Monday, 31 May 2010

Behind the Holiday, Memorial Day, By Stephanie Burkhart

Memorial Day has always meant something a little deeper for me. My grandfather served in World War II. My Uncle Harold also served in World War II in the European theatre. My husband's grandfather served in World War II in the Pacific Theatre in the Navy. I, myself, served in the Army between 1986-1997. I understand what it's like to give oneself up to protecting the concepts of freedom and democracy. It's personally rewarding but can also be very lonely. When I work on the Memorial Day holiday, I usually bring in my awards, decorations, pictures, coins, and MP Brassard to share with others. Being the military is not an easy life. Thank you to all who have served and who have had relatives who have served. Your sacrifices have not been in vain.

Memorial Day was originally called "Decoration Day," and was established as a day of rememberance for those who died in service to the U.S. Nation during the Civil War. It was first proclaimed on 5 May 1868 in Waterloo, NY. (Now, I have conflicting reports on the date, also given as 1866, most sources I've found, however, give the 1868 date.)

18th MP Bridage Patch

The south refused to recoginze it until World War I. In 1915, Moina Michael wrote a poem called "In Flander's Field" which inspired the idea of wearing red poppies on Memorial Day to honor those who died during "The Great War."

In 1971, Congress passed the Holiday Act moving Memorial Day from it's traditional observance of 30 May to the last Monday in May to make it a three day holiday weekend. It used to be known for parades, but nowadays few are held. This year, President Obama is visiting the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetary just outside of Chicago.

Being the military is not an easy life. Thank you to all who have served and who have had relatives who have served. Your sacrifices have not been in vain.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Reviews are in! The Hungarian by Stephanie Burkhart


Katherine Archibald is in search of a grand adventure. A young woman in late Victorian England, she wants to open up a book store in London and travel Europe hunting down rare books. Love isn't on her map.

Enter Matthias Duma. The Hungarian count captures Katherine's attention like no other man before him with his unusual gold-malachite eyes, his exotic features, and his command of the night sky.

After a night of intrigue during Katherine's birthday, she discovers the map does include love in the legend, but will the map lead her to Budapest and the dark, brooding Hungarian she's just met?


The Reviews:

5 Stars, Tami Dee, author of "The Mists of Time" series.

"Ms. Burkhart takes the reader though the intricate emotional ups and downs her hero and heroine go through, and the reader feels a since of accomplishment and joy as Matthias and Katherine grow and mature throughout the story, learning to trust one another completely."

5 Stars, Readers Favorites Book Reviews

"This book is extremely entertaining. The plot is sensual and romantic. Katherine and Mathias were together. This is the first book in a new series. I look forward to reading the next entry."

5 Stars. Stiggles, (Margaret Young, Reader) Amazon Review

"She brings history to life, from noble life in Victorian Era England, to the mystic, rural countryside of Hungary... This is a must-read for anyone who loves a good love-story with a twist. You won't be disappointed."

4 Stars, Regan Taylor, author of "The Photograph"

"If you can tear your gaze away from the hauntingly beautiful cover of Stephanie Burkhart's Budapest Moon long enough to read it you will find yourself lost in this wonderfully woven tale."

5 Stars, Celia Yeary, author of "Texas Promise"

"This brilliant, rich story is ... a touching love story between two passionate people who live in different worlds but come together to care for a child."

You can see "The Hungarian's" Amazon Reviews at:

Monday, 24 May 2010

The Reviews are in! No Other by Shawna K. Williams


In the aftermath of WWII all Jakob Wilheimer wants is to get over his pain, get on with life, and if at all possible, forgive those who've wronged his family -- including himself. But it's hard to do when there are constant reminders. One of them being his former schoolmate, now teacher, Meri Parker -- Miss Port Delamar Pearl, Mayor's daughter, Belle of the town -- Meri Parker.

After enduring the stigma and isolation associated with the internment camp, the awkwardness of going back to school should've been a cake walk. But Jakob didn't expect to find himself inexplicably drawn to Meri. Or to discover that the pain and loneliness of her life surpassed his own. She needed to be rescued from the wretched people seeking to control her life. And more than anything, he needed to be the one to save her.


5 Stars, Michelle Sutton, Author of "In Plain Sight"
This debut novel by author Shawna Williams took my breath away."

5 Stars, Diane Craver, Author of "Marrying Mallory"
"Shawna Williams brilliantly stirs profound emotions throughout No Other. It’s filled with wonderful drama, romance, and history."

5 Stars, Kate Heckenback
"I fell in love with Jakob and Meri. No sappy scenes, no corny lines--this book is about story."

4 Stars, Ruth Ann Nordin
"This was probably one of the most historically authentic books I've ever read, so the author has done a lot of research into the post-WWII time period."

5 Stars, K Dawn Byrd, Author of "Queen of Hearts"
"No Other" is the kind of book that will draw you in make you forget anything negative that's going on in the world as you succumb to the enjoyment of the story."

5 Stars, Jennifer Stephens, Reader
"Shawna K. Williams has succeeded in telling a heart-warming, and often heart-wrenching, story of love, compassion, acceptance and redemption."

You can see all of "No Other's" Reviews at:

Friday, 21 May 2010

What Memorial Day means to Desert Breeze Author K Dawn Byrd

Memorial Day is the United States holiday that commemorates the men and women who have died while in the military. WWII is near and dear to my heart because my grandfather fought for our country in this war. I am honored that he served, but also humbled. You see, he suffered from what they called "shell shock" and what we call PTSD for the rest of his life. He served, but it cost him and his immediate family dearly. Do we stop to think about how much those who have served have truly paid?

I enjoyed writing Queen of Hearts, the WWII era romantic suspense novel that released in April. My heroine, Daphne Dean, comes from a very patriotic family. So much so that she refuses to take her ex-boyfriend back when he becomes a draft dodger and a seller of black market goods. She could have taken advantage of the goods he sold. Heaven knows, she loves shoes, but she refuses to do so, knowing full well that items were rationed because the supplies were needed for soldiers.

