Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Meet Desert Breeze Author Melinda Elmore!


Melinda Elmore has recently joined Desert Breeze. We're lucky to have her blogging for us today. Welcome, Melinda!

****

I have lived in Arizona and Tennessee. I have discovered wealth is not measured in how much money you have but in how much love you share.

I have been happily married to my wonderful husband, Tom for 22 years. I have two remarkble children, Shaelee and Erik.

As a young child, I loved reading and writing. Many nights I would wrap up in a blanket, daydream, while I turned the exciting pages of a book. The books would take me to many places. I loved the idea of going from the normal world in which I lived, then instantly I would be taken to a place far away.

To my surprise, I started writing and creating my very own world. A place where I could go and lose myself with just a pen and paper.

I grew up with the fascination of the American Indian. My love for them grew by leaps and bounds as I read about them from my history book. I wanted to show, in my writings, of the proud people that the American Indians truly are. They show honor and respect for all living things. If I can capture just a small portion of that in my writings then that would be an added bonus for me.

Native American Romance and Native American mysteries is my passion. I hope to reveal in my books the uniqueness of the American Indian. I feel truly blessed to try and reveal how special the American Indians truly are.


The love of my family and the love for the American Indian have become focal points in my stories. I will do my best for both of them.

I sincerely pray readers enjoy the characters that I bring to life on each turning page!!!!

I finally found Desert Breeze Publishing. Gail Delaney is the best. I am so happy to be here. I am like every other author, submitting, submitting, and then the wait. Desert Breeze came through for me and I truly appreciate it.

My book, “Native Spirit” will be published by Desert Breeze Publishing Feb. 2011
If you would like to contact me, here are my links:

www.melindaelmore.webs.com
www.melindaelmoreauthorofmysteryromance.blogspot.com
www.melinda.essentialwriters.com
www.melinda4.wordpress.com

My email: navajotrust@yahoo.com or nativeauthor@gmail.com

Here is a list of some of my credits and work:
Published Work/Accolades:
Cardiovascular Diease Essay- Saint Thomas Chest Pain Network and Cumberland Medical Center.
April 2008- Winner of Essay. Received Cash award and article published
Published in the Crossville Chronicle, in April 2008
Website: www.crossvillechronicle.com



Freelance Writer for Navajo/Hopi Observer, Flagstaff, AZ
http://www.navajohopiobserver.com/
Diabetes Dwells Among Native Americans,
Navajo Nation Library offers access to knowledge and more,
Natives Welcome a helping hand from National Relief Charities,
Leave Our Sacred Lands Alone!,

Award of Honor
Cambridge Who’s Who registry for 2008-2009 inclusion for executives, professionals, and entrepreneurs.

Guest Speaker/TV Interview/Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger:
April 5, 2009- http://www.helensheroes.blogspot.com/
May 16, 2009- http://www.petticoatsandpistols.com/ - Cheyenne Dog Soldiers
June 12, 2009- http://emmalaiwrites.blogspot.com/
July 7, 2009- http://www.petticoatsandpistols.com/ – Apache Maiden

TV Interview:
April 29, 2009 “Crossville Profiles: Interview “Native Dreams” Gateway Productions, Crossville TN
Guest Speaker: April 22, 2009: Speaking Engagement: Martin Jr. High School
Ms. Laurie Kerr class “Native Dreams”, Writing
Radio Station Link: Radio Station Web Posting: "Native Dreams" on Fun Stuff Page
http://www.1025wowcountry.com/

Olympus Films:
Exective Producer: Apply for grants and raise money for Olympus Films, LLC
http://sandcreekmassacre.net/
http://donvasicek.com/

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The Reviews are in for Desert Breeze Release - Tender Hearts


ABOUT THE BOOK:
What was the song the kids sang in school? First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage. Not quite. First comes three hot days in Maui, then comes the surprise baby, then comes... love? Yeah. The kind of love that sneaks up on you, like a sudden rainstorm, that you don't know is coming until you're soaked to the skin.

What will it take for Billy and Erin to take the chance and admit their love? When tragedy strikes, they have to find strength in each other... for the love of their child.
******

The Romance Studio - 5 Hearts
"I'm a sap for a great story, I'll freely confess, and this one is just perfect."

Fallen Angel Reviews - 5 Angels
"[Billy and Erin] shine together on the page and will leave you with a happy feeling in your heart by the time the story is done..."

Tender Hearts is available at Desert Breeze Publishing now.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Congrats to Desert Breeze's Author Tina Pinson and Graphic Artist Jennifer Ranieri




Congrats to Desert Breeze graphic artist Jennifer Ranieri (Jen makes the best covers and is co-owner with Gail) who won an ARIANA award (The Ariana cover awards are sponsored through EPIC) for her cover for "White Tiger." It's great to see her talent recoginzed. She won in "SCI-FI/FUTURISTIC ROMANCE" EPIC stands for: "Electronically Published Internet Connection" and support Ebooks.


Also, Congrats to Desert Breeze Author, Tina Pinson - Her story, "Counting Tessa," made it to the final round in The Phoenix Rattler, Does Your Story Have Bite? Contest. Counting Tessa came out in third place in this round.

It will now go to DEIRDRE KNIGHT OF THE KNIGHT AGENCY, who is the final judge for her category.


Good luck to you, Tina!

Saturday, 26 December 2009

The Reviews are in for Desert Breeze's "Not Just Make Believe"



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Andrea Peterchef is the reluctant new nanny to troublemaking nine-year-old Piper, and even though her first day ends with tomato-soup puke, her outlook improves over a sexy conversation with Piper’s guardian, Max. His voice evokes an image of her perfect man, but he’s a workaholic. Andrea can see Piper craves the love and stability of a family, and she’s determined to do what it takes to make that happen.

Maxwell Gildenthall is a stockbroker haunted by the 9/11 deaths of his girlfriend and his cousin-- Piper’s dad. Deadlines and data define his life -- not baby dolls and Disney videos. When his plus-sized au pair badgers him into spending more time with Piper, he realizes he’s been neglecting the child, and the chance to be near his pretty nanny is a bonus. Away from emotion-numbing work, he’s racked by guilt and pain, which threatens the fragile relationship he has with Andrea. It will take more than a spoonful of sugar to make these problems go down smoothly.

*******
Coffee Time Romance - Danielle
4 cups

"Sandra Sookoo gives us characters that we cannot help but relate to in this backwards and yet very comedic fairytale. While Andrea does not believe full-figure women like herself can get the prince, Max goes out of his way to prove to her how wrong she is. Throw in a girl who is a mix of Pippi Longstocking, Dennis the Menace, and Pollyanna, and you to will fall in love with this funny tale."

Link to the full review:
http://coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/notjustmakebelieve.html

Friday, 25 December 2009

Author Intro with Desert Breeze Author Regan Taylor



Regan Taylor is a new author here to Desert Breeze! Welcome and thanks for taking time out on Christmas to hang out here with me on the blog.

From both Regan and I, and the authors and staff at Desert Breeze - Have a very merry Christmas with you and yours!

Steph

Now for the interview.

#1 -- How long have you been writing?

REGAN: Non-fiction since 1992'; fiction since 2003



#2 – Do you have a muse? If so, tell us about your muse.



REGAN: Oh yes. He's tall, blond and with green eyes. He likes to be in my books and does get a tad snarky when my hero is a brunette. Never tried a re head so I don't know what he'd do about that.

He tends to wake me in the middle of the night and then gives me a decision dream for my next scene.


#3 – Do you have any writing credits before coming to Desert Breeze?

REGAN: Yes.

Steph: Egg on me. I should have asked her what they were!

#4 – What genres do you like to write? Are they different from what you read?

REGAN: Mostly I write time travels and while the first book in my upcoming series with Desert Breeze is a time travel the rest of the series has what I hope readers will find an interesting twist on an old legend.

My guilty pleasure reading is westerns, both romance and straight western.


#5 – What are your hobbies?

REGAN: Reading


#6 – Where do you live? Does where you live inspire your writing?


In Marin County California. At times. The Photograph with Desert Breeze takes place in Napa, California. Book 2 does as well but there are scenes out at the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse and I've got some pictures I took out there that I use for inspiration.

STEPH: I'm down in Castaic, just north of LA. I've been up to Napa and Sonoma several times, the last in NOV 2007.

#7 – Did you do NaNoWriMo this year? Have you ever done it?

REGAN: I started to this year and got 47,000 words in before two things happened -- both good. I got the edits for a release elsewhere and I found a second job. The job has kept me out of writing but making bill payment easier for the past month.

['ve done it the past 4 years and each year finished a book which is now either published or contracted. I highly recommend it.


STEPH: Congrats! This was my first year and while it sucked the life out of me, I've got a book out of it! hehe

#8 – What’s your favorite movie?


REGAN: Final Countdown



#9 – Tell us three fun facts about yourself.



REGAN: I'm actually pretty boring but here goes.


One of my kitties is 21-1/3 years old (at that age you count in months) and is my vet's poster girl for That to do right for a kitty to live that long.

I read tarot

STEPH: Very cool about the tarot! I wouldn't mind having a reading. hehe


Hmmmmm, I'm actually very shy.



