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December 28, 2012

PLOTTING PRINCESSES BLOG HOP!


The Princesses and some of our friends are having a Blog Hop!

At each stop along the way we'll give away copies of our books along with other goodies. We'll share recipes, too, at a different blog every day. To be eligible, leave a comment at each blog you visit. A new winner will be chosen daily at each author's site. At the end of the hop, one extra-lucky person will receive the Grand Prize.

Grand Prize: One lucky person will receive an ebook/print book from all 10 authors. Grand Prize to be announced on Jan. 12th.

BLOG STOPS EACH DAY ARE LISTED BELOW. (Click on the author's name to take you directly to their blog.

Monday - Dec. 31st ~ Alisha Paige
Tuesday - Jan. 1st ~ Vicki Batman
Wednesday - Jan. 2nd ~ Kathy Ivan
Thursday - Jan. 3rd ~ Michelle Miles
Friday - Jan. 4th ~ Karilyn Bentley


(We're skipping the 5th and 6th since that is the weekend.)

Monday - Jan. 7th ~ Liz Lipperman
Tuesday - Jan. 8th ~ Sasha Summers
Wednesday ~ Jan. 9th ~ Sylvia McDaniel
Thursday ~ Jan. 10th ~ Willa Blair (Guest Princess for a Day)
Friday ~ Jan. 11th ~ Lynn Rush (Guest Princess for a Day)


The more blogs you visit and comment, the more chances to win! So visit with a Princess every day and see all the wonderful books you might win.

December 26, 2012

Award-winning PP Elizabeth Essex & a new book-A Breath of Scandal!

Good morning, Princesses! I hope you are all having the happiest of holidays.

Today is the official release day for Book II of the Reckless Brides: A BREATH OF SCANDAL.

Shockingly brash and scandalously independent, the Reckless Brides are boldly rewriting the rules of love and marriage—one smitten bachelor at a time…

Romantic Times has given A BREATH OF SCANDAL 4 1/2 stars! And today I’m going to be giving away a copy to a randomly selected Princess, so be sure to leave your comment for your chance to win. :) So here we go!

In the game of kiss and tell, there are no rules…

THE LADY IS A KNOCKOUT
Forced by her family into an engagement with a man she can never abide, Antigone Preston knows only a scandal will save her from a loveless marriage. But knocking a man down to the ballroom floor with her fists brings dangerous consequences. She may have ruined her reputation, but now she’s endangered her heart…

THE OFFICER IS A GENTLEMAN
The son of an earl and a career navy man, Captain William Jellicoe has no interest in the frivolities of London—and even less in the institution of marriage. But there’s something steering him toward Antigone. He has never met anyone as brazen and unconventional as…himself. But will he risk it all for a woman who still has the breath of scandal hot on her lips?

Here’s an EXCLUSIVE excerpt, in which we meet our heroine, Miss Antigone Preston, at a country ball.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

The Plotting Princesses have been extra busy the last few months, writing and getting books out for you, our readers. Many of the Princesses have releases throughout the months of November and December and to make things especially easy, we've complied all our latest releases in one handy, dandy list for your buying pleasure.

Below are the latest releases by several of the Plotting Princesses (in alphabetical order). We've included a very short description, the cover photo, and links to where you can buy the books. Feel free to pass this list along to your family and friends and spread the word about the latest and greatest books by some of your favorite Princesses.

December 24, 2012

I GOT AN EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENT! by Kathy Ivan

WHEEE!!! Look what I got hot off the presses!


Second Chances, my latest release received a 4.5 star review and Top Pick from Night Owl Reviews and is now available in print. I was told it would be after Christmas before it was available, but there it is, all bright and shiny, at the Amazon.com store.

It is part of their 4-for-3 deal and is also available for their super shipping/free shipping with orders over $25.00. A win-win all around.

You can order directly from CreateSpace e-store HERE or from Amazon.com HERE.

For all those who would rather not read a print book and prefer digital, Second Chances is available at AMAZON, B & N, and may other e-retailers.

