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13 Things That Inspired JL Hilton to Write the Stellarnet Series

I’d like to welcome my guest today—J.L. Hilton. J.L. Hilton is the author of the Stellarnet Series published by Carina Press, including Stellarnet Rebel (January 2012) and Stellarnet Prince (November 2012). Her artwork is featured in the books Steampunk Style Jewelry and 1000 Steampunk Creations. Visit her at JLHilton.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and deviantART. Over to JL!

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13 Things That Inspired JL Hilton to Write the Stellarnet Series

I didn’t plan to write a novel. Before May 2009, I devoted most of my time to homeschooling my children, volunteering, and designing jewelry. But thirteen things bubbled in the cauldron of my noggin and coalesced into Stellarnet Rebel, the first book of the Stellarnet Series, and from there came the sequel, Stellarnet Prince, released this week by Carina Press.

1) All five seasons of Babylon 5. G’kar is my most-est best-est favorite-est character ever. Just when you think he couldn’t get any more awesome than busting out of his chains after being tortured and losing an eye, he also helps King Fricking Arthur fight off a gang of space thugs.

2) I’m a Browncoat – a fan of Joss Whedon’s TV show Firefly and the movie Serenity. In 2006, I coordinated the first charity screening of Serenityin my city, as part of the Can’t Stop the Serenity (http://www.cantstoptheserenity.com/) program to benefit Equality Now. I’ve been involved in the event ever since, and this year am a global sponsor. (http://www.cantstoptheserenity.com/sponsors/)

3) Technology. I love the Internet, smartphones and video games.

4) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. One of my favorite books of all time. I also listen to the musical. A lot.

5) Deadwood is another favorite TV show. I sometimes refer to Asteria Colony in my books as a “cyber Deadwood” on the edge of settled space, populated with criminals, outcasts, Net whores and obsessive online gamers (substitute those for the 19th century opium addicts, I reckon).

6) V for Vendetta. The character V is one of several inspirations for Duin, the titular character inStellarnet Rebel. (I could probably make a whole ‘nother list of thirteen inspirations for Duin, including Ben Franklin, Doc Brown, Madeye Moody and the crazy Irishman from Braveheart.)

7) My aliens known as Glin are based on dolphins. The first time I saw dolphins in real life was at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. They made me cry, they were so beautiful. Some biologists think that they were land critters who returned to the water, and that idea fascinated me. Also, like the Glin, dolphins have incredible hearing and natural healing abilities.

8) The BBC miniseries North and South, based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel.

9) The first season of the BBC Robin HoodTV series. This, along with North and South, led to Richard Armitage being one of the inspirations for my Stellarnet character Belloc, and Lucy Griffiths being an inspiration for the heroine, Genevieve O’Riordan.

10) Twilight – in a sort of backwards way. While thrilled for everyone who enjoys paranormal romance, it’s just not my thing and I’m sick of hearing about vampires. I began writing the Stellarnet Series as much for myself as for readers – a this is what I want to read sort of thing.

11) Traditional Irish music. A study of Irish culture, history and politics has been a life-long hobby of mine.

12) Alex Steffen’s article “Science Fiction, Futurism and the Failure of the Will to Imagine.” (http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/001065.html) He quotes author Bruce Sterling: "There’s still plenty of space opera out there, with heroes running around in galactic Disneylands, but almost no one is addressing the nature of the 21st Century, or putting together, like, genuinely novel visions of life in the year 2050."

13) Finally, in May 2009, I awoke from a dream in which an interstellar news blogger met an alien freedom-fighter in the center of a space colony. From that one dream, I had a whole story that wanted to get out of my head.

Have you ever had an amazing dream, or one that seemed real? "I’ll sleep on it" is a common expression. Do you ever solve problems or get ideas in your dreams?


2012-jen

Promo info

Author website: www.JLHilton.com
Book website: www.StellarnetSeries.com
Publisher website: www.CarinaPress.com
Buy link: http://www.StellarnetSeries.com/shop/
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/J.L.Hilton.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorJLHilton
deviantART: http://jlhilton.deviantart.com/
Goodreads:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5344538.J_L_Hilton


Stellarnet

Blurb:

An otherworldly love. Human blogger Genny O’Riordan shares two alien lovers: Duin, a leader of the Uprising, and Belloc, the only surviving member of the reviled Glin royal family. Their relationship has inspired millions of followers–and incited vicious anti-alien attacks.

 
A planet at risk. A Stellarnet obsessed with all things alien brings kidnappers, sex traffickers and environmental exploitation to Glin. Without weapons or communications technology, the planet cannot be defended. Glin will be ravaged and raided until nothing remains.

A struggle for truth. On Earth, Duin discovers a secret that could spur another rebellion, while on Glin, Belloc’s true identity could endanger their family and everything they’ve fought for. Have the Glin found true allies in humanity, or an even more deadly foe?

Purchase Stellarnet Rebel

JL is running a contest. Fill out the rafflecopter below to enter the draw.

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Would a Zombie Make a Good President?

