Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cold Hands...Evil Hearts with Guest Blogger: Bev Irwin

Meet Author Bev Irwin & 
Win your Choice of Books 
today at the Book Boost!

Thank you all for stopping by, and to Kerri for inviting me. So what shall we talk about today?

It’s cold here in London, Ontario. The wind raging through the trees around my property sounds like a speeding train. The trees are swaying and bending, but not breaking, at least not yet. And the snow. It blusters, then stops, then starts again. So far not much on the ground. I hope it stays that way. I’m shuddering listening to the weather outside. Wait while I turn on the fireplace.

There that is better. What a way to spend a day. Sitting in front of a roaring fireplace with a computer on my lap, safe from the cold, wind and snow.

Kerri says the freezing January temperatures make her think about villains. So lets talk about my favorite characters to write about, villains. I love to write about those people who sometimes have frozen hearts just as cold as the temperatures outside.

I write several genres but enjoy writing mystery and thrillers more than anything else. I like to add a little medical aspect to my writing and I enjoy delving into the psyche especially, if it’s warped.
And what villain doesn’t have a warped psyche?

What interests me is how they became that way. Were they born like that? Was there some trauma in their childhood to cause it? What effect did his parents or lack of them have on him/her? Can he change? Did anyone see the movie We Need to Talk about Kevin? Seeing that movie brought up those questions, but no answers. Sometimes there are never answers.

When Regan Murphy, a professional reviewer, reviewed my book (Thank you, Regan, for a wonderful review), she commented on my villains. I’ve taken a quote from her review.

"Without Consent is another spectacular psychological thriller from Bev Irwin. Once again Irwin has given us a villain who is totally believable. I remember when I took a psychology class in college, my professor said that no one, no matter how evil, ever thinks of him or herself as being evil. I never fully understood that until I met some of Irwin’s villains. She does such a marvelous job of justifying her character’s motives in the character’s mind, that he seems real, like someone we should know...well, no, I guess we wouldn’t want to know them, after all. LOL!"

If you read any of my villains, the kidnapper in Missing Clayton, the creepy boyfriend in Ghostly Injustice,  or the serial killer in Without Consent, then you can tell me if she is right.

Think of the villains you have heard or read about. Would you have known they were capable of the deed if you had met them on the street, lived next to them or worked along side them. Sometimes we can see the evil in men’s hearts but sometimes it is hidden by a cloak of charm.

How many psychopaths have charmed women into letting him into their homes and were murdered or raped?

Or a woman who is so desperate to have a baby that her mind becomes deranged to the point that she has a psychosomatic pregnancy, or steals a baby from a hospital and in her mind is convinced the baby is hers.

Or my kidnapper in Missing Clayton, suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), who becomes convinced that Clayton is his son. He did have a son, years ago, but his wife left town years ago taking his son with her. He even deludes himself that Jenny, Clayton’s single mother, has feelings for him. By the end of the story his mental state has deteriorated even more.

In Without Consent, my serial killer, also suffering from mental illness, hears voices and has deluded himself that he needs to find the perfect kidney for his ailing mother. Even when he picks the wrong woman and things go wrong. Below is Regan’s quote on this.

"I love the way Irwin has the killer twist the situation in his mind until it is the victim’s fault for being murdered."

See aren’t villains fun to write about? If you want to read an excerpt from my novels just head over to my website and meet my nasty characters.

Now, tell me about your favorite real or fictional villain, or the one you are dying to create.

A Note from the Book Boost:  Oooh, these sound chillingly wonderful.  Looking forward to checking out your newest evil creation.  Thanks for joining us today, Bev.  Best of luck on the latest release!

Want More Bev?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Bev and be entered to win an e-copy of one of Bev’s books. Five to choose from (When Heart's Collide, Ghostly Justice, In His Father's Footsteps, Missing Clayton, or Without Consent.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Creating Cupid with Guest Blogger: Elysa Hendricks

Chat with our Featured Author 
of the Month Elysa Hendricks 
today at the Book Boost!

I'm often asked where I get my ideas for my stories. Usually I say that I "pluck them off the Idea tree I have growing in my backyard," but the truth is there are stories to be found everywhere I look and in everything I see, hear or read.

Story telling has been around for as long as mankind. There might not be any "new" stories to tell, but every author tells the story in her own unique way. We take myths, fairytales and history, twist them, bend them and reshape them into something fresh and exciting for our readers. Valentine's Day and the myth of Cupid are ripe for storytelling.

Valentine's Day didn't start with Cupid. Cupid, of course, is the God of Love from Greek mythology. The earliest recorded version of Cupid is the one told in Lucius Apuleius's novel, The Golden Ass, written in the 2nd century AD, which goes like this:

Psyche is a princess who is so beautiful the goddess Venus is jealous. So Venus asks her son Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with an ugly mortal. Instead Cupid falls in love with Psyche. Meanwhile, Psyche's parents are concerned that she is so beautiful no one will marry her. The oracle of Apollo, tells them to prepare her for marriage and leave her on a cliff. Eager to find a husband Psyche accepts her fate.

Instead Cupid transports her to a beautiful palace where he lives with her as an unknown, invisible lover. But Psyche is urged by her sisters, who are jealous of the wondrous stories she tells of her new life, to find out what her husband looks like. Afraid she might be married to a monster she peeks at Cupid while he sleeps and learns he's a god. She frightens him (this doesn't make sense to me, but heck, I didn't write the story), so he goes back to the realm of gods.

Broken hearted Psyche returns home. She begs the gods to reveal her lover. Venus answers, but still jealous sets her to a series of difficult tasks, including a trip to Hades. With the help of other gods, including, for the last task, Cupid himself, Psyche is made immortal and is officially married to Cupid. My favorite part of this story is that Psyche and Cupid then had a baby, Voluptas (Pleasure) but she was conceived before their official wedding.

The story of Cupid and Psyche is full of story ideas an author can mine. Since statues of Cupid and Psyche go back to 323 BC, Apuleius seems to have done some mining of his own. Recognize the Beauty and the Beast and the Cinderella aspects of the story? Guess I'm in good company.

The story of Valentine's Day doesn't have its origins in the Cupid myth. Instead the celebration of Valentine's Day was originally based around several saints named Valentine. Now with the help of florists, greeting card and candy companies it's been turned into a romantic celebration, so that over the years Cupid and Valentine's Day have become intimately entwined in our minds. You can't think of one without the other. The image of a cute, winged, chubby little cherub flying around shooting people in the heart with love arrows on Valentine's Day is now in ingrained in our psyches.

Cupid's Apprentice is my own twisted take on the Cupid myth and the Valentine's Day celebration. Since the human population has exploded the poor God of Love is completely overwhelmed. In addition he has to deal with Psyche (she doesn't want him accidentally falling in love with anyone else), so he's had to take on apprentices.

Cupids' Apprentice is about one bumbling apprentice, her wish to earn her wings, and the two, mismatched people she has to bring together against all odds before Valentine's Day.

A Note from the Book Boost:  I love Valentine's Day and as a romance writer, can't imagine a world without romance or the search for romance.  Thanks for the history lesson and your book sounds fabulous!


To earn her wings, Cupid's apprentice Medarda "Dar" has until Valentine's Day to match two-time Loser Laura Quinn with Boring Brian Hoffman. When Dar's love arrow goes astray and hits the sexy PE teacher Flynn Sullivan instead things get interesting.

Laura loves teaching high school in the small town of Council Falls, but knows it's only a matter of time until her famous mother shows up and the quiet life she's created comes crashing down around her ears.

