Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

Sooo, now that the manuscript for Desire is finished (woo hoo!) and I have a bit more free time, I'll admit I've been watching TV at night instead of writing. What? An author needs some r&r , too. Last night, about 8pm, I was chatting with a good friend and she asks, "Whatcha up to, Jacks?" I cringe and have a momentary crisis of conscience: Do I tell her the truth and embarrass myself or should I dodge the question? I went with the truth...I'm a Dancing with the Stars fan, lol. Ack! I've tried so hard to avoid the reality show 'revolution,' but this show blends two of my favorite things--dancing and sexy men. What's not to like? I loves me some Maks. DWTS is one of my guilty pleasures and I'm not going to hide my love of the show anymore. There, I said it. Whew!

In the spirit of confession, some of my other guilty pleasures include: Justin Timberlake, the Twilight Saga, Janet Evanovich, John Hughes movies, and Family Guy. For me, they're like junk food for the spirit. Maybe they aren't the highest of art forms, but they're fun and they make me smile. Some days, that's the best you can hopeful--a good laugh.

Okay, I took the plunge. Now it's your turn. What guilty pleasure do you indulge in? Inquiring minds wanna know....And no, I don't read the Enquirer...except in line at the grocery store, LOL.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Joys of Spring by Jannine Corti Petska

My guest today is a fellow Moongypsy Press author, Jannine Corti Petska. It's her first time as my guest so please give her lots of love :) Welcome, Jannine!

Ahhh, the joys of spring. It seems everyone eagerly awaits springtime. The newscasters are all pumped up because there are warmer days. People here in Southern California complain when we get one semi-rainy day in a month. They can't wait for 80 degree weather. Me? I loathe the heat and the sun. Spring for me is all about complaining there aren't enough rainy days. (Actually, where I live, I complain about not enough rainy days year-round.) On the up side, I plant my garden vegetables and herbs at this time of year. I love watching plants grow. For me spring represents a new beginning.

Spring also indicates that we're heading for summer and heat that often continues clear to Thanksgiving and occasionally beyond. You see, I have SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder. The sun and the heat depress me. This is difficult for so many to understand. They think I'm nuts. Well.....maybe I am. But SAD is a bonafide disorder. About 4% to 6% of the population in the U.S. suffer from depression when the days get shorter and colder. However, 10% get SAD in reverse. The onset of summer triggers their depression symptoms. As I grow older, the symptoms are more severe. I can't even handle temperatures in the upper 60s.

So the next time you're celebrating spring and the person next to you is depressed about it, have a little empathy. Or say what most say to me: Why don't you move? I'd love to, but it's not that simple.

I am more prolific at writing in the dreary, blustery, rainy days. When the heat picks up, I become lethargic and suffer from headaches. The darkness I crave may have something to do with the reason I write dark stories. But all is not lost. I slip in humor now and then to break up all the drama.

In my latest book, CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY, the hero and heroine lean more to the dark side. I think the nature of the story--Gypsy life in 15th century Andalusia--tends to be serious, moody. The hero brooding. The heroine sobering. Add in her psychic power and the story becomes intense.

CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY is book two in the Sisters of Destiny trilogy. (Book one is CARINA AND THE NOBLEMAN.) Below are the cover, blurb and a scene. The story is not about springtime and sunshine, but Rafael is a to die for Gypsy. Charlotte, who was raised by the Gypsies, knows just how to handle him.


Charlotte Nikolos keenly feels the difference between the dark coloring of the Gypsies who raised her and her own pale hair and skin. When she learns she has two sisters somewhere who share her looks and psychic powers, she's determined to search for her lost family and find answers about her past. But how?

For three years, Rafael Cazares has been away from the Gypsy camp and the woman who makes his blood boil. He's determined to win back Char's trust and recapture her heart. He insists on helping her to find her true family, but someone or something is determined to keep them apart. When a deep dark secret is revealed, Rafael would do everything in his power to keep the only women he has ever loved out of harm’s way. Even if he must die.


Setting up the scene: Char heard her father's thoughts about marrying her off to Rafael immediately. She rashly goes off on her horse, and Rafael gives chase. You get a glimpse of Char's strong will in this scene.

Char jerked out of Rafael’s grip and marched off with her horse in tow. At the forest’s edge, she climbed atop Martiya and sped off without a backward glance. She’d owe her father an apology when she returned, but for now, she rode fast and hard to ease her frustration and clear her mind. She had to think up a viable scheme to avoid being trapped with Rafael for life.


"Leave me be," she shouted over her shoulder, panicking when she saw Rafael’s huge horse eating ground faster than hers. Blinded by unwanted tears and the fear that he’d force her into an immediate marriage, she failed to notice a low-hanging branch. Martiya ducked her head; Char wasn’t so fortunate. Her stomach took the brunt of the hard bark, throwing her backward in a summersault to the hard forest floor and brutally stealing the wind from her lungs.

