Monday, December 31, 2012

Regency Lives!

Regency and Christmas seem to go together very well – almost like Lizzie and Darcy!  There is a fairly long tradition of Regency novellas set around the winter holiday season – the first such coming from Signet in 1989.

Readers who loved these stories would find much to like with the individual e-books and print collection issued almost annually by Cotillion, the Regency imprint from Ellora’s Cave. (Yes, you read that right – EC, the world’s largest publisher of erotica and/or Romantica™ is also one of the very few publishers willing to consider NEW Regency books.) We all owe a debt of gratitude to Publisher Raelene Gorlinsky for her persistence in publishing our favorite books.   

As did most of us, she grew up reading Georgette Heyer, and bemoaned the premature kill-off by the big NY publishers, so she determined to do something about it. Hence – Cotillion. I was thrilled to learn about this in the fall of 2006, just as it was getting itself off the ground. It just so happened that I had an unpublished Regency novel hanging around—for nearly twenty years! Bertie’s Golden Treasure  (http://www.ellorascave.com/bertie-s-golden-treasure-1.html)  was the first book of mine that was accepted by EC. I was in alt!  Last year, I produced a novella for the Christmas collection: Wagered Kiss,
(http://www.ellorascave.com/wagered-kiss.html)  one of five stories wrapped around the delightful theme of Christmas Kisses (the title of the anthology.) I’m working on one for next year the theme of which is Christmas Traditions.

This year’s book, mentioned in the October blog, is Christmas Surprises, and each of the four stories chosen contains an not-so-ordinary surprise within its pages. I’ve now read them all, and confess to being delighted with each of them. If you like traditional Regencies, you should rejoice at having this collection available!

If you want to try your hand at writing a traditional Regency, submission guidelines for next year’s anthology may be found here:  http://www.ellorascave.com/write-for-us/

Do be sure you’re not mistaking Victorian Christmas traditions for those of the Regency. They’re vastly different, my dears.  The Christmas stories should be between 12,000 and 25,000 words, and if you are not currently an EC author, deadline is May 15.  However, you should also know that you are not limited to just Christmas stories.  NO! Cotillion is open for any story, true to the period, and any length – from 7,000 to 75,000 words. There are specific instructions to be followed for submitting to Ellora’s Cave, and if I could do it, so can you!  (Because the web-site is still under construction, the guidelines are difficult to reach just now. If you'd like to have a copy of them, please write to me directly. My e-mail is listed below. 

Whether you’re a reader or a writer, there are also other markets available for these quieter, more gentle books, as well. Some publishers still do print versions along with the e-books, while some are strictly electronic. Okay – pens at the ready?  Go!

To find my Regency books at Cotillion, go here:  

Thank you -- and Happy New Year's wishes to all of you -- even if you don't care for Regencies! 
Hetty St James @ gmail.com      (remove the spaces, please) 

Sunday, December 30, 2012


So GOD OF FYRE MOUNTAIN comes out from Samhain Publishing on January 22, 2013. It's Book Six in my Guardians of Light fantasy romance series. I'm very excited to have something new to celebrate at the start of the New Year. I first introduced Dax as Pryseis' nephew in Bk 4, DUST OF DREAMS, and I knew then he had to have his own book. 
Worst case of mistaken identity ever...

As a teacher, Maili is adept at juggling multiple tasks, but this is ridiculous. Erotic dreams make her sleep anything but restful. Her father wants to marry her off to a neighboring chieftain’s son. Her grandmother’s whispered blasphemy about doubting the gods has the local volcano threatening to split wide open.

As she prays in the temple for mercy on her grandmother, Maili expects the mountain to smoke and rumble. She doesn’t expect Afu himself to pop through a dark fissure and squash her flat.

The last thing Dax remembers is vowing to prevent his queen’s assassination. He wakes up in an island paradise, where the primitive natives worship the statue of a troll named Afu. And they expect him—their fyre god incarnate—to stop their cranky volcano from blowing up.

As an incentive, they’ve given him a maiden sacrifice/bride, a dark-eyed beauty who’s just as determined to seduce him as he is to return home in one piece.

While she’s less than thrilled to be traded like a chicken, one thing is certain. Dax is the man in her dreams…and she’s hell bent on making them come true. Or her people may die.

Product Warnings
Contains erotic dreams, volcanic-hot love scenes, one edgy F/F interrogation scene and some self-loving. Also treason, black sorcery and an evil witch doctor who shrinks heads.
Maili raked her long hair out of her eyes with a shaking hand and stared up at the smoking tower of Mt. Veamalohi. It loomed over the landscape. She shivered. Though her grandmother had brought this on them, Afu willing, mayhap Maili could convince him to spare the rest of the villagers. Even Pilipo. He was a great warrior, and if the Kali invaded again, the Toka would need his leadership. If Maili was the price for Pilipo’s skills, she must yield for the sake of their people. Dream or no dream.

