She’s ba-aa-ck! Moriah Densley GIVEAWAY

KingofThreadneedleStreet 500x750We’re celebrating the re-release of Victorian romance, The King of Threadneedle Street!

Did you know Moriah Densley is not only a talented (fabulously talented!) author but an exceptionally gifted jewelry artisan as well? How about I let her tell you!
…………………………………….

Jewelry making is a hobby I’ve enjoyed for years. When writing the scene in The King of Threadneedle Street where Andrew gives Alysia a rare lavender pearl jewelry set, I went wild with my imagination. I created Victorian-style pearl, onyx, and crystal jewelry for the release-day giveaway; here’s where the inspiration came from:

     Before Alysia dressed for dinner, Marsden delivered a small white case and left without a word. She unfolded the note to see Andrew’s capricious scrawl. He wrote, Please wear these for me tonight. She unwrapped the chocolate truffles and nibbled on one as she opened the lid of the box.

She gasped — an elaborate jewelry set glowed in the lamplight. Breathtaking pearls, a smoky lavender color and set in designs she had never seen the like of. The necklace was not merely a strand, but an arrangement that resembled an elaborate tiara, or half of a snowflake. Woven into delicate patterns with graduated-sized pearls, it looked like some priceless artifact discovered in an ancient tomb.

Alysia dropped her dressing robe to hold the necklace against her collar. She fastened the clasp and tried on the matching earrings and bracelet. Exquisite. And that he’d picked the color to complement her eyes? Romantic. She looked in the mirror to see the luster of the pearls reflecting the lavender facets of her eyes, making them paradoxically smoky and bright.

Andrew knew what he was doing.

kots giveaway jewelryAnd, indeed, MORIAH knows what she is doing! Just check out a few samples of her work!

And you could win! Just go to Moriah’s website and blog to enter for a chance to win her fabulous giveaway!

ABOUT the AUTHOR

Bestselling author Moriah Densley sees nothing odd at all about keeping both a violin case and a range bag stuffed with pistols in the back seat of her car. They hold up the stack of books in the middle, of course. She enjoys writing about Victorians, assassins, and geeks. Her muses are summoned by the smell of chocolate, usually at odd hours of the night. By day her alter ego is your friendly neighborhood music teacher. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband, four children, and two possibly brain-damaged cats.

moriah densley cropped(1) Moriah has a Master’s degree in music, is a 2012 RWA Golden Heart finalist, 2012 National Reader’s Choice Award winner, and ’12 NRCA “Best First Book” finalist. She’s the author of the bestselling “Rougemont” Historical Romance series from Eskape Press, and the “Network-One” Paranormal Romance series coming 2014 from Entangled Publishing. Moriah is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Greenburger Associates.

 

 

FIND MORIAH’S WORK ON:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Kobo
All Romance eBooks
Amazon UK

FIND MORE MORIAH:

Website + blog: http://moriahdensley.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MoriahDensley
Twitter: http://twitter.com/moriahdensley
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/moriahdensley/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17826397-the-king-of-threadneedle-street

 

Abiding Echoes/Sweet Saturday

Jim nodded toward the mountains in the distance. “See those specks flying up there?”

Beth squinted. A pair of birds circled, so far away they were tiny as ants. “Are those…vultures?” Her stomach did a slow flip. Had someone or something else been killed up in the hills?

“Nope. Those are eagles.” He shaded his eyes with one hand. “I’d say bald eagles.”

She followed his lead and shaded her eyes with one hand. “You can tell from here?”

“That they’re bald eagles and not goldens? Nah.” Chuckling, Jim dropped his hand. “But I know bald eagles tend to range up that way…near the Green River. I see ‘em up there a lot…soaring and gliding. I had a Shoshone friend once who told me eagles are considered of the earth by not in it…kind of spiritual overseers.” He watched them for a few minutes in silence as he rubbed his fingertips along his jaw, obviously deep in thought.

In turn, Beth studied Jim. She supposed it wasn’t exactly ironic that father and son would both have an appreciative affinity for flying objects. Had Jim ever taken Justin kite flying?

He sighed deeply and returned his focus to Beth. “You know as high as they are, they can still spot a trout flashing too close to the surface just begging to be their next meal? They’ll glide up in the sky for hours waiting for it…or they’ll set up in a tree perfectly still makin’ sure their shadow doesn’t fall across the river. Soon as they see that sparkle of scales, they’ll be on that trout like a lightning bolt.”

“They just wait? They don’t go hunting?”

Jim shrugged, more with his face than his shoulders. “That is hunting for them. Never seen an animal with so much patience as an eagle.” He gazed into the distance again. “I reckon the view from up there likely makes just as good a reward for all that patience as the meal itself.”

A breathy laugh escaped Beth’s lips. “Heights kind of make me dizzy.”

He swung his gaze back in her direction and winked. “Guess it’s a good thing you have your feet on the ground then. But whatever view you like best, patience earns the reward in the end.”

She stared at the eagles. From so far away they barely seemed to move. They appeared to have just been suspended against the sky.

