Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Holiday Memories


As I write this, Christmas Day 2011 is already a memory, even though it’s still holiday time and it’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow. The frantic shopping, card-writing and present-wrapping rituals have, once again, all been done in time – just – and we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t breathe a huge sigh of relief.

One of my favourite Christmases was four years ago when our very good friends from Washington came over to stay. We took them on a whirlwind sight-seeing tour of London on Christmas Eve, stopping for lunch in an ancient pub in the heart of the City. We went up on the London Eye, walked round the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Mall, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden ... and I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired in my life :)

But I do think it’s always so much more enjoyable seeing your home town through visiting friends’ eyes, experiencing their pleasure, and seeing everything so differently. How many times have I got out of the tube at Charing Cross and walked down the Strand to work, without even seeing the lions in Trafalgar Square or Nelson standing so high up on his column above the Square? Too many to count. In our busy lives we often miss many wonderful things around us, or simply take them for granted. I’m a Londoner born and bred, but moved to the Sussex countryside with my parents at the age of ten. There’s an old saying, ‘You can take the girl out of the City, but you can’t take the City out of the girl.’ So true, because after graduating from Art College, back I went to London!

That Christmas Day four years ago is one of my happiest memories of any holiday season. Traditions differ of course, but the sentiments are the same. We have the main Christmas meal at lunchtime and our friends have theirs in the evening. We traditionally have turkey, which they, of course, have at Thanksgiving. Also our ancient cottage is tiny, but we managed to squish eight people around our old oak table for lunch where our friends had roast potatoes – English-style – for the first time. The presents were handed round after lunch amid much laughter at some of the jokey ones, and at the antics of our cat as she burrowed in all the empty wrapping paper.

So with apologies for being a day late with my blog, all that’s left is for me to wish you all health and happiness for 2012, and to wonder (fleetingly) what vampires do for Christmas ...



Monday, December 19, 2011

Chirstmas Cheer from Forever Freed

If I could make one wish for Christmas, it would be that each of you experience the kind of love and companionship and togetherness and happiness we so often read about in books. And, to show you just what I mean, please enjoy this Christmas excerpt from my bestselling and award-winning vampire romance, Forever Freed.

*~~*~~*

A merrier Christmas had never been seen at Orchard Hill in its more than two hundred years. Ollie tore through her packages like a tornado and demonstrated her riding prowess by making circles around the great room on her new bike. Griffin promised to shovel a clear path for her around the circular drive later in the day. The rest of my family demonstrated their affection for Samantha and Ollie by showering them with gifts. They were both thrilled, although Samantha was overwhelmed by their thoughtfulness. They had been drilling me for ideas for the girls for weeks.

Finally, Samantha couldn’t hold back any longer and insisted I open my presents from her. Everyone else had been exchanging gifts with their spouses, but all the activity quieted as Samantha led me to a tall object hidden beneath a loose-fitting decorated bag with a big red bow.

“First, the little one.” She handed me a red box with a white ribbon.

I looked up at her and smiled. Everyone watched me, and I think I would’ve blushed if I could’ve. Ollie danced around and tried to peer into the box when I lifted the lid.

It was an antiqued gold necklace with a tag-shaped charm. On its face were my initials: LAD. On the reverse was a hidden message:

the most magical
thing of all

I recalled those words vividly from our dinner in Milwaukee. I’d used them to describe her love for me. She was giving me her love to wear. I took a deep breath and nodded minutely in thanks when Catherine shot me a wave of reassurance and strength. I looked at Samantha and pulled her into my arms.

“I love it, Samantha. Thank you so much.”

I stepped back and pulled it out of the box, then clasped the chain around my neck. It was long enough to lie underneath my shirt.

Her smile was huge. “Okay, now the big one,” she said, pointing to the oblong bag behind me. The level of excitement in the room elevated.

“Can I help you, Lucien?” Ollie looked up expectantly.

“You take that side. I’ll get this side. We’ll lift it up slow, okay?”

She nodded and grabbed the edge of the bag. Samantha stood back and snapped a picture as Ollie and I pulled the wrapping over the top of the object. I dropped the plastic and looked at Samantha with an amazed expression. Standing before me was an antique mahogany two-sided music stand with elaborate carving. It was in excellent condition.
Samantha was so excited she could barely contain herself as she waited for my reaction.

