Friday, January 25, 2013


Winter is a wonderful time to hunker down and read a good book. Most I feature with Hot Reads are either books I've chosen to read (not been asked) or books I want to read. So grab some coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, and your favorite blanket/quilt and snuggle up and read!

Sharon Sala

Mariah Conrad has come home. Badly wounded on active duty in Afghanistan and finally released stateside, she has no family to call on and nowhere to go—until Quinn Walker arrives at her bedside. Quinn, …her brother-in-arms, ex-lover and now maybe her future.

Quinn brings Mariah to his log cabin in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky to rest and recuperate, both physically and emotionally. While she's incredibly grateful, Mariah is also confused and frustrated. She's always stood on her own two feet, but now even that can literally be torture. She's having flashbacks and blackouts, hearing helicopter noises in the night. She wants to push Quinn away—and hold him closer than ever.

But will she get the chance? Those helicopters are more than just post-traumatic stress; they're real—and dangerous. Bad things are happening on the mountain. Suddenly there's a battle to be fought on the home front, and no guarantee of survival. Read a chapter Excerpt

I absolutely love a heroine who can get the job done despite the odds. Some great scenes in this one with Mariah. Missed the first in the series but will be going back to read it. This one was definitely stand alone.


Kendall Morgan is a human bloodhound. Spending her childhood hunting relics with her ambitious archeologist father, she knew the two of them shared a sixth sense for the history and location of objects—sometimes even people. What she didn’t know was that their paranormal gift could ultimately be their undoing.

After the tragic plane crash that killed her father as well as her childhood best friend, Kendall dedicated her life to finding and protecting relics. When mysterious, sexy billionaire Nathan Larraby hires her for his latest expedition—the search for four powerful relics —she’s thrown into a world of high-octane danger. He sends brooding mercenary Jake Stone to watch Kendall’s back, but he may have created danger of a different kind.

As the team chases down clues, a man called the Reaper makes a play for the artifacts and will stop at nothing to put them to his own sinister use. What’s worse is that Nathan hasn’t told the whole story, and the dark secrets he’s keeping could cost them the mission…and their lives. Read a chapter excerpt

Didn't think anything could compete with Conner Clan Series, but The Relic Seekers proved me wrong! Really looking forward to book 2! Intriguing characters and setting. I have my guess as to who Nick is and love the feisty  Kendall. Cool castle and secret order with lots of mystery and suspense.


If you like shorter, fun reads, check out Misty Evans' Witches Anonymous series.

One step forward…

Ex-witch Amy Atwood has never wanted anyone the way she wants Lucifer. As she tackles Step 5 of Witches Anonymous—atoning for the sins she committed as his right-hand witch—she may actually land him and the magic-free life she desires.

Two steps back…

But when an ancient curse is revealed, a heavenly force determined to remove Lucifer from her life traps Amy between giving into her love for him and saving the souls of her family and friends.

Will this be the end for Amy and Lucifer?

As the war between good and evil reaches a tipping point, Amy must rely on the devil she knows—and can’t resist—to break the curse and help her redeem the souls she’s damned to spend eternity in Hell. Souls Lucifer has no intention of giving up.   Read an Excerpt…


Read any good books lately? Do share!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


My guest is Terry Spear who writes some fabulous stories about wolf and jaguar shifters. I thoroughly enjoy her stories and stepping into a world created by Terry is almost as good as a vacation. I'd still like to find a nice beach with white sands, balmy warm breezes, and frothy turquoise waters, AND a Terry Spear book. Now, that would be a great vacation!

I love to research settings, animals (for shifter types), temperatures, plants, everything I can to make an urban fantasy story as real as werewolf and jaguar shifters can be. J

Visiting Grand Cayman Island was a lot of fun. I’d always wanted to set a story there because I thoroughly enjoyed it. When a story is set in a place you've been, it makes it easier. But I still did research to ensure I got my facts straight and added more details I missed—like about where the different types of sharks are located, and something about the huge amount of banks that are on the island (offshore bank accounts, ring a bell?), and more. I saw one when I was there, and it wasn't anything like what you might expect. I also saw a man in a business suit at the hotel where we were staying, chain around his wrist and a briefcase. Hmm-hm. And I included it in the story. The man and the stingray story? Happened to a man swimming near me. The tale the man told them about the ray with no tail? The shark with all the undigested ray tails? All of these the guide revealed to us during the snorkeling trip to feed the rays. So sometimes what I add is researched, and some of it is real. The pirates putting on a sword-fighting show was also real. Well, faked, but you what I mean. LOL

It was fun when Duncan couldn't stand it anymore and had to show how a real swordsman fought.

When I went to Grand Cayman Island, I did almost everything that Duncan and Shelley did, except swim and run as a wolf, and no fighting bad guys. I also went on a submarine, but Duncan and Shelley, being the wolves they are, didn't want to do that.

Since I also write thousands of blogs, I love to take photos of animals that I might share since they’re in the stories. I wish I’d had a decent camera to take pictures when I was on Grand Cayman Island. But that was one of the things I always forgot. A camera.

I’m getting better about it!

