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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's Eve


I’m hooked to Discovery Channel show, Everest: Beyond the Limit.


I can almost hear you asking, “Why is this blog-worthy?” Well, first of all, I’m TERRIFIED of heights. I have severe trouble dealing with a steep flight of stairs. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon and barely survived the Tower of Terror (ride of death) at Disney World but more about these events, and others, in a minute.

I have a mental list of things I want to do in my life. Many of them I am lucky to have already achieved. A few years ago I researched a trip to Everest. Now don’t get me wrong, actually climbing the mountain NEVER crossed my mind but travelling to Nepal would be the bomb. And how harrowing could “base” camp be, right? Doesn’t “base” conjure up images of “low”, “at the bottom”, “a place to start”? I learned that base camp is 17,500 feet above sea level, higher than any place in the US. One does not just go there on a whim. One must train and be in top physical condition. Okay, probably not the best trip for a person who can’t walk across the street some days!

But my fascination continues, and after watching 5 episodes of the show the other night, I understand why. It is a breathtakingly beautiful part of the world that few people have the pleasure of visiting. Those who set their sights on making a summit attempt focus on what most people would consider an unattainable goal with a passion that defies description. They push themselves physically and mentally to have a chance to stand at the very top of the world.

Despite mind-numbing fears, I’ve walked 500 feet or so, on a way too narrow trail, down into the Grand Canyon. I’ve ridden the amusement park ride that raises and drops thirteen stories. I’ve climbed the stairs in the Tower of London. I’ve stood on the upper deck of a cruise ship and looked down at whales in the ocean. I took a giant leap of faith and submitted a manuscript to a publisher.

My wish to all of you in the New Year is that you conquer your own Mount Everest.
Tessie

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Day

New Year’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year. Absolutely nothing happens at my house and I love the sense of peace. New Year’s Day feels like a clean slate. If my goals from the previous year were not achieved-who cares? I revise my goals. I always make some modest goals that can be implemented by February and at least set in motion.

January is my favorite time of year to do something new and beneficial to my health and my family’s health. I try to add something to my regime that makes me feel like I’m adding to the quality of life. This is a great time to learn and try healthier recipes, get more sleep or get out doors more often with my family for some natural light.

It’s also time to let go of things. If its not beautiful, useful or necessary-I ask myself should it go to someone else? This goes double for my closet.

My resolutions for this year are:

Enjoy more movies and get out to more live concerts.

Spend more time being silly and stupid. This is one goal I can easily achieve! Lol

Let people talk but not get caught in their drama. I’ll just enjoy the human drama and be a sounding board.

Be a bit more loving toward people who are hard to love-this goal is abstract because it applies to some folks I’ve never actually met.

Whenever possible give someone else a little encouragement or hope.

Happy New Year everyone! May 2010 be a wonderful year for all of us.

XXOO Kat

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Up to my Eyeballs

I'm very busy this week. I'm under tight deadline for a Valentine's short due the 1st. Working on revisions to resubmit to my editor and editing my three book series Shea Manor to submit. Last week I wasn't able to do ANY writing. I thought being on vacation would provide lots of time - HA!!!! I hadn't accounted for the lack of shopping I'd done to that point. DH and I were out all day and night, every day until Christmas Eve.
We've been reflecting on how poorly we managed our preparations this year. We're usually very organized. The kids had an enjoyable holiday, as did my mom. She travels to our house every year and spends about a week here. Being her only child she misses having me and her grandchildren close by. I'm trying to talk her into moving here in the spring. My FIL even jumped on the bandwagon. He provided her with a ton of information for places to live. Gotta love the man! :)
This year I'm not making any New Year's Resolutions. I never stick to them. 2009 was good to me and I'm hoping 2010 is better. While I hoped to see 10 contracts, I only reached 8. LOL I know that's terrific as far as I'm concerned. I'm shooting a little higher this year and hoping for 12 and while I'm at it I'm aiming for an agent and/or publishing contract from a "print" publisher. Those are my only 2 writing hopes for 2010.
Other than that I'm wishing for health and happiness for all my family and friends, especially my online friends who have supported me this past year. I adore you all!

Happy New Year!!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Different New Year's Resolutions

Photo: "T"eresa'sphotostream/Flickr
Standard New Year's Resolutions:

1. Lose weight.
2. Make money.
3. Lose weight.
4. Write more.
5. Lose weight.
6. Find a better job.
7. Lose weight.
8. Exercise

Crap. Don't you get tired of vowing over and over again to follow your New Year's Resolutions...but maybe you never actually do?

How about some realistic resolutions, ones you can do for yourself that might involve others.

1. Get more sleep. I'm usually up late at night because it's the only time people don't "need" me for something. Then, I get up early. Raccoon eyes aren't attractive. More sleep is needed so I'll have to go to bed earlier or get up later...or take a nap during the day.

2. Try new restaurants. Yeah, we all have our favorites, but how many good places have I missed because I've gotten into the same "Let's go here...it's my favorite" rut?

3. Learn to say no. I have a horrible time doing this. Everyone around me seems so "needy" that I usually cave in and "help". Then, my time is shot to hell. As an organizer, I'm programmed to "fix" everyone so their lives run smoothly. Guess what? People still screw up no matter what my "suggestions" are. Saying "Figure it out. Sorry I can't help" should be my mantra.

4. Write names on the back of old photos before no one can tell me who they are. As a baby boomer, I have to rely on my mother for the names of unfamiliar faces in photo albums. I need names and hopefully some dates so I'll have these family memories to pass on.

