Saturday, March 31, 2012

Can't Beat a Great Mom with Guest Blogger: W. Lynn Chantale



Win a $10 Bookstore Gift Card
and welcome W. Lynn Chantale to a
Special Weekend Edition @ the Book Boost!




She's here to chat about the hand who rocked her cradle and her world and here's what she had to say...



The Hand That Rocks the Cradle


No, Rebecca DeMornay, isn’t going to sneak in and take over raising the kids, but it does bring to mind my mom. My mom wasn’t bent on revenge, but she did and has influenced many of the decisions in my life.


For our birthdays mom used to make our cakes, I don’t mean the two layer or quarter sheet cakes everyone is so fond of, but cakes in the shape of Raggedy Ann or Spider-Man and Darth Vader. She made us costumes for Halloween or school projects, she made us clothes and teddy bears, homemade cookies and let us play in mud puddles. Or let us take bubble baths in the pool outside during the summer.


I wanted to be just like my mom when I grew up. By the time I was nine I was making doll clothes for my Barbie with leftover scraps from Mom’s projects. I think I was 12 or 13 when I made my first outfit. Mostly skirts, shorts and shirts. The seam ripper was and is my best friend. Some of my fondest sewing memories are me getting frustrated when I would sew the inseam of the shorts the wrong way. I would do this several times before I’d take the garment and smack the sewing machine...repeatedly. After I’d rip out the seam for the umpteenth time, only then would Mom step in and say, “bring it here.” She’d pin the first seam for me and have me bring it back. Why couldn’t she have done that the first time?


Well I never would’ve learned and I think she liked laughing at me. I mean how many kids do you know will beat up a sewing machine with a pair of shorts? LOL.


I taught myself how to decorate cakes and then studied culinary arts, I wanted to be a pastry chef. That dream didn’t come true, but I did work as a cake decorator for a number of years. I had the pleasure of decorating several friends’ and family members wedding cakes as well as birthday cakes.


Even my love of music is inspired by mom. Love those groups she grew up with, Earth, Wind and Fire, The Temptations, The Four Tops and the Isley Brothers to name a few. I draw the line at those sappy John Wayne movies she loves. McClintock is her favorite. There’s also a plethora of black and white movies she hipped me to, not to mention musicals, I love Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Singin’ in the Rain. I can’t get enough of Rear Window or The Greatest Show on Earth.


And finally Mom cultivated a love of reading and encouraged me to use my imagination. She bought me books everything from Encyclopedia Brown to Nancy Drew, Beverly Cleary, Lois Duncan, Judy Blume and R.L. Stine. When I got older, I read all of her Stephen King, Victoria Holt, Sidney Sheldon and Harlequin novels and after I finished those I discovered my own fave authors. Such as...Robin Cook, Mary Higgins Clark, Dean Koontz, Margaret Truman and Elliot Roosevelt.


My mom and I haven’t always seen eye to eye, but I think she did pretty good. I learned the basics, be nice, treat everyone with respect, stay out of trouble...well some lessons take longer to learn than others. She told me not to put her in a book, so I hope she won’t mind that she’s the subject of a blog. Thanks Mom for being the hand that ruled my world.


A Note from the Book Boost: I love this post! Thanks so much for sharing your Mom with us Lynn. My mother is one of my biggest fans as well. She routinely brags about my books to others (even though some of them have that sex stuff in them). LOL What a great childhood you had--one to be envied for sure. Please tell us more about your book.


Blurb:

As a caterer, Darling gets to witness some of life’s happiest moments, but yearns for a marriage proposal of her own. After years of waiting on her beloved to pop the question, she gives up on ever having a happy ending of her own and severs the relationship. When she learns she’s pregnant, she has no choice but to face her child’s father on a daily basis as well as the love and attraction she has for him.

Darryl Manning always believed Darling would be his forever. After all he didn’t need a piece of paper to show her how much he loved her, but when she leaves him to pursue her dream of owning a catering company and raising his son, he may have to rethink his views on marriage. That is if he wants a second chance at family.



Excerpt:

She brushed a stray curl from her face and planted her hand on her hip when Darryl didn’t move. “I know you may not have anything to do, but I really need to get back downstairs,” she reminded him.

He stepped closer, reaching a hand to tug on the lock of hair she had just swept away. She sucked in a breath, his clean masculine scent beguiling her. Her gaze dropped to the open collar of his shirt. If she pressed her mouth to his warm skin, would he moan? Darling lifted her head, and he met her lips with a kiss. Too stunned to protest, she sank into his kiss, savoring the spicy taste of him and the firmness of his lips. He skimmed the curve of her spine with his hands before resting them at her hips.

Drawing her closer, he brought her against the hard line of his arousal. Desire exploded, and she wiggled her hips in hopes of easing the sudden tension at the apex of her thighs. As if sensing her need, he cupped her butt, shifting her slightly until he was wedged between her legs.




Want More Lynn?



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



Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Lynn and be entered to win a $10 Gift Card from your choice of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or All Romance E-books.


**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, March 29, 2012

If You Say Sew with Guest Blogger: Lois Winston



Welcome cozy mystery author
Lois Winston to the Book Boost!



She's here to discuss how her mystery series was crafted and here's what she had to say...


March is known for many things. Tradition says it comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb because it starts off in winter and ends in the spring. Smack in the middle of the month we all don green and become Irish for a day. March is also Women’s History Month and National Noodle Month. (Did you even know there was a National Noodle Month? I have to admit, I didn’t!) Also, thanks to some clock tinkering, March now heralds the start of daylight savings time.


However, March is also National Craft Month, and that has special meaning for me. I’ve spent much of my adult life working in the consumer crafts industry as a designer for craft kit manufacturers, crafts and needlework magazines, and women’s magazines. I still design, but now I also write The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, a humorous amateur sleuth series with a protagonist who’s the crafts editor at a woman’s magazine.


The marriage seemed destined from the start.


I’m a quintessential right-brainer. All my life I’ve created “stuff,” working in just about every art and craft medium but feeling most at home with a needle in my hand. My earliest memory of needlecraft involved my Betsy Wetsy doll and my grandmother’s sofa.


I was no more than four years old. Grandma was mending something, and I decided I wanted to hem Betsy’s dress. After much pleading and profuse promises that I wouldn’t stick myself with the needle, grandma acquiesced. She threaded a needle for me, and I settled onto an ottoman in front of the sofa -- where I proceeded to stitch Betsy’s dress to the sofa cushion!


Needless to say, grandma was not very happy. However, I’m thrilled to report I didn’t stick myself with the needle.


Along with crafts, I’ve had a lifelong passion for crime solving. I grew up with the pride of knowing my grandfather spent his life as a much decorated detective, working his way up to captain of the Essex County police force in Newark, NJ. During his long career, grandpa was responsible for the apprehension of many a well-known gangster.


Had I been born later, I may have decided on a career in criminal justice, but instead, I went to art school.


Fast forward more years than I’m willing to admit. I’ve published two books, a romantic suspense and a women’s fiction. One day my agent is speaking with an editor. The editor mentions she’d like to find a mystery series with a crafting theme. My agent contacts me, figuring I’m the perfect person to write such a series, given my background. Up until then, I’d never thought about writing a mystery. I rarely even read mysteries because I had a habit of figure out whodunit too early on most of the time. I figured it was due to the genes I’d inherited from my grandfather.