A tiny voice whispered in her ear as she continued to study the smoldering fyre mountain, urging her to go up. She could plead with Afu for mercy, for him to spare them. She shook at the thought. None but Katoa entered the sanctified temple antechamber. It was forbidden to women.

But she had to do something.

She glided through the silent jungle as if in a trance, her steps bringing her ever closer to the incline. Giant ferns shivered in her wake. She stared through the lush mantle at the snowy crown covering the fyre mountain. The temple lay just ahead. The dark, shadowy chamber called to her. Her breath caught in her throat as she pulled back a prickly vine with blood-red flowers the size of her head, wincing as long sticky thorns pierced her skin. The pain was forgotten as she revealed the first of an endless ascension of hand-chiseled stone steps.

A bat-winged stone guardian—cat paws with claws extended, river-dragon head with snake fangs, long, curling tree-man tail—guarded the way. Worn by the elements and ages, it was fearsome and beautiful. It eyed Maili’s approach. Her bloody hand trembled as she caressed its sun-warmed surface. The carved muscles seemed to ripple and shift at her touch. She cursed her overactive imagination as her blood soaked into the pitted surface. Naught more than a statue.

“I swear I come to you in peace.” She removed one of her fragrant plumeria leis and laid it across its lower jaw. “I just wish to speak to him.”

The guardian watched her begin the long climb to Afu’s temple.

Maili climbed ’til her heart pounded and she gasped for air. A stitch in her left side stabbed her with every breath. Her leg muscles burned. Sweat trickled betwixt her bare breasts. How did old Katoa make this arduous climb on a daily basis?

Surely her willingness and determination to complete the ascent proved her worthiness. Surely Afu would hear her plea.

The shadowy opening loomed ahead of her, flanked by two stone columns covered in incomprehensible chiseled symbols. A gust of heated air swept over her. The breath of Afu? Her skin prickled as she entered the forbidden antechamber. Shadows danced on the walls from the flickering reed torches. Her gaze froze on an immense, savage stone image in the far corner. All the blood drained from her face, and the room spun. She tried to control her breathing as she dropped to her knees afore she swooned.

When she still breathed after several too-loud heartbeats, she risked raising her head for a better look. A dozen entwined stone serpents seemed to lunge hissing at her from Afu’s head, and his empty impassive eyes glared down at her from beneath heavy brows. His jutting jaw and open mouth revealed almost porcine lower tusks. The bulging muscles dwarfed even Pilipo’s and seemed so lifelike she wouldn’t have been surprised if Afu stomped toward her.

The fyre god was the most fiercely masculine being she’d ever seen.

She’d been mad to come to Afu’s temple. But Grandmother Lanikula’s transgression needed to be addressed and the demon-god appeased. Cold sweat slid over her skin even though it was hot as a roasting pit, and she shivered.

“Great Afu, god of fyre who creates and destroys, hear this humble maiden’s plea.” She rose, removed her remaining plumeria lei and draped it across his meaty stone fist. “I plead for my grandmother, Lanikula. Show mercy. Limit your show of anger to the destruction of her home. Leave my people be. They are blameless in this.”

She took off her shell-and-amber jewelry to lay at Afu’s feet. It was all she had to give. “She spoke in haste, but I swear she honors you. We apologize for disturbing your rest. Please, go back to sleep and leave us in peace to care for your home.”

A low rumbling came from deep within the mountain. A blast of hot sulfurous air blew out the torches. Maili choked on a whimper as the image of Afu pulsed with a rippling darkness. Every instinct screamed at her to run, but she was frozen in place. With a screech that nigh made her ears bleed, the dark parted, rent like some great billowing curtain. The snakes writhed afore her. There was a clap of thunder as a huge, hard-muscled body was flung from the gap. She screamed as he knocked her flat, crushing her beneath his solid, burning weight.

Afu amongst them! The end of days had come.

