Monday, March 31, 2014

Class Field Trip to Junie B. Jones

A few weeks ago my 8 y/o son's teacher asked if I could chaperone the school field trip. I've never had the chance to chaperone any of his previous field trips because I was either in the hospital giving birth or at home with a baby and no available babysitter. This year, I happened to find a babysitter for my toddler, so I had no problem with telling his teacher I would be happy to chaperone.

We went to see a play at a theater in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was Junie B. Jones. I've never read the books, but I know a lot about them from working at Waldenbooks for so many years. I've sold countless Barbara Park books to customers in my area.

As popular as the books are with children, I wondered how much they would enjoy watching a play. In my opinion, these kids might be bored by something like this. I recall my 10th grade English class field trip to see Shakespeare's MacBeth. As much as I enjoyed Shakespeare, the play put me to sleep. Yes, I fell asleep, along with at least two or three other kids sitting in my row. And I was a teenager then, actually interested in literature and story-telling in all forms.
My concerns were unfounded. The actors were silly and fun and got great laughs from the audience. The songs were catchy and the kids clapped along. They genuinely seemed to enjoy the play. Even the boys, who I thought might fidget in their seats from boredom. My son said this was the best field trip ever! Not just because of the play (he was singing the songs at home that evening), but because I went with him. He said he was so happy I was there. I'm just pleased he's still at an age where he wants to be seen with me! But, it was a sweet memory that I'm so glad to give him.

I hope I can chaperone another field trip, for each of my kids, but I'll tell you one thing...I'm bringing tylenol for the bus ride! That I didn't enjoy so much. First, I got a little motion-sick from the swaying of the bus on the highway (the driver drove a little too fast in my opinion!) and the kids were loud. Really loud! It's no wonder my son doesn't seem to hear me at home. I'm wondering if there's some sort of hearing damage from riding on the bus!

Other than that, the trip was enjoyable and the kids in his class were well-behaved and very sweet. Although, it worries me that two of the girls in his class told me when he wasn't looking that they thought my son was cute.

Oh, boy.

Does that start already? 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Spotlight: Pippa's Rescue by JJ Keller

 Book Spotlight 
Chance to Win 
a $10.00 Gift Certificate for The Wild Rose Press

Skogul, Valkyrie leader of the first squad in Valhalla, is supposed to offer immortality to former Marine Basil Vanguard. Too bad watching science fiction on the big screen is more fun. But if her assignment slips through the cracks, will Odin himself take a hand?

Basil wants justice. Determined to find the man who turned on his own unit and caused the deaths of many brave men, Basil tracks him to a Horse Rescue Ranch. But the ranch owner is the traitor's sister, and she's not talking. Caught off guard by her beauty--not to mention the bizarre arrival of a leather-clad Valkyrie--Basil has a hard time keeping his mind on his mission.

Animal rights activist Pippa Wilson must find her brother before the bank forecloses on their rescue ranch. When a gorgeous Marine arrives looking for him too, she tries to resist the attraction--but will her heart listen?

“Have you ridden a horse before?” She doubted he had, but curiosity apparently ruled today.

His eyebrows twitched. “Once.”

“How long ago?” She hoped she wouldn’t have to drag the whole fear-of-horses story from him.

“When I was six.” His glance shot to the side.

Her shoulders slumped. She’d heard it all too often, and his story probably wouldn’t differ from the others. “At a birthday party where a dozen kids were around?”

“On a Merry-Go-Round,” he mumbled.

Laughter bubbled, shaking her chest. She stifled the jollies. In order to get him to trust horses, enough to mount one, she’d need to remain calm. “Okay, so you’ve never ridden a real horse?”

He shook his head. “Don’t need too. I rode a camel. Can’t say I cared for it.”

“Different beasts. How about a short ride?” She grabbed his arm and guided him to the entrance. Deep South and the man who made her rarely used parts tingle followed. “See that pond about two miles away?”

He stared into the distance. “Kind of.”

“If you ride that sweet docile filly tied to the fence over there, I’ll give you a favor.”

His expression brightened. “My pick on the favor?”

She couldn’t imagine what he’d want, except— “You won’t have to clean stable two for the rest of the week.”

Basil turned into her, swiped at a loose strand of her hair, taking the tickling away. “Although tempting, no. I want a kiss. Not like a child kisses her mum. A deep, long lasting one. A lip-lock with tongue that will guarantee satisfaction.”