#10 – What’s your favorite – Christmas or New Years?


REGAN: Neither. For me from Thanksgiving till January 2 is a lot of needless drama and stress-based emotion. If you can't express those "joyous" and heartfelt feelings all year long are they real when you do it during that 6-7 week period? Now the Pagan new year (Samhaim or what cowans call Halloween) I do enjoy immensely. It's a time of renewal and growth. Time is very precious to me. As I've watched Molly -- the 21-1/3 year old kitty -- grow and go through her life I see more and more how each day needs to count and how precious life is. When my kitties have crossed the rainbow bridge, with each one, I've wished for just one more day. I do get that time in dreams, but it's not the same as holding someone or a beloved pet one more time. The most generous gift anyone can give me is their time be it to have a meal, go to a museum or simply go for a walk. Almost every night Molly and her brother Mel (who is 11) sit on the couch with me for a few minutes. I don't talk, they don't meow -- but they do purr -- we enjoy the quiet and each other's presence. When I go to a museum or meal with a friend we often don't speak but enjoy the simple silence of our time together. THAT is the best and greatest gift for me.

***********

Thanks for letting the readers here at Desert Breeze get to know you.
Smiles
Steph

Monday, 21 December 2009

The Reviews are in for Desert Breeze's "Christmas Stranger"



Marion Kelley Bullock's Christmas Stranger is the perfect book for the season. Melinda Jane Frazier, postmistress and farmer in Primrose, Missouri, accepts her single state. But her quiet existence changes overnight when strangers arrive during a blizzard. She hefts Papa's old rifle from the gun rack, cocks it and cracks the door open.

She opens her home to Zeke, a widower, and his young son Timothy. They fill her heart with unexpected Christmas cheer. Though Zeke insists he’s a drifter, Melinda begins to hope he’ll change. How can she bear to return to the lonely life she knew before Zeke drifted to her door?

*****

The Reviews:

Midnight Owl Reviews, Melinda
4.5 Stars

"A Christmas Stranger is a tale of one man’s wanderings leading him to a woman who has almost given up on love. Zeke has always moved from one place to another with his little boy, never expecting to stay more than a couple days. I loved that Melinda took these two in not knowing for sure if they will hurt her or not. These three were so great with each other to the point where you will cry at certain points and root for them at others. You will also want to give Zeke a hit upside the head so that he gets a bit of common sense. A really great read."

Here's a link to the complete review: http://www.nightowlromance.com/nightowlromance/reviews/Review.aspx?daoid=5099

********

Fallen Angels Reviews - Kara
5 Angels

"Christmas Stranger by Marion Kelley Bullock is a wonderful, gentle western historical, written in a style which reminds me of Catherine Anderson. The reader is quickly transported back in time and quickly achieves a real sense of the community, time and place...When you need a break from the upcoming busy holiday season, set aside a couple of hours and settle in to enjoy the heart-warming Christmas Stranger.


Here's a link to the complete review: http://fallenangelreviews.com/2009/November/kara-christmasstranger.htm

********

Coffee Time Romance - Matilda
4 Cups

"What a sweet and tender story about love, faith, and family. This is a great feel good read for anytime not just the holidays. Likeable characters in an entertaining read what more can you ask for? Go grab a copy."


Here's a link to the complete review: http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/christmasstranger.html

******

Romance Junkies - Audrey Johnson
4 Stars

"CHRISTMAS STRANGER combines the magic of the Holidays with the enchantment of finding true love... Bullock’s use of verse and prayer in a truly God-fearing, caring community, teach the true meaning of faith. CHRISTMAS STRANGER beautifully demonstrates the wonder and meaning of the Season, and it will be impossible to finish this novel without discovering that your own spirit has been revived."

Here's a link to the complete review: http://romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/historical/Christmas_Stranger.shtml

Friday, 18 December 2009

Welcome guest blogger, Desert Breeze Author, P.I. Barrington


READING DIFFERENT GENRES

With the explosion of fantasy and computer graphed movies such as Twilight and now James Cameron's Avatar, more and more entertainment formats are intertwining genres' of fantasy, science fiction, murder mystery and romance. This is especially true with books, which spawned the crossover of genres' that literally began this snowball effect.

This, as Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing.

It's my belief and my practice to read as many different genres' as I can, with the exception of non-fiction. Not only does it expand your mind, it expands your creativity and skill level.

One genre' can help another. An example would be world building and dialogue. If you're writing a science fiction novel, reading an historical genre' can help with using deferential dialogue: in other words, if you learn how people speak to a king or god or leader, you can transfer that type of dialogue into your science fiction if you have some type of authority figure that needs to be addressed with reverence or protocol. Historical genre' can also help with constructing a hierarchy of society in science fiction right down to where robots and/or alien characters stand. Cross-genre' reading almost always expands a writer's vocabulary, lending credence, authenticity, and descriptive prose to your most important tool: words!

If you write crime thrillers, reading a cozy mystery can give you comprehension of the way clues are distributed and relevant, an indispensable gift when crafting a murder plot. Cozies can also teach you how to create a suspect list and how to use 'red herrings' to throw the reader off for a surprise ending/twist.

Fantasy can give depth, conflict, excitement to your romance novel and make your characters not only interesting but on many occasions loveable in both the platonic and physical sense. Examples: Legolas in Lord of the Rings; Edward and Jacob in Twilight (definite romance/fantasy); Harry Potter & cast. Your characters' conflicts can grow and deepen as well with fantasy and/or paranormals and can include your main character's relationship with the supernatural. They can fear and hate it; you can give them the choice to sacrifice the fantasy/paranormal for love, hate, etc; they can use their fantasy/paranormal relationship to solve problems or crimes. Again, Fantasy and Paranormal can assist in world building and hierarchy construction as well as expanding on both these issues.

Reading different genres' aid writers in a myriad of ways and literally open up your particular genre' or genres' with uncountable facets like a high carat diamond. Not only that, but you just might discover an author or genre' that you love as well as your own standby favorite! I've been pleasantly surprised by other genre's that I expected to dislike and I've never regretted picking up a book that I normally wouldn't read and delving into it with an open mind. As that ancient television commercial used to say: Try it, you'll like it! I promise.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Welcome guest blogger, Desert Breeze Author, Melanie Atkins


A White Christmas? Not here!

I live in the Deep South, and I've never, ever seen a white Christmas. Sure, we had a dusting of snow, maybe an inch, a couple of weeks ago...but that was on December 5th. Weeks away from Christmas Day. My cats were startled by the quiet cold, by the way the damp snow chilled their paws. But they're adventurous beings, and they had a blast romping through it and exploring that new, strange world. The snow was pretty much gone by noon. Still, it was fun.

But snow on Christmas morning? It probably won't ever happen here in real life, even though I wish it would. Just once.

That's why I write. So I can make the improbable—and the impossible—happen. So I can bring fiction to life on the page, just for a little while. I love crafting an escape from the world, from the sagging economy and all the bad news. And while I write suspense, with plenty of dead bodies and baffling mysteries woven into the plot, the romantic twist guarantees a happy ending. Every time.

My next book with Desert Breeze, PRIME SUSPECT, is due out in February. It starts with a murder...but hang on for the ride, because I think you'll be smiling at the end.

Blurb: New Orleans Assistant District Attorney Marisa Cooper prosecutes murderers for a living, but the tables are turned on her when her ex-husband is found dead in her garage. To prove her innocence, she must team up with her former fiancée, Slade Montgomery, the detective who risks his career--and his heart--to help her find the real killer.

Hope you'll check it out! You can read more about PRIME SUSPECT and all of my projects at www.melanieatkin.com and http://melanieatkins.wordpress.com. Be sure to find me on Facebook and Twitter, too. (On Twitter, I'm melanie_atkins)
Thanks for allowing me to guest blog!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Welcome K Dawn Byrd - guest blogging about her ebook reader




Okay. I'll admit it. I'm one of those people who don't much like change. To be more accurate, I loathe change. When I'd heard snippets that ebooks were the way of the future, I fought it with everything in me. I've been a book collector for over 15 years and have well over 1,000 books in my home. For some reason, the very existence of ebooks threatened my beloved print books. I vowed that I would never buy an ebook, the enemy that might eventually extinguish the print books that I so love to hold in my hands.

My first experience with the enemy was when I read about an upcoming release on Michelle Sutton's blog. Her Danger at the Door was just the kind of book that I like to read. And, the mental health aspect woven into the plot piqued my interest as well. I followed the link to her publisher and found that it was available only in ebook format. I just HAD to have that book. I e-mailed Michelle and was told that if I wanted to read it that I'd have no choice but to read it in ebook format.

I failed at the first download to my Blackberry because I didn't know that having reader software on my Blackberry was a requirement. I e-mailed customer service at Desert Breeze and they were nice enough to send it to me in a format that I could read on my computer. On a mission, I wouldn't stop until I had what I needed to read it on the go. I downloaded the free Mobipocket software and have now read approximately 15 ebooks in .prc format since August.

