M is for Men (as in looking for a few good)

So, yeah, I'm not doing A to Z this year. But I seem to be going through some sort of withdrawal. When I realized VIBRIZZIO's Release Day is on none other than R day (April 21), I had a tiny flash of inspiration. When the first two A to Zers who offered to post for me happened to be men, well, I got a whole 'nother idea...

If you're doing A to Z (or even if you're not) and if you're a man (or even if you're not), I'd love it, love it, love it if you'd consider including a blip about VIBRIZZIO's release in your post on either April 21 (R Day) or April 25 (V Day). The only things I'll ask you to post are the cover, Amazon link, and the mini-blurb:

Lyssa Bates doesn't need a man. Not when the world is fully stocked with double A batteries and a wide array of options in Amazon's health and sexual wellness category.

Lastly, (here's where the man bit comes in) if you're a man, I'd also like you to include a one-sentence-or-less honest reaction to that mini-blurb. If you're not a man, please grab the man closest to you, read him the blurb, and share his reaction with your followers.

That's it. You in?



Pop the Bubbly for ENTWINED, an Embrace Series Novel by @CherieColyer

We're popping the bubbly today for Cherie Colyer, whose third book in the Embrace series was released today!  I've already read the first chapter oF ENTWINED  and oh, boy am I excited to dive in head first.

le Blurb:

Only a few months after embracing her magical powers, defeating a dark witch, and banishing a faerie prince back to his realm, sixteen ­year ­old Madison Riley is back in book three of the Embrace series—and doing the bidding of a demon. She has no choice but to do so if she wants him to honor the deal they made to save the life of someone she loves. Twenty years of service to a creature of hell is a big price, but one she’s willing to pay. And it sure beats the alternative: selling her soul.

But life gets complicated when you’re the beck­and­call witch of a crossroad demon. Caden, the demon she serves, wants to become master of Death Himself, and with Madison at his side he has the means to do it.

It’s up to Madison and her coven to foil his plans, but Caden’s intentions aren't entirely evil—and the kisses he seals his deals with aren’t too bad either. As Caden's motives test Madison’s trust, his shameful flirting tries her boyfriend Isaac’s patience. But being caught between two supernatural hotties is perhaps the least of her concerns when the coven’s interference in Caden’s plot might just cost Madison her life and unleash hell on earth.

Enter the ENTWINED RAFFLECOPTER to win either a $20 Amazon Gift Card or a 3 book bundle of the entire Entwined Series!


Happy Release Day @AlexJCavanaugh! DRAGON OF THE STARS is here!

Today a whole bunch of us are popping the bubbly for the release of Alex J. Cavanaugh's fourth novel, Dragon of the Stars!! And this from a guy who never even intended to be a writer. He just can't help it---his talent and his muse, not to mention his fans, just won't let him stop.

After finishing his Cassa series, he wasn't sure he'd write another book. Then a super awesome song came along and inspired him. We can't have a party without music, right? So let's get this party started with the tune that's responsible for this shindig: 

Available today!
Dragon of the Stars By Alex J. Cavanaugh
Science Fiction – Space Opera/Adventure/Military
Print ISBN 9781939844064 EBook ISBN 9781939844057

The ship of legends…
The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter. But when the Alliance declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray and told he won’t make captain. One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?


Wouldn't be a party without games & prizes either, would it?

SCAVENGER HUNT! Comment to win an autographed copy of Dragon of the Stars, tons of bookmarks & postcards, and a $20.00 iTunes gift card–where is Mini-Alex? (Open through April 11 – winner announced April 13 at Alex’s blog.)


Cover Reveal Time: ENTWINED by @CherieColyer

I'm excited to be hosting the cover reveal for the third book in the wonderful EMBRACE SERIES by Cherie Colyer. I enjoyed the first two books of this YA supernatural series. My reviews are here and here. You can get started on the series for only 99 cents with EMBRACE.

I'll be getting that reveal, but first, le blurb:

Book 3 in the Embrace series by Cherie Colyer

Only a few months after embracing her magical powers, defeating a dark witch, and banishing a faerie prince back to his realm, sixteen-year-old Madison Riley is back in book three of the Embrace series—and doing the bidding of a demon. She has no choice but to do so if she wants him to honor the deal they made to save the life of someone she loves. Twenty years of service to a creature of hell is a big price, but one she’s willing to pay. And it sure beats the alternative: selling her soul.

But life gets complicated when you’re the beck-and-call witch of a crossroad demon. Caden, the demon she serves, wants to become master of Death Himself, and with Madison at his side he has the means to do it.

It’s up to Madison and her coven to foil his plans, but Caden’s intentions aren't entirely evil—and the kisses he seals his deals with aren’t too bad either. As Caden's motives test Madison’s trust, his shameful flirting tries her boyfriend Isaac’s patience. But being caught between two supernatural hotties is perhaps the least of her concerns when the coven’s interference in Caden’s plot might just cost Madison her life and unleash hell on earth.

Ready for le cover?


Here it is!