PE teacher Flynn Sullivan's been interested in the shy history teacher for a long time, but it isn't until they're forced to chaperone the Valentine's Day dance together that he gets the opportunity to make his dreams come true.

With time running out can one bumbling Cupid's Apprentice bring together a Jock and a Brain?

Excerpt (edited for content):

Dar puffed into the room just as the woman said Laura's name. Though invisible to the humans, a couple of them shifted away. Some humans seemed to sense the presence of a Cupid.

She was almost too late. Timing was nearly as important as aim. Where were her targets? Laura sat in the back of the room. Hmm, interesting. What was plain, bland, boring Laura doing with two handsome men? Guess it didn't matter. They weren't important to her mission. Dar took a brief moment to admire their looks. Too bad one of them wasn't her target. Attractive people were so much easier to create love matches for than dowdy spinsters and stuffy middle aged men. Just her luck to pull the short straw on her first solo assignment.

She sighed and shrugged off the tension riding her shoulders. If wishes were horses, they'd all be Cupids. She searched the crowed room for Brian.

Darn! The man was on the opposite side facing away from Laura. This was going to be a tricky shot. For her spell and potion to work, Dar needed to put her love arrow through Brian's heart then into Laura's.

While in transit she'd prepped her arrow with the appropriate potion and readied her spell. Each potion was carefully calibrated to its intended subjects and each spell was custom written by the attending Cupid. Hitting the wrong targets or in the wrong order could be disastrous and result in unexpected consequences.

She worried her bottom lip as she notched her arrow in the bow. She'd nearly failed her potions classes. Fortunately the office provided the potions for apprentices. She wouldn't have to formulate her own until she made apprentice first class and got some wings. At least she'd excelled in her spell composition classes and despite dumping a quiver of arrows, took first in her archery lessons.

Holding her breath she raised her bow and took aim.

"Love's arrow tried and true finds its mark. Hearts pierced. Love's released to find its mate." The spell spilled from her lips as the arrow flew.

Bull's-eye! A dead hit. Brian jerked slightly and looked around in bewilderment.

Then at exactly the wrong moment as the arrow headed toward Laura, another woman walked in front of her. The woman tripped as the arrow rocketed through her then hit the wall next to Laura with an audible smack and dissolved in a cloud of pink smoke.

She was so screwed.

Want More Elysa?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Beginnings and Back-Ups with Guest Blogger: Julie Shelton

Meet author Julie Shelton  
& learn about her debut release 
today at the Book Boost!

Loving Sarah is my first published novel, but it is not the first one I’ve written.  Nor is it the first one I’ve actually submitted to a publisher.  No, that one was a romantic suspense novel and a total rip-off of anything ever written by Mary Stewart, the Queen of romantic suspense.  I wrote it in longhand on lined notebook paper then typed it on my brand new Smith Corona electric typewriter, which I got with S & H green stamps.

Five hundred double-spaced pages, which I proudly sent off to Doubleday because a friend knew a friend who knew someone who worked at Doubleday.  Needless to say, it was sent back, but not with the standard form rejection letter.  Instead, I got a personal letter from the person who’d read it, saying it was the neatest manuscript he’d ever seen.  No strikeovers, no x’d out words or sentences, no notes in the margins, etc.  I have no idea what happened to it.

But I was encouraged.  And with encouragement like that, how could I not keep writing?  Since then, I’ve written seven more novels—two medieval historical romances, one Regency romance, one contemporary romance, one Gothic romance, and Loving Sarah (notice a theme here?).  Loving Sarah is the only one I’ve actually finished, and Siren-Bookstrand was the only publisher I submitted it to.

The fact that it exists at all is a true miracle, because at one point, being the total novice on the computer that I am, I managed to erase the entire manuscript!

I was devastated.  I’d been working on it for two years and it was the first one I truly felt was actually good enough to be published.  I moped around for months, totally dreading the thought of starting over from scratch, when, one day, I needed to print something and when I turned on the printer, lo and behold, Loving Sarah started printing.

The entire novel, minus the last 85 pages, was still in the print queue!  I hadn’t lost it after all.  So, after learning how to back up everything I was working on, I managed to finish it and send it off.  I am now working on the sequel, titled Owning Sarah.  It will conclude the plot I began in the first book, and will contain several key scenes that I had to cut out of the original in order to keep the word count under two hundred and fifty thousand words.

It took me over four years to write Loving Sarah.  I’m giving myself six months tops to write the sequel.  Wish me luck.

As I said at the beginning, Loving Sarah is my first published novel.  But I have had other things published.  From 1981-83 I wrote all the original material for Kidstuff, a monthly language arts newsletter for early childhood educators.  Each issue was on a theme (i.e., Farms, Things in a Garden, Things in the Ocean, etc.) and contained a wide variety of original stories, flannel board stories and patterns, puppet stories and patterns, songs, activities, finger plays, poems and a bibliography of picture books for reading aloud to preschoolers and early elementary age children.  Kidstuff and I won the prestigious EDPRESS Award, given by the Educational Press Association of America, for the best educational newsletter of 1982.

In 1991, Fearon Teacher Aids published Puppets, Poems and Songs, my 288-page book of how to make and use a variety of simple puppets in preschool and early elementary classrooms (sort of a super Kidstuff), each chapter on a different theme.

But Loving Sarah is a long way from the days of Kidstuff and I hope you'll enjoy the story.

A Note from the Book Boost:  Welcome to the blog, Julie and I wish you luck with your debut romance novel.  Sounds like you've hung in there and I know it will all pay off in the end.


Eight years ago Jesse Colter fled his small town, leaving behind eighteen-year-old Sarah Marshall.  Now a retired Navy SEAL, he’s back and he wants only one thing—Sarah Marshall—preferably bound, naked and kneeling before him.

Sarah has never forgotten Jesse.  He’s been the object of all her sexual fantasies since she was fifteen, as well as the star of nightly dreams that have become increasingly erotic over the years.  So when he suddenly reappears in her life, she warily agrees to let him introduce her to his world—the world of BDSM.  When he also introduces her to his best friend, Adam Sinclair, Sarah faces the challenge of submitting to two powerful, Dominant men.

But Sarah has an even bigger problem.  A stalker.  Someone from her past who is determined to destroy any chance she has at happiness.  Can Adam and Jesse love and protect her?  Or will her world explode in betrayal and violence that will destroy them all?

Want More Julie?

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

And she'd love to hear from readers.  Click here to contact.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Take Note: Immortal Surrender by Claire Ashgrove

“This series (The Curse of the Templars) is explosive, sexy, riveting, and Claire Ashgrove is a master of her craft.” ~ NYTimes Bestselling Author, Maggie Shayne

Farran de Clare, loyal member of the cursed Knights Templar, wants nothing to do with predestined mates. Even the Almighty won’t turn him into a fool again—he’d rather sacrifice his soul. Yet in the scientist Noelle Keane, a devout atheist, Farran meets the seraph designed for him.

Ordered by the archangel Gabriel to protect Noelle, the possessor of a sacred relic that could give Azazel incredible power, Farran swears to do his duty—but in name only. Fighting an attraction that grows with each day, he’s determined that he’ll never pledge himself to her.

As they war over her future, their mutual passion ignites a conflict far more damning. But before Noelle will agree to eternity with him, she demands the ultimate sacrifice – his heart.


“Damnation,” he hissed through clenched teeth.

He stalked back to the bed. No longer concerned for her injuries, he snatched up her fingers and inspected the scar once more. Nay, his eyes did not play tricks. She bore a dagger on her hand. It matched his as if someone had miniaturized the eighteen-inch-long weapon and scalded it into her flesh.