That said, I absolutely love ebooks. I'm not killing trees, using expensive ink and lugging around a heavy objects. And best of all, I can read when I want my cell phone. I can read in bed with hubby right beside me and don't have to worry about disturbing him with a bedside light. I can adjust the font and backlighting and there's no need to spend money on an expensive Kindle or ebook reader since I have my cell phone with me at all times (many people have what they need to read an ebook in their pocket and don't realize it.) Also, ebooks are very inexpensive (Michelle's was $5.99 and many ebooks are free if they're in the public domain. Since I store ebooks on my computer (or a flash drive), they're not taking up room in my home and I can read them again if I choose.

I believe ebooks to the way of the future. After all, how many of us fought purchasing a microwave oven? A DVD player? A Cell phone? And, now an ebook? Progress will continue no matter how hard we try to fight it. I for one, hope that ebooks are here to stay.

Thanks for allowing me to share my experience. www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Featured Author Interview - Raine Falconer



Raine Falconer started writing 30 years ago, when she was living in Portland Oregon. She had been raised in Colorado and Arizona and she was firmly convinced that she had moved to an alien planet. What else could you do when it rained 300 days a year? She started to write.

Raine has a degree as a veterinary technician and she worked for years for a well known orthopedic veterinary surgeon. She's with Desert Breeze Publishing for her novel, "Twin Sons of Different Mothers."

It's great to have you here today. Raine.


#1 – Tell me about your muse – How long have you guys been hanging out?

I've been playing at writing for 35 years. It's a creative outlet which has always been enjoyable to me on a private level but only recently have I taken the next step...that of polishing and publishing...thanks to Gail Delaney and the crew at DBP. They're the best to work with!


#2 – Where did you find the inspiration for your new novel, “Twin Sons of Different Mothers.”

I think it's always been an idea that's been in the back of my mind. What happens when you take identical twins and subject them to sigificantly different upbringing? Obviously the extremes in this story are...well they're part and parcel of the story and it wouldn't have been the story without those extremes. Genetics has always fascinated me...

STEPH: I've always been interested in the same concept, Raine. It's no wonder, fellow author Celia Yeary said we had a lot in common. hehe

#3 - Cast the characters – Who plays Mac? Kieren? Mac?

Probably Adrian Paul...jeez, could we just clone him a bunch of times? Kieren-she's harder for me to identify, maybe Kyra Sedgewick but NOT with that corn-pone accent she uses in the Closer.

STEPH: I LOVE Kyra Sedgewick in the CLOSER!



#4 – I’m not familiar with the plot. Can you tell us a little bit more about the book?

Kieren is training her dog Kevin in a specialized type of scent discrimination and he figures in the identification of the murderer. Mac, the FBI profiler who comes in to assist with the prickly case falls for Kieren just as she falls for him. Though they work incredibly well together they have some real issues to work through personally, and the big question is.....do they? : ))



#5 – Do you still stay involved in veterinary medicine?

Since I bred and showed dogs for 35 years I've stayed involved as much as possible but it grows and changes as quickly as human medicine and is far more complex since it is the umbrella over a multitude of species instead of just one as in human medicine. I've always been fascinated by the really great vets because the other thing they don't have to work with is a verbal patient...(think about it!)



#6 – Where would you like to go visit in the United States that you haven’t been before?


The deep south and the northeast are big on my list.



#7 – Do you plot your novels out, or do you fly by the seat of your pants, going where the wind takes you?

I was pretty much a pantser with TSDM and I'm quite sure (grin) that I paid a big price in additional editing and revising on it. Much of my writing is, however, intuitive...it just seems to flow when my fingers are on the keyboard. I'm trying to organize myself on the second of the series however and I'm hoping that Gail and I will see FAR fewer edits because of it.....

STEPH: Gail rocks in my books. I know she works very hard on her edits.


It was nice to have you hear today, Raine.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Featured Author Interview - Marion Kelley Bullock, Christmas Stranger



Thanks for having me, Steph. I appreciate your interest in my newest novel, Christmas Stranger. I enjoyed writing it and getting to know the characters. I hope my readers will enjoy getting to know them, too, even my animal characters. Creatures like the donkey and the goat just seem to creep into my writing. Perhaps that's because my Abbie Cat often sits on my desk, or my lap, while I write.

STEPH: Abby sounds like a cool cat. hehe

#1 – Tell me about your muse. How long have you known her? Or him? (grin)

A muse has to do with Greek mythology, doesn't it? In high school and college, I read about the nine goddesses who supposedly presided over the arts and sciences. But it was all Greek to me (pardon the pun) .

I scribbled pictures in my notebooks and painted pictures. I wrote silly poems for my own amusement.

But I found my niche when assigned essays. One such effort referred to summer vacations, when my family camped out at the Morris Ranch on the Jim Ned Creek, near Coleman, Texas. I wrote: "I crawled from my sleeping bag at
daybreak and ran down the gravel beach for a plunge into the icy deep." Slight exaggeration — I couldn't swim.

It wasn't lying. It was simply a tall tale. Isn't that the very stuff that fiction employs?

STEPH: Ditto - fiction is just a tall tale you have in your mind. ;)

#2 – Where did you get the idea for Christmas Stranger?

Christmas Stranger came into being because of the germ of an idea. I read that in the old days many small towns had postmistresses. The job was ideal for women because they could locate the P.O. in their homes. I placed my heroine on a farm in Missouri, because I read of one such postmistress there. Also, my family lived there for a time. The idea grew and grew.

#3 – Cast the characters. Who is Melinda? Zeke?

Melinda gradually came alive in my mind. She loved the farm and didn't want to leave it, even after her papa died. But with only Brownie, her big lab, as company, she was lonely. She wanted God to send her a good man, one who would be content to live on the farm with her. She wanted a family.

Zeke? Well, he was more complex. A widower with a young son, he was a confirmed wanderer. One reviewer said she sometimes wanted to shake him. So did I. As a matter of fact, so did Melinda. But he declared he could never settle down again. Too much heartache in loving and losing.

STEPH: Your characters sound great, Marion. I picture a rugged, handsome devil for Zeke and a really sweetie for Melinda.

#4 – Why did you put the setting of Christmas Stranger in Missouri? Any special reason?

My family lived there for a time and I liked it. As I read up about farming and life in the 1800's, I became enamored with it. There you have it.

#5 – For those who aren’t familiar with Christmas Stranger, can you familiarize us with the plot?

Melinda lived alone at the edge of Primrose, Missouri. She farmed, sold milk, eggs and butter, and served as the town's postmistress. She'd had an opportunity to marry when she was younger. Mama had only been gone a couple of years then and Papa seemed so lost. There was no way she could have left him. Besides, she didn't want to leave the farm. So she told herself she was content, living there with her loyal dog.

When Zeke and Timothy arrived in the midst of a driving snowstorm, she swallowed her fear and invited them in. She fed them and put Timothy in Papa's room. Zeke slept in the barn, armed with Papa's warm coat and blankets. They stayed a while to make needed repairs after the storm. Gradually, Melinda began to believe they might stay forever. She dreamed that Zeke would ask her to marry him and they would be the family she yearned for. She knew Timothy shared her hopes.

But dreams don't always come true. Hopes aren't always realized. That's what this Christmas story is all about.

#6 – I see you like to read. What’s the book you’re currently reading?

I just finished reading Liam Roberts' The Y Factor. Next, I'm going to load Christmas Stranger on my Christmas present that arrived yesterday. A little Acer Netbook Aspire 1. After I read it, I'll read other ebooks by my fellow DBP authors. I've been reading them on my PC, with no problem. Now I can sit comfortably in my living room or in bed and read to my heart's content. One of these days, I plan to get one of the e-readers.

STEPH: Let us know which one you get!

#7 – I see you live in Texas. Tell us something about Texas that makes the state special to you.

Texas is a spectacular state. Its attractions include beaches, campgrounds, mountain ranges, and wide-open spaces. In a state this wide and diverse, you can find just about everything. (I'm a Texan, remember. So I get to brag). Seriously, though, Texas sunsets top the list for me. They stagger the imagination. If I got up earlier, the sunrises would probably affect me much the same.


STEPH: Texas sounds great, Marion. It's nice to see it through your eyes.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Featured Dec 09 Release - Christmas Stranger




ABOUT THE STORY:
Melinda Jane Frazier, postmistress and farmer in Primrose, Missouri, accepts her single state. But her quiet existence changes overnight when strangers arrive during a blizzard. She hefts Papa's old rifle from the gun rack, cocks it and cracks the door open.

She opens her home to Zeke, a widower, and his young son Timothy. They fill her heart with unexpected Christmas cheer. Though Zeke insists he’s a drifter, Melinda begins to hope he’ll change. How can she bear to return to the lonely life she knew before Zeke drifted to her door?


EXCERPT:
Timothy danced around the room. "I've got something for you. Wait here." He zipped into his room and returned, hands held behind his back. He handed her a card. "I wanted to give you flowers, but there weren't any — so I drew some."

A line of purple flowers staggered across the card. Under the blossoms, he'd printed I love you. Timothy.

Tears pooled in Melinda's eyes and she hugged him. She looked around to see Zeke's reaction, but he'd left the room. Maybe the moment was too sentimental for him. Or maybe she read too much of the Bible to suit him.

"Do you like it?" Timothy's eyes were bright, eager.

