Friday, December 16, 2011


My guest is the sassy creator of laughter and humorous paranormal romance, Sidney Ayers. I have to admit her characters crack me up. Not just because they invoked laughter but because many of them aren’t what they seem, or they border the bizarre even in the normal world. One thing I can tell you; they’re not boring. Sydney also writes it hot and this covers both her love stories and the subject of them—Demons Unleashed.

  • Did you try other genres before you chose this one?

I’ve always been a history buff, so I started out writing historicals. Since I’ve always held a fascination with the society and mores during the early 1800’s, my first novel was a regency historical romance. I will eventually delve back into that period. I’ve even discovered how to include a sci-fi/fantasy element, so I’m very excited to delve back into the history (even if it’ll be slightly altered).

  • Who was most/least supportive of your writing career?

I’ve been lucky that most my friends and family have been extremely supportive of my career. It’s something I’ve dreamt of for a long time and they’re all very excited for me.

  • What’s the hardest thing you've had to face as a writer? How did you overcome it?

Rejection, I guess. It’s taken me a long time to realize not everyone is going to like what I write. I try to focus on the positive feedback and reviews and brush away the negative ones.

  • What was the single best or luckiest thing that got you pubbed?

A good strong query with a solid hook helps a lot. A good story will seal the deal.

  • What does your writing day look like?

My writing days are scattered as hell. I have no set schedule. It’s crazy.

  • Describe your writing space. Or, describe your DREAM writing space.

My current office space consists of a faux suede recliner and a MyPlace laptop workstation (Best Christmas gift-EVER). Surprisingly, even with the TV right across from me, I’ve managed to finish 4 books with this setup.  My dream writing space would be a soundproofed, locked office. That way, there are absolutely no distractions.

  • How do you refresh and recharge yourself so you can continue writing?

I watch TV, read a book, and of course, take a relaxing bath. A little vino doesn’t hurt every now and again, either.

  • How has your own romance colored how you write romance in your stories?

I hate to admit this, but I’m single right now, so there’s no current romance to color my stories. Not many of my relationships have been that romance novel worthy, but the emotions at the time were true, so I like to think it helps me give my characters believable emotions.

DEMONS Like It HOT--Available now in stores and online.

 If you can’t stand the heat, get out of Hell’s Kitchen! 


Matthias Ambrose is a demon mercenary who never took sides, until his attraction to the spunky caterer he was hired to kidnap leads him to almost botch a job for the first time in eight hundred years. Now he must protect her from his former clients, but even an ice—cold demon like Matthias struggles to resist her fiery charms.


Completely engrossed with planning menus and prepping recipes for her shot at cooking show fame, star caterer Serah SanGermano refuses to believe she's on a fast track to Hades. But how is she supposed to stick to the kitchen if she can't stand the heat of her gorgeous demonic bodyguard? As a wicked plot to destroy humanity unfolds and all hell breaks loose in Serah's kitchen, she and Matthias find themselves knee—deep in demons and up to their eyeballs in love...excerpt

Buy:  Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indigo

Sidney Ayers loves infusing her stories with humor. What would the world be without a little bit of laughter? She writes a plethora of genres, ranging from historical, to paranormal, to contemporary.
A native of Michigan, Sidney still lives in the same town she grew up in. No matter how hard she tries, she just can't seem to get away. Michigan is in her blood. Scary thought, huh?
Find Sidney: Facebook, Twitter, Website

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


As you know, I usually share holiday stories this time of the year by talented writers who've given them to me to use. What makes them interesting, at least to me, is they're written in various genres by men and women. I'll be running more next week in between guests. 

I have two stories I tend to use every year. They're favorites of mine. One is called Christmas Joy, by Beth Hill, and the other is The Gift, by Rand Phares. Why are they favorites? Both highlight faith and hope and they touch the heart. 

So today, I'm sharing one of my favorites with you by the talented Beth Hill. love her writing. For those of you who don't know Beth, she is a fiction editor and you can find her at A Novel Edit or The Editor's Blog (she has an article up on her blog on weeding out author intrusion). 


Sarah inhaled the fragrances of cinnamon and sugar and the chocolate chips melting into gooey deliciousness in the oven. Homey smells. Christmas smells.

She wanted to sit, relax, to inhale more than smells. She wanted the peace of the season to wash over her, still her racing mind and ease her fractured soul. But if she stopped moving, sorrow would overwhelm. She knew it. Had given in last Christmas. And again on his birthday. She’d been unable to resist the lure of peace on those two days.

