Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Sidebar ~ Are We There Yet?

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 8:10 AM
8 comments Links to this post
Are we there yet? How many of us have uttered those words at one time or another? On a recent road trip to Dallas with my family, I know they crossed my mind at least a dozen times. Because, let's face it, whether you are counting the miles, checking off days on the calendar, or simply standing in line, waiting sucks. But what, after all, is the human experience, if not a waiting game? We all spend our lives in anticipation of the next big milestone or event, so why is it some people smile through experience while others grumble and complain? My theory is, the happy people of this world have learned to make the most of the wait.
That's easier said than done, I know. Two hours in the DMV can feel like a life sentence in solitary confinement, while that same amount of time in the cue for that for the roller coaster you are about to board is spent in excited anticipation while making friends with those around you.

So, which am I, the smiler or the grumbler? Before being diagnosed with breast cancer, I admit I was a bit of both. Believe me, every second spent waiting to rid myself of the tumor was excruciating, but the experience also taught me to appreciate every moment, to chase after every new milestone and enjoy the pursuit for the adventure it is. 

This week, my book, Gift of the Realm, has finally shown up in the coming soon section at The Wild Rose Press. I'm stoked, but I'm not there yet. I still have weeks more to wait, and so much more to do and learn before my release. However, I choose to look at the hours spent on promotion and marketing like time in the cue for that roller coaster, and not a life sentence in the DMV. 

That attitude, my friends, is my wish for you. Are you there yet?

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Behind the Book Mania ~ Author Spotlight on Jillian Chantall

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 8:05 PM
21 comments Links to this post

Hiya folks, so glad you could stop by. My friend, Jillian Chantal has embraced the mania today to tell us a bit about herself and her title SEBASTIAN'S SALVATION. And she's brought along a free copy for one lucky commenter. So without further ado, help me welcome the lovely and talented Jillian Chantal. 

Hi there, Jill. Thanks so much for visiting today. What was the germ of the idea behind Sebastian's Salvation?

I wanted to write a story with a less than perfect-bodied hero. I also wanted to write an interracial relationship. I combined both in Sebastian's Salvation.

I'm impressed. Writing can be difficult enough without adding extra challenges. What is the first book you remember loving?

A tome of The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes. I learned to read at an early age and was reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by the 3rd grade. I carried that book everywhere.

Holy cow! 3rd grade? I guess you've always been an overachiever. So, where is the oddest place you’ve ever pulled out a book?

Good question and I really don't know an answer to this one. I read in all the normal places, like the loo and airplanes but I'm also very social so I can't see myself pulling out a book at a college football game like someone I know did. 

Ahem. I’m not going to say anything, other than, I love that you say loo! That’s so European! Anyhoo … Most authors begin writing because they love to read. Is this true of you and if so, did you write your first book because you were inspired, or because you thought, hell, I can do better than this?

None of the above. LOL. I wrote a lot as a pre-teen and teen. Then I went to college and law school and other things took precedence. I returned to writing as a way to decompress from a high-stress job as a lawyer. I found writing fiction helped my active mind wind down and kept me from fretting about the next case.

Yep, overachiever. I feel so unworthy! Okay, besides a critiquing partner, is there someone you let read your ms before submitting?

I have a beta reader who I have do a read through of the story to see if there are plot holes or if it doesn't hold together. She's super and a big reader.

Hmmm. I need to get me one of those. Which of the characters you’ve written most resembles you, and why?

I've only ever written one lawyer heroine and she is definitely a part of me. My paralegal read the story and said she could totally hear me saying some of the things Evangeline says. This story is not out yet but is being shopped right now. It's a romantic suspense on an international scale.

That's so cool! I've never written myself into a character. Can you say booooring? What is one thing your readers would be surprised to learn about you? 

I have a great sense of adventure. I love, love roller coasters and I have been skydiving. It's a super experience.

Oh gosh. I'm with you on the roller coasters, just did my first free hanging one last week in fact. But skydiving? I would hold your coat for you ... on the ground. You're nuts! Tell us a bit about Sebastian's Salvation?


Three lives intertwine—a former Green Beret, now a painter of nude portraits tormented by the death of his comrade, an earl’s daughter, and a crazed stalker. Will the acts of the stalker force the soldier back into the life of violence which he sought to avoid?
Sebastian Hughes, wounded on a mission in Afghanistan, discovers a talent for painting nude portraits while in a rehabilitation center learning to walk again after losing part of his leg. He becomes the toast of London society and women clamor to be painted by him.
Lady Joanna Gresham, nursing a broken heart and used to getting what she wants, sets her sights on having her portrait painted by Sebastian. Once she meets him, she wants him for herself. She pursues him, intent on winning him. What she didn’t count on was a stalker who wants to harm everyone Sebastian holds dear.


