Monday, April 30, 2012

Tara Manderino Falls for a 250 Year Old Vampire

KAREN: Tara Manderino is a multi-published author of paranormal romances and tales of adventrue. BOUND BY BLOOD is her new release with Push Pull Publishing. Read on for a behind the scenes exclusive of Alex's story. A 250 year old vampire tends to have the last word. 

There is some lag time between my first and second foray into the vampire world. Mainly because I was absolutely determined to ignore Alex, the hero/vamp in Bound by Blood. Finally, one day I was bored with the other stuff I was writing and Alex simply insisted he had waited long enough and it was his turn. I’m not at all sorry he demanded I pay attention.

While my original intent might have been to write a vampire romance story, what ended up was an adventure story with some romance. (Loved the Indiana Jones movies. J ) In the time I left Alex to his own devices he managed to stumble into more trouble than I thought possible. In spite of that, I fell hard for Alex.

His 250 years as a vampire taught him something – not least, the importance of family. The driving force in Bound by Blood is his determination to save a descendant of his, and reunite Lisa with her father. The fact that he can help save the world plays a part too, since like most of my heroes, Alex has a knight complex.

I could have written the paranormal romance I had planned, but then it wouldn’t have been Alex’s story. He waited so long I hated to short change him. He is so determined to do the right thing, what could I do but help him along?

Bound by Blood can be found on Amazon 
Tara can be found at
On twitter  @TManderino 
On Facebook  (Someday I’m going to figure out how to deal with the timeline on that page!)


Over the decades, he had made it his business to know how those descendents got on in life. For the most part, they needed very little assistance. This was the first time in probably fifty years that he needed to concern himself. But one thing he had promised himself was that his bloodline would continue on. That couldn’t happen if there was mortal danger involved. It turned out his line was not a prolific one, so each member mattered.
“Perhaps it would be best if I spoke with the nanny away from here. Talked to her in other surroundings.”
“That would be fine with me but the police asked she stay close, besides they already talked to her at the scene.”
Nodding his head in acknowledgement, Alex returned to the great room where the police were milling about. Tactfully, he suggested a few of them leave, which they did. Then he turned to meet the nanny.
He blinked twice. Nannies simply did not look like Miss Lisa Mitchell. At least none of the nannies he had known. Even if they had been younger than fifty they wore starched looking clothing; the kind that could stand up on its own. And they invariably had their hair pulled back and skewed into a so-tight braid it made an instant face-lift.
This nanny was the complete opposite in every way. Her hair, a burnished copper, curled about her face and it looked as if no amount of combing would tame it. Her mouth was a shade too wide, the kind that was perfect for smiling, and was quite mobile. At the moment, he couldn’t see her eyes because the lids were closed, but her lashes were thick and fanned against her pale skin. Her nicely shaped nose was tipped in red, evidence of her crying. He could hear her slow even breathing and was loathe to wake her. But the child needed to be found.
Standing next to her, he watched her exhausted sleep for a moment. If he wanted answers, he would have to rouse her. Slightly leaning over her, he gently nudged her shoulder with his hand.
Her eyes flew open in a second, then widened. He straightened, giving her some breathing room. She looked about, puzzled for a moment, then he saw the terror in the depths of her eyes.
“Who are you?” she asked, pushing herself against the cushions in an effort to sit up straighter.
Alex perched on the edge of the arm of the nearby chair. No sense in looming over the girl. He quickly introduced himself.
“I don’t know how it happened,” she said, still trying to bite back the tears.
“Calm down, miss,” he said, then gave her a wry smile. “I’m afraid I don’t know your name.” He often found people relaxed when they were in control of anything, even something as minor as stating their name; no matter that he already had the facts.
“Lisa. Lisa Mitchell.” She held out her hand.
“Detective Alex Aguilar.” He really didn’t want to take her hand, he knew it. Certainly he had touched many people, but he knew this would be different. It was soft and wonderfully warm in his. He released it quickly.
“Lisa -- May I call you that?” At her nod, he continued. “We need to talk about what happened. I‘m sure you’ve already told the police what you remember, but maybe it would be better if we went to the scene. Perhaps something there will prompt your memory.
The captain had sauntered over, blatantly listening. Alex didn’t particularly care and was used to the way most policemen operated. He would concentrate on doing his job regardless.
“I hate to point it out, detective, but we’ve already been there, besides it’s dark now. I doubt anyone will see anything much.” The captain had turned to face them, no longer hanging in the background.
“That’s possible,” Alex said, looking up at the man, “but if Ms. Mitchell doesn’t mind, I would still prefer going to the scene.”
The captain nodded. “Do you want any assistance?”
Alex shook his head, and then stood, extending his hand to the young woman. When she placed her hand in his for the second time, he automatically closed his fingers over hers. He tugged, pulling her to her feet. “I’m sure we’ll be fine. If you want to send uniforms, that would be agreeable, but not necessary. You have my badge number.”
To further ease the captain’s thoughts, Alex pulled his card from his pocket and handed it to him. “My cell phone number is on there too.”
Escorting Lisa outside, Alex knew he should drop her hand. There was no reason to hold on to it -- and every reason in the world. It felt right and he didn’t want to let go. She didn’t resist.

