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 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:

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


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:

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!

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:
•Dried Beans
•Dried Blueberries

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.



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.



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..

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.

Who are your writing influences?

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.

Tell me about your muse.

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.

What do you like to sing?

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.

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

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!

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

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.

Can you give us a teaser for Miraculous Deception?

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

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

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.


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


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?

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.

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

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...

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

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!

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

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

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

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."

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

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.

Edward or Jacob, from Twilight. Pick. Why?

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!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Let's give a shout out to Gail Delany!

Just recently, Gail Delany, the Editor in Chief here at Desert Breeze was interviewed by the Examiner. (Out of Santa Ana, CA). I just had the opportunity to read it, (because let me tell it's been a HECTIC week, and I apologize for not reading it sooner!) and Gail does a wonderful job in the interview. That said I thought I'd share a few snipets from it and at the end of my blog entry, I'll have a link to the full article. If you get a get a chance, pop on over to it and read it.


You’ve recently launched a new publishing venture. What was your motivation?

Our main motivation in opening Desert Breeze Publishing was to offer a home for authors who didn't write erotica or erotica romance, and to offer one-stop-shopping for readers who prefer romance with less graphic sexuality.

There's no doubt that erotica is a huge seller. But, just as not all people who wear shoes want red stilettos, not all readers of romance want erotica.

What is unique about what you do?

Well, in an industry where most houses either publish one end of the spectrum or another, by offering books in a range of sensuality without erotica, we're a bit unique. But, we've also tried to be unique in how we relate to and take care of our authors and readers.

Having been in the industry for a few years before opening DBP, I knew what most publishers 'offered' their authors. We tried to take things a step further. While we have very specific standards for our cover art (basically, you won't find a bare chested man on any of them. In a sea of covers with bare chested men, more would just get lost), we also involve our authors. We ask them a lot of questions about their books and what they would like to have – and what they don't want – on their books. If the author isn't happy with the first cover, we try to find a compromise where everyone is happy. We want our cover art to be pertinent to the book, and not just cookie cutter romance.

What kind of submissions are you currently seeking?

As Editor-In-Chief, I'm personally excited about two genres that I've been 'pushing' for years now, but are just now being recognized as 'up and coming' genres. I want science fiction/futuristic romance where the science is well thought out, the stories are exceptionally well plotted, the stories are epic in proportion, but the romance is very real.

I also want 20th Century historical fiction. Books set between 1900 through the era of the Vietnam War. They can be set in the United States or Abroad, and can be set around any one of the many historical and world changing events of the last century. Or, they can just be a story set in another time.

Now, here is the totally off-writing subject question. What’s the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?

Other than opening a publishing company? HA HA HA

I'd have to say moving from New Hampshire to California in 2008 on just a smidge more than a whim. My husband and I were both born and raised in New England, and for years, that really seemed like the only place we ever intended to live. Then a few years ago, we came to California for a week to visit a friend. We absolutely fell in love with the area, the weather, everything.

STEPH: I'd thought I'd throw in a picture of Portsmouth, NH just for Gail here in case she might be a smidgen homesick? **Smiles**


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Reviews are in for "Three Hearts" by Sue Perkins

The Reviews are in for Sue Perkin's "Three Hearts." Sue's book was released in October and I thought I'd share these.

Travis Denton's arrival in New Zealand throws Darcy Farrell's life into turmoil. She's never met the man, so why does he dislike her so much?

Travis states he is the father of her eight year old niece Brooke. He initially tries to prove Darcy is an unsuitable guardian. His failure makes him more determined to get custody of the child and take her to America. Darcy is worried Travis might disappear overseas with the child. She makes a difficult decision. She must do what's best for Brooke.

Her choice brings her into close contact with Travis, which creates a problem when she becomes attracted to him!



"This book was a pleasure to read and I recommend it to all. It is light hearted and fun. It warms the heart. The happily-ever-after definitely presented some surprises."

Here's a link to the full review:



"This well-written tale will touch you and keep you engaged as these three characters interact in an entertaining unfolding of events."

