Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Foray into Cliches with Guest Blogger: Linda Armstrong Miller

Meet Christian fiction author 
Linda Armstrong-Miller 
today at the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about clichés and here's what she had to say...

Sam used to call her when he was on a stakeout to tell her how much he loved and missed her. Before hanging up, she would tell him she was settling in for a long winter’s nap. During Sam’s last stakeout, Sally was pregnant; hearing her use that phrase helped to put him at ease.

What codes do you and your loved ones use to make sure all is well when you can’t exactly talk? I bet it’s a cliché.


After his shower, he placed a Band-Aid on his elbow then settled on his bed for “a long winter’s nap.” Sam smiled. Sally loved Christmas. So much so, she would use that line from time to time as a sign that all was well with her.

Does your significant other have a saying that he or she can whisper in your ear or say out loud even that only you know what is being said? Is it a cliché?


It meant her odds of getting out of there had increased, even if only a little. Now that Lisa’s hands were free, she knew she needed to find a way to activate her tracer without bringing everyone in the building down on her. It was an easy enough task. But to turn it on, she had to give up playing possum.

Whether you are a kid or an adult, I know you, at some time, have played possum.


“No.” She tried to frown and shake her head. Acting wasn’t one of her strong suits. Playing dumb was something she had even less experience with, but it seemed she was convincing them. “Somfhin for pain?”

When you are being questioned about something that went wrong at work or if your parents are asking you how the cake got cut before dinner do you play dumb and ask “what are you talking about. Or was I even there or something to that effect? That’s called playing dumb and we have all done it.

All of those examples are clichés and they can all be found in Betrayal and Forgiveness. I use clichés in all my writings but I don’t go around talking in clichés. I find that there is a time when speaking in code is sexy or can be used to make a person have peace of mind or shock them into motion; the list goes on. The paragraphs above are just a few reasons and examples of how I use clichés.

We all can remember a clichés that made the news that faithful day of 9/11. “Let’s roll.” Those are the last words that wife will ever hear her husband say but those words gave her strength. Those powerful words told her that he was not going to go down without a fight. Those words can make her smile or maybe they make her cry; whatever emotion they invoke reminds her of her husband’s minutes on earth. That cliché served its purpose from him to her.

That’s the role of clichés. I don’t think we should avoid clichés for fear people will think we don’t have much to say. I don’t believe that is true. I think proper use of a good clichés can take your story far.

A Note from the Book Boost:  This is an interesting topic, Linda.  Most publishers and editors hate cliches and they are typically not permitted in most fiction.  But, I really like them.  Wish they weren't so looked down upon in writing as a general rule.  I'm from the south and we do talk in cliches around here...guess it is just a matter of personality.  Thanks for joining us.  Please tell us more about your latest.


In the Bible, the Lord asked that we not make promises unless we are sure that we can keep them.

Lisa made a promise and has done everything in her power to keep that promise. a lesson her father needed to learn. Before he was able to practice keeping his promise, he lost the love of his daughter, his best friend, and he was about to lose the love of his son.

Time was running out for all of them, but they didn't know it.

Want More Linda?

Visit her on the web here:

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Time for a Sequel, ye say? With Guest Blogger: Marilyn Morris

Welcome author Marilyn Morris 
to the Book Boost today!

She's here to chat about sequels and here's what she had to say...

I should know better by now.  As I finished typing The End on my historical romance novel, The Unexplored Heart, I heard a loud “AHEM!”  I looked around, wondering who had spoken to me. 

The voice took form as she continued, “You just think you’re finished.”  It was Esther Wooster, researcher extraordinary and wife of archaeologist Charles Wooster, gliding toward my desk.  She gave me a steely gaze over the rims of her spectacles before settling with a gentle “plop” into my easy chair.  (Esther is a rather corpulent lady.)

“I want a book for myself.” She continued.  “About myself.  You must write a sequel, where I embark on yet another quest. I am feeling somewhat restless and unfulfilled after having discovered Camelot.”

“Oh, of course,” I said.  My mind was racing.  How to do this sequel? What role should the other characters play, with Esther assuming the lead?  But I found myself outlining in a few sentences, After Camelot:  Esther’s Quest.

Esther picked up her large portfolio filled with research, and wearing a serene smile of satisfaction, she disappeared. 

Not all my sequels reach that pinnacle of drama.  In fact, I really had no idea of writing a trilogy featuring that mystical, magical black cat, Sabbath.  But when I reached the end of Sabbath’s Gift, questions remained, loose ends begged for attention.  So I began writing Sabbath’s House, where my characters moved from the farmhouse where bodies were buried in the cellar to a – what else? – haunted house.  And when I typed “The End” of Sabbath’s House, I knew I had to write at least one more novel, and thus, Sabbath’s Village is now in outline form. 

The Women of Camp Sobingo is my WWII era novel featuring four women who meet aboard a ship bound for Korea to join their army officer husbands with the Occupation.  They form a bond that strengthens them for the secrets and sorrows that are at last revealed in a reunion some twenty-five years later.  The character of Trudy Cavanaugh seemed a natural for a “what happens next?” sequel. 
The title of this novel will be That Cavanaugh Woman, and follows this unlikely heiress to a publishing company established by her powerful father-in-law. 

So, you can see some serendipity here, can’t you?  Not actually planned sequels suddenly present themselves, in the form of a demanding Esther Wooster; the magical black cat, Sabbath solving yet another mystery; and the courage of one of The Women of Camp Sobingo taking over a vast publishing empire.

Just another reason I love my “job” as novelist. 

A Note from the Book Boost:  I'm writing my first true sequel right now, Marilyn and finding it both fun and frightening at the same time.  Wish me luck on that!  Your books sound terrific and I enjoyed hearing about them.  Please tell us more about your latest.


Impoverished but proud Vanessa Danforth is forced from her mother’s home by her new stepfather’s treachery in 1860s England.  After graduating from stenographer’s school, she accepts a position at the estate of famed world explorer, Harrison Courtland.  Made a widower by his wife’s tragic death in the Himalayas, Courtland has retreated into his work while Vanni forges friendships with the his daughter Katrin and the handsome physician from the neighboring estate.

As Vanni encourages Courtland to unearth the ancient ruins at the edge of his property she discovers not only a stunning secret and a hidden treasure, but also her own heart’s desire.

Excerpt (edited for length):  

She was just about ready to settle into reading the main text when Clarice bustled into the room.

“So would you look at you, now? Reading a rag like that, when ye should be intent on findin’out about yer stepfather’s will,” she began.

Vanessa laughed aloud at the sound of her maid’s voice repeating the very words she had just imagined.  Clarice ignored her laugh, hands on hips, shaking her capped head.  “And what’s so funny, Miss Vanni?” She used her old nickname, which made Vanessa instantly nostalgic for the days when she would sit on her mother’s lap, listening to her musical voice calling her “Vanni.” Her heart wrenched at the old name.  Nonetheless, she answered, “Oh, Clarice, you’re such a fussy-budget.  I just this minute seated myself, as old Mr. Fisher is late and a girl has to have something to do whilst she’s waiting, now, doesn’t she?” She pursed her lips, making a small frown on her brow, but her blue eyes danced with merriment.

“Enough with yer nonsense, child,” Clarice continued.  “Adventures? For a slight girl like ye? And a well-brought up young lady, too. Unseemly nonsense.  Now get along with ye; I came to fetch you into the study.  Mr. Fisher himself is here, now; that’s what I meant to tell you.  Go along with you, now.” She made shooing motions with her large, rough hands.

Vanni rose from her chair, smoothed imaginary wrinkles from her dress and then her hands fiddled with her curls.  “Thank you, Clarice,” she said in mock solemnity.  Then she strode with all the dignity and courage she could muster out of the room and down the hall to the study.

Pausing before she opened the door, she once more smoothed her skirt and touched her long brown hair carefully arranged in ringlets around her small, pale face.  Taking a deep breath, she slid open the massive door and entered the gloomy study.

