Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy 2015!

Three of the most significant dates in British history have happened in years ending in 15. And two of the three were in June!  Consider: 1215 was the signing of the Magna Carta on 15 June.  It was October 25, 1415 when Henry V won the battle of Agincourt, and June 18, 1815, was Waterloo. For such a small island, they certainly have learned how to condense things! Other ‘15’ years had interesting happenings, too, it’s a fun search, but they don’t begin to compare to these three.
I once had an ‘up-close-and-personal’ encounter with one of the original four remaining copies of the Magna Carta. In 1986, England’s Salisbury Cathedral sent their copy on a world tour with a double purpose. One was to show off this precious artifact, and the other was to raise funds for the Cathedral itself, which was in need of restoration.
In 1987, this copy came  to the Western Reserve Historical Society located in Cleveland’s University Circle area, a place that usually concentrated on events from the Eastern United States, particularly Connecticut and Ohio. Because of the great historical significance of the Magna Carta on governments world-wide, it was entirely appropriate for this wonderful piece of history to appear there. I determined I would see it. At that time I had no idea I’d ever go to England, and this might be my only chance. (However, I have since made that trip three times!)
The outer room featured artifacts from the Barons of Runnymede, who banded together to quite literally force King John into agreeing with them and signing into law, the rules laid out in the Magna Carta. This poster of the Barons, as well as the window from the Cathedral caught my attention.   

But it was in the hushed and darkened room adjacent that I promptly burst into tears! This small fragment of history (at that time 772 years old) was so small for all its magnificence. Out of its case, it measures approximately 18 by 18 inches. The document itself was in a wooden cabinet, under glass in the small chamber lit by seven candlepower. Yes, seven! It was very difficult to really see and of course the handwriting was very small and dense, not to mention in Olde Englishe! 
There were two guards in the room, along with multiple signs commanding NO FLASH PHOTOS. This was to protect the ancient parchment from damage by light. My heart fell to my feet. I desperately wanted a photo of it, and had brought my SLR camera minus flash with me. I asked the guard if I might take a photo, considering I had no flash. I did have a lens with a very slow shutter speed, and fast ASA 1600 film. The guard was very kind and said that if I didn’t get in the way of other viewers, he would let me take a couple of photos. I still choke up when I see them. They’re not the world’s best photos, to be sure, but they’re extremely meaningful to me.                                         
There is also a personal connection to the event in 1415 – when Henry V won the Battle of Agincourt. I fell in love with his queen, Catherine of Valois, and the very first piece of writing I ever completed was a one-woman play about her, earlier in the year of 1987. It was originally meant to be a book, but somehow was derailed before making it that far.
The other ’15 event is of greater importance to the Regency community as a whole, considering it marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars, at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. To honor this anniversary, a group of Regency authors will publish an anthology of novelette length stories in which Waterloo plays a part.
I asked Susana Ellis -- the spark plug for this idea,  “How did the Waterloo anthology get started?”
She replied: I was at a meeting of the Maumee Valley Romance Writers (which has had to dissolve at the end of the year due to inability to seat a board according to RWA’s new regulations) where Kim Jacobs of Turquoise Morning Press was our speaker. She said that TMP has had great success getting notice for their authors through anthologies, where all authors are working to promote the work at the same time. 

I’d been thinking of doing something along those things for quite a while, more for the fun of it than anything else. But it occurred to me during this presentation that with the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo coming up, it would be an excellent theme for a Regency-set anthology. So I mentioned it on Facebook and caught some interest, and the next week, when I attended the RWA Conference in San Antonio, I sought out sessions on projects such as this and came back with a lot of information.

With our deadline January 1st, we are all busy scrambling to finish our manuscripts, but once they are submitted to our editor, our committees will start working on things like promo and covers. Our goal is to have the volume out in digital form by April 1st

We have some authors experienced in self-publishing and covers and such, and others who are just learning. It’s a fun process! I hope our readers enjoy the product!