She belonged to him.

The door opened, and Farran’s head snapped up. He returned Louise’s pleasant smile with a glare. “You may undress the wench.” He shouldered past the aging caretaker, ignoring the way she spluttered.

So Gabriel sought to pair him with a maid, did he? ‘Twas no wonder the archangel did not forewarn him of her nature. Gabriel well knew Farran would rather swallow his own sword.

He took the stairs two at a time, in desperate need of fresh air. His fingers twitched with the need to pummel something. A seraph! His seraph! God’s teeth, would he be allowed no mercy? Could he not just leave this world and be done with life?

In the wide front room, Farran braced his hands on the table and squeezed his eyes shut tight. Duty bound him to accept the pairing. With the oaths they were fated to take, the Templar would gain much needed strength. Much as he would like nothing more, he could not walk away from the woman in the bed upstairs.

And yet . . .he did not have to stay either.

“Brother? Is something amiss?” Lucan’s voice drifted down the stairs.

Farran turned around and raised his glower to Lucan’s face. “You will go to her apartment. Fetch her cat. Fetch her things. Deliver them all to Mikhail.”

Lucan’s gaze narrowed with suspicion. “I trust you do not seek to have the maid to yourself?”

“Nay!” God’s teeth, nay. He would no more touch her now than he would touch a snake. He would say his oath, deliver her to the temple, and leave with the first light.

Cocking his head, Lucan studied him. Slow dawning filtered into his expression, and he answered with a thoughtful nod. “You recognize her mark. I shall have her mate sent here.”

Farran exhaled through his teeth. At his thigh, he clenched a hand into a tight fist. “There is no need for such.”

“Farran, you cannot be serious. She must be paired at once. ’Tis written—”

“She is mine, Lucan.” With the vile truth exposed, Farran stormed out the door.

Want More Claire?

Award-Winning Author Claire Ashgrove has been writing since her early teens and maintained the hobby for twenty years before deciding to leap into the professional world. Her first contemporary novel, Seduction's Stakes, sold to The Wild Rose Press in 2008, where she continues to write steamy, sexy stories for the Champagne and Black Rose lines. Adding to these critically acclaimed romances, Claire’s paranormal romance series, The Curse of the Templars debuted with Tor in January 2012. For those who prefer the more erotic side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire.

She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, and her local RWA chapters, Heartland Romance Authors, Midwest Romance Writers, and North Texas Romance Writers of America.
Claire lives in Missouri with her two sons and too-many horses, cats, and dogs. In her “free” time, she enjoys cooking, winning at Rummy, studying Ancient Civilizations, and spending quiet moments with her family, including the critters.

Visit her on the web here:

Pick up a copy of Immortal Surrender today!  Click here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

3rd Annual Blogger of the Year Nominees Announced

And the Nominees Are...

Welcome to our Weekend Special Edition!  
We're online today to announce our 
2012 Book Boost Blogger of the Year Nominees.  

Join us with heartfelt Congrats 
to all the deserving nominees.

Here at the Book Boost, we pride ourselves in a diverse blog that has seen amazing growth in traffic over the last three years. Not only do we run low price cover ad spots for authors but we offer FREE guest blogging opportunities to any author of any genre.

Each of these guest bloggers bring their own fan base with them and therefore cross promotion occurs on a daily basis. Not to mention the fact that I've been truly honored to host authors from every genre imaginable AND from every type of publishing that exists.

The one thing we all have in common? Our love for writing and our passion for getting our words and worlds out there for others to enjoy.  In the coming year, our goal is to bring more reader traffic to the blog by offering up fun as well as informative posts.  We hope you'll stick around as we continue to grow.  More surprises in store in 2013!

You can follow the blog (see the left hand column), follow us on Twitter (see the right hand column for link), and don't forget to join our Yahoo group (see right hand column for link) where we allow unlimited free promotion for authors every day.  No strict moderation and no troublesome rules for certain promo-days and all that nonsense.

Also, if you want to place a super inexpensive cover ad, be sure to contact me at today for details. Special New Year ad rates currently available.

In 2012, we named our 2011 Book Boost Blogger of the Year, author Leslie Langtry. She has done us proud this year and will continue her reign until Valentine's Day 2013 when we'll crown our next Blogger of the Year.  A special thanks to Leslie for a wonderful year.

Our 2012 nominees, were chosen based on all the eligible guest blogger posts between November 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012. Author interviews, book review posts, and posts by me/myself/I were not taken into consideration for this award but a variety of criteria was applied to the selection process such as....

1. Creating a humorous, unique, or memorable blog post;
2. Bringing in a lot of reader traffic to the blog;
3. A unique or memorable story idea;
4. A great or eye catching book cover or concept; and
5. Being an over-all fabulous guest!

They are all outstanding representatives of the publishing community and amazingly talented authors as well.

The winning author will receive the following prizes:

1. A year of FREE cover ad promotion at the Book Boost;
2. The top right hand column ad spot ALL YEAR; and
3. A custom designed trophy (for bragging rights, of course)!

So, without further ado, the NOMINEES (in no particular order) are as follows:

Letty James (w/ co-author Beth Henderson) Barbie, Botox & Books, February 2012

Jami Gray One White Night, February 2012 

Susan C. Muller Writing to a Different Tune, April 2012 

Anna Alexander Got Hero?, April 2012
Meggan Connors Do You Feel Lucky?, May 2012

**Click on the author's name to view their nominated guest blog & to learn more about them.

HONORABLE MENTIONS (it was so difficult to choose the top 5 out of all the year's wonderful posts--here are some others I thought deserved a special recognition):

Sasha Summers (In Love With Love, February 2012)
Rebecca J. Clark (Yoga Fever, July 2012)
Mark Casigh (A Sexy Summer, July 2012)
S.J. Drum (Can You Handle the Truth?, August 2012) 
R.A. Gates (Reading, Writing & Fan Fiction, September 2012)

How will the WINNER be chosen?

Well, every year, I've changed up this contest just a tad.  The first year, we had the nominees troll for votes and it was tallied via a Poll here at the blog.  Last year, I set up an offsite survey poll and did a personal interview and host day for each nominee.  But this year...I've decided to take away the "vote factor" in choosing our beloved Blogger of the Year.

This year...I'm excited to announce that we'll have THREE celebrity judges.  They will read each of the nominated posts.  They'll score them on a 1 to 10 scale and give me a brief comment on each blog.

Join me back here on Valentine's Day (February 14, 2013) when I'll crown the 3rd Annual Blogger of the Year and introduce these special judges.

Best wishes to all,
Kerri Nelson
Owner, The Book Boost

Thanks to all our guest bloggers, followers, 
and comment participants for another wonderful year!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Kills, Chills & Hot Thrills with Guest Blogger: Leanna Harrow

 Meet thriller author Leanna Harrow 
today at the Book Boost!

I wrote this erotic thriller because I'm a fan of anything crime related. I've always been intrigued by true crime and especially true crime involving serial killers. I know that sounds kind of morbid but I truly believe that there is something in the mind of a serial killer, be it a chemical imbalance or some kind of genetic flaw that they are born with that makes them do the heinous things they do.

I didn't realize how much research goes into doing a book that you're not well-versed on. I mean, I've watched television shows and movies on just about every serial killer and I'm a huge Law and Order and Special Victims fan but I had to do some serious research for my erotic thriller Killing the Desire". I guess it's a good thing that I'm a freelance researcher by trade.  Being a researcher helps in I know where to look and what to look for so that I’m not wasting a lot of time on insignificant information.

