Sunday, 31 October 2010

Author Introduction - Welcome Author Linda McMaken to the Desert Breeze Family

STEPH: Where did you grow up?

LINDA: I am a Midwest girl. Although my family DNA is in the South, and my heart is in the West.

I live with an amazing husband who can fix anything. Seriously, I've never broken anything the man can't fix. We've been married for 28 years and have two awesome daughters. The youngest was just married in August. She is a firefighter/paramedic and her hubby is a firefighter. My older daughter is getting married in December. Whew, it's been a long, but fun year. She is studying to be an EMT and her soon-to-be hubby is an EMT/Firefighter. Well, now I've got someone to put out all those kitchen fires!!! LOL

I have two "pound puppies" Hailey and Diesel. Diesel is featured on my blog very often. He is the source of much amusement. Hailey is now 14 years old and she snores while I write.

STEPH: Who were some of your favorite authors growing up?

LINDA: I loved John Jakes. I met him at a local library when I was a teenager and fell in love. He was older, cool, and a writer!

Thanks to my mom, I read lots of Louis L’amour, Zane Grey, Max Brand, and great mysteries from Nancy Drew, Mickey Spillane, and Clive Cussler.

STEPH: What genre do you write?

LINDA: I write romantic comedy. Although I have a thriller I’ve been playing around with and hope to have finished next year.

I’ve also been a freelance magazine writer for a number of years, and I am a scriptwriter for COS Productions. They create booktrailers for writers.

STEPH: You have an upcoming release with Desert Breeze. Can you tell us when, the title, and let us know what it's about?

LINDA: The title is Baer Truth. It is scheduled for release in August 2011. I’ll just give you the “short” back cover version.

Abby Clark, a vegetarian, punk rock back-up singer and city-slicker gets kicked off the band tour bus in the middle of nowhere. Wyoming! Stuck with nothing but a talent for cooking and the singing voice of an angel, she manages to disturb a very cranky, cold-hearted bear, um, Baer. Joe Baer, a sexy Wyoming beef rancher. He has a nasty ex-girlfriend, killer blue eyes, a ranch mortgage that’s due, and a past that even he never suspected.
Just when it looks like beef might be what’s for dinner, the “Earl of Country Music” steps into the picture. He’s a sexy country singing legend with a killer smile and connections that could launch a stellar-career for Abby.
Baer Truth, is a contemporary romantic comedy, following the three Baer brothers and their heartwarming family saga in Wyoming ranch land; where the men are always hungry, the women are bossy, tractors are just booby-traps lying in wait for city-girls and true love is just a Baer cave away!

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

LINDA: No. But a few of my friends do and oh, I covet them often!

STEPH: Do you have any other books that are available?

LINDA: Bear Truth will be my first published novel.

STEPH: Can you tell us a little about the state you live in?

LINDA: I live in the corn belt of Ohio. We have an awesome Great Lake, Erie; the country’s largest state fair, where butter sculptures are seriously a work of art. We are home to the United States Air Force Museum, which is an amazing place to visit. The Wright-B Flyer lives there as does Air Force One and everything in between. Oh, and we have the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland – Rock on!

STEPH: Just for fun: pick your favorite: Monet, Picasso, or Renoir?

LINDA: Monet, because I squint a lot, and need my glasses.

STEPH: Monet is my favorite, too! So, are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Have you done it in the past?

LINDA: No. As a working writer, with one of those annoying “real” world jobs, I have too many deadlines.

STEPH: Where can we find you on the web?

LINDA: I have a blog that right now acts as my webpage as well. . I’m also at the usual places like Facebook, and Twitter.

STEPH: Thanks for popping in, LInda. Have a Happy Halloween everyone.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Author Introduction - Meet AR Norris

STEPH: Amber, welcome to Desert Breeze. Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up?

AMBER: This is exciting! Thank you Steph. A little about myself…I live in the Northern California Bay Area with my husband, 4 kids, 2 dogs, and cat. Surrounding us are dozens of family members, vineyards, and Valley Mountains. Funny, I think my soul needs to be near mountains because I spent my childhood mostly in Colorado with the Rocky Mountains saying hello every morning from the West.

STEPH: Who were some of your favorite authors growing up?

AMBER: Oh boy! I loved to read from the first Dr. Seuss story so have a lot of favorites. Every week (sometimes twice) I’d run down to the second hand store and pick up an old, torn book. I do have my most influential author, H.G. Wells. He introduced me to the world of SF with the Time Machine. It blew my mind. After that I was picking up books from the likes of Robert Heinlin, Isaac Asimov. I then spread into horror and more speculative with authors like Stephen King.

STEPH: What genre do you write?

AMBER: My novels are SFR but my short stories usually end up being speculative fiction.

STEPH: You have an upcoming release with Desert Breeze. Can you tell us when, the title, and let us know what it's about?

AMBER: My debut novel, Duty and Devotion, will be released June 2011 through Desert Breeze.

Sisters Nettie and Rinny Matterville head off to war, discovering true love can be found even in a time of conflict. Nettie learns true love isn’t always obvious; sometimes it’s right in front of your face. Rinny learns that love at first site can and does happen, but the real challenge is keeping it.

STEPH; Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

AMBER: I just barely decided which one I want, so it's on my Christmas list. I have a huge ebook library through PDF format.

STEPH: Do you have any other books that are available?

AMBER: No other novels, but you can find my published short stories and free reads at my blog. I do have a trilogy coming out with Desert Breeze starting October 2011 through Spring 2012, titled The Telomere Trilogy.

STEPH: Can you tell us a little about the state you live in?

AMBER: Oh, could I! I'll try to keep it short. I live in the wonderful, diverse state of California. State budgets and political craziness aside, it's perfect. Specifically I live in the Northern California Bay Area of Napa. Right now it's harvest season in the Wine Country so many mornings the Valley has smelled like wine. For vacations, we love to hit up the rocky Northern Coastline. The wind gets so wild, you're never sure if California is trying to blow you out to sea or just showing off her might.

STEPH: Just for fun: pick your favorite: Monet, Picasso, or Renoir?

AMBER: I will respectively have to chose none of them. My favorite artist is Salvador Dali. He is the most amazing Surrealist I've ever come across.

STEPH: Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Have you done it in the past?

AMBER: This is my first year participating. I'll be using the goal to finish the first draft of the second book in the Telomere Trilogy, Echoes of Regret.

STEPH: Where can we find you on the web?

AMBER: I'd love for you all to drop by my blog, Adventures of a Sci-Fi Writer at:

Thank you so much for letting me come and hang out today, Steph.

STEPH: Thanks for popping in.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Author Spotlight week - Excerpt from Lawbreakers and Love Makers

Enjoy an excerpt from Toni's book, "Lawbreakers and Love Makers, today. In this scene, Zoe and the deputy, Jon, are just finishing a meal:

"Why don't you load those in the dishwasher while I dish up dessert?" Zoe said, moving a step further away.

Jon's eyes lit with anticipation. "Dessert?"

"Blackberry cobbler. I found a container of berries in the freezer and decided to put them to good use." From Jon's grin, he really liked dessert.

"When I was a kid we'd pick berries walking home from Lindo Lake, then talk Mom into making pie," he said.

Zoe dished up the treat, topped Jon's with a big scoop of ice cream, hers with a lot less, and filled two coffee cups. She followed Jon and the tempting aroma of fresh coffee outside, carrying the filled bowls.

"Dig in," she invited, serving him.

He did.

She adored watching a man enjoy something she'd cooked.

Jon said not one word until he'd scraped the last of the creamy syrup from his bowl, then looked up and grinned. "Unbelievable. If I come back, will there be enough left for tomorrow night?"

As if her heart had kicked its heels, Zoe's blood began surging through her veins. Was this Jon's way of making a date with her? Or just his way of assuring himself another serving of cobbler?

Either way, it was working. She gave him a quick nod.

"I can always make another. Dinner, too."

His eyes lit. "Don't go to any trouble..."

"I won't. I enjoy cooking."

"I'll get these," he said, and gathered the dessert bowls in his hands. "A woman who cooks as good as you do shouldn't be expected to clean up, too."

Yeah. His mother raised him right.

He loaded the dishwasher, filled both dispensers with detergent and turned it on, then dried his hands with a brisk air of finality that plainly said he was getting ready to leave. Suddenly, Zoe couldn't abide the thought of spending another long evening alone, even if Jon kicked her in the teeth again. She'd take the risk. She really needed company tonight.

"Want to watch a movie? Dad has On Demand."

"Mind if I take a rain-check? There's still all that--"

"Paper work. Yeah, I know."

"Oh, I almost forgot." He pulled a new looking lock from his pocket. "This is keyed like the Patricks' old lock. Here's your key back."