Everything went black.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Folly of Sabrina York

I am delighted to join the Sweet & Sexy Divas! My name is Sabrina York and I write all kinds of steamy erotic fiction—with an emphasis on erotic romance, because I really dig the vibe between a vulnerable heroine and a hard hot hero.  
I’ve been published for about a year and have eight titles out with Ellora’s Cave—and many more in the works. If you don’t know me yet, please take a moment to snoop around my website and check out my books. There’s still a little time to enter my year-end contest to win a Tiara and a spot on the 2012 Royal Court, but only a few days so if you’re interested, don’t wait. The drawing is December 31st. I’d love to hear from you on Facebook or Twitter too.
On this, my virgin blog for Sweet and Sexy Divas, I would love to tell you about one of my recent releases, Folly, an erotic Regency. Of all my books, I chose Folly, because it’s my absolute favorite so far. There’s just something about the strictures of the Regency era, and the sensuality simmering just under the surface, that lends the period to erotic musings.
In this story, our hero is a wounded man. He was savaged, body and soul by the foul Lord Ulster. He dreams of revenge. To make matters worse, he has always lusted after Ulster’s wife, the exquisite Eleanor. Ethan hates that he wants her, because she’s remote and cold…and Ulster’s wife.
And then Ulster dies.
Eleanor finds herself widowed and threatened with penury by her heartless in-laws. She hatches a plot to save herself. Determined to produce the Ulster “heir,” she seduces a stranger at tawdry masquerade. Little does she know, this magnificent masked lover is none other than her husband’s greatest nemesis, Ethan Pennington. Sadly, this tryst is not successful. Eleanor takes refuge with her friend Helena, Countess of Darlington.
When Ethan and Eleanor come face to face at the Darlington estate, both are mortified…until he overhears her predicament, and her plans to place a cuckoo in the Ulster nest. He is more than willing to oblige. The opportunity to finally have her, while taking the revenge he craves, is more than he can resist. Ethan strikes a bargain with Eleanor, promising to provide her with the heir she so desperately needs…but requires she meet his needs in return—every decadent one of them.
When he learns the truth about her marriage to Ulster, and discovers she is the mysterious stranger who stole his heart on a moonlit night, thoughts of revenge melt away beneath the hope for something more. A fleeting affair becomes a seductive courtship, and then a desperate pursuit as Ethan realizes…he is running out of time to win her.
I enjoyed writing this story so much and fell in love with the characters. Before I finished, James and Helena were telling me their story (Dark Fancy, which will be coming in 2013 from Ellora’s Cave). Before I finished writing that one, one of their friends, Edward Weyth the Dark Duke of Moncrieff started whispering in my ear. And as I was sketching out the bones of his story, his cousin Violet— Well, you get the picture.
This group of friends are quite chatty.
And naughty.  If you enjoy a dark, dominant hero and strong, willful heroines who are easily led astray, please check out Folly and the other stories in this series. Be warned, there will be mischievous play. And spankings. Perhaps a little light bondage. But also, lots of tenderness and tea. Definitely lemon cakes.
I have attached an excerpt from Folly below. I hope you enjoy it.
In the meantime, perhaps I shall see you on my website, SabrinaYork.com, or on Facebook, Twitter (@sabrina_york) or Goodreads. I’ll be watching for you.
There are a few more days to enter to win my Tiara... Send me an email at sabrinayorkhrh at gmail dot com with the words "Enter Me" in the subject line. I will add you to my newsletter list and enter you in the contest!
Keep it hot baby,
Sabrina York