Genre: Young Adult Supernatural Romance
Release Date: April 14th, 2015
Twitter: @CherieColyer


Insecure Writers Support Group: April 2015

Wow. I haven't posted anything since the last IWSG. What the hell happened to March? In any case, thank you for stopping by during this month's meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh (who's got a new book coming out next week!!) .

My insecurity this month is...well, that I'm not feeling insecure about anything when I probably should be. I mean, I've got a whole list of stressors to choose from:

1. As of today it's officially official that I'm not doing A to Z this year. This makes me sad because I know I'm going to miss out on a lot of fun, but I also know that nobody around here is going to hold it against me. What would've made me insecure is signing up and then not being able to keep up, which is most certainly what would've happened w/ the month I've got ahead of me. .

2. My family is coming over for Easter, and other than the big ham in my fridge, I haven't done one thing to prepare. Bah, it always comes together; it'll happen again. Besides, as long as we have eggs and Jesus (and that giant ham), what else do we need?

3. I've got a book releasing a few weeks. Last two times this happened I was all in a tizzy, but as I espoused last month, there's only so much I can do. So I'll do it, and whatever will be will be. If you're willing & able to post something about VIBRIZZIO on April 21 (release day) to your blog or FB or Twitter or wherever,  please sign up for my e-mail list & I'll send you some goodies to choose from next week.

4.  I haven't written or done any serious editing to my WIP for a couple of weeks. No guilt; no worries. I think it's to the story's and the writer's benefit to take little breaks from each other. Every once in a while I need to step away and let my creative energies play in other ways...like making this video trailer for the Vibster. Whaddaya think?

So you can see my big concern, right? I'm way too chillaxed. This never lasts---what's lurking around that corner that's going to blow my Fonzie jacket right off? Do you ever feel this way?


What I Believe #IWSG #BookMarketing

Hola, Insecure Writers Support Group! Nice to see you. Once again, thank you Mr. Alex J. Cavanaugh for bringing us all together to help each other through the ups & downs of this writing adventure. My insecurity, or rather challenge, this month is going to sound rather strange, particularly considering that I have a new release next month. What I'm struggling with right now is to not market my book. That's right, I said not

After five years of observation and direct experience, I've come to beleive that once a book is written and out there, there's very little an author can do to sell her own book. I've seen authors work their bums off, implementig really, really good marketing strategies with little to no sustained impact on sales. I've seen other authors do hardly anything at all and meet with great success. 

I believe sustainability of sales depends on a perfect storm of appealing cover/blurb/premise, the right timing, compelling story, and magic. All of those things work together to conjure the one thing that will bring about sustainable sales: word of mouth. An author can shout incessantly from the top of a mountain made of Rafflecopters, promo pics, book trailers & Instagram followers, but unless readers start talking about her book on their own, it ain't gonna sell.

I find this conclusion both frustrating and freeing. Frustrating because dammit, there's nothing I can do. Freeing because hey, I don't have to do anything! Well, maybe not nothing. We do have to make at least a small effort to let people know the book is out there in the hopes that they'll pick it up, read it, love it, and talk, talk, talk about it. What I'm trying to do is stick to a simple promo plan and not panic and shift into pointless promo overdrive - because as strong as my conviction is, I have to constantly resist the urge to shout from the top of that mountain. 

All that being said...come on now, you didn't expect me to go cold turkey, didjya? But I swear, this giveaway is part of my simple, basic plan. If you have any interest at all in a sassy Chic-lit/Love story please click away below and do what the Rafflecopter tells you. Thanks!

How do you keep from going into promo overdrive? 


I always thought @Debra_Anastasia was insane...now I KNOW it. #‎FireDownBelow

Check out the...er, unusual reviews for Debra Anastasia's Fire Down Below:

So, you know when someone says "Ew, gross. Smell this," And then, for some inexplicable reason you do? Well, I smelled it. And you can read my review at Goodreads.  

▴Amazon US ➜ amzn.to/1HvQywp 
▴Amazon UK ➜ amzn.to/1DgCa4U 
▴Amazon AU ➜ bit.ly/1CkOCDU 
▴KoBo ➜ bit.ly/166Xtej 
▴iBooks ➜ bit.ly/1Kfvpmh 
▴B&N ➜ TBA

There are a lot of eyes in Debra Anastasia’s house in Maryland. First, her own creepy peepers are there, staring at her computer screen. She’s made two more sets of eyes with her body, and the kids they belong to are amazing. The poor husband is still looking at her after 17 years of marriage. At least he likes to laugh. Then the freaking dogs are looking at her—six eyeballs altogether, though the old dog is blind. And the cat watches her too, mostly while knocking stuff off the counter and doing that internal kitty laugh when Deb can’t catch the items fast enough.

Debra has a smattering of books in a few genres. There are two in the Seraphim Series and three in the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series with a prequel, Poughkeepsie Begins in the near future. Fire Down Below is the first in the comedic Gynzaule Series. The second, Fire in the Hole, will be published in late 2015. The Revenger, a dark paranormal romance will debut this summer. And last, a novella called Late Night with Andres is special because 100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. (So go get it right now, please!) You can find her at DebraAnastasia.com and on Twitter @Debra_Anastasia. But be prepared...