I’d like to welcome E. Van Lowe to my blog today. I took one look at the title of E’s Young Adult book—The Zombie Always Knocks Twice, saw the cover and knew I had to read this book. Doesn’t it look like fun? E is visiting today, so please give him a huge welcome as he talks about zombies and adds a hint of politics. Over to E!

The Zombie Always Knocks Twice

 

Would A Zombie Make a Good President?

It’s an election year, and as we wade through the issues to decide which candidate would make a better president, I decided to it was the perfect time to ask the burning question; would a zombie make a good president? I know it’s a silly question, but I just wrote a book with the word “zombie” in the title, so bear with me.

I think zombies have some very positive qualities for being a national leader.

1) Zombies are incredibly resourceful. Think about it. How many movies have we seen where our heroes are in a supermarket, or in the woods, supposedly far away from any munching zombies when BAM! a zombie shows up out of nowhere ruining their day. In these difficult times, America needs a resourceful leader. 1 pt for zombies.

2) Zombies are not easily distracted. You can run from them, shoot at them, even set them on fire and they will keep coming. In a world where there are so many distractions, we need a leader who can keep his eyes on the prize–literally. That sounds to me like a zombie. 1pt for zombies.

3) Zombies are incredibly driven. When they want something—or someone—they pursue it (or him or her) with single-minded purpose. Once a zombie sets a goal for himself, he goes after it and either achieves his goal or dies trying. That’s a great quality for any leader. 1 pt for zombies.

But just as zombies have all the positive presidential qualities listed above, zombies also have a few negatives.

1) Zombies don’t listen very well, which is why they are so easy to kill: “Don’t come any closer,” says the man wielding the twelve gauge. “Don’t come any closer or I’ll blow your head off.” But do they ever listen? No. BLAM! 1 pt against zombies.

2) Zombie’s want to eat all the time. This can be a real problem in the war room where the joint chiefs are discussing strategy to keep the free world free, and all and our zombie president wants to do is eat their brains. 1 pt against zombies.

3) Zombies are not very well spoken. Who wants to listen to a state of the union address where “Raaagh!” and “Errrgh!” are the only words coming out of our president’s mouth? A president’s eloquence should reassure a nation, not scare them to death. 1 pt against zombies.

So far for me it’s a 3-3 tie. I need you guys to break the tie. Have some fun with it. Come up with a reason or two for or against a zombie being president. And while I have you in zombie mode, I hope I can get you to check out my latest novel, The Zombie Always Knocks Twice. It’s the first book in my new Hollyweird series. If you like exciting paranormal stories with real adventure, romance and a juicy mystery at its core, I think you will enjoy it. You can find it on Amazon here: The Always Knocks Twice

CONTEST: Tour Wide Giveaway (Perfect for Halloween!)

10 Kindle copies of The ZombieAlways Knocks Twice

1 Bewitching zombie prize pack contains: zombie bag, zombie zone caution tape, fake brains in a meat container(because what’s a zombie prize pack without brains right), two rubber duckies, a large bloody hand print sticker, Bat Bite hand sanitizer, Halloween theme bottle stickers, a purple skull mug, and a Bewitching notebook, pen, and necklace.

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clip_image002The Zombie Always Knocks Twice
E. Van Lowe

Hollyweird #1

Genre: YA Paranormal

Publisher: Imajin

Cover Artist: Ryan Doan

Kindle ebook: 978-1-926997-74-2

Trade paperback: 978-1-926997-81-0

Page Count: 177 pages

Book Description:

Hollywood California, Swimming pools, movie stars… and now the risen dead

Hollywood can be a difficult place to grow up, especially if you’re Kristine Golden, a fifteen-year-old necromancer with a sworn duty to lay the risen dead back to rest and no desire to be in the movie business.

When handsome deadie Alex Romero swaggers into her life, Kris must keep her promise, despite her growing feelings for him. If that’s not enough to give a girl a headache, a murderous zombie comes knocking at Kris’ door, rocking her world and threatening her family.

Can Kris solve the mystery of the rampaging zombie before someone else winds up dead? Or will the walking dead take over Hollywood and turn it into… Hollyweird?


clip_image002[5]About the Author:

E. Van Lowe is an author, television writer, screen-writer, playwright and producer who has worked on such TV shows as "The Cosby Show," "Even Stevens," and "Homeboys In Outer Space." He has been nominated for both an Emmy and an Academy Award. His first YA Paranormal novel, "Never Slow Dance With A Zombie," was a selection of The Scholastic Book Club, and a nominee for an American Library Association Award. His Best Selling novels, “Boyfriend From Hell” and “Earth Angel,” are the first two books in the Falling Angels Saga. “The Zombie Always Knocks Twice” is the first book in his Hollyweird series.

E lives in Beverly Hills California with his spouse, a werewolf, several zombies and a fairy godmother who grants him wishes from time-to-time.

http://evanlowe.com

http://vanlowe.blogspot.com/

@evanlowe

http://www.facebook.com/author.e.vanlowe

13 Things to do with Ghosts and Ghost Hunters

The Victorian Lure

I’m thrilled to welcome Sky Purington, author of The Victorian Lure, a paranormal/time-travel/historical blend to my blog today. Since the hero of Sky’s book is a ghost hunter, I asked her to tell us a little about ghosts and ghost hunters today. Over to Sky.

