Friday, May 27, 2011

French Quarter Nocturne - A Dark Urban Fantasy

What do a haunted bar, a century old hero hoping for redemption, and the struggle between darkness and light  have in common? They're all ingredients in a devilishly addicting urban fantasy by Roland Yeomans. 

His novel, French Quarter Nocturne, is set in post-Katrina New Orleans and I've got to say, I love these stories. I've been a fan of his since reading excerpts a couple of years ago. Roland delivers modern day myths and epic battles that hook you and don't let go.

The hero, a man called Sam McCord, battles his own inner demons even as he protects the citizens from the encroaching danger that lurks the devastated city's streets. Struggling against evil both supernatural and not, Sam's own turmoil pushes the action to greater depths.

Written in Roland's darkly lyrical prose, French Quarter Nocturne is well worth reading. Though like Koontz or better keep the light on if you read at night. Spellbinding and spooky, the characters that inhabit his dangerous and chaotic world are richly layered.

The author himself is as intriguing as his tales. From surviving alone on the ravaged streets after Katrina, to his life at University and in Detroit, Roland writes what his heart knows...and he's lived plenty.

With Creole Knights available now and his current YA projects featuring the indomitable Victor Standish, Roland is a busy man. You can pick up any of his seven, yes seven, novels on Amazon. While you're there, if you leave a review, you'll be entered in a fabulous contest to win signed copies of books from Koontz, King, and more.

You can find out more about Roland and his novels at Writing in the Crosshairs.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Power of Tension Blogfest - Ruby and Tom

So Cally Jackson and Rachel Morgan decided to have The Power of Tension blogfest with a great idea behind it. Tension. Romantic, jealousy, rivals in families...whatever.  I thought this would be fun so I entered an excerpt from Ruby Dawn, a novel releasing later this year. 

Ben is a nice guy, a stable guy, that Ruby just accepted a date with. Tom is Ruby's love from her teen years. He disappeared ten years ago and now is back. On the right side of the law this time, he's at the center of a DEA sting involving her medical clinic that has just been vandalized...

Ruby Dawn

“I’ll see you tonight, then?” Ben asked in a needlessly loud voice.
“Yes, Ben. Pick me up here at eight, okay?”
He nodded and left. I watched him leave then turned and frowned at Tom.
He flashed me a look of complete enjoyment. “Let me guess, coffee?”
I rolled my eyes and pushed Tom down the back hall toward the rear door.
“Don’t you need to be somewhere dangerous?” I thought about his job and my heart wrenched with worry. “What about your cover, Tom? You’re not even supposed to be here, are you?”
“That can’t be concern I hear.” Tom turned and stopped himself with his arms across the doorway. He smiled down at me and my face flushed. He put his forehead against mine. “You’re not staying here alone, are you?” He whispered, breath brushing my eyelids.
Tom never liked any space between us.
I stepped back, my hands going to my hips. “What makes you think I’m staying here?”
Tom cocked his head to the side and folded his arms. He already knew.
“How…?” I asked.
“It’s my job to know about people, Ruby. I can’t believe you gave up your apartment to keep this place open.”
I took another step away from him and looked back down the hall toward the ruined office. Anger flaring at the destruction, I shook my head. “You don’t know what I went through to get this clinic running. I can’t just walk away.”
Pain flashed behind his eyes, “You’re right, I don’t.”
I regretted my words immediately. “I wasn’t trying to get a dig in, Tom. I didn’t mean—”
“Shhh,” Tom whispered. He took my hand in his and kissed my palm sending a ripple through me. “Its okay, I know what you meant, Ruby. And you’re right about what you said the other night too,” he breathed and leaned closer.
Barely able to think, I stood frozen by his nearness. “What I said?”
He smiled, so close now that I could feel his lips move. “You said that I don’t know you anymore. That I need to get to know you all over again.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s not what I said,” I breathed.

I hope you hop on over to the other entrants here and have some fun with reading their excerpts!  Until next time...Go Write!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lost - Romantic Friday Writers

Link to Romantic Friday Writers
If you haven't heard of the Romantic Friday Writers then you're in for a treat. Every Friday, we post on a common theme. You can access the other member's posts either by clicking the picture of the rose above or the badge on my sidebar.  Its easy to join if you'd like to participate too!