However, I took up the challenge and wrote Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries. Unfortunately, the editor who made the initial request didn’t buy the series because she wound up leaving publishing while I was in the process of writing the book. A few years later, the book did sell to another publisher and received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Death By Killer Mop Doll is the second book in the series. There will be at least three more books to come.


I often wonder what my grandparents would say about the course my life has taken.


A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for joining us today, Lois. I think your grandparents would have been very proud of you. You've found a way to combine the two things you love creating most--your crafts and your writing. If you can make joy in your life (and a little money too) by doing what you love then I think that's what every parent and grandparent would want most for you. Glad you're here. Please tell us more about your latest.


Blurb:

Overdue bills and constant mother vs. mother-in-law battles at home are bad enough. But crafts editor Anastasia Pollack's stress level is maxed out when she and her fellow American Woman editors get roped into unpaid gigs for a revamped morning TV show.

Before the glue is dry on Anastasia's mop dolls, morning TV turns crime drama when the studio is trashed and the producer is murdered. Former co-hosts Vince and Monica—sleazy D-list celebrities—stand out among a lengthy lineup of suspects, all furious over the show's new format. And Anastasia has no clue her snooping has landed her directly in the killer's unforgiving spotlight.


Excerpt:


Upstairs, the front door slammed with enough force to register a five on the Richter scale. Dust dislodged from the exposed basement rafters and drifted down like polluted snow, settling over the basket of clean laundry I’d been folding. The ensuing shouting, barking, and yowling drowned out my muttered curse of choice and yanked my attention away from the now Dalmatian-spotted white wash.

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends,” squawked Ralph, the Shakespeare-spouting African Grey parrot I’d inherited when Great-aunt Penelope Periwinkle died two years ago. “Henry the Fifth. Act Three, Scene One.” He spread his wings and took flight up the basement stairs to check out the action. I raced after him, eager to prevent World War Three from erupting in my living room.


“Muzzle that abominable creature, or I’ll have the pound haul him away,” shrieked Mama. “He’s traumatizing Catherine the Great.”


“So shove some Prozac down her throat,” said my mother-in-law Lucille. “What the hell are you doing back here? And don’t you ever bother to knock? Just barge right in like you own the place.”


“I have more right to be here than you. This is my daughter’s house, you…you pinko squatter.”


As I hurried through the kitchen, I glanced at the calendar tacked next to the telephone. Mama wasn’t due back from her Caribbean cruise for another three days. Damn it. I needed those three days to steel myself for the inevitable explosive reaction that occurred whenever Flora Sudberry Periwinkle Ramirez Scoffield Goldberg O’Keefe, my mother and the former social secretary of the Daughters of the American Revolution, locked horns with Lucille Pollack, my mother-in-law and current president of the Daughters of the October Revolution. I’d been swindled out of seventy-two hours.


By the time I entered the living room, Mama’s and Lucille’s voices had reached glass-shattering decibel range.


“Crazy communist!” yelled Mama. She stood in the middle of the room, cradling Catherine the Great, her corpulent white Persian with an attitude befitting her namesake.


Manifesto, my mother-in-law’s runt of a French bulldog, stood inches from Mama’s Ferrigamos, his bark having switched to growl mode as he glared up at his nemesis. With a hiss and a yowl, Catherine the Great leaped from Mama’s arms. Showing his true cowardly colors, Mephisto, as we always called him behind his back and often to his snout, scampered to safety behind my mother-in-law’s ample girth.


Lucille barreled across the room, waving her cane at Mama. “Reactionary fascist!”


“How dare you threaten me!” Mama defended herself with a French manicured backhand that would have done Chris Everett proud. The cane flew from Lucille’s grasp and landed inches from Mephisto’s nose. Demon dog yelped and dove between Lucille’s orange polyester clad legs.



Want More Lois?

Visit her website here: http://www.loiswinston.com

Follow her blog here:
http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com


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

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Take Note of Debut Author and Guest Blogger: Alexa Bourne


Meet good friend, Celtic sister,
and debut author Alexa Bourne
today at the Book Boost!



She's here to chat about the influence of music in her world and here's what she had to say...


When I was young, I used to listen to music while I did my homework. My mom often told me to turn it off because she was sure I couldn’t possibly concentrate. Of course, I was a “perfect” child so I did turn it off…until my mom left the room.

Eventually Mom and I reached an agreement. If my grades slipped I would follow her suggestion and turn the music off. Thankfully I never had to face that. My grades remained high so I could keep the radio on throughout the rest of my schooling!

Now, as a writer, I need to have music while I’m working. It helps to get me and keep me “in the groove”. Yes, I can write without music, and sometimes a difficult scene or revision or re-plotting requires silence, but I do my best work when I have a soundtrack playing. Somehow, someway, for some reason, music gets my blood pumping faster and my energy up, which then feeds my creativity. It’s a perfect cycle!

The type of music I play depends on the book and the scene I’m currently working on. When writing suspense scenes, I usually have alternative, heavy metal or hard rock tunes playing. For romantic scenes, I’ve got ballads, love songs or Top 40 tunes. If I’m working on a chase scene, I usually play classical music or instrumentals from some of my favorite movies such as any one of the Jason Bourne movies.

I also choose music that reflects the country or culture of my setting or characters. For example, my first book, Her Highland Champion, is a contemporary romantic suspense set in Scotland. So, while I wrote it, I listened to a lot of traditional Celtic music, some modern Celtic music and lots of songs with bagpipes.

Another way music comes into play for each of my books is each couple gets a theme song. The theme song usually reflects the characters internal conflicts, the problems he and she have with commitment to each other. My current story is a sweet romance so the theme song for this one is Just a Kiss by Lady Antebellum.

But the music isn’t always sweet ballads. For example, my last completed manuscript about a bounty hunter who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted had The Promise by In This Moment for its theme song.

As I said before, I can write without music. You can often see me with a notebook and pen while in a waiting room or I’ve got a mini-recorder for long stops at red lights. But if I have a choice I’ll always use music. It’s a major part of my writing process. With music I can envision my story on a movie screen with my characters bravely facing insurmountable odds and succeeding in life and love. As a writer, nothing is more satisfying than that.

If you’re a writer, how do you feel about using music while you create? If you’re a reader, does music play a part in getting you excited about something?


A Note from the Book Boost: Welcome to the Boost, Alexa! So thrilled to have you here, my friend. And I'm so happy for your big debut release. Congrats! I've always wanted to be a writer who wrote to a soundtrack. I'm a big fan of sountracks (in movies and television). Unfortunately, I rarely get to listen to music while writing. Unless you count Dora the Explorer's theme song or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. LOL Please tell us more about your book.


Blurb:

Heather Winchester leads a charming life. With good friends, a beautiful flat in one of the most amazing cities in the world, and a promising future once she finishes her Ph.D, she is finally pursuing her own dreams instead of catering to everyone else’s…except she doesn’t remember any of it.

Malcolm Fraser has returned to his Highland village to forget his failings as a professional bodyguard. Believing he could just lose himself in the mundane activities of running his bed & breakfast, he finds a woman’s lifeless body by the loch instead….

Captivated by Heather as she regains her memory, Malcolm is thrown into the line of duty. As danger comes knocking on their door, will he be strong enough to love her and keep her safe?



Excerpt:


She turned to the bedside. A man stood there dressed in dark green sweats, with both hands clenched around the silver bedside bar. He was handsome, with light eyes, dark hair cropped close to his head, and a firm jaw. It was his hands, though. They drew her attention. Clean skin, defined knuckles, large fingers. Hands rough from a hard day’s physical labor, and yet, she imagined, gentle enough to caress the afternoon’s sufferings away.