Authors and titles of the stories:
Sophia Strathmore  (untitled)
Aileen Fish: Captain Lumley’s Angel
Heather King   (untitled)
David Wilkin: Not A Close Run Thing At All
Victoria Hinshaw: Folie Bleue
Christa Paige: One Last Kiss
Jillian Chantal: Jeremiah’s Charge
Téa Cooper: The Caper Merchant
Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady (??? Title subject to change)
I’ll have more information about this fascinating project in January, March and May. Stay tuned! And thank you for reading! 
Hetty St. James

de-Stressing - POV - and New Year's Resolutions

2014 was a difficult year. Business was slow in the day job, hubs was stuck with a single part-time job, book sales were down without a new title to bolster readers’ attention, and various family issues were absolutely draining. We lived without power for two months in the fall after the power company turned us off for non-payment. A fifty-degree house is NOT a lot of fun. My landlord buried us under late fees every month the rent was not on time. We went on food stamps and became intimately acquainted with the local food banks. The kids are on Medicaid. I stopped writing for a while. We didn’t celebrate Christmas. I’ll leave you to speculate the sort of pressure that puts on a person and a marriage.

But things are slowly turning around. Hubs just got a full time job this month. Things are slowly picking up at work. I’ve relearned how to prioritize. I finished Moonwitched and sent it to my Samhain editor—should hear back in a couple of weeks. I finished a rough draft of Braeca during NaNo and am revising now. I’m plotting out the stories for Piroska’s and Elyria’s books. We’re looking forward to taking my son to UW-LaCrosse in April for a campus tour—he’s applying to the Archaeology program next fall. (I get to be Daniel Jackson’s MOM—way to ruin a decade-long fantasy right there…*sigh*)

And I’ve realized something, while I spent Christmas Day home alone, just me and the critters. There are two approaches to any give crisis—hope and despair. Despair threatened plenty of times. It’s a hard thing to swallow your pride and ask for help, even for the sake of your kids. But hope is more powerful—to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s all in your point-of-view.

You can curse the darkness or light a candle. It’s that simple. If you can’t lean on others then lean on yourself. My daughter was mourning the loss of a former friend of hers who’d been turned by another group of teens, and I told her, “Everyone makes choices, for better or worse. No one is stronger than another—we’re all equal. She chose to turn away from you. You can choose to move on. You’re as strong as they are—they have no power over you.” And that’s my motto, my new mantra. “Equal. Choices. Power. Patience.” Eventually, everything comes around.

Like my 401K and the stock market. Sometimes up, sometimes down, but overall, steadily growing upward. Bad things are meant to be endured. Good things are to be embraced and celebrated. The trick is to empower the good things—even little ones—to even out the bad. Always try for better, not more.

I’ve always hated New Year’s Resolutions. Make one day, break the next. But this coming year, I’m going to vow to de-stress on a regular basis. Things are so much worse when you let them get to you. So don’t give them that power. Keep perspective. Take a long, relaxing bubble bath. Go walk the dog. Scandalize your children by swinging on swings in the park. Go to the movies on dollar-matinee day. Get a manicure. Curl up with a good book. Whatever makes you happy, keeps you centered. Take care of you.
And now I have to get back to writing—because I finally feel like doing it again. It feels good to be back, and I’m never going back in those weeds again. I like it out here in the light.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cowboy 12 Pack: Twelve scorching stories for 99¢ Preorder your copy today!

If you love sexy cowboy romance books, get ready for a 12-pack of 'em from New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors!



HER UNIFORM COWBOY - Donna Michaels 
I AM NOT YOUR MELODY - Shoshanna Evers 
CHASE AND SEDUCTION - Randi Alexander 
THE HARDER THEY FALL - Beth Williamson 
THE REAL MCCOY - Sabrina York 
BADASS - Sable Hunter 
CUPID'S COWBOY - Becky McGraw 

Read more about The Real McCoy by Sabrina York

When Crystal Wilson gets roped into a wild, girls-only weekend at a rowdy “stud” ranch, the last thing she wants to do is tangle with a bunch of half-naked men pretending to be cowboys. But when she meets Ford McCoy, she can’t help but be attracted to his dark, dominant, gruff appeal.

