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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How You Leave Texas Wins the 2013 Global Book Contest For Short Stories

Breaking News!! Alana Cash  and How You Leave Texas placed first in the Short Story category of the GLOBAL BOOK CONTEST 2013. Congratulations, Alana!


Alana Cash



How You Leave Texas is a volume of three short stories and a novella about four young women who leave Midland, Austin, Fort Worth and Mayville, Texas for New York, California, Jakarta, and in one instance, jail.  They seek escape from boredom and sorrow and find it.  The stories are hilarious, tragic, revelatory.



Here is an excerpt from the short story Camille's Net Worth  


She was late to work at Fastbinder’s Mortgage Company, and when she arrived, the atmosphere in the office felt charged. Something was up. The top managers were in an unscheduled conference call and no one knew why. No one was working, so Camille called her mother to thank her for the flowers that were already sitting on her desk.

“What do you and Walker have planned for tonight?” Elaine Morgan asked her daughter.


Camille explained about the dinner.


“What is he getting you as a gift?”


“I don’t know, Mom. I’ve looked everywhere.”


“Well, have a wonderful time, honey,” her mom said.


It was ten o’clock when Camille got off the phone. The accounting department surprised her with a birthday cake, sang to her, and gave her the card they had all signed. Five minutes later, the managers were out of their meeting and everyone got canned by one loud announcement from the District Manager.


“We’re sorry to have to tell you that you are all let go.”  That is all that Camille would ever clearly remember.


The mortgage company was belly-up. Those few employees who were retained were being transferred to the Las Vegas branch. Everyone was in shock and had no time to express outrage or disappointment because they were told to pack up all of their personal belongings and exit the building immediately. Camille took the elevator down the four floors, amid grumblings from secretaries and mortgage brokers. What about our benefits?  I didn’t take all my vacation this year. Someone ought to blow up the building. I stole a printer.
Alana Cash is an adventurer.  She’s trekked alone through war-torn Serbia and has slept in a KGB interrogation room in Prague.  She’s been to a gypsy fair in rural England, a bullfight in Laredo, and parasailing in Acapulco.  She’s been inside the New York Stock Exchange and eaten in J. Pierpont Morgan’s home dining room.  She's gone on a ride-along in a New York City patrol car and kissed a man inside the Norman Bates Psycho house at Universal Studios.  She’s been a lifeguard, legal secretary, accountant, writer, teacher, filmmaker and artist.
Her experiences are inspiration for her work as an acclaimed writer and filmmaker. 
  • She was one of 60 US teachers profiled on the PBS series, "A Writer's Exchange," for her talent as a teacher at the University of Texas Informal Classes  - many of her students published and won writing awards
  • Her feature film, "Tom's Wife," based on her novel of the same name, won awards all over the world
  • Her documentary "Anna Freud: Under Analysis," part of documentary trilogy on women in science, was translated into German for broadcast in Austria, Germany & Switzerland



Book Blast: Burn on the Western Slope.

Burn on the Western Slope

by Angela Smith






On the ski slopes of Montana, deception turns deadly and seduction becomes more hypnotic than jewels.


Reagan McKinney is on a mission to discover more about a deceased uncle who mysteriously left her a sizable inheritance, a condo in the mountains, and a stash of stolen jewels.  With both her graphic design career and her love life in shambles, the opportunity to begin a new life couldn’t have come at a better time.  When she becomes involved with the sexy FBI agent next door, she finds her struggle is not only to keep her heart intact, but her life.


Grief stricken after an undercover investigation ends in the tragic death of his partner, FBI Agent Garret Chambers goes home to find solace in the arms of his mountain home.  That is, until his boss assigns him to investigate the spirited brunette staying in the condo next door.  He is assigned to investigate Reagan’s involvement with a large jewel fencing organization, but his investigation becomes comprised when his attraction to her heats up.  Will his discovery destroy everything he has come to love, including Reagan?





“Wait,” he said, settling his hand over hers. He didn’t know what he would say to keep her here, didn’t know if he should kiss her again. Had he insulted her in some way? “Do you have a boyfriend back home?” he asked. A stupid question at a time like this, but he had to know. For Buchanan, who would call sometime tonight, and for himself.