About the Author:
Author Tara Manderino loves to create stories and situations for the people running around in her head. She first began writing in third grade when she realized she couldn't afford her reading habit.
She writes and is published in a variety of genres and finds that each one is her favorite at the time. Her books are available at a variety of online retailers.
Tara resides in her native town in southwestern Pennsylvania. When she's not chasing Lydia, the boxer, she's writing her own stories, or reading, Tara likes to bake, watch old movies, and do a variety of crafts.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sapphire Phelan Keeps Readers Spellbound

KAREN: Sapphire Phelan is a multi-published author who conjures up tales that will keep the reader spellbound. Sit back and enjoy your favorite brew, while Sapphire shares the enchantment behind her world of witches, demons, familiars, and of course the magic of true love

My new print book, THE WITCH AND THE FAMILIAR will be released April 24, 2012. It contains both of my erotic urban fantasy eBooks, Being Familiar With a Witch and A Familiar Tangle With Hell. The story behind both eBooks goes back to when I was with this one epublisher who in a few short months closed. There was one story they published I need to wait until rights were reverted back. But the thing about Being Familiar With a Witch was the publisher forgot to send me a contract for it. That meant the manuscript’s rights was still owned by me. So when I became one of Phaze Books’ authors, I decided to submit it to them. I went ahead and added more to the storyline, and pleased with what I wrote, sent it off and waited. Not long after, Phaze sent back an email, accepting it. 

I fell hard and deep for this book. I loved my hero, Charun, the demon Familiar. I wanted him and Tina Epson, the mortal who must become a witch to fall in love and make love, otherwise when a demon army arose from Hell to start Armageddon, she would die. But Charun couldn’t just force her to let him make love to her, no, it had to be her choice. For though Tina fell for him, she still was a modern woman, with the want to make free choices, such as being normal. But circumstances of a war between Heaven and Hell made her realize, plus her love for Charun, that sometimes our choices change.

Later, when it won the 2010 Prism Award, presented by the Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal chapter of Romance Writers of America, it only vindicated to me what this book of my heart told me. That it deserved to be brought to life for readers to share my world.

Of course, that inspired me to write a bigger sequel to Charun’s and Tina’s tale. After all, they weren’t through as another prophesy arose that Lucifer himself would steal her to be his and impregnate her with his Antichrist child so the son could lead a new apocalyptic army. 

I could have written an ordinary paranormal romance, but for me, it’s never a simple romance. I have written those kind of fiction, but Charun’s and Tina’s story were bigger than that. With penning novellas and novels, I wanted more than a paranormal being/alien meets human love story, I wanted it in the scope like we see in movies. And though it may be the apocalypse, some war between paranormal clans, or a mystery that needs to be solved, the love story is still the pivotal part of the story. It all comes back to the choices my heroes and heroines make. Like Charun and Tina in THE WITCH AND THE FAMILIAR, it comes back to the strongest choice of all: love. And isn’t that apocalyptic in nature?