"Oh, thank you, Timothy. I love it." She wiped her sleeve across her eyes. "I have something for you, too, and for your pa." She heard the door close and saw Zeke walk back inside, with his hands behind his back. Thank goodness he wasn't upset by the Christmas spirit. What was he up to?

"Timothy, stop jumping around and come sit down. I've got something for you," Zeke said. He handed Timothy a box. When he opened it, Zeke started mooing and hee-hawing and making every different animal noise he could think of.

"Oh, Miss Melinda, look! Pa made 'em out of wood." Timothy's eyes shone with wonder. He jumped up and hugged Zeke. "Thanks, Pa. They're better than anything." He started marching them across the floor. "Here's Hotey and Bob and Becky and Brownie and Tiger. I love 'em, Pa!" Melinda pulled out two paper-wrapped packages. She handed one to each of them. "Just something I knitted," she said.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Marion Kelley Bullock attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, and Western Texas College in Snyder, Texas. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and attends their conferences.

Her articles, short stories, essays, and devotionals have appeared in Open Windows, Guideposts, Home Life, Church Administration, Mature Years, The Lookout, the Church Musician, Preserving Christian Homes, Living with Preschoolers, and other publications. She authored The Story of First Baptist Church Past and Present, (Olney, Texas). She also wrote Sunday school curriculum materials for preschool teachers and children, for several years.

She is a Christian and the wife of John W. Bullock, a semi-retired minister of music. They have three grown children and reared a grandson, now twenty-four. Their family is active in church and community, and Marion teaches adults in the Sunday school, is the pianist, and sings in the worship group.

Marion has worked at a variety of jobs, including church secretary, school nurse's assistant, Realtor, nursing home activity director, savings and loan clerk, and supervisor of preschool work in churches.

Aside from writing, Mrs. Bullock enjoys reading, painting, working crossword puzzles, playing musical instruments, and song writing. She and her husband love to travel.

Books by Marion Kelley Bullock at Desert Breeze Publishing:
Secrets of Old Santa Fe - July 2009
Christmas Stranger - December 2009

REVIEWS FOR CHRISTMAS STRANGER:
NIGHT OWL REVIEWS: 4.25
FALLEN ANGELS : 5
COFFEE TIME ROMANCE: 4

Monday, 7 December 2009

Featured Dec Release - Twins Sons of Different Mothers



ABOUT THE BOOK
People are dying in Colorado... violently and without apparent reason, stumping local police.

When Mac arrives in Colorado, his plan is to help an old friend solve the puzzle of the Alphabet Killer. On the tail end of a nasty divorce, he never expected to find a woman as intriguing and beautiful as his new, temporary partner - Detective Kieren Carlson. But she is both, and soon he finds himself as captured by Kieren as he is by the case.

Kieren is determined to solve the puzzle of the killings before more people have to die. With Mac's help, the truth is revealed one devastating and surprising detail at a time. But, can they stop the killer before someone else has to die?


*****
EXCERPT
"Superficially there seems to be no connection between any of the victims. No friends or employers… even acquaintances in common."

He was quick to point out that they might share a common connection through a professional relationship such as a dentist or family photographer but those were details they would need to correlate with time. Hopefully they would come upon something to lead them in the right direction.

"The cause of death in each case is garroting, though the wire or cord is missing. Generally we find that garroting is a method of choice when the death is intended to be quick and with little struggle. It must be accomplished by surprise. These people had no idea death stalked them. Undoubtedly they didn't see it coming."

He pointed at the names on the board. "Does anything stand out with regards to the names?"

He turned back to the group. Six pairs of eyes looked blankly at the board then back at him. Kieren, on the other hand looked like she was actually thinking about the question. She had written something in her notebook and busily connected words with long lines and arrows.

Mac continued. "What we do know about serial killers, statistically speaking, is that they tend to stay within their ethnic group. That is to say whites kill whites, African-American kills African-American etc. although there are notable exceptions to every rule. In this case we find that we have both women and children as victims, one Native American boy, and one child of mixed white and Asian heritage. These things make me question how these people are being picked. Is it truly a series of crimes of opportunity? Or were they picked for a reason and we don't know what that reason is yet? Detective Carlson, is there something you're seeing?"

Something flashed across Chase's face at the mention of her name, attracting Mac's attention, but he quickly covered it with a mask of control. "Yeah, Carlson…tell us what you see up there…" he muttered under his breath.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I started writing 30 years ago, when I was living in Portland Oregon. I had been raised in Colorado and Arizona and I was firmly convinced that I had moved to an alien planet. What else could you do when it rained 300 days a year? I started to write.

I have a degree as a veterinary technician and I worked for years for a well known orthopedic veterinary surgeon. They were some of the best years of my work life.

Books by Raine at Desert Breeze Publishing:

Unlikely Partners Book One: Twin Sons of Different Mothers - Available December 2009

Unlikely Partners Book Two: Pity the Pets - Available July 2010

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Featured Author Interview - Sandra Sookoo from "Not Just Make Believe"


Thanks, Steph, for wanting to know more about NOT JUST MAKE BELIEVE. It was a joy to write.

A little about me. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child and all through school I had two things that seemed to be a part of me. A book since I read at every opportunity and a notebook because I was constantly scribbling down my own stories. English grammar and literature were my favorite classes back in the day, but I lived—shined—in creative writing and would often entertain my classmates with my stories.


I’m so glad that today I’m one step closer to playing with the big dogs.

Anyway, now to your questions:

#1 – Tell me about your muse. How long have you guys been hanging out?

Hmm, that’s a hard one. I don’t think my muse has a name but she often makes an appearance with a groan—mine. This is what happens. I’ll be happily typing away on a story when midway through, the muse decides she’s got another, cooler idea and I need to work on it pronto. I give her “the look” and tell her no, I’m busy. She drops an anvil on my head like Bugs Bunny and screams “do it!” Really, she’s a horrible little thing, but she does give my awesome ideas.

In that case, I’ll jot down the ideas, maybe fiddle with an opening scene, and go back to the original book I’m writing. I fear the day there will be no more ideas.

STEPH: She sounds like a spunky little thing!

#2 – Where did you get the idea or inspiration for the plot of “Not Just Make Believe?”

Partially, when I set out to write the book three years ago, I had no plans to take my writing seriously and write for publication. I had asked my then nine-year old niece for an idea. She said write a story about a girl who lives in a hotel. Because I’m a huge fan of romance, happy endings and making characters squirm for that ending, I took her advice to heart and wrapped it all in a romance with a sarcastic twist.

The result? A funny, “keeping it real” Christmas romance. And yes, some of the thing that Andie has done have happened to me. I draw on life experience to base my contemporary novels on.

If we can’t laugh at ourselves, we have no chance. Luckily, I do embarrassing stuff all the time.

STEPH: I agree - laughter at ourselves is very important. Your book is on my reading list. It sounds great!

#3 – Cast the characters – Who plays Andrea? Maxwell?

Another tough one. I’m really liking the gal who plays the lead on the Lifetime series Drop Dead Diva for Andie. Max? I don’t know. I haven’t really thought much about it.

#4 – I see you like to travel. What destination has been your favorite? Why?

Disney World, hands down, is my favorite place to go. Yes, I’ve been there like 9 times but each trip is different because the hotel sets you up for a new vacation. Because of the economy and other stressful events that have happened in life, my hubby and I had to cancel our anniversary trip to the World this year (we would have been down there this week). However, we’re planning to return next December.

The place was based on dreams and happy endings. What’s not to like?

STEPH: Our boys like going to Disneyland but we had to curb back a little this year. Hopefully, next year we can squeeze in a trip.

#5 – How did you get into collecting 1950’s retro aprons?

Funny story. I saw on of the frilly, girly confections at a store once and loved the glamour of it. Too expensive, I went to eBay. There is a huge call for these types of aprons. So, I bought a few and now the collection is growing. My sister gave me one for my b-day last August. I just think they’re impractical and sexy but they sure look good hanging in my kitchen. LOL

STEPH: It sounds like a really cool hobby, Sandra.

#6 – Did you have a real life inspiration for the character of Piper in “Not Just Make Believe?”

Yes indeed. My niece Jessica. She’s a powerhouse of energy and always has been. I wanted to capture that in a book, but I have to say, Piper is much more of a handful.

# 7 – How did you come up with title “Not Just Make Believe?”

When I wrote this book, the original title was Everyday Miracles. After a stint on the contest circuit, I thought it needed more of a punch so the title was changed to All I Want For Christmas is to keep my job. I loved that title. The book was requested partially and a full and after receiving rejections on it, Desert Breeze became interested in it. Gail had read the blurb on my website and inquired after it. I sent it over but the title was too long. After much debate, we finally settled on the current title.

STEPH: I think it's a great title.
#8 - What book are you reading right now?


Actually, when I’m in the middle of intense writing like I have been for the last month or so, I don’t read. It’s distracting, especially if it’s not in the same genre I’m working in. Every once in awhile I’ll pick up a book between projects or if I’m waiting on the hubs somewhere. I finished a novella from a big name print author a few weeks ago and came away very disappointed in the ending. That’s why I love trolling for e-books (I load them on my Microsoft reader on my laptop right now) Stuff coming out of New York is stale and over done. Same plot. Same story. E-pubs offer original material and I’m forever grateful for that.