5. Spend more time with older relatives to record their family stories. My mother is one of two remaining siblings out of ten. My uncle has Alzheimer's. Only she can now recall stories of the past and I want to record them all. She's now 86. How much longer can I put this off?

6. Watch an old movie once a week. Just picking out one "oldie but a goodie" movie to watch and remember once a week will reconnect me with the past. Some of the classics I haven't seen in decades.

7. Sorta like #6...read "old" books, not necessarily romance books. I can't remember the last time I read a classic like "Little Women".

8. REALLY de-clutter my home. I've got tons of stuff, some from my kids, still lurking in my basement and around the house. I need to go through, room by room, and decide to get rid of stuff I haven't used in the last two years. Note to self: Say goodbye to unused items/those I no longer use at all.

9. Go to a theatre and see a movie once a month. I don't know about you, but I only get to see one or two movies a year. I just don't make an effort to go to a theatre. Why not? Why don't I treat myself and go with my husband?

10. Say "please" and "thank you" more often. I'm guilty of getting into the habit of expecting things to be done and forgetting the pleasant feeling I can give someone with a simple "thank you". Saying "please" will make a request seem less like a command. I will stop taking people and what they do for me for granted, and remember to use the good manners I was taught as a child.

Happy New Year!

Marianne/April
www.mariannestephens.net
www.aprilash.net

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Welcome Guest Afton Locke and her new release


Feeling COLD this winter?
Heat up with a fire elemental fairy and some HOT WAX.

Candelabra by Afton Locke available now!
Genre: paranormal/light BDSM with elemental fire fairy
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing
eBook ISBN #: 978-14199-26525
Buy Link: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8038-candelabra.aspx?skinid=11
video trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF1Jmpx38sM
Tandy travels to Scotland’s Loch Enya castle to attend a BDSM convention she hopes will overcome her control-freak tendencies. When Bryne pulls her into his room of fire, she fears she’s stepped into the lair of a crazy man. But as he mesmerizes her and sears her with his hot passions, she consents to a BDSM session of hot wax play that turns out to be the most intense journey of her life. Entrusting her body and mind to him might heal her, but the elemental fire fairy has an agenda of his own that threatens to consume them both in flames.
Here's a tempting taste:
Excerpt (Rated X):
An Excerpt From: CANDELABRA
Copyright © AFTON LOCKE, 2009
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

“Are you ready, Tandy?” Bryne asked.

“Yes, Milord” she replied in a small, hesitant voice unlike her own. “I think so.”

“I will test you first to make sure you can handle the wax the entire time I fuck you.”

The first drop of wax, a molten raindrop, landed on her lower back. Her breath hissed as her skin adjusted to the heat. After he smeared the hot puddle with his finger, a long pause followed.

The smell of hot wax filled the room. She felt so helpless with the hood on. She needed to see the tipped candle and falling wax. Every muscle in her body tensed with expectation of the next hot drop since she had no idea where it would hit next.

Another drop fell several inches to the right of the first. Since it was hotter, he must have held the candle closer. Without vision, her skin became her primary sensory organ and it was completely at Bryne’s mercy.

“You handled the test drops very well,” he told her. “Are you ready to proceed?”

Let’s get this show on the road. “Yes, Milord. It feels good and I want more.” Wax me. Wax me and fuck me already.

This time, several drops fell in succession from her back to her ass cheeks, making her gasp. The multiple drops were hotter than just one. While her skin smarted, she breathed through it. It almost hurt but not quite. Heat built in her abdomen, swelling her pussy even more than before. A rivulet of fresh, hot cream inched down her thigh.

“Your skin is so beautiful and pink,” he said, fondling the curve of her ass.

Her hips jerked when a large, hot drop landed just above the crease between her cheeks. She wanted more. She wanted to feel that hot wax drip down the groove all the way to her pussy to mingle with the hot juices there. Tiny spasms of pleasure kept her hips continually dancing as more hot wax dripped on her ass.

“You like that, don’t you?” he asked.

The sound of a condom packet being torn open tightened her pussy. Just when she expected another drop, the wet, heated head of Bryne’s cock nudged against her cunt.

WOWIE! Think I'm doing great new things with my candles tonight!
Ciao, bella!
Cerise

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Second Day of Christmas...


















Hope you are enjoying this Second Day of Christmas...


And since I won't be back to post until the day after New Year's, I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Well...the shortest day of the year is officially past, the Christmas season has truly begun, and the New Year is fast approaching. I love this time of the year, but I always have mixed feelings about it, since I always feel a trifle depressed by the short days and long nights, and I am always concerned about paying house taxes and all that stuff. It amazes me how all the big expenses manage to hit right around the holidays. BLECH!

There is always a bit of a let down after the kids have demolished the beautiful wrappings on the presents, and the big holiday dinner is still making me feel all puffy and lazy. I normally leave my tree up for a long time after Christmas, but I won't be able to do that this year because there are so many people stuffed into my little house, I need the room back! LOL!

Oh! Did I mention that I have to replace my furnace, too? Yep. It's truly depressing. Ah, well. Things will get better.

Hugs, and great wishes for the coming New Year.

Fran
http://www.franleeromance.com


Friday, December 25, 2009

Recipe One for the Holidays1


Chocolate Cherry Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
48 maraschino cherries
1 12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Mix together dry ingredients. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients. The dough will be thick. Shape dough into 1" balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten the center of each with your thumb. Put a cherry in the center of each cookie.
In small saucepan, mix chocolate chips with condensed milk and 6 Tbs. cherry juice. Stir till melted. Spoon 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. chocolate mixture over each cookie.
Bake at 350' for exactly 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas Eve!