Sapphire Phelan

Dark heroes and heroines with bite...sink your teeth into a romance by Sapphire Phelan today.

Mortal woman Tina discovers she is part of a prophesy that says she and Charun, her demon Familiar, must make love so she can become the witch she is fated to be. If she doesn’t do it and stop the demon army bringing Armageddon to the Mortal Realm on Halloween, she won’t stand a chance in Hell.
A year later, just when Tina and Charun thought it was all over and that their life would be normal—another prophesy pops up. If Lucifer snatches Tina and mates with her before the last chime before midnight of the new year and gets her pregnant with his son, that the real Armageddon would begin, spelling the end of life as they knew it. This time they get help from an archangel, Jacokb, but with demons, Lucifer, and a cute demon bunny with fangs out of a Monty Python nightmare, out to stop them and Heaven not lending a hand, will Tina this time lose the battle and become the mother of the Antichrist and the start of a new Hell on Earth?

Excerpt from The Witch and the Familiar (adult in nature as is the book, so only 18 and older can read):

A year later, Charun stood in front of the mirror on the wall and whispered a few words. The glass warped in and out, becoming something not unlike a television monitor. In it, he saw his witch working in the Cup of Tea and a Book bookstore, handing a bag of books over to a customer. 

“She’s gorgeous,” he whispered. 

He ached to reach his hand through the glass and finger the long, blonde strands of hair. He itched to stroke the skin of her face and see if it felt as soft as it looked. He took a few steps back, for if he didn’t he would jam his head through the glass and kiss her on the lips. His cock expanded, growing longer and harder than ever before. Lust tore through him like a ravenous animal ready to devour its prey. 

The time had come. 

About time, too

Taking spirit form and not looking back, Charun rose from the bowels of Hell to the mortal realm. He touched ground just down the street from Cup of Tea and a Book bookstore and became a handsome, naked man. His staff waved before him like a proud, hissing snake, spitting even as precum beaded at the slit. He shook his head. No, it was too soon for him to assume the man form. He frowned, thinking. 

A cat

He would become a cat. That would do—for now. Just not a horny tomcat, as the pain of his arousal washed over him. He dodged into a nearby alley and worked his organ, biting his lips when he came. 

Withdrawing his hand from his flaccid penis and using the other to prop himself against the building, he spoke in demon, “Denoch er nomonaty.” 

A strange feeling slammed into him and he cried out as he dropped to his knees on the pavement. Thrusting out a hand against the ground so he wouldn’t topple over, he began to metamorphose, growing smaller and smaller as he did. Black fur sprouted all over his body and head. His ears sharpened into points and shot up over his head, while his hands and feet became paws edged with sharp claws. Whiskers pinged out of his cheeks, and from his buttocks snaked a long tail. He hunched over and then fell over onto his ass. Within seconds, his metamorphose completed, he was a black cat. Resisting the peculiar urge to wash his face, Charun stretched and rose onto all four paws. He padded over to a puddle of rainwater to inspect the change.

He sat down and viewed his reflection. Not bad looking as far as cats went. Lifting a paw, he splashed his image. Then he trotted to the street and paused to sniff the air. He sneezed as the full force of odors hit him. A multitude of different things, from the smell of blasted sunshine to the grime of city life. The lack of moisture in the air revealed that it would not rain for days. The last time it had stormed was last week. He had arrived a day over. 

He needed heavy rain to make his first appearance to his witch, as a reason for her to feel sorry for him and take him in. From what he remembered, she would not leave any animal drowning in a torrential downpour. But, from all the viewing he did of her growing up, he knew she wasn’t an impulsive person, either. She loved animals, but felt that she couldn’t afford one right now in her life. He might end up in an animal shelter. This kind of operation needed the right things in place. 

