Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This And That

I'm expecting line edits and a cover for MINDER in the near future. I'm excited to see what the artist does with it.
Here's the blurb:

Among the northern tribes there is a legend passed down from generation to generation about shape-shifting Minders—guardians of the innocents—and how they came to be.

It is said that nowadays only a handful of Minders exist, hunted to near extinction by a fearsome beast. Of the remaining Minders, only one wears a garnet-studded collar, the symbol of protection and royalty.

Even when my aunt told me the story, and handed me an ancient garnet-studded band, I had no idea the tale applied to me.

After all, it’s only a legend…



Beginning March 31st Night Writers will have a giveaway the 31st of each month. Each Night Writer who chooses to participate will giveaway a download to one randomly drawn commenter.


Online privacy issues are becoming a real concern. You can find information on Googles changes as of March 1 at, on Saturday the 25th's blog Geekalegal--Privacy Be Gone? If your not familiar with the situation and the recommended way to protect your privacy, I suggest you check it out.
Blogs of interest:
Amarinda Jones
Anny Cook
Jennifer Shirk
Julia Barrett

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Painted Jezebel

  1. With us today is Jolie Pethtel. Jolie, tell us about your current project. At the moment I'm working on the sequel to Painted Jezebel titled Poison Pens. It's nearly finished.
  2. Are you a plotter or a pantster? I've always been a total pantser. I had my basic plot points in mind, but the stories pretty much write themselves. Painted Jezebel is a prime example. I thought I knew who the killer was, but my characters knew different and so far no one has seen it coming, so I'm not complaining. However, for the first time with the sequel I've had to do a lot of plotting. The story is more intricate and there was considerable research involved. Now that I've done both, I can honestly say if you can pull it off pantsing is the more fun way to go, though it isn't always feasible. Everyone has their own writing style and each book is different.
  3. Do you have critique partners or work alone? I used to have critique partners and it works for a lot of people, but I kept finding myself changing my story to suit what other people thought it should be, then it would be critiqued by someone else and their opinion would send me off in a different direction. The trick is to find someone in tune with your particular writing style. I do have a few close writer friends I'd trust with my work, but critique groups with people I don't know just don't work for me.
  4. What is your zodiac sign and what characteristic of your sign aids you as a writer? I'm a Scorpio and fit the profile exactly. I'm fairly intense and determined. I don't let things go easily and that keeps me from giving up on a project no matter how difficult it gets.
  5. What books of yours are currently for sale and where can a reader buy them? Currently only Painted Jezebel is available, but keep your eye out for Poison Pens. Right now you can find Painted Jezebel several places online. Museitup Publishing, Amazon and Smashwords to name a few.

Title: Painted Jezebel (A Jezebel Jinx Mystery, Book 1)

Author: Jolie Pethtel

Publisher: Museitup Publishing

Length: 65,000 Words

Sub-Genres: Comedy, Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller


Museitup Buy link:

Amazon Buy link:


“Someone was just murdered and I’m the prime suspect. Detective Tyler has gone around smearing my good name with everyone at the conference and here I am strutting around in a bikini. Don’t you think a one piece might have been more—I dunno—respectful?” Jezebel hovered uncertainly in front of the door marked heated pool. “Maybe a black one piece to show I’m in mourning.”

“You can’t flirt with lifeguards in a one piece. It just isn’t sexy enough. Besides, you aren’t in mourning. No one is. Did you see the celebrating going on in the bar? ‘Ding dong! The witch is dead’ is pretty much the attitude in there. If they could give you an award for killing her, they would.”

“I didn’t kill her,” Jezebel hissed.

“No, you didn’t, but if you want to prove your innocence you need to seduce some information out of that lifeguard.”

“My boobs are too small to seduce anyone. My legs are really my best asset, which I could display just as well in a one piece.”

“Rick might be a boob man. That is why you are wearing a size too small and we bought a bikini that lifts.” He mimicked cupping and lifting with his hands, without actually touching her breasts.

“I’m going in.” Jezebel stated as she rolled her eyes, and then stepped toward the pool area entrance. “Think sex goddess,” she ordered herself, adding some strut to her walk.

Finn insisted on the fire engine red bikini and matching strappy high heeled sandals. Who wore high heels to the swimming pool? This was wrong on so many levels.

“You look smokin’ hot, babe,” Finn called out. His idea of encouragement. Well, that was nice to know. Jezebel added a little roll to her hips just for his benefit, before pushing open the door and disappearing from sight.

She spotted Rick right away. He sat on his chair like a Greek Adonis, wearing nothing but snug bathing trunks, a whistle and a smile. The pool was filled with women vying for his attention. Her self-confidence slipped a notch.

Jezebel hesitated a fraction of a second too long as she neared his chair, and then kept on walking. No way was she going to humiliate herself like this. They would just have to find another way to acquire the information.

“Hello gorgeous,” the lifeguard drawled following it up with a whistle and not the ‘behave in the pool’ kind.