13 Things To Do With Ghosts and Ghost Hunters

1. First and foremost, be logical minded and debunk before labeling paranormal. Many older houses have copper wiring and extremely high EMF (Electro Magnetic Field) readings. These homes affect sensitive people and make them see things that aren’t there, not to mention influence their health. If the EMF readings are off the charts, there’s a very good chance the home is not haunted. It’s highly recommended that the homeowner hire an electrician as soon as possible.

2. Be patient when ghost hunting. It’s not like what you see on TV. It often takes a full night of investigating to gain one nugget of evidence.

3. Have plenty of extra camera battery packs. Paranormal activity is well known to drain battery life in under a minute.

4. Record a disembodied voice with an EVP (Electro Voice Phenomena) recorder. When trying to get one, be sure to ask clear, concise questions and give the spirit time to answer.

5. Catch a fluctuation in the magnetic field with an EMF Detector. Before doing so, walk-through and establish all places that already have an EMF reading such as light fixtures, electrical outlets and wires in walls.

6. Feel first-hand what a cold spot is. This is a very small area that sharply drops in temperature for no reason. Chances are a spirit’s nearby.

7. See an orb (AKA-energy ball). These are unexplained circles that often appear in places reported to be haunted.

8. Witness unexplainable heat fluctuations in a thermal camera. Again, be sure to debunk first. Even rodents have a small heat signature.

9. Be sure to bring flashlights with screw-off tops. They’re a good tool for trying to get spirits to interact.

10. Bring along flour to sprinkle over places reported to have active disembodied footsteps. Makes for good potential evidence.

11. Capture doors that shut and open on their own. Another one to watch for debunking. Often times in old houses the floor is tilted and a person’s weight on the floorboards can make doors swing without being near them.

12. Catch a face in a window. That’s when things definitely get creepy. Don’t forget to rule out reflections caused from everyday things both indoors and outdoors.

13. See a full bodied apparition. This is as good as gold to ghost hunters. Have your camera handy so it’s captured on film! Smile

Do you think you’d like to go ghost hunting?

Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter Sky’s contest:

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The Victorian LureThe Victorian Lure

Calum’s Curse Ardetha Vampyre

Book 1

Sky Purington

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

ISBN: 1601549903

ASIN: B00654CY2W

Number of pages: 310

Word Count: 80,000 words

Amazon Barnes & Noble

Book Description:

Is it true love…or is the magnetic pull just another part of the Victorian’s lure?
Dakota Allerton depends on no one but herself, but then she’s never needed a ghost hunter. When her dream home becomes a house of horrors that is holding her hostage, her only hope is a Scotsman who investigates the paranormal.
The supernatural is nothing Leathan Stewart can’t handle. However, trapped in Dakota’s cursed Victorian home, he finds himself falling back in time. Only those who persevere can survive the dark domination.
Fear has a way of drawing two people together…but so does the need to be loved. Dakota and Leathan must fight against unknown enemies, discover the secrets of Calum’s Curse and defeat a vampire bent on finishing the legacy it began.


Sky Purington

Author Bio:

Best-selling author, Sky Purington lives in southern New Hampshire with her son and husband. The written word has been her obsession from the very beginning. Purington writes time-travel paranormal/fantasy romance heavily influenced by history.

From Irish Druids to Scottish Highlanders many of her novels possess strong Celtic elements. More recently, her vampire stories take the reader to medieval England and ancient Italy.

Enjoy strictly paranormal romance? Sky’s latest novels follow three haunted houses in New England and the sexy ghost hunters determined to make sense of them. Make no mistake, in each and every tale told you’ll travel back to another time and revisit the romanticism history holds at its heart.

Sky loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at Sky@SkyPurington.com Interested in keeping up with Sky’s latest news and releases? Visit Sky’s Website, www.skypurington.com to download her FREE App on iTunes and Android.

Website: www.skypurington.com

A Writer’s Mind Blog: www.skypuringtonwrites.blogspot.com

Sky’s Paranormal Blog: http://paranormalromancedeepdarkanddelicious.blogspot.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/skypurington

Facebook: www.facebook.com/skypurington

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1228627.Sky_Purington

Dating Tips for Wizards

I’d like to welcome Michelle Kopra, author of Hexes in Texas, a humorous story about wizards, unicorns, smart-ass cats and skulduggery. Since Michelle’s story is about wizards, I asked her to give us some dating tips. So kick off your shoes, grab a drink from the cabana boy and make yourself comfortable. Over to Michelle!

Dating tips for wizards

This depends on the wizard type

The first is adventurous, a grab life by the wand kind of wizard. This magical fella really doesn’t need any help. His deeds, his wavy hair tousled by the morning breeze and the way he chants in Latin makes the witches sigh into their love potions.

The second is more a studious kind of wizard, like Merlin. This ivory tower kind of guy loves knowledge. He’ll read everything he can from; “How to grow a silver beard in 20 minutes” to “The modern compendium on pickled pepper potions.” This wizard will do fine as long as he stays away from; “Pickup lines for the modern wizard. 10 phrases to turn a witch from icy to spicy!”