Warmed by his body, the key heated the palm of her hand.

Not a good idea, Zoe, letting your mind dwell on the contents of those pockets.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Author Spotlight week -Toni Noel shares her favorite authors

Author, Toni Noel

Make that favorite authors, please. I started out with Judith McNaught, Kathleen Woodiwiss, and LaVyrle Spence. I dearly loved Morning Glory, and yes, I like historicals. From those authors I moved on to Elizabeth Lowell, Sharon Sala and Mary Balogh. And then there is Susan Wiggs. She wrote the first book to bring tears to my eyes while I read.

Right here at Desert Breeze, I fell in love with the characters in No Other, by Shawna Williams. Great writing job, as is The Christmas Stranger by Marion Bullock, a story teller with heart. A family friend, Catherine Coulter's assistant, sent a book she'd personally autographed, my first. Now my shelves are filled with books by authors I have met. Debbie Macomber, Jan Karon and Linda Howard are my all time favorites, but Judy Duarte is coming on fast. Entertaining Angels and the sequel are inspirational books straight from Judy's heart. I like John Gresham, Tami Hoag and Amanda Quick for good mysteries, as well as Lisa Gardner, and anything written by John Sparks.

Now you have me wondering what makes a really great read, a story I keep thinking about long after I've closed the book? I have a problem remembering names, but have no problem recalling the heroine who healed a wounded hero's heart. Or a macho hero teaching a widow's son to ride a bike.

Karen Robards wrote a romantic suspense about a clueless mother hoping to get back in touch with her teenage daughter on a camping trip. They become separated from the group, are chased through the woods by bad guys with guns until the hero shows up and helps them escape. I dissolved most of a bottle of nitroglycerine tables under my tongue while reading that tension-filled book, but I wasn't about to put it down just because of a little chest pain.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Author Spotlight Week -Toni Noel shares her favorite movie

Dr. Zhivago is my favorite movie of all time, a love story lacking the happy ending of a true romance, as is The Bridges of Madison County. For me, the strong attraction of a married man to a beautiful woman or of a lonely married woman to an intriguing man represents the challenging conflicts an author hopes to create when he/she plots. Of course the scenery in these movies helps. I'm a retired accountant, and when the stress of year-end closing became too great, I'd mentally picture myself in the sleigh with Zhivago racing across snow-covered fields to some secret rendezvous. Aware of my fascination with the story, my husband gave me a music box with a well-dressed Russian couple ice-skating that plays "Somewhere My Love," my all time favorite song.

I consider myself a hopeless romantic. Love songs play from Boom boxes in every room, violins or piano solos. And yes, I'm a firm believer in fidelity. We've been married for fifty-eight years, but fooling around makes for a memorable story, especially when it's told on the big screen. I tried to read Dr. Zhivago and couldn't get past the first page, but I loved The Bridges of Madison County. All those photographs, I suppose. My husband and I are both photographers.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Author Spotlight Week -Toni Noel shares her passion for Romantic Suspense

For me reading a novel without a romance in it is like eating toast without jam. Just as the bread tastes flat, the book seems boring. I like to wonder will she get her man? And will they live long enough to catch the bad guys? For me, a good romance with a mysterious twist is like the icing on the cake. My two hours must be up. I'm hypoglycemic and have to eat every two hours, so it seems that at present all I can think about is food. But just let me get deeply involved in writing, whether the romance part or the suspense part, and I forget to eat. When my children were young, I stayed away from adult section of the library because I feared I'd get involved in a who-dun-it and burn the house down.

I never was a good cook, and the oft-repeated story of boiling eggs forgotten on my stove and exploding is not an exaggeration, but I diverse.

I once read about a well-known author who writes the necessary chapters of his mysteries, then shuffles the chapters around until he finds the best placement to tell the story. I don't think that's possible when a romance is part of the story. Writing romance requires a natural progression of events -- first look, first touch, hand to the head, etc, until the couple is fully and irrevocably involved, so writing a suspenseful story with a satisfying romance requires careful thought and planning. At least it does for me, but the resolution is so satisfying it is worth all the effort required.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Author Spotlight Week - Q&A with Toni Noel

I'd like to welcome Author Toni Noel to the blog this week for the spotlight. Toni's latest release is called "Law Breakers and Love Makers." Enjoy! Steph


STEPH: I don't know much about Law Breakers and Love Makers. Can you tell us a little about the book?

Here's a blurb:

Take one resolute wisp of a woman, one conscientious deputy, add some single-minded pets and a few crimes-in-progress and you have a situation that would be funny if the couple falling back in love was not so darn scared. Law Breakers and Love Makers takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride that starts when a house sitter accidentally sets off a silent alarm.

STEPH: What was the inspiration behind the book?

TONI: A lovely, rambling house in a secluded rural neighborhood inspired this novel. I visualized bad guys climbing the lower wall and approaching the house unobserved and when I got home from the party at that house started plotting a romantic suspense.

STEPH: I see that it's a romantic suspense. What attracts you to that genre?

TONI: I'm more of a suspense fan than mystery fan. I enjoy figuring out who-dun-it and sometimes being right. I guess you could say I like light mysteries, so that is what I write about, characters with a problem to solve, and very little violence.

STEPH: Do you have a series planned? What's next on the horizon for you?

TONI: No, so far I have no series planned, although the friends of the sexy business owner in Temp to Permanent, my June 1, 2011 release from Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc., would lend themselves nicely to a series. Who knows? There just might be a series in the works.

I've just signed another contract with Desert Breeze for the release of Decisive Moments, a dark romance, in time for Halloween, 2011. I don't usually write about dark heroes, but I frequently write about ghosts, and as long my hero and heroine find a safe haven for their hearts in the end I'm pleased, and in this novel they do.

STEPH: Do you have a certain process to develop your characters? Do you cast your characters? If so who are the leads?

TONI: Not always with movie stars, but yes, I do cast the characters for my novels because I like to have a firm image of each one in my mind. Michelle Piper and a younger George Clooney were the models for Zoe and Jon. Her sweetly innocent look was exactly the image I wanted for my quirky heroine.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write Law Breakers and Love Makers?

TONI: Six weeks. Once the writing started, the words just came pouring out because my characters took over the writing and I had no choice but to go along for the ride. As for Boomer and Pete, the friendly dog and talkative parrot, I had no idea they were going to show up on about page eleven and steal the scene. I'd stop writing each night, exhausted, but anxious to see what the next day would bring.

I did lots of revision once I'd typed "The End," but I didn't change much in their scenes, since those pets hadn't tried to take over my love scenes.

STEPH: Do you have any hobbies you'd like to share with us?

TONI: I did a lot of gardening before promoting my books took over my life, but I don't want to change a thing, unless it's to have my gardener come more often. I hired him and a cleaning woman when I developed that deep vein thrombosis and had to keep my leg elevated for the better part of a year.

We like to camp, and I knit while watching football more than I should. And you say one of my hobbies is avoiding the kitchen until after we eat. Since his first retirement, my husband has become a very good gourmet cook. Not me. Our now-deceased dog used to hide when my husband went out of town and left me to cook.

STEPH: It's paranormal month. What are you going to be for Halloween?

TONI: The door-opener for the trick-or-treaters who ring our bell. I have a "wrong-way-witch on my security door and hide behind it to pass out treats. My pleasure comes from seeing the imaginative costumes of the little ones. Even the babies in strollers are in costume, and parents bring children in cars to scare the residents of my street.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Borealis Week - Character Interviews

Today we've got PI Barrington, Gail Delaney, and J. Morgan in character for some interviews. We hope you've enjoyed Borealis Week here at the Blog. Feel free to join us next week as we spotlight author Toni Noel!

Inspiration for KHAI ZAFARA (Evangeline Lilly)


#1 - What do you think of the Borealis?

I grew up there thinking it was the end all and be all of fulfillment in life. I loved and respected my father who devoted his life to his military career in the TPP and I just assumed I would follow his footsteps and I did but not for those reasons. When he was murdered joining the TPP became less of a career and more of an obsession – actually completely an obsession – to exact revenge upon those who killed him. I had little time to indulge in activities outside my TPP duties, I didn't shop the bazaars for anything other than necessities, didn't visit the bars. And I'd only been to the upper luxury levels when duty called for it. As I said, the TPP was my life.

#2 - Did you think Teyrnan was just going to be another prisoner transport?

That's an understatement! I should have known he'd be a major problem from the second I removed him from his cell! He was trying stupid tricks to make things difficult for me rather than trying to get away which was more disconcerting than if he'd actually tried to escape! The worst part though, was that he was laughing at me, just mocking me and that infuriated me, causing me to make idiotic mistakes I normally wouldn't have made. He shook me up just by being physically close to me when other prisoners were barely human in my mind.

