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Monday, May 30, 2011

Author in Waiting

My guest today is AJ Best. AJ is anxiously waiting to hear from Ravenous Romance who is reading her first book. AJ, thank you so much for coming. If your book is as entertaining as your post, I bet RR will take it. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been told it’s rude to talk about yourself; but I’ve never seen it. So, let’s talk about me. I’m really a transplanted southerner living in the frigid arctic North Country of upstate NY. I never saw myself coming up here and living a life of down coats, mittens, hats and scarves. But it’s amazing what a bald man will make you do. I have two wonderful biological children who I am very proud of, though I do wish they would stop growing up. I have 3 near stepchildren that will be mine someday, just haven’t nailed down the date. And in the melee I have 4 cats, 2 dogs, 20 fish, 1 bird and a fiancé.

Good grief! When did you find time to write? What got you interested in writing?

Wow, I’ve been writing since my teachers forced me to in elementary school. I wasn’t very good at it, but I kept on trying. Schools seem to force the 3 Rs on us:


I mean seriously what kind of illiterate monkey came up with that? But then again, I am not one to judge, much. Now that I am an author, because I write, I make up my own words.

But I digress. I didn’t start writing anything with meaning until I was in 7th or 8th grade. My mother decided to get me a typewriter. And for you young folks, this was a manual typewriter where you put the corrective paper into the spot and had to line everything up JUST SO. Never mind….another generation spoiled.

It was then that I wrote my first poem; I have it memorized if you care to hear it. Oh of course you care to hear it. **clears throat**

Lazily we walk along the beach
You and I hand in hand
Nature has its things to teach
We listen and learn
But never turn
To see what we left behind.

**takes a bow** Thank you very much – please throw dollar bills instead of coins, they hurt less.

Again, I digress. I turned into a budding writer a little later in life. Twelfth grade brought on another writing challenge. I still remember the first line of that as well; though I can’t remember my children’s names sometimes.

December spreads its snow-filled wings and covers our world in cold despair.

Ingenious right? Wrong. I got a B on the final paper and never wrote again until I was 29. I started a story, which is still not finished, and everyone loved it. I was told to keep trying and finish. But when my husband died, I lost all desire to write. I didn’t pick up a ‘pen’ again until 2008.

And now, in early 2011 I have a story sitting in the stacks at Ravenous Romance awaiting a final yea or neigh. **still biting fingernails**

Okay, you just won my admiration. I CAN'T write poetry, and I'd have given you an A on your December poem. As a first time author, do you find the publishing process a little daunting?

Daunting? It’s scary as heck? I am an impatient little twit, and I want everything done right now. I’ve unfortunately realized that I can’t have it that way. Impatient twits don’t get writing contracts. They get thrown in file 13 and then they cry themselves to sleep. I just want things to make sense, and the time frames don’t yet. I guess I will have to patiently learn how to be patient, and how to deal with the publishing process.

Besides being southern, we have a lot in common. My husband can tell you how little patience I have. Do you have a crit group or a select group of friends you bounce ideas off of or read over your manuscripts?

I have two friends who read things for me, and I read the manuscripts out loud to my loving fiancé. He’s great and gives me the male point of view and makes my writing a whole lot more realistic. I’d like to thank Kissa Starling ( for helping me read over things and not being too Simon Cowell on me.

Simon Cowell. I shiver to think of it. What do you like to read? Any authors you love to enjoy?

I’m an avid reader. I read about 600 words per minute and manage to read about 3 books a week. I love ALL things vampire, so I read the Vampire Academy series, Mortal Instrument series, and House of Night series to only mention a few. I also adore Nora Roberts, and Piers Anthony. I own about ½ of the books that he has written. I’m working on getting all of them, but he keeps writing.

What is your favorite genre to read/write?

My favorite genre to read is paranormal. I have a dream to write paranormal right now, but I keep getting all these sweet romance and women’s romance and erotica in my brain. So I will have to get them out so I can work on some paranormal. I actually am fleshing out a vamp book right now. I had a great dream several nights in a row and finally got up and typed some things on my iPhone and went back to sleep.

I love it when the idea is so good you have to get up and write it down. What feature do you start with when writing a description of your hero/ine? Eyes, age, hair color, personality, name, etc?

I have to work on my hero and heroine’s personality first. If I can’t see who they are, then their appearance doesn’t mean a thing to me. I don’t care what their hair is like. If my hero is a bad ass guy who cares about nothing, then I will probably have him have dark messy hair, maybe greasy or something. I would make him someone I wouldn’t want in my life.

Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?