We all have our cherished holiday traditions and for us the Eve is spent with my in-laws.

Back in the day, there would be twenty plus adults and kids, lots of noisy, wonderful chaos and tons of food. My father-in-law dressed up as Santa and handed out gifts. The party would go late into the night and then we'd go home and still have things to do to prepare for Christmas morning. It was not unusual for hubby and I to get only a couple hours of sleep before the festivities with my family started up bright and early on Christmas day.

Things are different now, in very wonderful ways, and I'm as excited as ever to get the holiday goodness started. Hubby, daughter, daughter's sig other and myself will arrive at Grandma and Grandpa's in the late afternoon. The house will be filled with the delicious aromas of ham and baked beans. Christmas music will be playing softly in the background. After lots of hugs and kisses (even though we get together very regularly and my mother-in-law and I are on the phone constantly), we will grab a beverage and go settle in the living room. We stopped exchanging presents a few years ago, and instead, we donate to our favorite local charities. We will tell silly stories, laugh a lot, eat until we're uncomfortable and then return to the living room, turn off the lights and enjoy the beauty of the Christmas tree. During this quiet time, we will share memories of loved ones who are no longer with us and talk about what we're grateful for. Inevitably, the conversation will mutate to raucous re-visitations of life's ups and downs, "secrets" being divulged and general hilarity!
I wish a very Merry Christmas to everyone!
Tessie


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Just in the "Nich" of time.

On the eve of Christmas Eve, I want to share some of my favorite Christmas lore with you. Much of this is already familiar but I love thinking about it this time of year.

Did you know the custom of ornately decorating Christmas trees is fairly new? It was an old German custom that really took off in Victorian times when Queen Victoria married the German Prince Albert and starting decorating Christmas trees for him. The first Victorian Christmas trees were fairly simple. Candles, glass balls and tinsel prevailed. Later, foil-wrapped nuts, candied fruits, small toys and angel or star shaped cookies crept onto the trees. Soon Victorian ladies were creating highly embellished tasseled and beaded needlepoint ornaments for their family Christmas trees.

Do you know why we kiss under the mistletoe? It’s a legend connected to an old Scandinavian myth. The beautiful hero-god Balder was killed by an arrow made of mistletoe. His mother the Norse Goddess Frigga was so distraught, she wept over the mistletoe until it bloomed with white berries in the heart of winter-a miracle. Her love and compassion brought Balder back to life. In gratitude for this miracle she promised to kiss and bless all who stood under the mistletoe.

The original Saint Nicholas was a wealthy, Turkish, only child orphaned by the plague in 300AD. He became a priest at the very young age of 17. He began to give his wealth away to the poor, especially children. He was rumored to surprise people by tossing bags of gold coins down the chimney or lobbing coins through open windows hoping they would fall in the stocking hung in front of the fireplace to dry… Sound familiar? He later became a Catholic Bishop and also a saint. This is why some early artwork depicts Saint Nicholas dressed in flowing Papal robes and miter. He was also strongly associated with the Catholic Church and when the Protestant Reformation came to England “Saint Nic” went underground. A new “Gift-Giver” and Father Christmas figure arose. This Gift-Giver wore a suit of breeches and tunic not unlike the long beloved “Green-Man” of Celtic mythology.

The familiar name “Santa Claus” is actually an American corruption of the Dutch name for Father Christmas, which was “Sinterklaas”

This season, no matter what religion you are, and regardless of how you may or may not celebrate the winter holidays, be conscious of the fact we are passing through history together and adding to the richness of the human story. The harshness of winter is a wonderful time to share our love and light with each other.

Merry Christmas and happy winter holidays to all.

XXOO Kat

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays



This is me on Christmas morning. I've been this way since I knew what Christmas and Santa were. My parents would sleep and I'd sneak out to the tree, stack all the presents in neat little piles for the three of us and wait. Like a good little child I'd check out all the cool stuff Santa brought, peek in my stocking, and anticipate what was wrapped.

As a new parent some twenty-two years ago I couldn't wait for my son to wake me up on Christmas morning all excited because Santa arrived while he was sleeping. That never happened! While most parents beg their kids for another hour - I always had to wake mine up. Not that they weren't excited about the holiday, they're just heavy sleepers. I'm hoping the grandbaby and new baby are different! LOL Either way I'll be up at the crack of dawn waiting!

This year I'm blessed with a house full of children again. Hope this holiday season finds you healthy, happy and full of many blessings!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Santa's Sexy Helper Brings You a "GIFT"!

photo: rockshots.com

Nothing serious this month. Just another fun blog with a Santa's Sexy Helper!

Whew! What a HARD time Santa's helper is having this year while trying to bring a special "GIFT" to all good ladies! This poor guy is so-o-o tired, he just had to settle down for a short nap. Lucky thing he found some grass clippings to keep him warm...plus, he's got on his Santa hat!

He worked very hard all year to buff up in time for the holiday season. Santa gave him a list of all the good ladies to visit and deliver his special "GIFT".

Are you on his list? I know he's not done bringing joy and fantasy happiness to all those listed, so maybe he hasn't made it to your door yet. If you've been good, then you know he'll be coming...and coming...and coming.