“It’s good to see you awake.” He smiled. “You gave us all quite a fright.”


Okay, the Scottish accent drew her attention, too. At once, it both melted away some of her fears and sparked a whirlwind of questions.


“Where am I?” Her throat scratched like sandpaper.


“St. Catherine’s Hospital.”


She swallowed hard. “Where is that?”


“Fort William.” He reached for something on the table by her bed and brought back a plastic cup with a straw. “Here.”


“Thank you.” The warm water coated her sore vocal cords. She handed the cup back to him.


Wait a minute. Fort William? The only Fort William she knew was in Scotland. “I don’t understand. How did I get here?” Ignoring the aches in her body, she pressed both palms to the sheets on each side of her and pushed herself up. The blanket fell away from her chest and a new chill surrounded her. “What’s going on?”


Her arms shook, and she collapsed back to the bed.


“Relax.” The man set his palm on her shoulder, as if to keep her flat against the mattress. The heat of his fingers seeped through her hospital gown and into her skin. “I found you unconscious on the beach in Glenhalish. I called for an ambulance, and they brought you here.”


“I was in Glenhalish?”


“Aye, on a three day tour of the Highlands. Do you not remember being there?”


“No.” She squinted and studied him. No memories surfaced. “Do I know you?”


He shook his head. “Only from the beach. I’m Malcolm Fraser.”


She opened her mouth and then closed it again. Her gaze drifted to her lap as tears burned in the corners of her eyes. Panic swelled in her chest and into her throat.


“What is it, lass?” he asked with such tenderness.


“Can you tell me my name?”


Link
Want More Alexa?


Visit her website here: www.alexabourne.com

Follow her blog here:
www.alexabourne.blogspot.com


Pick up a copy of her debut release on March 30th!
Click here for details.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Muse on a High with Guest Blogger: Brooke Moss


Chat with author Brooke Moss today at the Book Boost!


She's here to unleash her muse and here's what she had to say...


Okay, okay, alright…fine. I’m ready to admit it.

I’m a plotter. Sort of.

When I sit down to start a new book, I scribble down the first few chapters, see how it feels, see where the plot is going, and let my creative juices flow. Then, once I am a good two or three chapters in, I panic. I get all sweaty and panicked, and I wonder, where is this book going? Do I have any idea what is going to happen after this next scene? Am I wasting my time? Am I wasting my characters’ time?

Yes, you heard me correctly. I worry about my character’s busy schedules.

What I do after I’ve calmed down, taken a deep breath, and reminded myself that my characters are my creation, and that I can do with them what I want…is plot. Now, before I get ahead of myself, I should explain. I am not one of those plotters who creates story boards, and creates each side characters’ back story, and finds pictures on the internet of each and every character for inspiration.

I simply write out a bullet point document, with all chapters listed, and a short, 2-3 sentence summary of what I want to have accomplished in that scene. This helps me stay on task, keep the flow and pace of my books up, AND it helps me avoid the nasty “excess monster” I am always battling.

Oh, you don’t have one of those? Think of it as a small child with a Bedazzler. She bedazzles every surface in the house. Her clothes, shoes, hair accessories, blankets, toys…and quite possibly her baby brother, or maybe that was just at our house. And then you’re left with a house filled with over-decorated items. Your eyes hurt from all of the sparkle. It’s too much!

Well, I tend to run into this problem with my WIP’s, if I don’t plot a wee bit. I wind up with a 200K word epic saga that contains scenes that—while funny and interesting—are nowhere near necessary to the plot. And then, when I go to edit the darn book, my editing time is increased by weeks. And we won’t even get into how hard it is to sell a book that is bedazzled to death…

So now you understand why I plot. Just a little.

So what happens when my Muse has a different plan?

We all know it happens. There is a story in our head that we see going in one direction, only to be gently nudged—or violently pushed, depending on how strong your Muse is—in a different direction. This happened to me recently. I had the entire book loosely plotted out, and I was ready to start knocking chapters off of my checklist. Chapter one? Check. Chapters two and three? Check, check!

And then it happened. My Muse started plaguing me with dreams. Dark dreams, dreams that had nothing to do with what I was writing. Dreams that were a complete departure from my norm. I fought my Muse for a long time. I told her to sit down and shut up, and I even fed her some salted dark chocolate (my favorite) to shut her up. It worked…for a while. But then she came back. Bigger and better than ever!

After waking up from a certain dream for the eighth night in a row, I listened to my Muse, and sat down to write this new story. It is a complete departure from my norm, and it is something that I’ve never attempted before. Historically speaking, I am not a genre-jumper, so this is stretching my creative muscles in an uncomfortable way. Will I even be able to pull it off? Will I do my Muse justice? Do I have the skills necessary to write something like this?

I just had to let my Muse off of her leash and find out.

I think it’s necessary for a writer to just go with the flow every once in a while. Who knows if it will turn into a best seller, or just a very time-consuming paper weight! I guess it doesn’t matter. What matters is, I am letting my Muse guide me. And I can’t wait to see where I wind up.

A Note from the Book Boost: Wow! Interesting stuff. You're talking to a genre-junkie here. So, my muse frequently takes control of my world. Can't wait to hear about your new stuff--be sure to come back soon and tell us more.


Blurb:

Single mom, Autumn Cole, who is reluctantly returning to her miniscule hometown of Fairfield, Washington, to resume her role as daughter of the town drunk. While there, she discovers that the college sweetheart she left behind, but never stopped loving, is now her son’s history teacher. A heartwarming story full of laughs and tears.








Want More Brooke?

Visit her website here: http://brookemoss.com/

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

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Brief Book Blast with Guest Author: Zrinka Jelic


Checkout Zrinka Jelic's debut novel

Bonded by Crimson today at the Book Boost!


Blurb:

Love isn’t in the cards for her…

After her short failed marriage, Kate tries to rebuild her life and takes a position as a nanny to three small boys. She quickly grows to love them, but their father, terrifies her, while igniting a passion she didn’t know she possessed. Disturbed by his distant manner with his sons, Kate struggles to make him more involved in the boys’ daily lives. Her efforts are mysteriously supported by an entity that cannot really exist. Or can she? And if she does exist, is she really trying to help Kate, or just take over her body?

But when he deals the hand, all bets are off…

Six years after his beloved wife passed away, Matthias is still trying to become the father she wanted him to be. Not an easy task for a three-centuries-old immortal. His search for the ultimate nanny ends when Kate Rokov stumbles to his home and into his arms. The immediate attraction he feels for her seems like a betrayal of his dead wife, a love he’s harboured for over three hundred years. But when Kate is stalked by a deadly stranger, life he clung to in the past begins to crumble and break down. Can Matthias learn to trust and to love again in time to save his family from disaster, or will his stubborn pride destroy everything worth living for?



Excerpt:

He claimed to be immortal, but that was ridiculous...wasn’t it?

Kate’s heart hammered. The experience seemed so real. A low moan escaped her and she bit her lip. Soon warmth surged through her, causing her body to go limp. Her legs gave way underneath her, but Matthias—or whoever this man claimed to be now—wrapped his arm around her waist. His sweet, musky scent clung to her. Ecstasy filled her and she felt as if she hovered in the air. If he intended to kill her like this, she could imagine no better way to die. A voice echoed through her mind, speaking of undying love in centuries old Croatian.


“Wake up,” he whispered close to her ear, his strong arms still locked around her.


