Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Okay, here it is, the first release from Absolute XPress:

ISBN: 10: 894817-04-4
ISBN: 13: 978--1-894817-04-2
Publisher/Buy: Absolute XPress
Genre: Action/adventure thriller
Pages: 66 - Price: $3.95
Cover by: Justyn Perry

Randall Stone is the stuff of heroes, a mercenary given a discharge from the army he has served with his life. But the government is still interested in using the skills they've taught Major Rand Stone, and he continues to work with his hand-picked team. Into his shadowy world a light has come, and in her love, Stone discovers unhoped for joy, and, perhaps, unbearable sorrow?

Read an excerpt HERE

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The comments for the ELF dances - 2008


At 5:15 PM, Lisa J said...

What style and panache......

At 7:27 PM, Peggy_Tupaz said...

Hi Denyse, I loved it, It really made me giggle and smile. It was so hilarious.
Thank you, it cheered me up.

Saluti e baci xx

At 8:29 PM, Shiela said...

That was just what I needed today, Denyse. Thanks a bunch!

Oh, and the two of your really have some awesome moves. LOL

At 10:52 AM, Annette said...

Nice footwork! Dancing with the Stars might be in your near future!

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous said...

Oh dear...you two are a little scary you know.......LOL!!!!Lisa xx

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous said...

Very jazzy Denyse. Hilarious but enjoyable as well.Love Peggy


At 3:57 PM, Lisa J said...

Scary thing is, I can actualy see you two doing this.......LOL!!!Lisa xx

At 4:28 PM, Judith Leger said...

Too funny! Neat too!

At 8:28 PM, Annette said...

yep..dancing with the stars is definitely next!


At 7:21 PM, Anonymous said...

Can't beat this. So good and entertaining to watch. Cheers, Peggy

At 3:54 PM, Shiela Stewart said...

This one is my favorite only because I am an avid Saturday Night Fan and I LOVE the Bee Gees. LOL


At 2:32 PM, Anonymous said...

Watch what you're doing with that pitch fork pet - you do someone a mischief with that........LOL!!!!

At 7:28 PM, Anonymous said...

So acrobatic with a pitch fork as well. WOW!It was enjoyable, nevertheless. Good one Denyse!Love Peggy

Monday, December 08, 2008

New Review!!

Review by Kersyn
Rating: 5 Stars

For being a short read may I just say WOW! The amount of passion and description in this story rocked my world. I especially enjoyed the visualization that Denyse writes with. The passion for her work as well as the passion between her characters is vibrantly vivid....

To read more, visit Bitten By Books

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Author’s Bio:

D. Barkley Briggs has worked in radio, marketing and new product development. He also pastored for 11 years. After losing his wife of 16 years, Briggs decided an epic fantasy might inspire his four boys to live courageously through their loss. The Book of Names is the first in a series of adventures set in the Hidden Lands of Karac Tor. Briggs has since remarried and now has eight children. Learn more at http://www.hiddenlands.net/

Link to book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Names-D-Barkley-Briggs/dp/160006227X

Short synopsis:

It was supposed to be a routine Thanksgiving break. But when Hadyn and Ewan Barlow discover an ancient Viking runestone buried on their family farm, they unwittingly open a magical portal to another world. Fleeing grief and broken dreams over the loss of their mother, the two brothers find themselves hailed as Champions in the Kingdom of Karac Tor. But all is not well. Nemesia the witch is releasing shadows over the whole land. Names are being stolen from The Book of Names, the most sacred relic of the kingdom. Before long, the Barlows realize they must find the courage to fight, or they will never find their way home. There’s just one problem: even if they win, will anyone know how to send them back?

Book excerpt here:

(By now, the chilling truth has sunk in: Hadyn and Ewan are in a strange, new world. It’s not a dream. As they journey toward the capital city of Stratamore, hoping to find someone who can send them back home to Missouri, they are attacked by an angry mob of birds and five drone-like teenagers who have been following them for unknown reasons. Accompanied by Sorge the Gray Monk, Asandra the mirling, and a grumpy, stouthearted gnome named Flogg, the brothers take temporary shelter in a small structure called The Stone House.)

Sorge glanced out the peephole cut into the wall, “The birds that attacked us are a Flight of Crows. Sorcery makes the birds fly swifter, with focus and greater rage. They even seem to multiply. It’s Nemesia’s doing, I’m sure. Ewan, lock the door. Everyone else up against the east wall. Stay flat and still.”

Scooting on all fours, Ewan found the latch and slid the bolt. They all pressed against the stone wall, though Flogg seemed more irritated than afraid. Outside, amidst scattered, low voices, a sound drew near. Feet crunching on pebbles.

Memory jarred Ewan. “Sorge, the hole you made!” he hissed.

Quickly, Sorge smeared the rock face with his fingers. The surface sealed under his touch as if made of paste. At the wall, he drew himself to his full height, staff in hand. Pacing feet now ringed the Stone House. Only the four walls stood between the hunters and the hunted.

The five outside circled the Stone House with slow, deliberate movements—once in full, then twice. The light sound of flapping wings returned. Claws scratched against the thatched roof. Squawking. On the third circuit, something like fingernails began scraping the rock wall. Inside, the air strangely thickened, so that Ewan found it hard to breathe. A strange heaviness began oozing under his threshold of conscious thought, like smoke slipping under a door, making it difficult to think clearly. He fought it, trying to focus on a spot on the far wall. Beside him, Haydn leaned hard against the stone, as if using it to hold himself up. Matted blood was stuck in his brother’s hair, smeared on his face. His ragged breath strangely comforted Ewan, to know he felt it, too. They were both fighting the same thing.

Though Sorge had counted five, only one voice arose from the artificial calm. It was creepy and directionless, drifting like a leaf in the wind, leeching through the stone, shiftless and flat.

“Who travels...so far?” the voice said. It was male, not old. He sounded neither curious nor fearful, stringing words together like pearls on an open loop before letting them tumble thoughtlessly to the ground, unclaimed. Other voices rose faintly in response, moaning like wind on a barren plain. “Who journeys...through...the skies to the home...of despair?”

More soft strides on padded feet. More scraping. More bird noises. Strangely, none of them even attempted to peer through the high windows. Perhaps they didn’t care. Perhaps this was all some bad dream, or a very bad joke.

When a hard fist suddenly rattled the wood planks, Ewan jumped. So much for that theory. Sorge reached out to his left and right, placing a steady hand on the shoulders of both boys. He put a finger to his lips to focus their thoughts. Shhh...

Another thump, this time harder, as if one of the people outside had taken a heavy stone from the pond, and was trying to smash the door apart.

“Who crosses the hidden...barrier...”

The door rattled again, a bone-jarring sound. Thwack!

“...to trouble holy men?”

Thwack! By now, the birds had gone wild, dancing and squawking, flapping and pecking.

“Plans come to nothing. Yours...ours. Nothing. The world will...come to nothing. Hide and prove us true. Emerge and join us. Fight and be consumed. We are...the Name—”

Thwack! Another blow and the door would surely shatter. Ewan found himself straining to concentrate. The what? What had he called them? The last word had drowned in the clatter, but Ewan thought he heard it: the Nameless. The boy’s voice had an gooey, sticky quality. The words formed questions, yet at the same time seemed passionless to any answer that might be given. Ewan’s head spun. The voice in his head felt foreign on the one hand, yet it entered his brain with a sense of relief, leaving a residue of thought he could not wipe away. He shook his head angrily, saw Hadyn making a similar gesture. Ewan wanted to scream, to force it out of his head. The same young man kept droning on:

“Do not think proudly, outlanders. You have come for no great purpose. Let me show you the beginning...of the way of peace: Nothing matters.”

The other voices joined in, creating a soft, uneven chant: “Nothing. Matters. Nothing.”

It seemed to crescendo. Ewan braced for the door to splinter. Wings flapped wildly. Sorge’s knuckles were white on his staff. Asandra’s face glistened in the half light.

“Nothing matters...”

Then, simply nothing. They were gone, the sound of their feet trailing away to the south, lost amongst the whispering grass and the generous curves of dimpled land; lost in the slow circles forming on the water where silver perch topped the pond, gulping for mosquitoes. Birds and voices alike—gone.

Hadyn sank to his knees. In the warmish light, his face was pale. “We shouldn’t have come, Ewan. We should be home right now, with Dad. Not here, wherever this is. I’m so sorry.”

Ewan struggled to catch his breath. He felt the same. But home was a long, long way away...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Douglas Carlton Abrams

Don't forget to visit the fabulous website for this special book, too. I'm reading it now, and it's absolutely magical!!!

The Lost Diary of Don Juan

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Royal Consort - an excerpt...

Today has started off strange in some ways, I’ve just been offered a contract with a new publisher for me, and even the genre is a bit different for me. I’ve taken traditional adventure fantasy, the kind of quest-type thing that was born with LOTR or The Sword of Shannara books, and tossed in romance and a touch of the erotic… As a mixed genre it sounds pretty wild, doesn’t it? The story is called Royal Consort and you’ll hear more about it in coming months once I have it on my website.