Jezebel froze and then slowly smiled. Ah, an ass man. She attempted to spin around gracefully, but grace and spiked heels did not go hand in hand. Just as she was face to face with her target, she slipped and tottered drunkenly on the tiles. In her defense, they were black and the wet spots weren’t particularly visible. She had a brief unpleasant flash of déjà vu, and then the life guard was on his feet, catching her in proper heroic fashion.

“Feel free to drop in anytime.”

Ugh! Did he just say that? The man was so much hotter when he didn’t speak. All brawn, no brain. How disappointing. So what did she say now? Jezebel wasn’t particularly good at suggestive small talk with half naked strangers. She tended to fluster easily. The hidden agenda only increased her nervousness. Where were the cue cards when you needed them?

“You saved my life! How can I ever thank you?” she gushed, fluttering her lashes.

“Do you have something in your eye?” He frowned down at Jezebel, before setting her on her feet.

“I was just a little—um—disoriented for a second.”

“Are you sure? It looked like you were having a seizure there or something.”

“I’m sure.” Jezebel was absolutely mortified. Thank God Finn wasn’t witnessing this. She would never live it down. Just then she caught a glimpse of him pulling off his T-shirt and diving into the deep end in nothing but a pair of modest swim shorts. Not fair. Not only had he overheard every embarrassing word, his smug grin left no doubt, but he was holding himself to a different standard. He should be demeaning himself for the greater good by wearing a pair of revealing swim trunks.

The women swarmed around Finn splashing playfully and damned if he didn’t love every second of it. Jezebel wanted to strangle him. So he wanted to play it that way, then fine. She could play too.


Jolie Pethtel was born in Ohio, but raised in Arizona, where she met her husband Jim. Jolie has since moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where she lives with her husband and their six rambunctious children. Jolie is a Domestic Goddess by day and Writer by night.

Author Website:

Fan Page:


Twitter: @joliepethtel

Monday, February 27, 2012

Louisa And The Crystal Gazer

Anna will be giving away a gift basket to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour .

With us today is Anna Maclean. I asked Anna, how do you begin a murder investigation when dealing with a spiritualist?

What a great question, and thanks so much for inviting me to visit.

Well, you don’t ask the ouija board! Seriously, dealing with a spiritualist was an interesting experience and a little more difficult than dealing with the other murders in which amateur sleuth Louisa May Alcott gets involved. Forensics and the other elements of scientific investigation weren’t available yet in mid-nineteenth century Boston. They didn’t even yet know about the use of fingerprints. Guilt was established largely on circumstantial evidence, flimsy or not, and character assessment.

The challenge for Louisa in Louisa and the Crystal Gazer is to discover who the spiritualist really was, so that she could then discover what the motives for her murder. And crystal gazers and other characters tended to have a great many secrets. Getting to the truth of their lives and identities would have been particularly challenging. The character of the murdered spiritualist, Mrs. Agatha D. Percy, is based on my readings of many journals, diaries and biographies of actual nineteenth spiritualists. They tended to be women of low or middle class who might have experience with some of the darker, even seamier side of life. They were often down on their luck, either single or perhaps abandoned by their husbands, and needed a way to make money. They wouldn’t have minded playing a few tricks on their paying customers, and that in itself could be a motive for murder!

Louisa solves the mystery, thanks largely to what I think was her greatest inspiration: the practical intelligence and humanity of her mother, Abba Alcott. Abba, in the novels and in real life, was a woman who knew a thing or two about hardship and in particular how hard the lives of women could be. From her, Louisa would have learned a certain skepticism combined with a generosity of spirit – to hate the crime, but forgive the criminal.

By the time Louisa finally gets to the truth of this mystery, she has been led through cemeteries, locked in a cellar, and learned some very sad and dark secrets of the past.

One of her partners in this mystery is P.T. Barnum, himself a man of great secrets and mystery. So many people in the nineteenth century simply invented who they wanted to be, and became that person. Barnum was no exception, and his ability to manipulate truth as well as people forces Louisa to consider him as possible murderer. But there are other suspects as well. Just about the only thing Louisa can’t count on is that the murdered woman will speak the truth.

Research for this mystery was fascinating, learning all the tricks and acts (and there were very many) that nineteenth century spiritualists could use, from trumpets falling from the ceiling to ghosts appearing outside the window. Louisa has to keep her wits about her to keep herself and her family and friends safe, while discovering who might have hated, or feared, Agatha D. Percy enough to send her permanently to the other side!


From Louisa and The Crystal Gazer

“I miss Father,” Sylvia signed one morning as we took our walk along the harbor. It was a misty cold day, and the harbor waves were tipped with frosty white.

“Unfortunately, your father passed away when you were a child,” I answered gently. “You barely knew that long-enduring man, so how do you now claim to miss him?”…

“My point exactly,” my companion responded…“I feel the need for a masculine presence in my life, and would like to converse with my father. I will, with the assistance of Mrs. Agatha Percy. Please come with me to one of her sittings!”

I groaned and jammed my hands deeper into my pocket, despite the stares of several passersby; a lady did not put her hands in her pockets. She did if they were cold, I thought. Ship rigging creaked in the wind and bells chimed the start of a new watch, and I pondered Sylvia’s statement.