Bordering on anti-social the nerdy wizard still lives in his mother’s dungeon. Unlike the ivy tower wizard who likes to read, the nerdy wizard prefers to summon a large screen and channels his magic into the central wizard’s hub. Playing shoot ‘em up games with other nerdy wizard’s means he doesn’t have time to get out, so his complexion is more than a little pasty. The chance of finding face-to-face love is unlikely. However, this playa has a few online witchy girlfriends. Well…one witch…the others are wizards pretending to be witches to score fat loot.

The last is the geeky wizard. He will take the crazy out of the dungeon and into the real world, wearing a gold lame dragon costume. Lunging into a crowd mortals and wizards alike and screaming geekily. “I smite thee with mine wand, 2 points!” Chances of success with a witch aren’t too good. That is unless she attacked him with her potent power spell first.

Which wizard is your ideal type, and what would you do on a first date?


Hexes in TexasHexes In Texas
By Michelle Kopra

Genre: Urban Fantasy

ISBN: 9781476226156

ASIN: B008G0EQ42

Number of pages: 128

Word Count: 40740

Amazon  |  AllRomanceEbooks  |  Smashwords

Book Description:

Fed up with the slushy snow of winter, and the frigid Canadian wizards Julie McNabb wants a transfer to somewhere warm, and where the men are smoking hot!

Instead, she ends up in Bug Tussle. A small wizard farming community in Texas where the unicorns freak her out, and the resident witches watch NASCAR and eat Barbeque.

Despite her goals to get out as fast as she can, Julie makes friends, has fun, and falls for Vance, the hunky animal manager.

Now if only Julie can convince Vance to give up on Mrs. Right, for Mrs. right now!

Teaser Excerpt:

“There has to be something more than this,” I sighed as the broom came dangerously close to the road. Before I turned into witch jam, I used my magic to stop the broom, tilting it up, and slowing its descent until my purple boots skidded against the pavement.

“Like what?” Skippy asked.

“I don’t know, but flying around at night, maintained spells, checking perimeters? How is that living? I want a life that’s exciting. I don’t want to die a thousand years from now, regretting I lived all my life in Hamilton.”

 

Michelle KopraAbout the Author:

I suppose you are dying to know who this Michelle Kopra is; n’est pas?

If you figure it out, please let me know ;)

I have worked in hospitals, in zoo’s, in casinos, and with shoes (hey, look at that, I rhymed).

I am a day dreamer, not much of a day tripper, or day trader for that matter. But I do get lost in my own little world about Fairies, Elves, brass goggles, nifty airships, and steamy romances.

I used to be a closet writer, writhing in agony if anyone came near me when I was trying to put story to paper.

Then I had kids. Two of them, with big brown eyes, and sweet little giggles and sticky fingers that goober up my computer screen, and suddenly I didn’t care how silly my stories seemed to the rest of the world. Well, not as much anyways ;)

I have six stories published on Amazon.com for the moment, with several more in the works. Please feel free to contact me, I can be found on Facebook, twitter, and at my website michellekopra.com. Let me know if you love my stories, or hate them, or if I parked in your spot!

http://www.facebook.com/michelle.kopra

https://twitter.com/#!/MICHELLEKOPRA

http://www.michellekopra.com

A Rock Star Romantic Lead is Born!

The Flower Bowl Spell

I’m thrilled to introduce Olivia Boler and her new release The Flower Bowl Spell. Olivia’s book is a blend of genres and elements and is a fun read. I’ll let her tell you about her book and the inspiration for one of her rock star characters. Over to Olivia.

Thank you so much to Shelley Munro for letting me guest blog today. How cool to reach an international audience from my San Francisco, California home base!

My novel, The Flower Bowl Spell, is about a Chinese American witch named Memphis Zhang, who, after abandoning magick for two years, suddenly finds herself pulled back into that world when a fairy shows up while she’s waiting for a Metro train. She’s also a journalist, writing kind of fluffy articles about music, movies, and entertainment. It just so happens, one of her interview subjects, a rising rock star named Tyson Belmonte, is connected to her past, and she finds herself drawn to him despite the fact she’s in a “normal” relationship…with her former high school French teacher. Admittedly, the love triangle is not the main focus of the novel, but there’s definitely a tension there.

Doug RobbTyson has become a fan favorite, I’ve noticed, so I thought I’d tell readers a little bit about the inspiration for his character. He is Asian American—Filipino, to be precise—and the lead singer of an alternative rock band. As I came up with Ty’s back-story, I thought a lot about guy friends I’d grown up with in San Francisco, many of them Asian (if you didn’t know, San Francisco has a big Asian population—I myself am mixed race, half Chinese and half Caucasian). Many of these guys were cool, smart, athletic, funny, and sexy—just like Tyson. One of my goals for the novel was to spotlight my community without getting into heavy issues (e.g. racial tensions). In general, I find myself creating characters that are like the people around me.