I would have to say that my favorite villain is the one from my book I can’t tell you his name as that’s part of the twist in the end but our heroine, Rose, thinks it’s the Detective in charge of her mother’s case, Dave Mason.

You see, Rose was very close to her mother.  Her mother is strangled and left in a bath tub filled with bleach water which turns out to be a serial killer’s MO. The killer  leaves at least six bodies in his  wake. At the time of her mother’s death, not even the police know this.

She then meets the out of this world handsome detective that’s been assigned to her mother’s case and falls into bed with him even though it’s against the rules. Rose has never been in love before as her mother always told her that the heart was just an organ that pumps blood to the other organs in the body, it didn’t fall in love, it didn’t get all aflutter and it didn’t ache. She soon found herself experiencing feelings for the detective that she had never experienced before.

She is upset at the lack of movement on her mother's case and decides to do some detective work of her own and doesn’t like what she finds, none of which deterred her from the sexual relationship with the devastatingly, handsome detective.

It seems that her mother had been dating men she met on the internet and Rose cracks one of her accounts and finds that the last person her mother had contact with was a man that looked an awful lot like the detective in charge of her case!

This book combines mystery, murder, drama and a little comedy with things people can relate to like family situations such as sibling rivalry and conflicted parental relationships. I try and write books that people can relate to, see themselves in as well as be stimulated by.

I hope the readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. 

 A Note from the Book Boost:  Sounds like an interesting book, Leanna.  Thanks for joining us today to share more details about your story.  Best of luck with Killing the Desire.


Is the man she loves…her mother’s killer?

Rose never believed in love—her mother’s words in her head saw to that. Becks Harlow wanted Rose to protect her heart from the pain of love. When her mother is brutally murdered, Rose turns to the one man she thought could help, Detective Dave Mason. He was in charge of her mother’s case. Little did Rose know, Detective Mason would soon be in charge of her body, heart, and soul. She also suspects he killed her mother!

Excerpt (edited for length & content):

Detective Mason walked Olivia to the door. “I’ll sit with her a while, make sure she’s okay. You don’t need to worry about her,” he told her.

“It’s not her I’m worried about,” Olivia said with a wink. With that, Olivia got into her brother’s car and left with the boys to meet up with their father for dinner and to discuss their mother’s estate. Detective Mason went back inside to talk with Rose.

“I’m sorry things turned out the way they did for you today, Rose,” he told her.

“Don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t need your pity,” she said, getting up off of the couch and heading to the bar.

“Whoa there,” Detective Mason said as he grabbed her and turned her away from the bar.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she snapped.

“Trying to keep you from feeling worse than you are already going to tomorrow. Besides, I’d like to talk to you, if you think you can hold a halfway intelligent conversation right now.”

She just stood there, looking at him. Why did he have to be so good looking?

Detective Mason thought she was going to pass out for a minute because of the look on her face.

“Rose?” he said.

“Yes, I can hold an intelligent conversation. I’m not that drunk. I’m just really pissed off. I can’t believe he had the balls to show up here.” Rose ranted.

“I’m sure him coming here today was tough on you guys,” he said as he followed her to the couch.

“You have no idea, and I have no plans on getting all weepy and crying on your shoulder, so if that’s what you want, you can get out, too,” she told him.

“Actually, I did just come to pay my respects, but since I’m here. I’d like to ask you if your mother had a laptop.” Rose stopped and thought for a minute. If he was here just to pay his respects, why was he asking if Becks had a laptop? Why did he stay behind when everyone else left?

Was he as hot for her as she was him? What the hell was going on with her? She didn't normally think like this. Sure, she’s liked to check guys out but there was something about this man. Why was he so mesmerizing to her? She could get lost in his big, beautiful green eyes for days if she wanted to. Not to mention the fact that he smelled absolutely heavenly.

Want More Leanna?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Thursday, January 24, 2013

For the Love of a Lady with Guest Blogger: Shannon Kennedy

Win a copy of Throw Away Teen  
& chat with author Shannon Kennedy 
today at the Book Boost!

Every published author starts as an unpubbed writer struggling to learn their craft. Sometimes, the road we travel seems like the old joke that my grandfather used to tell. He always walked five miles to school, barefoot, uphill – in the snow. Then, he walked five miles home, barefoot, uphill - in the snow.

We write our books, slaving over each word. Then, we rewrite and polish each phrase until it can’t possibly be any better and one day, we get that magic CALL! Somebody wants to buy our book and then we get to write it again.

So, with a new book coming from BookStrand in January 2011, I had big plans that year, and I even made resolutions. I would write every day, hunt down and capture the perfect agent, polish my young adult book, finish my next mainstream Western and even paint my bedroom. It was an overwhelming list, but I was positively ready to rock and roll. I could do anything after selling two mainstream books in four months. Woo-hoo!

I was writing almost every day – and my new young adult novel was nearly finished – five chapters to go. I was halfway through my next Western. I’d queried an agent or two or three – who actually requested my book and my bedroom – well forget about that. I did.

On Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 my new computer – I’d bought it used in October 2010 – but it was still new to me – went dark. Nothing I did could make the monitor and the tower talk to each other and I tried everything over that weekend. Of course, I felt like an utter idiot because I hadn’t backed up my young adult or the Western and I was ready to throw myself on the ground and kick and scream. That didn’t make the computer work either.

I try to be a positive person – I really do, but I was positively going to have a temper tantrum, even if it was inappropriate for a woman more than 50 years old.

On Monday, I planned to take the computer tower to Office Depot and have it checked. It was #1 on my list – right after feeding 37 horses breakfast. Only when I got to the barn at 7:30 am, I discovered my old Quarter-horse mare had colic.

A life-threatening intestinal disorder, colic kills most horses. It lasts anywhere from 2 to 72 hours – the longer the horse suffers, the worse the impaction and the more likely the animal will not survive. Horses can’t throw up, so there’s only one way for a stomach upset to end and if you’re a horsy person, you’ll do almost anything to get your beloved companion to have a bowel movement. Yes, I do mean, “poop.”

Five hours later, Lady seemed to be on the mend and I slipped out to run the computer to repair. I arrived home and found her in major distress. I’ll spare you the specifics on all the disgusting things one has to do to save a 40 year old, 1,000 pound mare with a bad belly-ache – but the most difficult was keeping Lady on all four hooves, walking and trotting for the next two days.

Thirty-two hours later, nothing had worked. The impaction was worse.

My best horsy friend was dying, a horrible, painful death.

We’d been together for 23 years. I do try to be positive, and at this point, I was positively going to have to dig a really big hole. But, she wasn’t dead yet.

So I opted for one more home remedy. Miracle of miracles, it worked. At midnight on Wednesday morning, Lady was well on the road to recovery and I could finally check my phone messages.

My computer mainframe had died.

But, hey my horse was alive and the technician thought he might be able to rescue my books off the hard drive. He did and Lucky Lady and I had three more months together until the veterinarian told me that I had to step up and do “the right thing.”

Lady’s ongoing problems with colic during the last few months of her life were due to cancer and it was her time to cross that “rainbow bridge.”

Today, I cherish my blessings…..23 years of memories with Lucky Lady and I have her son who looks just like his momma. Lucky Charm is in the barn eating carrots.

The technician was right. He saved my books. And now I back up what I write.

Sometimes, it feels like you walk barefoot to school, five miles uphill in the snow – and you need to remember what’s important. For me, it is good friends – two and four-legged. It’s my job – I love going to school and being with tweens and teens. It’s my horse who whinnies when he sees me and follows me around the yard. And who goes for hugs the way his momma did.