Timing was important, too, even now. His witch’s survival was the true equation here. If she died before he made her a witch, he knew the fate for Earth if the demons took over. There was the matter of his lust for her, too. Relieving it wouldn’t be bad, either. 
He cocked his head and twitched his ears. He was a demon with strong magic. Closing his eyes, he let his magic surround him with a shimmering golden light.

Lano’ste. Na la por lestano. 

His fur stood on end, crackling. He widened his eyes as the magic burned within and outside with a violent heat close to atomic. It clenched his insides with an excruciating pain. He fell onto his side and barely noticed when it shot away from him, heading toward the blue skies. It dusted the few white clouds drifting along and they became obsidian and pregnant with rain. Still unsteady, he rolled onto his stomach and waited until the power quieted. Charun breathed in the rain’s odor and gave a Cheshire cat grin. He rose to his paws and padded off as the sound of thunder vibrated in the air. 

Fuck the weather forecasters and their predictions. With magic, he’d just turned their Doppler radar upside down.

About Sapphire Phelan:

Sapphire Phelan is an author of erotic and sweet paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction romance, along with a couple of erotic horror stories. One of them Being Familiar With a Witch is a 2010 Prism winner. She also writes as Pamela K. Kinney, for horror, fantasy, science fiction, poetry, and nonfiction ghost books.
She lives in Virginia with her husband and two cats, Ripley and Bast.  
She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house and husband sometimes suffers for it! 
For more information, check out her website: .

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday #4

It's Six Sentence Sunday! This is the fourth tidbit from my upcoming release (August 2012) with The Wild Rose Press:Magic of the Loch. Come by and see what Alan and Michaela are up to this week.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Calisa Rhose Brings Us Home

Karen: Calisa Rhose pens memorable romances about acceptance and finding that special person who makes them complete. Sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while Calisa shares her journey into publishing Home with The Wild Rose Press. 

Calisa: Thanks to Karen for inviting me here today to share more of how my novella, Home, came about. It’s not a single story, but part of a unique series of stand-alone stories being published by The Wild Rose Press. Read on to find out how HOME and other books in the Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll series came about and what’s going on with the series.

Spring 2010, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. One of our talented authors, an editor for an epublisher, asked the Oklahoma RWA group (OKRWA) if anyone would be willing to write in a series to submit to her publisher. Several jumped right in. Over the next weeks others joined in and a theme and guidelines were tossed around.

That was the birth of the Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll series to be marketed through The Wild Rose Press.

Unpublished at the time, I was hopeful that “someday I would get noticed and sell a book,” I joined this fun project with many other Oklahoma authors.

This would be a project to showcase our state’s writing talents to the world in a single combined effort. Each book written would include the doll with carvings on its whale bone body. Each would be between 10,000 and 60,000 words and each would (hopefully) fit in a different subgenre The Wild Rose Press has to offer its readers.

I have to say our RWA chapter is chock full of talent! From historical to contemporary to paranormal, WE ROCK! Keep a close watch The Wild Rose Press as more of these stories are brought to you one by one.

My followers and friends know I write contemporary. It’s my comfort zone. My passion for cowboys is widely-known. :D But for this event, and I don’t know why it did, the Vietnam era called to me. I have a respect for that time and the trials the world suffered, the losses the United States withstood, and still endure through the final ramifications from the war referred to as “a police movement.” I was a little tyke in those days so I don’t remember the impact of the moment it happened. But born in the middle of it may be why I have a heartfelt need to learn, and subsequently, to write about love during that period when romance seemed forgotten. Hope took the back burner and so much was left behind. I was very happy to see on the news one night only recently that one New England state finally and properly welcomed their Vietnam vets home in a matter befitting those wonderful heroes. Most of whom probably suffered more trials than many of us can or will ever comprehend!

But there were great victories at that same time; Elvis Presley, the Beatles and, my heroine’s favorite, The Chiffons, and let’s not forget the era of hot cars- all persevered, rose out of the smoke and strived for decades to follow.