This week's theme is 'Lost' and I'm so excited to post an excerpt  of my newest work, the Gothic Romance, Whispers on Shadow Bay.

We meet Rosetta who is lost in every possible way, both figuratively and emotionally. Running from a tragic crumbling of her life in sunny California, she finds herself in the dark forests. A little known island off the coast of Washington State, Noble Island is a place where dangerous mysteries, dark secrets, and deep romance reside.

Chapter One
I stared out the windshield at the gnarled branches scratching through the thick fog. The black iron gate before me rose in jagged spires against the dusky sky, forbidding and stark in the sea of lush green foliage. I sank deeper into the seat of the leased sedan and chewed on a fingernail. This was my last chance to change my mind. I could still turn around, leave this dark and soggy forest, and fly back to the beaches of California. I told myself this even though I knew it wasn’t possible. My thumb went to my finger, to twirl the engagement ring that was no longer there and I stopped myself with a ragged breath.
Don’t let me fall apart again, Lord. Help me have faith that despite all that’s happened, You’re there for me.
“Keep it together, Rose.” I whispered. My hand went to the polished mahogany box on the passenger seat, the smooth wood comforting under my palm. “This can be a good thing if you let it.”
I’d flown the length of the pacific shore to this little known island off the coast of Washington as if distance from my home would lessen the heaviness in my heart. Taking a steadying breath, I rolled forward, gravel crunching underneath the tires, and drove up to the metal intercom box standing off the path. Rolling down my window, a cold mist blew in my face and I gasped.
Numbered buttons, yellowed and cracked with age, butted up against a round speaker. A tingle of worry raced through me. Am I supposed to know some sort of code? Reaching into my purse, I pulled out the folded acceptance letter. I scanned it, re-read the conditions of my employment, and sighed. Nothing. I glanced back at the keypad and bit my lip, thinking. Grey mist swirled around the metal pole of the speaker, a slow eddy of fog that sent me shivering in the lightweight coat.
“Don’t work,” a voice crackled behind me and I yelped.
A man, white-haired and crouched with age leaned on a shovel near the rear fender. His long brown coat, tweed hat, and black galoshes made him look like he belonged on the English moors.
“W-What?” I put my hand over my racing heart.
“Been broke for years,” he said in a thick Irish brogue and raised a shaking finger to the speaker.
Forcing a smile, I unbuckled and pulled myself from the warm car to face him.
“My name’s Rosetta Ryan. I’m here for the care-giver’s position. Mrs. Tuttle hired me.” I held out a hand. The stranger glanced at it and then back at my face without moving. Clearing my throat, I looked down at the acceptance letter in my other hand wondering if he really was scowling or just really wrinkly.
“Name’s O’Shay,” The old man said. Raising a bushy white brow, he shook his head. “And you don’t look like a Carl to me.”

Well that's it for my excerpt.  I hope to share more later. 

I encourage you to hop on over to the Romantic Friday Writers and take a peek at the pieces of flash fiction, excerpts, poems and other offerings. 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!  
Until next time...Go Write!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Need Your Questions!

Hello Blogger Buddies! I've got a favor to ask....

My publisher is considering doing a podcast sort of deal where authors answer questions from readers, etc. I was hoping that some of you who have read parts of Purple Knot in blogfests or have read the first chapter sample, here, might pose some questions for me to answer.

I'm pretty sure they can be about anything, not necessarily my upcoming release, but whatever you might be curious about.


If something strikes you, please leave it in the comments or email me directly.

I really hope you guys can help me with this.  Looking forward to hearing from you guys!

Until next time...Go Write!
Photgraph by Derrikkwa.  Photograph by Dr. Bacchus.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Paradox - Preview and Contest!

This morning while I was lying in bed in the early pre-dawn I heard a bird singing out a beautiful melody. Normally, this would make my heart happy, but then I'd just turn over and try to catch a few more moments of rest. But not today. Today was extra special. Why? Because crazy as this may sound, this little birdie was lifting it's sweet praises in the midst of a thunderstorm. 