HINT: It would make a terrific After-Christmas present for all your family and friends. LOL

On a more serious note, I wish all my friends, family, and fellow readers a joyous and happy holiday season. May your hearts be filled with the celebrations of the season and may your cup run over with joy and love.

Kathy

December 18, 2012

Michelle Miles: Let's Have Some Christmas Cheer

I don't know about you, but I'm having a hard time getting into the spirit of things this year. I don't seem to have the amount of Christmas cheer as I once had.

Maybe it's because I'm all the way grown up now (I think), or maybe it's because stores start putting out Christmas stuff in October. It's like this great big build up - all the holiday shopping, the decorations, the treats, the meals, the planning, the wrapping, the baking, the everything! - for one day and then *poof* it's over in a flash.

I think that's what disappoints me. And don't even get me started about the new year. Blech. I hate the start of a brand new year (though I try really hard to have a better outlook on that. I really, really do.)

This crazy Texas weather is not helping either. Where is my cold December? I need it to be at least COLD for Christmas. A few little snow flurries would be nice (no ice, though, please?). I'd totally be okay with my face freezing off since I know it's that time of year. I did manage to get all the presents wrapped this weekend. I even whistled a Christmas tune or two. And I didn't curse at the wrapping paper. Much. (Don't you just hate that wrapping paper that is so thin when you roll the package over to tape it, it rips? Man, I hate that. But, hey, my wrapping is getting better.)

Anyway, I think I need some more Christmas cheer. Just to get me really in the spirit of the season. Along with a spiked eggnog or three. How about some Santa man candy?




December 17, 2012

Restoring Christmas Memories

Restoring Christmas Memories
Secret Santa Blog Hop

Return to the main blog hop page and directions here.
On Thanksgiving this year, my sister brought me a very special gift, a restored Christmas toy. Patty Playpal was a three-foot tall doll who could actually stand up all on her own (if you posed her just right.) The Christmas I got her, my grandmother even made me a dress to match Patty’s. She was my companion whenever I played house. I have a picture of the two of us playing together (I'm on the right, in case you can't tell us apart).
Patty, however, had two defects related to her construction. Her head and arms were connected together by some very strong rubber bands. Because of her size, I first tried to drag her around by wrapping an arm around her neck and pulling. Her neck extended and then retracted, pinching my arm. I learned quickly to avoid doing that. Her arms also had tendency of disconnecting from the rubber band.
My sister and a friend also decided that Patty needed a haircut, and they obliged her. The first picture is obviously prior to the "trim."

December 13, 2012

PP shares a tiara with Terri Rochenski & Christmas Magic

A happy tiara wearing day
to Terri Rochenski!
Let's get to know
all about her.


How did you get from your day job to writing romance? I gave up the day job when I had daughter #1 four years ago. It was the best job move EVER. Now, I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I steal minutes here & there for writing whenever my two girls allow. 

What are your three favorite books of all time? Tough question. I’ve read all of Lisa Kleypas’s books at least twice, a few I’ve pulled off the shelf more times than that. Stephanie Laurens also has a shelf in my home. I’ve read some of hers more than once as well. I adore fantasy as well – LotR, WoT series, SoT series. Have all of those. Read them more than once as well. Honestly I love so many books. Not sure I can pinpoint any particular one.

Morning, afternoon, or evening person? Morning all the way. My girls wear me out by 4pm. Some days I don’t even make it that long!