Romance Authors Don't Suck

On Saturday, I'll have been a published romance author for five years. Throughout those five years, I've often sensed the disdain that accompanies utterance of the term "romance" in the literary world. It's so far beneath all those other genres of real fiction, right? At my local library, the used book shelf sells old VHS tapes---that most people can't even play anymore---for a dollar, while used romance books sell for ten freaking cents.

Kinda gives a girl a complex. So I was ecstatic to get a bit of vindication this past weekend when I sat on a panel called Real Life/Real Love at the first annual Elgin Literary Festival. While one panelist wanted to make it very clear that she wrote (highly esteemed) literary fiction and not (blechy) romance, edgy YA romance superstar Simone Elkeles explained why romance is the hardest genre to write.

I'm paraphrasing here, but essentially what Simone said was that at the beginning of a romance novel, or often from just the blurb, readers know how the story ends: the H gets together with the h and they live HEA. Romance writers can't rely on simple curiosity to know how it all ends to keep readers reading. We have to work every page to keep the reader vested in the characters and caring about how they get together---enough to read all the way through even though they know exactly where the story will end. 'Tis no easy task.

For the record, I was a writer's conference newb, so this festival was my first event of the sort. I so much loved getting to meet other authors in real life! Here I am (left) with the super cool & sweet AJ Pine (fellow panelist & my book-signing table buddy) & the wonderfully open and approachable Simone Elkeles (right).

FYI, on Monday at the IWSG website, Alex J. Cavannaugh put together a great piece about the pros and cons of small publishers---with input from 12 authors you just might recognize...


Insecure Writers Support Group: February 2015 #IWSG

Has anyone out there not heard of IWSG yet? If so, learn all about it here. Thank you Alex J. Cavanaugh for bringing us all together!

I know everyone has their own writing process and that what works for one person may not work for another, but I've just realized another benefit to the plow-through-the-first-draft-no-looking-back approach, and I want to share it with you.  I write this way because I learned that if I don't, I'll never finish anything. I get too caught up in editing, so I simply can't let myself do it until version one of the story is all out of me. That's benefit #1.

As I work on the second draft of my current WIP, I've seen benefit #2 in action. Since I didn't spend time re-re-re-re-reading chapters to mold and polish along the way, I'm able to attack this draft almost like a first time reader. I think with all writers, the more times we read our own words, the more attached to them we become and the more right they sound to us no matter how very wrong they might be. Since I haven't read these words multiple times, I can slice and dice them more objectively. It's sort of freeing. Have any of you experienced this benefit? Have you tried the no looking back approach?

In case the graphic in my sidebar issn't obnoxious enough, I have some exciting news this week---my upcoming novel VIBRIZZIO is up for pre-order at Amazon!  Right now it's at a special pre-order price of 99c. I don't know how long that'll last, so if you're interested in a love story that's a little bit smart and a lotta bit naughty, you might want to snatch it up now. Scroll down to the bottom of this link for a free sample (i.e. the opening scene)


Four Somethings & a Sixpence #Romance #Giveaway @RumerHaven

I'm so excited to feature a brand new novella---just released today!---by Rumer Haven. Rumer has such a lovely way of painting stories with words, and this particular story features one of my favorite twists ever in a romance. It's a perfect short read for Valentine's season. 

by Rumer Haven

Adult Contemporary Romance
Available February 3, 2015 
from Battered Suitcase Press
(an imprint of Vagabondage Press)

SUMMARY: One wedding. Six participants. Be they sitting in the pews or standing at the altar, bearing witness in person or only in spirit, each of them knows something about the unsmiling bride. Go ahead—offer them a sixpence for their thoughts, and they'll make you these vows:
  • One would love to declare this woman his “awfully wedded wife.”
  • One fears what she already has and will have to hold—if not from this day forward, then soon.
  • One takes her to be richer, not poorer.
  • One is better for what she told him this morning, worse for betraying a friend to get to this point.
  • One worries whether today finds her in sickness or in health.
  • And only one already knows that not even in death will they part.
Whether they speak now or forever hold their peace, they all give the bride a little something she didn’t register for. With romance, resentment, faith, fear, mystery, and the mystical, Four Somethings & A Sixpence is a loaded yet light read just in time for Valentine's Day!

Add it to Goodreads

 RAFFLECOPTER: In celebration, Rumer is giving away 4 free ebooks of this 9,000-word novelette, and a lucky 5th winner will receive the ebook PLUS an authentic silver sixpence coin struck by the Royal Mint in London! RSVP at the Rafflecopter for your chance to win (runs from 2/3 - 2/14).

AUTHOR BIO: Rumer Haven is probably the most social recluse you could ever meet. When she’s not babbling her fool head off among friends and family, she’s pacified with a good story that she’s reading, writing, or revising—or binge-watching something on Netflix. A former teacher hailing from Chicago, she presently lives in London with her husband. She made her authorial debut in 2014 with the novel Seven for a Secret, where historical fiction meets contemporary rom-com. Rumer has always had a penchant for the past and paranormal, which inspires her writing to explore dimensions of time, love, and the soul.