Mrs. Agatha D. Percy was the newest fad in Boston, one of the recently risen members of that questionable group of individuals known as ‘spiritists,’ or mediums…

“I can think of better ways to spend time and money than sitting in the dark and watching parlor tricks. I would much rather, for instance, attend one of Signor Massimo’s musical evening.” The signor, a famous pianist, was touring the United States from his home in Rome and had decided to winter in Boston. He was giving a series of performances – performances I could not afford, since the tickets were as much as three dollars apiece, even when they were available.

“Mother tried to get tickets and could not. She was furious,” Sylvia said. I could understand; women with Mrs. Shattuck’s family name and wealth were not accustomed to hearing no.

“Look, there is ice in the harbor,” I said, putting my hand over my eyes to shield them from the glare.

“I will have your answer,” Sylvia persisted.

I introduced several new topics of conversation, hoping to distract Sylvia from her mission – Jenny Lind, the Wild West, a newly published travel book about France that was flying off the shelves – but each topic she cleverly rejoined and detoured back to Mrs. Percy…

“Don’t you see?” Sylvia sighed in exasperation, pulling at my hand to prevent me from taking another step. “The spirits themselves wish you to visit her. They put those very suggestions in your mind!”

“Then they should put a plot or two in my mind,” I said, remembering the still-blank sheet of paper before which I had sat that morning at my desk. Being between stories was an unpleasant state for me, when no plot or story threaded the random thoughts of every imagination.

“I am unconvinced that ‘fun’ is the correct word to describe an hour of sitting in the dark, pretending to speak with the dead,” I said.

“Spirits,” corrected Sylvia. “The dead don’t like to be called dead. Such a harsh word.”

Neither of us was yet aware of exactly how harsh that séance would become.


Jeanne Mackin is the author of several novels: The Sweet By and By (St. Martin’s Press), Dreams of Empire (Kensington Books), The Queen’s War (St. Martin’s Press), and The Frenchwoman (St. Martin’s Press). She has published short fiction and creative nonfiction in several journals and periodicals including American Letters and Commentary and SNReview. She is also the author of the Cornell Book of Herbs and Edible Flowers (Cornell University publications) and co-editor of The Norton Book of Love (W.W. Norton), and wrote art columns for newspapers as well as feature articles for several arts magazines. She was the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and her journalism has won awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, in Washington, D.C. She teaches creative writing at Goddard College in Vermont, has taught or conducted workshops in Pennsylvania, Hawaii and New York and has traveled extensively in Europe. She lives with her husband, Steve Poleskie, in upstate New York.


Book Link:,,9781101506141,00.html?Louisa_and_the_Missing_Heiress_Anna_Maclean

Tour dates link::

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Reckless: A War Horse Hero

Did any of you see War Horse? It was a good movie, but it seriously depressed me. Enough that I almost didn't open a forwarded email from a friend that had War Horse in the title. I'm so glad I did. I loved the video she forwarded to me and if you love horses I believe you will too. It's at: Night Writers.
If you have a moment, pop on over. Its worth your time.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something~*~Frank Capra


Blogs of interest:
Amarinda Jones
Anny Cook
Julia Barrett

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Second Son Blog Barrage

Free download to one random commenter
Title: The Second Son (Kings of Cardenas, Book 2)

Author: Elise Marion
Publisher: Self
Length: 105,000 words
Sub-Genres: Historical, Mystery/Thriller
VBT Dates: Feb 23-Mar 3 (immediately following Book 1)




Princess Isabelle has spent her entire life bending to the will of those who have planned her life out for her. Sent into hiding when she was just an infant to protect her from the rebellion in her own homeland, Barony, she was betrothed to Prince Lionus from the neighboring province Cardenas when she was just an infant. Despite the forced engagement, Isabelle has loved Lionus all of her life. When a devious plot against the royal family results in her husband’s death, Isabelle is left with a broken heart and an uncertain future. Only one year after his brutal murder, she has no choice but to choose a new husband and return to her homeland to take her place as queen and repair the war-torn land.

Prince Serge has secretly loved Princess Isabelle his entire life. The fact that she was promised to his brother has brought him no end of pain and suffering. The second born son of the king, he has resigned himself to a life of living in his brother’s shadow. After a deadly plot against the royal family leaves Serge hovering on the edge of death, he awakens from a coma one year later to find that his older brother has died and his youngest brother has taken the throne in his stead. His future is now uncertain, but Serge is determined to find his own way in the world now that he has been given the gift of new life. When it is suggested that Princess Isabelle take him as her husband, Serge begins to hope that all of his most secret dreams will now come true.

Despite unexpected spark of desire between them, Isabelle resists the new path her heart is taking as she clings desperately to Lionus’ memory. Can Isabelle let go of her past and learn to Serge return, or is she destined to a life tied to one man as she still mourns the other?