December 12, 2012

When I Wasn't Home for Christmas or Celebrating the Holidays Abroad
(Blog in France Christmas Blog Hop Participant)

            The first year after we moved abroad, we couldn’t go home because (a) we needed the days to ensure we spent enough time out of the country for the tax deduction for living abroad and (b) we couldn’t afford four tickets to the US. Not that we suffered as a result. We could afford four tickets to Mexico where my husband was from, and my parents and grandmother met us there. I believe it was the one and only time my grandmother ever left the US, and I’m glad we were able to share some of my husband’s family traditions and the beautiful sights in and around Mexico City with her and my parents.
            Since then, as a family we’ve celebrated the holidays in a number of different countries and every one has been memorable and moving. Once, we toured Israel and Egypt and went to Bethlehem days before the city was turned over the Palestinian state. Nativity Square was very barely visible through the Palestinian flags and photos of Arafat strung across all the buildings. Another time we were in Austria and attended a midnight mass in a small church that looked as if it had been plucked from a postcard. We didn’t understand the words, but the beauty of the church and the choir’s songs still provided us with the peace and joy of the season. At a minimum, we’ve heard services in Spanish, French, Russian, and German.

December 11, 2012

Favorite Holiday Romances!


With two releases last week, I'm submerged in holiday romances... Which got me thinking about some of my favorite love stories - then my favorite holiday love stories. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to share my top five holiday romances are all films, actually. Yes, in addition to being a bibliophile, I’m a rather hopeless film addict. J Either way, it’s about the story, right? And these five holiday romances are too awesome not to love.

December 6, 2012


The PP welcomes a special gal-Jeffe Kennedy!
Come say Howdy and
get to know more about her.


How did you get from your day job to writing romance?  Well, I’m still working my day job, so I haven’t quite transitioned yet. Right now I put in fairly long days (~12 hours) with time on both. I work from home, so that helps. The day job still pays much better, though the writing is starting to catch up. I’m hoping the writing will win the race someday!

What are your three favorite books of all time? This is always hard for me to answer, because I love so many. Ones I often recommend are Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett, Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood and Possession by A.S. Byatt. All really excellent, wonderful, insightful books.

Morning, afternoon, or evening person? I used to be a night owl, but I retrained myself because, if I wanted to write every day, I needed to write in the mornings. My schedule didn’t really allow for a consistent time at any other point in the day. Now I wake up fairly early – 6am- and make sure I get plenty of sleep every night and I feel like I’m pretty much awake and productive all day.

December 5, 2012

Plotting Princess Vicki Batman & Launch Day!!! Twinkle Lights

"Twinkle Lights"
a holiday story, is launched today
and to party on, I'm giving away a $50.00 Amazon gift card and an e-book.

Just leave a comment which includes
your email address to be eligible.


https://museituppublishing.com

Now, on to the good stuff!

Here's a fun excerpt from "Twinkle Lights!"



December 4, 2012

Puppy Rescue Mission


We all love our dogs. They're part of our family. My two mutts are pampered puppies that bang on their crates when they're ready to get up and greet me at the door each evening. Even on the worst day, they make me smile and warm my heart. They're spoilt rotten, but I couldn't imagine leaving them behind or giving them up.

If you were a soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq and you befriended a dog while you were there, could you walk away and leave your friend behind?

I'd never heard of Puppy Rescue Mission until a lady in my Yoga class, who is a volunteer for PRM, was talking about picking up a dog at the airport.  She told me to go to their Facebook page and take a look. There I saw soldiers cuddling dogs. Their page says, "It's so funny how something as simple as a puppy can make even the hardest, toughened soldier melt upon a few kisses to the face." PRM's mission is to help soldiers bring their battle buddies home."

November 29, 2012

Borrowing the Tiara for the day is...Nikki Duncan & Her Miracle Man

Today, we welcome a very special
DARA friend to the PP!
She's already very adept at wearing tiaras. LOL
Hi, Nikki Duncan!

Love ‘em or Hate ‘em? Morning or Night? What’s Nikki Duncan opening up about? Hey, Plotting Princesses! Thanks for having me here today.

How did you get from your day job to writing romance?  I still have the day job, I simply made a shift of using my personal time to read to writing instead. I do hope to one day make another shift so writing is the day job and reading again becomes my biggest pastime.

What are your three favorite books of all time? Divine Evil by Nora Roberts, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, The Lost Diary of Don Juan by Douglas Carlton Abrams


Morning, afternoon, or evening person? Hmm. It seems to vary from day to day. I think more often than not I’d say afternoon.