One of the great joys of ePublishing is the opportunity to walk outside the traditional realms of fiction, to mix it up a little, and see what falls onto the page. In this case, a bit of sorcery, swords, epic quest, sibling rivalry, a handsome prince, and a magical world in jeopardy. How’s it sounding to you so far?

Here’s a peek at the tale, so please do let me know if you think this is a thing that will work, or just one of those weird things that should have been left alone????

ROYAL CONSORT - an excerpt:

Rienn nodded. When his hands on her waist moved her, she shivered as he slipped free of her body. “I’ll order a bath and some food,” he told her.

She grabbed his wrist and shook her head. “Later. I want you to hold me.”

Rienn stretched out and pulled her down to him, spooning her body to his when he pressed her back to his chest.

It seemed they’d only slept for minutes when the huge doors of the Prince’s chambers were flung open and the spacious room was invaded by numerous men, all bearing swords.


The word was a warning, and Sherindal slithered from the bed as soon as he released her. She scooped up her sword as she rolled, oblivious to her nakedness as she whirled to face the first rush of the attack. Somewhere through the early morning hours since they’d made love, Rienn had thought to retrieve his breeches, she noted from the corner of her eye. He had managed to gain his weapon as well, and they fought, back to back.

Sherindal hissed in fury and pain when the second of the men who engaged her slipped past her defense and inflicted a wound near her waist. It was a surface injury and she quickly rewarded him by slicing off his sword hand. Howling in agony, he toppled back, then fled as he recovered his footing several feet away from her.

Rienn had killed two men and was about to run through the third when Sherindal’s voice filled the room and the sword she wielded, called Huntor, rose with her song. The attackers froze momentarily, those two who remained, and she smiled with grim pleasure as the weapon cut them down, then drifted back to her outstretched hand, coming to rest in her grasp with near peaceful ease.

“Your blood-thirsty weapon has been sated nicely this morning,” Rienn observed with a tense glance at the gleaming blade.

“Who are they?” she asked, her tone as cold as her emerald eyes when she met his gaze.

“Why would you assume I know?” he retorted instantly. “This is hardly what I would consider an invigorating start to the day!”

“Really?” She smiled without humor. “It is one of the more interesting diversions you might have provided, Rienn.” Her laughter was faintly mocking, and not a little bit ironic.

Rienn’s handsome features suffused with rage and he reached for her, gripped her bare arm with fingers that dug into her flesh like steel bands.

“You evil bitch,” he whispered darkly.

Sherindal smiled, and this time it was genuine. She nodded, kissed his chin, the closest she could get to his mouth from her severely disadvantaged height, then she gasped as a fiery lance of pain reminded her of the slash near her left hip.

“Enough, Rienn,” she capitulated.

He released her, scooped her into his arms, and placed her in the centre of the feathered mattress of his bed. He looked closely at the injury, yanked the bell pull near the bed, and then went to the heavy wardrobe at the far end of the chamber.

His guards were rushing along the corridor when he returned to the bed and helped Sherindal into one of his linen shirts. She bit her bottom lip against another stab of pain, and laughed in macabre amusement when she spotted the duo who entered the room.

“They look rested enough, my love,” she muttered, eyes chilly and contemptuous.

Rienn glared at her, then turned an even fiercer visage to the men who should have prevented the assault on his private rooms.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Guest Blogger: JOEL M. ANDRE

I'd like to welcome an exciting new guest to my Fantasy Pages this week, author Joel M. Andre. The book looks wonderful, and I'm sure you're going to love this amazing author....

Horror is so romantic. There is passion intertwined in the story line, and sensuality abounds. You probably are either thinking, freak, or dude has finally lost it. But maybe, you are that one person who is thinking, let’s see where this goes. Well, come hold my hand as I walk you through, the romantic realm of Horror.

I’m going to get rid of vampire’s right off the bat. Mostly, because I think they have become so cliché and have become mainstream and much humanized lately. Now vampires fall in love, walk in the light, and laugh at crosses.

Now Dracula wouldn’t have put up with any of that stuff in his day. He was dark and seductive, and although evil. You could sense the passion as he bit into Lucy Westenra, which opened her soul to her very own passionate emotions. The sensuality of the biting of the next, and in a sense transferring her soul to his, is a very romantic idea. He in turn brings her eternal life.

Next, we can take a quick look at Frankenstein. A tale often thought to be more along the lines of Childhood Innocence. When actually it is a tale of the passion to be loved and accepted. Through the book, the monster of Frankenstein is looking towards the purest form of love and acceptance from someone.

Another classic creature is The Mummy. After centuries of being dead and buried, he returns to a modern time, and falls smitten with the woman he believes was his queen. Through death and the after life, nothing made him forgets his beloved queen who he wants to reconnect with, and love again so desperately.

Then there is the ultimate tale of love, Beauty & the Beast. No, not the Disney tale, the original tale is one of corruption, and with a sadder and deeper ending. But the main theme remains true, a vile beast, and the most beautiful woman in the world butt heads, she finds him insincere and dark and sinister, until he releases her to her dying father for one week. She then is subject to the trickery of her sisters, resulting in the ultimate sacrifice, and finds she in turn loves a monster.

Horror remains to this day a very romantic and passionate genre. I urge you one of these days, and pull a classic off the shelf, and read it with an open mind. It will likely inspire you, and may even fall in love.

Visit Joel's website here: http://www.joelmandre.com/

Thursday, October 30, 2008

GUEST: Jenny Gilliam

I'm very happy to have Jenny Gilliam back as my guest again. Her new book sounds just wonderful, and I think you're in for a treat with this terrific excerpt she's offered, so enjoy....


Roxy Palmer is a walking, breathing cliché. And darned tired of it. Working as the assistant librarian in her small, Southern home town, Roxy also anonymously pens the local love column, Ask Paula Rockwell—Thorton, Georgia's answer to Dear Abby.

But when the door leading to Roxy's lifetime dream is slammed in her face by one of the good ol' boys, Roxy brings out the big guns--and turns the genteel town upside down with her racier, feminist, home-wrecking new format.

Paula Rockwell is making Sheriff Noah Kennedy's life crazy. He's got angry husbands lined around the block, demanding the cancellation of the column, fights breaking out and women catching their boyfriends' trucks on fire. If he ever gets his hands on that woman…

But he's got his hands full of Roxy at the moment, and if he ever discovers the truth about Roxy, all hell will break loose.


In the course of one weekend, women had become the bane of Noah’s existence.

He was beyond pissed; he was downright fuming. Between Roxy and Mary Lou’s little excursion to Atlanta and his conversation with Joe this morning, he wanted to rip something, anything apart. With his goddamn bare hands. And teeth.

To compound matters, he had just gotten out of a meeting with Merle Granger, who wanted to know if Noah could do anything about The Gazette and the Paula Rockwell column. Never mind Bobbie Townsend had the First Amendment backing her civil liberties.

He had a nasty headache and a raging case of lust that a twelve-pack of beer and two hundred miles hadn’t been able to put a dent in. He couldn’t yell at Mary Lou, because one look at her face this morning had sent him back the way he’d come.

Well, he would damn well deal with one of them. Noah stormed through the glass doors of the library. His manners abandoned him, a testament to his state of mind, as he failed to remove his Stetson. He scanned the circulation desk for the librarian who was causing mutiny in his body and…heart—no, mind.

“Can I help you, Sheriff?” Alice Monroe asked.

“I’m looking for Roxy.”

“She’s re-shelving books in non-fiction.”

He didn’t have a clue where non-fiction was, but damned if he’d ask. In his current mood, he might unload on the head librarian and get himself banned, Sheriff or no.

It took him under a minute to find her. She stood at the end of the 800’s, a book in her hand, her eyes on the top shelf.

She wore one of those God-awful jumpers, and she had done something to her hair. It floated down her back in sable and crimson waves, and the sides were clipped back by some metal contraption. He felt a wave of unwelcome lust punch him square in the groin. He tried to focus on the shapeless dress she wore, but now he knew what she hid under it.

Soft, pink skin, gorgeous curves and one amazingly perfect ass.

His groin tightened again, irritating him further. He wasn’t supposed to have these feelings for Roxy. Damn it, he wanted things back the way they were. As if she had put some sort of spell on him, bewitching him with her sexy body, he charged forward, ready to give her hell. She’d caused this. If she hadn’t…What? Taken a shower in her own house? Hell, he was more pissed off at himself. For his reaction to her, and her lack of reaction to him. He’d never been in this place before. Women always chased him. All he’d ever had to do was sit back and wait to be caught.

It was unsettling to be the pursuer this time.

Roxy looked up as he approached, her lush mouth forming a little “O” of surprise. He swore she flushed just a little before looking back down at the cart of books she was shelving.

Satisfied he affected her on some level, he stalked toward her.

“I need to talk to you.”

“Really?” she asked. “Well, it’s a good thing you caught me then. I’m awful hard to track down.”

Noah narrowed his eyes. Was she making fun of him? He closed the distance between them, looking hard into her wide green eyes. “You’re damned lucky I’m the law ‘round here, Roxanne.”

In a purely female move, she tilted her head back and fluttered her eyelashes. “Why, Sheriff, I had no idea.”