Those abs promise lots of hard muscle to run your fingers over. And those arms look strong enough to warm you on a cold night. Now those thighs...and what's hidden under the grass...hint at some mighty powerful action when stirred and focused on your pleasure.

How about a story of a Santa's helper who tries to visit all good ladies in one night? I wonder how many he could share his passion with and still have more to go around to others. Maybe he could take the month of December and get to a few thousand everyday. Surely there are that many being good who deserve his "GIFT"!

Wake up, Santa's helper! It's time to hit the road and bring a smile to the faces of all good ladies everywhere who are waiting for your "GIFT"!

Happy Holidays!
NOW IN PRINT: "Gone to the Dogs" by Marianne Stephens:
http://www.jasminejade.com/pm-7998-310-gone-to-the-dogs.aspx

www.aprilash.net
www.mariannestephens.net

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Well...only 6 days left to shop, bake, and drop!

Just think...only six more days...


Until the "big day"...and then another twelve days to the Feast of the Epiphany. On Christmas Day, we will officially begin the Twelve Days of Christmas!

When I was a kid, I had no idea on earth what the Twelve Days of Christmas were, and even though we went to church on Christmas and on the Feast of the Epiphany, I had not the foggiest idea what all this was. So what? Christmas was over...so what's the big deal here?

Then, one day when I was watching a Jet Li movie with Bob Hoskins, the man said, "And then I had me an epiphany"...and after 61 years of life, this old fart had her own epiphany! Talk about dense? LOL! I had only thought of "THE" Epiphany as a church holiday. A Holy Day. I had never once connected the word to something I could find in a secular dictionary. Whatta nit wit. Goes to show how oblivious we sometimes get, and how little we actually learn about things. An epiphany is a discovery, becoming enlightened. A sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something. And so, at 61, I had my own epiphany of sorts. LOL!

Of course, the celebration of the Twelve Days marks the night of Christ's birth, and goes to the day the three wise men supposedly arrived to pay homage. Of course, I already knew that it took far more than twelve days for them to find The Child. Historians state that it took more like one or two years for the the wise men of history to study the appearance of the star in the Heavens, and to follow it for months over land to Bethlehem. They would have arrived pretty close to his second birthday.

It is amazing to realize that in all the years I have lived, it took me into my later years before I actually managed to add two and two and come up with the Twelve Days of Christmas. All it took was a bit of research. And it now makes sense...and I can enjoy the tradition anew.

Since my next Saturday post will be made on the day after Christmas, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas. If you celebrate Chanukah, I wish you the most wonderful of holidays. If you celebrate Kwanzaa, I wish you love and happiness. If you celebrate Mithrastide or Yuletide, Here is wishing you a happy season.

God bless and have a wonderful week! I will be back on the Second Day of Christmas with my Two Turtle Doves.

Hugs!

Fran Lee
http://www.franleeromance.com

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Cookies.


Do You Bake?

My oven is busy this season. I've got cookies to bake for friends, neighbors, husband's office party, my office party...

Friday it was my gramma's melt-in-your-mouth cookies, chocolate cherry cookies and salted chocolate chips. Saturday I spent making chocolate sheet cakes and latkes - my nod to Chanukah, and today it's heart-attack bars and hand-dipped chocolate truffles.

Whoa. You might think I'm chocolated out, but, nah. I love the aromas that drift about my house this time of year - the tree, candles, cookies, cakes - it's all good.

Sooo - leave me a comment and let me know which recipe you'd like. Better yet, leave me a comment and email me at Julia@JuliaRachelBarrett.com and send me your email address and I'll send you a recipe - they are all old family recipes so you might not find them anywhere else. Tempted?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Number Crunching



It’s my birthday and I’ve been thinking about numbers as they relate to my life.

Back in the day, I had a plan. By age twenty five, I was going to be living in New York City, working for a big publishing house, making a name for myself as both an author and an editor. I figured I’d have a husband, maybe a kid or two and lots of money. I came close – divorced, no offspring, unemployed and living back with Mom and Dad in Michigan!

At age twenty nine, I had husband number two, one seven year old son and one infant daughter!
At age thirty six, I was told I had five years to live.

At age forty one, I had beaten the odds, but then lost both my parents within thirteen months of each other.

At age forty six, my husband and I renewed our wedding vows on our twentieth anniversary, my daughter headed off for her first year of college and my son got married on 7/7/07.

Today I’m forty nine. My daughter is in her third year of school. I have one granddaughter, who turned one in October. In a little over one year, I have three published books, and have made countless new friends. I’m about to celebrate my seventeenth year at the same job and my twenty third year with the love of my life.

Numbers are a way of marking life’s events, both good and bad. I’m looking forward to another forty nine years of counting!
Tessie
http://www.tessiebradford.com/

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

WIP-Wrecked!

I love this time of year. It’s so exciting to enjoy all that’s beautiful about the holidays but what I love best is the looming prospect of a New Year and fresh start. I have a lot planned for 2010.

This past week was especially introspective for me. My husband and son went away on a “Guy Trip” to the Yucatan peninsula for eight days. My husband needed to shoot some stock footage of the area and it’s archeological ruins. I’ve been many times. I love the Yucatan and I was tempted to go also but I decided to stay home and finish a WIP instead. I’m so glad I did!

I realized after the guys left the house-how many times an hour they interrupt me. We have a home-based business, so going to the office means crossing the yard or shouting across the house. This week was the first time since 2007 that I was completely alone in the house with peace and quiet. I loved it. I quickly finished one WIP and got out another. Finished that one and got out another… lol

I completely rewrote two short novels in one week adding 10K and 15K to each. I was shocked at how easy it was work without the usual distractions. It felt like enchantment. Typically with all the starting and stopping I do during the day, I’m delighted if I produce 1K.