Once united as king and queen, Isabelle and Serge face the monumental task of rebuilding her broken homeland and rescuing it from the clutches of those seeking to destroy it. Can the pampered princess find the strength to stand beside her husband and fight for her people? Will the second son of a king finally get the chance to prove his worth? Can either of them learn to let go of the ghosts of the past and find love?

Set in a world of kings and queens, palaces and royal courts, warriors and battlefields, book two of Elise Marion’s ‘Kings of Cardenas’ family saga continues with a story of love, passion, and destiny.


Isabelle dipped her hands in the cool water of the stream, grateful to be out of the carriage after a long day of riding. They were only a few more days from Barony and she would be ecstatic when they finally reached their destination. For the first three days there had been nothing but dirt, rocks, and the occasional tree to look at through the carriage window. Today, the bordering mountains between Cardenas and Barony finally came into view, signaling the half-way point of their journey. Isabelle splashed some cold water on her face and turned back toward camp which was only a few feet away through a line of trees.

As she made her way up the embankment, she saw Primus coming toward her.

“I trust that the journey was not overly hard on you, my lady,” he said as he approached.

Isabelle smiled. “I found myself a bit restless being stuck inside the carriage all day. Do you think it would be all right for me ride a bit tomorrow?”

Primus frowned. “I do not think that would be a very good idea, Princess. We could encounter danger at any moment and I believe that His Grace will agree with me in saying that it will be much safer for you inside the carriage.”

Isabelle nodded reluctantly. “I suppose you’re right.”

Primus glanced pointedly at Francis, who stood guard a few feet away. “A few moments alone, my lady?”

Isabelle turned to Francis and waved him off. “I’ll be perfectly safe here with Lord Primus, Francis,” she assured him.

Once he was gone, Primus turned back toward her with a smile. “I was hoping we could discuss the subject of husband hunting while we have a few minutes alone. Have you given any more thought to your possible candidates?”

“I can assure you I’ve been considering the matter very carefully. I hope to have made a decision by the time we reach Barony.”

“If I may be so bold I’d like to offer a suggestion.”

“It certainly couldn’t hurt.”

He paused for a moment. “Me,” he said quickly, as if trying to get the words out before he changed his mind. Isabelle felt as if the ground had fallen out from under her. He held a hand up to silence her before she could respond. “Allow me to plead my case before you say no.”

Isabelle forced a smile despite the uneasy feeling at the pit of her stomach. She wasn’t sure how she felt about Primus proposing to her. “I wasn’t going to say no,” she assured him. “Please continue.”

“I hope you know how much I admire you,” he said, grabbing one of her hands in both of his. “I hope that you at least feel the same for me.” She nodded, which only encouraged him to continue. His thumb was drawing slow circles against her hand and he was moving closer with every word. Isabelle held her breath and waited. “I know I could make you happy, my lady, and I know that I could rule Barony well.”

“I have no doubt of that,” she said, finding her voice finally. “You have been doing so these last twenty years.”

“Please do not think that this is an attempt on my behalf to gain the crown. I really feel that we could be good together, Isabelle,” he said, using her given name for the first time. “I care for you very much, and in time I hope you could come to care for me too.”

Before she knew what was happening, he was tugging her hand until she was in his arms and kissing her gently. Rather than fight him, Isabelle allowed him to kiss her and attempted to participate in the kiss as well. If she was going to consider him for marriage, she might as well see whether or not she could even be attracted to him.

The kiss was nice enough. His lips were soft and gentle, and while she had been worried that his mustache and beard would tickle her, they did not. His hands rested respectfully on her shoulders and his mouth opened only slightly. When it was over Isabelle felt fine. Not good, not bad. Just fine. She couldn’t help but compare the experience to another kiss and hated herself for it.

“Primus,” she began, “I am very flattered but I-“

“What the devil is going on here?”

Isabelle turned in Primus’ arms to find Serge standing a few feet away, his hands balled into fists at his sides, his expression murderous. Isabelle stepped away guiltily.

“The princess and I were having a private conversation,” Primus said, grabbing her hand possessively.

“I did not hear very much talking,” Serge countered, stepping closer.

“I hardly see how it is any of your concern.”

Isabelle looked back and forth between the two of them, certain she had been all but forgotten in this little drama.

“As Isabelle’s brother-in-law, I would have to say that it is my concern. I hardly think your advances are appropriate considering that she is to be choosing a husband soon. Have you no care for her reputation?”

“How dare you insinuate that I would sully my lady’s character?”

Isabelle, who at this point was quite annoyed at having been accosted by both these men in the last few days and then having to watch them fight over her like two rutting stags, growled in irritation. “For God’s sake, both of you shut up!”

They both grew silent and Isabelle inwardly smiled in satisfaction.

“Primus, I will most certainly consider all that you have said. I hope you will excuse me for a moment so that I can have a word with my brother-in-law.”

Primus, still glaring at Serge venomously, left reluctantly. Isabelle turned on Serge the moment he was out of sight.

“What on earth is the matter with you?” she practically screamed, poking him in the chest with her index finger.

“Me?” he shouted back. “What about you letting that fool kiss you? How long has that been going on?”

“Why should it matter to you?”