I want an e-reader for Christmas. I think I’d be more apt to read more that way. I’m a computer/technology girl and have embraced the new trends. Can’t wait for the rest of the world to catch up.

Save a tree, save the planet, reduce your carbon footprint and buy e-books LOL

STEPH: Ditto. I want an ereader myself. I think the hubby ordered a Kindle... I can't wait to see if he wasn't teasing me or not.

Thanks for delving into my world for a bit. You can drop by my website http://www.sandrasookoo. The new version is almost ready to go live and I can’t wait! You can also find me on Facebook or at various blogspots around the web.

*********

Sandi, it's been great having you here today! Thanks for popping in. Keep the chestnuts roasting..

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Featured Author Interview - Gail Delany, author of "Tender Hearts"




Gail R. Delaney has been actively writing 'for publication' since 1996. The first novel she ever wrote is still sitting on her computer, waiting for the major rewrite that will make it acceptable. She says she has learned a great deal since writing that book, and it shows when she looks back at that rough draft.

Gail has had eight novels published in the genres of contemporary romance, romantic suspense and futuristic romance. Her novels have received several nominations and awards since she was first published in 2005.

Gail and her family recently moved from the cold and blustry east coast to Southern California, and is loving every moment of sunshine she can soak in.


I'm very excited to interview Gail today!

Let's get to it.
************


#1 – Gail, you have such an accomplished writing career. I hardly know where to start? Grin! Tell us about your muse. How long has he or she been hanging out with you?

Hi, Steph… it's nice to be in the hot seat. * getting comfy *

First, thank you for the compliment.

I've been writing since I was about nine years old. Back then, my best friend Kristy and I would spend all our free time together writing stories about superheroes. The name of mine was The Night Panther and hers was The Sun Daughter. Cheesy, I know… but it started me down an amazing road. When I was fifteen, I wrote my first novel. It was a fantasy romance (yeah, at 15 the romance was pretty pathetic), and it's still under my bed, so to speak. I did a lot of angsty teen poetry, too.

So, I guess Alabaster and I go way back. Yeah, that's her name… Alabaster. I didn't know her name until about ten years ago. Before that, she was just the annoying little sprite with gossamer dresses and wild hair that sat on the edge of my desk and taunted me. Her name represents two things… the pure joy you feel as an author when the words flow freely… or the pure white of your computer screen when no words will come. She's flighty and fickle, but when she sees fit to gift me with inspiration she is the most beautiful creature in the world.

STEPH: Alabaster is a real cool name. Juliet likes her.

#2 – Where did you get the inspiration for “Tender Hearts?”

"Tender Hearts" was inspired by my life, and perhaps the most tragic and frightening period in my life. Eleven years ago, well, almost twelve now, my son was born three months premature. I have never been so terrified of anything in my whole life as I was at the thought of losing him. We were very, very lucky with him and he's doing great. Most people haven't a clue he was so early. But, the weeks following his birth were a blur for me. They became like one long 'Groundhog Day', playing over and over again.

Later, when the danger had passed and we knew he'd be okay, I decided to turn that time into a book. I've often heard authors say that writing can be a type of therapy for them. And that's exactly what Tender Hearts turned into for me. It was cathartic. I used it to both remember and work through the months after Patrick's birth.

STEPH: It's good to know your son is doing well. Having 2 boys myself, I can imagine the anquish you felt at the time. ((hugs))

#3 – Cast the characters. Who plays Erin? Billy?

Oh, boy… you're challenging me here. Although I often 'cast' my books now, when I wrote this book I didn't do that yet. So… let me think.

* Several hours pass while Gail does other stuff and ponders Billy and Erin… aha! *


Billy would be played by Jensen Ackles. He's an All-American looking guy, yet he's got a bit of 'rugged' in him, which describes Billy.

STEPH: I agree - very all American looks. I cast him for my sports romance I'm working on called "Curve Ball." He plays my all American pitcher.
Okay, now Erin…

* Gail goes back to working and pondering and working and pondering *

Oh! I got it! Mandy Moore… except with burnished red hair and golden-brown eyes. But, that smile and face… yeah, Mandy Moore.


#4 – What is your favorite genre to write? Is there a favorite or a preference?

My favorite to write is science fiction/futuristic romance. I like the possibilities. I don't write hi sci fi, so it's not all about spaceships and aliens with tentacles and five eyes. My writing is more about what 'could' be, and I've been told my sci fi is scary because readers think "Wow, that really could happen". I'm such a sci fi geek, it came naturally to me once I opened up myself to the possibility of actually writing science fiction.

But, I enjoy writing in any genre that allows me to dig deep into the emotions of my characters. I'm a very character-driven author.

#5 - I know you like Twilight, Gail. Team Edward or Team Jacob?

Depends… are we talking books or movies?

If we're talking books, then I'm absolutely Team Edwardespecially after I read the partial of Midnight Sun. The new view of Edward was awesome! I mean… five or six pages of him trying to figure out how he's going to kill everyone in the room just so he can suck her blood… now, THAT is an angle on a 'hero' you don't see very often.

Anyway, Jacob in the books annoyed me.

And since I made it clear there's a distinction… when talking movies, I'm Team Jacob. No one shoot me or anything, but I find Robert Pattinson annoying. He's like… um… like James Van Der Beek in Dawson's Creek. All angst and torture and whiney. Ugh. Just give it up. (Then again, I was always partial to Pacey Witter anyway…) I was impressed with Taylor Lautner in New Moon, so I'm Team Jacob when talking the big screen.


STEPH: I would have never thought of it like that, but upon reflection, I do agree there's a difference between the book and the movies. I have enjoyed both movies much more than the books. I find Bella too angsty for me in the books.

#6 – For those who aren’t familiar with Tender Hearts, can you familiarize us a little bit with the plot?

Billy Culver and Erin Griffin meet by chance in Hawaii. The attraction was intense and immediate and they had three great days together. Then Billy wakes up to an empty bed, and no way to find Erin.

The book opens months later, when Erin shows up on his construction site and tells him she's pregnant. At first, you have the usual miscommunications and shouting until they both wise up and just learn to talk. As they try to figure out together how they can be a family for their child, they realize the same intensity that brought them together before still exists. It's more than just physical… this could be love.

Then tragedy strikes and Erin collapses. To save her life, their baby must be delivered… far, far too early. When faced with the possibility of losing them both, Billy realizes what he could have… and what he could suddenly be without.

Beyond the romance and the drama of Tender Hearts, the story is about acceptance. One of the original taglines was "Family… sometimes you're born into it. Sometimes it welcomes you in with open arms".

STEPH: Consider this one on my reading list!

#7 – What’s your favorite ride at Disneyland. Fess up.

* grinning * Easy. Pirates of the Caribbean. I know… it's a pretty tame ride, but it's still my favorite. When I was 16, I came to California for the first time with my mom for a family reunion. I loved it then, and I still love it.

Now, if you're talking Walt Disney WORLD… by far, it's Mission: Space at EPCOT.

Wow, so that was really fun. I haven't done any kind of author interview in awhile now. Thanks for having me, and thanks for coming by.

STEPH: Pirates is Andrew's favorite ride, too!

* swivels in chair to face desk and goes back to work *


Thanks for popping in, Gail!
Steph

Friday, 4 December 2009

Featured December Release - Not Just Make Believe by Sandra Sookoo



Sandra Sookoo has a great Desert Breeze release this month, "Not Just Make Believe," so I thought I'd share with you. Enjoy!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Andrea Peterchef is the reluctant new nanny to troublemaking nine-year-old Piper, and even though her first day ends with tomato-soup puke, her outlook improves over a sexy conversation with Piper’s guardian, Max. His voice evokes an image of her perfect man, but he’s a workaholic. Andrea can see Piper craves the love and stability of a family, and she’s determined to do what it takes to make that happen.

Maxwell Gildenthall is a stockbroker haunted by the 9/11 deaths of his girlfriend and his cousin-- Piper’s dad. Deadlines and data define his life -- not baby dolls and Disney videos. When his plus-sized au pair badgers him into spending more time with Piper, he realizes he’s been neglecting the child, and the chance to be near his pretty nanny is a bonus. Away from emotion-numbing work, he’s racked by guilt and pain, which threatens the fragile relationship he has with Andrea. It will take more than a spoonful of sugar to make these problems go down smoothly.


**********

EXCERPT:
I narrowed my eyes. Show time. I took a deep breath, ignored the scuffmarks on the wonderful floor, and made a mental note to have maintenance down here to de-scuff the area as I headed for the mini devil-incarnate. "Miss Hamilton." I stopped in front of the scooter to prevent any further forward progress on her part. "Piper?"

"Yes." Green eyes squinted up at me, sparkling with frank curiosity and mischief. "Hi, are you Miss…" She fumbled around the last name on my nametag for a few seconds, confusion making tracks about her face as she tried to sound out the word.

"Petercheff. Think of the name Peter followed by the word chef," I offered helpfully.