Here's a link to the full review:

Monday, 16 November 2009

Featured November Release - Cooking by the Book

Cooking By the Book is a collection of recipes and excerpts inspired by some currently available and available soon novels published through Desert Breeze Publishing. Everything from breakfast to dessert!

"Cooking is like love... it should be entered into with abandon or not at all" ~ Harriet Van Horne - Vogue 1956

Download and enjoy! Pass it on. Tell a friend... and be sure to tell us what your favorite recipes end up being!


Just a few recipes you'll find...

Aunt May's Blueberry Muffins

The Gamble

By: Lyncee Shillard

Breakfast Enchiladas

Secrets of Old Santa Fe

By: Marion Kelley Bullock

Michael's Short Stack

The Phoenix Rebellion Book One: Revolution

By: Gail R. Delaney

Brunswick Stew

Laura Kate Plantation Series Book One: When Serpents Die

By: Gerrie Ferris

Chicken and Dumplings

Christmas Stranger

By: Marion Kelley Bullock

Easy Chicken Casserole

Whitney in Charge

By: Diane Craver

Fried Pork Chops

Pretend Mom

By: Rita Hestand

Grandma Frazier's Sausage and Beans

Christmas Stranger

By: Marion Kelley Bullock

Pelmini – Russian Dumplings

Winner Takes All

By: Sandra Sookoo


Angel with a Backhoe

By: Deborah Kinnard

Uncle Nicolo's Favorite Pizza

Tabor Heights, Ohio Series

By: Michelle Levigne

Cake for What Ails You

Listen With Your Heart

By: Barbara Scott

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

Marrying Mallory

By: Diane Craver

NOTE: I was going to include a Hungarian Pogasca receipe, but I couldn't cook it to my satisfication. I will have to work on that one.

The cookbook is free so DP Authors hope you enjoy!

Friday, 13 November 2009

7 Questions with Nov 09 Featured Author - Michelle Levigne

Hi, we've got a great interview today with Michelle Levigne who is the author of the "Tabor Heights" series published by Desert Breeze. Just a little bit about Michelle:

Michelle has been a book addict since picking up 'The Cat in the Hat'.

She started writing her own stories in junior high, when TV shows didn't turn out like she thought they should. Her first rejection letter came the summer after high school graduation, her first published story was in connection with fan fiction, and her first sale was in the Writers of the Future anthology.

With a BA in theater/English and an MA in Communications, focused on film and writing, she has worked for a local newspaper, then in advertising, and now works as a freelance editor. She is published in multiple sub-genres of romance, as well as SF and fantasy. Awards include being a finalist in the Dreamrealms and EPPIE competitions, with an EPPIE win in 2006.

Books by Michelle Levigne at Desert Breeze Publishing - All books are part of the Tabor Heights Inspirational Romance series.


#1 Does your muse have a name?

Honestly, I never really thought about it. If I do have a muse, it's an ensemble cast, not a single one. I like so many different things, play in so many different universes. It can't all come from one voice, can it? Hmm, which might say something for MY mental state, but anyway ... I think my inspiration and the sources for a lot of my stories aren't so much a muse as curiosity and a sense of wanting someone else's story to continue -- or knowing I can do better, or sensing a story should have turned out differently. I file away all the scraps and thoughts and images that come into my head, and somewhere along the line they sort of attract each other, or I realize that a character I wrote in a stand-alone story fits into another storyline, kind of like putting puzzles together. That's how some of my "universes" come together -- stand-alone stories and characters link together with only a little tweaking and end up making all of them stronger, more three-dimensional and solid.

#2 Do you cast your characters?

Sometimes. Like a lot of my writing friends, I use actors, especially the characters they've played in specific movies. For instance, in a SF story published quite a while ago, I cast Sean Connery as the space pirate/robber prince character. That helped me nail down how the character walked and talked. I called up images of him as Ramirez in the "Highlander" movies, and Bond (of course). A rogue, a charmer, but deadly. In my Tabor Heights stories, Nick Mancuso is the basis for Daniel Morgan in "The Second Time Around," and Vic, the reformed mobster/owner of Gold Tone Gym who appears in "Common Grounds." (Warning, Gail: Vic is the hero of a future romance, "The Teddy Bear Dancer," which was based on a script I wrote for the short-lived USA Network TV series "Matrix," starring Mancuso. Too much information? ) Then there's Carlo Vincente, Max Randolph's birth-father, who is definitely Ricardo Montalban, and Jim Burnes, who played Joe in the "Highlander" TV show, is Joel Randolph. Cane and all.