Amazing! God used two rather "ordinary" things to create and extraordinary experience for me—God showed me something awesome and real—a perfect picture of peace. Thunderclouds rolled in, lighting flashed across the dark gray sky, and rain teamed down the windowpane yet this bird was secure. In fact, it was more than secure, it was full of joy, willing and wanting to sing.

This sends Goosebumps up my spine as I think about it. It's a paradox and truly a God thing. Especially since this word, paradox, has been near and dear to my heart. In fact, I kid you not; this is the very title of the book that I wanted to share with you today. 

Yet, perhaps paradox is not a word you're familiar with, so let me explain. Paradox is flowers on snow, joy in the midst of trials, compassion for others as your own heart breaks. It's what many of us just celebrated, Easter-- Jesus laying down his life for me, someone sinful and undeserving. It's victory and life born out of death and suffering.

Through this experience, God reminded me that He delights in using those ordinary things to accomplish His marvelous purposes. And that's super news! If He can use Fishermen, tax collectors, birds, and thunderstorms, I know He can use me—a very average, ordinary person to do extraordinary things for Him. 

Perhaps you're feeling "ordinary" today. Take heart, it's through that very thing that God can show His creativity, His power, and even His love just like He did for me in the midst of this early mornings storm.


Win a gift box filled with goodies! (A paperback copy of Teacher's Plans, a gift certificate, a mug filled with a package of Green Mountain Coffee, pen and a Tee-shirt.)

How? Help me spread the word about Paradox by sharing the link to this post on your FB, Twitter, blog, etc. then e-mail where you posted it to with "Blog Blitz" in the subject line. A winner will be drawn 5/26/11.

JoAnn is available for speaking engagements to book clubs, reader groups, library groups, women's ministries events, school events, and church retreats.

Find her here:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Journey's End - Romance Novella

Journey's End, a romance novella, by Dora Hiers is a great read. It has layered characters, a moving storyline, and beautiful setting. Just over 200 pages, its the perfect treat for a day at the beach.

Journey's End~

Devastated after the brutal murder of her husband, Chelsea Hammond vows never to love another lawman. Intent on rebuilding her shattered life, she turns her focus to helping troubled teens. But when an angry father bent on retaliation, threatens her, Chelsea must turn to the one man she never thought to trust: Deputy U.S. Marshal Trey Colten.

Trey wants only to protect Chelsea, but she blames him for her husband’s death.Trey can relate. He blames himself, also. As danger lurks, Trey begs Chelsea to heed his warnings. He let down one Hammond. He won’t let down another—especially one who now holds his heart.

When Chelsea is snatched from her home, can she put aside her fear, and trust Trey with her life? Can she forgive him for destroying her past and let him help to rebuild her future?

Where one journey ends, another begins…

Read and Excerpt ~

“I suppose I should have been a vet.” Chelsea stroked the dog’s fur from his head all the way down his back, careful not to touch his wounded leg.
“Maybe. But I don’t think you’ve wasted your energy or your talents as a guidance counselor. Teenagers can’t seem to resist you, either.”
That produced a full-fledged smile in his direction. Way to go, Colten!
“Remember that natural charm I warned you about?”
He threw back his head and laughed. “Yes. And after a few days in your presence, I’m inclined to agree with you.”
He pulled into the veterinarian’s parking lot and glanced her way, surprised to see her grinning. “What?”
“Saved by the vet.”
Her words hit him like a piano dropping ten stories. She was flirting with him.
He took his time walking around to her side of the truck. He opened the door and leaned in, planting his hand on the seat next to her shapely legs. His face hovered inches from hers while he savored the way her wavy hair cascaded down her shoulders, the lips that curved in that always graceful way, and the eyes that spoke everything his heart wanted to hear.
Her eyes closed, and her lips parted slightly.
Trey snapped out of it. He couldn’t do this.  He was on the job. She didn’t know the secrets he knew, the truth about her husband. 
Her eyes startled open. As much as he wanted to partake and enjoy, he couldn’t. He touched a silky curl framing her face and ran it through his fingers. “You need to know that right now I’m working. But there will come a time, soon, when I’m not.”

