Monday, December 31, 2012

Rolling Out the Red Carpet for 2013

It is so hard to imagine that 2012 is about to be tucked away and the red carpet is ready to rolled out for 2013.
Our New Year's Eve is very laid back and roll with the flow. I will be spending most of the day working on contests for my other job (Contest Coordinator at Coffee Time Romance) since tomorrow is the first of the year. The end of each month is busy, but it seems as if December is even more so. Bowl games are playing in the background as the hubby gets his dose of football. The dogs are in various locations snoring away.
Tonight, we'll curl up and watch the ball drop, maybe toss back a couple of Doc McGillicuddy's to celebrate the New Year.

We are such party animals! LOL We've never been ones to celebrate at fancy parties. For us, it seems as if we should be home with our canine kids, cuddled up together, simply in a space where all is least, for us it is.

I wanted to pause from the chaos that is about to begin to wish you all a very Happy New Year! 
Tomorrow, the lovely Virginia Nelson will be here with yet another new release! (She's such a busy, busy lady! When I grow up, I want to be just like her :P)

Be safe! Do not drink and drive! I will see you next year! 

Friday, December 28, 2012

My Baby Boy is 4 Today...

As most of you are aware, I'm a mama to 5 canine kids. We have 4 girls and a boy. That's the way it has always been.
We lost our first boy at the age of 8. He was a Rottie by the name of Ozzy. He was having mini-strokes and we lost him 2 weeks after his 8th birthday.
It destroyed me and my husband. I vowed to never have another dog again. Our girls are 17, 14, 14, and 12 as I write this so I knew even back then, that there would come a time when I'd lose them all.
Dogs have a way of latching onto your heart and never letting go. When they leave their earthly bodies for the spiritual realm, it is always too early. So with hurt in my heart, I said never again.
Nine months later, enters this little face:

This is Diesel, the boy I vowed to never have. 

When I finally let go of my hurt over losing Ozzy (who was all Mama's boy), I began to look at a breed who would fit into our house with ease. *Laughs* 
I have 4 girls who are very dominant. Don't ask how that happened because I honestly don't know. But I knew I needed a boy who would roll with the punches like Ozzy had. Did I expect another Oz? Never in a million years.
I knew an English Mastiff would be the best fit and I looked everywhere for one. About 45 minutes from where we were living, someone had puppies. We went to look and fell head over heels for this precious face.
And Diesel was the furthest from the traditional Mastiff characteristics as possible. He was seldom still. He would be lying on the floor being such a good boy, then holy terror would reign down on us and he tore through the house. 
One lady told me that a Mastiff is very much like an infant, but I wasn't expecting an actual infant. I used to pick him up and carry him to his crate every night, just like a child. (I can't even imagine doing that now. He's easily 175 lbs. at this moment.) In order to get him to sleep, I would sing to him. Plus he had to have his crate right beside our bed where I could stick my hand in for him to sniff. (Until 4 months ago, his crate stayed by our bed.)

We've done a lot of learning as he's grown and we're still head over heels in love with him and his goofy grin.
And here he is now. All 175 lbs of wiggling, silly, laugh-inducing I just need to find him a girlfriend because, dammit, I want a Diesel baby...or 5 :D


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I Count You Among My Blessings...

Our breakfast was delicious. The presents are all unwrapped. Dinner is digesting and all is quiet at our house. It was actually one of the best holidays we've had in a long time.

The canine kids received plenty of toys. 

Diesel with all of the loot
The hubby got a new football jersey and a whole bunch of DVDs. Me? I got books! There was a new Nora Roberts under the tree along with the Shelly Laurenston Pack series. I also had some wonderful jewelry and a few chick flicks. Yes, I am blessed.

I have been very blessed for the majority of my life. I've always had people who love me and support me. 

But you are the blessings  I never expected. You have all blessed my life in ways  you will never truly understand and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Bright blessings from my home to yours!

Monday, December 24, 2012

It's Heeeeeeeere!!

Late last night, I got an e-mail. I danced a little. I cried a little. I smiled...A LOT!! 
You see, the e-mail was from my wonderful editor. She was letting me know that Natural Born Enemies is now available. She was able to get it up on Leap of Faith's site and Amazon before she left on vacation.
You are able to get any format at Leap of Faith so even if you have a Nook, you can still get a copy.
She will get it up on Barnes and Noble plus Coffee Time Romance when she gets back from her holiday.
But I wanted to let you know that you are able to get Natural Born Enemies for your holiday reading.