It made me consider the possibility of planning a working vacation for myself in the future where I can go somewhere with a laptop and hide from my responsibilities. I don’t care where I go. I’ll be working anyway. It could be a hellhole and it wouldn’t matter as long as it’s a peaceful hellhole and no one needs favors or chores done -now.

Has anyone else had to resort to hiding from family, friends and clients or leaving home to get some writing accomplished? If you have, I’d love to hear about your strategy.

XXOO Kat

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Body Shots Available Today

Today is my seventh release this year! YAY! To celebrate I'm giving away a copy of Body Shots to one lucky commenter.
ENJOY!
Blurb:
Got Tequila?
Sierra does and Reed isn’t afraid to use it. He’s determined to do shots on every inch of her skin, but Sierra has insecurities preventing him from exploring intimate areas. Her insecurities won't stop her from lavishing his body with the heady liquor.
Ten years ago an accident tore Sierra Allen and Reed Walker apart. Now a chance encounter has them burning for each other. A bottle of liquor and a pool table has this duo ready to quench their thirsts with one night of Body Shots.
Will one night be enough to fan the flames of desire?

Excerpt:
Reed Walker leaned his massive frame against the wall. His leg bent, his boot-clad foot tapped against the wall to the rhythm of the bass drum. He stuffed his hands in his pockets, as his eyes gazed upon the singer crooning the soft rock ballad. She was gorgeous by every standard of the word. Long flowing black hair, dark mysterious eyes, her arms sleeved in tattoos. Dressed only in black leather pants and a matching leather bra, her rock-hard stomach revealed she worshiped the gym but Reed wasn’t here for the singer. She wasn’t his type any longer. Another time, another place maybe. Not tonight. Tonight, he was here for the owner of the bar.
Looking to make some extra cash doing something they loved, Reed and his fellow band mates decided to reunite after a ten year hiatus. Reed having always been the businessman of the group took on the task of going around to different bars and clubs to see if they were interested in adding his band Foul Play to the line up.
When he walked into Crimson Nights he thought he was walking into a dream. Never in his wildest imagination had he thought he’d come face to face with the only true love of his life—Sierra Allen.
The look on her face when he walked up to the bar and asked to speak to the owner was one of shock. Like seeing a ghost. And that’s how he felt. Oh, she’d cut off most of her long red hair but she couldn’t deny the scar on her right cheek. It had faded some over the years and she tried covering it with her hand most of the time they spoke but he knew it was her. She told him her name was Laura but Reed knew better. Those haunting green eyes couldn’t be mistaken.
He went along with her charade, though it killed him deep inside. She had run away from him after the car accident without so much as an explanation. The weeks he spent by her side, holding her while she cried over what she felt was a deformed face. The painful recovery from the shards of glass that cut her, when the windshield shattered. He stood by her side, loving her, wishing he could take away her pain. Wishing it was him who suffered instead of her, only to have her up and vanish when she was released from the hospital.
Now she was pretending she didn’t know him. It didn’t make sense. He’d let her go a long time ago but this time he wasn’t going to leave without finding out why. It was the least she could do. She owed him an explanation.
She shocked him when she agreed to let his band play. He fully expected a flat-out “no”. Why would she want his band playing there if she was hiding her identity? Was it a ploy to make him believe she was this Laura she pretended to be? Or was she feeling the connection too? If it was to prove her charade, she was sadly mistaken. Reed wasn’t stupid enough to be fooled by a haircut or name change.
Reed would wait until the night was done and the bar empty before he confronted her but he would and when he did, Sierra had some explaining to do.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Santa's Sexy Delivery Guy

photo: rockshots.com

This month I'll feature fun blogs with sexy guys! Nothing serious as I want us all to enjoy the season!

I asked Santa for a wreath, and look what he sent! Don't you just love the doves and that great big red ribbon??

Oh, yeah. The sexy delivery guy came with the wreath, but I decided not to hang him on my front door, too. I just KNOW I'll find some use for him, given enough time and experimentation to find out what good qualities he has!

Meanwhile, he'll help me decorate my house while wearing his Santa hat. Gotta have something on so he doesn't get cold.

Wearing just that wreath and hat makes me leery of letting him go outside. Now, you can't see it but he is wearing socks and shoes, so his feet stay warm. I've upped the temperature in my house to keep it...and him...toasty warm! Can't have a chilly guy around when I'm looking for heated embraces!

Here's another idea for a story. Every year, a woman asks Santa for a gift and it's always delivered by a sexy helper she gets to keep for a year. Wouldn't that be amazing if it actually happened? Just imagine how you could ask every year for something, get older, but have your delivery guys stay young and sexy?

Contact Santa today and start this year with your annual gift...and sexy guy!

NOW IN PRINT: "Gone to the Dogs" by Marianne Stephens:
http://www.jasminejade.com/pm-7998-310-gone-to-the-dogs.aspx

ALSO ON 14 DECEMBER - TODAY: BREATHLESS PRESS AUTHORS' ALL DAY CHAT AT:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DarkDivaReviews
You must join the group to chat with us!

Marianne/April

www.aprilash.net
www.mariannestephens.net

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday came and went last week and I totally missed it...
















Talk about brain dead...