She had always hated this room, now more than ever, since it was dimly lit. She hated it especially since Mr. Firestone had come to live in her mother’s house.  Rooms that had been light and airy and cheerful, like her mother’s disposition, had then taken on somber tones, like Mr. Firestone himself.  Vanni had always been reluctant to enter this room when her stepfather was alive, and now that the man was dead, it took on an even more forbidding tone.

Her eyes adjusted slowly to the interior and she perceived the shadowy form of her solicitor, Aimsley  Fisher, who now rose from his chair behind the rosewood desk.

“Miss Vanessa,” he intoned solemnly. Aimsley Fisher stood and waved his thin, elegant hand at the wingback chair across from the desk.  His mustache twitched slightly, whether from a nervous habit or an attempt to subdue a small smile, Vanni couldn’t imagine which.

“Mr. Fisher,” she replied, attempting to be just as solemn. “How good of you to come.”

“I will try to make this as brief as possible.” He indicated that she should be seated, and she chose a tapestry-covered armchair opposite the massive desk.

“I assume you know the reason I’m here.” 

She nodded. “It’s about Mr. Firestone’s will, I should imagine.”

“Miss Vanessa, in all those years he was your father, you never called your stepfather anything but Mr. Firestone."

“He hardly was anything more than that to me, Mr. Fisher.  I could scarcely bear to think of him even as my mother’s husband.  I thought he treated her badly,” she added.

“Uhhhhm, how unfortunate,” Mr. Fisher said absently.

“I’m sure you didn’t come here to discuss my late step-father’s shortcomings,” Vanni prodded.  “And I’m just as certain you have no time to spare with your busy practice of the law.”

“Quite so, Miss Danforth.” He cleared his throat and shuffled a few papers on the desk, finally setting on one that he now held in his hand.

“I am informing you of the provisions contained in the late Mr. Firestone’s will, rather than conducting a full reading that would not pertain to you, if you find that agreeable.”

“Agreed, Mr. Fisher.”

“I’m afraid what he has said pertaining to your lot of his estate will not be to your liking.” His eyes peered at her over his spectacles.

Vanni noticed the dancing fire reflecting in the spectacles. Something evil is coming out of this. Her breathing came in pants as her heart rate accelerated.

“Go on,” she said almost in a whisper. 

Want More Marilyn?
Visit her on the web here:  

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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Waiting for End with Guest Blogger: Margie Church

Win a copy of Executive Decision and 
meet author Margie Church 
today at the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about those long, summer days and here's what she had to say...

I don't live in the Land of the Midnight Sun, but the summer days are long in Minnesota. At this time of year, we see the first stain of sunrise at 4:30 a.m. and the cobalt blue of sunset around 9:30 p.m. That's a lot of sunshine, especially when you have kids. Because kids are like solar-powered windup toys in the summer. The longer it's light, the longer they keep going. And did I mention the birds start chirping like kids on a playground about 15 minutes prior? Um yeah.

Before kids, things were a lot different, of course. We could sit out on the deck and drink beer and swat mosquitoes until the mosquitoes got inebriated with each bite they took and we didn't care. Or we'd fish until it got so dark we could hardly find our way up the path to our tent. We'd be out doing oodles of yard work and gardening and not mind the extra hours of sunlight at all. Because we could quit when we wanted to quit, and we slept like vampires on the weekends.

But our kids never slept in and they never stop going – even now as teenagers. And neither did the neighbor kids.

When our oldest was five, we got a trampoline. Word to the wise, never get a trampoline. The safety issues aside, it's a kid-magnet. Our yard became the summer vacation destination for every kid in the neighborhood. They walked, biked, scootered, and sometimes got dropped off by their parents on their way home from work. No kidding. I finally had to send letters home with the kids asking parents to enforce safety rules, and respect our family time.

I'll never forget seeing a couple of the kids sitting at the edge of the driveway while we ate dinner – that was their idea of going home for dinner – so they wouldn't miss a bounce. I had to shut the shades so our kids would eat dinner. The kids complained about having to drink water and not be served snacks while they were playing so hard on our trampoline. Humm. I was running a daycare without getting paid for it. And that's when I started to hate long summer days.

If I could have found a way to silence the trampoline springs, I would have. The neighbor's kids had super-power hearing. One squeak and over they ran. Sometimes I sent them packing without even one little bounce. Payback for making me sit out there in the blistering sun making sure they didn't do something foolish and break their necks. And for listening to them whine about the Kool-Aid or lack thereof. I hoped their parents, who never came over to see where their little darlings were, enjoyed the whining for awhile. Even when the note said please come over and say hello.

After those years, I began to look at Summer Solstice a lot differently. The long, dark December nights are coming. The house lights will be turned on at 4 p.m. and it's not light until 8 a.m. Things quiet down, slow down. It means this workaholic actually relaxes more in the winter and goes out more. For this northern gal, there's nothing more beautiful than a walk on a winter's night. When the snow is falling and Christmas lights glitter on each flake. The only sound I hear is the crunch of my boots on the snow. All the trampolines and long daylight days of summer are put away. That's tranquility.

My newest book, Executive Decision, is a far cry from kiddos and trampolines. It's about two gay men who work together in the chemicals industry.

A Note from the Book Boost:  Margie,  I feel your pain.  Hubby bought the kids a trampoline for Christmas and the kids love it.  It makes me a nervous wreck.  The pediatrician said that it is an Orthopedic Surgeon's paycheck!  Oy!  Thanks for the memories and please tell us more about your latest!


The prospect of getting caught while having sex is a powerful aphrodisiac for Logan Carlyle. He's viewed as the leader on the sales force, but in bed, he's a submissive all the way.

Hunter James is just as adventurous as Logan. He's lower in the sales ranks, but he's the top when it comes to his relationship with Logan.

When Logan's thrill-seeking desires create chaos with their careers and severs their relationship, Madame Evangeline's expertise is required.


Logan frowned, wondering whether there was some kind of Las Vegas-style scam hidden in the offer. He pitched the card in the bathroom trash, dismissing the idea.

Wearing only a pair of briefs, he turned back the bed covers. A good night’s rest would do wonders. Tomorrow could be a beast if integrating his company’s resins didn’t go smoothly in the new manufacturing plant. He flipped through television channels until he found the news. While a series of commercials aired, he tapped the keyboard to awaken the laptop.

While reading the mundane emails from work, his thoughts drifted to the business card he’d thrown away. Was it an escort service? He’d never tried one.

Should I?

Curious, Logan retrieved the card from the wastebasket and typed in the website address. Scanning the pages, clearly 1Night Stand was not an escort service by any stretch of the imagination. He breathed a sigh of relief. Much of what he read interested him. With his finger poised over the request information link, he vacillated between feeling downright dumb and really wanting someone in his life again.

What could it hurt? He clicked.

Want More Margie?

Visit her on the web here:

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Contest Time:

Share a summer from hell moment with Margie and be entered to win a copy of Executive Decision.  Or winner may choose any book from her back list.

**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!**

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Superstitious Writings with Guest Blogger: Gail Koger

Win an ARC of I Hear Voices
a glass pendant and welcome author 
Gail Koger to the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about superstitions and here's what she had to say...

It was Friday the 13th but I wasn’t worried. I mean, everyone knows it’s a bunch of superstitious nonsense.  C’mon, what’s the worst that could happen? Fate, that sadistic bitch, laughed hysterically.

Still believing this was just another ordinary day I pulled into a 7-11 convenience market parking lot for a badly needed caffeine fix. There’s nothing scary about a 7-11, right? Did I mention this particular 7-11 was in a seedy part of town? One look at the graffiti decorating the walls and sidewalks should have discouraged me. But, oh no, I needed my fix.

The second I stepped out of my car, a scrawny dude wearing a long black trench coat and carrying a really big stick sprinted towards me. OMG! I’m gonna die. My heart pounding, I scurried inside and smiled at the nice armed security guard. This was my second clue that I hadn’t stopped at a “normal” store.