I'm sending out my newsletter today complete with recipe for homemade Trenary toast (a Yooper must-have). Be sure to sign up for my newsletter on my website.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Next Big Thing

I was tagged by my friend and new brand-new author, Heather Geoffries, to be part of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. Here is my post for The Next Big Thing, Natural Born Enemies!!


1). What is the working title of your book?- Natural Born Enemies

2) Where did the idea for this book come from?- This entire series started with a dream. From this dream came Keeper of the Golden Dragon's Heart. When I finished Keeper, it seemed as if there were more to be written. This is where Natural Born Enemies comes in. 

3) What genre category does your book fall into?-Urban fantasy/paranormal romance

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in the movie rendition?-Gilles Marini as Adam Thomas and Catherine Zeta Jones as Luna McIntyre.

5) What is the one sentence synopsis for your story?-Sometimes change opens the door for love to blossom and grow, even if it the second time around.

6) Will your novel be self-published or represented by an agency?-Natural Born Enemies will be published by Leap of Faith Publishing.

7) How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?- About 3 months
8) What other novels would you compare this book to within your genre?- I'm still in disbelief that I'm a published author. I have a hard time even thinking of comparing myself to those who have been doing this for a longer period of time.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this novel?- The men in my life, my husband and dad. They encouraged me to write from my heart and believe in myself.

10) What else about your novel might pique the reader's interest?-If you like a series where the books can stand alone, yet still contain characters you've grown fond of when you've read the other books in the series, then the Cedar River series may just be the series for you.

Cedar River, Michigan is a wonderful place to fall in love. Some people see change as a good thing, but there are a few others who can’t let go of the “old ways.” “Breeds should stay within their breeds,” they say.
Adam Thomas is the deputy sheriff in Cedar River. His black puma shifter side got him released from the military and sent back home. His demons followed, but they are nothing compared to the ones within his pride.
Luna McIntyre is the only daughter and shaman to the McIntyre pack. She is tired of being smothered and told what to do in regards to her life. She’s opened a sweet shop and moved forward with her life. However, the love of her teen years is back in town and her family is trying to rein her in again.
Someone in this small town is so set in their beliefs that they can’t see how love is sometimes simply love. Cats and canines may be natural born enemies, but love may be enough to get past the differences.


I’ll never forget the first look I got of Adam. He wore his bad attitude like a well-worn pair of jeans. Gods, I wanted to be the woman to tame his wild side. The anger radiated off him in waves, but I knew in my heart that he was simply hurting.
Every year since I could remember, the pack and the pride would lay aside their differences and would help with the clearing of downed trees in the woods between the two lands. Roman Pierce recruited Adam to help. He was a young and able body. His lanky muscles bunched and relaxed with each piece of wood he tossed into the waiting trailers. My mouth still waters at that memory. Then, Adam got arrested. My dad warned me to stay away from Adam, but there was something about that young man. I started to make excuses to go into town with my girlfriends in hopes of catching his eye.
“He’s nothing but bad news, Luna,” my friend, Maria, said.
“If that’s what bad news looks like, you can deliver it to me every day,” was my reply.
Adam’s black hair was always in his eyes, but when those piercing green eyes turned my way, I felt my insides melt. A mere glance from the Pierce Pride bad boy sent my heart racing. I would watch him in the halls at school and on the football field. His speed made him the best receiver on the Cedar River Miners. I’d watch him on the side lines palling around with “Bodacious” Bowie Golden. Those two together were enough to make a girl’s panties drop with a simple smile.

The Results of Draco

If you're new to my blog, you will find that I LOVE to take pictures. I live in such a beautiful place that it only seems right to catch it, digitally, and share it with you. 

So, Winter storm Draco hit us yesterday, but, as I posted yesterday, he didn't hit with the force the weather men were predicting. Of course, I'm Michigan born and raised. It takes a storm of pretty massive proportions to impress me.

Yes, this is my backyard. Can you see why I love it so? I decided to take my camera out when I walked the dogs this morning and captured these.

My poor little apple tree! 