If I were a store, I would have candles, incense, books, and things that sparkle. I would make bookmarks, necklaces, and all kinds of bobbles. I would have all kinds of comfy clothing that would enable me to just kick back and write. I would make sure that I sell Mac laptop computers. Finally I would make sure that there were all kinds of baked goods around so no one goes hungry.

I like your store! I hope the sparkly things are diamonds. I like diamonds. If you came with a warning label, what would it say?


LOL. What do you enjoy doing for fun and relaxation?

Fun and relaxation? Hmm, I love to paint, crochet, knit, watch TV, and READ, READ, READ.

February...the month of love and romance. What was the worst/best/funniest valentine gift you ever got from a significant other?

Don’t tell my fiancé this, but last year he got me a stuffed anatomically correct heart that beats (once I learned the meaning – him giving me his heart I liked it), bacon lip balm, and an I LOVE MY GEEK t-shirt.

Bacon lip balm. I didn't know you could. Where can we find you on the web?

I would love for you to come by and pick on me any time at or email me at . Thanks for having me here today.

AJ, thanks for coming. I've enjoyed your interview, and let us know about the book.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to Six Sentence Sunday. My excerpt for today is from A New Dream which is available at The book is available in in print or as an ebook. When you finish here find more sentences by checking the home site at

In this excerpt, my hero and heroine have just had an argument.

Violet tried to scramble to her feet, but Matt held her close.
“Be still,” he ordered. “If you’d stop acting all offended you’d like
the way it feels to sit on my lap.”

“Aren’t you afraid of scaring me now?” Violet accused in as
sarcastic a tone as she could muster. “You’re bullying me, Matt,
and I don’t like it.”

“You like everything about me,” Matt muttered as he pulled
her head down and kissed her again.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Thanks to everyone who participated in my Vacation Destination blog hop. The name that came out of the hat was Inga. Inga, I'll be sending you your prizes via email. I hope you enjoy both books.

Thanks again,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Getting It Right This Time

Happy Monday to everyone! My special guest today is Rachel Brimble. Rachel, welcome. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work, please.

I live in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside in the UK, just a half an hour drive from the historical Georgian town of Bath. I am married with two young daughters and love reading and walking when I’m not writing.
I am published in romantic suspense, contemporary and historical romance with three different publishers. You could say I like variety! I am fortunate enough to only have to work part-time so when I am not taking the kids here, there and everywhere I write – the housework is often an afterthought…or panic when someone is coming for a visit!

Sounds like we have the same views on housework. What event triggered you to become a writer? Any major inspirations?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer since about the age of eight. First of all, my dream was to be a journalist but as I grew older, I knew my real love was fiction. Once I started reading the Sweet Dreams series (remember them!) in the eighties, romance became my calling. It wasn’t until about six years ago that I started writing with publication in mind.
My first novel ‘Searching For Sophie’ was accepted by The Wild Rose Press in 2007 – I was thrilled!

My goodness! The Wild Rose Press published my Purple Heart in 2007. How many manuscripts did you submit before you were published? How did you feel when you got “the call”?

See above – Sophie was my first completed novel and the first publisher I queried accepted it, yay!
The ‘call’ came in the form of an email and I must have read it at least half a dozen times before it actually sank in that the editor was offering me a contract. But once it did? It was party time! Starting with my husband and me dancing around the kitchen and ending with a friends/neighbors and family book launch on our front driveway a few months later. We had a fabulous day with loads to eat and drink – and I sold thirty copies of my book, happy days!

Very happy! What’s the very best thing about being an author?

For me, it’s receiving the book covers, lol!! I love that part. But on a less shallow note…I’d say creating the characters and find that moment when you see them changing into better people and then great people when they are finally in a committed relationship with the hero or heroine.
I love romance and being paid to write stories has to be my dream job. Long may it continue! Although the way my current work in progress is going, I think I might be stuck with this one for a while…

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Keep writing, keep writing and never stop believing in yourself – I truly believe writing is a craft to be learned rather than a god-given talent. Anyone can do it if you have the discipline and tenacity to understand rejection comes, bad reviews but they are all just one person’s opinion. Believe in yourself…always.

Excellent advice, Rachel. Would you share your links with us so we can find you on the web?

We’d love to read an excerpt from your book. Be sure to give us a buy link.

Getting It Right This Time

She's back, but this time she’s a mother…intent on protecting her young.
Two years after her husband’s death, Kate Marshall returns home seeking security and stability for her three-year-old daughter. But when her path crosses with ‘the one who got away’…her husband’s best friend, she has to fight the desire to be with him for the sake of further heartbreak for her and her daughter.

