Friday, November 30, 2012


My guest is romance author, Elisabeth Naughton. Her topic is one of interest because as writers we do have a plan when it comes to our characters and our stories. Sometimes the story is better served when we allow input from our beta readers or critique partner, even when the suggestions take us in a different direction than we first planned.

Gryphon: The Dead Hero

Thank so much to Sia for inviting me to stop by during release month for ENSLAVED, the fifth book in my Eternal Guardians series. I’m super excited to be here talking about the series and my hero who almost wasn't…Gryphon.

For those of you who don’t know me…I write the bestselling Eternal Guardians series about a group of gifted warriors all descended from the heroes of Greek mythology. They protect their realm and the human world from threats born of the Underworld, specifically one evil goddess with a bad attitude. Gryphon, one of these warriors, has been in every book in the series, but it wasn't all unicorns and sunshine for this guardian. No, he’s been to hell and back—literally. You see, Gryphon spent three months in the Underworld being tortured by Hades and his father Kronos, so in every way possible, he’s the tortured hero (again, literally) of the group. His story is all about coming back from the brink of insanity and becoming who he was meant to be. But originally, I didn't set out to write him this way.

I am an author who believes in writing reality. It’s not realistic that seven warriors span time and realms and battle evil again and again, only to triumph at each turn with no loss of life. Even the best warriors die in battle – look at Achilles! So originally, I planned to kill Gryphon off. I had his death scene all planned out. It was to happen in TEMPTED, book three in the series. He was going to take a mortal blow by sword in an attempt to rescue the heroine of that book. The hero in that story would ultimately be responsible for his death because his actions contributed to Gryphon’s death. It was going to add even more angst to an already angst-ridden story. But when I started to write that death scene, and my critique partner—author Joan Swan—caught wind of it, she freaked out.

I believe her words were, “You cannot kill Gryphon! If you do I will never speak to you again! Your readers will never speak to you again!”

Harsh words from a usually even-keel person. I considered. However, it wasn't realistic that everyone always survives!

And then….after much thought…I realized that realistic in the paranormal world is different from realistic in the real world. Gryphon didn't have to die…exactly. I could simulate death—even simulate torture in the afterlife—all while leaving a thread of hope for his resurrection. This is paranormal…anything can happen! In the end, I wrote it so his body was possessed by a power-hungry warlock and his soul was sent to the Underworld. The hero of TEMPTED was still blamed for Gryphon’s tragedy, the rest of the Eternal Guardians still didn't know if Gryphon would ever be rescued, and it still added in a whole new level of angst and betrayal to an already dark and emotional story. But it added something else. Something I didn't expect. It gave me a brand new storyline to explore in future books.

Gryphon’s imprisonment in the Underworld led to book four - ENRAPTURED – and a brother’s quest to rescue Gryphon from the Underworld. Then it culminated in ENSLAVED – a story where Gryphon is now free, but changed in every way imaginable. Can someone survive that kind of torture? Can a man so mentally and emotionally scarred learn to live in the real (er, paranormal) world again? If I’d killed Gryphon off in TEMPTED, I’d never know. Because my critique partner saved his life, readers can now answer that question for themselves.

One of the fun parts about writing—for me—is that things don’t always happen exactly the way I plan. Over the years I've learned to be open to changes. Yes, I wanted to kill Gryphon off for the storyline in TEMPTED to work, but I accomplished the same thing by sparing him. And my readers got so much more out of the fact he lived.  When I sit down to write, I usually have a vision of where I want to end up. Getting there is always the fun part. For me it means taking characters to the brink, sometimes pushing them off, but more often than not pulling them back and giving them a reason to become more than they ever were before. And after all, isn't living up to ones destiny the true definition of a happily ever after? I think it is.

I've got a copy of ENSLAVED to give away to one lucky commenter. Just ask me anything about me or my books in the comments to be entered to win!


GRYPHONHonorable, loyal, dependable...tainted. 

He was the ultimate warrior before imprisonment in the Underworld changed him in ways he can't ignore. She calls to him. Come to me. You can't resist. But Cryphon will not allow himself to be ruled by the insidious whispers in his head. And there's only one way to stop them: kill Atalanta, the goddess who enslaved him. But with so much darkness inside, he can't be sure what's real anymore, Even the Eternal Guardians, those who protect the human realms and the gods, want to exile him.