That hope is what brings my hero Sam Callahan and my heroine, Poppy Tippen together. Why I knew I had to write their story.

What could a gypsy and a Vietnam veteran have in common?
Silvertown’s outcast, Poppy Tippen, has loved football hero Sam “The Force” Callahan forever. But he never seemed to know she was alive. Now he’s home from the war and she suddenly finds herself comforting him from the demons of “that damn war.” Is his attention merely an escape from the haunting nightmares? Or does she hold the interest of the only man she’s ever truly loved?

Sam Callahan’s only solace from the war nightmares wrecking his life comes in the unlikely form of a gypsy girl with stigmas of her own. He’s known Poppy his entire life, but there’s something different about her now. Something special he desperately wants to hold on to. Can he convince her she’s the only thing he needs to put the past behind him?

Over the next week he actively avoided his mother as he raked and watered the lawn. He’d found out the gardener had left when his mother stopped paying him, not that Sam blamed the guy. So, he would try to do what he could to fix the old place up again. Somehow, like himself, he doubted the place he’d called home would ever fully recover the ravages of wartime. It gave him something useful to get through the days before he creeped out at night.

“Sammie, we need to talk.”

He dropped his head and counted briefly before facing his mother. “Good morning, Ma.”

“Have you talked to that woman?”

No nonsense, that was Ma. He dragged in a heavy breath to stifle a groan. “What woman would that be?”

“Don’t play games with me, Sam. You know full well I’m talking about that gypsy woman who owns the doll store. Did you tell her you want the doll back?” His mother threw hands to hips. He waited five ticks. Yep, there it was. Her left foot began flapping like a fish out of water to make known her full ire at him. He almost grinned.

As he stared at her tapping foot, Sam realized he’d actually missed that trait in his mother while he’d been gone. But she wasn’t interested in reflections of days past. “No. I’m not going to get the doll. It’s better off gone if it causes you so much distress. Just forget it and let it be, Ma.”

“Forget it? Haven’t you heard what I’ve been telling you? It will only cause more problems the longer that woman has it!” She was almost yelling and Sam cringed inwardly with a glance around. She ought to keep her voice down or—

Or, what? Did he expect the VC to pop out of the surrounding sticks that had once been shrubbery admired by the whole town? Yes. He did. Damn it all. Why was it so hard for him to let go of the war he was no longer a part of? He shuffled his loafer-clad feet and sighed heavily. 

“What’s so special about that doll that you won’t let it go?”
His mother looked away from him as though she had a secret and twisted her hands around her ever-present hankie. “It’s bad, evil.”

“Then, why on earth would you want it back? Good riddance, I’d say.”

“No!” She backed up a step and looked up at him, lips painted the same bright red, and he vaguely wondered if she’d worn it so long it had become permanent, a tattoo. A bright red tattoo. Blood red… “It was a gift from my cousin, Helen, when I visited her in California, before she died. I already told you that. But, it’s cursed! I can’t risk anyone else suffering because of that—that thing!”

Blood red… Sam shook the image off and looked over his mother’s head toward the street.

Of all the times to wander in, he didn’t need Poppy showing up right then, while his mother was on her insane rampage about a doll.

A doll that Poppy’s mother had bought fair and square, according to Ma. Now it was a cursed doll? She’d said something about that last time she mentioned the damn thing. He was suddenly afraid his mother was losing her mind. “Son of a bitch.”

“Watch your mouth, young man. I won’t have that kind of language used in this house. Your father—God rest his soul—didn’t use that filth, and I won’t have my only son speak it.” She sounded so normal, suddenly.

“Sorry, Ma. I need to go…somewhere, for a while.”

“Get the doll.” Her voice poured from that red mouth like a warning.

He leaned the rake he’d been using before the interruption against the wood shed and tossed a wave over his head to his mother as he strode for the driveway, and Poppy. Suddenly, it took all his will not to break out in a run and just keep going. Never to stop until he was far, far away from this new nightmare his mother had introduced to him. Blood red, blood. Red, blood, red, blood, red blood.