 Joanna Gresham passed Margaret in the hallway of Bast’s building. Margaret carried a saddle under her arm.
Margaret stopped her and hitched the saddle to a more comfortable position. “You one of the many?”
“Many what?”
“Clients of Bast’s?”
Joanna shook her head. “No. But I’m thinking about it. I was at his show last night and am very impressed.”
“With the man or the artist?” The woman smiled coyly
“The artist of course.” Joanna stood tall and looked down her nose at the impertinent woman. The nerve to ask me such a thing. As if I’d be interested in a hoodlum.
“Don’t have to get huffy, Lady Joanna. All the women in town are swooning over the man. Some are even commissioning portraits just to tempt him with their bodies. No harm meant.”
Joanna ran her hands through her hair. “Sorry. Just moody, I guess.”
“No problem. Enjoy your session.”
“I don’t have a session. I’m just going to talk.”
“Good luck then. I think you’ll like Bast. I gotta go. Late for a practice run.”
“Good luck with practice. Ta, Margaret.” Joanna waved good-bye and approached the door to Bast’s atelier. Why am I so nervous? He’s just a man I want to hire. Why should I feel so skittish?
Joanna knocked lightly on the door.
The door burst open, and the man asked, “What did you for—”
He stopped short. “Uh. Sorry, I thought you were Margaret, come back for something she forgot. She always leaves something behind.”
“Is that why you were already at the door?”
He smiled. “Yeah. I give her about three minutes after she leaves to come dashing back. I thought I timed it right.” His smile got larger.
Why does his smile have to be so spectacular? He’s gorgeous even with that scar across his face. “Sorry, it’s just me. I’m not sure if you remember—”
“Of course, I do. You’re the lady in the alley, the one that needed no help with her aching feet. Come on in.” He opened the door wider to allow her access to the loft.
Once they were inside, he showed her over to a client chair. He took a seat behind the desk, leaned across the top, and asked, “What can I do for you?”
She put one hand on the desktop and scraped her nail across the surface. “I was at your show last night—”
“Yeah, I know. I saw you, remember?”
“I recall.” She frowned. Was the man determined to make her feel stupid?
“Sorry, ma’am. I didn’t mean to interrupt you. Go on.” Bast nodded his encouragement.
“I was thinking I might want a portrait of myself. Your work is impressive. Very tasteful. I know it seems like I’m just jumping on a trend, but I really am in awe of your abilities.”
“Thank you, ma’am. I appreciate it. I’m a little full right now. The show last night garnered me a lot of commissions, and I’m afraid I don’t have time to add one more person to my schedule. I’ll be glad to put you on the waiting list.” He pulled a pad out of his top drawer.
She stood, and the chair teetered and fell back against the wall. “I know what you’re doing. You jerk.”
He leaned back in his chair and looked at her. His face showed no emotion. “What’s your problem, Lady?”
Lady? You say it that way because you know who I am? You think you can be a sarcastic bastard to me?”
“Ma’am, you came in here, didn’t introduce yourself to me, and now you’re offended? I can’t figure that out. All I said was I have to put you on my waiting list. How you think that’s something offensive, I don’t know.” He sat forward in the chair.
She glared. “I’m Lady Joanna Gresham. I don’t do waiting lists.”
He stood up and walked around the desk to her. He got in her face and said, “I don’t do snobby Ladies. So, I suggest you get out of my studio.”
Joanna pushed his chest. “I just bet you don’t do ladies.” She looked around and took in the whole room and nodded toward the fainting couch under the window. “I bet you do the ladies right over there.”
Enraged, he grabbed her arms and shoved her against the wall. He pressed against her. “If I wanted to do a lady, I’d do her right here against this wall.” He lifted her off her feet as if she was no larger than a toy doll and pulled her over to the other client chair. He sat in it and pulled her on top of himself. “Or here in this chair.”
She jerked off his lap and stumbled backward. “How dare you touch me, you arrogant—”
“What? Black bastard? Is that what you want to call me, your white holiness? Lady Joanna Gresham that doesn’t do waiting lists? Huh? Huh? That what you want to say?” He stood up.
She continued to back up. “You’re crazy. You know that? You’re insane.”
He stalked toward her. “And you’re all alone here with me. A crazy, scar-faced, big black man who isn’t intimidated by a title. Now, what are you gonna do?”
“I’m leaving.” She flounced toward the door.
Just as she got to the door and opened it, he slammed his hand on it and shut it. His body leaned against hers. He pressed against her and whispered, “I bet you always leave. When the going gets tough and you don’t get your way, you leave. Right?”
He let go of the door and stepped back. “Thank you for coming by, ma’am. I’ll be sure to not add you to the waiting list.”
       She jerked the door open and left.
Mmmm. Sounds like a couple of handfulls. That always makes for a fun read in my book. Thanks so much for visiting, Jillian. Before you go, where can we find you? And Sebastian’s Salvation?

