Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First Winner for the Book A Day Giveaway!

The Winner of A Book A Day Giveaway is
:Drum Roll Please:

I have emailed you. You have one a copy of The Druid Made Me Do It by Natalie Stenzel!

Keep watching out for more articles and reviews! Be sure to comment on them to have a chance to win!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Writing Software: What Is Best For You?

Writing Software: What Is Best For You? Finding the perfect software to making your writing life easier this year is important. Most of us writers use Microsoft Office not knowing the plethora of software out there available. So below are different types of writing software for both platforms (Mac/PC) that can be used to enrich, inspire, and get you to write more this year. Check out the websites as well as many of the companies have free trials of their product. Have one that's not listed? Share it with us!

Ms Office
Platforms: Mac/PC
Price range: $150+


Microsoft Office has
been around forever it seems. A lot of writers find the simplicity of the program to write their stories while offering ways to edit and track changes. Office has improved in many ways over the years and continues to have added features. I like office because I can create a newsletter and do all my writing for school and for personal use. Most writers feel this is all they need to keep them organized and writing. This may be true, but I love to see other options.

iWork is the equivalent of the Microsoft Office.
This is made by Apple for Apple computers.
Price range: $79 (Single User)- 99 (Family Pack)

I like using iWork being a Mac user myself. There are many features
that you won't find in MS Office. iWork has a layout mode for page lay out and word processing all in one. iWork is not for customers who do a lot of spreadsheets and macros in Excel.

Pages ’09

Creating the perfect brochure, flyer, report, or resume is faster and easier than ever.
Choose from 40 new Apple-designed templates (over 180 total). Focus on your writing with new full-screen view. Organize your ideas with dynamic outlines. Customize your documents using mail merge with Numbers. Insert equations with MathType 6 (sold separately). Create bibliographies with EndNote X2 (sold separately). Open, save, and email Microsoft Word files from within Pages. Learn more about Pages ’09 Numbers ’09 Create spreadsheets, organize data, and write formulas with simple yet powerful tools. Easily create formulas, using visual placeholders with plain language text. Perform calculations using over 250 functions. Organize your data instantly using Table Categories. Check your calculations at a glance with Formula List view. Create two-axis charts and combine line, column, and area series in a single mixed chart. Choose from twelve new Apple-designed templates (30 total). Open, save, and email Microsoft Excel files from within Numbers. Learn more about Numbers ’09 Keynote ’09 Now creating a show-stopping presentation is surprisingly simple. Easily create sophisticated animations with Magic Move. Add dramatic object and text transitions using new visual effects. Visualize your data with new styles and animations for 3D charts. Dramatically reduce file size without compromising quality. Create dynamic flowcharts and diagrams using connection lines. Choose from eight new Apple-designed themes (44 total). Open, save, and email Microsoft Power point files from within Keynote.

Platform: Mac OS X

Price: 39.95

Writing a book, short story or research paper is about more than hammering away at the keys until it's done. Research, scrawling fragmentary ideas that don't seem to fit anywhere yet, collecting faded photos from old newspapers, shuffling index cards to find that elusive structure - most writing software is only fired up after much of the hard work is already done. Enter Scrivener: writing software that stays with you from that first, unformed idea all the way through to the first - or even final - draft. Outline and structure your ideas. Take notes. Storyboard your masterpiece using a powerful virtual corkboard. View research while you write. Track themes using keywords. Dynamically combine multiple scenes into a single text just to see how they fit. Scrivener has already been enthusiastically adopted by best-selling novelists, academics, lawyers, script writers and journalists - whatever you write, grow your ideas in style.

Mariner: StoryMill
Platform: Mac OSX
Price: $44.95
Mariner Website

StoryMill features:

• Track, tag and filter characters, scenes, locations, and research with StoryMill's unique dynamic outline.
• Visually and interactively display your story across time with StoryMill's timeline view.
• Annotate any text in your project.
• Revise your work with innovative tools like a word frequency tracker and cliche finder.
• Set and achieve your daily writing goals with the progress meter.
• A built-in support for tracking submissions to editors and agents.
• Manage the creative writing process with Smart Views.
• Write, distraction-free, in Full Screen Mode.
• View your novel in multiple views.
• Back up any and all activity in StoryMill
• Native Cocoa, Universal, and Leopard compatible.

StoryMill supports the following languages: English, French, German, Italian

Platform: PC
Price: $54.99 (download) or Cd $59.99
NewNovelist Website

Take a look at what you can do with NewNovelist:

Start with character development, or work on a plot turn
Describe an event first
Work backward by writing the ending FIRST!
Write Your Novel YOUR WAY!

Write it Now


Platform: PC & Mac OSX


Keep your writing and background material together.

Get rid of any scraps of paper and keep your story text and background material (Characters, Locations, Events and Notes) in one place.

Keep Track of Who Does What and When

Use the Event Chart and Event Summary. Keep an eye on Relationships as well.

Re-Organize Your Story as You Like

Move Chapters, Characters and Events around. Add and delete sections as often as you like.