Sam didn’t stop when he reached Poppy, but grabbed her hand and swung her around with him—took her away before his mother realized who she was. He especially didn’t need her to see the doll shop owner’s daughter.

He picked up his already fast pace until he felt a jerk against his hand and slowed down.  He didn’t want to talk. Not yet. Walk. Keep walking…fast.

“Whoa, soldier boy!” She yanked him to a stop. For a little thing, she was stronger than he’d have thought. “What’s with you? If I wanted to race I’d be a horse.”

Blood red. No talking. Walk. Her hand still in his, he gave a rough tug.
Get your copy of HOME at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon and B&N.
And something exciting- The Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll now has a place where you can check in for updates, new books and awesome covers created by the fabulous artists of TWRP! Just go see what you think and feel free to CONTACT any of the authors through the contact button (top left corner) and read ABOUT the series in the about page (also top left corner). Currently there are five others under contract in various stages of production, three of those are scheduled for release in 2012 so far, and several more in the writing, pre-submission stages, and another one, besides Home, available now!

Small-town country girl Calisa Rhose lives in a semi-remote area of Oklahoma with her husband, five dogs, one cat and one horse. All of her three daughters and their families live within throwing distance. She’s a member of RWA and the local chapter OKRWA. She intends to nurture and continue to grow as an author with the help of her family and supporters.

Find Calisa at her website/blog
Follow me on Twitter @Calisa_Rhose and Like me on Facebook @Calisa Rhose
She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at She even writes back!
Thanks again for this opportunity to share such a wonderful experience with your readers, Karen!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Kelly Moran Presents: The Truth Is Coming...

Laurie Bembenek was convicted of murdering her husband's ex-wife, Christine Schultz, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 28, 1981. Her story garnered national attention after she escaped from Taycheedah Correctional Institution with the help of Milwaukee factory worker DOMINIC GUGLIATTO, a brother of another inmate. Gugliatto met Bembenek in prison and had fallen in love with her. The fugitive couple were "on the run seeking love, justice and freedom" as Gugliatto's father would claim.  This daring escapade has inspired books and movies. The slogan "Run, Bambi, Run" was created and printed on T-shirts.
This is DOMINIC GUGLIATTO'S story. He reveals the truth and lies surrounding the escape and what happened on the run.
**Contest: KELLY MORAN is giving away an e-book copy of YOU NEVER HAVE TO REMEMBER THE TRUTH to one lucky commenter. Don't forget to leave your e-mail so Kelly may contact you if you should win. CONTEST ends on Sat. April 14th at 12:00pm PST.

It was one of the most sensational murder cases in U.S. history. Lawrencia "Bambi" Bembenek, a former Playboy waitress and ex-Milwaukee police officer, was arguably railroaded and convicted of murder. When all hope of proving her innocence seemed lost, she planned a daring escape from prison with her boyfriend, and together the lovers slipped into Canada under assumed names. Now, nearly twenty years after the escape, Dominic Gugliatto wants to set the record straight.  The man who laid it all on the line tells a different tale — one of deception and betrayal. For the first time, Gugliatto speaks out about the lies and secrets long buried. That Bembenek knew more about the murder than she professed, and that the prison escape involved co-conspirators, including a retired Milwaukee police officer.  The truth is coming, told by the only man who knows it all.
Visit Kelly's site
Or check out the booktrailer on Youtube

Kelly Moran is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she resides with her husband, Darren, three sons, Logan, Evan, & Ethan, and her black lab, Willow. A good portion of her family lives in the Carolinas so she spends time there, as well. She attributes her success to her family and friends.
Kelly learned at a young age that she loved to spin a good story, and that she was good at it. She has been known to say she gains ideas from everyone and everything around her, and there is always a book playing out in her head. After all, characters don't shut-up until they're heard. No one bats an eyelash when she talks to herself now.