STEPH: You can cast Sean Connery as any of your characters I'll definately show up! hehe.

#3 I don't know much about your "Tabor Heights" series. Tell me more about it.

I wrote a handful of stand-alone books and then realized that "Hmmm, if I borrow this character and have her as a best friend in this story, then make reference to his problems here, and borrow the geography from this story and this character's past and ..." and suddenly I had a town! I think the first story I wrote was "Behind the Scenes," which is scheduled to come out in late 2010. Then I wrote "The Family Way," which is my next release, in February. Then "Firesong." By that time, I was creating the same characters and geography, just using different names. When I skewed things around and slapped them down into a local college town here in Northeast Ohio, and the surrounding suburbs, that's when it all came together. I just changed names to protect the innocent ... whoever they might be.

STEPH: This sounds really cool, Michelle. In a way, that's how I got hooked on Jillian Hunter's Boscastle series. She writes a story, then continues to mention the character in the next book in perfect context to what's happened before. I like stuff like this because you can keep up and feel like you're part of the town, too!

All the stories deal with people who are members of Tabor Christian Church. That's the common denominator, what brings most of the characters into contact with each other -- along with the local university. I have a big map on my wall that shows the street names and the locations of buildings and businesses, and I have a ring binder with printouts of calendars and all the events from the books that are either roughed or written or outlined noted, so I don't have conflicting events, and I don't have someone make a right onto a street that, according to another story, doesn't intersect the first street at all. For instance, Max is supposed to be working at the newspaper in the morning in one book, but she's Downtown Cleveland in another book, or even out of town in another. Or she gets from Homespun Theater to the Mission in five minutes of walking, when I've already established that the two buildings are five blocks away from each other. And it's fun making references to other people's stories in different books, giving hints to things that have happened or will happen.

Warning to the readers: The Tabor Heights stories are NOT being released in chronological order. That's part of why I include dates with most scenes -- to help you (and me) keep events straight!

#4 What inspired you to tackle an anthology?

I had four short stories written for Tabor Heights, and Gail was willing to put them together in one book. I write the stories to the length and complexity that fits the story and characters, then I worry about them fitting a format or market later!

#5 Do you have a favorite character from Tabor Heights?

Ask a mother if she has a favorite among her children! I have different characters that are my "special ones" for different reasons, depending on what I was going through when I wrote them. I have a special place in my heart for Max Randolph and Bekka Sanderson because they're writers, struggling with different issues, for instance.

STEPH: I know, it's not a fair question, is it?

#6 Do you have a favorite book you've written? Why?

See the answer above. It's hard to choose after this many books. I know the one I'm currently working on is "the" book, because it's my focus at that time. There's "Heir of Faxinor," which was my very first book ever contracted and published. There's "The Dreamer's Loom," which was a book of my heart and took 10 years from writing to publication. Besides the fact that I LOVE "The Odyssey" and Penelope's side of the story always fascinated me. And dozens of other reasons why other books are special to me.

#7 Congrats on your EPPIE win. For those who aren't familiar, what is the EPPIE and what did you win for.

The EPPIE (now changed to the EPIC Award) is the yearly award for excellence in electronic books given by EPIC, the Electronically Published Internet Connection --

I've had 8 books as finalists so far. My EPPIE win was for "Lorien," the 2nd book in my Faxinor Chronicles, a fantasy series. It got the EPPIE in 2006 for Inspirational.

STEPH: Thanks for the info, Michelle. Have fun in Tabor Heights!

My web site is:

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Reviews are in for "Angel with a Backhoe" by Deborah Kinnard


Diane Marshall knows loads -- live loads, dynamic loads, dead loads, all part of life as a construction manager. She's used to carrying hers, as a woman in a man's career. After her boyfriend fell hard for someone else, can her private load get any heavier?

