Fairy Tale Giveaway

Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop

I'll be giving away my copy of Wings by Aprilynne Pike to a lucky commenter who follows my blog. I'm not proud. I like followers. You're already here. Just press a button.

Hosted by

March 26th to April 2nd

Congratulations to BookLady, the winner of the drawing for Wings by Aprilynne Pike.

Carole Nelson Douglas is Awesome

2006 World Con
 Okay, so back in 2006 I saw that the Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers were having a conference in Austin, Texas. I always wanted to go to a writer's conference since that's where agents and editors hung out, so I dragged my bud Faith and my sister Heather with me and off we went. 

I had no idea what it was going to be like, and probably made a completely noob idiot out of myself fangirling over all these famous authors walking around. I mean, just walking around like regular people. Geez, embarrassing now that I think back to it, but you got to start somewhere, right?

Anyway, one of our favorite characters was Carole Nelson Douglas because we kept happening to run into her. We get on the elevator, there she is. We go down the hall to our room, there she pops up. And she was so cute and fun and personable, we all fell in love with her. I think Faith even stopped at a bookstore on her way back to Fort Worth and bought up all her books. You can read the posts about that conference in the 2006 archives here.

Fast forward to today. My other newer buds Angi Morgan and Barb Han (I didn't know them yet in 2006 or I would've been dragging them around~scratch that, they would have been dragging me around to the RWA and RT conferences~I really was a noob back then.) Anyhoo, they were signing and reading at the Bedford Library's Romancing the Books event.

Guess who else was there? Yep, Carole Nelson Douglas. I went right up to her and asked how she was doing since I'd last seen her. Poor lamb had that startled face of how-do-I-know-her? yet gamely smiled and said, "Well, how are you doing?"

I took pity on her and explained that she really didn't know me at all, but we had met only once before when she was wearing a pair of $1000 shoes. That lit her up and she said she hoped she wasn't mean. As if. Anyway, the event was a little slow while I was there so I got to talk with Ms. Douglas for about an hour, not nearly as fangirly this go around and it was just really pleasant and she is as delightful as I remembered her being.

2013 Bedford Library

Don't Mess With Texans

I like living in Texas. I like Texans. Married one, didn't I?  They are happy confident people who tend to take action and voice their thoughts. They are also extremely patriotic and loyal~~to the country as a whole, but also to the Country of Texas. I've never been in another state where the people are so proud of being where they are from. 

They also have a keen sense of wit, as personified by this state sign. 

"Don't Mess with Texas" is the anti-littering campaign, has been for years, well, just cuz we like the sentiment. 

C.A. Szarek's Sword's Call Book Release Giveaway

I'm very excited to have my friend and critique partner C.A. Szarek (I know her as Chrissy) visit today as her first book hits the shelves this month. And what a book! Like fantasy, adventure, romance, a protective wolf, and magical sword? It's all in there and then some...

Chrissy's an awesome person, very funny and genuine, and works so hard to get her stories and characters just right. Readers are in for a real treat when they pick up one of her books. I'm glad to know her and count her among my friends. She's originally from Ohio, but came to Texas as soon as she could and I'm sure glad she did. 

So Chrissy, 

"What draws you to write fantasy?

I have always been into fantasy, since I was a very young teen and read the greats. Anne McCaffrey and Tanith Lee being two of my faves. It just comes naturally for me, I guess. I'm always in my own little world. But I promise I'm not crazy. *grin*

How many books to you plan to have in this series?

I'm not sure at this moment, but I have ideas, couples and even parts written for at least 5. I should be turning in book two, Love's Call in a matter of weeks to my editor. The I will hit book three. Book 4 is already halfway done. And I have the opening scene for book 5. As usual, I'm on step 1000 when I need to be on step 5. But if something occurs to me, I usually write it down, whether it's notes or a whole scene.

Your heroine is bonded to a wolf in this book and I know you have several of your own four-legged buddies at home. Were any of your own pets an inspiration for the bond between Cera and her wolf?

Well, I thought of the story of Sword's Call literally about thirteen years ago, and I have always had dogs. In a way, the two or three I have sadly lost over the years since Trikser (that's Cera's white wolf) was born are all in him a little bit, I guess.  I have always been fascinated by wolves. They play a big part in this series.

What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?