“I think I’ll go pester Mary about baking some oatmeal cookies.” Jim pushed off the fence and tipped his hat at Beth. “Justin’s in the cow barn pulling a calf.”

Beth stared after Justin’s father as he ambled to the house. His gait was steady if a little slow and tired. Before he opened the back door, he tossed a casual wave in her direction. She raised her hand but he was already stepping through the door. A chill tickled the base of Beth’s spine.

Patience…not even close to her strong suit. But if she listened to Jim McGee, very rewarding to enjoy the view while she waited. If only she knew what she was waiting for.

She turned her head and stared at the cow barn. What exactly was pulling a calf?

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Pairs Writing

Quick shout to my friend and fellow Astraea Press author, Jennifer Comeaux, whose book, Life on the Edge inspired the title for this post!

When Kim Bowman and I set out to write our first collaboration, A Lot Like A Lady,
we weren’t doing anything new. Lots of authors over the years have teamed up to write. Kim and I eventually found a rhythm and a method that worked for us, and it’s a method that is still being refined as we move into book two of the Lady series, Something Like A Lady.

Overall, however, we discovered that for us, writing together is a lot like pairs skating. Sometimes we worked together on the same parts of the story but doing different things. Sometimes we worked on different parts of the story but doing the same things.

I wondered how other writing teams handled pairs writing. Surely we’re not all the same–we must do some things differently. Fortunately, I had at my disposal, two Astraea Press authors, who sometimes write alone and sometimes write together: Leah Sanders and Rachel Van Dyken. And this is what they shared:

LEAH: Back in August, there was a call for submissions for Christmas stories. I had been working on a novel since March, but hadn’t gotten very far. I decided to put it aside for a bit and try to write something for the Christmas deadline. Rachel was hanging out at my house, probably working on The Seduction of Sebastian St. James, and I turned to her and said, “I have this idea for a Christmas story. Want to write it with me?”

The Parting Gift took us about two and a half months to complete. Since it was our first endeavor together, we didn’t split it up in a certain way. I wrote until I got stuck and then I sent it to Rachel to pick up where I left off. Sometimes I would set her up to write a kissing scene, because I don’t really write them…at all. And she would get all happy and clap her hands with joy. She would write, send it back to me. I’d read it and blush then move on to the next part of the story.

RACHEL:  Most of the time you would move to the next part of the story but smile as you read the kissing part and then blush.

LEAH:  The most frustrating part of the process with our first book together was the encroaching deadline. I can’t tell you how many times I would say to Rachel, “We’re never going to get this done!” And she would smile and pat my little head and say, “Of course, we will. All that’s left to do is…” filling in the blank. I would take a deep breath and keep writing. And indeed, we did finish it on time to submit to Astraea Press. It was accepted and subsequently released on Black Friday.

RACHEL:  I think we both panic at different points. When we write stuff together one of us panics and is like oh no it’s not going to get accepted, and when we write our own novels we do the same thing. Writing with a parnter is cool b/c you have that support system.

LEAH:  After that first book, I had more confidence in what I was doing as a writer, so I took it upon myself to answer the call for Valentine’s Day submissions with a solo endeavor (Sacred Ring, a young adult adventure story), while Rachel worked on revising a Valentine’s Day novella she had written (An Unlikely Alliance). Our normal M.O. when working on any writing project (solo or duo) is to brainstorm together, read and critique works in progress, and work as sounding boards for what we are writing. Because we do this on a regular basis, it was a natural progression into co-authoring another story.

I’m pretty sure we were sitting in the exact same places actually, when Rachel stopped working for a minute and looked up at me. “I think we should write another book together.” I agreed immediately. But when she said we were going to do Regency this time, I may or may not have choked on my gum. Regency is Rachel’s strong suit, and while I read and help her revise a lot of her stuff, I did not feel qualified to participate in writing in the genre.

In the end, Waltzing with the Wallflower took a short time to complete—only about two weeks. But for me, it started out a little rocky. I did not want to mess up the story with my ineptitude, so it took me a couple of chapters to get a good handle on it. Once I got over that initial nervousness though, the character I was writing and the story seemed to take off. Rachel was an invaluable source of encouragement and guidance to me as I wrote outside my comfort zone. Granted, I still let her write ALL the kissing scenes. 🙂

RACHEL:  To my utter delight!!! But I will admit Leah can write some killer kissing scenes, she just deletes them as a blush creeps up her cheeks. One of these days though…it will happen!

LEAH:  With this second undertaking, we split up the book by points of view. In the first book, I wrote the hero’s point of view mainly and Rachel wrote the heroine’s point of view. But we did crossover from time to time. In Wallflower we divided it strictly. I wrote the heroine’s point of view; Rachel wrote the hero’s point of view. We switched off every other chapter. It seemed to go so smoothly that way. But again, we were constantly discussing where we want the plot to go and who the characters are, so we were both able to stay true to their personalities (or perceived lack thereof).

Rachel has a thing for the “bad boy”. It’s okay to admit it, Rachel. And she can write arrogance very well. Case in point, Nicholas Devons, Earl of Renwick. It’s kind of our standing joke how much I would like to write his death. My tendencies lean more towards the shy, uncertain guy—Blaine Graham. He is a pilot, so can appear arrogant, but he is all thumbs when it comes to interacting with women.