In DeBrett, Paul Cameron funds the church renovation, so he's assigned to co-manage. Diane is stuck with adjusting to small town life and dealing with a widower who apparently wants a memorial to his lost wife. Paul is stuck working with a person who attracts him -- the last thing he wants.

Somehow this project will teach them to trust God in a whole new way. Now if they can only figure out how?


ANGEL WITH A BACKHOE was released in October 2009. Here some of the buzz:

4.5 Books
"Deborah Kinnard with her usual skill takes her characters and fires them with recognizable fears and failings. And then, as if that isn't enough she challenges them to search deeply and discover how much they trust their God. With equal skill she paints vivid scenes with every shade of word available, If I had any qualms it was with the occasional vagueness in her time-line, and Diane's return to work at the site the day following her operation."

Visit the review at:

4.5 Books

"This book by Deborah Kinnard was such a great read. It possessed all the elements needed to create a top seller—from one extreme to the other. This book was like a roller coaster ride of emotions. I laughed. I cried. I cried some more. The one thing I did not do was get bored! Her main characters possessed traits which definitely pulled at my heart strings. They had faced, and endured, so much heartache. Both had emotional baggage but were struggling to allow God to work things for their good."

Visit the full review at:

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Desert Breeze Author Shawna Williams blogs about Autumn

Perhaps it's the quiet that descends after the playful days of summer, and seems accentuated by the crunching leaves beneath our feet. Or the early setting of the sun, cool nights, and the smell of smoke escaping from a nearby chimney -- but something about autumn casts a mood that causes one to reflect. We gaze out onto the horizon, watching as the sun falls behind the colorful trees and take stock of our surroundings, the people in our lives; our blessings. We think about where we've been in life, and where we want to go.

My daughter took this picture just days ago, and it seems to say so much about the season. As I look at it, I'm reminded that just four short years ago we lived near the city, where life sped by at a much faster pace. The climate was sub-tropical, and everything went from green to dead within a month. I couldn't see the horizon for the house next door.

It's not my intention to disparage such a place. To some, it's perfection – or almost. And during our years there we made many wonderful friends. So I cherish those memories, but at the same time, I'm glad they are on the road behind me.
I'm filled with a sense of gratefulness for my family, friends and home. Living in such a beautiful place is a dream. There was a point in time when I thought that's all it would ever be. But right now I can walk out my back door and stand in the very spot where my daughter took this picture. I appreciate more because of where I've been.

As to where I'm going, I have plans. Whether I'll succeed in them, who knows, but I'm anxious to find out. I'll post a picture next autumn when I'm a little further down the road.

Cherish life's blessings and its lessons; and then look ahead.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

7 Questions for J Morgan, Author of "Love To Stake Another Day"

J. Morgan is the author of several books, his latest is "Love to Stake Another Day," which was released this November with Desert Breeze. Without any further ado... J Morgan.


First off I'd like to thank Stephanie and the whole crew at Desert Breeze for letting me stop by the palatial Blog offices today. Gail, the Double Stuf Oreo basket was a nice touch. Stephanie told me it was nice in here, but I didn't believe her. But wow! Who knew they had Stargate SG-1 sofa throws. The Richard Dean Anderson Stand-up is a little creepy but hey, the Oreos make up for it.

#1 When did your muse first whisper in your ear?

I wouldn't say she whispered. It was more like a great big yell. I must have gotten one from the pushy muse division. Ow, that hurt. Steph, remind me not to bring her with me to this interview thingies.

Back to the point I was trying to make—if somebody will stop Gibb's smacking me upside the back of the head—I think it was sometime in 2005 I decided the computer was more than a nefarious tool to buy books off Amazon. It was really my wife who suggested I write. She'd been writing for a year or so and I think it was to get me to stop from reading over her shoulder.

Steph: It's great you have your wife's support!

Since that first big yell, I've been writing more or less nonstop for the past 4 years. There's been some hiccups along the way, but I try to write at least a paragraph a day.