With frustration and lust dueling inside him, he grabbed her arm and pulled her body flush against him. Her soft, heavy breasts pushed against his chest, and he went from semi to full salute instantly. “I ought to haul your ass into lockup to teach you a lesson.”

All teasing fled. The shallow breaths she dragged into her lungs, and the flush that worked up her pretty neck were all Roxy. Unable to control himself, he pushed her against the metal bookshelf, widening his thighs to cradle hers.

“Noah,” she whispered.

She’d have to be dead from the waist down not feel how she affected him. While the rational part of his brain screamed This is Roxy!, the wild beast straining to break free looked down into her face, into eyes gone emerald with lust, and smiled.

This is Roxy.

Want more? Buy THE TRUTH ABOUT ROXY at http://www.thewildrosepress.com/

BIO: Jenny began writing at the age of twelve, when she realized the voices talking in her head were characters, not a result of pre-teen induced psychosis. She’s been writing on and off for almost twenty years, but actively pursuing publication for the last three. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two children. She is the author of four novels. Jenny loves to hear from her readers.

You can visit her at http://www.jennygilliam.com/

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Special Bond...

© Vincenzo Chiofalo

A Special Bond

You are the shadow waiting on the edge of my awareness. A sweet angel who watches, part of me always, like the air that I breathe.

We share a special bond, you and I, one that is stronger than any friendship or simple love. We are tied together by the past and the promise of tomorrow, and though we are not together, we are never really apart.

To the heart that loves like this, a week can be an eternity and a lifetime will never be long enough… Those who love from their souls understand this in a way others can never see, but it is an eternal truth. A bond that can never be broken.

© 2008 Denysé Bridger

Monday, October 20, 2008

GUEST: Douglas Carlton Abrams

WINNER of a copy of Douglas Carlton Abrams' beautiful book is LAURIE D. Thanks to everyone who visited!!

When I was asked to host author Douglas Carlton Abrams on his "virtual book tour" I'd honestly never heard of this book. When I visited the stunning website he's created for it, I was enchanted, and have since spent a lot of time exploring all the wonderful things that are there to be experienced. It's worth a visit, so DO go and discover the magic of this special book, and the equally special author! Just click on the book cover, and you'll soon discover another world. We will also be giving away a copy of this amazing book in a few days, too, so please leave a comment for us, and check back!! You may be the one lucky enough to win a copy of this beautiful book!! Now, my guest: Douglas Carlton Abrams

Was Don Juan truly nothing more than a rapist and a villain? You would certainly think so, judging by how he has been portrayed over the centuries.

From his inception, Don Juan has been depicted as a libidinous scoundrel, capable of rape, misogyny, and even murder. When Tirso de Molina first created the character of Don Juan in the early seventeenth century, he did so as a warning against the dangers of rampant male sexuality and the galanteadores, who were seducing the women of the time. Later, in Mozart and Da Ponte’s opera Don Giovanni, Don Juan rapes a woman and kills her father almost before the curtain even rises.

But would Don Juan have been capable of feeling and doing much more? Male desire can be villainous and overpowering, but it is also multi-dimensional, ranging anywhere from heroic passion to caring tenderness. Any man long rumored to be the world’s greatest lover would certainly have understood these subtler aspects of desire, as well as the unspoken needs of the women he loved.

It is this side of Don Juan’s story that motivated me to write The Lost Diary of Don Juan. I wanted to explore the true nature of love and passion by creating a more complex Don Juan than the one we usually meet. His previous incarnations in plays, novels, and films have only allowed us to see the man from a distance, and we have judged him accordingly. Reading about his life in the form of an historical diary set in Golden Age Sevilla lets us go further into the body, mind, and heart of the man himself. What we find there is far more than an indifferent playboy, but rather a man for whom romance was elevated into an art form, a Casanova with a calling.

This is a Don Juan worthy of far more than mere lust and villainy, a man capable of forming deep and complex relationships with women. This 16th century Don Juan is worth recovering for the 21st century, if only to provide balance in a culture that all too often forgets the true complexity and mystery of desire.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Release!

Available TODAY!

Blood Wine and Pale Roses
From: The Wild Rose Press
Erotic Vampire Romance


Eden Colbourne has spent most of her life pursuing dreams that never quite came true. Running from yet another failed relationship, she seeks solace in the familiar surroundings of England's countryside, and her art. Drawn to the remnants of the abbey, she spends her days sketching the face of a man she believes is a ghost haunting both the abbey and her heart. The reality is even more disturbing...

When Sean Rourke finally reveals himself to her, Eden discovers the ghost is a creature of myth and dark dreams. Turned into a vampire by the man for whom his wife betrayed him, Sean is tormented and lonely, and more afraid of Eden's power to make him love than she is of his nocturnal curse. It isn't until the ancient vampire who made him returns to claim Eden that Sean is forced to decide once and for all if he can let go of the shade of his wife, and permit love to heal what remains of his humanity...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Guest Blogger: DONNA HATCH

Today, my special guest is Regency author Donna Hatch. The book sounds fabulous, doesn't it? Welcome Donna, and thank you for being her today...

Do you long to dance with Mr. Darcy or flirt with Mr. Ferrar? Do you fantasize of regency bad boys like rakes, highwaymen, and pirates? Do you swoon at the sight of a man on horseback or engaging in a duel?

Welcome to the magical and mysterious Regency world where men were civilized and cultured, educated in dance, art and literature, and yet engaged in manly pursuits like hunting, fencing and the steeplechase. Imagine yourself in the glittering world of dukes and duchesses, libertines and lovers. Wear beautiful gowns, waltz with a viscount, outwit a killer, and fall in love.

Announcing a debut novel by award-winning author Donna Hatch - The Stranger She Married, a sweet, yet sensual regency romance with adventure, intrigue, a love triangle, and a terrible secret.

Torn between a disfigured war hero with the heart of a poet, and a handsome libertine who may not be all he seems, impoverished Alicia must marry by the end of the month. Despite a murder threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger of all … to her heart.

Order on line at http://www.thewildrosepress.com/. Look for me on the new release list, or on the English Tea Rose Line.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Guest Blog: J.L. MILES

Today it is my pleasure to have Jackie (J.L.) Miles as my special guest. The book she's talking about, Cold Rock River, is an amazing read, believe me! And, we'll be giving away a copy of this book, hardcover, on WEDNESDAY, October 8th, so do check back for your chance to win, okay? Now, over to Jackie....


I started my writing career when our children left home and my husband insisted they weren’t coming back unless they needed money. Previously, I wanted to be a movie star, but when the mirror confirmed that my theatrical-clock had not only stopped ticking, it was at the cemetery, I thought writing might be a better choice. While at the dentist waiting on a root canal—never make career decisions while waiting on a man with a knitting needle who intends to stab you in the mouth with it—I picked up a tattered paperback entitled The Writer's Little Instruction Book.

Spooky! I was merely contemplating the idea of becoming a N.Y. Times bestselling author and the perfect manual appeared. Surely God, his angels, and all the saints were trying to tell me something, right? I didn’t consider that maybe the devil and his deceivers were having a good laugh. The book listed 365 (give or take) secrets for writing and getting published. Perfect! It was an omen. In 365 days I’d be on the bestsellers list. I simply needed to master one little ol’ secret a day. The first one I came across was the key to a successful story. It was threefold: 1. Get your protagonist up a tree. 2. Put a tiger under the tree. 3. Get your protagonist out of the tree.

Elementary! I was on my way and about to discover secret #2, when the receptionist called my name. It was time for my root canal. Piece of cake—I was on a mission to greatness. Not even that flashing knitting needle held high in Dr.I-Forget-his-name’s hand would stop me now. Four injections (the first three didn’t take), and two hours later I drove home not the least bit interested in the N. Y. Times, its bestsellers list, or who was on it.

Tomorrow, I’d begin the great American novel, the minute my feet hit the floor, the instant my brain met the coffee. However—don’t you hate that word?—I forgot about one character defect I’ve struggled with most of my life: I’m a world class procrastinator. If they ever give out Pulitzer’s on the subject, I’ll be a major contender. Not to say I don’t get things done. I do. But I tend to do them one minute before time’s up.

Procrastination is not a good attribute for an author. All the best books on writing (there are slews of good ones; here are my favorites: Anne Lamott, Elizabeth Berg, Julie Cameron, Stephen King—and Walter Mosely's brand new contribution), state clearly that writers are to place themselves before the computer (or notepad, or typewriter) at precisely the same time each day for precisely the same amount of pre-determined hours each day (weekends and holiday included), in order to not only hone one’s craft, but to complete the manuscript at hand. Ahhh. . .that might be a problem.

The moment I get out of bed, I tend to explore the world around me and assess the damages, making a list as I go. Stupid little things like, I forgot to do the laundry, again and there’s no clean underwear, the milk’s sour, there’s nothing to eat but cat food, the garbage hasn’t been dragged to the curb in a month, and the refrigerator filter hasn’t been changed since we invaded Iraq. The list grows as I walk from room to room. Are those fur balls under the dining room table really having grandchildren? Can’t be, last week they were barely parents. I climb under to investigate. I meander from room to room, procrastination taking over the morning. I get out the phone book. Surely there’s an organization that can assist me. There has to be. I’m on the verge of being a bestselling author! I need recovery.