Silence stretched among them. He fought to soften his breathing, but his heart only pounded harder as he tried to convince himself she was not his to possess.


When she looked at him, dead in the eye, she didn’t flicker. The strength she’d shown on the mountain today, pushing herself when most women would have cried and complained, and the snappy comeback with Tanner made Garret realize she was the kind of woman who could stand up to a man like Javier Mass. The type of woman Javier—or Nelson, either one—would prize. Garret’s world capsized.


Shaking her hand from his, she said, “Shouldn’t you have asked me that before you kissed me?”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

During my senior year in high school, I was dubbed most likely to write a novel because I always had my nose stuck in a book.   I would hide my romance novels under my history book until my teacher called me out on it.  Writing has been my dream ever since my mother read Brer Rabbit to my sister and me so often that we were able to recite it back to each other before actually learning to read.  I love reading about the adventure of love, and getting involved in the legal field developed my love of suspense. I believe love is a mystery that most people have trouble resolving.  While I don’t expect we’ll ever solve that mystery, I love to read and write about characters who work to solve their love’s mystery.  See more about me at my website or tweet me @angelaswriter

Publisher Website:

Readers, make sure you follow the tour for a chance to win one of the following prizes:  a car mirror hanger or key chain (a seashell as a tie-in to her book), and mp3 album by Pretty Little Blisters, or three $10 Amazon gift cards.  You can find her schedule at



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Beyond the Book: The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Welcome to Beyond the Book.  My name is Prince Alan.  I was Madame Cantrell's hero in her wonderful novel The Enchanted.  It will come as no surprise that Madame has again been the recipient of a great honor.  Last week her local library begged that she sign books for them, and this week she received the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  One of the requirements of the award is that she must reveal seven random things about herself.  As Madame is a bit shy, I have asked for the privilege of deciding what to post.  Naturally, this gracious lady agreed, so here are the things which I myself know about Madame.

1.She is exceedingly passionate about animals.  Her white dog Rascal will not eat unless she warms his dog food and sprinkles it with cheese.  Mayhap he is a little spoiled.

2.Madame is no good at cards.  I personally can vouch for this.

3.Madame loves turquoise.  She is starting a bathroom redo and plans to paint the walls turquoise.  In her honor the king has decreed that all of the castle bathrooms will be painted turquoise as well.

4.I have not asked Madame if chocolate is her favorite food, but one can scarcely help noticing her extraordinary fondness for it.

5.It should also be said that she knows a great deal about WWE Wrestling.  Her grandson is a fan of this spectacle and talks Madame's ear off about it.  According to the boy, John Cena is a great man.

6.Madame likes reality TV even though her husband loathes it.  Deadliest Catch, Hoarders, and Love it or List It are her favorites. 

7.Madame believes that an evil enchanter may have cursed her washing machine.  It is what she calls a front loader, but she says it does not get the clothes clean.  This I overheard her discussing with the servants at the castle.

Since I am already here, I will post Madame's video for your enjoyment.  Farewell.

Monday, July 29, 2013

YA At Its Finest: Spell Struck

Let me begin with a big thanks to Elaine for allowing me to guest host today. I am honored to be here! My second YA novel, Spell Struck, Book 2: The Teen Wytche Saga, released July 18th. The first book in the series, Spell Check, debuted in 2012.


Every writer needs a muse. I had a muse — an excellent muse. She resembled my daughter. Okay, she was my daughter, which proved quite useful since I write Young Adult fiction.


We entered an unspoken deal. My daughter would pretend to listen while I worked out plot details on street corners — as long as the corner was within a block of the mall and the outing involved shopping. She would pretend I wasn’t eavesdropping during the daily school carpool drives as long as I disguised my characters enough that her friends and nemeses wouldn’t recognize themselves.


I used a map of her middle school to create Jefferson High, the high school setting for the first two books of my Teen Wytche Saga. Book three, which I’m currently writing, switches to a fictional setting inspired by her high school. The whole muse deal seemed to be working out splendidly.


One slight blip: my daughter grew up and went off to college. Muses aren’t supposed to age out! Isn’t Muse a life-long position?