The morning sunlight reflected off her round, gold rimmed Harry Potter-like glasses and turned her hair into molten fire. If she were smart, she would learn how to harness that exact image for later in life. It would drive men wild. Maybe she would become a movie star. Wouldn't that be something? I could say I knew her before she was famous.

"How about if I call you Miss Pet? The other name is too hard to say."

She grinned, showing off a gaping hole in a rather unfortunate line of teeth that would be begging for braces later in life. Been there, done that.

"I'm Piper, and I turn nine in a month. My uncle's out of town so I guess you'll be watching me." It was a statement. She didn't wait around for a reply. Instead, she sidestepped my blockage of her scooter and started again. "I've had a lot of nannies but they weren't very cool. I don't like boring people." Another statement. "And I don't like nannies."

I rolled my eyes. Great, I'm stuck taking care of the Donald Trump of the nursery set.

*****
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sandra is a writer of romantic fiction. Her portfolio includes historical, contemporary, and paranormal romances, and has recently embarked on writing mysteries. Just like the heroines in her books, she uses sarcastic wit and humor to make people laugh.

After catching the writing bug at the young age of ten, she's gone on to grow her unique writing style. She's an occasional blogger, and has also written a couple of fairy tales (because they're needed in life) and a handful of children's stories (because they're fun) in addition to her romance work.

When not immersed in creating new worlds and funny characters, Sandra likes to read and travel. Her favorite place to spend vacation hours is Walt Disney World. It's the place where dreams are born, and that suits her just fine.

Writing is her ultimate dream job.

Books by Sandra Sookoo at Desert Breeze Publishing:

Winner Takes All - June 2009

Not Just Make Believe - December 2009

The Trouble With Love - February 2010

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Desert Breeze Authors tackle NaNoWriMo!




Each November is known in the writing community as "National Novel Writing Month" or "NaNoWriMo." It's a month of flurry and increased activity. The goal of NaNoWriMo? To write a 50,000 word novel in a month. It's a daunting challenge, trust me. This month, 3 Desert Breeze Authors tackled it - K Dawn Bird, Me (Hehe, Stephanie Burkhart) and Chrystal Kincaid. Chrystal, can you weigh in and let us know how it went?

K Dawn Bird worked on her novel, "Queen of Hearts."

Queen of Hearts will be my first historical. There's a lot at stake with this novel because Desert Breeze Publishing is holding an April 2010 release date for it. That said, even though NaNoWrimo's final word count goal is 50,000, mine is 65,000. The heroine in Queen of Hearts is a newspaper reporter who becomes a member of the O.S.S. (spies).

K Dawn came in as a winner at 51,766 words. Congrats to you!!
Here's her NaNoWriMo page if you want to visit:
http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/525296



Stephanie Burkhart worked on her novel, "The Count's Lair."

Can a man haunted by an ancient curse fall in love? That’s what Count Anton Varga dares to explore when he meets beautiful and talented Lady Amelia Andrássy. Anton rediscovers Amelia in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, giving a concert and he hungers to pursue her, only he has a secret which he fears she will not accept. With the help and support of his friend and servant, Georg, Anton decides to win Amelia’s heart. Will the journey bring him the love he’s hungered for, or will it tear his heart apart?

The Count's Lair is second in "The Hungarian Moon" series and will be published by Desert Breeze in a future date.

Stephanie came in as a winner at 50,291. Congrats!
Here's her NaNoWriMo page if you want to visit:
http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/526402


Congrats to everyone who tackled NaNoWriMo. If you'd like to sign in and tell us about your experience this year, we'd love to hear it. I can tell you, I was prepared. I'd done a lot of preliminary work before I began. I did my character bios, maps, and outlines before I started. I tried to do a steady 2K words a day and most of the time, I managed it. That proved the challenge especially with a 7 and a 3 year old in the house. I still had to work 8 hours a day, do the dishes and wash the laundry. Not an easy feat!

Smiles
Steph

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Featured DEC 09 Release - Tender Hearts




ABOUT THE BOOK:
What was the song the kids sang in school? First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage. Not quite. First comes three hot days in Maui, then comes the surprise baby, then comes... love? Yeah. The kind of love that sneaks up on you, like a sudden rainstorm, that you don't know is coming until you're soaked to the skin.

What will it take for Billy and Erin to take the chance and admit their love? When tragedy strikes, they have to find strength in each other... for the love of their child.

***********

EXCERPT:
She was gorgeous as sin.

"Have I come at a bad time?" she asked, breaking his hypnotic trance.

Billy straightened up and leaned back in his chair, bringing up one foot to rest his ankle on the other knee and laced his fingers together at his waist. He tried to exude confidence and calm, but his insides raged and bubbled like molten lava.

"Just a typical day," he answered. "It's busy here from sun-up until sundown. I'm surprised to see you."

She stepped into the room and closed the door, keeping her hands behind her, and leaned back against the hollow wood.

"I thought you would be."

"I'm surprised you were able to find me, since we didn't really have time to share much personal information. I mean, all I know about you is your name -- I think. I know damn well you're not from Loveland, Illinois."

************

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Gail R. Delaney has been actively writing 'for publication' since 1996. The first novel she ever wrote is still sitting on her computer, waiting for the major rewrite that will make it acceptable. She says she has learned a great deal since writing that book, and it shows when she looks back at that rough draft.

Gail has had eight novels published in the genres of contemporary romance, romantic suspense and futuristic romance. Her novels have received several nominations and awards since she was first published in 2005.

Gail and her family recently moved from the cold and blustry east coast to Southern California, and is loving every moment of sunshine she can soak in.

Books by Gail R. Delaney at Desert Breeze Publishing:

Watch Over Me - May 2009
Lightning Strikes Twice - June 2009
Tender Hearts - December 2009

**********

REVIEWS FOR TENDER HEARTS:
"I'm a sap for a great story, I'll freely confess, and this one is just perfect.

The Romance Studio
Rating: 5 Hearts

"[Billy and Erin] shine together on the page and will leave you with a happy feeling in your heart by the time the story is done..."

Fallen Angel Reviews
Rating: 5 Angels

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

I just want to gush about the December Releases!

I just want to give a shout out about our exciting December releases. Throughout December I'll be featuring the releases and hopefully hosting some great author interviews. We've got some great things planned here at Desert Breeze and I hope you take advantage of the blog scavenger hunt.




CHRISTMAS STRANGER
Melinda Jane Frazier, postmistress and farmer in Primrose, Missouri, accepts her single state. But her quiet existence changes overnight when strangers arrive during a blizzard. She hefts Papa's old rifle from the gun rack, cocks it and cracks the door open.

She opens her home to Zeke, a widower, and his young son Timothy. They fill her heart with unexpected Christmas cheer. Though Zeke insists he’s a drifter, Melinda begins to hope he’ll change. How can she bear to return to the lonely life she knew before Zeke drifted to her door?




NOT JUST MAKE BELIEVE
Andrea Peterchef is the reluctant new nanny to troublemaking nine-year-old Piper, and even though her first day ends with tomato-soup puke, her outlook improves over a sexy conversation with Piper’s guardian, Max. His voice evokes an image of her perfect man, but he’s a workaholic. Andrea can see Piper craves the love and stability of a family, and she’s determined to do what it takes to make that happen.

Maxwell Gildenthall is a stockbroker haunted by the 9/11 deaths of his girlfriend and his cousin-- Piper’s dad. Deadlines and data define his life -- not baby dolls and Disney videos. When his plus-sized au pair badgers him into spending more time with Piper, he realizes he’s been neglecting the child, and the chance to be near his pretty nanny is a bonus. Away from emotion-numbing work, he’s racked by guilt and pain, which threatens the fragile relationship he has with Andrea. It will take more than a spoonful of sugar to make these problems go down smoothly.




UNLIKELY PARTNERS, BOOK 1
TWIN SONS OF DIFFERENT MOTHERS
People are dying in Colorado... violently and without apparent reason, stumping local police.

When Mac arrives in Colorado, his plan is to help an old friend solve the puzzle of the Alphabet Killer. On the tail end of a nasty divorce, he never expected to find a woman as intriguing and beautiful as his new, temporary partner - Detective Kieren Carlson. But she is both, and soon he finds himself as captured by Kieren as he is by the case.

Kieren is determined to solve the puzzle of the killings before more people have to die. With Mac's help, the truth is revealed one devastating and surprising detail at a time. But, can they stop the killer before someone else has to die?




TENDER HEARTS
What was the song the kids sang in school? First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage. Not quite. First comes three hot days in Maui, then comes the surprise baby, then comes... love? Yeah. The kind of love that sneaks up on you, like a sudden rainstorm, that you don't know is coming until you're soaked to the skin.

What will it take for Billy and Erin to take the chance and admit their love? When tragedy strikes, they have to find strength in each other... for the love of their child.


***********
Visit the Desert Breeze Storefront to purchase these titles.
Smiles
Steph

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Welcome to the Desert Breeze Scavenger Hunt 2009!

I just want to welcome everyone to the Desert Breeze Scavenger Hunt. The goal is to go from one Desert Breeze author's blog to another. Each blog will have a question about that author or one of their books. You answer the question and collect the answer. (Don't publish it on the blogs or at Connections.) At the end of the hunt, you'll be asked for your answers. Along the way there will be great giveaways.