We are currently working on a follow-up story to Waltzing with the Wallflower that takes up Anthony’s story. The prologue and the first chapter are done. If things go well, it should be done by the end of the month.

As far as I’m concerned, writing with a partner—well, writing with Rachel— is not much different than writing alone. Regardless of what I’m working on, I rely heavily on her as a trusted critiquing partner. The main difference is the speed with which I write.

RACHEL:  TRUE

Find more of Leah and Rachel on Amazon:  Leah, Rachel.  Or find them on Barnes & Noble: Leah, Rachel.  If you leave a comment by Thursday, 04/12/2012, you may win Kindle/Nook/PDF versions of both Waltzing With the Wallflower and A Lot Like A Lady!

 

 

 

Waiting on the next one!

 

 

Sweet Saturday Sample 03/03/12

From upcoming release (March 2012)  A Lot Like A Lady, co-written with Kim Bowman:

Juliet set her gaze on the iron fence they walked beside. Small sticks and twigs, casualties of a harsh winter and a spring shower a few days before, littered the ground at the base of the fence and she kicked at them.

But I am a servant, your grace, and I do not know why you haven’t discovered that, or what happened to my letter…but when you find it… She sighed.

“That was a very sad sound, Magpie.” Grey squeezed her hand against his arm.

More unsettled by his compassion than she cared to admit, Juliet pulled her hand from Grey’s arm and bent to pick up a particularly sturdy stick. She caught his frown of confusion from the corner of her eye. One day—soon—he would discover the truth of her identity and send her on her way.

But not today.

She allowed the laughter to bubble forth and took off at a run, ignoring Grey’s startled outcry. She dragged the stick along the iron bars as she ran, unperturbed by the din.

“What the—Magpie what are you doing?”

“I’m not sad, your grace,” she called over her shoulder. “And I wanted you to know it.”

“Really…” He stood with his arms crossed over his chest. “And just how is making such a racket imparting this information? We are standing in front of a cathedral, you realize.”

She whirled around and ran back to him, dragging the stick as she went. Standing in front of him, breathless as much by his nearness as from running, she studied him. Sandy brown hair fell across his eyes. His coat was unbuttoned over his white shirt, which was also unbuttoned at the neck, lending him an uncharacteristically rumpled air. Suddenly, it occurred to her that neither of them had taken care toward being appropriately attired for their impromptu outing. Grey had never looked less like the Sixth Duke of Wyndham…and she’d never found him more attractive.

“Well?” Merriment in his blue eyes belied the sharpness of his question.

Juliet laughed and slid her gaze to the imposing brick and mortar church. “Why…I’m making a joyful noise, your grace.”

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Sherry Gloag Discusses the Origination of Ideas!

What are IDEAS? And where do they come from?

 by Sherry Gloag

Without ideas authors would be stumped. And yet ideas can either swamp, or desert an author in an instant, leaving them ‘up-a-creak-without-a-paddle,’ because they are either chasing their tails trying to keep up with the plots and plans racing through their minds or sitting in front of the blank screen uselessly drumming their fingers on the key board.

If an idea is no more than “something that ‘is’ before the mind when one thinks”, where does it come from?

How does something that is nothing more than a conception, opinion, conviction, or principle, plan, scheme, or method become reality?

According to Plato “the concept of ‘idea’ is based in the realms of metaphysics, and implies knowledge is innate, so that learning is the development of ideas buried deep in the soul, often under the guidance of an ‘interrogator’.”

So are we, as authors, delving into the world of metaphysics every time we have an idea?  And why, you might ask, do so many people admit their ideas first ‘came’ to them in a dream. Even in sleep, or with certain brain areas anesthetized, other areas in the brain can perceive certain things and cause the body to respond to stimuli.

Scientist will tell you that people consciously use as little as five-to-ten per cent of their brain, so what is going on in the other ninety-five percent?

The most obvious answers are, breathing, balance, use of our eyes in assimilating information, co-ordination of our limbs, and how about that ‘gut’ reaction we all experience to certain incidents and sensations? I mean, how often have you met someone, and for no good reason you can later explain, you either take an instant dislike to them or know on some unexplainable level you could trust them with your life?  All this goes on at some subliminal level of consciousness.

But there is a more intriguing aspect to the subliminal mind at work.

People are immersed in subliminal stimuli all day long.  You only have to consider the various methods of advertising.  Some are in your face while others are so subtle you have no idea you have taken the information in, as it has buried itself deep in your sub- or subliminal consciousness.

The information is out there ready to be stimulated by the same trigger, or something similar. However it is created, these commercial companies spend billions annually wooing us on whatever level they can reach us.

So, in many cases our subliminal consciousness becomes the point from which we see, recognize and address the forces and influences at work around us, thus offering a clearer picture than is provided by our limited (five-per-cent) surface awareness.

The notion that the impulses and ideas we assume originate from within us, actually derive outside, beyond us, before entering our subliminal self, to take shape before rising to the surface as if newly created, is still a difficult concept for many people to accept.