Website * Goodreads * Amazon * Twitter: @RumerHaven * Facebook 


Let the Stomach Churning Begin: Revealiing #Vibrizzio @SwoonRomance

Today's the day the cover for VIBRIZZIO gets plastered all over the book bloggerverse! If you haven't bumped up against it yet, you can see it at Will Read for Feels. Or A British Bookworm's Blog, Collector of Book Boyfriends, The Phantom Paragrapher, BookSkater, Carol Oates, The Book Addict,  etc. etc. etc. Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for organizing such a smashing event!

I'd love it if you'd come back here to let me know what you think of the cover.

The blurb is posted along with the cover, but at my place I'd like to give you just a smidgen more. Below is a teensy excerpt from a conversation between our leading lady & her BFF.  It's the gist of the story in few words:

“Just because he’s a guy doesn’t mean he and I can’t be just friends.”
“And just because you don’t have to insert batteries into him doesn’t mean you can’t be more."

VIBRIZZIO has it's first review! The lovely Jennifer Lane, author of chart-topper BLOCKED, a NA sports/political romance, was my valuable crit partner on this story. She's the partner that keeps on giving and took the time to write out a wonderful review. Thanks, Jen!

Add VIBRIZZIO to your to-read list at Goodreads


Something Wicked is Here! Congrats @CarolOates

It's heeeere, Something Wicked by Carol Oates.

Now available

For the enticing blurb & author bio,
please visit my cover reveal post.

Carol took time during her busy release week activities to stop by and answer one simple question:

If you had to choose one song that best captures the essence of SOMETHING WICKED, what would it be and why?

There were quite a few songs on an eclectic playlist when I started writing this. It’s difficult to pick just one.

For writing the 19th century scenes, I preferred something with a classical feel. I love Divenire by Ludovico Einaudi and listened to it while writing an early scene, which was particularly horrific for the main character. It was the scene where Henry goes through the final moments of his transition to a vampire. He doesn’t realize the extent of what has happened to him and is, in fact, filled with a sort of hope that he’s still alive and will see his family and his precious sister once more. This hope is cut short, followed swiftly by devastation and the corruption of his humanity when Henry takes his first taste of blood. The title is ‘To Become’.

A couple of times, Henry reflects on his nature as being somewhat stagnant, he talks about patience and habit as though he is stuck, which in his mind he is. He doesn’t see that the opposite is true and he is always in a state of evolution and on his way to becoming something other than what he is at any given time. As soon as one part of his journey completes, another begins. So, I think ‘To Become’ is very apt.

When I listen to a musical score in a movie and it is telling me how to feel through every second of imagery, I get frustrated sometimes. I like the idea of beautiful music and horror so my ears aren’t telling my brain I should be scared. I like the idea of being softly lulled with a rising dramatic score and feeling it in my heart rather than my ears.

When not writing, Carol can be found exploring history, old buildings, castles, and tombs.


Insecure Writer's Support Group: January 2015

Hello, hello, hello! Welcome to the first 2015 meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh. (If you haven't joined the club yet and are interested in learning more, click on either of the links in the preceding sentence.)

JUST read the memo about the brief introduction, so here it is: I live in the Chicago 'burbs w/ one husband, one bunny, one teenaged son, and a daughter who also lives across the state border at university. I work in digital and print marketing for a local retail icon so I get to do lots of writing at my day job. I realize now that I've written fiction in my head my whole life but I didn't start putting my stories into words until the summer after I turned 40. I'm so happy I didn't wait any longer.

I burrowed pretty snuggly into the Land of Offline the past several weeks, so I'm excited to bop about today to see what's up with all of you. My insecurities are the same ol' same ol' for January---a year's worth of new goals and concern that I won't be able to do it all. I've learned by now that setting a schedule & sticking to it is key, so that's what I'll do...and when I trip over inevitable obstacles, you'll get to hear all about it at future IWSG meetings, hehe.

The first super exciting thing that'll happen for me this year is the January, 23 cover reveal for my upcoming chick-lit romance VIBRIZZIO, If you'd like to post the cover on the 23rd (and get a slightly early peek at the goods), please sign up at Xpresso Book Tours.

Lyssa Bates doesn't need a man. Not when the world is fully stocked with double A batteries and a wide array of options in Amazon's health and sexual wellness category. Coming April 21, 2015 from Swoon Romance.

Yesterday I revealed the wicked awesome cover of SOMETHING WICKED by Carol Oates. Take a scroll down to see it. :)


Something Wicked...wait for it...Awesome! @CarolOates

I'm taking part in the cover reveal of SOMETHING WICKED by Carol Oates.

I think you're gonna like it...

New Adult
Historical/Contemporary Supernatural

Releasing January 20, 2015
from Omnific Publishing 

Hooray!!! Carol is a wonderful writer and I love it when she goes dark, so I'm really looking forward to this one. Here are some more deets:

Infected by the vampire virus on the streets of Dublin in 1886, the search for a cure brought Henry Clayton to London and to the brink of madness. Salvation and friendship arrived in the form of Dougal, an immortal Highlander with a devilish sense of humor and a love of life.

Amidst turmoil in vampire society, Henry returns to modern day Dublin. The Circle, a cult determined to awaken their Celtic blood god, the first vampire, is once again active.

When Henry meets a young American woman who sees past his human pretense, he fears exposure. However, his fear is overshadowed by curiosity. What is the source of the strange energy between them? Why are vampires stalking her? Determined to find answers, Henry takes Ari into his home and under his protection.

As their connection grows, Henry begins to suspect Ari isn't what she claims to be. Their shared history may hold the answers to his uncontrollable bouts of rage and thirst. Perhaps, even a cure for his wicked blood.

Add it at Goodreads 

About the Author 

Carol Oates came into the world on Christmas morning, in an elevator. Raised just across the street from the childhood home of Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, it was only a matter of time before Carol’s love of all things supernatural would emerge. 

She began experimenting with fiction at school and keeps the notebook containing her first unpublished novel in her desk drawer. Over three decades later, all her stories still begin life scrawled on paper. 

When not writing, Carol can be found exploring history, old buildings, castles, and tombs. 



Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop. Enter whether you've been naughty or niiice. #Prizes #Vibrizzio

Welcome to the Mid-winter's Eve Giveaway Hop sponsored by the I am a Reader blog and organized by Mary at Bookhounds.net.

Things are getting pretty exciting with my upcoming Chick-lit love story with good vibrations, Vibrizzio.

"Lyssa Bates doesn’t need a man. Not when the world is fully-stocked with double A batteries and a wide array of options in Amazon’s health and sexual wellness category."

The big cover reveal will be on January 23---sign up at Xpresso Book Tours---and all sorts of fun things will follow. You can now read a very few teensy excerpts at my website (I'd put them in this post but I'm afraid they might cross a line on the G-rating of this hop).

To enter my giveaway, just follow the link in the Rafflecopter below to check out the full blurb for Vibrizzio at Goodreads---if it sounds like your cuppa, please add it to your to-read list. The prizes are a $5 gift card to Amazon, a choice of eBook (either Three Daves, a New Adult romance, or Divine Temptation, a love story of angelic proportions), and a beaded owl charm bookmark like the ones pictured to the right.

Since Three Daves is set in the 80s, I'll leave you with this super cheesy video that still makes me giggle three decades later. Merry Christmas!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

More fabulous prizes to be had at these participating blogs:

Free wordpress sites and other that can’t run script:
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A Day Late & a Million $$ Short: Finale #Survivor

And so we have the predictable end to an unpredictable season. Overall I'd say San Juan Del Sur ranks about middling for me amongst all Survivors. It was fairly boring up until the merge, then it got interesting...but in really weird ways. It's dissapointing that of the final five, Natalie was really the only one still playing the game (but props to Jac for the impressive comeback win in the final challenge). It's pretty bad when Nat had to resort to making supposed "big" moves just to do something.

A trend in the game that I'm not personally excited about is the making of big moves simply for the sake of making them. Sometimes they're necessary to get to the finals, sometimes they're not, and I can appreciate a player who's stayed on the right side of alliances the whole way through whether or not they've had to make a big move to be there. Natalie's strength in the game was her subtle play and quiet manipulation. In my opinion she didn't need the big moves to be the strongest Survivor standing.

I was thinking about Natalie's "big" moves, and I'm not sure any of the them actually did anything to improve her position. Let's have a look at them, shall we? (Please let me know if I've left any out).

First was Alec. She said Alec was enamored with Jon & Jac, but he'd already shown his willingness to screw over Jon at an earlier vote. She thought she'd have more loyalty from Keith, which is probably true, but his big mouth was unpredictable and made him dangerous as an ally. Also, Alec wasn't nearly the threat that Keith was in challenges, and we all saw how desperate she was to get Keith out in the final five, so I'm not convinced she improved her position by prolonging unpredictable Keith's time in the game.

Next was Jon. That vote improved her position, but it wasn't really all that big of a move now, was it? The edit showed Missy being hesitant, but come on, she wasn't not going to vote him out. He had the idol that he'd have played the next tribal so this was their very last chance. Getting him out earlier would've been bigger.

Finally, giving the idol to Jac and voting out Baylor. That was pure showboating---which juries are encouraged to reward whether or not the move serves a purpose, so it is good strategy from that standpoint, buuuuut it did absolutely nothing to improve Natalie's position and could've possibly even hurt it. First, she sent someone to jury who absolutely wouldn't vote for her unless Missy landed there on the next vote. Second, Baylor had been her loyal little puppy since they'd met at Exile Island! In no way could Nat trust Jac more than Baylor.

I guess that's all I have to say about this season. I'm looking forward to the White Collar, Blue Collar, No Collar angle for next season! How about you?

Nicki has spoken. 