Anyway, one day, my husband was watching TV and I heard this song come on that’d been getting a lot of play on the radio. I glanced up from my book and lo and behold, there was this good-looking Asian guy singing his heart out in a music video. I found out later hat he was Doug Robb of Hoobastank and the song was “The Reason.” I hadn’t seen a lot of Asian lead singers outside of Asia, and to discover Doug was such a gift for Memphis’s story because in that moment I knew that Tyson was a rock star. So, in addition to everyday life influences, I also got a little inspiration from the world of pop music. In a way, “The Reason” is the perfect song for The Flower Bowl Spell’s soundtrack.

What about you, readers? What songs do you imagine hearing when you read or write? How do songs inspire your creativity?


clip_image002THE FLOWER BOWL SPELL

by Olivia Boler

Blurb:

Journalist Memphis Zhang isn’t ashamed of her Wiccan upbringing—in fact, she’s proud to be one of a few Chinese American witches in San Francisco, and maybe the world. Unlike the well-meaning but basically powerless Wiccans in her disbanded coven, Memphis can see fairies, read auras, and cast spells that actually work—even though she concocts them with ingredients like Nutella and antiperspirant. Yet after a friend she tries to protect is brutally killed, Memphis, full of guilt, abandons magick to lead a “normal” life.

The appearance, however, of her dead friend’s attractive rock star brother—as well as a fairy in a subway tunnel—suggest that magick is not done with her. Reluctantly, Memphis finds herself dragged back into the world of urban magick, trying to stop a power-hungry witch from using the dangerous Flower Bowl Spell and killing the people Memphis loves—and maybe even Memphis herself.

Praise for THE FLOWER BOWL SPELL:

"Olivia Boler’s The Flower Bowl Spell is a genre-bending ride with sexy rock stars, Californian witches, children with potentially otherworldly gifts, and the occasional fairy. But it is also a story of identity, of the sometimes warring facets that make and shape a human being. Beautifully written, witty, and brimming with both ordinary and fantastical life, The Flower Bowl Spell will charm readers everywhere." — Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone

Purchase The Flower Bowl Spell

Book Trailer http://youtu.be/tq2bMQNyLeY

clip_image004

Author Bio

Olivia Boler is the author of two novels, YEAR OF THE SMOKE GIRL and THE FLOWER BOWL SPELL. Poet Gary Snyder described SMOKE GIRL as a "dense weave in the cross-cultural multi-racial world of complex, educated hip contemporary coast-to-coast America…It is a fine first novel, rich in paradox and detail."

A freelance writer who received her master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis, Boler has published short stories in the Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA) anthology Cheers to Muses, the literary journal MARY, and The Lyon Review, among others. She lives in San Francisco with her family. To find out about her latest work, visit http://oliviaboler.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/OliviaBolerAuthor

Twitter http://twitter.com/oliviaboler

Rodeo! About Farms and Bull Riders

NOTE: visitors for the HOT JOCK blog hop, please scroll down.

Debra Kayn is visiting today. While she’s discussing farms, bull riders and handy-dandy items with multiple uses, I’ve going to sit back in the winter sun and continue reading her new release, Rodeo Rebel. I left Florentine and Cole at an impasse and need to learn what happens next. Over to Debra!

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen things you can find around the farm or ranch that come in handy for other things.

1. Twine – Typically used to secure hay bales. We use twine to stake plants, hang bird feeders, make gate latches, and tie items on the back of the quad as we’re working around the property. If you have long hair, you can quickly braid and tie when you get caught without a rubberband.

2. Laundry detergent buckets – Used to haul feed and water. Used to organize bolts and hand tools in the barn or garage. Also great to use when washing cars and tractors to hold your soapy water.

3. Vinegar – We also wash our windows with a mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottom. Then scrub the glass dry with wadded up newspaper for a streak-free shine.

4. Dog nail clippers – Work great for clipping off the thorns of a rose bush when you want to gather a bunch for in the house.

5. Horse brushes – Work great as a boot brush to knock off the mud and dirt before coming in the house.

6. Cattle or Hog panels – Arched and staked in the ground make a wonderful archway to grow peas, green beans, or grapes on, and will last forever.

7. Mane & Tail Shampoo and Conditioner – Made for horses, and safe enough for human use. If you suffer from tangles, it’s wonderful.

8. Tractor inner tubes – When inflated it makes a great trampoline for kids and adults in the yard, or if you want to try to curl inside and go for a ride downhill.

9. Rake heads – When the handle breaks on your rake, you can still use the rake head in your country chic décor! Nailed to the wall, they make a great coat rack. You can also hang dog leases, belts, necklaces, and umbrellas from the many prongs.

10. Egg shells – Crush and sprinkle into the ground around plants to help them grow. It’s a great source of calcium, which plants need.

11. Plastic Milk Jugs – If you cut “flaps” around the sides (along the length) and stick them on a fence post beside your garden, the wind makes a howling sound and rattles the plastic…scaring the deer and rabbits away from the garden.

12. Chicken hook – Typically used to catch chicken. They are great for hooking apples off the tree that are too far out of reach.

13. Chicken wire – Have outside deck steps that get slick in the winter? Cover the step with chicken wire and tack the edges underneath the step. It makes a nifty non-skid surface and you can easily remove it during the summer.

Can you think of anything around your house that you use for something else besides the real purpose of the item?