An Excerpt From: FOLLY
Ethan carried Eleanor directly to his room, fully prepared to defend his actions, but they saw no one, not even a footman in the hall. Of course, he was moving fairly quickly. Hell. He had her in his arms, the most beautiful woman in the world. A woman he’d wanted—and hated wanting—from the instant he’d set eyes on her.
If he was being honest with himself—and now he could, because there was no reason left to lie—he’d dreamed about this moment. But it had always been just that. A dream. And a damn frustrating one to boot.
He’d fantasized about taking Ulster’s wife, punishing her for husband’s sins, making her beg and plead and weep for mercy, for his cock. He had, in the deep cloak of night, pleasured himself to visions of Eleanor tied to his bed or bent over the divan, languishing beneath the lash. But mostly, whimpering with pleasure beneath him.
But now, Ulster was dead. Eleanor was in his arms, compliant. Wanting him. Wanting him to fuck her. It was no longer a fantasy or a vague imagining. She was warm and heavy in his embrace, and he was minutes away from finally having her.
The anticipation was excruciating.
Still, when he reached his room, he didn’t toss her on the bed and mount her, as the beast inside him urged. No. He wanted this to last. He wanted this to linger. He wanted to ratchet up the tension…for both of them.
Gently, he set her on her feet in the center of the room and headed for the table by the window, bearing an assortment of decanters. He poured himself a drink and then threw himself into the armchair by the fire, facing her, reveling in the fact she was here. In his room, his lair.
She stood silently, quivering slightly.
Exultation—that of a predator who had finally captured his prey—lashed through him.
“Take down your hair.”
She did so, pulling out the pins, one after the other until the heavy mass cascaded down her slender back. He stared at it, transfixed. He wanted nothing more than to wrap it around his fist and bring it to his nose and draw in her scent. But first…
“Remove your dress.”
She blushed and showed him her back. “I cannot.”
Rage and bitter disappointment flashed through him. “My lady, we have a bargain. You must do as I say.”
She glanced back at him, over her shoulder, and shot him a shy smile, a tentative offering. She lifted her hair, revealing a long line of tiny buttons running from her neckline to her hips. “I cannot take off my dress. You will have to unbutton me.”
Scalding lust replaced his rage in an instant. He was rock hard in a breath.
He swallowed a sudden pool of drool in his mouth. Bounding from his chair, he bolted across the room to her side.
The buttons were tiny and, truth be told, his fingers shook, but he managed—somehow—to undo them. He stroked the creamy vee of skin he revealed with the first few. A thrill shot through him, straight to his balls, when she quivered at his touch.
He was possessed, suddenly, of the urge to hold one side of the garment in each fist and rip. But he didn’t. For one thing, that would end this too quickly and he didn’t want to end this quickly. Instead, he satisfied his roiling hunger by nibbling on the back of her neck, licking and sucking on her nape as he blindly fumbled for the next button. And the next. When the gown opened far enough, he turned her and, slowly, drawing his palms over her shoulders, nudged the dress off. He swallowed as, bit by bit, her graceful shoulders were revealed. Then her chest.
Damn. She wore a chemise.
But her breasts, swollen and pert, were visible through the sheer material. Her nipples, puckered and fat, taunted him. Unable to resist, he thumbed a taut peak. She moaned, which brought his gaze up to her face.
God. She was beautiful, her lashes fanning her cheeks like sooty moons, her lips slightly parted and damp, her nostrils flared.
“Do you like that?” he whispered.
She colored. A red tide crept up her cheeks giving her a rosy glow.
Had he ever thought her cold? How had he ever decided she was reserved?
“Yes, Ethan.”
He could tell she was aroused. It was evident in her short, hard gasps, the trembling in her form, the rising scent of lust. It nearly drove him mad.
But he returned to his chair and sat, facing her once more. A whole room away.
It nearly killed him.
Her eyes flew open at his withdrawal. He nodded curtly in her direction. “There. You’re unbuttoned. Finish the job yourself.” Because, God, he wanted to watch her undress. For him.
She swallowed and nodded and let the dress fall to the floor. 
He ground his teeth, bit his tongue, curled his hand into a fist around the arm of the chair. Anything to keep him from flying across the room, taking her in his arms and planting himself inside her.
No. He sat there in the plush chair and watched as she revealed herself to him. For once her dress fell, she lifted her chemise. His heart thudded in his chest—in his cock—as her creamy belly, her abdomen and finally, her breasts were bared.
God. She was beautiful.
She pulled the chemise all the way off and let it fall to the floor. Let her gaze fall as well. She peeped up at him, standing there in nothing but her drawers.
“Finish it.” His voice was as rough and uneven as gravel.
She hesitated only for a heartbeat then hooked her thumbs into the waistband and tugged her drawers off.
Dear. God.
At the sight of that silken triangle damp with dew, his heart stuttered.
She was naked.
In his room.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I travel, I photograph! Someone must USE all that info in a novel, right?

This year in the spring I go to eastern France for 2 weeks. Want to come along?
Yes, I am not merely dining and drinking champagne and spatlese, I am WORKING IT, baby! Doing research is such a tough job, but someone simply must, eh? This research becomes a series set in France in 13th century.
Here are a few of my pix from travels past and how I have used the info.

(All pictures property of Cerise DeLand, no use without permission.)

 I give you a tidbit I learned about the place, the photo or how I used it in a story!
Classical sculpture, trip to Greece with hubbie in 2009: This came from the museum at Olympia where athletes trained and smaller versions of the games were held. Here was a training ground for Olympiads with a description of the rigorous diet and exercise. What did I take away? AH. That being an athlete, even then, required an enormous commitment of time and energy.
For me?
Not so much. I used to do 5K races. Now I work out in a gym! And do hip hop class!
Enuf already!

Fresh Fish and Jambon from La Boqueria in Barcelona, Spain: This was a real treat! Notice the prices on the ham. YIKES! This ham is special coming from pigs who are fed acorns. Very pricey. What did I get out of this? Look for #4 in Desiree Holt and my NEMESIS series, UNTIL NOON, romantic thrillers that are selling like MAD!