Don't Worry About Formatting

While you're writing, WriteItNow lets you concentrate on what you're writing. When you've finished writing it takes just a few key-presses to create a neatly formatted manuscript.

Keep a Record of Submissions

Use the Submissions Tab to remember exactly who you've sent each story to, when they replied and (hopefully) when you were paid.

Keep in Control

The main writing tools are described here but WriteItNow has lots of other features which help.
E.g. when you change the story date each character's age is automatically updated.
When you start WriteItNow it remembers the last story you were working on and loads it.
WriteItNow runs on PCs and Mac. You can buy one unlock code and use it on your PC and your Mac. The CD includes both PC and Mac versions.

Visual Thesaurus
Platform: PC & Mac OSX
Price: 39.95

With the Visual Thesaurus, you can:

  • Find the right word. The Visual Thesaurus has over 145,000 English words and 115,000 meanings. Find the word you need and discover related meanings.

  • Develop a better vocabulary. See how words are used in different parts of speech.

  • Use words precisely. The intuitive interface helps you find words through their semantic relationship with other words and meanings.

  • Master word usage. Roll over a meaning to see its definition and example sentences that express that meaning.

  • Improve your grammar. Meanings are color-coded to indicate parts of speech.

  • Explore 39,000 proper nouns. Historical figures, phrases and trademarks are included. Look up Mozart, Manda or simply, "M."

  • Check your spelling. The Visual Thesaurus suggests a word if you spell it wrong.

  • Hear words pronounced correctly. The Visual Thesaurus offers both American and British pronunciations (Internet connection necessary)

  • Personalize your experience. Use the Settings Panel to control font size, filter content, display up to 17 semantic relationships and more.

  • Browse language in 2D or 3D. Rotate word maps in three dimensions to reveal complex relationships.

  • Connect to the Internet. Right-click on any word to launch an Internet search for images or information.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Book A Day Giveaway!

Welcome to The Pen & Muse A Book A Day Giveaway!

In honor of our amazing readers, we are doing a giveaway.
I have tons of romance, fiction books and ebooks to giveaway!

Your mission should you choose it : Is to comment your heart out on our most
recent blog postings. I will announce the winner the next day, so be sure to check back to see if you won! Winners will be chosen on a random basis.

Writers: If you would like to donate books, feel free to email :

Have fun!

Do you iTunes?

Good morning, readers! My name is Sandy James. I'm so thrilled to be guest blogging on The Pen and Muse today!

I often wonder if authors have some exotic strain of attention deficit disorder. The more I talk to writers, the more I realize we need constant input. I’m not talking about feedback, although that is also vital to a good writer. What I mean is noise. I know very few authors who can sit and write in peace and quiet.

I have to listen to something when I write, but if I let the television buzz in the background, it’s sometimes too distracting. My children saved me from the hell of silence by buying me an iPod and teaching me how to use iTunes. Now, whenever I write, I always have the noise I need.

What kinds of songs do I listen to that help inspire my stories? Depends on what I’m working on at the time. If I’m trying to grind out a scene, I’ll try to find songs that match the mood. For example, one of my biggest projects right now is a four-book urban fantasy series. Lots of action scenes, so I find I enjoy listening to very loud, upbeat songs. Think 80’s hair bands. Yeah, I know. My age is showing. But what’s better than a good power ballad for some butt kicking scenes?

For the authors out there: Have you ever set a soundtrack for one of your books? You know, a song that portrays the story in your book? It’s a challenge to find just the right song for a story. I’d be interested in hearing some of your choices. And I’ll share a couple of mine…

The book that is always going to be closest to my heart is Murphy’s Law because I was able to write about horseracing, something I enjoy tremendously. My husband and I own a small stable of Standardbred racehorses, and this book allowed me to share that with readers. For Murphy’s Law, I would choose the song “Shameless.” If you’ve never heard it, look up either the Billy Joel or Garth Brooks’s versions. They’re both phenomenal. The lyrics tell the story of a man who finally finds the one thing he can’t walk away from, the one person he would get down on his knees for. Oh, yes. This is definitely Seth Remington’s song. I get goosebumps every single time I hear it.

All the Right Reasons takes my readers back to the racetrack, but the soul of that book is the bond between Joy and Lucas. Lucas is a soldier back from Iraq, changed and bitter, feeling guilty over losing a friend. Joy becomes the presence in his life that welcomes him back, not only to his home but to his own heart. The song I would choose for All the Right Reasons is Don Henley’s “Taking You Home.”

This is a fun game once you get started.

Now it’s your turn to share your music! Name the song that “is” your favorite book, whether you wrote the story or just enjoyed reading it.

My thanks to Pen and Muse for hosting my entry today!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Book Trailer Available - Scion

I'm happy to say a new book video trailer is available for Scion - Book I - House of Bardin, which released on July 9. This futuristic romance is now #1 for my publisher at and 3rd in the DCL Publications listing at You may also check the publisher link:

To view the trailer, go to:

Help Another Great Cause!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

RWA Nationals

Hello All!