A tough, straight talking theatrical agent, Mark Johnston is dangerously handsome, exceedingly rich, irresistibly charming – and branded by the tabloids as one of the UK’s most eligible bachelors. So even though Mark lost the girl of his dreams to his best friend, he finds no hardship in being single. Or so he thought.

Determined not to lose her a second time, Mark has to find a way to convince her they can work. But can Kate cope with the media interest and ruthless, money-hungry clients surrounding him, being anywhere near her daughter? Or accept that Mark Johnston is really the family man he claims to be?


“You came.”

She lifted her eyes to his. “Didn’t you think I would?”


“Oh.” His gaze lingered over every inch of her face, and Kate’s cheeks warmed under the soft study in his eyes. “Aren’t you going to sit down?”

He started as though remembering where he was. “You look beautiful.”

Her heart lurched in her chest as Kate forced herself to keep her eyes on the clear hazel of his. “Thank you. You don’t look too bad yourself.”

He smiled and reached for the menu. Once he was sufficiently engrossed, Kate picked up her own menu and opened it like a shield. But she didn’t read the offerings, instead she used the advantage to surreptitiously check him out. Peering over the top of the leather-bound pages, her gaze wandered over the charcoal gray suit, the open neck collar of his snow-white shirt and the casual style of his newly washed hair. He looked up and she quickly looked at the menu.

“Do you know what you want?” she asked quickly.

“I knew exactly what I wanted years ago.”

She snapped her head up, the menu slipping from her hands. His unwavering gaze burned straight through her skin and flesh to her very center. An intense heat flared behind her breastbone and between her legs simultaneously. She opened her mouth but no words came, and the only sound stretching between them was her pathetically feminine struggling gasps of breath. She couldn’t take her eyes from his and knew he would recognize her shock, her confusion…and worst of all, her desire. His fingers lightly touched hers.

“Kate, I’ve wanted to see you for so long…”

“Yet you never contacted me for five years.”

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

This excerpt is from A New Dream which is available at

For more Six Sentence participants go to

Matt hauled the steering wheel to correct the slide, but it was
useless. The car turned around once more and skidded backwards
for a short distance before it charged off the road. It jumped a steep
ditch and went airborne. All Matt could see was a blur of trees and
darkness as the car careened into the woods. It made a lazy turn in
the air and came to rest bottom side up.

The last thing he remembered was the sound of Stacey's screams.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Is Raine New To You?

Hi, Raine. Welcome to the blog. Tell us a little bit about you and your work.

A: Hi there and thanks for having me here. My name is Raine Delight and I write for Shadowfire Press and Secret Cravings. I currently write paranormal erotic romance but am branching out into other genres such as sci-fi and M/M. My muse is a twin of Johnny Depp and always seems to leave me to go sip mai tai's on the beach while i bang my head against the desk.

I recently signed with my two new publishers so all of my books that were previously released are sold elsewhere. Currently I have one book out at Shadowfire press called Fantasies Unbound. It's a retitled, re-released previously released story of a fae prince finding out that in order to avoid an arranged marriage, he needs to find his fated mate ASAP. What he doesn't expect is that she is human and humans are a no-no in his world. Can a magical Faberge egg, a meddling fae queen mother and a destined love have these two have their forever love?

Can you describe the time you first realized you were a “real” writer?
A: When I got my first royalty check. It wasn't very big but it was something I earned with my scribblings so to speak. That was when it was real to me.

Why do you write? It’s hard work.

A: You got that right. I swear I literally have to force myself to get moving on projects because between my day job demands, family and real life, if I didn't force myself to write a little each day I would never be able to get a manuscript done. But when I ship off a completed book to my editor, I am tickled pink that it's finally done...until edits that is. :)

What are your future goals for your writing?
A: I would eventually like to get an agent and move to a NY house but frankly I have been happy with my e-publishers and don't see that happening anytime soon. Hopefully I would like to get some of my books in print if sales are good enough.

Would you share your links so we can find you on the web?
A: Sure! Here is where you can find me on the web:

Facebook: look for AuthorRaine-Delight
Yahoo Loop: (open promo day is Fridays-Mondays)

We’d love to read an excerpt. Don’t forget to give us a buy link.
Buy links:
Shadowfire Press:
All Romance E-Book Store

Fantasies Unbound by Raine Delight
An Easter Egg themed title
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Sensual Romance
Heat Level: Warmer
Length: Story 11,400 words / 56 pages
Price: $2.50
Released 4th March 2011 from Shadowfire Press

Can destiny lead a Fae Prince to the one woman who can complete him mind, body and soul?

Prince Aryan has looked all over the fairy court for his destined mate. Time is running out before his mother, the queen of the Fae folk, will be forced to arrange a suitable marriage for him. Finally hearing the call of his mate, he is stunned to find her in the human world. Can Aryan find a way to make Skye his for all time even as he breaks the law for loving a human?

Skye Andrews has had it with bad dates and unsuitable men. As a last resort, she turns to her aunt who brews a love potion for her to find her destined mate. What she finds is that magic can happen….even with a little help of a love potion and a well meaning but meddling fairy queen. Can Skye find a way to live happily ever after with the one man who is the other half of her soul?

Skye sat with her hands fisted in her shirttails so she wouldn't throttle her well-meaning yet clueless Aunt Mary. The smoking cauldron on the stove erupted into another hiss, and the smell was making her stomach curdle.

Aunt Mary muttered to herself as she gathered the necessary ingredients for the love spell from various places in the ancient farmhouse.

Skye tried not to cringe when her aunt walked too close to a knife sitting on the edge of the table. Clearing her throat, Skye mustered enough courage to ask, "Is this thing supposed to be turning black and smelling like rotten eggs?"

"Oh my, yes dearie." Aunt Mary said as she bustled around the kitchen.

Skye blew out a deep breath and tried to keep calm as she watched her aunt stir something that looked suspiciously like toad legs in the cauldron. Yuck. I swear, some days it's almost too much to bear, with Mary's new found interest in new age-isms and spells that do everything but what they're supposed to. Skye looked at the clock and sighed, knowing she wasn't going to get on the road back to Dayton any sooner than her aunt deemed it worthy.

Skye tried not to sound dejected but after her disastrous Valentine date where her date just talked and talked about his life and career, she felt lost on the planes of life. With each day going by, it was almost too much to bear as she watched friends find their significant others and fall in love. Her aunt was determined to get the sparkle back in her eyes, or so she said the first night. It was enough to make Skye cringe in horror but she couldn't say anything mean to the one person who loved her more than anything. Flipping her hair off her face, she breathed a sigh of relief as she watched her aunt finish whatever she was doing to the brew until Mary turned around with a bottle of the foul smelling stuff.

"Here you go dear. All finished and ready to be imbibed by you! All you need to do is say three times: "I wish for my true love to find me" and then within seven days, according to the spell book I got from a used book store, your true love will find you and steal your heart away," Aunt Mary said as she gazed fondly at Skye, who was trying to look happy but failing miserably.

Skye took the bottle and peered at it grimacing. It was blackish-blue in color, with something that looked like lightning bugs shining in it, winking here and there. For a moment it was like watching a kaleidoscope of colors, enough to make her eyes become cross eyed. Uncorking the bottle, Skye tried to shield her expression from Mary but a shudder ran through her as she again thought of the men who got away or chose someone else and firmed her resolve to find a love of her own. A pleasant licorice scent wafted from the brew and though Skye was skeptical, she had to admit it smelled better than it looked. Muttering, "Let's hope it tastes as pleasant as it smells or I am going to throw up chunks," Skye leaned back and gulped the liquid. As she finished the last drop, she put down the bottle and recited the words her aunt told her to say:

"I wish for my true love."

"I wish for my true love."

"I wish for my true love."

Skye turned to the window and prayed this drink didn't make her sick when she caught a glimpse of a face looking at her. It was enough to cause her to gasp quietly and take a step back. Those moss green eyes seemed to call to her, longing for something and it was enough for Skye to wonder if she was losing her mind. She looked away thinking it was a figment of her imagination but the face still stared at her; those chiseled cheeks, full, round lips that made her long to feel them over her own and those cheekbones would give a model envy. Skye felt her body sit up and take notice and her panties got moist with her racing desire. Soon the face faded, though it felt like time stopped and only Skye could see what was there. Shaking her head, she said, "It was nothing. Just a figment of your imagination or a trick with the light; he isn't real at all. But, why does my heart and mind tell me otherwise? Is he "The One" I been searching for?" Skye wondered as she got ready to leave for home.

Click the link to buy

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Around the World Mega Author Blog Hop: Ticket to Paradise

Summer's fast approaching, and I'm ready for a vacation. Join the authors of Ticket to Paradise for a virtual vacation to some of the most exotic and wonderful spots in the world. Here are the rules for our blog hop.


1) Have fun!


3) THIS TOUR STARTS: Monday, May 16, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, May 23, at Midnight (Arizona Time)




After you check out my fun place Myrtle Beach, South Carolina go to to continue your tour.