Two Days Late & a Million $$ Short #Survivor

If Jon has learned one lesson from this game, I hope it's to LISTEN TO HIS GIRLFRIEND! It must've been fun for those two to watch that episode together. Moreso for her than for him.

Since this is my last post pre-finale, I'm going to break down the remaining five from the perspective of a jury member---i.e. if I were on the jury and knew everything I currently know, would I give her/him my vote for the mil at the final tribal council?  This is NOT necessarily how I see the real jury voting.

Baylor - No vote from me. She's been spunky but has been led like a little lamb the whole way through.

Jaclyn - Too wishy washy. No vote from me. It's good to be flexible & willing to make big moves but she relied too much on the swing vote position and didn't build depth in alliances with anybody but Jon, who she knew was a primo target.

Missy - She hasn't been my favorite, but I could see possibly voting for her. She formed solid alliances and made herself the most trusted player, earning valuable inside info. Playing on through the busted ankle and never considering quitting doesn't hurt my opinion of her.

Natalie - She probably deserves the win the most of anybody left. She played a quiet strategy, earning the solid trust of others along the way. I was frustrated that she didn't make her move against Jon earlier, but I can see why she wanted to wait until more of the wildcard players were eliminated before moving against her solid alliance. After seeing how she played the Alec vote off as an accident, I sort of see why she didn't make the bold Jac move last week---but it was awfully risky to hope that Jon wouldn't win immunity. She earns points back for having been the one to beat him after returning from two days at Exile.

The only reason I might not vote for Nat is because of personality. At various points throughout the game, she's come off as mean-spirited and a blatant suck up. It's one thing to get rankled over a competitor that's bested you, but many of her comments about Jon are too personal and just plain mean. Certain of her actions, like giving up rewards and volunteering for Exile, were truly vomit-worthy in their obvious suckuppage. I don't think Survivor winners need to necessarily be nice people, but I do like to see stronger character than what I've seen in Natalie.

Keith - I can't imagine a scenario in which I wouldn't vote for Keith if he made it to the final. Yes, he's made some really, really horrendous mistakes, but he's also shown that he can learn. He was awesome at this week's tribal! He's great at challenges, and let's not forget he found that hidden immunity idol and kept it a better secret than almost any other player in the history of the game. Well, until we found out that he held onto the note, der. But come on, who doesn't love an underdog? Not to mention that in the end, we can see that he's a truly good guy. He was so great with Missy after she got hurt and even won over little Baylor. He made some chauvenistic mistakes earlier in the game but seems to have ended with a decent social game.

Nicki has spoken. Who do you want to see win it all? Who do you predict for a final three?


Two Days late & Still a Million $$ Short: Episode 11 #Survivor

This week, though it was a double episode, I've just got one question - WHY didn't anybody talk about voting out Jaclyn? As soon as Jon won immunity, it was like Jac became invisible. If Natalie was willing to show her hand by voting Alec, why didn't she take it a step further and actually accomplish something by voting Jac, thus weakining her prime target?

As I typed that, I had a thought about a possible reason. Nat knows Jon has a hidden idol...right? Is it possible she thought he might be spooked enough from tribal last week to give it to Jac? She wouldn't have had enough support to split the vote between Jac & Kieth or Jac & Alec, so maybe she didn't want to take that chance??

I give a salute to Reed for playing hard till the bitter end. And dammit, I'm back on the Keith train. He does't have any idea how to do subtle, but he does his best to get into peoples' heads, and he's kicking bum at the challenges against all those young 'uns. If he makes it to the final tribal, I'd give him my vote over anybody else still in the game.



Claiming Excalibur

This week is the promo tour for Claiming Excalibur by LH Nicole, the upcoming sequel to Legendary (featured here during the Realms Faire). Claiming Excalibur's release date is set for December 16. On that day, you'll find excerpts and other fun stuff at my Facebook page.

Today you can:

I asked LH one simple question: If you had to choose one song that best captures the essence of the Legendary saga, what would it be?  Here's her answer:

Meet LH Nicole 

I am a seasoned Pastry Chef in our nation’s capital and a lifelong fairytale (Disney and Grimm) lover, believes in love at first sight, is addicted to 80’s & 90’s cartoons and anything that can capture my ADD-way-to-overactive-imagination. Joan Lowery Nixon and L.J. Smith were the first authors I became addicted to and who inspired me to steal away whenever I could to read and write. 


Legendary is a story I've had in head for years. The idea came to me during an english project about you guessed it- Arthurian legends. My teacher was against web research and allowed us to use textbooks only. I discovered different ways to spell the characters names, including Mordred. There are five spelling variations that I found, and I chose to use one that is much less known: Mordrid.

Other names I kept the same, and some I changed for the sake of the story. My reason for changing the names and/or spellings is this: my Knights of the Round Table, their enemies and allies are very different from what people are used to. I don't want to offend Arthurian purists and the "Arthurianlegend/history."