When I didn’t say anything immediately, she explained, “One time you mentioned the name of your violin’s maker, which I now know helps you date it. This stand is French but was made at roughly the same time as your violin—”

I took two long strides across the room and grabbed her face gently with my hands and pressed my lips against hers. “It’s perfect.” I kissed her again. “No two gifts in the world could have been more perfect—more thoughtful—than the ones you gave me.”

She blushed. I wrapped my arms around her shoulders and rocked her gently back and forth. She smiled against my chest. Although I knew she had inherited money from her father, I was concerned about the expense of the gift. She was so proud of herself, though, I couldn’t express any hesitation about it whatsoever.

“Open mine now, Lucien!” Ollie held out a small box she had clearly wrapped herself.

I ripped off the paper and found a key chain with a pocket-sized digital screen. Ollie turned it on and dozens of images played on a slideshow: pictures of the three of us together, of Ollie from all different periods of her life, and images of some of Ollie’s angel drawings Samantha must’ve scanned.

“Ollie, this is the best present. Thank you so much.” I kissed the top of her head and handed the key chain to her when she stretched out her small hand. She sat with it next to Henrietta, who she’d taken to affectionately calling Henny—which Henrietta adored—and proceeded to describe the pictures to her as they changed.

I sat two presents from me on the couch next to Ollie. She eagerly ripped them open. The first was a collectible Golden Angel Barbie doll. She was beautiful with long golden hair, white wings with gold edges, and a flowing gown.

Ollie gasped and stroked at the plastic packaging over the doll. She set it aside but continued to look at it while her hands fumbled for the other package. Finally she pulled her attention away and ripped the paper until she could lift the lid. Inside sat a familiarly shaped black case.

“My own violin?” She gasped and flipped the clasps up on the lid to reveal a child’s violin.

“You’re always asking to play mine. I thought if you had your own, I could teach you, and we could play together.”

“This is so good, Lucien! Thank you! Can we play now?” She ran her hand along the length of the instrument.

“How about after everyone is done opening presents?”

She nodded and picked up the angel doll box. She didn’t seem to be able to decide to which to devote her attention. Henrietta laughed at her excited chatter.

I pulled Samantha down on the couch next to me. “Your turn.” I handed her a familiar blue box. She looked ready to protest. I kissed her and tapped the box. “Open it.”

She slid the ribbon aside and pulled the lid off, then opened the velvet box. Inside sat a solid circle of aquamarines set in white gold.

“It’s called an eternity ring, which is how long I plan to love you.”

She blushed furiously, which everyone would’ve sensed even if they weren’t looking at her. I slipped it from the velvet and placed it on her ring finger. To me, the gesture felt weighted with significance beyond the moment. She held out her left hand and admired it. “It’s stunning, Lucien. I love it.”

I brought her hand to my mouth and pressed my lips to the spot where the ring encircled her skin. “There’s one other thing.” I handed her a rectangular package.

She shook it. “It feels empty.” She laughed as she tore off the paper.

She lifted the lid and set it aside, then pulled out a manila folder. She pursed her lips and looked at me curiously. I stopped breathing in anticipation of her reaction. She opened the folder and frowned. She flipped haltingly through several of the pages. Her breath caught and she brought her hand up to her mouth. Finally she looked up at me with glassy eyes and shook her head back and forth.

I slid down to my knees in front of her and took her hand in mine. “Please say something.”

*~~*~~*

What could it be? Well, for that, you know what'll you'll need to do! *winks*

Thanks so much for reading, and have the HAPPIEST OF HOLIDAYS!
Laura Kaye


About Forever Freed:
~Bestselling Gothic Romance!
~NJRW Golden Leaf Best Paranormal of 2011!
~NJRW Golden Leaf Finalist for Best First Book of 2011!

A heart can break, even one that no longer beats.

I stalk my new neighbors, a single mother and her child, drawn by the irresistible scent of their joy and love. I crave their blood, starved for some healing respite from my ancient grief. Now to lure them into my grasp.

But they surprise me. Little Olivia accepts me without fear or reservation--talking, smiling, offering innocent affection that tugs at my long-lost humanity. Her mother, Samantha, seeks me out when she should stay away, offering sweet friendship, and calling to the forgotten man within me. They lure me instead.

Ah, Dio, Lucien, run and spare them while you can...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Writer’s Holiday Gift List


Happy Holidays!! Ah, yes! The holidays are finally here! As the gift-giving season arrives in full swing there are some things a writer might be looking to add to her holiday wishlist. Here’s a few ideas: 

1.     Laptop – For a writer needing to write in different locations a portable computer is extremely useful. Does the writer have a day job? She can take the laptop with her to work and write during lunch breaks. Or perhaps she has children? With her DH home to watch the little darlings, she can take her laptop to a lovely caf├ę for some interruption-free writing time. Or at the very least hide in the bedroom closet where hopefully she won’t be disturbed. (I speak from experience here!)

2.      E-Reader – As more and more books are being published digitally, it’s a good idea to purchase an electronic reader so the writer on your list can read those marvelous e-books that are being published on a daily basis. Hint: the KindleFire is on my wishlist (hopefully Santa will be reading this!)

3. Digital Voice Recorder – A story idea can strike a writer at any moment! Let her be prepared to record that wonderful gem of an idea before it’s lost. Hmm…I wonder if they have water-proof voice recorders for those inspirational moments while I’m singing in the shower?? Something to look into…

4.      Books on Writing – A writer who wishes to learn more about her craft does in-depth research on writing. Some books to choose could be The Writer’s Market, OnWriting by Stephen King, How I Write by Janet Evanovich, The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler and How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead by Ariel Gore (one of my favorites!).

5.      Magazine Subscriptions – Writer’s tend to read many magazines on writing or the subject of their writing. Some subscription lists could include Writer’s DigestMagazine, RT Book Reviews, The Writer Magazine, and Poets and Writers.  

6.      Office Supplies – There are several items on a writer’s list for her office. Notebooks, Folders, pens, pencils, markers, file cabinets, desks, office chairs, bookshelves, etc.

7.      Writer’s Conferences – A valuable source of knowledge, inspiration, networking, and shear camaraderie comes from attending writer’s conferences. Every writer should have the opportunity to attend at least one for the education it provides.

8.      Caf├ęPress items– This site has much to offer a writer who wants some items to make her simply smile. T-shirts, tote bags, mugs, magnets, posters, and other gifts with fun sayings for a writer.

9.      Music – Some writer’s use music for inspiration or soundtracks for the books they’re writing. Each writer has different tastes concerning their writing music, but those who know them well might be able to choose something unique and special for their writer friend to listen to as she crafts her next bestselling novel.

10.  Reviews – One of the best gifts a published writer might like to receive is a review of her book. Just remember to be kind. A good review is always welcome! :)

         I hope this list helps anyone looking for some last minute gift ideas for their writer friends. Writers, did I miss anything? If you are a writer please share! What's on your holiday wish list this year?
      
      About the author: Tricia Schneider is an author of paranormal and gothic romance. Before the supernatural took possession of her pen, she worked in a bookstore as Assistant Manager and bookseller. Now she writes full-time while raising her 3 children. She lives in the coal country of Pennsylvania with her WWII re-enactor husband. For more information about her books visit her website, Facebook, Twitter, or GoodReads

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Holidays

When next we meet, 2011 will have been rung out and 2012 rung in. Between now and then, I wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

This year has been an exciting one for me with many new releases, though none in the Mates of the Guardian series, but look for Book 3: His Capture, Her Rescue in the new year!

Until next year, be safe, stay warm and enjoy the merriment!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays! I celebrate Christmas, but whichever holiday you celebrate this month, I hope that you have a wonderful one! This is my favorite time of year. I really like driving around the neighborhood to look at lights. It brings back memories from childhood.

One of my favorite memories is of driving around looking at lights. About 10 miles or so from where I lived growing up, was a neighborhood that the homeowners association made every house decorate for Christmas. Flocks of families crammed into cars to drive up and down the streets, slowly of course seeing how most of the town was also driving up and down the streets. Some enterprising neighbors would sell hot cocoa and apple cider and some would take paying customers on boat rides (the neighborhood was built on a canal system). It was a lot of fun and good memories.

What are some of your favorite holiday memories?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reasons to be Thankful


Well I didn’t want to write anything too schmaltzy, but it became quite difficult once I started thinking of the things and people I’m thankful for.

I’m grateful that my overbearing – almost to the point of being a control freak – father refused to let me attend dance college full-time when I was sixteen, and also refused to allow me to go to art school. (Two passions of mine are still dance and art – sorry Dad you can’t win ’em all.) But I did get to go to art school a couple of years later ... and I met my husband. If I had gone earlier, I would have actually left the college before he joined, and I’d never have met him. But I'm so thankful I did. Some things happen for a reason.

In a weird way I’m also thankful my husband’s rock band didn’t make the big time, but that’s purely selfish, because I doubt we’d still be together if it had. Although at one point it was almost on the cards, because their keyboard player at the time was Hans Zimmer, who is now very famous, winning Oscars for film scores all over the place. I remember the first time we realised just how famous; we were sitting in a darkened cinema listening to the beautiful score, and up came Hans’ name in ten foot high lettering. It was a Disney film and the exclamation from my husband was definitely not suitable for little ears! Our son repeated the words at horribly inopportune times for quite a while after that.

Which brings me to being thankful for my son – apart from the dirty washing, the sodden towels on the bedroom floor and the general mayhem – all of which returned to the house on his graduation from University last summer. My pregnancy was difficult, with dangerously high blood pressure and many stays in hospital, resulting in an elected caesarean several weeks before the due date. But ... and this is schmaltzy ... I agreed to have the operation with an epidural so I could be awake for my son’s arrival. Me! The biggest coward going. I’m scared of blood tests (way to go for a vampire writer!), frightened of the dentist, and absolutely rigid with abject terror at anything to do with hospitals. Yet I did it, and I’m pleased I did. I am of course, also grateful to the amazing people who helped bring my son safely into the world. Anyone who has had a baby, will know there is nothing so amazing as holding your child in your arms for the very first time. (Although for those who aren’t too keen on the thought of having babies, then holding a newborn kitten would work, and you don’t have to go through months of discomfort and childbirth.)

I couldn’t stop writing without mentioning friends – friends are also something we should all be eternally grateful for. None of us could survive without them. I value my friends and feel thankful for them every day.

Finally then, I am so happy to be published by The Wild Rose Press and I’m grateful to everyone there– especially Callie Lynn – for all the support and hard work it took to get Fledgling in print. Thank you, thank you ... I am so proud I could burst!



Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Thankful Thirteen

Here's a fun exercise--write down the first thirteen things that come to mind when answering the question, "What am I most thankful for?" Don't give yourself time to think or organize the list or make it pretty or edit it or wonder what you're leaving out. Just write as fast and as stream-of-consciously as you can. I did, and here's what I came up with:

NJRW Golden Leaf Best Paranormal of 2011!
1) My girls
2) My writing
3) Being published
4) My family is healthy
5) My husband
6) I have a good job
7) My sweet/bad dog
8) My best friend Lea
9) Apple pie
10) Summertime
11) All my new writer friends
12) Today
13) Time

When I finished that, I was like But, wait! What about? And...? LOL But it was very cool to see what came out, and I agree with everything on the list, even without having paused to really think about it!

I'd love for you to share your Thankful Thirteen in your comment! Or even just a fewer number if you prefer! 

ALSO, I'm celebrating FOREVER FREED's book birthday this weekend, and you can WIN!!! Here's how:

11/20 is the 6-month anniversary of my vampire romance FOREVER FREED! Woot! I'm celebrating by participating in a Thanksgiving Party over at The Romance Studio all weekend with GIVEAWAYS galore! Plus, your comments might help win me a year's worth of free advertising at TRS! See the link for more information on how to win, celebrate and help me out! *grins*



Thanks for reading & commenting! And hope to see you 'round TRS!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 

Laura Kaye


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Being Thankful

It's that time of year again. Lights are up. Christmas trees are out. Santa is ho-ho-hoing. And it's only the beginning of November.

While I'm not a huge fan of the marketing surrounding Christmas, I do enjoy the reminder that lazy days with the family are coming soon. Yes, things are hectic leading up to the event--whether it be Thanksgiving or Christmas--but then when the day arrives, it's all happy memories and laughter and good food. The decorations also bring to mind all the things I'm thankful for.