Visit me on the web here:
twitter: JillianChantal
Book trailer: youtube

Don't forget to leave your email address so Jillian can contact you in case you are her winner today.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Sidebar ~ Top Of The Morning To You

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 9:07 AM
3 comments Links to this post

     In this melting pot we call America, unless you've recently arrived from far away shores, you probably claim a mix of fascinating heritages. But every year on the 17th of March, every American carries a bit of the blarney. The day's historical and religious roots aside, to me, St. Patrick's Day represents that uniquely American phenomenon where peoples from all over the world stand together as one. Whether you thrill to a river running green, set up your lawn chair to cheer on a local parade, or gather with friends to swill green beer, today, like me, you're Irish.
     Considering the divisive world we live in, figuratively linking arms to celebrate the joy of life doesn't happen nearly enough. Ah, if only every day were St. Patty's Day. 
    This year, my Irish heritage has brought me many blessings. My dream of becoming a published author is about to come true, with two titles to be released in the coming months. Gift of the Realm is a fantasy romance, appropriately set in an Irish village, while That Dating Thing is a humorous contemporary taking place in New York. 
(Yes, I know. Shameless plug. *wink*)

     But, I've also reached four years of survival this year, and my oldest son and his lovely wife presented me with my very own leprechaun. Now I ask you, who needs a pot of gold when they are greeted each day with a smile like this?
     So, my friends, as you search for your own pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I offer you my favorite Irish blessing:

May those who love you, love you,
and those who don't love you,
may God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
may He turn their ankles...
So you'll know them by their limping.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Behind the Book Mania ~ Author Spotlight on Georie Lee

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 9:56 PM
10 comments Links to this post

Hiya folks,

Please help me welcome my friend and fellow Wild Rose Press author, Georgie Lee. She’s brought along her new release, A Little Luck, just in time for St. Patty’s Day.

Welcome, Georgie.

I'm thrilled you stopped by. Great cover, by the way. And that’s no blarney. *sorry, it’s the Irish in me – wink* Can you give us a little tease? 

On St. Patrick’s Day, the last thing paralegal Lisa Brennan needs is another lawyer in her life, but when handsome attorney Daniel Wilson shows he’s a sweetheart in an industry of sharks, she’s intrigued. Daniel is impressed by the pretty paralegal and her desire to succeed despite a bad job, but with the pressure of running his own firm, does he have time for a relationship? Thrown together in the jury pool, Lisa must overcome her prejudices about attorneys to trust Daniel and get lucky in love.

I love it! What was the germ of the idea behind the story?

A Little Legal Luck takes place during jury duty on St. Patrick’s Day and I got the idea while I was doing jury duty. I was sitting in the jury room, looking around at all the different people when I began to wonder, “What if two people met here?” I wanted to write a holiday story and the idea of two people getting lucky in love during jury duty seemed perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day theme. 

Yep, typical writer. Every experience offers literary opportunities. What is the first book you remember loving?

Watership Down is the first book I remember loving so much that I read it more than once.  I enjoy post-apocalyptic stories and this one has such great characters and such a different kind of post-apocalyptic sense about it that I was drawn in and it has never let go.

Don’t you love when that happens? Nothing like a great book. So, where is the oddest place you’ve ever pulled out a book?  

I always take a book with me to the doctor, which isn’t odd except for when I realize how many times I’ve read while sitting in a paper gown.

LOL *humming Just a spoon full of sugar…* Most authors begin writing because they love to read. Is this true with you and if so, did you write your first book because you were inspired, or because you thought, hell, I can do better than this?

I’ve always been a writer but I’d written poetry and screenplays. I’d enjoyed some small success with poetry but screenwriting success was proving a little more elusive (OK, a LOT more elusive). I’ve always been a rabid reader and so I thought to myself, heck, I can write a novel. So I did. The first draft wasn’t pretty, but I learned a lot during the revision process. That story went on to become Lady’s Wager, a Regency romance and my first published novel.

Wow! Screenplays? Just the thought is scary. Besides a critiquing partner, is there someone you let read your ms before submitting?

My husband always reads my manuscripts. He provides a fresh perspective on the story and helps make sure my male characters act and sound like men.

That must make for some interesting conversation around the dinner table. What author influenced your writing style the most?

I tend to draw from classical authors for inspiration. Oscar Wilde is great for witty dialogue, D.H. Lawrence for introspection and W. Somerset Maugham for compelling stories.