“I don’t want to.” Her head wobbled, exuberant with sheer happiness, a kind she had never experienced before.


“You must.” He stroked her hair with tender fingers. “Wake up now.”


“No. I want to stay like this. Forever.” She focused on his handsome face staring at her through her haze.


His smooth cheek brushed against hers. “Me too, but you must wake.”


The fog lifted and his image appeared, clearly now. She blinked once. Twice. What had happened? She pushed away from him and flattened her back against the wall.


“You, you—”


“You,” he said, pointing at her, “asked for proof.”




Want More Zrinka?

Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two children. A member of the Romance Writers of America and its chapter Fantasy Futuristic &Paranormal, as well as Savvy Authors, she writes contemporary fiction—which leans toward the paranormal—and adds a pinch of history.


Visit her on the web here:
http://zrinkajelicromanceauthor.wordpress.com/

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Beary Good Idea with Guest Blogger: Terry Spear



Welcome paranormal romance author
Terry Spear to the Book Boost today!



She's here to chat about werewolves, jaguars, and Teddy Bears? Here's what she had to say...


Not only do I write tons of different kinds of books from the paranormal to medieval Highland romance that have won awards, I create award-winning teddy bears. So in honor of National Craft Month, I’m going to talk about what I loved doing until my family and friends had enough of my creative crafts and I had to find another venue!


Since I was little, I loved to create stories, but also loved to do needlepoint, cross-stitching, embroidering, rug hooking, quilt making, pleating, you name it, I tried it. I also made dressed cloth dolls and bunnies with embroidered faces and sold them at craft shows.


But when my folks began to create doll carriages and other furniture for porcelain doll collectors, they asked me if I’d create an old fashioned teddy bear to display on their doll furniture since the shows they went to were doll and bear shows.


Wilde and Woolly Bears was born.


They immediately began collecting blue ribbons, one going as far as to win best of show at a Fort Lauderdale doll and bear show. Another one first place, Pete the Pirate, most unique, pirate bear with a peg leg. Another one first place as a jester bear. They were featured in Texas Bear Review three times, in Texas Monthly Magazine, Texas Co-Op Monthly Magazine, and The MacNeill Galley. They were featured in a number of newspapers also. And they were in the International Teddy Bear Connection by Spectral Vision Films.


They’ve found homes all over the world as far away as Belgium, France, Australia, Kazakhstan, Russia and China, and all over the US and Canada. Who knew my little teddy bear creations would have international appeal?


I make birth bears embroidered with a child’s first name and their birth date on the paws. And I have a special collection of Celtic Clan bears with the Scottish/Irish plaid sash and bonnet and the Clan name embroidered on one paw, and Clan on the other. I’ve had some orders from folks who don’t belong to a clan, but love the idea and want to become part of one too!


Right now as I’m working on my 11th book in the Heart of the Highland Wolf series, A Highland Wolf Wedding, I have three teddy bears to make for two new little baby boys and one little girl. Each becomes a character in and of itself, just like the characters in my books.


Who knew when I started sewing so many years ago, just like with making up stories, I’d be sharing my creations with the world?


You never know when a love of a craft can become something more than just gifts for family and friends!


A Note from the Book Boost: I'm so jealous of your special creative gift, Terry. I've always wanted to be able to create something like those bears but I just don't have that particular gift. Your bears are lovely and thanks for sharing the history of your creations with us. Now, more on your latest book, please!


Blurb:

Her instincts tell her he's dangerous...

While her overprotective brother's away, Meara Greymere's planning to play—and it wouldn't hurt to find herself a mate in the process. The last thing she needs is one of his SEAL buddies spoiling her fun, even if the guy is the hottest one she's ever seen...

His powers of persuasion are impossible to resist...

Finn Emerson is a battle-hardened Navy SEAL and alpha wolf. He's a little overqualified for baby-sitting, but feisty Meara is attracting trouble like a magnet...

As the only responsible alpha male in the vicinity, Finn is going to have to protect this intriguing woman from a horde of questionable men, and definitely from himself...



Want More Terry?

Visit her website here: www.terryspear.com

Visit her bears here:
http://terryspear.tripod.com/celticbears/

Follow her blog here: http://terry-spear.blogspot.com/


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

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pause for the Flaws with Guest Blogger: Jessica Chambers




Win a copy of Dark is the Sky and
meet author Jessica Chambers
today at the Book Boost!


She's here to talk about her favorite character flaws and here's what she had to say...


Creating characters is one of my favorite parts of the entire writing process. I love dreaming up larger than life protagonists who are sympathetic, but also immensely flawed. I confess I find heroes or heroines who are too perfect incredibly dull! We all have our faults, after all, and so it’s only right that our characters should too. Hopefully what I end up with are people my readers can empathize with, even if they don’t always like them.


For me, the experience is rather like that of meeting someone you feel instinctively will one day become a good friend…or a hated enemy. When you’re first introduced, you get a general sense of their personality, whether they’re outgoing or shy, passionate or laid back. Then, as you spend more time with them, exchanging opinions and life stories, you glimpse the complexities beneath the faƧade. Perhaps the cheerfulness masks a deep insecurity, or the love of books betrays a desperate need to escape a troubled marriage.


This is almost exactly how my characters develop. I start by knowing one thing about them, and gradually peel back the layers to reveal their hopes and dreams, their closely-guarded secrets and innermost thoughts, until I understand what makes them tick and how they’re likely to react in any given situation. Of course, just because I know these people more intimately than I’m ever likely to know anyone in the real world, that doesn’t mean they won’t do something unexpected. Even best friends can surprise you on occasion, right?


I especially enjoyed coming up with the cast for my latest release, Dark is the Sky. Seriously, the Camerons are one screwed-up family with enough emotional baggage to fill an entire series of Maury. We have soft-hearted Olivia doing her best to hold the family reunion together amidst the devastating discovery that her husband Joel is having an affair, while her sister seems intent on raking up the painful past.


Long-nurtured resentment simmers between Joel and his twin, once his closest friend, and his down-trodden sister-in-law appears on the verge of nervous collapse. There is betrayal, grief and illicit love. Through it all, the tragedy of twelve years ago still haunts them and the devastating truth is waiting to emerge.


All this drama was tremendous fun to write, but it was also a challenge juggling so many secrets and complex relationships, trying to keep track of which members of the family knew what about whom, working out which revelations to disclose to the reader when. I always like to have an outline before I begin writing, but Dark is the Sky needed a particularly detailed one. Not that I’m complaining. I loved every second of it, and of course it was immensely satisfying when all the elements came together.


Writers, how is the process of creating characters for you? Do you have any methods that help you get to know them better? Perhaps you’ve invented a character you’re particularly proud of.


Readers, what do you look for in a character? Do you prefer them to be quirky and larger than life, or like the average man/woman on the street? Who are your favorite and least favorite characters of all time?


A Note from the Book Boost: Nice post, Jessica. Thanks for sharing. This book sounds great and I love the idea of complex interwoven stories and characters. As far as my characters, I like the hero who you start out thinking is a total jerk and ends up being deeply wounded in the gooey center and then you fall madly in love with him. Please tell us more about your book!


Blurb:

It’s twelve years since Olivia and Joel Cameron invited the family to spend the weekend at their country home, a visit that ended in tragedy when Scott, Joel’s outrageously sexy youngest brother, was found dead. The repercussions have torn the family apart.

Now, Olivia’s sister Violet has persuaded her to host a reunion so that they can finally lay their ghosts to rest. However, there are some secrets too destructive to remain hidden, and Violet, still grieving for the man she loved, is determined to uncover the truth. As the web of hostility and deceit begins to unravel, family ties are tested to the limit.