I headed for the coolers and realized the scrawny dude had followed me. Practically glued to my back side, he gushed, “I just love your fingernail polish.”

Say what?  I gave him a polite smile and power walked to the cash register. Unfortunately, he was still glued to my backside.  “Seriously dude, you’re invading my space.”

His response? “Where did you get that fabulous polish?” 

Was this some kind of cosmic joke? “Uh, at JC Penney’s. Why?”

He giggled insanely. “Oh, I just have to get me some.”

“Okay, bye-bye.” I ran out to my car and locked the doors. Whoa! Talk about freaky weird.

A block down the street my tire warning light suddenly popped on. Thump. Thump. Thump. I pulled into the only remaining full service gas station left in area and yep. It’s flat and is that a spoon sticking out of my tire? The attendant nods.  “Yes ma’am. That’s a spoon.” What are the odds of that happening?

Should I risk a trip to the supermarket?  I was out of chocolate and nothing stood between me and my chocolate. Not even a few freaky coincidences.

I walked confidently into the store, got my shopping cart and strolled down the aisles. I checked my shopping list and reached for a quart of low fat milk. There was an ominous snapping noise as the front clasp on my bra broke and out popped the girls. Did I mention I’m well endowed? Too well endowed to ever go braless, plus my girls were starting to migrate south.  Not a pretty sight.

Okay, the stock boy ogling my chest didn’t seem to be traumatized in the least. In fact he was downright enjoying the show. I shoved the cart at him, clamped my purse over the girls and fled the store.  I might not be a superstitious coward but I knew when to wave the white flag. Fate had won.

Unfortunately all these wonderful things actually happened to me. I've added some of my more interesting moments into my stories. Which is why I write paranormal romances and science fiction romance. My life can be out there.

A Note from the Book Boost:  What a riot!  Makes you not want to leave the house sometimes.  But I'll bet these make for fabulous scenes in your books.  Thanks for sharing, Gail.  Wonder if that fella ever got him some polish, eh?  Please tell us more about your latest.


After being laid off from her psychic gig, Zelda Dragos decides finding Montezuma’s lost treasure has to be easier than prying a check out of the state’s unemployment office. The fly in the ointment is the tenacious Derek Sloan, an Indiana Jones type, who wants the gold for himself.

The first clue in the treasure hunt is an Aztec amulet on display at the Phoenix Art Museum. All Zelda needs to do is “borrow” it for a bit. Unfortunately, Derek has the identical plan. With the help of a holographic diversion featuring the Rock as Montezuma, Zelda zaps him with a stun gun and walks off with the Amulet.

Zelda uses all of her tricks to discourage Derek’s relentless pursuit; a smoke bomb, mace, a hive of angry bees and getting him arrested. Out of options, Zelda finds herself stuck with a partner who thinks she needs a keeper and he’s just the man for the job.

To find the treasure all they have to deal with is an angry Apache Thunder God, Asmoday, the demon king of the Ninth Hell, eight thousand vengeful Aztec spirits and a mummified Aztec warrior. Adding to the mess is Zelda’s evil Aunt Sophie and Uncle Dante who wants the treasure for themselves. Dante’s lethal goons are hot on their trail. Derek and Zelda soon discover love blooms in the weirdest places.

Excerpt (edited for length):

I hear voices and see dead people. No, I’m not nuts. I’m psychic. It’s a family thing. I worked for a psychic hotline called Picas Moon. My specialty was Tarot Card readings. For only $3.99 a minute, you got to chat with me, a real live, genuine, authentic, certified psychic. I even had a nice little certificate hanging on the wall of my cubicle that stated that fact. Want to know the future, need to connect with the spirit world or find the love of your life? Give me your Visa or Master Card numbers and I was yours for as long as you needed me or until your money ran out. It was a nice gig.

Until Madam Celeste called me into her office on Christmas Eve and instead of getting that nice bonus check I was expecting, I was laid off. Me? I was the only genuine psychic she had. The rest were delusional quacks, flat out liars and phony, no talent hacks. Okay, the delusional quacks were Madam Celeste’s daughters, and of course, they kept their jobs. Family is family no matter how incredibly awful their advice was. I foresaw a lawsuit in their immediate future.

Since I’m an authentic psychic I should have seen it coming, right? It doesn’t work that way. I can’t predict my future. My life is basically a crap shoot just like everyone else’s and sometimes you roll snake eyes.

On Christmas morning, I got hit with more bad news. My Aunt Sophie, another authentic psychic, had tracked me down and offered me my old job back. The one where I did séances that scammed grieving relatives out of their hard earned money. I hated every minute of it.

The only reason I stayed as long as I did was to protect my grandmother from Uncle Dante, the devil incarnate, who locked her in the basement and threatened to kill her if I didn’t do the séances. But it was Aunt Sophie, his older sister that scared the piss out of me. She dabbled in the black arts and was known to have summoned a demon or two. When Granny Annabel died, I made my escape and never looked back.

What was Aunt Sophie’s ultimatum? If I wasn’t back at the family compound in Seattle by New Year’s Day, she would turn my life into a living hell. She could and she did. My family members are not the nicest people in the world. In fact, most of them are scam artists, thieves or worse.

After Aunt Sophie put the word out, finding another psychic gig was nigh-on impossible. Because of the sucky economy, I couldn’t even get a job at a local burger joint. Trying to get the State of Arizona to fork over unemployment benefits was even harder. The minute I mentioned I was a psychic it was over.

Out of desperation to prove to the clerk that I really was a genuine psychic I blurted out, “Your boyfriend, Mark, is cheating on you with your best friend, Martha.” The poor thing burst into tears and fled her window. The nice security guard escorted me to a tiny waiting room and promised a supervisor would speak to me shortly. Was that shorthand for the police were coming? I hoped not.

Want More Gail?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Contest Time:

Answer the three questions below correctly and you are entered to win an advance copy of I Hear Voices, second place winner will receive a fired glass pendant.  Send your answers to:
  • What tricks does Zelda use to discourage Derek? (Hint:  Click here.)
  •  Who is Freddy Crystal? (Hint:  Click here.)
  • What did Granny Annabel warn Zelda about?  (Hint:  Click here.)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Chat with Featured Author: Donna Alward

Welcome RITA nominee, romance author, 
Donna Alward to the Book Boost today!

We recently had a chat with Donna and here's what she had to say...

TBB:  Welcome to the Book Boost, Donna.  Tell us a little about yourself and what you've been up to lately.

DA:  I’m from Keswick Ridge, a small community in New Brunswick, Canada, where I grew up on an apple farm.   Oh my gosh, this spring has been busy. I have my new Cadence Creek Cowboys duet out and it seems to be doing well, and my October 2011 book, How A Cowboy Stole Her Heart, is up for a RITA® award as well as a National Reader’s Choice Award and a Booksellers’ Best Award. I found out a few weeks ago that it won the Colorado Award of Excellence. I think it was sprinkled with a bit of fairy dust to be honest. It’s been pretty surreal.

TBB:  That sounds amazing!  Congrats on all the big news and your recent successes.  I'm sure they are all well deserved.  Can you tell us how you began writing in the first place?

DA:  I began writing when I was going through post partum depression, though I’d always been keen on literature and writing. But that was when I sat down and wrote a novel from start to finish, and I was hooked.

TBB:  That's really interesting.  The writing was a sort of therapy for you then.  Wonderful.  How did you come up with the idea for your latest book?

DA:     I knew that Tyson Diamond was a bad boy. He’s the spare in the heir and the spare kind of thing. But the inspiration behind a lot of the emotion in the book comes from writing it at a time our family was going through a loss. There’s some pain in this book, but there are a lot of real feel-good moments too, I think. Trials really can bring people together and show you their best sides.

TBB:  So, that being said...what if you could only use ONE word to describe this book?  What would it be?

DA:  Gentle. Which surprised me, to be honest.

TBB:  What does your family think of your writing?

