couple who’s on the verge of a breakup and the guy is asking her to lie and pretend everything will be okay, even if it’s just for one night. Lovely, heartbreaking song.

That day when I listened to it though, I didn’t hear a love song, I heard fear and panic of a different sort. The next thing I knew, I saw Elle and Cass in a cage, both of them…unwell. And I heard Elle singing the song to Cass. If you don’t know the lyrics, they go like this (second verse and chorus though the entire song fits):

You're hiding regret in your smile
There's a storm in your eyes I've seen coming for a while
Hang onto the past tense tonight
Don't say a word I'm okay with the quiet

The truth is gonna change everything
So lie to me and tell me that it's gonna be all right

So lie to me and tell me that we'll make it through the night

I don't mind if you wait before you tear me apart
Look me in the eye and lie lie lie lie lie lie

Click here to purchase your copy of “Lie” performed by David Cook

The first thought was of a literal nature. Elle just wants to believe they have a chance of making it out. As I kept listening though, I realized it was more than that. She was only willing to put her trust in that so far. The lies go deeper when you have a starving werewolf and a half-vampire who hasn’t had blood for a day or two locked up together.

That scene would be the point that would alter their relationship forever, but I knew I needed more than just two books to get them to that point. Questions popped up all over the place. Why are they there alone? Why does no one know where they went? And those questions led to the spawning of the plans for books two…and three….and five, because this one scene needed to go in book four.

For me, that is the kind of power music can have. It not only gave me a pivotal scene in my characters’ lives, but led to the overarching storyline for the entire series. Three minutes and forty-nine seconds of music. It’s such a little thing that for the lives of my characters…changed everything.

A Note from the Book Boost: Great story, Julie. I really like how one song has spawned a whole series of books and this sounds like a great read! Thanks for joining us today and please tell us more about your book.


My life followed a simple pattern.

Run to keep my inner wolf asleep. Make sure my blood-sucking foster sister, Cass, feeds. Hunt for supernatural trouble when we should be sleeping. Keep my grades up and my head down.

It was mostly a game.

Until people started wandering around like living zombies. Until people I care about started getting hurt. Until the menace came knocking on my front door.

Game’s over.

Time for the soul-stealer to realize just because he’s hunting something doesn’t make it prey.

Cass and I bite back.

~The Paranormal Response Team~
Saving the World Before Breakfast


Cass and I watched from the parking lot as Diego rebounded off the glass and stumbled back a few steps before striding up to the door again. “What do you think, Elle? Sleepwalking?” Cass tilted her head from one side to the other.

I pulled my lip between my teeth—thinking once more how I should really stop chewing on it—as Diego bounced against the glass again. “It’d seem like running into the door over and over would kind of disrupt his REM cycle.”

Cass shrugged, the movement shifting her black duster so the wind caught the hem and fanned it out behind her. “Well, why don’t we go see if we can wake him up? Unless that’ll make you get all tongue-tied.”

The breeze worked so much better for her than me. She got the avenging angel billowing coat.

I looked like the victim of a tragic wind tunnel accident. I yanked loose strands of hair from my face with a grimace and snapped, “I’ll be fine.” It didn’t help my demeanor at all that when I tugged my hair away, several pieces of fur flew right back into my face. Whoever concocted the whole werewolf thing really should have done away with shedding.

“You sure, Sis? Don’t plan on drooling and falling all over yourself?” Cass moved toward Diego without waiting for a reply. What Cassidy wants and all that.

“Yeah. Completely over my Diego issues,” I said to the night air as I jogged to catch up to her.

Want More Julie?

Julie grew up writing, as so many people do, but gave it up to study chemistry and become a teacher. One of her students told her she should be a writer, and that bit of encouragement stays with her to this day.

No longer teaching, Julie now splits her time between raising her own kids and living in the world of her imagination (where her children occasionally visit). They reside in southwest Michigan with her wonderful (and very patient) husband and two faithful dogs who like to sleep on her feet and occasionally drop tennis balls on her keyboard when she writes. All in the name of love.

Julie is all over the internet and is very active on Twitter. In addition, she’ll be signing Pretty Souls at the upcoming Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Los Angeles.

Visit her website here:
Follow her on Twitter here:

View the trailer. Click here.

Pick up your copy of her book today. Click here!

Contest Time:

Enter to win a copy of Pretty Souls by leaving a comment and answering this question: In honor of the place that introduced me to David Cook, what has been your favorite song from an American Idol contestant?

**Winners for Book Boost prizes are drawn the first week of the following month and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tune in and Chat with Guest Blogger: Marcia Colette

The Book Boost welcomes paranormal author Marcia Colette to the blog.

Here's what she had to say...