Ask ten different authors where they get their ideas from, and you will probably get ten distinctly differing answers.

So where did the idea for the first, in my four book series The Gasquet Princes, From Now Until Forever, published by Astraea Press, come from?

Indirectly, from the Royal wedding of Prince William to his long time girlfriend Kate Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge; and I say ‘indirectly’ because it wasn’t until after the wedding I decided to create a short story involving a royal romance.

I am not a ‘plotter’ so even that decision was out of character for me.  Did that concept come from my subliminal consciousness?  I honestly don’t know.

And what about my characters in From Now Until Forever?

All I can say about them is they certainly did not come from the 5% of conscious use of my mind.  The heroine, Melanie Babcot, and her hero, Prince Liam, turned up almost fully formed and knew exactly where and what they were doing from the first word to the last one.

And the characters in my Valentine story, His Chosen Bride, the second book of the series? Well the heroine turned up without fanfare, or even explanation, in a short story written for Tuesday Tales, an online weekly blog where a group of authors offers partial of complete clips of their stories. I did not know even she was going to be the heroine in Henri’s story until the following week when he made his entrance.  They certainly emerged from my subliminal consciousness, but don’t ask me what the unconscious triggers were that created them before they made themselves known to me, for I could not tell you.

Multi-published author, Sherry Gloag is a transplanted Scot now living in the beautiful coastal countryside of Norfolk, England.  She considers the surrounding countryside as extension of her own garden, to which she escapes when she needs “thinking time” and solitude to work out the plots for her next novel.  While out walking she enjoys talking to her characters, as long as there are no other walkers close by.

Apart from writing, Sherry enjoys gardening, walking, reading and cheerfully admits her books tend to take over most of the shelf and floor space in her workroom-cum-office.  She also finds crystal craft work therapeutic.

FOR NOW UNTIL FOREVER

For Prince Liam, families meant bad news, unwanted commitments, and the loss of his personal freedom.  Love spawned white picket fences, slippers at the hearth with a wife and kids making demands, so why did those images disappear when he met Melanie Babcot?

Melanie Babcot fought hard to escape the horrors of her youth and vowed to remain single and free, so when paid to protect Prince Liam from insurgents why did her personal pledge fly out the window?

TO PURCHASE:  Astraea Press      Amazon      Amazon UK      Barnes & Noble      Nook

Please enjoy a brief excerpt:

Liam Fitzwilliam Gasquet stared in amazement at the blooming patch of red milliseconds before the pain exploded in his arm. Some trigger-happy idiot had fired in his direction. Indignation didn’t have time to take root before another bullet kicked the dust at his feet.
Not ‘trigger-happy’.
Intentional.
The rebels had found the fourth and youngest son of Jean-Phillipe Gasquet, ruler of the tiny kingdom adjacent to the Swiss border. When had they discovered his whereabouts?
With a reluctant sigh, he faced the truth of it. They hadn’t ‘found’ him at all. They’d followed him.

I want to thank Ms. Gloag for her visit, and to all of you, I’m encouraging you to give this book a try. I fell in love with this couple on the first page. This one is on my 5-star keeper shelf. ~Kay




Very Superstitious: Friday the 13th Blog Hop

tris·kai·dek·a·pho·bi·a/ triskī-dekə-fōbēə/  Extreme superstition regarding the number thirteen.

LOOK FOR THE EYE TO POKE FOR YOUR NEXT STOP!

In my book, Operation: Christmas Hearts, one of the secondary characters has a severe problem with superstition. USMC Lieutenant Pete “Rabbit” Kincaid finds his entire life run by superstition.

Ramstein Air Base, Germany, 1600 hours/T minus 18 days ’til Christmas

Never in his life had Nicholas Turner run from a fight or paid any attention to the what-if questions racing through his mind prior to a mission. Never had he outright questioned an order or wondered if his CO was crazy.

Until now.

He sat on his bunk doing a final inventory check. Transport for the first leg of his deployment to Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan was scheduled for 0400 hours, just about twelve hours away. For the first time in his life, Nick was not a hundred percent prepped and fired up to get the job done. His work in Recon had always been intelligence gathering, covert missions that helped with battle staging. When he’d transferred to MSOT, he’d expected more action responses. Never in his wildest imaginings had he expected to find a Marine Special Operations Team pulling a Paul Revere for the enemy.

The door pushed open and Nick’s roommate entered. “What kind of screwed up mission is this?” asked Rabbit. He crossed the room, gave his duffle a kick as he passed it, and sat on the edge of his bunk.

“Just another day in paradise,” muttered Nick, stowing a strap cutter in his stripped down go-pack. “Details of the op are above my pay grade. I just want to get boots on the ground and get it done.”

“Whatever. You know this is messed up.” Shaking his head, Rabbit reached into his shirt pocket, drew out a fresh roll of hard candy and peeled it open. He cursed when he found orange on top then went through his ritual of removing the offending circle and dumping it into the trash can while he avoided touching it. Without glancing at the package, he dropped the next candy into his palm and popped it into his mouth then returned the roll to his pocket. “Whoever heard of giving the enemy a heads—” Rabbit’s face went white then red. Finally, he spat the candy onto his bunk.