So, this is the view of my winter wonderland. And, yes, that is how I see it. Do I love the cold? Not really, but it's part of the territory. There are certain sacrifices a person has to make to have the view I have. These are sacrifices I am more than willing to make :)

Happy Solstice to all of you! Yule is in full swing in our house. A few extra gifts to pick up, mainly stocking stuffers for the canine kids. We wish you and yours the best of the holidays!

Be sure to stop over to TRS parties to enter to win an e-copy of Keeper of the Golden Dragon's Heart.

Want to keep up on the happenings around my world? Be sure to visit my website and sign up for my newsletter. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Snow Day

We have been under a blizzard warning since Winter storm Draco decided to head our way. We prepared for the worst. We have plenty of food. We have a few sealed containers of kerosene for the heater should we lose power. We're all set.
Well, Draco didn't want to cooperate. He was supposed to arrive at 3 or 4 am. I was expecting to wake up to a few inches of snow.
What I woke up to was MAYBE a half an inch of snow and rain, which was melting the snow. Took the canine kids out and there was a horrible slush mix falling from the sky. As I type this, it snowing again and we are supposed to have white out conditions in a little while.
Finals were called off for today. I'm happy to say I didn't have any. I am sure there are a few students who were relieved to hear that bit of news.
So, today is going to be a lazy sort of day. We've got to get all the dishes done and put away so I can have the ENTIRE counter to make sugar cookies. I'm thinking sugar cookies with hot cocoa while watching movies might just be the perfect way to spend the day. I'm also thinking of making mac and cheese for dinner. Something about the snow flying outside makes me want to make comfort food.
How about you? What do you do when the snow begins to fly?
I'm going to leave you all with a bit of scenery from inside the Murray house. Voila! Here's our Yule tree, all lit up and decorated:

Here is the scene of my backyard from March:

I'll post pictures tomorrow of what Draco dumped on us. Have a happy snow day! I know we will :)

If you are looking for something fun to do, I'm celebrating the holidays with The Romance Studio. I'm offering an e-copy of Keeper of the Golden Dragon's Heart to one person. Stop by and visit with all of us authors who are working hard to promote our books.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Virginia Nelson Likes Things A Little Odd

My darling friend, Virg, is back with us today! She has a brand-new paranormal romance available, but I'll let her tell you more about it. Hey, Virg! Thanks for stopping by today!!!
Thanks for having me on the blog today, Gemma!
My paranormal romantic comedy, Odd Stuff, is available now. Odd Stuff is a small town paranormal romance story about what happens when boy meets girl, boy drinks blood, and girl happens to be someone who drives people mad when she sings.
Pretty run of the mill stuff, right?
Janie Smith, my heroine, is the world’s last siren. She has the ability to drive people mad with the sound of her voice but all she wants is a nice normal life, coffee and maybe the occasional slushie. Things aren’t working out exactly as she planned and she hasn’t a moment to spare to get over her recent divorce since the paranormal world seems determined to suck her into the midst of it’s chaos.
I hope readers enjoy these characters and this world as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Blurb: Janie Smith tumbles through the paranormal world making mistakes and not keeping her sharp tongue in check. Pretending to be normal is what she has spent her whole life perfecting. But when her best friend, a witch named Mia, gets tangled in a murder investigation, Janie tries to stick to her guns and solve it without any “extra” help, be it supernatural or sexual. The hitch is that Mia is suspected to have murdered a vampire...and how do you prove you haven't killed someone who has no pulse?
About the Author: Virginia Nelson spends her days chasing three very active kids around. When she is not doing this, or plotting taking over the world, she likes to write, play in the mud, drive far too fast and scream at inanimate objects. She can often be found listening to music that is far too loud and typing her next fantastic tale of blood, sex and random acts of ineptitude. Romance, in Ms. Nelson’s opinion, is not about riding off into the sunset on the back of a horse with the knight in shining armor— it is about riding the dragon. If the knight can keep up… well, that is love. Find me online

Monday, December 10, 2012

At Last...

I'm taking some time away from school work, housework, and the family to share with you. If you haven't seen the front page of the website or Facebook, then you haven't seen what I received in my inbox late last night.