Buy at The Wild Rose Press

About the Author:

JJ Keller is an author of suspense, paranormal, and urban fantasy novels. She enjoys reading and crafting. Traveling and meandering in her herb garden are her favorite pastimes. She lives with her husband, sons, and dog, on a small oasis in the Indiana countryside.

For more information about JJ Keller visit her website

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Spotlight: Alpha Mine by Brenda Sparks

Book Spotlight 
Chance to Win a $10.00 Gift Certificate

In the shadows of the night, there exists a band of warriors--a group of vampires, known as the Alpha Council.  Their formidable leader, Stephan von Haas, has vowed to protect not only his kind but the humans existing alongside them. His duty comes before all else--until a sassy blonde saunters into his life.

When a sensual, dark-haired stranger walks into Katrina Spencer's life, he stirs her deepest desires and sweeps her into a world beyond her wildest dreams. But when Katrina is targeted by Stephan's enemies, reality shifts into something violent and deadly, as she is thrust into a realm where vampires stalk the shadows and vengeance is coming for her.

Together they will confront an extraordinary destiny of peril, passion, and dark pleasures. But when one horrid mistake brings retribution, their love may pay the price.

“So tell me, young one, is Kat short for something or did your parents just have a fascination with felines?”

“It’s short for Katrina. But everyone calls me Kat.”

She began to gather the playing cards from the table, but Stephan stilled her shaking hands by covering them with his own. Something akin to an electric current passed between them. Katrina gazed at Stephan, drinking him in, dangerous, magnificent, and so very beautiful.

“Where are my manners?” she asked, her voice quivering. “Would you like a drink?”

“You read my mind,” he replied as he rose, pulling her toward him. “I am a little parched, actually.”

Their eyes locked and Kat once again fell into his dark gaze. Her mind detached, as if she watched herself from above.

The feel of his mouth registered on her lips, while the smell of sandalwood engulfed her. His lips feathered kisses down her jaw, coming to a rest where her shoulder met her throat. She swooned. His arms closed around her like a set of steel bands, pulling her up against his firm body. Kat moaned when his tongue flicked out to taste her sensitive skin. He inhaled deeply against her neck causing goose bumps to pimple her flesh.

“Honeysuckle,” he murmured, his lips brushing against her flesh. His fangs lengthened, scraping the skin where her pulse beat, sending her heart racing. He cupped her bottom in one hand and tightened his arm around her waist. Her body stiffened only a little as he pulled her tighter against him, lifting her off her feet.

Buy at The Wild Rose Press

About the Author:

Born in Virginia, Brenda Sparks now resides in the Sunshine State with her incredibly supportive husband, and their beloved son. Balancing her professional commitment to the local school district with her writing is challenging at times, but writing suspenseful paranormal romances is a passion that won’t be denied. Her idea of a perfect day is one spent in front of a computer with a hot cup of coffee, her fingers flying over the keys to send her characters off on their latest adventure. Brenda loves to connect with readers. Please visit her at

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

The First Romance Novel I Ever Read - Spring Fling Blog Hop

Welcome to the Spring Fling Blog Hop happening March 20-23. For a full list of participants, visit Romance Blog Hops. There are over 100 blogs, so that means lots of great prizes at each stop so be sure to check them out!

Today, I've been thinking a lot about how I ended up as a romance author, meaning the books that influenced and inspired me to write. But more than that, these books inspired me to become a READER first. So, I've dug through my boxes of books that contain all of my keepers. Oh, I wish I had a room filled with shelves to display all these wonderful gems! I love to pull these books out and reminisce. It's like visiting old friends. 

The first romance novel I ever read was The Romance of the Rose by Claire Delacroix. I bought it at the Hills Department store that was about a ten minute walk from my house. I can't remember exactly how old I was, somewhere between 12-15. It was after my mom died, which is one of the reasons I picked up this book. 

My mother was an avid romance reader and I missed her so much. The only think I could thing of to be closer to her was to read a romance novel. It was something I'd seen her do for as long as I could remember. I used to tease her about the covers of the half-naked men and women (this was the '80s). She never hid the covers nor did she make any excuses for reading them. They were enjoyable stories. So enjoyable, she had a whole room devoted to her books. Yes, my mother had a library in our small four bedroom house. My father built the bookshelves and she filled them completely! 