#2 When did you first start collecting comics? What have comics given your writing?

Comic Books! Yes that is drool dripping off my chin. This may date me but my first comic was issue 2 of the Six Million Dollar Man. I still have it by the way. If I carry my 2, and subtract 13, I think the answer would be since 1976.

Before anyone laughs, comic books are great tools to learn story telling from. They are mini movies that can last for a single story or over many issues. When I started writing I wanted to adapt that type of story telling to my writing. Each chapter is like an issue of a comic to me. It has a definite start and with the final sentence I either tie up that particular conflict or attempt to leave the reader waiting breathlessly for the new chapter with a cliffhanger if possible. To be perfectly honest my approach to writing is very theatrical. I want the reader to see in words the movie playing in my head.

Steph: Hey, I'm a collector along with J, and I happen to agree with him - comics are great tools to learn story telling from. My uncle Charlie used to work for a book distrutor in Vermont and he'd bring home piles of comics. I think I first got into the Flash when he was married to Iris and then she died. Along the way, I found my Uncle Bill's comic stash from the 1950's in the back room. Ah, but this isn't my interview, is it? Sorry J. Let's just say that you and I have the tin foil hats on when it comes to comics!

#3 What's your favorite Star Wars movie and why?

Ohhhh, tough question. I'd have to go with New Hope. That was the first movie to inspire my imagination. I'm going to stop here, because you would have a thousand page book on all the reasons I love Star Wars. Before I go, I will say this. Star Wars is the perfect example of good vs. evil and redemption.

Steph: Ditto, J! I would say New Hope as well. Tin foil hats again.

#4 What's your favorite genre to write?

Has to be comedy. I love to make people laugh. With everything that's going on in the world, I want to offer a tiny oasis of fun for people to escape to. My books tend to go paranormal but you write what you read.

Next year I'll be stepping outside my comedy comfort zone with Immortally Yours, my first urban fantasy. It does have the comedy elements I'm known for, but it is a little darker in tone than I normally write. As an author I like to explore all the worlds available to me. Romance offers that so much more than other genres. I think that's what so great about Romance. The readers are open to new things. I believe they honestly want more from their books than getting from point A to point B. They want to be surprised with the wonder of new worlds. I can't think of one other genre that allows its writers to push the envelope this way.

Steph: (smiles)

#5 Where did you find the inspiration for "Love To Stake Another Day?"

Gail. After she read Love at First Stake, she asked, so where do you see this going? That put me on the spot and made me think. I'd left L@1stS open to a sequel when I originally wrote it and pretty much had an idea of where I wanted to go but the minute she asked me, I saw something more than I had in my head. Love to Stake Another Day wouldn't be a sequel, it would be the next chapter in a continuing story. Then I knew I had my Star Wars in hand.

Think of LAFS as Episode 1 done right. L2SAD is the beginning of the trouble to come and Love Free Stake Hard, Book 3, we'll get deeper into the storm to come and some answers I brought up in LAFS that will shock you. Okay, I'm zipping my lips now before the teasers start flowing.

Steph: haha!

#6 What's the favorite book you've written? Why.

The one I'm working on now. Honestly that's the truth. All my books have a special place in my heart, but as an author I want to move forward and get better with each book. One day I may look back and say yeah that's the one, but I don't think I've found it yet. I'm afraid when I do, that will be the time to quit writing.

#7 Do you cast your characters?

To a certain extend I do. I try to plant a seed of personality in my main characters from those closest to me. I think when you do that it gives a certain depth you can't get from imagination alone. The only celebrity I cast in my head as a character was Rudolpho. The minute his name hit my brain, Crispin Glover slapped his face on him. he was so weirdly disturbed in Willard and Charlie's Angels, I couldn't imagine anyone else playing him in my mind as I wrote the book.

Before I leave, I'd like to thank Steph again for having me. She might think I didn't notice her snitching my Oreos while I wasn't looking, but I DID! I'll let it slide this time. Hey! Where did the bouncers come from? I'll be good. I promise. She can have all the cookies. I need to go on a diet anyway.