I find it interesting that many writers have a sound track associated with their books. Whenever I see one, I always check it out to see if I know anyone on the list. Usually, I don’t.

There was a time when I indulged in Enya. I owned every one of her albums and would have given my right arm to attend one of her concerts. But to listen to her now would drive me nuts. I’ve tried other forms or Celtic music (because I’m a huge fan), but nothing works. Listening to music is like nails on a chalkboard. Even when my tastes changed to alternative rock, it still wasn’t enough to get me writing. It was just noise. Period.

When I was writing Bittersweet, I didn’t have any tunes wired from an iPod to my ears. I needed the TV playing in the background while I wrote and that was it. That wasn’t the case for another novel I have coming out later this year called The Spider Inside Her. For some reason I needed artists like Linkin Park, Creed, Alanis Morrisette, and Annie Lennox to get me through that book and to dig into the hardened core of my anti-heroine. To this day, I can’t understand why I needed playlist for that story, but not for the others.

Until that point, the last time I needed music was when I first started writing and was crafting my 250,000 word monstrosity of a first novel.

Whenever I come across a playlist in a novel, I try to find the music, especially if it’s someone I’ve never heard of. Sadly, most of the time, I’ve never heard of half the artists. Even worse, I either don’t like their music. Luckily, an uninspiring playlist has never deterred me from enjoying a good story. I just go about my reading pleasure.

One thing I should note is that I read paranormal about 90% of the time. I’d be curious to know if playlists are encountered in non-paranormal stories, too. Lately, I’ve noticed them a lot in various urban fantasies. In horror, not so much. With paranormal romance, it’s hit or miss. I think if I were ever going to come across it in sci-fi, it would probably be a techno playlist. Not that I have anything against techno.

The few contemporary romances I’ve read, I haven’t seen one. Perhaps for contemporary writers, they don’t need the extra “boost” of background music.

Though I’m pretty sure I won’t ever have a playlist in my book (just like I said I’d never write a YA), I can see why people enjoy them. They add to the reading experience just like soundtracks enhance the movie-going experience. Without a soundtrack, I’d probably have a hard time paying attention to the characters on the screen. Strangely enough, I can’t say the same concerning books. I like having the TV for my background noise.

Do you enjoy playlists? Why or why not? Does an author's choice in music usually resonate with you?

A Note from the Book Boost: I don't use play lists either but instead I write to the crying, laughing, jabbering of two children under age 2 in my home. Oh that and television in the background (but it is on cartoons)! Thanks for joining us today, Marcia. Please tell us more about your book.


Phaedra Thorne's goals in life are simple. Make it to eighteen so she can legally adopt her sister and hope she never becomes like her deranged mother who secretly lives in the attic. They're not the normal hopes and dreams of a kid her age, but then again, Phaedra is anything but typical. Schizophrenia and psychokinesis go hand in hand in her genes. With things always upending or blowing up around her, she’s already halfway there and horrified one of these days she'll be the next to go insane.

Five years have passed since Phaedra has seen her older, estranged brother. She’s hesitant about his return and even more so when he comes bearing a cure for their mother. However, this so-called antidote, having sex with an incubus, comes with a catch that's larger than the statutory rape implications. The incubus who's willing to help the Thornes has unwittingly been followed by beings who call themselves hags. They want to drain the demon dry of his power and don’t care if they threaten Phaedra's desire to have a normal family. She’ll do whatever it takes to protect her loved ones, even if that means trusting her uncontrollable powers won’t kill everyone in the process.


My fingers quivered as I reached for the brass knob. A swallow slipped down my dry throat. This squeaky door would be my undoing. Bracing myself, I turned the handle and stepped forward. My ears opened to the silence of our home. No stomping across the hardwood floors or muffled screams from the attic. No objects flying at my face or anyone yanking me inside for a beating. Mom was secure in her top-floor prison.

I took my six-year-old sister by the hand and led her inside. Just in case my senses were wrong, I needed to be ready to hustle her right back out the door.

When most kids arrived home, they shouted their arrival and ran screaming into the arms of the first parent they found. Hugs and kisses would ensue, along with a, “How was your day, honey?” Delicious smells of dinner wafted through the house and the night would end with everyone hunkered down in the living with a good movie. Mom would hand us our steaming cups of hot chocolate while Dad would follow it up with a large bowl of popcorn filled with butter and salt.

That was the life. It had ended five years ago.

Dad left us, my older brother followed, and Mom? Well, she gradually slipped into a dangerous blend of full-blown schizophrenia and psychokinesis. I was half-way to following in her footsteps. I’d give anything not to have my powers.