The orange circle bounced once then stuck to the middle of the ugly tan and green blanket. Rabbit stared in horror. With a hand that trembled, Rabbit snatched the roll from his pocket. “No way,” he whispered. “The next one should have been white. They never put two of the same color in a row.” He worked at the wrapper until it came open. The very next candy down was white. His breathing came in short bursts. “No freakin’ way.”

As Nick watched his roommate struggle with superstition, he wished he could discount it as a myth. But something twisted in his gut. Something that had never bothered him before. He lifted a hand that shook to the sterling silver St. Brendan medal he wore on a heavy chain around his neck. The need to talk to Ashley sent him to the phones to see if they were operating.

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I’m happy to announce that Rabbit has decided to tell me his story, which begins with an incident that takes place…well, today, Friday, January 13, 2012. But it doesn’t end here. Enjoy this sneak peak, and watch for Rabbit’s story in The 13 of Hearts, due out this summer.

<><><><><><><><>

People always seemed surprised to find that war wasn’t a string of constant bloody battles. More often than not it involved watching and waiting, especially these days. Lieutenant Peter “Rabbit” Kincaid usually hated the waiting. Tonight, though, he wished the waiting would go on another day.

Rabbit brought his cupped hands together and blew into them. His warm breath spilled into the chilly air around him in giant white puffs that stood out against the night of the Afghanistan desert. Who knew a desert could get so freeze-the-butt off cold? Of course it wasn’t like this was any normal desert. This place was the stuff hell was made out of. Even the Afghan people referred to the Helmand Province as the Desert of Death. The packed sand beneath his feet wouldn’t be any softer in the blistering summer months to come than it was currently, at the height of the harsh winter. The barren ground produced little in the way of nourishment for the people, but it did somehow mange to support drug habits worldwide with its bountiful harvests of white poppies.

“I need a smoke,” he muttered to himself, passing the pitiful shelter of the guard shack at Checkpoint Four with a nod to the corporal on guard duty. Instead of cigarettes, though, Rabbit pulled out a roll of hard candy and eased it open. He checked the color with a penlight, and breathed a sign of relief that the first candy was red rather than orange. Rabbit popped the disk into his mouth and sucked on it, the sour cherry-flavor stimulating his salivary glands, reminding him he’d skipped his dinner MRE. He squeezed his eyes shut and then pushed them open again as he fought to keep awake.

“There’s been reports of sniper fire outside of the perimeter after dark, sir,” reported the corporal.

“Understood, corporal,” Rabbit replied. “I won’t go far.”

“Yes, sir.”

The candy wasn’t cutting it. His nerve endings were alive with the sensation of a thousand insects crawling beneath his skin. Need for nicotine clawed at his brain like a living entity. Spitting the cherry flavored circle into the dirt, Rabbit dug out the pack containing his last few cigarettes. Then he patted his pockets, cursing out loud when he realized he’d thrown away his lighter earlier after he’d used it for the third time. He paused and glanced over his shoulder at the guard. “Got a light?”

The corporal tossed him a blue disposable lighter. Rabbit cringed at the color, not his preferred black. But he accepted it with a smile of thanks, the need to light his cigarette outweighing the need to keep his luck running with him. So he jammed his hand into his pocket and tapped the rabbit’s foot there three times while he lit up.

Friday the thirteenth loomed, a mere handful of hours away now. The day Rabbit would rather hole up in his bunk and not come out until the clock hit zero-hundred hours on Saturday the fourteenth. But that wasn’t an option this time. And coming along with this dreaded Friday in January, would be the start of one of the trickiest missions Rabbit had ever been sent on. And this time, he would be the one in charge.

He kicked at a frozen puddle until the ice broke free, sending a huge chunk flying through the air to shatter against a fifty-five gallon drum that was usually lit with warming fire. No fire would grace the barrel tonight with sniper fire in the area. Rabbit glanced at the stub of cigarette between his fingers. Even that small light could draw the wrong kind of attention. With a final puff, he dropped the stub into the dirt and ground it beneath his heel.

The waiting game was almost over, whether or not he wanted it to be.

<><><><><><><><>

While you’re waiting for The 13 of Hearts, why not put off some of today’s superstitions a little longer, and capture a bit of lingering Christmas Magic to be found in Operation: Christmas Hearts? Leave a comment for an opportunity to win your own PDF copy of Operation: Christmas Hearts (or any other of my published novels).

Kay’s Friday the 13th Reading Recommendation: Ghosts in the Graveyard by Kim Bowman – a great way to scare yourself silly on a dark Friday the 13th night! Enjoy a few words from my talented friend, fellow editor, fellow author, and writing partner:

Dread filled Charlie as the apparitions started through the open door. With the moonlight behind them casting them in shadow and the only thing remotely visible the white surrounding black eyes, they looked sinister, evil. The things were close enough now to be heard, and the whispery hissing sounds they made seemed to surround Charlie and prevented any other noises from entering his ears.