DA:  Annoyed when it’s frozen pizza night and the laundry isn’t done. Proud when good stuff happens.

TBB:  Oh, I'm so lucky.  My hubby does about 90% of the cooking around here.  But we do frozen pizza when he's out of town.  LOL  What about other authors...which one would you most like to meet and have lunch with if you could choose just one?

DA:  LaVyrle Spencer. I cut my romance teeth on her books and I am continually awed at how she could take topics that no one would generally touch with a ten-foot pole and make those characters sympathetic. She had a real knack for that, and I was so sad when she retired. Her books are blessings.

TBB:  A true classic indeed.  So, speaking of your fave authors...what book(s) are you reading now?

DA:  Right now I’m finishing up the last of Sherryl Woods’ Chesapeake Shores series (The Summer Garden) and after that, who knows? Whatever strikes my fancy from my toppling tbr. It might just be Game of Thrones…

TBB:  Sherryl Woods is fantastic.  Can you leave us with some good advice for aspiring authors?

DA:  There’s so much writing advice out there that it can be overwhelming. The truth is the most important thing you will ever do as a writer is just sit in the chair and write. No matter what. It really can be that simple. 

TBB:  Well, I have to say a special thank you to Donna for her generous contribution to the annual Brenda Novak Auction for Diabetes.  As my daughter has just reached her 9th year with juvenile diabetes (and she's only 11), this is a cause near and dear to my heart.  Donna won the Book Boost's auction for a year of promotion and I simply couldn't be more grateful.  Thank you, Donna and my fingers are crossed for you come the big RITA night this July!

Please leave us with a few more details about your latest.     


With his break-your-heart smile, rodeo star and rebel Ty Diamond has a reputation that should have Clara Ferguson running scared—not straight into his arms!

Ty knows he needs to take it easy with Clara—her past has left her with a bruised heart and she's determined never to rely on a man again. But Ty isn't all he seems…and his gentle side shakes Clara's resolute independence to its breaking point.

Excerpt (edited for length):

Clara had heard a lot about Tyson Diamond. Some of it good, a lot of it questionable. But none of the reports had warned her that he was over six feet of sexy cowboy with a break-your-heart smile and a devilish gleam in his eye. 

And now he was striding this way as Angela, still resplendent in her wedding dress, waved him over.

Clara wondered if she could say her final congratulations to Sam and Angela and escape before Tyson reached them. She’d managed to avoid him up to this point, after all. She’d been helping his father, Virgil, with his rehab after his stroke and her off duty hours were spent helping Angela plan the wedding from the safety of Butterfly House, the transition shelter Angela managed and where Clara currently lived. And Ty had been wrapping up his business up north and spending time with Sam as they worked together running the ranch. Somehow she and Tyson had failed to cross paths in the weeks leading up to the wedding.

Until today.

This afternoon he’d turned up spit-polished in his black suit with his hair just a little messy. Her mouth had gone dry just looking at him. Ty was exactly the sort of man she tried to avoid. Tall, sexy, confident and careless. The kind that ate shy girls like her for breakfast. The kind that girls like her could never resist. 

Her heart had taken a little jump and she’d caught her breath before she could even put a thought together. But Ty had sauntered in, all long legs and crooked grins and there it had been. Whomp. Attraction, pure and simple. Nothing in the world could have surprised her more. 

He was still several feet away but closing the gap fast and Clara felt panic start to bubble, making her chest cramp and her breath shorten. She wasn’t ready to handle this. She felt as tongue-tied as a school girl only with the sobering wisdom of a woman who’d been through hell. Putting the two together only created chaos in her mind. A quick exit was in order. She turned to Sam and Angela and forced a smile. 

“I’m going to take Virgil in now, but I wanted to say happy wedding day to you both.” She gave Angela a brief hug. “I’m going to miss you around the house, but you’re going to have a wonderful time on your honeymoon.”

Sam hugged Clara as well. She didn’t feel the unholy urge to pull away and run like she usually did when faced with someone intruding on her personal space. She’d learned to trust Sam in the weeks leading up to the wedding, especially after he’d stood beside Angela as she faced her own demons.

“You did great today,” he said quietly, giving her arm a gentle squeeze. “And you look beautiful.”

Heat infused her cheeks at the compliment and at the knowledge that Tyson was nearly upon their little group. “Thank you…now I’d better get Virgil inside, he was looking tired…”

Sam’s voice cut her off as he looked over her shoulder. “Have you met Ty yet?” he asked. “Ty, this is Clara Ferguson, Dad’s nurse. You’ll be seeing a lot of each other from now on.”

Too late. Clara closed her eyes and took a steady breath. She really wished she wasn’t blushing as she turned around, but she could feel the heat centered in her cheeks. Dammit.         

Want More Donna?

Visit her on the web here:

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Paranormal Paradigm with Guest Blogger: Linda Schroeder

Welcome author Linda Schroeder 
to the Book Boost today!

She's here to discuss a touch of the supernatural and here's what she had to say...

Thanks, Kerri, for the opportunity to be a guest on your site. I am excited that your suggested topics for June included the supernatural. In San Diego, we have a clairvoyant in Little Italy, Tarot card readers in Balboa Park, and ghosts in the Whaley House in Old Town. And my mother always swore that the poltergeist who lived in her house hid her car keys on a daily basis and threw away her electric bill just when she needed to pay it.

Me? I’m skeptical.

But sometimes the supernatural is just what a plot needs.

My book, Artists & Thieves, is an art mystery involving a Chinese bronze bowl used by an ancient oracle to predict the future. The bowl is stolen from the oracle and lies buried for centuries until looters dig it up. Enter present day greed. The desire to possess the bowl motivates both the good guys and the bad guys in my story. As the bowl changes hands from one character to another, the plot moves speedily to an attempted murder and theft but nothing supernatural appears.

But wait. The bowl is an art piece with a mysterious past. I couldn’t let an opportunity go by without using the bowl to evoke deep feelings about the past from the three primary characters. I am a “blank page” writer. I don’t have a detailed outline when I sit down to write. I have a blank computer screen and a vague idea of what events need to happen to move the plot along.

So I started a scene to give the characters time to remember the past. Mai, the heroine, and her grandfather, and their friend Angelo are sitting on the floor in an elegant Pebble Beach house in front of a fire with the oracle’s bowl on the low coffee table between them. They believe the bowl is an ancient water mirror. They fill it with water and, in turn, look into the bowl. They see their reflections in the water and that evokes deep sadness. Each composes a poem.

I thought it was a charming scene.

But when I took the scene to my critique group, Carolyn Wheat, the writer who leads the group, said something akin to “So?” Charming doesn’t turn the plot. Poetry doesn’t send the characters in a different direction. Sitting in front of a fire doesn’t propel the action forward.

Back to the blank page. I deleted the poems. I added different poems. I dumped the water out of the bowl. I put the water back in the bowl. I changed the order of who looks into the water. Nothing worked.

Enter the blank pager’s muse—sudden inspiration. Enter the supernatural. The bowl became magical: “Again Mai felt a sharp shock of electricity when her fingers touched the bowl and her grandfather’s hands visibly jerked as he clasped the bowl. . . . Red flames flickered momentarily on the surface of the water, then moved deep inside the bowl. . . .The water increased its spin, wildly swirled for several seconds until it became a vortex beating violently against the sides of the bowl.”

Whoa. Where did that come from? My muse was on a roll. The oracle’s bowl became an oracle. It predicted danger. Something had to be done. The plot zipped on.

In response to this new scene, Carolyn said something about not usually letting the supernatural pop up late in a mystery novel, but since I’d been heading towards the weird with this bowl all along I should keep the scene.

My mother’s poltergeist applauded.

A Note from the Book Boost:  Great story, Linda.  Thanks for sharing.  I love the supernatural and as the President of the Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal Chapter of Romance Writers of America--my love of all things out of this world sure comes in handy.  I love that your story took a turn all on its own.  Please tell us more about it.


Where there is art, there are thieves.