Rodeo Rebel

Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

 

Rodeo RebelBlurb

When widower and land baron Cole Reardon acquired the Turner Grain Corporation, he didn’t know the company sponsored a bull rider. He refuses to support thrill-seekers dumb enough to get on the back of a crazed animal. He’s not willing to risk his fortune and livelihood when he has his daughter’s well-being to consider. Not even when the bull rider is the sexiest woman he’s ever seen.

Bull rider Florentine McDougal plans to turn pro after the season championship, fulfilling her lifelong dream of succeeding in a man’s world. That is, until Cole Reardon shows up and threatens to break his sponsorship contract with her. Now everything she’s worked for is less than eight seconds away from being destroyed.

Cole distracts Florentine with his sexy mouth and unreasonable demands, and he’s not going to compromise his integrity. But she’s not going to let him loose until she has pro status. And neither will come away from this dust-up unscathed.

Multi-published Romance Author, Debra Kayn, lives with her family in the beautiful coastal mountains of Oregon on a hobby farm. During the summer, she enjoys riding motorcycles, gardening, playing tennis, and fishing. During the winter, you’ll find her outside playing in the snow. A cold weather nut, she lives for the days she’s snowbound and fighting with the woodstove to keep the house warm when the power goes out. A huge animal lover, she always has a dog under her desk when she writes and chickens standing at the front door looking for a treat. She’s famous in her family for teaching a 270 lb pig named Harley to jog with her every morning.

Her love of family ties and laughter makes her a natural to write heartwarming contemporary stories to the delight of her readers. As someone who met her husband on a blind date when she was nineteen years old, she’s a believer of love at first sight and happily ever after.

Visit Debra’s website

Follow Debra on Twitter

Like Debra on Facebook

Friend Debra on Facebook

Wedding Do’s and Don’ts with Catherine Bybee

Thursday Thirteen

I have a special guest today – New York Times and USA Today bestselling writer Catherine Bybee. Catherine is celebrating her new release Married by Monday, book two in her Weekday Bride series, and I’m thrilled to have her here to visit. Over to Catherine and her wedding advice…

13 Wedding Do’s and Don’ts

1. If money is tight, invite only people you plan on being friends with on your 10th wedding anniversary.

2. Don’t get married at a county office with bullet proof glass separating you from the person signing the paper.

3. Have who you want standing up with you…not who your family ‘thinks’ are the right people.

4. Don’t compromise. It’s your day.

5. Don’t get drunk.

6. Brides: Wear a button up shirt when getting your hair and makeup done, easy to get out of before getting into your dress.

7. Take a moment throughout your wedding day to run down everything that has happened…Helps you remember everything long after the day is only a picture.

8. Don’t have a full mass if you’re 8 months pregnant…people laugh at that shit.

9. Pick a wedding day away from other holidays…no need to group in all the presents for the rest of your life!

10. Grooms: Send flowers to your bride the morning of your wedding. Let her know she has made you the luckiest man in the world.

11. Don’t put your wedding on a credit card.

12. Put your maid of honor or best man to work. Have them watch out for ‘Great Aunt Drinks A lot’, or the clock so you don’t miss your flight. They can party after all the work is done.

13. Take a look at #4 – Use what I have here only if it works for you and throw away the rest.

Oh…one more thing…make sure you’re truly in love with the one you’re saying ‘I Do’ to… Unless he offered you millions of dollars for a one year contract…then WTF, do what you want!

Do you have any wedding advice to add?

clip_image002Carter Billings:

Sandy blond hair and Hollywood good looks, Carter Billings could have any woman he wants. However, when he makes his bid for the Governor’s seat in the state of California, he needs to settle down and become a family man. Eliza, the woman he secretly adores, embodies the perfect amount of spice and passion to suit his marital needs, but she’s not interested in becoming Mrs. Billings. She can’t even stand to be in the same room with him.

Eliza Havens:

It’s much easier to drive Carter away than to give into desire. Matching couples is how she earns a living, but getting married isn’t an option. The secrets she carries are too dangerous to entangle anyone else. When her hidden identity and past threaten her future, she’s left with little choice. Carter is quick to offer solutions to both their problems, but saying yes could mean endangering the man she’s growing to love.

Author of New York Times Bestseller, Wife by Wednesday presents, Book Two in the Weekday Bride Series

Purchase Married by Monday – Barnes & Noble / Amazon / Smashwords

New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Catherine Bybee has been addicted to romance since her teens. After spending a decade of her life working as an RN in urban emergency rooms, Catherine is now dedicated to writing happily-ever-afters for the world to love. Catherine is married and raising two sons in Southern California.

She loves hearing from her readers so feel free to visit her at:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter

Fan-Fiction with Melissa Lopez

My special guest today is Melissa Lopez who is talking about a topic I find fascinating, that of fan fiction. Welcome, Melissa!

Hi, Shelley, everyone. Thanks for having me.

My road to publication actually started off as a hobby. Although during my college days I wrote children’s stories, it wasn’t until 2002, when I bought Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Fantasy Lover, that the writing bug got me. I was captivated by the Dark-Hunter world Sherri had created. So one night I visited Sherri’s website. Immediately I was curious about her chat-room and, once inside, two very special people (Mo and Mama Lo) drew me into Dark-Hunter role-play and writing fan-fiction.