***

“Last chance. Let the boy go or I’ll shoot you,” she warned.

More scuffling. Fear that the intruders were going out the cellar door taking Jack with them propelled her forward and she stepped down with her right foot.

As she picked up her left foot, an icy hand wrapped around her ankle in a vice-like grip and jerked. She let out a blood-curling scream.

There was a gasp from both Millie and Charlie and her heart dropped to the floor.

My children! she thought as she tumbled over.

While most kids can’t wait to dress up in costumes and go out trick or treating, Charlie, Jack, and Millie Foster dread Halloween. Even the promise of receiving a slew of candy doesn’t interest them. How could it when they know the truth about All Hallows Eve. That it’s really a day to fear, a day when the dead walk the earth again. With their house sitting directly behind a graveyard, they are prime targets for the spirits to haunt.

Available: at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Astraea Press!

When you’re ready to move on, just poke the eye to get sent to the next stop…if you dare! Rumor has it, you’ll be visiting my friend, Patricia Kiyono

Follow the links as they lead you to the grand prize forum at the end.  Fill out the form provided there and you’ll be added to the drawing.  Among the prizes are books, gift cards, and a Kindle.  That’s right.  Enter to win and you’ll have a chance at the grand prize–A Kindle!

So, if you came to me first, you might want to skip over to the beginning and follow the chain.  You don’t want to miss out on the great posts the others are sharing or the terrific prize at the end!  With all the amazing authors taking part, this should be a fantastic day of hopping!Follow the links to the end for a special opportunity to win a Kindle. Or, if you have simply gotten lost in the links, click me for the starting blog!

Holiday Hopping!

Follow the link to the Sweet Saturday Sample for this week.

**Ho! Ho! Ho! Hop RULES**

Welcome to the Stuff Your Stocking Hop!

Happy Holidays! I wanted to share with you a thought about military families at this time of year. How many of you wonder what they do to celebrate the holiday season? Well, it’s pretty much the same things we do.

Hmm, they seem to have it all…

<><>Sacrifices of our military personnel and their families give us peace of mind to enjoy our hearths, homes, and families.

Go ahead and enjoy. They got us covered.

Bless our military men and women and bless the families who miss them…wherever they are.

Ashley Torrington never cared much about Christmas before. But this year she’s having a particularly blue holiday because Marine Special Operations Team member, Nick Turner got under her skin just before he was deployed to Afghanistan. With her neighbors’ precocious daughter Bella volunteering Ashley for a special project at school, and a mysterious white-haired stranger named Estelle in town buying gifts from Ashley’s shop, not to mention the odd assortment of presents Ashley’s been receiving from an anonymous source, she shouldn’t have time to worry about her guy. But when he and his team go missing the week before Christmas, she realizes only a Christmas miracle will reunite them.

Captain Nicholas Turner never backed down from challenges—on the battlefield or in his personal life. But he’d never met a challenge like Ashley, who doesn’t want to be anyone’s “girl back home.” Now he’s on the other side of the world, wanting to be anywhere but in Afghanistan for Christmas. About to embark on one of the most dangerous missions of his life, he needs Ashley to know she’s much more than the girl he’d left behind, and he does plan to come home to her. But in the meantime, a little Christmas magic would be appreciated. Little does he know, he’s about to get his wish.

Ramstein Air Base, Germany, 1900 hours T minus 18 days ’til Christmas

 Nick downloaded the pictures Ashley had sent, laughing at the one she’d taken of herself by holding the camera in front of her while she made a goofy, google-eyed face. She probably didn’t realize she had strands of silver tinsel caught in her colorful hair. He looked for a message accompanying the pictures but found none. Maybe he hadn’t heard her right, and she hadn’t told him she loved him, after all.

The contact with Ashley and pictures from home steadied Nick’s world. At least for the time being. She’d been right not to let him finish his when-I-get-back statement. That would only have mucked things up. So, for now…someday would have to be good enough. And someday he’d ask that girl to marry him.

“PG-rated” and available now: Amazon    Astraea Press     Barnes & Noble

You can win a PDF copy of any two of these G-rated novels plus a $6 coupon code for Astraea Press clean fiction publisher:

Just comment below with an idea of how to show our military personnel and families that we care and you will be entered to win your choice from the five books shown above.  Anyone purchasing Operation: Christmas Hearts, who sends me proof of purchase (a copy of your receipt) to wordsprite@gmail.com with “I bought Operation: Christmas Hearts” in the subject line, will automatically receive a PDF copy of one of the above.

Ways you can give back:

Operation: Gratitude: Check out the wish list.

Veterans of Foreign Wars – your local chapter or the main offices.

The Veterans Site – fund meals for homeless veterans.

For each comment accompanied by an email address between 12/15 and 12/19/2011, I will donate $1 to the USO Wounded Warrior Project.

Hop on to other Stuff Your Stocking blogs!