One loud noise would set Mom off so, we had a no yelling policy in place. That also meant there would never be any sleepovers or parties. I was lucky enough to have a few before she went nuts, but Nadia had to wait her turn. Assuming there would ever be one. We met up with our friends anywhere but 101 Whitemark Lane because we valued our lives…and theirs.

“I can’t get this off.” Nadia struggled with the zipper on her jacket.

“Come here, Squirt.”

It took some doing, but I got her free. Nadia turned and took it from there like little Miss Independent who knew it was best to pull her own weight in our weirdo family. She slid off her backpack and jacket at the same time before dragging them across the floor.

Man, I hated seeing her down like that. She took it hard when I told her that Cammy couldn’t come over to play on the swing out back. I’d have to make it up to her somehow. But for now, we all had to make sacrifices. Myself included.

If word had ever gotten out that our mother was unfit to care for us, the idiots from Child Welfare would come. Hell, they already have. There were only so many creative ways to lie about a black eye. After the third one, people start asking questions. The forth one had gotten the attention of a school official who should’ve minded his own business.

Something scraped across the hardwood and slammed into the floor above our heads. Both of us stared at the same spot. We knew where that had come from. Oh, man, I didn’t want to go up there. Not again. But if I wasn’t checking on her, who would? No way in hell would I leave my six-year-old sister do it.

“Stay here.” I grabbed a nearby throw I kept hanging over back of a chair. Shoving something over her head whenever she went into a psychokinetic tirade usually calmed her down. Usually.

“Nooo. I wanna go with you. I colored a picture for Mommy.”

I started up the stairs, taking them two at a time. “Stay there, Nadia. I’m serious.”

After rounding the banister to the second floor, I hurried to the midpoint in the hall and reached for the level that lowered the ladder from the attic. We kept my mother up there like a dirty secret because it was the darkest place in the house. It was either that or the basement, which was unacceptable. We had too much junk down there to use as weapons. Plus, the racks of clothes from her pre-schizophrenic days seemed to quiet her down.

I tossed the blanket over my shoulder and headed up the ladder. When I came to the top, I poked my head over the ledge and scanned the room.

Light shone from a small window at the far end overlooking the small wooded area we called a backyard. I put up some curtains to make it homier. Guilt had something to do with it, too. Just like the dozens of clothes at the far end of the attic, Mom must have liked them because they hadn’t been torn to shreds yet.

My mother sat in front of the window with her back to me, her body bent like she remained seated in an invisible chair. What remained of her white wicker seat was on the floor to my right in a twisted mess. If it weren’t for her being psychokinetic, I’d swear magic held her in place.

On her good days, she was a vegetable, always staring out the window with a lifeless look on her face. She had the same look, but with her psychokinesis in full force. On the bad days, she wouldn’t think twice about smothering me with her pillow. The crazy part about that was she didn’t have to lift a finger to do it.

Want More Marcia?

Visit her website here:

Or her blog here:

Pick up your copy of her book today. Click here!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Have a Cat-tastic Time with Guest Blogger: Ruth J. Hartman

The Book Boost Welcomes feline friendly author Ruth J. Hartman to the blog today!

Here's what she had to say...

Cats R Us

Maxwell paws at my leg with unsheathed claws. Roxy smacks Maxwell’s skimpy striped tail. Ah yes, it’s the nightly ritual. The time has come for…greenies. Or colors, which is what we whisper when we don’t want to raise suspicion among the cats prematurely. Although by now, I’m sure they know that colors are greenies. This mama didn’t raise no fools!

For those of you not familiar with the tasty kitty treats, greenies are the cat’s meow. Literally. My cats go nuts when we get the package out of the cabinet. Or if we walk near the cabinet. Or even glance in the direction of the kitchen. They can even be sound asleep in a kitty-coma, and if one of us tiptoes into the kitchen, they somehow know. Max even climbed into the cabinet where we keep them because I hadn’t latched the door. He’s such a bruiser, he got himself wedged in there and I had to pry him out. Ah. Memories.

Cats have always been a huge part of my life. I’m a womb-to-the-tomb feline admirer. Thankfully, I was able to morph my husband into a full-fledged cat person after we got married. At first, he acted as if it bothered him to be around them. He even said, “Ruth, I just don’t want us to be known as those people at the end of the road with 50 cats. You know, the crazy people?”

Although I would see nothing wrong with that, I simply smiled and nodded. But now, he picks the furry creatures up, flips them on their backs, and holds them in his huge arms like babies. And he’s always disappointed if they choose not to sleep with us every night. But no, he’s not a cat-person. Right.

My cats greet me at the door after a tiring day of scraping, polishing, and rinsing other people’s teeth. They sit in the bathroom while I’m in the shower (the cats, not the people) then stare at me when I get out. Disconcerting, yes. But I feel the love, nevertheless. And what could be better at five o’clock in the morning than a freezing wet nose or a fluffy tail in your face? I mean, who wouldn’t want that?