It's impossible to list everything at one time, or recall each special moment of the year up to this point, but every day, I'm thankful for the wonderful, supportive people I call family and friends. They are the ones who put smiles on my face when I'm down, share my happiness, get angry with me over real or perceived injustices, remind me that I'm not alone in the world. And, I try never to let too much time pass before I tell each and every one how special they are to me.

So to my Wild Rose family, thanks for the amazing support and helpful tips over the past couple of years. And to my readers, thanks for letting me know how much you enjoy my stories. As long as I have you two groups of people, I will continue to write and publish stories!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thanksgiving

The holidays (or holidaze as I like to spell it) are upon us and I'm already feeling the stress of the season. Despite feeling like I'm carrying the world on my shoulders, I am thankful for so much. All my friends, my family, my supportive, loving, caring husband. Even the economic problems have taught me things. I'm also thankful to TWRP for publishing two of my stories this year and contracting another one. Yay! And let's not forget to thank the men and women in the armed forces for serving to ensure our freedom.

So many things to be thankful about. Sometimes in all the rush and hurry of the holidays we need to slow down and remember the things that really matter: friends and family.

Here's hoping you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tragedy and Thanksgiving

Every year around this time Americans consider all the things in their lives for which they are thankful. November is the month we celebrate Thanksgiving. We spend time with friends and family. We eat. And we give thanks.

I'm no different than any other American. This time of year, I give thanks to God.  Mostly, I'm thankful for the usual things: family, friends, a home, a job. And this year, I'm thankful The Wild Rose Press published two more of my books. I'm also thankful that on November 28, I'll celebrate my forth anniversary of my last radiation treatment for breast cancer. I'm now one year closer to that five year survival mark. I'm alive. But today at work, I realized once again just how suddenly life can end.

Besides being an author, I've been a radiologic technologist for almost thirty years. Six years ago, I got my certification in mammography.

On most days, I work in the mammography area of the x-ray department. But it's not unusual for me to help out in diagnostic radiology, taking routine and trauma x-rays when things get busy. Today was no different.

After releasing my last mammogram patient before lunch, a trauma came into the ER. There had been a head-on collision in the county with casualties, and Lifeflight was on the way. So, I carried extra cassettes to the technologists who were already in the trauma room with the doctors, nurses, EMT's, lab and respiratory personnel. The portable x-ray machine was set up and ready to go, but the patient was in full code. She wasn't breathing and her heart had stopped.

As the doctors and nurses ran the code, x-ray set up, preparing to take the x-rays when the patient was stable. But the patient never stabilized. Her injuries were too severe. Internal injuries, a nearly severed left leg, the bone and tendons exposed. She never regained consciousness. I pray she never felt a thing.

The woman from the other car didn't make it either. She was transported to the ER with no identification--no name. No one knew who she was. She remained a Jane Doe for five hours after she died. And that just breaks my heart.


Two women, headed in opposite directions left home earlier that day never knowing their lives were about to end suddenly and tragically without warning. Had they fought with their husbands that morning? Yelled at their children? Would their sudden death cause guilt as well as sorrow? Were they ready to meet their maker?
A single driving mistake and two lives are lost forever.

My heart goes out to the family of both these women who died so suddenly and so tragically on such a beautiful fall day so close to the holidays. I'm thankful I've never had to endure so sudden a loss. And I pray to God I never do.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Blessed Samhain and a Happy Halloween!



Hello! Callie Lynn here:) I had a wonderfully informative post on the meanings of our ghoulish holidays, however, Google had other ideas. After primping, saving, and more primping my post went Poof! So with that said, I thought I'd just give a brief post on how I celebrate this wonderfully wicked time of year. Of course, Halloween and Samhain are on top of my list of favorite holidays. I do, in fact, go all out with the decorations much like Christmas/Yule.

Halloween has been special to me all my life. How can you celebrate this day without
watching the infamous "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" and to dole out treats to all those adorable tricksters. But that is only a part of this holiday. Keeping Samhain is very special to me because I have a chance to remember all those that I have lost, those who have passed. Pets included. Some believe that pets do not have souls! I beg to differ. They are full of love and brightness. You can see their souls in the depth of their warm, loving eyes. But then, that is a different story.