As she gasped for air, she held her hand out to Rafael to stay his approach. She wanted naught of him, not his care or his concern. Or his scolding over her rash decision to flee. To her misfortune, her inability to catch her breath put her at his mercy.

Rafael squatted, rubbing her back in fluid, upward strokes until her hard-fought breaths came easier. He saw no bones protruding from her clothing and realized she was stunned more than injured. No doubt she hurt badly and would likely find a bruise in the shape of a branch across her stomach.

Tears streaked down her face, giving him pause. He cupped her cheek and used his thumb to wipe away the wetness gathered in the corner of her eyes. She turned her head aside. Would that he could take her pain away, but he had the distinct feeling that those tears weren’t solely from her fall.

She dragged her feet to her body and attempted to stand. Rafael placed a hand on her shoulder, keeping her down. "You should wait until your bearings return."

A frown followed her grimace. "My bearings are mine. So move away. I do not need your assistance."

"You think not?" Rafael rose and stared down at the stubborn set of her mouth. "Then you may stand."

"I will stand when I please."

"Bedamned, woman. You are as indignant as the day I left."

She inhaled carefully and gripped her middle. Ignoring him, she moved to stand but quickly gasped and dropped to her knees. He used every ounce of his will not to coddle her.

"Mayhap you will take my advice the next time."

She angled her perturbed visage up at him. "You do not need to gloat."

He wasn’t. More was his genuine concern for her well-being. Offering her a hand, he said, "Will you now allow me to help you stand?"

Her wary glance at his outstretched hand shucked his concern. He snapped it back and walked off to retrieve her horse grazing a few yards away. When he returned, she was sitting in the same spot where she had fallen. No sympathy would she receive. He tamped down his compassion and let the wench help herself. Char’s staunch independence bore little room for her to be self-effacing.

"Get up," he commanded even though he knew well her adverse reaction to being commanded to do anything. "I’ll accompany you back to camp."

Another wary glance. "I’ll return after my mind’s cleared of its unnecessary muddle."

"Have I your word?"

She frowned before nodding.

Against his better judgment, Rafael looped the bay’s reins around the same branch Char ran into. "If you are not in camp by mid-day, I’ll come looking for you."

CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY is available in print and ebook from

ISBN: 1449976786

EAN-13: 9781449976781

Book one, CARINA AND THE NOBLEMAN, is available in print and ebook from
ebook: 978-1-926640-59-4
print: 978-1-926647-35-7

Monday, April 5, 2010

Squirrel! by Jaime Samms

My guest today, Jaime Samms, is a multi-published author and a colleague at Freya's Bower. Her newest upcoming release, Life After, is available from Freya's Bower on May 25th. Check out her other scintillating titles and more hot, hot stories between men at her website! Take it away, Jaime :)

So, it's that time of year again. Spring brings a lot of things; open windows, birds, manic cats trying to get out the door between my legs, my garden crying desperately for my help and attention, and always, so far, a renewed need to write more, new, better, shinier stories.
It also is the busiest time of year where I work. You see, tax time is both my joy, because writers make so little money, the refund means good things can be had by all, but also my nemesis. I work contract and my contract falls on me at tax time. Wouldn't it be nice if the need to create came in the middle of the winter when I'm home with nothing better to do....

But really, life isn't like that, is it? One can dream. And become really good at time management. I've mastered that first one....

My publishers and editors have wrangled me into submission on the other. I'm so distractible. Anyone ever seen the movie "Up!" ? That little dog, that can be me...squirrel! And in the spring when the sun is shining, and the garden needs me, it's so hard to sit down and do edits, to type up all those snippets of story scratched out on my meagre breaks at work.

Then there's work, where I should be—well—working. And I find myself thinking about all the fantastic story lines I want to write. Seems wherever I am, I want to be somewhere else, doing something else. Spring is a great time of chaos for me. For the most part, it's good, creative chaos, though.
Right now, I'm sitting at the breakfast table amidst this year's Vessey's seed order, clean laundry and breakfast dishes. There's sun and breeze through the open door and the park across the street is full of people. Crocuses are poking up through the brown old grass of last year, and the maple tree is all over red knobby buds. Really, it's chaos everywhere, not just inside me y head.

Easter weekend is stretched out in front of me now, and I can see the completion of a half dozen unfinished projects in the nebulous future before work beckons again on Tuesday. I can also see were the raspberries need culling and tying up, and the roses need to be uncovered, the leaves raked before they rot in place on the grass, and really, someone should put all this laundry away....

But there are so many stories in my head, I'm afraid they'll start running together and the wrong guys will end up in the wrong beds. But then, that could be interesting, too. Squirrel!!!

P.S. On Monday, when you read this, the weekend will be winding down, and I will be flush with accomplishment or lamenting the lost time. Or, I might have caught that elusive squirrel. One never knows.