She began her writing career in the Indie market, having self-published five novels and becoming the recipient of an Editor's Choice Award for Outstanding Achievement in 1993, inducted into the Who's Who Book of Americans in 2006, a Finalist in the 2008 Best Books Award, and a Finalist in the 2009 Indie Excellence Book Awards before moving into the traditional market.

Nowadays she a respected book reviewer for Bookpleasures, interviews authors on her blog, and is a Romance Writer's of America member. Her children's book was featured in GRAND MAGAZINE, as "Kids Book Author of the Week," and her new romance was a "top reviewer pick" at Night Owl 

Reviews and LASR.
Kelly's hobbies include: reading, crafts, movies, cooking, gardening, card games, spending time with loved ones, and sleeping when she can. She is a closet caffeine junkie and chocoholic, but don't tell anyone. She is also a practicing Catholic and works part time in the healthcare field.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Danielle Thorne's Journey into the Paranormal

Karen: Danielle Thorne is here today to take us behind the scenes of her chilling paranormal tale, Death Cheater. Warning: You don't want to read this with the lights off. 

Paranormal Trouble by Danielle Thorne

It all starts when Athena Gray ducks through the woods to take a shortcut home. She lives vicariously through her sister because people in general avoid her. Whether it's strange things like dead butterflies fluttering to life, or the time she saved her dying grandpa just by willing him to live, Athena knows that she is different. The only person who doesn't seem to think so is Dan, the most popular boy on Omega High School's baseball team. But even Dan can't understand the reason she acts haunted, until a spirit roaming the local historic burial mounds takes an interest in people Athena cares about.

For me, my paranormal "trouble" started after I visited some prehistoric Indian burial mounds. It was a haunting experience, and the town of Henderson where I based my next novel, made a perfect small town setting.

Now when it comes to all things ghostly, I am the biggest chicken. I believe in spirits, and yes, I've had my own paranormal experiences, but writing about them didn't become a journey until my vacation to the mounds where I wondered how many ancient souls wandered through the nearby forest. I wondered what it would be like if I could see those spirits, and what would I do if there was contact? Reaching back into my memories of high school to shape a new character was quite the self-introspective adventure.

Athena is a strong, independent character who understands she doesn't have to fit in to be content with herself. She also knows that she has a gift. High school doesn't come easy though, because dealing with teen drama and her own social anxiety issues are as difficult as accepting her grandfather's death. With no parents to turn to and few friends, Athena has to dig deep when a dark angel enters her life at the worst time. And he doesn't just have information about who she is, he has demands.


A low rumble echoed around me, and the tall, dark trees went still. Not even a leaf stirred. My heart hummed, and a tingle of apprehension made my palms damp. A snarl came from the shadow of a tangled thorn bush, and soft, padding footsteps shuffled in the late afternoon gloom. My breathing went ragged with fear. Maybe it was a raccoon or an angry squirrel.


Whipping around, I stared hard into the murk. A voice. It sounded gentle, but at the same time it sent chills down my arms. I glanced up through the hooded canopy of tree branches and tried to see heaven.


There was a growl, and the terror I'd been holding at bay zipped up my spine into my skull. I was sure my long hair stood on end, like when kids touched the electrostatic generator at the science museum.

Something was coming for me, and it wasn't something from the woods. It'd been following me all day. Maybe even my entire life.

Now don't be too concerned. Athena isn't left entirely to her own devices. Her older sister has her best interests in mind, and Dan Lipinsky, Athena's secret crush, seems determined to make her one of his closest friends.

Is there really such a thing as ghosts? Are there dark angels intent on making us miserable? How many of us have abilities we haven't embraced? DEATH CHEATER is an exploration into forces from the other side and our power to choose what is right over what they would influence us to do. Meet Athena Gray today and find out more.

Danielle Thorne

Check out DEATH CHEATER at Amazon


Danielle Thorne is the author of sweet romantic adventure books, both historical and contemporary. She has published poetry, short fiction and novels. Danielle currently writes from south of Atlanta, Georgia. She was the 2009-2010 Co-Chair for the New Voices Competition for young writers, is active with online author groups, and she moderates for The Sweetest Romance Authors. Besides freelance editing and writing full time, Danielle has four sons with her husband, Rob. Together they enjoy travel and the outdoors. DEATH CHEATER is her first paranormal.