I posted this blog yesterday on another blog and thought you all might enjoy it too :)

Well hello all! I’m back from Nationals! Sorry it took me so long to post today…I got back yesterday and spent the day with my kiddies and my hubby who hadn’t seen me in nearly a week, and then this morning had to get up early and get my youngest off to camp.

So I’m finally settling in now to give you the low down on RWA Nationals!!! WOOT! It was such a blast! And a BUSY blast too! I’ve added my new pic in blonde to this post as I thoroughly confused each and every person at Nationals who expected a black haired prego chick.

So here’s the day to day breakdown…

Tuesday night - my hubby drove me to the hotel and helped me haul my bags up to my room. (He got lost–and I don’t blame him as I still have no idea where anything was in the hotel, it was ginormous!–when he left and was flirted with by several women! Made his day!) I met my two wonderfully awesome roommates, Andrea and Corrina who are friends of mine from Celtic Hearts, but who I’d never met before. We stayed up until almost midnight talking. It reminded me of college all over again. So much fun!

Wednesday - the next morning I grudingly got up at around 7am so I could get ready, check in with the conference registration desk and go to my day long Leadership Seminar (since I’m president of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.) I have to admit that at first I wasn’t so excited about spending my the day with my butt in a chair and listening BUT it actually was fun and informative and I’m very glad I went. I was also extremely pleased during the Leadership Luncheon to be awarded 2nd Place in the National Newsletter contest for the newsletter I used to edit for Hearts Through History. (had to retire with baby #3 coming along.) After lunch I was thrilled to find out my business cards made by fellow fabulous mama, Jeannie Ruesch, had arrived! After the seminar and met up with Jeannie and we chatted, visited the Goody Room which was stocked with TONS of cool promo items. Then it was time for the Literacy Signing. Jeannie looked fabulous at her table signing copies of Something About Her. I bought several books, some of which I already owned, (more than I planned), then headed back to my room to get ready for the get together I was hosting for my RWA Chapter, CHRW. It was so awesome to meet up with people I talk to daily, and finally chat face to face! The food was delish and the company marvelous! My clan, as I like to call it, ROCKS! I didn’t retire to bed until after midnight…

Thursday - Rise and shine at 7am! 8am reported for volunteer duty at the registration desk. At 9am I headed to the Opening Session for the conference featuring Janet Evanovich. After an awe inspiring and funny speech I went to RWA Nationals AGM. I was very pleased to find out that as an e-pubbed author I will now be able to enter into the RITA! WOOT! After the AGM I went to the keynote luncheon which featured the HILARIOUS Linda Howard. I thoroughly ruined my mascara from laughing so much. Following lunch, I rested for about 30 minutes before heading to the PRO retreat (workshops targeted to RWA PRO members) and then to the Avon book signing! It was great to meet all the Avon authors who participated, in person! After dumping my newly aquired books in my bedroom (which my roommates and I all dubbed that we were book-whores) we went to a thoroughly disgusting dinner at Trattoria Italiana on Conn. Ave… DON’T EVER EAT THERE! I was given a $19 FAKE crabmeat crabcake…seriously, it was imitation crab with the red and everything… My roommate Andrea was equally tantalized by her fishy confection and my roommate Corrina had to bring along a butcher knife to first kill the still mooing cow on her plate and then try to cut through rubarized, microwaved steak… YIKES! After vomiting (just kidding!) we went to the moonlight madness bazaar where I bought a cool t-shirt that says, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. Reveal Your Inner Vixen” from the Maryland Romance Writers group–a chapter I should belong too, but I’ve been too lazy to join, and a chapter who I judge their yearly contest every year. That night we ate junk, chatted and watched television until midnight .
Friday - I got up at 6am… rather rolled out of bed, curse myself into the shower and than slept my way to the lobby before going to the Hearts Through History breakfast. I swore to myself that I must start going to be earlier or I would be no good to anyone! As soon as I arrived and had some coffee I brightened up. I love my Hearts Through History chaptermates, they are some of the best and most knowledgable writers out there. I had a lovely breakfast and was super excited to finally meet not only some chapter sisters, but one of my crit partners Wendy! Hi Wendy!!! Then I was given a chapter service award for judging their contest :) Yay! As I sipped the last remaining drops of my delicious coffee, I listened to the biography the HHRW President gave of a member who sounded vaguely familiar, until I realized she was familiar because it was me! I was awarded the President’s award and given a gorgeous hand crafted pin of the HHRW logo. Too COOL! After breakfast I met up with some fellow Wild Rose Press authors and our publisher, Rhonda Penders! That was so great to finally meet everyone! I was extremely excited to put faces to names. After that little gathering I went to another booksigning, rested for 30 minutes and then headed to the Awards Luncheon featuring Eloisa James. What a great speaker! I was once again awed and inspired. I love being a romance author and part of such an amazing group of people. After lunch, Jeannie, Corrina and Andrea all helped me work on my pitch…boy was I nervous!!!! But it went very well, and the agent requested a partial. I called my husband afterward only to realize that at some point coming from the pitch room to the lobby my voice had left me… it’s still not back… Shortly after that I tantalized my brain with Delilah Marvelle’s workshop, Sex Throughout History. Boy does that woman know her stuff!!! And the pics…very nice (in my best Borat impression) lol. Great fun! Dinner was afterwards, and this time it was delicious! We ate so much we couldn’t order the cheesecake we’d been craving since the day before.