Legendary is pure fiction, straight from my imagination. I took some liberties with the different stories and incarnations. I changed the things I didn't like to the way I wanted them to be. I changed things to make them my own creation and tell you a new story. Hence Legendry’s summary "everything she thought she knew about Arthurian legends was wrong."

Tumbler * Twitter * Blogger * Goodreads *


#IWSG: I Heart Writing and #FeedTheHungryEH 

Welcome to the December 2014 meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group, brainchild of Alex J. Cavannaugh. I hear there's big news about the new guide a whole bunch of us contributed to, so head over to Alex's or the IWSG website for details.

Last month I told you about my own private NaNoWriMo, in which I vowed to spend 90 unplugged minutes a day writing. I'm happy to tell you that I succeeded in doing just that. I didn't set any word goals, just required myself to move forward each day, so I'm rather surprised to find that during the month of November I added 30K words to my WIP.

I actually found that it was good for me to set an upper limit on my writing time. On the few days when I had hours stretched in front of me to do nothing but write, my progress was sluggish. When I knew that I absolutely had to stop writing at the end of 90 or 120 minutes, I wrote with a greater sense of urgency and  therefore was more focused.

The best thing about this NaNo excercise was that it helped me give myself permission to make writing a priority. Instead of my writing getting lost at the bottom of the never-ending pile of to-do's, it was right up near the top.  And you know what? It's going to stay there through December. Because I'm knee-deep and totally in love with this story---and determined to finish draft one by the end of the year.

Whassup with you this month?

Before you go, please check out the cyber food drive sponsored by MJ Joachim at Effectively Human and consider joining in the effort. All you have to do is post about your local food bank on your social networks Dec. 4-6. I'll be promoting the Northern Illinois Food Bank. #FeedTheHungryEH at my Facebook page & on Twitter.


A Day Late & a Million $$ Short: Episode 10 #Survivor

Soooo...can we all forget that thing I said last week about Keith having game? He wasn't strategizing when he voted for Reed last week; he was just following orders. *sigh* I don't know why I so badly wanted him to turn out to be some kind of latent genius. But his comment at his week's tribal - you know the one - proved beyond a doubt that while he may have a good, practical mind, he ain't got no game.

It's pretty rare that we get to see the precise moment, the exact words that sway an outcome, but Keith sure did provide us with that. It wasn't Jon he swayed, though - it looked like Johnny boy didn't plan to use that idol until after Natalie told him to. Do you think she actually thought the vote was going to go toward him or do you think she was just using his shaken confidence to get the idol out of his hands?

Ever since the merge, there have been a lot of small, strange, un-Survivor-ike moments that have impacted whose torch has gotten snuffed:

1st: Josh looked poised to get Jeremy out, but John Rocker's girlfriend quit and the vote was delayed, changing everything because...

2nd: Keith, Wes & Alec were rude to Jaclyn, costing them her and Jon's vote.

3rd: Natalie & Jeremy gave up their reward, leading to jeremy going to exile and getting suspicious of Jon, who then got paranoid and led the vote against Jeremy.

4th: Keith made that dumbass comment at tribal.

What kind of weirdness are we in for next week?

I've loved seeing Reed step out of Josh's shadow and become a master strategist. Things didn't go his way this week, but he's really not any worse off for trying - he'd be at the top of their hit list regardless. Natalie is playing a quiet but very strong game. I'm so hoping she brings down her revenge on Jon soon. Honorable mention goes to Alec for steadying Jon's confidence before tribal. Too bad Keith screwed it all up, But how sweet was that moment between Keith and Wes when Keith tried to hand his son the idol and Wes told him to keep it? I awww'd.

Nicki has spoken.


It's heeeeere: #SavingPoughkeepsie by @Debra_Anastasia

Saving Poughkeepsie

Debra Anastasia

Add Saving Poughkeepsie to: Goodreads 

On 11/22 Buy from:
Amazon  | Barnes and Noble

Beckett Taylor’s quest to be a better man has brought Eve Hartt back into his life, but sometimes it feels like they’re bound together with barbed wire. Though he longs to love her without causing pain, the wreckage of their past continues to crash down around them.

Yet with the help of this brothers—and for his brothers—Beckett won’t stop trying. He’s determined to make them all a family, to make a life they want to live, and to make Poughkeepsie a place that’s safe to live it.

He can feel their futures balanced precariously on his shoulders: Blake and Livia and their children, Cole and Kyle and the new baby they’ve just brought home, and Eve…always Eve. He wants their dreams to be real. But murderers don’t just get Happily Ever After handed to them. They have to wrench it away from Satan himself.

Good thing Beckett is prepared to do just that. After all, saving Poughkeepsie is the only way his story ends.

Prepare your heart and your head for a wild ride in this final installment of the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood series. Debra Anastasia does not disappoint as she weaves the last chapter of a story that blends true love, turbulent emotions, and life’s harsh realities into an uplifting tale that calls to the good in each of us.

He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him-just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he's homeless.


A Day Late & a Million $$ Short: Episode 9 #Survivor

NOW we're playing Survivor! I have to say they gave the show an excellent edit this week. I was GOLing (gasping out loud) during the reading of the votes.