Yes, this is the brand-new cover for the second book in the Cedar River Series! I have to say I shed a few tears. I love Keeper of the Golden Dragon's Heart's cover, but this one has blown me away. Adam was captured perfectly and Luna is exquisite.
This also means that the countdown to release date is on. We're working on a pre-holiday release. With only 3 days of classes left, I am excited since I get to spend my time off writing and promoting.
Life is quiet here for now. Besides the wind down of school, I have got to get my booty in gear with Yule stuff. I haven't baked one cookie, made one pan of fudge, or put together one batch of 3-corn crunch. While the holiday shopping is finished, the wrapping is still undone. The tree isn't up, but should be this weekend. Plus, I still have to put out the December newsletter! (I'm waiting for a release date.)
How are things in your world? Are you keeping busy with holiday stuff? 
I'm thinking of all of you and carry  you in my heart! I'm so blessed by the readers and friends I have made on this journey! You will never truly know how much I appreciate each and every one of you!
Blessings to your home from mine.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Getting Wicked with Wickd Jfay from Studio 3B-Wick'd Potions and Jewelry

Overnight, Mother Nature decided to cover us with a blanket of snow. Not exactly what I was expecting to have when my friend from Texas stopped by for a visit. Good thing I have the coffee brewing and a fire lit. Maybe you can keep her mind off the cold UP morning by getting her chatting.

My darling readers, when I started this journey I was very leery about letting you into my world. I mean, c’mon, how many of you do I personally know? Then, I realized that I have more friends in cyberspace than I do in “real” life. As I writer I spend a lot of time online. Whether I’m on FB promoting my books (or playing games), searching for pictures that excite my muse, chatting with friends, or (hangs head) shopping for wonderful things, you can find me at my computer.
It was after chatting with a friend about our favorite perfume being discontinued that I was directed toward today’s guest, Wickd JFay of Wickd Potions and Jewelry by Studio 3B. I visited her site and spent many hours deciding on whether or not I should take a chance on her and her talent. I took a deep breath, chose the scent I wanted most, and ordered. I waited rather impatiently for my scent to arrive. When it did, I fell in love, waited four months, then placed a larger order for 5 more scents. All of which I love dearly
I love her scents so much I’m including one in each of the upcoming Cedar River series books. I’m starting with Bitten by Chocolate in Natural Born Enemies and Haunting Presence is the scent for Book 3. Jfay and I will be collaborating to create signature scent for the new series. (And I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this!)
Without further ado, I would like to introduce you to the lady who makes me smell wickedly sexy…Wickd Jfay.
Hello my dear! How are you today?
Hello Gemma! Such a pleasure to get a chance to chat with you! I'm doing great - Excited to get to be here with you and your readers!
I spent a lot of time chatting with you, but can you tell my readers a little bit about you?
Well, on a personal note, I have been married to my dear hubby for 29 years, and have an amazing 21 year old son. We are a very close family. I'm so lucky to have such wonderful men in my life. I have worn many hats in my life, from Beauty Consultant, to Executive Secretary, but in recent years I have traveled a more artistic path.
How did you fall into the wonderful world of scents?
This came about during my 9 years of being an artistic candle maker. I worked with many people, especially authors, to design not only original, artistic designs for them, but also unique scent blends that would become their signature scent. They would take their candles with them to book signings and conventions and their fans began falling in love with the scents and were requesting them in wearable fragrances. After many requests I began to transition some of the aromas into wearable perfumes. I ended up falling in love with doing perfumery, and have decided to create perfumes full time now. I really enjoy decorating the potion bottles that they come in as well as the potion necklaces -- which is a very fun and fashionable way to take your perfume with you on the go!                                    
Do you have a favorite scent? Or is that like asking an author about a favorite character?
Hahaha! Yeah, kind of like that! I have so many that I enjoy wearing -- and I of course love them all. But I have to say that the Sinfully Delicious Cupcake is my favorite, in that I really enjoy wearing it in the evenings. After the day is done and it's time to relax -- it just makes me feel happy. If that makes any sense to you and your readers ; )
But for me, different scents evoke different emotions and feelings. Some of my aromas are sassy and spicy, some are fun and flirty, there are dark and dramatic ones as well, so there's just about something for everybody and for every mood you're in ; )
Will you tell us about one of those scents that sounded good until you created it and it just didn't work?
What?? A Jfay scent that didn't work??? Hahaha!! Well, a few months ago I would have said that's never happened -- I'm not arrogant much? Haha!! But I do actually do many "sniff" tests before I even begin blending to see what I think will go together to create exactly what I have in mind -- BUT...... You did catch me -- I had one -- one and only one batch that I did have to abandon....... The aroma actually was beautiful, but there was something about it that was just hard on the nose. So, it was back to the drawing board, so to speak ; ) I have a very sensitive nose myself, so the aromas I design have to pass a very critical testing period in which I test the fragrance before releasing it to the world.
Who comes up with the scent names? I love them because each name is different and fun.
That's a very good question! Naming the fragrances is just as important to me as the blend. And a very fun part of the process. The names evolve in many different ways. The name may reflect the scent itself, or a complete theme involving what the scent is about. I usually have brainstorming sessions with either my clients or my family -- my guys are very creative as well ; )
Where on earth do you find such gorgeous models for your website? It just doesn't seem right that a woman as gorgeous and talented as you has so many gorgeous friends. (grin)
OH -- Well, thank you dah'ling!! You're too kind! But actually, many of the models are family ; ) I'm blessed with a bevvy of beauties for nieces who have graciously modeled for me. We have such fun with a lot of these shoots. Getting their costumes and makeup ready, the sets, etc. My son has modeled for me a few times, and is also the cover model for my brother, Ted Anthony Roberts' soon to be released Pirate Novel (got that plug in there ; ). And one of my favorite models, Courtney Cupcake, is actually a client who became a friend and then model. People that I work with sometimes model their goodies (that doesn't sound right ; ), and sometimes clients have their own models, so that's a very fun part of everything as well.