“You know why!”

“I never agreed to marry you!”

“You damn well will, mark my words,” he said, taking a step closer and lowering his voice.

“Your arrogance is astounding. You certainly are sure of yourself.”

“Does he make you tremble the way I do, Isabelle?” he said softly, reaching up to stroke her cheek. “Did you kiss him like you kiss me?” His fingertips traveled down to her throat and he lowered his head until his lips hovered inches from hers. “Do you want him like you want me?”

Isabelle swayed and fought to keep her balance. Her lips were tingling, and she was but a breath away from leaning into him. His scent enveloped her and his towering presence weakened her. Her lips parted. “I don’t want you,” she said hoarsely against his mouth.

His lips brushed her lightly. She trembled. “Liar,” he whispered.


As a child I always had my nose in a book. From R.L. Stine to Chronicles of Narnia to The Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High, I read it all. When I started Junior High and found out that the school library had over 400,000 books, my goal was to read every single one! Of course I didn't achieve that particular goal, but I sure had fun trying!

In high school I developed a talent for writing and discovered romance. Needless to say I combined my love for both and am now a published Indie author. After almost a year of peddling my book from agent to agent with no success I decided that my work was good enough despite the constant rejection. That's when I discovered the world of indie publishing through e-books. I couldn't have made a better decision than stepping out on faith and doing something for myself instead of waiting around for someone else to do it for me.

A litle bit more about me: My husband Kevin and I have been married for 4 years and have two beautiful children, Haley (4) and Gavin (4 months). We are a military family, which means I spend a lot of my time alone with two children. People often ask me how I deal with the military life. I simply say, someone's got to do it, right? I am proud of my husband for serving his country.

When I'm not reading (which is almost always) or writing (I try to every day), I am watching movies (which I love), cooking (which I love even more) or watching someone else cook on TV (love me some Paula Deen). I have been singing my entire life and enjoy being my church's choir every Sunday. My large, extended family is close and means the world to me.

Schedule link:



Twitter: @elise_marion




Happy Birthday, Meghan.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Apologies and Good News

Apologies to Kat Flannery. She was to blog barrage here today and I've had huge issues with the post. I finally had to take it off line.


On the upside, Ghost For Sale made it through the first round of the Amazon Breakthrough Contest.


Blogs of interest:
Amarinda Jones
Anny Cook
Helen Woodall
Julia Barrett

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Where's The Cat?

You'll need to double click on the picture to see the larger version. Even then it still takes some looking.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blog Barrage: Back To You

From Book Lover To Book Author

By Natalie-Nicole Bates

I have always been a voracious reader ever since I was a child. I was the twelve year old kid in the corner reading Harold Robbins and Sidney Sheldon. I remember being swept away in Sheldon’s Master of the Game and Robbins’ Goodbye, Janette. Influenced by these masters, I knew I wanted to write someday.

A few years ago, I spent a week in the hospital after an ill-fated skateboard stunt. I sent my partner to the bookstore to get as many Harlequin and Silhouette books as he could find. That week I reached my all time record for the number of books read—24 books in one week!

More than a year ago, I decided to try making the big leap from reader to writer. I knew it couldn’t be accomplished by simply sitting down at the computer and pounding out a 350-page story. There were building blocks to creating a novel—idea, setting, plot, scene, point of view—to name a few.

I enrolled in an intensive six-month course in the art of novel writing. I was paired with a mentor, and was ready to write this sweeping mainstream saga involving two people who had wills that left them a piece of property. My mentor said, “You belong in the romance genre.” This was best advice I could get.

This past summer, I finished my first novel, a contemporary romance called Change of Address. To my delight, I sold it to Secret Cravings Publishing in just a week.

After I signed the contract, I was hit by an idea for a paranormal story. I knew that I wanted it to be short, just a small bite for a reader to enjoy, and hopefully if I could sell it, it would be my introduction to all of the readers in this world. During a particularly frenzied episode of writing, I finished the story in a day. After editing, I sold the story to Books To Go Now.

This is my introduction to the world of publishing. I hope you will enjoy Change of Address as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Title: Back to You

Author: Natalie-Nicole Bates
Publisher: Bradley Publishing
Length: 26,000 words
Sub-Genre: Contemporary


Amazon -

Barnes & Noble -

Bradley Publishing -


On the surface, Lynsey Reznor seems to have it all. She is beautiful, brilliant, and a successful true-crime writer who has been living the past decade in Miami. But what Lynsey lacks is what she needs the most—a family.

After the death of her mother, and yet another failed relationship, Lynsey makes an impulsive decision to return to her hometown of Unity. But Unity will present its own bittersweet memories, most notably, her first love, Nick Lincoln.

Twenty years ago, Nick broke teenager Lynsey’s heart when he decided to marry another. He had his own private reasons—reasons he never explained to Lynsey. Now she is back, along with a chance to reclaim her love. But Lynsey wants answers from him that he may never be able to give out of duty and guilt.


When he heard her, he came to her, took her into his arms, and kissed her. It was a comfort that he wasn’t regretting their lovemaking. She didn’t think she could handle being rejected by him twice in her lifetime.