I would love to meet you!

Twitter: @DanielleThorne

Monday, April 2, 2012

Babette James and the Sizzling Desert Romance

KAREN: Welcome Babette James! Her sexy, emotional romance, CLEAR AS DAY is an upcoming release from The Wild Rose Press! Babette is here to give us the behind the scene story of her sizzling desert romance! 

BABETTE: Thank you, Karen, for letting me visit today and share a little about CLEAR AS DAY, my spicy contemporary romance coming out in eBook and paperback from The Wild Rose Press. Between the awesome moment of holding a copy of my first book in my hands and the 4 1/2 stars and scorcher review from the Romantic Times Book Reviews, I’ve had some exciting weeks leading up to my release day this coming Wednesday, April 4, 2012. I’m still happy dancing. 

CLEAR AS DAY began as a short story years back when I was in college, an exercise featuring the desert setting of Lake Mohave, a reservoir downstream from the Hoover Dam formed out of stretch of the Colorado River by the Davis Dam. I grew up in Southern California and I’ve always had a love of the deserts of the Southwest, particularly the areas of Lake Havasu and Lake Mohave, and even took a college class on desert biology. I loved the juxtaposition of the stark, hot landscape with the cool waters and wanted to play with that particular setting. I’m delighted with my cover and how it shares some of the area’s unique beauty. 

But a story needs more than a setting, and my artist character Kay appeared in her lakeside campsite as the sole, first person point of view, already independent, reserved, and commitment-shy. Then the man who would become easy-going, globetrotting photographer Nate showed up to disrupt her careful, comfortable rut in life. A simple friends-with-benefits relationship proved not so simple and from there grew the beginnings of their conflict, love story, and their tight-knit group of friends. I had fun with the story, adding in bits of my family’s trips to the river, other camping and fishing experiences, and my own enjoyment of watercolors, music, photography, and the desert.

I never quite found a place for it in its short story form, but it was that story of the heart I loved too much to give up on. The experiment of expanding the little original story first into a novella, and then into novel was an interesting experience. Kay’s viewpoint changed from first person to third. The biggest change and challenge was adding in Nate’s viewpoint, and once I did that, the story just blossomed into the full novel length it is now. I had to explore the whys of all the characters and asking one question lead to another and more.

CLEAR AS DAY was no longer a just scenic location and simple moment in time between two occasional lovers, but a full story world with a crowd of interesting secondary characters, and all the characters’ lives intersecting and affecting one another. Not only did I have to ask what has happened in just Kay’s and Nate’s backstories to bring them to the story’s point in time, I needed to explore their friends’ lives, and additionally, ask what happened next to all of them, after Kay and Nate reached their point of happily ever after. I found that the story of Kay and Nate and their friends had not ended, but had more still to tell. I’m currently hard at work on the sequel and other friends will be joining Kay and Nate in falling in love at the river.

 I hope you enjoy their journey to love as much as I have.

What’s a girl to do when her summer lover wants forever?
Haunted by dark memories of her parents’ volatile marriage, artist Kay Browning keeps her heart locked behind a free-spirit facade and contents herself with the comfortable affair she has every summer with easygoing photographer Nate Quinn.

The only trouble with her plan? This summer Nate’s come to Lake Mohave to claim the lover he can’t let go. He’s done with the endless traveling and settling for temporary homes and temporary loves. Kay’s always been more than just a vacation fling, and now he must convince this woman, who sees love as a course to certain heartbreak, to take that leap of faith and learn how safe love with the right man can be.

Bio: Babette James writes contemporary and fantasy romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. A teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! She lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and three extremely spoiled cats.


Clear As Day  Clear As Day, coming April 4, 2012 from The Wild Rose Press 
★★★★½ Romantic Times