It’s for these reasons that I believe every novel’s main character should have a pet. My heroine, Kitty (yes, I get the irony of her name), has one rambunctious black cat. He gets into all kind of mischief and it’s Kitty’s job to rescue him. She spends her life running after him, which usually puts her in some pretty interesting situations.

My hero, George, doesn’t like cats at all. They give him the creeps. So it’s a little difficult for him when he finds himself on a yacht in the middle of the ocean with Kitty and her cat Arthur, as stowaways.

Just as pets add interest and spice to our lives, so do fictional pets of fictional characters. Just because Kitty lives inside the covers of a book, why should she be pet-less? Even figments of our imaginations deserve furry love, right?

A Note from the Book Boost: Ruth, first of all, I admire you for your chosen profession. I very much dislike going to the dentist as a patient but there's no way I could ever work there. You are admired and appreciated. Secondly, I've had many cat loves in my life. Thanks for sharing yours with us...


Kitty Carter is used to getting into strange situations when she chases her cat, Arthur. But this latest escapade is just too much! When Arthur chases a mouse at the marina while she's doing research for her book, she follows him down the dock and onto a yacht. Not entirely her plan, since she falls down some stairs and hits her head, and wakes to find herself out to sea.

And she and Arthur aren't the only ones on board!

Want More Ruth?

Visit her blog here:

Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Homecoming Irish Style with Guest Blogger: Cynthia Owens

Happy St. Patrick's Day & join the Book Boost as we chat with Irish romance author Cynthia Owens today!

Here's what she had to say...

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and like the best of the seanachaois (storytellers), let me tell you a few tales of my travels in Ireland.

The day I arrived in Ireland was the day I found my heart’s home.

I’ve been in love with all things Irish since I was in my early teens, so naturally I was thrilled to finally spend 10 days there in the summer of 2009, part of a three-week visit to England, Wales and Ireland. It was hard to contain my excitement as we left the ferry, the Jonathan Swift, in Dublin and drove to our first destination, the lovely village of Feakle in County Clare. The weather was cold and rainy, the mist dancing over the soft green fields, and I’m not sure, but I may have seen some of the Good People hurrying back to their faery raths.

The cottage we stayed in could have belonged to Ashleen and Cavan Callaghan, hero and heroine of my latest Irish-set novel, Coming Home. Its stone walls, thatched roof, and the lovely warm hearth sizzling with sods of turf made me feel as if I’d gone back in time. When we arrived, the fire was burning merrily, and the wonderful, scent of peat filled the room with vegetal sweetness.

I’d made a list of places to see before I left, and one of the first was Bunratty Castle, a spectacularly beautiful castle dating back to medieval times, complete with winding staircases and amazing views from the battlements. But for me, the best part of the visit was the folk park. It’s designed to look like a Nineteenth Century Irish village. And it was there I found Tom Flynn’s cottage. Loop Head House was the cottage of a fisherman/farmer, just like Tom Flynn, a minor character in my first novel, In Sunshine or in Shadow, who plays a major part in the love story in my upcoming release, Coming Home.

There were other delightful discoveries, too. Fiddle and tin whistle music in the local pub, a wrong turn from Galway City that found us studying a map on the Coast Road beside a lovely view of the sea, visiting Coole Park and Yeats’s Tower, Thoor Ballylee. We even ran into a traffic jam one rainy morning. We were puzzled, until we saw a woman get out of her car and begin shooing a family of ducks across the road!

But the highlight of my trip had to be the day I visited Dunguaire Castle, in Kinvara, Galway.

The cover of In Sunshine or in Shadow features a lovely castle on a brooding autumn day. The minute I saw that picture, I loved it, but all I knew was that it had been taken “somewhere in Galway.” But shortly after reading the book, an Irish friend of mine identified it as Dunguaire, so naturally that had to be one of my must-sees.

How can I describe my reaction to finally seeing the castle I’d begun to think of as “mine?” A thrill, of course, but more than that. It was joy and sadness and excitement and something very close to tenderness. I “knew” this castle. It was a part of me, as no other place had ever been, or ever could be. It was me, somehow, and in some strange way, it was the people of Ballycashel.

And as we toured the castle, all the way up to the towering battlements, I found myself imagining the battles that had been fought for this beautiful land, and the lives and loves of the people of this place. And I wished I could stay forever!

Ireland is like a lover, and once met, it’s impossible to forget her. She takes your hand in a gentle clasp, urging you forward into a world of magic and mist. She touches your heart, fires your spirit, and fills your soul with a yearning to remain always.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona dhuit! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

A Note from the Book Boost: Your post today, Cynthia has made me home sick for The Green Isle! I spent my honeymoon there and it was truly a romance novel living and breathing. I totally know where you are coming from. I must check out these books. Thanks for joining us today. Please tell us about your upcoming release.