Luckily, I get to do author school events. While I tell the students about my journey as a writer and give them writing tips, one part of my brain memorizes what the kids are wearing and how they interact with each other. Maybe I should prop up a sign next to my cover art poster. Wanted: A teen muse. No experience needed. Must be at least two years from high school graduation.


Meanwhile, I think I’ll volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club of America.


Spell Struck, Book 2: The Teen Wytche Saga

What if the one person who saw through your lies and loved you, harbored a secret that could cost you everything?


Back Cover Blurb

Goth outcast, Salem Miller, believes her love spell failed until Aidan Cooper arrives at Jefferson High. When he chooses her over the popular girls, Salem knows magic brought him. But can she summon enough wizardry to save her sister? Salem fears Amy’s next suicide attempt will succeed. Magic brought Aidan. Maybe it can cure Amy. Salem’s last hope lies hidden within a damaged grimoire, nearly destroyed by a wrongful love spell. Was her rightful love spell enough to restore it?


Newest Jefferson High transplant, Aidan Cooper, doesn't expect to be attracted to a goth. Then he realizes Salem is throwing a glamour—pretending to be something she’s not. Guess it takes one to know one, since his whole life has been a lie. But if his kidnappers discover he's broken their No Attachments rule, he'll never see Salem again. Worse, he’s terrified they’ll harm her when they discover she possesses the ancient grimoire. To protect Salem, Aidan must destroy the grimoire, and escape his captors.


While Salem races to unlock the Get Well Spell, Aidan scrambles to overcome his past. With their star-crossed paths at odds, will time run out for both of them?



Aidan lowered his hand. His finger pressed against my skin, shooting a delicious tingle up my arm. When I didn’t move away, he hooked his finger over mine. My breath caught. We stayed, frozen, hyper-focused, for what seemed like three lifetimes. Then Aidan trailed his fingertips across the back of my hand. The soundtrack, popcorn smells, and theater audience melted into the background. The world narrowed down to the unspoken grief and need entangled in Aidan’s touch.

I rotated my hand so my palm faced upward. Aidan hesitated. Our gazes locked in the flickering light. The spell link humming between us lit up like blue lightning. At least I think it was the spell link. Aidan plunged his fingers between mine. Our palms pressed together, igniting a current. Air shuddered from my lungs. Magic rippled from us in successive waves.

My heart stuttered. My breath ceased. Every cell within me vibrated. Troops of fairies or dragonflies took flight in my lower abdomen. It’s possible blue lightning shot from my boots.

Good thing I wasn’t holding the popcorn.


About Ariella

Ariella Moon writes about magic, friendship, and love in Spell Check and Spell Struck, Books One & Two in The Teen Wytche Saga from Astraea Press. After a childhood spent searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia, Ariella grew up to become an author and shaman. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students who mistook her for a leaning post, marred Ariella’s teen years. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. She now lives a nearly normal life with her extraordinary daughter, shamelessly spoiled dog, and an enormous dragon.


Buy Links

Astraea Press



Barnes and Noble

Where to Find Ariella Moon



Sunday, July 28, 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors: Going Home

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors.  My sample today is from The Enchanted.  I've skipped a few paragraphs, but we are still on the scene where my hero's father-the-king comes to collect Prince Alan from prison.  When you are finished here you can find more lovely sentences at



The clanking of heavy chains announced Alan's arrival. The

king set his silver cup down and beheld his son for the first time in

a year. "I almost did not recognize him. He is filthy, and his hair is

disgracefully short, but he has certainly put on a lot of muscle."

Kynthelig inclined his head. "Indeed."

The keeper's servant brandished a fan made of fluffy white

feathers and fanned King Bowdyn as he looked Alan up and down.

"He looks as if he has worked often in the sun."