Daphne, like most others, is tired of rationing and would like more meat, butter, and cheese. At one point, she's envious of a group of elderly women who have stockings, which are in short supply because the material is needed to manufacture parachutes. When the items are offered to her later by her ex-boyfriend, she voices her displeasure with him for racketeering.

This Memorial Day will be even more special to me after writing Queen of Hearts and becoming familiar with what people sacrificed in order to bring our boys home safely during WWII. I'd like to send out a personal "thank you" to everyone who has ever served or who is serving our wonderful country today. We are free because of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and may God bless you always.

"Queen of Hearts" is available at the Desert Breeze Website, Amazon for Kindle, All Romance Books and Books on Board.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

May Blog Contest - win PC's and a GC to Desert Breeze

Hi all!
This month I thought I'd offer a little something different and a blog contest. What do you have to do? All you have to do is post. Tell us what the latest Desert Breeze book is that you've read.

The contest will run from today until Friday, 21 May and I'll announce the winners on 22 MAY. What do you win?

Two poster will be selected to win a set of postcards with different Desert Breeze Covers and bookmarks. A "Grand" prize winner will be selected to win a $6.00 GC to Desert Breeze.

It promises to be a lot of fun so drop a line and post. Smiles, Moderator Steph

Friday, 14 May 2010

Featured Author Series - Michelle Levigne talks about Tabor Heights

Behind the Scenes in Tabor Heights, Ohio

Or should we say, the "back streets" of Tabor Heights, Ohio?

By Michelle Levigne

Is it fun, writing in the fictional town of Tabor Heights, Ohio, revisiting old friends and locations, seeing what else is happening in the lives of people we've met in other books?

Well, I guess that depends on your idea of "fun." Kind of like the ancient Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.

Being relatively intelligent, I submitted the most polished Tabor Heights novels to Desert Breeze first. The ones I had revised and edited and tweaked, multiple times. Right now there are five titles: The Second Times Around, Common Grounds, Seasons (A Tabor Heights anthology), The Family Way, and A Quiet Place.

That doesn't necessarily mean they're in chronological order – as those of you who've read them can testify! That's why days and dates are inserted throughout all the books: to help you keep track of who is where and when.

With the 6th Tabor Heights novel, my August 2010 release, Detours, we've come to a turning point in the series. And the awful realization that I've written myself into the proverbial corner!

The next four contracted titles – Detours, Behind the Scenes, Firesong, and Forgiven – are pretty much in first draft stage. Meaning these puppies need a lot of work. When I wrote the first drafts, I didn't pay much attention to what else was going on in town. For instance, when Behind the Scenes starts, Tony Martin is out of town. But in reading through the four books to prepare for the massive task of revisions and coordination … dang, but Tony shows up at a store and working at a daycare when he should be in California! This is contemporary, inspirational romance, folks, not science fiction. And no, he doesn't have a semi-evil twin who shows up to play games with people's minds.

Fortunately, I figured out a long time ago that if I'm writing overlapping stories set in one place, where characters "go visiting" from one book to another … I need a way to keep track of my cast of thousands. I have two important tools. The first is a map of the town, so I keep consistent with the names of streets and where people live, and where the various shops and municipal buildings are.

The second tool is a calendar system. I have a graphics program that I use for various promotional items like designing business cards or stickers or postcards …. And calendars!

When I was still in the embryonic stage with Tabor Heights, I printed out a month at a time and used a color-coding system for each book. That worked out fine until I had events happening in three books on the same day, there was no way I could fit notes for each book's key event into those little 2" x 1.5" blocks.

Now I have a ring binder with a week at a time printed out on the pages, and I have plenty of room to write the events of each book on each day.

Pretty spiffy, huh? Yeah, it works great if I REMEMBER to write down what happens in the book!

Now we come to the problem I mentioned earlier – writing myself into a corner. In The Second Time Around, the Randolphs were in an auto accident, and students at the university pitched in to help produce Taming of the Shrew on schedule. Bekka, our heroine in Detours, and her roommates, Kat and Amy pitch in to help because they're Joel Randolph's theater students.

Problem! Opening night is April 29. But several nights later, Lynette, the heroine of The Second Time Around, is in the girls' apartment, helping them make curtains. The girls can't be working behind stage at the theater if a published book already says they're home that night, fighting with an antique sewing machine. Plus, Shane, the hero of Detours, is also a theater student, and I have him working the lighting booth on opening night. There's no way he can take Bekka out on their first date on Saturday if he's working the play. And I can't just change the sequence of events because Bekka talks about the events leading up to their date in The Second Time Around.

How do I fix this problem? (Cue: Evil laughter) You'll just have to read the book, won't you?

Fortunately, thanks to my calendar system, I KNOW there's a conflict to write my way out of. Otherwise, I might not realize there's a problem that can't be speedily fixed with the evil-twin-visitor-from-a-parallel-dimension-cloning-machine-run-amock ploy that I might have used in another book.

Yeah, the calendar's a pain, but it's on the order of necessary surgery. It keeps me from embarrassing situations where a reader says, "You had Bekka working as the director's assistant in Detours, but in The Second Time Around she was sorting costumes and props in her apartment on the same night. What gives?"

And in the final analysis, the most important thing is not to hack off or confuse the reader. Right?

So if you have a series, especially a series where books overlap, keeping things organized is essential. (And it's handy to have a big supply of dark chocolate on hand to handle stress, and a backup box of hair dye to handle the evidence of that stress!)

Check out Detours in August, and Behind the Scenes in November, to see how I worked out these problems!

A Quiet Place can be found at the Desert Breeze Website, Link Above,
All eRomance Books
and Amazon for Kindle

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Featured Author Interview - Melanie Atkins author of Chosen Target

STEPH: Tell us a little about the New Orleans Detective series. What was the inspiration behind it? How many books do you have planned for the series?

MELANIE: I love New Orleans, hot cops, and intrigue...and because of my close proximity to The Big Easy, setting the series there was a no-brainer. It's the perfect backdrop for murder. The series, which is complete, contains six books. Beloved Captive, Book Four, will be released in October, with Unwilling Accomplice and Perfect Partner due out in 2011.