So, I wanted to share something with her since I missed her so much, but I never expected to become like her with my reading! I became addicted! Every week I'd check the store's shelves for more. But, it wasn't fast enough for me, so I subscribed to Harlequin Historicals to have the books delivered directly to my house. What a joy that was to receive that box of books each month! And so began my life as a romance reader. I love romance novels so much that now I write them! 

And now, I can share my books with readers! If you're interested, you can find out more about my books here.

I'm offering a 
$10.00 Amazon Gift Certificate. 

Just comment on this blog post to be eligible. 
The winner will be picked at random. 

Answer this: 
What was the first romance novel you ever read? 

Thanks to Jane Wakely for setting up this blog hop! And special thanks goes out to Blushing Books and authors Sue Lyndon, Patty Devlin and Cara Bristol for their contributions to the Grand Prizes!! :)

Enter the Rafflecopter 
to participate for one of the 

1 Kindle Fire (Donated by Blushing Books)
1 $75 Amazon (or B&N) Gift Card
1 $25 Starbucks Gift Card (Donated by Sue)
1 $25 Blushing Books Gift Card (Donated by Patty)
1 $25 Loose Id Gift Card (Donated by Cara)

And please be sure to check the next blog on this hop!

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Spotlight: At His Command by Felicia Forella

Friday's Book Spotlight
Chance to Win a $10.00 Gift Certificate

With a long and bitter divorce behind her, Julia Stone is barely back on her feet when she's suddenly swept off them again by a hot young executive with a healthy appetite for sexual dominance. But after years of emotional submission to a controlling ex, will she choose to submit?

Workaholic Dalton Fairchild has slaved night and day to build his own computer technology company. All work and no play makes Dalton a boring boy. However, a chance encounter with Julia challenges the dom in him, and he must convince her that, though she's At His Command, submission is the ultimate power.

This title contains: explicit language, older woman/younger man theme, anal sex, and BDSM.


He was so damn handsome, the candlelight softening the lines of his face, the reflection flickering in his eyes. When he looked at her, like he did now, she felt ten years younger and beautiful.

He threaded his fingers through her hair, cupping the back of her head. He tugged, bringing her face closer to his. “I’m so glad to hear that.” His hot breath feathered her mouth. “I have high hopes for later.”

A puff of warm air caressed her cheek. She didn’t know if she closed the distance between them or if he leaned closer. All that mattered was his lips claiming hers with a soft kiss. Her breath caught in her throat on a gasp of pleasure that allowed him to stroke his tongue inside her mouth, tantalizing her with the promise of more.

Clutching at his lapels, she tugged, wanting him closer. Despite her best efforts, he kept the contact light and full of promise. His firm lips molded her mouth to fit his, and his tongue coaxed hers to play. She yielded herself to his masterful command and relished his skill. Even though he only touched her lips and the back of her skull, her entire body tingled.

Every inch of her skin cried out for a piece of the action. Her breasts filled the cups of her built-in bra, weighed down with the need to feel his hands. Her nipples puckered, painful with the need to be stroked. Her pussy clutched and spasmed, empty and aching. She wanted nothing more than to climb onto his lap and rub against him, good girl rules be damned.

A discreet cough separated them, the black and white attired waiter backing out of the room having served their first course. The tang of balsamic vinegar rose from the plate of mixed greens. She picked at the salad, her mind occupied with thoughts of the kiss and what he had planned for later.


Looking up, she met his gaze, the lust in his eyes unmistakable, even from across the table. “Yes?”

“You need to understand that I have more in mind for us this evening than just dinner.” The roughness in his voice scraped her nerves the way she wanted him to suck her nipples. “I want more of you than the simple taste of you. I want to fuck you.”