Music--with or without? What kind? With. Definitely with. As to what kind? Almost all kinds. I really only avoid the heaviest rock where it’s more screaming than lyrics.

First or third POV? Third when I’m writing. In reading, I can take both.

How's tricks? Do you juggle multiple projects? I’ve become quite adept at juggling. Family. Work. Hobbies. Writing. Suspense. Paranormal. Contemporary. YA. There’s always something going on in my head and even when I’m working on one story it’s common to have another blathering away in the background.

What's harder: beginning, middle, or the end? This differs from book to book, but I think overall that it’s the middle. I can almost always visualize the kick off and last scene the fastest and with the most clarity.

Revisions: Love 'em or hate 'em?  Hate ‘em when they break the flow of a new WIP, but then when I dive into them, I love ‘em. By the time revisions come back to me, I’ve forgotten most of the smaller details I’ve included. This means that the book is largely new to me, and I love that. I also love when I find a line or section that surprises me and makes me proud of myself.

How did you come up with that title?  Best advice anybody ever gave you? Titles are HARD. We work so hard on coming up with the perfect one only to discover that it often gets changed. The best advice I’ve ever heard on titles, though, came from Leah Hultenschmidt during a conference workshop. She said to always try to come up with a title that couldn’t be ignored. At the same time it needs to depict the feeling of the book. I like to think I’ve accomplished that on my books (with some editorial help in some cases.)

The Sensory Ops Series - Sounds to Die By, Scent of Persuasion, Illicit Intuitions, A Killing Touch

The Tulle and Tulips Series - Tangled in Tulle, Twisted in Tulips

Her Miracle Man, The Back-Up Fiance

Fill in this blank: My ideal fictional hero would think me gorgeous no matter…how big my bitch tantrums can become. Oh wait, I already have that, at least I do if hubby’s recent comment is anything to judge by. “You’re feeling like a real bitch today, but I’m still glad you’re with me.” It was impossible not to laugh at that. lol

What's your favorite dessert?  Strawberry Shortcake or Tiramisu or Chocolate or Cherry Cobbler or Peach Cobbler or White Cake or… Do I really have to name one?

Do you write at home or someplace else? Wherever I can find a few minutes without interruptions. I’ve even written on school busses crammed with kids. 

What's your favorite type of hero/heroine and why? Lately it seems I like wounded characters. Maybe they’re emotionally wounded. Maybe physically. Maybe both. It’s fun to explore why they’re damaged and what it’s going to take to bring them back to “life.”

In my latest release HER MIRACLE MAN that released 2 days ago, the heroine is the wounded one and the hero is trying to bring her back to “life” while they work together on a special Christmas project called A Month of Miracles.

Here’s the blurb for that one:
Children’s hospital administrator Ryland Davids was attracted to event planner Jennalyn James the moment he saw her. He thought there would be plenty of time to get to know her—until her younger sister, Sabrina, was admitted with complications from traumatic brain injury.
Sabrina’s bright courage broke through Ryland’s wall of professional distance, but once she drew her last breath, Jennalyn left the hospital and never returned. Though he understands her need for distance, there’s a hole in his heart that won’t heal. And a last wish from Sabrina he’s honor-bound to deliver.
When Jennalyn comes face to face with Ryland at a charity event, the pain comes rushing back, threatening to shatter her everything’s-fine fa├žade. It doesn’t help that the lump in her throat is mostly her heart, leaping in response to his touch.
Despite her reluctance to return to the scene of her grief, she fulfills Sabrina’s final request to plan a series of Christmas events for the kids. Over the course of A Month of Miracles, Ryland and Jennalyn discover there’s the light of hope at the end of grief’s dark tunnel. But it may not be enough to heal her broken heart.