Myrtle Beach is one of my favorite places in South Carolina. The area opened for tourism around 1900 and was named for the Sweet Myrtle Tree which is a waxy shrub native to the area. It had inexpensive accommodations and wide, sandy beaches guarded by giant oaks. Simple cottages started popping up along the coast. A beachfront lot back then cost a whopping twenty five dollars. People spent peaceful summers playing on the beach and enjoying the ocean. Here’s a picture of me when I was three playing in the water with my mother. Notice the beach houses in the background.

That was then, and this now. Although the lovely weather and beautiful water is still a big draw, there’s far more to do than swim or sun. Do you like golf? Myrtle Beach is called the ‘seaside golf capital of the world.’ Many hotels offer golf packages, and if you need lessons you can take them. You can find lots of nice places to buy new golf equipment too. If you prefer miniature golf to the real thing, you can find a course on almost every corner.

If golf isn’t your thing, maybe you’d like to go to a dinner theater and watch a show. Myrtle Beach has been called ‘the Branson by the sea.’ Medieval Times where you can watch knights on horseback joust is one that’s fun, but you might prefer the Alabama Theater, Legends, or the Carolina Opry. And my list isn’t complete.

Do you have a camper? When my kids were small we went camping at Myrtle Beach and had a wonderful time. There are plenty of quality campgrounds to choose from, and most of them have things like pools and video games to please the kids.

Like shopping? You’re in the right place. Barefoot Landing is one place I think you’d like. Besides shopping you can ride a carousel, have an alligator adventure or go to the House of Blues or Alabama Theater. Broadway at the Beach might appeal to you. That’s an outdoor festival shopping experience. One of my favorite places to browse is the Hammock Shops. They have twenty two specialty stores and restaurants clustered under moss draped trees on the edge of a salt marsh. While you’re there, buy a hammock. And of course there are cheesy souvenir shops and outlet malls galore.

Don’t forget to sample the variety of local restaurants. Some of the seafood places serve freshly caught seafood which is to die for. A suggestion; try the Sea Captain’s House.

Myrtle Beach has great nightlife too. There are plenty of clubs that offer entertainment from karaoke to darts.

Hotels? You’ll find a big variety, everything from high-rise condos to small houses for rent. You’ll need to research this one.

Attractions? Try Battleship North Carolina, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Aquarium, Brookgreen Gardens, deep sea fishing, dinner cruises on the Intracoastal Waterway, and many, many more. Oh, and ladies, don’t forget to get a manicure.

Guess where I’m going on vacation this year? Yep, you guessed it. Myrtle Beach. We’ll be there on July 4. Last year the fireworks were spectacular, and I’m betting they will be this year too. Hope to see you there!

That's me and my family last year.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Matrimonial Mayhem is an anthology of short stories published by Astraea Press. All royalties from the sale of Matrimonial Mayhem will be donated to tornado victims in Alabama. If you'd like to help, the buy link is

This excerpt is from my story It All Started With Cinders Malone's Dress. My hero and heroine from A New Dream are getting married. Violet and her mother have returned home from the bridal shop to some bad news. Keep in mind this is the day of the wedding. Fred is her father. The 'her' in the excerpt is the lady baking the wedding cake.

"Her grandson let the dog into her house, and by the time she found it, it had eaten one whole layer and licked the frosting off the rest of the cake." He pursed his lips. "It's a big dog. A Great Dane. I wonder if she could kind of wipe the good layers off and re-frost them?"

Violet and Beth made such an outcry Fred jumped from his recliner to make his escape.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wedding Bells Are Ringing

Matrimonial Mayhem is an anthology of wedding stories to benefit the Governor of Alabama's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for the hardest storm-hit areas of the state. The book is published by Astraea Press There are six stories:

Elaine Cantrell, "It All Started with Cinders Malone's Dress," based upon A New Dream. From the wrong dress to a canine disaster with the wedding cake, can anything go right for Matt and Violet on their wedding day?

Therese Gilardi, "Marriage on Sunset," based upon Matching Wits with Venus. Before Colin and Amelia, came Amelia's parents Stella Sweetwater and Gerard Coillard. Maybe not a match made in Heaven, but certainly one arranged by Venus...on Sunset Boulevard.

J.F. Jenkins, "Legend of the Aero Dragon," based upon The Legend of the Oceina Dragon. When a young dragon falls in love, best not to be standing between him and his chosen mate...especially if his choice doesn't exactly match the choice of his father.

Kim Bowman, "The Ballad of Brenda and Willard," based on a true urban legend Third time was the charm in the wedding tale of this author's parents, but exactly what date their anniversary should be celebrated on is anybody's guess.

J. Gunnar Grey, "The Lilies at Laura's Wedding," based upon Deal with the Devil. No happy hitching to be found here, but sometimes the better course to take is to say "I don't."