Buy at The Wild Rose Press

About the Author:
Felicia Forella first began writing in grade school with the help of a friend. Who dragged who along is still up for debate. She became hooked on romance in high school when her mother bought her a (now autographed) copy of “Ashes in the Wind” by Kathleen Woodiwiss. (See what you started, Mom!) A long hiatus from writing began in college when she realized studying took up a great deal of time and partying took up the rest. She began writing seriously again in the late 90’s and her New Year’s resolution for the new Millennium was to become a published author. She is proud to say this is one New Year’s resolution she actually accomplished. Felicia is a former Air Force brat, which might explain her obsession with men in uniform, who lived all over the South and in Spain. She now lives in PA with her hero husband and her hero-in-training college-age son, who is in Air Force ROTC. Although, given her choice, they would be living somewhere down south as close to the ocean as humanly possible. They have a middle-aged beagle/border collie mix affectionately known as the Supermodel beagle, who is the only female in the house who responds to her husband’s every beck and call.

Find Felicia on Facebook or her website.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Book Spotlight: Stranger at the Hell Gate by Ash Krafton

The Wild Rose Press is having a giveaway! 
Enter the Rafflecopter below 
for a chance to win a 
$10.00 gift certificate! 

Here's my personal recommendation and this week's Book Spotlight:

Jagger Sintallon, a half-demon warrior, has dedicated his existence to fighting demons who enter the world through Hell gates. A loner of conflicting ideals, he offers shelter to a troubled woman but knows he is too rough, too dangerous, and too cocky for her delicate nature.

Dedicated to Divine Will, Sonya Camael, a Seraph, is determined to discover why she is drawn to Jagger's doorstep and the reason behind her mission. She needs the demon's help but fears he may get himself killed before she can figure it out and the world slips into Hell's dominion.

Sonya faces grave danger with evil stalking her every move, and Jagger shouldn't care but realizes he cares more than he'd likely admit. Sonya knows Jagger cannot win this war alone, but will her divine intervention mean his imminent end? Or will just the right combination of Heaven and Hell set the world right once again?

Rating: Sweet
Page Count: 80
Word Count: 19714
978-1-61217-846-2 Digital

Jagger hung his head, looking very much out of patience. With an exasperated huff, he turned in place, his boots clomping. Cocky stance, head back, and eyes daring her to say something. But these things she only partially registered because when he turned to face her, his entire upper body—chest, face, arms—glowed with the marks of past insult and injury. And that sickle shape burned into the skin over his heart—

She whimpered, heart-sick to see him in this way. Her mother's blood cried out at the thought of what agony he must have endured to stand here now, so marred and wounded. Covering her eyes, she dispelled the Seraph sight and fought the tears.

"Hey." He was in front of her within moments, pulling her hands down and leaning to peer at her downturned face. "Hey, what's wrong?"

"You. You've been through so much. Just look at you."

"I'd rather not. I'm not a pretty guy."

"Jagger. These scars. You have countless hurts. I can't see a part of you that isn't injured." She raised her eyes, tears brimming on her lower lashes. "Let me help you."

"What, you're a plastic surgeon?"

She swallowed and regained part of her composure. "Better."

He looked alarmed and rocked back on his heels. "You don't mean—"

"Yes, I do." She held onto his hands and kept him from backing away. This felt right, this decision.

His eyes shifted. "Ah, I don't think it's a good idea, doll. Our kinds don't mix well."

To Purchase:
The Wild Rose Press

About the Author:
Ash Krafton is a writer of all things spec fic. She believes spectacular endings make the best beginnings... Why not? One billion black holes can't be wrong. Her first novel BLEEDING HEARTS: Book One of the Demimonde is available through Pink Narcissus Press ( The manuscript earned finalist distinction in several Romance Writers of America 2011 competitions and has earned several other awards. The follow-up BLOOD RUSH (Demimonde #2) was published in 2013 and the third installment WOLF'S BANE (Demimonde #3) is expected mid-2014. Her novelette STRANGER AT THE HELL GATE is her first title with the Black Rose line of The Wild Rose Press. In addition to novel-length fiction, Ash enjoys writing poetry and short fiction, some of which earned awards and distinction in several national competitions. One of her poems was selected as a Pushcart prize nominee. She's a member of Pennwriters, RWA, Pikes Peak Writers, SFPA, and the Maryland Writers Association. She also contributes to Query Tracker's blog at Ash resides with her family in a rural town in the heart of the Pennsylvania anthracite coal region. She'll never leave, either, because coal is just another example of a spectacular ending waiting for a brilliant beginning. (It's kinda fitting.) And because, like a black hole, once you're in... can never get out.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Time for Book Hooks with The Witch's Thief #MFRWhooks

MFRW Authors Blog

This is the first time I'm joining Marketing For Romance Writers weekly Book Hooks. Every Wednesday participating writers post 6-8 lines from a current WIP or published book so readers can get a sample to whet their appetites. I'm looking forward to hopping around the other blogs to see what everyone posted!