#3 - How did you feel once you learned the TPP descripted you?

Utterly shocked and betrayed. Consciously I couldn't believe they would do that to their own, but I think deep down I knew the TPP was capable of anything and just refused to acknowledge it. That was another reason Teyrnan was able to upset things, my faith in the TPP was already on shaky ground and he kept hitting on all those sensitive frail points of my belief in it.

#4 - What's in store for you now that you've left the TPP?
It's all wide open at this point. I just know that we'll be together regardless what happens. I'm also sure that I'll be running from the law so to speak, I'll be a fugitive from the TPP myself, just as is everyone in the Rebellion. I'm still a little nervous about whether the Rebellion will accept me on Teyrnan's word but I have to take it on trust at this point. Either way, I'll be happy just to be with him. I couldn't ever leave his side, ever!

#5 - What did you feel when you first kissed Teyrnan?
That kiss was magnetic and a rush of emotion at the same time. I never wanted it to stop. It made me hungry for more. It was just so…right, so meant to be and so safe. Not to mention the physical intensity. It sort of rocked my world though I wouldn't admit it at the time, lol!


Inspiration for Theron Kess (Oliver Hudson)

#1 - How long have you been a mercenary?

I left Andromeda Prime when I was 14, hoping to find a way to take care of my mother and baby brother after my father left. I wasn't very good at it, until Rufus Pappa found me and pretty much saved me from starvation. For ten years, I was his apprentice while he taught me everything I needed to know about the 'ship for hire' trade. Call that mercenary if you want, but at the time I called it a living. I've been on my own for about ten years now, but I attribute everything I know to Ruff in one way or another.

#2 - Why did you accept the job to get Princess Sarina off Borealis?

I went to King Saron, pledging my oath that I would bring Sarina home to him. What else could I do? The Laroux family took Elijah and my mother in, made them family, and took care of my brother after Mama died. I owe them so much more than I could ever repay. Bringing Sarina home safe was just a down payment.

#3 - How did Sarina break through your defenses?

Honesty with oneself and honesty with The Greater Power is one of the tenants of my 'current' occupation. Sarina didn't have to break through. She was already there. The first time I saw Sarina, she was in the palace kitchen, talking with my mother and helping my brother make hosta seed sweet biscuits. Eli was covered in flour and she patted it out of his hair, laughing and smiling with them both. I didn't even know she was 'Princess Sarina', I thought she was another girl who helped in the kitchen. But, I remember she was beautiful. It wasn't until years later, when I saw her stand with King Saron at my mother's funeral, that I knew who she was. If anything, I cared for her all the more.

I wanted to believe that, after so many years of living only for myself, she would have no affect on me. It didn't take long at all for me to know that was just a lie I told myself. We both had changed, but her soul was still that young princess baking sweet biscuits with my mother and brother.

#4 - Are you guys planning on children?

* chuckles * I am quite sure that answer varies slightly between us. There is nothing I would cherish more than to have a child -- or children -- with Sarina. And while I know she wants children as well, she is a soldier. The two halves of her soul are often in conflict. Perhaps when the TPP has been beaten back in this quadrant, we can talk about it more.

#5 - How has life changed since you became a Shepherd?

It is much more peaceful. One might not believe that, considering the fact that Sarina and I live in a Rebellion war camp that could be attacked at any time. We are equipped to move at a moment's notice, and while I no longer carry a weapon, Veruca is never far away. But, when you consider the fact that I spent 10 sol years running from 'somewhere', running to 'somewhere', and dodging pulse blasts, waking up each morning with my wife beside me is the greatest peace I could ever know.


Inspiration for The Professor (Kate Beckinsale)

1 - How did the Professor come to settle on The Borealis?

Blind luck to tell you the truth. My former base had been compromised in an attack and I was forced to move. All things considered, I been stationed at locations a whole lot worse, but not by much.

#2 - What's the worst part of the Borealis?

Take your pick, but if I had to say one thing it would be the total lack of decent vintage Old Earth vids. I've been jonzing to watching a classic from the master of romantic teen comedies, John Hughes. So, if anyone can bootleg me a copy of Sixteen Candles, I've got a mountain of creds to slap in your account.

#3 - What's the thing you like the most about Kate?

His honorable nature and the view from behind.

#4 - Are you looking forward to life after the Borealis?

It sure ain't meeting my future in-laws. They sound like total sticks in the muds, but for the chance to spend the rest of my life with Kate, I guess I can put up with them. Besides, it might be fun to see how the other half lives and make them squirm every time they see me walk into the room. Okay, that's what I'm looking forward to the most.

#5 - What's your favorite indulgence?

Kate's view from behind.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Borealis Week - What inspires your Sci-Fi

Today the Borealis authors talk about what's inspired their sci-fi. Enjoy!


My greatest science fiction influences were my first influences. When I was in elementary school, Star Trek was in syndication and an episode ran every day at four. I would watch the clock all the way home on the bus, jump out of my seat and run up my driveway just to make sure I got home in time. I kept a Captain's Log, just like Captain Kirk. And by far, Mr. Spock was my favorite Starfleet officer. Something about him "fascinated" me (Trekkies will get that. LOL), and it wasn't until years later that it was his pure sarcasm that drew me. Yes, Mr. Spock is frelling hilarious (a mix of sci fi fandoms there, but I don't care!) if you speak sarcasm as fluently as I do.

My other great science fiction influence was the Star Wars movies. Star Wars: A New Hope was released when I was in elementary school, but I never saw it until it was released on VHS. On the last day of school in fourth grade, my teacher wheeled in the big television cart and played Star Wars. I freely admit that my interest in Star Wars also stemmed from the itty bitty crush I had on Peter Cummings, a boy in my class who loved Star Wars. ☺ The first time I watched it, I may have been looking for Peter's attention, but once I saw it... I was hooked. My crush switched from Peter Cummings to Han Solo.

Sorry, Peter.

As I got older, I was up for watching just about anything science fiction. In junior high, one of my friends told me I should watch Doctor Who on PBS. Instead of rushing home Monday through Friday to watch Star Trek, now I watched Doctor Who on Sunday afternoons.

All three influences are with me still today.


Wow. It's been so long since I've read anything that I need to have a moment to think! Let's see. Harlan Ellison was a big influence or maybe just the most memorable, lol! Poul Anderson, Michael Crichton was a biggie and of course the biggest of them all for me – Ray Bradbury whom I've had the pleasure to meet twice. I've also found a writer and book that I really like, Ann Benson's "The Plague Tales". She has superb logic to her technology and makes the images come alive. The book was published in 1997 but I've only acquired it in the last four or five years. I think most of these authors (excepting Anderson) really write what I like and that's 'near future' science fiction. Of course a space station or two doesn’t hurt (I'm thinking of you Borealis, lol!) as long as we retain our humanity in it. I've read things that remove people from being people and that is just uninteresting to me. Oh, yeah and I've read a couple of Star Wars anthologies (there it is again!) which were great and some of them actually hilarious intentionally. One of the stories used anthropomorphism to give a robot (android) bounty hunter a point of view and human-like reactions which was difficult to pull successfully but the author did and I think I remember a Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk outwitted an android precisely because he did not do the logical thing, but the illogical and most especially unpredictable (to the android) that humans are capable of due to the fact we don't have a set of carved in circuitry with only prime objectives (oh yeah Robocop). In other words we can deviate from the programming that machines cannot. That makes good sci-fi.


I think my influences started with reading novels based on the shows and movies I loved. Namely, Star Wars and Star Trek. It always goes back to Star Wars doesn't it? Whatever the case, from those fevered continuations, I discovered real SciFi. The first two authors and their works that I can remember having an impact on me were Anne McCaffrey's Pern series and Christopher Stasheff's Warlock books. The blend of fantasy and SciFi just amazed me. Before them, I didn't know you could have two things in one book, but McCaffrey and Stasheff did it so well you couldn't help but be drawn in by it. As I grew older, I discovered Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven and a host of other authors that did more than introduce me to new worlds. They opened my mind to thinking. To me that is the heart of a good book, it forces you to access what you know and consider all the possibilities that could unfold. Those authors gave that to me.

But, my two greatest influences in Sci Fi were Robert Asprin and Douglas Addams. If you've never read these two amazing authors shame on you. They were the first to teach me a valuable lesson. Science Fiction could be funny. The minute a friend dumped Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe into my lap, my brain was forever perverted to the funny side. I found Asprin earlier with his Myth Adventures, but he jumped into Sci Fi with a small tome by the name of Phule's Company. Yes, I posted the titles so you could run out and check them out. Really, you should check out all the authors I jotted down. They are amazing and not to sound threatening but if you don't, I've got a werewolf and a vampire slayer on the payroll. Do you really want them showing up with Conan the Librarian to make you? I thought not.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Borealis Week - What's your favorite Sci-Fi movie or TV series/

Hi everyone, today on the blog the Borealis authors talk about their favorite science fiction series. What's yours? Enjoy!

This was actually a very tough choice to make. Every science fiction program I've watched I've loved for a different reason. So, I'm going to cheat on the answer and tell you why I loved each one that I loved. I'm skipping Star Trek because that's a topic for another post.

Because science fiction can be in outer space, can be the future, can be here and now... my favorites vary just as much. My favorite science fiction program of all time is Farscape, which falls under the category of a Space Opera. Space Operas are a subgenre of speculative fiction that emphasizes romance, dramatic adventures, set mainly or entirely in space, with power elements of good and evil. And that's Farscape in a nutshell. Inspired by the creative mind of Jim Henson by way of his son, Farscape is one of the best romantic stories set within the parameters of a television series I've ever watched. In fact, my children and I are watching it through from beginning to end on DVD.

After Farscape, I would have to go with Stargate SG-1. I loved that SG-1 was set in the here and now, right here on Earth, but we had the technology to jump wormholes to other worlds, other galaxies. And of course, being a lover of romance, I loved the dynamics between Colonel Jack O'Neill and his second in command, Samantha Carter. Unlike Farscape where the romance was allowed to play out to its full potential, SG-1 was restrained. In the words of Jack O'Neill, when forced to admit his affection for his 2IC, he said, "I care about her. A lot more than I'm supposed to." As her commanding officer, regulations prevented them from openly admitting how they felt. But, oh, the fanfiction those two inspired!

I could keep going, but I've run out of word count. ☺


Star Wars. In my opinion that first movie shattered everything before it as well as influenced the designs of our actual space transportation. I watched it recently and while now it looks a little dated, so much of the design of our technology that exists today smack of that movie. We can look at Princess Leia's cinnamon bun hair style and laugh but to me at least our Space Shuttle design is really close to what Star Wars introduced. Prior to that movie, our space travel vehicles were phallic looking pointed rockets. Star Wars changed all that with sleeker, prettier fighters and space stations. And they were inventing film technology as they went using miniatures that blew away effects masters like Ray Harryhausen. Those miniatures changed film-sci-fi film-into the most amazingly realistic efforts that nothing, not even CG (with the exception of WETA) has affected and changed sci-fi as much. I actually ducked in the theatre when SW opens up and the giant white ship appears to travel over the audience after the narrative. That moment just blew me away like nothing else could. Body armor, blasters, and Bespin along with Darth Vader's man/machine combination (while not a new concept, the best attempt at it) are now called "sexy" technology but they were so beautiful and possible that it took away one of my big pet peeves: the suits/technology becomes the character as opposed to enhancing the character: if a suit or machine can do everything, who needs a protagonist?

For me Star Wars cannot be topped for innovation in both film and sci fi genre. It's gonna take something big to top that!


Star Wars is the ever loving bomb! No other movie has influenced me more. I can still remember going to the Rose Theater, an impressionable boy of eight, and seeing it. From that moment on I wanted to be Darth Vader. Still do in fact or Boba Fett. Darth Maul is pretty awesome too. Yes, I am a student of the Dark Side. My love for science fiction didn't start with Star Wars but it did bloom into an obsession that I haven't been able to shake with it. The first movie to capture my interest was Planet of the Apes, along with a TV addiction to Lost in Space. I so loved Angela Cartwright. But, Star Wars affected me on a level, I'm sure I even understand. Maybe it was the battle between good and evil, or the story of redemption that got me. Whatever the case, every book I've ever written has some homage to the love of my life. As I write this, the Duel of the Fates is playing in my head.

That isn't to say, over the years I haven't dabbled in other venues. Battlestar Galactica, both old and new, Doctor Who, Tom Bakker being the best of them, Red Dwarf, Star Trek, every incarnation but Enterprise . See, the list goes on and on. That is the thing with Science Fiction, once you get started you just can't stop. You're like a junkie looking for your next fix. Which is a lot like being an author. Once you put words to page, you just can't stop. You want to see new worlds unfold in front of you and if you can create those worlds yourself, it just makes it all the more satisfying. For me, it all started with a galaxy far far away.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Borealis Week - Feeding the muse & growing a passion for Science Fiction


I'm not sure I have a full blown passion for writing SciFi, but I definitely want to write more. Kiss me Kate has sparked the kid in me. I grew up on Sci-Fi, books, TV shows and movies. Basically, I devoured anything I could get my hands on. That love affair kept growing as I got older. Even though, I'm neck deep in ghosts, vampires and werewolves, I would like to try my hand at discovering new worlds one day instead of haunting the one we have now. In the end I think that's the heart and soul of a Sci Fi author. They're not content with the world as it is. They want to explore the world or worlds that might be just beyond the fringe of the present. Whether it is the near future or the far flung maybes that not even our grandchildren will have thought about. As an author, I can't help but want to be part of that. Scary thought, isn't it? An entire future full of Jmo. Then my tagline could be, The Future's so bright you gotta wear Groucho Marx Glasses. Okay, that might be going too far, but I think I could wait around just to see if it happens. Maybe in one of those Futurama head thingies. Now, that sounds cool! Somebody hook me up with that.


I think that my passion for science fiction was a combination of luck and timing. I was fortunate to be born at the end of science fiction generation of the 1950's so that when I watched television as a child and forward the sci-fi shows were literally were in full swing. There was "Lost In Space", "Journey to the Bottom of the Sea", "The Time Tunnel" "One Step Beyond", "The Invaders", "Outer Limits", "Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman" to name the most famous series of the 1960's and 1970's. "The Outer Limits" was the show that really affected me the most because it showed humans sometimes at our worst and was downright depressing at times but for me, that was the reality of science and science fiction. Sometimes we do things we shouldn't just because we can and other times our bad humanity comes out and uses science as a power base or for some negative motivation. We have to be very careful with our technology. "The Outer Limits" was just the most intense for me. "Space 1999" was also a sentimental favorite. By the end of the 1970s both "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman" was the bar for sci-fi television and in the 1980s science fiction really came into its own through George Lucas' Star Wars episode. For me, it's all about military element that thrills me, lots of cool clothing, weapons, and effect, not to mention space travel itself! Plus, I'm just a girl nerd.


I feel I'm being a bit repetitive on this because I did a similar set of blog posts a couple months ago, but I don't mind repeating. Writing science fiction is the ultimate test for your imagination. As writers, it is our natural instinct to 'create'. Whether it's create characters, create fascinating settings or plots, or in the case of science fiction and speculative writing, often creating worlds.

I write science fiction because I love asking 'what if...' questions. Because Borealis involves so many kinds of people and storylines, I got to create not only my own series of 'what if...' questions, but some 'what if...' questions for the other authors in the series. I feel like a movie director. "This is your motivation in your book..."

Borealis is my first venture into more 'hi sci fi' versus futuristic and/or speculative, and I find it's almost like writing in a different genre. While I could stretch the concepts of Earth in my Phoenix series, with Borealis I can stretch further -- and play with more cool gadgets. My hero, Theron, has a lot of cool gadgets.

Writing science fiction opens up so many doors, and sometimes a few spaceports.

Here's a buy link on the Desert Breeze Site:

Monday, 18 October 2010

Borealis Week - Welcome and Author Interviews

The Borealis I Anthology released on 1 OCT and contains stories from Gail R. Delaney, PI Barrington, and J. Morgan. The stories are centered around a space station in the future. This week, the blog will be visited by the Borealis I Authors who share their thoughts about writing, the Borealis and science fiction romance. Enjoy the week!


1. How did you come up with the idea to do a Sci-Fi series?

I can take no credit for this series whatsoever. In truth, fellow Borealis author J. Morgan approached me with the idea. He can be very convincing, and the more the two of us talked about it the more I liked the idea.

I like the concept of individual stories set in a common place with 'threads' connecting them because it's almost like an episodic television show. And since many lovers of science fiction are influenced by episodic television, it seemed appropriate.

2. How did your vision for the Borealis take shape?

I have to refer back to Jmo on this. Once he gave me the original idea, the two of us did a lot of 'back and forth' brainstorming on what the stories could be about and how they would tie in. I loved the idea of not only doing an anthology of 'like' stories, but a series of anthologies that interconnected. We could delve deep without each author committing to a full length novel.

3. What's it like editing an anthology where the stories intertwine with each other? Do you have to tell authors, "well, you can't do that because so-so did this...?"

I worked as a writer on a continuity series a few years ago, and unfortunately, the 'continuity' was lost in the series. By the time I was asked to write the last book, the storylines had gone off course so badly I couldn't write it and match the other books. Anyway, this was definitely on my mind when I began editing these stories. And yes, I've had to point out areas that don't work, or ways to make them work, or even ways to tie in other stories that might not be 'required', but adds interest. It's been a challenge.

4. How did your story in the anthology come to be?

Remember that continuity series I mentioned? ☺ Well, the book was never written for a variety of reasons. The timelines didn't mesh, and ultimately the publisher shut down before the book was done. I'd written about 45k words of the book, and liked several elements of it. So, I took the parts I liked, edited out parts that no longer applied, and added a new ending. It works GREAT in the Borealis setting.

5. Are there more Borealis Anthologies on the horizon?

The first Borealis anthology is October 2010, with the second coming immediately after in November 2010. This anthology has morphed a couple of times. It started as 5 stories in one release, but I realized quickly that the single anthology would be much too long. So we split it and added a 6th story for two releases. Borealis II has contributions by Stephanie Burkhart, Esther Mitchell and Shea McMaster. We also have Borealis III scheduled for next year, but if sales go well, I'm not opposed to also doing Borealis IV next year. Borealis III has stories by Vijaya Schartz, Michelle Levigne and Shay Wells. Time will tell on whether a fourth Borealis will happen in 2011, but if it does, I have a few authors in mind.


1. How did you get involved in the series?

Gail (DBP Editor in Chief Gail R. Delaney) invited me to participate in the anthology she was creating which was Borealis (I love that name) and I accepted. I loved the whole concept and Gail is really good at creating sci-fi worlds.

2. Did you pick your story or did it pick you? *grin*

As I said Gail created it, and gave us the bones of the stories so we jumped off from there and created them in relation to the concept.

3. Where did you find your inspiration for your story?
I wanted a different character type for both hero and heroine in Inamorata Crossing. I think the casting I did really developed them and their particular story. Just the fact that they were part of a futuristic military setting aboard a transport and that each had an unresolved past, especially Khai and that Teyrnan had such an annoying/endearing sense of humor was the basis for the inspiration.

4. Did you "cast" your characters? Write character bios? How did you shape the characters for your story?

Yes, I definitely did, I almost always do. Bios I try to do but I'm not very successful at it. Usually just a particular photo of a character gives me the personality and conflicts but also helps me to create dialogue. If I can picture that actor/person in that photo speaking or behaving or thinking then I've pretty much got the character. Usually if I've got the photo and the first line the story falls into place. I picked Eric Bana, because as I told Gail, he started out in stand-up comedy and I've seen him do 'bits' and he fit the character of Teyrnan Sajan perfectly. Evangeline Lilly was perfect for Khai Zafara. For some reason I picture her fairly tall and the character of Khai is a soldier, lean but athletic when needed.

5. Did you coordinate with other authors on your stories? How was that like? Did JMO and Gail play nice in the sandbox? *wink*

I did not. My story was set on a transport ship en route to Borealis and there was no interaction between my characters and other stories' characters because of that. I didn't really think it needed interaction because Khai is a dedicated soldier and she contents herself with that, she would rarely if ever be spotted at a tavern or bar off duty because for her, she's never off duty. It's her life, her compulsion in a way. So I was flying solo, pardon the expression, when I wrote Inamorata Crossing,LOL!


STEPH: How did you get involved with the Borealis? 

I believe it started with 'Hey Gail, wouldn't it be fun to do a SciFi anthology based on a space station'. From there, her imagination took over with some nudges from me on details but the heart of Borealis is all hers.

STEPH: Did you pick your story or did it pick you? *grin*

JMO: I'd have to say it picked me, then fought me every step of the way. It was one of the hardest stories for me to write for some reason. I think that was because I wanted it to be perfect and hope I succeeded.

STEPH: JMO, we all know your tag line is "Romance straight to the Funny Bone." Is your story humourous? Serious? A blend? 

JMO: Humorous, of course, with some serious undertones. You can't write a totally comedic story without something to drive the funny. In Kate's case, it is to discover the man both he and his planet need him to be.

STEPH: What's your story about? Where did the inspiration come from?

JMO: I think the title of my story gives the answer to both questions away. Kiss Me Kate is a reworking of Taming of the Shrew and Our Fair Lady, only Sci-Fied up. K'tlyn is a prince from the planet of Pyern. He comes to Borealis in search of the one man who can turn him from a foppish figurehead into a real man. A warrior if you will. Only instead of the Professor, the most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy, he gets the Professor's second in command, Richelle Burton. She might not be the man K'tlyn wanted but she is woman enough to turn a boy into a man.

STEPH: Did you coordinate with other authors? What was it like it? Did Patti & Gail play nice in the sandbox? *wink* 

There are no sandboxes in outer space. If there were in this case, I think I'd be playing in Gail and Patti's, since this was my first stab at writing SciFi.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Paranormal Week - Character Questions



QUESTION #1 - Why does farming appeal to you more than aviking?

BALMUNG: I feel a connection with the earth. The roots of my crops symbolize my own roots ~ home, family and security. I am compelled to nourish and protect life, not take it, unless of course, I have no choice. I will do anything to protect those who belong to me, and I have.

QUESTION #2 - What went through your mind when you realized you traveled to 1930's Denmark?

BALMUNG: My first thought was to acknowledge the irony of the situation. I had all but mocked Time, insisting to my family that if I should find love, I would do so from my land on my terms.

Ha! Time has a quirky since of humor, for in truth, I never left my land, yet I had certainly left my Time. When I first set eyes on Iris and her four children, I knew that I had truly come home. All that had been missing from my life, from my land, had been Iris, and thanks to Time, I now had the love I had secretly longed for times four.

QUESTION #3 - What was the first thing you thought of when you saw Iris?

BALMUNG: That she was exquisite. Her skin was the color of a starless night, a tantalizing contrast to my Noetic paleness. Her eyes held intelligence, kindness, and, in time, trust, which humbled me greatly.

QUESTION #4 - Do you like time traveling?

BALMUNG: That is a difficult question to answer. As I have mentioned, Time took matters into its own hands by shifting me from my land in 908 to, well, my land in 1930. I am happy for my unexpected journey, because I gained a wife and four children. Yet Time saw fit to bring myself and my new family back to my world, and now that I have the love of my life here with me, I have no desire to travel through Time again.

QUESTION #5 - What's your favorite musical instrument?

BALMUNG: I have no musical ability what-so-ever, but I do love to hear Iris as she sings our children to sleep each night. Her sweet voice is the most beautiful instrument I can think of.


QUESTION #1 - Where are you and Nicholi planning on getting married?

MADISON: A Baptist church, if I have my way. Mated Smated. I am a Southern Deb, and Southern Deb's do not get hitched in the woods. That smacks of shacking up and I won't have it.

QUESTION #2 - Have you met any other wolves?

MADISON: Just my half brother Jonas, and apparently my dad who can keep a secret like nobody's business. I'm sure I'll have to meet Nicholi's side of the family sooner or later, but I'm putting that off until I see the size of my diamond.

QUESTION #3 - Have you ever seen a vampire?

MADISON: Vamp-what?! I'm just coming to grips with the werewolf stuff. I prefer my vampires safely tucked away in a nice Anne Rice book or on True Blood. That Eric is smoking hawt with a capital AWT!

QUESTION #4 - What's your favorite dish to cook?

MADISON: I don't cook. If Nicholi expects me to, he better have 911 on speed dial.

QUESTION #5 - Did you ever get a new Mustang?

MADISON: Please don't be crass. Ms. Stang isn't even interred yet. The service will be this Sunday. Mark Martin will be officiating.


QUESTION #1: When did you know Matthias was the one?

KATHERINE: Sigh… that magic moment? It was when we took a walk in my sister's garden during my birthday. I loved how his unusual eyes sparkled in the moonlight. Matthias was so attentive and he listened to what I had to say. And our dance! When we danced, my heart just soared and I just knew.

QUESTION #2: Did the thought of being an instant Mom scare you?

KATHERINE: No, not at all. Emily is such a sweet girl. She just wants to be loved and I know, from losing my own mother at a young age, that a mother's love means everything. I can give Emily something I never had and she'll thrive because of it.

QUESTION #3: Marrying Matthias means moving away from everything you knew and those you loved. Was that frightening to you?

KATHERINE: I was a little apprehensive, but not as I much as I thought I would be. I grew up reading books with adventure and excitement and finally I got a chance to experience my own adventure. Matthias, Janos, Lazlo, and Resa are all very kind. I do miss Liz, Ed, Paul, and my Uncle, but I would do it all over again.

QUESTION #4: What do you love most about Hungary?

KATHERINE: The beauty of the land. Budapest is a thriving city like London and the architecture is breathtaking. I love driving over the Széchenyi Bridge, walking along Fisherman's Bastian and taking boat rides on the Danube. The sky feels so close to the Earth, I could almost reach out and touch the clouds.

QUESTION #5: Lastly, I know Matthias howls at the moon, but have you ever though about doing a little howling yourself?

KATHERINE: I'm a little nervous about it. Someone has to stay human during the full moon for the kids. Maybe when I'm 35 I'll think about it.

READER FEEDBACK: Fess up – who would you like to be for Halloween: Balmung, the time traveling Viking, Madison Lee the werewolf who lives in Louisiana or Katherine Duma who lives in Hungary and is married to a werewolf?

JMO, Tami, and I hope you've enjoyed paranormal week and hope you enjoy the rest of your October. Are we out of Oreos again? (Steph & Tami suspiciously glare at JMO…)

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Paranormal Week - Influences in Paranormal Writing

Who are J. Morgan's influences in paranormal writing?

JMO: I grew up on reruns of Dark Shadows -- the grandfather of all modern paranormal goodness. Sure, it was cheesy and as low budget as you can get, but to an impressionable kid of 7 or so, it was the coolest thing in the world! Vampires, werewolves and the hottest witch to ever live. Angelique, how I love thee to this day. That show was my first taste of the paranormal. Let's not forget Scooby Doo. What kid didn't sit there wanting to be Shaggy and hanging with Scooby? If anything, those two shows are directly responsible for my love of paranormal and if you've read one of my books you can see their influence on my writing. Somewhere around 1985, after a long love affair with Stephen King, I discovered Anne Rice. Interview with a Vampire was okay, but the second I started The Vampire Lestat, I wanted to be a vampire instead of chasing them down and staking 'em but good. From there, I dabbled with other authors but was never satisfied. Until I read the most amazing book of all time, Sunglasses after Dark. It was written by a true visionary, Nancy A. Collins. Collins-Barnabas: Collins-Dark Shadows. A connect? Probably not, but my love of Vampires had come semi-full circle.

Let's fast forward a few years. I snagged a book off my wife's bedside table. Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I'd fallen out of reading romance for a few years, but this book dragged me back kicking and screaming. Then another foray to the wife's side of the bed yielded Derik's Bane by Maryjanice Davidson. Werwolves could be funny? Who knew? Undead and Unemployed fell into my greedy hands next. Vampires could be funny? Who knew? Well, I did now!

Needless to say, I had just discovered what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to be a funny Scooby Doo romance writer! And, here we are 4 years later and closer to making that dream come true.

Who are Stephanie Burkhart's influences in paranormal writing?

STEPH: Some of my early influences include Anne Rice and Victoria Holt. More recent influences include JK Rowling and Elizabeth Kostova. Heck, now that I think about it, only Holt wrote romance.

Once Creature Double Feature went off the air I took to books and discovered Victoria Holt. She didn't write about vampires and wolves, but she did write gothic romance and paranormal romance has it's roots in the gothic. Here's all too true confession: My love or romance has deep roots with Holt. I feel in love with her settings, her themes, and I loved her style. She was so easy to read. I wanted to write like that. My Gothic Heroine, Ms. Holt, wrote in the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's, passing away, I believe in 1993. She left behind a legacy of work and even now I wouldn't hesitate to pick up a story by her.

Let's face it – you can't get creepier than Anne Rice. When I think Goth, I think Rice. I love her vamps and witches. Why? Because they are so deliciously human. I love how Rice creates mythology. Very creative. My desire to create my own myths and legends come from her.

JK Rowling is the bomb. Her style is easy to read and she created a wonderful paranormal world with witches, wolves, and eerie creatures of the night like Voldemort.

Elizabeth Kostova wrote a book called "The Historian." Based in historical fact, a historian goes on a chase through Eastern Europe looking for Dracula. I loved how seemingless Kostova wove fiction into fact. That's what I strive to do as well when I write.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Paranormal Week - The Attraction

What's J. Morgan's attraction to the paranormal?

JMO: I like being scared! No not really, but it has a certain appeal. I think all paranormal authors start out as scared kids with big imaginations. There's a ghost behind the chair that turns out to be a shirt. A boogieman under the bed. That one I still believe in. They're called mutated dust bunnies. I still have an unnatural fear of wood paneling. As a child, the swirlies looked like monsters to me. Don't ask. I'm sure there's a psychologist somewhere dying to get a peek under my hood. My point is my imagination has always liked to be scared. That fear turned into a need to make it palatable to my brain. Palatable being making it where I don't sleep with crucifixes under my pillow and stakes hanging next to the garlic on my bedpost. The only way I could see doing that, was to write it in such a way that I didn't jump at every shadow I saw. Just every other one.

So when you read one of my books, they're funny because that's the only way I can write them. Not because I like being funny, but because scary is something the real world is. Come on, just watch the evening news for five minutes and see if you don't agree with me. Paranormal romance isn't about those things. It's about a world of fantasy surrounding us that anything is possible inside of. Instead of orcs and elves, we make our heroes or heroines vampires, werewolves or any of the other bumpy things. I myself would like to see a vampire elf. Those might be cool.

What attracted me to write paranormal? The undeniable fact that inside those whispery walls of fantasy, I controlled the things that made me hide under the covers as a kid. What better form of therapy is there? Okay, probably lots but this is way cheaper and a whole lot more fun.

What's Stephanie Burkhart's attraction to the paranormal:

STEPH: I grew up being spooked every Saturday. My parents would watch a show called "Creature Double Feature." I must have been 6 or 7. Lon Chaney aka Wolfman and Bela Lagosi aka Dracula gave me a cheap scare. When I went to bed that Saturday night I heard noises under the bed (the booeyman aka mutated dust bunnies) and I scrunched up my blanket around my neck so Dracula couldn't bite it. –smile-

And let's not forget Godzilla. Okay, I'll save Godzilla for another time.

Creature Double Feature planted the seed. As I got older, my inner goth grew toward the darker side of literature, such as Victoria Holt (gothic romance) and Anne Rice. I devoured Rice's Interview with the Vampire and The Witching Hour.

What I liked about Rice's characters were they weren't perfect. They had flaws and struggles – just like little ol' human me. So I started to wonder – how cool would it be to be a vampire, werewolf, witch, ghost and to have very human problems?

The paranormal is just beyond our reach on the fringes of our imagination, yet myths such as vampires and werewolves have come down through history with us. What I find interesting is how they linger and how they challenge us to look at our own humanity.

You can find me sitting next to JMO in the dark corner while watching Salem's Lot and eating Oreos.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Paranormal Week - Author Interviews

5 QUESTIONS FOR TAMI DEE, Author of the Mists of Time Series:

QUESTION #1 - How did the Mists of Time Viking Series come to you? What was the inspiration?

TAMI: The seed was planted in a dream. The dream was of a wall mural of a Viking ship braving rough seas on the inside of a young woman’s apartment. She ends up being swept into the mural and…. Well, you get the picture.

The funny thing is, the story line of Under A Viking Moon has nothing to do with what that dream. Nether was Dawn of A Viking Sunrise, or Beyond A Viking Horizon. I am still working on book four, Through A Viking Mist, but so far, no wall murals. Lol

One of these days though, I really will write that story.

QUESTION #2 - Do you have a "favorite" book in the series?

TAMI: I have been asked that before, and each time I really, really, try and think if I like one book over the others, and I always come back to the same answer. No. Each book is special to me, I became emotionally evolved with each set of heroes and heroines and I just can’t pick a favorite. ☺

QUESTION #3 - Have you ever been to Denmark?

TAMI: No, never.

QUESTION #4 - Tell us how the Time Traveling pendants work? How did you get the inspiration for them?

TAMI: I’m not a Scientist so as I give you my logic of the ‘how’ please keep that in mind. The pendants clasp together when they are near one another, the reason would be that the materials they were made from are magnetic. The glow which comes from them is based on the principal of those glow sticks, you know, bend the stick and it will glow. As for them sweeping people through Time, well, when the magnetic and ‘glowing’ mechanisms are activated, the result is the opening of a worm hole to another Time and place.

As for the inspiration for the pendants, I had gone through several books on Viking lore and I needed a medium to accomplish Time Travel, pendants seemed a logical choice.

QUESTION #5 - What project are you currently working on?

TAMI: Right now I am working on book four in the series, Through A Viking Mist. This book ‘speaks’ to me day and night, and I really wish I did not have a ‘day job’ so I could get this story out of my head and onto my laptop! Through A Viking Mist will take readers full circle within the series, and I think that readers will be surprised, and then more surprised, by where one goes.

5 QUESTIONS FOR J. MORGAN, Author of the Love Bites Series
QUESTION #1 - What attracts you to the paranormal?
JMO: Being scared of the dark as a kid. Honestly, that's the reason. One day I just decided I wouldn't be afraid anymore. So, I walked a mile in the dark and came home and watched Salem's Lot, the old scary one. After that I devoured every horror novel I could. Mainly, the Stephen King ones. Then, I moved on to Anne Rice and that's when I fell in love with anything paranormal.

QUESTION #2 - What the inspiration for the Love Bites Series?

JMO: Good friends. My very good friend, Lynne Connolly suggested I write a short for this open submission she knew about. Then, in a different chat window, my equally good friend Savannah Chase made a comment and suddenly, I had a first line in my head. The first draft of Love at First Stake took a little over two weeks to write and came to a staggering 20,000 words. So, long story short, I subbed it, the story was rejected. Strangely enough, I loved it. I had wanted to play with it since I hit send, and now I had the chance. Another 20k or so, I thought I had the story I wanted. Then, Desert Breeze/Gail Delaney got ahold of it and said, "I see more story there." Four books later, I'd have to say she was right.

QUESTION #3 - What was the inspiration for the Southern Werewolf Chronicles series?

Duct tape, unsightly hair growth and my wife. None of those things were muse-ically connected. Let me make that perfectly clear. My wife does not have unsightly hair growth, or has ever used duct tape at any time to get rid of said growth. Seriously, I've always read werewolf books that were set either in Europe or in some other locale. I said to myself "hey, people in the South are hairy. How come no one's written a werewolf book about us?" Seemed like a no-brainer to me. From there, it just kind of flowed into Were Love Blooms. Just to set the record straight, I do have unsightly hair growth but am too wussy to use duct tape. I just live with it, and howl at the moon when the need arises.

QUESTION #4 - What's your writing space like?

JMO: Messy. I'll not elaborate any further.

QUESTION #5 - What's your favorite paranormal movie?

JMO: Shoot. Too many to name, but the one I watch the most is Shaun of the Dead. I just love funny and zombie in the same celluloid goodness.

5 QUESTIONS FOR STEPHANIE BURKHART, Author of the Budapest Moon Series
QUESTION #1: What was the first book/movie that got your interested in the paranormal?

STEPH: For the book, I would have to say Anne Rice's "Interview with the Vampire." I read that my senior year in high school. Growing up, "The Creature Double Features" on Saturday morning fed the inner spook of my 7-year-old self.
QUESTION #2: The Hungarian embodies the best of the Gothic Romance and Paranormal Romance. What were your influences to bring this together?

STEPH: Gothic romance has been around since the late 1790's. Elements include the spooky house/manor/castle, secrets, a possible prophecy, and "supernatural" events with natural causes. (I sound preachy, huh? Pass the Oreos, JMO.)

No one did this as well as Victoria Holt. While Anne Rice isn't a "romance" author, her supernatural creatures wage an inner war between the human psyche and dark, more feral elements – Louis from Interview with the Vampire embodies this. In "The Hungarian," Matthias deals with the struggle between his human and feral natures, all against the backdrop of dark settings, spooky houses, and events with –wink- definite supernatural origins.

QUESTION #3: Would you ever branch out to write about other things that go bump in the night and what would you pick?

STEPH: Definitely! When it comes to my vamps, I'm picky. I do write about a clan in my Moldavian Moon series, Book 1, The Wolf's Torment. In my horror writing, I usually take a page out of Kostova and draw on the historical facts surrounding Vlad Dracula. (ie, my short stories, Red Paint, Crimson Blood, and The Watch Tower.)

I love writing witches and the Moldavian Moon series is going to have a bunch of them. I wrote about a Russian Ruslka in "The Music Box," (a haunted spirit that wasn't baptized) I would like to look at more European myths and explore them.

QUESTION #4: I'm stealing this one from you. What's your writing space like?

STEPH: Would you believe it's in the spookiest corner of the house with candles and incense? –wink- Actually, it's downstairs on the dining room table with lots of light from a nearby window and plenty of noise from my boys.

QUESTION #5: What paranormal author's world would you like to step into for one day?

STEPH: Gosh, this is a toughie. Does JK Rowling count? I love her Harry Potter series. I'd also love to step in Vijaya Schartz's world in the Chronicles of Kassouk, but that's not paranormal. How about Anne Rice's "The Witching Hour" world?

I wouldn't mind visiting Forks, WA either. –wink-

Monday, 11 October 2010

Welcome to Paranormal Week!

Desert Breeze is celebrating the paranormal this month and putting the spotlight on their paranormal authors: Tami Dee, J. Morgan and Stephanie Burkhart, so sit back with a pack of Oreos, a little tokaji, or some mead (for the Vikings) and enjoy!

An Overview of Paranormal Romance
By: Stephanie Burkhart

Paranormal romance is a popular romance sub-genre and has been for several years now. Currently, there is no decline in interest for it. What exactly is it? It blends the real with fantastic (supernatural) elements, which go beyond scientific explanation. Sounds like a mouthful, huh? (JMO take those Oreos out of your mouth!) –wink-

Supernatural elements include vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, and witches.

Time travel also falls under the paranormal. (Steph & JMO suspiciously eyes Tami Dee) After all, time traveling goes beyond our current scientific ability to explain it. A time traveling romance can be tricky to reach a satisfying end since the hero and heroine are from different times, but Tami always has a trick or two up her sleeve.

Paranormal also encompasses more "human-like" abilities such as telekinesis, telepathy, and anything psychic. It's a broad genre, which I think is part of the appeal.

Paranormal allows the author to build new worlds and new rules. An author must be creative when crafting their story.

Some naysayers go, "Oh, there are too many vampires stories," but vampires sell. Their appeal? How they struggle with their morality, since they are creatures with little or no rules. Werewolves appeal to a paranormal audience because readers want to see how they deal with their rage. Can a werewolf retain a certain sense of humanity? As for Tami's Vikings they're just drop dead gorgeous.

While I don't have any recent stats, in 2007, paranormal romances were 11.8 % of romance sales. That will only grow.

FEEDBACK QUESTION: What about the genre appeals to you? Do you like to read time travel? Wolves? Vampires? Witches? Who are your favorite paranormal authors? JK Rowling counts. –grin- How about your favorite paranormal movies or tv series? Let me know.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Featured October Release - Love Breakers and Love Makers by Toni Noel

Deputy Sheriff Jon Sutherland reunites with his high school sweetheart when he responds to a silent alarm she sets off while house sitting. This chance meeting sends the sheriff and Zoe Westmoreland on a roller coaster run for their lives.

Burglars escaping from her parents’ home, send her sprawling. Twice. Then she finds the gardener floating face down in the family pool and interrupts a burglary-in-progress next door. When the gardener's death is ruled a homicide Jon moves in to keep Zoe safe. Not all that easy.

Two men try to force their vehicles off the road, and the one time Jon leaves Zoe alone those really bad guys show up again. Thanks to Zoe's quick thinking and resourcefulness, the crooks get a free ride to the hospital and she winds up in Jon’s arms for keeps.

Zoe turned toward the large panel of blinking lights beside the front door. All right, time to learn to disarm Dad's alarm.

She pulled her father's instruction from her jeans pocket. Just like the retired Superior Court judge -- always thinking every one needed constant instructions, and always judgmental.

At least he'd made this list as simple as possible.

Still thought of her as a little girl, she saw. Some things never changed.

Use the remote clipped to the Volvo's sun visor to open the garage door.

Now, drive in. Always enter the house through the garage.

Oops. First mistake. She'd parked in the driveway and come in through the front door.

May as well read the rest of his instructions and hope she hadn't made another wrong move.

Disarming the panel at the front entrance takes too long. If you're slow, it activates a silent alarm.

Zoe risked another glance at the now fully lit panel near the entrance.

Busted. Two mistakes already and all she'd done was walk right by the panel and out onto the deck, too awed by the idea of lolling beside her parents' pool for a whole month to note those flashing lights.


Since the day my mother started reading The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew to the four of us books have been an important part of my life. As a small child I couldn¿t wait to learn to read, and in school I devoured every printed page I could get my hands on. Summers in Birmingham I rode my bicycle three miles to the local drug store to check out Zane Grey novels which I shared with my father, a tireless breadwinner and avid reader. As a young wife and mother I started church libraries in two small Tennessee towns. Later, when the Bookmobile no longer satisfied the needs of my growing daughters, with the encouragement of my husband, I appeared before the San Diego City Council and City Planning Commission, urging them to purchase property for a library in our fast-growing subdivision before the preferred sites were snapped up by service stations. I bugged city officials so much I was later invited to assist the Mayor at the ground-breaking ceremony for the promised library. Although that library now needs expansion, it is my fondest dream that they¿ll save room on those crowded shelves for the romance novels I write.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Featured October Release - Borealis I Space Anthology


In orbit over a deserted outpost at the edge of conquered space sits an aging space station under the control of the Trans Planetary Protectorate. The Borealis is slowly falling apart as the Protectorate funnels its massive resources into the border wars and keeping the outlaying systems in line, as insurrections break out.

Inamorata Crossing by PI Barrington

As an Enforcement Officer of the TPP, it's Khai Zafara's job to transport Teyrnan Sajan, a rebel leader and 'prisoner of war' to the Borealis to serve out his sentence in the prison levels. Khai holds a deep-set hatred for the Rebellion, believing they were responsible for her father's murder – which she witnessed as a young girl.

Teyrnan Sajan was on Borealis they day Khai's father was murdered. He thought he was the only person left alive who knew the truth. Once Teyrnan realizes who Khai is, he begins a slow process of helping her separate reality from the false memories the TPP drilled into her head.

Teyrnan is a convincing man, and Khai begins to see the truth behind TPP lies. At first, she convinces herself that it's the draw she feels toward him that's clouding her judgment… but as memories break through, she has to accept the truth. And she has to make a choice: Deliver Teyrnan to Borealis so he can serve out his punishment -- and probably die -- in prison. Or, turn her back on the TPP and everything she thinks she's known to join him and the Rebellion and right the wrongs done by her father's murder

Kiss Me, Kate by J. Morgan

K'Tyln Dar is a pampered prince who wants to finally become the man his planet needs so he goes in search of the baddest bounty hunter in the known universe -- The Professor.

Richelle is called The Professor because she knows every possible way to kill a man. Most people -- like K'tyln -- have no idea that the most ruthless killer in the known universe is a woman. And she likes to keep it that way. Richelle has neither the time nor patience for a puff-shirt, golden boy politician like K'tyln Dar.

When he brazenly demands to meet The Professor and reveals his desire to 'learn to be a warrior', her first thought is to put him in his pompous place. But, as he takes his licks -- and bruises -- and contusions -- she sees a glimpse of the man he not only wants to be, but the man he is deep down inside.

Forgive Us Our Debts by Gail R. Delaney

Sarina Laroux is taken hostage and held as a prisoner on the Borealis, considered a traitor to the TPP after they took her father's throne and laid waste to Andromeda Prime -- her home. Theron Kess is sent by her family to rescue her, a job he would never refuse because he owes her family more than they even know.

Theron almost gives up hope in getting her out when he can't locate her amongst the other Uudon-dosed prisoners. When he finally finds her, he is thankful he always prepares for the worst, because her situation is the stuff of nightmares.

Add to that the fact that the Rebellion picks this time to attack the station. Not only does he have guards and Sarina herself to deal with, but gunfire and an aging station ready to shudder apart with the next pulse cannon blast. He has to earn Serina's trust -- something that doesn't come easy on the Borealis -- if he has any hope of getting her out alive. By the time all is said and done, they both come out different people... and for the better.

From Inamorata Crossing

"Hungry?" she asked him without emotion. "It's time for your regulated meal."

"It would be nice," he said, and smiled once again.

"You haven't tasted it yet." She smirked back.

What are you doing? Flirting with this guy? Cut it out, Zafara!

She turned her back on him, walking to a panel of drawers. She keyed in her identification number and pressed a palm against a square that lit up. A small whirring sounded and then the drawers disengaged with a clunk. Khai pulled one of them open. She inspected an MRE wrapped in foil, then shoved it into another drawer at the top of the panel and punched another key. A line of light flickered into life, and a moment later a buzz rang out. Khai pulled the MRE out and set it down on the table slab beside him.

"Utensils are in the package," she informed him in a flat tone.

He shifted a bit and then nodded down at his body

"Do you mind? It will be impossible to eat with my hands bound."

Khai flipped a lever and the seat swung out and around to place him at the table and she knew he expected to be freed completely. Instead a metal shaft rose from the floor and a thick metal clamp wrapped around his chest and clinked shut. She could hardly repress her laughter as she unlocked the wrist restraints.

"Enjoy your meal," she told him sweetly. She walked back to the dais where the cockpit sat, waiting for him to gag. When he didn't, Khai narrowed her eyes at him.

"Not bad," he said between shoving forkfuls into his mouth.

Her mouth dropped open. She'd tasted the MRE once, and it horrified her. Once was all she ever needed. The taste still rankled on her tongue whenever she remembered it.



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.

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.

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.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Featured October Release - Tombstone Treasures Book II, First Love by Michelle Sutton

Josiah and Tara had enjoyed acting in their high school plays. They had also been each other's first lover... in fact; most of the time they'd spent together had been in Tara's bed. When Josiah became a Christian, he left Tara to go to college and didn't look back.

Four years later, Josiah is back in town when his father has a near-fatal heart attack. When they meet up again they realize how much their separation had hurt each of them. But now Tara is a Christian and is trying to live a life that is pleasing to God.

Josiah wants Tara back, but neither knows how to relate to each other without the physical intimacy they once shared. They are determined to do things right this time, but find it more challenging than they'd anticipated.

She hated to spell it out for him, but it seemed necessary to prevent him from getting the wrong idea. "You're here for a haircut. Don't expect more."

Raising his hands in mock surrender, Josiah chuckled, "Whoa, there. I didn't mean anything by it, I swear."

"Good." Grabbing the black cloth to drape over his shirt, she flipped it open and then pointed to the chair. He sat and she tied it around his neck, a stress headache creeping into her head. Irritation shredded her nerves. Rather than sitting, he peered at her with an incredulous look in his eyes.

"Come on," she winced and touched her forehead. "I don't have much time."

"Aren't you gonna..." Josiah pointed at his hair and nodded toward the sink.

"No." She snapped the cloth again. "Just sit."

"But, that's the best part." Ruffling his hair with both hands, he sighed. "All right, but my hair is sweaty and dusty. I think it'll be easier to cut if it's clean first. I'll even pay you extra."

Did he think he could buy her forgiveness?

But he did have a point. Taking in the faint cloud of dust forming beside his head as he ruffled his hair, Tara sighed. She rolled her eyes and pointed at the sink with her elbow. "All right, all right. Just hurry up. I need to get home."

Michelle Sutton, otherwise known as the Edgy Inspirational Author, is a member of ACFW, a prolific reader/book reviewer/blogger, and the author of over a dozen novels.

She lives in Arizona with her husband of twnety years and her two teenaged sons.

Desert Breeze congratulates Michelle on her latest release.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Featured October Release - Beloved Captive by Melanie Atkins

Detective Kevin Jacobs believes integrity is the most important trait a cop can possess, until a beautiful doctor accuses him of murder and he's forced to take her hostage in order to clear his name. Rebecca Daniels cooperates with Kevin, and soon finds herself in a fight for her very life -- and also for her heart.


He gritted his teeth. "We're going to get up together and you won't make a sound. Got that?"

She didn't answer. Didn't move, didn't breathe. Silence filled the space around them so completely Kevin forgot to breathe, too. When he did, he drew in the bitter tang of blood. The coppery scent caught in his throat.

He gripped the back of her neck and squeezed, careful to keep his fingernails from digging into her tender skin. "You hear me?"

She nodded slowly, and a lone tear dripped down her cheek. Her pulse skittered wildly beneath his hand.

He tamped down the urge to be gentle with her slender, quivering body. He needed her to fear him so she wouldn't cause a commotion as they left the courthouse. How he'd get away without leaving a trail of blood, he didn't know. But he had to try, and she was his best hope.

"Get up." He rose and pulled her with him.

She held herself rigid. He turned her around. The light hit her face and he reeled from the animosity written there. Her eyes were the color of a clear summer sky. They snapped with rage.

"You killed Judge Boykin." Her sharp words made him blanch.

He tightened his grip on her arm. "It wasn't me."

"Oh, no? I saw you." Her accusing gaze slid down his black-clad body and he suddenly realized he and Fowler could be mistaken for twins -- except for the blood now soaking his clothes.

She tried to wriggle free, but he held her fast.

"I can't let you go. I need your help."

"Are you crazy?" She gaped at him.

He fought off a wave of dizziness. "I have to get out of here. I'm losing blood fast."

She looked at his side and her eyes widened. "Oh, my God."

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.

Desert Breeze congratulates Melanie on her latest release.