Take a breather! I tend to binge write so when I finish something, it means I have been doing nothing BUT write. I try to relax, go out to get something I like to eat, or watch TV that tends to stack up on my DVR (GREATEST INVENTION EVER). Then, of course, you get on FB and tell everyone you just finished! Hehehe.

You also have a contempory romance between two detectives coming out soon. Can you tell us a little about that? 

Collision Force is about a badboy FBI Agent, Cole Lucas, and a strong female small town police detective, Andi MacLaren getting thrown together to go after a human trafficker that got away from Cole and fled to Andi's small city of Antioch, TX. They don't like each other much, so getting them together was really fun! It's an intense story but it's tender and a little bit funny, too. I am really excited about it because I love Andi and Cole so much! It come out July 1, but will be available for Pre-order May 20 and Pre-release June 3. I should have a cover soon, so of course watch my blog and FB for that! It's also the first book in a series, Crossing Forces.

Connect with C.A. at her blog, TwitterFBAmazon, and Goodreads.  

A little bit about Sword's Call:

For generations, the Ryhans, ruling family of the Province of Greenwald have been keepers of a sword rumored to possess enough magic to defeat kings. Lord Varthan, a former archduke and betrayer of the king, covets the sword and invades Greenwald.

Lady Ceralda Ryhan, daughter of the murdered duke, gains the sword and flees, trusting only her white wold, Trikser--magically bonded to her. Cera needs nothing more to aid in her fight.

Jorrin Aldern, half elfin and half human, left his home in the mountains of Aramour to find his human father who disappeared twenty turns before, but finds Cera with Varthan and his shades on her tail instead. His dual heritage and empathic magic will tempt Cera in ways she never thought she'd desire. But can he convince her trust and love can pave the path to redemption or will the epic battle end in tragedy and evil conquer them all? 

Gets your copy from       Amazon       Barnes and Noble         AmazonUK


Heart pounding and fists clenched, Cera sat in the Dragon's Lair's darkest corner. By choice the candle on the table was unlit. The bowl of stew half eaten, food the last thing on her mind. 

The door to the tavern swung open. Her white wolf growled low and deep beside her. Cera glanced up, squinting in the sudden flood of sunlight. As the door slammed shut and her eyes adjusted to the renewed murkiness, she took in the newest arrival.

Then she focused on Trikser. She couldn't have him going for anyone's throat. 

"Shhh, Trik, it's okay." She ran a hand through his fur, smoothing his hackles along the length of his spine. The big wolf looked up at her and licked her hand. One corner of her mouth lifted and she bit back a sigh.

The only reason the owner of the tavern, Marshek even let him in was because no one else was allowed to enter the Dragon's Lair if she was inside without him. No one according to Trikser, that is. He'd almost taken the hand off the last guy who'd tried.

"What'll ya have?" Marshek barked, revealing his instant dislike of the newcomer.

She fixed her eyes on the bartender. Then she took a closer look at the man sitting in front of him. His pointed ears betrayed his heritage, but his height suggested he was not of pure blood. 

Marshek was known to be tolerant of elves but he hated what he called half-breeds. Cera could imagine what the grumpy, middled-aged tavern owner was thinking, and it wasn't friendly. 

She rose, Trikser also immediately rising, awaiting her move. The white wolf was her bondmate and had been since he was young.

Relax, she thought-sent.

Trik sat, but his body was tight, tense. He didn't respond to her mental order.

Moving to the bar, her wolf followed, slinking close to the floor, moving in a slight crawl. His belly probably touched the filthy planked flooring of the tavern.

Cera made a face but forced a breath. Detached control. Sliding onto the stool next to the half-elfin man, she was just in time to hear his order. His voice was clear and deep. Marshek filled a mug with ale and started to put the jug in its place on the shelf.

"Wait, Mar," she said with a wave of her hand, "I'll have some of that, too."

With a curt nod, the older man poured her a mug. She brought it to her lips, glancing nonchalantly at the stranger. His coal black hair brushed the collar of his hooded gray cape, giving him a rather unkempt look, but rugged rather than messy.

Cera couldn't see the hue of his eyes from her seat but his high cheekbones made his profile appealing, his sleek tapered ears adding to the attraction. His powerful jaw line was clean shaven, an oddity in these parts. She could tell he was aware of her perusal. He was young, not much older than her, and had the stunning beauty of the elves.