What does a day in your life look like?
Hmmmm..... Well, it depends on what's on the menu for the day ; ) Again, with this business I wear many different hats -- from creating the perfumes, to designing and decorating the bottles, doing photo shoots, both of the product and model shoots, working on my website (which I am in the process of updating -- that's taking forever ; ), networking, doing the boring stuffs like accounting (when I can make myself ; ), then I enjoy spending time in the evenings with my guys, hanging out cooking dinner together, and most likely dancing in the kitchen while doing so ; )
I ordered one of the last candles you sold. Will you ever step back into candles?
Well, I'm glad you got one of my last candles! A lot of people were not very happy about my decision to leave candle making behind..... And I've been asked that question quite a bit, but for now, I would have to say the answer is no. I've thought about it and perhaps even doing it seasonally for the holidays, but I really think that is a part of my past at this point. I'm really enjoying moving forward with the perfumery and all the new things that have come my way during this part of my journey.
Can you tell my readers how you decided to add jewelry to your list of offerings?
When I first began looking into making the perfumes, I knew I wanted to do my bottling differently than what you find every day and everywhere. So I immediately decided on Potion Bottles (Which, I call my perfumes Wick'd Potions) and came across the idea for making Potion Bottle Necklaces -- I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do. So from the get-go, perfume jewelry was an instant item available. I then began to make necklaces that were not perfume necklaces since I was already making the perfume jewelry, and found some really cute charms that I wanted to wear myself ; ) Then people began requesting earrings to match either their necklaces or perfume necklaces, so that's a new project that I've begun. I do not have many earrings up on my website yet, but you can always contact me and any charm you see on the Studio 3B website I can make into earrings or a necklace for you. I call myself the Burger King of Perfumery/Jewelry. You can order anything you find on my site in any design you want. So, let's say you want the So Wicked perfume, but like the bottle design for the Strawberry Strip Tease perfume, no problem and no extra cost -- I make everything to order, so you know when you order it, it is made just for you ; )
What are you working on now? Anything new and delightful in the laboratory?
Yes! There's always something new happening around the Wick'd Studio! But actually, right now I'm getting in gear for the holidays and will be unleashing a new product line called VIXEN xxx. It's a super sexy and intoxicating perfume blend with Rich Merlot, Sumptuous Fruits, such as Pomegranate and Cherry, and super Sexy Spices ; ) That should get Santa's sparks going! But it's being bottled with really cute Red Lip Charms -- reminiscent of the Rocky Horror Picture Show lips, so they're really cute ; ) Which, as with all the Wick'd Potion Perfumes, VIXEN xxx will be available in decorated Potion Bottles, Potion Necklaces and now also in Spray Bottles (another new product ; ). I'm also making earrings to match -- so a really great gift idea -- speaking of which, I am putting together some cute stocking gift sets for gift giving!
VIXEN xxx Perfume Holiday Gift Set, Sexy Merlot, Pomegranate, Cherry, and Spice Fragrance, Red Lips Earrings, Stocking Christmas Gift Set
So, if any of you are looking for something different, and like a walk on the wild side, stop by and visit me and my little perfumery online at I'm also on Etsy: And of course I'm usually around Facebook when I get a break here and there ; ) You can find me there as Wickd Jfay and also as Wickd Studio3B.
I will let you get back to work so you can keep the world smelling wicked. Thank you for stopping by and spending the day with us! You are one of my favorite people and I really want to share you with the world.
Well, thank you so very much Gemma! And you are definitely one of my favorite people! You have become a dear friend of mine and I so appreciate all your support. I'm really looking forward to collaborating with you soon on something killer for your new series!
*All photos belong to the wicked lady herself. I've used them with her permission. Please respect the fact these belong with Wicked Jfay*