“A woman’s love is strong, more powerful than all the ghosts in Ireland. . .”

Daughter of an Irish village girl, step-daughter of the landlord, Ashleen O’Brien has lived between two very different worlds. But after a year in America, she yearns to return to the green land that is her heart’s home.

War and betrayal have taken everything from Cavan Callaghan – his home, his family, and the woman he loved. A hero of the Irish Brigade at Antietem, he’s searching for the family he never knew.

Love and deception await Cavan and Ashleen along those emerald shores, as the ghosts of a past that can never quite be forgotten rise to threaten their newfound happiness.


Prologue The Atlantic Ocean, 1867

He was going home.

Home. Such a simple word. And for so long now, such an unattainable dream.

Yet as he stood on the deck of the Mary O’Connor, he thought maybe he’d finally find a real home once again.

When Johnny comes marching home again . . .

He looked seaward. The salt wind tugged at his hair. Spray stung his eyes. Gulls wheeled and shrieked overhead. Open water lay beyond the horizon, and beyond that still, his new life. In a few weeks, the Mary O’Connor would dock in Galway Bay, and from there he’d head for the small village his parents had spoken of with such love. He felt a stirring of emotion, the first spark of excitement since—

Deliberately he cut off the thought. He was no longer a soldier. There would be no more Rebel yells, no more guns, no more battles. He was no longer Captain Callaghan, so-called hero of the Irish Brigade.

He was just plain Cavan Callaghan, an Irishman searching for peace.

What would Ireland be like? For as long as he could remember, he’d heard his parents speak wistfully of the country they’d left behind. The green fields and sea-swept coast. The heather-strewn countryside filled with wild strawberries and prickly gorse. They’d spoken of the people, too, but especially of his father’s brother.

The last of the Flynns now, except for himself.

His mother had said the village of Ballycashel lay some nine miles from Galway City. What would he find there? He knew about the Hunger, of course. Had any of his family survived?
Or would he find the same devastation he’d confronted on his return from the war?

A ripple of sound floating on the briny breeze told him he wasn’t alone. Recognizing the delicate notes of a penny whistle, he glanced around. One of his fellow passengers, obviously an Irishman, lowered the instrument from his lips and smiled, his foot tapping in jig time.
The piper began playing anew, and a raw slash of anguish ripped through Cavan’s gut. He knew the words well, and the tune the man played so effortlessly and with such emotion.

He’d prayed never to hear them again.

The minstrel boy to the war has gone,

In the ranks of death you’ll find him . . .

He squeezed his eyes shut, the ‘ranks of death’ marching through his memory. So many friends, his comrades-in-arms, who would never return . . .

His brother.

With a hard shake of his head, he strode away from the haunting melody.

He was going home. And there he would find peace.

There would be no more war.

Want More Cynthia?

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Take Note of Guest Blogger: Heather Kuehl

The Book Boost welcomes guest blogger Heather Kuehl to the blog today.

Here's what she had to say...

Music inspires much of my writing. For the Sarah Vargas series, this is particularly true. I was in my college level creative writing class when the inspiration for Sarah struck. The assignment: write a short story based off of a song lyric. Everyone in the class was supposed to write a down a lyric and put it in the hat at the front of the room. Then, one by one, we go and draw from the hat. The lyric I pulled from the hat was from a band named Sublime. The song is called "What I Got" and the lyric I pulled said, "Life is too short, so love the ones you got; 'Cause you might get run over or you might get shot." I've heard those lyrics a million times, but this time something about them brought Sarah to life. I knew in that instant that I had an angry werewolf on my hands, one that was ticked off about the hand she had been dealt. I was intrigued by her, and I desperately wanted to see more of this world she lived in.

Before I knew it, I had more than a short story on my hands. Chapter after chapter flowed out, introducing me to creatures I had never written about before. Before Sarah, I had only written high fantasy. But for some reason, Sarah's world of werewolves and psychotic vampires spoke to me on a level that high fantasy hadn't.

As I wrote, I found that Evanescence was the music that really spoke to Sarah's personality. Amy Lee's lyrics were perfect in conveying Sarah's inner struggle. It wasn't until the end of Fade to Black that the music changed to Avenged Sevenfold, the heavy metal and quick beat perfectly mirroring the panic in Sarah's heart. I've relied on these two bands heavily throughout the last five years when I'm working on my Sarah Vargas series, knowing that they speak to my Muse so completely.