Saturday - The last day of the conference… I was sad that it was almost over. While I had missed my family, I was having such an awesome time I wasn’t ready for it to end. Breakfast was early, 7:30. I had a bagel, fruit and some peppermint tea with honey. Yummy and soothing. Book signings were next and then we (my roomies and I) headed to the Hook to Happy Ending workshop. What a great class! Afterwards, we indulged ourselves to cake and coffee for lunch and that was it!!! lol We went to an Erotic workshop, which was interupted by a fire alarm… and then headed to a third workshop before some more book signings. At the 3rd booksigning, a NY Times bestselling author, teased me relentlessly, all in good fun about how I need to stop doing so much and start writing. She even signed that in my book! If anyone ever asks me what the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten was, I’d say, that was it! Will do! After the signing we ordered room service and prepared for the RITA and Golden Heart awards. What an experience! The Emcee Anne Stuart also ruined my mascara as did the many winners– but she had me laughing, the winners had me crying. After the awards my roomies and I grabbed our money headed to gift shop and loaded up on chocolate. We stuffed our faces and fell asleep…

Sunday - Time to say goodbye. We packed it up and headed home! My sister picked me up and drove me back to my abode. My little girls waited for me on the front porch, hair combed, dresses on, and super excited to see me. Hubby had managed to keep not only my girlies looking beautiful but the house was mostly clean too! We spent the day watching movies, ordered pizza and by the time I crashed, I passed into such a deep sleep my hubby had to wake me at 8am to get my butt moving this morning.

All in all, I had the best time ever at Nationals! It was so much fun to finally meet everyone, hang out, chat, and talk writing non-stop (and other things too of course!) I will definitely go again and again, and I highly recommend that if you get the chance, to go too. Pitching wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. And talk about an inspiring time! I am so ready to get cracking on my work! It renewed my vigor, alleviated my doubts and stroked my writing needs.


PS. I have a novella releasing on Wednesday!!! Love Will Bloom is a Regency romance.
After the death of her parents, Miss Lillian Whitmore travels to London to live with her aunt and uncle, the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk. Sick with grief, guilt and loneliness, and shunned by her aunt and cousins, Lillian is constantly reminded of her ignorance of society customs. Forced to find a husband, she encounters two men who vie for her affections–handsome, poised Lord Dominick Wade and the sensuous rake, Sir Trenton–but the skeletons in Lillian’s closet keep her from making a choice.

Expectations are high for Lord Dominick Wade to marry a woman of social stature, but the American beauty has literally wreaked havoc with his senses. Lillian is everything Dominick wants in a companion, lover and wife. Even more rankling is his competition, Sir Trenton, and the influence he holds over her.

Fate will decide this season which love will wither…and which will bloom.

Eliza Knight is the author of sizzling historical romance and erotic Highlander time travel romance. She is the author of the award winning blog, History Undressed. Wife of one, mommy to almost three and the President of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. She teaches various workshops on history, research and writing craft. She is also a professional critiquer.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Please help this cause!

Dear friends & authors:

As some of you already know, my 8 year old daughter Brooke suffers from a life long chronic illness known as juvenile diabetes. Currently, there is no cure and she must receive daily insulin injections (4 to 6 per day) and daily finger sticks (5 to 8 per day) to control her blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes is different from the much more publicized Type 2 diabetes in that Type 1 is not treatable by diet control and/or oral medication. It is a chronic, life threatening illness that requires daily use of insulin as a means of life support.

My daughter was diagnosed at age 2 and is a six year veteran of the disease. She is the toughest, bravest soul that I've ever known. She doesn't let this monster keep her down.

Just over a year ago, we were able to get her on an insulin pump. This is a replacement for the daily injections in that she actually wears a portable device on her body 24 hours a day and it administers insulin into her body via a catheter. It is not a simple as it sounds and there are many challenges with having an 8 year old wear around a medical device all the time but it has improved her quality of life tremendously.

Recently, we received the unfortunate news that the company who manufactures her pump has discontinued the pump and will no longer provide supplies or service for the pump. Therefore, if we want to keep her on this treatment protocol, we must purchase a new pump.

Due to the time period involved, and other circumstances. ..this will NOT be covered by her medical insurance. This has come as a huge blow to our family in that these new pumps cost in the neighborhood of $6000! So far, we've managed to raise 1/3 of that amount with help from family and our church.

We still need to raise around $4000 for a new pump. So, what I'm offering is a huge author promotional package (valued at over $500) in exchange for the purchase of raffle tickets.