Some great literature there. Okay, here’s an easy one, cats or dogs?

Dogs. They’re loyal, cuddly and great at cleaning spilled food off the kitchen floor.

LOL yes they are. Tell us a little about your writer self.

A dedicated history and film buff, Georgie Lee loves combining her passion for Hollywood, history and storytelling through romantic fiction. She began writing professionally at a small TV station in San Diego before moving to Los Angeles to work in the interesting but strange world of the entertainment industry.

Her traditional Regency, Lady’s Wager and her contemporary novella Rock ‘n’ Roll Reunion are both available from Ellora’s Cave Blush. Labor Relations, a contemporary romance of Hollywood is currently available from Avalon Books. Mask of the Gladiator, a novella of ancient Rome is now available from Carina Press. Look for her novel of love in the golden age of Hollywood from Avalon Books in 2012.

When not writing, Georgie enjoys reading non-fiction history and watching any movie with a costume and an accent. 

Where can we find out more about you and your books, Georgie, and where can we find A Little Luck?

Social Media Links

A Little Legal Luck
By Georgie Lee The Wild Rose Press

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Par-Tay Time! ~ Readers, This Is Your Lucky Day

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 6:35 AM
2 comments Links to this post

Lucky Days Free Par-Tay
March 14th-18th!

Discover over 40 amazing ebooks: Romances, Thrillers, Mysteries, Humor, Fantasies, and more!
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My Cheeky Angel
(1st book in the Angels with Attitudes series)
Mimi Barbour

  Annie is naïve and love-starved, she’ll soon to be celebrating her big 3-0. Something needs to be done! Celi, her ‘down-to-earth’ guardian angel appears to help kick-start Annie’s big change—her looks, her job, her whole life. By taking a managerial position with a sophisticated shoe manufacturer, Annie becomes embroiled with her new associates and hooked on the power of big business. Unfortunately, her exhaustion from overwork forces her to ignore old friends, and her lapse places someone she cares about in terrible danger.

 Tyler, a Social Worker and a woman-hater previously hurt in two relationships, only wants Annie in his life as a good buddy. Oh yeah! And to help with his mixed-up street kids. Perversely, once her life alters, he misses her like hell.  In one sweet night of loving everything changes. But, due to an overabundance of nightcaps, she doesn’t remember the night he can’t forget.


Every time he closed his eyes, a strange image of Annie in trouble took on such realistic tendencies it seemed surreal. Sick of his own company, Tyler decided a walk would do him a world of good, clear his head, and help to get his mind off his tomboy gone rogue.
Once the idea appeared, it became a fixation. No choice, no dragging his feet, he had to get out of his apartment. Either he needed hallucination treatments or a curt, gravelly female had taken up residence in his brain and urged him to hurry and get his butt moving.
The elevator, not ever on his floor, awaited him with the door open and no one else inside. He shivered. Strange and stranger! The ride down lasted only seconds. When it slowly opened, a nightmare unfolded. One look at his Annie clinging to her evening’s escort and his rage superseded common sense. Without thought, he ripped her from the scumbag’s groping fingers and shoved the conceited-looking, puffed-up character against the wall. All Tyler’s six feet two inches of anger intimidated. He watched the coward evaluate, then shrink back.
Within seconds the smooth prick spoke. “Anna had a bit too much to drink. I was seeing her safely home.”
“Not a problem. I’ll take her up,” he growled. By this time, Tyler had a supportive arm around the wobbly woman. He looked down at her. “Say bye-bye to your date...Anna.” His spitting out her newly chosen name would have set worry bells ringing, if she’d been in her normal state of mind. Blitzed out of her head, she just jiggled her fingers and said, “Bye-bye, date.”
With everything happening so fast, Tyler knew Annie hadn’t had a chance to fully appreciate the change in her situation. One minute she was leaning drunkenly against the slimy character whose hands were all over her body, while her unfocused eyes gazed at him adoringly. The next minute, Tyler had taken over.
As the elevator doors closed, leaving Sergio shrugging off his disappointment, a fuming Tyler lifted Annie into his arms.
At ease, Annie wrapped her arms around him, snuggled her face into his neck, and then sighed. His familiar expensive cologne, one of her gifts that he regularly used, seemed to soothe her. “I love how you smell.”
His anger fled the moment he became aware that she sniffed at him like a small kitten. His legs almost buckled when he felt the tip of her tongue lick him, and then press a tiny kiss over the wet spot.
The groan started deep, frustration forcing it out, chasing away his righteous snit. At her door, he lowered her to her unsteady feet, but she refused to unwind her arms from around his neck. They clung, her body glued to his.

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday Sidebar ~ How Do You Decompress?