Find Nikki's Books at:
Samhain: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/her-miracle-man-p-7067.html
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Her-Miracle-Man-ebook/dp/B009VLBBIE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351709608&sr=8-1&keywords=her+miracle+man

Find Nikki at:
Website: www.NikkiDuncan.com
Twitter: @NDuncanWriter
Facebook: N Duncan Writer

And be sure to check out her blog party that ends this week. There are some AWESOME prizes still to be won.

What other questions do you have for Nikki? Pick her brain.
 

November 27, 2012

Wearing the Crown at the Plotting Princesses: J. L. Hilton on her book Stellarnet Prince

The Plotting Princesses welcome J. L. Hilton
and her new book, Stellarnet Prince!

Now, on to the good stuff and dishing the dirt.



How did you get from your day job to writing romance?

I still have a day job. I homeschool my girls, ages 8 and 12. I've also been a professional jewelry designer for more than ten years, and I continue to do that. Not as much as I used to, but I do.

Over the years, I'd produced a little fiction and a lot of non-fiction – short stories, newspaper articles, columns, that sort of thing. I was content with jewelry as my creative outlet, and in 2008 founded a jewelry artists' collective called the Triangle Jewelry Makers. In 2009, I contributed three projects to the book Steampunk Style Jewelry.

I had no desire to become a professional novelist. But in May 2009, I woke up from a dream and had a story in my head that wouldn't go away. It consumed me. I wrote it down, had a few people read it, and they urged me to publish. So here I am.

What are your three favorite books of all time?

Les Miserables, Jane Eyre and Vanity Fair. I'm also a big fan of the collected works of Yeats, Dickens, Shakespeare, Poe and Doyle. I love classics. I'm reading the collected works of Elizabeth Gaskell right now.

Morning, afternoon, or evening person?

Evening to very early morning. If I could, I'd stay up until 3am or 4am and sleep until noon. Lunch would be my breakfast. My body is just made that way. I've tried to force it into a different schedule without much success for 40 years. I can do it if I have to, but I function much better when the sun is down.

Music--with or without? What kind?

I have a whole music page on the Stellarnet Series website. ( http://www.stellarnetrebel.com/music/ ) I can't listen to music while I write, but it helps when I'm plotting, outlining or composing a scene. I use it to get into a character's head or into the mood of a scene, then I turn it off and write.

I associate the interstellar news blogger Genevieve O'Riordan with songs such as “Stars” by Switchfoot, “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin and “Written in the Stars” by Blackmore's Night, because this is a story about her traveling into the stars and finding her destiny there. For the alien rebel Duin, I listen to traditional Irish songs such as “The Rising of the Moon” and “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” or the modern songs “Hero” and “If Today Was Your Last Day” by Chad Kroeger/Nickelback. I know there's a lot of Nickelback hate on the Internet, but I care more about lyrics than a band's popularity. They are songs about taking action and trying to do the right thing, which is perfect for Duin. For the outcast Belloc, some of his songs are “Home” by Depeche Mode and “When You Say You Love Me” by Josh Groban, because those are songs about loneliness, longing, and finding a place to be. 

I listened to “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge a LOT while writing Stellarnet Prince. For me, this song expresses the heart and soul of the story. If there's a theme song to sum up the first book, Stellarnet Rebel, it would have to be “You Raise Me Up,” because at its core it's a story about how the choices we make can either lift up or tear down our fellow beings. 

First or third POV?

The Stellarnet Series is third person. The main POV character is Genevieve “J'ni” O'Riordan, but some chapters are written from the perspective of the aliens Duin and Belloc. In book two, a few chapters are also written from the perspective of a Tikati alien named Kitik and a Glinnish alien named Eb.

How's tricks? Do you juggle multiple projects?

I currently have six – seven? do I hear eight? – WIP, including a weird west supernatural, an alternate history/fantasy adventure, a series of erotic sci-fi novellas, and a first-person POV urban fantasy. The third book in the Stellarnet Series is the one I'm focused on right now, but the others drift in and out on occasion.

What's harder: beginning, middle, or the end?