Here is what the winner will receive:

  • Custom Designed Book Trailer for your Book
  • Critique of a Full Manuscript
  • 1 Free Online Class of your Choice (up to $20)
  • Custom Designed Newsletter
  • New Novelist Software (CD-Rom valued $60)
  • 3 months of E-Mail Promotion for your Book
  • Author Spotlight & Interview on my Blog
  • 250 Personalized Business Cards (as designed by me)

All you need to do to enter the drawing is to purchase at least one raffle ticket. The tickets are $2.00 each and if you buy 2 you get 1 free! Any little bit that you can do would be greatly appreciated.

I will confirm with you after you send the payment. Or, if you'd prefer to mail in a payment you can send the payment to me at the following address: P.O. Box 680871 Prattville, AL 36068

The raffle will run from now until the August 31st and the winner will be drawn via random draw by my daughter Brooke and announced on my website and blog. Thank you in advance for your kind generosity and thoughtfulness.

Please know that asking for help is very difficult for me, but I as a mother I have do everything possible to help my daughter have the best quality of life.

From my heart,
Kerri Nelson
Author of Romantic Suspense & Paranormal
"Passionate Romance that Thrills & Chills"
www.kerribookwriter ..blogspot. com
Miss Taken now available from Whispers Publishing
Soul Searcher coming September 2009!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Simple Tutorial for Making a Book Video

Seriously, if I can do it, ANYONE can. If you have Microsoft Windows, just download Photo Story 3. I chose this software instead of Movie Maker because I figured I'd be working with still shots, not streaming video, and I wanted the easiest program, yet one that would provide enough options to make it interesting. You may, as I did, need to download an updated media player, but both Photo Story 3 and the media player are FREE downloads. I found FREE photos from Big Stock Photo. Now, I know I could have paid for photos that might have been more targeted, but part of this exercise was to do it all for FREE. Photo Story 3 walks you through the easy steps, ending with adding the audio track, which is synchronized with the length of your video. Then, all you have to do is download it to YouTube (you'll need to create an account first, but that takes about 1 minute). YouTube gives you the option of changing the audio track (also for FREE), but if you do that (which I did for this one), you have to match a track that is the same length as your video. (It doesn't automatically synchronize like Photo Story 3.) And VOILA! Any questions, students?

New Writings

Hey everyone!

I thought I'd share some of my new word-children with you all :)

Here's a link to a new contemporary romance about two best friends who, after growing up together and then being apart, discover they might have more than their childhood in common....

I may begin posting this on Livejournal as a serial, so watch this space!

Feel free to friend me on LJ as well!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Damnation Books announces initial Release Titles

I wanted to say Welcome to Damnation Books! This new book publisher that loves dark fiction. I will be sure to be on the lookout for this one! Thanks to Kim for the information!

Damnation Books announces initial Release Titles

Santa Rosa, CA, July 09, 2009: Damnation Books announces their initial release titles.

On September 1, 2009, Damnation Books opens for business with the following authors and titles:

· Amy Grech - Blanket of White - Horror Novel length Short Story Collection

· Christian Saunders - Apartment 14F: an Oriental Ghost Story - Paranormal/Horror Novella

· Collette Thomas - Deadly Games Book 1 in Todd Hollow Series - Thriller/Erotica novel

· Cory Cramer - Symptoms of a Broken Heart - Horror/Erotica Novella

· Ed Erdelac - Dubaku - Horror Novella

· Edward P. McDermott - On the Lake where the Loons Cry - Thriller Short story

· Mark Edward Hall - The Haunting of Sam Cabot - Horror/Psychological Novella

· Geoff Chaucer - Concubine - Horror/Erotica Short story

· James Dorr - The Garden - Science Fiction Novella

· Jason Kahn - The Killer Within - Thriller Short story

· Joel Arnold - The Siege - Science Fiction/Paranormal Short Story

· John B. Rosenman - Green in our Souls - Science Fiction Short story

· John W. Podgursky - The One-Percenters - Psychological/Thriller novella

· Lawrence Dagstine - Visitation Rights - Paranormal Short Story

· Lily - Eden Fell - Dark psychology/philosophy Novella

· Michael McLarnon - Dark Isle - Horror Novel

· Noel Hynd - The Prodigy "Author's Revised Edition" - Thriller Novel

· Robert Appleton - Val and Tyne - Horror Short Story

· Alan Spencer - The Body Cartel – Thriller/Horror Novel

· S. A. Bolich - Who Mourns for the Hangman? - Dark Fantasy Short Story

· Ted Kehoe - Trip Trap - Horror Short Story

· Tim Marquitz - Armageddon Bound - Urban Fantasy Novel

· Yolanda Sfetsos - Faithless Book 1 - Erotica Novella

· The Zombie Cookbook - Horror/Comedy Anthology

Contributing authors include: Lisa Haselton, Cinsearae Santiago, Becca Butcher, Carla Girtman, Scott Virtes, Karina Fabian, Dawn Marshallsay, Lin Neiswender, & Kate Sender.

Damnation Books publishes dark fiction: horror, dark fantasy, thrillers, paranormals, science fiction and erotica in dark settings. The company focuses on ebooks and digital books but will offer novel and novella length titles in trade paperback.