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 5:00 AM
2 comments Links to this post
One of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten for dealing with the crazy wild stress of living in the modern world is to 'Stop, and take a deep breath'. That advice has proven golden since entering the world of publishing. Deadlines and edits, not to mention social networking and promotion, are enough to make my head spin most days, and employing deep breathing exercises while staring at my overloaded plate is easier said than done.

My solution - run away - figuratively speaking. 

Since I life in Arizona, and there is no beach nearby, hubby and I head for our 'compound' (don't ask. LOL) on the side of Mt Graham when we need to decompress. The views are spectacular, the air fresh and crisp, and internet service is spotty at best, requiring a mile long ride on a quad to make the connection. 

I admit, the challenges involved don't keep me from succumbing to temptation and logging in occasionally, but sitting beside a dirt road on the side of a mountain with my laptop open can't compete with the grandeur surrounding me. I quickly lose interest in what awaits me at home and remember to breathe. (These are a couple of the hundreds of pics I've taken) Can you blame me? 

This weekend I've run away for a much needed recharge. I'm breathing deep, enjoying time with friends, and tipping a few adult beverages. What about you? Do you have a favorite getaway or a decompressing technique that keeps you sane?

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Behind the Book Mania ~ Author Spotlight on Vonnie Davis

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 6:02 AM
18 comments Links to this post

Hiya folks, thanks for stopping by. 
If you don’t know my guest today you are in for a treat. One of the first authors I met when I stumbled into the world of publishing, I was humbled by her generous spirit of friendship, especially considering how very talented she is at the keyboard. I actually won a copy of her title ‘Storm’s Interlude’ in a contest and gleefully sat down to read. I couldn’t put it down. As a survivor myself, I was enthralled by the premise and the way the heavy issue of a cancer battle was balanced so tastefully with the heart pounding, steamy romance. So, pull up a chair and help me welcome my friend and fellow Wild Rose Press author, Vonnie Davis.
Happy Thursday, Mac and ALL you lovely book lovers. We’re moving into Spring, the energizing time of the year. Don’t you just love it? The white magnolia tree at the corner of our front porch is blooming, and I am thrilled, especially since we had snow on Monday. Mac, thank you for opening your blog up to me, so I could share my writings with your readers.

My pleasure, Vonnie. I’m stoked that you’re here. Can you tell? *grin* So, what was the germ of the idea behind Storm’s Interlude?

Often a snippet of a visual enters my mind. With Storm’s Interlude, it was a woman driving on a deserted road at night and a man, wearing nothing but a cowboy hat and boots walks toward her. I mentally saw this snippet five or six years before I began writing the story. There are several such snippets filed in the dusty recesses of my mind.

And what a snippet it was. Great opening scene. What is the first book you remember loving?

A book about an intelligent crow. Don’t ask me the title. I was in second grade at the time.

You’re forgiven. I can’t even remember being in the second grade. Where is the oddest place you’ve ever pulled out a book?

A zippered compartment in an empty suitcase.

So, that is where that book went! LOL Besides a critiquing partner, is there someone you let read your manuscripts before submitting?

I belong to a writers’ group and am the red-headed stepchild because I write romance and not literary works. I suffer through having my work torn apart, often crying on the way home. Consequently, I share only scenes I have concerns about, say those with several characters in it. I’m always worried I’ll confuse the readers with multiple people speaking. Fortunately for me I’m married to a writer and a protective one, at that. As people are making comments, he puts his arm around me and whispers words of encouragement. When he feels I’ve had enough or can see the steam coming from my ears, he speaks up. “If you’re through hanging my wife on the cross, tell her something positive about her writing.” One lady once quipped she saw nothing redeeming in my writing. Calvin has yet to forgive her. <grins>

*grinning back* Calvin sounds like a keeper. I would have been tempted to smack the critical cow. Oh, you weren’t finished. I’m sorry, proceed.

The only person who gets to read the entire manuscript is my agent. She does a line-by-line edit, asking hard questions like “why is she reacting this way?” She makes me delve deeper into my characters’ psyches. We go back and forth with the manuscript two or three times before she feels it’s ready to “shop out.”

So, cats or dogs?

We have a cat, Jazzie Miles Davis, known as Baby Puss for short. I’m not saying he’s spoiled, but he has his own Twitter account and often tweets that he needs people to send him snacks. Calvin grumbles because the cat has more followers on twitter than he.

I’m with Calvin. Out-tweeted by a cat is too embarrassing to be born. *Whispers, You go, Jazzie!* Since first becoming published, what was the biggest ‘Woot’ moment you experienced?

My first review. I cried. All writers hope their book will be enjoyed, perhaps even loved, but we carry so much self-doubt about our work—at least I do—that when someone says they love it, we are truly astounded. Talk about “warm and fuzzy”? Oh yeah!