Dora loves to hear from readers. You can find her at her website or blog.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hooked - How To Grab Readers at Page One

One of the most common reasons a newbie writer fails to get past the proposal stage with an agent is the failure to ‘hook’ their interest in the first chapter. This is quite a common problem in fiction writing. There is either not enough information to garner interest or there is too much.

Les Edgerton, an award winning author, has written a book designed specifically to deal with the beginning of your manuscript, the critical stage where you either hook your reader or lose their interest. 

Hooked takes you from “Scene Basics 101” to “Balancing Set Up and Back Story” in your opening. He gives examples of brilliant beginnings and then breaks them down so you can better understand the structural reasons and underpinnings of great writing.

Les’ encouraging teaching style makes his meaty lessons both informative and engaging. His chapter on “Red Flag Openers to Avoid” highlights common cliché scenes that can hurt your submission from the first line. 

One of the most helpful chapters was the one that explained “Opening Scene Length and the Use of Transitions” in a way that writers of any experience level can learn from.

His closing chapter says it all with quotes from agents and editors explaining their opening chapter pet peeves and instant turn-offs. If you’re serious about getting published, Hooked is one book you should have on your shelf.

Article originally posted on Blog

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Despite a Skinny Neck...

Looks like beautiful Mr. Law won out for best brooding look. Kinda surprised cause all of the comments were leaning toward Bettany...however, numbers don't lie and Law kicked hiney in the actual poll. He garnered 73% of the votes.

My critique partner, Erin, over at Hold on to Your Bloomers! Said he had a 'skinny neck' and that got me looking at all of his photos...he totally wears a scarf, upturned collars, and other neck obscuring she might be on to something.

Still, I'm sticking with what the ladies said and using his physical archetype as inspiration for the brooding anti-hero in my WIP. Its a Gothic romance and I'm having a blast writing it...

In other news...I'm going to be on a few Blog Talk Radio shows in a month. My debut novel, Purple Knot, releases on June 3rd...Oh my that right?  
Okay...deep breath...I'm alright. 

I'm going to be out and about.  I've set up a Purple Knot Blog Tour page and would love for you all to take a look. I've set up a list of giveaways that I hope you all attend.

I'm also taking part in The Romance Reviews Sizzling Summer Reads Event in June. For all of you romance fans out there, there will be tons of authors doing chats, having contests, and giving away books! What better way to kick off summer than to win some books for great beach reading?

Have a fantabulous weekend. Now...Go Write!

Photograph by Wakefield David.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Eat Your Peas - A BookSneeze Review

Cheryl Karpen's Eat Your Peas is a sweet gift book filled with encouraging words and beautiful drawings. First inspired by a young woman who needed to hear that she was loved, Cheryl first wrote the book for teens before realizing that we are never too old to need to hear uplifting words.

Called a 3-minute forever book, it’s perfect as a gift for a special occasion. Each page offers encouragement through scripture and affirmation. The petite green book is packed to the brim with the promises of God. Like a doting mother dispensing sage and comforting advice, Eat Your Peas is a great way to tell someone they have a special place in your heart.

Perfect as a Mother’s Day gift, tucked in a daughter’s college bound luggage, or given at an event, Eat Your Peas would make a wonderful coffee table addition. With thick and textured pages and whimsical drawings, it’s something sentimental that is made to last

The Eat Your Peas collection has a variety of titles. With an edition made especially for Mom, one for daughters, and summer will bring more titles to the series. If you’re looking for a present that keeps on giving, this is the perfect book. Brimming with ‘nutrients for the heart,’ this book is a sweet idea for a friend.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Robot Raquel and the Masters of the Blogosphere!

Robot Raquel
As writers, we can't click on a blog or scroll through Tweets without hearing about online presence, digital eBooks, and technical chores that we need to address. It can get overwhelming.