And of course, it’s the writing. 2012 was a great year for me. That young adult novel sold to Black Opal Books along with its companion story. I’m delighted that the Stewart Falls Cheerleaders found a home with Black Opal Publishing. I have a terrific cover and my own real puppy is on it. I still don’t know how we got him to hold still for the picture – he’s a whirling, horse-chasing, sister-puppy–attacking, cat-romping fellow at the best of times. Throw Away Teen came out in December 2012 to rave reviews.

The Stewart Falls Cheerleader series is about a cheer squad at a private high school in western Washington, because “Sometimes, you have to be your own cheerleader.” In the series, selected girls overcome problems that life hurls at them.

2013 is starting off fantastically. Black Opal Books just contracted for the next two books in the series.  So, I have a lot of writing to do.

A Note from the Book Boost:  What an inspiring story.  Thanks for sharing it with us today.  Tell us more about your latest.


She’s disposable… and she knows it.

A survivor of too many foster homes, B.J. Larson is content living at the youth center where your status is determined by how long your arrest record is. And hers is lengthy. Then she’s placed in a home in the small town of Stewart Falls, Washington - with foster parents who will “love” her, not just the money the state pays for her care.

Yeah, right!

B.J.’s not stone stupid. She knows a scam when she sees one. Kids like her never get“real homes,” much less “real families.” She learned a long time ago that adults can’t be trusted. Besides, B.J.’s too smart to take chances. And isn’t love the biggest risk of all?


I knew Gabe was right, but the last thing I needed was for him and Ringo to fight...

“We’re disposable, babe. Americans throw away everything. Garbage, old people, and kids. You and I were thrown away a long time ago. We both know it’s for real.”

Nothing Gabe said was new. I’d heard it all a million times before. But this was the first time he’d had said it with an audience.

Ringo stood in the doorway to Ted’s den. I didn’t say anything, but Gabe must’ve realized we weren’t alone. He turned to face Ringo.

“Do you always sneak up on private conversations?”

“I wasn’t sneaking.” Ringo wasn’t mad or scared, just matter-offact.

“I wanted to hear the trash you were giving B.J. No wonder she has such an attitude.”

“I don’t have an attitude.” But I felt my knees turn to mush. He watched me the same way he had the night he kissed me. “Gabe’s right about the system. We’ve both been through it long enough to know the truth about how life really works. And it sucks.”

“Got that right,” Gabe said. 

“More crap,” Ringo interrupted. “Liz and Ted won’t hurt you, B.J. You’re old enough to tell good people from bad ones. And you’re also smart enough not to buy somebody else’s program. Make your own decisions and don’t let some psychotic tell you what to do.”

“A psychotic?” Gabe’s voice dropped lower and meaner. He started toward Ringo. I knew a fight was in the works. It didn’t matter which one came out on top. Either way, I’d lose. Gabe was the brother I never had, the one person who always cared enough to look after me. Ringo was the guy I wanted to date, to paint, to fall in love with, provided he got his act together.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rule Breaker with Guest Blogger: Tawny Weber

Chat with author Tawny Weber 
today at the Book Boost!

Relationship Rules

Did you ever break a rule without realizing it?  Not those unspoken, social rules that I sometimes think are just there to trip us up.  And not the ‘ooops, I was just keeping up with traffic, I didn’t realize I was speeding’ type of rule.  No, I mean the personal, set by us because we think it’s vital to how we want to live our life, kind of rule.

Now, most of my personal rules are pretty simple.
* Everything looks better with cute shoes. 
* If you’re going to do it, enjoy it.
* Empowering others is good.  Disempowering yourself is bad.

The heroine in my new release, A SEAL’s Seduction, has a few rules of her own.  She’s determined to live life on her own terms.  To control her wilder impulses.  And to make sure whatever she does, she’s able to face herself in the mirror the next day.  But her most important one is "No Military Guys".  None, never, no way, no how.   But when she sees the hottie she met on the beach again, she’s hesitant, but since she’s pretty sure he’s not military, she figures it’s safe to give her wild attraction toward him a chance.

A Note from the Book Boost:  Thanks for joining us today, Tawny.  The book sounds great!


Alexia paid the cab and stepped onto the shell-encrusted sidewalk in front of JR’s.  The club-slash-bar fronted a long stretch of beach, both lit up like carnival attractions.  

She wasn’t sure why she was here.  She definitely didn’t need another drink.  But she didn’t want to go home, either.  And the idea of spending any more time with Edward, pretending that everything was peachy keen, was enough to make her scream.

She wanted to dance.  To relax in a crowd of strangers.  And JR’s was the only bar she knew enough to feel safe.  A regular hangout of the Navy locals, it wasn’t that it didn’t get rowdy or wild.  But it had three major advantages.  One, it was a familiar place so she knew what she’d get when she walked through the door.  Two, she was there to dance, and if anyone tried to push for more, her get-out-of-trouble-free card, aka the mention of her father’s name, would cut them off at the knees.  And three, she’d never get involved with a military man.  Ever.  She’d had enough of the military growing up to know that a sailor’s first priority was to his very dangerous, often secretive career.

And while she respected that, she had no interest in being background noise in someone’s life.

Still, walking into the club was like stepping face-first into chaos.  Noise, so loud the music had to be felt instead of heard, pounded through her body.  Heat from the crowd of bodies swirled with an ambitious air conditioner.  Lights flashed, strobed and glowed, depending on which way she turned her head.

Maybe she should have just gone home.

But she’d have gone crazy there, with just her thoughts and guilt for company.  Michael was on a date, and three days back wasn’t enough time for her to have made any new friendships.  So she was on her own.

And she needed action.  Movement.  Something to shake off the sexual tension that’d been driving at her all afternoon.  Since hunting down the sexy savior from the beach wasn’t an option, she’d figured she’d do the next best thing to release body tension.  Dance.

About to head for the flashing lights of the dance floor and kick up the heels of her favorite Manolo’s, a man at the bar caught her attention.


The hot, gorgeous and sexy from the beach?

A slow, wicked smile curved her lips at the sight.

He was just as appealing dry and clothed as he’d been wet and half-naked on the beach.  In jeans and a simple t-shirt that did wonders for his broad shoulders, he looked like a guy who just wanted a drink and some alone-time.  Too bad for him, though, since a blonde barracuda was tiptoeing her red-talons up his chest.  Was that was his type?  Blatant, busty and ballsy?

He grabbed the blonde’s hand on its downward sweep, shaking his head.  She didn’t back off.  Alexia bit her lip to keep from laughing at the range of emotions chasing across his face.  Irritation, confusion and just a hint of amusement.  Poor guy, he probably hadn’t realized this was a navy bar.  Which meant pushy, desperate women all focused on one thing.  Catching themselves a sailor boy.

He looked like he needed saving.

Sliding and pressing her way through the crowd of bodies, she made her way to the bar.  The music was quieter here, but the cacophony of voices made up for it.  She was about five feet away when Blake’s gaze found her.  Delight flared in those blue depths, making her girl parts feel oh-so-happy.  Happy enough that she hesitated.  Getting all hot and wet over a stranger wasn’t a bad thing.  But it wasn’t where she was at in her life right now, either.  Despite what she’d told Michael, she had feelings for Edward.  Ones that deserved to be explored.  She couldn’t explore feelings for one guy while another was tickling her girly-parts.  It just wasn’t right.

But could she leave Blake there at the mercy of the red-taloned barracuda?

As if sensing her struggle, Blake gave her a wide-eyed look of desperation.  Hurry up, he mouthed.  Alexia’s lips twitched, but her feet started moving again.