The yellow page lists Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Cheaters Anonymous, Kleptomaniacs Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous. There are groups for Obsessive Compulsion Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Bi-Polar Disorder, but absolutely no procrastinators support group. There must be an organization meeting somewhere. Actually a helpline would be my choice. A number I could call the moment I find no underwear I’m willing to wear or encounter a chore I’m tempted to do—featuring a commanding voice like my mothers that will instruct me to immediately march over to my computer and bolt myself to the chair for a minimum of three hours, and call her in the morning.

I look through the entire collection of yellow pages I’ve amassed, as well as the local newspaper’s classified ads and find nothing to assist me. Obviously, I’m one of a mere handful of major procrastinators in existence. There are simply not enough of us to require a network of supporters. Yikes! I’m on my own. I search the room for answers and spot my computer. It’s waiting, perfectly able to do my bidding. And I only have 364 more secrets to master. Glory be—I’m ready to discover them!

I dash to the computer, sit down triumphantly, and put my hands on the keys. At last! I’m ready to write the great American novel. However—the phone rings. It’s my mother. She’s waiting on me. “Did you forget you need to take me to the dentist?” Ahhh. . .yeh, I did, but I don’t tell her. “I’m on my way!” I say instead. I get up from my computer and grab my car keys.

Tomorrow, I’d begin the great American novel, the minute my feet hit the floor, the instant my brain met the coffee.

J. L. (Jackie Lee) Miles is the author of Cold Rock River, the critically acclaimed Roseflower Creek, and the soon to be released Dwayne Series. Divorcing Dwayne debuts April 2008. Dear Dwayne & Dating Dwayne to follow.

Write to Jackie at jackie@jlmiles.com
Visit the website at http://www.jlmiles.com/

**WINNER** of the copy of COLD ROCK RIVER is Lainey Bancroft.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The heart that makes us whole....

Sometimes, the heart that makes us complete is very far away.... So many people have seen the beauty of our words, the adoration that I can't contain, and the warmth and passion that seems to be part of every contact we make.... This lovely image was created by a special friend, a lady who sees magic when she looks at these two people and believes in the romance.... Thanks, Catt. For this, and so much more....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

AS FATE DECREES - new review

I was very excited to find this posted! The reviews for this book have been consistently so good that it amazes and humbles me....

FOUR stars: Really good historical story, September 3, 2008
By Paul Lappen (Manchester, CT USA) - See all my reviews

In Ancient Greece, a woman named Amarantha finds herself as the next item up for sale in the Athens slave market. She is bought by a mysterious stranger who refuses to identify himself. He trains her as a warrior, and makes it clear to Amarantha that disobedience is a really bad idea. After her skills have been perfected, the stranger reveals himself as Ares, the god of war, and son of Zeus. She has been trained to be Champion of the gods of Olympus, to vanquish evil forever, until the gods say otherwise.

Sent into the world as a kind of traveling warrior, Amarantha runs into Iphicles, now King of Corinth. The two were very good friends, almost lovers, when they were younger. She stays for a while as one of his advisors, to the whispers of nearly everyone that their relationship is not exactly platonic.

While in another city also ruled by Iphicles that has been badly damaged by bandits, Ares tells Amarantha that Iphicles must return to Corinth, now. She can't tell Iphicles how she knows this, but when he finally listens to her and returns to Corinth, with Amarantha as part of the procession, the city has been decimated. There are many deaths, including Iphicles' queen.

Switching suddenly to present day Athens, Amarantha finds herself in the body of archaeologist Alexandra Christophi. This is not the first time that Ares has sent her elsewhere in time. This time, the enemy is a shadowy terrorist organization that has been bombing religious sites all over the world, including Macchu Picchu, the Vatican and all the religious sites in Athens. The object is to destroy all other gods and bring about the coming of The One True God. The gods of Olympus understand that their fate hangs in the balance. In the final battle, Amarantha/Alexandra is severely injured. Will the gods grant her the peace she seeks?

Here is a first-rate piece of writing. It's very readable, the characters are well done, and it is an interesting look inside Greek mythology. This gets two thumbs up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Okay, first I'd like to welcome sexy, sassy author Savannah Chase as my wonderful guest today. Savannah is a talented writer, and just generally a very special and cherished friend. She writes a wicked tale, and I know you're going to enjoy meeting her and sampling her terrific work....

First off I want to thank Denyse for giving me this chance to be a guest on her amazing blog.Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity.

Being an author one question that comes up the most is Why did you become a writer?

For me it has been something that I knew I was meant to do. I have always loved to write. Even as a kid I remember writing short stories and bringing the tales that were stuck in my head to life. I was always a quiet person and this was my own way of expression. This was my form of getting to say what I sometimes wasn't able to say out loud.. I had always loved to write. If it wasn't songs, it was in my diary, or short scary tales of haunted houses. All I know is I love to write.I love to be able to bring worlds to life. To take readers away if only for a the duration of my book. When I see the world I see inspiration and a playground for my stories. I'm one of those writers that constantly has ideas forming in her head. The plotting never shuts off. Even at night time as I go to bed I find myself jotting down notes and ideas. That's one of the reasons I installed a lamp onto my headboard.....

So if you want to know why I do what I do, it's because I love it. It's who I am.


Her fantasy man is up for auction. Will Nico dare to bid?

Nico’s history of romantic disasters has taught her when she gambles on men, she fated to lose. That doesn’t stop her from secretly lusting after Jeff, the handsome construction worker she sees everyday on her way to work.

When the New York’s Sexiest Bachelor auction begins and Jeff comes up on the block, she’s seriously tempted to place a bid. The wager can’t be taken lightly — it might be for a good cause, but she’s making a bid for love……


Nico was intrigued by the things people revealed when they only had three minutes to talk and make a first impression. So far, most of them were not good ones.

After all she had seen so far, she was more than ready to bolt, and fast. The only thing left was to figure out how.

Just as her last three minute nightmare was coming to an end, she glanced around the room. Surprisingly she saw something that made the evening even worse than it already was.

There on the other side of the room, sitting at a table, was Jeff. The man who rocked her world. The man she wanted with every fiber of her being.

He was seated with a drop dead gorgeous brunette who had the tightest little number on she had ever seen. The woman’s extra large sized breasts were pushed up and out for every guy to see. There was no way to miss them.

Nico tried to finish off the last few moments of her meeting with her current so-called date, but her attention kept shifting back to Jeff. It didn’t help that the woman he sat with was throwing herself at him. The flirtation couldn’t have been any more obvious, especially considering her leg was rubbing his up and down before it disappeared above his knees. One of Jeff’s hands was also under the table.

She could only imagine what he was doing. Actually she didn’t have to, she knew exactly what he was doing and she wished she wasn’t here to witness it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Guest Blogger: LISA JACKSON

Today it is my distinct pleasure to have author Lisa Jackson as my guest. Lisa's forte is romantic suspense, and if you haven't had a chance to look into her wonderful books, now's your opportunity to discover this wonderful and talented writer....

People always ask me why I chose to write the kind of books I did, specifically Romantic Suspense Novels. It was a natural evolution for me, I think. I grew up cutting my teeth on mystery, read Nancy Drew as a kid and as I got older got into Gothic novels with mystery. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier come to mind.

So when my sister, Nancy Bush, and I started writing romance novels, we were asked to "cut down on the mystery and suspense" which was difficult. Fortunately, I began writing "bigger" novels in the early 1990's and I was allowed to write whatever kind of book I wanted. Ha! I added suspense and, as it turned out, the more I added, the more popular were my books. What a thrill!! Now, my books are a balance of romance and suspense, but I gotta admit, suspense is usually the driving force.

I play up the suspense angle on my web site http://www.lisajackson.com/, as well as in my book trailers and information about each book. (Check out the latest trailer for LEFT TO DIE and you'll see what I mean.)

I guess I was lucky enough to see my work come full circle as now my editor is saying, "put in more mystery and suspense!"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Guest Blogger: JENNIFER COLE

My special guest today is my wonderful and talented friend Jennifer Cole. Jen's books are great, she's a terrific author, and I think you're in for a treat if you like steamy romance.... Enjoy....

Stranded in Paradise
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: Contemporary

While en route to the most important meeting of his legal career, Dax Winslow’s car breaks down in the small town of Milton Ville. Dax has never believed in love at first sight, but when he finds himself face to face with the owner of Kenny’s Service Station, the effect the stunning mechanic has on him, knocks his otherwise structured psyche off balance. Kendall Zurich is a laidback auto mechanic in a very small town. With the arrival of the sexy, dashing counselor, Kenny finds her quiet existence turned completely upside down. Together, they find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of exquisite seduction. Their attraction is unstoppable and the pleasure they find in one another, undeniable. Sparks fly as their passion explodes. Dax and Kenny realize that as fulfilling as they once thought their lives were, the one component that would complete them was missing; each other. When Dax discovers a secret Kenny has been keeping from him, he battles an emotional struggle. Can he forgive her little white lie? Or is her deception big enough to shatter their future together in paradise?

Publisher's Note: This title contains explicit sex and graphic language.


