Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas: Plotter or Pantser

Plotter or Pantser


Liberty Blake

          Thank you, Hannah, for allowing me to visit you and your friends. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered to win a PDF copy Christmas Treats #1 (Santa’s Naughty List). Please leave your email addy in the comment. Winner will be chosen on Saturday at noon.

          Are you done with all your Christmas shopping, or are you still searching for presents for Tom, Dick, and Mary? (The people you forgot until now.) Or are you still looking for the perfect gift for the ones you love the most? Or did you start your Christmas shopping with the post Christmas sales, last December and January?

          The real question is, when do you begin thinking about Christmas?

          Noelle Barnes, the heroine of Christmas Spirit, owns a different Christmas outfit for every day of December. She decorates and dresses for the holiday beginning on Black Friday. She is a Christmas “plotter”. She doesn’t have to camp out all night at the shopping mall; she’s had her friend’s presents not just bought, but wrapped and hidden away for months.

          In writing we use many terms to describe a person’s work style.

          A “plotter” is someone who plots out the story before ever typing in Chapter One.  These are the people who have their list of gift recipients in hand on December 26th and begin buying as soon as possible. Many are done with their entire list by Valentine’s Day and only have to worry about new additions. They even have the stocking stuffers locked away in a closet.

          A “puzzler” is a writer who writes scenes as they occur to her. A Christmas “puzzler” is the canny shopper who purchases the gifts as she finds them throughout the year.

          A “pantser” is a writer who sits his seat in the chair, opens up the computer and starts writing. A Christmas “pantser” is in the store on Christmas Eve begging a clerk to please find some uncrushed bows.

          Then there is the “plotster”. The writer who begins writing and then after she know where she is going with the characters and story works out the plot. The Christmas “plotster” camps out at the shopping mall and still ends up searching for tape and uncrushed bows on Christmas Eve.

          I began my Christmas shopping career as a plotster. Then one year, early in my career, I had locked the majority of my shopping into my mother’s car and returned to the store to help my grandmother. My mother had also loaded the car and returned to continue shopping. (with 12 children there were a lot to buy for). When we were finally finished with our shopping we returned to the car to find it had been broken into and emptied. They even took the four gallons of milk and the groceries from the back seat!

          I had bought my gifts for everyone that night. All my sisters and brothers, my other relatives, and all my friends. I had saved the money for months and everything was gone in one night.

          I couldn’t buy anything else. The ride home was silent, except for the sniffling. I went home, pulled out my knitting needles, and managed to create an assortment of hats, mittens, scarves, etc. I worked at a frantic pace. I even took my knitting to school. I was ragged on a lot, but  everyone on my list received a handmade gift from me that year.

          The next year I followed my Aunt Phyllis’s example and started purchasing gifts in January. That lasted one year.

          Every year I make the resolution to be either a Christmas plotter, or at least a puzzler, but it never works out that way. Sometimes I can’t find the gifts I have hidden, more often the cost of day-to-day living prevents me from keeping my good intentions.

          There are years when I have made everyone an afghan or a quilt. There was one year when I decided to make everyone afghans in December. I used supersized hooks and made the afghans. I finished the last one on Christmas Eve.

          This year, I once again have decided to make everyone gifts. I decided to do that two weeks ago when my laptop decided to take a two week vacation. Wish me luck with getting everything done. Although Noelle is well organized, I am definitely an unrepentant pantser.

No matter what holiday you celebrate, may the spirit of joy and giving fill your heart and soul.

Noelle loves to spread Christmas Spirit, not just to friends, but to everyone she encounters. You can read more about Noelle in Christmas Treats #1, Santa’s Naughty List.:


Cross a Christmas phobic male with a caterer with Christmas bells on...can she ignite the Christmas spirit in him?


What the hell had just happened? One minute he was in heaven tasting the sweet nectar of the gods. The next the little vixen was running down the subway stairs. Harry pulled his wits together and gave chase. The turnstile wouldn’t budge. He was about to jump it when a voice said, “I wouldn’t if I was you. It’s a serious crime to steal from the Commonwealth. Buy a pass if you want to ride the train.”

Harry turned to find a T officer standing directly behind him. The man pointed a nightstick toward a row of machines. “You can get one over there in the Charlie machines.”

Card in hand, he was back at the turnstile in time to see the train Elle had jumped on pulling away from the station.

Damn. He didn’t know her last name.

You can get your copy of Christmas Treats #1 from Still Moments Publishing Erotic Escape ebooks.

You can always find Liberty at:

(Please leave your email address in your comment. Winner will receive a copy of Christmas Treats #1 (Santa’s Naughty List).