But peace had eluded her. And instead grief had stolen into her home, into her mind and heart. And she’d cried out her anger and sorrow and loss, collapsing on her kitchen floor in a tangle of oven mitts and tears and memories.  And standing again, facing life again, had been nearly impossible.

She reached for the oven door just before the timer buzzed, and pulled out the tray of perfect cookies. His favorite. She baked them every year. He couldn’t get enough. And she’d watch as he devoured one after another, following every third bite or so with a gulp of cold milk. And he’d grin, crumbs clinging to his lips, knowing she got a kick out of his passion for home-baked cookies made just for him.

She scoured the kitchen; focusing on making perfect and whole those things she had control over. And pushed far from her mind the events she couldn’t influence or change. But she left the cookies mounded on wax paper since Mac liked them that way. Liked reaching across the counter and plucking one or two or five whenever he wanted them.

The reflection from the tree beckoned her to the living room and the large glass windows that framed it. She’d stop for only a moment, her heart promised her head. Just a brief passage of time to watch the snowfall, to admire the twinkling lights as they pushed against the darkness both inside and out. Just a moment . . .
When the clocked chimed nine, Sarah jumped. Then smiled. Silly to feel guilty over losing herself in memories of her husband. She wouldn’t break down this Christmas. She’d learned that lesson. Plus, the news had been better this year. The better news being they’d actually heard news. The first reliable report since her captain had gone missing sixteen months earlier.

Chaplain Anderson had called in October. One of the Resolute Seven—prisoners held for over four months in a no-name cave in Afghanistan—had mentioned Mac—someone who sounded like Mac, please God—in his briefing. So this year she’d added hope to her arsenal of determination and faith and prayers. This year she wouldn’t give in to despair.

She pressed her fingers against the cold glass. Closed her eyes and lowered her head.

“Keep him warm tonight. Please. Hold him in Your arms since he doesn’t have mine. Fill his heart with Your love, with my devotion. And give Him your peace.”

Sarah leaned against her hand and stared into the night. So quiet. So pure.

So lonely.

“And please hold me. Because I’m afraid I can’t hold on any longer.”

She returned to the kitchen. In the near dark she pulled milk from the fridge and poured a tall glass. She piled cookies on a plate and arranged plate and milk on the reindeer placemat at the head of the table. She fussed with a linen napkin, flattening it again and again until she realized what she was doing and yanked her hands away.  Enough of that. She still had presents to wrap, gifts for her brother’s family. She turned. And blinked.

The front door was opening, three men stepping through.

Chaplain Anderson, removing his hat. Colonel Ryan, Mac’s CO, holding the arm of another man. That other man dangling a key from his fingers.

The third man lifted his head at her gasp. Then grinned. And then he was rushing to her and squeezing her and kissing her face.

“Sarah. My God, Sarah.”

And then Sarah was on her knees, holding Mac, holding a dream, and kissing him back. Touching him everywhere. Crying and laughing and shaking so much she thought she’d finally snapped and lost her mind.

But when Mac pulled back and grasped her face between his hands, when she could see his eyes and into his soul, she knew he was not imagined but real and in their home.

In her arms.

She stared in wonder for a timeless instant, then sobs burst from her chest and she burrowed into Mac, clutching him, trying to breathe, trying to think. Trying not to feel because the emotions were stretching her beyond her limits and shattering her mind.

“I smell cookies.” That was the colonel.

Mac laughed. He laughed. Sarah gripped him even tighter.

“Sir, those are my cookies. All mine. I’ve been dreaming of them for days. And I’m sorry to say, you won’t get a single taste.”

Sarah wiped her face against Mac’s coat. Trust her man to get to the heart of any matter.

“Sarah? You ready to stand now? I wanna get this coat off and hold you properly.”

“Major, I believe this is where Chaplain Anderson and I bid you goodnight. And Merry Christmas.”

Sarah scrambled to her feet, pulling at Mac, searching his face. Thin. Lined. Hers. “How? When?” She squeezed her eyes shut and drew in an uneven breath. He was still there when she opened her eyes. “Major?” She twisted to look at Colonel Ryan, but turned immediately back to Mac. “I was just asking God to hold you, since I couldn’t. And now you’re here. You’re here.

Mac saluted the other men as they eased out the door, but didn’t turn from Sarah. “He held me, baby. Every day I felt His protection and your love entwined, binding me in strength and hope.” He stepped close to her and again wrapped her face in his palms. His hands were shaking. “Tonight we hold each other.”