What do you have to do?

#1 - Sign up to be a member of Desert_Breeze_Publishing_Connections@yahoogroups.com. This is were authors and readers of Desert Breeze Press meet and mingle. Connections will also have the same information about the Scavenger Hunt.

#2. - Start here. (smile!)


Here's your first question:

What are the names of both heroes in Sandra Sookoo's Desert Breeze novels?

To find the answer visit Sandra's blog at:
http://sandrasookoo.wordpress.com

Tomorrow on 30 NOV, Sandra will post a new question for you. Happy Hunting!

Smiles,
Steph

Saturday, 28 November 2009

December Madness from Desert Breeze



Hi all!! How was Turkey Day? Did anyone OD on Tripofan? I had one OD at my house but that was it! haha. She was able to bounce back after some pumpkin cheesecake pie, if you can believe that.

Today, I'm going to be talking about a bunch of stuff, so bear with me.

FIRST - I am so excited about what Desert Breeze has coming up in December!

The New Releases - 1 DEC the new releases come out from Desert Breeze. They are availiable at the website, of course, but you can also visit Amazon and they are available for download through the Kindle format. I know Gail has a great story coming out called "Tender Hearts." Pop into the website on 1 DEC to get the skinny on the rest of the new releases. I'll post an entry recaping the new releases on 1 DEC as well.

The Newsletter - Gail puts together a great newsletter which highlights the December new releases and has a bunch of little author tidbits. It's definately a must have to keep up with what's new at the Breeze.

The Scavenger Hunt - Gail and the authors at Desert Breeze have arranged a blog scavenger hunt that is going to be a bunch of fun. Go from author blog to author blog, answering questions and collect some great prizes. Tomorrow the scavenger hunt starts on the Desert Breeze Blog so be here!! I'll outline the scavenger in detail and post my blog question for you. It promises to be a lot a fun.

NaNoWriMo will be over! There were several Desert Breeze authors who participated in NaNoWriMo this year and I'll be giving them a shout out in December as well. I participated this year for the first time. It was challenging, demanding, stressful, but rewarding when I went over 50,000 words.

So what can you expect from the Desert Breeze Blog in December? I'll be featuring the new releases, hosting author interviews with the authors about their new releases, giving a NaNoWriMo shout out, supporting the scavenger hunt, and posting misc. thoughts about the holiays. Join us for the fun.

On a last note, I wanted to share this. Nathan Bransford is a literary agent who blogs. I like Nathan's entries because he's honest, up front and straightforward. In this particuliar entry, he's blogging about ebooks. Here's a link:

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/11/top-10-myths-about-e-books.html

Just some thoughts from me:
Bransford opens his post with this:
After my recent post about the inevitability of e-books, I was surprised that there were so many misconceptions in the comments section about e-readers and e-books.

For the record, I don't think everyone is going to or should or will like e-books and converting people is not what this post is about. But I do think people should at least have the facts.

Now would also be a good time to state for the record that I have no financial interest in e-books or e-readers whatsoever and in fact, my job would probably be easier if they didn't exist. But they do exist, I genuinely like them, and I don't think this industry can afford to be behind the curve on technology.

***
And he does like them. Like me, Bransford reads ebooks using his Kindle App on the Iphone. Bless him. And I agree - I don't the industry can afford to be behind the curve on technology here. The wave of the future is upon us. It's an interesting read and if you can pop on over there, read his thoughts and tell me what you think.

Have a great weekend, everyone!
Steph

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Thoughts on Thanksgiving from the Desert




Well, it's Thanksgiving week here in America, so I thought I'd post a few thoughts about Thanksgiving, the past, the present, and the future.

What are the origins of Thanksgiving? Oh, we all kinda know - the pilgrams came over from England, settled at Plymouth and made friends with the local Indians. The Indians taught them native farming techniques and the pilgrams, grateful, sat down at the table with the Indians, had fellowship, and gave thanks to God for their food, supplies, and their friends.

This 3 day feast started on 13 Dec 1621. Surprisingly, some of the items that were on their menu where not the menu today. For example they had a lot of fish, including lobsters. Here's the menu:
•Lobsters
•Eel
•Mussels
•Oysters
•Corn
•Parsnips
•Collards
•Turnips
•Spinach
•Onions
•Dried Beans
•Dried Blueberries
•Grapes
•Nuts

What? No potatoes? Didn't have them back then. Pumpkins weren't used for pumpkin pies. And the TURKEY? No turkey. The Indians hunted duck and geese, not wild fowl like turkey.

Here's some misc fasts about that 1621 meal:
•The celebration lasted for three days, not one, and consisted of intermittent feasting and entertainment (games and shooting of muskets).
•It was most likely held in October, not November.
•There is no evidence that the Indians (Wampanoag) were explicitly invited.
•It was not called “Thanksgiving”. It was a “harvest festival”.
•It did not become an annual event.

*****
Back in 1789, President George Washington celebrated "Thanksgiving Day" under the new constitution. Since then, presidents from him until Lincoln, proclaimed Thanksgiving Day, but it was held on a state level.

In the 1860's Mrs. Sarah Joseph Hale, the editor of Godey's Lady Book promoted a "national" thanksgiving day by sending President Lincoln a letter. He responded in 1863 by setting aside the LAST thursday of November for Thanksgiving.

Over the next 75 years, the following presidents followed Lincoln's prescedent, declaring a national thanksgiving day. It wasn't until 1941 when Congress permanently established the 4th Thursday of November as a national holiday. I believe it was changed to the 3rd Thurday by FDR due to Daylight Savings Time concerns, but I'm not a 100% on that.

*****

Early thoughts

For me, I remember Thanksgiving fondly. Wednesday was early day at school. We'd go home and help my mother bake pies and I loved baking pies. It was a happy memory for me - baking pies with my mother and sister. And it would take hours and we'd have a blast. My mom always baked a blueberry pie, my favorite and to this day I love having blueberry pie for dessert. She'd also do a pecan, mince meat, and pumpkin. The only other one I really cared for was pecan.

Thursday morning we'd drive 2 hours on the state roads from Manchester, NH to Hinsdale, NH to have Thanksgiving at my grandmother's house. The entire family would be there. My grandmother and aunt Mary took great pride in cooking the bird. Of course, everyone ate too much. My biggest memories: it was a family day and we all had fun.

****

Present:

Well, now I live in California. Thanksgiving doesn't have the same setting. There's no frost on the ground, (though the leaves are changing on my tree in my front yard) My husband's family comes over for the turkey. I made a blueberry pie last year with my son, Andrew. This year I'm brining the bird. My husband's grandmother is making me a blueberry pie.

***

Future:

Who knows what the future for thanksgiving holds - just remember it's about fellowship and giving thanks. Keep that in your thoughts.

I would LOVE to hear about you spend your thanksgivings - past and present. What the holiday means to you. Have you worked thanksgiving into any of your novels or short stories? While I haven't (I'm more of a historical writer and I haven't used Thanksgiving in any of my writing) I'd love to hear about how you, the writer, have weaved it into yours.

Smiles, and thanks for listening to my thoughts about thanksgiving from the desert..
Steph

Saturday, 21 November 2009

DB Author Diane Craver blogs about 1st Dates


My husband Tom and I are celebrating the anniversary of our first date this week. Yes, after thirty-four years of marriage, we still enjoy remembering our first date. It didn't go as Tom expected when he asked me out for that first memorable evening. He wanted to go to an early movie because of the lower price, but that didn't happen! By the way, we met at an orphanage while we were teaching and living on the students' campus. I had gone to visit a girlfriend in another town and didn't allow enough time to make the early movie. He graciously took me to dinner first, and to a later movie, "Butterflies Are Free" starring Goldie Hawn. I mention this because my characters' first dates aren't perfect either. If everything goes without a hitch in chapter one and there isn't any conflict or character flaws, then the book isn't going to be a page turner.

I love writing first dates or first meetings between the hero and heroine in romances. In my ebook, Whitney in Charge, Whitney Benson goes on a disastrous first date with her new neighbor, Ben Spencer. He takes Whitney to a lake resort that's for sale. He thinks she might be interested in purchasing the resort because of her plans to start a new business with her sisters. The date ends when Whitney falls on a hiking trail and is unconscious. She's taken to the hospital by Air Care. A TV friend from her past job as a news producer wants Whitney to appear during a future segment about the worst first dates for the New York news show called, The Bold News. She suggests that Whitney tell about her bad date on the air.

In my upcoming January release, Marrying Mallory, it was fun to write about the chemistry between Mallory Harrington and plastic surgeon, Dr. Seth Whitman, during their first meeting. After Mallory's consultation with him about cosmetic surgery, Seth shocks himself by asking her out for coffee. Seth realizes that having Mallory as a patient might not work when he's attracted to her.

One of my favorite love stories is LaVyrle Spencer's book, The Endearment. The scene becomes emotionally charged when Swedish Karl meets his mail-order bride Anna. He suddenly realizes that Anna lied to him about her domestic skills. Do you have a first date you'd like to share? Or what about when you first met the love of your life? As a reader, do you have a favorite scene from a romance where the hero and heroine meet? Is it a funny, suspenseful, painful or sweet meeting?