STEPH: What can we expect from "Chosen Target?"

MELANIE: Intense love scenes, mistrust, and the purest sense of the word. Think bombs and Mardi Gras.

STEPH: Why did you choose New Orleans for your setting?

MELANIE: Because I'm fascinated with the city. I live only three hours away, and I visit it often.

STEPH: When was the last time you were in New Orleans? Did you go for Mardi Gras? (If so, what did you love about Mardi Gras?)

MELANIE: That's a funny question. I've been to Mardi Gras in N.O. once, back when I was in college (a long, long time, but haven't been back since -- although I have been to celebrations on the Mississippi Coast and in Mobile. I have been to N.O. when they've had other parades, though, and those were fun. They have them all the time, and for the smaller ones the police don't even stop traffic. People crowd into the streets, and beads fly. It's a hoot!

STEPH: Do you cast your characters? If so, who is "Jadan?" "Cole?"

MELANIE: No, actually. I don't usually cast them. I get a picture of them in my head and go with that. Sorry to be so boring, but picturing celebrities just doesn't work for me. I need my characters to "be there own people", so to speak.

STEPH: Where do you find inspiration? Tell us a little about your muse.

MELANIE: My muse lately has been watching intriguing crime dramas. Watching good TV, reading books, and listening to music gets my motor running.

STEPH: What are some of your favorite crime dramas?

MELANIE: Castle (well, I guess that's more of a dramedy than a crime drama, but I seriously love that show), Law & Order SVU, In Plain Sight, Dexter, and Southland--which is probably the most accurate of the bunch when it comes to police procedure. I've never watched Criminal Minds, but I've heard good things about it and plan to watch all seasons on Netflix this summer while some of my favs are on hiatus. Might make the wait for the third season of Castle easier to take. lol

STEPH: Did you have to do research for this series? If so, what did you do?

MELANIE: I visited New Orleans (more than once), surfed the Internet, and consulted people in law enforcement.

STEPH: The cover to "Chosen Target" is gorgeous and very colorful! Did you have any input on the cover? How did the cover come to be?

MELANIE: Jenifer Raneiri, Desert Breeze Publishing's clever cover artist, came up with that cover on her own after reading my art sheet. I simply wrote "Mardi Gras", "danger" and "New Orleans", and she took it from there,

STEPH: How are the kitties doing? Do you have any new kitty stories you'd like to share?

MELANIE: My kitties are fine. They love this good weather. All three of them are indoor/outdoor cats, and they love to hunt. After last weekend's rainstorm, I discovered a disintegrating mouse on my back porch. They're always bringing their kills up to the house for me to see. *lol*

STEPH: What was the last book you read?

MELANIE: The Devil's Punchbowl by Greg Iles. He's a fellow Mississippi author who writes incredible suspense. The book kept me on the edge of my seat -- which is just the way I like it.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Featured Author, Shawna K. Williams is Learning about History through Historical Fiction

"No Other," my new release, is a 20thCentury historical romance. The story actually came to me in a dream, so in many ways I feel like it was given to me, more so than made up. There are certain things I've always know about this story because of the dream. I always knew my characters' names – though I played with variations on the spelling. I always knew that Meri was a little bit older than Jakob, and was his teacher by some odd circumstance. I also always knew the time period when the story took place, and that Jakob's family had endured hardship due to their heritage. What I didn't know was how all of these details fit together to form a complete story.
As I began to research the time period, many of these details found their place in the puzzle fairly quickly. For example, I discovered that a fair number of GI's quit school to serve in the war. Some turned eighteen early in their senior year. Some had been held back and were a year behind, and some lied about their age to join. When they returned there was the occasional circumstance of a school giving them a diploma for serving, but many had to finish the old-fashioned way. It made sense that if Jakob's life was somehow interrupted by the war, this would be the case for him too.

One aspect I wasn't satisfied with from the early draft was that discrimination alone counted for the hardship endured by Jakob's family. Whatever happened to them had to be extreme enough to necessitate his need to quit school, and since people of German decent are common in American society, discrimination from this alone didn't seem enough.

One night my husband and I were watching a documentary on the Japanese internment, and it hit me. Had citizens from other cultures associated with the Axis Powers during WWII faced anything similar? My answer was one Google search away. Yes.
Italian Americans and German Americans were both singled out. Because their ethnic appearance blended easily into American society , their discrimination was less frequent than that of Japanese Americans. But if they did find themselves under suspicion, it was harsher.

The internment process was different in that it was treated more like an arrest, complete with a trail. Though evidence in these trials often consisted of things like, a postcard from a relative still in Germany, speaking German where others could hear, or belonging to a German social club (these were clubs where the German culture – music, holidays and food, were the primary focus). These trials rarely resulted in a person being released. Once arrested, the citizen, and often their entire family, was taken to an internment camp. Some of these camps had facilities such as schools and hospitals, but they were surrounded by fifteen foot barbed wire fences, with guard towers stationed every fifty feet or so, and search lights roaming the area at night.

Also, the property of internees was confiscated and sold at auction, bank accounts frozen, and even upon release these things were not returned. The internees were made to sign papers of secrecy, with threat of imprisonment if they spoke of their experience. Many were also harassed for years after the war, with phone calls made from the FBI to employers and landlords.

One of the most disturbing things I learned while researching this topic was about a program called Repatriation. The offer was for volunteers to be released and returned to Germany in exchange for American citizens held abroad. Since many internees had no desire to return to Germany, and in fact feared it, this volunteer was unsuccessful, and soon coercion through various means was necessary to make Repatriation work. Sadly, those that were repatriated were often killed shortly upon return.

This is a dark time in American history, of that there is no doubt. And it's not my wish to make any political statement in conveying this knowledge. But what has surprised me, was that I never knew of any of this until I was 37 years old and took it upon myself to discover it. And as I've promoted my book, I've come across many other Americans, older than me – and some even alive during WWII -- that had no knowledge of this either.