Fan-fiction is stories about characters, people, settings, and worlds that are written by super-fans of the original work/shows, etc, rather than by the original creator. These fans can’t get enough of their fixes and write about them.

The practice of writing fan fiction has been popular since the mid-sixties, when sci-fi fans couldn’t get enough of their favorites. The only difference today is, with modern technology and the Internet, there are now fan-fic hubs where you can share your stories. My youngest daughter has written both Justin Beiber and Twilight fan-fiction.

Some authors/creators support—or at least tolerate—the hobby, others vehemently oppose it. I totally understand the reasoning behind their dislike of fan-fic, monetary issues and feelings of personal violation are probably involved, along with a sentiment that can be translated to, “Come on, seriously? Not smart enough to write your own stuff?”

I wrote official Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark-Hunter fan-fic until Sherri’s critique partners (Tasha and Mama Lo) encouraged me to pursue my own original stories and worlds. I wrote two years of fan-fiction. It was a wonderful learning experience. I learned a great deal about characterization. Writing fan-fic was practice for me. It was that novel shoved under my bed that every author is said to have.

Personally, I’d be honored if people read and loved my characters and stories enough to write about them. I’d be truly flattered if I were ever popular enough for people to play in my worlds with any frequency. Conversation and word-of-mouth sells books. As long as the original authors are the ones making money and earning a living from their worlds…it’s cool.

To find out more about my very own worlds please visit my website.

Melissa Lopez

www.melissa-lopez.com

Journeys of Love Every Woman Needs To Take

QUESTION FROM SHELLEY: Do you read or write fan-fiction?

The Lure of Romantic Suspense

AuthorPic_RebeccaSmithMy guest today is Rebecca Lee Smith. Rebecca lives with her husband in the beautiful, misty mountains of East Tennessee, where the people are charming, soulful, and just a little bit crazy. She’s been everything from a tax collector to a stay-at-home-mom to a house painter to a professional actress and director. Her two grown sons live nearby, still have the power to make her laugh until she cries, and will always be the best things she’s given back to the world. It took her a lot of years to realize that writing was her true passion. When she’s not churning out sensual romantic mysteries with snappy dialogue and happy endings, she loves to travel the world, go to the Outer Banks for her ocean fix, watch old movies, hang out at the local pub, and make her day complete by correctly answering the Final Jeopardy! Question.

I asked Rebecca to tell us what attracts her to writing Romantic Suspense and what challenges she faces while writing one. Over to Rebecca…

My mother named me after the book, Rebecca—she was looking for a three syllable first name to go with my one syllable last name (Lee)—so maybe that has something to do with my lifelong attraction to mysteries and romantic suspense. If she’d named me Chatterley, my writing might have gone in a decidedly different direction.

I have always loved mysteries, probably because I’m a puzzle person, but I’d never read any adult romantic suspense until high school. I know this will date me, but I was looking at the titles on a friend’s bookshelf when she pulled out a copy of Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt and said, “You would like this.” She was right, and from that moment on, I devoured every romantic suspense I could get my hands on: Gothics by Phyllis Whitney and Daphne du Maurier; contemporaries by Mary Stewart and Emily Loring; classics like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. I also love humorous contemporaries, and thought that’s what I would write someday (my son thinks I’m more funny than mysterious), but when I started writing my first book, my past reading life came back to haunt me, and the plot just naturally evolved into a mystery.

I’ve often wondered why a dead body insists on showing up in the manuscript I’m writing. I can’t seem to get away from it. Maybe I find it easier to propel the plot against a mystery/suspense backdrop and keep the conflict alive between the hero and heroine. At some point, if they work together to solve a murder, they must learn to trust each other. This can create all kinds of issues for them to address before getting their Happily Ever After. And no matter what, the H & H have to get their HEA. In my books, anyway.

In A Dance to Die For, my heroine, Annabel, is an off-Broadway dancer who suffers from a condition known as dancer’s hip. She injures herself and destroys her career, trying to save her friend Quinn from falling off a platform. Determined to find out the truth about Quinn’s death, she follows a clue to a North Carolina inn where she falls in love with Trent, Quinn’s ex-fiancée. Depending on her level of activity, Annabel is in some form of pain throughout the book, and one of the biggest challenges I faced was depicting her as a strong, resourceful person who never thinks of herself as a victim, and handles her own challenges and setbacks with humor and spirit. How could the hero not fall in love with her? I wish I was more like her.

CONTEST:

Rebecca is giving away a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during her tour. To increase your chances of winning, check out the rest of Rebecca’s tour here.

And now a question from Rebecca: When you are reading (or writing) about a character who has admirable qualities you wished you possessed, does it inspire you to incorporate those qualities into your own life? Don’t laugh, watching Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote taught me to nod, smile, and keep my mouth shut.


Cover_ADancetoDieFor

BLURB:

Annabel Maitland believes in destiny and following her heart—Trent Sheffield realizes his destiny is to believe in her.