I have been writing and shopping and writing some more and shopping some more. It's been a frenzied month, but I love the holidays, so I tolerate it. LOL!

I normally blog every Saturday on my two shared blogs, and totally spaced both until Sunday afternoon.

Blech!

Ah, well...the majority of my Christmas shopping is finished, and I am ready to put up my state of the art fake tree tomorrow...as soon as I find a spot for it that isn't filled with something else.

Having my son and his family living with me the past several months has certainly stretched us for storage space, and there are plastic storage bins stacked where the Christmas Tree normally goes. But we'll find another place for those boxes...the garage maybe? Or one of our several storage facilities.

Anyway, the tree will go up if I have to stick it on the roof. And my tree normally stays up until Easter. Too damn lazy to take it down? Nope. I love Christmas! Christmas is like a year-round thingy for me. I hum Christmas carols through July, and wait like a kid for the first snow to fall each year. Halloween? A couple of months until Christmas. Thanksgiving? Yay! Christmas is just around the corner! Valentimes Day? Bummer...a whole ten more months! Sheesh!

So enjoy your holidays, because I sure do!

Love, Fran


Friday, December 11, 2009

There is Superstition...


I admit it.

Superstition is my middle name. Yes. Julia Rachel Superstition Barrett. I won't walk under a ladder. I toss extra salt over my left shoulder. I knock wood. God forbid my husband should say something nice about the car because the minute he says, "Man, this car sure is running well..." Bam! The thing will throw a rod at 75mph on the freeway...in the mountains...at night...when it's 20 below. Been there, done that. Don't want to attract the evil eye!

My left sock goes on first and then my right sock. Then my left shoe and then my right shoe. If I'm tired or out of sorts and I accidentally put on the right shoe first, off it comes and on goes the left shoe. It just feels wrong. Obsessive/Compulsive much? Me?

On the other hand, black cats? No worries. The original warning about black cats - two of which live with me by the way, came from the days when certain groups of people thought cats to be familiars of witches or the devil and it was gray cats, not black cats.

Friday the 13th? Never bothers me. I was born on a Friday the 13th at five minutes to midnight and the obstetrician told my mother that if she was superstitious he'd write it on the birth certificate as five minutes after midnight - on the 14th. She said, nah. The 13th will always be good luck. So far so good. No one knows the true origins of the unlucky reputation of the number 13, but I suspect it has to do with a more pagan tradition of 13 lunar cycles during the year as opposed to the 12 months of the solar calendar.

What about you? You have a lucky day or number or charm?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Performance Anxiety





I was afraid of this happening!
I have no pearls of wisdom or funny anecdotes. I told my hubby I was going to blog about having nothing to blog about and he responded (lovingly) that it was a stupid idea. So let's see what I can come up with.
My writing is almost at a standstill. Last Sunday, the first day I've worked on my WIP for weeks, I sat at the computer for a couple of hours and produced barely 200 words of keepable material! I think about the story all of the time but it just won't move from my brain onto the pages.
I'm waiting excitedly for edits on my 4th book, Possessing Eleanor.
My Christmas shopping is finished, but I haven't done the Christmas cards yet. Over the last few years, I've hacked non-card senders off my list, so if I would sit down and do it, I'd be done in no time. Part of my problem is I think it's important to compose a little personal note to each recipient and...oh crap - my writer's block is messing with that, too??
My daughter comes home from college tomorrow, weather permitting, and she doesn't go back until January 10th. We will be spending a lot of time together because she'll be working in my office, helping me to catch up on all of the tasks I haven't had time for or wanted to do! She's been our summer and vacation intern for three years now, and I'm going to be in a world of hurt next year when she's off doing fashion design things instead of helping her mother!
Well, now as I read this over, it does remind me a bit of the famous sitcom "about nothing", but at least I typed something - YEAH, GO ME!!!!
I will try to do better next time. Enjoy a wonderful week of pre-holiday goodness!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Shifty Behavior"


Traveling the world is one way to gain insight about the little things we may be taking for granted within our culture. A good Shape shifters story is another.

At their best Shape shifters take us to a world where our own desires and values are magnified and reflected back to us. The males of the Shape shifter world are invariably fiercely masculine, protective and loyal to their mates. Commitment issues are never an issue for these rogue creatures once their true mate comes along, all doubt evaporates and it’s commitment unto death. Many authors have even written mortality causes into the deal-he literally will die of heartache without his mate.

That ought to keep him on a short leash. lol.

Of course this is a reflection of women’s deepest desire to have some iron clad guarantees in love. We can’t always have them in real life but a fictional romp can help us fill in the blanks or at least fill out a wish list.

But why the current trend toward ever-stranger pairings of lovers? Some of these wolf, dragon, and leopard paramours would have left our grandmothers gob smacked and bewildered. Is the guy next door that much of a let down? Apparently he is… Women are the vanguards of cultural shifts. Our minds and our hearts are open to change and our taste in fiction reflects that.

Some Anthropologist speculate early humans learned how to organize as a social group by imitating the success of their rival neighbors-the wolves. So does it follow that in a chaotic world where our every ideal and all of our social structures are under major reconstruction that Shape Shifters, especially wolves, should emerge as desirable partners? Wolf men, Leopard men and Tigermen -any warm-blooded predator will do just as long as he brings out the best within the human contract.

Are there any Bear shifters out there or is that too close to everyday reality? Would anyone even notice if some big, hairy guys “shifted” into Bears? Bear-men might sit on the couch unnoticed for hours…

Women are the real Shape Shifters. Look at what we’ve all been through. Look at the challenges we’ve faced. None of us are living in the same world we were born into. Our world shifted under our feet and we came out the other side as changed creatures who deserve some respect, loyalty and a social contract that favors us.