East door, Door of Birth
Door of Death, West door.
From the same trip come the pix of SAGRADA FAMILIA, Sacred Family Cathedral. Note the “dripping architecture” of the East Door, or Door of Birth, and the contrast of the West Door, Door of  Death/Crucifixion which is very stark and rigid. I give you the very dolorous and ironic sculpture of Judas Kissing Christ.
Entrance to Cathedral of Montserrat
Atop mountain of Montserrat Monastery, looking toward Barcelona.
Interior of Montserrat Cathedral, gold brought from New World by missionairies in 14-16th centuries!
In UNTIL NOON, we set a murder in the nearby town of Montserrat on a cliff near a famous 1000 year old monastery.

Doge’s Palace, Venice: What a marvelous place Venice is! I long to return. From this trip, I got the background of CARRIED AWAY, my romantic suspense set there in that wonderful city. I’ve done a lot of travel in Mexico, too, where LAID BARE is set, the first in the Irresistible Forces series along with CARRIED AWAY. 

I love to cook and my husband is my terrific sommelier. We go to Napa often and this pix of the Mondavi Wine cellar is one of my faves! Wine and champagne make big appearances in my books. 
Prosecco, anyone? Yum.
For a taste of my own cooking, wine and love for Italy and Italian men, try MIA Dolce!

The Street Scene of Pompeii makes my mouth water to return. When I did my master’s degree, I took quite a few courses in ancient civilizations. This pix makes me wish there were 48 hours in a day so that I could write romances set in Pompeii!

And the picture of the Texas Cypress trees is dear to me. I live here in the Hill Country and these beauties are a joy to see surviving, especially in a very dry climate. My new series for EC, Knights in Black Leather, begins with ROPE ME IN and TIE ME DOWN, then continues with STEAL ME AWAY, a historical about the Comanche who stole white women from their families. This is due out soon.

And where am I going next? My big trip this year will be to Paris (again!) and eastern France. What will I do there? Drink champagne. Eat truffles. And just for crazy self-promo, do try my Regency LADY STARLING’s STOCKINGS.
Come visit me for all my books at http://www.cerisedeland.com

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Hello everyone,

Well the big day with the jolly guy in red has come and gone.  I hope you had a fab time with family and friends and Santa delivered some great goodies.  This year I decided not to give STUFF, but chose things like passes to the Snowplanet – an indoor skiing place not far from here, and a booklet of movie passes.  Sometimes I think we just get too much stuff and it becomes claustrophobic. 

Isn’t it great when you get exciting news and you just want to share it?  Well, I’ve got a double dose of it.

First off – I recently got word that I had sold The Bachelor Prince to Entangled Publishing.  This is a new category romance market publisher (mostly of ebooks) and they are super successful.  I’m so thrilled to be with Entangled.  The Bachelor Prince will be released in June 2013.

And secondly…. three of my books  - No Sex Necessary, The Sheikh’s Proposal and In Love with the Sheikh have been sold to a Manga company in Japan.  No release date or covers yet.  Manga if you don’t know it is a Japanese style of comic strip which is in novel form and covers all genres, not just the young adult market.

The New Year is virtually upon us and I know you all start thinking about goals for the New Year.  The thing is we often make them and then by about the end of the first week they’ve gone by the wayside.

I’ve got lots of exciting things happening in my writing world for next year.  Today I contracted a wonderfully talented web lady to pull my site apart and re do it.  She’s also going to teach this seriously technically challenged writer how to manage her own web site.  I mean really folks, I learned to type a millennium ago on a manual typewriter, so this gal has come a long way!

Then in February, all going well, I’m going to launch a blog a week giveaway.  What I aim to do is reach out to you all.  Who wants a free book!  Yep, it’ll be contests and just plain old give aways because I want to, and interviews with some fabulous writers of all genres.  Gotta get this all organized yet, but it will happen.  So, they’ll be lots going on in my world for y’all. 

And just in case you’re still in the Santa mode, here’s an excerpt of Desperately Seeking Santa.  (and yes I got the idea of the title from the Madonna movie!)