Definitely the middly bits. When I begin a new story, I tend to write one or two of the chapters very near the beginning and a climactic scene near the end, then I fill in what happens between. I've compared my process to the underpants gnomes on Southpark. “Phase 1: Collect underpants. Phase 2: ?. Phase 3: Make profit.” Part 1: Interstellar blogger meets alien freedom fighter. Part 2: ?. Part 3: Well, I can't tell you that without major spoilers!

Revisions: Love 'em or hate 'em?

Love love love 'em and my editor Alison Dasho. That's where the magic happens.

How did you come up with that title? 

My original title for the first book was Asteria Colony. Now, I can't think of it as anything but Stellarnet Rebel. It's an awesome, utterly perfect title. I wish I could take credit, but it came from my publisher, Carina Press. They pulled it from a list of words my editor and I sent them which included “stellarnet” (what I call the future Internet that spans several stars, planets and moons) and things like “spacepunk,” “metalscape” and “technorebel.”

Best advice anybody every gave you?

About writing, or life in general? For life in general: “Unless it's yes, it's no.” It was given in the context of relationships, not to stay in one if your heart – or the other person's – isn't in it. But it can apply to a lot of things. I guess it's sort of like “follow your heart” or “don't cast your pearls before swine.” Go in the direction of your enthusiasm, and don't waste time or effort on those who are indifferent to you.

For writing: “Stop using so many adverbs. It should be obvious from the dialog whether it is sad, angry or hopeful.” lol

Fill in this blank: My ideal fictional hero would think me gorgeous no matter… if I had bed-head, ears, small eyes and no color on my back. Genevieve O'Riordan is beautiful by humanity's standards, thanks to her genetic modifications, but the Glin don't have hair or ears. They have large, dark eyes and coloring on the back halves of their bodies, like frogs. Beauty transcends physical characteristics, for my heroes.


What's your favorite dessert?

Black and white cookies (aka half moon cookies). You just had to bring them up, didn't you? Where's my car keys...

Do you write at home or someplace else?

I usually write on a laptop in my bedroom. But I did write portions of the Stellarnet Series at Tir na nOg Irish Pub and on thriller novelist Andrew Britton's couch.

What's your favorite type of hero/heroine and why?

Flawed heroes who can't seem to get a break (Edward Scissorhands, Phantom of the Opera) or anti-heroes who aren't afraid to break the rules (or a few heads) and flaunt convention in order to do what's right and protect their own (V for Vendetta, Firefly). Belloc is a little bit of the former, Duin is a little – ok a LOT – of the latter.

Blurb from Stellarnet Prince (November 2012) published by Carina Press:

An otherworldly love. Human blogger Genny O’Riordan shares two alien lovers: Duin, a leader of the Uprising, and Belloc, the only surviving member of the reviled Glin royal family. Their relationship has inspired millions of followers–and incited vicious anti-alien attacks.

A planet at risk. A Stellarnet obsessed with all things alien brings kidnappers, sex traffickers and environmental exploitation to Glin. Without weapons or communications technology, the planet cannot be defended. Glin will be ravaged and raided until nothing remains.

A struggle for truth. On Earth, Duin discovers a secret that could spur another rebellion, while on Glin, Belloc’s true identity could endanger their family and everything they’ve fought for. Have the Glin found true allies in humanity, or an even more deadly foe?


Links:


Giveaway information: http://jlhilton.com/giveaways/

November 20, 2012

Plotting Princess Vicki on The Holiday Reel Turns

The Holiday Reel Turns

I have many favorite Christmas movies; however, there's some that are a little different and would like to share a bit of them.
a favorite holiday shot of mine


Millions. Takes place during the euro conversion in England (yes, I know. Didn't happen in England.) Two brothers find a duffle bag filled with pound notes and have a field day spending and sharing, only the robber is trying to get it back. Poignant moment: The youngest brother, who talks to various saints, is wondering if his recently deceased mother is a saint. There's an awesome scene where he is reunited with her, and he asks what she's done to be considered for sainthood. The mum says, "Don't you know? It was you." I cry every time.