Annabel destroyed her Broadway dancing career trying to save her friend Quinn’s life. Convinced Quinn’s death was no accident, Annabel follows a clue to a North Carolina mountain inn and discovers that everyone who knew Quinn—the real Quinn—wanted her out of their lives, including the sexy innkeeper whose laid-back charm and megawatt grin take Annabel’s breath away. The physical attraction between them is undeniable, the cerebral attraction irresistible. But trusting her heart means ignoring evidence that plants him firmly on the list of suspects.

Determined to keep his family’s financially strapped inn afloat, the last person Trent needs working for him is a stubborn, impossibly long-legged dancer whose sharp wit and silver eyes keep him scrambling to stay on his toes. He’s falling hard, and he wants to trust her, but Annabel’s connection to his ex-fiancée makes him question her motives at every turn. When a string of mysterious accidents threaten Annabel’s life, they must unearth Quinn’s killer before it’s too late. But what if Annabel was the target all along?

Purchase A Dance to Die For

Visit Rebecca’s website

Writing a Disfigured Hero with Rebecca Royce

My guest today is Rebecca Royce. She’s been on tour with her book Love Beyond Sight, and this is her last stop. Since her hero is a wounded one, I asked her to tell us about writing a disfigured character. Comment on this post, and enter a draw to win a $50 Amazon Gift certificate. Welcome, Rebecca.

I didn’t start writing Samuel in Love Beyond Sight. I started writing him in Love Beyond Sanity, in the book that where I first introduced Eden. She needs help and a voice that she doesn’t recognize fills her mind to save her.

But as I write things as they come to me, I knew the voice was Eden’s soul mate but even I wasn’t entirely certain whom he was. So I waited until he spoke to my muse and when he came it was with so much sadness that I wanted to write his story immediately so I could give him a touch of happiness in the midst of his crazy existence.

Samuel was raised human, as all but four of the Outsiders were. His understanding of his powers came early as an Outsider ancestor who explained to him in a vision who he was and what he could do contacted him. But, for the most part, he lived a very happy, somewhat normal existence.

Until the day Sebastian caught up with him. For those of you who have perhaps not read the first three books, Sebastian is a demon whose purpose for being on Earth is to destroy the Outsiders and enslave humanity.

It turns out that Sebastian and Samuel have encountered each other before. As a teenager, before he’d come into all of his powers, Sebastian locked Samuel in a closet and set him on fire. He nearly died.

But—its not so easy to kill an Outsider and the fact that he didn’t die meant that his body tried to recover. The fire, laced with magic, made it impossible for him to entirely heal. He was left forever scarred. Even his own family couldn’t look at him without wincing. Eventually, he went out on his own.

The good news? Samuel can change his face. Its one of his powers. He can become any one he can touch. For a small amount of time. Its not a permanent fix but it allows him to get through life.

He has no intention of letting Eden ever see his real face. Ever. But that happens and its wonderful…for him. For her, however, it doesn’t work. She’s made to love Samuel…not the fake versions of him that she keeps seeing. They can be together but she can’t love him.

For me, writing Samuel was challenging because he’s strong, tough, and smart. He comes up with ideas and is pivotal in what happens with the story arc of the series. Yet…he has this weakness he cannot get past and it had to be done in such a way that the reader could feel for him without feeling pity for him. I think, ultimately, that Samuel turned out exactly as he should have. I fell in love with him when I wrote him and I hope the reader does too.

CONTEST: So let me pose you a question: Do you need your hero to be physically perfect? Is that important to you when you’re reading a story? (Everyone who answers this question will go into a draw to win $50 Amazon.com GC)


Cover_LoveBeyondSight

Blurb: In Love Beyond Sanity, Eden Roan awoke in a mental hospital, unsure of how she got there. Nearly discovered by a demon, she is rescued by a voice in her mind who saves her life by transforming her figure into something the demon doesn’t want to look at.  The voice tells her she is his but that they will never, ever meet.  As time progresses, Eden becomes more and more convinced that the voice is just her imagination playing tricks on her.  It can’t possibly be her destined soul mate.

Or can it?

Samuel Quinn was horribly disfigured by the demon when he was a child. He can’t stand looking at himself and does not want Eden to see him. Luckily, his powers allow him to hide himself using other people’s features as his own.  But when Eden needs him, Samuel will have to step forward to save her even if he can never let her see the real him.

Can there be love without sight? Or will the demon finally have them all just where he wants them?

AUTHOR Bio:

As a teenager, Rebecca Royce would hide in her room to read her favorite romance novels when she was supposed to be doing her homework. She hopes, these days, that her parents think it was well worth it.

Rebecca is the mother of three adorable boys and is fortunate to be married to her best friend. They live in northern New Jersey and try not to freeze too badly during the winter months.

She’s in love with science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal and tries to use all of these elements in her writing. She’s been told she’s a little bloodthirsty so she hopes that when you read her work you’ll enjoy the action packed ride that always ends in romance. Rebecca loves to write series because she loves to see characters develop over time and it always makes her happy to see her favorite characters make guest appearances in other books.

In Rebecca Royce’s world anything is possible, anything can happen, and you should suspect that it will.

www.rebeccaroyce.com