Monday, December 31, 2012

Bye bye 2012, welcome 2013!

Is it time for a new year again? It feels as if we just left 2011 and entered 2012. Twelve months, poof, gone. Now would be a good time for some deep reflections, but all I got is, "Phew, 2012 was kinda hard."

I've seen several predictions of 2013 becoming a year of turmoil, starvation, and international crisis. Blah, blah, blah. I personally don't like doomsday prophecies. Seriously; they usually only scare people without coming true, and if they come true, it's because they're self-fulfilling. I'm optimistic about next year.

My new year's wish is that people will learn to care just a little bit more for each other. Imagine if everyone did one extra kind thing every day. Random acts of kindness span the borders of countries, religions, and cultural backgrounds.

On a personal note, I think 2013 will be interesting. Probably filled with hard work, but interesting. I have contracted three books with Desert Breeze Publishing (I think for June, August, and November, but I might be off) and I have a few manuscripts and ideas brewing in the computer. Starting January, lovely Roxanne Rhoads from Bewitching Book Tours will be my publicist. She's awesome at booking blogs and getting interviews. I'm excited!

Thank you everyone for supporting me in 2012. I appreciate it more than you know.

Since I don't have anything profound to say, here's my intended book blurb for the first 2013 release, Flashback:

Steve Petersen is a Very Troubled Man. Sole survivor of a Taliban POW camp he often thinks only parts of him returned; his sanity appears to have been left behind. He seeks solace in alcohol and drugs, but nothing helps block the images from his mind for more than minutes at a time, and he is trapped in horrifying flashbacks.

He is more than surprised when he wakes up in a bright and merry bedroom that turns out to belong to the widow Anna, a woman he has rudimentary memories of meeting. Knowing he should leave isn’t the same as doing it, and before he knows what’s happening, he finds himself pulled into a world with real life problems, such as folding laundry, and what’s for dinner.

Whiskey is no longer his first priority, and not being alone in his waking nightmare is a relief. That is, until Anna disappears. Steve finds himself forced to return to Afghanistan, a place where he’ll have to face both external enemies and himself.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Santa Vader

I love Christmas decorations. They're glittery and almost magical, and taking the same things out year after year evokes all sorts of memories. Our tree contains decorations from when I was a little girl, some of unique stuff I bought when traveling, some cute old-fashioned objects Mikey bought for me, some decorations he made, and a surprising amount of toys and space ships.

These cute little Santas are a great example. I got them from my aunt many years ago. She's gone now, but every year when I decorate the tree and take them out, I remember her. She meant a lot to me, and a part of her is still here, thanks to these little guys.

By now, you might wonder, did I really say toys and space ships? Yep. My first Christmas in the US - the first time Mikey and I decorated a tree together - he thought my stuff was old fashioned, and I thought his was peculiar. I wasn't mentally prepared for finding Marvin the Martian, Spiderman, and a Borg cube in the tree. The Borg cube not only lights up, it talks too, claiming resistance is futile. I'm a science fiction girl, but it took a while for me to understand what sort of business the Borg had in my tree, hahaha!

Now I know it's normal - Hallmark makes weirder Christmas stuff than I could ever have anticipated - but it was a cultural clash that one first time. Now I think it's awesome. I mean, I love spaceships and the tree wouldn't be the same without them. It just took a year or two for me to find them Christmasy. ;-)

My husband is a collector, and he collects these little Star Trek ornaments. His birthday is early in December, and his sister used to buy one for him every year. I've taken over the tradition, making sure he doesn't miss anything cool. (Last year he got a Hallmark Cylon instead. It's a riot, it says all sorts of comical things.)

Anyway, this year I bought the ship, as usual, and stumbled over a picture of a Hallmark Santa Vader online. I thought, "Wow, that's kinda cool, but it has to be photoshopped. No one would turn Darth Vader into Santa Claus."

I checked the Hallmark website, and yes, there he was. Santa Vader... Mikey got two ornaments this year, I couldn't not buy Vader. Maybe he used Jedi mind control on me or something...

Vader is super-cool. He has a motion sensor, and speaks when something moves in front of him.

I wonder what they paid James Earl Jones to have him say things like:

"You will peek again, it is your destiny,"

"Your feelings for these presents are strong. Too strong, perhaps."

"Peek again and you will feel the full power of the dark side!"

"No peeking, there will be a substantial reward for you patience."

Between the two of us, we always get interesting decorations. If it was just me, everything would probably become too old fashioned. If it was just him, it'd be too over the top. Together we find a balance somewhere in between. =)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Courtesan - scifi romance

A couple of years ago, I read a scifi romance novel I really liked. If Santa brought a Kindle for Christmas and you're looking for something to put in it, Courtesan by D.A. Boulter might be exactly what you need. I'm personally not in love with the cover, but that doesn't matter; I love the story, and that's what really matters.


She needed a ship to escape pursuers; he a companion on a trip to the stars.  The deal seemed straight-forward, but neither told the other everything.

Jaswinder Saroya believed that her research in the area of Hyperspace Field Theory would benefit everyone: Family Traders, the InterPlanetary Corporations, Earth's Colonies and governments alike. She erred in not considering commercial and political consequences. Now, someone wants to steal or bury her research and, perhaps, her with it. With no way to fight this unknown foe, Jaswinder knows she has but one chance--complete her research and publish. To do that, she has to stay alive and stay free.

Pilot Johannes Yrden desires a courtesan, someone to keep him company on the 8 month trip to the planet Liberty and back. He wants someone not from the Yrden Family spaceship and to hell with his brother, Captain Matt Yrden, who believes the TransPlanetary Corporations will stock his line-up with spies.

Yrden's plan runs afoul of circumstance, which throws him together with one 'Jazz Saro', a woman on the run. Forced to run with her, Yrden allows her to convince him to sign her on as courtesan. He needs a companion; she needs a ship, a place to hide. It seems a simple enough arrangement.

Jaswinder thinks she's found her perfect solution: a hiding place in hyperspace, where she can complete her research using the ship as her laboratory. Unfortunately, she hasn't reckoned on the possibility of one of her pursuers booking passage, forcing her to maintain the fiction of her alias. The pilot's family, with troubles of their own, grow suspicious and it becomes apparent she cannot complete her research openly. That leaves her the choice: Do what she needs to do to in order to save Jaswinder's life or become Jazz Saro.

My review: 

Jaswinder is a very devoted scientist, living life happily engulfed in her work. She is so engulfed she forgets to pay attention to the financial interests of the powers that be. Before she knows what is happening, she has stumbled into danger's way, and finds herself on the run from people trying to capture or even kill her.

The book is excellent. The story is engaging, and has just the right balance between being cute and exciting. The characters are interesting, and feel real. I would love to know what more happens to Jaz and Johannes, and I'll keep my fingers crossed for a sequel.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Yuletide and recipe for Glögg

Regardless of what you celebrate, I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday.

Today, I'd like to share a Swedish tradition. The country is far up north, actually on the same latitude as Greenland. This means parts of the country have pretty long, dark, and cold winters.

To heat us up during December, we like to make a special kind of mulled wine. It's especially good with gingerbread cookies. You can actually buy Swedish gingerbread cookies in many grocery stores around the country - they're called "Anna's"

Anyway, IKEA carries non alcoholic Swedish mulled wine - Glögg - during December, but you can just as well make your own. I think it's super good. My husband is less impressed, but he doesn't like wine in the first place, LOL.

Recipe for Glögg

1 bottle of good red wine (the better wine you use, the better Glögg you'll get.)
15 cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon ground cardemom
3 ml ginger (1/4 American tablespoon is 1.2 ml, so a little more than two of those measurements)
1 teaspoon orange extract
2 dl sugar

Mix all of it in a pan and heat up slowly. You don't quite want to bring it to boiling, but heat it until it's properly hot. Strain the spices out and enjoy the hot beverage. You can re-bottle it and save in the fridge for a few days, it can be heated in the microwave, but wine is wine and doesn't last forever once it's opened.

We usually serve Glögg with raisins and almonds (you put them in the hot wine).

Monday, December 24, 2012

Please vote for me? =)

I completely forgot I entered the cover for Kidnapped in a contest. Needless to say, contestants with better memory -- or being less distractable, lol -- have an advantage. Stakes are high: glory and bragging rights.

To be fair, most of the glory would belong to my amazing cover artist Gwen Phifer, but I would sure brag if given the chance. I think the cover is awesome.

It is number 20, it's really easy to vote, and voting is open until December 26.

Thank you!

Merry Christmas and recipe for yummie coconut cake.

Back home we celebrate Christmas Eve (and we still call it Yule, but with a Swedish spelling, LOL). So... Merry Christmas and God Jul!

Yesterday, I talked about my best Swedish chocolate cake. Today, I'm pulling out another Yule recipe. Coconut cake. It's sooo good, and really easy to make.

Everything I said yesterday about measurements, the baking pan, and parchment paper still stands.

2 eggs
2 dl sugar
3 dl flour (I use self rising flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1.5 dl cold water

Stir eggs and sugar, add baking powder, flour, and water. Bake at 325-350 (175 C) depending on your oven. I test the cake with a toothpick - if it comes out dry, the cake is done.

2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
1 dl sugar
1.5 dl coconut flakes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (less if you're using the super concentrated stuff)

Stir the ingredients together, and spread over the cake while it's still warm. If it cools too much, it's really difficult to put the frosting on. The cake freezes well. =)

American coconut flakes are a bit different from the Swedish ones, so your cake will look a little different from the image. That's okay - both taste about the same. =)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Love-munchies... Mmmm, chocolate! Christmas recipe.

I'm pretty good at baking, if I may say so myself. Unfortunately, I'm not interested in it. I usually bake like crazy for the holidays each year, and do nothing the other eleven months... This year, I planned to skip baking even for Christmas. I'm kind of engulfed in a story, and who wants to break for baking when the hero is about to die unless the heroine saves him? I figured no one would notice.

Yesterday, my husband hinted, "I don't see much baking going on. We have to make those cool plates with your cookies and stuff for my friends. You know, like we do every year."

I forgot all about that. Once I started, I'm happy he reminded me. I made Kärleksmums - if there's a Swedish thing corresponding to brownies, this would be it. I don't have a good translation for the name. It means something along the lines of love-snacks, love-yummies, love-munchies, you get the idea... In Sweden, you can buy them in most cafes, stores, even gas stations, but they're super easy to make on your own.

All my recipes are in metric measurements, and I won't even start trying to figure out the corresponding cups and stuff. Some American measuring cups have both cups and deciliters though. I have two sets - one metric and one US.

Important: A Swedish tablespoon/teaspoon/cup is not the same size as an American tablespoon/teaspoon/cup. When I bake from my Swedish recipes, I usually take an actual teaspoon or tablespoon to measure with. Unless we're talking about salt, it's not an exact science. :-)

This recipe is sized for a baking pan with high edges approximately 13x9 inches. Again, it's not an exact science, I grab what I have in the house. I put parchment paper in it. It makes it easier to get the cake out of the pan. :-)

Here goes (dl=deciliter):

2 eggs
3 dl sugar
1.5 dl milk
150 g melted butter
3 dl flour (I use self rising flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cocoa poweder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (less if you use the super concentrated kind)

Stir eggs and sugar. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract. Blend the dry ingredients on the side to make sure they're mixed evenly, and add to the mixture. Add butter.

Bake at 325-350 (175 C), depending on your oven. I test the cake with a wood toothpick - if the toothpick comes out dry, it's done.

3 dl powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
5 tablespoons coffee
4 tablespoons melted butter
Coconut flakes. (These are way different in the US compared to Sweden, but still good. Ours are drier, so the cake will look a little different with the fresh coconut flakes.)

Stir all the ingredients except the coconut flakes together. You might need an extra dash of powdered sugar, depending on the size of your tablespoons ;-)

The cake should cool some - if it's too hot when you put the frosting on, it'll be too gooey, but if it's too cold, it can be hard to spread the frosting.

Put frosting on, and sprinkle coconut flakes for decoration. Eat and enjoy! The cake freezes well, just don't microwave it - heat makes the frosting melt, LOL.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Free read by Maria Hammarblad - Courage and Retribution

Aaaand, one more free read for Christmas. Namely, my prequel to Kidnapped. :-) William Reynolds agrees to hide a family of refugees, fleeing from the oppressive and all knowing Alliance. He's not worried; he's finally standing up for a good cause, and what's the worst thing that could happen?

Courage and Retribution, by Maria Hammarblad

Science fiction romance

On the outskirts of the ever present Alliance's watchful eye, William Reynolds has served as mayor and preacher for the better part of a decade. Life is good, and he sees no reason to change anything.