Kay Springsteen, "Camp Wedding," based upon Heartsight. A blind Marine, a nervous bride, and an adorable child who loves them both is an equation for another tug on the heartstrings in the story behind Dan and Trish's wedding.

Each of the authors is writing a wedding related post on their blogs today. After you finish here, go to for the next story.

And just to make this interesting, the authors are offering four fantastic prizes. Here's a list of what we've got for you.

1st place is a Princess Di bear and coupon code for an Astraea book, plus an ecopy of a book currently available by one of the six of us (winner's choice)

2nd place is a neclace and paperback copy of Kim Bowman's book, plus an ecopy of a book currently available by one of the six of us (winner's choice)

3rd place is choice of 2 copies of ebooks currently offered by the six of us (winner's choice)

4th place is choice of 1 copy of ebook currently offered by the six of us (winner's choice)

Rules are as follows:

Contestant must comment on all seven blogs to be eligible to win.

For every person you send to our site (the person has to note sender's name in post) you get another entry for prizes, same for tweeting, fbing

How's that sound? Nice, huh? The contest ends on Saturday May 14.

And now here's my post on wedding cakes.

Back in the Middle Ages, it was customary for guests to bring small cakes to a wedding feast. Traditionally, they brought fruit cakes. They were stacked on top of each other, and the bride and groom tried to kiss over the top of the stack without knocking it over. If they succeeded, it was thought to bring luck and good fortune. Over time the custom of covering the cakes with the same icing evolved, and the modern wedding cake was born.

When I got married, I had a wedding cake that was frosted in white. It was decorated with iridescent birds, bells, and bows. The layers themselves weren’t flavored. It really was pretty, but I think that couples usually go to a little more trouble to personalize their cake, often choosing exotic flavors and themes or very intricate decoration.

When Prince William wed Kate Middleton, their wedding cake was spectacular. The eight-tiered fruit cake was decorated in cream, white icing and 900 delicate sugar-paste flowers. It had seventeen types of blooms and flowers and took five weeks to complete. If you didn’t like that, you could have chocolate biscuit cake, a childhood favorite of Prince William. The chocolate cake had three tiers with white chocolate water lilies, milk chocolate leaves, and a mixture of white and milk chocolate feathers.

If you’d like to sample the chocolate cake, here’s a recipe from Mail Online, a UK online newspaper.
4 oz. margarine or butter
10 oz. chocolate
14 oz. condensed milk
Large pack of Rich Tea biscuits
15 glace cherries, chopped, 2 oz. raisins, variety of chopped nuts

1.In a large bowl crush the biscuits
2.Stir the cherries, raisins and nuts into the crushed biscuits
3.In a pan, melt together the margarine, condensed milk and half the bar of chocolate.
4.Pour the chocolate mixture over the biscuit mixture. Stir well until the crushed biscuits are all coated.
5.Line a tin, basin or box with greaseproof or parchment paper. Pour the mixture into it.
6.Freeze for at least two hours or until needed. When needed, take out and leave for two hours.
7.Melt the remaining chocolate and spread on top of the cake.
8.Cut into pieces and serve.

If you try the recipe, send me a slice! And don’t forget that Matrimonial Mayhem is available at All proceeds will be donated to disaster relief in Alabama.

From here go to

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to Six Sentence Sunday. To find more participants go to

Here's my six.

“Why are you scared of me?” Matt asked, his voice as soft
and rich as velvet. “Your eyes are as big as saucers.”

Violet’s chin came up. “I’m not scared of you.”

“Then you won’t mind if I do this.” Matt trailed his fingers
up her bare arm, leaving a path of goose bumps behind.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mr. Shipley's Governess

Readers, please help me welcome Joanne Troppello to the blog. Joanne is going to share a guest blog as well as her biography and an excerpt from her new book. Joanne, take it away!

I am an author and a freelance writer / marketing consultant, located in Pennsylvania. I have two books published. Shadowed Remembrances is a mystery novel and Mr. Shipley's Governess is an inspirational romance novel, published through Wild Horse Press. I am contracted to work for several different companies, to write non-fiction, how-to articles each week. I also work as a freelance marketing consultant for a local medical organization and I manage facebook and twitter accounts for different clients. I love to write and read and spend time with my family. For more info, visit my website:

Be Persistent and Don’t Give Up!

Back in the summer, my husband and I had a pesky little groundhog invading our vegetable garden. Actually, he wasn’t such a little critter; he was pretty fat and I didn’t think he needed to eat our tomatoes. Now, I love animals, don’t get me wrong, but I love my tomatoes and other veggies more. But, I do have to give our furry friend some credit because he’d been persistent and didn’t seem to want to give up.