Daxton M. Winslow III drove his rental car along the deserted county road. He hadn’t passed another vehicle in close to an hour and had seen only a handful of old farmhouses. The fields lining either side of the dirt road contained acres upon acres of thriving crops or pastures of livestock.

He was thankful to have arrived a day early to familiarize himself with the area before his meeting with the law firm’s newest potential client. Dax tapped the GPS unit mounted atop the dash and cursed under his breath. Since leaving the airport he’d been driving four hours, and had yet to come upon his destination. The firm had been more than holding their own in corporate law, but the reputation attached to the Waterston Corporation would put MacIntyre, McQuaid and Winslow at the top of the legal food chain.

To say Dax was royally pissed the senior partners had assigned this specific trip to him would be an understatement. Law wasn’t Dax’s passion...it was his father’s. Three years earlier and fresh out of law school he was appointed junior partner in his father’s firm. Dax figured he would have made junior partner on his own impeccable record--three years of practice without a single loss in court--but law wasn’t what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

Architectural design had always been his first love, a passion he had kept hidden from his father. Over the past two-and-a-half years, Dax had successfully sold his designs for several small office buildings throughout the state.

As pissed as he was about the assignment, during this trip Dax planned to kill two birds with one stone. The day after his father informed him he would be leaving by the week’s end, Dax received a call from a conglomerate of doctors in search of a new medical facility. Having a design in mind sure to be just what they were looking for, according to the specifications they had emailed him, he arranged an appointment, following his meeting with Clayton Waterston.

Catching himself smiling in satisfaction, Dax couldn’t have been happier because during this trip, he was also getting a reprieve from the egotistical, self-centered Molly McQuaid. A couple of months earlier his father had suggested, to be more accurate demanded, Dax see his partner’s daughter socially. Not wanting to disappoint his father and in an effort to keep the peace in his parent’s home, Dax had agreed to a couple of dates with her.

Immediately Molly had latched on to Dax, proclaiming them engaged. The only things Molly had going for her were her heart-stopping beauty and her father’s money. A whiny, needy, selfish pain-in-the-ass, the only relationship Molly enjoyed being in was the one with her mirror. For weeks Dax had been giving Molly the brush-off, but the spoiled brat refused to take ‘no’ for an answer. Twice he changed his cell phone number, fed up with her calling all hours of the day and night. As of late, she’d taken to showing up at the office to see him.

Glancing at the dash-mounted GPS monitor for the hundredth time, Dax cursed under his breath. He should have been at the hotel long ago. It was clear he’d taken a wrong turn somewhere, but where? He had been following the f**king GPS to the letter. Sort of.

On the shoulder of the dirt road, a sign came into view: Milton Ville 5 Miles. And just below that: Population 250.

“Finally,” he muttered, reaching over to crank up the volume of the stereo.

Sharp pinging sounds came from the engine. A glance at the dashboard identified the engine light glowing at him. When the car suddenly lurched he glanced in the rearview mirror in time to see a cloud of thick black smoke. Another lurch, followed by chugging and choking noises, had Dax clutching the steering wheel. The CD player then spit his AC/DC CD toward the back window, shattering the thin plastic disc into pieces.

“Oh this is just fucking great,” Dax said through gritted teeth, pounding the steering wheel with the palms of his hands.

A mile outside of town the car started to lose speed. Black smoke continued to spew from the rear and the loud pinging had turned into a harsh constant knocking.

As he pleaded with the car to fix itself, Dax took a moment to survey his surroundings. Bungalows and cottage style homes lined either side of the main street. Various shades of faded pastel paint colored the houses; one was robin’s egg blue, another buttercup yellow, several were mint green, a couple were soft lavender; and just about every property was surrounded by a waist-high white picket fence. In one yard Dax watched three children playing ball with a puppy.

Branches from tall trees hung over the street, the leaves offering cool shade from the hot sun above.

Dax spied the Milton Ville General Store on the far corner of what appeared to be the only intersection in town, and in his opinion, the structure was in dire need of renovation. He speculated the merchandise in the store itself had to be the only thing preventing the building from collapsing to the ground. On a bench out front a man sat, his legs outstretched and ankles crossed, his fingers interlaced atop his big belly and a straw hat was pulled over his face. Dax wondered if the man was asleep.

“Oh just beautiful,” he growled as the engine finally died, the car rolling to a stop some twenty feet from the entrance to a service station.

When a man and a little boy appeared around the corner on the opposite side of the street from the store, each with a fishing rod resting on their shoulder, Dax dropped his forehead against the steering wheel.

“I’ve landed in f**king Mayberry,” he groaned.

Click HERE to purchase!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Guest Blogger: MARY BURTON

Today we have another amazing and special author with us, the very talented, multi-published Mary Burton. Visit her website, and check out all the terrific titles she's already had released, and the next one I'm Watching You, which looks fabulous, too!! Mary's talking about the dreaded "Writer's Block" today and if you've experienced it, you know it's a writer's worst nightmare... So, over to Mary now....

Writer's Block

All writers fear Writer's Block. But there are going to be times when the words just won’t flow. Those days can be maddening and frustrating but I’ve come to accept them as part of writing. When I do find myself bogging down, there are a few tricks I’ll now try to get the words flowing again.

Change a key element in a scene. Change the point of view, move the setting or change the time of day. One modification creates a ripple effect that can really get your mind working.

Get away from the computer. I’ve known other writers that take a walk, do pottery or retreat to their gardens. If I’m really stuck, I head to the kitchen to bake. I don’t tackle anything huge, maybe a batch of cookies or a dozen cupcakes. Its amazing how doing something that stimulates the right side of the brain can open my mind and get the pages flowing again.

Reviewing research. Often the answer is in the research. Reviewing textbooks or interview notes often jogs my brain and before I know it I’m writing again.

Take a nap or meditate. Sounds silly but just a few minutes of shut eye or extreme silence can get my brain into a creative mode and unblock what’s holding me back.

Skip the tough part. Some days, with a deadline looming, I’ve got to get the pages in the computer no matter what. In these cases, I skip the part that’s giving me trouble and move on. Often writing ahead will answer story questions that had me stumped earlier.

The trick about writer’s block is not to get too worked up about it. It’s a fact of most writers’ lives. Try some of my suggestions and see if it gets your brain moving.

Mary Burton

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Something special....

This is from my wonderful friend César Mesa's debut CD - it's fabulous!! Enjoy....

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Today it is my distinct pleasure to have my wonderful and talented friend Colleen Love as my guest. Colleen's agreed to share a preview of her next release, Eden at Twilight. I've read this one, it's breath-taking and beautiful, so mark it on your "must have" list and keep watching for the release announcement!

Coming soon from The Wild Rose Press!

EDEN AT TWILIGHT is the story of Lily, a woman who wants love, and Leaf, the man who risks it all to love her.

Lily Moore is an ordinary accountant who works long hard hours, leaving room for little else. After strange occurrences begin haunting her, she’s convinced by a motherly friend to take a vacation in Scotland . While there, she meets the man of her dreams, a handsome stranger with shifting hazel eyes.

Leaf falls for Lily the moment he sees her, love at first sight. Never has a woman taken his heart so quickly. When trouble stirs and threatens her, he stands by her side, traveling through time and dimension to reclaim her from a deadly Drow leader. Lily has no choice but to trust him and hope his strength will pull them through. But is his strength alone enough?


Lily was glad when the plane ride was over. A feeling of awe surrounded her as the shuttle pulled into the drive of the cottage. It was as if she was entering into the picture on her post card. After paying the driver and stepping from the car, she stood looking around in an enthralled stupor. The scents, sounds, everything was just as her imagination had promised it would be. Shading her eyes against the late afternoon sunshine, she just couldn’t help standing motionless, looking at her dream come true. She finally moved to pick up her luggage without taking her eyes from the grand Cottage before her. It was as if she were afraid it would disappear before she could get inside, if she took her eyes from it. Reaching down, she fumbled for the handle of her suitcase, her fingers meeting the warmth of a large hand. Her attention suddenly snapped from the scenery unfolding before her and back to reality. A reality snagged straight from her dreams. Standing in front of her was a kilt-clad man waiting with her luggage in hand. Her eyes wandered upward and she unconsciously pressed her hand over her heart when her gaze locked into his sharp, hazel green eyes. Yellow flecks, hypnotically kept hers transfixed for a brief moment before she could tear them away. She blinked and her heart stood still, time seemed to have stopped.

“I’m Leaf,” he held out his free hand to her. “I’m the caretaker here at the Country Cottage.”

Lily took his hand in hers and felt it wrapped in calloused warmth, “I’m Lily,” she breathed. Unwarranted chills chased over her skin from his touch. The thick burr of a Scotsman lilted in his voice and a warm smile curled the edges of his lips, making deep dimples at the corners. A rough dark scrub of stubble blended into wild sand colored, wavy hair that stopped just past his shoulders. Releasing her hand, he turned to pick up her bags. The flex of muscle pulled his plain white tee shirt taut, and she felt her breath catch when his kilt rode up the back of thick, stout thighs and white socks peeked out from the tops of his tall work boots. He turned and waited for her with baggage in hand. Picking up her smaller bags, she followed quietly, praying he hadn’t noticed her ogling him as she blinked her eyes and physically tried to will her heart to slow.