Monday, October 31, 2011

Introducing Greg Ballan author of HYBRID series

Happy Halloween to everyone in cyberspace!!!!  A special thank you to Hannah Howell for the great privilege of guest blogging on such a fun night.
Before I begin; a few quick notes about me.  Confession number one, I am not a romance writer.  I’m a Science Fiction / Horror writer which is appropriate for the given date.   When I’m not trying to launch a full time career as a writer I support myself and my family as a contractor for the United States Air Force.  I am privileged to work with the most wonderful men and women serving this country!  I am an avid outdoorsman and am at my happiest wandering around the woods with a recurve bow shooting at pine cones, old stumps or clumps of dirt.  
I am married (My poor wife) and have three children who all manage to tolerate me to some degree.  I live in the small town of Hopedale, which happens to be the same town where my novels are situated. 
As I stated above, I am not a romance novelist but I do incorporate romance into my novels and believe that the genres of horror and romance aren’t like oil and water but more like gin and tonic… they make a great mix if done properly.   The key is in developing believable characters a reader can identify with and feel sympathy for during the trials and tribulations of a story’s plot.  In my first novel, ‘Hybrid’, readers are introduced to Erik Knight, a divorced PI struggling to make ends meet after a bitter divorce and smear campaign that left him destitute.  Throughout the novel Erik struggles with real “day to day” issues such as paying rent, child support etc. as well as terrifying ordeals that would make any sane person turn to mush.  ‘Hybrid’ tells the tale of a regular man dealing with incredible circumstances.  In the story, Erik finds the strength to deal with both the changes in himself and the hostilities around him by leaning on a woman he secretly loves but has never had the nerve to express his feelings to her.  As Erik learns more about his true nature, he learns to open himself up to other people and allow himself to experience love once again.
HYBRID back cover blurb
Erik Knight, a small time private investigator, always knew he was different from everybody else. Keener senses, heightened awareness and an enhanced physical strength that could be called upon by his sheer will.
Erik becomes involved with a team of high profile investigators and local police trying to locate a girl who was kidnapped in the middle of a playground amongst dozens of adults and children. None of the adults saw anything and what the children claim to have seen is too far fetched to be believed. The search evolves into a full-scale manhunt into the dark and desolate woodlands of the Hopedale Mountain.
      After a lethal encounter and a fatality, Erik, the investigators and police realize that what they’re dealing with isn’t a man and possibly isn’t of this world. What they’re dealing with is a sentient evil that has an appetite for young children.
This isn’t a typical romance novel, but love is the underlying key and it’s the characters that draw in a reader as much as the plot lines.  If a character is interesting and credible his/her perils are gripping, drawing readers in and holding them captive through each turn of the page.  The reader feels each emotion and winces through each trial and shares in the joys of triumph.  If the character isn’t believable he/she can experience all kinds of trials and tribulations but they just won’t grab a reader.   In the world of ‘Hybrid’ things end happily and the good guy gets the girl… until the sequel.
Human/Esper detective Erik Knight has kept his bargain with the United States Government by functioning as an undercover operative and CIA Cooler for over two years. Erik has been using his inhuman abilities to clean up terrorist hotspots and break narcotics trafficking rings throughout the United States and countries with US political interests. While away on assignment, Erik’s life is shattered when he learns his wife died in a car accident.  Though he attended her funeral and burial, Erik can still feel a subtle trace of his beloved in his mind.

Threats against the life of the French President's daughter by terrorists result in the grieving Knight being assigned to protect her. After he foils two attempts on her life, he discovers that the radical group accused of the act is not involved. He joins forces with the group's leader and discovers the termination order originated inside the beltway in Washington DC.  As the CIA Cooler digs deeper he learns that there may be a connection between the assassination attempts, his deceased wife, and a threat against the entire planet from outside the solar system.

HYBRID FORCED VENGEANCE mixes romance, horror and suspense to serve a complicated cocktail that readers will find intriguing and plot twisting with each turn of the page.  This novel was the most fun I’ve had writing and, as a sequel, let me take characters developed in the first novel and expand upon them, developing their personas and their motives in a deeper character study which in turn created more powerful motives for the “bad guys” and allowed me to push the boundaries of ‘acceptable’ behavior with the “good guys”.  For all the plot intertwining, corporate scheming and combat sequences, Forced Vengeance is a hybrid romance novel paying homage to the power and belief that ‘Love conquers all’, after a great deal of trial, tribulation and intrigue.

‘Hybrid’ and ‘Forced Vengeance’ also pay homage to the horror movies of the 1950’s like ‘War of the Worlds’, ‘Forbidden Planet’, ‘Them’ and ‘The Thing’.  Each movie was a successful mix of horror ranging from an alien creature terrorizing a desolate Arctic outpost to Earth being invaded by seemingly invincible alien invaders in tripod saucers incinerating everything with a lethal heat ray.  In each of the above movies, the strength of our interest in the characters, made their peril more believable and more palpable.   These movies didn’t need excessive gore to make an impact, they relied on a good story and likeable characters, the same criterion apply to a good novel.  And… in the end, the guy gets the girl!

Happy reading and Happy Halloween, thanks again to Hannah Howell for allowing me to occupy her blog for an evening.

Hybrid and Hybrid Forced Vengeance are available at Lachesis Publishing, Fictionwise and Amazon

Monday, August 29, 2011

Introducing Chastity Bush

First of all, I’d like to say thank you for allowing me to be on your fantastic blog today!

A little about me-

I’m a fulltime wife, and mother of two wonderful little girls. My family and I live in the super small town of Whitefield Oklahoma, and enjoy spending as much time together as possible, especially outdoors.

In my spare time I write steamy romance novels known for their spicy romance, suspense, and humorous edge.

I love anything and everything to do with the paranormal/supernatural, which is why I love to write in that genre as much as I do.

I do have a historical/western available now, and a contemporary coming in March, but paranormal is my passion.

August 1st brought the release of my latest paranormal romance, Killer Kisses, from Liquid Silver Books. I’m not sure if this will turn into a series, but you never know when a character is going to start screaming at you until you write their story, so who knows? 