She bypassed the blonde to move around so she was behind Blake.  Heavily made-up eyes glanced her way, dismissing her with a flick of those false lashes.

It was going to take stronger measures, Alexia realized.  Warning her girly-parts not to get too excited, she moved in close, draping her arm over the broad, muscles of Blake’s shoulders.  He was like steel.  Solid, strong, sleek.  Her mouth watered.  To give it something to do before she actually drooled, she leaned forward to brush a friendly kiss over his cheek.  He smelled like the ocean.

Clean, salty, intoxicating.

“He’s with me,” she said, giving the blonde a go-away tilt of her head.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Around the Block with Guest Blogger: Emma Leigh Reed

Chat with Featured Author 
Emma Leigh Reed 
today at the Book Boost!

Overcoming Writer's Block

When that big mental block hits, how do you get past it? Writer’s block is a writer’s nightmare. I had taken a hiatus from writing for about six months due to some personal issues. Yet when coming back to it, I suddenly faced that monster in the closet – writer’s block. How do you get past that?

There are several ways to move around it, ones that I am working on.  I can say I haven’t pushed all the way through it as of now, but writing this blog alone is progress over writer’s block.  I have several ways to work through this.  Remember these all take time.  You are not going to start one of these activities and find the writer’s block gone.  Well, maybe you will – and if you do, consider yourself very lucky!

Writing sprints:  Writing sprints are a great way to have the support of other writers. Every winter I join the Ruby-Slippered winter writing festival.  They have timed writing sprints throughout the day and evening for anyone to join.  Basically you are a group of writers in a chat room and write as much as you can for 20 minute intervals, checking in with everyone at the end of the intervals.  I have had times in writing sprints where I have accomplished nothing. Not a great feeling for someone who is so competitive, but it pushes me to try further.

Journal Writing: Writing in a journal is another way to break through writer’s block. Write personal experiences, the struggles of writing, whatever may come to your mind.

Don’t isolate yourself! Meet in person with other writers if possible. There is something about being with another writer, who understands the difficulties that can give you renewed inspiration and motivation.

Keep track of your writing. I keep a calendar with how much I have written each day.  Yes, lately I have a bunch of goose eggs on it.  But when those new numbers start popping up, reward yourself!

For those who love to write, writer’s block can be devastating. But build yourself up again by trying some of the above steps. Remember why you write. For me it is the love of putting my emotions on the paper.  Today, I’m celebrating.  I just took another huge junk out of my writer’s block!

A Note from the Book Boost:  Emma, I've been there and done that.  Just emerging from a little slump myself.  I think the sprints work best for me because I can easily commit to those short goals.  Thanks for hanging with us today.  Please share a sample of your latest with us.

Excerpt from Mirrored Deception:

“I will not hire a bodyguard!” Jayla Ralston stormed across the room. She righted a small bookshelf and started picking up the books from the floor. “You’re overreacting once again.” Jayla couldn’t believe her sister would even suggest such a thing. 

“How can you say that?” Jenna’s eyes moved over the mess as she racked her fingers through her hair. “Your apartment has been broken into and trashed. You’re being impossible. What do you think Mom and Dad would want you to do if they were here?”

“That’s a completely unfair question.” Jayla closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Jenna had a way of hitting below the belt using their parents to create guilt, knowing only too well it worked every time. 

Jayla grabbed the broom from the closet off the living room to sweep up the broken shards of glass from pictures that had been scattered about the room. “I will think about it, okay?” she whispered, only wanting to make peace with her twin.

“You know I love you, Jayla. I just don’t want anything to happen to you.” Jenna’s voice softened. “I worry about you.”

“I know, but you really don’t have to. I don’t think he will bother me again.” Jayla’s voice broke. She wished she could show more confidence. Looking at the two of them was like looking in a mirror. They were identical, and yet very different.

“I’ve got to go, sis. Will you be okay?”

“Of course, Jen. I’m fine. I’ll just clean up.” Jayla walked her to the door and hugged her close. “I love you. Please don’t worry.” 

As she shut the door and turned to survey the damage: the overturned chair and knick-knacks scattered about the living room, Jayla choked back the tears. How could he have done this to her? Her pictures of her family were broken and strewn about the floor. A bodyguard wasn’t needed. What was needed to get away from it all. 

She turned and headed to the bedroom. Dragging a couple of suitcases out of the closet, Jayla started throwing clothes into them. She debated whether to call Jenna and decided against it. She wanted to disappear and give herself a chance to think. Jenna would only be telling her she couldn’t run from her problems, but to meet them head on.

She needed more than this. Jayla slammed the suitcases, grabbed her laptop and headed outdoors. She threw the bags in the trunk and gave a good look around the parking lot. Convinced no one was around, she jumped in and started the car. She pulled her hair back in an elastic band and pulled from the parking lot. With no destination in mind, Jayla aimed for the coast.

For the first few miles, Jayla kept a watchful eye out for anyone following. After an hour it became clear she was the only one on the road. Her grip loosened on the steering wheel, the tension leaving her shoulders. As she rolled the windows down to smell the cool ocean breeze, Jayla’s mind wandered. She wanted her life back -- yet, she wanted a different life. She was filled with many regrets of late.

Driving the coastal route, she paid no mind to the time until her stomach grumbled reminding her she’d missed dinner, and she became very aware of the time. Dark shadows had crept across the landscape. She clicked on the headlights, realizing the gas gauge read empty. How could she take off on a whim without thinking of fueling up? She could hear levelheaded Jenna now -- “never thinking”. 

Want More Emma?

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Friday, January 18, 2013

The Dog is in the Details with Guest Blogger: Sandra Ireland

Win a copy of Foxfire &
 meet our Featured Author Sandra Ireland 
today at the Book Boost!

Appearances can be deceptive!

I believe January is ‘Be Kind to Food Servers Month’ and what a lovely idea that is.It’s a reminder that we should get to know our Food Servers- they could be the next Ryan Gosling or Anne Hathaway! Customers too aren’t always as they seem. I’d like to share with you the story of one of my all-time favourite customers.

Iain was a regular at the little café I used to run in Carnoustie, on the east coast of Scotland. He would come in every day, exactly fifteen minutes before closing time, and order a large mug of coffee and a bacon roll, which took twenty minutes to prepare. So you can see, right there, that he was a prime candidate to go on record as my most annoying customer!

Iain was tall and thin, with a grave expression and long, straggly grey hair. His clothes were shabby and creased, and he always brought his dog, Brodie, with him. Brodie, of course, wasn’t allowed in, but would sit outside on the front step, barking at passers-by. Yes, a real pain! However, there was something very appealing about Iain and I began to look forward to his daily visit, and always tried to find the time to chat with him.

He told me he was a photographer, but other than that I got to know very little about him. Other customers told me he was something of a recluse, an odd character whom nobody bothered with. I felt quite sad for him. One day he turned up late, just as I was locking up, but I could see that he was upset. I put the lights back on and made him a coffee. His dog, his only friend, Brodie, had died. Time passed, and Iain adopted another dog. I often met the two of them while walking my own dog, and we would stroll along the beach, chatting about art, books and films.

One day, Iain confided that he wasn’t well, but he didn’t go into details. Instead he began to reminisce, about the Sixties. He talked about sharing an apartment in New York with ‘John’ and little snippets about his career as a photographer. I listened politely but didn’t ask too many questions. A little while later, I heard that Iain had died. I was very upset; he was a kind and gentle man.