I have many hopes for my book – to encourage, entertain, and hopefully move the reader emotionally in some way. But I also want it to educate. This is a piece of history that should not be lost. If you're curious about individual stories, this is the best place to look.

"No Other" is avail at Desert Breeze (link in the title)
All Romance Books, and Amazon for Kindle.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Character Interview - Katherine Archibald The Hungarian) talks to Madison Lee (Were Love Blooms)

Justine Cotsonas, inspiration for "Katherine Archibald."

Madison Lee (J Morgan in character) from "Were Love Blooms" visits the blog today to dish the fur with Katherine Archibald (Stephanie Burkhart in character) and talks about life, love, and doggie biscuits.


My name is Madison Lee and welcome to the Desert Breeze Blog.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure why I'm here but Stephanie Burkhart accosted me at the Niemen Marcus perfume counter and said I'd be perfect to host a blog about Women who love men who howl at the moon. Sounded kinda Jerry Springer to me but she offered me a Sephora gift bag if I'd do it. So here I am, as they say.

After reading Budapest Moon Book One: The Hungarian I knew only one person could fill the hot seat. So give a rousing round of applause for Katherine Archibald, a woman who went looking for a little adventure only to find herself embroiled in a romance with a man in wolf's clothing. Something I know a thing or two about. As my nana used to say, you lay down with dogs, you're bound to wake up with the mange. My nana was a little peculiar, as you probably guessed. I just hope it doesn't run in the family.

Madison: Katherine welcome to the blog. No dear, those aren't cookies. They're dog biscuits. I wasn't sure if you were bringing your better half along on not.

Katherine: Well, I kept him home. Last night was the full moon and he's "resting" before he has to transform again. We do have a dog, Joszef, so I'll take the biscuits.

Madison: Okay, but leave a few. I might get peckish. I forgot about the full moon. Anyway, let's get right to the point. Tell our audience how you met Matthias Duma. Don't leave out any of the juicies, either. It's ratings week and we need all the scandal we can get.

Katherine: Juicies? Yikes! I was in the library reading a book. No seriously, I was! And he walked in. Boy was he HOT. He was tall, muscular, thick hair, sparkling green-gold eyes. I almost melted into the seat! I thought he was undressing me with my eyes. We didn't kiss until a week later. Sigh.....

Madison: He probably was. Men are such perverts. So, he seduces you in the library. Did he make his move right away? Throw you against a stack of Barbara Courtlands and have his wicked way with you? Don't give me that look. We all know how those European men are.

Katherine: Well, he made it pretty obvious he only had eyes for me. Barbara Courtland? No, try Jane Austen. We didn't you know, ah, *blushing* make love until after we married.

Madison: I guess I'm the only one who made that mistake on my tour of Europe. When did realize that he was the ONE?

Katherine: Bless you, I was tempted, don't feel bad. At my birthday party. We walked into the gardens looking at the stars. He likes the stars, you know. He told me all about my zodiac sign. I melted. He knew all about me because he knew all about what it was like to be a Gemini. He was really into the zodiac and when I looked into his eyes, I knew right then and there that he believed in the things I did. He knew me on the inside.

Madison: Now, here's where things get sticky if you know what I mean. You're in love with the guy. There's no going back from it, and you're basically stuck. So, when did you find out his little secret and how did you react?

Katherine: Oh, yeah - I was totally in love with him. And then he tells me he's a werewolf. My mouth dropped to the FLOOR. No, make that my mouth dropped all the way to Budapest. **The** man I was in love with was a wolf! I was stunned. Shocked. Anyway, he did it when he proposed to me. Proposed to me!! "Katherine, I love you. Marry me. Oh, by the way I'm a werewolf." I told him I needed a week to think about it.

Madison: Least you got a chance to think about. I found out the hard way about Nicholi. By the way, he ran off and I got to howl at the moon for twelve months before he showed up. Back to you, sorry but that rant just won't go away. I'm sure it took longer than a week for the shock to wear off. What finally convinced you that he was worth all the flea dips and having to clean up all the wolf hair off the furniture once a month? Oh, any tips you can give in that department would be appreciated.

Katherine: Flea dip? I'll ask Resa, Matthias's witch. Well, Matthias didn't have a mother growing up. She died in childbirth. My mother died when I was five in a boating accident. I always wanted to belong to my "own" family and Matthias always wanted "his" own family since he was boy. It might be unconventional, but we both wanted a family. So what did a little fur matter in the long run?

Madison: Yeah, you can say that. You're not the one considering using duct tape for a bikini wax. Speaking of which, I'm due at Miss Mabelle's in an hour. Sorry to rush this along but before we go, is there any advice you can give to anyone out there contemplating dating a werewolf? Well, aside from the obvious answer of make sure he has all his shots.

Katherine: Make sure you have a healthy dose of courage. And don't get jealous when his witch rubs an aloe/camphor over his body to help him. It's not about her.

Madison: Sound advice for any relationship. Though the camphor thing kinda freaks me out.

I would like to thank Katherine for joining us today and urge everyone to rush out and get a copy of the The Hungarian. I won't say a pack of wolves will show up at your door if you don't, but why take the chance? Katherine, any last words for all the readers out there?

Jonathon Rhys-Meyers, inspiration for "Matthias Duma"

Katherine: It was great meeting you. If you're ever in Budapest, pop on into my bookstore and say Hi. I'll probably be drinking tea with my friend, Amelia Andrassy.

Madison: So, Katherine care to join me for a day at the spa? I'm sure I can get Mabelle to fit you in. one thing though, Mabelle can get a bit nosy. Everyone can't mind their own business like me.

Katherine: Oh, I'd love to join you at the spa. My curly hair can get a bit *wild* if you know what I mean.

Madison: Tell me about it. Any hoo, while we go get beautified, feel free to check out all the dazzling places you can find out about Katherine, Matthias and the incomparable Stephanie Burkhart. Come on girlfriend. After the salon, I know this place that serves the best jell-o shots this side of the Mason-Dixon line and they'll even let you slurp them straight off the waiters.