When a family fleeing the Alliance's oppression comes his way he doesn't hesitate to hide them. Reaching out to the people in need proves to be more dangerous than he could ever have anticipated, and once events are set in motion, there is no going back.

To download this book, please follow this link. 

William lived in a world of uneasy dreams. His people were screaming, dying, being burned alive, and he needed to pull free from whatever held him so he could rescue them, but invisible forces kept him back. The dreams faded into merciful darkness.

When he finally returned to reality, he had problems focusing his eyes. The ceiling looked a lot like a beautiful woman, and she rotated above him. He squeezed his eyes shut again, but had time to see a mass of blonde hair and a cute nose.

The fragments of memories and dreams came together. He was a prisoner of the Alliance, and his people, everyone he knew were dead. It was his fault. He didn't understand how, he had been so careful, but he still led the enemy right home. He wanted to return to the darkness, hopefully forever, but the woman wouldn't let him. She held a cool hand against his forehead.

"I think he has a concussion."

A cynical male voice answered, "It happens."

William opened his eyes again and struggled to sit up, even though the room revolved around him.
Everything bathed in a light so bright it shot bolts of pain through his skull, but when he squinted and shaded his eyes with his hand, he could make out four bare metal walls and a metal ceiling. The cell didn't even have a visible door. "Where am I? Who are you?"

The man stepped closer and crouched next to him. "You're a guest here at Casa del Travis. If we're lucky, he'll forget about us, or kill us before we reach Central."

The woman said, "You should probably lie down. You're still bleeding. I'm Isabela, and he's Aaren. I think there are more people in other cells. I can hear them through the walls."

Aaren chuckled. "Of course there're more prisoners here. This is a prisoner ship, and it's what they do. So, what'd you do that's so bad they let you live?"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Angels and Gargoyles

Sometimes I think book titles don't matter all that much, but this one sure did. I followed Monte R. Anderson on Twitter, and he sent me a message about his free read. I usually don't have the energy to check things like this out, but the title got me. I mean, Angels and Gargoyles, that's two of my favorite things. I had to look!

I laughed out loud on the first page. The story is funny, heartwarming, sweet, and short enough to read on a lunch break. I like the format - I like being able to finish something.

Why it's funny? Let me quote this one little gem of dialogue... Two characters are in the office of St Peter, holding a fairly serious discussion, and he says, “It was your idea, in fact, to have a canal digging contest on Mars. Great idea except you forgot to fill them in. You cannot believe all the problems that caused since. People actually believed there was life on Mars.”

It's taken out of context here, of course, but in the book, I found it hilarious!

Angels and Gargoyles is a novelette about a romance among heavenly hosts; a beauty and the beast love story. It tells how two of God's workers, for unexplainable reasons, fall in love, much to the chagrin of St. Peter.

Download the book here! 

The images on this page have nothing to do with the book - I borrowed them from  Click on this text to see many more gorgeous gargoyle images!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

High Gravity - scifi romance and black holes!

My series of scifi romance novellas - Embarkment 2577 - finally continues. The re-write of High Gravity, second in the series, is done! Many thanks to sweet Christy Elkins for helping me beta-read. :-)

I originally hoped to have all three novellas done before the holidays, it would be nice to finish the year with wrapping this up, but the last one, Adam and Eve, will probably have to wait until January. (I suspect the Embarkment novellas will never truly be done; my muse has been popping up her head claiming we should write a prequel taking place on Earth. Time permitting, that might be a 2013 project!)

In the first book, Brand New World, Alexandra wakes up with amnesia in the year 2577. She's in a spaceship, and adapting to the new time and environment is not easy. In High Gravity, she's assaulted by more adventures and more new technology. I'm fascinated by black holes, and they play a prominent role in this story.

High Gravity can be read stand alone, but the books are probably better in order. If you haven't read Brand New World, there's a chance to win a signed paperback on the Embarkment 2577 website!

If you're interesting in reading and reviewing the books, comment on this post or send me a message. I'd be delighted to send over a pdf or epub file!

Here's an excerpt from High Gravity. Alex has just escaped becoming a science experiment.

“Joshen Martinez is an old friend of mine, a mentor, he wouldn’t hurt you. He just wants to connect you to a machine that will tap out your memories. Your knowledge is valuable, and everyone would be able to see what you know. Sort of... like watching a movie.”