Now, enough rambling about me. I’ve added one super short snippet from reviews for each of my available books below, I hope to have one for Killer Kisses soon, and if you’ve read the book, or any of my books, please feel free to send me your thoughts. I’d love to hear them, good or bad.

I hope you have the time to take a peek at my work. As always, I would love to hear from you, and I can be contacted via email at: chastitybush@yahoo.com.

A Taste of Terror-

This is a wonderfully written, and exciting series, which I can't recommend highly enough. If you read one paranormal romance this year, make it this one (or its prequel). I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

*Merrylee, Two Lips Reviews

Passions Bite-

Passions Bite is a really quick read that flows well with enjoyable characters and a hot romance. Overall, Passions Bite was a great kick ass short story that really drew me in. *Ally T. Swept Away Again Reviews


Overall, I quite liked Tumbleweeds especially as it was something different and as a historical romance it made me giggle quite a bit.

*Ally T. Swept Away Again Reviews

Thanks again for having me here today. Have a fabulous week! 

Killer Kisses


The man straddling the Harley was, in one word…juicy.

Adult novelty store owner Tina James loves a good adventure, and the man peering at her through onyx black eyes is the closest thing to adventure she’s ever come across. Unless of course, you count the mugging at gunpoint she experienced only hours earlier.

Leather clad Alex Monroe and his big bike just moved to number one on Tina’s sexiest man alive list, and with every searing kiss, every white hot caress, Tina finds herself living out her wildest fantasies with the man of her dreams.

But is it all too good to be true?

There’s something about Alex, from his unusual habit of only leaving the house at night, to his amazing speed and strength that has Tina wondering what exactly the man she’s falling head over heels for is hiding?

Meeting Tina James is the best thing that’s happened to Alex in the last five hundred years. She’s spunky, sassy, and beyond sexy.

But there’s a problem…or three.

Alex is a vampire, Tina’s a mortal, and he’s searching for a rogue vampire who just so happens to have his sights set on her as his next victim. Now, not only does Alex have to find a way to tell the woman he loves what he is, he has to catch the killer before he loses her forever.

Killer Kisses


The cold, night air swirled around Alex as he rode down the desolate streets. The motorcycle beneath him rumbled, sending a wave of comfort throughout his tired body. He was a long way from home, and for Alex Monroe the old saying was true; there’s no place like home.

He’d spent the entire night in his hotel room searching through cold case files, going back years and years, looking deeper at unsolved murders, trying his hardest to find something, anything that would lead him in the right direction. He needed to find this murderer and fast. It was only a matter of time before he slipped up and exposed their kind to the entire world, spelling disaster for them all.

Only sparkly, vegetarian vampires appealed to most people nowadays, and he was neither sparkly, nor vegetarian.

Rounding the corner, Alex wondered if his contact inside the precinct would have any new leads to share with him. He doubted it; the local authorities didn’t have a single shred of evidence to help lead them toward who the killer might be. He’d hoped to find some connection between the recent murders and some of the unsolved ones from the past, but so far, he’d hit a dead-end.

The sooner he got this mystery solved, the sooner the women of this city would be safe…from this killer anyway. There would always be others wreaking havoc somewhere, and he would be there to hunt them down.

It was his job. As an Immortal Detective, he would do whatever it took to end the terror rogues caused with their senseless killing.

Pulling next to the curb in front of the police station, a flash of gold caught his attention. Taking a closer look through the dim streetlight, he frowned. A lone woman walked along the desolate sidewalk. Her long, sandy-blonde hair whipped in the breeze as she pulled her lightweight jacket tighter around her small frame.

“What the hell is she doing?”

Didn’t she know there was a killer on the loose? Why would she be walking the streets alone at three o’clock in the morning? Sometimes Alex couldn’t help but wonder how humans had lived so long without being overrun by his—or any other—species.

Before he knew what he was doing, Alex pulled away from the curb and rolled his bike along the street beside the woman. Alex wasn’t your typical knight in shining armor. He wasn’t even what someone would consider valiant. It just wasn’t in his nature, but something inside him wouldn’t let him turn his back on this woman.

“Are you all right?” he called loudly over the rumble of the motorcycle.

Stopping, she turned to face him, and all thought fled his mind at the beauty revealed before him. Large, sea green eyes bore into him as her gaze widened cautiously. Despite her petite stature, her legs, encased in tight, distressed jeans, were long and shapely.

Letting his eyes sweep over her boldly, he took in every inch of her lithe body as though admiring every brushstroke of a masterpiece. Her skin was a flawless, creamy ivory with a pinch of rose color staining her cheeks and nose from the bite of the crisp night air.

“Listen,” she said wearily, “if you’re looking to rob me, you're too late. Someone beat you to it about three hours ago.”

Smiling, Alex shut off his bike.

“Actually, I was just wondering why a beautiful woman such as yourself would be walking alone in the dark when there’s a killer on the loose.”

She is beautiful, he mused.

Stunning even. He’d lived a long time and faced countless women, but could remember none who matched her in beauty. The impulse to reach out and grab her, to pull her against his chest and explore every delectable inch of her, rocketed through him like a bolt of lightning.

Taking a deep breath, Alex struggled to rein in his fast-rising desire.