Return to Ho! Ho! Ho! Holiday Spice: Choose Your Flavor, Naughty or Nice

Sweet Taste of Heartsight

From Heartsight:

An edgy feeling started in between his shoulder blades. It moved up to the back of his head and drilled its way into his brain. It was exactly the feeling he used to get on recon missions in-­country, the feeling that told him he’d missed something and needed to take a second look. He turned around, placing his back against the base of the lighthouse, trying to conjure the picture in his mind based on long ago memories. Nothing filtered into his awareness. “God, if You’re there, this would be the time for a miracle,” he whispered.

AND, coming soon – The USMC adventure continues with Ashley’s story in  Operation: Christmas Hearts

Return to Sweet Saturday Sample

    To visit the Save a Turkey blog hop

Save a Turkey: Gobble a Book BLOG HOP

1) Have fun!

2) Invite all of your friends! Spread the word!

3) This tour starts: Monday, November 14, at midnight (Arizona time). This tour ends: Monday, November 21, at midnight (Arizona time). Winners will be drawn and posted November 22nd! ***

4) Meet and mingle with all the authors and book pages! Experience a new party destination at every stop! Participate in every blog contest and be entered for chances to win multiple prizes! Every blog visited is another opportunity to win!!

5) Participation at all blogs is recommended, but not required. Remember, the more blogs you hop, the better your chances of winning prizes. Every author and book page is waiting to meet and interact with you, so please be sure to show everyone some love!

6) Did I mention to have fun? Whoo! Hoo!! Here we goooooooooooo!

***authors have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***

My mom, Audrey, was an amazing cook. She was so amazing that we usually fought to help her in the kitchen for holidays rather than bring our own potluck contributions. Luckily for her, our family wasn’t huge and unruly. Thanksgiving would consist of turkey with sage dressing, mashed potatoes, rutabaga, sweet corn, rolls…and for dessert our choice of apple pie, pumpkin pie, or individual mincemeat pies. My mom’s pie crust pastry was to die for, and even though she tried to teach the rest of us how to make it, alas, none of us in the family have quite mastered her secret…the only thing I can figure is she made the pies with magic, or perhaps a little bit of herself. Sadly, my mom passed on a few years back, and I miss her dearly, but one of the things I’m always the most thankful for is the time I had with my mother. She was more than my mom. She was my best friend, confidante, my partner in crime, my biggest emotional supporter, “Grandma” to my kids.

Audrey Springsteen’s Secret Thanksgiving Recipe: Apple, Sausage, and Sage Turkey Dressing

Prep Time: 20 min            Cook Time: Same as turkey cooking time

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces of stale bread, finely shredded
  • 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the pan and topping
  • 1 pound fresh sage sausage, casing removed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cooking apples (e.g., McIntosh, Fuji, Jonathan – different apples lend a different taste so your choice should reflect whether you want a more tart or sweet flavor), peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 to 2 ribs celery with leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Directions:  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Put the bread in a large bowl and set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and break up as it’s heating. Cook until it loses most of its pink color, but not so much that it’s dry, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and pan drippings to the shredded bread. Melt the remaining butter in the pan. Add the onion, apple, celery, and salt. Cook until the vegetables get soft, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and parsley and bring to a boil. Pour the vegetable mixture over the bread and toss until evenly moistened. Mix in the eggs. Season to taste and lightly salt the inside of the turkey. Then, loosely pack the dressing into the turkey and cook with the bird.

Turkey cooking tip: For a moister turkey, flip it over and cook with the breast side down until the last hour. The back has more fat in it and cooking with the back on top allows gravity to draw the moisture through the rest of the turkey meat. Flip it over for the last hour to brown the breast for a nice golden-brown look.

Do you have a secret family Thanksgiving recipe that you look forward to eating around this time every year? If so, what is it? The name of the food, not the recipe – no need to spill family secrets. I’m giving away the commenter’s choice of one of these books in PDF format just for stopping by and leaving a comment and a valid email.

Happy Bird Day!!

  1. Matrimonial Mayhem Anthology (contemporary romance)
  2. Heartsight by Kay Springsteen (contemporary romance)
  3. Lifeline Echoes by Kay Springsteen (contemporary romance)
  4. Elusive Echoes by Kay Springsteen (contemporary romance)
  5. The Picture by Stephanie Taylor (contemporary romance)
  6. Lucky for Her by Stephanie Taylor (contemporary romance)
  7. Double Crossing by Meg Mims (historical fiction)
  8. The Last Wizard of Yden by S.G. Rogers (fantasy)
  9. Wayward Soul by Kim Bowman (paranormal)
  10. Ghosts in the Graveyard by Kim Bowman (YA/Halloween paranormal) upon release
  11. Emily Dahil CID Part I by Lindsay Downs (YA, mystery)
  12. Trophies by J. Gunnar Grey (mystery)
  13. Blackbird Flies by Chynna Laird (YA)
  14. Legend of the Oceana Dragon by J.F. Jenkins (paranormal)
  15. Vala: Agendas by J.F. Jenkins (paranormal)
  16. Scent of a Witch by Bri Clark (Halloween paranormal)
  17. Glazier by Bri Clark (paranormal)
  18. Shawnee’s Creek by Stephy Smith (contemporary romance)
  19. Rescued From the River by Stephy Smith (historical romance)
  20. Lizzie and the Rebel by Stephy Smith (historical romance)

The blurbs for all of the above titles can be found on Amazon.com.