Excerpt:

As Rafe makes his way indoors, a little unsteady on his feet, Carla pursues him with her eyes. She has watched all evening as he makes a play for Phoebe, casting her farther under his spell. Yet, even though she detects no falsehood behind his flattery, she can’t rid herself of the fear that he’s merely toying with her. Well, now’s her chance to find out.

“I’d better make sure the children are behaving for Liv,” Carla says. Hurrying through the kitchen and along the passage, she waylays Rafe at the foot of the stairs.


“In here.” She seizes his arm to pull him into the poky sitting room.


“We are keen,” Rafe says as she closes the door. “I mean, I’m used to women jumping on me, but most don’t dare with their husband in the same house. Not that I’m complaining. Why don’t we try out that comfortable-looking sofa?”


Carla folds her arms across her chest, glaring at him. “I wouldn’t touch you if you paid me.”


“Trust me, babe, you’re the one who’d be paying me. So, if you’re not after a bit of rough-and-tumble, what can I do for you?”


“You can take note of this, because I’m telling you, Rafe, if you break Phoebe’s heart, you’ll have me to deal with.”


“How touching, I’m sure. Still, I imagine Phoebe can look after herself.”


“What would you know? You didn’t have to watch while the girls at school teased her, or comfort her when she cried her eyes out because she thought she was ugly and no man would ever want her. It’s taken me years, yes, years, to help her build up some semblance of confidence. I won’t have you shatter it with your selfish games.”


Rafe considers her, head on one side. “If I didn’t know better, Carla, I’d say you were jealous.” And moving her aside as easily as if she were a child, he opens the door and saunters upstairs.



Want More Jessica?


Visit her on the web here: http://www.jessicachambers.co.uk/

Follow her on Twitter here:
http://www.twitter.com/authorjchambers

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



Contest Time:


Leave a question or comment for Jessica and be entered to win a copy of Dark is the Sky.


**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, March 21, 2012

Make a Fortune with Guest Blogger: Katee Robert


Win a copy of Queen of Swords
and meet Entangled author
Katee Robert today at the Book Boost!


She's here to discuss her fascination with fortune telling and here's what she had to say...


I’ve held a fascination with the various methods of fortune telling for years. As a kid, I loved Miss Cleo (whatever happened to her, anyways?), though I never got up the nerve to call. The thing about fortune telling that’s so attractive—whether it’s palm reading, tarot cards, tea leaves, or something else altogether—is the possibilities it holds.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a true believer, a skeptic, or somewhere in the middle, most people I’ve met would give up a whole hell of a lot to get a glimpse of the future.

Two years ago, I took the plunge on a whim and had my palm read. I went in skeptically, ready to shake my head and smile when the woman told me I’d marry the love of my life, get rich, and live happily ever after.

Instead she kind of blew my mind. Granted, there was some confusion about how many children I have (I have two; she was convinced I had a third…It’s incredibly eerie to be arguing about that with a complete stranger), but a few of the short-term things she predicted have come true.

I may not be a devout believer even now, but the experience is what ended up pushing me into turning my lady protagonist, Ophelia, into a card reader. It was pretty cool to manipulate the cards to create the outcomes I wanted, and I hold a new respect for people who read tarot. It’s a difficult thing to do and when I do readings now, I can barely make heads or tails of them. I doubt I’ll do more than dabble in it…but I definitely do wonder what I’d hear if I ever get the nerve to track down that palm reader again.


A Note from the Book Boost: Hi Katee and welcome to the Book Boost. Looks like you have a couple of great projects coming out this month from Entangled. Congrats! Oh, and I always wanted to call Cleo, too, but never did. She's probably gone on to another plane of existence now anyway. :-o


Blurb:

Marianna Zain is in trouble. The handsome stranger she just kissed? He’s a member of the most terrifying hate-group in the universe. Even after he takes her captive, Marianna can’t shake her initial instincts that he’s a man of worth…and her only chance at escaping death.

One of Sanctify’s most decorated lieutenants, Gerald Leoni thought he had everything figured out. But then he crosses paths with a Diviner, the most despised of the alien races, and is honor-bound to bring her in. One night with Marianna makes him question everything he knows.

As the day of her scheduled execution draws near, Marianna forms a plan. She’s going to seduce Gerald—a task that would be simpler if she weren’t being seduced as well. But Sanctify doesn’t take kindly to their people cavorting with aliens, and instead of finding a savior, Marianna may be dragging Gerald to his death alongside her…


Blurb:

When the cards tell Ophelia Leoni she’s supposed to marry the Prince of Hansarda, the gunrunner grits her teeth and boards the starship that comes for her. It doesn’t matter if the ship’s commander is the gorgeous stranger she just spent a wild, drunken night with. As a Diviner, she’s painfully aware the cards don’t lie. Ever.

Boone O’Keirna knows Ophelia is trouble the second he sees the way she moves. Not about to let the deadly little hellcat marry his sadistic half-brother, Boone pretends to be the Prince’s emissary and kidnaps Ophelia. Too bad they can’t be in the same room without him wanting to throw her out an airlock–or into bed.

Even as they fight each other–and their explosive attraction–Ophelia and Boone sense something is wrong. Too much is going their way. Soon, they realize while the cards may never lie, the truth is sometimes hidden between them…and the future king of Hansarda is not one to take defeat lying down.



Want More Katee?

Visit her on the web here: http://kateerobert.wordpress.com

Follow her on Twitter here:
https://twitter.com/katee_robert



Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Katee and be entered to win a copy of Queen of Swords.

**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 20, 2012

Roles of a Lifetime with Guest Blogger: Dina Rae



Win Halo of the Damned and meet
author Dina Rae today at the Book Boost.


She's here to chat about the women who've most influenced her life from television, film and real life and here's what she had to say...


When I think about influential women, I think of heroines. My mother is the first to come to mind. I would love nothing more than to explain myself, but her privacy trumps all accolades I would write, so please take me at my word.

History books and history teachers tend to favor the same few dozen women who have made their mark on the world. Among the most commonly revered are Joan of Arc, Harriet Tubman, Margaret Thatcher, Mother Theresa, and Golda Meir. As a former teacher, I’ll refrain from the humanities lecture. However, I’m compelled to mention my personal high profile favorites: Oprah Winfrey, Susan B. Anthony, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Why?

Oprah Winfrey courageously broadcasted her sexual abuse and impoverished living conditions to the world during her show. These obstacles didn’t stop her from becoming the queen of day time television and one of the richest women in the world. Her influence pervades numerous markets, especially the literary business; just ask an author lucky enough to have his/her book selected for her book club. Results are a predictable spot on the New York Bestseller’s List and bonanza of cash. Note to self: Send Oprah a copy of Halo of the Damned.

Susan B. Anthony was blessed with a father who believed in equality during a time when most of the world didn’t. He influenced her into believing she could change the world. Her first attempt occurred while teaching. She volunteered after working hours to visit and teach poor black children how to read. Her kindness was repaid by termination. The dose of reality would have halted most, but inspired her to change America.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s mother and sisters told her how ugly she was on a daily basis. When she was a little girl, her alcoholic father preferred taverns over weekend visitation, leaving her alone numerous times in the middle of New York City. Classic case of poor little rich girl, but she changed the role of First Lady forever.