What had gotten into him? There was one rule he refused to break; never get involved with a mortal. Once they found out his secret, it was all over, but something about this sarcastic little bundle pushed him, urging him to learn more about her.

Just the sight of her held him on a razor’s edge. The silky glide of her voice only added to his desire.

Cocking a brow, she tilted her head. “I didn’t have much say in the matter. Some skuzz-bucket robbed me after I left work. He took my purse, which had everything in it, and the creepy cop who took my statement didn’t offer to give me a ride home or let me call anyone to come pick me up. So, here I am.” She finished, waving her hand in the air with exasperation.

She was feisty, and much to his surprise, he found he liked it. Alex never cared much for loud sarcastic women, but something was different about this one, and he couldn’t fight the feeling that he was supposed to know her. If he’d learned one thing in all of his years, it was to follow his instincts, and at the moment, his instincts were screaming for him to grab hold of this woman and not let go.

He couldn’t let her continue on her way. Not only was it dangerous for her to be out alone this time of night, the knee-high black leather boots over her jeans looked like they would cripple her before she reached the end of the block.

How the hell do women wear those things?

“What was the cop’s name?”

“Briggs.” She grimaced. “He even tried to give me his number.” She shuddered as though the thought disgusted her, and he chuckled.

He would have a little talk with his contact about Officer Briggs’s unacceptable behavior, but for now, he needed to get her on the back of his bike and her thighs pressed firmly against his hips.

“Let me give you a ride.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t think so.” She laughed cynically.

“Why not?”

Suppressing a groan, Alex watched as she propped her hands on her wonderfully curved hips.

“Because, I’ve already been mugged tonight and I don’t wish to add raped and murdered to the list.”

Alex couldn’t contain the laughter that burst from his lips.

She’s witty, too.

“What’s so funny?” she snapped irritably.

Calming his laughter, Alex dismounted his bike. “I’m sorry. I have no intention of harming you. My name is Alex Monroe, and I’m here helping the local authorities catch the Monthly Murderer.” He extended his hand to her.

He was also a five-hundred-year-old vampire, but didn’t think she would appreciate that little tidbit of information. She was already baring her claws like a cat backed into a corner, and he’d learned a long time ago it was never good to put stress on an unstable structure.

Based on the night she just described having, one false move and he would catch a swift kick to the balls before she ran away, leaving him to wonder who she was, and aching to see her, and he would ache, he realized.

Just the thought of never seeing her again sent a piercing pain through him. It was absurd, these feelings he was experiencing. He didn’t even know her name and yet, he felt…connected to her somehow.

He watched silently as she gazed at him and some of the wariness left her expression. The wind gusted around them, and her sweet scent flowed over him. She smelled exotic, sweet, and wild. He felt his fangs try to shift, yearning for just a sample of her sweetness. Taking a calming breath, he willed them back into place.

“Can I see some I.D.?”

“Why?” he asked curiously.

“Well, you expect me to believe you're a cop. It would help if you could show some I.D.”

Nodding, he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a wallet, flipping it open to reveal a silver badge given to him by his contact inside the precinct.

Taking a small step forward, she examined the badge, and then nodded once.

Reaching out cautiously, she shook the proffered hand and cast him a small smile. A frisson of excitement tingled through him at the feel of her small hand cradled within his. Gently, he rubbed his thumb over the inside of her wrist discreetly, savoring the feel of her soft, warm skin.

“I’m Tina James,” she said confidently, before asking, “You’re really a cop?”

A smile tugged at his lips.

“Something like that.”



Monday, August 15, 2011

The Extremist . . . of Novel Writing by Deborah Jackson

Your book ideas come about . . . how, why?

The twelve-year-old at your next workshop asks: how do you get your ideas? Are they floating around in the air and you just pluck them out of the sky? The journalist eyes you during that long, unnerving interview and says, "Interesting topics," or more like, "Rather bizarre adventures you cook up there, Ms. So and So? Where in the world do you get your ideas?"

Well, I'm an extremist. No, no, not the way you think. I seek out the most extreme environment on earth, or elsewhere—Antarctica, World War II in the midst of Nazi oppression, the barren desert dunes along the Nile, a cave, but not just any cave—the most treacherous cave that ever existed (or in my case, a combination of the most treacherous caves that ever existed rolled into one)—or the moon, and I leap into true tales about real life adventure. The idea begins with what I'm interested in, but the idea expands when I begin to read.

Caves turn to cultures. History is whittled down to the bare bones of history—the people who lived it. I explore environments, then I explore people.

J. K. Rowling mentioned in her speech to Harvard graduates that empathy is essential for every human being, particularly those from a more privileged background. In order to write about people from history (and the current age) I need to understand them and empathize with their struggles. That is why I begin to understand the issues of poverty the Maya face in Mexico, the plight of the Jewish people hiding in cellars, attics and under chicken coops during World War II, the alternate reality of pharaohs and slaves, even the difficulties of a young girl forced to endure the divorce of her parents and having to move to a new city with no friends. I empathize, I create characters close to the real thing. My ideas spring from a jumble of setting, potential plot, and an explosion of adventure, but they really boil down to people, and that's when I start to write.

So is the extremism really about ideas and unique environments, or is it that authors dig too deep, sometimes, to generate a believable character?

I'm sure many do. We can become so immersed in the people we're researching and our characters that we often forget the real world. It happens to me all the time, until I hear that plaintive voice from my son: "Aren't you going to watch Wipeout with us?" "Aren't you coming swimming?" "Mom, I can't find . . . everything. Can you help me?"