Finding Malea is like a miracle. Somehow he doesn't feel the pull of the dark when she's near. And he's determined to keep her as near as possible, whether she wants him close or not. But she's a temptation that will test every bit of control he has left. One that may ultimately have the power to send him back to the Underworld...or free him from his chains for good. EXCERPT

“Creative worldbuilding and ever-present danger pull the reader into this mesmerizing tale.” RT Book Reviews, 4-½ star review of Enraptured

A former junior high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton traded in her red pen and test-tube set for a laptop and research books. She now writes sexy romantic adventure and paranormal novels full-time from Oregon, where she lives with her husband and three children. Her work has been nominated for numerous awards, including the RWA RITA© Award, the NJ RWA Golden Leaf, and the RWA Golden Heart. When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ball park, or dreaming up new and adventures. Visit her at and follow her on Twitter, @ElisNaughton.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Learning to cope with leaving your day job and writing full time—I haven’t yet!

Hi Sia! Thanks for inviting me to guest blog at Thoughts Over Coffee today! I wanted to choose a topic that I’m currently struggling with in the hopes that I’m not alone. 

After years of working part time in an office during the day while our kids were in school—writing early in the morning before work, and then again at night and on weekends—my darling husband suggested that I give my writing career my full attention and quit my day job. Now this wasn't because I suddenly was raking in the dough—not the case, or really the point—it was the spirit behind his offer, which I accepted after he reminded me that I supported him fully when he started his own engineering consulting business ten years ago and that it was my turn.

So, I quit my day job and that’s when then the Universe decided to throw a monkey wrench in our grand plans. I added driving our youngest son back and forth to work—a daily round trip of 4 hours—to my schedule, but again not the point… We needed to be there for him and to support him while he was waiting to get his license back. He needed to keep his job in order to become independent again.

I adjusted to another new writing schedule because I was fortunate enough to have back-to-back deadlines, for which I was eternally grateful, but it meant I had to focus completely during the hours I did have available to write in. Finally I saw the light at the end of the tunnel when he was able to get his license back—more writing time, I thought…Perfect!

And then the Universe laughed and our daughter and son-in-law asked me to babysit our grandbaby three days a week when maternity leave was over. The catch is that they both work in retail and neither one has a set schedule week to week. Soooo… I've been babysitting—and loving every minute of it! By the way, it is sooo much easier when you’re 20 years younger!

Two years have come and gone since I've quit my job to write full time, and I’m still trying to find my balance. There are days when I get sidetracked feeling guilty that I’m not bringing in a weekly paycheck, how does one get over that? If anyone has the answer, I’d love to hear it!

By far the hardest part of my job as an author is juggling the social networking part of it. There are days when I’m on deadline and completely forget that I haven’t posted to FB or tweeted or blogged about what I’m doing, nose-to-the-grindstone days when I’m writing or dealing with family issues and life itself.

Things have changed drastically from when I published my first book in 2000, hard to believe it people, but we didn't have the internet as it is today…no Facebook, Twitter, etc. We had email and on-line writing groups, but our promotional efforts were concentrated on mailing bookmarks, postcards and pens to bookstores and attending conferences. :-)

I wonder if the Universe is just reminding me that nothing in life is ever easy and that anything worthwhile never comes easily—and it shouldn't because we might not appreciate it as much if our goals were too easily met and obstacles too easily climbed over. So I’ll keep adjusting my writing schedule and meeting my deadlines and will try really hard to remember that I need to keep up with those wonderful friends and contacts in my social-networking life on FB and twitter and post more often.

My question for readers today is how have you balanced a career change with family and other obligations? Has it worked for you, or have you had to readjust?


He's not so sure about small town life.

She can't imagine living anywhere else

Welcome to Apple Grove, Ohio (population 597), where everyone has your best interests at heart, even if they can't agree on the best way to meddle. When the townsfolk of Apple Grove need handiwork done, there's no job too small for the Mulcahy sisters: Megan, Caitlin, and Grace.

Specializing in hard work and family loyalty, tomboy Meg Mulcahy has left behind any girlhood reams of romance. Enter newcomer Daniel Eagan, looking to bury his own broken heart and make a new start. He's surprised-and delighted-by the winsome girl with the mighty tool belt who shows up to fix his wiring.

But Dan's got a lot to learn about life in a small town, and when Meg's past collides with her future, it may take all 595 other residents of Apple Grove to keep this romance from short-circuiting. 

“A terrifically fun read... With quick dialogue and a homey feel, this is a wonderful book to curl up with. Small-town romance at its best!” —RT Book Review, 4 Stars

C.H. ADMIRAND was born in Aiken, South Carolina, but grew up in New Jersey. She has been delighting readers with her Secret Life of Cowboys Series, featuring three cowboy brothers with Irish charm, and is now working on the next books in her small town contemporary romance series, featuring the town and quirky characters of Apple Grove, OH. She lives with her husband, who is the inspiration for all of her heroes’ best traits, in New Jersey. For more information, please visit

Monday, November 26, 2012


A Friend sent me this. Isn't it great?
Reading has always been a gift and each book a beautifully wrapped window to another world. I've visited wonderful places and gone on some grand adventures. 
This past couple of weeks has been incredibly busy and rather stressful. I read more when times are rough or stressful. It’s a form escape but it’s also a way to calm my mind. Times like this I don’t accept new books for review. Reading to review is a job. You read with a different mindset than when reading for pleasure—even if it’s a book you want to read.
I want to share three books I bought and read for pleasure. Three different genres and very different authors but each book put me in a world I enjoyed and help me escape from the world of work, kids, chores and whatnot. My Kindle is loaded with lots of books. I buy many books when I spot deals or want to try an author I haven’t read before. Yesterday I went searching titles for something I hadn’t read and found a great one.