I cannot believe Missy flipped so easily. I'm not sure what her strategy was with that. Jeremy was an obvious threat to take the million, so I can see why she'd want him gone at some point, but there are still too many players left in the game to give up a solid ally like that. And for who? Jon & Jaclyn? They've already flipped...how many times now? Why would she trust them to stick with her? I like to think that if I'd been in Missy's place, I'd have gone to Jeremy with the news of Jon's idol so we could make a plan to flush it out.

I hope future contestants were taking notes this week. Never ever give away your reward thinking it will cement you in someone's favor. Here's why:

#1 It's blatant suck uppage. Nobody likes a blatant suck up

#2 Because of #1 it shows your tribemates that you're playing hard (if stupid) and might make them see you as a threat. (Perhaps this is one reason why Missy was willing to backstab Jeremy & Natalie??)

#3 You'll miss out on some good food ... and for no good reason becaaause:

#4 This is Survivor! It's not patty-freaking-cake!! Being nice to someone in no way guarantees that person's loyalty and only risks alienating other players (see #1 & #2).

Last night's giving up of the reward made even less sense because why would Natalie and Jeremy reward Jon & Jac for almost flipping on them? Why not give the reward to Missy for having been loyal from day one? Hmm...perhaps that's yet another reason why she was so quick to write down Jeremy's name.

I'm done trying to pretend I have any idea what's going to happen next, but what should happen is for everyone to turn on Jon & Jac. They can't be trusted, are too much of a physical threat, and are an unbreakable two-vote powerhouse. They only have one idol, so unless one of them wins immunity, I say the other 7 should split the vote between those two.

In other news, I've downgraded Keith from a misogynist to just a regular sexist. I love, love, love that he held onto the idol at tribal. He definitely showed this week that he's got game. He's in a bad place numbers-wise but he's not giving up. I thought it was brilliant of him to consider drawing the vote toward himself so he could surprise them with the idol and maybe gain control of the vote. Then Reed ruined that plan, so Keith, Wes & Alec did the next best thing---they figured the other alliance would split the vote between Reed & Keith (which is what they would've done if Plan Jeremy hadn't come about), so KWA threw their votes at Reed, eliminating the necessity to use the diol.

Jon & Jac and Missy & Baylor may be unbreakable alliances of two, but KWA are an unbreakable alliance of three, and Keith's clearly the only one among them with a brain, so...wait, no, I'm done making predicitons. ...but if I were to make a prediction it would simply be to not count Keith out as a contendor (like I was so ready to do last week).

Yep. This is definitely getting fun. :)  Nicki has spoken. 


Cover Reveals and Prizes Befitting a King @LHNicoleAuthor

How perfect is it that the cover reveal for LH Nicole's Claiming Excalibur is the very same day I get to give out prizes for the Wisdom of the Creative Realms event at the Realms Faire? Oh, how I love a theme.

I'm awarding one of the five owl bookmarks pictured at the left to each of the five bloggers who shared the most wisdoms last week. They go to:

Can I get a little Kermit style cheering?

Next we have two eBook winners of Legendary by LH Nicole (book #1 of the series for which Claiming Excalibur is book #2). Winners were chosen randomly from all comments during the week of Realms Faire.

Our final two randomly-chosen winners will receive an eBook of Shades of Avalon by Carol Oates.

Congrats to all the winners & thank you so, so much for stopping by to share your wisdom during the Faire. I'll be in touch with each of you by the end of the day to let you know how you can claim your prizes.

Speaking of claiming things, let's get to that cover reveal...

Cover Reveal
L.H. Nicole
Claiming Excalibur 

Aliana Fagan has done what many thought impossible: she’s awakened King Arthur from his fifteen-hundred-year sleep, reunited the Knights of the Round Table, and even beaten Mordrid and Morgana LeFay in battle.
But the Destined One’s quest has only begun.
Before the knights can "unearth and reclaim their lost relics" they must survive the trip to Charleston, South Carolina and meet the newest member of the Round Table. If King Arthur’s men thought Aliana and Lacy were tenacious, they'll be even more surprised by Dawn, the third member of the fem-trio.
Deadly secrets, unexpected allies, and a traitor lurking in the shadows await Aliana and the new Round Table as they continue their search for Excalibur. Their only clue is a beyond confusing poem from a mysterious book that speaks of a terrifying creature guarding the legendary sword. Trying to build a somewhat normal relationship with Sir Galahad adds a whole new level of complexity to Aliana’s task, especially when several among them suspect the White Knight may not be wholly himself. Her friendship with King Arthur grows closer, and when circumstances become intense, he may finally get the chance with Aliana that he’s been pining for.
Mysteries, legendary quests, and haunting memories will either unite the members of the New Round Table or fracture their bonds. Aliana and her crew only have seven months before the planets align and Mordrid can seize the power he needs to conquer the seven realms. Can the Destined One keep her new family together and lead Arthur to his destiny of saving the realms? Or will a centuries-old plot for revenge finally spell the king’s end?