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

 Breakfast is done. The parade didn't impress me. The Detroit Lions' game is on the television. It is Thanksgiving at the Murray household.
We shared dinner with friends yesterday which was exceptionally nice. Today, it's just the hubby and me with the canine kids. There will be roasted duck (we don't do turkey), whipped taters, Stove-Top stuffing (don't ask), cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, deviled eggs, and homemade pumpkin pie (from my roasted pumpkins) with Cool Whip. Yes, I do all of this just for the 7 of us! LOL It seems like a bit much, I know, but it's tradition.
I also get to spend the day cleaning. As a college student who is at school A LOT, I have to take the time to clean when I can. It looks like the carpets are getting cleaned today. I have to get it done before the holiday tree comes in. Nevermind, that I have to find room for said tree. The joys of living in a small house :)
I've scoured the Black Friday ads to see if there is ANY reason to head out tomorrow and other than the pet store in town, I think I'm staying in. Are you one who braves the crowds? I simply can't stand the crowds of rude people. We don't have a lot of small shops here in town so I'll stick to shopping online. Lucky for me, I only have the canine kids to shop for. I may pick up a few odds and ends for the hubby, but my shopping is basically done.
I've also thought back over the last year and counted my blessings. I thought I'd share them with you.
1. Husband who loves me even when I am cranky, opinionated, and sleepy (or in a writer's coma)
2. My canine kids who make me laugh each and every day
3. I live in a country where I am able to go to school to continue my education
4. I have friends who are more like family and who have my back when the chips are down
5. My readers and fans. Without you all, I wouldn't be able to do the things I love
6. My imaginary friends. They live in my head and talk to me constantly, giving me more story ideas than I could write down in a year.
7. My dad. His death has taught me just as much as his life did. I am strong because he taught me to be and he would expect nothing less from me. I will survive and thrive through the storm. I have no regrets when it comes to him.
8. My life. It may not always be what I want it to be, but it is mine. I can take this life and follow my own path, learning from my mistakes as I go.
9. My freedom. Freedom is not free, somebody pays the price for it and I am truly grateful to those men and women (and their families) who sacrifice their lives, minds, and bodies for my freedom.
10. Technology. It seems so trivial in the grand scheme of things, but without technology, I wouldn't be able to bring my stories to you. I wouldn't be able to write at the pace I write at. I wouldn't be able to connect with all of you. Technology truly is something for which I am thankful.
Well, I've procrastinated as long as I can. The cleaning awaits and no one else is getting started on it so I guess it's all mine.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Holiday Rush

My life feels as if it is spinning out of control. I was trying to do NaNoWriMo plus go to school full-time plus all the at home stuff that needs to be done. Let's just say it  isn't working out very well. LOL Somewhere along the way, I got lost. It may be working on 5 books at once. I'm working on Book 3 for Cedar River, Book 1 in the new series, my children/YA book, plotting out another new series plus a contemporary romance. I may have lost focus :)