Visit Colleen's lovely website here: www.freewebs.com/colleenlove

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Guest Blogger: MAGGIE JAGGER

Today I am welcoming author Maggie Jagger, who is going to talk about critiquing, and the craft of writing... Her book sounds wonderful, and her discussion is very interesting! Enjoy it! Over to Maggie now....

Why do I encourage critiquing? Because it’s how I learned the craft of writing.

When I wrote my medieval, I had no idea what emoting for the scene meant. When I reread it years later I asked myself--Why did the hero have to shout all the time, when he knew the heroine had sensitive ears? Because he was emoting for the scene, is the answer obvious to me now.

There isn’t a newbie mistake I haven’t made. Hero and heroine met on page 64, after 30 or 40 pages of backstory, with enough head hopping to give the reader a bad case of vertigo. I didn’t understand info dumps, viewpoint, overuse of adverbs and adjectives, stage directions--the list goes on and on.

A How to book never tells you what is wrong with your ms.

Most people can see some advantage to being critiqued--it might be useful. Many writers don’t see what advantage there is in critiquing others. But by critiquing others, you learn to see what is wrong with your own writing. It is amazing how easy it is to see errors other writers make, and then see it on your own pages.

Critiquing in a group can be useful. 5 opinions make you realize how subjective it is. Every editor, agent, and contest judge will have their own opinion. When you critique, don’t rewrite anyone’s words, instead explain how it might be done differently.

The key to critiquing is never to expect anyone to make changes you suggest--and you must suggest nicely, after all, it will be your turn next. There are lots of books with styles I don’t admire, and others that make me green with envy--and they are all published.

Study your competition--all those published authors whose books soar up the bestseller lists. How do they introduce characters, start and end scenes and chapters, describe setting. Look at dialogue and action tags. Look at how the pros do it and take notes. All those authors on the bestseller lists are bought by the same editors you want to impress.

If you want to really see how they construct their magic, take some colored highlighters and designate color for dialogue, emotion, introspection, backstory, setting, etc.. Think of them as layers. Then highlight a few pages of your ms. Are you missing any layers? At first, I was always missing setting and often emotion. I learned to add telling details for the setting and to find fun ways of showing the characters’ emotions.

My first published book--note I did not say the first book I wrote--is Every Midnight, historical romance set in the Regency. Lizzie and Dace make a pact when they marry--she will go to him every midnight if he is faithful to her, but there are other rules as well, like her obligation to pretend she loves him. Here is an excerpt from the wedding night. The Beast has promised not to touch her, if she will spend the night with him--the only night she will be safe from him. She has accidentally hit his wounded shoulder when she entered his bedroom. He fell to the floor in pain and hit his nose, which accounts for the blood He is now safely in bed, but Lizzie is having trouble joining him.

excerpt 3 from EVERY MIDNIGHT

Lizzie knew she'd made a pact with the devil when she agreed to meet the Beast every midnight and allow him to debauch her. Sensuality: SPICY -- Click HERE for a first chapter excerpt.

Lizzie held out a dose of laudanum for the Beast. She stood as far away from his bed as she could and willed her hand not to tremble and spill any from the glass.

James and Molly had gone to their beds, leaving her alone with him. Their whispered assurances of her safety had not worked as much to ease her mind as the Beast’s acknowledgement, delivered with lurid groans, that she was innocent of a plot to drive him insane with pain. All the while he promised dire retribution if she dared so much as touch him with the tip of her finger.

“Is it poison, dearest Lizzie?” The bolster under the pillows kept the Beast sitting almost upright. His nightshirt, a pristine white--was borrowed from James. The viscount’s manservant had been left behind in London with most of his clothes.

The Beast had washed fastidiously, cleansing himself of all traces of blood. His nose looked no worse than before, but his expression was one of a man goaded beyond endurance. “Drink some of it, my own dear wife, to prove it is not poison.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Felmont.” Her hand shook, spilling a few drops onto the carpet.

He stared at her. Lizzie took an involuntary step backward.

“Remember Lizzie, my love, you are to show me affection at all times or our pact is null and void. Perhaps you wish to break it and free me from your ridiculous rules and regulations?”

“The pact requires me to show you affection only during the day. Is that ferocious look meant to show your affection for me, dear Felmont?” She had answered him back. She was alone with the Beast in his bedchamber and she was managing to remain dignified.

“I apologize for having a Felmont face, Lizzie, unfortunately I can do nothing to change it.” A wicked smile hovered on his lips. “You can’t call me Felmont in my bedroom, dear heart. Come closer.”

He was sin personified.

Words tumbled from her mouth. “I don’t know what else to call you.”

“Give me the laudanum, loveliest bride of mine, before you spill it.” He took it from her and sniffed it. “Get into bed and I’ll tell you what you may call me.”

Lizzie shook her head. Impossible. She simply could not do it.

“Then, drink some of this--I am taking no chances on surviving the night, my love.” He held out the glass. “Take it, Lizzie, drink some.”

The huge bed seemed shrunken by his presence. He looked even taller lying down. Death would be easier, and a grave more inviting than his bed.

“Hellfire, Lizzie! Don’t look at me like that.”

“D ... d ... don’t swear at m ... me.” There, he had reduced her to stuttering again! She hated him.

He sank back against the pillows. “Lizzie, let us try again. I apologize for not speaking gently to you, though I beg to point out, if you could be a trifle more sympathetic for the terrible pain I am suffering, you’d soon realize you have nothing to fear from me.”

“Hitting you with the door was an accident, husband. I am sorry for it.” It was best to speak with dignity at all times. Arguing with the Beast would gain her nothing but his anger roused.

“You are safer with me this night, my love, than you have ever been in your entire life. Not only am I incapable, I worry that even if I were well, I might be unable to ... to ... interest myself in proceeding to know you better. Now, with those comforting words, share this laudanum with me and let us both get a good night’s sleep. Please, dearest wife, just in case you have decided to do away with me, taste it.”

“Give it to me, I’ll drink a sip. You are making a great fuss over nothing.” At his warning glance, she hastily added, “Dace, it is laudanum not poison.”

He let her take the glass from his hand.

“Don’t call me Dace, it’s what my friends call me. Until you can honestly claim to want my friendship you must call me such sweet nothings as come to mind. Perhaps, dearest Devil, darling Demon, sweet Satan? How clever of you to have my portrait painted on the dome welcoming the family into hell. Dear Lizzie, did you think I wouldn’t notice?”

Lizzie sipped the laudanum rather than answer. He put a finger at the bottom of the glass to tip half the mixture into her mouth, so she coughed and choked and, at last, managed to swallow the brew.

Beast! She had meant the dose to relieve his pain and make him sleep. He was twice her size. Half the doze was enough to knock her out for the night and most of the morrow.

“Get in, dearest Lizzie.” He took the glass back and downed the remaining contents in one gulp. “Remove the bolster for me, you can put it between us to divide the bed. And don’t dare move from your side. This is the one night I get to share my bed with you, dear heart, what a pity I shall spend it in a drugged sleep.”

The Beast muttered a curse when she slid the bolster out from under the pillows. He lay back and clutched his shoulder protectively when she placed the long cylindrical cushion carefully down the center of the bed.

Lizzie got into bed with the Beast.

The laudanum was not long in taking effect. Her eyelids grew heavy, long before sleep claimed her. Her limbs grew weak and the sound of her breathing filled her ears. She could hear but not speak, feel but not react. She floated over and over until she lay in the Beast’s embrace.

“Are you asleep, my love?” he whispered in her ear. “Let me hold you to keep you warm. Forgive me. Hush. There is nothing to fear.”

Here are some books on the craft of writing.

Self-editing for the Fiction Writer by Rennie Browne and Dave King
Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
The first five pages, Noah Lukeman

Happy writing and reading!


Website: http://www.maggiejagger.com/
© Maggie Jagger

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A NEW Interview

Hey everyone!

I did a wonderful new interview last week with Manic Readers, and it's just been posted, so drop over and have a look! Just click on the banner, or this post heading.... Talk to you soon!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008


Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Author Cody McFayden. I hope you'll take a moment to read this interesting article, and visit Cody's site. Now.... my guest:


I guess I have to say a little bit about me. I’m okay with that, so long as it’s just a little bit…

I’m forty, I was born in Texas, I now live in Southern California, and I write. There. I think that covers it.

I currently write a series featuring Smoky Barrett, a female FBI agent who heads up the LA branch of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. The NCAVC is actually headquarted in Quantico, Virgina (duh – ‘National’) but every FBI office has someone who acts as a local coordinator, or liaison point, for their area. Smoky runs things in Los Angeles.

She’s a troubled woman, and she has good reason to be. She lost her husband and her daughter to one of the men she was hunting. He broke into her home one night and he took away her family. He also assaulted her, and disfigured her face. When the series opens, she’s trying to decide whether to kill herself or go back to work.

The series has evolved from there, and it’s been a path of darkness and light. Melodramatic sounding, but it’s true. I’m accused (when I’m accused) of writing about dark things, and while I accept that, it miffs me sometimes, just a little. Because there’s a lot of beauty in the books, too. That’s the whole point. You can’t know what’s good unless you know what’s evil. And my books absolutely show both sides of the coin.