We have two 8 x 8 raised garden beds and my husband did a great job of setting this garden up and putting wire fencing on the ground underneath the garden beds; he also put 3’ high rabbit fencing all around the garden. We’ve had this garden for two years now and haven’t had much trouble with animals until now. Last year the groundhog was around, but he wasn’t so brazen.

During the end of the summer, the groundhog started coming around and nibbled on some tomatoes that had overgrown the fencing. Yes, we do have to do some reorganizing next year and plant the Juliet and Grape tomatoes further from the fencing. So, I do understand how our friend came along to eat some tomatoes growing through the fence. But, while I finished up on work one day, my husband called me into the kitchen as he looked out the window and we saw the groundhog literally sitting like a king on top of the wooden gate posts, leaning on the tomato cages eating as if he owned the place. Of course, I charged out on to our deck, with my husband chuckling in the kitchen, as I tried to scare the groundhog away. As he’s done before, he made his way around the other side of the garden and hid there in front of his hole under the fence of the property line, as if he thought I didn’t see him. Yes, I yelled at him again to get away. By the way, we live in a townhouse community and by now after these escapades with me coming out to scare our friendly critter away, they probably think I’m crazy. Maybe that’s why my husband isn’t coming out; either that or I’m providing entertainment for him.

Anyway, the groundhog dutifully went into his hole under the fence until the next day when he brazenly came back to our garden to feast. Thinking about this groundhog made me realize that as authors, we need to be just as tenacious and consistent in our search to reach our goals in writing great stories and marketing our work. Even if we have editors getting back to us saying our work is not good enough, we need to take the good with the bad and keep going. Of course, if their criticisms are legitimate, we should heed them and make corrections. We need to be determined like the groundhog and never give up until we reach our goals and find the publishers we are looking for.

When it comes to marketing, we must keep working at it even when it seems like we are the only author, drowning in a sea of other authors and don’t feel like our efforts are making a difference. If we give up, then we won’t be making a difference in our success. However, every step we take in the right direction, even if it’s only baby steps in writing and marketing, is going to make a difference. Whenever we feel like giving up, let’s remember my furry friend, Mr. Groundhog, and keep hanging on. Success is just around the corner.

Latest Release:
Mr. Shipley's Governess
By: Joanne Troppello
Purchase Link:

Summary: Sophie Baird is looking for a way to escape the painful reality of her parents' deaths. Unable to live in their home any longer, she takes a job as a live-in tutor to Anastasia Shipley to remove herself from her painful memories and the feeling that God has abandoned her.

Anastasia has an illness that has prevented her from ever attending school and makes her father, Sebastian, over protective.

When Sophie first meets Sebastian, she cannot deny the intense attraction she feels toward him. When an unexpected romance begins between them, she starts to rebuild her relationship with God, with the help of a certain little girl.

Later that afternoon Sophie found herself blindfolded by Sebastian and he led her through the house towards the front door. He kidnapped her from a lazy afternoon of reading in the parlor. His words kept her guessing. “Can you get bundled up? I want to show you something outside.”
“Where are we going?” She heard him open the front door.
“I have a surprise for you.” He held her hand. “Do you trust me?”
“Yes, at least I think I do.” She smiled.
“You have a beautiful smile.”
“Thank you. So where are we headed?”
“I’m going to hold your hand and guide you down the driveway towards the sidewalk. Ready?”
“I guess so.” She held tightly to his hand.
He stopped walking. “Let me try a different tactic here.” He put his arm around Sophie. “I think I can guide you better this way and maybe get back some of the circulation in my hand.”
“Sorry. It’s not every day I’m abducted and forced to walk blindfolded.”
They walked for a few moments in silence. “It’s so beautiful out here. Do you feel the snow flurries?”
She held out her hands and nodded.
“I think it’s better if you stick your tongue out.”
She joked back. “Aren’t you fresh? Are we there yet?”
“You’re as bad as my daughter.”
“Speaking of Anastasia, where is she?”
“I begged my father to keep her occupied for a few hours.”
“What are we going to do for a few hours?”
“I can think of many things.” She heard the devilish tone to his voice.
She turned her head towards him. “You know, I’m beginning to think that deep down, men are adolescents at heart.”
“I think you’re right.” He guided her to the left. “Okay, we’re here, but he isn’t.”
“Can I take this blindfold off?”
“Not yet. Oh, there he is. Can you cover your ears?”
“What?” She felt Sebastian’s gloved hands cover her ears for a minute.
Finally, he removed the blindfold.
She opened her eyes and saw a horse drawn carriage in front of her. She turned to Sebastian. “After you, milady.” The driver stepped down and helped her step up into the carriage. She shook her head, feeling as if she dreamt this.
“So what do you think of part two of your Christmas present?”
She hesitated in responding. “That maybe it’s a little bit inappropriate from my employer.”
“Well, that may be so, but I’m also your friend and--”
“Are you ready, Mr. Shipley?”
“Yes, we are.”
“So you were saying--”
“That I’m your friend and I hope you might classify me as your special friend.” He pulled a red velvet blanket up over their laps and reached over to hold her gloved hand. “So, how do I measure up?”
“Oh, you classify.”
He put his arm around her shoulder and she snuggled close to him, enjoying the secure feeling of his nearness. She rested that way throughout the entire carriage ride and they both remained silent for the majority of it. Sebastian opened the door to romance a crack and invited her to squeeze in. She knew he only offered her an appetizer right now, but she believed he wanted her to stay for the main course and Sophie felt up to the challenge of getting to know this intricate and delightful man.