So...I'm going to finish Book 3 first. That is the most important one right now. I have to prioritize.
Preparations for the holiday season are underway here. I spent 2 days roasting pumpkins and pureeing the innards to put in the freezer. Nothing like fresh pumpkin for pies :) Our duck is in the freezer (we don't eat turkey), taters are bought, the pie crusts are in the freezer along with all the pumpkin. All I need to pick up in some yeast for bread (yes, I make my own. No bread machine.), the cranberry jelly (hubby's favorite), and the Stove Top stuffing. I prefer homemade, but the hubby likes Stove-Top, so I buy him a couple of boxes for the holidays.
I've also picked up the ham for Yule and plenty of sugar, flour, powdered sugar, and other goodies for my holiday baking. I have a few new recipes I want to try out this year.
Should I mention that most of my Yule shopping is done? I'm feeling very accomplished at the moment, personally. Professionally, I may be running around like a chicken with my head cut off, but personally, my life is running relatively smoothly.
I also have received news that because of the excellent book sales for Keeper of the Golden Dragon's Heart, Leap of Faith will be taking it to print in February/March 2013. Yes, I hung my head and cried with joy!
I should have art for Natural Born Enemies in a few weeks. As soon as I have it, I'll post it for you :) 
Alright, since I'm writing this before I leave for school, I'm going to call this blog post good for the day.
Have a happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spending the Day with Toni Noel

It 's a rather cold and dreary day here in the U.P.  The sun keeps trying to peek out, but the clouds get in the way. So, I've lit the fireplace and gathered a few chairs around the fireplace. In honor of our guest, I've brewed some tea. I found a really great scones recipe the other day adn thought I'd try them out on you as well. Stick around and I'll whip up a batch of pasties for lunch. I'm so glad you stopped by today. We have a very special guest. This author is another one of the lovely people I met through MFRW (Marketing For Romance Writers). I feel so blessed to have her here with you. Let me introduce you to Toni Noel!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself- By third grade I knew I wanted to write, but I’m a literal, detail- oriented person, and in college earned a degree in Systems Analysis. None of those classes prepared me to be a writer, so when my employer closed our company and I retired to write romance, I still had no idea what I'd write. I enrolled in a creative writing class at a local community college and on a rainy afternoon two months later the inspiration for my first romance novel, To Feel Again, came to me. I'm delighted to report that much-revised manuscript will be a November 11 release from Desert Breeze, my 7th eBook release. My daughters and granddaughters read my novels and encourage me. So does my staunchest supporter, my husband of sixty years. He makes it possible for me to write, but is yet to read anything I've written other than the fly fishing scenes I've asked him to proof for two of my books.