What she doesn’t know is that Ford isn’t a stripper. He’s her friend’s overprotective brother, there to make sure his little sister
doesn’t get into any trouble. She’s surprised at the passion that flares between them. In fact, what she has with Ford might just be what she’s been looking for all along.

It’s a pity the sexy rancher isn’t in the market for a city girl.


She shouldn’t have taken the shot.
For God’s sake, what had she been thinking? She’d been on a low-carb, low-calorie diet—with no alcohol—for a month. Not because Blaine had called her fat. That had nothing to do with it. She just wanted… She just wanted to do it for herself. Yeah.
It wasn’t like he was coming back or anything. And it wasn’t like she’d let him.
But it would be awesome to run into him somewhere, say the bank or the coffee shop or that bar on Grill Street, looking like a vixen. She only had ten pounds to go to hit vixen weight. It was a helluva ten pounds. They didn’t seem to want to budge.
And damn, she really wanted something to eat.
And damn, the tequila had hit her hard.
So hard she’d left the weekend kickoff party—although, to be honest, she’d wanted to leave since the pumping music and the grinding bodies and the strobing lights were starting to make her eyelid twitch. As down-home country as the bedrooms were at this ranch-slash-resort, they sure knew how to throw a bacchanal at night.
It was pleasanter out here behind the house, staring up at the stars and enjoying the kiss of a soft breeze. There were no sounds but the rustle of the leaves in the trees, the crickets and the occasional croak of a frog.
Her head hardly spun at all.
She leaned back and closed her eyes and imagined how amazing it would feel to be twenty-one again and interested in those kinds of men. To rub against a hard chest and feel his thickly muscled arms hold her close.
But none of those boys had ignited a flicker of interest in her. They’d all been rubbed smooth. Although several of them, and one in particular, had made it clear he wanted to dance for her.
It was a damn shame.
It would have been fun.
What kind of man would she want, if she wanted a man? Tall, for sure. Broad. Hard. Rough. Maybe a little wicked twinkle in his eye.
A door slammed to her right and her eyes flew open. She blinked as a man strode toward her through the shadows. Her heart lurched and the breath caught in her throat. Yes, her heart whispered. Yes. That was the kind of man she wanted.
He was big, and broad and roped with muscle. His stride was sure, determined and powerful. He wore boots that kicked up dust with every step, and chaps and even a Stetson. He had high cheekbones and a well-formed brow. His square chin was spattered with a dark shadow. His shirt was buttoned.
He looked like a real cowboy.
He looked like a man.
This guy could dance for her. No problem. She’d love to have him rub himself all over her—
His steps stalled as he caught sight of her.
“Well, hey there, cowboy,” she purred. It was probably the tequila purring, but he didn’t seem to care. He peered into the shadows.
She did him the favor of moving into the light. She liked that his nostrils flared and his throat worked. He touched the brim of his hat. “Ma’am.”
Ooh. Ma’am.
Sexy. This stripper knew how to play a role.
“You’re late,” she said.
He blinked. “Late?”
“The party’s already started.” She sidled up to him—again, the tequila; normally she would never sidle up to anybody—and put her hand on his chest. The muscles rippled in response and something inside her rippled as well. It was probably her womb. Crying out for a visitor.
It had been a while, after all.
She leaned closer, against him, and it was good. She nestled her nose in his beautiful neck and took a whiff. And daham, he smelled sinful. Wicked. Alluring.
“What is that fragrance?” she asked. She needed to know. Wanted to bathe in it.
He chuckled; the sound rumbled through her. “Soap.”
“Mmm. Yummy.” She scudded her palm over his chest, his thick arms and down to his trim waist. He held steady as she explored, staring at her through insanely thick lashes. It should be illegal for a man to have lashes like that. His features were locked and hard. A muscle ticked in his cheek. “You’re hard,” she murmured. Oh, God, he was.
“Yes, ma’am. I am.” This he said in a low purr, one that gave a sizzle of double entendre to the words.
Something cracked inside her. It was probably the remainder of her pickled restraint. He was the hottest man she’d ever seen, much less touched. His heat soaked into her and melted her, liquefied her.
She couldn’t stop her roving exploration and wouldn’t have anyway. Her hand drifted lower. His body tightened, his breath hitched as she reached his belt. And then she found him.
Her knees locked. Her pulse rocketed through her veins. Because Jesus God, he wasn’t just hard, he was rock hard.
“Nice.” A whisper, all she could manage. She gave him a little pump.
He hissed in a breath and said through his teeth, “Yeah. Nice.” His hand came to her waist. He stroked her bare skin beneath the hem of her tee. His calluses scraped her sanity.
“You are the most authentic of all of them,” she murmured, kissing his neck.
He grunted and pulled her closer, cupping her ass, measuring it with a squeeze. “Most authentic?”
“Of all the strippers.”
He stilled for a moment and she sensed he was about to pull away, which she could not allow. He was far too delicious to give up. So she nibbled his chin. She loved the bristles of his stubble. And he tasted…like a man. More man than she’d ever had.
She released her hold on him and pressed her hips against his, wrapped herself around him, hooking her leg around his. The feel of his body, hot and hard, plastered against hers from chest to groin, made her mouth water.
He allowed it, but then he did pull back. But it wasn’t far, and it was so he could stare down at her face, so she didn’t mind. His breath washed over her and she had the sudden compulsion to taste his mouth. Not a need or a whim. A compulsion.
“You think I’m the most authentic of all the strippers?” She had no idea why he was smiling, but she liked his smile. Especially the dent that appeared on his left cheek. Everything about him pushed each and every one of her buttons. They were rusty buttons, but he pushed them.
“You are. You really do it better than any of them. You sure look like a real cowboy. Baby, you could rope and tie me…”
She stroked his back, reveling in the bulge of his muscles as she made her way down to his ass, which she squeezed as well. “And you’re really well built.”
“Thank you?”
“For a stripper.”
“I wouldn’t mind if you gave me a lap dance at all.”
“Not at all.”
“Would you like to?”
His brow arched. It was a striking, manly brow. “Like to?”
“Give me a lap dance?”
“You have no idea.”
She liked the tenor of his voice, despite the fact there was a laugh hidden in it. She raked her nails along the back of his neck and he shivered. So she walked her fingers into his hair, ignoring that she tipped his Stetson clean off.
God, his hair was soft. Dark curls. Silky and thick.
Their gazes locked. His smile faded. Tension hummed between them. Then she tugged his head down and took his lips.