You can draw two conclusions from this. 1. I have a hard time balancing my life. 2. My characters stem from a great deal of research and personal involvement. I become so involved, in fact, that I want to rescue historical people from their own history, or my main characters do. Hence we have Time Meddlers.

Time Meddlers is a middle grade fiction series that takes two children, Matt Barnes and Sarah Sachs (who eventually become romantically involved as they grow older) through adventures and terrifying situations. In the first book, they travel to 17th century North America during the time of native wars and the first explorers, where they begin to understand the plight of the First Nations. In Time Meddlers Undercover, they travel to Nazi-occupied Holland, in the midst of the oppression of the Jewish people, like Anne Frank, and get seriously involved in the spy network—the Special Operations Executive. The third book, to be released in 2012, is called Time Meddlers on the Nile. This book explores the Nubian culture, but it also examines the question of a time paradox, a situation where the children must go back and change previous alterations before the past disappears and they themselves are erased, but if they change it to such a degree that they no longer exist, then they wouldn't be able to go back in time at all. It's a wee bit mind-twisting.

You can purchase from Amazon and Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Time-Meddlers-ebook/dp/B003Y8XUNE/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AZC9TZ4UC9CFC  or Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/time-meddlers-deborah-jackson/1100069704 or from the publisher's website: http://www.lbfbooks.com/proddetail.asp?prod=timemeddlers
I've also written a romantic thriller called Ice Tomb, a story of ambitious scientists, a mysterious hotspot in Antarctica where scientists are disappearing, and a link to the moon. Read more on RT Bookclub magazine site, where it received a Top Pick: http://www.rtbookreviews.com/book-review/ice-tomb Ice Tomb will be going out-of-print soon and re-released as a classic.

I would like to thank Hannah for inviting me to blog today. If you would like more information about my middle grade series or adult thrillers, please see my website: www.deborahjackson.net.

If you would like to read the short series based on Time Meddlers, see Matt and Sarah's Misadventures on my blog. http://deborahjackson.blogspot.com/search/label/Matt%20and%20Sarah%27s%20Misadventures

Monday, August 8, 2011

Guest Author Brynna Curry

Hi, everyone. It’s wonderful to be here. Thanks for allowing me to visit with you again, Hannah. A little bit about me. I was born and raised in north Alabama, in the Haleyville/ Bear Creek area. My husband Jackie and I have three children L.J., Anna and Kayla. We live out in the woods with a bunch of redbone hounds and beagles. It’s quiet, except when Diablo barks at rabbits in the middle of the night, which of course makes all of the dogs start barking. Believe me he earned his name. It’s beautiful here with the lake close by and all the old shade trees offering a reprieve from summer heat. And mercy it’s been hot with the temps going into triple digits and that’s without the heat index. I’m so ready for fall and the endless football and volleyball games that come with the changing seasons.

I write stories filled with magic, suspense, romance, and happy ever after. My new book Sea’s Sorceress is the fourth installment in the Elemental Magic series, releases Monday, August 15, 2011. Skye’s story proved to be an emotional roller coaster ride. Picking up right where Wait for the Wind (Ryan’s story-Book 3) left off, Sea’s Sorceress continues the arcing storyline that began in Earth Enchanted (Liv’s story-Book 1).

Rhiannon O’Malley is another lady who likes her quiet life. Well as quiet as it can be when you’re running the family pub, and your father is dying of cancer. She’s come to rely on her best friend Skye Corrigan, but the lines of friendship are blurring. Heartache isn’t a possibility, it’s a promise. Skye has loved Rhia his whole life as his closest friend, but that love has changed into something deeper. Here is the blurb and a short excerpt.

Sea’s Sorceress (Elemental Magic Book 4)

Author: Brynna Curry

Publisher: Lyrical Press, Inc.

Tag: Love can come along at the most inconvenient times...

Blurb: Skye Corrigan treasures family above all else. Standing by his best friend Rhia while she suffers the heartache of losing her father to cancer has strengthened their childhood bond. Lately, Rhia affects him in ways she never has before.

Rhiannon O'Malley shares Skye's past and hopes for a future with him, but love must come with a willing heart. Her father's terminal illness has left her in charge of the family pub. Skye has always been there for her, but when their relationship changes, will she find the courage to claim the future? Or will a thousand-year-old curse keep its grip on two hostage hearts?

Excerpt: The swinging door closed behind Rhiannon as a cold, clammy hand covered her mouth, stifling the scream, jerking her into the cool, dark kitchen. Vanilla and jasmine scented the space around her and she knew who held her prisoner. Maegan.

“I hear congratulations are in order.” Maegan hissed in her ear and pressed something cold and hard to her temple. A gun? “Don’t bet your soul on the ring.”

Something hard struck the side of her face across her cheekbone. She whimpered as pain bloomed behind her eyes. Crying out, she struggled to wriggle free of the other woman’s grasp. Blood trickled sticky and warm down her neck into the collar of her shirt.

“Bet you enjoyed that? Hmm?”

Rhia’s head jerked backwards as Maegan yanked her hair. She tried to focus. Stay alive. Stay alert until Skye comes looking. She tried to scream and kicked back with her booted feet, but hit only air.

“Clever girl, but you’ll be dead before he can save you.”