Nice! But wait, I don’t like to think about potential reviews and you can’t make me. Think of something else, Mac. Oh, I know, what is your typical writing session like?

I’m retired, so I am free from so many obligations other writers have like children still living at home and/or outside job. I write every day. The first few hours are spent answering emails and visiting blogs. Then I read over what I wrote the day before, making little tweaks, and then I move forward.
Twice a week Calvin and I take a writing day. We go to Bob Evans for breakfast. The waitresses there know us and hook me up to an IV of coffee. I’ve dedicated a book to them for all their kindnesses. I write while Calvin reads the paper and fiddles on his iPad. We spend a few hours there and then move to a coffee shop where I log in a few more hours of hard writing. Then on to a restaurant for supper and I write there, too. 
I often tell the story about writing my first sex scene in a restaurant. I was deep into the moment with Storm and Rachel. Our waitress was refilling our glasses of iced tea. “What’cha writin’?” Before I thought, I told her I was writing a sex scene. “Oh?” She stepped behind me and began reading over my shoulder. “Oh my.” Her breathing got heavier. “Oh my gawd.” She leaned over me to get a closer eyeful of my scene. “Lawd, have mercy!” She bustled off. Later I was at the dessert bar and overheard our waitress talking to her co-workers. “I’m telling you she was writing hot, up-against-the-wall sex.” My ego balloon puffed up. “…and she was OLD, too.” Ego hisses out of balloon.

Oh my God, you have me laughing so hard. Having read that scene, I have to agree with the up-against-the-wall sex, but I hope you didn’t leave her a tip! Best advice you were given concerning your writing?

Calvin told me to write what I enjoy reading and to keep writing. The more one writes, the better they become.

Yep, Calvin’s a keeper. Tell us a little about Storm’s Interlude please.

Nurse Rachel Dennison comes to Texas determined to prepare her new patient for a second round of chemo. What she isn’t counting on is her patient’s twin brother, Storm Masterson. Despite her initial attraction, Storm has two things Rachel can’t abide: a domineering personality and a fiancée. Half Native American, with the ability to have "vision dreams," Storm dreams about Rachel for three nights before her arrival. Both are unprepared for the firestorm of emotions their first encounter ignites. Ultimately, it is Rachel’s past—an abusive, maniacal ex-boyfriend—that threatens to keep them apart…and Storm’s dreams that bring them together again.

I mentioned earlier a visual snippet I got several years ago. Here’s how I turned it into the beginning of my novel.

Someone swaggered out of the moonlit night toward Rachel. Exhausted from a long day of driving, she braked and blinked. Either she was hallucinating or her sugar levels had plummeted. Maybe that accounted for the male mirage, albeit a very magnificent male mirage, trekking toward her. She peered once more into the hot July night at the image illuminated by her headlights. Sure enough, there he was, cresting the hill on foot—a naked man wearing nothing but a black cowboy hat, a pair of boots and a go-to-hell sneer.
         Well, well, things really did grow bigger in Texas. The man quickly covered his privates with his black Stetson. Rachel sighed. The show was evidently over. Should she stand up in her Beetle convertible and applaud? Give a couple cat calls? Wolf whistles? Maybe not.
          She turned down the music on the car’s CD player. Sounds of crickets and a lonely bullfrog in the distance created a nighttime symphony in the stillness of this isolated stretch of country road. Lightning bugs darted back and forth, blinking a display of neon yellow glow. 
            The naked man strode toward her car, and Rachel’s heart rate kicked up. Common sense told her to step on the gas, yet what woman wanted to drive away from such a riveting sight? Still, life had taught her to be careful. She reached into her handbag and extracted her chrome revolver. Before he reached her car, she quickly slid her gun under the folds of her skirt.
Just let him try anything funny—I know how to take care of myself.
           Both of his large hands clasped his hat to his groin. His face bore annoyance and a touch of chagrin. “I need a ride.” By his bearing and commanding tone of voice, she guessed the man was used to giving orders and having them followed.
         Her eyes took a slow journey across his face. Even in the moonlight, she could see traces of Native heritage. His shoulder-length ebony hair, too long for her tastes, glistened against his bronzed skin. Proud arrogant eyes sparked anger.
Because Rachel believed in indulging herself, she allowed her eyes to travel over his broad shoulders, muscular chest and tight abdominal muscles. She saw a thin trail of dark hair starting below his navel, knowing full well where it ended, and fought back a groan. Her eyes slid back up to lock on his. “You need a pair of pants, too.” Knowing her voice hummed with desire, she cleared her throat, hoping the naked man hadn’t noticed.
He looked up at the sky for a beat. “Just my freakin’ luck! A birthday party gone bad, and now I’m bein’ ogled by some horny kid with damnable blue eyes.”
What the heck was wrong with her eyes? She quickly glanced in her rearview mirror and saw nothing amiss. She narrowed those “damnable blue eyes” and sneered. “Look, buster, I’m not the one prancing around Texas naked as a jaybird. I’ll have you know I’m hardly a kid.” She glanced down at the black cowboy hat. “And, furthermore, stop hiding behind that big ol’ Stetson. From what I saw, a French beret would do the job.”
There, let the arrogant fool stew on that while he strutted back to whatever rock he crawled out from under. She slammed her car in gear and sped off.
She swore she wouldn’t look in her rearview mirror. Nope, she would not look. Like a magnet emitting a powerful homing signal, her eyes slowly slid to the glass surface. He was standing where she’d left him, his Stetson tilted back on his head, his hands fisted on his narrow naked hips and his mouth moving. He was no doubt cussing her out.