Book Trailer for "The Hungarian"

Buy Links: Desert Breeze Link in the Title

Amazon for Kindle:

Monday, 10 May 2010

Featured Author Interview with Gail Delaney on "Gaining Ground"

We're excited to have Gail here today on the blog to talk about "Gaining Ground," Book 3 in her Phoenix Rebellion Series.

Steph: Where did you find the inspiration for "The Phoenix Rebellion" series?

Gail: The Phoenix Rebellion came from various sources of inspiration, actually. I've told the story before, but after finishing another manuscript years ago (Watch Over Me), I found myself unable to really feel caught up in any new story idea I came up with. So, I played with fanfiction for awhile - specifically fanfic for the science fiction program 'Stargate: SG-1'. After doing that for nearly a year, my critique partners urged me (read here 'Got out the electrified cattle prods') to try my hand at writing science fiction.

As far as each relationship story arc within the series, they came from different points. The basic idea of Nick and Caitlin (a May/December relationship gone wrong -- but comes back together years later over a common cause) and Jace and Lilly (A soldier lost to the ravages of war to return years later without memory of his wife), were both concepts I'd attempted in the months when I couldn't find the right book. I adapted them from a modern contemporary setting to a futuristic one, and they worked great!

Victor and Beverly (Book II) came from the turning of thoughts after watching an episode of Stargate SG-1 in which one main character is committed when it's believed he's lost his mind -- in truth, his mind was being occupied by an alien entity. The idea grew from there.

Michael's story (Which is book IV and I don't want to give up too much. LOL) grew organically from the whole process of writing the series. When I began the series, Michael was just a character like anyone else. But, as I wrote, I realized he was the glue and driving force of the whole series. And as such, his 'story' had to be right for him. I had an idea for him going into the series, but ultimately it wasn't right and didn't work at all for him. The woman who becomes his match is perfect for him in that she's so unlike him, and that's why she works. (Stay tuned to Book IV- End Game -Coming in August).

Steph: What can we expect from Gaining Ground?

Gail: In Book I - Revolution - we thought Jace Quinn had died in the rescue mission to save Michael Tanner. At the end of Book II - Outcasts - the reader learns that Jace survived, but not much more. In Book III, Jace comes home. But, Jace is not the man who had disappeared nearly a year before. His memory is broken. He doesn't remember his name, and barely has any recollection of joining Phoenix years before. He has no memory at all of his wife -- Lily Quinn. As his wife, she is heartbroken that he doesn't look at her the way he once had. But, as his doctor, she knows he must let him return on his own.

Jace Quinn

Steph: I know you cast your characters, Gail. Who is Lilly? Jace?

Gail: Both Lilly and Jace came from model photos I found that I felt fit them. So, I don't have names... but I've attached the pictures.

Steph: Where do you find your sci-fi inspiration?

Gail: Partially from the programming and movies I enjoy watching, and actually partially from documentaries and programs I catch on television. I can't watch a program on the History Channel without getting ideas. There's a great series about what would happen to the world if all humans disappeared... I watch that and begin thinking "What if you were a space traveler and you found a world like that..."

Lilly Quinn

Steph: What are some of your favorite science fiction shows? Do you watch Caprica or the new Battlestar Galatica?

Gail: I actually didn't enjoy the new Battlestar Galactica (Don't tell JMo!), so I didn't even try out Caprica. I like Stargate SG-1, and not quite to the same degree, Stargate: Atlantis. I'm a fan of Doctor Who -- both Classic and the 'revived' Doctor Who (though I'm still withholding judgment on Matt Smith as the new Doctor). As Space Operas go, none will ever be better than Farscape. What an amazing mix of great writing, great cinematography, great story and a whole lot of romance! I haven't been caught up in any of the newer science fiction shows in SyFy Channel (Like Sanctuary or Stargate: Universe), but I am a huge fan of Fringe on Fox.

Steph: How many books are in "The Phoenix Rebellion" series?

Gail: In The Phoenix Rebellion there are 4 books: Revolution, Outcasts, Gaining Ground and End Game.

Steph: What's next for you, Gail? What should we expect in the future?

Gail: I have a few things on my plate, but haven't decided on which one to really dig into quite yet. I'm revising some older books for release next year, but as far as new projects I'm torn between a romantic suspense I've tentatively titled Beast and the sequel series to The Phoenix Rebellion - titled Phoenix Rising - which would consist of another four books. That series would pick up about a year after the conclusion of The Phoenix Rebellion, and would have a new cast of 'main' characters with many of the main people in The Phoenix Rebellion appearing again in secondary rolls..

Steph: What's the last movie you saw?

Gail: Cop Out with Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. Wait for the DVD, trust me... or... don't bother at all. It was 'okay', but I wouldn't be disappointed if I never saw it again.


Book Trailer for "The Phoenix Rebellion Series"

Gaining Ground is available on the Desert Breeze Website, All Romance Books and

Amazon for Kindle

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Desert Breeze Author Tina Pinson shares her thoughts on Motherhood

A Mother's Musings
By Tina Pinson

No one ever said Motherhood would be easy. Of course they never said it would touch your deepest emotions, enthrall and even scare you to death.

When the doctor told me I was pregnant, I waited for the punch-line. I'd just stopped birth control and believed it still had to work its way out of my system. Okay so I was rather naïve.

But I was… (gulp) Pregnant. The tests were right on, and my near fainting in the Coronado Bay Surf confirmed it.

Oh Lord.

With hubby in the navy, I got to spend a lot of quality time alone thinking about what being a mother entailed. Would I would be a good mother.

About then, I felt like I wasn't going to make it to the end of the pregnancy let alone motherhood. Morning sickness had me by the throat or should I say stomach and it wasn't letting go.

Let's not forget all the tests, and the weight gain and the tests and the weight gain. And the indigestion, and the tears and the … Did I say tests and weight gain yet?