William Casey Moreton

John Coburn, a Harvard-trained doctor still reeling from his father's sudden death a few days earlier, wanders into a bar in New York City's Greenwich Village a few minutes before midnight. He encounters an old friend from college, a man named Brian Ripley, whom he hasn't seen in nearly 20 years. Ripley is with a beautiful young woman and is clearly in a hurry to leave. Coburn could have never been prepared for Ripley's reaction to seeing him, and he is even less prepared for what happens next. 

The following morning, the young woman with Ripley is found dead in Washington Square Park, the victim of a brutal murder. Coburn goes to the police and tells them of his encounter with Ripley the previous night. What the police tell him shakes him to his core - Brian Ripley has been dead for 15 years. 

The story moves at breakneck speed as John Coburn searches for the truth behind the woman's murder and whether or not he really saw his friend, or merely a ghost, that night.

I read it in about 6 hours and finished it, reluctantly, at 12:45 a.m. this morning. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book I literally didn’t want to put down. It grabbed my attention from the first sentence. I’m not going to tell you it was some unheard of new plot, I don’t think there is one of those, but it was highly entertaining and some serious kick-ass situations, lots of action, some questions to find answers to and a great set of believable characters.

I liked John Coburn, former military, a bit of an adrenaline junkie, with some impressive skills, and tenacious. He’s a bit of a boy scout and by choice, prefers to be in the hot spots of the world plying his trade of physician (he loves practicing medicine and patients, hates the hospital bureaucracy). This story takes a man at loose ends after the death of his father and his recent divorce and adds the premise of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and then adds jet fuel to the mix. What a ride. Good story, great tension and pacing, satisfying denouement. Moreton is on my list of authors to read. I can also recommend his story, 72 Hours.

CHANGLING DAWN—Changeling series
Kenzie Macleod has spent her whole life hiding the fact that she's a werewolf. She's not about to open up to any man, even one as powerfully attractive as wildlife expert Josh Talarkoteen.
But legend says that a Changeling cannot escape the call of her true mate, even in the wilderness of backcountry Alaska.
An isolated archaeological site, a terrified Changeling cub, a shadowy research facility - as Kenzie and Josh face the ultimate betrayal, his obsidian eyes promise untold pleasure and hint at dark secrets of his own...
Dani Harper offers a different take on shapeshifters hiding in plain sight and I enjoyed that. Each story, so far, uses the MacCleod family as a base and put in a strong romance coupled with suspense. Every story adds a bit more to the knowledge and background of the world and hints at other skills that might have been lost over time but are being rediscovered and alludes to other supernatural people (like wise woman Birkie with some rather special talents).  A lot of potential for some great stories in this world.

Kenzie has had to deal with the terror of being hunted centuries before and the resulting fear and distrust she lives with daily. She has to learn that making a life is more than just existing and fear, not faced and conquered, can be more confining that any prison built.

The story is a solid romance, which is fun and sexy.  Well-crafted characters with realistic careers, fears, prejudices, traumas, sprinkled with danger and mystery. Lots of action. There’s a kidnapping, the majestic backdrop of the Alaskan wilderness, old tribes with talents, and at the base, the greatest risk of all—trusting your heart to another.

I really enjoyed this series so far. It was one that I picked up because it sounded interesting and I hadn’t read this author before.


After the war with Earth, bioengineered humans scatter across the Backworlds. Competition is fierce and pickings are scant. Scant enough that Craze’s father decides to hoard his fortune by destroying his son. 

Cut off from family and friends, with little money, and even less knowledge of the worlds beyond his own, Craze heads into an uncertain future. Boarding the transport to Elstwhere, he vows to make his father regret this day.

This one was just plain fun. I’ll admit, I was curious to see how she, a new to me author, told a story and I liked the idea of bio-engineered humans. Given the science of today, not all that far fetched.

I enjoyed the adventure of the story and the rich imagination of the author in creating people and worlds. But, the story deals with the very real fears of a person being cut off from everything familiar and having to use their wits to succeed. It takes courage and the ability to stand up for what you want and having an open heart to make your own family from a circle of friends. I’m looking forward to the further adventures of Craze and his band of friends/family. Plus, you gotta love a story where chocolate is precious.

  • Read any good books lately that you'd like to recommend?