That is why I love music so much, and why I think that I wouldn't be a good writer without it. Music calls to something within me, coaxing my imagination until I have no other choice but to write down what I'm seeing or feeling. It doesn't matter if it's classical or metal, country or rap - if the music calls to me I write. Taylor Swift's "Love Song" inspired a young adult romance I'm working on so strongly that, if I'm stuck, I just have to listen to the song to get my Muse going. Never knowing what's going to happen when I listen to a song for the first time is what makes music-induced inspiration so much fun.

Inspiration through music doesn't just affect writers; it affects everyone. It inspires creativity and pulls at emotions buried deep inside ourselves. Chefs sing while they cook, artists are inspired by music much like writers are, and nurses hum while they work. No matter who you are, music calls to you. So tell me, does music inspire you?

A Note from the Book Boost: I find inspiration everywhere these days. A word, phrase, lyric, or tune can certainly stoke the creative embers of my brain. Thanks for sharing your musical inspiration and world building with us today. Please share more about your latest book.


After she broke her contract with the Blood Moon Corporation, Sarah Vargas knew that it was only a matter of time before they came for her. What she didn't know is what lengths they would go to make sure that she had no where to run. Everyone Sarah has every relied on is in danger during a time when friends become enemies, and Sarah quickly realizes that the Blood Moon Corporation will never give up until she is dead. The Blood Moon Corporation is coming, and even Sarah doesn't think she can make it out alive.


At times, I loved my mentor. It was a pity the BMC let him go. So many people like me needed a teacher like him.

Just like Jared’s death, the BMC’s abandonment of Dom made no sense. Why would they get rid of one of their best teachers?

I gasped as it came to me as clearly as a premonition. I felt my connection with Damian flair as my mind went into shock, putting pieces together that I didn’t know fit. It couldn’t be…

It made too much sense not to.

I looked up at Dom. “Why didn’t the BMC save you from Marcellus?” I asked with my voice barely above a whisper.

It was the most obvious question, one that should have been asked the moment the vampire necromancer died. I had been too busy grieving over Jared to think straight.

Damian kept the metaphysical lines between us open, listening but careful not to say a word to distract me. I could feel him in my head, and I didn’t mind, one less person to tell.

Dom looked into my eyes and I could see indecision filling their black depths. He sighed as he backed away, and I thought that he decided not to tell when he faced me and said, “They ordered me to kill you.”

“And?” I asked. My blood ran cold. I felt the wolf inside me tense, preparing for an attack.

“And I refused,” Dom growled with disbelief written on his features. “Sarah, you’re like a daughter to me. I could never cause you harm.”

“What did the BMC do?”

“They said that they understood. The next day they sent me to take out Marcellus.”

I licked my lips. “They sent a vampire to kill a vampire necromancer?”

“Yes, that’s…” Dom froze. “They set me up.”

“No. I don’t think they did.”

“How do you figure? Sarah, I was controlled…”

“By a creature sent here to kill Damian, not me.”

Dom cocked his head to the side, and I screamed with frustration that he wasn’t putting it altogether.

“Think about it Dom! There are four people that I can fully trust; you, Donavan, Jared, and Damian.”

“Go on.”

“They sent Marcellus here to kill Damian. If he had succeeded, that would have taken care of one of my four. In doing so, the throne of Charleston would have been open to him, and I would be out of a safe place to live. Donovan should have killed you for killing his Weres. I should have been kicked out of the Clan for letting the dead Weres happen on my watch. Luckily, Donavan is more understanding than the BMC give him credit for. I would have been out of another safe house as well as a Clan to protect me. You, a vamp would sacrifice his own life to keep me safe. Jared…” I couldn’t say any more, and Dom started nodding as he thought it over.

“I can’t believe they would do this,” he said.

Donavan came over as Dom said these words. “Who?”

“The Blood Moon Corporation,” Dom and I said in unison.

“We’ve got to tell Damian,” Dom said as he dug into his pocket for his phone.

“There’s no need,” I said before he could pull it out. “He’s been in my head listening since I figured it out.”

I felt Damian’s anger rise to the surface, and suddenly I saw Damian as though I actually stood in his office. His black hair, once long enough to touch his knees, now barely brushed his shoulders. His plum-colored eyes burned with anger as he pulled book after book off the bookcase against his back wall.

Want More Heather?

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Food for Thought with Guest Blogger: Therese Gilardi

The Book Boost welcomes author Therese Gilardi to the blog.

Here's what she had to say...

Between St. Patrick’s Day and National Noodle Month, March is a celebration of my ethnic heritage, a sensory salute to my certainty we are indeed what we eat. I’ll never know for certain if the generous number of vowels in my surname endowed me with a special food gene, but I have my suspicions. You see, while other women mark momentous occasions with annotated scrapbook photos, I recall the seasons of my life in food.