I remember thinking this motherhood stuff wasn't all it was cracked up to be. So far anyway. Then my baby moved. Just a flutter and something was released in me. The awe, the reality, the love. I don't know how to explain it.

Now I was pregnant, it was more than a failed test. And I wanted everyone to know. So I bought shirts to proclaim my condition. And told anyone who would listen. Hubby and I chose names, and began to build the nest for our child.

The baby came, and strangely I was overwhelmed with this feeling of love, mingled with a sense of fear. Here was this child and I wondered if I was prepared to care for something so small, so fragile, so lovely. I was certain I was doomed for failure.

I'm sure many of you can share the feeling. Maybe some of you can't quite remember. So allow me to take you back. In honor of Mother's Day, let me walk you down paths of memory.

So there I was holding this child, this little boy, in my arms and nothing could mask the wonder of the warmth against my chest, or the heart beat that seemed to dance with my own.

Mother and Child
By Tina Pinson

You're so small, so soft, so full of life
And in need of my loving care.
As I cradle you close against my breast
You feel so warm and tender there.
Your eyes, so blue, don't see too clearly now,
But yet you seem to smile
As if you know these tears I cry, fall joyously,
From being blessed with you my child.
You're my first and I am amazed
At this miracle called birth,
To have you grow, move and live in me
Was the greatest thrill on earth.
From this day forward my little one
On you love and care I bestow.
I promise to be the best mother I can,
For Precious gift from God, I love you so.

Heavens to Murgatroid… I was a mommy. This little boy with a full halo of black hair. This little boy that fit into the niche of my womb, changed my world. And left me with a whole new set of responsibilities.

I had little rest. But who wanted to sleep when they could hold such a miracle. Yeah, that lasted for a day or so, then reality sat in. I was a mommy now.

And I had a child prodigy to care for. My child crawled early, started to talk early, started to walk early and he had even temperament. I had the perfect child, but of course, I was the perfect mother.

I could handle anything. But then, someone forgot to mention the wonders of Potty Training.

I'd stand my son up to the toilet, because he assured me he only had to Pee, and then he'd go Potty as well. UGH. So, the next time I sat him down and knelt before him to offer my encouragement… only to get fired upon from a stream of Pee escaping from under the toilet lid.

Why had no one given me rules?

Potty Training
By Tina Pinson

Rolls and Rolls of toilet paper
Have been strewn across the floor,

As mommy tries to potty train
Her child before he's four.

She's learned the game to play,
The one, hide, smell and seek.

She's thought of giving up
At least five days every week.

She the manual that tells,
"How to Potty Train in just One Day."

She drew the X at the bottom of the bowl,
But her child didn't want to play.

Patiently she tried the "Little" can
And the "Sink the Cheerios" too.

Yes, she tried every simple trick,
But nothing seems to do

So she sits each day, coaxing him.
"Please go potty for mommy," she implores.

Her child replies, "But I don't have to go."
Then smiles sheepishly, as he goes on the floor.

Well we finally got through that and moved on to other things. Like: Talking in full sentences, tying shoes, riding a tricycle.

Going to school.

I still remember how I walked my son to school and didn't want to let go of his hand. When he walked away, I stood there in stunned silence, tears streaming my cheeks, wondering how my son managed to get so big.

That was to be the first time of many such moments. And everyone of them left me awed.

He learned to write, learn math, and learned how to read. He started riding a two wheeled bike and wanting to go play with other friends.
The days passed and he was in first grade, second grade then third. He was every changing, ever growing.

My Son, My Son
By Tina Pinson

Gone are the days of squeaky toys
and the worn stuffed teddy bear.

My Son has grown, he older now,
my tiny baby is no longer there.

He longs to play foot ball and soccer,
he wants a baseball glove.

I just want to hold him, tightly in my arms,
and shower him with love

He'll come up and grab my waist.
Hugs are okay when no one sees.

I want time to finger his soft hair,
so I squeeze him close to me.

Tears fill my eyes as I miss the child,
who now stands four feet tall.

I know he'll continue growing
and will never again be small

But I'm reminded of how amazing it's been
just to watch him grow.

I know he's not my tiny baby now,
but I love him more than he'll ever know.

And suddenly he was off to high school and learning how to drive. He wanted to go on dates, and get a job. And mommy was looking for ways to keep time from moving so fast. There's no formula for that.

Time kept moving.

Pages of life kept turning. Being written upon and filled to turn again.
And just like someone had snapped their fingers, moments became hours and hours became days and days became years and soon my son was graduating.

My baby… that little boy I'd carried all those years ago was…

A Parent's Graduation Prayer
By Tina Pinson

Precious Son… Beloved to me,
I watch you walk away and I am filled with a sense of pride.
for the man you've become, the man you will be.
You've grown now, and you're heading off into a world to blaze that trail
To live your life.
Much has been accomplished in what seems too short of time.
I'm prouder than any parent could be.
But deep in my heart, in that sheltered place,
I feel as though someone has taken a knife and hollowed my soul.
I long to run after you, to continue this walk together,
But the path is only wide enough for you and one other.
and I know I am not the one who can walk it with you.
Nor the one who should
Oh, but all my senses cry out, begging me to run to your side,
take your hand in mine and never relinquish that hold.
But my feet are planted, and I stand silently in the shadows, weeping,
watching as you walk away.
My hands are limp and empty by my side.
Then in moments of sorrow, I look up and see who walks with you.
I look up and see, like me, you are sheltered under His arm.
Close to His heart. And He'll never let you walk alone.
And my hand, finding the strength to let you go,
Lifts with prayer for your tomorrows,
lifts with praise as I lay you in the hands of the only one who can carry you.
The one who always has.

I made it through graduation. Of course I was certain my son would live in the same town and I would continue to see him daily. Ha. He joined the Navy and was sent around the world. To places of unrest. I spent a lot of time on my knees in prayer.
I wanted that part of the journey over. I wanted my son home.
He wanted to get married.