Anyway, every Blessed Samhain, I light tealights for everyone that has passed from my life and honor their memory. Seems to grow in number the older I get but the sweetness of their memories warm my heart.

Now I'm off to prepare for all the ghouls, ghosts, and goblins that will be passing through this Hallow's Eve. May your eve be hauntingly ghoulish and your Samhain be blessed.

Callie Lynn
SE Black Rose Line
www.thewildrosepress.com
callielynnwrp@aol.com

Spiral Dance

Dear Black Rose Readers,

I've been Wiccan since 1968 and had the wonderful opportunity to attend Starhawk's Spiral Dance a few years ago. Samhain is a special time for Wiccans as it is the time when the divide between the visible world and the invisible worlds is thinnest. It is a great time to honor the ancestors, for if it were not for them, we would not be here. Their messages are written in our DNA and there to read if we open ourselves to it.

Starhawk's Samhain celebration was held at Fort Mason in San Francisco the year I attended. Fort Mason is right on the Bay, so all the elements were there: earth in the hills around the Fort, water in the fog and the Bay, air in our breath and fire in the candles on the altars around the perimeter of the building. These altars had pictures of people who had passed on that year and art honoring them. Through incantation, reading the names of all the dead who had passed that year, and of course, the Dance, the dead were honored and called.

Have a happy and safe Samhain!

Carolina

Some my Favourite Vampires

Aidan Turner as Mitchell, in the BBC's Being Human
James Marsters as Spike, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Alexander Skarsgard as Eric Northman in True Blood

Halloween . . . mmmm . . . one of my favourite times of the year. The clocks have gone back and the evenings are darker – with many more shadows – perfect for the creatures of the night. My favourite dark creature is, of course, the vampire. No question. And my favourite vampire is . . . Count Dracula.

Dracula . . . there’s a very good reason why Bram Stoker’s book has never been out of print since it was first published in 1897. Its dark atmospheric pages literally pull the reader in, never letting them go. I first read the book at school and it definitely instigated my love for the paranormal. Beautifully written – once you get used to the Victorian way of speaking of course – with such cleverly observed characters. In an era where women couldn’t vote and were very much dominated by men, Stoker introduced Wilhelmena Murray, a feisty intelligent woman far ahead of her time.

In my humble opinion no-one has, as yet, ever produced a Dracula film which is loyal to Stoker’s book. All have been glamourised and the story changed beyond all recognition. Coppola’s Dracula had the temerity to be titled, ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ which it wasn’t. The first appearance of Gary Oldman’s Count has him dressed in scarlet robes with a white wig which looked uncannily like Princess Leia, when the book clearly states he was ‘clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere.’ Bit like me really! The Hammer Draculas were a little over the top, even ‘hammy’ but I just love them! My favourite being Dracula Prince of Darkness, it’s so gothic and creepy. The film’s one fault is not allowing Dracula to speak in the film, reducing the character to snarls and hisses. Although I still think Sir Christopher Lee is the best cinematic Dracula to date, with (ironically) a marvellous voice.

I think the BBC’s 1977 version of Dracula still remains the best version of the book itself. Starring Louis Jordan in the main role with Frank Finlay as Abraham Van Helsing and Bosco Hogan as Jonathan Harker. Judi Bowker plays Mina, a role which I saw her play again in a theatre production of Dracula last year. Strangely she doesn’t seem to have aged at all, which made me wonder if she is, perhaps a vampire?

But what of other vampires? They’re back in vogue again – hooray – thanks to the emergence of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1997. (Thank you Joss Whedon!) Which brings me to another of my favourite screen vampires, albeit on the small screen. No it’s not Angel, but the totally delectable Spike, or William the Bloody, played so brilliantly by James Marsters. All sculpted cheekbones, leather jacket and a voice to die for. Definitely one of the sexiest vampires to grace any screen. I have to admit to being impressed by his carefully studied South London accent – apart from the usual mistakes of words like ‘chance, dance, patronise etc’ which still sounded Californian. But I can forgive Spike anything.

True Blood has its own collection of hunks too. Our own Stephen Moyer, the Brit who plays Bill Compton, and the delicious Alexander Skarsgard who plays Eric Northman. Eric is a brilliant character too, he’s just so evil, although he still manages to be charming. Another fave of mine is Mitchell, the vamp from the UK series of Being Human. Angst-ridden and desperately trying to stay off human blood, Mitchell makes Angel look like – in Spike’s words – ‘as interesting as a table lamp.’ Aidan Turner starred as Mitchell in the first three seasons, but then sadly for the show, got offered a part in The Hobbit.