She lifted her hands to his where they framed her cheeks. His gaze was locked on her face. “Why didn’t you call? Have you seen a doctor? What happened? Mac . . . What happened?”

He leaned his forehead against hers, still unwilling to relax his hold. “I needed to be with you before the news broke, baby. I need you at my side to get through the rest of this. To he—” His voice broke and he hauled her against his chest.

“I’m here always. Forever.”

“I know,” he whispered against her neck. “And that’s what saw me through.” His entire body shook, vibrating against hers. “I didn’t break, Sarah. Not once. Not until a couple of Special Forces guys hauled me out. And then I cried like a baby.”

“Mac . . . ”

“My Sarah.” His lips feathered over hers. “Merry Christmas, wife.”

She slid her arms inside his coat and dug her fingers into his back. “Merry Christmas, major. I love you.” She closed her eyes.  Thank You. For holding him. For bringing him home. For returning my heart.

My pleasure, Sarah. My very great pleasure.  Merry Christmas to you and peace to this home.

Monday, December 12, 2011

MONDAY MUSINGS: Winter Blahs. Bring On The Color

It’s not even the heart of winter and already I’m craving color and brightness. It’s not that the winter trees aren’t lovely skeletons, in a purely ascetic way, they are. I have colorful birds like Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Red headed Woodpeckers, flittering among all the neutral colored birds—which sadly outnumber the brilliant one. There are the evergreens; red berries on various bushes and shrubs, snow and heavy frost can be quite lovely, too, especially when the sun decides to shine. But…we went from the lush greens and bright flowers of summer to the brilliant colors of fall to ascetic skeletons set in icy silver and gray, lots of grays.

So, I’m trying to counter blah with bright warm colors. I have fabrics and paint samples to brighten my inside world. First thing is getting my ceilings painted a nice bright white. It adds pizzazz, freshness, and the feeling of light to about any room. Then, since I love the energy of reds (I know, you hadn’t a clue, did you?) I have a plan to paint a focal wall in my living room a cross between barn red and well, red. Not like a strawberry or a tomato. A richer and warmer type of red.  I can cool it down with blues and green accents or even whites, if I need to. Then again, I can add rich ambers, gold, and amethysts to make it pop. All my furniture is in neutral colors and so is the color of my walls. A bright set of pillows here and there, a colorful throws, bouquets of flowers, nick knacks, and pictures can add visual interest. I have lots of colorful throws and pillows now but it doesn’t touch the overall blah.

Great plans, but I need to wait (ugh, I hate waiting when I’m ready to move forward) until, 1. I can get the guy who will paint the ceilings. That’s a project that is difficult for me. But, I’m going to tell you, if he dithers anymore, I’m going to get really creative with broomsticks and paint rollers and lots of plastic to throw on the floors and furniture. 2. Extra dollars for all the paint and stuff needed.

This is what comes of being sick for such a long time. You don’t care when you’re sick what’s going on around you. You’re totally focused on getting better and the rest can wait until then. Getting well? You tend to look at your environment with different eyes that grow very large when focused on surroundings. You also tend to say Holy Shitake mushrooms or the shorter pithier version thereof. A lot.

So, since I can’t tackle the living room just yet, I painted my blog. Hey, it worked for me, or at least, took away the main itch for the immediate moment. I have added pine boughs, poinsettias, lights and glitter to the house, which helps.

Next, the rest of my environment.

How do you handle the Winter Blahs?

 Upcoming events for the blog:

  • I’ll also be having Jessica Bell with her STRING BRIDGE visiting and I’ll give you more info on that visit as soon as we have it set—possibly the 14th. And I’m hoping to have some of her wonderful music as well. LOVE her music!

Starting on December 20th I will be running various holiday stories for your enjoyment. These will run through the 31st. I’ve got some great stories to share. Just sayin’.

Here’s a recipe that will warm the cockles of your heart or anything else that needs warming. J



  • 4 quarts dry red wine (zinfandel, merlot, burgundy, etc.)
  • 1 pint brandy
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 cloves, whole
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp mace
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  1. Pour the wine into a large pot and begin heating over low heat.
  1. As it begins to warm, add sugar and spices. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  1. Add the brandy.
  1. Heat thoroughly, but do not allow boiling!
  1. Add the lemon and orange.
  1. Steep for about 1 hour over low heat.
  1. You may add more sugar during this time if desired, stirring well so it dissolves.
  1. Serve hot and garnish with orange slices. A stick cinnamon could also be used.
Serves 12-15