I realize I've taken you on a pretty fast ride through the years of motherhood. But time would not permit the full run. And this is only a small part of the steps in my child's life. There are many more that have passed and are yet to come.
I want to encourage every mother out there to cherish the moments you have with your children. Take the time to make the memories cause time passes much too quickly.

Baby Steps
By Tina Pinson

I used to carry you, used to complain
at how heavy you were becoming.
So I sat you down and taught you to walk.

Baby Steps…
Look at you. When did you learn to walk so well?

I used to hold your hand. Or you held mine.
But a time soon came when you want to run.
So I let you go and watched you trot away.

Baby Steps…
When did you learn to run so fast?

I used to watch you play. You’d play close by.
But running gave way to bikes and bikes gave way to cars.
With a prayer, I handed you the keys and watched you drive away.

Baby Steps…
Where did that handsome young man come from?

I used to listen for the roar from your car's engine,
signaling your safe return home.
But you've moved away
Now I wait to hear your voice. I wait for you to call home

Baby Steps…
Oh that I could watch you toddling again.

I remember when I led you and you walked in my shadow.
When did your steps surpass mine?
When did your shadow become so long?

To every mother out there, to those who dream of the child they will have, to those who hold one in their arms even now, to those who with children at home and those with an empty nest.

I just want to say Happy Mother's Day. May you know blessing and honor.

If you would like to read more from Tina Pinson, her book In the Manor of the Ghost will be available June 2010. To read an excerpt go to www.desertbreezepublishing

Friday, 7 May 2010

Featured May Release - The Hungarian by Stephanie Burkhart

Desert Breeze congratulates Stephanie on her release!

The Blurb:

Katherine Archibald is in search of a grand adventure. A young woman in late Victorian England, she wants to open up a book store in London and travel Europe hunting down rare books. Love isn't on her map.

Enter Matthias Duma. The Hungarian count captures Katherine's attention like no other man before him with his unusual gold-malachite eyes, his exotic features, and his command of the night sky.

After a night of intrigue during Katherine's birthday, she discovers the map does include love in the legend, but will the map lead her to Budapest and the dark, brooding Hungarian she's just met?


His eyes drew her to him -- malachite green with a gold ring around the iris. Dynamic. Expressive. Even now, as he looked at her, they softened and grew translucent. He stopped in front of the window and casually threw his blazer onto a nearby chair as if he owned the room.

"Hello," he said.


"You're staring."

"I am? I thought you were staring at me."

He chuckled. "Perhaps I was admiring you."


"Who else is here?"

Katherine pursed her lips as her insides warmed from the deep silkiness of his voice. He smiled and walked to her chair, slowly gliding around it, tracing his finger over the leather headrest, skirting her curly hair.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"And who is inquiring?" She tried to sound cool and composed, but she had to fight the nervous temptation to play with her hands.

"Romeo, perhaps?"

"Then my name is Juliet."

A teasing smile graced his lips as he walked out from behind her chair and glanced at a bookshelf before turning to look at her again.

"Would you fall for Tristan?"

"Only if my name were Isolde."

About the Author:

Stephanie Burkhart was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. She received a B.S. in Political Science from California Baptist University in 1995. She served in U.S. Army from 1986-1997, spending seven years in Germany. Her interests include exploring European history and watching Dancing with the Stars. Stephanie lives in California and works for LAPD's Communications Division as a 911 Dispatcher. She's married with two young sons.


"The Hungarian" is available at the Desert Breeze Publishing Website, All Romance Books, and Amazon for Kindle.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Featured May Release - No Other by Shawna K. Williams

Desert Breeze congratulates Shawna Williams on her release!

The Blurb:

In the aftermath of WWII all Jakob Wilheimer wants is to get over his pain, get on with life, and if at all possible, forgive those who've wronged his family -- including himself. But it's hard to do when there are constant reminders. One of them being his former schoolmate, now teacher, Meri Parker -- Miss Port Delamar Pearl, Mayor's daughter, Belle of the town -- Meri Parker.

After enduring the stigma and isolation associated with the internment camp, the awkwardness of going back to school should've been a cake walk. But Jakob didn't expect to find himself inexplicably drawn to Meri. Or to discover that the pain and loneliness of her life surpassed his own. She needed to be rescued from the wretched people seeking to control her life. And more than anything, he needed to be the one to save her.



Meri looked at her plate with a sudden loss of appetite. Why did her parents intrude on every aspect of her life? She couldn't even enjoy a meal with a friend like Jakob.

She watched him tickle his niece. The infant's giggle burst from her tiny body, eliciting laughter from Jakob as though it were a reflex -- a natural response to Beth's purity of joy. Her mother would never appreciate Jakob's simplicity. As a matter-of-fact, she'd despise him for it. Images of Meri's mother smugly looking down her nose came to mind, clear and vivid. And her father? She tried to visualize but Jakob didn't seem to fare much better. It was more likely that her father wouldn't even acknowledge his existence.

As though they had the right to judge.

From deep within, a shady memory emerged. Meri could hear her mother screaming and cursing as glass shattered against the wall. She learned more about her family from her mother's temper tantrums than anything else.

A defiant smirk pulled at the corners of her lips. "Did I ever tell you what my dad did before he was mayor?"

"Wasn't he a lawyer?" Jakob said.


About the Author:

Shawna's writing journey started with a dream --- an actual, nighttime dream. The story within her dream captivated her to the point that she became obsessive, and in order to put together all the little details and fill in the gaps, she had to write it down. Now she has two books based upon it.

Shawna is an Inspirational Romance writer, who loves creating complex, flawed characters, believing that's the secret to making them real. And as an inspirational author, she is able to write about God's Grace through her characters' humanity. She also loves including a good dose of nostalgia in her work, which is why her stories tend to take place in small towns during the first half of the 20th century.

When she's not writing, she's spends her time with her husband and three children, reads, makes jewelry, and enjoys life on her family's ranch.


"No Other" is available at the Desert Breeze Website, All Romance Books, and Amazon for Kindle.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Featured May Release - Gaining Ground by Gail Delaney

Desert Breeze congrats Gail on her latest release.