Mai Ling is both. Artist by day, thief by night, she recovers stolen art for Interpol. It’s  a business, not a passion, until her beloved grandfather reveals a family secret that is also a destiny. He is duty-bound to return to China an especially precious bowl which belonged to his ancestor. Mai must steal it for him.

But Mai Ling is not the only one after the bowl. Four others plan to extract the bowl from a private California art collection. The rival thieves grasp and then lose the bowl until finally Mai is faced with the ultimate dilemma:  save the bowl or save herself. Her duty to her grandfather gives her only one choice.

Set against the vibrant backdrop of the Monterey Peninsula and peopled with quirky characters, this stylish art caper entertains on every page.

Want More Linda?

Linda Schroeder divides her time between the bright sun of California and the high mountains of Colorado. She has a Master’s degree in English and one in Communicative Disorders/Audiology. In addition to her novel, Artists & Thieves, she has published a college text.

Her early interest in English expanded to include language disorders and she began a second career as an audiologist and aural rehabilitation therapist working with deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults.

Currently, she studies and practices Chinese brush painting, celebrating the vitality and energy of nature. She follows art and art theft blogs and writes her own blog about art and sometimes includes reviews of novels. She is working on two more novels, a second Mai Ling novel about the Diamond Sutra, and a Sammy Chan art mystery about the forgery of a Goya painting.

Visit her on the web here:

Pick up your copy today!  Click here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Go Cave Writing with Guest Blogger: Robin Covington

Win a copy of A Night of Southern Comfort 
and welcome author Robin Covington 
to the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about her closet sweet closet and here's what she had to say...

Every writer has a preferred place to write.  Some pick a quiet corner of the local coffee shop.  Others, use the kitchen table and some have wonderful, beautifully constructed offices complete with large desks and bookshelves full of books.

I have a closet.

Now, I don’t want to leave you with the wrong impression.  It is a 19-foot long closet created when we built our house and added on the third bay to our garage. The first 12 feet is full of my clothes, suitcases and out-of-season stuff.  The last 7 feet is my writing sanctuary.

My husband created it for me after he mumbled one day that he was tired of seeing me wander around the house “like a homeless Stephen King” looking for a quiet place to write.  With two kids under age of 10 and a ginormous puppy who wreaks havoc wherever he goes, it can be a challenge to find a place where I can get my word count complete.

This is the place where I can go, shut the door and be alone with my thoughts and my characters.

I don’t have a desk in there because that reminds me of the EDJ and writing is my escape. I have two bookshelves full of my books – for pleasure and craft – and a blackboard to plot and keep track of my submissions.  All the things I need to be productive and maintain the business side of my writing career.

Files keep my business accounts and contracts straight and other keep my mementos – contest win certificates.  When I come into this space, everything is there to help me keep the running of “Burning Up The Sheets, LLC” – my corporation – running smoothly.

But, I also have tons of creative inspiration items in my space. Two boards where I pin up bookmarks, photos, inspirational quotes and of course . . . I have my man-on-a-stick.  Joe sits on my bookshelf and watches over me as I write.  Yum.

But, the best part of my writing haven?  Limited internet access. Yeah, baby.

No distractions.  Heaven. I can retreat into my office, tune out the world and focus on my word count.  And, I find that when I can go in there and concentrate – I get it done faster and that helps me make my deadlines and spend more time hanging with the family.

Or more time to idly stare at my man-on-a-stick.

Where do you create?  Do you thrive on a busy, public space or need a quiet corner? What inspires you?

A Note from the Book Boost:  Oh, Robin.  I looooooooooove that closet!  I, too, wander around my house trying to find a place to sit undisturbed but with multiple kids (two under the age of 4) it is a rare moment of peace in my humble abode.  I did take the leap this year to create my own writer's cave in my baby's old nursery (about the size of a small closet) but I still rarely get to sit there undisturbed.  Maybe someday.  Sigh.  Please tell us more about your latest!


One night of passion...

Detective Jackson Cantrell never imagined that one night with an irresistible stranger would turn his life upside down. He’s spent years living in the shadows, but Dr. Michaela Roarke awakened a passion inside him he'd buried years ago.

He never expected the woman would turn out to be the governor's daughter...and his next assignment. The governor blackmails Jackson to secretly watch over Michaela and protect her from a stalker, or kiss his dream job at the FBI good-bye. Swearing to keep things strictly professional, Jackson moves in with Michaela. Too bad his heart can't keep the same promise.

But when the stalker's attacks quickly escalate beyond mere photographs to bodily harm, Jackson must race to save Michaela's life. And he’ll have to figure out how to keep her once she discovers his lie.


Mr. Sex-on-a-Stick took his last shot and accepted the congratulatory thumps on the back from his friends. He didn’t smile in response, just quirked his full, sensual lips and turned to face her head-on with an expression full of hot promise. Catcalls and low whistles from his friends drifted across the crowded bar.

Come on, handsome. Don’t let me strike out at my first real bar pickup.

The breath she didn’t realize she was holding whooshed out as he separated himself from his friends and headed over to her. His movements were precise, controlled, and deliciously predatory. He possessed the confident demeanor of either military or law enforcement. He definitely wasn’t a paper-pushing warlord or a politico. Years of experience trained her to spot those guys a mile away. No, his mask of control was one born of the need for survival, much like hers.

Okay, big boy. You let me peek behind yours and I’ll let you peek behind mine.

He stopped in front of her, his thigh brushing her leg and setting off a series of sparks underneath her skin. His chocolate brown eyes met hers, filled with the assurance of decadent possibilities.

Michaela opened her mouth and shut it again. Now that he was here, she had no idea what to say. What would Angelina do? Channel your inner Jolie.

She cleared her throat. The result was a sultry, sexy voice she didn’t know she possessed. “May I buy you a drink?”

He glanced at the glass in her hand and nodded.

“A Southern Comfort.” She spoke in the general direction of the bartender, unable to tear herself away from her companion. “Neat.”

He slid onto the stool next her, his leg still against hers and her temperature hovering near the boiling point. He leaned on the bar, creating their own intimate circle as the noise of the busy bar faded into the background. His lips curved into a slight smile.

“Is there something funny?”

“No. Not at all.” His deep voice rumbled in her ear, his warm breath grazed her cheek. “I didn’t take you for the whiskey type.”

“And what type am I?”

He leaned back, examining her ice-blue satin, strapless cocktail dress and matching Manolo Blahnik pumps. She squirmed in her seat as her body responded to the desire pulsing between them.

“Honestly?” He cocked his head. “You strike me as the chardonnay type. A proper drink for a proper lady.”

She laughed. Any other night, his description would have been close to the mark. “Whiskey’s a drink of control and power.” She took another sip and caught his stare over the rim of her glass.

“I see.” He lifted his glass and downed the contents, then turned his full attention back to her.

“So…why are you drinking alone?”

“I’m not drinking alone. Now.” Michaela gestured toward his drink and ordered him another when he nodded.

“Okay, so you’re here…?”

“Celebrating my new life.”

“Aahhh.” He lifted his glass to her in salute. “Let me be the first to say that your ex-husband is an idiot.”

Want More Robin?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Robin and be entered to win a digital copy of A Night of Southern Comfort.

**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, June 18, 2012

Four Weddings and a One Night Stand with Guest Blogger: Cornelia Amiri

 Win a copy of Druid Bride & more 
today at the Book Boost 
with author Cornelia Amiri!

She's here to chat about marriage traditions and here's what she had to say...

June is the favorite month to tie the knot for most brides and grooms. It seems it’s due to more than the sunny weather and all the blooming flowers available for the ceremony. The tradition of June weddings goes as far back as the Roman empire. June is named for the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno. A popular proverb has even been passed down to us from the ancient Romans, “Prosperity to the man and happiness to the maid when married in June”.