I’ve only just touched on a few of my favourite vampires here, but I can’t stop writing without mentioning my own vampire. William James Austen, a three-hundred-year old vampire. Ex Duke, millionaire, property owner and Elder of London, he just happens to be tall, dark, charming, and utterly gorgeous too. What more do you want from a vampire? Check him out in Fledgling published in Black Rose of course – and yes that’s an unashamed plug!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

FOREVER FREED is NJRW Golden Leaf Best Paranormal of 2011!

I am so, so thrilled to announce that my vampire romance, FOREVER FREED, won the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Award for the Best Paranormal of 2011!

If that wasn't exciting enough, the book was also a finalist in this contest for Best First Book of 2011!

It was such a thrilling, surreal moment. My legs went numb and I got all choked up! Only because of a friend's death grip on my hand did I manage not to lose it altogether!!! LOL

A truly special part of this particular contest's awards ceremony is that one of their members reads an excerpt from the winning book before they actually announce which one it was. So, the only people in the room who know the winner while she's reading are the author and anyone who happens to have read the book. It was incredible hearing my excerpt out loud. And here's the one she read:

She searched my eyes for a long moment. Forever came and went while I waited for her to speak.
Finally she smiled. A warmth so healing rushed through me I had to close my eyes at the goodness of it. “All that I am, Lucien, all that I have…it’s yours. And it feels like it always has been.”
My eyes flew open. I sucked in a breath. That was all I’d needed to hear. I pulled her into my arms and pressed kisses onto her hair and face, then leaned back so I could look into her eyes.
      “Thank you, Sam, thank God. Your acceptance of me…it eases the burden I have carried for the sin of what I am. Your love has helped me forgive myself. And that is a gift, Samantha, a priceless gift, this feeling of absolution. I have been searching for it my whole life.”

Every once in a while you experience something and know you'll remember it forever, and this was one of those times for me!

Thanks for letting me share!
Laura Kaye

 








A multi-published author of paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance, Laura Kaye’s hot, heartfelt stories are all about the universal desire for a place to belong. Laura is the author of the bestselling contemporary romance and award-nominated HEARTS IN DARKNESS and the bestselling and award-winning paranormal romance FOREVER FREED (NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best Paranormal of 2011), as well as an erotic romance novella, JUST GOTTA SAY. Her fourth book, contemporary fantasy romance NORTH OF NEED, is the first in the 4-book Hearts of the Anemoi series. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The connection between fear and sex


I'm Barbara Edwads and I collect weird facts.
Psychologists claim there is a direct correlation between fear and the need to reproduce. That fact doesn’t sound romantic to me. It reminds me of teenage boys taking girls to see a slasher movie so she’ll cuddle close for protection. Did you come from a small town where the boys coaxed the girls to go into a cemetery at midnight? Guess what they hoped would be the result?

So as the author of romances, I take the cold fact and twist the feelings into a close encounter of the intimate kind.

In Ancient Blood, Lily and Cole develop a relationship before Cole reveals he is a werewolf. Scary yes, but also sexy and passionate. Lily already trusts him. Love is a short leap away.

Steve and Mel face an immortal danger in Ancient Awakening. Fear drives them together. It’s a wonderful chain made of linking incidents.

The idea is to take the reader along with the hero and heroine as they experience the danger, the fear and the closeness of escape to safety. There are a thousand different trails to that romantic ending. It’s even fun to stop them at the last minute so they are left panting for more.

Do you have a favorite story with these elements?



Ancient Awakening, Book One: Finding Rhodes End Series by Barbara Edwards

Blurb:

Police Officer Melanie Petersen is the only one who believes a suspicious death is murder. By disobeying direct orders from the Rhodes End Chief, she risks her career to follow clues that twist in circles to her backyard and lead the killer to her. Her neighbor Stephan Zoriak is a prime suspect. While working for a major pharmaceutical company, he is exposed to a dangerous organism that changed him. He suspects he is the killer and agrees to help Mel find the truth when the deaths continue. In the course of their investigation Mel and Steve find more death and continued distrust that make them wonder if love can defy death.