Folks, thanks for stopping by. Hope you had fun, but I really need to be going now. Stephanie, don't tazer me! I said you could have the basket.

Hey cool comic book effect.


Jmorgan ... Romance Straight from the Funny Bone

Love at First Stake
Desert Breeze Publishing

How Wicked-er Can She Go?
Lyrical Press


Thanks for poppin in, J!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Featured November Release - Crucifying Angel by PI Barrington


A serial killer with an unholy mission is unleashed on deteriorating sin city Las Vegas and LVPD Homicide Detectives Payce Halligan and her new partner, British ex-Deputy Chief Inspector begin a deadly cat and mouse game as each must deal with their own traumatic past and their evolving attraction.



The next tableau of death also sat eight stories up in another iron skeleton that was once a casino in utero. Again, the body of the victim hung upside down, crucified from two iron girders crossed into an X, the victim's ankles pierced and wired to the two top opposing ends of beams and body slashed in the identical locations. White linen cloths draped the body, reminiscent of Roman togas, did nothing to hide the degrading posture or the disrespect of the murderer, nor the fact that the desecrated body could be seen from the Strip below by pedestrians and passengers alike. Their curiosity peaked by the obvious attempt at hiding the crime scene with yellow police tarps that only made the scene more visible.

Gavin walked to the edge of the scaffold, gazing at the vistas of Las Vegas, trying to take in the wide, unending expanse of desert and make sense of the bizarre methods of death. Was there some message in the patterns known only to the killer and mattering only to him? Was there something he wanted to authorities to take notice of, something he was telling them? Or was it just the death-addicted actions of a homicide junkie?

This was the place for it. Las Vegas, sin city from its inception, was hot as hell literally and figuratively, was as barren and painfully garish and distorted as any lower floor of Hades. Even the populace on the streets below looked and lived like lost denizens of the Underworld.



P.I. Barrington has returned to her original career choice of fiction writing after a long detour in the entertainment industry. Her experience includes work as a newspaper journalist, radio air talent, and at a major record company. She lives in Southern California with her dog and wildlife in her rural neighborhood.

Books by P.I. Barrington at Desert Breeze Publishing:

Future Imperfect Book One: Crucifying Angel - Available November 2009

Future Imperfect Book Two: Miraculous Deception - Available June 2010



"Crucifying Angel is a great story. There is a lot of action and a nice set of clues and a deep mystery. I enjoyed the main characters Gavin and Payce as well as the cliffhanger. Readers, consider checking this book out! I’m looking forward to the next book in this stunning new suspense series."

Silvermage, Night Owl Romance Book Reviews

Rating = 4.25 Hearts

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Featured November Release - Seasons Anthology by Michelle Levigne


Four couples take a chance on love – a cop and a rec director, surrounded by a swimming pool of special needs kids; a corporate troubleshooter and one of his prime suspects, trying to unravel threats and lies before a business is ruined and someone gets hurt; a radio personality versus his alter ego, and the girl who might love them both; and the office good girl, ready to cave under nasty office politics, rescued by the new guy at work, who comes to her door because of a nasty trick played on them both. From summer to fall to the holidays, love blooms in Tabor Heights.



"It's just the uniform. You don't know anything about the guy inside the uniform. What if he's completely different in trunks, in the pool? What if he really doesn't like kids, it's a routine when he does the DARE program?" she muttered, and wished she had chosen ice cream for lunch. All that milk and sugar would have put her into a semi-coma for the afternoon and she wouldn't be panicking like this. "What were you doing, asking him to help with the swimming, just to spend more time with him? Do you really want a guy who can be caught by a bathing suit and glitter?" Trina swallowed hard to fight the flip-flop of sensations in her gut and chest. First a falling, heavy feeling that made it hard to breathe, then a butterfly, giddy trembling that stole her breath.

Either way, her brain was starved for oxygen.