If you would like to review a book or interview any of these authors, please contact Kim Richards at

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Short Story - Consoling Angel

I have been writing a short story when I have time. Yes that is hard to believe, with all I have to do I still have time to write.. I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think!

Consoling Angel

Drying myself as best as I could, I pushed the water droplets off my coat as I came in under the small roof provided by the bar. The young man looked at me and smiled slightly. Being polite and in a different time, I smiled back. When he came into the light, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was James Dean! This was not the same James that I had seen in pictures or read about. Tears were threatening to come down his eyes. He had small circles under his eyes telling me that probably the insomnia he had was present.

“Want a smoke?” he offered as I stared at the box of Lucky Strikes he shoved in my face. Declining, I shook my head. “You don’t smoke… So, what’s your name?” he then asked as he looked at me, leaning over closer, offering me a close up of what he looked like.

“Mira, and you are…?” I offered my hand as a puff of his cigarette smoke passed me.

“James Dean. Pleasure to meet you.” He grinned as he took the cigarette from his mouth, then flicking the ashes to the side of the street. “What brings you here? You don’t look like the type of girl who’d come to a bar.”

James Dean gave me a once over! His eyes never left mine as I spoke to him. This had to be some sort of dream, because I was meeting my lifelong idol. “I was here with a friend, but she went home due to the rain. I still wanted to walk around. You looked angry there when you pushed your friend. Is everything okay?” I asked as he came closer. At first, I was rather intimidated by his body being closer to mine, but after a few minutes it didn’t bother me. He had this comfortable way of not doing it, so as not to scare someone away.

Grinning shyly, he looked down to the floor, scratching the back of his head. “Nah, it wasn’t his fault. My father missed some commercial I was in. Got my first acting gig and he wasn’t there to watch it. Says he missed it.”

I had heard the rumors that things were not right with his father. Between his reaction and admitting his feelings, I could see that the rumors were true. I reached out and touched his hand, looking him straight in the eyes. “You did a great job in that commercial. I’m sure of it. Besides, I have a feeling that you are going to do well and be famous one day.”

Laughing, he took my hand, kissing it at the knuckles. “You’re a sweetheart. That made me feel better. Famous, huh? Me, famous? You don’t even know me.”

“I know a good person when I see one. My father always said you could tell by someone’s eyes how great their desires were.” Before I could even finish, James had flicked the cigarette, then throwing his arms around me. His embrace was warm and loving. I missed hugs, especially those of my father.

“You okay, Jimmy?” his friend said as he came out. James nodded, yelling at him to bring his camera. James then grabbed me, pulling me into a hug and having the camera go off.

“Let me take you home,” he said, grabbing my hand as we walked down the street. Even more shocking, I got to ride his motorcycle. The engine roared to life as I yelled directions to James and held on for dear life. I was getting soaked the entire time, but I didn’t care. I was with James. My life couldn’t be more complete. As we reached the apartments, I slowly got off the bike, surprised at myself that I had done this. Ordinarily, I’d never get on a motorcycle. James leaned over and caressed my cheek. Before I could open my mouth to tell him what was to happen to him, he gave me a quick peck on the lips. I couldn’t let James walk away, not now.

Friday, July 10, 2009

New Release - Scion - Futuristic Romance (R)

After eight years in slavery, Lela is weary and jaded. After eight years off-planet, Caius is cynical. They are restless kindred spirits who won't be tamed. When he buys her in the public square, neither of them expects what happens next.

Available at:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Linky Love

I've been playing with making myself some new banners: see what you think! If I've done it right, these should link back to my website...

But I'm pretty HTML illiterate, so.... Here's hoping!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Misty Evans' Super Agents take their cue from Emily Bronte

My husband and I are celebrating twenty years of marriage next month. We've actually known each other since we were in kindergarten, and I always tell the story about how he refused to give me his school picture in fifth grade and I got him back by marrying him.

When I wrote the first novel in my Super Agent Series, I included my favorite line from Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. “Whatever our souls are made, his and mine are the same.” Never was a truer line written about my characters in OPERATION SHEBA or about me and my hubby. While hubby and I appear to be very different (he's tall, I'm short, he's logical, I'm get the idea), he's my best friend, cohort and love of my life.

Same for Julia and Conrad. In the beginning of OPERATION SHEBA, though, Conrad's betrayed Julia by faking his own death. When he rises like a phoenix from the ashes of their past life, she’s understandably mad as hell, and he has to go to great extremes to get on her good side. Like any man worth his salt, he brings her flowers, cooks her favorite meal and even apologizes. But it’s the fact that he faked his death in order to keep her safe that breaks down her defenses.

Julia could see him visibly struggling with shame and guilt. His gaze went to down to the floor, back up to hers. Was it a silent plea for forgiveness she saw in them or only weariness?
She wiped an errant tear off her cheek. “I want to be angry with you and this wicked deception on me, but all I can feel is sadness and regret lodged right here.” She tapped her chest with a fist. “You sacrificed your career and your life to save me, so it’s hard to feel self-righteous after that, but your betrayal has still broken my heart all over again.”
Conrad moved for her then, and she held about a hand to keep him back, but it didn’t work. As soon as he grabbed her, the fight in her dissolved. He kissed her forehead and stroked her hair. “I’m sorry,” he whispered.