The Blurb:

Lilly Quinn though she lost her husband Jace in the mission that brought Michael Tanner home. The mission that set into motion the revelation of the Areth's true face. She had reconciled herself with raising their baby alone.

But, miracles still happen and somehow Jace is back... at least his body is. His heart, his mind, is still trapped somewhere in the darkness of an Areth prison.

Somehow she has to find a way to awaken his heart again.

All the while the demon Areth breath hot and angry down Phoenix's neck... waiting to wipe them out along with the rest of the human race.



"How are you feeling?"

The soft voice was barely a whisper in the darkness, but Jace's entire body tensed painfully. He reached for a weapon he knew wasn't there, but barely made it off the pillow before his abused body crumpled with fatigue. Jace squinted, looking into the shadows of the room at the figure dressed in white and bathed in silver moonlight. Her hair looked white, falling to her shoulders and her skin pale and creamy.

She stepped directly into the shaft of moonlight coming through the window, a soft smile bowing her lips, and Jace realized he was smiling back. His head felt heavy and his eyes as if they were ricocheting in his sockets. What kind of drugs are they giving me?

"How are you feeling?" she asked again.

Either the drugs were fuddling with his head, or she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen... or, at least, could remember seeing.


Definitely the most beautiful... memory or not.


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.


Gaining Ground is available at the Desert Breeze Website, All Romance Books, and on Amazon for Kindle.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Featured May Release - Chosen Target by Melanie Atkins

Desert Breeze congratulates Melanie on her May release.

The Blurb:

Jadan Calloway’s latest night out on the town ends in the death of the man who charmed her off her feet. Now the people who killed Kent are after her, and the only man who can save her is Cole McAlister, the rugged, willful detective who believes she is behind his brother’s death. Together they become wrapped up in a web of terrorism and intrigue--and they fall in love.

An Excerpt:

New Orleans Police Investigative Unit Commander Cole McAlister slammed out of his car beside Jadan's Java and looked around. The city had changed since he'd left for his second stint in Iraq thirteen months ago. The flood after the hurricane had decimated the place, but citizens had rebuilt. This area around the UNO campus seemed to be thriving, with what looked like a bookstore going up next door to the coffee shop. The odors of paint and new lumber mingled with the enticing smell of freshly brewed java.

He shook off the jet lag still dogging him and approached Slade Montgomery, his good friend and most trusted detective, who stood near the coffee shop's glass door jotting notes in a small spiral notebook. "What've we got?"

Slade looked up. "An attempted murder."

"At least it's not another body." Murders were up again this month. Cole ducked beneath the yellow crime scene tape fluttering in the chilly breeze and stuck his hands in his pockets. Slade's mouth curved. "You might change your tune once you learn who almost took a bullet."

"Why would I do that?"

"It's Jadan Calloway."

Jadan. The woman who had been with Kent the night he'd died. Anger rose up to choke Cole. Kent had been his twin. His confidant. His best friend. He turned and peered through the metal-framed door. A pretty blonde woman sat at a table near the counter, her hands wrapped around a colorful mug as she stared blankly into space. Her slim beauty punched Cole like a fist to the gut.


About the Author:

Melanie Atkins a multi-published author of romantic suspense, a fan of crime dramas, and an avid reader. Writing is more than an escape for her -- it's a way of life. She grew up in the Deep South listening to tall tales and penning stories about her cats. Now she writes gripping stories of love, suspense, and mystery with the help of her furry little feline muses.

Chosen Target is available on Amazon for Kindle, All Romance Books, and at the Desert Breeze Website.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Featured May Release - A Quiet Place by Michelle Levigne

Desert Breeze congratulates Michelle on her latest release.

The Blurb:

Widowed and pregnant, Jeannette Marshall returned to Tabor Heights to start a new life, seeking a quiet place to lick her wounds.

Nathan Lewis loved Jeannette, but her heart was focused on raising her son, and he made himself be content acting as a favorite uncle to BJ. Then Jeannette's cruel in-laws invaded Tabor Heights, determined to take her son from her by any means possible, shattering her serenity.

When Nathan offered marriage to help in her legal battle, Jeannette realized she wanted more than sanctuary and a quiet life. As she fought to regain her faith and her peace, she dared to try for a real family for BJ, and real love for herself.

An Excerpt:

Still chuckling, she turned to face the gray-haired stranger stepping into the office. He leaned his closed, dripping umbrella against the counter.

"Welcome to Tabor Christian," she said, voice still bright and bubbling. "How can I help you?"

It wasn't her job to man the counter, in her position as Pastor Glenn's secretary and assistant to the financial officers, but everyone else on the office staff was at lunch. Jeannette didn't mind; Tabor Christian was her home and anchor.

"Yes, thanks," the man said as he tipped off his hat and shook it behind him to get rid of the last few drops. "My family is moving to Tabor and we're looking for a new church and--"

His mouth dropped open and a soft, indrawn gasp escaped him. His tan went two shades paler as he tried to speak and could only get his jaws to open and close a half dozen times.

Jeannette slowly set down her son's framed photo so she wouldn't drop it -- or clutch it so hard it broke. She clasped her hands and prayed wordlessly for strength.

Or that this would turn out to be just a bad dream.


About the Author:

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.


A Quiet Place is available at All Romance Books, Amazon for Kindle, and at Desert Breeze in the Above link.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Jen & Gail go to RT in Columbus, OH!

Hi all! Desert Breeze goes to RT! (Romantic Times Convention!) This year it was held in Columbus, OH. Gail Delaney, Editor in Chief, and Jenifer Ranieri, Desert Breeze Cover artist went to represent the company. Here are a couple of their photos! Above is Jen and Gail shortly after their arrival in Ohio.

This is Gail shopping for the big gift basket giveaway at RT.

This is Gail at the Desert Breeze Table at RT. Gail and Jen also went to a Fairy Ball as elementals and they got to meet several Mr. Romance Candiates.

Shell Bryce, winner of one of the Desert Breeze Gift bags.

Sign in if you went to RT and let us know how much fun you had.