“Do you have to leave soon?” she asked.

“I’m sorry. I don’t want to, but I have to.” He went to the stove and prepared her a cup of coffee. “I think we should start planning our wedding. We could be married at Christmas.”

She was taken aback. Is this his proposal ? This was supposed to be so romantic and memorable, not talk about planning a Christmas wedding while he stirred a cup of coffee.

“Do you even want to get married?” She took the coffee mug he offered. “I mean, it wasn’t that long ago that you told me you weren’t sure you ever wanted to be married again. You said you didn’t see fatherhood in your future, and Nick, I want a baby…more than one. I grew up as an only child and I was so alone. I don’t want my child to have to experience that.”

“Well, I didn’t use a condom last night. You could be pregnant right now,” was his reply.

Heaviness descended upon her heart. This was so not how she wanted this morning to be, and certainly not the marriage proposal she had dreamed of. “I’m on the Pill—I won’t get pregnant if that’s all you’re worried about.”

“I’m sorry, that’s not the only reason we should get married.”

“Then why?” she asked suspiciously.

He let out an exaggerated sigh. “Lynsey, I don’t have time to get into this with you right now. What do you want me to say in the five minutes I have before I leave for work?”

She couldn’t believe his glib attitude. “How about saying something to me like…‘I love you, Lynsey, and I made a tremendous mistake by not marrying you twenty years ago?’ That would take you less than thirty seconds to say, and you could have easily gotten to your precious job on time.”

Suddenly his jaw set and his eyes narrowed. “I didn’t make a mistake by not marrying you twenty years ago! I let you go to become a success in life—and you did. I can’t regret that!”

“So, what I thought all these years was correct. I was nothing to you but a quick and easy way to shed your virginity.” Just saying the words was devastating.

“That’s not it at all,” he vehemently insisted. “You were always so intelligent. I mean, you were a sixteen-year-old senior in high school! Just how many grades did you skip over, anyway?”

“Two,” she answered in a low voice.

“Do you know what would have happened if I hadn’t married Kelly?” He didn’t wait for her reply. “I’ll tell you what. You and I would have been ostracized by everyone in this town! We would have had to be married right away, and we would have had to live with your mother, because I had no money.”

“My mother loved you. She would have been happy to have us live with her,” she interjected.

“And we were so naïve, Lynsey. You would have graduated high school with either a big belly, or a baby in your arms…if you had graduated at all.”

She crossed her arms over her breasts and looked at the floor. She was too afraid that if she looked at him she would break down. “Some of the girls in school were married. A few of them had babies.”

He lifted her chin and forced her to make eye contact with him. “And you were too smart to be stuck in this town, and just another housewife. You would have become bored and resentful.”

“I wouldn’t have known the difference,” she countered.

“I had serious doubts then. I still have doubts now,” he admitted.

Her dark lashes flew upward. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“I believe that you will become bored and restless in Unity and will want to go back to Florida or maybe California. I have a job and a family here, Lynsey. I don’t ever want to give that up. I’m afraid that we’ll have a child, and you’ll take my baby and leave. I can not allow that to happen.”

She couldn’t believe what he was saying. Nothing was further from the truth. “Do you think I would have sunk so much of my savings into that house just to abandon it? I would never, ever do what you’re saying. But if circumstances changed, I would expect you to support what was best for our family. Couples who are committed make sacrifices for each other!”

It was becoming clearer and clearer that things were rapidly falling apart between them.

“Lynsey, didn’t what happened between us last night mean anything to you?” he asked.

She chuckled unpleasantly. “I suppose that with us living in such close proximity, last night was inevitable. But don’t worry about it happening again, Nick. When you get home this evening, I won’t be here.”

“Where are you going to be?”

She wanted to hurt Nick like she was now hurting. “I’m sure that Caleb wouldn’t mind me bunking down at his house for a week or two.”

“Over my dead body,” he seethed. “I will drag you away from him kicking and screaming if it comes to it. I’ll handcuff you to my bed if need be. Believe me, Lynsey, I’ll do it!” He flopped down into a kitchen chair and buried his face in his hands.

“I have to go now, Nick. I’m meeting your sister for breakfast. Listen to me. You need to pull yourself together. In your line of work, bad things happen when you lose your concentration.”

When he didn’t reply, she let out a sigh of resignation and headed for the door. At the last minute she turned to him. “Thanks for almost making it happen between us.


Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author. Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia. She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

For Your Viewing Pleasure

The hubby's upper respiratory turned out to be a sinus infection and double pneumonia.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Free Books and Situation Normal All Stranged Up

Good bud, Julia Barrett is giving away two of her books as Kindle downloads at Amazon.
Here's one of them and where you can get it:
Haven't read any Julia yet? Now's a good time to try one of her books out.


The hubby has the upper respiratory crud. I had to have outpatient surgery. He took me to get the surgery, then I went to pick up his prescription. Where's the butler when you need him?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cornerstone Deep Echoes

With us today is friend, fellow CAB author and Night Writer blogger Charlene Wilson. I asked Charlene, who has a new book coming out Cornerstone Deep Echoes, to tell us about her characters quirks. She decided to let the characters tell you themselves.