Return to Save a Turkey: Gobble a Book!

My latest release, set in Virginia: Heartsent by Kay Springsteen

With her strict no-dating-within-the-department rule, Firefighter Lina Standish has a nickname in the Salem Hills Fire Department: Lina “Standoffish”. But Firefighter Kevin Daly has had his eye on Standoffish ever since a locker room incident nearly a year earlier, and now he plans to break all her rules. With the help of his niece and a hot-air balloon, he gets Lina’s attention and she agrees to “hang out” with Kevin as friends off duty, to take it slow and see where things go between them. Then Lina’s life is turned upside down by a surprise miracle who doesn’t even have a name. Kevin’s ready to step up, but is Lina?

This and all my other titles available at:

Astraea Press        Amazon        Barnes & Noble

Spook-a-Licious: Where the Boo-ks Devour YOU! (blog hop)

THE RULES:
1) HAVE FUN!!!
2) INVITE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS!!! SPREAD THE WORD!!!
3) THIS TOUR STARTS: Monday, October 17, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, October 24, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
Winners will be drawn and posted October 25th! ***
4) MEET AND MINGLE WITH ALL THE AUTHORS & BOOK PAGES! EXPERIENCE A NEW DESTINATION AT EVERY STOP! PARTICIPATE IN EVERY BLOG CONTEST AND BE ENTERED FOR CHANCES TO WIN MULTIPLE PRIZES! EVERY BLOG VISITED IS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO WIN!!
5) PARTICIPATION AT ALL BLOGS IS RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. REMEMBER, THE MORE BLOGS YOU HOP, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING PRIZES. EVERY AUTHOR & BOOK PAGE IS WAITING TO MEET AND INTERACT WITH YOU, SO PLEASE BE SURE TO SHOW THEM SOME LOVE!
6) DID I MENTION TO HAVE FUN? WHOO! HOO!! HERE WE GOOOOOOOOOOOO!***Authors & Book Pages have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules**

With autumn in full swing, who doesn’t think about the fun traditions that have developed over the years? Hayrides to apple orchards and pumpkin patches, carving jack-o-lanterns, haunted houses, trick-or-treating, and the inevitable parties, complete with costumes.

Do you have a favorite Halloween custom? I used to enjoy the hayrides with my kids, apple picking for making apple pies, and the choosing of pumpkins, carving them and roasting the seeds. I love the smell of roasting pumpkin seeds.

So, who’s bobbed for apples before? Want to win a prize? All you have to do is tell me how many apples (0-15) the random number generator will say you snagged from my barrel. Anyone who matches the number the generator chooses gets their choice of one of the following in PDF version:

  1. Matrimonial Mayhem Anthology (contemporary romance)
  2. Heartsight by Kay Springsteen (contemporary romance)
  3. Lifeline Echoes by Kay Springsteen (contemporary romance)
  4. Elusive Echoes by Kay Springsteen (contemporary romance)
  5. The Picture by Stephanie Taylor (contemporary romance)
  6. Lucky for Her by Stephanie Taylor (contemporary romance)
  7. Double Crossing by Meg Mims (historical fiction)
  8. The Last Wizard of Yden by S.G. Rogers (fantasy)
  9. Wayward Soul by Kim Bowman (paranormal)
  10. Ghosts in the Graveyard by Kim Bowman (YA/Halloween paranormal) upon release
  11. Emily Dahil CID Part I by Lindsay Downs (YA, mystery)
  12. Trophies by J. Gunnar Grey (mystery)
  13. Blackbird Flies by Chynna Laird (YA)
  14. Legend of the Oceana Dragon by J.F. Jenkins (paranormal)
  15. Vala: Agendas by J.F. Jenkins (paranormal)
  16. Scent of a Witch by Bri Clark (Halloween paranormal)
  17. Glazier by Bri Clark (paranormal)
  18. Shawnee’s Creek by Stephy Smith (contemporary romance)
  19. Rescued From the River by Stephy Smith (historical romance)
  20. Lizzie and the Rebel by Stephy Smith (historical romance)

The blurbs for all of the above titles can be found on Amazon.com.

I’m also actively seeking reviewers for my books. If you’re interested in reviewing my work, please let me know.

Return to Spook-a-Licious!

My latest release, set in Virginia: Heartsent by Kay Springsteen

With her strict no-dating-within-the-department rule, Firefighter Lina Standish has a nickname in the Salem Hills Fire Department: Lina “Standoffish”. But Firefighter Kevin Daly has had his eye on Standoffish ever since a locker room incident nearly a year earlier, and now he plans to break all her rules. With the help of his niece and a hot-air balloon, he gets Lina’s attention and she agrees to “hang out” with Kevin as friends off duty, to take it slow and see where things go between them. Then Lina’s life is turned upside down by a surprise miracle who doesn’t even have a name. Kevin’s ready to step up, but is Lina?

Astraea Press        Amazon        Barnes & Noble