“Mrs. Santa’s pissed. The whole bottle this time. You’ve got to do it, Mandy. You’re the only staff I can let loose on those...”
Mandy Brooks’ boss leveled his gaze on the raucous tide of children already beating a hasty path through lingerie, jewelry and the cosmetics counters with one destination in mind.
Santa’s Grotto.
He turned decidedly green as each sticky hand sideswiped the delicate lingerie in passing.
Mandy knew the color well. In fact she was intimate with it right at this moment. Play Santa’s helper?  Hell no.
“You are joking, right? Me. Wear that!” With distaste clearly souring her mouth she picked up the infamous Mrs. Santa’s costume. Infamous because there was barely anything of it. “Lordy, if this was a fancy dress party, or some sleazy bar, I’d understand, but why subject kids to this?”
“It was all they had left.” Fraser Maxwell’s tone took on a decided whine; a sound she’d come to recognize, and hate over the last eighteen months of working at Wentworths. Thank God he was leaving, sectioned off to another of the exclusive store’s outlets. The buzz was there was a new owner. Hence Maxwell didn’t want to look bad and she had to play Santa’s sidekick, Mrs. S.
Damn it. Mandy hated Christmas. Everyone having fun. Spending far too much. Leaving.
Shut that thought off, Brooks. Mandy clamped down her frustration. Shame she couldn’t do the same thing to her brain. But hell, it was the same every year. Every Christmas. Memories. Man, she hated them.
You made them, don’t forget.
As if!  She didn’t do Christmas. It was a time for family, fun and friends, and she had decided five long years ago the whole kit and caboodle was definitely overrated.
That’s because Tate Sullivan dumped you.
Did not. She’d been the dumpee, she argued silently.
Yeah, but on Christmas Day. Not a good look, Brooks.
She silenced the internal argument because right now she had a different problem.  One look at Maxwell and his oversized belly protruding over a definitely too tight belt and she knew his suggestion was no joke. His sour face dared her to refuse.
She tried a different tack. “But I’m the assistant manager.”
“Exactly my point,” he reiterated. “Your job is to fix problems.”
“And I can fix it by wearing this?” She dangled the offending skimpy number in front of her.
“Well, what are you waiting for?”
“For a way out,” she answered truthfully.
Her boss offered her no hint of sympathy and mopped his sweaty brow with a once white handkerchief. “There isn’t, not if you want to stay employed at Wentworth’s,” he said destroying any remaining smidgen of hope.
Bug eyed, Mandy realized she had been soundly roped into a corner. She didn’t like it. Oh, no siree, not one little bit, but what’s a career girl to do?
Whatever it takes, Mandy Brooks. Whatever!
“Thank goodness it only comes once a year,” she grumbled and sidestepped Maxwell.
“Don’t forget your costume.”
Mandy stilled. Damn. She’d hoped he’d forget it and she could have chosen something a tad more discernable.
She eyed the outfit with increasing distaste. “I’m not wearing...”
“Oh, yes you are.” He snapped his fingers. “Come on, time is money, your money, if you get my drift.”
Oh she got it all right. She snatched the offending outfit from his chubby fist and stomped off to the ladies’ bathroom. She could have gone to the changing rooms, but there was no way on this earth she would change into Mrs. Santa’s outfit, something out of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue, in front of other shoppers.
Ensconced in the ladies’ bathroom, Mandy shucked out of her suit. Her very expensive Armani suit. Okay, so it was a knock down, but it was Armani nevertheless.
“And I have to replace it with this.” She held up the tasteless outfit between forefinger and thumb.
The dress was short. Far too short.
She yanked the zip down and slipped it over her head. The silk caressed her skin as it slid down her length.
 This...was...oh, my God, it virtually had no front. The neckline plunged low and the barely there boa feather covered...well, hell fire, absolutely zip. Nada.
This was bad. Very, very bad.

Hoping you all have a great new year, have a glass of bubbly for me!

Best wishes for the New Year and many blessings to you all.

Happy writing

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I was going to rant about the United Nations taking over control of the internet. Since that didn't happen--and hopefully won't anytime in the near future--I'll just wish everyone a politically incorrect but heartfelt Feliz Navidad and Prospero Ano.
Dee Brice

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Favorite Reads Of 2012 by Cornelia Amiri

Well two days after the end of the world and two days before Christmas, I found it hard to decide to what to post about so I thought I’d share my ten favorite books I read in 2012. Some of these books came out in 2012 and some came out years earlier but I just got around to reading them this year. You can see by the list, even though I love romance, I am open to any genre. As you probably suspected, I had a hard time narrowing this list down to only ten. I chose those that meant the most to me. They are listed in the order in which I read them. Also please add your favorite books you read in 2012 in the comments below.

1. Confessions Of A Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley

This is an incredible book. It's written in first person point of view, which is hard to pull off but the author does a fabulous job. The book is very authentic to the history and the belief system of the time. It's set in either 5th or 6th century Ireland. I absolutely loved this book. The ending is sad though. I wish it could have had a happy ending but perhaps the story would not have been as good. I highly recommend this book. I'm so glad I read it.

2. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

This fresh and creative novel is about the Fangs, a husband and wife performance art team, who create all type of disturbances some quite dangerous for the sake of their art. They have two children who they include in the performances referring to them as Child A and Child B, Annie and Buster. The story begins with A and B all grown up and having serious problems that bring them both back home to their parents. 

This is a book where you will laugh out loud as well as cringe because the main characters, Annie and Buster are so fleshed out and the emotions are written so well. The author does a great job of connecting the reader with the brother and sister so that you are hooked to the story and to finding out what will happen to Annie and Buster from the beginning. It was a page turner for me. I highly recommend it.

3. The Wolf Gif by Anne Rice

I was so happy to read a new Anne Rice book. In The Wolf Gift, a young reporter is sent to write a story on an old gabled house that always fascinated him.The mysterious gothic house is crammed full of incredible antique treasures and artifacts, even clay tablets with a writing no one can explain or decipher. The house is isolated, quite a distance from other neighbors and the town.The forest beside it is full of ancient red wood trees, thousands of years old. Its owner along with a group of close friends all left for an archaeology dig and disappeared twenty years ago. No trace has ever been found as to what happened to them. With the owner now officially declared dead, the house has been inherited by the missing man’s niece. The young reporter, Reuben, is enchanted by the house and the new owner, the niece, and then tragedy strikes. She is murdered and in trying to save her, the reporter is attacked by some wild animal he only heard and didn't really see. He makes a remarkable recovery and has to find out what has happened to him and why; as well as what really happened to the owner of that house so long ago. 

This is classic Anne Rice, her characters, even without their paranormal traits, are so unusual, not the type of people you usually meet. I found The Wolf Gift intriguing and suspenseful. I loved the characters. My only complaint is the last two chapters. Philosophical questions are part of Anne Rice’s author voice and the second to last chapter is almost pure dialogue of philosophical discussions between the characters and nothing else. Also the last chapter doesn't move well either. Both could have used tightening and a bit more action in my opinion but despite the fact that they are not the best chapters in the book, The Wolf Gift is well worth reading and I am sure all Anne Rice fans will love it. I did. 

4. Mr G by Alan Lightman

As I remember, I had just woken up from a nap when I deiced to create the universe. That is the first sentence of Mr g … how it all begins.

The author is a theoretical physicist as well as a novelist of five previous books. He’s served on the faculties of Harvard and MIT. Alan Lightman was the first person ever to receive a dual faculty appointment at MIT in science and in the humanities and he utilized that wisdom and talent in writing his latest work, Mr g. 

A young creator, living with his aunt Penelope and his uncle Deva in the void, creates time, matter, space, energy, galaxies, stars and planets. From all of that, life begins to emerge all on its own, from simple to highly complex, throughout his universe. With that life is great beauty and great sorrow that touches the young creator, his uncle and his aunt, deeply, and in turn they are changed by his creations. The best current data and theories in physics, astronomy, and biology are followed but put into almost poetic explanations though still scientifically accurate. 

This is a heartfelt fictional account of an artist’s greatest work, the creation of the universe and life itself. It’s an amazing, uplifting read. Quite original. This book is nothing short of a work of art. I highly recommend it.

5. The Island House by Posie Graeme

From the ancient past, when the gods of the Picts, the Vikings, and the new Christian religion vied for power on a small island off the coast of Scotland, springs the tale of a Pict woman and a Viking man whose lives came together during a tragic raid when they were children. The story of the struggles and separation their deep passion endures until they meet a tragic end, is mingled with a contemporary tale. After her father’s death, a daughter, embarks on a journey to discover what happened in his life, a man who had come to be almost a stranger to her. This, along with ancient finds she uncovers, and paranormal experiences with the ghost of those ancient lovers, leads her onto her own path of self-discovery and…love.

This is international bestselling author Posie Graeme-Evans’s latest novel, released June, 26th, 2012. 
In addition to her career as novelist, she worked in the Australian film and television industry as an editor, director, writer, producer and executive producer. She may be best known as the creator and producer of the well loved television show, McLeod’s Daughters. 

The island house is a haunting, mystical yet realistic and well researched historical novel. The story easily swept me up and took me on a wonderful ride. I highly recommend The Island House.

They Eat Puppies Don't They by Christopher Buckley

This is incredible satire.The book is hilarious, insane, and frightening as when I read it I thought – this could actually happen. A Washington lobbyist is hired to create anti-Chinese sentiment among the American public to help a company working on a top secret weapon system gain congressional approval. When the Dalai Lama is hospitalized, this lobbyist sees his chance to start a rumor that will gain unfavorable media coverage of China.Things unwind from there into a maddening comedy of errors. 