I was asked by Charlene A. Wilson to present this blog post today. We’d like to thank Sandra Cox for this opportunity.

I was asked to speak to you about… *looks around at the blog readers and flushes* quirks and odd traits of the characters of the Chronicles of Shilo Manor.

Ahem. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jamesuranton Lorus Tru Shilomacj. I’m known as James in Cornerstone Deep, however. Although, of course we don’t go by our full names in our own dimension either. *fidgets and mumbles under his breath* I must agree with Cole. This isn’t as easy as Charlene said it would be.

Ahem. *squares his shoulders*

What’s quickly becoming the most talked about quirk of the Shilo Manor characters is Cole’s love of butter. It was introduced in book one, Cornerstone Deep, when Cole and I are talking in the breakfast nook. But this short clip cemented it to his personality. Cole was very worried about getting Anna away from Lord Dressen and time wasn’t moving fast enough toward our planned attempt. He, uh, took it out on the mantel clock. Emanating Vincent’s destructive behavior, he caused a miniature statue of Meridian’s capitol tower to pierce the face.

“What are you doing up already?”

Cole’s nerves jumped at the sudden voice. “I hate it when you do that.”

James chuckled. “You called me.”

“I didn’t realize the time before I did.” He motioned to the clock. “You wouldn’t mind fixing that, would you?”

Stepping to the desk, James set a plate of cake down for his brother. “Taking on Father Time? You’ll lose.” He motioned a hand to guide the figurine to the bookshelf then passed it over his view of the clock. The face unpuckered, hands straightened, and the glass reassembled.

He sat in a chair and forked a piece of his own snack. “Eat the cake. Elaina’s family barely touched it. We have enough to last a year.”

“Did you bring butter?”

“You want butter on a cake?”

“I’ll eat butter on anything.” He reached for his portion.

“No butter.”

“How about sweet cream?”

“Just eat the cake.”

While the visitors read, James leans to Charlene with a whisper. “I’m not portraying this post as I’d hoped, Charlene. I was under the belief I’d be announcing the release of book two, Cornerstone Deep Echoes. I truly think Cole was right in wanting to hire Mr. Ballard to present this. An officiator would do a much better job.”

Charlene smiles and sets her hand on his arm reassuringly. “You’re doing fine, James. Just imagine you’re in the study with Cole and Vince and you’re doing your counseling thing.”

James presses his lips into a fine line and sucks air through his nose. He nods, reclaiming his place as speaker.

As I mentioned, Vincent has a destructive side. Which brings us to his prominent trait: Impulsive behavior.

Cole didn’t know whether to head straight for the study or stop at the parlor to grab a drink first. His gut told him his hunches were true, and if they were, he’d need a strong mix to handle it.

Vincent marched beside him, flexing his fingers. Sparks flew from the tips with each outward arch, pocking the hardwood floor.

James looked at him sideways. “Clench those fingers into fists or you’ll be refinishing this floor yourself.”

Cole scowled at his youngest brother. “If you blow up this house again, I swear I’ll be the one to ban you to the woods this time.” He paused abruptly in front of the parlor and James bumped him from behind. “I need a drink before we look into this.”

James stepped past him. “I think we could all use one.”

“This is beyond sickening.” Vince turned for the study. “Forget the drink. I have to know.”

And as you can see, I tend to be the one to clean up after my two brothers. *glances at Charlene with a grin* I guess if I hadn’t been given that trait, Shilo Manor would have stood in rubble centuries ago.

With reluctance, Cole scooted back the chair. He flicked a stray ginger root peal into the trash bin and stuffed a small pouch of sage into the appropriate canister on the shelf. The gems clattered as he swept them into a drawer and rolled it shut. A wave of his hand, and the feathers he’d toyed with earlier whirled to gather around a sash that hung alongside the storage hutch. He scanned the room. “Not to James’s perfection, but what ever is?” He grinned at his comment.

James leans over to Charlene and whispers. “That’s not the clip I chose.”

“Oh, I just thought this one showed that you always have to have things perfect. You know, just right.”

He furrows his brow. “But the roots rising from the terra to support Shilo Manor’s failing structure after Vincent destroys the study with his temper was much more dramatic.”

Charlene nods. “And more flattering. I know, James.” She winks.

With a sigh, James straightens and returns to his post.

Ahem. As you can see, we characters take on a life of our own when given traits to personalize our behavior. I’ll not go into what makes the women we love special. But they have a unique voice as well, I assure you.

Charlene stands as James turns to her with a flushed face. “Now, see? That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

He hands her the notes. “No offense intended, but… Yes, Charlene. It was.” He clears his throat and heads for the door. “I’ll put Mr. Ballard on standby for the next blog post.”

James glances back at Charlene and watches as she strolls into the crowd to mingle. With a wave of his hand, he adds to the completed guest post.

As they crossed the terrace, Cole motioned to the grounds. “You’re cleaning this up, right?”