Stalag 17. Set in WW2 at Christmas time. There's a spy in the American unit and he's giving secrets to the Germans. Is the bad guy who everyone thinks he is? A superb performance by the entire cast, and particularly, William Holden.

November 15, 2012

PP for the day! Paty Jager & Secrets of a Mayan Moon

We're lending a tiara to Paty Jager today!
Read thru to the end because she has a fantastic giveaway!


Paty, how did you get from your day job to writing romance?  I had a critique partner who saw a new small press publisher was starting up and she urged me to send Marshal in Petticoats to them. They contracted that book and nine more.

What are your three favorite books of all time? Oh,man! Nora Roberts’ MacGregor Christmas- it opened the door to romance books to me. LaVyrle Spencer’s Hummingbird- It made me want to write historical western romance. Sue Grafton’s A is for Alibi- This book made me want to write mysteries.

Morning, afternoon, or evening person?
 Morning I’d say, though my husband would beg to differ. I have a hard time getting out of bed before the sun is shining. I’m pretty good in the afternoon, but by evening I want to curl up with a book or watch a good tv show and not tax my brain.

November 13, 2012

Michelle Miles: What are your holiday traditions?


The holidays always seems to sneak up on me, even though I know they’re coming. And then I’m annoyed Christmas stuff is up in the storesbefore Halloween has even come and gone.

I suppose that’s a tradition in itself. We know the decorations are going up before we take the kids trick-or-treating, we still grumble about it. I like to carve pumpkins every year for Halloween and decorate the house with all the fall stuff I have. We usually buy mums that die in a week or two. This year, I had a fog machine for added effect whilst handing out candy.

I have a neighbor a few doors down who put up Christmas decorations around the first of November last year. They’re the first one on the block to get their decorations up. Maybe that was their goal – to be first.

November 8, 2012

Plotting Princess Kat Baldwin has thoughts about Brainstorming 101

Brainstorming 101

Hiya! I’m a Pantser (a writer who plots by the seat of her pants). So what am I doing hanging out with Plotting Princesses?  I’m here because they’re my friends and this is a fabulous group of women, but also because I love to brainstorm with other writers. It’s fun! I love brainstorming other authors’ plots.

So, let’s talk about brainstorming. Please excuse me if my psyche background comes burbling out, but this is a really exciting topic for me. Let’s look at the brain.

Everyone knows about right brain and left brain functions.


But there’s much more to it than simply accessing your right-brain. This simplistic view fails to explain true genius or creativity. Here’s how it really happens. Suppose a wild idea pops into your mind, it takes analytical brain functions to apply it to anything useful.



November 6, 2012

Apathy and Passion


It's election day and while I don't want to make this message about politics-too mean and nasty, I thought maybe a reminder about why we vote was a good topic for today. I promise you I'm not going to tell you which party you should vote for or who's the better candidate. Please, unless you've been on a remote island with no access to radio and TV, you've heard that song and pony show for over a year. Politics is like religion-your choice.

So why should you go vote today? Because we live in a democracy that depends on the people making the decision on how they want their government run. Maybe I'm naive, but my going to the polls and casting my vote, tells the government who I want running our government.

If people don't vote, then you let everyone else make the decision for you. Your voice is not heard and well, frankly, in my book, you have no right to complain about the government. Because "We the People" in our constitution is all of us and we create the government.

November 1, 2012

Blog: Amy Rogers-Is Writing a Novel Like Giving Birth?


I’ve been blessed with both of these experiences in my life and I do see some parallels. One important difference: my children were born with the temperaments God gave them.  The characters in my stories, however, are entirely within my power.  I can make them into whatever kind of person I want.


Amy Rogers


In my debut novel Petroplague, I used my God-like power to create a heroine I’d love to meet in real life. Christina Gonzalez has the two kinds of strength I admire most: strength of character and strength of intellect.  She’s smart (working on her PhD in microbiology at UCLA) and she knows the difference between right and wrong. The scientific work she’s doing—using bacteria to increase domestic energy production—is supposed to be a good thing.