His chest heaved as if he'd taken a breath, and he finally glanced at her. Blue. His eyes were a deep, sapphire blue. Her heart skipped a beat but she ignored it. The man said nothing, not that she'd expected him to. 


Chrissy (I mean C.A.) is giving one lucky commenter her or his choice of either a SWAG prize pack (US only on that) or an ebook copy of Sword's Call (International welcome). Hmmm, hard decision.  

And the winner is: (drumroll please) Dawn Cloclasure! 

Don't Butt-Dial the Police when playing on the Xbox

My son. He's tall and handsome, fourteen, and growing like a tree. A thin gangly palm tree that delights in dropping coconuts on his younger brother's head simply because he can. His feet and hands are huge, showing there's still much more growing to do.

It's the first day of spring break, that magical first Monday of sleeping in and not having to get up and rush off to school. The boys are happily in their various control towers bedrooms, catching up on lost video game time and Minescape on the kid's specified computer. "That's Minecraft, mom", my youngest is always keen to point out. "You're mixing it with Runescape again."

I'm in my office-slash-bedroom, working on a group sale I volunteered to coordinate (don't ask), when Palm Tree son comes in. He's giving me that one eye half-closed and head tilted look. Uh-oh.

"Uh, Mom, I think I accidentally called 911."

"What? Why?"

"Well, I didn't mean to. My phone just called them and I looked at it and noticed it was connected to someone, so I said, 'uh, hello?' Then this guy answers, 'This is 911 emergency, we are hearing gunfire and screaming from your location. Is everything all right?"

I'm alarmed. "What were you playing? So, are they coming here?"

"Uh, no, I told them what happened. They wanted to know exactly what game I was playing. Mom, they were like listening for half an hour."

"What were you playing?"

"Battlefield 3."

Oh man. I shrink in on myself a little bit, taking in the facts that a 911 Operator is listening on my son's cell phone for half an hour to army guys bombing and rapidly firing at each other. Can I hope that the operator has figured out he's listening to a game? Or is he frantically trying to pinpoint the cell phone's location?

An hour goes by so I assume any issued alerts have been canceled. I need to make a pharmacy run so off I go. On the way back, PT boy calls my cell, "Um, Mom. The police just came to our house."

"What?" After an hour and a half? "Are you making this up?" Normally that would seem like a mean question under the circumstances, but it isn't beyond my son to make crazy scenarios up because he's a natural joker and loves to get a reaction out of me. He got a reaction out of me, but this time it was sincere. How do I know? Because he also can't maintain a lie for more than two minutes. His expressive face shows way too much delight at having got me once again.

"No, I swear. It's all cool though. I told them what happened."

"Did they come in to check it out?" I imagine police officers wanting to see the offending x-box and loud game, tromping up the stairs to the bedrooms even as I'm trying to remember what the condition of the kitchen was before I left.

"No. There were like 3 squad cars outside. The guy that came to the door had his hand on his gun." Well, that must have been exciting for a fourteen-year-old. He told me later he crept to the door ninja-style as the knocking was really loud.  Sigh. This doesn't bode well for the rest of spring break.

Lesson taken away from this: Don't butt-dial the police when you are playing Battlefield 3.

All Seeing Eye book review

All Seeing EyeAll Seeing Eye by Rob Thurman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know how when the author of your favorite series writes a book outside of that series so you don't want to like it cuz you just want to keep reading more of the other series?

That's how I was with this book, which is totally a messed up way of thinking, but hey, I'm a tad messed up. But, of course I was going to read it anyway, because it's written by Rob Effin Thurman.

Yes, her middle name is Effin.

Yes, in my head I'm thinking a different word that begins with F, but I'm trying to be a good example and not say that, and no, it's not THAT word. My F-bombs are interchangeable, depending on my mood. Sometimes it's Frakin when I'm being a geek/nerd who wishes she were at ComicCon. It's Fetchin when I de-age and embrace my inner teen self's upbringing in the west, and sometimes it's Freakin or Frickin when I just want to get the point across without being crass.

So back to Robyn Effin Thurman. She's a freakin genius. I didn't want to like All Seeing Eye, but that lasted all of 5 pages when Jackson Lee's sarcastic nature completely won me over. What a character!

And the ending... RET, once again, takes it in a different unexpected direction, leaving the best reveals for last. Love it. Love all the weird twists and turns of her creative, impossible to second guess brain.

And...and...was that Ariel?

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