A COWBOY'S SEDUCTION - Award-Winning Author Cynthia D'Alba - Sparks fly when an exhausted cowboy, on a forced tropical vacation, meets an uptight accountant in a bikini. As the seduction game begins, two weeks never looked so short.

SADIE AND HER COWBOY - USA Today Bestselling Author Paige Tyler - A beautiful ranch owner hires an infamous gunslinger to protect her against a ruthless cattle baron, but risks losing everything when she falls for the sexy hired gun

THE BILLIONAIRE HUSBAND TEST - NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author Elle James - Skeptical billionaire takes a risk on a friend's dating service and finds the cowgirl of his dreams, only he has to convince her he's her perfect match.

HER UNIFORM COWBOY - Donna Michaels - Texas Guardsman never planned his attraction to a curvy, military-hating Pennsylvanian, or saddling her with his stress issues. Will the town’s newest resident support him, or abandon him like others in his past?

I AM NOT YOUR MELODY - NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author Shoshanna Evers - The baddest cowboy in Bear Creek Saddle partners with a sassy new bartender to save the family business. His rules: Don’t kill her. Don’t kiss her. And don’t fall in love.

CHASE AND SEDUCTION - USA Today Bestselling Author Randi Alexander - Country music superstar Chase Tanner is determined to seduce screenplay writer Reno Linden. She risks the plunge into Chase’s arms, but will their attraction survive the glitz and stress of fame?