Joanne, thank you so much for coming. Your book sounds like a treat.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights

Since I became an Astraea Press author, I've discovered a lot of new authors whose work I love. Today, Jean Joachim is stopping by to tell us about her and her work.

Jean, welcome. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work? I've been a non-fiction writer for fifteen years with seven non-fiction books published. I started writing fiction about 15 months ago and am hooked on it. I love writing romance, what better way to spend your day than thinking about love! I live in New York City with my husband and two sons and a rescued pug named, Homer. He is my muse. We walk in Central Park when I have a plot snarl to untangle. He's such a good listener! Seriously, I do talk to him and people here think I'm a little nuts and they may be right.

2.What do you think makes a book a page turner?

I think surprise and having characters do things that may be a little out of character keep people engrossed. I like to put danger in my romances. I believe it keeps the reader reading. Cliff hangers at the end of chapters are also good devices. James Patterson does that in his mysteries and I find myself putting everything down so I can read the next chapter.

3.How many WIP do you have going? I am beginning to edit the first draft of my sequel to "Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights", called "April in the Moonlight". I also have a sensuous romance in the works that takes place in NYC, my first book to do so! I have the first two books in my "Now and Forever" series coming out in September and November. They are "Now and Forever 1, a Love Story" and "Now and Forever 2, The Book of Danny". Those are sensuous romances with strong elements of suspense.

4.What other authors if any have influenced your writing? The first to influence me was Louisa May Alcott, when I was a child. "Little Women" was a huge influence on me. I find Jane Austen to be the quintessential romance/historic romance writer and have read all her books more than once, bemoaning the fact that there are only six. I like Debbie Macomber's Buffalo Valley Series and the women of Astraea Press write great books with highly original stories.

5.Would you share your links with us?

Of course!, and

6.We’d love to read an excerpt. Don’t forget to give us a buy link.

She put music in the old CD player in the living room,
singing along while she dusted, swept, cleaned the kitchen and
changed the linens. The little cabin brightened up under her labor;
singing the old familiar tunes she used to sing with her mother
brought happiness to the old place once again. She had not sung
much in years and was happy she could still sing on key.

As she was taking out garbage, she spied a man on the
grounds. He was driving a small tractor down near the lake. It was a
relief to find she wasn’t totally alone; there was a maintenance man

Before grocery shopping, it was time to scrub the grime of
the old cabin off her body. She got in the shower and when she
twisted the hot water spigot to adjust it, it came off in her hand.
Scalding hot water shot across the shower, trapping Caroline
against the wall.

She opened the bathroom window, saw the figure
of a man walking toward the Baron’s cabin across the way and
screamed for help. She saw him stop and turn. She called out again,
and he came toward her cabin. A minute later, he entered the
bathroom where she was naked and confined by the hot water.

“Towel!” she hollered, covering herself as best she could with
her hands and arms. After studying her body briefly, he looked
away then threw her a towel, went over to the water controls and
turned off the hot and cold water. Caroline covered herself with the
skimpy towel and stared at the man.

He was in his thirties, handsome with dark brown hair, light brown eyes, a slightly square jaw, one day’s growth of beard and over six feet tall with a slim, strong build.

“You need a new spigot. There might be one in the shed good
enough to hold for today, but tomorrow you should stop by the
hardware store and pick up a new one,” he told her.
There was something about his voice, something she
recognized. Caroline stared at his face, peering into his eyes…those
eyes seemed familiar. She gasped.

“Mickey, is that you?”


(multiple formats)


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Jean, I enjoyed talking with you. Come back any time.