While visiting my son and daughter-in-law at Omaha, NE where my son is stationed in the AF, they took me to the zoo, and I got a lot of neat pictures of sharks and stingrays and jelly fish, caimans and jaguars—for my jaguar stories, and tons of other great stuff. But they had no wolves. They took me to another park, complete with wolves. My Thanksgiving was perfect!

My next story, A Highland Werewolf Wedding, is set in Scotland, and the castle ruins I used in the story, was actually one of the ones I visited and fell in love with. Visiting a place that you set your story can help to create a real world in a world of fantasy. Since I really loved it, like I did Grand Cayman Island, Scotland, and some of the silver mining towns in Colorado that I used to create Silver Town, Colorado, and the Oregon coast and Portland areas, I could create a world I loved, too. With a camera, I can take pictures to help me remember details I might forget. Tour guides can give details, too, that we might not be able to find by doing other kinds of research.

I’m still learning to use my new camera though. I spent a couple of hours at the local zoo, capturing a tiger cub playing with his mother, and a jaguar making its strange huffing roar because it was separated from her cub, and got home to find that I must not have turned the movie on when I was taking it.


I have to say that when I went to the Grand Cayman Island, I was still writing on a historical romance, and had no idea that one day, I would be writing a story about a hot Highland wolf meeting up with a sexy Texas she-wolf in that same island paradise.

Now, everywhere I go is a potential setting for a story.

Have you ever been somewhere that you can’t stop thinking about because you just had such a memorable time there?

Thanks so much to Sia for having me on her blog! And good luck to commenters!!



A Highland Wolf on a Mission...

Duncan MacNeill is hell-bent on catching the thief who's stolen the clan's fortune and run off to Grand Cayman Island. Duncan has rarely left his homeland and he couldn't care less about an island paradise. He never expected to find a beautiful distraction who will show him just how appealing paradise can be...

Meets a Dangerous Distraction...

Lone wolf and botanist Shelley Campbell headed to the island to study the old growth forests. She didn't count on meeting a handsome Highlander who can't keep his paws off her.

Excerpt (Amazon chapter read) 

"Fascinating characters and an exciting, action packed plot."  RTBook Reviews, 4 Stars




1/24       Literal Addiction 
1/25       Under the Covers  
1/28       Book Lovin’ Mamas 
1/29       Anna’s Book Blog  
1/30       Urban Girl Reader  

Monday, January 21, 2013


Long, long ago...

The oral tradition of storytelling is the one of the oldest traditions of civilization. Storytellers were not just entertainers, but teachers and historians. Some stories were based on actual historical events some were complete flights of the imagination and designed to teach—perhaps a moral, or teach the listeners critical thinking and sound decision making. Stories also reminded the listeners of bygone lessons from history, religion, and lessons of everyday life. Stories were guides to planting, hunting, fishing, and creating things for the community.

Then there were the legends or myths. They were designed to explain the unexplainable like creation, how land was formed, how the oceans stayed in their boundaries, how thunder came about, or lightning happened. There weren’t any scientists so people used things of their world—personifying animals or creating superhuman heroes doing great deeds to give an explanation. At the heart these heroes produced good results for the community but usually at great cost. These legendary stories encouraged the listeners to think and figure out how to do things or make sense of what was unknown to them and to appreciate sacred things. Many legends held subtle morals on what would happen if one person, or group of people, stepped away from what they held sacred and that one’s actions could affect the community for years to come.

There are many oral legends told around the world. Some have been captured in written word. The authors wrote down the oral tales of generations past and perhaps added their embellishments to fit the new audience. Think Homer—these weren’t new tales but a retelling of the old. Aesop’s tales and the brothers Grim. All tales retold from ancient times. Entertaining tales but with instruction at the heart of the story.

Many Native American tribes still have tales from old. On the surface they entertained, but below the surface were lessons to be learned. I’ll share one with you.

Medicine Bear

“Long, long ago, in the beginning times, bear was a great healer. He knew all the plants, roots, and barks that would cure sickness and heal injuries. Bear was the first medicine man. The people honored and respected Bear. 
Ah, but then came the summer of little rain. The crops did not grow and the rivers and streams were drying and there were no fish. The game animals were scarce 
In their hunger, the people abandoned their sacred ways and hunted bear for food. But, when they tried to cook him, his ashes went into the sky and became mosquitoes.”

The legend explained the unexplainable—how mosquitoes came about. The storyteller who thought it up as a parable, had great imagination and wisdom, and knew how to tell the tale so the lessons would be remembered.  It does entertain but there are lessons below the surface of the tale.  When we abandon our beliefs and turn our backs on what we hold sacred, no good will become of it.  

The tale also reminded the listeners the consequences of their actions could be felt for generations to come. You can bet every time a mosquito bit the listener they would remember the rest of the tale and why pesky mosquitoes were around.

One of my favorite tales from Aesop’s tales is the dog and the bone. It makes you laugh and so it entertains, but the underlying lesson is all about being content with what one has and how foolish it is to desire more. Another lesson is about coveting (craving what belongs to another) what others have.

Many hurtful consequences come from such a desire and when you lose sight of what is important in your own life. Like the foolish dog, you often lose it all.

  • Do you have a favorite fable or tale? What do you like about it?