I was stunned, however, when someone handed me his obituary in a national newspaper. My favourite customer Iain, was actually Iain Stewart Macmillan, the guy who took that iconic photograph of the Beatles on the zebra crossing for their 1968 ‘Abbey Road’ album. He’d worked with John Lennon and Yoko Ono and even stayed at their apartment. Around the time he was eating bacon rolls in my little café, he’d also been working with Paul McCartney!

I often think of all the questions I could have asked while pouring his coffee. I wasn’t a writer back then (I guess I was too busy serving food!) but I think the notion of ‘things being not all they seem’ is something I love to explore in my stories. In my new novella, Foxfire, by heroine Myrrh is forced to  trust  the shadowy, unknowable Reyner, in order to rescue her best friend Willow from the clutches of a bloodthirsty duo.

A Note from the Book Boost:  I've wondered if this happens more often than not.  Who is not guilty of treating someone different just because they know they are famous and whatnot?  Just goes to show how treating all with kindness and respect is always the way to go.  You were probably a very important person to him and didn't even know it.  Nice post, Sandra!  Thanks for joining us.


Modern-day Edinburgh. Psychic Myrrh devotes her days to contacting other people’s lost loved ones, all the while waiting for a sign that never comes from her dear departed Frank. Meanwhile, in the vaults and alleyways of the Old Town, the phenomenon of streetslip is growing stronger, tearing down the walls of time and allowing grisly characters from the past to prey on the present. Someone else’s problem? Myrrh thinks so, until her best friend Willow disappears and then it suddenly becomes personal. Enter Reyner, the irresistible stranger who has emerged from the shadows to turn Myrrh’s world upside down. Has he been sent to protect her, as he claims? Or is he hiding a dark, unearthly secret of his own?


“How did you get in?” I breathed.

“Details, details.” He gave an odd little shrug that tilted his head so that he looked at me sideways though the curtain of his hair, like a predator eyeing a juicy mouse. But there was a warmth about him that calmed me down a little, and a shrewdness that promised to back off if I started to scream. I didn’t. We both relaxed a little.

“I want answers,” I said, in a voice that had slid back to normal. 

He put the fiddle and the bow down carefully beside the computer, which was probably not a good thing since it released both of his hands, and I was still wary of him. Thankfully, he folded them across his chest as he turned to face me, then leaned one hip casually against the edge of the table. 

“You won’t find answers in this room, talking to the dead,” he said helpfully.

“I want answers from you,” I clarified.

Want More Sandra?

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Always On My Mind with Guest Blogger: Rebecca Heflin

Win a copy of Rescuing Lacey 
& meet featured author Rebecca Heflin 
today at the Book Boost!

Inspiration Happens

As an author, I think the question I am most often asked is, “Where do I get my inspiration?” To which I often reply, “Everywhere.” The next question I am often asked is, “What comes first, the character, the setting, the plot?” to which I reply, “Yes.”

Frustrating answers, no doubt, but completely true. The inspiration for my stories can come from a variety of places, people, and experiences, even other stories I read or movies I see. The key is to be open to any and all avenues of inspiration.

I find travel to be my biggest inspiration. A trip to Oxford, England to take a Jane Austen course at Christ Church College inspired my first novel, The Promise of Change. A recent trip to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys with my husband inspired the idea for a future novel set in the wine country, while my high school reunion last year gave birth to the idea for a novel about a prodigal granddaughter.

Music, too, is a powerful source of inspiration. I often listen to music while I write. I love how it evokes emotions that color my stories. Recently, one of Sting’s songs — one I’ve heard thousands of times — struck a chord in me (okay . . . pun intended). For some reason that day I really listened to the words and the backstory for the song began to take shape.

As for who or what comes first, again, it can be all of the above. Sometimes the character comes first. I start with, “What if?” For instance, in my work-in-progress, Dreams of Perfection, I wondered what if a romance author falls in love with her own hunky, but fictional heroes to the detriment of her love life. She can’t find Mr. Right because she’s always looking for Mr. Perfect instead. What lessons must she learn to find her own real-life happily-ever-after and what would those lessons look like?

Other times, it’s a specific scene that plants the seed. My latest novel, Rescuing Lacey, was born from a real-life incident that happened several years ago on a trip to Costa Rica with my husband.

We were on a hiking trip in Corcovado National Park, a densely forested park that encompasses some 263 square miles at the tip of the Osa Peninsula, when a storm hemmed us in. The pilot who had dropped us off at the ranger station couldn’t make the return trip to pick us up. After a harrowing hour of thinking an unplanned bivouac in the forest without tents or sleeping bags was our only option, the pilot radioed that he’d make an attempt at a quick landing. We had to be ready to run for the plane.

The pilot landed in a blinding rain, lightning streaked sky, wind bending the trees first in one direction and then the other. We boarded the plane, careful to avoid the still-revolving props, relieved to make our escape, but fearful of the treacherous flight ahead.

About ten minutes into the flight, the pilot radioed the closest airport, only to learn it was closed as a result of the weather. The next closest airport, across the Golfo Dulce, was also closed. We found ourselves airborne with nowhere to land.

Below you can read the excerpt from Rescuing Lacey inspired by this real-life adventure. This was the first scene I wrote for the novel, and like ripples in a pond, it grew in both directions from there.

After I drafted the scene, I thought about my heroine. Who was she? What life-events shaped her? Why would she be in that situation? What experiences had led her to that point? And where would she go from there?

The trick to inspiration is keeping your mind open (and a notebook handy). You just never know what will trigger your imagination and lead to the next great romance novel.

A Note from the Book Boost:  Sounds like you've had a lot of great adventures in your life.  I loved hearing about them and I'm sure your readers will love to read wherever your imagination takes them.  Nicely done.  Please tell us more about your latest.


When tough battle-scarred photojournalist-turned-wildlife-photographer Lacey Sommers travels to Costa Rica in a last-ditch effort to save her job, she meets beach-bum-gorgeous Luke Hancock, an outdoor guide, environmentalist and expert on economics and sustainability, who’s been hired by her magazine to serve as her pilot and wilderness guide for the duration of her stay.

It’s clear from the outset there is a powerful physical attraction between the two, but strong personalities, pre-conceived notions, an unexpected and contentious family connection, and the scars from a tragic death and a terrifying event threaten to keep them apart.

Will Lacey shed the mantle of Kevlar she’s worn for so long and allow Luke inside her heart? Or will her ostensible strength be her downfall?


Lacey knelt down, adjusting her telephoto lens to achieve the sharpest image. They’d finally stumbled across a red-eyed tree frog, one of the must-haves on her list of shots. Satisfied with the composition, she pressed the shutter.

Before she could snap another photo, she shot to her feet, like toast from a toaster, camera dangling from the strap around her neck, hands fisted at her sides.

“What?” Luke asked.

“Get him off me,” she ground out, her teeth gritted in revulsion. She pointed toward her leg and watched as Luke glanced down in time to see the frog climb up her inner thigh and duck beneath her shorts. 

Lacey sucked in a breath. The cold, wet suction-cup feet clung to her. She couldn’t even breathe, afraid any movement would prompt the slimy thing to crawl further up under her shorts. If it got to her crotch, she would die on the spot. 

Luke didn’t think it was possible, but Lacey’s eyes grew wider as the frog apparently made his way farther north. Enjoying her dilemma, he explained, “You know, because water and air flows so easily in to and out of amphibian skin, amphibians are much more vulnerable to possible pollutants on our hands—”

“Just. Get. Him. Off. Me. I didn’t invite his invasion of my person. He should have thought about that before he assaulted me,” she hissed through gritted teeth. 