THE COWBOY WINS A BRIDE - NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author Cora Seton –Jamie Lassiter just made the bet of his life—He’s got six weeks to prove to Claire Cruz he’s the man for her, or pay for her round-the-world trip.

THE HARDER THEY FALL - Beth Williamson - Cowboy Hank Beltane has no idea what's in store for him when he tries to seduce the stubborn, beautiful and sexy as hell rodeo owner TJ Maguire.

THE REAL MCCOY - NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author Sabrina York - At a wild, girls-only weekend at a rowdy “stud” ranch, she meets the gruff, dominant man of her dreams. It’s too bad the sexy stripper is only a pretend cowboy…or is he?

BADASS - Amazon Bestselling Author Sable Hunter - Isaac McCoy - Badass Isaac McCoy, as at home on a Harley as he is on a horse, is in love with the preacher's daughter— the angel of Kerr County—and that will never do.

COWBOYS NEVER FOLD – Award-Winning Author Lexi Post – When a cowboy honors a promise by working at a nudist resort, he discovers that to win the sexy owner's heart he must go all-in, which could mean baring more than his soul.

CUPID'S COWBOY - Amazon Bestselling Author Becky McGraw - Struggling country singer is struck by cupids arrow when delivering a breakup singing telegram on Valentine's Day to a beautiful music exec who could make all his dreams come true. 

PREORDER NOW! (Coming January 20th)
About Sabrina York
Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, is the New York Times and
USA Today Bestselling author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy to scorching erotic romance. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

Like my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sabrinayork
Like my Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaYorkBooks
Follow me on Twitter @sabrina_york https://twitter.com/sabrina_york
Check out my Pintrest boards: http://www.pinterest.com/sabrinayork/boards/

Books by Sabrina York


Wired Series—Erotic Contemporary Romance 

Noble Passions Series—Erotic Regency

Tryst Island Series—Erotic Contemporary Romance 

Anthologies and Collections

Short Stories/Novellas


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Cerise sings #Santa, Cutie to her readers and other writers as book rises on ARe's Bestseller list! Who knew?

Okay so it's two days after Christmas, but I'm still braying...um...singing.
I can’t sing worth a plug nickel. So I do it in private in my office when no one can hear me.
One song I love is this one where a woman asks The Man With the Bag for a few items she would love to hold dear.
What I hold dear are my readers, others novels and my hope to write more of my own works next year.
Hope you love my lyrics.
And happy holidays to all of you!
(And for those of you who’d like to read Cerise’s bestselling Santa, Cutie, here are the cover and a few buy links:

Cerise’s Santa, Cutie lyrics: to tune of Santa, Baby!

Santa cutie, slip a million novels ‘neath the tree for me;
I’m a fast reader, honest, Santa cutie.
So hurry down my chimney tonight.

Santa cutie, I need no new convertible, true. Mine’s blue.
I'll write romances for you; Santa cutie.
So hurry down my chimney tonight.

Think of all my readers in bliss;
Think of all my men who’ve earned hot chicks to kiss;
Next year I’ll write just as much, if you check off my Christmas list.

Santa cutie, I’ve really no need for yacht. Next to that, not a lot.
Been hard-working all year; Santa cutie.
So hurry down my chimney tonight.

Santa honey, one little thing I really do need...
The deed…to a swell Paris pad, Santa baby.
So hurry down my chimney tonight.

Santa cutie, fill my stocking with first class air and new specs;
To complement my research on sex, Santa cutie,
and hurry down my chimney tonight.

Come and trim my Christmas tree…with wide Mac screen and a stirred martini;
I honestly believe in you.
Let's see if you believe in me.
Santa, cutie, I love you all year round.
That statement is sound.
Santa cutie,
So hurry down my chimney tonight!
Hurry down my chimney tonight!
* * *
My picture of the view from my apartment window in Paris this past October! Delish. 