Rhia whimpered and shouted out with her mind. Help me! Skye! Have to stay alive.

“How does it feel to know I had him first? He still wants me.”

No. Terrified, Rhiannon closed her eyes and held on to the vision Devin had given her of her child and grandchild, Meara with the ruby hair and lightning eyes. She would survive this.

“Say goodbye.”

As I near the end of the Elemental Magic series, I am finding it more difficult to say goodbye to these characters. After spending almost five years with the Corrigans occupying my thoughts and computer it will be like saying goodbye to old friends. I’m working on the last book Fire’s Ice now. Set for release May 7th, Fire has been anticipated for some time by fans who demanded I give Devin his happy ever after too. Truly, I just wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, in celebration of Sea’s upcoming release let’s have a little contest. The prize? A ebook copy of Earth Enchanted, To Take Up the Sword, Wait for the Wind and Sea’s Sorceress, that’s all four books in the series, including the new one. To enter, all you have to do is leave an email address with your comment on this post. Or you may send your entry to brynna@brynnacurry.com. On Monday, August 15th , I will announce the winner in the comment section of this post, on Facebook, Twitter and my website. Good luck!

Bio: Multi-published paranormal romance and romantic suspense author Brynna Curry is a lifelong believer in the importance of reading. She enjoys the writing process, helping others hone their craft by lending her time to review books, critique manuscripts and serving as a writing contest judge. She loves hearing from readers.

When she isn’t writing, she’s often found haunting the library for new books to read, at the park with her son L.J. and daughters Anna and Kayla, or just spending an quiet evening at home with her husband Jackie watching old westerns on TV. She makes her home in North Alabama where the history is rich with music and culture, forests and lakes are abundant and beautiful, and every day is another adventure. Visit her at www.brynnacurry.com or send your thoughts to brynna@brynnacurry.com.

Alternate excerpt:

Skye eased the lorry onto the patch of gravel serving as the driveway outside his cliffside home. His watch said almost midnight, but he still wasn’t tired. Residual magic rippled on the edge of his skin. Longing rolled through him as he thought of Rhiannon. With it came the vision. He got out, slammed the door and unlocked the house, flipping on lights as he made his way to his studio.

He needed to work, to paint.

And the idea swirled through his head. Rain and wet stones, velvet. He knew he could capture that moment on canvas. So focused on the task, he left the keys hanging in the door. With mad purpose, he mixed paints into shades he only imagined.

He’d sketch it out first. The line of her neck, the arch of his shoulder. Soft here. Dark there. Stroke. Smudge, Sweep. Until the witch and healer took shape on the bitter field of white. Brush in hand, he began to fill in the shades of night, the grays of weathered stone.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Long ago in a distant galaxy . . . or it seems . . . driving my parents station wagon to pick up my wedding gown, I heard Pat Boone sing Thee, I Love, the theme song from Friendly Persuasion—Dimitri Tiomkin composer, Paul Francis lyrics. “Put on your bonnet, your cape and your glove, and come with me, for thee, I love.” Are those not the most romantic words? I got a picture in my mind at the time of a woman in a black cape, putting on her bonnet and following the man she loved, and I thought “that would make a great story.”

Fast forward twenty-plus years, and I’m a wannabe writer working on my third novel. The first two are Regency Historicals. Now I want to write an Amish Historical. Yes, I’d seen the movie WITNESS. I had also read SUNSHINE AND SHADOW by Tom and Sharon Curtis and A CRIME OF THE HEART by Cheryl Reavis. I was in love with a way of life.

As soon as I chose the prodigal son theme, I started writing and researching with a vengeance. We visited Lancaster Pennsylvania a dozen times, at least, then added Ohio Amish Country, like Winesburg and Sugarcreek, to our travels. Looking for research material on the Amish, I scoured used bookstores in those areas. 

I now own 187 books on the history of the Amish. Yes, I recently counted them, and found more later.  Of course, I’ve read them. Why so many? The internet had not yet come to life. (It became the world wide web consortium in 1994. Microsoft came onboard in 1998.) I found that on the Web.
In my travels, I spoke to a number of Amish men and women who were happy to answer my questions. I also spoke to several people who grew up Amish and had left the Amish way of life. (This was more than 20 years ago, don’t forget.  I believe that the Amish were more forthcoming back then.)
Buggy and driver.

One morning, we got tickets for a buggy ride. I sat beside the Amish driver in the box buggy to get the perspective of a driver and started asking questions. He cocked his head quizzically, because I think he could tell I'd done my homework. “Well,” he said, “you know so much, you drive,” and he handed me the braided leather reigns. I drove all around that farm—no one else waited in line for a ride, so he gave us all the time we wanted—and I fell in love with that one-horse buggy, too, not to mention the dear old Amish grandfather beside me. 

My intrepid husband sat in the backseat, speechless, and maybe a little scared but with a camera in his hands. Now that’s a hero. I tipped us nearly into a stream trying to turn onto a flat bridge, no sides. But with my mentor’s gentle guidance, I worked that horse, backed us up, unwedged the wheel between land and bridge, as it hung over nothing but water. And after I untipped us, I turned onto the bridge successfully and drove over it.

All the time I spent with those reigns in my hands, during easy and scary buggy-driving, that unruffled old Amishman gave the occasional soft-spoken direction and told me all about himself and his family. My clearest memory is that he had 72 grandchildren. 