Now, I'm pretty comfortable with technology. The picture above is me Skyping with my brother. He sets me on this cart and he and I have "dinner" once in a while because he lives two states away and I miss him terribly.

I'm not a closet hacker. I didn't take web graphics classes or HTML programming courses. But there is an aspect to the writing business that calls for a measure of technical savvy.

So I wanted to put together some links that are helpful to writers. Places that show you how to make your blog better, what the heck the hashtags (#) are on Twitter, how to improve your Facebook author page.
  • Tony Eldridge explains how to link your book cover to your shopping cart.
  • Louise Wise did an amazing post on Building an Amazon Author Page.
  • Book Buzzr recently had an article on how to rise to the top on Kindle.
  • The Savvy Bookmarketer shows you how to post your book on the publications section of LinkedIn.
  • Alexandra Samuel wrote 8 Ways Writers Can Make the Most of Online Video.
These are just a few of the helpful blogs out there for writers figuring out the new way authors interact with readers.  From Virtual Book Launches to Blog Tours with chats...things are changing on the publishing landscape.

Don't forget to take a look at Writer's Digest's, There Are No Rules blog by Jen Friedman. A round up of the best in writing craft, social media, industry news and other posts, her weekly "Best Tweets For Writers" is indispensable. 

Until next time...Go Write!
Photograph by Carlos C. Franco.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Defending Glory by Anne K. Albert

Today I'm featuring romantic suspense author Anne K. Albert's new release, Defending Glory. Available now. Take a peek... 

DEFENDING GLORY: Suffering from survivor's guilt and unable to resume his career with the FBI, Mac McKeown moves to northern Minnesota to start over as a general contractor and forget that fateful day that changed everything. When he discovers the body of the man who ended his career on Glory Palmer's property, along with a warning for her to leave while she still can, Mac realizes his past has come back to haunt him and an innocent woman's life is in danger. He vows to keep her safe during construction of the retreat, but can he protect his heart as well?  


“Glory?” Mrs. Cole, the B&B owner, exited the back door.
“I’m in the gazebo.”
The older woman sauntered across the lawn, juggling two ceramic mugs.
“Chamomile tea,” she said as she offered one to Glory. “Steeped for five minutes. I thought you could use a cup. Something to settle your nerves.”
“Thank you.” Glory inhaled the delicate aroma before taking a sip. “I take it you heard about the murder at Hanover Point?”
Mrs. Cole sat in the chair opposite the chaise. “I did. It’s shocking. I’m glad the pastor was with you. And that you’re safe and sound.”
“Me too.”
“I hope you were spared from seeing the body.”
“I wasn’t. It was awful.” She relayed a few details, sparing the older woman most of the gruesome facts. Still, Mrs. Cole’s eyes bugged out of her head.
“Please tell me this horrid event hasn’t changed your mind about moving here. Or building the retreat.”
The threatening words printed on the back of Manny Singh’s neck zipped across the front of Glory’s brain. Goosebumps formed on her arms and she had the strangest feeling she was being watched. Her fingers tightened around the mug. She concentrated on its warmth and willed away her fears.
“No,” she said at last. “I’m here to stay.”
A snapping sound, like someone stepping on a twig behind the cedar hedge, made her jump. She turned her head, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Another twig snapped just beyond the B&B’s backyard.
“Are you all right, dear?” Mrs. Cole asked.
Glory did her best to shake off the eerie feeling. Surely, if someone was spying on them, Mrs. Cole would sense it too. She smiled at her hostess, and stood up. “I’m fine. But it’s getting chilly. Do you mind if we go inside?”

What an great excerpt. Its sounds like a whirlwind read. If you'd like to know more, you can get in touch with Anne at her links below.

Bio: Anne K. Albert has taught high school art, sold display advertising for a small town weekly newspaper, and worked for a national brand water company, but now writes full time.

A member of the Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and married to her high school sweetheart for more than a quarter of a century, it's a given she'd write mystery and romantic suspense.

When not in her home office, she enjoys traveling, visiting friends and family, knitting, crocheting, and of course, reading.

Links: Buy link for Defending Glory:

Visit Anne's website:
or her blogs:,