When I set my table, I lay out the touchstones I need to get myself into a certain state of mind as both a diner and a writer. My menu is like my i-Pod playlist, something I shuffle whenever I feel I need to open my mind and my creative third eye to a new possibility. For example, if I’m serving up pasta in a pot I’m reliving my childhood, an endless round of christenings, communions and graduations commemorated by the mother of all Italian meals, a tin of rigs (for the uninitiated that’s a foil pan loaded down with homemade rigatoni, thick meat sauce and melted mozzarella cheese). One taste of this meal and I’m twelve again, with all of the yearnings and discomforts I need to get inside the head of my middle-grade protagonist.

Handmade guacamole and blue corn tortilla chips? I’m dipping back into dusty days on the barren plains of north Texas and the haunting miscarriage that led to my poem, “Dallas Delivery”. A few bites of those crunchy chips and I’m remembering the sense of failure when I lost my child, and the guilt I felt at eating a full meal (penne with tinned green beans) for the first time in months upon my return from the hospital.

Of course most of my culinary tricks of hand take me to lovely memories, and enable me to write from a positive perspective. For example, feeling grainy home-made applesauce slip through my teeth reminds me of my first home in New England, where my beloved daughter and her fabulous older brother taught me the meaning of the word contentment, which inspired one of my favorite essays, “Confessions of a Reformed Stage Mother”, a piece whose publication taught me that confiding about one’s shortcomings as a parent will not result in blackballing from civilized society.

I know I’m lucky; lots of writers through the years have felt the need to turn to the bottle for their inspiration, whereas I’ve been able to find my motivation in the market stalls, restaurant tables and numerous kitchens that have been a part of my life. During my twenty-three years of marriage, my husband and I and our children have lived in three U.S. and two European time zones. We’ve visited around twenty-five foreign countries and the majority of American states. From Boston to Bratislava, London to Los Angeles, the one constant for me has always been food. Where I’ve been to eat, what the food looks, tastes and smells like, and what conversations and interactions I’ve had with my fellow diners and servers are the first things I record in my journal whenever I visit someplace new, be it across the street or across the world.

Long after memories of monuments and museums have faded, I recall markets and dining tables, and how I felt as I tasted what a culture and its people value. I have found that even in countries where I don’t know all of the proper vocabulary, the language of the fork is universal. These culinary exchanges have formed the basis for many essays and short stories and have informed all of my senses, which I believe has helped me become a more intuitive writer. Like the legendary explorer Marco Polo, I have discovered that inspiration can be found all over the world. All I have to do is use my noodle.

A Note from the Book Boost: What a wonderful way to look at life--through food! There are few things more intimate than what we consume into our bodies for nourishment and the pure enjoyment of sustaining life. Thanks for joining us today, Therese! Please tell us more about your book.


For centuries Cupid has longed to be more than Venus’s arrow boy. When he’s sent to eliminate “Happily Ever After by Amelia”, the matchmaking business threatening Venus’s status as the goddess of love, Cupid decides to steal Amelia’s methods and make his own matches. While spying on Amelia, Cupid accidentally shoots himself with his magical arrow and falls in love with her. But bereaved Amelia doesn’t believe in the existence of Roman gods, and she’s certainly not looking for romance. She’s too busy perfecting the patented personality profile that’s made her Hollywood’s favorite matchmaker.

Disguising himself as a mortal financial advisor, Cupid manages to break through Amelia’s guarded exterior. As their passion deepens so does Cupid’s guilt about deceiving Amelia. Cupid’s interference with Amelia’s life causes her business to falter, leads to a sterile spring that threatens the animal kingdom and shatters the longstanding peace between the Roman and Greek gods. With the fate of the natural and under worlds at stake, Cupid must decide whether to reveal his true identity and risk losing the chance to live happily ever after with Amelia.


“You have to do something about that woman or before you know it, they’ll be tearing down all those statues of me and calling her the goddess of love!”

Venus flicked her cream, silk scarf over her slender shoulders as she peered through the ultra-powerful telescope she had set up in her hilltop villa, which was a replica of one of her favorite Roman palaces. She knew she should stop looking through the lens every hour, but she couldn’t help herself. For thousands of years, across all parts of the globe, high in the heavens and deep in the underworld, she’d been the undisputed queen of matchmaking. But now, for the first time in over two millennia, Venus was beginning to fear she’d met her match.


In the valley below, not far from a string of psychic reading rooms, the Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” museum, and the famous thirty foot white block letters that spelled out “Hollywood”, sat a glass fronted shop with a rose colored wooden door. Above its small bay window stood a pink and purple flowered sign that read, “Happily Ever After by Amelia”. Inside its small, wooden floored front room stood Amelia Coillard, her dainty hands wrapped around a large almond vanilla pie.