"Breathe, you scheming vixen," she muttered, and burst out laughing in the middle of inhaling, so she almost collapsed and slid off her chair. "Okay," she scolded herself after she got her breath and her seat back. "You've been manufacturing reasons for months to be around Mike, to talk to him. Todd James just happens to be part of the package deal. Fine. He's a jerk and I don't know what Patty sees in him, but fine ¿ but at least he's a helpful jerk, even if he does half the things I really want Mike to do, because Patty is there and he wants to make points with her and... I know he doesn't like me, but maybe if I ask him to stop being so helpful and leave it all for Mike to do?"



Michelle has been a book addict since picking up 'The Cat in the Hat'.

She started writing her own stories in junior high, when TV shows didn't turn out like she thought they should. Her first rejection letter came the summer after high school graduation, her first published story was in connection with fan fiction, and her first sale was in the Writers of the Future anthology.

With a BA in theater/English and an MA in Communications, focused on film and writing, she has worked for a local newspaper, then in advertising, and now works as a freelance editor. She is published in multiple sub-genres of romance, as well as SF and fantasy. Awards include being a finalist in the Dreamrealms and EPPIE competitions, with an EPPIE win in 2006.

Books by Michelle Levigne at Desert Breeze Publishing - All books are part of the Tabor Heights Inspirational Romance series.

The Second Time Around - June 2009

Common Grounds - September 2009

Seasons - A Tabor Heights Holiday Anthology - November 2009

The Family Way - February 2010

A Quiet Place - May 2010

Detours - August 2010

Behind the Scenes - November 2010

Firesong - February 2011

Forgiven - May 2011

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Featured November Release - Love to Stake Another Day by J. Morgan

LOVE BITES, BOOK 2: Love to Stake Another Day.

Lyssette Ravell finds herself smack dab in the middle of a mess her brother started. When a new threat surfaces to threaten the Vampire/Human alliance recently set in place, she finds herself teamed with Kristain Marshall, who just so happens to be her almost brother-in-law.

Sent to rescue her brother Eli from the clutches of Rudolpho's daughter Valerious, Lyssette finds more than she bargained for. There's a traitor on the Vampire Council. Now, Lyssette must save her brother, root out this traitor and at the same time avoid at all cost falling in love with Kristain, the one man who could make her forget all the vows she's ever taken as an agent of the VCI.



"Let go of me!" It would have came out more assertive if the towel hadn't slipped and I had to scramble to make good on my promise not to show him the money again today.

Kristain pulled me into his rock hard chest, trapping me. "Not until I have my say."

I gave up trying to fight him. Not sure, but I thought my nipples were liking it entirely too much. "You've said enough."

"Maybe I have, but I've been saying it the wrong way. I'm attracted to you. More than attracted to you. Don't ask me what I mean by that, because hell if I know. I just know I can't get you out of my head and that makes me a little stupid around you when all I want is to be James Bond." He let me go and just walked away, leaving me semi-naked and confused. "So, if you want to leave, leave. I can understand why you would want to. I've been nothing more than a horse's ass since the first time we met."

I knew that touching moment would pop up sooner or later. "You're not always a horse's ass. Sometimes you're a cute buffoon."



Surviving a long bout with sanity, J. Morgan found a muse willing to work cheap and began work on his first book.

Since then, his imagination has been seen running wild on several occassions. Luckily, the straight jackets have been limited to his time away from the computer.

When not writing, 'Jmo' can be found in front of the TV pretending to write while really watching endless hours of drivel and laughing at the voices in his head who are constantly feeding him plotlines. While the voices may not be in total control just yet, one day they hope to have a book deal of their own.

Until the, J. Morgan will continue to get to spend the royalty checks.

Books by J. Morgan at Desert Breeze Publishing:

The Love Bites Series:

Love Bites Book One: Love at First Stake - April 2009

Love Bites Book Two: Love to Stake Another Day - November 2009

Love Bites Book Three: Love Free Stake Hard - June 2010

The Michelangelo Blues - July 2009

All Mama Wants for Christmas - a Desert Breeze Anthology - December 2010

Were Love Blooms - January 2010

While the Author is Away... An Anthology - April 2010

Immortally Yours - September 2010

Down on the Bayou Blues - November 2010

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Thoughts on Autumn by Deborah Kinnard

Desert Breeze author Deborah Kinnard shares her thoughts about autumn with us.