*Snickering and thinking I should have passed out fans at the door.* Well, Vonnie, where can we find Storm’s Interlude, and you?

Wild Rose Press;
I blog at Vintage Vonnie and would love to have you sign up as a follower.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Beauty is Backbone Deep

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 10:28 AM
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Liberty Blake, author and one of my new friends at Still Moments Publishing has opened up her blog to allow me to share my epiphany moment on the value of beauty. For a quick smile, stop on by at LibertySpellsBlogspot

See ya there!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday Sidebar ~ Justifying My Love of 'Justified'

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 8:55 AM
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As I do with a good book, when I'm entertained in other mediums, I just have to share. I don’t watch a lot of TV per se, unless it’s one of those true life crime shows like The First 48, Cold Case Files, or City Confidential (OMG don’t you just love the narrator’s voice on City Confidential? His name was Paul Winfield, and he died in 2004, but I could curl up on the couch and listen to him for hours in those old episodes.) Sorry, I digress.

As a romance writer, I’d rather curl up with a good book than watch bad TV and as I said, I don’t watch a lot of fictional shows. However, I did enjoy The Sopranos, in an odd, cringing sort of way, and several years ago, hubby and I happened upon another HBO series, Deadwood. If you’ve never seen it, you missed one hell of a ride. The language shocked the crap out of me in that first viewing but the characters were fascinating, and the acting so brutally believable, it wasn’t long before we were both hooked. Unfortunately, like The Sopranos, Deadwood was cancelled without warning.

Months later, I happened upon an advertisement for a new show on F/X. Timothy Olyphant, who played the quick-tempered—and ruggedly gorgeous—sheriff in Deadwood, had a new roll as US Marshal, Raylan Givens in 'Justified'.  I was thrilled, and what woman would blame me? I mean, come on.  A modern day cowboy with subtle, southern manners and a killer smile, swaggering through Harlan, Kentucky, doling out his brand of 19th century justice? What's not to like? 

But there is more to Justified than hottie Marshal Givens, though he is the picture of a romance novel hero in this writer's opinion. Like all good thrillers, in Justified, the big picture is not all black and white. The story lines are intriguing, pushing the envelope occasionally—A villain swallowing poisoned moonshine when she knows she's caught, our hero, pummeled by a baseball bat while dangling by his boot from a tree (don't worry, Raylan escapes) and blackmail through organ harvesting. The action is fast paced and often brutal, and the cast of characters complex. And the ladies aren't left out. The women of Harlan hold their own. Last year's villain—she of the poisoned moonshine—Mags was one of the meatiest rolls for a woman I've seen in years. 

So, how do I justify my love of Justified? I don't, of course. Like a southern-mafia soap opera on steroids, Justified stands on its own.

Now that you know my taste in TV, is there a show out there you would suggest I check out? 

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Behind the Book Mania ~ Author Spotlight on Ceri Hebert

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 8:04 PM
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Hiya folks,

Ceri Hebert has embraced the mania. Ceri is a new friend of mine and the author of multiple titles, including Yesterday's Tomorrow from Still Moments Publishing. As some of you may know, I just signed with Still Moments for my second title, and have met some lovely, talented authors there, including Ceri - but enough about me. Ceri has consented to indulge my curiosity by answering a few questions.

Ready, Ceri? (Thrilled to have you here, by the way.) First, what is the first book you remember loving? 

The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander and the series of books about a horse called Bonnie by Barbara Van Tuyl were my first favorite books (sorry, I can’t pinpoint just one). My first favorite romance novel was Skye O’Malley by Bertrice Small. 