I’m asked frequently about why I, as a man, chose to write about a lead female character. The question threw me the first time I was asked about it, because I hadn’t analyzed it at all. Smoky was Smoky, and she was a woman, and that was that. I think I came up with something clever, like ‘because she told me she was a woman’ or something like that. Since then, I’ve more time to ponder, and I think the reasons are various.

For one, right or wrong, sexist or not, I tend to view loss of family in a much more poignant way through a wife and mother’s eyes. I also think it comes back to my love of contrasts: Smoky is a woman in a man’s world, and she excels. She’s 4’10” and she’s been victimized, but she’s formidable and has this incredible strength to her. She wears high heels and carries a gun. She doesn’t flinch when she looks into the darkness.

Plus, sometimes, ‘write what you know’ is boring. It’s just interesting to write from a woman’s perspective. Thankfully, my unconscious hubris hasn’t gotten me into too much trouble… yet. I have a lot of female readers and one of the best compliments I’ve been paid is to be told that they were surprised to find that I was a man, because I wrote a woman so well. Though I guess there will always be blind spots. Someone once wrote in a review that I didn’t mention clothing and accessories enough (shoes and purses and the like) and that this showed I was a man writing a woman. All I can say is… be patient with me, ladies. I’m doing my best here, and I am a fan of the gender.

The book that just came out in paperback is The Face of Death. It posits the question: what if a killer left his victim alive? What if, instead of killing her, he followed her throughout her life, killing anyone and everyone she ever loved? It was an interesting idea, one that came to me from god knows where, and it led me as a writer down a twisting path, full of all those contrasts I enjoy so much. I hope, if you read it, that you’ll agree.

Visit Cody's Website here: http://codymcfadyen.com/

Thursday, August 07, 2008

New from Cricket Sawyer!

Today, I'm really excited about introducing you to yet another creative and wonderful author.... isn't this cover just stunning? The book is undoubtedly a winner, too.... So, enjoy!!!

Erotiqué Press
(a division of Echelon Press Publishing)

Dark Thunder
Release Date: August 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59080-597-8 (1-59080-597-6)
Genre: Erotic Suspense (Erotiqué Press)
Pages: 228
Price: Price $12.99 US -- $14.99 CAN

This summer has been weather intense. Dark storm clouds on the horizon signify danger, the potential for intense storms. In a novel these same storm clouds signify danger of another sort. Dark Thunder is about more than just the noise of an impending storm. It is not a fluffy romance. It is a knife-edged tale of desperation, passion and yes, even perversion that strikes with lightening-like intensity at the heart of our comfort zone and reverberates across the fiber of our being thundering through the atmosphere of our status quo, ordered world.


Jumping from the frying pan and into the fire, Cyan regrets her move too late. When she trades a loveless marriage for lust and passion, she discovers that Derian, her dark-eyed prince, has turned into the prince of evil, manipulating and controlling.

The hypnotic control of his demon talents steal her heart and make her a slave to his blazing obsession and insatiable appetite for sex, but her willpower wilts under the heat of his lovemaking. Finally, after finding some balance, things once again turn chaotic when her friend, Derian's cousin, is murdered. The dark prince once again returns, and hell-bent on revenge, embarks on a manhunt, determined for justice, despite Cyan’s attempts to stop him. Where will the taste for vengeance end in a land where nothing is as it seems, and love isn’t enough to fulfill all the appetites of a raven warrior?


Cricket Sawyer has written several novels, many short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction articles, and won poetry contests for her erotic poetry. Her stories have been published in various e-zines and newsletters, both in print and online. Her favorite genres are Romance with an edge, a hint of paranormal, and lots of sizzling suspense. In her spare time she reads, writes, plays piano, gardens, knits, crochets, and quilts. For almost nine months out of the year she shovels the snow northern Wisconsin is usually buried under, a delight for snowmobilers and skiers. Living somewhere without the four seasons is unthinkable. She lives with her husband in the small village of Amberg where the winters are cold and long perfect for curling up in front of a fireplace with a good book, but the people are warm and friendly all year round.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Wedding War

It is my pleasure today to feature Jenny Gilliam's wonderful novel, The Wedding War - NOW available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble!!


What happens when a fairytale-believing wedding planner and a jaded hot-rod builder who thinks love is nothing more than a chemical reaction end up on opposite sides of the aisle at the wedding of her best friend and his brother? A wedding war erupts.

Jake Ryan will do just about anything to keep his brother from making the same mistake he made. He’s convinced there won’t be a wedding because he’s out to stop it. Mia Briscoe’s determined this will be the most spectacular wedding she’s ever planned. And when she discovers the groom’s brother is out to break up the happy couple?

The battle begins.Jake and Mia have both suffered deep emotional wounds that prevent them from making lasting connections. And both are baffled by the intense feelings they bring out in each other. Can Mia teach Jake that love is something to cherish and not loathe? And if she can, will he be strong enough to bury his past so they can have a chance at a future together?

Visit Jenny's sites here:

Website: http://www.jennygilliam.com/
MySpace: www.myspace.com/jennygilliam
Blog: http://www.jennygilliam.blogspot.com/

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Meet Sebastiano Diadema....

© Vincenzo Chiofalo

Well, my newest novel is going to take me back to the night and its special magic. This is a brief passage from the opening of the new book, A Perfect Beauty. There will be a longer excerpt available on my website soon, and more details. But, for the moment.... meet my latest extraordinary hero....

The heavy darkness in the sky had been threatening rain all day, now, late in the evening, the promise remained unfulfilled. But it was there. Like so many other threats looming within the shadows. As she watched, the storm-grey above her deepened, and a gust of wind tore chunks of white cloud to shreds and tossed them carelessly into the emerging blackness, until they lost their airborne wildness and settled over the ground in a shroud of fog. Amid the swirl of night-cooling, rain-laden air, she stood, waiting and watching.

It had been a night much like this, less than a month past, when her life had been altered in the most terrifying of ways. A stranger had come to her; a man unlike any she had ever known before, and she’d loved him. With desperate and all-consuming passion. She had given herself to his desires, and his madness. And, she had learned the folly of her misguided trust all too quickly when she’d awakened alone—and Changed.

The Hunger had been a compulsion different from anything she’d ever before experienced, as senseless and savage as the need she’d felt while in his arms. Now, the nights were a misery she struggled through, and the days a torment of agony that destroyed her over and over again. Yet, she survived. In spite of her longing for an end, she still ran when the light of the sun’s rays grew too intense, sought the sanctuary she instinctively knew would be found in the sheltering darkness.

This was another eternal night to endure. And the ache inside her was as much a mental torture as a physical wanting. She turned away from the turbulent beauty of the restless Bay of Naples, and began to walk, her footsteps taking her deep into the city. Before long, she was standing in front of a nightclub, and the gathered motorcycles outside it stirred a twinge of apprehension and undeniable curiosity. She hugged herself tightly then sighed and continued her interrupted journey, wondering as she did if there was something inside L’asilo that would make her feel safe, as the name implied.

Music was the first assault on her hyper-active senses, and she winced as she entered the main room of the trendy club. Her eyes wandered over the crowded space, and the pulsating rhythms of countless heartbeats began to pound in earnest, keeping time with the excited, fearful tempo of her own breaths. On some distant level, she already understood she had no need to breathe as she once had, yet the habit, instinctual and familiar, hadn’t yet been broken. She walked deeper into the swarm of life, and was overwhelmed.

* * *

“She’s one of us,” Gino Scala noted as they watched the newcomer drifting through the gathered throng of people assembled in the club’s main room.

Beside him, Liliana Medici shook her head, thoughtful.

“No, she’s not,” she disagreed softly. “She’s one of us. But different. She doesn’t have the same presence.”

Gino looked again, curiosity and faint disbelief colouring his handsome features. Then, he too sensed the ‘difference’ in the stranger’s manner. She was terrified, as well as alien to them, and he knew that fear would only grow, then, perhaps, make her reckless. She might present a very real threat to their anonymity if she wasn’t made aware of it.

“Do you know her?” he asked his beautiful companion, smiling as he looked into her perfect, glittering eyes.

“No,” she countered softly, thoughtfully. There was something about this woman that made her feel as though she knew the stranger. “I think I’ve seen her, but I can’t be sure.”

The response wasn’t the one Gino had been hoping for, and he turned again to watch the woman who roamed the busy nightclub.

* * *

In the main room of the club, the stranger wandered aimlessly, looking closely at some patrons, ignoring most. She was taking mental inventory of those who felt alien and different from the rest, sensing them to be like herself. The thought that there could be so many was terrifying and she wondered why she had never before thought that such creatures could in fact be real.

“Do I know you?”

She whirled, startled beyond reason by the presence at her side. When she turned to look closer at the woman a warning went off inside her head, followed almost instantly by fear. This woman was beautiful, tall, slender, regal, and unerringly shrewd. The last came as pure instinct, and it frightened her more than the fact that she hadn’t heard the newcomer arrive so close to her.

“I don’t think so,” she answered softly.

“I haven’t seen you here before,” Lilli noted with a smile. She could almost taste the terror in the other woman’s heart. “But I do know that I’ve seen you before.”