Visit me at http://www.cerisedeland.com and my blog (with views of recent research trip to Paris! http://cerisedeland.blogspot.com

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Regency Christmas Quiz

The Prize: a lovely Christmas box containing a A Twelfth Night Tale bracelet, a Susana Ellis pen (and other surprises) and a Susana Ellis mug.

The contest ends at midnight ET on December 31, 2014. The answers and the winner's name will appear on the January 1, 2015 post on Susana's Parlour by 8:00 a.m. ET.

If you're not sure of the answers, they may be found in the posts from my 2013 A Twelfth Night Tale Christmas Blog Tour.

Note: Do not answer the questions in the comments where everyone else can see them! Send them in an email to barbiesa@mac.com.


For this quiz, the Regency is defined as 1811-1830.

King Cake
  1. Christmas trees lit by candles were common decorations in Regency England. 
  2. Gift-giving was a prominent Christmas tradition in Regency times. 
  3. The Twelve Days of Christmas began on December 26 and ended on January 6 and did not include Christmas Day because it was a solemn, holy day and not one for partying. 
  4. Many Christmas traditions were pagan in origin. 
  5. Although it originated as a pagan ceremony to ensure a good apple crop, wassailing became more of caroling event in the Regency. 
  6. Christmas Pudding, or Plum Cake, contains raisins rather than plums. 
  7. A Christmas Pudding can be made months in advance. 
  8. Finding a thimble in your slice of Christmas Pudding means good luck for the coming year. 
  9. Mince pie and all things Christmas were banned during Cromwell's reign because they were considered “pagan,” but it all came back when Charles II came into power. 
  10. Originally, mince pie was made with meat and spices and served as a main course. 
  11. The three spices in mince pie—cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg—were meant to represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 
  12. Originally, the Yule Log was from the largest tree that would fit in the fireplace so it would keep burning throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas. 
  13. “Mummers” were traveling troupes of actors who would go door-to-door offering to perform and sing for a few coins. 
  14. In the Regency era, Christmas decorations were often left up throughout the month of January. 
  15. Silent Night was one of the Christmas songs commonly sung in the Regency era. 
  16. The custom of stealing kisses beneath the kissing bough, or even a sprig of mistletoe hanging from the ceiling or doorway in a place where people were certain to walk beneath it, became popular in the late eighteenth century. 
  17. Boxing Day was a time to reward servants, tenants and tradesmen with gifts of money and/or food. 
  18. Plough Monday, which is the day after Twelfth Day (Epiphany), is when the farm laborers are called back to work after the Christmastide. 
  19. Christmas Eve was the traditional night for wassailing. 
  20. If your piece of King Cake contained a bean, you were crowned “King” for the night.
Mince Pie
Remember: DO NOT post your quiz answers here. Send them to barbiesa@mac.com.

About A Twelfth Night Tale

A Twelfth Night Tale is on sale for the remainder of 2014!

In A Twelfth Night Tale, the Barlows celebrate the holiday with their neighbors, the Livingstons, and the St. Vincents—a wealthy viscount who is courting the elder daughter Lucy and his three daughters. Andrew Livingston, who has returned wounded from the Peninsula, suffers a few pangs of jealousy as he watches the viscount’s attentiveness to the now-grown-up-and-very-desirable Lucy. Is it too late for him to stake a claim for her?

twelfthnighttale_msr copy200x300

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas! by Aileen Fish

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope you are all enjoying a blessed day. Whether you have family and friends to celebrate with or will have a quiet day on your own, I hope you can take a moment to focus on yourself. We tend to work so hard to be sure others enjoy the holidays and are too stressed to enjoy the day.

For those of you who work today, thank you! You make things go smoothly for the rest of us. May Scrooge bypass your place of work.

If you are missing a loved one at this time of year, revisit the memories of the times you shared together. Write the stories down so you can pass them along to your children and grandchildren. Even if they don't seem to care now, they will some day.

Call someone. Tell someone you love them. Knock on a neighbor's door and just say Merry Christmas. Spread love, joy and happiness and it will fill you at the same time.

I am so grateful to all of you who allow me to continue pursuing my passion of writing, and hope you have the best new year!