I think the core reason why this genre is so popular is because Shape Shifters of any ilk provide a steamy outlet for our newly revved up animal souls.

If you like Shaper-Shifters, what’s your favorite type of Shifter and why?

XXOO Katalina Leon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Deck the Halls


This time of the year is crazy for me, as it is for most everyone. This year I’m even more bogged down. My daughter and granddaughter showed up on my doorstep on Saturday. They wanted to “get away” from her MIL so she’s home until they can save for an apartment or until she grows sick of me! LOL


Now all my children are back under my roof for the first time in a few years. I’m having a wonderful time bonding with my granddaughter and she’s teaching me what it’s like to have a little one around full time again!

On top of the shopping, baking, wrapping and day job I’m promoting not ONE but TWO new releases this month. Believe me I’m not complaining. I couldn’t be happier. It’s my first release in almost five months.

I’m making the rounds on different blogs and giving away lots of books this month. It is the season for giving, right? :0)

So why not give away a copy of Heat Waves today? Yes, you say? LOL

Okay fine. One lucky commenter will receive a copy of Heat Waves. You can also purchase a copy at www.aspenmountainpress.com along with Mistletoe Studs, One Tasty Night and Talk Dirty to Topaz.

Happy Holidays!


P.S. If you’re looking for a big contest. I’m giving three ebooks and a gift card to either B&N or Borders to one lucky newsletter member this month, so sign up today for your chance to win!

Monday, December 7, 2009

What to Do With Triplet Sexy Hunks!

photo rockshots.com

My blogs this month will all be fun ones and feature hunks.

Work with me on this one. Fantasize that these are Christmas triplet hunks that I got as a present.

Hmm. What could they do for me? They look strong enough to do any heavy lifting I need done. Cheerful enough to keep me in a good mood. Just the right amount of clothing to catch my attention...you did notice the Santa hat and jingle bells hanging down their legs, right? How about the socks?

Or, did you just concentrate on the cute, red undies?

Maybe I could have one clean my house, one cook for me, and one... You get the idea. Being triplets, wouldn't they all give me the same satisfying service? Think about the fun I'll have, rotating them and their jobs.

But, who do I start with first? Sigh. Decisions, decisions.

I've never written a book about triplets, but these guys are giving me LOTS of ideas! Think about the women...or woman...they could satisfy.

Three at once. Could you handle that? Wanna try? If so, ask Santa for your own set of triplets. I think I'll keep these three!

www.aprilash.net
www.mariannestephens.net

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I'm collecting men

I have been collecting men.
For my inspiration. For my suggestions for covers for my books.
The file is growing and thought I'd share just one.
Did you notice how some men and poses just GRAB you? And you don't know why.
Here's one. I know why on this guy. The tattoo. The lean waist drifting down to yum-yum territory. Looking at guys like this is a reason I keep my very expensive gym membership. Lo, that I could be as attractive from the use of that membership, but hey! that is a different cat, oui?
The intriguing thing to me about this guy is that ordinarily, show me a guy with a tattoo and I say no thanks.
HERE?
Come on down, baby.
One other thing I MUST ADD is that I do not know where I collected this pix. And if you out there own the copyright on this and object to its use here, do know I will take her down. But in the meantime, we are all admiring your...artistic appreciation.
In the meantime, come on over to http://www.total-e-bound.com/ and buy my newest, a medieval romantica, AT HER SERVICE!
Come on over to my blog for excerpts on all my novels at http://cerisedeland.blogspot.com/
Ciao, bella!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Shameless Self-Promotion


As Garth Brooks Sings...


I'm shameless! I've got a new website up and I want to invite ya'll to come visit and sign up for my newsletter. I promise I won't inundate you with tripe. Just the occasional contest and announcement. Stop by!

http://juliarachelbarrett.com/

I also got a new title for my book with Siren - Captured - one word that describes the story and my heroine and hero to a tee - wait until you read this sci-fi romance! It is a joy. The first six people to sign up for my newsletter from this blog will win a free copy of the book when it's released.

So...short but sweet. Hope everyone's Thanksgiving was amazing, interesting, bountiful, hopeful and all good.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

So Many Books, So Little Space


I live in a house that is storage space challenged and I am an avid re-reader; bad combination!
Bookshelves struggle to hold the weight, as over-stuffed boxes clutter up tiny closets. Two stacks of books, new reads and old favorites, teeter on my bedside table. Now, don’t get me wrong, not every book is a keeper. Many go back to the used book store. With the amount of reading I do, this is necessary unless I want to pay for a storage unit!

My newest problem is e-books. I know it wouldn’t be safe for me to lounge in bed with my lap top. Almost every night, I fall asleep reading and I’d be really pissed if my computer dropped onto the floor as the books do when I drift off! So what do I do? If I order a book by a favorite author, I automatically print it. If it is from a new to me author, I read it first, sitting upright at my computer, and then decide if it’s print worthy. The piles of 8 x10 sheets of paper are beginning to take over! At first, I was using binder clips, but then, helpful hubby bought a whole bunch of plastic report covers, which work very well for the shorter books but not the longer ones. He suggested getting hard binders, but that makes them bulky and hard for me to hold.