Buy link:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sweet Saturday Sample: Total Desperation

Welcome to Sweet Saturday Sample.  My excerpt today comes from The Enchanted, my latest release.  In this excerpt Morgane is overcome with desperation and comes up with a radical solution to her problem.  Find more excerpts at


Forced by his father into a marriage he didn’t want, Prince Alan soon finds that his bride isn’t the sweet, submissive creature he expected.  Morgane has the heart of a dragon and beauty beyond compare, but she isn’t thrilled about the marriage either.  When black treachery threatens the kingdom, Morgane and Alan embark on a perilous journey that has an excellent chance of ending in failure and death for them and all of their people.  


The minute Alan left her alone, Morgane hobbled across the

room. The sword that stood in the corner was heavy, but

desperation lent strength and she hefted it. No longer would she be

at the mercy of others. She had tried to run away, but in that she

failed. This time she would not fail. Placing the sword against her

heart, she saw that her arms were not long enough to grasp the hilt.

Blood gushed as her hands slipped along the blade.

"My lady! What are you doing?" Edana ran across the room

and snatched the sword from Morgane. "What are you thinking?

The prince has treated you kindly thus far. Your life may be

changing for the better. How could you do this thing?"

Morgane lunged for the sword, but Edana deftly evaded her.

"Evidently, I cannot do it. Help me, Edana! My arms are too short

to do the job. If you love me, send me on my way to the next


"No!" Edana cried. "I will tell Prince Alan if you ever try such

a thing again."

Tears welled up in Morgane's eyes, but as usual she bit her

lip to quell them. Crying did no good. She knew. Her head

dropped. "Do not tell him."

"You are tired," Edana comforted. "Let me clean your hands

and help you to bed. The prince will not stay away for long."

Shoulders drooping, Morgane allowed Edana to help her

into her gown. "This fabric is lovely, my lady. It is very soft and

finely spun. You always look well in white." She gently fingered the

lace on the sleeve. "It took many hours to make this fine lace."

Morgane shrugged and stared dispassionately at the lace.

"Perhaps I once looked well in white, but since my father chose to

mutilate me I have looked repulsive in everything."

"That is not true, and you know it. You are still beautiful.

You are lucky, too. Have you not rid yourself of your father? Is

Prince Alan not handsome and kind?"

"Yes, of course."

Edana hung her dress in the wardrobe and put her shoes

under the bed. "Try to please him, my lady. Your mother is not

here, and in her absence I feel it is my duty to advise you.สบ

"Thank you, Edana. I appreciate all that you do for me."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Favorite Vacation Spots

Readers, please help me welcome author Joselyn Vaughn to the blog.  Joselyn is telling us about her favorite vacation spot.  I think I'd like to visit myself.