Speaking of ancient wedding traditions, my favorites are ones form Celtic history and lore. Weddings were just as important to the ancient Celts as to the Romans of old. The ancient Celts thought so much of love and marriage they had more types of recognized marriages than any other culture. Under the Brehon (Brehoon) laws of Ireland, there were not one, but 10 types of marriage. I’ll list them.  

#1. The man and wife contributed an equal amount of property or finances.

#2. A woman moved to the man's property and contributed little or nothing financially but managed the housekeeping.

#3. A man moved to the woman’s property and contributed little or nothing financially but managed her cattle and her fields.

#4. The husband and wife both had property and managed their own individually, but the children's rights were still safeguarded.

#5. By mutual consent the man and woman shared their bodies, but lived under separate roofs. I call that the have your cake and eat it too marriage.

#6. A man abducted the wife of a defeated enemy. So the woman came to that marriage as a spoil of war.

#7. The man and woman got together only for one night of sex. In modern times we have a slang expression for this relationship, we call it a one night stand. The Celts had an expression as well, they called it a soldier's marriage.

#8. A man seduced a woman by lying to her or by taking advantage of her while she was drunk. 

#9. A union by forcible rape. The ancient tale of Camma and Sinorix detail  what Celtic women felt about this marriage. After Sinorix killed her husband and forced her to wed him, Camma put poison in the ceremonial wedding cup which they both drank from together. Vengeance against Sinorix was more important than her own life. She used the marriage to get revenge.

#10. Both the man and woman were either feeble-minded or insane.

The Welsh, under the laws of Hywell (whowell) the Good, had the same types of marriages as the Irish, except for # 10.

All types of banter must have occurred regarding these marriages. Going by the way I numbered the marriages, they might have said something to a frenemy like, “Oh, you must have been born from a number 10 marriage.” And they could have more than one spouse, so an ancient Celtic man or woman could have several combinations of marriages.

Can you imagine meeting someone and asking not “are you married?”  But “what number marriage do you currently have?” They might reply, “Oh, I have a #1 and a #5 and of course a couple of # 7’s.” And I thought modern day dating was complicated.

To modern man, it seems silly or even cruel to refer to some of these unions as marriages. But it isn’t, because these marriages were not for the benefit of the man or woman, they were for the protection of the children. By recognizing all these unions as legal marriages, the Celts insured there were no illegitimate children. A child born of any of the 10 unions would inherit like any of their parents’ other children. Also the land did not go to the eldest son. The estate was split between all children including the daughters.

Speaking of the ancient Romans and Celts, my new release, Druidess is set in first century AD, when conquering Romans plunge the British tribes into chaos. The future of the mist covered isle of Britannia and its brave people rest in the hands of two druids, whose views are as different as fire and ice. Yet they find love together.

A Note from the Book Boost:  This must be why my parents just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary this past Saturday.  June is a lucky month!  Thanks for the fun facts, Cornelia.  Please tell us more about your latest.


Arch Druid Rhys is a master of the sacred mysteries but a novice in the ways of the heart. Sulwen, a sacred druidess, discovers Rhys, the shape shifter, has evoked a basic, feral desire in her, only to find the goddess may soon exact the unfathomable price of taking him from her.

Though their love is a potent as their magic, is it strong enough to survive the turmoil of the Romans, the Rebel Queen Boudica, and the gods?


He restrained himself, and tenderly traced the line of her cheekbone with his fingers as he gazed into those soulful eyes. “I have seen your image everywhere, in the blue, bubbling creek, in the white clouds of the heavens. I’ve heard you call out to me on the wind, and in the chirping of wrens. I knew you were coming. Yet I can hardly believe you are here. I bless the gods for keeping you safe.”

“I worried about you as well. As the Iceni Archdruid, you would be the first the Romans would slay.”

“Do not worry for me, cariad. The Romans murder anyone who disagrees with them. I am blessed to be among those.” Anger surged through him as he spoke of his foes. “We still have the freedom of our tongues. Though they took our weapons from us, we have forged new ones to wield against Roman flesh.” Absently, his fingers curled into a fist.

“It is Andraste’s will that we battle the Romans. The goddess bade me to tell Boudica to move onward.”

“We shall keep moving.” A wave of apprehension swept through Rhys. “These tidings from Andraste puzzle me. I wish I knew what the goddess is trying to forestall. Something I have not foreseen must hinder the queen.”

“Yes, it must be so. Though the goddess has called me, she had not revealed what I am to thwart. I only know I must bid Boudica to march onward.”

“Yes, I ken what you say. The goddess often asks things of us we do not understand. I have also been put to a hard task, but we will speak of it later.” Rhys cast his eyes downward. Will I ever be able to tell her? If the final battle is lost, I am fated for adbertos. A sacrifice to the gods. “Now we need to think of tomorrow, when we ride into Londinium. The city is sparse, for when Suetonius rode in, most of the men in town left with him.”

Sulwen clasped her hands together and shook her head. “The Romans are cravens. They leave the women and children to the mercy of their enemy.”

“Yes, when have you known Romans to do otherwise?” Gods, when I learned of the massacre, I could not sleep nor eat for days. I feared they had killed you. 

“In truth, they are as treacherous as the feline monster, Y Cath Palug,” Sulwen snaped. “Yet they shall not stop us. It is our land, we mean to keep it. The gods will prevail.” 

“Yes, and for now we shall forge ahead as Andraste bids.” Once again I am facing the thought of loosing you. Yet this time it will be at my death. Knowing I shall not see you again until our next life together makes my sacrifice even harder.

“Do you think it will end soon?”

Rhys raised his chin, meeting her gaze. “Yes, I do. Very soon. I shall end with it.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Worry not of it now.” His gaze swept over her face, knowing he would never forget the glow of her skin, her large, deep green eyes, nor her perfectly bowed lips. “It is best you rest.” He caressed her soft face with his large hands. “Let us lay together by the bonfire.”

Before she spoke, the smoldering light in her eyes said yes. “I will join you at the bonfire.”

“Ah, Sulwen.” His eyes locked onto her full, sculptured lips. 

His mouth swooped down to capture hers. He caught her upper lip between his and suckled them.

Salty, musky, he loved the taste of her and the soft, warm feel of her mouth. Blood pounded in his head. His skin burned. He plunged his tongue inside where it danced and curled. His breath was ragged. Raising his mouth from hers, he gazed into her eyes, which shimmered with an inner fire. His lips still burned.  

Rhys led her to stand with him beside the crackling blaze. He wrapped his arms around her small, willing body. He crushed her against his chest, where her pillowy breast rubbed against him.
Burning. Wanton. He held her tightly as he rasped, “Do you know what we must do?”


“Sex magic.”

Want More Cornelia?

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Leave a question or comment for Cornelia and be entered to win an autographed trade size paperbook copy of Druid Bride and the anthology, Dream Spell Goddess.

**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!**

Friday, June 15, 2012

Books and Bygones with Guest Blogger: Jane Kindred

Win a copy of The Fallen Queen 
and meet author Jane Kindred 
today at the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about summer snow and here's what she had to say...

Thank you so much for having me on the Book Boost. Although it’s the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, what’s on my mind today is snow. More specifically, Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen.

If you’ve read The Snow Queen, you may see some resemblance to the story in my series, The House of Arkhangel’sk. In Book One, The Fallen Queen, a young girl loses her childhood friend Kae to a mysterious woman he meets on a ride in the snow. Kae follows the white-garbed lady, enchanted by her, and with a kiss of her ice-frosted lips, she changes him into someone his friend no longer recognizes. If that sounds familiar, it should.

Kay is the name of the little boy in Andersen’s tale, enchanted by the Snow Queen with a kiss that turns his heart cold. Andersen sets the story, telling us some crafty demons once created a mirror that turned everything ugly, and they wanted to take it to heaven to mock the angels. On the way, the mirror grew progressively heavier until the demons could no longer hold it and it fell to the earth. Some of the shattered pieces went into people’s hearts, making them cold and bitter, and in others, slivers of the mirror got into their eyes, making them see nothing but ugliness.

We soon learn that this is what happened to Little Kay, leaving him vulnerable to the Snow Queen’s temptation. When he disappears, his dearest childhood friend sets out on an adventure to find him and rescue him from the Snow Queen’s clutches.

In essence, that is the story of The House of Arkhangel’sk…or at least how it begins. Reading The Snow Queen is one of my earliest memories, and I still recall the book I had with little cloth figurines posed and photographed to illustrate it, and a cover that had one of those “holographic” plastic sheets that changed the image depending on how you viewed it.

There are a number of other influences on The House of Arkhangel’sk that in a roundabout way, come back to Andersen’s Snow Queen. One of these is Tam Lin, an old Irish ballad about a mortal man stolen by the Fairy Queen. When a local village girl falls in love with him, she risks her life to save him from the queen and return him from the Land of the Fairies. If she fails, Tam will die. This frequent theme in many folk tales was likely also an influence on Andersen’s story.

Another that influenced me is The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis, in which two children travel to a hidden, underground kingdom to rescue a prince of Narnia from a witch queen. The Silver Chair, in turn, appears to have been inspired by Tam Lin. There are several similarities, but Lewis left one little clue that convinces me of it: the witch in The Silver Chair who enchants and steals away Prince Rilian to take him to her underworld lair is referred to as The Lady of the Green Kirtle. If you Google “green kirtle,” you will find only one other literary reference: a garment the heroine Janet wears on her way to save Tam.

It seems Lewis was also inspired by The Snow Queen when he wrote the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. The White Witch who enchants Edmund Pevensie from her sleigh with a piece of Turkish Delight is a dead-ringer for the Snow Queen herself—and she has made it forever winter in Narnia.

All of these little bits and pieces floating in my imagination since childhood came together to create a story that on the surface might seem to have nothing to do with them. The House of Arkhangel’sk is a fantasy retelling of the story of Anastasia, peopled with angels and demons, and set in Russia. But underneath, if you look closely, you might find these little slivers of Andersen’s shattered mirror that I hope instead of bringing ugliness will make fans of The Snow Queen smile.

Do you have a favorite childhood story that has stayed with you?

A Note from the Book Boost:  Fave childhood stories include The Velveteen Rabbit which always made me cry.  And Eddie's Menagerie.  I bought that book for my daughter the other day and the tradition continues!  Thanks for joining us today and please tell us more about your latest.


Heaven can go to hell.

Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive.

Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves—fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda—who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter.

Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne—even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.

Book Two in The House of Arkhangel’sk series, The Midnight Court, due out in August 2012.


I trotted the blue roan out to the road and into the wooded heights, on a path muted with preternatural quiet. It seemed nothing but my horse and I existed. Here in the North, we were without the oppressive, constant presence of the Seraphim Guard, which Papa could not abide outside the city. In Heaven’s hinterlands, he said, there was no need for their protection.

After a minute or two, I heard the light clip of Kae’s horse behind me.  

“Is Ola angry with me?”  

Kae drew up beside me. “Not as angry as she is with me for letting you go.” He shrugged beneath his cloak. “It will pass. Sometimes I think it’s her job as a wife to be angry. She’s very efficient at it.”  

I laughed at his feigned look of persecution. “Such trials you must endure for the crown.”  

“Yes,” said Kae with a mock sigh. “I shall endure anything to attain the crown. Even bed that shrew of a grand duchess of mine.”  

I nearly slipped from my saddle for laughing. Kae adored Omeliea and she, him. They were newly wed, and though betrothed at the cradle, he had courted her since childhood as though it were not prearranged. I could not imagine two people more perfectly matched.  

Kae stopped his mount in its tracks. “Did you see that?” His grey eyes fixed on a distant point where the trees met over the road. A peculiar fragrance hung on the air, like the freshly peeled bark of an Aravothan cedar, but I saw nothing. I shook my head, and Kae started forward once more.  

The bright snow began to dull, shadowed beneath the silver canopy of gathering clouds. Perhaps my sisters had been right. The cold was already making my hands ache within my gloves. I considered turning back, but the thought of Ola’s smugness made me stay my course. I knew my way blindfolded along the snow-covered path; I’d ridden it a hundred times. Of course, my horse had not.  

As a dusting of new snow began to fall, Kae leaned over his mount and pointed. “There! Do you not see it?” He spurred his horse forward without waiting for an answer.  

I followed, urging my mare to keep pace with him, but we were falling behind on the softening road. Heavy flakes melted in my hair, and my cheeks burned with cold. I began to regret throwing the cap at Ola.  

The road went higher here, and the clouds were lowering, and soon I had to slow my horse to a walk, surrounded on all sides by grey, hanging damp. I called out for Kae, but I might have been shouting into a wet blanket for all my voice seemed to carry.  

After a few more yards, the trees grew close, and I was no longer certain we were on the path. Everything looked different coated in new snow, like some fairy world I’d stumbled into. Maybe I’d veered off in the mist? I bit my lip and glanced over my shoulder, but the fog was so thick I couldn’t be sure of the distance.  

I opened my mouth to call again, when the sound of approaching hooves broke through the veil of clouds. A moment later, Kae’s horse appeared without its rider. I leapt from my mare and ran in the direction the horse had come, heedless of the precipices that might be hidden from view.  

“Cousin!” I stumbled over a protruding root and fell headlong in the snow. For a moment, the world was silent except for the dripping branches over my head. Then the clouds thinned and Kae stood before me in an open glade, stiller than the mountain around us. His eyes were unfocused.  

“The most beautiful steed,” he whispered. “I nearly caught her.”  

“A runaway?” I got to my feet with no help from him, brushing snow and pine needles from my riding skirt. “All the way up here?”  

His eyes cleared. “Not a runaway. She’s wild.” He seemed angry with me, as though I’d intruded. Brushing past me to rein in his mount, he swung himself up into the saddle with a swift and brutal motion. The horse, too, was intruding it seemed, unworthy next to the imaginary steed.  

Kae rode off toward our hunting house without another word.

Want More Jane?

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 **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!**

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Chat with Author Jay Londo

Meet featured author Jay Londo 
today at the Book Boost!

Recently, we had a chat with Jay and here's what he had to say...

TBB:  Welcome to the Boost, Jay.  Tell us a little bit about yourself and when you started writing.

JL:  I'm from Seattle Washington, but I live in Lake Stevens Washington.  I started writing in early 2004, after I had a strange dream, and trying not to forget the dream, I wrote a very basic outline, which then before I knew it, developed into a full-blown story. I had no idea at the time this was going to happen. But what I discovered was, I really enjoyed writing! I have not stopped since.

TBB:  I love it when a dream comes as inspiration.  I'm impressed that you actually were able to realize that into a full novel.  When did you consider yourself a professional writer?

JL:  After I finished my second novel, The Cave.  Now I cannot seem to turn the ideas off!

TBB:  What are you working on next?

JL:  My new writing project is my first children’s book, and I am also re-working a world war two book about my step-fathers adventures during the war.

TBB:  That sounds really interesting.  You write a diverse range of genres.  What genre do you enjoy reading?

JL:   After seeing the movie, and loving it, I started reading the Hunger Games series.

TBB:  What advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

JL:  I would have to say, go for it, write for you. Do not worry so much, what others may think. Have a thick skin; do not be so set in your ways that you cannot continue to improve your writing.  Challenge yourself, develop your own style of writing, and then own it!  Always be yourself, write for yourself, and write what you’re passionate about.

TBB:  Great advice.  Have you always wanted to be a writer?  What did you dream of being when you were a child?

JL:  I wanted to be a business owner or perhaps a jet pilot.

TBB:  Well you've certainly changed course on that a bit.  Since becoming a writer, what has been your biggest reward?

JL:  Seeing the joy in other people faces, when they love my novel.

TBB:  Yes, that's always nice.  To know that your work has touched someone with emotion.  What do you like to do when you're not writing?

JL:  I love to go for walks and spend time with my autistic son who is involved in the Special Olympics. Work in my yard, and oh ya, I admit, I love watching TV.