Julia wants to forgive him, wants to take him back. However, she’s a woman scorned and not about to let him off the hook too easily. Like me, she prefers to keep her soul mate on his toes.

“I know I screwed things up between us,” Conrad said. “But I swear, if you let me, this asshole will do whatever it takes to make it right. I’ll swear it on a hundred Bibles.”
Julia stared at him in the dark for several heartbeats. “Technically, swearing on a hundred Bibles is no different than swearing on one.”
Conrad dropped his hand. “Why do you always do that?”
“Do what?”
“I’m pouring out my heart here – which I’d rather cut off my left nut than do – but I owe you big time, so I’m trying to be …” – he fought his brain for the right word – “…sensitive.” A shiver ran through him. Jesus, this woman could unman him faster than Dr. Phil. “And you completely blow it off to point out some philosophical technicality that makes me look like a dumbass.”
He saw the flash of her teeth in the dark. She was laughing at him. “You’re kind of cute when you’re mad.”
Cute? “Julia.”
“Shut up and kiss me, you sensitive dumb ass.”

When I’m losing my cool, my hubby knows how to talk me down from the ledge, and he always knows how to lighten my mood. In SHEBA, Conrad does the same for Julia, like in this scene where Julia asks him this very important question:

“What if when we were in the field I had gone bad, and you were instructed to being me in dead or alive. Would you have killed me if necessary?”
He pulled the hair back from her face. “If you'd have gone bad, I would have gone with you.”
“What would we have done?”
He pushed the hair behind her ear. “You would have thought of something.”
“Why me?”
“You're the brains of the operation, remember. I get us into deep shit, and you get us out. All great partnerships are that way. Tom and Huck, Bonnie and Clyde, Butch and Sundance...”
“Juveniles and outlaws. Perfect. We fit right in. You're a juvenile and I'm an outlaw.”
“So what are we going to do, Bonnie?”

And with all great love stories, a happy ending isn't necessarily guaranteed, but it certainly is more satisfying. Hubby and I have a lot more chapters to write in our story, but I believe it will be an HEA, no matter what happens. And as for Con and Julia?

Conrad shot her a grin as he worked his way around a group of sunbathers dotting his path. She smiled back, absently rubbing the new silver band on her left ring finger.
Looking down at the book in her lap, she reread a line of prose Emily Bronte had written more than a century before. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.
Raising her head, Julia felt a warm ripple of familiarity as her gaze locked with Con's.
He's mine, she thought. All mine.

Thank you to the gals at Pen and Muse for hosting me today. OPERATION SHEBA is the first book in my Super Agent Series and is available in eformat as well as print. For more about my Super Agents and their books, visit my website at . If you’d like to join my yahoo group or newsletter, email me, and I’ll be happy to send you an invite and add you to my mailing list. Everyone who posts a comment today will be entered in a drawing to win their choice of one of my books!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Pen Review: The Ice Palace by Bill Haworth

The Ice Palace by Bill Haworth
Genre: Romance/ Historical
Pages: 103
Publisher: DCL Publications
Price: $4.50
Rating: PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket
Author info: I am ex-Army and have worked in the offshore industry in the UK (North Sea) Canada, Arctic and Middle East. Now Semi-retired and working as a site warden in a holiday Homes Park.

I got the bug for writing after receiving some encouragement from a local agency and Tubedale films during a period of convalescence brought about by industrial illness.

Why I like it: The reason I like this work by Bill is because it brings the past romance to life. He has a distinct way of writing about the past and bringing it to life once more. My favorite character? Mikhail. Why? I just love the way that he wants to protect Avdotya. Mr. Haworth writes a wonderful story from start to finish. If you love historical romances then you will enjoy The Ice Palace.

In the freezing cold winter of 1739/40, Europe was in the grip of the worst weather for 30 years. The Seine, Rhine, Danube and Thames froze solid for months. Tsaritsa Anna Ivanovna gave an order to build a palace made completely of ice on the frozen river. She ordered the architect Pyotr Eropkin to design the building. The Ice Palace had been designed for a cruel jest. She made the prince marry a particularly ugly Kalmyk (area of Mongolia) serving woman, and the ice palace was for their honeymoon! It amounted to no more than a sick and perverse death sentence. The unhappy couple were paraded in a cage on the back of an elephant at the head of a procession of freaks, dwarves, cripples and all manner of grotesque human beings. In the palace the newlyweds were enclosed into an icy nuptial chamber under heavy guard and bedded down publicly in the icy room. The couple barely survived the night; but survive they did with the help of the Princes aide and friends of the Kalmyk bride.


There was a fresh Alpine breeze that spring morning of 1739. It gently blew away the morning mist that hovered over the waters of the Italian Lake Garda, and revealed shimmering reflections of shoreline hamlets dotted along its banks. Embedded in the mountain foothills, the lake area was protected from the worst of the weather from above while still enjoying a warm Mediterranean climate down by the lake side. Palm and olive trees flourished, as did tomatoes and vegetables in great variety. The scent from the apple orchards, and the orange and lemon groves charged the air with a sweet pungency.