“I spent all evening making this for you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!” A tall woman wearing an enormous pear shaped ruby on her left ring finger sputtered as she bowed slightly. “Really, Amelia, you’re the best. David and I want to invite you to our wedding. On June twenty-first. It’ll be a way to mark our own new season together.”

Amelia smiled. She was used to these follow-up visits from grateful clients, women and even some men who had been certain they’d been fated to be alone until they’d discovered her matchmacking business.

“Glad we could help Susanna. Don’t forget to tell your friends about us.”

The woman giggled as she pushed past the wrought iron marble topped café table where Amelia met with clients. As she pulled the beveled glass door closed behind her, the intertwined pink and purple wooden hearts that hung against the wooden frame banged together. Amelia waved as Susanna disappeared into the rising March sun.

“We’ve got another wedding. Guess when,” Amelia called out to her assistant Jennie as she stepped into the backroom and placed the pie on a distressed pine sideboard, next to the boxes of chocolates, baskets of figs, bottles of champagne, potpourri sachets and bundles of beeswax candles. If there was a foodstuff or a house ware associate with love, lust or fertility, Amelia had received it from a satisfied client.

“Not the summer solstice,” Jennie groaned.

“You add up flowers in bloom, longer days and baby animals at the zoo and it can all mean only one thing. June brides. I adore our clients, but for the life of me I don’t know how they can be so sentimental.”

Jennie laughed.

Amelia walked to the little cupboard in the corner and withdrew the fitted white crocheted sweater she always wore when she was at work. She’d purchased the sweater two years ago at the Rose Bowl flea market, right after she opened “Happily Ever After by Amelia”. The woman she’d bought it from told her it had originally been part of the trousseau of one of the old studio stars that lived up in the Hollywood Hills. Although Amelia wasn’t sure she believed the woman’s story, she had to admit that the sweater’s delicate pattern did resemble wedding lace. She smiled as she pulled the sweater over top of her black mini-dress and adjusted her wavy auburn hair over its pearl-trimmed collar.

“So what’s the day look like?” Amelia asked as she glanced out the window. “ Oh, wait, there’s Justin.”

She rapped her knuckles on the glass pane and smiled at a tall, slightly scruffy man in a red and black jacket. Like far too many of the people who roamed these streets the man’s prematurely wrinkled face and weathered body reflected the brutal realities of living rough in the hot California sun.

“I’ve got something for you.”

Amelia handed Justin the pie, along with a fork, cloth napkin and water bottle.

“Thanks Amelia. I’ll bring it by later,” Justin said, nodding at the place setting.

“No problem. Now, who do we have coming in today?” Amelia asked, turning back to Jennie.

“Three women coming in this morning to fill out their personality profiles. You know one actually had the nerve to ask me if you’d e-mail it to her so she could complete it on her own time? Yeah, and she can forward it to everyone she knows and before you know it your secret formula is out in the open.”

Amelia laughed.

“It’s not as mindless as that. You make it sound like I’m just making random matches, sending someone out there to shoot arrows into an unsuspecting public. Who do you think I am, Venus?”

Jennie smirked.

Amelia looked out the window at the back of her little storefront, toward the faded ocher stucco mansion with long French windows and a red-tiled roof that sat atop the highest of the Hollywood Hills. Long verandas seemed to wrap around the house, although it was impossible to know for certain if they ran across the back of the home, since the far side of the walled property was not accessible by road or foot. It sat atop a fault line. No one dared venture onto the rocky terrain, for fear of disrupting the crusty earth beneath the bougainvillea bushes.

Jennie put her arm around Amelia.


“Don’t what?”

“Don’t go down that path, Lia. It’s not going to take you anywhere you want to be.”

"I don’t know what you mean.”

“Come on, let it go.”

Amelia sighed.

“Do you have any idea how many cakes, cookies, tarts, baskets and bouquets I left on those stone steps? Do you know, I used to climb up to that gate every year on Christmas Eve and what should’ve been my parents’ anniversary and leave her these hand written letters I’d actually sealed with a kiss. I taped those little Hershey’s candies to the envelope when I was little and then, when I was in high school, I’d slather on red lipstick and run my mouth across the envelope. I can’t believe I was so stupid!”

“We all do dumb things.”

“Yeah but come on. Believing that an ancient Roman goddess exists and that she lives right here in my own neighborhood?”

Jennie laughed.

“It does sound absurd when you put it that way. Plus everybody knows that house has been abandoned for decades. Why they don’t add it to the Haunted Hollywood tour is beyond me.”

Amelia nodded. As she took a final look at the mansion, she thought she saw a flash of rose-colored light shooting across the bottom floor.

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