TBB:  Oh, I agree.  I'm a television fan myself.  Your son sounds wonderful.  I know he must be very proud of you as you are of him.  And just for fun,  what's your biggest pet peeve?

JL:  People (meaning my wife) coming along and rearranging things like furniture or my office. Or anyone messing with my computer.

TBB:  Understandable.  Before you tell us more about your latest book.  Would you like to leave us with a message for your readers?

JL:  I just would like to say to my readers thank you, for allowing me to be able to bring my stories out. To me there could not possibly be anything greater. I try making each of my books a completely different storyline. I believe that's the only way to improve your writing skills to challenge oneself.

TBB:  Well said.  Please tell us more about your latest and thanks for joining us at the Boost!


Attila's Lost Gold

This is a narrative account of the adventure, experienced by two best of friends. The exploration for lost treasure, specifically the lost burial site of one “Attila the Hun” - whose burial location up until now, appeared to be lost to time. What makes this story so electrifying, is its lively character - through the course of this yarn, one will travel through several time-periods. A stretch of time, spanning more than fifteen hundred years. Frank Sheppard contribution to all this was fundamentally to unlocking all the secrets, so it is only fitting that we start-off with him…

Pick up a copy of the book today!  Click here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Flowers & Fangs with Guest Blogger: Susannah Sandlin

Win a copy of Redemption and meet the author of a new vampire series 
Susannah Sandlin!

She's here to chat about vampire employment and here's what she had to say...

Ever notice how many vampires own nightclubs? It’s logical. After all, they need evening businesses that put them in contact with potential dinner entrees—er, I mean customers. Blood donors. Whatever.

Laurell K. Hamilton’s Jean-Claude has a string of nightclubs, including the oh-so-clever Circus of the Damned. Charlaine Harris’ Eric Northman, in addition to being Sheriff of Area Five, owns Fangtasia. The guys of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood are rich and live in the shadows so they just hang out at bars owned by other vampires. Jeaniene Frost’s Bones and Cat are vampire bounty-hunters, which often takes them to bars.

I’m kind of perverse, so I was determined, as I developed the vampire characters for my new paranormal romance series, that there would be not one single vampire bar owner. In fact, in the isolated Alabama town in which my vampires live, there are no bars. No nightclubs. No all-night laundromats with a little bar off to the side. Nada. If my fanged boys and girls want to hang at a bar, they have to drive to Auburn or Atlanta.

So my vampires need hobbies. One tinkers on motorcycles and cars—anything with an engine. Another likes to visit a nearby college town so he can meet nice human coeds—and, okay, yeah, they probably go bars. But he was turned vampire at age 22, so you can forgive him a bit of post-adolescent fun.

My master vampire, Aidan Murphy, likes a nice Irish whiskey—alcohol is the only “people food” his kind can tolerate, but he doesn’t sell it. He has a town to run, after all. A tiny, isolated little Southern town of all vampires and their willingly bonded human familiars, or feeders. No outsiders allowed. Well, until the war starts…but that’s another story.

Aidan was an interesting character to write. He has a lot of emotional baggage left over from his human life, particularly where his brother and his former wife is concerned. Owen and Aidan were turned vampire at the same time, back in Ireland in 1601. Their feud spans centuries and continents until it finally culminates in a Cain and Abel showdown in Penton, Alabama, in modern times.

But Aidan needed a hobby too, besides running his town and fighting off his brother and figuring out a way to survive the coming vampire apocalypse (did I mention that a vaccine developed for a human pandemic has turned the blood of vaccinated humans poisonous to vampires? Uh-oh).

In his human life, Aidan was a poor farmer, but he loved the land. So it made sense to me that he would still love to work the earth. He misses the feel of soil in his hands, the smell of sunlight on leaves, the work of growing and nurturing plants.

But he can’t exactly trot out to the fields in a straw hat and start digging up potatoes under the blistering Alabama sun, so instead, Aidan has a greenhouse. A fancy one with retractable panels and sun catchers that hold the smell and feel of sunlight until well after nightfall. In it, he grows a variety of night-bloomers: bright-white moonflowers, brilliant golden evening primroses, exotic hybrids of lilies and orchids, and, his favorite, the red hibiscus with its ruby-colored throat spreading out to delicate pale-pink petals. It’s a delicate-looking bloom for a plant that’s surprisingly hardy and low-maintenance. Just like a certain woman he’s recently met.

After all, when you have flowers, who needs a bar?  What are the occupations or hobbies of your favorite vampires?

A Note from the Book Boost:  I'm sorry, you lost me at Eric Northman.  Grrr.  And did I mention, sigh?  Let's see hobbies or occupations of fave vampires?  Let me think.  I liked the concept of Angel being a sort of private investigator for the underworld (it has been way overdone now).  I can't recall the vampire brothers from Vampire Diaries really doing anything other than chasing the same girl.  I guess that's a hobby and a cool one--if you're that particular girl.  I like how Elizabeth Taylor is the Queen of Vampires in the Mary Janice Davidson series.  I might like to be "her majesty" as well.  Perhaps I should have my kids call me that, what do you think?  Thanks for joining us and best of luck on the new series--you had me at small town Alabama!


The world’s vampire population is on the brink of starvation since the vaccine to treat a global pandemic rendered human blood deadly to them. Their only hope for survival is a handful of rural areas that the vaccine never breached.

The tiny town of Penton, Alabama, is one such enclave, where Aidan Murphy has established a community of vampires and their willingly bonded humans. Together, they live in peace—until Aidan’s estranged brother descends upon the town and begins attacking its humans. Whether the rampage is a result of his centuries-old feud with Aidan or the civil war threatening to erupt in the vampire world matters not. All that matters is the blood.

Desperate to save his adopted family, Aidan breaks one of his cardinal rules, kidnapping an unvaccinated human doctor—and unexpectedly falling in love for the first time in nearly four hundred years.

Dr. Krystal Harris, forced into a world she never knew existed, must face up to her own abusive past to learn if the feelings she’s developing for her kidnapper are real—or just a warped, supernatural kind of Stockholm Syndrome in which she’s allowing herself to become a victim yet again.


Krys met his gaze. “Were you a businessman before you were, uh…”

He knew she’d accepted that he was a vampire, but she still had trouble using the words. He couldn’t blame her. Her worldview had done a one-eighty in the last week. That she was even
standing here with him was a bloody miracle, and if he wanted her to become more at ease, he needed no repeats of the scene in the tunnel. He stuck his hands in his pockets, where he wouldn’t have to worry about them straying in her vicinity. 

“Never a businessman. Come on. I’ll show you what I was, sort of.” He led her across the side lawn to his pride and joy. He’d actually chosen the house on Mill Trace not because it fit his status as the head of Penton but because it had a large enough yard for him to grade it level and add a freestanding greenhouse. Bronze frame with a redbrick base, bronze-tinted glass, and thermostatic roof vents. His most peaceful moments were spent here, where he could work with
the soil.

He juggled his key ring, shaking loose the key for the greenhouse door, then unlocked it and turned on the lights as Krys entered.

“Oh my God.” She stopped inside the arched entrance. “You grew these?”

These were his night-bloomers, pulsing with color and vibrancy under the soft lights. Showy white moonflowers, brilliant gold lemon lilies, rich purple evening irises, and his favorites, the red night-blooming hibiscus.

“I was a farmer before I was turned,” he said, walking down the aisles, pinching off a faded bloom, shifting a pot to equalize the light source, turning off a sprayer. “This has been my
way of staying close to it. I swear when I come here early in the evening, I still smell the sunlight on them.”

Krys stopped behind him. “Wait…You grow the flowers that someone brings to my room every night?”

Now he felt pathetic. Trouble was, the more he knew Krys, the more his heart and brain got in sync with his screwed-up mating instincts. Might as well admit it: he was freaking wooing the woman he’d kidnapped.

Want More Susannah?

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**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!**