The lake had an abundance of freshwater fish such as carp, pike and tench, while salmon abounded in the rivers and streams. Wild boar and deer roamed the nearby forests, and a small herd of cows grazed the rich green slopes. Domesticated ducks and geese played at the water’s edge. The mountain streams provided clean, sweet drinking water, filtered through many layers of rock.

With the ambient weather, it was an idyllic oasis; a veritable Garden of Eden tucked away in the mountain slopes; a happy healthy environment for raising families, or recuperating from illness. The folk living there blessed their good fortune, and led a contented existence. Life was, indeed, sweet.

In a log chalet, on a slope overlooking the lake, the dawn sunlight streaked through the bedroom window, casting illuminating fingers of light upon the faces of the young couple still at slumber. The bed and bedroom were littered with rice and confetti. A garland of flowers hung from the corner post of the headboard. On the wedding bed, were partly opened gifts. Clothing and empty bottles of wine were strewn in happy disarray, about the floor.

While songbirds twittered merrily outside, the flickering tentacles of light played on the young man’s eyelids. He gradually awoke, and when his sleepy eyes became clear, he focused them on the beautiful young woman lying alongside him.

He smiled, and playfully caressed her long golden locks of hair spread across the pillow. He marvelled at her voluptuous form. His caresses, plus the dancing rays of sunshine on her face roused her from her sweet slumbers. He blew gently in her ear.

Her eyes flickered without opening. “Good morning,” she said sleepily. He kissed her tenderly, full on the lips. At that moment he was a happy man and knew he had everything in the world he would ever want. Life could not possibly get much better than this, he thought.

She responded to his passionate ardour, and both became locked in a loving embrace. He resisted the temptation to make love yet again.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Pen Review: Beltane by Erin O' Riordan

Beltane by Erin O'Riordan

Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Pages: 144
Price: $5.95
Rating: PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket
Author info:
Erin O’Riordan lives in the Midwestern United States with her husband. She has been writing compulsively since she could hold a pencil, and professionally since 2006. Her erotic stories, essays, and film reviews have been published in numerous magazines and websites. Though she has written about everything from professional basketball to her favorite literary sex scenes, the intersection of spirituality and sexuality remains one of her favorite themes.
Readers can view more of her work at Beltane, her first novel, will be the first in the twelve-part "Pagan Spirits" series.

Why I love it: Erin O'Riordan's Beltane is a ride that every reader must read! I found myself so drawn to the togetherness in the family and how the twin sisters are alike and yet so different. When the two sisters think they found what they each needed in love, they found something else. The Goddess does move in mysterious ways. Beltane is a must read for those who love erotic romance with a dash of paranormal magic!


Beltane is a steamy romance featuring twins Allie and Zen. Allie, a Pagan priestess by night who works at a green architecture firm by day, is about to marry the love of her life, lawyer Paul Phillip.

Zen, a free-spirited, fortune-telling witch, is falling for gorgeous Orlando. As the Pagan celebration of Beltane nears, each sister thinks she's found the perfect romance. But the Goddess moves in mysterious ways, and she may have another fate in store for the twins.


"I had an early board meeting yesterday morning, and I'll have another one this morning. It's the end of our fiscal year." Orlando said.

Zen raised her wine glass. "Happy New Year, then."

Orlando smiled. "How about you? Got a boyfriend? Any kids?"

"No boyfriend. And the closest thing I've got to a kid is Gillian. I'm sure I'll get around to having kids one of these days. I've got time, I'm only twenty-three."

"Please don't take this the wrong way, but you seem older," he said. Zen frowned, so he explained. "I don't mean you look older. I mean you seem more mature. Wiser, maybe."

"I don't know about that," Zen replied. Orlando didn't say anything, so she kissed him. She breathed in the soft floral scent of his aftershave.

Orlando was very still at first. Zen wondered if she'd made a mistake, or if he didn't like the way she kissed. She looked into his eyes, looking for some clue. As she did, Orlando leaned in and caught her lower lip between his lips. He'd been a little shy, but
now he wanted to show her what he knew. To Zen's great delight, he knew what to do with his tongue.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ten - Nine - Eight..."Scion" Releases July 9

My first futuristic ebook, Scion, releases July 9 through DCL Publications. If you like this genre, please don't miss this book. It is a good one.

Blurb: After eight years as a sex slave on the planet Thelona, Lela is weary and jaded. When she is purchased by an aristocrat in the public square, she hopes that he will grow bored with her and let her work in his kitchens.

Caius, returning to the life of the idle rich after eight exciting years off-planet in the Mercenary Corps, thinks he has only bought a night's pleasure.

Two restless kindred spirits who won't be tamed, they never expect what happens next.

Set against a background of slavery and brutality, decadence and incipient revolution, Scion contains non-consensual and m/m sex. R-rated.