Friday, 20 November 2009

Welcome PI Barrington - Featured Nov Author


I just want to welcome PI Barrington the blog today. Her release, "Crucifying Angel" is a NOV 09 release! Welcome, PI!



Thanks, Stephanie for allowing me to be your guest today.
As mentioned, I am P.I. Barrington and also a Desert Breeze author! My first novel, Crucifying Angel, is the first in the Future Imperfect series. I like to call it a 'near future' sci-fi crime thriller set in Las Vegas 32 years from now. I'd categorize it as a warm romance, a tiny bit more intimate than sweet. However, romance stops at the bedroom door. Why? I once read an article that claimed the most romantic scene in Gone with the Wind was the one where Rhett carries Scarlett up the dramatic stairway. I completely agree. The mind is the most romantic generator that exists.



STEPH:
Who are your writing influences?

PI
Everybody says this but as for actual writing technique, I'd say Stephen King. I've read almost piece of literature known to man and I'm sure everything has influenced me as far as, say vocabulary, grammar, phrasing, stuff like that. But I just couldn't seriously relate to any of it. I tried different writing styles but I just wasn't happy with them. When I picked up "Carrie" that was it. I identified with his style and technique instantaneously; way more than anyone else. He's not really my favorite writer but his style and technique…I don't know. I just completely get it.

Steph: A lot of people have said King has been their influence. There's no doubt about his mastery over words.


STEPH
Tell me about your muse.

PI
The closest I can come to describing why I write is the word "urge" rather than "muse". Sometimes you just gotta do it. I have no peace otherwise. It won't leave me alone until it's down on paper somewhere somehow. I'll write on my own body if I have to, but most of the time, an idea, setting, dialogue will burst through my synapses and I'm writing the scene in my head as I go along doing shopping, laundry, whatever, until I can get to a keyboard or pen and paper.


STEPH
What do you like to sing?

PI
I love everything from 'classical' which is really a misnomer to rap. My sister used get creeped out when I would play an old Kay Kaiser lp (yes, vinyl!) that I got from a radio station where I worked. It was an old scratchy song from the 1920's. Can't remember the name of the song but she would say it sounded like it belonged in a horror movie. But seriously, I love all music. I'll sing any of it anytime. That's how I ended up working in the music industry—I love the music so much, I just wanted to be near it somehow, performing or not. And yes, I really do like rap.


STEPH
Why did you pick Las Vegas as the setting for "Crucifying Angel?"


PI
I love Las Vegas. It has such a strange fascination for me. It's like Disneyland for adults. When I began Crucifying Angel, I decided to put my personal dream man in it, Tall, Dark and British. But I wanted to really give him an obstacle course to deal with so I stuck him in the place most opposite of cool, green England. Las Vegas pretty much fit the bill.

STEPH: I think Vegas is the PERFECT locale for your book, PI!


STEPH
You are casting the movie - who do you pick for Payce and Gavin.


PI
Payce really doesn't have an actress attached to her. I found a picture of a woman target shooting and that gave me the opening of the book. I mean, I can see her in my head, but no real live actress comes to mind as a match. Gavin? I went nuts looking for an actor that fit my picture of him, which at times is even now still kind of vague to me. I found an actor (who shall remain unnamed) who kind of fit, but still fell short of the mark. Trust me I've tried casting those two. Normally, I almost immediately cast my characters with actors but these two just stand on their own. Half the time they defy what I want them to do or be.

STEPH
Can you give us a teaser for Miraculous Deception?

PI
This book is definitely the heart of the series. There will be a lot of betrayal, intrigue, a character or two being killed off…

STEPH
Has your work in the entertainment industry influenced your writing, including Crucifying Angel?


PI
In the industry, you learn pretty quickly what works and what doesn't. I always write with a film version in mind. Once you understand the different formats, film, television, video, music, you can put it together in a way that works on paper and translates to the screen as well. It's just one big movie in my head and I tend to write that way. Crucifying Angel was written that way, a series of scenes. I write and think visually and that was a big help for the video department where I worked for the majority of my time in entertainment. I think most writers do that, they write the images they 'see' in their mind's eye. The only thing I don't do, which a lot of other writers do is have a soundtrack going, either in their story or as they’re writing playing in the background. I save that for the day I direct!


STEPH: Wicked interesting as to your thoughts. I tend to write in as a series of scenes as well.
*****

Thanks
Steph

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Featured November Author Interview - Chrystal Kincaid


I'd like to welcome author Chrystal Kincaid to the blog. Chrystal has a great release out this month called "Shut Up and Kiss Me" here at Desert Breeze.

Welcome, Chrystal

******

CHRYSTAL:
So this is what the DBP Blog Office looks like! Personally, I like the Richard Dean Anderson cut-out. It reminds me of the Flat-Daddies we see around Air Force base when our daddies are deployed. Very life-like. Very sexy. Wicked papercuts, though. In case I forget, big thanks to Stephanie for inviting me to interview this month! You know us Leos -- we rarely get enough opportunities to talk about ourselves. ;)

Steph: I have no doubt Gail would appreciate a RDA cut out for the office. Might make a nice Christmas gift...hint...hint...Santa...



STEPH: What's the #1 favorite romance book you've read?

CHRYSTAL
Hands down, my favorite romance is "Simply Irresistible" by Rachel Gibson. I read this book for the first time when I was 19 years old and I fell in love with her style and the easy way she makes me laugh out loud. Rachel Gibson's books also turned me on to Susan Elizabeth Phillips and both ladies possess a gift for pulling emotions from the reader in a way that inspires me everytime I turn the last page on one of their books.

STEPH: New authors for me to explore! I've never heard of these ladies.

STEPH:
Does your muse have a name? Tell me about your muse.

CHRYSTAL
My muse.. ahh.. Well. Just between us---she's a total flake. Half the time I'm completely on my own trying to figure out what to do next and then suddenly --- She's breezing in with her blonde highlights flying, sporting a faux tan and hogging all the attention. I call her Bitch for many reasons, but mostly because it suits her sassy, in-your-face attitude.

STEPH: Chuckles...



STEPH:
Have you ever tackled NaNoWriMo before? Tell me how it's going this year.

CHRYSTAL
Every year I think about it but this is the first year I have officially joined the fray. I was off to a magnificent start and was geared up for week two when life got in the way. I've fallen woefully behind but I will prevail!

STEPH: Hang in there. It's the first year I've tackled it, too. I'm keeping up, but gosh, it is very demanding!



STEPH
If you had to cast your characters who do you see as "Gillie" and "Jack" from 'Shut Up & Kiss Me'?

CHRYSTAL
I once read this article about building a collage of inspiration. I started by tearing pictures out of magazines that reminded me of the characters and the story. One day, I came across this awesome picture of Ashley Judd. She was sitting in a bubble bath with her hair in all these blond curliques, piled high on top of her head. She had this wide open, playful smile and she just looked so fun and guileless I thought "that's who I want Gillie to be." Jack was easier than that -- Guy Pearce's portrayal of Ed Exley in L.A. Confidential inspired Jack's exacting OCD and tortured desire for the wrong kind of girl.

STEPH: I love Guy Pierce! I am so there! I can't wait to read your book with Guy as the visual for Jack. hehe


STEPH
Do you watch Dancing with the Stars since you like dancing?

CHRYSTAL
I am more of an America's Best Dance Crew kind of girl. We rooted for the all-girl group, We Are Heroes, this season. We're all about girl power in our house! When I was a kid, I was drawn to performing in every way, shape, and form. I used to dance around the front porch and sing the theme song to Solid Gold and every year, we watched Grease and Grease 2 on television. My neighbor, Mandy Beeler, and I used to re-enact the Cool Rider scene and argue over who got to be Michelle Pfieffer.

STEPH: OMG! I LOVED Grease 2! When my son, Andrew was 2, he was really into all the singing and dancing. He loved "Back to Guools" and "The Bowling Song."


STEPH:
What inspired your novel, 'Shut Up & Kiss Me?"

CHRYSTAL
I'm often inspired by the weirdest, most random moments in my life. One winter morning, very early, I was driving on my commute to work. There was a man walking along the side of the road carrying a small child. It was cold -- well, chilly by Florida standards anyway -- and the child was wearing a pair of footie-pajamas and a jacket. I pulled over and gave the guy and his kid a ride to the next gas station. After they got out, I thought about where they were going and what they would do about their broken down car. By the time I got to work, the first chapter of 'Shut Up & Kiss Me' was in my head begging to get out.


STEPH
Edward or Jacob, from Twilight. Pick. Why?

CHRYSTAL
I am firmly on Team Edward! I have several reasons, none of which have to do with Robert Pattinson. Edward's character has had the opportunity to become a man with a man's passion. He took his time finding his mate and once he did, she was worth sacrificing everything. Jacob is young, immature and impulsive. He has a boy's heart and a boy's love. It was appropriate that he imprinted on an infant child because they will grow and mature together.

***
Thanks Chrystal for popping in. Next time I'll have the Richard Dean Anderson cutout handy, or should I throw up an Edward Poster? hehe

Good luck to you and your next project!