James grinned, causing dimples to crease his cheeks. A pass of his hand, and he took in the area at large. Marble reassembled like an intricate puzzle, smaller pieces snapping into place with tiny clinks. Limbs and splinters gathered and reunited with the trees as leaves and pine needles reclaimed their rightful holds. Roots slithered back into their burrows, sod settling into place to blanket the disturbed soil.

Cole watched the circus of movement and shook his head. No amount of time could pass that would take away his admiration of his brother’s multi-tasking control. He turned and headed inside. “The seraphim’s arm is in front of her dresser.”

“I’ll take care of it.”

He checks to make sure Charlene’s still not looking adds another clip.

James’s hand whipped to the sky and roots rose from the terra to support the failing structure. Vines and limbs intermingled and snaked across the ceiling and walls, holding firm the framework. He threw his thick arms around his enraged brother, pinning his motion.

Fire flashed in Vincent’s eyes as he looked to the door. Another pulse of power flashed along his hands as he struggled against James’s strong hold.

James nods with a smile. “That’s better.”

Author site:





Buy Link:


What they’re saying about Cornerstone Deep

Full reviews available upon request.

“This is a well-written world, with a cast of characters that bring it to life. Cole is the bad boy, the one that tugs at your heart, but makes so many mistakes. His brothers are a great foil to his personality, both well written as well with stories of their own. Anna is a fun and feisty young woman, also looking for love, but with her will taken from her, making her an entirely different character. Cornerstone Deep is fast-paced and hard to put down. I look for Ms. Wilson to follow this up with stories on each of the brothers. I would enjoy reading more about this fascinating family.”—The Romance Review

“The detail that Charlene puts into this story on the objects around the characters as well as the characters quirks is astounding. When I got this book and began reading it I couldn’t put it down! I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, paranormal, and of course, true love.”—Anastasia Creatives

Cornerstone Deep blurb:

It's their nature - long lives and rebirth. They're from another dimension, one gifted with advance abilities, but they serve in Cornerstone Deep. They're the Wizards of Shilo Manor.

They outlive the mortals of this realm by thousands of years, and when it comes to love the cruel fact is reinforced. Reincarnation doesn't exist on this plane. They lose their wives to death with no hope of reuniting. Yet they continue to accept others for whatever time they have together. Save for Cole. His love for his last wife still burns in his soul four centuries after her death.

When the service they render to the noblemen of Cornerstone Deep brings him face to face with Anna, something unexpected happens. In a realm of silent souls, hers calls to him. He responds with a kiss—one that joined with the spell of servitude she inhaled, binds her soul.

Breaking ancient covenants, angering the lords, and bringing the gods' wrath upon him, Cole tries desperately to undo his wrong and free his love—despite the determination of the nobleman to keep her.

~ * ~

My life is a mirage of endless time. But you in this moment engulf me, rivet my mind, encompass my soul. (Cole Shilo)

Cornerstone Deep - excerpt

As Anna emerged from Cantrell Artisan, she shivered in the spring air. The industrial West Side’s sulfuric odor rode the breeze from across town, and the fragrant fire flickered out. She cradled the holder between the large granite lion paws that sat beside the steps. It fit nicely. She sniggered at the sight. Kyle Dressen’s artistic contribution to the sphinx.

She stepped onto the sidewalk and looked around. Humor faded. Vapor loomed over the empty streets like phantoms gathering warmth from the asphalt. She briskly rubbed her sleeves. The slight warming did nothing to ease her insecurity. Street lights blinked on but offered little comfort as the newscaster’s announcement flooded her mind. “After much deliberation, the new curfew of 2024 has been set into place. Lord Kyle Dressen, Grand Marshal of the courts, announced the bill’s passing, and urges all to adhere as strict measure will be taken to ensure vandalism of the East Side is eradicated.”

What a ridiculous notion. The impoverished East Side getting aid from the lawmakers. Yet now, unease filled her. Her co-workers’ gossip on the matter didn’t help her anxiety. An apprehensive tone caught her voice as she repeated the warning. “Curfew breakers will never be seen again.” Her whisper sent mist through the chill. She wished she hadn’t spoken.

Anna hurried across the open court and down an adjacent street. Awnings rustled in the wind. Neon signs that once invited late-night commerce hung dead behind barred windows. Her rushed steps echoed through the air.

She looked to the sky. A blanket of stars covered the firmament. She’d worked too late. Again. “God, I’m not going to make it.”

Her steps quickened, and she caught her breath as she approached the shortcut through the park. The wide corner entrance stood closed, the ancient stone griffin perched high on the gateway glaring down at her. She shook the bars with disbelief. “When do they ever lock Shilo Park?” Scanning the long gates that fortified the urban green, fear clutched her stomach.


She whipped around. The sound was like a whisper to her mind yet clear as if spoken. Her gaze intensified as she studied the shadowed pavement. Beneath the dim light of a street lamp, dense smoke billowed, taking the form of three men. Her throat clenched. “What…in…the…world?” She spun around and ran.

“There’s no use in running.”