Having people watch all my memories? Intrusion of privacy, much?

I got to my feet. “I’ve heard enough of this. I have other things to do.”

Kevin stood up too. “Yes you do. Go pack your bags. This joke is over and you’re coming with me to the Kentucky.”

I took a step towards the door. “In your dreams.”

Blake said, “Sit down. Both of you.”

He didn’t raise his voice, but it was impossible not to obey. Kevin opened his mouth and my Captain made a dismissive gesture. “You’ve already said too much. Sit down and be quiet.”

Watching the scientist sink down, carefully keeping his mouth shut, filled me with glee. Blake pressed a button on his desk. “Commander Adam, could you come to my office for a minute, please.”

My husband’s voice filled the room. “Right away, Sir.”

I didn’t realize how tense I was until he stood in the doorway and I dared relax. He glanced between me and Kevin and crossed his arms over his chest. Adam was tall, strong, intimidating, and mine.
“What’s going on?”

Once again, Kevin opened his mouth. Blake snapped, “Silence.”

Kevin leaned back in his chair and rolled his eyes.

“Adam, this is Kevin. He has come to retrieve your wife.”

“Not happening, Sir.”

I wanted to squirm. “Can I move now?”

Blake smirked. “Yes Alex, you may move.”

I bounced to my feet and threw my arms around Adam. He hugged me back and murmured, “Don’t worry.”

After kissing me tenderly, he put his hands on my shoulders and turned me around so I faced Kevin. Then, he wrapped his arms around me from behind. “This is my wife. She means more to me than my life. She definitely means more to me than your life. If I were you, I’d choose my next words wisely.”

I glanced up at him. “I love you too.”

He smiled and brushed his lips over my temple.

Blake leaned his elbows on the desk and tapped his fingers together. “Mr Nolan, have we satisfied your curiosity, or do you wish to continue the discussion with the commander? I’m sure he’d be more than happy to demonstrate his... abilities. Would you like to see him fold a spare piece of hull plating a couple of times?”

“We’re good.”

Monday, December 17, 2012

Radio interview for Kidnapped today (Dec 17) =D

Today, Dec 17, I'm on the Authors' Radio show talking about my sci fi romance novel Kidnapped. We talk about the book, writing, characters, and much more. Check it out here:

If you arrive after Dec 17, you can see the interview a bit down in the list. Look for "Kidnapped"

You can also see, I mean hear (lol) it on my website. Look for Radio on the About page. :-)

Free Read by Michelle Sutton

Another Desert Breeze Publishing Free Read, just in time for Christmas!

Uncovering the Secret, by Michelle Sutton

Bojan and Laney are newly married and about to embark on their honeymoon. They will be traveling to his homeland in eastern Europe to meet his family. Only Bojan has other plans in mind once they get there. He's out to find his sister's ex-boyfriend who nearly killed her and left her for dead a year ago. He wants to make sure his sister will be safe and will not have to look over her shoulder for the rest of her life. But he hadn't thought things completely through and takes a risk by keeping his plans from his wife. The one thing he hadn't considered, though, was God's knowledge of the secrets in his heart.

To download this book, please follow this link.
My review:

I'm really not qualified to review this book. I mean, there are many different kinds of stories that mean different things to different people, and Uncovering the Secret isn't something I would normally read. (For the simple reason that I'm Wiccan, LOL.) That, of course, won't stop me from babbling about the book anyway, so here goes...

Uncovering the Secret is Christian fiction. It is cute, short, and sweet. Bojan - the main character - is a likeable man, who early in the book promises himself to be the best he can be for his wife. He still tries to keep a secret from her, but it doesn't work out for him. The novella enforces Christian ideals and the thought of God interfering directly with people's lives when they're heading down the wrong path. I know there's a large number of Christian readers out there, and for them, I think this story would be fantastic.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Free Read by Jackie Leigh Allen

Another Desert Breeze Publishing Free Read, just in time for Christmas!

Bah! Humbug, by Jackie Leigh Allen

Could Santa Claus be the man who's been right under your nose all year?

Heather Fisher Black's third man of the year has just exited right when she needs a date for Christmas dinner. The whole gang from Win's War will be there and everyone will have a partner, even Win's grandfather.