Excerpt:

“Don’t touch me, Mel, not unless you’re willing to do a lot more,” he warned as her hazel eyes flared golden.

“Don’t threaten me, Steve. You’re…”

He pulled her into his arms despite the alarm bells clanging in his head.

Danger! Danger! Danger!

Her widened eyes met his. Mel’s hands were trapped against his chest, but she didn’t push him away. Instead, her fingers curled into his shirt.

Her mistake. His mistake was to crush her mouth under his.

Mel’s soft lips parted. Need exploded. The taste of black coffee didn’t hide her sweet flavor. As her tongue tangled with his, her arms slid around his neck and her fingers burrowed through his hair.

Steve hungered to peel the starched shirt off her soft shoulders, lay her on the thick turf and ease his desire. He tasted her brows, her cheek, along her throat, seeking the source of her call. Her pulse whipped under his mouth, awakening another need.

His teeth gently closed on the vulnerable vein.

He wanted, wanted, wanted…

Cold alarm chilled his pounding blood.

Steve gasped for air. He’d forgotten his own ironclad rule. Mel’s eyelids flittered open to reveal the molten glow of desire but he forced himself free.

He had no right to touch any woman. Not until he knew he hadn’t become what he had set out to destroy.




Ancient Blood http://on.fb.me/naHRY5




Ancient Blood Buy link http://tinyurl.com/3f627vh







   

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

All I Want For Halloween is a Vampire! + Giveaway!

That's right. My idea of the sweetest, hottest, naughtiest Halloween treat would be the bad boys of the supernatural world. Fanged. Furious. And desperate for a little red-blooded treat of their own.

Oh yeah.

And I like 'em every way they come...

Big, tattooed, leathered-up vampire warriors? Check! Nothing would make a better treat in my Halloween basket than the Warden's Black Dagger Brotherhood. Unf, Zsadist.





Old school, lace-sleeved, gothic renaissance vamps? These were the ones I cut my teeth on. Lestat de Lioncourt anyone? MmmMmm.





Uber powerful, good-hearted, were-vamp hybrids? I'm new to Underworld, and boy am I hooked on Michael Corvin. Scott Speedman reminded me why I love Canada!

Angsty, sparkly teenage heartthrobs? Come on. Admit it. You're a Cullen, too! Oh, Edward, you may be a bit stalkerish, but you sure are hot doing it!





Oh, Mick, my Mick. What could be better than Alex O'Loughlin playing a freaking vampire? Come on, now, people! You know it's true! 'Nuff said.





And, speaking of Alex-as-vamp, I have to mention my love for a tormented, brooding, good-hearted vampire by the name of Lucien Demarco. That's right--my very own vampire hero from my paranormal romance, Forever Freed. Alex O'Loughlin was the image in my head as I wrote Lucien, and The Wild Rose Press's cover artist did such a good job capturing his physicality on the cover!

So, who'd I miss? Who are your favorite vampires? And which one would you most like to find in YOUR Halloween basket this year?

One commenter will win an ecopy of FOREVER FREED! Must leave e-mail address! Open to international! Contest closes at midnight EST on October 20 - FF's 5-month book birthday! WOOT!

About Forever Freed:
A heart can break, even one that no longer beats.

I stalk my new neighbors, a single mother and her child, drawn by the irresistible scent of their joy and love. I crave their blood, starved for some healing respite from my ancient grief. Now to lure them into my grasp.

But they surprise me. Little Olivia accepts me without fear or reservation--talking, smiling, offering innocent affection that tugs at my long-lost humanity. Her mother, Samantha, seeks me out when she should stay away, offering sweet friendship, and calling to the forgotten man within me. They lure me instead.

Ah, Dio, Lucien, run and spare them while you can...

Cool Forever Freed Facts:
  • Has 32 Amazon Reviews -- 25 are 5-stars!
  • Finalist for 2011 Best First Book in the NJRW Golden Leaf Contest!
  • Finalist for 2011 Best Paranormal Romance in the NJRW Golden Leaf Contest!
  • 64 Ratings on Goodreads with an average of 4.11 Stars!
Thanks for reading! And good luck!
Laura Kaye