She smiled at the assessment and the genuine note of curiosity in Lilli’s voice.

“My name is Isabella DuVeaux, and I run an art gallery. Perhaps you’ve been to one of the shows or openings?” She smiled and waited, this time the curiosity hers.

“Ahhh,” Lilli mused softly, “I think that may be it. You’ve showcased some truly original artists,” she added as the memory solidified at last.

Isabella laughed and nodded. “As well as some bizarre ones, correct?”

Lilli’s smile was genuinely delighted by the other woman’s directness and she gestured that they move to her personal table. After only a breath of hesitation, Isabella shrugged and followed the mysterious, alluring nightclub owner.

“If you’ll forgive me my bad manners, Signorina....?” she paused, and Lilli supplied her name into the brief silence, then Isabella continued, “Medici, why are you taking such an interest in my presence in L’asilo?”

“I like to know the more intriguing people who pass through my club,” she offered with an amused quirk of one delicate eyebrow.

Isabella shook her head, feigning regret as she replied, “Then I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere.”

To Lilli’s considerable surprise, she rose and walked away.

* * *

The dreams came, as they always did now, terrifying and horrific in equal measure. Isabella twisted away from the latest obscenity to invade her mind, but the nightmare followed her with relentless, ruthless delight. His face flooded into focus and she shuddered, dimly aware that some part of her wondered how she had ever found him exotic and beautiful. Pale, silvery hair shone in the artificial sun created by the gallery’s floodlights, and eyes darker than midnight skies smiled down into hers. She was captivated the moment he spoke, his soft, resonant voice throbbing life into her veins in pulsing waves of excitement beyond her ability, or desire, to control. She surrendered to him, and revelled in the madness that he wove into her being. Passion swelled and became a rushing tide that carried her to the very edges of unbearable ecstasy, then swept over her and drowned the last, faint morality that might have objected to his domination.

Pain replaced the exquisite pleasures of moments before, and she writhed in new agony, suddenly desperate to extricate herself from the embrace that was draining her of life, and forever stealing her soul. But it was long past the time that her pleas would grant her immunity, and she screamed her terror, in loud, keening cries--a mourning dirge that erupted from the deepest recesses of her heart…

The scream lingered as her loft apartment above her gallery business came into focus with painful abruptness. The taste of blood haunted her, as it had for several days; this time it didn’t revolt her. To her considerable disgust, it lured and appealed to her starved body; she hadn’t been able to eat since the night she’d met him, the compelling and devastating presence who called himself Luciano Calendri.

Calendri had come into her gallery, drawn, he said, by the name of the place and the theme of the latest showing. She understood now that the bloodshed and mayhem would have been appallingly familiar to him, and she shuddered. She thought she’d fallen in love that night, the enchantment had lasted for less than a month, then they’d made love and her life had become a nightmare. She hated him now as passionately as she’d adored him in those short yet eternal weeks.

Angered and afraid, Isabella rose and walked the shadowy rooms of her once beloved home. This was her sanctuary, she told herself firmly. Her place of refuge and creativity. A macabre and bitter laughter echoed distantly in her mind, and she cried softly as she came to the window and stared outward, dimly aware of the setting sun and the tingling that was stirring the mutated blood in her veins. Her perceptions sharpened and she shivered as a rush of strength came into her limbs and chased away the pain and frustration of minutes earlier.

She turned from the window and went to dress. Instead of another night of misery and terror, she would work tonight. The gallery was already open. Funny how she could hear the voices of the patrons below her, and smell the myriad scents of perfume, cologne, and all the other heady fragrances that were unique to the human race. Her studio was secluded, located in the rear of the gallery. Few people even knew it was part of the building.

* * *

“What have you found out about her?” Gino asked when Lilli strolled into the library of the mansion they had shared for decades.

“Only what I told you two nights ago,” she admitted with a pretty smile. She perched on the arm of the chair he was seated in, and kissed his forehead when he smiled up at her. She rose again and went to the door, gesturing for one of the servants to bring in a large box. The silent worker disappeared in seconds and she turned to look at Gino, who was waiting with patient amusement.

“A gift, Lilli?” he mused, “I’m touched.”

“I think you’ll find this interesting,” she remarked softly. She had the painting slid free of its protective wrappings in minutes and placed the medium-sized canvas where Gino could study it.
The tilt of the painting gave him an excellent view of it, and a quiver of uneasiness created an unconscious frown between his brows. The background of the canvas was a swirl of crimson fury, shades of scarlet and raging fire flowing into a whirlwind; at the centre of the maelstrom, the glory of vampire hunger, bared fangs, luminescent eyes, and ecstatic prey embraced in eternal bliss.

Gino felt a shudder ripple through his being, part cold dread, part excitement. He forced his gaze from the painting and looked up, some sixth sense aware of another presence in the room. He met the impassive blue eyes of Sebastiano Diadema across the room, and he gestured for the ancient Prince to join them.

Regal in bearing, ageless in manner, Sebastiano radiated power and mystery. He was an enigma even among their kind, and had the respect of all, though in many cases it was matched with fear. Lilli took a step closer to Gino, and he smiled. Like so many women, she was in awe of the eternal Prince, drawn and afraid at the same time. For just a moment, Gino allowed his thoughts to mingle with hers, seeing Sebastiano through her eyes. What she saw was complex, but compelling. He was over six feet tall, thick brown hair the colour of earth, while his eyes were the morning sky their kind so seldom dared to look at. He was dressed as he always was, in shades of the night, black and deep grey. The imprint of power was in every slight motion he made, and there was a sensuality embedded in his being that stirred hearts long dead, as well as those still beating. Contained passion and fury, tempered with the wisdom of a man who had seen everything of life, and death.

He shook off the almost cloying sense of being drawn into Sebastiano’s being by Lilli’s desire to touch the ancient Prince.

“What do you think of this, Sebastiano?” he asked in a soft murmur when his friend was at his side and able to view the painting properly.

For several moments, Sebastiano stared in silent contemplation of the work, his mind and heart searching past the obvious for the subtle layers of mood and thought that lay beneath the brilliant, vivid colour on the canvas. The backlash of rage, and fear, and pain made him suck in an unnecessary breath as he fought the urge to slump into the nearest chair.

“She’s in great pain,” he finally spoke, his low, rich voice soft and more alive with compassion than anything else. “She’s vampire,” he went on quietly, “but not in the same way as our Tribe. This was not done to her by her choice, Gino,” he stated with certainty, his eyes meeting the steady gaze of his old friend.

Gino nodded, expression somber. He looked at Lilli, who’d been watching the exchange with real interest.

“Has she returned to the club?”

Sebastiano was surprised. “You know who painted this?” he asked, gaze moving from Gino to Lilli, then back.

“Yes,” Scala answered honestly. “Her name is Isabella DuVeaux. She runs an art gallery called-”

La galleria d'Arte dell'angelo nero,” Sebastiano supplied, his eyes distant with thought. “I know it.”

“Really?” This time it was Gino’s expression that filled with startled speculation.

“She’s showcased a number of promising artists in recent years,” Sebastiano replied, meeting the slight smile in Gino’s eyes with his own. “She’s not afraid of controversial material,” he added, a fleeting tilt of his head indicating her own painting.

“Could she endanger the Illusion?” Gino posed the question carefully, sensing that it would not be a welcome doubt to the Prince who was again staring at the evocative painting with something akin to enchantment in his pale, expressive features. Despite his almost death-like outward appearance, Gino knew that Sebastiano was probably a great deal more human than the rest of them. While very capable of blood-chilling violence and ruthlessness, Sebastiano also possessed a capacity for gentleness that frequently humbled Gino and others of their kind.

Sebastiano smiled slightly at the query, and the care with which it was voiced.

“She doesn’t even know what she is, Gino,” he said softly. “How could she endanger us?”

“She could go on a killing frenzy without understanding why she was doing it,” Lilli pointed out, her beautiful features colder than ice.

Sebastiano merely gazed at her, his look unflinching. She turned away from his direct scrutiny in less than a minute, and he transferred his attention back to Gino.

“What do you want me to do, my friend? Advise you, or destroy her?”

There was a note of inflection in the rich, velvety voice of the reclusive Prince, something Gino couldn’t readily identify, and he was silent for several moments, considering Lilli’s assertion against what he instinctively felt would be objectionable to Sebastiano.

“We do nothing for the moment,” he decided quietly. “We’ll watch her, but not interfere until it becomes necessary.”

Sebastiano inclined his head in acceptance then peered a moment longer at the young man who ran his business interests.

“You assume it will be necessary to approach her,” he noted in a murmur.

“She’s family to us, at least in some fashion,” Gino nodded. “If she doesn’t understand what she is, she’ll have to be told. Otherwise, she’s a danger to us.”

Sebastiano considered the words, then nodded a small bow before leaving the luxurious decor of the Scala mansion’s sitting room.

“He won’t let you order her death,” Lilli said, voice low and soft with disbelief as she considered the possibility.

“Sebastiano is a survivor, Lilli, he’ll make sure I do whatever is necessary to ensure we all remain living,” Gino snapped, irritated that she was speaking aloud the sense of foreboding that had settled into his heart the instant he’d seen the painting, and his friend’s response to it...