To download this book, please follow this link.
My review:

I haven't read Win's War - yet - and the blurb had me a bit confused. I still liked the title Bah! Humbug and the premise, so I plunged in. This is a very enjoyable read that had me chuckling at times. Like, when the heroine forgets the name of "Jerk number three" - even though she used to hope he would propose. 

The book is easy to get into, and the characters are likeable and seem real. It's a perfect story to curl up with in a cozy corner, shutting the world out for a while. I've read a number of novellas in a short period of time, and this one sticks with me, popping into my mind from time to time. :-)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Free read by Sue Perkins

Another Desert Breeze Publishing Free Read, just in time for Christmas!

Adri's Story, by Sue Perkins

Young Adult - Fantasy
Adri's frustration with the static town life of Boon is shared by his closest friends. His stepmother aggravates the situation with her unfair demands on his time, and Adri plans to leave as soon as he comes of age. The arrival of the survivors from dragon attacks interfere with his departure.

The outsiders are closely followed by the fire breathing dragons who are intent of burning Boon. All looks grim, but the departure of the dragons opens a new exciting opportunity for Adri and his friends.

To download this book, please follow this link.
My review:

I have a foggy idea of what Young Adult is, but the book cover mentioned Dragons, so I plunged in with great enthusiasm. Loved this book, loved, loved, loved it! Space, fantasy, adventures, and great danger. This is the first book by Sue Perkins I've read, and I will download the entire series to fill my Kindle for Christmas break.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blitz for Brand New World =)

Today, I'm having a blogging blitz for my scifi romance novella Brand New World. Thanks to Bewitching Book Tours, a number of blogs have kindly given me space to talk about myself and share excerpts.

I want to extend a warm thank you to everyone for inviting me to their blogs! I have been a recurring guest at some of them, and I'm very happy that people lend me room and time.

  • Promo for Brand New World at Andisbookreviews
  • Interview at Cloey's Book Reviews
  • Interview at Books, Books, The Magical Fruit
  • Promo at Melissa Stevens' blog
  • Promo at Marked by Books
  • Guest blog at Roxanne's Realm
  • Excerpt from Brand New World at Fang-tastic Books
  • Spotlight at The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
  • Promo at All Things Paranormal

  • If anyone's interesting in reading and reviewing, I'd be happy to send over a pdf copy. Leave me a comment!

    Brand New World is the first novella in a series of three that make up my series Embarkment 2577. During 2012, I've made a complete re-write of all the books. I plan to release the re-written second novella - High Gravity - in time for Christmas, and the third one - Adam and Eve - should follow some time in January or February.

    If you've read the books before and you're curious about the 2nd editions, I'd be more than happy to send you a pdf or epub.

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

    Free read by Patty Froese

    Another Desert Breeze Publishing Free Read, just in time for Christmas!

    Wait for Me, by Patty Froese

    Historical 20th Century
    Eunice is considered an old maid at the age of 26, but more than fate has kept her single. She's in love with one of her father's employees, a common laborer. Not only is Freddy beneath her socially, but he's half-black, something unforgiveable in her father's eyes.

    As WWII echoes like thunder in the distance, the pressures pushing them apart seem overwhelming. Is love enough to conquer society and family prejudice?

    To download this book, please follow this link.
    My review:

    When I downloaded Wait for Me, I thought, "No way even Patty Froese will make me care for people in... what is this... seven pages of text." I was wrong. After reading maybe ten sentences, I was both hooked and very happy not to be living in America in this period of time. Froese paints a strong portrait of two people desperate and in love. It's well worth reading, and the ending will make you want to know more.

    Monday, December 10, 2012

    Dogs and squirrels

    If you know me at all, you probably know I'm a big mush when it comes to animals. Seriously, I cry if they just look sad on TV. That's of course why there are so many dogs in this house. We used to have one, and now they're four. One is technically a foster, but considering Mikey can't sleep without her it's safe to assume we have four dogs. LOL.

    Our little house is a bit strange. It has a big yard surrounded by a six feet privacy fence, but it doesn't have a back door. Two sides of the fence has neighbouring yards, but the third has a strip of no-man's-land before the next house. (It's for the electric company so they can care for the wires.) No one cares for the strip, and it's a mess,a little piece of jungle in the city. Wildlife loves it, and we've suspected for a while that some larger animal lives there. I think it's a fox, Mikey thinks it's a coyote. Either way, I'm not too worried about it.