But I’d never gotten a better character lesson. I think he’s part of every Amishman I ever wrote or will write. Strong, gentle, stoic, caring, kind, soft-spoken, bit of a twinkle in his eye, like God was telling a joke that only he could hear, and he listened and got the joke, no matter what else he was doing.

In June of 1998, the late, great Kate Duffy bought JACOB’S RETURN for Kensington Books as part of my first sale. They renamed it THEE, I LOVE and gave it a cover on which the “Amish schoolteacher” is so historically inaccurate as to . . . well . . . have cleavage. (See attached cover.) It sold out within the month, and never went back to print. Back then, publishers said, “Nobody wants to read about the Amish.” Despite that, as THEE, I LOVE, it made its mark:

2000 Blue Boa Award of Excellence
1999 Francis Awards Triple Nominee:
     Best American Historical
     Best New Author
     Story Need Most Tissues to Get Through
1999 Reviewers Choice Award Double Nominee
1999 Winter Wish List of Favorites
1999 Rdrs All Time Fave Most Hanky Read AAR
1998 RWA Golden Heart Finalist

In 2011, thirty-two  Annette Blair books later, LeeAnn Lessard at Lachesis Publishing knew that people wanted to read about the Amish, and she wanted JACOB’S RETURN. I revised it and made it better, Lachesis copyedited it, I revised it again, and they gave it the cover it deserves.

I hope you cry and laugh and cry again, and enjoy reading JACOB’S RETURN as much as I enjoyed researching, writing, and re-writing it. 

As a result of its re-release:
2011 #1 Kindle Bestseller, Amish Historical Romance, all formats.
2011 #1 Lachesis Bestseller, Fictionwise
2011 A Kindle Top 100 Bestseller US
2011 A Kindle Top 100 Bestseller UK
2011 An Amazon US Bestseller
2011 An Amazon UK Bestseller 

To buy JACOB'S RETURN:  Lachesis   Fictionwise   Kindle    Nook   Also available as a paperback.

Also:  Check out http://www.annetteblair.com/ for an excerpt of JACOB’S RETURN, and check out the first chapter of THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN  http://www.annetteblair.com/excerpt_butterfly.htm Another Amish Historical, this one set in Ohio Amish Country, coming soon from Lachesis Publishing.

COMING TOMORROW, in store July 5, 2011:  

SKIRTING THE GRAVE, the 4th book in my Vintage Magic Mystery Series from Berkley Prime Crime, is being released on July 5th, and is available now in paperback from Barnes & Noble.

To buy SKIRTING THE GRAVE:  Kindle    Nook

If you leave a comment, you have an opportunity to win a copy of JACOB’S RETURN or SKIRTING THE GRAVE. A winner for one of each will be chosen at random from your replies.  Please leave your email addy.

Check out my trailer for SKIRTING THE GRAVE:

If you leave a comment, you have an opportunity to win a copy of JACOB’S RETURN or SKIRTING THE GRAVE. A winner for one of each will be chosen at random from your replies. Please leave your email addy.

I’d like to thank Hannah Howell for inviting me, today.  Happy Reading, Annette

Monday, June 27, 2011


As a nurse practitioner, I always wanted to see a novel where the heroine was one as well. For me, I see NP’s as heroes in everyday life, healing, teaching, comforting, so why not in a story?

The plot of Memories of Murder was sparked by observation of my Alzheimer’s patients and how they seem to be in another world part of the time. I fantasized that maybe they now operated on a different plane, and in that world they could see and communicate with ghosts.

From there I created the old insane asylum from which these ghosts would come. That led to my interest in old insane asylums. I studied pictures of the old Kirkbride buildings, the castle-like asylum structures of the 19th century. Then I ran across an article that I couldn’t stop thinking about.

This article told the story of the closing of the Willard Psychiatric Center of New York in 1995. As the staff worked to salvage remnants of the past, they came across an attic filled with hundreds of old suitcases. The suitcases held the last effects of some asylum inmates and the contents told the stories of their lives.

It’s a chilling reminder of how those considered to be insane were treated in the past. Many of these people were locked up for life for little more than a public outburst of anger. And yet they spent their entire lives in the confines of the asylum. Later a non-fiction book was written chronicling the people and their lives. In addition, an exhibition of the suitcases was set up.

Now that you know the real story, you’ll recognize how it influenced my scene in Memories of Murder where Maeve and Paul find the old maintenance shed from the asylum filled with suitcases.

If you’re interested in learning more about the true story of the suitcases in the attic of Willard, follow the links below for a news article and the actual exhibition site.

Article in Newsweek Magazine about the discovery of the suitcases: http://www.newsweek.com/2007/12/08/dreams-and-suitcases.html

Website of the exhibition: http://www.suitcaseexhibit.org/indexhasflash.html

Memories of Murder is a paranormal romance published by Crescent Moon Press. A portion of the proceeds from sales of this novel will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of my dementia patients, past and present.

Visit me at: www.LaraNance.com Check out Memories of Murder at: www.CrescentMoonPress.com

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


After trying six times to post a comment on my own blog and failing(inducing much swearing)- decided to announce the winner of the signed copy of IF HE'S DANGEROUS this way.  And sorry I disappeared for a bit but things got a little crazy here what with dental appointments, deadline, a run to the vet's because Jackson's tail was looking funky, deadline, plants that needed to go into the garden before they died, deadline, and a bunch of stuff that was schedualed for promo reasons. 