In the meantime, here's a sample of my newest release. This is from The Witch's Thief, my new paranormal Regency-set romance. Basil Merriweather has returned home to England and Julia Grey is discovered while searching for a hidden spell book.

“Miss Grey,” he said with a nonchalant nod in her direction. As if this was an everyday occurrence that he should meet her in the library after midnight. She stood in one quick motion, bumping the desk with her knee and nearly knocked the candle from its perch. She lunged to grasp it, to keep it from falling. In doing so, it sputtered and died. A tiny wisp of smoke curled into the air. Through it, Basil watched her.

"Care to explain?"

"Certainly not."


To save her sister’s life, Julia Grey seeks a spell hidden somewhere within Merriweather Manor. Her position as a lady's companion affords her the freedom to search the house. But time is running out. The necromancer she's bargained with is growing impatient. And an unexpected appearance of a man from her past makes matters worse in an already complicated situation.

Basil Merriweather returns to England after ten years abroad to discover his childhood sweetheart living in his home. But, he's no longer the carefree man of his youth and she's hiding something--deadly secrets Basil vows to uncover even as he hides a dark secret of his own.

While neither Basil nor Julia will trust in the other, their hearts speak a truer language.  In a grand attempt to save Julia's sister and Basil's life, the two must finally confess sinister truths. Will their admissions help or hinder any future they may have together? Or will the necromancer destroy all in a vile attempt at revenge.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Writers Don't Take Sick Days

I write 1000 words a day. This is my daily writing goal. Usually, it takes me an hour in the morning. So, if for some reason I don't get back to my writing for the rest of the day, I feel satisfied that I've accomplished something.

And then I got the flu.

It. Was. Awful.

My entire body ached. I could barely sit on the sofa. Not to mention the dizziness, the nausea, and all the other unpleasantness that the flu brings. I couldn't even concentrate on watching mind-numbing television to ease my woes, so my writing was completely dropped from my daily plans. All my energy went into sleeping and caring for my 2 children and my husband who were each afflicted with the same bug. At the same time. Yeah, I told you it was awful! My only saving grace was my oldest son. By some miracle (or extremely strong and efficient immune system), he didn't get sick. So while he was home, he helped tremendously with taking care of us.

It was a 24-hour flu, but we were down for the count for about 3 days. Later, everybody sprang back to health. For the next 4 days all was well. I went back to my normal routine of writing as if I had never stopped. Then one morning I woke up with a sore throat. Later, came the cough. Soon a similar cough was heard from each of my children and my husband. Even my son with the miraculous immune system couldn’t fight this one!

It was a virus. A nasty one. One that clung to your lungs and didn't let go. For weeks! My 6 year-old son barely got any sleep for days and days because he was up all night coughing. And it was a horrible sounding cough, too. Then there was my husband. He ended up with pneumonia. I didn’t sleep much, at all.   

After several trips to the doctor, a few variations of medication, now everyone is on the mend. 
So ends February and our entire month of being sick.

And, I'm sad to say, I barely got any writing in. At first, I was angry with myself over letting those days pass without a word count. I didn't like taking so many days off. Of course, my family comes first and during those many nights of staying up with sick kids, I was not in any frame of mind to string together a single cohesive sentence.

So I took a break.

Only from writing. That doesn't mean I stopped creating stories altogether. I did a lot of brainstorming. In fact, I'm constantly thinking about my stories, so I managed to work out some details to a few of my WIP's while taking a break from the actual writing process. I also took advantage of this time to get in some reading. For a writer, reading is essential. I read several interesting books on writing craft, marketing and history. I continued reading A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin. I caught up on reading some blogs, as well as some online research for historical details for one of my stories. 

And, writers never go without research. Life is research. The next time I have a scene that involves a character who has the flu or maybe a nasty virus that just won't let go, and has to care for her 3 children and husband at the same time…well, I've experienced that!

I'll be able to describe that scene perfectly.

So really, a writer never takes a day off. Even sick days. We’re always working in one way or another.    

I'm not the only one. Here's a helpful blog post I've read recently: