Saturday, April 30, 2011

So Excited for the 1st!

I'm so excited I could jump out of my skin!!! Be forewarned, this post may have an excess amount of exclamation points!!!!

Tomorrow, Champion of Valor, the last book in my Kingdom of Arnhem series will be released!!!!
Isn't that a gorgeous cover???? (Oh, guess I'm abusing question marks too now!)

I've been organizing a blog tour for Champion of Valor and I hope you all will thoroughly enjoy it!! There will be prizes at every stop as well as a grand prize - one lucky reader will win the entire series!!!!

Later on today, I'll list the blog tour dates and locations. I'm trying to add more spots, so this will not be finalized yet.

And I have a winner to announce. From yesterdays post, one of the commentors will get to pick a story from the Kingdom of Arnhem series. And the winner is.....Charity Bradford!!! I'll be emailing you soon, Charity!!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Desert Breeze Publishing Birthday Bash

Welcome to the Desert Breeze Publishing Birthday Bash Tour. Tomorrow the tour ends at the Desert Breeze blog. On May 1st, Stephanie Burkhart will pick the lucky winner of a GC from Amazon.

My giveaway as a part of the tour is a copy of one of my books from the Kingdom of Arnhem series - Woman of Honor, Knight of Glory, or Champion of Valor. All you need to do to win is to make a comment on the blog today. I’ll pick a winner tomorrow.

Why I Love Desert Breeze Publishing

I first learned about Desert Breeze through a publisher chat on a yahoo group. As the chat was winding down, Gail Delaney (the EIC) mentioned that she loved series, especially for fantasy and a few other genres. I mentioned to her that I had an unfinished manuscript that would be part of a series and briefly described it to her. She said to send it to her when it was finished.

The story I had mentioned was a Nano story (National Novel Writing Month when authors around the world try to write a 50K in November). I abanonded all other side projects and focused on the novel until I completed it. After finishing it, I submitted to Gail and waited. Shortly thereafter, she emailed me an acceptance for Woman of Honor.

Desert Breeze is a non-erotic romance publisher, which is perfect for me. My novels tend to have crossover appeal. Woman of Honor is a coming-of-age fantasy romance, so it's definitely for YA and adults.

Anyhow, I had mentioned to Gail about the series during the yahoo chat, and we worked together to figure out the direction that the series could take so that the entire series was fantasy romance, each book centering on a different couple.

Woman of Honor is the tale of young Aislinn, a girl who wants to become a knight and finds love along the way.

Knight of Glory is about Geoffrey as he travels across the continent to find allies for Arnhem, while he tries to decide between two very different, mysterious ladies.

Champion of Valor focuses on Selliki the selkie and Gabrael the mage amidst the finals battles between Arnhem and Speica.

I am so happy to be with Desert Breeze the past two years. My covers are gorgeous - Jenifer Ranieri is masterful. My favorite cover of the three is Champion of Valor. The contrast of the dark clouds with the glimmer of light - and the awesome castle - pure genius.

I already mentioned Champion of Valor. It releases May 1st, and I'm so excited for its release! I'm organizing a huge blog tour for it, and I hope you join me. At the end of the tour, I'm going to give away a copy of the entire series to one lucky winner, as well as small prizes at each stop. I'll post more about the blog tour tomorrow.

Champion of Valor blurb:

The Mystical Conch Shell of the Sea has been stolen, and it's up to Selliki, the selkie, to get it back. Selliki sets across the continent of Alethereia to find Arnhem, and Gabrael, the mage she loves. Selliki knows that no union between a selkie and a human have ever had a happy ending, but neither can ignore their feelings. Each night, they experience terrible, real dreams that show how doomed their love is.

The final war between Speica and Arnhem is threatening the entire world. Lucifer has aligned himself with Speica and wants nothing less than to bring about the Apocalypse before its time. In the last battle, cowardice is revealed, promises are broken, and many people die. Trolls fight icthyocentaurs, dwarves armed up against the Drow, angels against demons. Only one kingdom will prevail; that is, if the world doesn't end.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reviewing Wednesday - Voda Swim Review and Giveaway

Spring is here and summer is coming fast, which means it's almost bathing suit season. I don't know about you, but it's never easy to find a great swimsuit, especially not a bikini.
Sponsored by
That's where the Voda Swim's Envy Push Up comes in.
Voda Swim's push up swimwear are not your typical bathing suits. Taken from their website:

Looks just like a regular bikini
Gives breasts amazing cleavage, lift and support
Very low water absorbency
No sagging when wet
No under wiring

I had the opportunity to review a bathing suit from Voda, and I can say that everything Voda Swim claims is true. There was definite lift without a pesky underwire, and not a little lift either. And I'm sure you have a bikini that soaks up a ton of water and ends up looking like a floatation device as soon as it gets wet. We all do. The Envy Push Up does not retain water. It's incredible. It does not lose it's shape! Another thing I love about my suit was that the straps and bands are thick and they tie tight. And the suit itself is so comfortable!

Voda swimsuits are priced between $110-132 and are available at

Want 10% off your order? Enter the discount code Zoltack at

Believe me, this suit is worth every penny. But if you don't want to spend that much on a bathing suit, don't worry. Voda Swim has graciously offered to give one lucky reader the Voda Swim swimsuit of their choice!

Mandatory entry: 

Visit and return telling me which push up swimsuit you'd love to win. You must include their email address in this entry!

Additional entries (please leave a separate comment for each entry):

Like Voda Swim on Facebook +1
Follow Voda Swim on Twitter +1 
Follow my blog +1
Email/Feed Subscribe to my blog +2
spread the word (through your blog, FB, or twitter) (+1 for each, leave a link in a comment if you can)

Contest open to readers from the US only. Contest ends 5/13. Winner will be chosen using

Hurry up and enter, there are so many great bathing suit options for you to choose from: string bikinis, halter style bikinis, and more. If you like to be more covered up, there are ones pieces to choose from, as well as tankinis. And you can mix and match and order a different size top and bottom.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using created by WebBizIdeas a Minneapolis SEO and Web Design firm. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Creature Post and Winner

I know my creature posts are normally on Mondays but because the contest ended yesterday, I thought I would bump the Creature Mondays post until today. If you're impatient, go ahead and skip to the end of the post to see if you won the Amazon gift card!

Credit for picture - a painting by Linda Bergkvist

Today's creature are nymphs. In Greek mythology, nymphs are female spirits associated with a particular place or function in nature. In appearance, they are like young, beautiful, gentle girls. Although long-lived, they are not immortal.  Their lives end with the death of the natural object they are associated with, such as a tree. They personify the fertile powers of nature, such as the life-giving flow of fresh-water springs.

There are different kinds of nymphs:

Water nymphs are known as Nereids, and are similar to mermaids.

Land nymphs are tied to a physical geographical location. Oreids inhabt mountains and ravines. Alseids are in glens and groves. Aulonaids are in pastures and valleys.

Wood nymphs are tied to different trees. Dryads to oaks. Hamadryads to nut, elm, and fig trees. Meliae to ash trees.

One myth has Eros the god of love wounding Apollo the god of the sun with an arrow. As a result, Apollo fell in love with Daphne, daughter of Peneus, a river god. Daphne, as a follower of Artemis, had vowed herself to charity, ran away from Apollo. He chased her, and Daphne cried out to her father for help. Her skin turned into bark, her hair to leaves, her arm branches, and her feet roots. Apollo declared the laural tree as scared and wound a laurel wreath around his brow.

And now it's time to announce the winner!

The winner of the $10.00 Amazon giftcard is... Tiffany!

Congrats, Tiffany! I'll  be emailing you shortly.

If you didn't win, don't worry. I'm going to be posting a review tomorrow and be hosting another giveaway. I'll give you a hint - it's not a review for another book but something that you wear at the beach. :) Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

GIVEAWAY: Happy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop and Personal Demons Review

Thank you I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Once Upon a Twilight for hosting this blog hop!

Welcome to the Happy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop! This is my way of giving thanks to all of my followers and runs from 12:01 AM on Wednesday, April 20th to 11:59 PM on Monday, April 25th, midnight.

Each participating blog is hosting their own giveaway with their own entry requirements. All participating blogs are linked up through the Eggstravaganza linky HERE.

To enter, you must be a follower and leave a comment. (+1)

For additional entries:
spread the word (through your blog, FB, or twitter) (+1 for each, leave a link in a comment if you can)
And what am I giving away?
A $10.00 Amazon giftcard!

Here's my suggestion as to what you should buy:

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance—-even her closest friends—-and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same . . . until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him.

What she doesn’t know is that Luc is on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie’s soul. It should be easy—-all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can’t be far behind. And sure enough, it’s not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie’s soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.

My review for Personal Demons:

"If there's a Hell on Earth, it's high school.  And if there's anyone distinctly qualified to make that statement, it would be me."

How could you not want to keep reading after that first line? Once I started Personal Demons, I had a hard time stopping. I loved the characters. There's demon Luc, hot and sexy. Then there's Gabe the angel, wings and all, dreamy and good. Both love human Frannie, a human with a special power that has her wanted by both Heaven and Hell. She's tough and yet fragile with a troubled past and a tortured soul. Her thoughts were sassy and I enjoyed being inside her head. I enjoyed the dual POV of Luc and Frannie, and the present tense didn't bother me like other books have. It was fun watching Luc and Frannie grow and change throughout the novel. Gabe changed too but to a lesser extent. And I loved that love conquers all, even angels and demons.

I can't wait to read the next book in the series!
  If you had to choose between Heaven and Hell, which side would you choose? Are you sure about that?

I rate this book:

I won a Personal Demons t-shirt in a contest and had hubby take a pic of me reading the book. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that you couldn't see the cover until I uploaded the pic onto the computer. Oh well.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cover Art Reveal!

Ah, Champion of Valor! The last book in my Kingdom of Arnhem trilogy. It'll be released May 1st, and I can't wait! I just love this cover, it's my favorite out of all three.

The Mystical Conch Shell of the Sea has been stolen, and it's up to Selliki, the selkie, to get it back. Selliki sets across the continent of Alethereia to find Arnhem, and Gabrael, the mage she loves. Selliki knows that no union between a selkie and a human have ever had a happy ending, but neither can ignore their feelings. Each night, they experience terrible, real dreams that show how doomed their love is.

The final war between Speica and Arnhem is threatening the entire world. Lucifer has aligned himself with Speica and wants nothing less than to bring about the Apocalypse before its time. In the last battle, cowardice is revealed, promises are broken, and many people die. Trolls fight icthyocentaurs, dwarves armed up against the Drow, angels against demons. Only one kingdom will prevail; that is, if the world doesn't end.

I would love to set up a blog tour in May for CoV's release. If you are willing to host me as a guest blogger or for an interview, please let me know! I'm willing to host you on my blog in return!

And now I'll leave you with a brief excerpt from Champion of Valor:

Varun fixed her with a stern stare but did not argue the point.

I hope the Speicans will not know how to use the Conch Shell.

Varun shook his head. I'm afraid with their evil and treacherous ways, they will figure out a way to harness its power. But on to other matters, what did you learn from Tara'zai? Did you locate her brother? Naida thought she saw him the other day.

Tara'zai and Ven'jo are missing. I spoke with Mika'la instead.

The selkie leader closed his dark eyes. Then the Conch Shell might not even be somewhere within the ocean. He swam in a tight circle and then shored up beside her. You must go. Join the war, find the Conch Shell. I trust you to find it if it is on land. The rest of us shall remain, rebuilding our city, readying our army, and searching for the Conch Shell down here.


Isn't this what you always wanted? A chance to see if you and that magical man could ever work out?

Selliki stared at the broken sand tower a few feet away. Marriages between selkies and anyone but their own kind ended disastrously. No female selkie had ever been able to give up her true nature to live with complete happiness on two legs. Not without constantly yearning for the sea. In every case, the selkie spouse abandoned their marriage and returned to the sea. In every case. Selliki knew the risk, but she also knew the calling of her heart, and she loved Gabrael. Even so, she shivered. This task would require her to be away from the water for much longer than she had ever been before. She fixed her gaze upon her leader. I will do as you wish.

Good. May the water be gentle in your passing.

And let the water save you from our troubles. Selliki flipped on her fins and swam away. She approached Naida, one of her closest friends. I have to go. Varun has a mission for me.

Compassion swam in Naida's eyes. Will you be able to see Gabrael at least?

Yes, but I must leave now. Tell everyone I'll be back as soon as I can.

I will, and be safe, Selliki. Naida used her strong tail to lift a portion of the broken sand wall.

Selliki watched the other selkies, her people, work to rebuild their underwater domain. Her entire body screamed to help them, but she had no choice. She had to do as Varun bid her. She ignored the confused looks some of the other selkies threw at her and swam toward the surface.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Creature Mondays

Picture taken from here

Today's creature is the golem, a creature that makes an appearance in Champion of Valor, which, btw, I saw a preview of the cover art and it is gorgeous! I'll share as soon as I can!

Golems come from Jewish folklore and are artificial animated men. Golem comes from "gelem, a Jewish word that means "raw material."

Traditionally, a golem was made from clay and animated by a magical or religious word on its forehead or a piece of parchment in its mouth.According to legend, Rabbi Judah Loew created a golem to protect the Jewish residents of a ghetto but the creature turned violent and killed non-Jews before turning on its creator. Reminds me of another monster....

In other news, son #2 is finally going to see an allergist today! I'm praying and hoping that by the time his appointment is over, we'll know what he is allergic too. Please pray everything goes well!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Seeing Beyond the Ordinary

We have all been blessed with sight. We see the blue sky, the green grass, the yellow of a school bus.

But there are times when we don't see things. Sometimes we don't see the despair in a friend's eyes or the hurt or the worry. We only see the surface and don't dare to dig deeper.

It was thinking thoughts like these that inspired me to write my What You See is What You Get. I took our world and made it a playground for paranormal and mythological creatures but with a twist - not everyone could actually SEE those creatures. There's a veiled mist that separates the two worlds.

Sometimes you just have to give deeper in order to be able to see the truth.

Book 2, TO SEE, was released yesterday. I would love for you to check it out. If you promise to review a copy, I'll send you a coupon code for a free copy that you can get from Smashwords.

And if you have the time, I wrote a guest blog about how to write realistic dialogue and Donna Galanti, a new friend that I met at The Write Stuff conference, interviewed me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


As you all know, I love to read. I think it's a given that writers love to read. Anyhow, I'm thinking of starting to post reviews here on the blog. I'm not sure how often, and I might not limit it to just books. I might also review movies, too, or anything else the strikes me fancy. Not sure how often, but I'm thinking at least once a month, hopefully more.

So be on the lookout for my first review sometime next week. Here's a hint as to what book it is: If you had to choose between Heaven and Hell, which would you choose?

Oh, and if you are an author and would like to send me a story to review, feel free!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Creature Mondays

Before I post today's creature, I just wanted to remind everyone about my contest. Read all of the details here and be sure to enter!

Today's picture is the Chupacabra. Chupacabra means "goat sucker" which is fitting because the monster has been blamed for attacks on livestock, including goats. About 3 feet high with leathery greenish-gray skin, sharp spines down its back, the Chupacabra also has fangs and a forked tongue. Supposedly it hops on its hind legs like a kangaroo, hisses or screeches when alarmed, and emits a sulphuric smell.

Chupacabra was first reported seen in Puerto Rico in 990. It attacks animals by their blood through small, circular incisions. Some say that the Chupacabra is an alien species with supernatural powers, such as hypnosis. It uses hypnosis on animals through its eyes so it can suck the blood of its prey through its hollow fangs.

Friday, April 8, 2011

400 Followers Contest!

It's contest time again!

So I want to do something different with this contest, and I'll hope you all will enjoy it.

This contest is especially geared to readers.

I want you to tell me what you want me to write about for my next short story.

You pick the genre, any genre. You create the main character and the antagonist. Name them if you want, tell me what they look like. If there's romance, create the hero and the heroine. A space opera with a race of minotaurs? A historic sweet romance? Zombies? Selkies? I'm up for absolutely anything. Have fun with it, be creative!

You can email me your story ideas at or post them in the comments.

I'll then pick a winner and write the story. I'll do my best to get it published, most likely in a magazine or through an epublisher, and will dedicate the story to you as well as give you a free copy.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Following Your Dreams

Some years I follow American Idol, some years I don't. Hubby and I started watching this year's competition after the top 24 were picked.

What I like most about American Idol is watching the singers strive to become the next American Idol. Each week, they try to pick the right song, they practice, they sing and perform. They do whatever they can to ensure that they can sing for another week. They give their all each week, every week.

And I find that inspiring.

We all have hopes and dreams and goals and desires.

Right now, my goal is to secure an agent. Then to get a book deal. And on and on. I also want to have 2 more children. I have goals for every aspect of my life.

For those of you who are also writers, I'll take the American Idol analogy a little further. Instead of picking the right song, we have to pick the right genre, the right title, the right characters, the right story to tell in the first place. We have to practice our craft, and sometimes even trunk believed stories. We write and edit and revise and polish. And we read - to learn, to escape, to have fun.

What are some of your hopes and dreams in your life? How are you going about following your dreams?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Piss A Writer Off and You'll End Up in their Novel

My family means everything to me. My husband, my sons. Do anything to hurt them, and I will not take to it kindly.

Son #2 has rather severe eczema. The eczema first started after we visited a friend with a cat but since the eczema has never gone away completely despite using medicine and creams, we figure he is most likely also allergic to something I'm eating as well.

So we scheduled an appointment with an allergist. A week before the appointment, we would have to stop his creams so it wouldn't affect the testing results. Just before this magic week, the doctor's office called and said we had to reschedule the appointment. Unfortunately, we had to wait over a month for the next available slot, which we took.

Finally, the day of son #2's appointment arrived. I was about to drop off son #1 at his cousin's so he could be babysat (since the appointment was going to last 2-3 hours) when the doctor's office called and said we had to reschedule again.

Two hours before his appointment.

And why did the appointment have to be rescheduled? Because the doctor called to say he wasn't coming in today.

Remember, we had to stop his creams and medicine so son #2's eczema is really bad, worst it's ever been bad, and he is miserable and all he wants to do is scratch and itch. Son #2 also just turned 8 months yesterday.

To say I was livid is an understatement. It's not even as if the receptionist said that the doctor called out sick that day. No, just that he called out that day. And the next available appointment? May 31.

No way. Not gonna happen. We told them we would find another allergist, and we did. Son #2 is going to see the new allergist on the 18th.

So now I am thinking about writing a horror story about a doctor. Dr Wyne. Dr. Wyne is going to die. Maybe come back as a vampire. Die again. Come back as a zombie. And die again.

Mess with my kids and you'll end up in my novel. Trust me, you don't always want to be in my novels, they aren't always romances and they don't always have happy endings.

Have you ever wanted to rip your hair out over someone doing something unfair or unjust to your kids? Have you ever written someone you know into a story?

Now I will say that sometimes my writing someone I know into a story is a good thing. I always include at least one trait from my husband into my heroes, so I'm not completely evil.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Depth of Character

In addition to a pre-conference session, Donald Maass also did a worshop called Creating Depth of Character. I was only able to stay for about half of this session until I had to leave to get ready for my pitch session with Sarah LaPolla.

What makes for deeply engaging chracters?
Their jurney, their arc, their transformation.

What makes people interesting?
What they think
What they feel
     emotionally unexpected
Something new to us, a fresh perspective

How can this be accomplished?
Through opinions, especially the strength of those opinions

Try to provoke the reader through the character's strong opinion so as to connect and engage the reader.

Consider you protagonist and his/her sidekick or best friend. Think of someone that the protagonist hates about the other person. At the end of the story, turn around the opinion through acceptance and tolerance.

And that's all the notes I have on creating depth of character. What do you think best creates depth of character?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Creature Mondays and Winner

Credit for picture
Today's creature is Kobald.

From German folklore, the Kobald are household spirits. Kobalds look like a little old man. "Kobe" means "house" and "hode" means "beautiful" or "good."

A Koblad helps to make a house beautiful. As long as he is givin food to it, a Koblad will complete any household task that has been left unfinished one the family goes to sleep.

One legend tells of the Kobalds in the city of Cologne. They did so much hard work at night that the citizens grew lazy. A tailor's wife became so curious to see the Kobalds at work that she scattered peas onto the floor  to make them slip and fall. Infuriated (and rightly so!) the Kobalds disappeared, leaving the people of Cologne to do their tasks and chores themselves, without magical help.

I wish I had a Kobald to help me clean my house!

Ok, I made you all wait long enough. It's time to announce the winner of my Fool for Books contest.

Nightly Cafe!

BK, I'll be emailing you shortly.

For those of you who didn't win, don't worry. The Fools for Books giveaways pushed my follower count to over 400, and you know what that means!

Another contest!

I'll post the details of the contest on Friday, so be sure to stop on by.

And congrats to Nightly Cafe!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fool For Books Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the Fool for Book Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and The Bookish Snob!

The Hop is a 2 day event from April 1 – April 2.

There are 200+ Blogs Participating! Please visit I Am a Reader, Not a Writer for the entire blog list!

So what am I giving away?

An ecopy of Woman of Honor, Knight of Glory, or an ARC of Champion of Valor! Also some signed postcards and magnets.

Woman of Honor - Aislinn of Bairbhe dreams of becoming a lady knight to honor the death of her fallen brother. To her mother's horror, King Patrick grants Aislinn's wish and she begins her long years of training.

Despite the mockery of the other pages, and the disdain of Prince Caelan who also trains to be a knight, Aislinn commits herself to her dreams and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and bravery. Through the years, Aislinn and Caelan grow from sparring classmates to good friends. They both know that someday Caelan will marry for the sake of the kingdom, but even that cannot keep them from falling in love.

The threat of war with the Speicans is a constant threat, and one that grows more frightening as she and Caelan train toward their eventual knighthood. Aislinn has committed herself to serving Arnhem, and has promised herself as King's Champion when Caelan claims the throne. She is willing to give up everything... her childhood, her life, even her heart for Arnhem. No matter the pain it brings.

Knight of Glory - Sir Geoffrey, along with some companions, has been sent away from Arnhem, entrusted by Queen Aislinn for a special mission, and has to leave behind the mysterious lady Celestia. On his journey, he uncovers seeds of a sinister plot, learns a horrible secret, and makes a new friend in exile Jenanna.

Their mission completed, Geoffrey and his companions rush to two different kingdoms to ask for aid. Danger and betrayal lurks around every corner, and even allies have secrets that could prove deadly. Geoffrey's feelings for Celestia grow and wane. After learning some of Celestia's secrets, he begins to have second thoughts about his love for her and is even drawn to Jenanna.
Rumors abound that the Speicans have enlisted a mage of their own, to work unspeakable, forbidden magic. The war between Speica and Arnhem has just begun. Will Geoffrey survive the battle to live another day and discover which woman he truly loves?
Champion of Valor is the thrilling conclusion to the Kingdom of Arnhem series and will be published May 1st.

To enter, you must be a follower and leave a comment. (+1)

For additional entries:
spread the word (through your blog, FB, or twitter) (+1 for each, leave a link in a comment)

Easy, huh? Now check out the other great prizes on the Fool for Books Hop!