    Anyway, there are also many squirrels in the neighbourhood. They like the yard too. Besides the dogs, it's a fairly safe place. They run on top of the fence and tease the doggies. The boys don't care all that much, but the squirrels drive the girls bonkers. I bet in their imagination, the squirrels look like this:

    The other day, the dogs were much too interested in something under the orange tree. I told them to step back, and miraculously they obeyed. They all sat down and watched. To my horror, it was a half eaten squirrel. It was so gross and I felt so bad for it - only the back legs and tail remained. Eeeewww!!! It wasn't there earlier in the morning, I knew my dogs didn't do it, and it was a mystery. I took a shovel and hauled the poor remains over the fence. Maybe not my best idea ever, but I didn't know what to do. If I buried it, someone would just dig it up again. Then, one of the dogs discovered a big hole under the fence. Big enough for her to get through.

    I hollered, "Stop it, get back here!" and again, miraculously, everyone obeyed and left the hole alone so I could fill it. My dogs must be better trained than I think they are, LOL. Later in the day, Mikey got some big stones and put along the edge, so whatever lives on the other side won't be able to dig through so easily. My theory was that something came under the fence, caught the squirrel, ate it, and left. =( At the moment I was a bit worried about said something still being out there when I come with the dogs - my Bonnie is a warrior princess and I don't want her to get into a fight with a wild animal.

    This morning when we went outside, I scanned the yard for squirrels like I always do, didn't immediately see one, and took the leash off the first dog. I always let Bonnie go first. She took a few steps into the yard, and I saw something move in the orange tree. Damn!

    I said, "Bonnie, stop." To my surprise, she obeyed, and stood there watching the little squirrel make its way across the yard toward the fence. It didn't run, which was probably a good thing. If something has the right size and moves with the right speed dogs will chase it. They can't help themselves, they will chase it. Squirrel moseyed across the yard, and I said, "Good girl Bonnie, you're a good girl, stay there. Just stay there."

    The other dogs were going crazy on their leashes, of course, but Bonnie stayed and the squirrel reached the fence securely. When I let the gang lose they there was crazy patrolling and fence sniffing. Must have been frustrating to see another animal move on their turf and not be allowed to go get it.

    I didn't think any more about it until I saw the little squirrel peek up behind the fence, looking between me and the orange tree. She didn't leave; she just kept looking at the orange tree. That's never happened before. I took a closer look at the tree, and it holds a little nest carefully padded with dog hair. Crap!

    My new theory is that papa squirrel was killed when working on the nest. Mama squirrel is still working on it, probably pregnant and all alone. I don't know if they usually have babies at this time a year, but this is Florida where nature is always in full spin. I mean, this year the orange tree bloomed in April and November... If this is correct, how do I keep them safe? If this poor squirrel girl has babies in my yard, they're my responsibility and I'll have to find a way to make both the dogs and the monster on the other side of the fence leave her and her little ones alone. This will be a challenge. Maybe I can persuade Mikey to build a doggie fence around the tree, something the squirrels can get through but not the dogs... Maybe they'll understand. They're all such good dogs, but it's hard to overcome the instinct to chase stuff.

    Friday, December 7, 2012

    Free read by Gloria Clover

    The next free read from Desert Breeze Publishing this Christmas:

    Children of the King: Burned, by Gloria Clover

    Science Fiction - Fantasy
    Keril, the high lord's first-in-command, has been waiting months for the perfect time to tell Electra, the princess of Celosia's personal bodyguard, how much he loves her. But when the castle is attacked with fire weapons, his time runs out. Duty demands he protect the princess, but his heart tugs him in another direction.

    Burned is a short companion piece to the novel, The Fire Starter. Discover what happens to Keril and Electra while Celosia blazes with fire weapons and new passions.

    To download this book, please follow this link.
    My review:

    This is the first book by Gloria Clover I've read, and let me start out by saying, this is a very talented writer. The story and the characters engulfed me. I sat on the edge of my seat waiting to see if Electra would die, if Keril would win her heart, if Michael would be likely to pop up, if Amaryllis would come save them... The book also caught me off guard, probably because I was so mentally into it. I was completely unprepared for it taking a Christian turn, and when the heroine went off to talk to God, in person, I was so confused I had to read that one portion several times to sort out what really happened. To be fair, this is a cultural thing: I'm not used to meeting religion in this fashion.