Luke couldn’t hold back the chuckle that escaped, or suppress his wicked thoughts as he knelt down and peered up her shorts to see where the frog was hiding. The sight of her muscular thigh and pink panties nearly made him forget his mission. He slowly slid his hand beneath her shorts and up her inner thigh. 

“How do you know it’s a he?” he asked, taking pity on her and hoping to distract her from her obviously uncomfortable predicament. 

“Like that even deserves a response,” came her sarcastic reply. His soft laugh only inflamed her ire. 

“Don’t you think it’s rather ironic that you’re afraid of the very thing you’ve been sent here to photograph?” 

“I’m not—” Her angry denial was cut off when his warm, rough-hewn hand closed over the sensitive skin of her inner thigh, cupping over the frog and making her flinch at the heat rocketing up her spine. 

“Hold still,” he instructed, “otherwise I can’t promise he won’t head for . . . warmer regions.”

She shivered in response to his touch. She had a frog on her thigh, and astonishingly she now had sex on the brain. Luke’s hand rested on her thigh longer than she thought necessary. “You’re enjoying this way too much,” she said through tight lips. 

Damn right I am, Luke admitted to himself. Her thigh was as hot and smooth as sun-warmed silk. His fingers itched to glide further up her leg, to hear her gasp in pleasure, rather than in disgust. Between the monkey and the frog, Costa Rica’s fauna was making better time with her than he was. “No, I’m simply trying not to startle him.” 

“Then lose the shit-eating grin.” 

He struggled to assume a disinterested face, while she eyed him furiously. 

His hand gently closed over the offending amphibian, grazing the apex of her thighs with his fingertips, triggering yet another wave of heat up her spine. He slowly inched his hand out from under her shorts, extending the exquisite torture. She didn’t know which caused the stronger adrenalin rush: her revulsion of the wet frog, or her arousal from Luke’s warm hand. 

As soon as his hand cleared her shorts, she began pacing and cursing.

Good thing the forest was devoid of tourists, Luke thought, otherwise their ears would have been scorched. Her vocabulary could make a hardened criminal blush. Luke released the frog, watching it hop away without a backward glance. 

“Good riddance,” Lacey muttered. 

“Hey, frog’s no fool. Saw a warm, inviting spot and went for it.” 

“Spoken just like a man.”

Ignoring that comment, he asked, “Want any more photos?”

“No, I don’t. I’m done with that”—she shivered—“frog.” Picking up her pack and turning away, she continued to walk in the direction they were previously headed. 

He hefted up his bag and followed after her, wiping his hands on his shorts. “Let me get this straight, you’ve covered two wars, but you’re scared of a little frog?” He shook his head at the vagaries of women. 

“I wasn’t scared. It just—it startled me.” She refused to admit to him she was ranidaphobic. “How would you like it if something wet unexpectedly landed on your thigh? Wait! Don’t answer that!”

His only response was a low rumbling laugh that carried deep into the rain forest.     

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The What If World with Guest Blogger: P.J. Sharon

Win a copy of Waning Moon & 
chat with YA author P.J. Sharon 
today at the Book Boost!

It’s nice to be here with you at Book Boost. What a great site for writers and readers! With all of the cool books you have showcased here, I bet you’re seeing more and more Dystopian novels like mine.

Waning Moon, Book One of The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael takes place in the year 2057. Here’s a short synopsis.

With a global shift threatening to wipe out the Earth's population, sixteen-year-old genetically enhanced Lily Carmichael has more immediate problems. Her uncle is dying of cancer and her healing abilities are ineffective against the blood ties that bind them. In order to find a cure, Lily must leave the protection of her quiet town and journey into the trading city of Albany, all while avoiding the Industry, an agency that would like nothing better than to study and exploit her abilities and those of her thirteen-year-old brother, Zephron.

Seventeen-year-old Will Callahan has been searching for his father since severe storms blasted through the Midwest, killing his mother and sister. When he learns that his father may be in the city, he decides to travel with Lily, who has come to his rescue more than once. But the secrets Will’s keeping could put her in far more danger than traveling to Albany with him, and if he was any kind of man, he would have told her to run the minute she found him. 
So the question is, why are people drawn to both writing and reading Dystopian stories?

Here’s my take. I live out in the Berkshire Hills in a small remote town surrounded by woods. My neighbors across the street are my only neighbors for three quarters of a mile in any direction. We often get together to share a meal, play some cards, and talk about current affairs. 

Waning Moon came about after many discussions about how we would survive a catastrophic global change. It seems everyone these days has concerns about where our world will be in the years to come. With economic insecurity, volatile weather patterns, and threats of terrorism around the world, people have a right to be concerned. I’m not one to live in fear, but I understand why so many people are wondering what the future holds. I think our young people in particular are vulnerable to the pervasive climate of fear in our culture and they are curious about the possibilities that lay before them.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins was one of those stories that was timed perfectly. In my opinion, although well written and engaging, its wild success is more about timing than anything else. It gave young readers a glimpse into a post-apocalyptic world where against all odds, a teenage girl could become a hero with just her wits and a bow. Despite being dark and gritty (two very appealing qualities in teen fiction), the trilogy has all the right ingredients for success. A main character who is an underdog willing to sacrifice herself for her sister, a romantic triangle, and an action-packed series of events that push the envelope of acceptable societal behavior. We look on, horrified as if watching a train wreck, but wondering if we have it within ourselves to go so far as to kill to survive.

The term Dystopian has come to be associated with “post-apocalyptic” stories of doom. But literally it translates to a utopian world gone terribly wrong. Today’s story tellers have taken it one step further and added a sci-fi element, often incorporating beings like zombies and vampires, or aliens and genetically engineered teens. Yet the common thread seems to be the old stand-by theme of good vs. evil. Whether it’s a big bad government agency or a zombie apocalypse, dystopian stories hinge on the collapse of all we know and the human fight to survive or overcome whatever challenges we face. 

Dystopian stories like Lois Lowry’s The Giver, or Meg Rossoff’s book, How I Live Now, tend to focus more on the natural progression of a world spinning out of control. Whereas series like James Patterson’s Maximum Ride and Scott Westerfields’ Uglies trilogy lean toward the sci-fi bent.

My trilogy falls somewhere in between. Since it takes place about forty-five years in the future, there will be many recognizable places and technologies in play, but make no mistake, I believe we are on the brink of some major global changes and that the landscape of this world will be drastically different in the near future. 

I’m sure technology will progress to include contraptions not yet imagined, but other changes may send some of us back a hundred years. I like to think we have the ability to change for the better—that the coming generations will find a way to adapt and that salvation of our planet and our species is possible. 

I see myself as what is now being called an apocaloptimist—someone who believes the world is falling apart but thinks it will all work out fine in the end. That’s why, in my Dystopian world, Lily Carmichael is a healer, while her brother is a life-taker. That fundamental conflict lies within each of us and I believe our future hangs in the balance. 

The Chronicles of Lilly Carmichael deals with that conflict. Of course, there is also a budding romance, some big sacrifices that will have to be made, and an action packed adventure that will include a pair of loveable wolves. I hope you’ll join Lily and Will as they embark on this three part journey. Waning Moon is only the beginning. 

So, tell me, what do you all think of Dystopian lit? Do you have a favorite?

A Note from the Book Boost:  Thanks for joining us on short notice today, P.J.  We appreciate the opportunity to share your book and thoughts with our readers.  I try not to think about the future too terribly much as I'm a worrier by nature and would probably make myself sick if I zoned in on the "what if" too much.  Instead, I try to make each day the best and I'm working hard to have a positive outlook on life despite the sadness of our world's news.  Wish you the best with this series.  It sounds amazing!     

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