Until an eco-terrorist sabotages her field test and a microbial monster is born.

In Petroplague, Christina’s creation mutates.  Her bacteria start to eat gasoline and turn it into vinegar.  They swiftly contaminate the fuel supply of Los Angeles, paralyzing the city and forcing a quarantine of the entire region.  At first Christina hides behind her youth and guilty feelings and lets her elders handle the situation--until she’s the only person left who has the power to save Western civilization.

October 30, 2012

Halloween Hauntings by Karilyn Bentley

Happy Halloween! I love this time of the year. While it's not my favorite holiday - that spot goes to Christmas - it is definitely up there in second place. What's not to love about leftover chocolate candy? We all know Halloween is a special time for kids - and some adults - to dress up and go around begging for treats, but do you know how the traditions started?

Halloween has its history in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced sow-en). Samhain is a celebration of the end of harvest season and the upcoming winter. November 1st was their New Year's Day. October 31st was New Year's Eve for the ancient pagans and it was on this day that they believed the walls between the world of the living and the world of the dead thinned, allowing the deceased to come into the world of the living and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. A bonfire was part of the Samhain celebration.

October 25, 2012

WHO DOESN'T LOVE A GOOD SCARE? by Kathy Ivan

It's getting close to that time of year where we all love a good scare. It's become something of a ritual to scream on Halloween—the more bloodcurdling the better. Tales of terror have been passed down for millennia about ghouls, ghosts and goblins inhabiting the dark places, waiting and watching for the perfect opportunity to frighten the unsuspecting.

As kids who didn't sit around telling scary stories? Maybe it was around a campfire with other teens, darkness all about except for the flickering of the firelight and the deep, dark shadows surrounding you. Remember the one about the man with a hook? Tell me you didn't scream when it was being told and somebody tapped you on the shoulder. Maybe it was a slumber party, a sleep-over with your friends, sitting around in your PJ's, the lights dimmed and one person held the flashlight under their chin, telling a spooky ghost story.

October 23, 2012

Blog: Jillian Burns-Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

Never Give up! Never Surrender!

That quote from the movie Galaxy Quest has always stuck with me.
Like most people, I’ve had some adversities in my life to overcome. An abusive boyfriend, the loss of a baby, teenagers… (hey, don’t underestimate the heartache they can cause)
My mother used to say “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.” That quote, from a popular song when she was a child, was her generation’s version of “Never Give up, Never Surrender.”
And sometimes we all have to choose, when we’ve been beaten down by life, whether we’re going to pick ourselves up and start over, or whether we will surrender.
Being a writer puts that choice to the test almost daily. Whether you’re published or pre-published, challenges are ready to knock us down. It could be a scathing rejection (or any rejection) from an editor or agent. It might be a scene you’re working on that’s just not coming out right, or it could just be life interfering with your writing time.

October 18, 2012

Blog: Vicki Batman-Why Can't We Go on Forever?

Discovering An Author, then... 

Many years ago, I'd browsed my local Half Price Books and picked up a book to read: Maeve Binchy's Light a Penny Candle.

I'd seen the movie, Circle of Friends, with Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver, and loved it. But HPB didn't have a copy of that one for sale. Instead, I picked up Light a Penny Candle, read the back cover blurb, and said, yeah, I could read this. The book was pretty hefty, too, but not intimidated. Since I'd devoured Gone With the Wind several times, I knew I could whiz through this one.

I went to a conference with Handsome and hadn't had much opportunity to read. When time to leave, we were standing outside of the resort's entryway, waiting for the airport shuttle. I had the tome cradled in my arm. A woman--obviously, a book lover--leaned over and said, "You'll love this book. It's a three hankie one."

Three hankie? Oh, dear. Was it too girly and weepy?

On the plane, I began the book and quickly, became engrossed. I found it to be thoroughly engaging. I totally immersed myself in the characters' lives, and when over, did need a tissue. That's rare.