In the nutshell, these women epitomize the underdog syndrome. Their obstacles, not accomplishments, are what make them influential, give them street-cred. Most women would use these misfortunes as a crutch, complain or spend years in therapy, allowing a troubled past to swallow them whole. We have much to learn from these great women.

Lastly, I listed my favorite influential heroines in film and television. These women may not be real, but their respective writers and actresses make us love them, know them, want to be them.

1) Uma Thurman as The Bride in Kill Bill-Gorgeous, strong, intelligent, and determined. She’s an irresistible double-crossed assassin whose thirst for revenge motivates her to superhero status. One of my favorite scenes is when she dug herself out of her grave.

2) Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. Her biggest flaw? Poor taste in men, preferring a talker over a doer. Love her strength and innovation. She represents survivalism for women in the 19th century. Favorite scene is when she steals her sister’s boyfriend away, seeing an opportunity.

3) Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Star Wars-not exactly the helpless princess waiting for Prince Charming to come and save her with a kiss of true love. Loved watching her rummage through the trash without an ounce of pride or vanity.

Other influential heroines that deserve mention:

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Aliens, Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy in Blindside, Edie Falcon as Carmela Soprano in The Sopranos, Peta Wilson as Nikita in La Femme Nikita, Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in The Terminator, Milla Jovovich as Violet in Resident Evil, and the list goes on and on.

Please leave a comment if you have a favorite influential female character that needs recognition.


A Note from the Book Boost: I'm a big fan of Jodie Foster in The Accused and Holly Hunter in Home for the Holidays and Frances McDormand in Fargo. Those are just to name a few. Great post and thanks for sharing. Please tell us more about your book!


Blurb:

Andel Talistokov is known for his slick advertising agencies across the globe. He is a fallen angel that uses advertising as a weapon for Satan's work. His sloppy behavior escalates into disobedience, illegitimate children, and unwanted publicity. Furious with his antics, Satan commands him to return to Hell after finding his own replacement.

Yezidism, an ancient angel worshiping religion, quietly expands throughout the West. Andel appears as a guest of honor during their ceremonies. He mates with young women to produce nephilim, a mixed race of humans and angels. His children are oblivious to their supernatural power. Their ignorance often leads to violent and suicidal urges.

Joanna Easterhouse, a recovering drug addict, steps out of prison shortly after her mother's fatal accident. She and her sister, Kim, unravel their mother's secretive past. Intrigued, they learn their bloodline is part of a celestial legacy.

Both worlds collide.

Halo of the Damned is a horrifying tale that weaves research together with suspenseful twists and turns.


Excerpt:

The next day, Kim packed up her own drawing of her mother’s carved wall, the scroll, and the piece of metal. Her excitement put her in a giddy mood. Once she was parked and in front of Loyola’s entrance, Sandra met her in the foyer and escorted her back to the Arts and Science College. Sandra took Kim to their lounge and introduced her to six other professors who were equally interested in seeing her finds. All of them specialized in fields that had to
do with the ancient world.

Kim began with unveiling her own copy of the symbols she drew from her mother’s basement.

“I appreciate all of your attention. Can anyone tell me what this is, and even possibly what it means? Each symbol was copied down in the order it was etched into the wall,” Kim said.


One professor immediately took the paper and made a copy.

This made Kim uncomfortable. He asked, “Where did you find this?”

“Again, none of that matters,” Kim defensively repeated. Her daughter’s omen chimed throughout her brain. The man intuitively put up her defenses.

“Doctor Nrogbi’s English is somewhat limited. He’s not trying to be pushy or rude,” Sandra explained.

“This is Angelic script, also known as Adonite language, alphabet of the Ark, or even Enochian. It’s the first written language of this world. Angels used it to communicate with God. The first humans also used it before the Fall,” Doctor Nrogbi lectured.

“Before what fall?” Kim asked, very confused. How could Maria have known all of this?

“Before Adam and Eve sinned. Before they were kicked out of Eden. It pre-dates Hebrew, Sanskrit, Aramaic, and other ancient languages. It’s very sophisticated and difficult to translate. These symbols look like a key, invocation, or lyric. Let me get something off my bookshelf.”


While the doctor frantically flipped through several of his books, other professors rattled off bits and pieces of their own views concerning the script. Kim learned that Enoch didn’t name the language, but his name was chosen for it thousands of years later because of his communications inside of Heaven.

The professors spoke of John Dee, a famous mathematician, cartographer, and seer of Queen Elizabeth I. He had a revelation about angelic script and later recorded it. Sir Edward Kelley, his colleague, also witnessed the revelation and recorded additional symbols called Keys or Calls. Their legitimacy had been debated for centuries.

“Ah, I found it. What you have here is a Key. Angel script is read left to right. These symbols together are sort of like a prayer. A rough translation in English means, ‘Forever fallen is forever damned, until one can unlock from within.’ I wish I knew where you found this. The context would help cypher the meaning,” Doctor Nrogbi stated.

“Anyone have an inkling to what the passage could mean?” Kim asked.

“I can only guess that fallen is either man, as in Adam…or possibly angels, as in the Fallen that waged war with Satan against God. He and all his angels were cast down and forever damned. However, there is a loophole suggested-‘unlock from within.’ Don’t know, just a guess,” answered Doctor Barry Lowenstein, an ancient comparative literature professor.

“Kim, you said you had a few more items to show us. Can we see? The anticipation is gnawing away at all of us!” Sandra exclaimed.

“Okay, I have a scroll that might be of some interest,” Kim answered as she gingerly took it out of her purse and laid it down on a long table. All the professors’ jaws dropped in astonishment.

They all hovered over the scroll, whispering theories of what it might be. Doctor Nrogbi quickly grabbed his cell phone and began taking photos. The rest of the professors followed suit.

“Tanned animal hide, probably lamb or ram, of the highest quality for ancient times. This must be dated as far back as 500 B.C., maybe even a 1000 B.C. We need to carbon-date this. It’s in perfect condition. What was this stored in?” Doctor Lowenstein questioned.

“It came in a box. I didn’t bring it with me,” Kim replied, feeling suffocated and wanting to leave.

“We could use a combination of steam and chemicals to remove the seal so that it doesn’t break. That way we could read the scroll. Can you leave this with Sandra for the next couple of days?” asked Doctor Litner, an art history professor and expert in document preservation.

Can you bring in the box? Can you take us to where this was found? Can you leave this for display? Can we take this to the Smithsonian? Can you, Can you, Can you...Kim’s head was about to explode. She wasn’t about to disclose the ornate metal she still had in her purse.

“I’ll call Sandra and we can do this another time. Thank you all for your help,” Kim abruptly announced. She packed up her things and rushed out of the university.


Want More Dina?

Visit her on the web here: www.dinarae.co


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



Contest Time:


Leave a question or comment for Dina and be entered to win a copy of Halo of the Damned.


**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 19, 2012

The Book Within with Guest Blogger: Maureen Fisher



Win a copy of Fur Ball Fever &
chat with romantic crime mystery author,
Maureen Fisher today at the Book Boost.



She's here to chat about something called...The Acorn Theory...and here's what she had to say...


I’m not one of those people who knew as soon as I sprang from my mother’s womb that I was destined to be a writer. No way. Far from it. I didn’t carry around a pen and notepad to scribble down pearls of wisdom. I wasn’t brimming with plot ideas. I almost never heard snippets of conversation in my head.


But, looking back at my earliest memories, I can see that the seeds were, indeed, there.


I’m re-reading a book called The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, written by leading Jungian psychologist and PhD, Dr. James Hillman. In the book, he describes what he calls, “The Acorn Theory,” proposing that in the acorn lies the DNA of the future oak. An acorn doesn’t look like an oak, but it contains the genetic material required for growing into an oak as opposed to, say a turnip, or a daffodil, or a maple. Similar to the oak, Dr. Hillman proposes that everyone is born with a defining image or a calling, which is innate at birth and which manifests itself throughout our lifetime.


This got me wondering about my own elusive calling. Is my defining image really that of a writer? After all, for years, I thought it was something a tad more analytical--a computer programmer, for example, or a management consultant. If Dr. Hillman’s theory is true, then surely there must have been some evidence of my calling in my early childhood.


And so, I took a trip down memory lane. Ever since I can remember, I have always loved books. My earliest memory is a hazy recollection of my two-year-old self snuggling up on my grandmother’s lap while she read a story book to me. Shortly before I turned three, my next and more vivid memory is of toddling into my beloved grandmother’s room clutching my favorite book. Although I didn’t know it at the time, she was dying of cancer. She took one look at me and said, “I’m sorry, my wee lamb, but I’m too sick to read to you today.” And I clearly remember answering, “But it’s for you to read to yourself. It will make you feel all better.” In my almost-three-year-old opinion, a good book held miraculous healing powers.


Fast forward to age four. Still dependent on the whim of adults for my reading pleasure, I wanted to read books by myself. Fortunately for me, British schools at that time were pretty advanced in their curriculum. I learned to read and write by the time I turned five. After that, there was no stopping me. Painfully shy, I immersed myself in imaginary worlds, devouring Winnie the Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, Peter Pan, the Enid Blyton adventure series, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Treasure Island, Children of the New Forest, Robinson Crusoe, The Swiss Family Robinson, and countless more. I read paperbacks, I waded through hardcover. At school, I excelled at English composition.


Looking back, I can see that the seeds of a writer were present at birth. Those seeds germinated early, but lay dormant for many years, waiting until climate and soil were right. Now the seeds have sprouted and are bearing fruit.


What are some of your earliest memories? Can you recognize the seeds of your defining image or calling in those memories?


A Note from the Book Boost: I, too, have always been addicted to books. I spent every penny I could earn from doing chores on weekly reader purchases from the school catalog. I checked out as many books as the librarian would allow and even still...accompanied my mother to the used book store on a weekly basis. I love how books feel, smell, and the voices of characters living in my head are many and marvelous. Thanks for joining us today, Maureen. Please tell us more about your book!



Blurb:

Fur Ball Fever is a romantic crime mystery spiked with attitude (most of it warped) and enough steamy sex to drive those who dare read it racing for a cold shower …

After a lifetime of impetuous mistakes, pet spa owner Grace Donnelly outdoes herself when she loses her elderly client’s prize pooch—a shoo-in to win the annual Jersey Shore Fur Ball. Money, careers, and lives are in jeopardy. Too bad her helpers consist of an aging hippie aunt, a renegade schnauzer, and a drag queen. Worst of all, the only man truly qualified to help is her former flame, the hunkiest bodyguard north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Security specialist Nick Jackson faces his worst nightmare when Grace’s amateur investigation nearly blows his undercover operation. Unless he nails the con-artist who scammed local seniors and whacked a witness, his homicidal granddaddy will take justice into his own liver-spotted hands. To salvage his case, his sanity, and his ex-lover’s velvety skin, Nick joins forces with the sassy crusader who rubs him the wrong way—and so many right ways too.

Action bounces between a beach harboring washed-up corpses, a fancy yacht no honest preacher could possibly afford, and the bawdiest nightclub in Atlantic City. Hazards multiply like bunnies until exploding into romance, murder, and mayhem culminating in a Fur Ball extravaganza the locals will never forget.


Excerpt:

When Nick freed Grace's lips, her breath was coming hard and fast. More turned on than she could ever remember, she took another risk. Still gasping for air, she explained, “Most bondage scenarios revolve around a fantasy.” She paused for a beat, gathering her courage.

“You said I’d be in charge,” she reminded him. “I want to act out a fantasy.”


He gave an audible gulp. “Anything specific?”


“Mmmm-hmmm,” she said around a deep, shuddering breath. One fantasy had tantalized her thoughts and tormented her dreams ever since she’d laid eyes on Nick. Breathing hard, she raised her head. “You’re the white knight. I’m a fair maiden you’re rescuing from the clutches of an evil ogre who has tied her up.”


His eyes blazed. “I can live with that, darlin’,” he said. “Is this fair maiden conscious or unconscious?”


A wave of hot desire thickened her speech. “Sleeping. The white knight is trying to awaken her.” Suffused with the heady liberation of surrender, Grace closed her eyes and held her breath. She didn’t have to see Nick to feel the heat of his gaze scalding her skin. The tension became unbearable.


Then the mattress sank under his weight. Although he didn’t touch her, his body radiated heat. The aroma of sandalwood and hungry male enveloped her. She compressed her lips on the moan that struggled to escape. If the white knight didn’t do something, and fast, she would jump clear out of her skin—if she wasn’t cuffed to the bed.


His mouth skimmed her cheek, trailed heat down her jaw line, feathered tiny kisses down her neck. He stopped above her right breast. She pictured him staring. Her nipples throbbed with anticipation, longing for the tug of his mouth. She held her breath, squeezed her eyes shut, forced her body to remain motionless. This was too good, too delicious, to break the spell. Her body was on fire simply from imagining his next move.


The mattress shifted. She opened one eye a slit to find him kneeling between her legs. Closing the eye quickly—before he noticed the fair maiden was wide awake and more than ready for action—she waited, clenched and quivering.



Want More Maureen?


Visit her on the web here: http://booksbymaureen.com/

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



Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Maureen and be entered to win an e-book copy of Fur Ball Fever.

**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!**

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A World of Wonderful Women with Guest Blogger: Paige Cuccaro



Welcome to a special weekend edition
@the Book Boost Paige Cuccaro!
Win a copy of Hellsbane!



She's here to chat about the meaningful women in her life and here's what she had to say...


It’s Woman’s History Month and that got me thinking which women in my life really influence me. The question is easy. My girls. I’m lucky to be the mother of three beautiful young women.


My oldest is about to turn 21. She has such an amazing spirit and kind heart. She’s incredibly compassionate and open minded, often teaching me by example to be more tolerant and patient.

My middle daughter is almost 19 and is one of the bravest, independent people I know. It’s not that she’s without fear, she’s just able to control her fear and use it to push her to achieve her goals. When I’m feeling overwhelmed by insecurities or hesitant to try something new, I look to her as an example of how to live life to the fullest.

My youngest just turned 16 and not a day goes by that she doesn’t make me laugh out loud. There’s just no being sad or angry around her. She’s able to see the humor in almost any situation and from her I’ve learned how to laugh at life and not take everything, including myself, so seriously.

All three are beautiful, but more than that, they are truly remarkable souls. I feel blessed to not just to be their mother, but to know them and to be counted among the people they love.

However, when it comes writing, there is one more woman who has deeply touched and influenced my life.

Author Anne Rice has had such a profound influence on, not just my writing, but my reading as well. It was her books, The Vampire Chronicles, the Witching Hour series, and the countless single titles that sparked my imagination as a teenager and young adult. Her skill with the written word made me fall in love with a vampire. I visited New Orleans for the first time and realized I wanted become a writer myself in the pages of her books.


Maybe it was because of my age, and that I was open to every possibility, but while I have found many, many stunningly talented authors since, none have had as great an effect on my life as Anne Rice. She showed me a kind of magic I didn’t know was possible. And like the kid on the edge of her seat watching the magician hired for her friend’s birthday party, I wanted to know how the tricks were done.

After reading her books, I knew I wanted to cast the same kind of spell she’d cast on me, transporting me to another place, setting my feet so firmly in Louie and Lestat’s New Orleans apartment I could hear Claudia’s little fingers tapping the piano keys. I could taste the soot in the air from oil lamps burning in the parlor, as surely as I could smell the dank old dirt in the catacombs under the Theatre des Vampires. When I opened the pages of her book, my world fell away and I was there, right where she wanted me to be and I willingly followed wherever she led.

I wanted to do that. The story itself didn’t matter. I wanted to make the magic, to weave the spell of words and story and transport readers to the worlds I’ve created. It is thanks to Anne Rice that I write, that I love to read, that I aspire to entertain each time I sit down at my computer.

So now it’s your turn. It’s women’s history month. What woman in your life has influenced you most? I’d love to hear about her!


A Note from the Book Boost: Paige, thanks for sharing your inspiring women with us. I have quite a few of my own, including my 94 year old grandmother (the English major and proofreader extraordinaire); my mother (still married to her first love & high school sweetheart); and my 2 daughters (who still look at me as if I'm the most beautiful thing in the world). So many wonderful women and such a blessing to have them in my life. Please tell us more about your book.


Blurb:

Twenty-three-year-old Emma Jane Hellsbane just found out she’s not human—or, at least, not only human. She’s half angel, too, and now Heaven’s got a job for her: round up all the Fallen angels and their red-skinned, horned devil-demon minions and boot their butts back into the abyss.

Only problem?

The demons and their Fallen masters fight back…and they don’t fight fair.

Luckily for Emma, she can put a stop to the constant threat of having her head hacked off if she figures out which Fallen angel is her father—and then kill him before he kills her.

Of course, in the meantime, she’ll have to avoid accidentally seducing her angelic mentor, help an old friend conquer his own Fallen sperm donor, and basically save the world from a cataclysmic divine smack down.

No one said being Heaven’s bounty hunter would be easy. But with a name like Hellsbane, Emma Jane was born for the job.


Excerpt:

“Perhaps you’ve mistaken my statement for a request,” he said. “It wasn’t.”

“Ah. So it’s like that, is it?”

He snaked an arm around my waist, jerked me to him so our bodies were flush against each other. I gasped, my hands going to his chest on reflex.

“Yes,” he said. “It’s like that.”

A soft wind shifted through my hair, and the world around us blurred as if in motion. But our feet hadn’t moved. The overlook, the cars, the townhouses, the sky, everything raced past us.
Then it was gone. Darkness engulfed us, with only the distant stars twinkling in the vast emptiness. My hands leached around Eli’s neck, brought us cheek to cheek.

“You’re safe in my arms, Emma Jane. Always,” he said, his lips brushing my ear. A shudder traveled straight down to my center with the sweet sound of his words. The man had an orgasmic voice. What a waste.

His embrace loosened, and I leaned back enough to see his face. A soft glow lightened the shadows from behind me, just enough to cast a silvery glow over his expression. Time and space suddenly rushed in on me, and my brain spun like I’d been twirling around on my toes for an hour.

I let go of him with one hand, pressing it to my forehead to stop the spin and to keep my brain from coming out of my ears. “What was that?”

“Your mind is struggling to match speed with your body. May I help?”

I’d told him once never to use his power to give me false rapture, but it was like asking a fish not to swim. I nodded and he rested his hand over mine, the warmth of his skin heating through me. The nauseating twirling stopped.

“I hoped moving slower would help lessen the shock, but it seems the effect allowed your vision too much time to try and compensate,” he said.

“We moved at angelic speed?” I asked, guessing.

“No. I am able to travel at the speed of thought. We moved an increment slower.”

“Um, thanks.” I tried to see over his shoulder, to get my bearings, but I couldn’t push up on my toes. I moved the muscles, and nothing happened. I looked at my feet—there was nothing beneath us. No floor, no ground, no...anything, just more blackness and millions and millions of distant twinkly lights.

An icy bolt of panic shot up my spine and I clutched at Eli. My gut twisted and a scream caught in the back of my throat. Eli hugged me tight.

“Where are we?”

“Look behind you,” he said.

It took a few seconds of internal argument, but eventually my courage rallied, and I glanced over my shoulder. “Is that...”

“Earth,” he said.

Sheer awe loosened my grip. I shifted my feet to his—I had to stand on something—and turned, holding his hands to my hips to anchor me, my back to his chest.

The world looked exactly the way it does in all the pictures...but so much more. More beautiful, more breathtaking than any picture could capture.

There was a storm swirling over one of the oceans, and night was quickly approaching for half the world. A thick line of darkness crept over land and water as the planet spun. On the other side, brilliant light ate away the darkness at exactly the same pace.

“This can’t be real. How?” I asked, my brain fighting reason and everything I knew about space and time and reality.

His hands slipped over my belly, his embrace enveloping me. “In the arms of an angel, Emma Jane, all things are possible.”

My eyes closed, and I leaned back into his chest. I tried not to enjoy the feel of him around me, but the heat of his body, the comforting strength of his muscles, and the sweet, summery scent of his skin decimated my willpower.

“Behold what your birthright has brought you, Emma Jane,” he said. “No mortal human could claim as much.”

I opened my eyes and felt that rush of awe all over again at the view. “It’s amazing, Eli. Thank you.”

“This is only the beginning. You have been chosen to battle creatures far more powerful than mere mortals. You are not like other humans; you cannot be. Your task requires much of you, and for it, much has been given. Time and space unravel for you to traverse with the same intrinsic understanding as those you hunt. The world is quite literally at your feet.”

Before I could take a breath, I found myself staring out over a large valley and an ocean beyond. Gone was the great global marble spinning in the endless black of space. Suddenly, I was blinking at a waking cityscape miles below with large water inlets and busy harbors.

There was blue sky above me and green land below. We were back on Earth.


Hard, unrelenting wind whipped my hair, making it hard to see. But I could make out the white sand-lined shores and the short mountain ranges that blocked sections of the city from the ocean.

“Where are we?” I yelled, but my voice was lost on the roaring wind.

Eli tucked me under his arm, and silence descended over us like he’d closed a door. My hair floated back against my head and I could stand on my own. I shoved at the strands over my face and tried to clue in my brain. “Brazil.” Eli pointed at the city. “Rio de Janeiro.”

“It’s beautiful.” My gaze followed the landscape below to the base of the mountain, then to the long winding staircase tracing up the side until they disappeared far below the edge of the outcropping we stood on. It’d been nearly six a.m. in Pittsburgh by the time Eli and I left Earth, which made it nearly seven a.m. in Rio, and the city was already bustling.

What are we standing on? I fisted my hand around Eli’s jacket and leaned over for a better look. “No way. Christ the Redeemer? Seriously?” We were on his arm and I looked to the left at the huge, white, carved face of Jesus.

“Remarkable, isn’t it?” Eli said. “And yet it pales in comparison to the miracle that is you and those like you.”

He smiled wide, so pleased with himself, and I could almost forgive him for not warning me one wrong step could send me tumbling over a hundred feet to the very, very hard landing below.



Want More Paige?

Visit her website here: www.PaigeCuccaro.com

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



Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Paige and be entered to win a copy of Hellsbane.


**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!**