Every summer, we visit my in-laws on a little lake in northern Minnesota. It’s about the most relaxing vacation we can have with three little kids. They have grandma and grandpa to spoil them and a lake to burn up their energy. Grandma is a wonderful cook, so we have delicious food which is a happy escape from my less-than-stellar from-a-box creations. This year we even had a tea party with little bunny cups and finger sandwiches. The girls loved it.
My husband and I got to go golfing twice. I haven’t been on a golf course that much since I was seven months pregnant with the twins. We did a bit of shopping – mostly garage sales, but I scored a ton of girls’ clothes and a free monster truck (my son was delighted.).
The only problem was that my in-laws got me addicted to a show called Murdoch Mysteries. It’s a CSI-type show set in 1890’s Toronto. There’s a love interest. The main character is cute. What’s not to like? They get the show on Netflix DVDs. The problem: we only have Netflix streaming and Murdoch Mysteries isn’t available. How am I going to find out what happens to Murdoch and Crabtree and all my new friends?
Oh, Joselyn what a predicament.  Maybe they'll put it on DVD, and you can buy it.  Now, let's look at an excerpt from Joselyn's latest Climbing Heartbreak Hill.
Tara tapped her foot while Ryan settled in the tank and
others lined up behind her for their chance to dunk him. A dollar
for three throws at the target. Tara reached for her purse, then
changed her mind. She bent and picked up Ryan’s coat. After a
quick search of the pockets, she found his wallet. Unfortunately, it
was devoid of cash. She flipped it closed, then opened it again to
peek behind the credit cards. Ah‑ha! An emergency twenty. She
kept cash hidden to use only for an emergency, too. She slid the bill
out of the pocket and crushed it in her fist. If she didn’t let off some
of this anger and disappointment, it would be an emergency.
She tossed the crumpled bill at the attendant and stepped up
to the line.
“How many throws?”
“All of them,” Tara said, holding her hand out for the
marred softball. She rubbed her fingers over the crusty leather and
stared at Ryan. A golden opportunity lost. She wound up and
chucked the ball. It went high and wide of the target. Someone
behind her made a remark about throwing like a girl. Ryan gave
her a thumbs‑up. If he thought that was a good throw, he had another
thing coming. He should think twice about encouraging her. She
needed a couple throws to get warmed up. She grabbed the next
ball and wrapped her fingers around the seams.
“You should take the job,” she muttered as she let this one
fly. It dinged the corner of the target, but not hard enough to
trigger the release. The ball ricocheted off the tank, and Ryan
almost dunked himself when he flinched.
He might have said “what was that?” but Tara screwed up
her mouth and reached for another ball. She had been through
enough this week with the stress of tax season, Chuck’s demands,
and Ryan’s stupid, stupid obstinacy. “Lead me on, did you?” She
whipped the ball at the target. She missed again, this time nailing
the acrylic glass surround with a vicious thunk.
“Somebody’s got some anger issues,” the man behind her
said under his breath.
Tara snatched another ball and whirled around on her heels.
She shoved the ball under his nose. “Unless you want this ball
blocking your next sneeze, you’ll keep your comments to yourself.”
The man stepped back a full yard and put his hands up to
protect his ability to shoot germs from his nose.
“Thank you.” Tara pursed her lips and turned back to the
tank. She tightened her focus on the red bulls‑eye. This time Ryan
was hers. She whipped the ball with a caveman‑like growl.
Oh, he's in trouble now!  You can pick up your copy at any of the following locations.
Buy Links:
Thanks for everything, Joselyn.  come back soon to see us.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ennara and the Fallen Druid

Welcome Angela Myron.  Thanks for stopping by my blog.  How long have you been writing? What inspired you to pick the pen up one day and create characters that capture the imagination?

I’ve been writing for eighteen years. Since I was a child, I’ve loved telling stories. I’ve always wanted to write fiction, but it was only recently that I decided I didn’t have time, quite frankly, to not do precisely what I wanted to do with my time left on this planet.

How long did it take for your first book to get published?

I think this question is probably referring to traditional publishing, since anyone can self-publish these days and the timeline for self-publishing is completely up to the author.

 Becoming a traditionally published author is not easy, especially today. But despite the slim-to-none chance of being picked up by one of the Big 5, there is a lot of opportunity out there for new authors. From small press to e-publishers to self-publishers, it seems that every day there are more avenues for writers to get their stories out.

 I chose to self-publish my first book. I hired an editor, cover illustrator, and cover designer, and used my publications background to format the electronic and print versions of the book. From the time that the story had gone through several revisions and a professional editor, it took three months to publish.

 I hope someday to be a traditionally published author. It would be a thrill to see one of my books on display at an airport or in a grocery store. It would also be wonderful to be able to leave the marketing and production work to someone else, so I could just focus on writing!

 For the time being, I am building my backlist, honing my skill, and building a wonderful fanbase. It is a comfortable way to work, and allows me to focus on the current project until it is done, and then move on.

What does your writing day look like?

Wake at 5 a.m. Write until my twins wake, which is sometimes as early as 6, and sometimes as late as 7. Feed them breakfast; go on a playdate, then lunch. Put them down for a nap. Catch up with email, post to Facebook, and do other marketing and book promotion activities as needed. If there is time, write until the twins wake, which is sometimes as early as 1 p.m., and sometimes as late as 2 p.m. Do errands, household chores, & make dinner. Feed, bathe, and prep twins for sleep. Eat dinner with hubby and collapse on the couch. Try to read before crashing.

 That’s all the time I have to write. It amounts to two hours, three if I’m lucky, per day. Not much.

Most authors are also avid readers. Is this the case with you? If so, who are some of your favorites?