Anyway - put the names on slips of paper, tossed them on the floor and my cat Perkins attacked as is her wont.  She picked June M.  Aside from a slight problem with a touch of cat spit on the paper, it worked well.  So June M.  contact me here or send me a message on FB making note that you're June M. winner on the blog.

Now back to trying to get the rest of those dying plants in the ground and then getting back to Brian and Kenna who were left hanging and aren't too happy about it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hypnosis (Will I Turn Into a Zombie?)

(Will I turn into a Zombie?)

Guest blogger Carolyn Sullivan

        A pair of mesmerizing eyes. A deep sonorous voice. These are the qualities the old black and white movies used to show a hypnotist at work. Throw in a black opera cape, an evil laugh, dark hair, a mustache, and maybe even a pointy goatee and you have the perfect villain.

Move forward half a century and you have beautiful blond haired, blue eyed, clean shaven, Patrick Jane on The Mentalist. Although he does not have the bass or baritone voice used in the old black and whites, he does have the power to hypnotize just by touching a person, using a carefully modulated voice, and looking them in the eye. Another difference, Jane is the hero, not the villain.

Other movie props include a swinging pendulum, a swirling shape, a swinging watch or locket. Totally unnecessary.

In the movies and on television the Hypnotist is shown as a stage performer who makes people do ridiculous things in front of live audiences. Though there are some who do work on the stage, the overwhelming majority of American Hypnotists live in your community. They work in a clinic or out of a private office, trying to help people overcome addictions or deal with other problems.

Hypnosis can help you overcome overeating, eating disorders, depression, smoking, phobias, nail biting, etc. It can help you improve your sex life, attract a soul mate, increase your self-confidence, control pain, strengthen your immune system, contact departed love ones, visit past lives, astral project, and many other things.

I practiced a form of self-hypnosis to control the pain of four natural childbirths. I have also used it to temporarily relieve the pain of abscessed teeth.

Hypnosis can help you. The two most important things to know about hypnosis is you have to trust the person hypnotizing you and it will take more then one session. Unlike Season Three, Episode 14 of The Mentalist, (Blood for Blood) you cannot overcome the bad habits you have used as a crutch for years in a matter of a minute and a half of a gorgeous man holding your wrist, looking you in the eye, and telling you to quit. No matter how entertaining the words. (Although, Simon Baker can hold onto me anytime!)

You can have hypnosis tapes, CDs, or MP3 programs designed just for you. You can sit in the safety of your own bedroom, study, or living room, and be hypnotized. A good hypnotist will explain that you will need repeated sessions and will make the program for you with several sessions on it. Then you can repeat it over and over again, as many times as you need. (It is also far cheaper to do it this way than it is to have office consultations.)

The prerecorded CDs sold in New Age stores are okay for a trial, but they cannot get you over the hump when trying to change your life style. To overcome an addiction, bad habit, or to improve your energy or general health does require life style changes. To have a Program of your own committed to CD you should first have a consultation with the hypnotist, this can be a phone interview.

You do not need to fear “being out of it” while under hypnosis. Your hypnotist will take you into a trance-like state, but you will still be aware enough that other sounds, such as alarms, sirens, or crying children will bring you back to full consciousness. You will always be able to come out of the hypnotic state whenever you feel uncomfortable.

Neither do you have to fear getting stuck in a past life regression. A good hypnotist will guide you through the regression and leave you with the knowledge that you are no longer to blame for anything that was done in a past life. You don’t have to carry the guilt or the pain.

There is also no need to fear the hypnotist will convince you to do something bad. There has been many a plot where the evil hypnotist has used his powers to get the sweet young woman to have sex with his enemy, kill his enemy, steal from the Queen, etc. You cannot be hypnotized into doing anything that goes against your moral code.

In Hannah Howell’s If He’s Dangerous, Sir Argus Wherlocke, has the power to mesmerize with his eyes and his voice. A “normal” person has the power to hypnotize with the power of his voice when he has a willing participant. A man with the “special” powers of a Wherlocke can achieve so much more with his voice than a “normal” man.  Lorelei is a very lucky girl.

What special powers does a real hypnotist need? None. All he or she needs is a gentle, soothing voice and a willing subject.

Will you turn into a Zombie? No.

Carolyn Sullivan, proprietor of The Bewitching Hour, is an extraordinary hypnotist. (She used to practice on her children and was rewarded by her girls writing letters to distant family members, cleaning, and doing homework. Unfortunately the girls soon caught on to what was happening and refused to be “put under” any more. They became teenagers.)

Carolyn has been a working psychic and hypnotist for more years than she admits to being alive. Everyday she posts Animal Totems, the color of the day, along with assorted words of wisdom on her website thebewitchinghour.com and also on her facebook page, The Bewitching Hour. If you would like to know more about Astral Projection, Telekinesis, Hypnosis, Psychic readings, etc. write to her at thebewitchinghour@yahoo.com.

Two special offers to Hannah Howell fans:

A half hour psychic reading for half price. (See Hannah special on the Psychic Readings page.)

Get your own Hypnosis CD, tape, flash drive, or MP3 program for $100 off the regular price. (See Argus Wherlocke special on the Hypnosis Page.)

These are limited time offers.