Christopher Buckley is the author of 14 books. You may be familiar with his,Thank You For Smoking, a hilarious move released in 2005. In his bio on the inner back cover of the book, it states he, “visited China in 1974 as a guest of the government. A spontaneous attempt to present Chairman Mao with a jar of American peanut butter resulted in his nearly being gunned down by unamused palace guards.”

Anyone that likes humor and satire and current events would love this book. If you are a fan of such shows as John Steward and Steven Cobert, then this is a must read. It’s creative, refreshing, original, and laugh out loud funny. I highly recommend They Eat Puppies Don't They.

7. The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens

They call Amelia Gray the graveyard queen, renowned for her amazing work at restoring old cemeteries. She also has a secret, she sees ghost. The book begins when she rides the ferry across to the small southern town of Asher Falls. A town she soon finds is full of dark Asher family secrets and something even more malicious, something from across the veil. She thinks she is going there to restore the Asher family cemetery. 

She discovers there is deeper, darker purpose for which she has been summoned to Asher Falls. Beside the old graveyard she is restoring, there is another, an older one, flooded. The underwater graveyard lays just beyond the doorstep of the house she is staying at.Then she discovers a hidden grave, a mystery she is driven to solve. One by one with twist and turns old secrets are discovered, and the ghosts of Asher Falls are the least of her worries.

Amanda Stevens has been writing books for 45 years and this is the second book in the Graveyard Queen Series. Here is a marvelous video of her discussing her Graveyard Queen series.

The character, Amelia Gray, is amazing, complicated and fleshed out. This contemporary, paranormal, gothic mystery is compelling. The Kingdom is a true page turner. The writing is exquisite. I loved this book and I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. 

Wilder's Mate by Moria Rogers

I read some wonderful Steampunk/erotica/romances this year but this was my favorite. Wilder, the hero, was so hot to me. He’s a western bad-ass type hero, who is a paranormal creature called a bloodhound. I fell in love with him so much, I couldn't get him out of my mind.

It’s alternate history, set in the wild American west shortly after the civil war, vampires have taken over and blood hounds are the only ones who are able to hunt and kill them.  Vampires have kidnapped a weapons inventor, Nathaniel, and the Bloodhound guild has sent Wilder to get him back. Satira, Nathaniel’s apprentice, insist on coming along as he is like a father to her and the only thing close to a family member she has left. Satira is a strong, fleshed out character that is easy to connect to and care about. She grew up with a blood hound as her mother, a prostitute, lived with one, but she soon finds she’s never met anyone quite like Wilder before.

Wayne Of Gotham by Tracey Hickman

Justice Is blind. In Wayne of Gotham a story unfolds of what made justice blind in Gotham, why that was bad, and how bad that it got. Batman, Bruce’s father, Thomas Wayne is at the center of the tale. Secrets are revealed such as why Thomas Wayne was killed and why Gotham is so ridden with strange costumed villains. 

I attended Tracy Hickman’s reading at Space City Houston earlier this year. He said that when discussing what book he might write next, his agent brought up the idea of a super hero. The author deiced if he were to write about any super hero it would be batman because he had no actual super powers. He told us about a fond memory form childhood when he and his brother saw the bat mobile at a car show. The author did an excellent job of describing the bat mobile and its technical features in the book. He did his research into the entire history of batman and kept to the traditional story so fans of the original comic will not be disappointed. 

The book is action packed and intriguing. The character of batman, Bruce Wayne, is well flushed out as is that of his father, Thomas Wayne. This is an interesting, enjoyable read and I highly recommend it.

 10. Defending Jacob by William Landay

This book is about a prosecutor with the D.A. whose teen son is accused of murdering one of his classmates. This book gave me such a creepy feeling but it opens up discussions of a real problem in our day, trying to figure out why some teens or young people become murders, if there are warning signs that could prevent the crimes, do the parents have a responsibility, how do they deal with it, is it too easy for some of these murderers to get by with crimes again and again. The murder gene is brought up and also issues with our justice system, and the question of how far will a father go to protect his child.

The book is incredibly suspenseful. It ends with a mind boggling twist. It's written in first person, which is hard to do well, but the author did a fantastic job, the writing is superb. I highly recommend Defending Jacob. It will not leave you with a warm fussy feeling as the subject matter is serious and disturbing but it is also thought provoking.

Please feel free to comment on your favorite reads of 2012. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,