Rising Above, the book released today, was inspired by a 1994 photographing expedition to the recently restored ghost town of Cerro Gordo, California. My husband and his BFF bought out the town so we wouldn't be sharing the bunk house with strangers or risking another photographer spoiling a large-format long exposure. I fell in love with the history of the town. Much of the original mining equipment is still on site.
Our hostess and now deceased owner of the town, Jody Stuart, even showed me a wooden crib used by prostitutes who offered their charms for a pittance in the lower part of town. The small circle cut into the wooden door guaranteed little privacy inside the rustic 4x6 foot space. The miners began lining up soon after collecting their weekly pay on Saturday afternoon. Before the next man in line could enter her crib, the lady-of-the-night would stand just inside that door and collect twenty-five cents of the  four-dollar-a-week pay the miner earned from his back-breaking work, loosening rock rich with silver deposits and shoveling it into rail cars.
Rising Above only hints at the prostitutes' activities. Most of the novel is set in the American Hotel where Hal takes Wilda after her hot air balloon crashes and they are forced to spend two nights alone in the cave where they sought shelter from high winds and blowing sand before resuming their journey into Cerro Gordo on horseback.
 Rising Above
Blurb- When modern-day tomboy Wilda Stone is blown back through time to 1874, her hot air balloon crashes above the Owens Valley. Stoic undercover agent Hal Grantham comes to her rescue, promising to take her to the silver mining town of Cerro Gordo. A severe sand storm keeps him from keeping his promise and forces them to seek overnight shelter in a cave, compromising her reputation and forcing Hal into a marriage of convenience.
Wilda is a misfit in Cerro Gordo, too, where their turbulent marriage is filled with adventures, adjustments, and above all else, love. Then a diphtheria epidemic sweeps through the town. This same disease felled Hal's first wife and young son, so to guarantee Wilda a long life Hal secretly repairs her balloon and sends her back to her own time, shattering Wilda's heart. Is her love for her terse husband strong enough to bring this headstrong former Caltrans flag person safely back to Hal's time?
Excerpt: "My, my, aren't you the pretty one," Dottie said, giving her a tentative smile, but Wilda hadn't missed the worried look her visitors exchanged. "Are you ready for dinner?"
"Oh, yes. I'm quite--"
"Look, Wilda," Hal said, impatiently interrupting her. "There's not much time to explain because we're late for supper. Just remember, whatever happens downstairs, follow my lead. Understand?"
What did he anticipate happening? They were only going to eat a meal. She gave him a puzzled nod.
"Good. You'll be eating at the table with Dottie and me." As if by habit, he touched the gun strapped to his hip. "I guess we're ready, then."
Wilda's heart gave an anxious flutter, but anticipation far outweighed any worry she entertained as she and Dottie trooped out into the hall. Hal followed. Ace fell in step behind when Hal moved out in front. At the head of the stairs they paused.
From below came the rumble of rowdy voices. Wilda's pulse quickened. To her surprise, she had no difficulty descending the stairs.
Dottie reached the main floor and ducked into a small room furnished as a parlor. The others followed, and all but Wilda engaged in a whispered conference. While waiting for them to finish, she noticed an Inyo County newspaper and a copy of Peterson's Magazine on the lamp table nearby.
Casually, Wilda unfolded and lifted the paper. The headline read "Lone Pine, California Rebuilds Following Disastrous Quake." Dated October 1, 1874, the lead article detailed the devastation that had occurred on March 26, 1872, when an earthquake shook residents of the quiet valley from their beds.
Is this October of 1874?
The corners of the newspaper were dog-eared from frequent handling, but the printed pages showed no sign of age. Wilda estimated the paper couldn't be more than a week old.
A hard knot formed in her stomach. Now she knew the year, she could no longer deny her worrisome suspicions.
Somehow, she had stepped back in time. Her pulse throbbed.
What else had happened in 1874?
The chase for gold in California had slowed to a crawl then and the Civil War had ended.
What else? Was California a state yet?
With all her heart she wished she'd paid more attention to her history lessons.
Why did it matter? Women weren't yet allowed to vote, she was sure.
Without giving Wilda sufficient time to absorb the reality of her predicament, Dottie turned toward the jumble of voices and entered a large paneled room. Wilda had no choice but to drop the newspaper and follow.
Now for some fun:
Ten Tantalizing Teasers-
Plotter or Pantser? I'm a plotter. Like a railroad engineer I have to know where I'm going to wind up before I can get up a head of steam for writing. The Fifty Scenes method of plotting and a story board work best for me. I like to have a firm grasp on all the turning points before I start to write.
Which Goddess best defines you? The Goddess of Love. I want everyone to find a safe haven for their heart.
Favorite Dessert? Creme Brulee
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate, hands down.
Favorite scent? Roses and lavender, since Sandalwood is no longer available.
Coffee, tea, soda, or water? Coffee, but my cardiologist insisted I switch to herbal tea, so it's cinnamon-apple for me now.
Do you have to set the mood to write? If so, how? Piano music playing softly in the background is all it takes to engage my muse.
Do you have a favorite character? Why? I've fallen in love with every hero I've ever written, but my current favorite is the hero of my WIP. His name is Luke, the hero of Homeward Bound, a planned August, 2013 release from Desert Breeze Publishing. When Luke smiles that crooked smile of his, or lifts a quirky eyebrow at something the heroine says, I melt.
Morning, afternoon, evening, or late night writer? I do my best writing in the morning or in the evening, but I can write anytime. I was most productive for the twenty years my husband taught college students two nights a week and I was able to devote those six additional hours a week to my writing.
If you weren’t writing, what would be your occupation? A gardener with a book tucked in my gardening apron to read when I sit down to rest.
You can hang out with Toni at the following links: 
And download her books here:
Or here:
Or from your favorite eBook store.
Thank you, Toni for stopping by to visit with us today! I've added Rising Above to my TBB list (gotta wait for Yule) and I hope my readers add it to their lists as well! I wish you much success!!