    If you are into Christian literature, this is an amazing scifi-fantasy. It is well written, the characters are blazing with life, and the story line is intriguing. People who enjoy the Christian aspect will be blown away.

    I love fantasy and have read a lot of it. I will keep my eyes open for books by Clover that are just a tad more secular. If I find them, they will be right up there on the top shelf next to Terry Brooks, Tolkien, and Piers Anthony.

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    Free read from Jillian Chantal

    My amazing publisher has arranged for Christmas presents for everyone in the shape of free reads. I want to introduce them all here on my blog. First out is:

    The Gambler's Inheritance: Christmas on St. Charles Avenue by Jillian Chantal

    Historical 20th century novella.

    New Orleans, Christmas Eve, 1947:

    Brothers, Dirk and Beaumont McSwain are both about to become fathers. Dirk's wife has had a number of miscarriages and at thirty-six years old, is afraid this is her last chance for a healthy baby. Bo's wife is pregnant for the first time. Both are due to give birth soon.

    The brothers arrange a surprise ride for their women in Papa Noel's sleigh which is actually a horse drawn carriage with fake reindeer. The evening starts out merry and bright but before the night is over, they will need a Christmas miracle.

    To download this book, please follow this link.

    My review:

    When I saw the name of this book, the words "Gambler's Inheritance" made me imagine men smoking cigars, playing poker, and drinking whiskey. Maybe one of them cheated and was shot... Boy was I wrong! It's sexy, cute, and romantic. I even had a laugh out loud moment when Bo punches his brother to make him shut up. 

    If I had any complaints, it would be that some things in the end of the book seemed a bit too easy. On the other hand, I probably wouldn't want to know any more gruesome details anyway. Curious yet? Well, read it! It's free!

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    Contest time at NightOwl Reviews, with great prizes.

    A few times every year, the website NightOwl Reviews has web scavenger hunts. The idea is to visit a number of websites, gathering snippets of information to be able to answer the questionnaire. Some page visits are mandatory, and others voluntary, depending on how many chances of winning you want.

    It's easy, it's fun, and the prizes are great, one can win gift cards, books, and gadgets for hundreds of dollars. I'd play if I wasn't a sponsor!

    If you have any interest in books or shopping from Amazon, I think you should enter. The chances of winning should be pretty good. Click here, and play!

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

    Free, Free, Free! Christmas presents to everyone from my publisher! =D

    Starting today, Courage and Retribution is available free along with a number of other novellas from Desert Breeze authors. It is a prequel to my novel Kidnapped, and I hope you will enjoy it.

    William Reynolds agrees to hide a family of refugees, fleeing from the oppressive and all knowing Alliance. He's not worried; he's finally standing up for a good cause, and what's the worst thing that could happen?

    Many other free books are already available - like works of Gail R. Delaney, Stephanie Burkhart, and J. Morgan, to mention a few. Along with mine comes several new freebees, just in time for Christmas, and there should be something for everyone.

    Take a look, all these goodies are just waiting for someone to curl up with them in a cozy spot:

    Children of the King: Burned by Gloria Clover

    The island of Celosia is under attack. Keril is responsible for the safety of the high lord's daughter, but when he mistakes her personal bodyguard for the princess herself, he finds he's protecting the wrong woman. Or is he?

    The Gambler's Inheritance: Christmas on St. Charles Avenue by Jillian Chantal

    In 1947, on Christmas Eve, two brothers decide to treat their pregnant wives to a sleigh ride in New Orleans. So what if there's no snow or reindeer? Papa Noel can still deliver the spirit of the holiday.

    Adri's plan to leave Boon is halted when survivors appear with the news the other settle-ments have been destroyed. Their arrival is closely followed by the fire breathing dragons who line up to attack.

    Bah! Humbug by Jackie Leigh Allen

    Could Santa Claus be the man who's been right under your nose all year?

    Wait for Me by Patty Froese

    She's an heiress with family obligation. He's a common laborer who has stolen her heart. Can love overcome prejudice?

    Uncovering the Secret by Michelle Sutton

    Bojan keeps a secret from his wife that might destroy her trust in him before their extended honeymoon in Europe even begins.

    The Universe - or is it Fate - is fickle.

    If someone had told me yesterday that an asteroid would collide with Earth, that we'd have a flood of Biblical proportions, or that a so...