For some reason, I’ve never conceptualized time’s passage as a linear thing, but a circle. The dark, cold months of the year huddle at the “bottom.” We transition up in the spring, across the top in the summer, and back down the left side in the fall. Now’s the downward journey, but there’s so much excitement in going down! Isn’t the most thrilling part of roller coaster the part where you take that wild, shrieking plunge?

My bizarre time-viewpoint aside, autumn is time to retrench. We pull back from the fresh-fruit-and-salad menus of summer for a heartier table. I love squash, grilled corn, apples so crisp they fight back when bitten. Summer’s busy dash-and-go gives way to the closer-in activities of cooler weather. My kids hover a bit closer to the hearth, and I feel comfort in that they’re home early as the days grow short.

It’s time to find the gloves, hats and winter gear so joyfully abandoned in spring. This year, while pulling warm clothing from storage, my daughter Sarah and I found a needlepoint project of my mother’s. Mom’s been gone over twenty years. I never saw this small packet when I cleared away her things. She didn’t finish the needlepoint. I can’t say why. How long has it been sitting, waiting, for an autumn afternoon and four eager, untaught hands?

Sarah and I tackle the small Christmas projects. “Here, like this,” I say. “I think.” We experiment, laugh, pull out stitches that go curiously astray. After quite a few false starts, we finish the decorations Mom started so long ago.

Pass on the knowledge.

Close the circle.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Featured November Release - Shut Up and Kiss Me

Desert Breeze is proud to release Chrystal Kincaid's latest - "Shut Up and Kiss Me."


Miss “All-Wrong”…

Gillie Dupree, once the terror of her small, south Mississippi hometown, was now the respectable almost-fiancée of a wealthy businessman and a wanna-be Junior Leaguer. With days full of volunteer work and good deeds, Gillie was convinced she had finally escaped the stigma of Hurricane Gillie. But when she accidentally aids and abets a kidnapping, she realizes being a force to be reckoned with has its advantages.

Meets “Mister Always-Right”…

By the time Jack 'J.P.' Preston had everything he wanted, the only thing he truly desired was the return of his eight year old daughter. After Jack’s estranged ex-wife virtually disappears with Hope, he vows to get her back no matter what it takes---even if it means enlisting the help of sassy, smart-mouthed Gillie Dupree, who rocks his well-ordered, sensible world on its axis.



"We need to talk," he said and pushed past her into the sitting room.

"I didn't invite you in," Gillie replied, slamming the door. "Why did you even bother knocking?"

He turned with his hands propped on his hips by his thumb and forefinger. The name Jack definitely suited him better than Preston with his tall, darkly handsome good looks, five o'clock shadow and weary gaze. Jack was a man's name. Preston reminded her of the preppy blond boys in high school who wore v-neck sweaters and played on the tennis team.

"I have nothing to say to you. I told Detective Wilson all I could remember and now I'm going home." Preston looked around the room, his eyes scrutinizing every corner.

"I didn't take anything. It's all here." Annoyed, she went around him into the bedroom, back to attacking her suitcase. Now that the object of all her fury was in the room, she was less enthusiastic about taking it out on her cousin's cherry red luggage.

"I never thought you would steal from me," he said quietly. Preston followed her into the bedroom, stopping at the foot of the bed where he watched her.

Gillie braced her knee on the bed and leaned heavily on the suitcase lid. The zipper moved an inch then got stuck again, the stupid leather pants must have swelled in all this humidity. Growling, Gillie shoved her hair away from her face.



All Chrystal ever wanted to be as a kid was a Solid Gold Dancer.

Lack of musical rhythm aside, she found dibilitating stage fright to be an impossible stumbling block. While the glitz and gold of dancing on national television was not in her future, she managed to console herself in romance novels.

Chrystal lives a beach bum life in Florida with her handsome soldier husband and three amazing kids.

Books by Chrystal Kincaid at Desert Breeze Publishing:

I'll Do Anything - April 2009

Shut Up and Kiss Me - Available November 2009

All Mama Wants for Christmas - Available December 2009