I can hear you asking, “Why doesn’t the ninny buy an e-reader?” Well, there are a few reasons. I’m freakishly frugal (I almost typed cheap), technology challenged and stubborn! Being the head of the family’s budget department, I can’t justify buying something that only benefits me. And, there’s a strong possibility I’d buy the wrong one, or not be able to figure out how to use it properly, or God forbid, the little devil would crash and I would lose everything on it. And finally, I’m used to holding the printed pages in my hands. See, now we’ve arrived at just plain stubborn!

Would anyone like to help guide me further into the 21st century? What’s your e-reader of choice and why?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fuel For the Fire

My imagination needs a good soundtrack.

When I write I depend on music to provide the emotional fuel for fire.

It’s a bit of a paradox but I’m a highly visual person. When I write I try to hold the images in mind as if I were seeing a movie or directing a cinematographer. Dialog is script. I’m actually a bit stingy with my character’s dialog. I constantly cut them short and don’t allow them to finish a thought in its completion if a visual description or body language could be used instead. If the characters have any complaints against me they’ll just have to settle matters behind my back.

I also loop music and can listen to a single track hundreds of times in a row. I apologize up front to my imaginary people for putting them through this but it can’t be helped. That’s how I work.

I actually prefer to write my first draft in complete silence. I want to hear and feel any subtleties that might be trying to get my attention but after that I need music to finish to work. Love scenes are especially demanding. They require moody, complicated music even if the mood of the scene is playful and light.

While I was finishing “Noblesword” I chose Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite composer Bernard Herman. I looped the soundtrack to “Vertigo” and listened to it continually. The obsessive undertones in the music helped keep me in a rising sense of tension, especially the clicking castanet passage, which I played until the folks around me went mad.

I could not have completed “Blue Apples” without Ry Cooder’s gorgeous slid-guitar playing on the Paris Texas soundtrack. I must also give special thanks to Lou Reed and Daniel Lanois for graciously holding the space on that one.

This week I’m completing a long-belabored WIP that required I bring out the big guns of emotionally conflicted music. I won’t say the name of this soundtrack because I’m still working with it and this week it’s my lover.

It’s also true music that is moving to me may not please you at all. For a mental soundtrack to be a good match there must be a special alchemy of randomness, personal preference and the music’s emotional tone.

What I find interesting is the fact the music and the stories pair themselves in unpredictable ways. I do not go through my CD collection looking for something appropriate to listen to while I write. The music chooses me. I’ll hear it in the back of my mind while I write or wake up thinking about long forgotten music or as was the case with the current soundtrack, a casual friend on Youtube sent it to me at the moment I needed it most. I obsess on certain tracks until I have to go through the formality of buying the music or go looking for an old CD.

Does anyone else out there in the digital domain, obsess on or loop music while they write?

XXOO Kat

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Release - Heat Waves

My newest release Heat Waves will be available Friday December 4th from Aspen Mountain Press - www.aspenmountainpress.com

Here's a little taste of what you'll find between the covers!

Blurb:
Ever wonder about the face behind the voice of a radio DJ?
Nina Walters has. She can’t get enough of disc jockey Ty’s sexy baritone. He has her masturbating to his voice daily. When he challenges his listeners to a contest Nina wants the upper hand. Lucky for her Cindy, her best friend works at the radio station.
Ty is offering a dream date, with him, to one lucky winner. He’s almost positive no one will guess the answer correctly. So, when Nina does he’s floored. Being a man of his word, he goes through with the date.
Sparks fly, but secrets linger. Will their heat for one another be enough to ride the waves of deception?

Excerpt:

Nina struggled to keep up with him. She couldn’t imagine why he was ignoring her. She hung up on Cindy with no explanation. She needed to find out what was wrong with Ty. She watched him climb into the front of the limo. When she reached the door she pulled on the lever. Locked. She knocked on the black tinted window.
No response.
She knocked again, this time louder.
Still no response.
“I know you’re in there, Ty. Please come out and tell me what’s wrong,” she pleaded. Why was he ignoring her? What had she done? Besides waiting for him to come out of the bathroom, she thought they were having a good time. What changed his mind?
Jasper opened his door and stepped out. “Ms. Walters, let me get the door for you.” He opened the back door and waited for her to step in.
Crossing her arms she refused. “I’m not getting in until Ty explains to me what the hell is going on.” Her voice grew louder as her frustration mounted.
“Ms. Walters, please.”
She knew she was making Jasper uncomfortable, but she didn’t care. She couldn’t understand what was going on.
“I’m not moving, so either you have Ty get his ass out of the car and talk to me, or you can leave me here.”
Jasper closed the door and went back to the driver’s door, disappearing into the limo, leaving her standing there.
Just fucking great. Was he going to take her seriously and leave her? He wouldn’t would he? She didn’t even know what the hell was going on. This was ridiculous. Was he some kind of weirdo? Did he do this often? They shared an incredible day. What the fuck was going on?
She counted to one hundred and still no one exited the limo, but it didn’t drive away either. Maybe that was a good sign. She paced the length of the limo racking her brain. She couldn’t figure it out, unless.
Oh shit! Had he heard her conversation with Cindy? But she didn’t say enough to have him understand – had she? And besides, she continually looked over her shoulder to see if he was coming. Had he snuck up on her and listened to her private conversation? That would have been rude. But still, she couldn’t wrap her thoughts around what would make his so mad. She didn’t believe she said anything incrementing. If she did and he was pissed Cindy could lose her job. That would be the nightmare of all nightmares.
When she reached two hundred and still no Ty she went back to his side and knocked on the window.