That's so funny. I cut my 'romance' teeth on Skye O'Malley, reading the entire book aloud to my girlfriends on one of our many beach days when I was eighteen or so. In string bikinis, we all shared Skye's romantic adventure, and ended up with sun poisoning. The memory still makes me smile. Where is the oddest place you’ve ever pulled out a book? 

Don’t think it’s too odd, but I would always bring my Nook to the gym and read on the treadmill.

Smart. That makes the chore of working out easier, although I wouldn't know from experience. I'm exercise challenged. Don't like to sweat, and all that. Ahem. So, most authors begin writing because they love to read. Is this true with you and if so, did you write your first book because you were inspired, or because you thought, hell, I can do better than this? 

Definitely because I was inspired. I started writing when I was a pre-teen so I didn’t have any of those “I can do better than that” moments back then, though I often do now. I started to write because I was (and still am) a daydreamer. I write about lives that I’d love to have (for the most part). I’m also shooting for that Happily Ever After for my characters, the way I want to see it.

Thank God for daydreamers. Without them there would be no books! Besides a critiquing partner, is there someone you let read your manuscripts before submitting? 

I have a friend I met over the internet a few years back who has been a huge help. She became a big fan of mine with my story Sweet Forever and now I send her stuff all the time to read. She points out what works and doesn’t work and gives me all sorts of great ideas. I’d be lost without her!

Oh, I love hearing things like that! Friendships are the joyful beat of a happy heart. Tell us about your road to publication. Was it a hair-raising, pothole ridden mountain pass, or a well-tended superhighway?

A pot-hole mountain pass that meanders through little towns, turns back on itself, loops around detours every which way. As much as I yearn for well-tended, my life as it is now isn’t conducive to well-tended.

LOL Life would be boring without a bit of chaos. A writer claiming a favorite book is like choosing between your kids, but do you have a favorite character? And why? 

Wow, that is hard. My favorite character hasn’t been published yet, but of my published characters I’d have to say Krista in Where One Road Leads. Life dealt her a crappy hand one night and she spent years paying for it. Still she had the strength to go home, try to set things right and face down the people who blamed her for the tragedy that really wasn’t her fault. She’s strong, but we can see her insecurities.

Strong yet vulnerable, the perfect combination for a compelling romance heroine. Tell us a little bit about Yesterday's Tomorrow. What was the germ of the idea behind the story? 

I often wish that I could go back in time and do something differently, but if I did how much would my current life change? For the better? For the worst? I thought it would be an interesting premise for a story.

And you were right. Very, It's a Wonderful Life - ish. We'd love to read an excerpt.


Bob’s white noise machine put me to sleep. The sound of girly laughter and chatter dragged me out.

“Turn the TV down, Bob.” I curled up in a fetal position and pulled my blanket up so just my nose poked out. I refused to open my eyes, not ready to face the day.

“Bob? Bob Weidner?”

That voice didn’t belong in my room.

Why would the television say my husband’s name? I opened one eye just a crack.

My heart did a drum roll.

I opened both my eyes a little more.

Very realistic dream. My heart continued a heavy beat. Interesting. From headaches and dizzy spells to hallucinations. I sucked in my breath to steady my unraveling nerves. This, I wasn’t ready for.

Someone shuffled past my bed.

Bob getting ready for work.

Please let it be Bob getting ready for work. I fisted my hands against the blanket, pulling it up to my chin, as if a lifeline to reality.

“Can you start the coffee?” I mumbled against my pillow and bit my bottom lip, waiting for the reply. Waiting for my husband’s voice.

“Start it yourself.” The voice, far too feminine, far too exasperated to be Bob’s continued. “What’s going on with you and Bob? Please tell me you’re not sleeping with him.”

My breath choked in my throat. I couldn’t have been out of bed quicker if someone lit a ton of dynamite under my mattress. My feet hit a cold wooden floor, not the thick, luxurious carpet they were accustomed to.


I hadn’t lived in a place with a bare floor in twenty years. The cramped room was wrong. The tiny, disheveled bed more wrong. Even the smell struck me as all wrong.

A heavy veil of perfume hung in the air. Nothing like that existed in the penthouse, which, except for the sachets in my drawers and the linen closet, was void of any kind of scent.

“What is your problem?” The person who was not Bob asked, and her brows rose.

My problem? Where in the world did I start? I swallowed quickly and tried to speak, but my throat went unbearably dry. I croaked like a frog.

I stared into the startled face of Sarah LoCaste, one of the girls I had shared an apartment with twenty some odd years ago.

Oh, yeah. That would shake up your morning. I've so enjoyed getting to know you a little better, Ceri. Before you go, where can we find you, and your books?

At my homepage/blog 
Twitter- @CeriHebert
Yesterday's Tomorrow is available at Still Moment's Publishing

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