Oh, favorites have always been a difficult question for me. I like different genres and often read whatever I pick up. But I do naturally gravitate to fantasy and science fiction. Some of my favorite authors of these genres include Orson Scott Card, the great trio C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and their predecessor George MacDonald, Terry Brooks, George R.R. Martin, J.K. Rowling, and many more.
And now for a blurb and an excerpt!
Eleven year-old Ennara Gaern has a serious grudge against the dragon on her right hand.
Born with a caul—a mask that foretold magical powers—she was immediately inked with the fiendish, fire-breathing tattoo that forces her to study boring texts, cover her hand continuously, and worst of all, keeps her from visiting the beautiful capital city, Dordonne. But her quiet life changes when one night she is attacked by a shadowy demon.
Tork, an old friend and wizard, is enlisted to help. But when he arrives, he informs Ennara’s parents that she is her world’s only hope of finding the legendary Sword of Gisilfrid, which is needed to destroy the curse that is creating the demons. Ennara doesn’t want to leave on the dangerous quest, but when she learns the curse threatens her world, she reluctantly agrees.
Ennara and the wizard begin a perilous journey to the Sunken City, pitting them against dangerous oceans and pirates intent on claiming Ennara’s magic as their own. With only her friends at her side, including the intelligent, aquatic cat Smoos, Ennara must defeat monsters guarding the sword and servants of the Fallen Druid. When her world is covered in darkness, will she know how to dispel the curse?
A twig snapped. A damp chill surrounded Ennara, picking up goose bumps on her arms. The girl hugged herself and stomped her feet to fend off the cold. Why couldn’t the cow make things easy for her tonight?
She took a tentative step between two wild rosebushes. The sun slowly sank toward the distant hills across Lake Coeur. If she hadn’t stayed so late fishing at the docks with Kithe, she’d be home by now, cow tucked safely in the well-lit barn.
Ennara glanced around the gloomy forest. Long shadows stretched across the pasture between her and the farmhouse. She shivered. Her father, Lir, had warned her to bring Misty back before sunset. She wasn’t afraid of the dark, but she didn’t want to meet one of the monsters stalking around at night that Kithe told her about.
She heard the familiar clang of the cow’s bell and called again, stepping near the sound. Trees blocked her view. She peered between them, trying to catch a glimpse of the exasperating bovine.
The life-filled woods departed as the last rays of light slipped behind the hills, leaving a hollow version of its higher self. The girl shivered a second time and rubbed her arms.
The bell sounded once more. Ennara jumped and spun around. She ran a few steps in the direction of the sound, further into the trees.
Through the approaching dusk, she caught a glimpse of metal. There it was—the cow’s bell and collar hung on the limb of a young cottonwood. How had Misty managed to get it off? Confused, the girl stepped toward the bell.

Behind her, a twig snapped. She froze. She turned to see a tall shadow flitting among the trees. Her heart fluttered as she backed away.  “M … misty?” she whispered.
Okay, now you've scared me!  Super excerpt.  And now a bit about the author.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Like many writers, I have a full life in which I juggle many duties and joys. I love to cook, garden, and play with my twins. As a mother to toddlers, I write whenever I am not helping them navigate their day--which typically means in the early mornings and early afternoons when they sleep, and sometimes when Grandma comes to visit.
I was twenty-two when writing became a passion of mine. I've been doing it in one form or another ever since. But it took me a very long time to follow my heart's desire to tell stories.
For years, I simply journaled. I delved into writing articles for newsletters and grant proposals. I settled into technical writing, often finding myself a one-person writing, editing, design, app development, and publication team. I learned the basics of journalism, and finally, when on maternity leave with my twins, I turned to writing fiction.
I am grateful for every reader I have. Writing can be a solitary pursuit, but it can also be a dialog, a meeting of the minds. I invite you to connect with me:
Join my street team! Email me at to subscribe to my newsletters.
Buy Links:
Angela will be awarding to a randomly drawn commenter during each week on the tour, a wall calendar print from (Items can be exchanged for other equal or lesser value items from Ennara Swag on Cafepress.), and will award a t-shirt from to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US ONLY). Also, a $20 Amazon GC will be awarded to a randomly drawn host.
Week 4 calendar giveaway (July 22 - 26):
Readers, follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: